Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Sunday Funday

No video this week. It is Christmas and I had a baby. Good enough reasons to rest.

Tuesday I had a baby. More on that to come (video and blog and many thoughts over the next couple weeks, I am sure) and Saturday night we came home and I climbed into my own bed and had a bit of the “How do I keep this small human healthy and happy?” Anxiety, followed by tears and a grateful prayer of “Thank you God we are home.”
Home home? Maybe. No. Yes. This was our first Christmas in Brazil. Not in the USA. Not sledding on Christmas Eve with my siblings and their fresh snow (jealous!). Not hugging my father who made it home from the hospital after scary blood clots were found in his lungs last Sunday. No, this Christmas Eve was feeding, changing, and sleeping with a brand new baby while snuggling, laughing, and watching Netflix with my big girl daughter and husband. And it was perfect (although my aching body kept yelling at me that I was in recovery and needed to quit moving).
Christmas was four parts:
1. Stockings and candy breakfast with just our little Fergie four
Skype Winzeler Christmas where we opened presents “together,”
Brazilian Christmas with our friends the Kirbys who cooked amazing things while I didn’t lift a finger,
FaceTime Ferguson Christmas where more presents were opened “together.”
We finished up the day with popcorn and Muppet Christmas Carol and prayers of thankfulness. It was beautiful and wonderful and thank you for being a part of our lives.
Jessica is one week old today (December 26th)

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. 9 Ways to make the Most of Christmas Abroad
2. I couldn't do this without you: "Goers get the glory, but the senders are the saints"
3. Opps, I went Home for Christmas: great visuals for culture/counter culture shock
4. Charlie Brown Christmas: “It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians… go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but averting their eyes and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit…For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor––spending and being spent––to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others — and not just their own friends —– in whatever way there seems need.” J.I. Packer
5. Parenting in real life: Ministry version: some great practical advice. Number one word: Intentional.

Here is a summary of our 2017:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Week until Christmas Sunday Funday

Here is our weekly vlog:

As you can see, our life continued to be waiting on baby. We got a 41 week ultrasound, and everything with baby is good and healthy (baby grew almost a pound in the last week!), but we also needed to start thinking and planning for what to do if the baby DIDN'T come before 42 weeks (risks in pregnancy go up after 42 weeks). Ana Sofia and I also had light colds and stuffy noses to deal with, and poor Caid had two grumpy girls to deal with.
Friday night we finally had some Braxton Hicks (prep) contractions, and rushed to make sure everything was packed at waiting by the door, but they didn't last long. Sunday morning my father fell/passed out and was taken to the emergency room where they found blood clots in both of his lungs (something that if undetected, kills one in three people--so that is pretty serious!). He is resting and doing well (once found, it is much less risky), and hopes to return home by Wednesday.
I have been having mild contractions since early this (Tuesday) Morning, so am just taking it slow and using my contraction app to keep track. Lindsay is ready to come over and doula anytime, and we can head to the hospital once I feel the pain is getting pretty bad. Since I am so late (41 weeks and 5 days), the hospital will accept me even if I am not in active labor--so that is a blessing. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers!

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Christmas Traditions that Travel
2. Despite the Circumstances: thinking about pregnant Mary having to donkey travel is SOOO relate-able right now:)
3. Gifts for third culture kids: YES! I will so need this someday, when getting play-dough just won't work anymore.
4. How to stop the fighting: "Mother's are mood-makers"
5. When you find love in your host culture: I commented on this on Facebook already, but worth posting again! I didn't marry someone from my host culture, but I did marry a third culture kid, and some things still apply. But mostly, I've seen dating handled well, and not so well in my 10 years serving as a single missionary--by myself, and by those serving around me. Mostly, I think it is easy for people (especially in missions) to fear or ignore relationships: when what they need most is communication and openness: this is definitely something to read and think about.
6. Ann Voskamp on #metoo
7. Missions and #metoo: Don't wait for someone to come forward

Monday, December 11, 2017

December Sunday Funday

Still no baby. But here was our weekly vlog:

Thursday I was 40 weeks and went in for an ultrasound: they said everything was great, healthy, and "Any minute." Now that we've been in the "Any minute" stage for a month, it is a little old. Ana Sofia was 40 weeks and 5 days...if things go the same, that would be tomorrow (December 12). So we shall see...

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Overseas and Pregnant: another woman's take on things, with additional resources at the end
2. I hate Waiting: how lovely that Velvet Ashes Theme this week was waiting:). Not been doing that lately..haha
3. Tricoloring: a missionary getting citizenship in their second country: Caid and I hope to someday!
4. When Harassment meets Forgiveness: super powerful. I can only imagine serving in a country where this was common! Dear Jesus! We forget that so much of the world still is:(.

