Thursday, September 29, 2011

An extra week at camp?

So like I said in my post about the second week of camp I was invited by one of the missionaries at camp, Núbia, to stay an extra week with her at her house. After talking with Lancy and Mário I decided to stay. I really had no idea what we were going to do or how the week was going to look but I thought it would be fun to see life outside of camp for these missionaries. It ended up a week not being filled with anything extreme, but it was filled with fun and new experiences. We started off the week just getting rested after the craziness of the schedule we had had for four weeks during camp. But I found that I didn't like resting so I helped out a little on the construction project next door at the pastors house... I'm not sure I was tons of help but it was fun and a good way to get to know people better! After a day or two of resting Núbia started working again as secretary and I found out that she is a huge help for the other missionaries just by simply watching their kids when they need someone to watch them for some time. A little girl named Sophia spent a lot of time with us and ate with us a few times, she was a lot of fun to have around. She’s a very cute little girl full of energy and opinions! For the longest time she called me “menina” which means “girl” because she couldn’t remember my name, finally after some work Núbia and I got her to say my name. During the week we spent a lot of time at the other missionaries houses eating and spending time together, and it was all REALLY good! We had pizza one night and then another night we used this thingy to make chicken cheese veggie trays (see pics below to see what I mean by the very technical word “thingy”)! Núbia also made this really good lunch that consisted of bread, cheese, ham, corn, and some sort of white sauce… it was really good!!! I should definitely ask her how she made it! In doing all this I had the opportunity to really get to know the missionaries and a few other friends. They all (minus the director) live in a row of pretty little apartments on the side of a cliff overlooking the valley and cities surrounding camp. They are within walking distance of camp and there are a lot of little trails around that lead to beautiful overlooks, grape vineyards and even a different view of the valley which includes the ocean to the west, which means you can have amazing ocean view sunsets within just a few minutes! They have definitely been blessed with their surroundings! Towards the end of the week everyone started asking me when I was coming back and I kept telling them “when God wills it.” And really that’s what this blog is all about, seeing and finding the will of God and sharing what I figure out. But it’s never as easy as one day you hear the voice of God saying “Heather! I want you to…” and then you know what you are to do from there on out. I know that a times it came be as clear as that but I think at least for me He lets me in on His will for certain times in my life, but often it’s just parts of the plan. I think it’s part of growing my faith… something that is definitely not a gift of mine. I like to know that I have at least some sort of control over what’s going on… But I know that with God that’s not what it’s about. The song “I surrender all” is so entitled because it’s about not surrendering some but all. And at times things happen and we don’t know the reason until much later, kind of like college for me. When people find out what I studied in college they always ask the same question “What? What made you study those languages?” My response is always the same “… um… I don’t know… it’s just what happened…” but as I’m sitting here in Portugal I realize that me quickly learning Portuguese my last year in college so that I could graduate wasn’t the only reason I learned Portuguese. It seems all too obvious that, God wanted me here this summer. Yes they needed me here but I also needed to be here. I have learned things about myself, my faith, my struggles, and God’s successes and I am also starting to see a little more clearly where and what God might be calling me to. I have had no sudden and life changing epiphanies, but my will and God’s will are starting to align more and more. And that’s a pretty awesome thing to realize.



Where have you been?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Hey all!!! I’m SO sorry this is the first time I’ve posted over the past few weeks! Things got kinda crazy and I haven’t really had time to sit down and write! Anyways I’m finishing up another post right now and then hopefully I’ll be able to post more in the next few days J The following questions are some titles for my next few posts so they are teasers for what y’all have to look forward to! (p.s. if you haven’t noticed all my blog posts are entitled according to questions I've/ I could’ve received based on the subject matter addressed in the post… just in case these and my other titles make no sense J)

What is E.B.F.? Madrid? I thought you were in Portugal… What do you get when you have around 50 Portuguese women, a bunch of flowers and butterflies EVERYWHERE? Whatcha do your last week in Portugal? How was leaving Portugal? Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? So… since you didn’t come home like planned, how’s it going and whatcha doin’?

Anyways I hope this will suffice until I have more time to post! Can’t wait to see you all soon!



Monday, September 5, 2011

English, Portuguese and Spanish?

