Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The sunrises and sunsets were incredible and the stars at night had more depth than I can adequately describe. Several mornings there was a Sea World like show of dolphins (I know, who knew there were dolphins in the Amazon...?) jumping all around the boat. The coolest of which were the pink dolphins - yes Mary Kay pink!!
One night we got to go on an alligator hunt. We went in small groups on a little boat it was pretty intense. We spotted a few on my trip but they were too big to bring back, below is the catch from the second groups outing. I won't go into too much detail about the bugs which unlike many of the students thankfully didn't think I was the sweetest treat. But, about dusk they came out like gangbusters and laughed at anything less than the strongest deet spray available.
Each day we visited a different village and set up multiple ministries including, dental (we had two Brazilian dentists on the trip that pulled and checked teeth all week), medical (two Brazilian doctors handed out much needed medication), eyeglasses, women's ministry (we painted nails, cut and styled hair and shared our stories of grace), VBS (I helped coordinate this, but our students and translator did all the hard work) and soccer. These ministries would go on simultaneously then in the evening we would have a service and hand out the family packs with clothing and supplies to each family in the village.
When VBS wasn't going on I got to love on babies, help with the women's ministry and/or whatever else was going on and visit with the villagers. I did give a few haircuts so if anyone needs a trim give me a call :) The below picture is of a little boy who had just received his first Bible. The culture tends to be very works based so we focused a lot of attention on the free gift of God's grace. The highlight of my trip was praying with a women to accept Jesus as her savior!!!! She believed in God and Jesus, but she had never accepted him as her savior so I asked her what she was waiting for? She said nothing and I got to lead her in a prayer of salvation.
One of the most challenging parts of the trip was the language barrier. We had a team of great translators on the boat, without whom the trip would not have been possible. But not being able to have small talk or encourage the kids was a challenge. It taught me once again that that the word of the Lord does not return void and God was bigger than the language barrier.
As I reflect on the week I am overwhelmed with God's goodness. That he would stir my heart for this trip, use me in all my uselessness, provide every need necessary to go, pluck me out of my routine and comforts and show Himself to me through His word, His people and His provision. During the week we studied Romans 12, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." What a mighty God we serve!!!
All my pictures are on snapfish below:
Monday, July 28, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
This is a picture of the boat we'll be staying on. We sleep on hammocks!
I have to be at the airport tomorrow at 4:45 in the morning. We fly to Miami have a monster layover and then a five hour flight to Manaus, Brazil. My parents graciously offered to come in tonight to pick up the boys saving me a trip to Waco. They'll stay with GP and Honey through Wed., then go to Nannie and Big's until the weekend. I feel so blessed that my kiddos LOVE being with their grandparents. I will be missing them a lot more than they'll miss me with all the special treatment they'll be getting.
While I am prepared physically I have been feeling a little unprepared spiritually, doubting how the Lord can use my story and how to balance leading the students and ministering at the same time. But I have been reminded of Psalm 34:4 "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." He has met my every need in preparation of this trip and I know He will be with me every step of the way. As usual I have to put my pride aside and remind myself that He could use the rocks if he wanted to and it is not me, but Christ in me who will be in control. Here are a few specific things that you can be praying for:
· The Lord to prepare my heart and give me energy to serve the students and people we will encounter.
· Safety and protection as we travel there and back.
· Courage for our team as we share the gospel.
· My family while I'm away: health for the boys, that Stacey wouldn't worry.
I'll be back on Sunday the 27th.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Special thanks to Chris and Melanie for letting us borrow their elaborate tailgating supplies!!! And thanks to everyone for enduring the heat and helping Stacey celebrate. I took a lot of before pictures but didn't do a great job during the party...I forgot the traditional family picture :( as well as a few others. I am always trying to find the balance between getting a great photo (which of course means taking 500 to get 5) and just enjoying the moment right then instead of capturing it for later. That said there are a ton of photos so I have gone high tech and put them in a slide show...ooooo...ahhhhh.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Seriously though, I am always a little sentimental on the boys birthdays, it is so fun to see them growing up, but a little sad too. It just goes by so fast!! And it reminds me of what a gift they are and what a privilege it is that we have gotten to love and share in three wonderful years with Stacey. God is so good.
We had a great birthday weekend, starting out with Kacey and Josh coming into town on Friday night and the rest of the family joining us on Sunday. After much anticipation Stacey III got his "bertday." Here are a few pictures from Sunday morning. Party pics to come.
It's My Bertday!!!!!
Stacey was SO excited and so sweet that morning.
Checking out the incredible decorations.
Hey, there is a balloon on my chair.
Special birthday breakfast.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Stacey sort of took this one out of the running for a Chirstmas card or the cover of the Watermark News.