Christmas

27 Dec 2011

Hi everyone, I know that it is Christmas time and you would like to know about how my Christmas was.

I had a lovely time with my family and friends. I obviously missed U-Don because he spent Christmas back in Australia with his auntie. But it is such a blessing to be here and enjoy time with my mum and sisters that I have been handling well the fact that U-Don and I are keeping in touch only via skype daily.

On Friday 23th December I went to a service in the church that happens every Friday night from 10:30pm to 12:30am. They get together for a prayer meeting. The focus of the service is to praise God and pray.

The message was given by Yuri Breder who just came back from the mission field in Nepal. He spoke about Jesus being our daily bread and as he spoke we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place very strongly. It has been a long time that I did not feel such peace in the presence of God. At the same time there was a fire inside me starting to burn for me to obey and serve the Lord even more. My energies have been renewed and I can´t help smiling because of how much I love Jesus.

We prayed for revival for our individual lives and for the life of the church. There are many people who are hungry for the Word of God and are thirsty to live in the presence of God. We believe that God will answer to our prayers and will renew our hearts to serve him even more and bring glory to his name.

This was a great way to start celebrating Christmas.

Then to the party: Here in Brazil we get together on the 24th December at night to prepare a banquet to celebrate Christmas. We wait awake to celebrate Jesus’ birthday already during the first few minutes of the 25th December, just after midnight.  Then we hug each other and keep celebrating. There are even fireworks.

I treasure the time I have with my family a lot and I am very happy to be close to them for 2 months before I come back home which is so far away from them.

Then on the 25th I spent time with my grandmother and aunties from my dad´s side of the family. It was a blessing to be with them on this very important date.

At night we went to church for a Christmas celebration. The church was full of people in both services at 5pm and 7:30pm. The service was awesome.

They had music, orchestra, choir, drama, dance, the Word and a lot of prayer and praise to Jesus. It was a great celebration. Many visitors accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the service.

The Brazilian people are so passionate about things. I love being here because I can exercise my passionate side. I can be myself here and it is not weird. I love the hugging, kissing, laughing, joking, and having a good time despite any hardship. There is no time to finish a party, as long as you are having fun with your friends, you lose track of time and enjoy time together.

New Year´s Eve I will travel to another city and when I come back I will post news about it.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas celebration there. May God bless you even more in 2012.

Our Pre-schoolers

21 Dec 2011

The girls have been attending a wonderful preschool here in Peru which they just love. It is run by two wonderful ladies Lula and Sandra. We were recommended this preschool by our fellow missionaries for several reasons - it is a Christian pre-school and they are used to having new missionary kids. Also Sandra speaks fluent English which has been a huge help for me, more than the girls. Each morning the bus arrives to take them.

The girls can’t wait till next year because as Annabelle says  “I get to go to Lula’s class because I’m bigger!”. They do the usual preschool things (learn numbers and letters) but there are a few big differences to Australia. For example they don’t have a lot of free play time and receive homework each day – usually colouring, tracing letters and numbers, cutting and gluing.  Another one is that when Annabelle was naughty her lovely teacher told me she threatened her with a cold shower and she quickly fell into line. You gotta see the funny side of this and laugh! 

On Saturday we attended the final concert for the preschool. It was amazing! It included three carols belted out by the 2-6 years olds. They did well and looks like they knew most of the words in Spanish. 

Then traditional dances from each age group. 

Finally there was a Nativity pageant. There was one 6 year old who had the lead role who knew a huge number of lines and at least 3 solos by heart. Incredible! Annabelle and Amelia were shepherds and had lines too.  Annabelle was very interested in tending to baby Jesus (a doll) much to the annoyance of ‘Mary’ and ‘Joseph’. J  It was great to see the kids having fun up on stage.  

Praise God for Lula and Sandra and the blessing it is to have a place for the kids to enjoy and learn Spanish.

The picture below is of the girls after their ballet concert which we enjoyed on Sunday. Once their performance was over we sat the girls on our laps so they could be inspired by the older performers. They can’t wait to return.  

Equipe da Esperança

21 Dec 2011

Um dos projetos que visitei aqui em Campo Grande (MS) foi o Equipe da Esperança que atua na Santa Casa dando apoio aos pacientes e suas famílias.

A Missão da Equipe da Esperança é:

Equipe da Esperança é uma Organização Social Civil Pública que existe 18 anos e tem hoje cerca de 80 voluntários circulantes. Os voluntários dedicam seu tempo na Santa Casa por 3 horas por semana em várias áreas do hospital.