I really hope that next week I tell you I had a child. Or skip Sunday Funday all together because I had a child. Or something.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All About Money

As missionaries, we feel a deep need to be transparent and available to those who are so kind to support us as missionaries. While we know that if God called us to someday be "tent-makers" (providing our own incomes), we could make that transition, we are so grateful to be able to use 100% of our time in ministry now because of the amazing people and churches that giving their hard-earned money to support us. For those of you who would like to know, in-depth, where that money is/has been going, and how much is/has been received, we have made these nifty charts. For the rest of you--feel free to ignore this blog post:).
All that to say that our expenses and donations over the past couple of years have been around $24,000 each year. This year, the costs were much more, but that is because of the added expenses of a car (which we had been saving up for over the three years) and extra ministry training (which is always worth the investment). In the end, both giving and spending are balanced, and both going up. 
Our plan is to be in Brazil until the end of 2018, and we are hoping to not have any big surprising costs on the horizon: our finances seem to be going just fine if they continue as they have. While we are in the USA for the first part of 2019, we will be able to see what fundraising needs to be done, as costs rise with a growing family. 
Thank you thank you thank you, and if you have any other questions, feel free to e-mail me personally. We value your input, and will work hard to show you that we appreciate your giving, and will use it wisely. If you would like to donate to us, click the "support us" button at the top of our website: FiveMinutesOfFergie.com 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent Sunday Funday

Here is our weekly vlog:
This next week I am working on a video about our Christmas preparations--much different than in the USA! I'll have to do two parts--preparation, and then later, the food, since we haven't figured out that part yet:). This time last year we were back in the USA, with this happening:

I am currently too pregnant to deal with missing family, friends, and our holiday traditions, but there is plenty of time for that. This Thursday is 40 weeks, and my belly is already MUCH bigger than it was with Ana Sofia. Our week was pretty uneventful, as the only thing written on our calendar is HAVE THIS BABY!

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Do you need a year of awesome in 2018? Yes! Being pregnant all year has been incredibly draining on all of us. Can't believe we are talking about 2018 already!
2. Missions means choosing the desert: I love being a missionary, and consider it a PRIVILEGE and honor. But this is also true. 
3. Culture books for kids: SOMEDAY I want these! They look amazing! As the daughter of a homeschool mom with more books than anything else in her house, these make me very happy--best list I have seen yet!

ADVENT/CHRISTMAS IDEAS from the Interwebs: 
(our Christmas tree this year)
I love Advent and Lent: preparing for my two favorite holidays! I think the build-up is just as important as the day-of. Pinterest, of course, has lots of great ideas, and I love, love, love all the resources from Ann Voskamp: "The Greatest Gift" and the new pop-up advent calendar (Listed in the links below)
1. What Advent Really Is: "Advent is a whole lot more than waiting for Christmas, Advent is a whole lot more than preparing for Christmas —- Advent is ultimately about preparing the way for the Light of Christ in a world dying for light." This also has ideas/printables for the "Night before Advent" kit (hey, start late, who cares?)
2. Coloring Advent: they also have coloring Lent! Sorry, these are not free. These are on my "someday" present list. 
3. Resources for Advent: by Sarah Bessey (She did this better than I did:))
4. Best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix: I believe all the "Santa Clause" movies are also going to there this year, but not Elf or Muppet's Christmas Carol, which are my two favs. 
5. Surviving Christmas Overseas: This is some of the stuff we are thinking about this year. 
6. A Feminist Advent: yes:)! I love me the Magnificat! (now you have to read it, to see what kinda cat that is!) 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Sunday Funday

Oh Holiday weekend! (ish, for us Americans in Brazil, who celebrate together, but don't have an official holiday). Our weekly vlog is Caid's vlog:
This is what Caid got to do last weekend--super great! The very talented Jeff Turner put together a professional look at the Arts workshop:

I made mashed sweet potatoes (they are white, not orange here) and green beans, and Thursday evening we all (Americans and friends) gathered at the Taylor's home for feasting. It was a wonderful time! Friday we "decorated the tree" and I made apple cider to smell up the house and nostalgically sip: 
Growing up with a real tree every Christmas, I couldn't bring myself to buy one of the fake ones here, so opted instead for a Pinterest idea tree: the bottom shelves have the nativity pieces for Ana Sofia (who can reach those shelves) to play with. We have plenty of space to add ornaments as the years go by. There are hooks on the bottom shelves, where I will be adding our stockings, as soon as I finish sewing them! 

