Friday, January 29, 2016

Hit and Wait, Part 1

Some people "hit and run," that's an accident with a car where someone hits another vehicle or pedestrian and then leaves the scene.  Once Aunt Michele did a "hit and wait." 

When we still lived in Fortaleza, I did my best to avoid driving in rush hour traffic and especially tried to not go into the downtown area.  Fortaleza is a large city of close to two million people.  If I was going to go shopping by myself downtown or to the doctor, it was better to just go by bus.  I would often take all three of the boys from our house to the MK school by bus.  We would take one bus out of our neighborhood to a big terminal and then catch a bus to another big terminal.  From there we would have to catch one more neighborhood bus to get to the school.  Usually the boys were very good and even enjoyed the rides.

When William was about 5 and Dalton was around 3 and Greyson was just a wee little thing, one of the little boys at our church got very sick.  Almost from one day to the next, his legs went wobbly and he couldn't stand up.  His name was David and he was around 6 years old.  I went with his mother to see a doctor about his legs one day, and we ended up going all over town on many days to see many doctors as the boy got worse and worse.  On one of these trips, we ended up out close to lunch time and we were all getting very hungry, but worse than our hunger was the fact that the traffic during lunch hours downtown was heavy.

As we were coming back from downtown towards our own neighborhood, I decided to take a side street hoping we could go a little faster with fewer stoplights than the main drag coming out of downtown.  It was much quicker and we were moving along nicely.  It was a more narrow street but had two-way traffic, cars going in both directions.  There were also cars parked on both sides of the street.  I could see ahead of us was a big delivery truck double parked in front of a store.  It was a truck like the one below.  The roll-up doors were open and I could see men moving on both sides of the truck with hand-trucks and tall stacks of crates of beer.

Just like the street and truck were I was that day
The big beer truck was blocking my lane of traffic, but cars were carefully passing by on the left.  I could see that if I wanted to get on by I would have to hustle along or the other side of traffic that was blocked off would all start moving forward and not let my side get through any more.  So I sped up just a little to get in line to pass by.

Now, remember I was in Uncle Byron's old red truck.  It looked a lot like this one but older...






It was big and wide.  Uncle Byron always said that he liked it that way because people respected it and got out of the road when they saw it coming, or something to that effect.  The space I had to get through was sort of small so I hung close to the side of the beer truck as I went by.  All of a sudden from nowhere out popped a man backing into the street with a stack of beer bottle crates on a dolly right into my path.  I swerved a little to miss him but had nowhere really to go.  The side mirror on the right hand of the car whacked Mr. Beer Truck in the back.  I moved out of the narrow spot and stopped on the other side in front of the beer truck in an open space on the side of the road.  Mr. Beer Delivery Man promptly fell in the middle of the street after we had passed by and stopped and rolled all over the ground moaning loudly.

David's mother looked pale as a ghost.  It was the mirror on her side of the car that had got the man.  Baby Greyson and little David were in the back seat.  Greyson was in a car seat and I think David was in one of the bigger boys' booster seats but I'm not sure.  She quietly said, What do we do now?  I said, Well, if  I get out of the car the man will think he can take us for lots of money since I'm an American.  You get out and go see if he's dying or whatever.  She started crying and boo-hooing.  Is he dead?  Ohhhh!   I said, No, he's not dead.  Look he's rolling all over the place.  Finally she got out and went back to see.  I stayed in the car with the boys.  Then she came back and said he was okay but his back was hurt.  Ah, and she said the mirror was laying in the road.  Well, I jumped out of the car, because I couldn't leave the mirror.  Byron would have a fit.  So I went ahead and got out and picked up the side view mirror.  The glass was broken but the rest was intact.  We didn't have cell phones back then so we couldn't call anyone.  I asked a person with a small business on the other side of the road to call and report an accident and ask for an ambulance.

