Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Happy 32!

Last week Byron and I celebrated our wedding anniversary without a lot of fanfare.  No roadside billboards this year!  No kids at home to leave behind for a date night.  Just us.  

On the actual day, Thursday, May 30, I was feeling super under the weather.  Somewhere I picked up a bad sore throat bug. But I drug myself out of my sick bed to head off to the big city for a happy lunch at the mall with Byron and our bestest pals, Jonas and Andressa.  

We enjoyed a walk around the airconditioned mall and did a little big town shopping before heading home to eat a frozen pizza (warmed up, of course) and renting a YouTube movie for the occasion.  

Marriage isn't all honeymoon, fancy dates and extravagant vacations.  It's all about the little things that make you happy to be together and content.  I'm glad for a man that surprises me from time to time with wild and crazy events, but who also knows how to stay at home and just delight in us.

Looking forward to the next 32 and seeing where the Lord leads us along the way!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day Faraway

So yesterday was Mother's Day in just about every country you can think of.  It was in the USA and here in Brazil.  Just for the record, Father's Day here is in August!  And Valentine's isn't exactly the same and it's not in February, but those are other stories for other days.  So it was Mother's Day... humpph!  Here I was in a faraway place without my mother, without my sons and without my grandbabies.  Well, what's a person to do but feel a little downtrodden. 

Thankfully I have a pretty great husband.  I have to tell you he's not always been as great as he is now.  But with age he has ripened into the incredible guy he is today.  Saturday night he suggested we go out - for Mother's Day.  We went out for grilled meat on a stick.  We even drank Coca-cola (we're trying to avoid all that sugar and don't splurge too often on sody-pop), but it's for a holiday and so we did.  When Byron prayed for our meal, he thanked God for me and for the fact that I was a good mother!

When we got home, my marvelous man told me to pick a pay to watch movie on YouTube.  We cut off Netflix a little while back, so this was also a splurge.  I chose I Can Only Imagine since I'd been wanting to see it and hadn't yet and it was only US$3!  I enjoyed it!

Than my most special pal gave me a feet rub and a back massage to top off the evening.  I decided on an easy breakfast and lunch to avoid using the stove and hubby person didn't object.  More brownie points for my man!  

I received the longest text message I've probably ever gotten from one of my boys in honor of the holiday, and appropriate happy messages from the other two.  I got to talk to my mother and my father.  And my bestest friend who's young enough to be my daughter bought me a gift from my favorite perfume shop!

Then it was time for church.  We have Sunday School and our main worship service all in the afternoon and evening.  Sunday School was a little earlier because of Mother's Day and a special planned event with snacks, tea and coffee.  Byron was giving the devotional.  He did a great job.  Then it was time for each child to present their mother with a little gift...

That's when I felt the big hummph... who was going to give me a present?

My oldest son!  He, he, Byron jumped up and proclaimed that he was my oldest baby and that I take very good care of him indeed.

And he said some other silly things in my ear as the girl who was taking all the mother's picture took ours.

And I was grateful and felt very blessed...

After we arrived back home, we were able to successfully video chat with the grands after a brief spell of no Internet connection that left us wondering if it would work out.  The kiddos were very talkative and the conversation was great.  

 I went to bed a happy Missionary Mama.

Years ago my mother was in my boat, far from her son and daughter and grandbabies.  She is my example of grace and poise in moments like these.  She worked hard to be a constant part of our boys' lives in spite of the distance.  She made trips, she sent cards and letters and goodie boxes.  She mailed cassette tapes with stories.  She spent lots of money on long distance phone calls.  

I'm trying to Mom.  It is not an easy task.  But I am thankful for technology that keeps us in touch and for God's grace that gives us peace - on my end and on yours.

Happy Mother's Day!

Last furlough 2018, Bedford, VA

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Beauty of the Semi-Arid

Where we live, it hardly ever rains.  
The dirt is mostly sand.
Things are brown and most plants have some sort of thorn.

But in the midst of the dry and the not so colorful, 
there is much beauty.
Everywhere we look, 
we can see the hand of God in creation.

Sometimes you have to look a little harder 
than you might in other places.
It might require some patience, 
but it's there...

Seems many give up on the Sertão [Brazil's semi-arid Northeast Region], but if you are willing to look and patient enough to stick it out - you can indeed find beauty!