Black Friday (which IS something celebrated in Brazil too), Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday...I didn't realize there is also Giving Tuesday!
We have so many friends posting of many worthy things to give to, and I love that about this season! Just wanted to let you know of the two things currently on our hearts, if you wanted to be a part of them:
1. The three children (Werick, Taina, and Rafael) who were orphaned the end of last month when their dad killed their mother. They are still in transition, and still do not have all of their basic needs taken care of. You can learn more here
2. Our friend Tyago, who is a music, youth, and English teacher here, and was accepted to Liberty University's Masters program for further training. We are so proud of him, and invested in his future:

Reads from the Interwebs: 

1. Three ways to be more grateful this season: love these important questions! 
2. The sheep butcher and right versus wrong: different is different. I really love (and am related to) this missionary family!
3. Why being single in missions might be better: love these points--so true! Don't worry, it isn't against married missionaries:)

It is almost December! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November Sunday Funday

For our weekly vlog, we share a tragedy of some of our kids here in Brazil:
Please pray for these precious children, and if you would like to help support them in this transition, please let us know (amobrasil99@hotmail.com).

I am another week pregnant (37 weeks), and I had my last pre-natal check-up. The doctor said if there was anything else to just head to the hospital. The baby is a good size, and in the right position. Unfortunately, I am GBS positive (one in four women are), and so was given antibiotic to take now (which is a pain), and I will have to be on an IV every four hours during labor with antibiotics (For those of you who don't want to google GBS, it is nothing dangerous for me, just like I am blood type A-, it just means it can be dangerous for baby, and so precautions need to be taken). This doesn't change any of our plans, but it is one more thing to remember and keep in prayers.
Caid was able to help lead an arts conference this weekend, teaching music and really doing his heart's work. Ana Sofia is better from her fever/infection/runny nose, and sleeping so much better, which helps all of us! We are grateful. While Brazil doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, most all the stores are doing some kind of "Black Friday" or "Black Week" sale. Oh, the lovely things that Capitalism gives to the world.

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. The single missionary: what the church should know: I wish I'd had this article ten years ago! Super true and important.
2. Responsible, Ethical Storytelling: This is so important, and comes up all the time as I run the blogs and do vlogs--and even just this week--it is so hard to know how to share things that need to be shared, but can be so easily misunderstood (like our weekly vlog this week. Especially sad stories are hard to tell).
3. The myth of Conversion: I still remember the complete blank on my face when speaking at a church and someone came up to me and asked, "So, how many people have you saved?"
4. Pinterest: a Tool for Missionaries: haha, this author is crazy:)

Have a wonderful holiday week!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pinterest: a Tool for Missionaries

If I were a VPB (very popular blogger) I would say Pinterest sponsored this, but nope, I am writing it as something I freely appreciate.

A couple of years ago when I was introduced to Pinterest, I thought “what a lovely waste of time!” And it was mostly to dream about my future wedding and home. But pinterest has morphed into a very useful tool for me as a mother, a missionary, a teacher, an artist, an NGO leader, and all the other hats I might wear.

I now have over 50 “boards” where I can “pin” interesting pictures of ideas or information that I may use later. Most notably, I have used Pinterest to:

  1. Help me decorate and creatively (aka cheaply) design my apartment into a cozy home that we enjoy and are proud of, in a location that doesn't have Walmart or Target.
  2. Give me fresh ideas on how to celebrate holidays from all three of our cultures- when we can’t just buy it already made.
  3. Get decoration and craft ideas for Living Stones celebrations, and for our church in Cajueiro Claro, where we have to design our Sunday school curriculum from scratch.
  4. Find Teaching ideas for students aged 3-18 (again, no teacher resource store here!)
  5. Plan three weddings, all at minimal cost, and all very successful!
  6. Become better at branding and more creative and professional in my resource development for Living Stones
  7. Be inspired to exercise, even while pregnant.
  8. Store that pancake recipe that for some reason I can never remember on my own and never seem to copy down anywhere else.
  9. Actually cook something for dinner when I don't feel like it because the pictures look so yummy.
  10. Laugh (instead of cry) at my awesome collection of pregnancy memes.

I could go on, as I use Pinterest as a kind of search engine: when my daughter had a fever, I found a helpful chart to remember when to get worried about the fever and when to calm down.

Can Pinterest become an addiction and vice? Certainly! But it can be a valuable tool, especially for the missionary abroad who doesn’t have access or money to buy ready-made almost anything. Pinterest has added a level of creativity and beauty to my life that honestly, I would have just been too tired to do otherwise.