This was written while I was still at camp and I'm not sure why I never posted it... Just keep that in mind as you read it and I say "here."

So I got here and almost right away I noticed two girls who were speaking American English with some people who were obviously not native speakers to English. This of course sparked my interest but since I was here with a Portuguese group and all the people I knew spoke Portuguese the girls had no idea that I spoke English and for a while at least I didn’t really get a chance to talk to them. I can’t remember why now but for some reason I was talking to someone in English and the two girls came over and said “we’re sorry… we weren’t trying to eves drop… but we couldn’t help but notice that you were speaking American English!” We got to know each other a little better and I came to find out that their names are Ellen and Abby and they were here this summer (about 5 weeks before camp and then two weeks of camp) to get camp ready for campers and to help with the activities the first week of camp. They don’t speak Portuguese so they were all too thrilled to have someone speaking their English. There were others here who spoke English, but I think I was kind of a taste of home for them. It just so happened that the speaker for the preparation and the first week of campers was an American missionary serving in Porto, Portugal. He speaks Portuguese but once he found out that we spoke American English he got really excited. One day he said to me “it’s just so good to hear English from the States! Sometimes I get really tired of hearing British English all the time!” I really had no idea that it was that important, but it was nice to kind of be a blessing to them. Next I found out that about half the missionaries here are Argentine, there’s one from Chile, one from the Dominican Republic, a few actual Portuguese, a Brazilian, and a French. What was really fun for me was when the native Spanish speakers would switch into Spanish amongst themselves! I realized that I LOVE Spanish!!! For me it was pretty much as good as hearing English
J Don’t get me wrong, I am really liking getting to know Portuguese better and have improved leaps and bounds thanks to God’s work hear at camp, but I think since Spanish and Latin America have been part of my life for so long Spanish will always hold a special place in my heart! Up into recently Portuguese was kind of a novelty to me… I was constantly reminded of the fact that I was speaking and understanding a foreign language when I would speak or understand it. It was almost kind of surprising to me that I was able to communicate in Portuguese… which is something that has never happened to me… I have always felt very natural (even if I didn’t sound natural…) speaking foreign languages. Recently though I have started feeling more comfortable and natural speaking Portuguese, which is a testament to what God has been doing in my life here. If I had to choose Spanish or Portuguese I’m still pretty sure it would be Spanish, but I’m not ready to stop speaking Portuguese… in a perfect world I would have both all the time! Who knows, maybe someday God will bless me with that ability!

Monday, August 22, 2011

How was the last week of camp?

This blog was written Sat. 8/13/11, I didn't have time to post it so when I say "this week" or "today" keep the date in mind. I will be posting about this last week soon. Sorry guys!

