Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ending August Sunday Funday

(And I had a birthday!)

I didn't want to do a Sunday Funday, since I was putting together a post about the Olympics, but there were too many good things to share to not do one.
1. I want to do something like this sometime!
2. Hands down, best article about the whole Ryan Lochte mess I have seen yet!
3. THIS: what does a missionary look like? I would love to interview so many people and put together a video about this sometime! Perhaps while in the states?
4. I am just EXCITED that they are going to make THE SILVER CHAIR.
5. Wow. This hit hard, and I want to read the book. I can only imagine what I would have done at 20...
6. Most of the time I read missionary stories and think "I could never do all of that." Sometimes I read them and think "Should they have done that?" like in this article. Reading this made me appreciate my husband, again and again.
7. I want to read this book too! And it is my prayer that every single person who ever comes to Brazil on a Short Term Missions Trip would understand this.
8. I really, really like Craig Greenfield and what he has to say. As I read this I was reminded of our (much smaller) issue of having a baby with the issue of Zika. I am still struggling with taking the "easy" way of going back to the states. #realtalk
9. I am going to have to pace myself on reading once I get back to the states--here is adding to my list of must reads!
Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes and messages and hugs and so many ways you reached out to me to make me feel special. It worked. I am 34 now. 

10 Things now that the Olympics are Over

1. This week I got to interview Susan, who attended the Olympics--she has some things to share that you probably don't know about the Olympics!
2. If you didn't catch them before, here were some awesome ideas for the Olympics.
3. Have you seen the new 360 videos? You can move the screen up, down, left, right to get the whole view during the whole video! Here is an example of one, at the Olympics.
4. I hope you followed the amazing stories of the refugee team at the Olympics.
5. Many people saw, for the first time, what poverty looks like outside of the USA. This video is a balanced and important look into Rio's Favelas.
6. This moment. One of my favorites of the Olympics.
7. The Olympic Youtube channel--they have highlights of individual athletes (Simone!) to watch, as well as highlights by sport (badminton!). This is the best way to catch up if you missed some (all).
8. HOLD THE PHONE! THE FUN ISN'T OVER! Paralympics start September 7th! You don't know about it? BEST INTRO EVER.
9. History of the Paralympics (because I know I needed it).
10. Paralympic Youtube channel--because it goes by really fast!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Family Screen Time

Coming from a conservative home, it was a challenge to please everyone at the same time, but we worked on it, because it really does make for some good memories. Movies (and musicals and animated) and TV Shows we watched as a whole family:

TV Shows:
All Creatures Great and Small
Jeeves and Wooster 
Death in Paradise 
Call the Midwife 
Girl Meets World 
The Middle 
Gillian's island
The Librarians 
Miss Marple (and most other BBC Agatha Christi shows)

Swiss Family Robinson
Jungle Book (the old non animated one)
Anne of Green Gables
Pride and Prejudice (any version) 
Little Women (any version)
Sense and Sensibility
Becoming Jane 
Homeward Bound 
Princess Diaries 
Ella Enchanted
Peter Pan (real people version) 
It’s a Wonderful Life
Remember the Titans
The Muppets (any and all) 
The Muppet Christmas Carol (every Christmas)
The Princess Bride 
The Great Race
The Help
Cool Runnings
Ever After
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Narnia movies (all, and the old BBC ones)
Cinderella (the new real people one)
Sister Act (both)
The Little Princess

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 
Mary Poppins
Fiddler on the roof
Sound of music 
My Fair Lady
Singing in the rain
The Little Prince 

The Incredibles
Meet the Robinsons
Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King
Despicable Me
How to Train your Dragon
Toy Story (all)
Finding Nemo
Monsters Inc
Inside Out
Princess and the Frog

Ice Age

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August Sunday Funday

I thought I would show you how I do my devotions:
And Father's Day last week was amazing:
It is my birthday this Friday! What do I want (besides smiling while scrolling through Facebook happy bday wishes)? To celebrate 100 more birthdays! I love me some birthdays!

Yesterday at Cajueiro Claro we got to talk about sex. It was awesome! 
Our amazing friend Sara (23 and single) is full of passion and love for Jesus and put together a youth night for Cajueiro Claro to talk about "Sexuality without guilt." 
(not sure what my face is doing in. Sara is in the middle)
"Youth" events are very loosely translated in Brazil, and I was amazed how many of the moms came, and people from the community. We finally had to stop after two and a half hours, because there were like 10 kids until age 10 that needed to go to bed--otherwise we could have gone on longer! Sara bravely led the discussion, setting down the basics of what God says about sex, and then everyone put their questions in a box, and Pastor Flavio, Caid, and I answered the questions (I was a bit nervous). 
When it was over, I told Sara I wish we would have done this at my church when I was younger. We plowed into sex, dating, masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, purity, and marriage with honesty and clarity. God was honored, and truth was spoken--it ain't easy! 