Someone helped the man off the street and I spoke to the head man of the beer truck. He said that the hit man had not been looking when he stepped out in front of me but that it was my responsibility to "rescue" him according to the laws and to take him to the nearest hospital.  We debated this for a bit and it seemed the best thing to do as it had been an hour already waited for police or someone to show up.  We informed the person with the business of what was going on in case someone from the police showed up and off we went with a groaning beer truck man in the back seat with the kids to the hospital.  Oh, and David's mother was still crying.

When we got to the hospital, guess who was there?  The police!  As the man got signed into the hospital, the police took my statement and said I would have to wait until the man was seen before I would be allowed to leave...

Come back next week for the rest of the story!  Let me just say, I didn't have to go to jail.




Friday, January 22, 2016

A Cave and a Prayer



In the summer of 2014 while we were in the States on furlough, William decided he would like to go on back to Brazil.  The whole family couldn't go at that time but we had tickets scheduled for July and William wanted to go.  Uncle Byron had wanted to take at least one good camping trip while we were all still together.  So we set to some quick planning for a weekend camping trip and looked for a place where the boys could do some spelunking.  Do you know what that is?


Once William had read a book about the man that discovered the Mammoth Cave system and he really wanted to go there.  Sadly Tennessee was just too far away for a weekend trip, so we looked for a cave with spelunking that was closer and came upon the Organ Cave in West Virginia after some web searches.  We found a campground nearby and made reservations and got set to go.


The weekend looked to be rainy and things were not going very smoothly.  Dalton wasn't real keen on going on the trip.  Our plans were rather haphazard and we were not real organized.  There were some tense moments but somehow we got off and convinced Dalton to go along to Roanoke and spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandaddy.

The rest of us got into WV in time for a kayak ride down the Greenbrier River.  We got our tent set up before it was too dark and managed to grill some hot dogs and eat a camp kind of supper.  Even Aunt Michele rode the rapids, but that's another story!

The next morning we went off to find the Organ Cave and see about a spelunking tour.  We found the cave and were informed that the long, deep inside the cave kind of tours had to be booked in advance.  It would not be possible to do that day.  Sadly it was the only day we had as we had to head back the next morning.  We took the regular tour with a tour guide and tried to console ourselves with that.






We got in the car to leave.  Down in the gully spot where the cave entrance was we had no cell phone signal. Uncle Byron drove to the top of the hill and the little highway and stopped so I could try to call another nearby cave that advertised adventure cave tours, but they said the same thing as the first.  It was almost lunch time, so I said, Hey, let's go back down to the cave gift shop area where there were some picnic tables and have our lunch there.  So down we went, all trying not to be too sad.  I said a little prayer asking God to work something out for the guys to still take the big tour that they had wanted.

After a bit, we saw the lady from the gift shop/office stick her head out the door and look all around.  She saw us and started waving.  She said one of her spelunking tour guides had finally called back and said he could come in and do the tour and that he was on his way right then - could we wait a bit?

I believe God answered my prayer that afternoon.  William, Greyson and Uncle Byron got to go down deep into the cavern with lights on their heads, crawling around on their tummies through small holes with water and mud, and see parts of the cave that few ever get to see.  I stayed above ground!
William later said that it wasn't Mammoth Cave but it was one of the coolest things he had ever done.

The whole trip was by no means perfect but we made a memory, fulfilled a boy's desire and saw an answer to prayer...


p.s.  This week our new little puppy, Spunky, came down with some sort of intestinal virus.  She became very dishydrated and close to dying.  Since we live in a place without much medical help for dogs and cats, I wasn't sure what to do.  I did talk to a vet that had helped us some with Tiny and Girl and the cat.  He gave me some suggestions and I did some research online.  After four days of force feeding and giving liquid with a syringe, little Spunky is coming back to life.  She wagged her tail yesterday and played a little and is eating and drinking on her own now.  She is getting spoiled eating special foods and waits for me to fix them very patiently. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Believe in Joy


 "You Have to Believe in Happiness"

“You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes.
I know that a bird chirps none the less
 When all that he finds is crumbs.