This week was filled with trials and struggles and, blessings and learning. At the beginning of the week I was SUPER distracted by a few things that had happened over the weekend and in the first day or so of camp. It wasn’t anything that would normally be as large of an issue for me but I think Satan saw an opportunity in my weakness and jumped on it. I was having trouble focusing in quiet times, having trouble paying attention in meetings and during devotions, lost my appetite… for something normally so small I was having a really hard time. It became such a struggle that one night I talked for a very long time with Bruna about it. After asking a few more people to pray for me that night I went to bed still struggling with it. For the rest of the week the power of prayer was evident, as things progressively got better. As I am writing this I am still struggling, and there have been A LOT of prayers of mine asking for focus when I would start battling against it again but it became a manageable struggle. God also blessed me with a lot friends here to help give me wise counsel and keep me focused on Him. After I was able to start focusing on the camp and campers again I realized that there was a difference this week… the campers very quickly became very open with the all the counselors and from day one/two and a lot of us had a lot of counseling on our hands.This week I had the opportunity to work with Lidia, who happens to be Lancy’s partner in crime working with the kids in Miratejo (and I had the wonderful gift of having Mário and Lancy here this week as fellow counselors). Lidia and I turned out to be a really good team and God used her a lot to really pull the counselor out of me. I was kind of sad towards mid-week when I realized that I had finally gotten the hang of this whole counselor-in-another-language thing during my last week as a counselor.But then after thinking about it, it was amazing to see the work that God did through me and in me here at camp. Every Saturday before lunch the campers were given a chance to share with the rest of camp what God had done in their live here at camp. At times counselors or workers would share but I never really felt called to share. This morning was different, I was being called so fiercely that there was no mistaking that I needed to share. Me being who I am, decided that I was not going to share… I was nervous... I kept saying “well… if they say specifically that counselors can share then I’ll share… if someone looks at me specifically and motions for me to go I’ll go… if such and such a person goes I’ll go…” I even, being the hypocrite we all are sometimes, encouraged one of my friends who said, “I’m not brave enough to do that” (after someone else finished sharing) to go and share… which he ended up doing. One by one the things I listed as the “requirements” were fulfilled… the friend I encouraged even encouraged me to go after he sat back down. Finally I stood up and waited for my turn… When it came to my turn and Miguel said “ok Heather” I walked up slowly and with fear but I walked up. I shared about the impact my time at camp had had on me, the things that God used to teach my heart and the work He has start in my life.I shared Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (… well at least I shared the general idea of the verse since I was speaking Portuguese and verses are always hard to translate…), after sharing the verse I shared that even though I didn’t fully relay on God during every minute of my time here, it was only through Him that the things I did do were done. It was only through Him that I was able to share in Portuguese the effect my time here had, it was only through Him that I had built relationships and it was only through Him that I had had energy to continue. I shared that living by faith is never been a gift of mine, but that the time here was about living by faith. Camp has turned out to be a real blessing in my life, from friendships, to Portuguese, to my faith, God has blessed me here. I am sad it has ended but I am super excited that I was invited to stay here with the PV missionaries for another week!I know God will continue to use this extra time here not only here at camp but also in me.

Phil. 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Me giving my testimony on the last day of the last week

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do you ever do anything fun?

So yesterday, Sunday, was our day off. It’s the only full day in which we have no campers and basically no work. So since the weather was AMAZING they decided to treat us to a special day out at a beach called Coxos (meaning “crippled”) in the near by city of Ribamar. It was A LOT of fun and very beautiful!!! We walked there from camp, about a 30 min walk, and than we had a long time to just hang out and have fun. I personally decided to explore the rocky area with a friend, played volleyball, played a super fun game called cat and mouse (not the same from as the one I played with Lancy), Ninja, Pi-Hey-Hono, took LOTS of photos, helped to served dinner, and then walked back home with the group and watched the sunset (again taking lots of pictures which I will post when I get back to Mário and Lancy’s). Most of the group didn’t walk the entire way back since the few cars that we have here where making runs back and forth to pick us up, but about 6 or 7 of us decided we wanted to walk. It was a really fun walk and I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the workers here better (which was actually one of the biggest reasons I wanted to walk). It was a great day, full of fellowship through laughing, singing, relationship building, games, walking and of course videos and pictures J It made me realize that I am really going to miss the little community we have built here, I am super grateful for the relationships I have been blessed with and the things I have been learning. This is going to be the last week before most people here go home and I am going to cherish every second I have left with each of them.



How was the second week as a counselor?

So this week we had WAY less kids, so I didn’t know for a long time what I was going to do. I was eventually told that plan A was to put two counselors in one room and three in the other and the two rooms would each have 8 campers. Then on Monday we changed to plan B (like normal) and we were going to have the girls who are working here at camp move into our rooms with the campers and have 4 campers and 4 workers with one to two counselors in each room. I was told I would be with another counselor, Carolina. The reasoning behind all this was that we didn’t want the campers to think that camp was dead because there were so few youth that came. It was hard for the workers to move and hard for us to find a system that worked since they had a very different scheduled for campers. But we soon figured out a good rhythm and it actually ended, I think, being really good for everyone. Like I said I had four campers; Luana, Tirza, Aline, and Camila, and it was hard to get started but eventually we ended figuring how to communicate and I think the week ended well. I actually ended up getting to know Tirza pretty well in the last few days which was nice because of the struggle I was having and at times still have communicating, it was nice to know that I could and was still building relationships. This week was also a huge blessing for me because I was able to use my Portuguese more and gave devotions and added my “two sense” on most of the other devotions I didn’t give. I was also blessed with the opportunity to talk to one of my girls because she was having a hard time with the fact that her family is moving back to Brazil. I had the chance to share with her the importance and power of the Scriptures and that even though this was going to be hard that God has a plan and will work everything for her good. I didn’t solve any problems or make her totally excited to go but I hope that what we talked about will at least be a comfort to her in this difficult transition. I this week we are going to have A LOT of campers and I am super excited to be a counselor again. In our quiet times we finished Hebrews and are now going through 1 Corinthians, and God has been teaching me that I need to give everything to Him. This is something I have struggled with my whole life, I like to take credit for the things I do, but I am not and cannot do this work. It’s not my work. This is both hard to realize and at the same time the biggest blessing. It is not up to me to change the lives of my campers or fellow workers, it is my job to be obedient and let God work through me. At the beginning of the week I was having a huge struggle with that because I could get anything through to my girls but then Bruna and I talked for a while (since she was having a similar struggle) and she reminded and encouraged me that I needed to give it up to God and let Him do it. I still struggle with it, but I’m learning… slowly…