I played the "No sex until marriage" game for 30 years, and I won. Then I got married and realized I was playing the wrong game, and it wasn't over. If you check out what God says about sex, it is a good thing--it just has some rules that go along with it for our general safety. The thing is, our sexuality is a part of us--what makes us who we are as individuals--and that makes it one more part of what we give to God when we give Him our lives. That is what being a Christian means to me. And the game--the long term picture--of what that looks like is sanctification. 
Seeking purity, but more than that: seeking to be like Christ, but more than that: seeking Christ Himself. When I am running passionately to Christ, I don't have time to simply play the "no sex until marriage" game. I am so glad the game isn't over. 

Sunday Funday Links:
1. "What if the lack of control is the thing making us more like Jesus?"
2. Learning about TCKs and TCAs and what that means for my kids and I
3. Not sure what to say. This is amazing. Amazing writing and amazing truths. 
4. Good article, and even better recipe for Brazilian Lemonade
5. In some ways, I've felt like I have a clearer idea of some issues because of the distance away from it...but then again...I am slightly nervous about returning to the USA during all of this racial turmoil. God knows what it means for my international family. 
6. Beautiful insight on the depths of learning someone else's soul: AKA marriage. 
7. I like this article, but I like the "RAFT" part best. I need to study that more!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Funday Father's Day

Happy Father's Day from Brazil! Yes, I know you already celebrated in June, but remember us today, as we celebrate!

If you didn't get our Ferguson monthly E-newsletter last Monday, sign up for it at the bottom of the page here.

Here are our weekly videos from this week:

So excited about the videos for next week (which we already filmed, but need editing). Get ready for some authentic Brazilian food! 

Sunday Funday Reading:
1. Transitionitis: already getting ready
2. Another beautiful look at our beautiful word Saudades
3. A great list of books. when I ever read books again (after this young mommy stage of life)
4. Personal ups and downs of what missions really means. We all have our on definition. This makes me want to write mine.
5. Honestly, I need to take personal looks into my own life to see how this lie has seeped in.
6. Not normal and beautiful (I know her:)
7. Remember the passion you first had

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Learning About Brazil

This is what makes me so excited that the Olympics are in Brazil: because people are asking questions and wanting to learn more about this amazing place. I fell in love with Brazil when I was 16, during a missions trip with my youth group. I have lived here, off and on, since 2004. And one of my favorite parts is getting to share it and about it with others. 
When someone asks what Brazil is like, I wonder how long they have to listen, because there is so much to share! There is the country: things like geography, weather, history, and of course food. Then there is the people: things like how they dress, music they like, holidays they celebrate, and language they speak. Then there are the stories: where Brazil comes alive because they are people just like us, but with different details. This is where you really begin to see someone else's culture. 
So let's give this a try! Click the links to see the best resource I could find for each subject:

1. The Country: geography, weather, history (current politics), food (or, our videos ). 
2. The People: clothing (like USA in summer), music, holidays, language (quick overview of Brazil for kids)
3. The Stories: This is part of why we are here in Brazil! We make missionary vlogs every week, with our stories! We also run the Youtube channel for Living Stones, and have lots of stories of kids there. We also have stories about short term missions trips in Brazil.  

So the Olympics start tomorrow! Hope you check out all four parts of this series:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Being Global Citizens (with the Olympics)

I still remember the Olympics (Atlanta, 1996) my family watched many of the events together—20 years later! I remember Kerri Strug vaulting and my whole family gasping. I remember holding my breath for every dismount. I remember the stories they told between events, and wondering why the competition with Russia was such a big deal. What memories do you want to leave with your kids?

Watching 200 countries come together gives an opportunity to learn about places and people you haven’t even heard of before. As missionaries, our children don’t have an option but to become global citizens and world travelers: but your children can have the same opportunities with intentional planning and teaching.

Five things I want my kids to learn from the Olympics:

1. Basic geography. As countries come up, using a globe or map to find places is a start. Here is a free printable pdf of a more indepth study of a country. 

2. Country flags. Flags are everywhere during the Olympics. Free printables and more free printables! Maybe calling out “Hey—first one who finds out what country that flag is gets ice cream!” Here is a free printable to keep track of "who is winning."

3. Personal stories. I am so excited about the first ever refugee team at this years’ Olympics! What are the other stories (David and Goliath type) will they televise? How can you use that to pray for people around the world? Hear are some free coloring pages for those with short attention spans. 

BONUS: Music--this is such a great way to learn! MUST HAVE the Animaniacs world song. Here is another fun world song. Music videos: these songs are from around the world, "Hello" in languages song, Flag song, and kids all over the world singing. 