Mostly, Pinterest has freed up my brainstorming time and let me use it for creating time. And while I have had many “Pinterest fails,” I have had many more successes (or at least functionality) in my projects, many of which I wouldn’t have started without the the “Pinterest spark” to get me going.

To any current or future missionary (mom), I would definitely suggest this app.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunday Funday on Monday

Here is our weekly vlog:
I am at that weird pregnancy stage where I have lots of time, and time goes really slowly, but I never seem to actually get anything done because my whole purpose is to try to be comfortable (or at least, not super uncomfortable). This was a hard week for all three of us Fergies as Ana Sofia had a high fever most of the week. When we took her to the doctor on Friday, the virus had basically run its course, but she's still had some fever in the evenings. 
My friend told me that pregnancy (and newborn baby stage) is when moms get to try to learn how to be nice to people while not getting their needed quota of health and sleep. This is a hard lesson for me. Turns out, I can only handle being pregnant or a sick child. Most of the week, either Ana Sofia or Jessica kept me up all night, and Caid had to stay home and be mommy for the day while I tried to catch up (or just not kill anyone). Oh, lovely last month of pregnancy! 

Caid and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on November 9th, and had a lovely lunch with a slightly feverish little girl who was so happy to get out of the house:). November 9th was also the day to mark being pregnant nine months! We are getting there!

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. How to stop violence: A very interesting read as I noted the president's response to a foreign-born terrorist attack (more vetting right away) versus a white man (mental issues and too soon to talk about guns). Anger is a much bigger deal than we want to admit--because we all have to deal with it. 
2. Where there is a doctor, but you don't trust him: I don't have crazy stories like she does, but when Caid had to go to the same hospital where our friend had just died from inadequate care, I did get a little jumpy. When I thought we might need to take Ana there for her fever, I procrastinated. It is just...different here. 
3. No child soldiers, no child sacrifice: this is a very important issue that every missionary must realize is an issue, and constantly re-evaluate. If the mission field becomes unhealthy for one of the members of our family, no matter how young, then something needs to be done. 
4. For they shall be comforted: I loved how she brought out how in grief we connect with God so clearly--and this is what makes Christianity different from all other religions (okay, there is other stuff too, but this is the nitty gritty thing that we all find out sometime or another). Oswald Chambers said, "At the back of the wall of the world stands God with His arms outstretched, and every man driven there is driven into the arms of God." So often it takes us getting to the end of our rope to finally find Him. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday Funday November

Our weekly vlog:
Happy Birthday to my amazing sister! It has been quite a week for us. We were rocked by tragedy on Tuesday: When Daddy Killed Mommy, and an update is that the father is now in jail. We are still in prayer, and will keep you informed as we know of any way (besides prayer--PLEASE keep praying!) that you can help. 
Caid had an accident, falling on the wall of the church and getting a concussion/two stitches on Wednesday:
He is doing really well, but I think the scariest part was that it was our first big injury/public hospital visit in Brazil, and we saw really quickly how everything could have so easily been so much worse. We are truly grateful! 
Ana Sofia is battling an infection, with booger bubbles flowing fast, so life is just a little harder in all things. I had my 35 week ultrasound, which showed a healthy baby in birthing position: next week starts the "any day now" countdown! 
Today was our 7 year church celebration at Cajueiro Claro (video to come soon!), and it was wonderful to be with our loved ones and remember God's faithfulness: but it was officially the last big event I had on the calendar to do (outside the house), and now it is time for another nap:). 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
2. How Masterbation almost Ruined our Honeymoon: really well written, and habits we NEED to consider, wherever we are in life. 
3. Serving Caviar when they Needed Chicken Pot Pie: Such good imagery--so true!
4. This was one of my favorite speakers from the Justice Conference: she was the one who suggested studying Jesus's life and seeing how all of his interactions/actions/words were to "turn the tables" and bring equity, rather than equality (ok, that is just the start of this conversation):

5. This isn't something to read--YET, but I am really excited to be part of a book launch for Craig Greenfield (which, if you've read Sunday Fundays, you've seen me link to many things from his blog). I loved his other book (Subversive Jesus), and so am super excited to be able to "pre-read" the next book and share about it with you guys!

