Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year's End Recap Newsletter

Dear family and friends,

It seems that each year I begin our newsletter saying how it has been an eventful year. But... I definitely believe that this year of 2010 has topped them all! Many of you have been following our journey via the blog or facebook, but here is a nutshell recap of the year's happenings.

Our latest adventure began in December of 2009. We left for Brazil on December 9th, to spend six months “spying out the land”, praying about whether God wanted us to stay, and if so, where and in what capacity.

We started out in Santos, Fabio's hometown, planning to stay only through the holidays, and then begin to travel to several places where we had some contacts, while praying about what God would have us do over the longer term. However, due to some complications with my (Elizabeth's) documentation, we got “stuck” in Santos for three months! This was a bootcamp experience for us, and we were tested and tried to the max through various sicknesses, including “dengue”- breakbone fever in Fabio, as well as 120 degree heat with no air conditioning and various other circumstances that resulted from spending an extended period of time living in Fabio's parents' small apartment with no yard (with four small children) – oh, and no washing machine! The Lord graciously used that time in so many ways to test our character, and to teach us, and reveal to us what was in our hearts.

After the document issue was resolved, we made our “first trip” to Camboriú, in the southern part of Brazil. We arrived there the beginning of March. During this time, the six of us stayed in one room inside the church building. We immediately became involved in many different kinds of ministries – evangelism in the streets, ministry to prostitutes and transvestites, drug addicts and homeless people, teaching English in a small school (PETI) in the “favela” - Brazilian slum, and helping at the church with painting, cooking and whatever else needed to be done.

I would like to share one amazing thing (of many!) that happened during this time. Across the street from the church was a castle-looking building which was a prostitution house/transvestite theater. While walking wherever we needed to go (since we didn't have a car!), we would always pray that the Lord would shut that place down and that the abominations of that place would happen no longer! The children would join us in this prayer, and even one time Fabio took them right up to the door to lay their hands on it and pray that the doors would be SHUT forever for the evil practices that took place there. Just a few weeks later, the children were amazed to see that the front door was being closed with concrete! The business shut down, and now it is just an old decaying castle! Praise the Lord!

Anyway, when we had been in Camboriú only a couple of weeks, we felt sure that was where God was calling us to stay on a longer term basis. Therefore, we did not visit any of the other places that we had previously considered.

So, in June, we returned to America to wrap up the rest of our stuff there, get rid of things, restock some supplies and share with the churches our vision for being in Brazil for a season. They were so supportive and even excited to be a part of what God would do in Camboriú! We are so blessed by their encouragement and support! June was an extremely intense month of packing, spending time with family, speaking in the churches, and visiting with friends.

In July, we returned to Camboriú, to our little room in the church building, and then began to look for a place for our family to rent and begin to get established in regular life. It was not easy starting out, as we had only clothes and small items that would fit in a suitcase, and things in Brazil are very expensive. But the Lord provided for our needs one by one. I will never again take a kitchen sink for granted! :)

Once we got established a little bit and settled down as a household, we had one major problem: we had no car. This made it extremely difficult to be involved in the same kinds of ministries we had been involved in while living in the church building. But, as He is so faithful to do, the Lord used this circumstance as well in a creative way for our good. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28 As we spent more time at home, we began to see a great need right in our own neighborhood: children. In our area, almost every single family consists of two working parents, and the children are largely left to themselves. These children are not under-nourished, but they are greatly under-nurtured. We began to pray about what we could do about it.

And so “Kids' Club” was born. We began a few months ago, simply inviting the kids of the neighborhood into our carport once a week. I (Elizabeth) give a short English conversation lesson, then Fabio teaches a Bible lesson. We got a roll of butcher paper that we unroll on the floor and Fabio uses that to draw cartoon figures to illustrate the Bible lesson. The children love it! Then we sing and play some games. Most weeks, we have between 10-15 children come, plus our own four. We have also spent much time visiting in their homes, getting to know their parents, relaying to them the Bible lessons we are teaching their children and praying with them. We have invited several over for dinner as well and we are actively planting seeds and believing for a harvest, not only in the children, but also in their entire families.

During this car-less time, we were also greatly impacted by a conference about the Truth that transforms cultures and societies. This led to an opportunity for Fabio to do a HUGE translation job for Harvest Foundation. He translated much material that is being, and will continue to be, taught in churches all over Brazil to enable them to affect the community and transform the society!

