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 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! 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September Sunday Funday

This week's vlog was about my birthday, and all the great people we got to share it with (over a couple of different days):
We also celebrated 4 years of Moments for Moms, a ministry for mothers of Living Stones kids in Cajueiro Claro:

As you all, in the USA celebrate Labor day this weekend/Monday, we are finally getting to celebrate Independence Day on Thursday (September 7th). Our family is excited for this vacation time:). For some bad news: we knew my laptop was dead, but thought they could save the data--nope. Nutin:(. Fortunately, I backed everything up in April, so the damage was limited. 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. The weight of privilege: weeping with those who lost so much in Texas. Love this lady, and her awesome suggestions of how to help.
3. Minimalistic Wrestlings: thoughts from my good friend Karianne
4. Fostering Love: thoughts from my good friend Rachel S. 

Have a wonderful week!