Happy November to you all!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When Daddy Killed Mommy

I don't like to give shocking headlines. But sometimes you need to tell the story.
Yesterday I ran into one of my friends who lives at the trash dump community. She told me that one of the mothers had been murdered by her ex husband on Sunday.
It is one of those passing things where you feel completely lost and overwhelmed and can’t think of what to say. She was on her way to work, so didn’t have time to wait for me to find myself anyway.
Later, our friends from PPC filled us in: the funeral was yesterday, the ex husband had turned himself in, and so by Brazilian law, was free until the trial. To protect the older children from the very upset community, and whatever other danger, they are staying with our friends at PPC until they will live with their aunt. Their aunt who lives at the trash dump community and is already struggling with her own 7 children.
Thank the Lord, they have a psychologist and a lawyer who have offered to help with all the trauma and making sure the kids are safe with their aunt.
(Here is Weric, with his sucker, at our Children's day party just a week and a half ago)
Weric is 10, TainĂ¡ is 7, and Rafael is 3. Their father just killed their mother. They don't even have shoes on their feet.
(Taina, in 2013, with one of the volunteers)
I've known this family since 2012, when we started a Saturday children's program at the dump. When Rafael was born, we (the missions group from Shelbyville) took diapers and such to their new home at the Matadoro: things were looking up, as the mother finally had her own home.
(Rafael--the baby--and his mother)
Unfortunately, the only work the mother could find was sorting trash, and the dump was too far to keep walking to every day. So she, with most of the rest of the community, moved back to the trash dump community the last couple years. 
The newspaper article said that the ex husband wouldn't accept that their relationship was over, and attacked her with a knife. She was rushed to the hospital in Carpina, but had lost a lot of blood. Even more sad, the hospital was ill-equipped to care for her, and she soon died. 
I don't understand all of the ends and outs of it, but in Brazilian law, if you freely turn yourself in, you can't be arrested (unless the judge specifically asks for it), and so are free until the trial. My fear was that he would try to grab the children and run, but there seems to be more current danger of the close-nit trash dump community trying to take justice into their own hands, which is why the children are being kept safely far away for now.
We are working on sharing what resources we can, as well as getting immediate needs like hygiene products, shoes, and clothes for the children. What these three children need is someone to come along side them long term and help them financially to be able to stay with their aunt. Please join us in prayer that God would raise up these people, and that He would work miracles in and through this horrible situation. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Final Sunday Funday of October

Our weekly vlog, just some bits and pieces of life:
And our last Children's Day party for this year, which was at the trash dump community:

October seems to have had a lot of Sundays. It seems long in general. Probably because I am almost to the final countdown for baby birthing. This brings everything to a crawl. Ana Sofia is spending about 50% of her day in BIG GIRL underwear, which is great. Caid was a bit under the weather this week (when he started shivering, in Brazil, we knew something wasn't right), but seems to be better now--whew--because we can't BOTH be grumpy, sleep-deprived people! I am working on shifting from teaching English to finishing up all the end of the year reports, videos, and newsletters, and drinking three liters of water a day. Yep, that is what they say to do. If I aim for 3, I've been getting about 2...which is much better than 1. 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. Developing a Theory of Chaos: I need to do this! And for suffering. I think I basically have, but it is always nice to do this "officially."
2. Seven ways to teach your TCKs to process grief: I need this for me too--and totally need to be able to put this together in a way to share with STMT people and Interns who come to Brazil--processing grief is such an important part of re-entry for anyone! 
3. Wonder for Christmas: this is, of course, beautiful, and I would like to have it someday. But I am looking forward to the couple of ideas that I have (thanks Pinterest!) for our first very small little family Christmas this year--the one where I am still hobbling around from having birthed a baby, and we are still worried about how often she eats and poops (has it been three hours?). 
4. Fundamental Sadness and the Deeper Magic: this connected with me and reminded me of read #2--the one about grief. Making sure it is okay for you (and your family) to talk about the sad stuff, the hard stuff, the ugly stuff. I think I shy away from it more than I should (I've often been called the 'rainbows and unicorns' girl).
5. Millions return to Poverty in Brazil: I read this one in the middle of the night this week (when this little baby starts to dance), and was still a little shocked with the statistics: The poverty level for Brazil is when you make less than USD$44 a month. Poverty level in the USA is around USD$1,000 a month. (https://www.thebalance.com/federal-poverty-level-definition…) There is a difference when we talk about global poverty and North American poverty. Having lived in Brazil since 2004, I have seen the "upswing" of wealth in general, and then lately seen more and more of the struggle: please pray for our brothers and sisters in Brazil. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Funday in October

Check out our weekly vlog:
Here is also the amazing video (Jeff Turner's creative footage!) from Lagoa de Itaenga's Children's Day:

Soon I will have the video from the Trash Dump Children's day (run by our friends at PPC), and later this week, keep an eye out for our official e-mail update on Children's Day (If you are not signed up for our e-newsletter--please sign up at the bottom of the page on BuildingLivingStones.org