In his “spare time”, Fabio also used his website skills to build state-of-the-art websites for our church and another ministry.

Eventually, the Lord did miraculously provide a way for us to get a car. At this point, we began to go back to the PETI school in the favela (slum) to teach English and reach out to the teachers and families there. They have opened the doors wide for us – even to have praise and worship days there and to teach the Bible openly – at a PUBLIC school! Fabio is hoping to begin Bible lessons there in the new year similar to what he has been doing at kids' club. And the principle is excited about it!

In November, our pastors Dave Prince and John Leitzel came to visit! We had a fantastic time visiting with them, and the Lord also used their time here to unite us with the leaders of the churches in Argentina that are connected with some churches in Brazil, so we feel the Lord opened our vision and broadened our horizons as to why He has us here in a big-picture sense.

Shortly after Dave's and John's visit, another pastor, Jim Epley, came from Florida and stayed with us for a week and a half. He had preaching engagements each night, and we (mostly Fabio) transported him and translated for him. We were so encouraged to see many people saved during his time here, and many people healed of physical conditions as well, including four men that were crippled, a little girl who had one leg shorter than the other (her short leg GREW!), and a man who was nearly blind and was restored to full sight!

Recently we have also gotten involved with a group home for teenagers that are either orphaned, or have been removed from abusive homes. One in particular, Andressa, has been spending a lot of time sharing life with our family. She has just turned 13 and we see that the Lord is doing a work in her hurting heart.

Now a little bit about our own children. It has been a good and yet challenging year for all of them. We are glad to see how their Portuguese has improved greatly! It is not evident anymore that the older two were not born here. (Israel still gets a little confused about verb tenses and the masculine/feminine nouns, etc.) They have gained much in cultural experience, although we have faced many challenges along the way. They have learned to be extremely flexible in all things – sleeping arrangements, eating schedules, food choices, traveling on foot or squishing all into the backseat of someone's car, being creative in play when toys were not available and relating to people of many different walks of life. We are thankful they have had these opportunities. They have been very much a part of the ministry aspect of what we are doing here as well. They have learned to pray with us for people. They were the main reason we had open doors to start Kids' Club. They made it a million times easier to start a conversation with prostitutes on the street. We were not nearly so intimidating when we showed up with four small children! We are so grateful for them.

Joshua turned 8 in July and is in 3rd grade now in our homeschool. He still loves to read, although it is more challenging here to supply him with quality reading material. He is working on memorizing times tables and still loves to explore nature and disassemble electronics.

Dominique turned 6 in October and is our sweet princess. She is girly in every way, but can also hold her own among the boys! She is doing well in reading, but her forté is writing! She LOVES to write and fills up notebook after notebook with all the things she writes – letters to people, stories, lists of all sorts and other nonsensical compositions. :) She has taught herself cursive and her handwriting could be confused with mine at times! (The spelling gives her away, though.)

Israel just turned 4 last week. He continues to be a charmer and easily finds a way into people's affections. He has not lost his chubby cheeks nor chubby belly, and he may not either, the way he loves to eat, especially bread and sweets of every kind.... He LOVES doing his preschool work and begs to do school all the time. These year-end vacations are hard on him. :)

Johann turned 2 in September and personifies in every way the expression “all boy”. Wow. This kid is plugged in at 220V ALL the time! He sure has a lot of energy, and we are believing that with consistent training, all of that energy will be turned around and used for the Lord as he grows. And he is such a fun kid! Now that he is talking more, he keeps us in stitches often.

Fabio and I will be celebrating ten wonderful years of marriage in April. We are so thankful for what the Lord has done in us and how He has united us together. This year has brought us even closer as we “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. (Phil 1:27)

We are now looking ahead to 2011. Our vision is to affect the community with much more than evangelism, through discipleship and restoration. It seems that the majority of the people in Camboriú that are not currently part of a church, are “backsliders”. Please pray that we would have wisdom to know how to reach out to them and how to restore/ disciple them.

Please pray for the kids at risk, that are not under-nourished, but under-nurtured. Pray that we would be able to train others to do kids' clubs in other areas, and that this would be a platform to be able to effectively reach out to the parents of the children we minister to.

