Wednesday, December 21, 2011

November/December 2011

December 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

September/October 2011

September/October 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh, the Glorious Sun

Oh, the Glorious Sun

James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

July/August Newsletter

July/August 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exciting New Discipleship Opportunity

Exciting New Discipleship Opportunity

We just found out about a new discipleship opportunity that we believe God wants us to be involved in!

We think it really is the most effective method of discipleship, because the "disciple" actually has to live with us, so we can talk about the things of the Lord, "when we sit in our house, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise"* - over a period of about twenty years! What could be more effective than that??

Our new disciple is due to arrive around April 5th, 2012. :-)

*text from Deut 6

Uma Nova Oportunidade de Discipulado MUITO Legal

Acabamos de descobrir uma nova oportunidade de discipulado, e cremos que seja a vontade de Deus que nós nos involvemos.

Achamos que realmente é o método mais efectivo de discipulado, porque o "discípulo" precisa morar em nossa casa, para que possamos falar sobre as coisas do Senhor "sentado em nossa casa e andando pelo caminho, ao deitar-se e ao levantar-se"* - durante um período de mais ou menos vinte anos! O que poderia ser mais efectivo do que isso??

O nosso novo discípulo está para chegar mais ou menos no 5 de Abril, 2012. :-)

*texto de Deut 6

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

May/June Newsletter

May/June 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Opportunities Abound...

Our Identity in Christ

One thing that Fabio and I are constantly reminded of is that our calling as missionaries is not a "job". It is not "what we do"... it is who we are. And we believe this should be true of all those who have called Jesus their Lord! Opportunities abound; the harvest fields are white. May we all have open ears and eyes to see those who are hurting and in need all around us, to share God's love and His Word with them.

"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season..." 2 Timothy 4:2

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Missions visit - Surprised by God

The Missions Visit - Surprised by God

Right after the teams left we got very sick, but praise the Lord we are all well now.
Indeed we saw the hand of the Lord in all that happened during the two weeks the teams were here. Your partnership and prayer was definitely vital for the success of the trip!

In the last post we talked about the doors God was opening and the confirmations that were needed...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Exciting Plans for the Coming Mission Team!!!

Hi family!

Exciting things are to come!

We definitely see God’s hand and favor going before us! When we first came to Camboriu we had a vision of impacting society although we didn’t know how that was going to come to pass. Well, things started to happen quick and here we are.

We are seeing such a mighty move of God opening important doors for us. After much prayer, we’ve gone to talk to local schools principals, Chief of Sports of the city, etc. and have found a lot of favor from God with them. Everytime we went and sat down at someone’s office, there was no need to try to convince them of the work we’d like to do, but rather they offered the schools for us to use as we wish, even on the weekends! One principal that I went to talk to even offered her home for lodging people!

As for now, we are almost finished with all the confirmations we need to get so we can go with the teams from America to impact three public schools, do a basketball game with the local team which is number six in the State (hoping to gather some audience), American football games and workshops, work at a drug rehab center, and various other things.

A lot of these things have to go through approval from a bunch of different people but so far everything is looking real good. By the beginning of this week we’ll have all the final confirmations.

And we believe this is not our vision, but God’s vision that was being imparted to each one of us, including each one of you as He placed in your hearts the burden to support this ministry in various ways -- even coming down here to be part of it all in pioneering what may become a huge landmark of the effectiveness of churches in transforming society.

Please pray for His continuous favor as the teams come and that He would bless each step of the way as we all work together to make Him known. Also that the churches would be able to catch the vision to work together to continue to impact society, invading the schools with the message of hope, before those doors shut (as we all have seen happen in the US).

Thank you for all your love, support and encouragement toward our family. We love you all!