Friday was the first day I had to call off teaching because of pregnancy pains/uncomfortableness/exhaustion. I am hoping to make it through October to week 36 before becoming a hermit. Life is just genuinely harder and I am quickly losing any desire to leave the house. That said, I really enjoyed all my Sunday Funday reading today, and teared up at least twice as I read the encouraging things from others. 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. Stewardship: where less is more: This explained and connected with me very deeply, and I think is a very good explanation of a lot of what it is to be a missionary. 
2. Pregnancy on the field: This is about a book, but it just confirmed to me the deep need us women feel to connect when pregnant--especially when away from family and familiar. My first pregnancy was mostly spent in the USA: this one has been mostly abroad, and it has just meant more than I can say to have a group of women meeting monthly about pregnancy (Thanks Lindsay!!)
3. The secret about your behavior: An important aspect about addiction that we can't forget. 
4. Do Good: yes, says my heart! 
5. 6.5 Myths about Expat life: another good explanation about missionary life! 
6. I blame the Women: tears, tears, tears. YES! Moving from survival to thrival (whatever). As I got up to pee AGAIN, I wept for all these women who got to continue being mothers! 
7. Should Debt disqualify a missionary? whew, loaded question! As someone who has always said YES, I enjoyed this unresolved read and honesty. 

If you are in Indy--this is where we wish we could be this Thursday: You Are Invited! You are Coming? WORLD RENEWAL 2017 CELEBRATION. This Thursday October 26th 6:30-7:30pm. Brandywine Community Church Chapel 1551 New Road, Greenfield, IN

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Children's Day Sunday Funday

It was a week full of celebration, with Children's Day actually being on the 12th. Here are two videos from some of the celebrations:
A big step outside of my comfort zone was on Sunday, when the Community church of Guadalajara asked me to come to the service for the kids...but the whole church would be there! God's grace covered it all, and it went well, in Portuguese, for all ages:). 

Our family had some time to rest and relax, as it was a four-day weekend. We thought about going and doing something fun, but then baby Jessica decided not to let me sleep well most of the nights. Ana Sofia got to play at a friend's house, and was given her two new favorite things: a tricycle and a Peppa pig. Considering she got an unlimited amount of popcorn and cotton candy at all the different celebrations, she really had a very happy weekend. 

Reads from the Interwebs:
2. First Pregnancy VS. Now: I am hoping to make a video about this sometime too:) 
3. Speak it: So amazed and broken and blessed by those who have been speaking up with #metoo: I have so many strong loved ones! (If you don't know about #metoo, it is speaking out about having been sexually harassed/taken advantage of/abused.) 

God bless you all, and please don't forget to pray for this Saturday:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

1st Pregnancy vs. Now: Reality

Left side: 1st Pregnancy
"Of course we will lead a mission trip on the first day we find out we are pregnant!"
Right side: Now
Learning to trust my body again. #Miscarriagehurts

1st Pregnancy: Perfectly planned monthly pictures
Now: That happened

1st Pregnancy: Let's throw a Christmas party!
Now: I am so glad I am on home assignment and my mommy can cook and take care of me!

1st Pregnancy: Traveling and visiting family
Now: Do I have to leave the house?
1st Pregnancy: Got all my tests caught up-it's a girl!
Now: Oh yeah, pregnancy pictures
1st Pregnancy: Let's find coordinating scarves!
Now: We found out it is a girl! And found a pre-natal doctor. 

1st Pregnancy: Of course we can move to Brazil and begin serving there as a missionary family, furnish an apartment, set up a nursery, and have a baby abroad all in the third trimester!
Now: Grab a camera! I am not dressing up again until after the baby is born.
1st Pregnancy: Good thing we are in a tropical country--I can wear flip flops every day
Now: Good thing we are in a tropical country--pregnancy works as an excuse to not do anything (they actually believe in paid maternity leave, unlike the USA)
1st Pregnancy: Let's get professional pictures done
Now: I am up all night again. Let's find more Pinterest pregnancy memes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sunday Funday October

Our weekly vlog is a quick update on life:
And last week was mid-terms at the International school, so for our older students, I had them create videos about Brazil for you guys!!! There are six videos (about holidays, Portuguese, music, and culture) that you should check out, and here is a fun one for you to learn some Brazilian Portuguese verbs and phrases:
I had another pre-natal check-up, and apparently, I am gaining weight really (overly) quickly, for the first time ever (I was always behind weight gain for Ana Sofia), so I gotta step up the exercising (which is exactly opposite of what I want to do). Fun. But everything else is going well--even some successful potty training days for Ana Sofia! (Emphasis on the "some"). 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. Leaving (and arriving) well: I love the part about making a movie poster, a movie trailer, and then a feature film about your time (ahem: LIFE) gone. 
2. Ask a Counselor: Faith shift edition: to think your missionaries are NOT going through any kind of faith shifting is sorta crazy. Just sayin.