A Equipe da Esperança não é uma organização cristã mas parte do grupo de voluntários são cristãos.  Estes voluntários oferecem não somente seu tempo ao projeto mas também podem usar a oportunidade para compartilhar do amor de Jesus para com as pessoas que eles encontram no hospital.

Existem pacientes brasileiros, paraguaios e bolivianos na Santa Casa por causa da localização da cidade de Campo Grande. pessoas com todos os tipos de doenças e necessidades de tratamento. Os voluntários oferecem apoio, amor, atenção, orações, um sorriso, e muito mais aos pacientes e familiares.

A maneira como os voluntários ajudam é:

- Na recepção e atendimento dos pacientes da Santa Casa

- Visitando os setores

- Programa de apoio a maternidade e neonatal

- Músicas nos setores

- Origamis, palhaços, contadores de estórias

- Costureiras, Cabeleireiros e outros

- Arrecadação de doações e distribuição das mesmas

A Equipe da Esperança tem uma sala onde ficam guardados os materiais, jalecos, doações e produtos para os pacientes mais carentes, como fraldas, produtos de higiene pessoal, e outros. Nessa sala eles também oferecem atendimento para as famílias que precisam de apoio financeiro, por exemplo, o vale transporte para visitação.

Eu tive o privilégio de conhecer a Mercedes Tavares, atual presidente da Equipe da Esperança. Mercedes é uma mulher de Deus que ama a Jesus e que ama as pessoas que ela atende na Santa Casa. Ela dedica seu tempo ao serviço ao próximo, a glorificar o nome de Jesus e fazê-lo conhecido por todas as pessoas.

Ela também aulas de capelania na Igreja (esse foi o curso que minha irmã e cunhado fizeram e se formaram no mês passado). Na Equipe da Esperança Mercedes atua para que os programas continuem sendo feitos, mediando o relacionamento entre a Equipe da Esperança e a direção do hospital, organizando os voluntários, abrindo ainda mais espaço para atuação e apoio aos pacientes.

Na igreja ela participa na capacitação de pessoas no curso de capelania para que esses voluntários possam levar não apenas apoio ao paciente mas sejam capacitados para apoio espiritual, oferecendo um ombro amigo, uma palavra vinda do coração de Deus, e o amor de Cristo. necessidade de se dar o apoio espiritual pois os pacientes e as famílias estão muitas vezes sofrendo bastante, têm muitas dúvidas, muitas vezes perdem a esperança na melhora, ou estão iniciando o processo de luto pela perda da saúde ou por um diagnóstico de doença grave. Muitas vezes a pessoa se sente abandonada e é muito importante que o cristão esteja afirmando que Jesus está com cada um, mesmo no sofrimento, em todos os momentos e que Ele nunca os abandonará.

O dia da minha visita eu acompanhei a equipe fazendo visita ao neonatal. As voluntárias organizaram uma celebração de Natal para as mamães que estão com seus bebês internados por diversas complicações pós-parto.

Havia 7 mamães na neonatal com seus bebês. Uma delas estava com seu bebê internada por 5 meses. As mamães moram no hospital com seus bebês, suas cadeiras ficam ao lado de seus bebês e elas não voltam para casa até que os bebês tenham alta. Todas as mamães ficam na mesma sala e acabam se tornando uma família umas para as outras. As voluntárias as visitam regularmente, oram por elas, conversam sobre vida e a situação em que elas se encontram, dando apoio emocional e espiritual, falando do amor de Jesus, ajudando a cada uma para que estejam firmes e lutem sem cessar nesse momento de sofrimento e desconhecido futuro para a saúde de seus bebês. Foi uma honra para mim participar do primeiro Natal dessas mamães desde o nascimento de seus anjinhos. Foi uma celebração com muita emoção para todas nós.

Os voluntários levantaram fundos para comprar presentes para as mamães e bebês. Tinha pão de queijo, refrigerante, panetone e bolo de chocolate na festinha de celebração de Natal, do nascimento do nosso senhor e salvador Jesus.

A Mercedes deu uma palavra sobre o Natal, o significado dessa data e a importância do nosso senhor Jesus em nossa vida. As mamães participaram de um amigo secreto e escreveram uma mensagem de Natal para a amiga secreta, dando os presentes que as voluntárias prepararam. Cada voluntária deu uma mensagem de Natal aos bebês com presente.