January/February Newsletter

February 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

All My Systems Out of Whack

All My Systems Out of Whack
I realized a couple of months ago why our first year in Brazil was so taxing in so many ways when I re-read a couple of articles I had written a year or so before we left America about organizing your life.  In my articles, I was advocating having a system for everything, so that it doesn't take so much time or mental energy to get stuff done. When you have a system for your daily duties, it becomes automatic and far less stressful. You become more productive, using less time, and have more brain energy left over for doing other things you enjoy, like spending time with your husband and children. My motto was “A system for everything, and everything in its system” - for cooking, doing laudry, cleaning, putting things away, homeschooling, shopping, etc. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Smattering of January in Pictures

I haven't been taking my camera out and about with us much, so this post is mostly just from around the house. :)

I am ever trying to get the kids in contact with nature, to learn about God's great big world and observe all we can, as up close as possible. :) Joshua was able to catch a pretty big bullfrog the other day. We had never seen one before, around here, but we hear them loud and clear all night long. I like it! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Refridgerator Saga

When we first moved into our own home last July, there were many things we needed - basic household goods, appliances and furniture. Things like a refrigerator. We couldn't possibly go out and buy it all at once. The church loaned us this refrigerator, a spare used only for events, until further notice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Living Life on Purpose

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about living life on purpose. It has been 14 months since Fabio and I left the States, and nearly a year since we first arrived in Camboriú, here in southern Brazil.

We know we won't be here for long. This is a season in our lives. For another year? Or two? Or five? We aren't sure. However, it is SO good that the Lord has told us that it is not a permanent arrangement.

Why? Because we want to leave, when that day comes, with no regrets. If our time here is short, we want to make it worthwhile to have been here. We want to fulfill all of the purposes for which the Lord brought us here. We want to touch as many people as we can with God's love and the message of Jesus!

Since this is the case, we have this always in the forefront of our minds. Every trip to the bread shop is an opportunity to meet someone. When we go to the grocery store, we try to be purposeful. If we had a nice conversation with a cashier once, we go back to her aisle on purpose, even if the line is longer, to follow up. We want to make sure ALL of our neighbors have heard, know we are here, and where they can go if they need to talk, need prayer, or want to find out more about our Jesus. When we "just happen" to run into someone we talked to once before, we make sure to make the most of that opportunity. We try to turn every conversation to eternal matters. We are here with a purpose!

However, are we not ALL in that same category? Maybe you still live in the same town you were born in, and maybe you will die there in that same place. But even still, we all have very little time on this earth, and we ALL have a purpose to fulfill in this short time that the Lord has granted us here. So, wherever we happen to find ourselves, let's live our lives on purpose... for the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom!!

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.... Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:1,15-16

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Day in the Life

I thought I would write up a quick post about TODAY. Our main work here is simply "people work". It is not always regular. It is not always miraculous. It is not always something exciting we can take pictures of to post about with a fantastic testimony attached. But I thought it might be helpful for you to catch a glimpse of "just a normal day" for the Tsukayama Family...

Well... I guess I will actually start with the tail end of last night. We went to church. Sunday church here is at night rather than in the morning. The services are ... not as concise as typical American church, and end around 11pm. About a month ago, Fabio commissioned our children for a new ministry: welcoming new people that visit the church, or those that have come back after a long absence. To do this, the children draw pictures, write "Jesus Loves You" on them, and pay attention to who is new. Then, when church is over, they go to give them out and say "Welcome". This has been SO good on so many levels! So many people have told us how they were touched by this small act of kindness, and it has also opened up more conversations for us. And it has been SO good for our children! Instead of thinking about going to church to have fun or see friends or whatever else, they go with a mission in mind! They are not thinking of themselves through the whole service, but being attentive to the new people around them and thinking of how to bless them!

Last night before church, we also put together small baggies of candies to give out, along with their pictures. The children put these baggies together, carried them to church themselves, and held them through the three hour service, excited about giving them out afterward! And they did give them out, joyfully! They never complained about not getting any for themselves, nor did they even ask if they could have some! We are so thankful to see their character developing as they grow.

So, we got home from church about 11:45 and still had not had supper. I lit the stove with a match, and warmed up some leftovers while everyone got ready for bed. By just after midnight, they were in bed.