1 Corinthian 3:5-9

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.



Sunday, July 31, 2011

How was the first week as a counselor?

As I thought about what to write for this blog post, to sum up the week that I just had, I found I had writers block… I still kind of do… this week is hard to process. As you all know in the week of preparation I had a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts but in the end I was told I was going to be a counselor and I was actually really excited for what God was going to do for the week. I was kind of expecting some grand work and some life changing experiences, but that wasn’t what God expected of the week. On Monday, the day the campers arrived I was told that I was going to be in a room with another counselor Jade, and that since there were two of us that we were going to have a full room and we were going to have the youngest campers. I was also told that the other counselor would not be sleeping in the dorms, which meant I would have all nine of the campers all night. As it turned out we had nine girls from age 5 to 7 (possibly one or two 8 year olds)… that’s a lot of little girls… and they need to be watched basically 24/7. The week turned out differently then I had thought it would. The little girl who is 5 is named Eva, and Eva was at my side almost every hour of everyday here at camp. She ended taking most of my attention and time. And to be honest with you it was really hard especially as the week went on and I saw the other girls drifting closer and closer to Jade and further and further away from me. At times I kind of wondered why I was a counselor if I wasn’t counseling anyone. I mean, I talked to some of the girls about church and God a little but their attachment and devotion was to Jade, and it was obvious. To be honest when the last of the girls left I was left kind of wondering what had happened this week. I tried to process how God had used me in this week to touch the lives of my campers and came up with little to go off of. I was a little down in Spirit. But then today my supervisor called me in and asked me about the week, both the good and the bad. We talked for a bit, and I felt a little better but after I talked to her I went and talked to my friend Bruna and in talking to her I said something that made me realize why God had me where he did this week. I realized that maybe it wasn’t my job to have a huge influence on the live of my nine girls but maybe it was to watch Eva and in doing so free up Jade to be used by God in mighty ways. I’ve no doubt that Jade had a huge influence on the lives of the other 8 girls, it was obvious. I may not have been the one to lead one of the girls to Christ or to have talked to the one who decided to dedicate her whole life to Christ, but God did use me to allow that to happen. He used the one who could more clear understand and talk to the girls to do the talking and he used all my experience and patience with very young, very dependent kids to take care of the little girl who needed so much attention thus freeing up Jade for the others. It was hard, I’m not going to lie. After all the time that I have spent in VBS, children’s church, AWANA, and other times being a “counselor” or leader and making connections with my group it was hard to see these little girls that I so desperately wanted to influence running to Jade instead of me, but I finally realized that God had a different plan for me for this week. I was to be the helper, not the leader, for whatever reason He wanted Jade to do it and wanted me to step back. Maybe it was to remind me that it’s His work, not mine. Maybe it was to remind me that all areas of ministry are equally important. Maybe it was to remind you of something. Only God knows all of the effects this week will have on everyone who was here or hears the stories. But the best part is that God does know. In the end it wasn’t some grand work on my part or some life changing experiences but it was grand work on God’s part and a heart changing experience for me. My hope is that He will use what I learned to help you grow too. Love you all.