Eu também visitei a psiquiatria. Os voluntários fazem visitas semanais aos internos e seus familiares. Uma vez ao mês eles fazem o dia da beleza, fazendo unhas, cabelos, maquiagem e desfile de beleza. Eu vi as fotos do evento e celebração de encerramento e Natal.

Até 2 anos atrás a Santa Casa não tinha capelania e apoio espiritual mas apenas programas de apoio, social, preventivo, etc.

A capelania começou 2 anos atrás e tem sido uma bênção para os pacientes e familiares. Os voluntários da capelania trazem uma palavra de Deus, um amor incondicional de Deus por seus filhos e a esperança de uma vida eterna.

A Equipe da Esperança fechou o ano de 2011 com 12 programas na Santa Casa. Alguns dos programas são:

Celebrando a Vida – visita e apoio às mães na maternidade e neo-natal

Roda da Esperançavisita e apoio aos pacientes na psiquiatria

Contadores de Históriavisita e contação de histórias aos pacientes

Programa Palavra Amigavisita com equipe de músicas que traz uma palavra amiga ao paciente

Palhaçosvisita de palhaços às crianças na pediatria para cantar músicas, contar histórias, brincar, etc

Capelaniacristãos evangélicos que visitam pacientes para orar, dar apoio spiritual, falar do amor de Jesus, ler a Bíblia juntos, dar uma palavra de conforto, esperança e encorajamento

Corredor ombro amigo – apoio para famílias com membros no CTI (Centro de Terapia Intensiva)

Acolhimento no horário da visitaapoio aos familiares  

Pronto Socorro – apoio às famílias e pacientes no pronto socorro

Bazar da Pechinchaartesanato feito pelos voluntários para serem vendidos no Bazar da Pechincha no saguão da Santa Casa para arrecadar fundos para ajudar às famílias carentes

Mas ainda tem muito trabalho a ser feito. Cada 2 anos a diretoria deve ser mudada. A Mercedes tem orado pela sucessão do cargo dela para que a nova diretoria seja uma escolha que agrada a Deus e um servo de Jesus naquele lugar. A Equipe da Esperança tem feito um projeto lindo e precisa continuar e crescer para atender ainda mais pacientes e seus familiares.  

A Mercedes ainda estará envolvida com os programas e a equipe mas outra pessoa terá o cargo de diretoria por 2 anos.

A Equipe da Esperança não tem vínculo religioso mas tem oferecido suporte spiritual através das equipes da capelania. Dependendo da nova diretoria essa situação pode mudar. Por isso precisamos orar para que Deus levanter líderes que são seus servos e que continuarão com o programa de capelania e trabalharão para expandir ainda mais o apoio espiritual aos pacientes, familiares, médicos, enfermeiros, voluntários, etc.

Existem 80 voluntários circulantes mas somente alguns estão atuando e dando seu tempo por 3 horas por semana. Para ser considerado voluntário a pessoa pode dar no máximo 3 horas de seu trabalho em uma mesma organização por semana. A Equipe da Esperança precisa de mais pessoas que estão dispostas a dar seu tempo regularmente para os programas e que tenham uma atitude de liderança de sua equipe. Mas o que tem acontecido é que apenas alguns voluntários têm tido tempo de dedicar as 3 horas semanais regularmente, o que dificulta que a ação chegue a todos os setores da Santa Casa.

O projeto precisa de mais cristãos que estejam dispostos a voluntariar na Santa Casa para que o programa de capelania continue, expanda e atenda mais áreas do hospital. Com o aumento do número de voluntários cristãos o foco espiritual poderá continuar e a capelania será mantida.

Os pacientes da Santa Casa têm recebido apoio de voluntários por causa da causa social, mas aquele voluntário que doa seu tempo e amor por causa de Jesus oferece apoio à pessoa como um todo e pode trazer cura espiritual e proclamar a salvação que Jesus oferece.

Acompanhar uma tarde de trabalho voluntário na Santa Casa me fez confirmar em meu coração que o trabalho não é impossível. Eu conversei com alguns dos voluntários e percebi que eles amam muito esse trabalho, eles amam os pacientes, eles ficam muito felizes de darem parte de seu tempo para essa causa pois podem oferecer conforto àquele que está sofrendo.

