Friday, August 14, 2009


I received this forward today

Look back and thank God
Look forward and trust God
Look around and serve God
Look within and find God

Notice all the action words--thank, trust, serve, find!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Waterfall Hike and Brewery

God allows us great times of R&R, and during those times, I was able to walk down to the brewery, and hike up a waterfall. I thought I'd share some pictures. There was nothing too special about the hike, other than it was fun! =)


Scripture on the side of the brewery--Psalm 37:5
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Pretty flowers at the brewery

Notice the huge leafs at one of the waterfall ponds

Myself on the hike

Pretty waterfall!

Snipits from training...

This is a bunch of random snipits from training that I loved!
  • Just because you are a missionary does not mean you need to "tough it out." "If you're sick, you're sick! Tell us, we have doctors."
  • My goal should be to make Kiev, Ukraine, home, in order to live bi-culturally.
  • It is my responsibility to understand the Ukrainians and to minister in ways that make since to them.
  • God calls families, He does NOT break up families.
  • Being incarnational does not equal being stupid! We should go as far as we can to identify with people without violating our conscience and our sanity.
  • The gospel is always offensive, we want to offend for the right reasons.
  • The most important person in the church is the one NOT in the church
Random great moment: As I was leaving the airport in Atlanta, for Rio, the man checking my ticket, looked at my passport, looked up at me, and said, "With a smile like that, I would never stop smiling." I said thank you and boarded the plane.

Side of the dormitory at INFORM (kind of like Mt. Wesley or Mo Ranch)

Sign upon entering INFORM.

The lovely girls that sat behind me during training.

Myself, Yuri, and Ruben

Communities in Rio and Teresopolis

During our training in the state of Rio, we had three different community experiences. Two different communities in Teresopolis, and a trip to the slums in the city of Rio.

Community #1 in Teresopolis
  • Greeted by a few a few families, went into a the Igreja Metodista (Methodist Church), sat in the pews, introduced ourselves, and prayed.
  • Walked around the community--the church truly was part of the community, you could walk to each members home, and observed some neat things. The children were everybody's children. There was no specific Nanny or Mother watching them, whoever was available to "take care" of the children did so.
  • I saw kids playing soccer in the neighborhood street, as there are no yards. The houses are very open, although gated at the windows. I saw tile on the outside of the homes, the houses did have electricity, front porches with cars parked on them.
  • Happy people taking care of life. They seemed content with life. :) I liked this aspect.
  • At the home we went to, we were given water and time to pray with the family.
  • The church itself was small, although had beautiful hardwood pews, an altar, and delicately created decoration made from tissue paper--it was a world map, and flags from all over the world.
  • At the church we had a time of praise and worship, a sermonette, and of course fellowship. Brazilians like to feed you. There were homemade doughnut holes, cake rolls, cheese/ham/bread, chocolate cake, and boiled milk and peanuts. Guess what I did not eat?! :)
  • Before I left I was given a gift of a cross necklace from a congregant. It is very delicate.

Community #2 Slums in Rio
  • Entered a bus stop area, I almost didn't notice some homeless people, lying under blankets on the side of the street--made me think of driving to First Presbyterian, and I felt kind of at home.
  • Where we first entered the market area, was a long dirty crowded market street. People were openly selling crack and other drugs, the children were so young, and already addicted! The streets were so tight, I thought we would hit people time and time again, but we never did, three cheers for the van driver! :)
  • The people in the streets had M-16's, machetes, and other weapons. I did not feel threatened though. They weren't interested in me.
  • We went into an Igreja Metodista. From the outside it looked like every other building, bared up and tall.
  • Inside were some lovely clean washrooms, a church decorated with pictures, hand drawn on hospital gown type material--no stained glass, and some wooden pews. On the second floor was childcare/tutoring rooms, and on the third floor, youth area/kitchen. The way everything was bared up was different to me.
  • The large group of us, broke up into smaller groups, to walk around the community. Our "tour guide" (for lack of better term) grew up in that slum. My group stopped and prayed for an older single woman, and then we went to another house, and prayed for a husband and wife.
  • After coming back to the church, we were served the most amazing Brazilian food--I have no clue what it was, but it was awesome--garlic, onion, salt, pepper, vinegar, chicken, delicious!

Community #2 in Teresopolis
  • My group went to a primarily agricultural area. We waited at a church, but never went inside. What fascinated me most about this church was that there was a 7-11 type store below the church, and the church was on the second floor.
  • Most of our time was spent walking the community--it was beautiful, I took lots of pictures of gorgeous flowers! It was obvious that the people took pride in their area, as it was very clean.
  • There was a moutain that I took a picture of, it has a woman's face...can you see it? It took me about 3 days before I could!
  • We walked a good three miles on that afternoon--oh and we even passed a golf course. Here's a picture with the Bishop and I at the course. I did not golf, we just walked and took a rest there.
  • We did stop at one home and prayed for a family--the husband is a believer, the wife is not, one of the daughters goes to the Methodist church, another daughter to a different denomination. A great afternoon!


