Friday, October 18, 2013

Vala's Pumpkin Patch - Furlough Days

   Well, though our schedule has been very full with visiting our supporting churches, I thought I'd post some pictures and let you know that we are able to get out and do some fun activities once in a while.  

    We recently got to visit Vala's Pumpkin Patch near Omaha, NE.  Of course the kids loved it and we all had a great time!

  And what good would a pumpkin patch be without a pumpkin-eating dragon, right!?!!

Thought this was interesting: this is a string of all the pacifiers that they have found on the premises since 2002!

The kids also enjoyed playing all kinds of neat things including a giant spiderweb, slide, and bouncing pad!


Then we got to take a little train ride tour of some of the other parts of the patch.  They even had an old-west town set up for us!

Then they had this awesome machine: a mannequin stuffed pumpkins into the machine on one end and pumpkin pies came out the other!  Wow!  If this were real, I would pay whatever the price to get one! :)

Nice little signpost here in case you need directions to get to any major international city!

Wow! So many kinds of apples throughout the years!

 And finally we got to rest in a rocking chair!  I've always known we are "small" but this was extreme! :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Johnathan's Language School

   Johnathan has really enjoyed language school here in Brazil. He has class everyday for about 20 minutes with our language teacher. They go through his picture books for vocabulary and then make simple sentences with the words. Sometimes they "play store" or find other ways to interact and use Portuguese in common settings. She very patiently corrects his pronunciation and verb conjugations since the verbs are much more complex in Portuguese than in English.  

   The strange face he makes (0:32) is because his teacher told him that one of the types of shovels is called a "cereal shovel" (grain shovel). The only "cereal" that he understands is the kind you eat for breakfast, so he turned to his Daddy and said in English, "It'd have to be clean first!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Isabele - People Of Brazil

     We enjoy this little girl from the church here.  She is always ready with a smile; especially if I have my camera! :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Léo - People of Brazil

     Léo is a great friend of ours.  After church, our children enjoy playing with him and he is always ready to help in any way needed!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Paula - People of Brazl

  I think little Paula had a great time at Family Camp this year!  Of course, with candied apples, who wouldn't be enjoying themselves!?

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Family Photo

     We were finally able to get a new portrait done of our family.  If you would like to download it to use for your church or as a reminder to pray for us, just click on the photo and download it from Dropbox.  Let me know if you have any problems.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Fish!

     Have you eaten your Holy Fish today?  This week leading up to Easter Sunday, every where you go here in Brazil you see road-side stands selling "Peixe Santo" = "Holy Fish," sounds good, right!?!!

     Obviously, this is in connection with the catholic church and "Good Friday."  Honestly, I've tried to research it, but it seems even those who practice this disagree with each other about the reasoning behind it.  Basically, from what I understand, since Christ was (assumedly) crucified on this day, they refuse to eat meat, in remembrance of His shedding of blood.  However, fish is not considered to be meat (perhaps because fish don't bleed when cut?) and so tradition mandates that you must eat "Holy Fish" on "Holy Friday."

     Obviously, this is good for business here: the first photo advertises that they accept "All types of credit cards."  The fishermen love the sales - this week alone, in our city of approximately 800,000 people,  the fishermen are expecting to sell between 400-500 metric tons of fish, according to this news article.  That's around one million pounds (1,000,000 lb.) of fish!   Almost anywhere you go, you can buy your "Holy Fish;" apparently you can even enjoy an alcoholic beverage while you wait in line, if you'd like!

     I am definitely thankful for Christ's substitutionary death on the cross, but I'm glad I don't have to eat a Holy Fish to commemorate it!

     By the way, if I have gotten my facts off on any of this, please let me know - I'd love to know about the reasons behind this strong tradition!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Giovana and Emily - People of Brazil

   We were blessed to be able to meet and befriend these two girls at family camp this year.  In the course of visiting with them, we discovered that their grandmother, with whom they often stay, lives in our suburb.  Soon after camp, Omar took our two children to go visit them but they weren't home.  However, a couple weeks later they surprised us by coming to our house and visiting us!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

John 3:16 in Portuguese!