Have a great week! And next up? CHILDREN'S DAY!!!! Keep us in your prayers as some great opportunities to share Jesus within the church communities is coming up!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog (especially for the grandmas):

It is October! October 12 in Brazil is Children's Day, and we started the celebrations off big today in Cajueiro Claro (video to come soon!). I am sunburned, tired, so pregnant, and barely keeping my eyes open at 8:30pm. So many thank yous to so many people--what a great team we have for Living Stones! 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Dear NFL: this one says my opinion exactly (haha).
2. Daring to Hope: eeeep! I want this book! Written by "Kisses from Katie"!
3. You're as free as you break others free: I am slowly savoring Ann's latest book during my pre-natal checkups:). Love how she lives it.
4. Homesickness feels uncannily like grief: Mostly I just say it is grief.

Those of you in the USA (at least the middlish parts), enjoy your fall! Feeling the lack of changing seasons and pumpkin flavored everything here...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dear NFL

Dear NFL,
You feel passionate about something, and have brought it to the front page in a creative, non-violent manner. Respect. But please don't let it become about something you are against, instead of something you are for. 

Remember that love wins over hate. 

Protesting that makes a difference is one that promotes what you are for, not fights what you are against. 

Are you AGAINST our flag and anthem, or FOR saving black lives? 
Are you AGAINST police or FOR positive law enforcement that stops people from getting hurt? 

You have what America listens to, regardless of race: talent and money. So use it. I'd love to get behind an NFL NGO/foundation that:
  1. Provides tutoring for inner city neighborhoods, to allow black kids to have better lives through education
  2. Provides college scholarships for black students 
  3. Provides incentives for more POC to become cops 
  4. Creates anti-corruption standards for our police and prison system
  5. Provides incentives for more black lawyers and public defenders 

Regardless what whatever was originally intended by taking the knee, it has turned into something subversive and divisive rather than making a difference, something that I believe has been made worse by the tweets of our president.
It also, I believe, was just to draw awareness to a protest: not to create actual change. 

So now it is time to move on to the next step- actually making a difference. You can do it: America is looking to you and ready to hear you. Please don't make this about you: make it about the kids and families and lives that really are suffering. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Funday September

Our weekly vlog:

This week Ana had a fever (but it was a 24 hour thing), and a big fall (landing on her teeth, but they are all still intact) and those were our big adventures. As I am third-trimestering (yes, that is a word now), we are taking things slow and steady and I still have to rest/ race to the bathroom in between everything. But life is good and we are grateful. Today, Caid did an amazing job leading the worship and preaching at church, as Pastor Flavio was at a conference: it is incredible to be available and be used by God (often at the last minute). 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. What I am learning from in sickness and in health: I remember when Caid had knee surgery our first year of marriage...how it shaped us. 
2. 13 Things I want American Christians to know about the stuff they give poor kids: So this was posted on Facebook this week, and I read through the comments to see that there was a disgruntled American (who worked with Samaritan's purse or something) that felt offended by it. I think that was exactly WHY this missionary needed to write this article. My friend and co-worker replied to this disgruntled gentleman in a kind way, and I added my two cents as well (don't you love/hate the Internet?). It is definitely something to think about. 
Today, I was talking with Mercia, Pastor Flavio's wife, about how it would be nice to have toys to give at next week's Children's day party, but we just don't have the funds. The conclusion was that sometimes surprises (from Brazilian's and American's both) and presents happen, and sometimes they don't: but they aren't the reason we celebrate. And yes, presents are nice, but it is good we don't always have them, because it makes sure that it ISN'T the focus. Come on guys: let's get more creative than just toys! And please don't think that giving a present = sharing Jesus. Jesus is so much bigger than that. 