My day started this morning at 6:30. I do some stretching and a quick shower, and then try to get in some time with the Lord in the quiet of the morning before the children awake. I am reading in Acts currently and how inspiring! I also began this morning to read So Send I You by Oswald Chambers. Then I threw in the first load of laundry, and put the beans on the stove to cook which I had been soaking overnight. I put the brown rice on to soak to cook up later, and pulled the meat out of the freezer to thaw.

Between 7:30-8:00, the children began trickling downstairs, and a bit after 8:00, we had breakfast of eggs, hallah bread left over from our Shabbat dinner, and watermelon. Then Fabio began our family devotions. He has been working on having the family memorize the Sermon on the Mount, and he also read a Proverb today. We discussed some of the things we read, and prayed. Fabio has also been using this time to teach the children about intercessory prayer. He just simply asks them to ask the Lord who we should pray for, and they immediately think of people! Sometimes people from the States, sometimes people here we are ministering to, etc.

Then, I finish cleaning up the kitchen while the kids did morning chores, and a little after 9am, we were ready to begin school. Actually I think it was nearly 9:30 (9am is the goal!). We rushed a little today because Fabio wanted to leave around 11am to visit some people. Joshua didn't quite finish, so we left some for later, and off we went.

First we drove into the country outside Camboriú. AH! Breathing the fresh air and seeing the mountainous countryside just lights a fire in me! We visited first with one lady for the first time, and then were on our way to visit another couple we had met a few weeks ago. On the way, however, we "ran into" another couple who "just happened" to have taken a drive out there and ended up on the same corner as us. We had a really great conversation with them - a definite divine appointment. The wife was a backslidden Christian. She was also heartbroken for her three nephews who were lost in the world of drugs - Crack. Two were in jail, and the third was wanted by the police. The two in jail were among the "lucky" ones, as many police here prefer to kill than to arrest. We prayed with them right there, and they asked us if they could come visit our church? Of course!

Then we walked down to the other house. We had another fantastic talk there. They had a young man die in their barn just a couple weeks ago of a drug overdose, just 15 days after being released from a rehab center! What a tragedy! This however, opened the door for us to be able to share on a deeper lever. When we left, the lady said, "There are so many people who come around and just complain about life, or talk bad about people. It is so refreshing to talk to people who have something good to say! I am so glad you came, and I feel so much peace now!" Turns out, she is a backslidden believer as well, and says she can't believe how far she has fallen... While we talked, the children walked around the farm, petting the horses, the cats, the dogs, observing the new foal, and even collecting eggs from the chickens and quails. They had a blast!

Then we drove back to town. It was nearly 2pm and we hadn't had lunch. Joshua offered to buy, so we stopped and got hotdog buns and bologna and had a little "picnic" in the car. (He is practicing for being the provider for his own family one day!) We "ran into" two girls from our church, one of whom has not come to church in a long time, and at least had the chance to show them some Jesus love with a hug and a smile.

We drove a bit more, stopped again at the "Association of the Santa Regina Dwellers", but they were still not in the office. (More about that later.)

Then we went home. It was about 3pm and I was exhausted, as well as the younger two. We laid down for our naps immediately! I got up about 4pm.

At about 4:30, Fabio left for the church to teach someone else how to use the website he built for the church. He was planning afterward to go to a drug rehab center he has been helping at.

By 5pm the little guys were awake, and we took the stroller and walked to the Group Home for Adolescents, where Andressa lives. I think it is about a mile. As we walked, I told the children about Gladys Aylward who hiked over mountains with 100 children, with no food and no time to rest, as she ushered them to safety.

We spent about two hours at the home, talking to the teens, spending some time with the lady in charge, called the "Coordinator", and discussing how we can best help out there. We also discussed many other issues, including the training of the character of children. Our children open up so many doors for us here! There are times that Fabio goes out to minister on his own, but we feel a special grace on us when we go out as a family. The children really are SUCH a blessing!