Romans 12:3-8

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b] faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Why I won't be posting :(

Hey all! I'm not allowed to have my computer out at all for the entire time the campers are here... which means I will be out contact for a bit... Please pray for the camper who are arriving in just a little bit and for the week, for counselors, cleaners, cookers, and staff! Pray that the love of God would abound this week!! Love you all! TTYS!!!!!!



So, how'd the first week go?

The first week at camp has been pretty great. I didn’t know exactly what we were doing this week until about mid week when I realized that this “preparation week” was more then just preparation for the camp but also preparation for the workers. We spent the entire week basically have our own camp. We had a Bible study every morning and evening (at night they were about Biblical Anthropology: What am I here for? And the morning they were about the nature of sin). We had quiet time after breakfast. The camp is going through Hebrews in the quiet times so last week was on Hebrews Chapter 11, the faith chapter. We free time and work cleaning the camp and lastly we had meetings in our work groups (i.e. counselors and cleaning/kitchen crew). Now as I said earlier I was told that I was going to be a counselor and was freaking out a little but I have to revert to the title of this blog and the verse it is based on Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I had no idea what I was getting into when I came to camp last Monday and as soon as I got here the little amount I thought I knew quickly vanished. But God knew. He knew that I need this week. This week were I was struggling with having faith that this would work out and the chapter that happened to be for this week was the chapter on having faith and “the great cloud of witnesses” I have to look back on. And then we had an entire week of meetings going through the roll counselors were to have in the following weeks. We were given a manual but it’s not just a book with rules and regulations, and a schedule it’s full of verse after verse after verse. We spent the majority of our meetings preparing for camp by preparing our hearts. Lastly everyone in camp was told they were not allowed to speak English to me (minus the too other American girls who are here for a few weeks and don’t speak Portuguese). So subsequently my Portuguese has improved! This week was obviously God’s plan to prepare me for the next four weeks of working at camp. I don’t have it all figured out and I a bound to fail a lot, but my heart is ready! Thanks to God! Finally last night the girl counselors were surprised with three campers a day early… at first it was hard, not knowing what to do or say since we weren’t set up to entertain kids let. But eventually we figured it out and had fun playing games and talking. It was another reassurance that what happened in this week of preparation has been the work of God in my heart, attitude, faith, confidence and of course Portuguese. I am still a little nervous for the week ahead and the campers coming today but and have faith that God’s got it under control and He is going to do marvelous things this week despite and through my shortcomings. Love you all!



Friday, July 22, 2011

So, are you home sick?

Anyone who has ever left their home for an extended period of time has undoubtedly been asked this question a million times. And the answer for most is “yes and no” and to be honest with you I have the same answer. There are times where all I want is to go home to my comfort zone and sleep or talk to my family and friends and there are times when all I want to do is be here and enjoy every second I have. Most of the times I want to crawl back into my comfort zone is when I an feeling out of place or when I am having a difficult time communicating. I was having one of those moments at church this last Sunday (07/17/11), it wasn’t because of anything anyone did or didn’t do, I think Satan was just attacking me where he knew it would count. But just when it was really starting to get to me one of the little girls from church came over, passed people she knew and motioned that she wanted to sit on my lap. I picked her up and sat her on my lap and she sat there during worship while I sang a few songs. She will never know what a blessing she was to me at that moment. She only sat there for a few minutes and then jumped down and went to talk to her mom about something, but those few minutes where just what I needed. She made me forge that I was new and was having issues communicating and missing my comfort zone and made me remember that God had and has a plan for me her. It was just what I need to fight the spiritual attack of wanting to go home. Not that I don’t want to go home, I do eventually, but right now God has me here and I need to continue to try my hardest to serve Him to my fullest ability despite the difficulties.