      Our kids memorized John 3:16 in Portuguese for their Sunday School class!  This is really a tribute to Tracy's patience and time spent to reach this goal!  I'm proud of all of them!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Diana - People of Brazil

       We enjoyed getting to talk to Diana again at Family Camp this year.  Her sweet, quiet spirit made it a joy to be around her.  Her mother has raised her going to church and we pray that she'll continue to be a sweet young lady for the Lord.  I also posted a picture of her in 2011.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brenda - People of Brazil

     Here's a little girl from this year's Family Camp.  She has really been enjoying camp along with her four siblings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Praying Mantis - Postcard from Brazil

     This is actually a tiny baby Praying Mantis that we found here.  It's entire body was hardly half-an-inch in length and so I it was a challenge to get a macro portrait of him, but he finally looked into the camera - not sure if he's smiling or not, though!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Natália - People of Brazil

    Natália is the daughter of one of the faithful families in the church here.  She is a lot of fun and particularly likes to play with Mahalia.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I might just cry over spilled milk....

 Milk is one of the things we miss most. You know, real, creamy, cold whole milk. We can buy milk down here, but it isn't at all the same. Here you buy your milk in the shelf...unrefrigerated. Yes, I said "un"refrigerated.

   They "super-heat" the milk so that it kills the bacteria, and then it can sit in a box on your shelf for up to six months before you drink it. Mmmmmm. Doesn't that just sound so appetizing? :)  After you open the box, you have to refrigerate it and drink it within two days.  Everything dairy is made with this milk. You can taste it in the cheese, ice cream, etc.

This is the way we bought milk for the first several months that we were here. We used it, but somehow milk that has been sitting out on a shelf for a few months doesn't have that great of a flavor, and it's actually slightly gritty in texture - not creamy at all.

We finally discovered that some local dairy farmers were selling milk at the weekly market at the town square.  We were very excited.  It comes in these 2-liter bottles. Did you notice that they all have different caps? That's because those bottles were first used for different brands of soda. Because of the "cleanliness" (?) of the twice-used bottles, and the fact that the milk hasn't been refrigerated before we buy it (and it isn't always from that morning's milking), I pasteurize the milk. It does take extra hassle and work, but it's worth it to be able to have good milk every week.

I use a double-boiler to bring the milk to the correct temperature without scorching it. 

 When it reaches the correct temperature, I dump it into another pan that then gets an ice bath.

 Bringing the temperature of the milk back down quickly is better for the life of the milk, and it seems to help it not to pick up any strange flavors.  I stir the milk as it is cooling to help it cool faster. 

I have to do this for each 2-liter bottle of milk we buy. Here is the milk I get for my work. It's six liters of pasteurized milk that will last us (if we use it carefully) a week. In all, it takes about two hours of non-stop work every week, plus the time that Omar has to bike down to the farmer's market early every Sunday morning to buy it.  A bit of a hassle, but worth it to have good milk!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ugly Bird - Postcard From Brazil

     I post this Black Vulture just in case you think that all birds here in Brazil are beautiful and colorful!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letícia - People of Brazil

     Letícia is one of the little girls who was able to come to VBS last fall.  We were happy to have her visit with some of her relatives who are faithful members of the church here. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Has Anyone Ever Seen This Happen Before?

   I don't remember ever being squeamish about cutting into a tomato before, but when I cut into this particular one, I dropped it like a hot potato (pun intended) and gasped. I thought that it was full of worms! It looked like a bunch of little squirming varmints were popping out of it! It took me a few seconds to realize that it was seedlings that had germinated INSIDE the tomato. 

   Omar took the tomato out and shallowly planted it in our yard, but it never rooted in the ground. I guess all it was good for was giving me a good scare.....and a blog post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ernesto - People of Brazil

    Ernesto is one of the men from a sister church here in Cuiabá.  I have been able to get to know him, thanks to the Camp that the churches here all attend.  It's also nice that our children get to play together. I posted a picture of his son Óliver last summer, here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Jacaré - Postcard from Brazil

    Here in the center of South America, we have plenty of Jacaré, a type of Caiman of the Crocodile family. (Wiki)  Although we don't necessarily have them here in our suburb of Cuiabá, you don't have to go far out of town to start seeing them!  They supposedly do not harm or interfere with humans, but I prefer to keep my distance just in case!


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