4. What it means to be a “Global Citizen.” If the world were 100 people?

5. How THEY can make a difference in their small world, and in the whole world. Here are short videos explaining poverty to kids. Books about friendships around the world. Kid President awesomeness. This is just the beginning. How you prepare them to be world-changers? 

PS--for the overachievers who want to do an Olympic party
This is part 3 of 4; 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Learning about the Olympics

If you are like me, you just now remembered that the Olympics are THIS FRIDAY, here are top 5 fun (kid approved), fast (short), and fantastic (well-done) videos to prepare you (and your kids!) for the Olympics:

Here is the schedule, by sport, of events. 
Opening ceremony: Friday night, August 5. 
Closing Ceremony: Sunday night, August 21. 

If you want some more: 

This is part two of four: read about some Suggestions to Overcome the Controversy (of the Olympics), and be ready for part three tomorrow! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Suggestions to Overcome the Controversy (of the Olympics)

2016 Olympics begin this Friday! And I am in Brazil! Even though I am as far away from the Olympics as I was when they were in Atlanta  (I was in Indiana in 1996), I am exited about them--and holding my breath. I will be posting a four part series to lead up to the Olympics (Overcoming Controversy, Olympic Information, Global Citizens, and About Brazil).

First, there is NO controversy about the cute little man in the picture above: that is my friend's son, and he is holding the Olympic torch! The man next to him has an amazing tennis ministry, and was chosen to run the torch through his city, which was on the path to Rio. Apparently, they let you keep a copy! Since you can easily read about all the controversy on the Internet, I will instead give you my perspective on it, as someone who calls Brazil their home.

My friends getting to hold the Olympic torch is really the only cool thing that has happened with the Olympics so far. We live far enough away from Rio (like Indiana to Florida) that it isn't talked about much. What is talked about is the corruption and ALL THAT MONEY (4.6 billion dollars) that was thrown into the Olympics rather than education or other long-term solutions. Here are the main controversies:

I had Zika. We live in the WORST part of the Zika outbreak, and I can tell you it really is not that bad. Unless you are/want to get pregnant. Zika is now in the USA (Florida) as well. I did lots of studying about that, and here is what I have to say:
Suggestion: Pray for the pregnant women in Brazil (and all over the world), and help provide for Zika kits (including bug repellent and mosquito nets) when mission trips come. 

Swimmers are worried about swimming in Rio, and people are shocked at the trash. This is a daily issue for us. After swimming in a lake here, I got some weird rashes. Pollution is not properly taken care of, normally because of corruption/someone using the money to line their pockets (in the private or public sector). When 41% of people (in Northeast Brazil) live in poverty, they are trying to survive, not find the nearest trash can. Recycling has had a big push in Brazil, but it is still not part of common culture. 
Suggestion: check out the work Living Stones does with children who live at our local dump, and begin praying for them, making a difference one child at a time: 

Pictures look pretty bad. The comment from an American athlete was that things were great--but sad because there was no "Pokemon Go." Some of this is just #firstworldproblems, but some of this is real, and disorganization can cause a lot of stress. We have seen this in our own construction projects with World Renewal Brazil: 

Suggestion: build gratefulness for all the things we do have, and pray for the Glory Sports ministry building that will make a difference for so many kids! 

You don't have a history of hundreds of years of pillaging and taking from the people/land and then suddenly change. Brazil is missing a good system of checks and balances that limits greed. The Brazilian president, Dilma, was impeached (kind of). She is out of office until it is officially proved that she broke the law, and the hearings do not begin until November. 
Corruption extends it's reaches all over the place. One of the main problems we regularly have is teachers/police/public service jobs on strike because they are not getting paid. 
Suggestion: Please pray for God to do a mighty work in politics (hopefully, you are already praying this!) Truly, there is no other place we can see so clearly that only God can change our hearts/lives and make a permanent difference in how things are run. trying to be "good" or "better"or change policy just doesn't cut it. 

I have been to Rio, and laid out on their beautiful beaches. I stayed at a lovely hostel and ate glorious street food--all as a single woman traveling alone--and was safe. But many of my Brazilian friends who have visited Rio have been robbed in some way. The police have threatened to go on strike during the Olympics, and then there is ISIS. Safety is a big issue. 
Suggestion: let us remember that no matter where we are, our security is in Christ. Please pray for the safety of everyone involved in the Olympics, as this is a time of people coming together, and there are many who do not want that. 

I am holding my breath because I want the Rio Olympics to be a success. I want people to see Brazil as I do: a beautiful amazing place with incredible people. I cringe at the idea of people looking down on us with their #firstworldproblems. But mostly, I am excited about the opportunity it gives to groups like Athletes in Action who are putting on community festivals all over Brazil around the Olympics--and reaching kids for Christ: 

Brazil does one thing better than anyone else I know in the world: celebrate. Please take time to pray for Brazil while you watch the Olympics this year. There is a lot to work on, but there is much to celebrate!