We also are praying that the church, as a body, would also be able to affect the structure of many facets of society. The public schools still have the doors wide open to “religion”, unlike in America, but especially with the new president Dilma, it is likely that this door will not stay open forever. We feel that now is the time to take advantage of this window of opportunity. The church can also do much to affect the infrastructure of the group home for teenagers and other institutions that really don't know what to do with the troubled kids once they are removed from their families! We have tried to develop relationships with the Secretary of Child Wellness and the Department of Child Services, in an effort to help them see the church as an Agent of Change and Hope, because they really are lacking in both, not knowing what to do to change the current situation, and lacking hope that anything will ever change for the better. Please pray with us for creative ideas and much wisdom in these situations.

Whew, I know that was long! Let me just close by saying that we very much value each and every one of you, our dear family and friends, and covet your prayers for us here. It is not easy to be far away from everything dear, familiar and all that signifies our “comfort zone”, especially during the holidays. Please send us your news as well! We love hearing from each and every one of you and staying as connected as possible over the distance. We also pray for you frequently and look forward to the day we will be able to visit face to face once again.

Much Love,

~Fabio and Elizabeth~ Joshua, Dominique, Israel and Johann


Monday, December 06, 2010

Time with Dave and John!

Our pastors, Dave Prince and John Leitzel came two weeks ago for a brief (short but sweet) visit! It was SO good to have them here! We had been looking forward to those three days all year! (I am not exaggerating!) And, we are so thankful that the Lord used it so strategically in so many ways - for our direction and encouragement, for our local and international connections with the body of Christ, etc.

Here they are upon arrival at our home. The kids were SO excited and had been anxiously awaiting all day! It was about 7pm when they got back to the house. John is behind the coloring book with the panda bear on it that someone is showing him!Getting to know our neighborhood the next morning. We spotted a pair of burrowing owls! That was an exciting find. :) You can also see here the cobblestone roads. We have discovered that these stones used to lay the roads are hand chiseled by men who live in the country with just a mallet and hand chisel! Fabio was deeply impressed when he saw them working - he thought it was just wrong!
This was a pastor's luncheon in Joinville, a bit north of here, that we went to. Here you see Fabio and Gustavo Lara, the leader from Argentina who also came during that week. The luncheon was in the home of a pastor that we had never met before, but his wife is a painter. She painted the frame behind them and many, many others all throughout the house. Lovely!
We were able to squeeze in a dinner on the beach as well! This was actually a first for us too! It was fantastic - and if you look closely, you can see the beach beyond us.
Here we are with Dave and John and also the pastor and his wife of our local church here - Facundo and Carol, also from Argentina.
We were SO blessed by our time with them and are so thankful for their ministry and friendship!
Thank you guys! God bless you and we love you!

A truly rare photo of Fabio and I alone. :)
Fabio and the kids. Loved this stone bench! The kids are not always willing subject matters for my photography experiments. hehe.
I still haven't figured out what these stone things were for, but again, I thought they would make a nice picture. :) Our growing olive shoots:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dominique Turns Six and Kid's Club Update

We have SO much to post lately that it seems an overwhelming task to even know where to begin, especially having to upload pictures :-) So, I decided to just jump in and post something, and hopefully in the next few days I will post more so you can see what we have been up to lately.

On the family news front, Dominique celebrated her sixth birthday on October 29th (wow, already a month ago and I am JUST now posting this! How sad!) Anyway, we had a little celebration just with us and set up the automatic timer to take our first WHOLE family picture in a while. :)
Just the kids, and the cake. Dominique requested strawberries and kiwi on her cake. :) My little six year old princess is such a little blessing - it is a joy to see her grow! She is so helpful around the house and becoming more and more attentive to things that need to be done. How nice to come downstairs and find her having taken initiative to sweep the floor or do the dishes! She is learning well in school and enjoys mothering our pet duck. All she wants for her birthday and Christmas next year is a little sister, and she prays to this end daily. :-)
And a few more pictures from recent kid's clubs. We have continued to host a club for the neighborhood children weekly in our carport. We generally have 10-15 each week, besides our own four, and it is not always the same ones, so there are probably around 25 that have participated at some time. We continue to share God's love and His Word, and we are building relationships with the regulars. We have really seen them change in the way they relate to us over the past couple of months. They are opening up!
Above, Pastor Jim Epley who is staying with us right now sharing with the kids.
Fabio teaching the Bible and illustrating on butcher paper on the ground as he teaches. He is such a talented cartoonist- it really keeps the kids' attention!
Having a race afterward, in the middle of the road! One of the FEW asphalt roads in our town! Thank you, Jesus!
This was at the house of a friend from church - having a Brazilian BBQ. No hamburgers and hotdogs for Brazilians! It is sausage and steak. Strictly! :-) This was one of the very few social events we had been to this year. It was nice to be among friends.
Coming soon: pictures of our visit with our pastors, Dave and John, our Thanksgiving outreach, the Group Home for teenagers and more! Stay tuned! :-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

Being here, living here, serving here makes this old prayer come alive where each single word of it is so meaningful!

