Whew! What a whirlwind we have been living! We are sorry for the lack of updates from us recently - it has been a simple matter of too much to do, and too little time to do it. We had the best of intentions of taking advantage of the excellent internet connection in the US to upload some pictures and update the blog, but alas, the chance passed us by because we were just too busy.
Our time in the USA came to a close on July 5th. The trip here was rather grueling and a huge challenge, as we carried with us the max possible: eleven seventy-pound suitcases, plus four kids, a stroller, two small carry-on suitcases and other hand luggage. Getting through three airports and traveling all night long, topped off by a four hour bus ride from the airport in São Paulo back to Fabio’s folks in Santos, was exhausting to say the least. We stayed in Santos for six days to recover from the trip, as well as from our nearly sleepless month in the States, before heading back to Camboriú.
So, last Monday night we embarked on the last leg of the trip: a ten hour bus ride, with all that luggage (and all those kids), back “home” to Camboriú. We arrived safely on Tuesday morning. Needless to say, it is good to be back, and ironically, it does feel like “home” to us here now. It was so good to catch up with some of the pastors and church people over the next couple of days, and get back in the loop of all that is going on here. It was nice to feel that we were genuinely missed too!
Our little room up here on the third floor of the church was not quite so welcoming. Most of the things we had left in here, like bedding, clothes, etc. had molded and was all fuzzy in spite of the fact that they had left it open the whole time for air circulation. Our little shared kitchen was in utter disorder (and filth), and boy is it cold in there! Winter has arrived in southern Brazil, so needless to say, outdoor kitchens are not all that much fun. Washing dishes in ice cold water can chill you to the bone! Even though winter here does not reach the bitter cold subzero temperatures of Chicago winters, with no heating and no insulation, you can really *feel* the cold, especially with the dampness. It has been mostly in the 40’s, and usually into the 50’s during the afternoon.
On Wednesday I spent most of the day washing all of our moldy things, and luckily they did come clean. I hung them all out on the line, and about a half an hour later, it started to rain. It hasn’t stopped since (this is Sunday), so the wash is still on the line and still hasnt dried yet. I will probably have to wash it all again, after the rain stops. Rain is predicted for every day next week!
We also opted not to carry our nearly 800 pounds of luggage up here to our room for now, since we were hoping this would be temporary. That makes it hard to find anything, and we are constantly digging through suitcases to find something to wear, etc. Talk about feeling disorganized!
All of these things gave us a sense of urgency to find our own place to live. We began on Wednesday, and continued on Thursday and Friday whenever we could find someone to give us a ride! (We also walked to as many places as we could.) Long story short, we found a place!!! We put a deposit down to hold it already, and Monday morning we will finish the paperwork and get the key! We are ELATED! We feel the is JUST the place the Lord had prepared for us in so many ways, and we are so thankful and excited.
During all these seven months of travel and moving around and back and forth and living out of suitcases, His grace has been sufficient. He has provided for our every need, and it has been an adventure through which we learned so many things. For all of that we are thankful. Paul says in Phil 3: “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes, I count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ... that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, being made like Him in His death ...” We truly feel that in this experience of losing all things for HIM, we have truly come to know Him more, and there is nothing worth comparing with the excellence of the knowledge of JESUS! How can we even put in a balance “Knowing Him” and “our stuff”. There is simply no comparison, and how the things of earth grow dim in the light of His glory and grace!
While all of that is true, and I pray we continue to come to know Him more in every way, He also promised in Mark 10: “There is no man who has given up houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, that shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life....” We believe this is the time that the Lord is giving us back a house to live in and take care of our family’s needs. This will also give us a greater ability to organize and prioritize our time in order to best fulfill the mission and vision the Lord has given us for this place.
We know that many of you have prayed to this end, and we want to thank you sincerely! Please keep praying, as this move will make it even much more necessary for us to have a car to be able to get anywhere! We know Jehovah Jireh will provide this for us as well.
Edited to Add: Fabio preached on Saturday night to the young adults from this passage, which is SO good for us personally right now too: "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land... " Deuteronomy 8:2-7 (Read the whole passage. It is a good read!!)
***Pictures to Come, as soon as we get a better internet connection in our new house!!!****