Na minha opinião se você ama à Jesus você ama ao próximo. E nós não podemos deixar de atender ao chamado de Jesus para amarmos o nosso vizinho e para servir a Jesus através do serviço ao próximo.  Eu não acho que podemos nos chamar de cristãos se o que nos define é somente a ida à igreja aos domingos. Nós não podemos guardar para nós mesmos esse presente da salvação. Há muitas pessoas que precisam receber a salvação, há muitos sofrendo sem Jesus e essas pessoas não conhecerão a Ele se não levarmos a palavra para todos os cantos do mundo.

Seria uma bênção ver as pessoas saírem de sua zona de conforto para caminhar em fé e servir a Deus onde quer que Ele queira. Muitos irão morrer sem se reconciliar com Deus. Fazer o nome de Jesus conhecido no mundo todo é o nosso chamado.

Eu oro para que Deus levante pessoas que sejam servos, que amem a Jesus e que sintam no coração o chamado para trabalhar no projeto da Equipe da Esperança na Santa Casa de Campo Grande (MS). Seria ótimo se alguém pudesse fazer esse trabalho em período integral, dedicar todo seu tempo ao projeto. Quem sabe Deus não o está chamando para servi-lo como missionário naquele lugar para que o impacto do amor de Jesus atinja ainda mais pessoas que irão glorificar o nome de Jesus para sempre.

Favor orar para a liderança do projeto, para o relacionamento entre a Equipe da Esperança e o hospital, para que os 12 programas que já estão acontecendo continuem e cresçam ainda mais, para cada voluntário, para cada paciente e seus familiares, para cada voluntário, para que Deus levante missionários para trabalhar na Equipe para fazer Jesus conhecido entre os pacientes na Santa Casa.

Esse ministério é uma bênção de Deus para os voluntários e para os pacientes e seus familiares. 

Se você se interessou em saber mais sobre o trabalho da Equipe da Esperança visite o site:  

www.equipedaesperanca.com.br ou entre em contato comigo através do blog.

Project: Equipe da Esperança (Hope Team)

21 Dec 2011

One of the projects that I visited is the "Hope Team" that visits and gives support to the patients and families in the hospital.

The Volunteers at the Santa Casa Hospital have a Mission statement that says:

Mission: to promote the volunteer action in looking after the patient in the Santa Casa Hospital and their relatives, to contribute with the process of humanizing the hospital ambience/ environment.

Since 11 September 1993.

Equipe da Esperança is an organisation that started 18 years ago and has about 80 volunteers from all sorts of professional backgrounds that dedicate their time as volunteers in the hospital for 3 hours once a week.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but part of its volunteers are Christians. They offer not only their time to the project like every other volunteer, but they use this opportunity to share the love of Jesus to the people that they connect to in the hospital.

The patients usually come from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. They have all sorts of illnesses and need all sorts of treatments that are offered in this hospital. The volunteers can offer support, love, attention, prayers, and whatever else they are able to help.

The way in which they help is:

  • Receiving the families and attending the needs of the patients,
  • Visiting different patients in all areas in the hospital,
  • Giving support to the mothers in the maternity area,
  • Playing and singing in all areas in the hospital,
  • Making crafts, telling stories, playing games, presentations with clowns,
  • Providing pumper day with hairdressing and make up,
  • Collecting donations and distributing them to patients in need, etc.

 

They have a room where they keep all materials, clothing, and donations such as nappies, tooth paste, tooth brush, shampoo, soap, and other basics to be given to the patients who do not have enough money to buy such products.

I had the privilege to talk to Mercedes Tavares who is the president of the organization at the moment. She is a lovely Christian lady who has such love for Jesus and other people that she dedicates her time to share her love with people in need at the hospital.

She also teaches the chaplaincy course in church (my sister Marina and my brother-in-law Gustavo graduated last month from this course). In the organization Mercedes’ role is to make sure that all volunteers are offering all kinds of support to all families and that the partnership with the hospital can continue. In the course offered in the church her role is to teach Christians how to give spiritual support to the lost and to encourage people to maintain themselves strong in their faith when the situation is of suffering, loss, grieve, illness, etc.

The day of my visit I followed the team who organised a Christmas celebration to the mothers who just gave birth to their babies and for many reasons the babies had complications and had to be kept in the hospital for further treatments.