Soccer Ministry

For pretty much the entire day on Saturday Mário was at the championships for the soccer ministry he leads. I’m not sure but I think there are at least ten teams that pay from week to week. Last Saturday (07/16/11) they were all together for their final tournament. There were A LOT of teens, youth, young men and older men there on Saturday and Lancy said at least 5 of the teams are made up of unbelieving guys from the surrounding area. It’s an amazing opportunity not only for Mário but also for the believers on the various other teams to share the gospel, not only directly but also through relationship building and their testimony as they play. This particular day one of the youth shared the gospel about half way through their tournament in a very unique way it’s a technique called blah blah blah. What is it is you have a board that has a picture that is only partially completed. As you present the message you paint and complete the picture on the board. It’s not hard painting it’s more you have half of each of the letter that spell “sin” and you simple paint in the other half. It’s hard to explain but it’s an amazing attention getter. Also as you talk and paint you may paint over things so that the end picture is different for the beginning and the middle. Below are attached the presentation that he did in video segments and pictures of the board before and after, even though you may not be able to understand it but it will give you an idea of how it goes. The young man presenting did a great job and when he gave the invitation to become a believer at least one of the soccer player listening raised his hand to say he had prayed the prayer. It was AMAZING!! God is really using something as simple as soccer to win souls for His kingdom. Lancy was saying she would also love to start something similar for the younger boys and girls who are too little to play with the towering older guys. That’s something I think she would definitely love pray for!

What does Lancy do?

Well some of you may know the answer to this already but I’m betting most of you don’t. I’ve been here for just about two weeks and I’m still trying to figure out all the ministries she is either head of or involved in some way. First she leads a women’s Bible study once a week with somewhere between 3 and 8 women, depending on the night. This week all the women from the different groups are getting together for the final chapter. The purpose of this ministry it to build strong women of God who will in turn help to raise strong families. Once a week she also does a children’s Bible study/ activity with her “partner in crime” (according to Lancy) Lidia. Last Saturday they had day similar to the one we did on Friday with the youth, WATER GAMES!!! After the games Lidia taught on the topic of sins. All of the kids there were church kids so she focused more on needing to pray for their friends and family who aren’t saved. It was a really good reminder for me to that we need to courage to talk to our unbelieving friends and family about this amazing gift I have been given. One of Lancy’s (and Mário’s) biggest ministries is just having open hearts and an open house for the people around her. Since I have been here, there has been a birthday party, two movie nights, and she invited some ladies over after Bible study give them more time to make connections. On top of all that she and Mário have opened their home to not only me, but also the pastor and his wife, one of the youth who moved to Spain but came back for vacation and to work at camp, and another youth who need a place to stay for a bit. I was joking around with them asking them how they felt going from 0 to 3 kids in only a week! And once I realized that they were finally going to have their house to themselves again I asked Lnacy what she was going to do and she quickly answered, “oh, I think we are going to have some people over. Now I know that their house is not normally a mini hotel but with the meaning of the saying “open doors” is fully true. If God asks them to host some people for a bit they are more then willing to say, “We’d be glad too.”

What did you say about being a tug-of-war champ?

AHHH!! Sorry everyone! I know it’s been forever since I posted :/ We have been SUPER busy and there just hasn’t been any time to post. Well today you are going to get a bunch of posts J So, I know a lot of you saw my facebook status about getting in touch with my former AWANA tug-of-war champion self and a lot of asked what that was all about. Well last Friday (7/15/11) Mário and Lancy planned a water game day at the park with the youth group. We played games and afterwards Mário wrapped-up a topic they have been going through for quit some time. The games were SO MUCH FUN!!!! I in fact even sent a message to some of the JR staff at VBC with instructions on how to play the games because I know any JR (or really anyone) would love to play these game. We played kickball, water balloon toss “Cat and mouse,” “Numerical Circle Tag” and my personal favorite “Slip and slide tug-of war!!!!!!!! We played girls against girls and guys against guys and then we played girls against guys! The girls won 2/0!!!! We were all a little excited to beat the guys! It was really fun for me because as soon as they announced that girls vs. guys and we were lining up all the girls said “Heather in front! Heather in front!!!!” my favorite spot!! Once we won twice there was talk about me and the mom of one of the youth (who is in the army) was super proud of me standing up for strong women lol! It was awesome! After that I felt more like a part of the group which was super nice.More importantly Mário gave an amazing devotional. His passion for the word and that the youth grow in there faith was amazing to see displayed. He talked about being girls and guys who serve the Lord wholeheartedly and with purpose. It was a great message for the youth and for me.
Girls vs. Guys! We won 2/0!!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What’s “a Casa Amarela”?

