Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The "key" to keeping your cool

Thanks to Cam's tireless efforts involving about 12 solid hours of work, a technician coming to the apartment, the purchase of a new modem, and multiple phone calls, we are now online - yay!

This whole process illustrates smething that we have observed time and time again - everything takes longer than we think that it should. Cam's car key is another good example. For some reason, her key did not start the car any longer. We spent a good bit of time going from alarm store to alarm store looking for someone who could help, and finally ended up at a car key technician (yes, there is such a thing). After spending quite some time there, he told us that the transponder in the key was totally wiped - he had never seen it happen before, but with the proper key code that came with the car (which of course, I didn't have with me), that he could fix the key in about 20 minutes for a bit over 100 DOLLARS - ouch! That was half a day.

A few days later, I took Cam's keys (with the key that didn't work) and my keys and drove to the key tecnician. When I got there and parked, I discovered that I forgot the key code at the apartment. I drove back to the apartment, got the code, and drove back to the technician. Whereupon I spent the next several hours with him struggling to first remove, and then reprogram a transponder about the size of a watch battery. While I was leaving Cam called and wanted to know where I was, because she was locked into the apartment building and couldn't get out of the building to let the lady who was going to look after our cat while we were away into the front gate. I finally got back and went to get another building/gate key made :) That was another half day.

Altogether, I spent an entire day just trying to get a car key to work. It's days like this that are reminders of the importance of walking in the Spirit at all times. Sometimes the missionary life is just about finding the "key" to keeping your cool:)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Porto Alegre is still on the Table

We are back in POA after our meetings in Atibaia, SP. We made it through with only minor injuries - Blake got a pretty significant scrape on his chin from a bamboo stick while sword fighting (hey, he's a ten year old boy - it happens :). He’s healing well.

The short version of our meetings is that our mission in the Americas is in the middle of a massive transition. Everyone is up in the air with what is happening. What we are hearing now is that the Brazil cluster will be dissolved. This means that almost all of our missionaries currently working with Portuguese-Speaking Brazilians will be reassigned to other people groups or areas of the world. Eight mega-cities in the Americas will go into an “Urban Cluster.”

Even though Porto Alegre is on the borderline as far as the current definition of an unreached mega-city, they are going to make a special exception because of the lostness in the area. They are calling us “Special Ops.” We will probably have five missionary units on our team, two of whom will be new (The Whitentons, who got to language school two weeks ago, and the Wards, who are about to start orientation in the USA). There is a possibility that another couple currently in language school could also be assigned to Team Gaúcho. We will be responsible to mentor and lead these units when they arrive in POA. Depending on when we personally transition to the new structure, our new boss will be in Mexico City. So…it looks like we still have a job offer for the near future, but with a new boss, structure, etc. We’ll see what happens!

Blake and Parker got to enjoy a VBS with a cowboy/Western theme put on by the folks from FBC, Oviedo, FL. Their closing program was last night, when Cam and I also received our 10 year service pins from the IMB.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting ready to head North to the Southeast

We've been back in Porto Alegre for less than two weeks, and we're getting ready to head back out. Things are slowly coming together, but we don't want to make any long-term commitments to anything here until we know more from our mission leadership about whether or not they want us to stay in Porto Alegre.

We're leaving tomorrow for a week or so of meetings in Southeast Brazil (a thousand or so miles North of us - hey, we're in the deep South here). The first two days will be at a hotel with the other Team Leaders, and then the rest of the week will be at the Word of Life Camp in Atibaia, São Paulo with the other missionaries working with Portuguese Speaking Brazilians in our area of Brazil.

We know that there is a lot of change going on, including changes in structure, leadership and strategy. Hopefully, after this next week we will have a better idea of what leadership sees as the future for our mission in Brazil.

On a good news note, we got a phone line today - we're still waiting for internet, although now that we have a phone, all of the local internet providers are peppering us with phone calls telling us that they are the provider for our internet service that we don't have and that we can't get it if we don't sign up with them RIGHT NOW! - it's hard to know who is telling the truth.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Back in Brazil

We're back in Porto Alegre and working on getting settled in.

Since we left our apartment locked up for a year, we came back to the same things out of place, pictures on the wall from the kids that we hadn't seen in a year, etc. It's been sort of a weird time-warp kind of experience.

We got to enjoy nice cold baths the first day (we used to do that all of the time in North Brazil, but it was never Winter there :) Fortunately, we got a guy to come out and fix our water heater the day after we arrived, which was a real blessing!

Our friends the Blumes got our car started, put food in our house, and picked us up at the airport, which helped A BUNCH!

There's still a lot left to do to get life here restarted, but we're getting there!

Thanks so much for all of your prayers - we both need them and appreciate them!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Getting ready to go back to Brazil!

Dear Prayer Partners,

As many of you already know, we have been enjoying a wonderful furlough here in the US. It has been a great time of re-connecting with friends and family and we are so blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives.

We are frantically packing now to return to Brazil tomorrow night. We will fly out of the Philadelphia airport around 7 p.m. to arrive in Porto Alegre, ironically, on July 4th.

As far as we know, we are returning to our same assignment. Despite major structural changes at the IMB, we are—at least for the time being—headed back to Porto Alegre to our same position.

We ask for your prayers as we return to Brazil:

--for our families as we say goodbye,
--for Café, our cat, as she makes the trip with us,
--for our trip through Brazilian customs. Ideally, we’ll just walk through without any delays, searches, notices, or charges,
--for our arrival at our apartment, which has been closed up for a year in a semi-tropical climate, and
--for our internet and phone service to be connected quickly.

We also ask for your prayers as we return to our ministry in Porto Alegre, that our steps would be ordered by God towards His assignments for us.

And, finally, we ask for your prayers for our mission leadership as they make difficult decisions and announcements in these times that are trying for most people and organizations.

We are so thankful for your prayers. Truly, they enable us to continue to live, serve and minister on the mission field.