There were 7 mothers with their new born babies, the one who has been there the longest has been living there for the last 5 months. The mums have to live in the hospital, they do not go back home, their chair is next to their babies’ beds. All of them stay in the same room and they become a little family to each other. The volunteers visit them regularly, pray together, talk about life and Jesus, help them to keep strong as they suffer because of the unknown situation of their babies. It was an honour to participate of their first Christmas since they gave birth to their little angels. It was an emotional day for all of us.

The volunteers raised funds to buy presents for the mums and the babies. There was finger food, drinks and chocolate cake to celebrate Christmas.

Mercedes gave a message of Christmas and encouragement to each mother. We exchanged presents and all of us gave a message from God to each baby.

I also visited the area where they offer psychiatric treatment. The volunteers also visit the patients and their families weekly. Once a month they offer a pamper day, they offer manicure, pedicure, hairdresser, make-up and at the end of the day they have a celebration where every patient present themselves after the makeover.

I saw photos of the event and I could see some of the patients.

Until 2 years ago the hospital did not have a chaplaincy Christian program to offer to the patients. The programs were focus on financial support, preventing illnesses, social care, etc.

The chaplaincy program started 2 years ago and it has been a blessing to the patients and to the people who work in the hospital because the Christian volunteers not only work in each area of support, but also in the spiritual assistance to patients.

Equipe da Esperança finished the year 2011 with 12 programs in the hospital. Some of the programs are:

Celebrating Life – support for mothers giving birth, for mothers with babies with complications and their families

Hope Circle – visiting patients receiving psychiatric treatment

Telling Stories – visiting each patient to tell them a short story, to bring hope and a smile to them in such a hard time

Friendly Word – visiting each patient to sing and play music, to bring magazines, to talk to them and their families

Clowns and music – visiting children who are sick in the hospital to play games, talk, tell a story, etc

Chaplaincy – Christians who visit the patients to pray, give spiritual support, talk about Jesus, read the Bible together, give a word of hope and encouragement.

Friendly shoulder – offering support to families in the waiting area of the Intensive Care

Visit time – offering support to families in the time of visit

Emergency – offering support to the people arriving every minute in the emergency

Raising funds market – the volunteers produce goods to be sold in the market in the main hall of the hospital. The purpose of this is to raise funds to buy basic products to give to families in need. With the money raised they can buy nappies, hygiene products, baby clothes and any other basic necessity products.

But there are still many needs and work to do.  Every 2 years the leadership needs to be changed. Mercedes has been praying for her succession to be a blessing from God to the project.

She will still be involved with all the programs but someone else needs to get the role of director for the next 2 years.

Equipe da Esperança is not a Christian organization but it is offering spiritual support because of Mercedes’ hard work and influence. Depending on the new director the programs might be changed and maybe the spiritual support won’t continue.

We must pray that God will raise a good leader who will continue the good work and will expand even more the support to all patients in the hospital, its doctors, nurses, families, workers, etc.

They have a list of 80 volunteers but only a few of them are actively giving their 3 hours a week every week.  To be considered a volunteer a person can give maximum of 3 hours a week in an organization. If the person spends more time than this he or she is no longer considered volunteer and payment must be made for work done. They need people who can give time to the programs, if each volunteer can give 3 hours a week they will have a good team in the hospital. But what is happening is that many start the work and then they can’t make it anymore, or they are too busy, or circumstances change. The few volunteers who can give their time to the programs have to cover for others who are not able to participate.

They need more Christians who are willing to volunteer there so the chaplaincy program can expand to attend more areas of the hospital. With the growth of number of Christian volunteers the Christian presence in the hospital will grow and the program will be kept.

There are many who are willing to give support to the sick in the hospital but not many of those are Christians which means that support is coming from the world instead of from Jesus. 

Participating of a day of work there I noticed that it is not hard to do this work. I spoke to some of the volunteers and they love this work, they love the people, they are happy to give something that they have to the ones who are suffering.

My opinion is that if you love Jesus you love his people. And you can’t help answering Jesus’ call to serve him in serving others in need. I don’t think we can call ourselves Christians if all we do is to attend church once a week. We can’t keep this gift from Jesus to ourselves, there are many people suffering without him and these people won’t hear about him if we don’t tell them.

 It would be really nice to see people leaving their comfort zone behind and stepping into faith and service to God. Many will die without being reconciled to God. It is our call to make Jesus known to all people.

I pray that God will raise people who are servants and who love Jesus to take on this work in the hospital. If people could do this work full time as missionaries the impact in the hospital would be even greater and many would hear the name of Jesus and praise him forever.