Well anyone who speaks Portuguese knows it mean the yellow house, but only those who live in Miratejo (where Lancy, Mário, and currently I live) know that it is a giant yellow house where that is used for a lot of different things. Today it was used for a festival! The church was asked to participate and decided to sing, dance, give away tracks and evangelical bracelets, face paint and do balloon twisting! I became the resident balloon-twisting expert… if you can call me that… Over the past few days I learned some of the basics; a two balloon flower, a dog, two types of swords, and a giraffe! I tried to learning a hat and both a one and two balloon butterfly/bee but those were WAY over my head! I also attempted a heart but that kinda flopped :/ It was really fun but I think I’ve had my fill of balloons for a while… at least a day or two…I don’t think my finger has ever hurt this bad from tying balloon! But it was worth it. It was hard to understand everyone when there was a line and parents and kids everywhere but I got through it was the help of some of the youth from the church. The rest of the activities also went really well! The line for face painting never ended! We had to start turning away kids because we had to leave and the festival was ending!! I was sad to stop but my finger was thankful for the rest! Well that’s all for now, there’s a bday party for one of the youth right now at the house and I should go attempt to use my Portuguese, wish me luck! Love y’all!

A super cool bounce house for the kids to play in!

Members of the church singing at the Festival

Some of the people who heard about God through the singing

An example of my balloon twisting skills... This isn't actually one I made at the festival, just something I made up from a left over balloon... I'll show better picture later :)

The damage done to my finger... doesn't do the injury justice... it was purple for a while :/ But it was worth it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hit the ground running

July 7th 2011

Well today is day two! Kind of… I had half a day here yesterday but it was a full day! I arrived about 45 mins later than planned but quickly found Lancy and Mario waiting at the entrance. It was good to see familiar faces! We got packed up in the car and started talking, after tell them I was ready for a nap Lancy said “well… unfortunately… no time for a nap. We have Bible study, prayer meeting and choir practice!” Looks like I hit the ground running! We got home, I got ready and we were off. The meeting was great! We did some worship, prayed through some stuff for the church, families, friends, I was even on the list! It was cool to pray in Portuguese and English, especially after pray in Spanish and1 English in Guatemala only a few days ago! I love it! It’s awesome to hear God praised in every language! After praying Mario lead the Bible study in Matthew, the parable of the net. On Saturday there is a festival and the church has been invited to sing, so I got to hear them practice their songs and I even tried to learn some of the songs. I got one and a half… Well there is MUCH more but we are leaving. I’ll post more later! Love you all

Friday, May 20, 2011

What’s in a name?

I figured in order to answer that question you should have the verse first, so here it is: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

As I was looking into naming my blog I messed around with a bunch of ideas, but finally settled on this verse as a theme and decided it would work for the title as well. Over the years this verse has always been one that stuck in my head. Especially now as I close a long chapter in my life and look forward to the next one, I have started to try to discover how this verse actually applies to my life.

As I look back on my life, I can see how God’s hand has been involved the entire time. From the difficult times to the easy, fun times, He was there. I can see that God had a plan and I trust and am assured that He still does. As I look forward on my future I am full of excitement and wonder for the opportunities and plans He has for me. I don’t always see God’s plan, sometimes I wonder how He can use a situation “to prosper” me, but He’s looking at the whole picture, from beginning to end, and I only can only see a small speck of the picture. That’s one of the things that this verse helps to keep in my mind; He knows, I don’t, and it’s a huge comfort to know that He’s got it under control and He loves and cares for me. So I will continue to cling to the verse, and continue to trust the truths it contains, in the good times and the bad.



What’s this all about?

There are actually two answers to that question: one short term, one long term. Short term: this summer I will be spending about 2 ½ to 3 months in Europe (see future posts about summer plans) and will be using this blog to keep everyone up-to-date while I am gone. Long term: after returning from Europe the plan is to use this blog to keep in contact with friends and family who I have limited day to day contact with. As I embark on this new chapter in my life I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of changes and I wanted somewhere where I could easily share this journey with everyone.

So that’s what this is all about. Please follow the blog, read, comment, share, if you want to keep up-to-date, if you are just bored and want something to read, or any reason in between. I can’t wait to see where the future and this blog go!