I had my 28th birthday yesterday! I was so blessed by the people who left me Happy Bday FB messages and others who emailed me, and some people even called! Yay for great birthdays! Mom made me homemade, from scratch, pancakes for breakfast. And then she made me sausage, pepporoni, black olive, and mushroom pizza for dinner. And lastly, the traditional black forest cake, gone white. I am allergic to chocolate, so it was a blonde or white forest cake this year...Yummy! :) I sure am loved!

I am going to let God lead again

My friend posted this on her blog, and when I read it, I went whoa, I feel ya! I wanted to share this with you. So...this is not my writing, but it sure speaks to me right now!

"I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." Job 3:26

Too much of me, too little of God.
Too much worry, not enough prayer.
Too much conflict, not enough peace.
Too many accusations, not enough grace.
Too much stuff, too little joy.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30

I am weary. I am burdened. And I am sick of it. So, I am going to let God lead again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Testimonies, and more testimonies!

Personal testimonies are one of the greatest ways people can share the great things God is doing in and through their lives! I was able to hear three fabulous testimonies, and lead a devotion about sharing the great things God is doing--all within a 24 hour period!

The first testimony was from a woman who had been involved in witchcraft and casting spells, from a very young age. Her parents wanted her to become more and more important in the spiritual centers and "gave" her to the satanic gods. The ramifications of her parents choices were mighty, although the number one point from this woman was, "When God allows the Devil to work, he can do real damage; the LORD has all power, although, we should not underestimate our adversaries ways! The truth will prevail!"

The second testimony was from a woman who was born in a Christian home, fell in lust with a Christian man at a spiritual center, chased after him, renounced her faith in Jesus Christ, joined Satan's team, came back to Christ, and now is serving God! She too stressed that God is good and He is always with us, no matter where we go, however bad it is, He will always love us. No wall is too high too keep Gods love away from us.

For the devotional I was leading, I chose to speak on Luke 8:39. "'Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.' So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him." We broke up into smaller groups, praying for one another, as we proclaimed what great things God has done and is doing in our lives, we also prayed that we would be more like Jesus Christ, idolizing Him!

The coolest part of the devotion was that right before I was to give it, Vanda came up and asked if she could share a short testimony, how timely!? God is so good! Vanda shared that she had come to INFORM missions training on funds raised by friends at the church and she had been cleaning bathrooms here to pay her way. Vanda wanted to go to Paraguay for a mission trip. Upon going up to prayer mountain with a group of people, God said to her, "Do not worry, your trip will be funded!" In Vanda's words, "I stand here today, to tell you, a brother has funded my trip!"

God is and continues to do great things!

Faith (L) and Vanda (R)

Faith's Profile

One of the things that we've had to do in preparation for going overseas was take a personality profile. I laughed and smiled upon receiving mine, as it describes me to a T! I am excited to see how God is going to use these unique qualities over this next year. Here are a few things that really stuck out to me...
  • Accept Faith's need to compete and win
  • Acknowledge Faith's value and worth frequently
  • Give your undivided attention to Faith's interest
  • Faith tends to prefer to have time to process new information before responding
  • Faith tends to practice selective perception, only hearing and/or remembering that which she agrees (Mom does not like this!)
  • Faith can get bogged down in "What-If's" I have been praying and really clinging onto 1 John 4:18. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love

Church Service in Teresopolis, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

In the USA, or at least in the churches I have been a member at in Texas, the church buildings are huge! Sanctuaries seating at least 1,000. Beautiful and ornate structures--the pews, the altars, the ceiling and walls, stained glass windows, etc. In Teresopolis I had a very different experience. I felt like I had walked into a warehouse, sat down on a plastic chair that could easily break underneath me, sheets draped over a concrete ceiling, super loud praise and worship music--drums, electric guitar, voice, saxaphone, keyboard, trumpet, and who knows what else. The music was fabulous, although, I must say, I like my music so that I can hear it. I should've brought my ear plugs.

The entire church service was in Portuguese (it was in Brazil). Methodist church services in the USA tend to last 1 hour. I think this was at least 2 or 3. I really do not remember. I just remember being really hungry. I read my bible alot too. I must say, the passion in these congregants puts the Frozen Chosen :) (Presbyterians) to shame! The sermon itself was a good hour. Don't ask me what was preached on. I do not speak Portuguese.

After church we were honoured with some special sandwiches and popcorn. Yummy! We also receeived some Lye soap as a gift. Dinner at 10PM! I like 5PM dinners better. Obviously, Faith did not get, what Faith wanted.

On a serious note, the night was incredble and I felt very honoured by the body of Christ!

Side note semi funny story--I had to go to the washroom during church, so I ran out to go, but after I went, I could not figure out how to flush. I had to go get some help. Cassio pointed at the high pull chain coming from the tank. I kept pushing the "button" behind me. Ha!