On the way home, we "ran into" one of our distant neighbors that we have been ministering to for several months. You may remember from back around September. This young man nearly died last year of cancer, after abusing his body for years with drugs and alcohol. He had more than 70% of his colon removed, and the doctors were sure he would not make it. Well, today when I met him on the road with his cousin, he was grinning from ear to ear! They had just come back from the hospital, and the doctor said that he was FINE! He said, "I'm healed! It's a miracle! The doc even said I could drink again if I wanted to!" He said he couldn't wait until we visited again, and he was now considering what to do with the rest of his life. He left skipping, literally!

When we got home it was nearly 8pm and getting dark. All the neighbor children were in the street, so we talked to them for a few minutes, and then came in to make dinner. One of the neighbor boys came to see if he could borrow our bike. Then I set to work on rice, beans, meat, and salad (Dominique picked the lettuce from our garden a few minutes before dinner.) Joshua worked on his leftover schoolwork while I cooked. To our surprise (and delight!), Fabio came home just as we were ready to eat. He had been at the church all that time, talking with and praying with people, and it had gotten too late to go to the rehab center today.

We did dinner together, cleaned up and then watched Dr. Dobson's Essentials of Discipline video, segment five, at the children's request. They love watching these videos! Tonight's segment was "To spank or not to spank" -- and Dr. Dobson's decided conclusion was that yes, we should spank our children, in love and not in anger. Funny how our children love watching these videos!

Now it was quarter to ten. We gave the kids quick showers, because they are itchy with heat rash - especially Israel who tends to sweat more than the others, and then got everyone ready for bed. After praying together, the kids were out rather quickly! It has been a busy day.

Here I am, at nearly 11pm, writing this blog post and getting ready to check my email!

Not every day is this busy. Some days we are home for the most part. The children would not be able to handle being gone this much every single day. Sometimes it doesn't seem like we are accomplishing very much. Sometimes we even wonder why we are really here! But today was encouraging - to see how many people we know around here, to see that we are slowing being able to "infiltrate" the society here, to make a difference in people's lives!

I have been reflecting lately on "the call". Really, Fabio and I firmly believe that serving the Lord and showing His love to people is (or should be!) who we are, and not just "what we do". It is not a job, although we are "full-time" for the first time now. But really, what we are doing now is not essentially different from what we did in Japan with the Peruvian community, or in America with the Mexicans, except that now Fabio is not working another job in addition, so we can do more of it! But, should this not be the normal result of walking with Jesus, being filled with His Spirit, feeding daily on His Word, loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength? Are we not ALL, as Christians, called to reach out to those around us, be attentive to their needs, see where we can serve society with the love of Jesus? The Lord will orchestrate the location you do this - as he has orchestrated Brazil for us currently - but the location really doesn't matter. THE CALL is not to a location! THE CALL is to live in relationship with Jesus, to love Him above all else, to die to our own desire and ambition, to hear His voice, and out of love for Him, serve Him by reaching out and sharing His love with all those that are around us.

A verse that has impacted us lately: "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24 May this be the cry of our heart as well!!

Many Blessings!!!

P.S. I never got time today to hang the clothes out on the line, so I will have to re-wash them tomorrow. Just to throw a little non-glamorous reality into the picture! :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Neighbor city: Balneário Camboriú

More pics of 2010

Our four little munchkins: L-R: Johann, Joshua, Dominique and Israel

While we were living on the 3rd floor of the church building - what a treat! A beautiful rainbow!!

"Say NO to crack!" --Johann on the beach. :-)

With two of the girls from church: Kimberly and Adriely

A taste of Japan, while in Brazil!

The entrance of Camboriú, visible from the 3rd floor veranda of the church building where we lived for 3 months:

Three of the children, with Fabio's mom, Vovó Tomiko:

Johann, in about May? Hard to believe how much he has grown and changed since then! He isn't a baby anymore!! Waaaahhh!

Joshua and a little boy in Santos, whose family we were reaching out to:

Cable cars, in Santos. We have that here in Balneário Camboriú too! (We have not ridden either one, though. Yet.)
Dominique in Santos, about April 2010. She has grown a lot too, since then!