Please pray for the leadership, for the relationship between Equipe da Esperança and the hospital, for the 12 programs to continue and grow, for each volunteer, for each patient and their families, and for God to raise missionaries who can work there full time to make Jesus known in that place.

I loved seeing the work they do there and my heart feels the pain and suffering of the people who do not know Jesus yet. This ministry is a great opportunity to reach out to the lost and to share our love for the Lord Jesus with others.

If you are interested in knowing more about this ministry and opportunities 

please contact me by leaving a comment on the blog.

God bless you.

Feliz Navidad from Peru!

19 Dec 2011

Feliz Navidad! I'm not sure what it means, but it's on all the signs around here! As American missionaries in Peru, we have an eclectic mix of traditions. One has to be careful not to offend the Peruvian Christians. We don't have a Christmas tree, since some of the local believers point out its pagan origens. Yet our church has two, one in the front and one in the back! Despite the unapproving stares of some Peruvians when they visit our house, we do have a nativity set (complete with llama), as that really portrays the whole reason we celebrate. But even with it, there is the struggle between the 'early baby in the manger' faction and the 'put the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Day' faction. We've opted for a compromise. Baby Jesus is in the manger, but hidden by swaddling clothes until Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve we will have fondue and eat Panetón, a light fruitcake very popular in Peru. A good loaf costs a day's wages for some, yet almost everyone buys them. May your traditions be fun and remind you of the real 'Reason for the Season'! Serving with you, Allen & Amy ps. In October, we made a plea for more support, and we are glad to report that our support is back up to SIM's requirements. Thanks so much!

Moving house

16 Dec 2011

Just to let you know we are in the full process of renovating and moving house with all the ups and downs you can imagine !

Our ministry work continues but on a reduced level. We are very thankful for the great help given by several of our church members, impressed by their endurance and patience, ashamed by our lack of physical condition (we have been living with muscle stiffness for over a month!!) and looking forward to being settled. It won't be finished before Christmas and will probably take the whole of January to get into working order. However, we are praying that this new manse will be a valuable tool for all the pastors in the future as well as a well-adapted family home.

The Lord be praised for all the material wealth we have available to us and pray we will use it wisely and for His service.

Presenting in Spanish

14 Dec 2011

David gave a presentation on the weekend to about 30 people at a web developers conference in Lima. Most were full-time developers and some were university students. The aim was to invite people to volunteer to assist with the MissionsHub.org project - something David has been working on in his spare time. The challenge for David was to give this 45min presentation in Spanish. Here's the story...

I woke up on the morning of the presentation feeling anxious. I had slept about 4.5hrs - I had stayed up until 2am going over the talk. My Bible reading that morning was a huge encouragement - it felt like a miracle. The passage that came up was Exodus 4:10-12 where Moses was explaining to God that he wasn't good with words. God tells Moses "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say". This was exactly what I needed to hear.

I was relaxed when I gave the talk. I had Fernando standing next to me, ready to clarify when my Spanish was confusing. The great news is that after the talk 6 people wanted to join the team and 16 wanted more info. They are a talented group and we look forward to demonstrating what this community of Peruvian developers can do.

In my intro I mentioned that as a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I was willing to go where God wanted me to go. This was the reason I left my job and came to Peru to serve with University Students. I was very encouraged by another Christian who took up on this in his presentation and shared the forgiveness he had in Jesus.

Here's one thing we've already achieved - a quick win. Fernando, who heads this community of developers, helped to configure a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for the MissionsHub.org site. So images and other large files from the website are copied to servers in key locations around the world using a free service. This helps to make the website to load faster - whereever you are in the world. [Update 22/12/2011 - The CDN is improving performance in most countries but it has actually slowed the performance in Australia. We will investigate our options].

Please pray:

  • thank God for those who have helped - especially my team from my previous work who helped get this started
  • thank God for this opportunity to make friendships
  • thank God for the opportunity to work in Spanish
  • that this project will bring this web developer community closer together and that it will give glory to God
     

Férias na Bahia

11 Dec 2011

Eu e o U-Don passamos uma semana de férias na Bahia com minha família pois minha irmã mais velha está morando em Salvador.

Fomos à várias praias lindas e a temperatura quente de verão estava perfeita para que a gente aproveitasse o mar.

