Thursday, June 21, 2007

Beading Bracelets, a Bad Tooth, Baby Leahanna & the Buses Go Where?

Oi! Showers were good . . . sleep was better . . . breakfast was great . . . and the day was full!

Today was lots of planning and logistical coordination in preparation for Saturday's arrival of our two volunteer teams. Lecio & Ilma have been working extremely hard to coordinate the facilitation of three concurrent VBS's for next week, including setting up translators, locations, worship music, meals and of course, the arrival of the kiddos.

Because we are being blessed with nearly 60 volunteers, the plan is for there to be THREE different VBS locations near THREE different favelas - allowing us to conduct two VBS's per day in each location and hopefully touching the lives of nearly 1,000 Brazilian children!

Besides the 60 people who are Brazil-bound tomorrow (travel safe one and all!), there have also been dozens of people back home helping prepare. Last week, a group of Fort Worth folks made 350 beaded bracelets for gifts to our VBSer's moms - and guess what? Still not enough! So, off to the Brazilian bead store we went.

Ilma's sister, Lucy, arrived to live in Recife today after an 18-hour BUS ride from the northen coast of Brazil, so she naturally had to leave us to go pick her up. Three American gals in a Brazilian jewelry-making store with no one who spoke English . . . now that was a riot! Thankfully, two employees must have decided we were mildly entertaining and agreed to help - and 37 bracelets later, we are almost finished. (We confess . . . our math isn't always the best in America - much less in Portuguese!- so we must shop again tomorrow.)

Unbeknownest to us, Lecio had to have dental surgery this morning. Didn't get the whole story, but something about pulling a tooth, cutting some roots, bleeding gums . . . . none of it good. But he's a fighter, and with cotton stuffed in his cheeks, he still plugged away at the last details for next week. Transportation in Brazil to and from the favelas by bus for that many people is no easy feat. Truth is, transportation anywhere in Brazil is a little challenging. When Lecio asked one of us to drive out to camp today, no one raised their hand! Bikes whizzing by on either side from both directions - few traffic signals - and no noticeable seatbelts . . . driving in Recife makes Dallas traffic at rush hour on Central look tame.

Speaking of camp, Julie M. & Illma drove three hours round-trip today out to the VFC land to pick up more supplies that were leftover from last year. Seeing all that has been given to share with the Brazilians is an excellent reminder of how plentiful our lives are in the U.S. Here, nothing is wasted and nothing is excess . . . recycling is simply how you live, not a way to "go green."

Finally, a toothy smile from Baby Leahanna . . . she laughs, she dances, she sings - and all for a few simple items of clothing that were donated from the States. It was Christmas in June for her today when her daddy unpacked the duffle with her gifts. She is truly joy personified!
Until tomorrow, Ciao!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Three Gals Say "Oi" from Brazil!

"Oi" (Hello) to all from Recife!
The eagles have landed - though by now, we probably feel (and smell) more like tiny little parakeets than that grand majestic symbol of home.
After a nearly 24-hour journey, Cindy Boehme, Julie Miller and Julie Hatch have arrived in Recife with six bulky carry-ons (who knew backpacks could get so heavy?) and exactly 420 pounds of VBS supplies, crafts, snacks and gifts for our Brazilian missionaries.
We had a very short connection in San Paulo, but thankfully, our next flight was delayed by 30 minutes. Cindy's quick-thinking offered a way around a very LONG line (legally and honestly, we promise!) to get all that luggage rechecked in the nick of time, and we caught our TAM flight with a few minutes to spare. We were blessed that the 6 gigantic duffles - filled to exactly 70 pounds each! - made it all the way through to Recife without any real problems.
Lecio, Ilma and darling 15-month old Leahanna Wanderley were kind enough to pick us up at the airport. That cutie-pie toddler with her babbling songs and toothy grin sure brings a smile to our weary eyes! After a nice lunch at a local burger shack (burgers can mean chicken and ricotta cheese on pan-tortillas, if you like . . . yummmm!), the Wanderley's took us to their homey apartment across from the beach to relax and begin planning the schedule for the next week.
However, planning lasted all of about 30 minutes. When Ilma saw Julie H. literally falling asleep while tearing apart perforated cards for Cindy, pity got the better of our hosts, and they graciously allowed us to return to the hotel for a power nap. You know, that Ambien CR seemed like such a good idea last night on the plane . . . guess we didn't realize how long the "CR" could last?
Never fear - a little disco nap did these bodies good. Cindy & Julie M. have returned to the Wanderley's to hammer out the details for the week, and Julie H. (that's me) has hopefully finally learned how to translate from a Portuguese blog instruction site into this English posting . . . I knew that Portuguese primer I bought on iTunes would come in handy!
Until tomorrow, we say "Obrigada" (thank you) for your prayers (okay - my iTunes primer only got me so far) and "Boa Noite" (good night)!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

STM Trip Prayer Schedule

Friday, June 22 - Saturday, June 23
Pray for: Safety as we travel~Luggage~Family Members who will remain here during our trip~CCBC Missionary couple - Lecio and Ilma Wanderley~Pastor Josue~VBS Supplies.

Sunday, June 24
Pray for: Setting up and preparing for 3 separate VBS's~Enough translators, cooks, musicians, volunteers to run each VBS~Unity with our Brazilian and Michigan Team Members~Children and families of the favelas~Sunday night worship experience.

Monday, June 25
Pray for: 750 children with eager hearts and open minds~Protection from Satan~Good communication with kids~Smooth VBS~No fear (us or them)~Transportation needs.

Tuesday, June 26
Pray for: Clear message to children~Fulfilling work for team~Opportunity to share testimony~Evangelism training that night~Team Unity and time to journal.

Wednesday, June 27
Pray for: Team health and attitude~Kids accepting the truth being taught in VBS~Parents trusting Christ~Set-up for Mother's Dinner~God's provision.

Thursday, June 28
Pray for: Finish strong~Kids accepting Christ~Follow-up on seeds planted~Healthy goodbyes as we wrap-up 4 day VBS.

Friday, June 29
Pray for: All day VBS at Fishing Village~Safe travel~Blessings and encouragement to everyone who has helped us all week.

Saturday, June 30
Pray for: Team stamina~Vision for VFC's Kid's Place and Hope Ranch~Rest and relaxation~Strong fellowship.

Sunday, July 1
Pray for: Safety as we travel home~Reflection on how the Lord used our Team~God's calling on our lives.