May the Lord bless you and even surprise you with his goodness and favor as you put your heart and faith into this ministry. We are very impacted and encouraged with every little bit of your demonstration of love, faith and care.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Has it really been two months since we posted the last printable newsletter? Whew! It has been eventful here! We have tried to summarize in this newsletter some of the things we are learning, and some of the things we are doing.
Feel free to print as many copies as you like to give to friends or at your church. We would love to know about it if you do! And don't forget, we love comments! :)

Tsukayama's Sept Videoletter from Fabio T on Vimeo.

September/October 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Neighborhood Kids Club and Other Fun Stuff. :)

Well, by God's grace we are making progress! The Lord is blessing our efforts here in our neighborhood, to see His Kingdom come, and His will done here. We are beginning to see some fruit. Praise the Lord!
We have had quite a few opportunities lately in various forms, but in order to not make this too long, I will narrow it down to the "kids club" that we started right here on our block. Last Thursday, we simply invited all the kids to come over. They did, ten of them, plus our own four made fourteen. I taught a simple English class, then Fabio taught a simple Bible class while drawing cartoon illustrations to help them visualize the point of the lesson. Then we played some games and gave out some candy. It went really well, and no one wanted to go home! We plan to do it each Thursday, as long as it doesn't rain.
Here are some shots of our fun day and these beautiful children:

Today is Children's Day in Brazil. So, last Saturday our church had a party for the children. We invited the children from our block, and their parents let them come! It gave us an opportunity to talk with their parents too, and we were greatly encouraged by the response they had to their children's participation with us. They are beginning to trust us. One family said they wished we would go to their house to teach what we are teaching the children. We would love to! Another family said the kids are asking them to go to church, and they do want to! Hallelujah!

Here are some pictures of the children's party at the church:

I dressed as a pink panther (and nearly died of heat stroke!!)
Now today, on the actual day of Children's Day, we are just about to leave to go to the favela (slum) to give out gifts to some of the poorest families and touch them with God's love. Pics to come later!!


Here Dominique and I are having a little girl bonding time. Nothing like clay masks and manicures to bond us together. :)
Here is the "new" fridge I facebooked about that Fabio is refinishing. "After" pics coming soon! It looks brand new!
I also facebooked about this a while back. I was surprised the first time I bought a *whole* chicken, that the head is included, stuffed inside with the organs. :-) I just KNEW you wanted to see it!
And last but not least, here is another outreach we helped with a couple weeks ago, in the next town over. It was for a group of ladies in our friend's apartment building. We had a great turn-out and were able to share God's love with many!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Neighborhood Outreach Update

Now that we are finally all feeling better, we are back at "work". :-) Ah, feels great! We have gone back to some of the homes we visited before, at least the ones where we found open doors. It has been very good! THANK you - all of you that have prayed for us!!!

Case One
One place can hardly be called a house. It is more of a shack, really, with cracks between the slabs of wood which make up the walls up to one inch wide. The family that lives there has three sons, ages 6,7 and 11. The first time we visited them, they asked us to pray for them about a business issue. The father is a truck driver, and they also had a side business, a car wash, which the mother stayed at all day long. This caused the children to be home alone all day! They go to school in the afternoon, so the 11 year old was responsible for getting lunch for the others, and getting them all ready and walking to school with the littler ones. We saw the boys in the streets all the time, and could easily see that the situation was not a good one.

So anyway, they had asked us to pray that they would get a contract with a bus company, to wash their buses twice a month. If they got it, they would be able to shut down the car wash except for those two days a month, thus providing a way for the mother to stay home. We prayed with them that day, and have continued to pray for them since.

Well, when we went back, we found out that they got the contract! Now, the mother can be home during the week with the children! They were very much encouraged by this.