Salvador conta muito da história do Brasil como colônia portuguesa. A cidade ainda preserva construções da época da colônia com arquitetura portuguesa. O povo é uma mistura de raças que nos lembra da história de como e porque os portugueses trouxeram os africanos para o Brasil.

Nós visitamos o Pelourinho e achamos muito lindo. O U-Don pediu para eu tirar foto dos prédios antigos para mostrar como eles ainda têm a mesma fachada desde a época da construção.

Para chegar ao Pelourinho nós pegamos o elevador Lacerda que liga a cidade baixa à cidade alta (custa 15 centavos por pessoa). A vista lá de cima é linda!

No Pelourinho nós visitamos uma das igrejas católicas mais antigas do Brasil que foi construída pelos portugueses. Foi interessante aprender como o catolicismo foi introduzido ao Brasil pois até hoje essa é a maior religião do país.

A igreja por dentro tem todo acabamento em ouro (ouro retirado do próprio Brasil).

Nós visitamos o museu dentro da igreja católica e aprendemos mais sobre a história dos santos e o simbolismo das imagens.

O Pelourinho é cheio de pequenas casinhas coloridas que costumavam ser a cidade onde moravam os portugueses e hoje são lojinhas para turistas.

Nós não podíamos ir embora sem tirar foto com uma das baianas vestida com as roupas típicas.

Nós fomos ao Museu da Cidade onde pudemos ver várias artes, incluindo os bonecos que representam os orixás da religião Umbanda. A religião africana trazida pelos escravos na época da colonização influenciou a religião no Brasil. Até hoje muitos praticam sincretismo religioso incluindo Candomblé e Umbanda em suas práticas.

As estátuas têm tamanho humano e estão vestidas com as roupas típicas de cada orixá. Existe uma plaquinha com explicação de cada nome, o que eles fazem, quais objetos usam, etc.

Embora Salvador tenha tanta história da cultura e religião africana, a Bahia não é o estado com maior número de seguidores das religiões Candomblé e Umbanda. A Bahia é o estado brasileiro com o maior número de pessoas que não seguem religião nenhuma ou que não praticam a religião que professam seguir.

Nós fomos ao Mercado Modelo onde você encontra todo tipo de lembrancinhas que imaginar.

Fora a imersão cultural do Pelourinho nós também fomos à várias praias.

O U-Don pegou um siri na praia – como sempre.

E de noite nós fomos comer caranguejo.

Nós adoramos passar uma semana com nossa sobrinha.

E com minha mãe e irmãs.

Nós fomos ao Projeto Tamar de proteção das tartarugas marinhas. O programa deles é muito legal e vale a pena conhecer.

Nós aprendemos a respeito da vida da tartaruga e como eles estão as protegendo da extinção.

 

Ao final da apresentação nós presenciamos a abertura dos ninhos e solta das tartaruguinhas na areia ao caminho do mar. Foi emocionante ver as tartaruguinhas andando em direção à água e nadando no rasinho da praia. A esperança é que elas sobrevivam no mar pois a estatística é de que entre 1000 ovos apenas 2 tartarugas atingem a idade adulta.

 

Agora nós voltamos de ferias da Bahia. O U-Don já está de volta em casa em Sydney e eu fico no Brasil até o final de janeiro. Eu estarei participando de vários ministérios com a igreja local.

 

Favor orar pelo povo de Salvador por causa do sincretismo religioso que se tornou parte da fé brasileira. As pessoas nem reconhecem a armadilha do inimigo que os escraviza nas práticas ocultas e controla a vida deles.

Favor orar:

- para que eu aproveite o resto da minha viagem no Brasil,

- para que eu aprenda muito com o ministério e missões brasileiras,

- para que eu possa me preparar para a minha função com a SIM em mobilização para missões em Sydney,

- para que eu seja transformada por Deus enquanto eu sirvo aos outros ao meu redor.

Favor orar para que o U-Don se acostume novamente com a vida normal e emprego em
Sydney.

Para que ele se lembre diariamente que Deus está com ele sempre.

Para que Deus nos dê força nesse momento que estaremos separados um do outro.

Nos despedimos agora mas logo logo você receberá mais notícias nossas. Deus o abençoe.

Holidays in Bahia – Brazil

10 Dec 2011

U-Don and I spent a week in Bahia on holidays with my family.

The capital of Bahia is called Salvador and it is the city where my older sister lives.

There are many beautiful beaches over there and the hot weather was perfect for us to stay in the water the whole day.