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,

 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind

Verses from Psalm 104

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Crazy Experience

And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, 
he shall by no means lose his reward.  
Matthew 10:42

On any given day I have at least one person clapping at my gate.  Some are regulars.  Some are poor.  Some are homeless.  Some are jobless.  Some are street vendors.  Some are mentally challenged in some way.  Some ask for money, some for food, some for a cup of water.  Some I've learned their names.  Some are regulars.  Some I never see again.

I decided long ago when my boys were little that I wanted to be an example of kindness and respect to all the people that pass by.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes it's inconvenient.  And yes, sometimes I have little patience.  But I try.

Recently one of our all time regulars has been showing up every day.  Asking him his name was always complicated.  I had heard him say something like Belteshazzar?  He likes cars and always wants to know if I wouldn't like to wash mine.  He's not young, but not old.  He always asks about William and if he's in the United States now.  He always wants water and asks for a piece of bread.  He's dirty and he's crazy.

For about three weeks I'd seen this friend almost every day.  I began to wonder if something had changed in his life.  Conversations are always random, but one day he said something about a person dying.  I wondered if he had lost his caregiver and as a result was wandering more during the day.  Our little town has several wanderers.

Friday night we were coming home by car from a Bible Study at church.  It had been raining for hours which is super unusual in our semiarid region of Brazil, and was still every so slightly drizzly.  [Our weather is great for homeless wanderers.]  I spotted our crazy friend walking down the sidewalk towards our neighborhood.  I thought it was odd.  Night time, rainy and heading in what seemed like the wrong direction.  

We had to drop off some people and went home.  Sure enough as soon as we'd gone into the house, here he came.  He didn't stop to clap at the gate, but was standing right at the front door wanting to come on in.  He was asking for water and bread and started telling me he was coming in.  Something didn't seem quite right.

I called for Byron.  Byron saw what I had not, our friend had a huge gash on the top of his head.  Byron asked what had happened to him and called for me to come and look.  It was bad, long and deep.  I'm not sure why I hadn't seen it right away.  We started to think and thought we needed to take him to the little hospital in town.

We didn't have too much trouble getting him in the car.  He likes our car.  I took my documents in case I had to "register" him at the hospital and I was sure he didn't have any.  I wasn't exactly sure how we would be received with this dirty street fellow, but decided I'd try to act professional and keep my Yankee voice inflections in check.

Thankfully we were treat with respect and issued right into a room. The desk clerk knew the man's name!  Miguel!  I went with our pal with a name and noticed I'd lost Byron!  Byron has had bad experiences at this little hospital with blood and fainting.  He had chosen wisely to sit in the waiting room.

A male nurse began to clean the wound.  Mr. Miquel didn't want to lay down and didn't want to hold still.  I figured I was his best hope and went into Mama Mode.  I folded his hands onto his chest and held him down gently.  As he rambled about leaving and getting up, I told him I'd never give him another cup of water if he didn't lay down and hush.  It worked for a bit, but when the needle came out for stitches, it was all over.  Mr. Miguel went loonier than normal and jumped off the bed.  Doctor's visit over.

He began to ramble about going home to my house and told me to give them my address as his!  He would need to stay there at least three days he said... 

In the middle of all his shouting and jumping he quoted his own address three times!  Ah, could it be.  We were quite sure what else to do so we put Mr. Miguel back in the car he likes and he was quite content until we turned towards his address and not ours!

It took a couple of stops but we found his house and his sister.  The explanation of who we were and why we were bringing her brother home late at night with a cut that smelled like medicine was interesting to say the least.  I suggested that she call the town's only ambulance and ask for help.  Our friend, Miguel apparently takes some medicine that he had skipped that night and we may never know how he got hurt.

I can only hope he got some medical attention with his sister's assistance.  I can hope that Miguel's family noticed our kindness and concern as a result of Christ's love.  I plan to stop by and check on him this week, he, he, now that I know where he lives!

Let all that you do be done in love.  

1 Corinthians 16:14

Thursday, April 4, 2019

An Afternoon Off

Sometimes as missionaries we really just need a day off, but finding the time is hard.  Two weeks ago I was feeling that need for a big city grocery store.  Byron had a whole list of car parts and boat parts and project parts that he needed and could only get in the "big city."  I tagged along with a good book and my cell phone to wait it out while he hit the parts stores so I could have my hour at the mall in town.  It was worth the wait.  