As we were sharing with them about the importance of reading the Bible, we discovered that the mother cannot read. She came from a poor family and was not able to go to school. She had to work from an early age to help the family.

So... when I went back, I asked her if she wanted to learn how to read? She does! We are going to be helping her as much as we can.

They also are eager to find out what the Bible says. We have set up with them to start studying the Bible together this Sunday afternoon. Please pray that their understanding would be opened to God's Word!

Case Two
Another family we visited a few times lived a few streets over from us. They also have three sons, ages 3,6, and 11. They were also wanting to study the Bible with us, but then we got sick and were not able to keep the date we had set up with them.

Now, when we went back to visit again, we found out that they are moving in across the street from us! We were also able to meet many of their family members that day, and we had a nice visit with them. They also told us how disappointed they were that we couldn't come when we had planned to, which was very encouraging to us to see - a hunger for God's Word!

Today we saw them at the new place, across the street from us, cleaning and getting it ready to move into. We talked to them a few minutes, then went home. Doh! We then realized that they needed more than for us to talk to them! Finally when our brains started working right, we kicked into action. What would they need right now? Help with the kids, help with the cleaning, and a home-cooked meal would certainly be a good start. The kids came over, Fabio went to help them clean, and I got some tupperwares ready for the parents to take home and eat when they were done cleaning.

In the meantime, I fed the kids. Dominique decided to give them a picture she had colored of Adam and Eve, and it was a great opportunity to ask them if they knew the true story of the very first man and woman? They did not, so we got out the children's Bible and began to read together. They were all ears! We talked about what sin is, what obedience is, how God loves to bless us, how God always sees us, and then I translated "Oh be careful little eyes" for us to sing together. It was so fun to see them thoroughly enjoying all of this!

Now it is nearly 11pm and Fabio just got home from cleaning, the couple picked up their kids and their tupperwares, and headed home in the pouring down rain. They don't have a car either. We wished we at least had an umbrella to lend them, but we don't.

Now Fabio is sitting down to eat supper. It has been a good and full day. There is nothing better than this!

Here is a true statement: "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Even better, consider this: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy, he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5-6 Now THAT is some amazing encouragement to keep on keeping on!!!

There is a lot going on here, ministry-wise, but I will keep it at that for now. :) I will just add this tidbit: there are rumblings again that make us believe we will be able to be back in the PETI school soon! Details to come. :)

A few pictures before I close, mostly of Johann's BIRTHDAY! My littlest baby is two years old!!! We love you, Johann!This is across the street. Some people put some sticks up for goals on a vacant lot, and the neighborhood children like to gather to play soccer there. You can see the makeshift goal behind Fabio. We have ideas for further ministry here, too, but for now we are just playing and making friends. :)Reading Bible stories with Daddy:
Wrestling Match with Daddy:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Truth and Transformation

Well, the past few weeks have been eventful in both good and bad ways. I will start with the good ways. :-) This city hosted a conference called "Truth and Transformation" that was revolutionary! By a series of events, the conference was moved at the last minute to our church! The four main speakers were Bob Moffitt, Vishal Mangalwadi, Hector Torres and Roosevelt Muriel. (You can also see Roosevelt Muriel and Hector Torres in this excellent documentary: Transformations.) What a powerful line-up of wise, dynamic speakers!

Due to our friendship with veteran missionary Cleiton Oliveira, we were also allowed the privilege of spending some time with some of the speakers, right in the comfort of our home! This is Bob Moffitt, whom our children called "Grandpa Bob". He founded Harvest Foundation in 1982, and authored If Jesus Were Mayor - I HIGHLY recommend every believer read this excellent book. Be prepared to be deeply challenged if you do!Above, Cleiton Oliveira on the left, who has taken it upon himself to mentor us. :) We feel deeply grateful for his input! He has a wide variety of life and missionary experiences. Currently, he is working with some indigenous tribes in the Amazon.
Next to him is Luciana! My sister-in-law, who came for the conference! (And to see us!)
Next is Richard, another missionary who lives in the next state north of us, and then Bob Moffitt, and us. :)

Below we are with Hector Torres. He is originally from Colombia, but has lived in the USA since he was 10 years old. Not all of his books are available in English, but many are. You can check them out here.
Johann and Vishal Mangalwadi, from India. He has authored many books as well, one of which I have just finished: The Legacy of William Carey- A Model for the Transformation of a Culture. I bought several of his other books as well, and am looking forward to digging in soon! He is such a deep thinker and provoked us much in our thinking as well, about what it means to transform a culture and what the church's role is. Please look at his website, at the link above on his name!
Here I am, translating for Hector Torres:
And here is Fabio, translating for Roosevelt Muriel:
We were so grateful for the input of these men and the information and challenge of this conference. We feel the Lord arranged it so strategically, just at the time when we are seeking to know His full will for our time in Brazil. We feel we have a much clearer/ broader picture now!