Salvador tells the history of Brazil as a Portuguese colony. The city still carries the Portuguese architecture from year 1500 when Brazil was colonised.

The people are a mix of races that remind us of their African descendents who were brought from Africa to Brazil as slaves to work in the land.

It was the relationship between the Portuguese and the Africans that gave us our traditional dish called Feijoada, a pork stew with black beans. The Portuguese land owners used to eat the best parts of the pig, but they used to give to the slaves only the bad parts (ears, nose, feet, tail, etc). The slaves created this dish with black beans and the unwanted parts of the pig, which is now one of the signature dishes of the Brazilian gastronomy.

We visited the old city called Pelourinho. U-Don wanted to take a picture of the old buildings to show how they look like – still the same since when they were built.

To go to the old city we have to take the lift to go up the hill (it costs 15 cents per person). The view from the top is beautiful!

In the old city we visited one of the first Catholic churches built in Brazil by the Portuguese. It was very interesting to see how the Roman Catholic Church was introduced in Brazil because up till today Brazil recognizes Catholicism as the national religion.

The church has its finishing touches in gold (gold that the Portuguese found in Brazil).

We went to a Catholic museum inside the church. There we learnt about the history of the saints and the meaning of their symbolic images.

We walked though the old streets of Pelourinho where there are little houses that used to be the town centre where the Portuguese used to live (and today they are shops).

We took a picture with one of the bahian ladies dressed in a traditional African dress that they used to wear during colonial times.

We went to an art museum where we learnt more about how the African religion influenced the Brazilian faith as well. (Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese and Candomblé was introduced by the Africans).

The statues are human size, dressed up to represent each god. There is an explanation with each name, what they do, what weapons they use, etc.

Still today people worship these gods, they dress up like them, they order and offer sacrifices, and are followed by many people in Brazil. The mediums receive the spirits of the gods and people can consult them and order services from them. People order all sorts of services e.g. : to kill people, to receive power, to make people ill, to make people fall in love with someone, to destroy someone’s marriage, or whatever else people want. The payment to the gods is done in all sorts of ways: money, sacrifices, becoming a follower, becoming a medium, etc.

Salvador is the capital city of Bahia. Bahia is the number one state in Brazil for the number of people who do not attend any church or follow a religion. Even though Bahia is the state where the African religion started in Brazil there are 2 other states that have a higher number of followers of African cults and black magic.

We went to the markets where you can buy pretty much anything. Many items are related to black magic and have spiritual connotations so you must be careful to know what it means before buying something to bring home as a souvenir.

Besides the cultural immersion of the old city we also went to many beaches.

U-Don caught a baby crab on the beach – as usual.

And at night we ate a proper adult crab.

We loved spending time with my niece.

And with my mum and sisters.

We went to the project called Tamar that rescues and protect turtles. They have a very nice program to raise awareness and protection to the few turtles still left.

We learnt about how they breed, what they eat, who their predators are, how to protect them, and many other interesting facts.

 

At the end of the presentation they opened the nests in the sand to release the baby turtles in the ocean. It was quite emotional to see the little turtles fighting for their lives on the way to the water. We just hope that they will be able to survive because out of 1000 eggs only 2 will reach adult age.

 

We are now back from Salvador. U-Don is back home in Sydney and I will stay in Brazil until the end of January. I will be participating of many ministries with the local church.

 

Please pray for Salvador regarding the issues of many religions and the use of black magic, which has become so engrained into the Brazilian faith that people do not even recognize the devil’s trap.

Please pray:

  • that I will be able to make the most of my remaining time in Brazil,
  • that I will learn about their ministry and missions,
  • that I will be able to prepare myself for my new role with SIM (mobilization of missionaries in Sydney),
  • that I will be able to be transformed by God while I serve others around me.

 

Please pray that U-Don will settle back home and at work quickly. That he will know that God is with him all the time. That God will give us strength during the time that we will be away from each other.

We say our goodbyes for now but I will keep you guys updated with more postings.

 

Two encouraging developments

06 Dec 2011

Praise the Lord for Murielle, the neighbour of one of our church members, who has accepted Christ and joined our Tuesday morning group of prayers.

Praise the Lord also for Serge who is slowly coming back to God after a number of years 'in the wilderness'. Pray he will continue along this path and be enormously strengthened in his faith. Pray for a wise Christian man to accompany him.

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