Have a wonderful week, and then WELCOME October!!!! WHAT?!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog:
It has been a lovely "recover from vacation" week, as coming back from vacation always is. Ana Sofia had gotten the habit of waking up at 5:30am while at the beach, but luckily, she is back to waking up at 6:30am again (how many years until they want to sleep in?). 
We are getting ready for mid-terms at the International school, and getting ready for Children's day celebrations at Living Stones. It is a wonderful time of planning and ideas and coming together. As my belly grows, I work away at trying to plan everything that needs to be done until February, as who knows what will actually get accomplished from November-January. It promises to be our most laid back and chill Christmas yet :). 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. The Joy of a Curious Heart: I think this is truly one of the secrets that makes or breaks a lot of our interns! 
2. Should we send "ordinary Christians" as missionaries? Such a good article, and so much more I want to study into! I started a mental note of requirements I think missionaries should have before serving (and at different levels too--for example, serving as a short term missionary should still have triaing! But less training than an intern coming for 3-6 months, who needs less training than a full-time missionary...) What are your thoughts? Anyone want to join me down this rabbit hole?
3. Opening Your heart (in Memory of Drew): speaking of interns...our hearts are hurting.
4. Rohingya Refugees: this is just one random article about the crisis going on right now. I know we are all just full from the overload of the hurricanes and rain and fires all over the USA, but this is something we need to stop and pray about and be talking about. I see these children and my heart hurts and I grab for my own little girl, who I would do anything for, and I know these parents are thinking the same thing. 

God bless, and have a wonderful week! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Opening Your Heart (In Memory of Drew Schwier)

Part of being a missionary is opening your heart to many different people you would have never met if you weren't a missionary. It is opening your heart to a whole country and culture and people that you work with and for. It is also opening your heart to other people who come to serve alongside you. Each and every intern (defining "intern" as someone who comes to Brazil for 3-6 months or longer) who has served in Brazil has touched our lives.
Our support team (as all us Americans are here to support the ministry being run by Brazilians) has laughed and cried with many (normally around 2-4 per year) interns from all over, and opened our hearts and lives to people of all different ages with all different stories. And boy, do we have stories to tell! There have been good times and bad times, unforgettable experiences and moments shared that will never go away. But the one sure thing is that once you open your heart to someone, you are never the same.
Drew Schwier came to Brazil in Spring 2012. He taught gym class at the International school, and helped out with many other ministries. Since I took the bus everywhere during this time, I would swing by and pick up Drew to join me for Living Stones, or whatever else was going on. In the above picture, I said "Hey Drew, wanna go to Recife with some of my friends today?" He didn't know anyone, and barely knew me, but he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sure!" And we all had a great time. That was Drew. So was the fact that he always wore something neon, and liked to cut out the sides of all of his shirts that weren't jerseys.  
The Soares family took us on a trip to the beach and we decided to rent a surf board (and a woman to teach us how to use it). Drew, of course, did really well. 
For three months, he loved on the International school kids and the Living Stones kids and opened his heart to everyone he met. And we all loved him back. 
(Easter celebration with the kids from the International school serving at Living Stones Cajueiro)
(Living Stones Cajueiro kids at a pool party. And Drew's famous cut out shirt.)

Last week Drew was shot and killed during a robbery at his house in Indianapolis. We mourn for his family and loved ones, and for the vibrant life he lived for 26 years (26 is never enough). And while we are so far away and not able to attend the memorial, we are there in spirit.I got to see Drew a few times after 2012 in Brazil, and it was always good--because once you are part of the team, you are always a part of the team. But I wish I could say thank you again, and reminisce over the "Good old days." 
So to Drew's family, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for enabling Drew to come serve in Brazil. Thank you for sharing him with us. We weep with you. 
To all our past interns: we still think about and remember you. Thank you for your fresh ideas and energy and love and willingness. Thank you for making hard choices. Thank you for opening your heart. Thank you for being a part of us. 

Sunday Funday Wednesday

How long does it take to recover from vacation? :) We are a bit behind, but totally happy about! Here is the video that was supposed to be from last week:
And here are the two videos from Living Stones (to keep you updated)

(Guadalajara Living Stones)

(Lagoa Living Stones)
Last week was fantastic--September 7th is Brazilian Independence Day, and we love our traditions (video to come soon)! Then we headed to the beach for a long weekend of much needed rest and relaxation (video to come soon). We are so blessed to have friends who freely share their beach house! 

While we were at the beach, we (Turners and Fergies) were reminiscing about some of the awesome people who have come and gone, serving in Brazil. One name that came up was Drew Schwier. The next day we read on Facebook that Drew, now 26 years old, was killed during a robbery at his home. Our hearts go out to his family. 
(Drew surfing at Porto de Galinhas in Spring 2012) 
Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. What can I do today: thoughts about Houston (and SO many other places!)  
2. Is calling in our DNA? or, as it hit me "The one calling I know my daughter DOES have" 
3. Ten ways to get elementary MKs talking (this will be super applicable in like 5 years...)
4. Guess what my life is like right now? Oh third trimester!