You have to believe the buds will blow,
Believe in the grass in the days of snow.
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing,
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

You have to believe in happiness—
It isn’t an outward thing.
The Spring never makes the song, I guess,
As much as the song the Spring.

Aye, many a heart could find content
If it saw the joy on the road it went,
The joy ahead when it had to grieve,
For the joy is there—but you have to believe.”

Douglas Malloch

 

Where do I find my joy?  

In my work?  In my family?  In my collections and hobbies?

Scriptures tell us to look to God for our hope and joy...

1 Chronicles 16:10

Find joy in his holy name; 

let the hearts of those who keep on seeking the Lord rejoice.

  

Psalm 43: 4

Then I will approach the altar of God, 

even to God in whom my joy finds its source. 

Then I will praise you with the lyre, God, my God

 

So what about you and me?  I spent a close to two years with a situation that left me ragged, worn and weary with little reason to find joy.  Some days were dark, as well as many nights.  What kept me going?  

  • Written daily gratitudes for all things positive for each day

  • Volunteer work with my church and a local high school

  • Prayer and scripture reading and meditation

  • Random runs to my favorite department store

  • Chats with friends and family on rough days 

  • Giving myself over to God and the direction of my husband

     

Every day wasn't perfect and every moment did not find me with a joyful smile on my face but a hope for future joy allowed me to make it through one day at a time.  If you are facing an overwhelming situation, I encourage you to find the joy in each moment and work hard to leave the problem with God.  Look for help and don't be afraid to ask for it.  Keep doing good and don't give up!


2 Chronicles 6:41

“And now may the Lord God arise, to your place of rest, you, and the ark of your power! Let your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and cause your godly ones to find their joy in what is good.

p.s.  I'd like to add the importance of listening to uplifting music all throughout the day.  While in the States, I enjoyed the many Christian radio channels that are available while driving about and in the home where we stayed.  Driving with the radio volume way up and the windows down can change a person's outlook even when you are on your way to a sad meeting.

Good resource about how to live with more gratitude...


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Dogs?





It seems that after our two dogs passed away in November that all the stray animals in the neighborhood knew!  First, Countess the cat showed up - while the dogs were still alive but on their last legs so to speak.  Then a few days after we'd actually buried the dogs, the little stray that we ended up calling Wishbone appeared.

Stray dogs and cats are a big problem in our little city and all over Brazil and many third world countries.  In a place where there isn't even enough money to help people, it's hard to find funding to help animals.  Added to that problem is that many individuals give food to stray animals that roam the streets, but they don't invite them into their homes or take care of them.  People are very hesitant to consider the good of making sure that there are no strays.  They think it's a problem for the government and not their own.  I hope as you boys study more about government and history that you will see the need of the individual in society to do his own part to do good.  But that's another lesson and story to another day.

One day while we were all out in the front yard we heard our neighbor on the corner give a yell. Someone had just driven up near her gate, opened their car door and thrown out three puppies.  She ran towards the car shouting - Don't do that!  Stop! Come back here and get these dogs!  Uncle Byron heard her yelling.  He said she also yelled some Portuguese words that he had never heard before.    Her husband jumped in his own car and took off after the people but they were fast and gone.

Now you need to understand that our neighbors think more like we do culturally and politically because they were raised in the more modern part of Southern Brazil.  They are very responsible and see the need for each person to do his part to make a city or country work.  That's why they were concerned about this person just dumping dogs out of his car.

After the neighbor man came back home, he and Byron looked around for the little dogs.  It was already dark by then.  They saw them but the dogs ran away from them.  Not really sure what to do next since it was dark, our neighbor put on some water on his front porch and we all tucked in for the night in our homes.

Early the next morning one of the little dogs showed up at our house...



We were very happy to let it in as we thought that our new dog could really use a friend.