This was just a couple weeks ago, in Santos. Our children with their cousin Leonardo:

Johann. :)

December 2010. Fabio preaching at one of the churches in Santos:

A rare event: a picture of all six of us!! This was Israel's birthday (Dec 17). He wanted to have chocolate-filled churros instead of a cake, so we took a birthday candle to the beach, got us all churros, and put the candle in the top of it and sang to him there! Why be traditional? :) Maybe you can see the candle at the top of his churro in the picture?

Israel on his birthday, December 17. Can you believe he is FOUR years old now???

This was before the beach, the morning of Israel's birthday. I always decorate a "throne" for the birthday king/queen after they go to bed the night before, so they wake up to something special in the morning. And the breakfast of their choice. (He chose bread with peanut butter, a special treat anymore, that we happened to have on hand thanks to our pastor's visit in November!)

For Christmas, I got Andressa some paints and a canvas. I like productive activities for young people. At the group home, they basically watch TV all day every day....

This is the group of people that delivered the gifts to the children in the favela (slum) on Children's Day:

Take Two:

At one of the schools in the favela, where we gave out gifts on Children's Day:

We also gave out cheese bread:

And hugs:

And smiles:

Our sweethearts at the praça (plaza?) in Camboriu, in an ancient fig tree. The center here in Camboriú has many such fig trees that are fantastic for climbing.

Outreach in the favela:

Fabio's brother Fernando, wife Carol, and children Leonardo (Léo) and Ana Beatriz (Bia). We so enjoyed our time with them! After just a couple of years of knowing the Lord, they are so firm in their walk with them, and are actively ministering to others as well! What joy to have seen this transformation!

Fabio refinishing our refridgerator. He did such an awesome job! It just looked BEAUTIFUL when he was done. Unfortunately, it quit working right after he finished! We had it fixed a second time, and it held out a bit longer, but bit the dust for good a few weeks ago. :-( We have ordered a new one, and are holding out on an old borrowed one (with no freezer) until then. It does not work well, especially in this heat. Things go bad on the second day, at the latest. Pray that the new one would be delivered SOON!!!!!

Fabio and some guys at church repaired the roof of a widow in the church:

Johann getting his summer haircut:

Our neighborhood at night:

And in the daytime:

The prevalence of prostitution can be easily seen everywhere:

Remember Guilherme from posts back in April? His family moved to another state, but we pray that the seed we had the privilege of planting will bloom and grow.

Our children have learned to be very flexible about sleeping arrangements and such! Here Joshua is reading them the Bible before bed:

Diego and Dodo, two brothers. Diego (left) is back and forth from the Lord and needs much prayer to continue standing firm. Dodo is just "forth" and has not come "back" for some time now. He needs much prayer as well. These young boys have been involved in so much and it is not an easy hole to dig out of, but the POWER of the Lord is able!!

Brotherly love:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Best of 2010 in Pictures!!

These are random, and not in order, so bear with us! Just a smattering of some highlights of 2010. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? I will just add a few short captions so you can follow along.

Our Big Move with eleven seventy pound suitcases:
Fabio's sister Luciana's visit in September:

Dancing in church:

Fabio translating for Roosevelt Muriel at a conference in September:

Fabio and Luciana at the Conference. This is the door of our church here, MANG:

In our home with Luciana, Bob Moffit, his translator here, and veteran missionary Cleiton Oliveira. What encouraging times! We learned so much from them!

Fabio playing soccer with the kids from our neighborhood:

Joshua and some of the neighborhood kids:

Dominique working on a school project (a lapbook of Colonial America):

Joshua working on same project at our homeschool:

Time of worship at church:

Cookies for the neighbors! (Israel at the table drooling over all the cookies!)

Fabio cradling the new arrival, a bunch of bananas from a local tree. ;-)

Finally in our own home! The first month with no couch to sit on:

Before we had our own house, our one-room palace on the third floor of the church building:

Reaching out. Much of our work here is people work - visiting in homes and sharing one-on-one with people the Lord puts in our path.

