Yesterday when I updated, I was at an internet cafe and had no way of posting pics, but thankfully, Fabio was able to get our internet device working again yesterday, so we are back in touch! And now we can post pics!
This is Fabio and Vamilson painting the outside of the church building. Vamilson was recently delivered from drugs which held him captive for 22 years! I asked him how long he had been free, and he said 16 days! Now I think it has been 20. :-) He started smoking cigarettes at 9 years old, marijuana at 11, cocaine at 13 and crack at 15. He comes to the church early every morning and stays all day long, full of energy to help with whatever needs to be done and eager to be with people to strengthen him so he doesn't fall back into old ways. Pray for him to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty POWER!
This is Diego and Dodo (short for Douglass), two brothers that need a lot of prayer! They were recently saved, but having a hard time standing firm. Pray for them!
Today was awesome! I got to go to the favela (the Brazilian slums which are poor, dirty, dangerous and controlled by druglords). The pastor's wife and I dressed like clowns, and Joshua and Dominique accompanied us while Israel and Johann slept.
We played games with them and just loved on them. They come from every sort of difficult home - parents who do drugs, drink, beat them, etc. Many don't ever go home, but sleep on the streets instead. They are so starved for affection and just eat it all up!
Here four little girls are fighting for my lap:
This time they took my hat off to get in closer. :)
This is the pastor's wife. One day soon I will take a more "natural" picture of them! lol. She was wonderful with the children. I think there were more than 30 there.
These boys would not join us, but stayed next door looking on. They would take the suckers we offered, though! It was so wonderful to be there. My heart feels like it is still there now! The children asked me if I was coming back tomorrow? Ugh. Saturday afternoons with them are wonderful, but I think much more needs to be done if their future is really to change - for them really to not fall into the same lifestyle as all those around them.....
Tribute to our Children
Here are our children, minus one of course. This couch sits on the veranda outside our room. I just have to say how wonderful our kids have been. Not perfect, for sure, and they all have their moments, but they have really rolled with the punches well! They dont complain about the heat as much as we do! They have never carried on about all their toys and bikes and scooters they had to leave behind.
They have eaten rice and beans twice a day with only minimal complaning. ;-) They have walked miles at a time, and Joshua has rarely complained about that either. (The other three take turns in the stroller. ;-)
They have learned to be creative with what is available to play with, like this clothespin gun Joshua made yesterday. :) I am so proud of them.
Joshua said recently to us: "One thing I have learned is that you really have to be flexible when you are traveling!" When we asked him in what way, he said: "Well, you have to learn to eat things you are not used to eating, and you have to learn to sleep on the floor when you may not be used to it. Stuff like that." So true.
Since we got to Camboriú, they have been hard workers! The first day, Joshua asked for a broom to start sweeping, because we came to work, not rest, he said! He swept almost the whole first two floors with no prompting from us! Dominique has been eager to help most of the time as well.
We sing this song together every day, to the tune of "Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary":
Lord, prepare me to be a missionary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Missionary, for You!