The day after that another little dog that looked just like the little black puppy showed up at our gate.  She must have spent the time hiding out somewhere or another and heard our new puppy, her sister's bark and found our house.  We weren't really sure what to do, but we let her in!  Then Uncle Byron said, what will we do if the third of the three dumped dogs shows up?  But no one has seen hide nor hair of that last dog that our neighbor thinks was lighter colored.


The three dogs seemed very happy together but I wondered if one of our missionary friends or maybe another neighbor might like the dog and I posted a picture of the two on Facebook.  Our missionary friends in Petrolina decided to adopt the extra of the two sisters and she went to live with them this past Thursday.

So far the dogs and cats get along okay.  Countess is obviously the owner of the house as she must feel that she was here first!  Sometimes she lays in the doorway and won't let the dogs come or go!


Job 1: 21 says... "the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."  Seems God took away Girl and Tiny but quickly replaced them with animals that had no homes and needed a family!



When all three dogs were here, 
Greyson suggested we had a dog laying under every chair, 
and if we got any more dogs, 
we would have to go out and get some more chairs.

Ah, the one we kept is here in the front of this last photo.  
We named her Spunky.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

And the Internet was Down Again...


Wednesday night it rained a lot in Sobradinho.  Rain is unusual where we live.  And when it does rain, it's sort of like snow in Atlanta - nobody knows how to drive or what to do.  Dogs won't go outside and everyone moves real slow.  Sometimes people will go out at first and play in the rain if it's during the day - especially if it's the first rain after a long time without any.

And when it rains our Internet usually goes hay-wire!  Electricity frequently goes out and whatever it is that makes the Internet reach our little city by radio waves also goes loony.  The power went off three times at church on Wednesday and sure enough the Internet service we have went offline.  It didn't come back again until today - Saturday - three days later!  And there is nothing to do except wait!  And read books!

I hear you've been getting lots of rain there in Texas.  Hope you guys are finding lots of fun, inside sort of things to do.  Maybe your mama will let you build a tent house out of sheets where you can sleep one night.

Look for me again, next Friday for a new, exciting story from the real life of a real missionary aunt.

Take care!

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Cat, New Dog

Happy 2016
 

In November of 2015 we lost our two faithful canine companions - Girl and Tiny.  Girl had survived two furloughs without and the loss of two other dogs who had been her pals.   Both from doggie diseases for which there is no real cure or treatment in our part of Brazil.  Tiny had made it through our year in the States in 2014 with flying colors and was in the prime of life at 3 years old.  Both contracted canine calazar which is transmitted by sand flies.  Both had to be put down as the disease has no real viable treatment except for very expensive shots that must be repeated frequently and dogs remain carriers.

Countess the Cat showed up around the time the two dogs were in their last days.  Neither dog cared much because of the weakening effect of the sickness.  One afternoon the cat just walked right in and the dogs just watched and slightly growled.  She stuck around and we decided to keep her.


Wishbone showed up not long after that.  She was a street dog that had been sleeping under the shade of cars on our road.  One day Byron gave her some water and she followed him around all day long after that - just like the lost puppy she was.

Convincing her to stick around has been a little rough after we invited her in because she fit under and through our front fence.  After we had been fairly sure she had no owner, Byron fixed the front fence and she has been "in" and happy ever since.  She's very timid and not super active but she's content and learning our language.

She's already learned to "sit" and we are working on other basic skills.  


I never wanted a cat in Brazil.  There are many strays and I wasn't sure how we could ever keep a cat "in." We had the cat neutered right away and she stays right in our yard most of the day and never roams very far.  We also didn't want to add to the already overflowing population of strays with kittens.

Doggie Woggie is now fenced in with no route of escape so we won't worry about neutering her to the time being as money is low right now and she's safe.  We just wish she was a little more aggressive and would chase the bad cats out of the yard - not the orange cat - just all the others!

With our new pets we enter a new year.  Not sure what it will hold for us.  But God does.  I think He sent the new cat and dog and I know He will show us what and where and when for the days to come.


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 ...