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 (

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.