Now, for the not-so-good news. Fabio got sick on the first day of the conference -Saturday. He struggled to go anyway, on the second day, but only made it to the afternoon. Then he was literally knocked out for a full week. :( It was bad stuff.

On Thursday, Johann got a fever too. He stayed lethargically half-asleep on me all day long. That day also happened to be my 30th birthday, and it might have gone by unnoticed altogether, except for Luciana being here! God is gracious. :)
She bought me a cake, and some balloons, and made some "beijinhos" - little coconuts balls traditional at Brazilian birthday parties. So, with sleeping feverish Johann on my lap and sickly Fabio struggling to make it to the table, we sang Happy Birthday and welcomed in a new decade of my life. :)

We were sad to not be able to "do" much with Luciana while she was here, partly because of not having a car, and partly because of Fabio being sick, but we still had a wonderful time getting to visit. We walked around the neighborhood and took some pics. Johann was sick, so he didn't make in into this shoot....
The last day of her visit, a lady from church offered to take us to the beach! It was a special surprise! We are so close, and yet without a car, SO far away! :-) We had a great time, except for Johann still being sickly, and cried most of the time, and Fabio couldn't come. Actually, he wouldn't have been able to anyway, because he wouldn't have fit in her car! :-) Next time.... :)
And the day after Luciana left, and the day Fabio was *finally* coming back to the land of the living, Israel got a fever, but it was thankfully short-lived. That night, however, I started to have terrible pain in my right side. Turns out it was gall stones. So, all week I have been struggling to function with the pain, and doing a cleanse to hopefully rid my body of them. It seems to be working, as the pain is down to a dull ache, like a bruise. :)

Please keep praying for us as we recover and get back into the swing of life!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We now have our latest newsletter put together! You can download it to read on your computer, or feel free to print and distribute as you like. If you decide to distribute it at your church, we would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment! (We would love to hear from you even if you don't distribute it at your church! Comments always welcome!)
August 2010

Saturday, August 07, 2010

First Day of School

The first thing I wanted to do once we had our own place, was get a bookshelf and a table and start school! Our homeschool over the past nine months or more - between preparing for the big leave and then the traveling - was, um, not hard-core on scholastics. We did the best we could, but we had to leave a lot of leeway for a lot of things. So, we focused on Bible first and foremost, and tried desperately to squeeze in the three R's when we could. For the short term, I felt that was fine, because besides the fact that they were "ahead" anyway, they were also getting in cultural experience and practical living skills what no school could ever teach them.

However, we knew it was not a good set- up long term. So, our first priorities were a bookshelf and a table, and praise the Lord, we were able (after MUCH searching) to find them at different used furniture stores. We organized the books and I then spent a week developing a schedule for us (for the first time - yay!) using this book: Managers of Their Homes. I have always been scared of schedules (although always maintaining some kind of routine), but we were at a point that I felt it was *essential* to be able to accomplish everything God has called us to in this place, both in the training of our children, and in reaching out beyond our home together. So, we started on Monday and our first week went really well! The kids were/ are excited and I am too! I love teaching them. Not a single day has been glitch-free, and never does it go perfectly or exactly according to schedule, but I feel we are on the right track! Thank you Lord!
And, as is customary for our family, we started with "First Day of School Pictures".
Above is Joshua, my big THIRD grader!
And below is Dominique, my sweet FIRST grader:
Here is Israel, hot-stuff preschooler:
And Johann, whose main subject this year is learning how to sit still for a half an hour at a time and not ruin school time for the rest of the family. :-) He is learning well!! We also read books, learn colors, numbers and other normal toddler subjects. Isn't he cute? I can hardly believe he will be TWO years old next month!!!!
My studly little men:
We have been looking at old family pictures lately, and Joshua and Dominique thought it would be fun to "imitate" some old shots. Compare here the new to the "old". :-)