Johann and Dominique:

A local pizza place. I just love the way they bake the pizza in this huge stone oven! Yum. :)

Fabio translating for Pastor Jim Epley, who stayed with us for a week and a half in November. During that time, he preached every night in different churches, with Fabio translating, and praise the Lord, we saw many people healed of various infirmities and disabilities, and many also believed on the Lord for the first time!

Fabio and Pastor Jim:
Joshua and pet ducky. This picture was on the last day we had him. We then gave him away to a nearby orphanage. The kids sure enjoyed him! He loved them too, and cuddled up to their necks. He was pretty cute!Here I am with one of my classes at the PETI school. I taught English classes to these children in the favela, the Brazilian slum. It was a very good experience, and we feel it was also a strategic way for us to begin to reach into that needy area. We built many important bridges and relationships through this opportunity that we feel will still be fruitful in the future.
At the PETI school:
Another one of my classes at PETI:
This was our Thanksgiving outreach! Here, two of our guests are discovering pumpkin pie for the first time!
Thanksgiving also. Here I am with my arm around Andressa, the young girl from the group home that we took under our wing.
And one more picture of Thanksgiving:
This is the "favela" - the slum. The PETI school is in this neighborhood.
The PETI school from the outside:
Our pastors, Dave Prince and John Leitzel come to visit in November!! Here they are in the back of our car, with me and the kids! (We had another passenger in the front, besides Fabio driving!)
Time with Dave and John and many other pastors from both Brazil and Argentina. Their time here was really important to broaden our horizons and open up to us the BIG picture of our connections here and part of what God has us here for.
Three pastors from Argentina (one of which lives in Brazil), one wife, two pastors from America, and what would we call Fabio? Brazilian? American? Japanese? All of the above! hehe.
Worship at church.
Receiving a care package from America always brightens our day!!!
This picture should have come first, but anyway, this is the first day we got ducky. He was one day old. SO cute!
Here Joshua and Dominique are planting our garden in the rain! I will post recent pictures of it soon. It is thriving!
Kids Club, in our neighborhood, thrived from about September through December. Right now we are in a down time because the kids are on summer break and rarely stick around the neighborhood.
Israel and Johann with a little boy from our church:
Flavio, our friend from church, manning the Brazilian grill:
Enjoying some fellowship with friends from church, over Brazilian churrasco (grilled steak!):
Fabio and our friend Bill talking with a director of a local school. We are looking into how to help this school. Their playground is totally un-usable because it is badly in need of repair.
This was on Children's Day in October. We delivered toys to over 200 children in the favela (Brazilian slum).
Children's Day:
Children's Day:
Children's Day:
Back in our carport for Kid's Club. Fabio teaches the Bible and the kids pay close attention!
Our family Shabbat dinner. We try to make it a priority to enjoy this special family dinner once a week:
Dancing before our Shabbat Dinner! :)
Our friend Sônia enjoying chi marron, a hot herbal tea. It is very popular here in Southern Brazil. These "mugs" with the metal straws (complete with little filters to catch loose herbs) are passed around and shared. It is served VERY hot and is rather bitter, and neither Fabio nor I have gotten to be fans yet, but it is supposed to be really good for you!
Hard to believe how fast they are growing! Here they are, ages 2,4,6,8.
2010. A year full of adventure, a year full of hard work and challenges of every kind, a year of seeing God's powerful hand in so many ways. It was also a year of trying to find our place here, trying to figure out what we are doing here (lol), and trying to get used to a totally different world and lifestyle. We are not "there" yet, but we have made progress, and are excited to see all that God will do in 2011! We are sure it will be a full year and we pray that much will be done toward the advancement of His Kingdom here on earth! Please pray with us, and if any of you would like to come and join the fun, please let us know! We would LOVE to have you!!! We love and appreciate all of you who have prayed for us, encouraged us, and supported us in so many ways. We feel so well cared for and blessed by you! THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!