We just can't get some things in the little interior town where we live.  A trip to the big city can be refreshing.  It can also be disappointing as even there often what you want to out of stock, no longer available, etc., etc.  It's like a snipe hunt and you never know what you will find.  Thankfully that day, our finds were good and "happy."

Taking off a day to just do nothing, now that's a rare thing.  It's also a hard thing.  Missionaries are paid to work, and we take that very seriously.  Staying on task and on target are important.  But down time is needed for reevaluation and for rest.   

Yeah, that might be my finger at the bottom of the pic!

This past week Byron needed to make a run to the other side of the big lake near us to check on the old camp boat.  It's being used by a group doing making underwater maps of the lake bed.  It's parked and utilized as a base.  From time to time Byron has to go and move it to a new spot and just make sure that all is well.  

He asked if I'd like to go along and we could stop at the dunes on that side of the lake on the way home for a picnic supper.  Off we went with snacks in tow.  It's a good hour and a half drive.  We spent about 30 minutes at the boat and had about an hour of time at the beach. I had never been there before and was impressed at how large the dunes were and how much it look just like an ocean beach.


I'm not much for swimming in the lake, but I went prepared and waded in.  We had a great time and even though it was just us (no kids to act silly and splash about), we enjoyed the moment.  It wasn't long.  It wasn't a whole afternoon.  We combined it with a needed trip.  But it was just what a doctor would have ordered.

Missionaries need little breaks and sometimes big breaks to keep going on all those other days full of activity!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Big City Finds

We needed milk.  At least that's the excuse I stated to my missionary man.  We live in a small interior town.  Our milk comes in boxes like the one of the right with Betania written on it.  It's long life milk.  Fresh milk is not available.  A liter of box of milk here in town is almost BR$5.00, but in the big city!  It's much cheaper, you know!

So off we went!  My hubby really knew that I just needed to go.  I needed to walk about the air-conditioned mall and eat at an "American" restaurant!  There are two malls within an hour of us. One with a big grocery store and lots of other neat shops, Burger Kings, McD's and even a Subway.  The other with some interesting stores, a BK and a Subway.  

We had our lunch in one at Burger King, cruised the stores and made some purchases at the big grocery store.  Then we stopped downtown to buy a new Bible for me.  Oh, I've been needing one desperately as James and Peter are falling out of the one I have.  Hubby made some stops at car parts stores along the way.  Then we crossed the river into the second of the two cities close to us and hit mall #2!  Whew!  A two mall day!  

We got subs from Subway to take home and hit the bumpy road back to our little interior town.  Sort of silly in some ways, but refreshing.  Even old missionaries need a little cultural boost from time to time.  

And look at all that good stuff I found!

This is my thankful for my good man face!

Well, I Miss 'Em!

March 2019
There's my babes!  Chase and Mariyah.  My Stateside grandbabies. When we travel people here ask about them and about my sons.  And I enjoy telling about them, but I don't say too much.  Just don't want to monopolize any casual conversations.  If the questions are specific and if someone seems genuinely interested, out pops the cell phone and I hunt for my file of photos.

Often I hear new grandmothers closer to where we live chatting about recent visits with theirs.  I keep quiet and enjoy the thoughts of my recent phone conversations and video chats.  I don't speak up too much about how I make YouTube videos for my babes, send them regular real paper cards and pray for them every day.  I don't share my hopes that when they are big enough they can spend their summers in Brazil with Mama and Papa.  

February 2018
Nope, I just wait.  That's the life of a missionary mama.  I can be patient.  I send gifts from time to time and rest in the fact that they know who I am.  They know where I live.  And they know I love them.  And I know we will be together soon enough.

I take great delight in knowing what they've been up to.  I enjoy seeing them grow and hearing their voices.  I am so grateful for the fact that their parents take great care to stay in touch.

I pray for God to guide their little hearts to repentance and acceptance of Him as Lord and Saviour.  I pray for their mommy and daddy to always have enough money, enough love and enough time.  Bless them, God.  Bless their parents.  Thank you for them.

Happy 32!

Last week Byron and I celebrated our wedding anniversary without a lot of fanfare.  No roadside billboards this year!  No kids at ho...