Saturday, November 29, 2008

Andy's Fourth Birthday

Andy turned four on November 26, less than a week after we moved into our new house.  Because his birthday fell on a Wednesday, we took advantage of the fact that we would be at the church to have his party there after the evening class.  A lady from church made his favorite cake - chocolate with chocolate icing.  I bought some balloons and hot dogs. When we arrived at church for the study, there were several people waiting to help me put everything together for his party.  Because I was exhausted and it was about ninety degrees, I was only prepared to blow up some balloons.  They assured me that balloons alone would never do, and they broke out all the party decorations from the church closet and arranged a very festive room.  They also cooked the hot dogs and prepared the drinks.
We expected about twenty people to stay after the lesson for his party.  Not only did everyone from the church stay, but we had several visitors celebrate with us as well.  In the end, it was closer to fifty.  Fortunately, we had enough hot dogs, drinks, and cake for everyone - all of which was served to our guests by other church members.Then came the presents.  They showered Andy with gift upon gift. 

Everyone seemed to have a good time, especially Andy. 
I was very grateful for all the help I received from the diligent church members who were as interested as I was in seeing Andy have a great birthday celebration.  Because I was so hot and tired from the relentless heat and recent move, they took it upon themselves to run the whole show.  I was able to take a few pictures and sit under the fan for most of the time.  Despite my pitiful state and thanks to our church family in Natal, Andy had (in his words) "a weally gweat pawty."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last night we went to Geraldo's house.  He lives about twenty minutes outside of town in a very humble neighborhood.  Since his baptism a couple months ago, he has been trying to get all his neighbors to come to church with him.  Some of them have come but others are afraid of church because of past emotional or financial abuses they've witnessed in organized religion.  Others simply can't afford to take off work or pay the bus fare it would require for their families to make it into town.  So John had the idea to take church to them.

We scheduled to meet at five o'clock.  We picked up some bread, ham, cheese, and drinks and made it there at about 5:30.  The rest of the crew showed up at about six.  We actually got started closer to seven.  That's par for the course around here. 
There were about ten adults present, including Geraldo's wife Socorro and Francisco, who now lives with them.  John talked about the importance of community.  He explained to them that God comes to us in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He also made the point that we can best understand the Bible if we learn it as part of a community and not try to understand it all by ourselves.  He introduced the idea for a weekly study, in which we will read together through the book of Mark, that will start next Saturday.  The group seemed very receptive and welcomed us back.
The kids, who numbered about the same as the adults, played together in the house and watched a video while we talked on the porch.  Jonah and Andy had lots of Portuguese practice.
Afterwards, Geraldo fired up his popcorn machine and we all hung around talking for a while.  We're very excited at the prospect of sharing the hope we have in Jesus with people of Geraldo's neighborhood - people who, as he tells us - need the hope and purpose he now has.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Party

The kids love Halloween, but Brazilians don't celebrate it.  So we took advantage of the fact that LST throws American themed parties for their English students and put together a Halloween party that was fun for the Americans and educational for the Brazilians.  

Jonah and Andy were Power Rangers: 
Mom and Dad got in on the action too.  With a little creativity and some simple materials we became a butterfly and a butterfly catcher: 
Which worked out well with Cris's flower costume: 
Whoa, it looks like that butterfly has had one too many flowers already.

Here's the rest of the gang making some last minute costume adjustments before the party:
We started the evening out with a mummy wrapping contest.  Each team had about two minutes to make a mummy with toilet paper:
The judges chose this this scary mummy as the winner:
The prize?  Well, chocolate of course.

Then we had a parade of costumes to show off our creativity and to judge the best costumes:

The woman at the well took second:
And this hillbilly family won first place:

The prizes were chocolate and more chocolate.  We wanted the Brazilians to get a feel for what Halloween is all about.

Andy gets it.  His favorite part was definitely all the sugar:
Jonah's favorite part seemed to be this Jedi costume.  He followed this guy around like a stalker, asking him about every detail of his outfit.  I know what the boys will be next year.
Towards the end of the evening, we served hot dogs, popcorn balls, and other sugary goodies.  Then everyone went trick-or-treating at the classroom doors of the church.