Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Israel and a few pics from Brazil

My big boy Israel turned three today! He had the privilege of being the first in our family to celebrate his birthday in Brasil! We went to the beach this afternoon, where I took this picture in the beach garden. He is afraid of the water! Daddy took him in for a little while, but he hasn't gotten over the fear yet. Otherwise, though, he seems to be adjusting fairly well and enjoying life in general. :-)

This is the view we have out the window of our bedroom. Just to give you an idea of the feel of Santos. In the background you can see some big apartment buildings - and there are many more in construction presently. Then there are smaller, older homes as well. And most have these clay tile roofs. The three-year-olds of the family: Israel and Leonardo. This is the kid's only cousin here - Leo. He was happy to finally have some cousins to play with! They stayed here last weekend, and will be back this weekend. It has been really nice to catch up with them and get to spend some time together.

Joshua and Dominique on the beach, claiming "Brazil for JESUS!" Pray with us to this end, and that the Lord would use us here and our family for this purpose!!!

First Week in Brazil!

Well, I am not able to post pictures at this time, and I was waiting to blog until I could, but I think we wont have internet after today for a while, so I thought I would at least write. Hopefully pics will come soon!

We arrived a week ago today. The trip was tiring, but we really can't complain. There were so many things that could have gone wrong that didn't! And I even slept for about three hours, which was wonderful compared to last trip when I didn't sleep at all. :-)

The first few days were nuts, trying to find things in our luggage. Ugh. We had had to divide things up so randomly in order for none of the suitcases to go over weight, so it took a while to re-organize.

There was a lot of movement through here all weekend of family members coming to visit. Fabio's brother, wife and son were also staying here all weekend. They have a three year old little boy who was super excited to finally have some cousins to play with!

Now, a week later, I feel that we are getting adjusted and finding some kind of new routine. They kids are starting to adjust to the time change (4 hours)- which was a challenge! I had a really hard time getting them to sleep before midnight!! It is getting better now. :-)

The kids are doing fairly well. They miss the USA and get bored in the house at times, but in that regard, the beach is a lifesaver! We have gone most days and the kids can run and yell and get out all their energy!

On Sunday we went to church here and it was so neat to see the Lord's work in the family! The last time we were here, one of Fabio's cousins and our sister-in-law got saved, and the Lord spoke to my heart that it was only the beginning to what God was going to do in his family. Now, his brother has gotten saved, two more cousins, and their girlfriends. We filled up two rows at church! Hallelujah!!

I better stop for now, especially since there are no pictures to break it up! More soon, hopefully. Thank you for praying for us. Don't stop!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Joshua's Bible Reading Challenge

Well, some of you may have read on facebook a little while back about Joshua's Bible Reading Challenge?

If not, this was it: Fabio challenged him to read through the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

Joshua likes to read. A lot. He generally reads about 2-3 hours a day, and goes through books like water. We have always been very careful about what he reads, but Fabio still thought he could and should be spending more time reading God's Word. So, he told him that if he finished reading the Bible through before we left for Brazil, he would buy him a watch that he had been wanting. That was on September 8th, of this year!

I was skeptical. I was afraid he would be too overwhelmed and get discouraged. But Fabio believed he could do it! That first day, he finished reading Genesis, and I thought, "Well, maybe!"

He put his other beloved books aside for the most part and took his Bible with him everywhere. He spent naptime reading the Bible and time riding in the car. He would fall asleep at night on the floor in front of the crack in the door where he had been reading his Bible.

Fabio had him keep a log of what he read each day, and we questioned him about it frequently to make sure he was really digesting and not skipping anything! We continually reminded him that, while it would be nice to get the watch, the most important treasure he would get was God's Word hidden in his heart, and what we hope will become a life-long habit of Bible reading.

He hit a lull after he got to the New Testament, for some reason. He just lost motivation for a couple of weeks and stopped reading so much. We encouraged him to keep going, without forcing him to do it. And, eventually, he regained momentum and finished the last page of Revelation on November 15th, just over two months from the time he started!

We are proud of you, Joshua!

Someone asked me today how we did this? I decided to include my answer here. :-)

First of all, we cannot take credit for the mind the Lord has given him and the grace of God on his life. We thank God for what HE is doing in Joshua's life.

But, if I were to boil it down to three things we may have done to encourage him in this area, it would be:

1) Read lots of book. From birth on, we have always read a lot of books and all of my children love reading. Yes, even Johann. :)

2) Not indulge in much media entertainment. We don't have a tv, and we greatly limit movies we watch. No video games either. There is a lot of research that has been done showing how these types of media (regardless of wholesome content or not), greatly effect the brain's ability to "picture" what one reads in a book, and also is detrimental to attention span development, etc.

3) When it comes to God's Word, children learn a lot from what they see modeled in their parents, when they love the Bible and read it daily, talking about it enthusiastically and teaching it to their children.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I just can't stop taking pictures of these kids!!

This is SUCH a Joshua picture! He has been having SO much fun with this copper wire the past few days....

Climbing to greater heights....
"I am cool because I am a rock climber now"

This little lady just LOVES to have her picture taken...

Israel is a stud....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall is Fabulous

Fall is my favorite season! I just love the leaves, the crisp clean air, everything about it! I generally just try not to think about the fact that fall brings winter on.... but this year I don't even have to worry about that since we get to miss out on winter too! I can just enjoy the fall and know that after it is over, we get summer again, in Brazil!

This little man is growing up so fast! I have held a few newborns in the last few days and all of a sudden my "baby" seems so BIG to me!

So, I am constantly encouraging the kids to get outside and play in the leaves. Pile them, jump in them, throw them around, rake them. It is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time too. ;-)

Another great thing about fall is that it brings Dominique's birthday! This little lady turned FIVE years old in October! She is really growing up - and learned to ride a bike this week with no training wheels!!

We got to take another day at the zoo too, now that we finally got some decent weather, with the cousins this time.

Here is our princess on her wheels.

They really do love each other. Most of the time. Really.

This picture is SO Israel! I love this little man!

A ray of sunshine...

It is SO not easy to get Johann to LOOK at the camera long enough to push the button, let alone SMILE, so this picture is priceless to me. :)

And here is my big man. He has worked with Daddy two days lately! I am so proud of the young man he is turning into.

We have been busy, busy, busy with preparations for Brazil. Pray for us as you think of us, please!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Brazil Update and a Week with Grandma

The Brazil update is that we got our tickets and we will be leaving on December 9th, 2009!

We just enjoyed a fabulous week with my sweet Grandma Nita who came in on the train. We got some great time with the fam, and a *perfect* day to go to the zoo! Thank you for coming, Grandma! We love you!