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Archive for July, 2011

Mission trip to Brazil!

After looking through 350 pictures…I finally narrowed it down to a few that could tell the story of our time in Brazil the best.   To begin with, our children ROCK as world travelers!  Nine hours on a plane…running through airports…missing a connecting flight…running up and down escalators…running to catch a bus that would take us to a connecting flight on the tarmac…3 1/2 hour flight…finally landing in Natal, Brazil…never ONE complaint from either of them! 

 Waiting…

and more waiting.

 Our family, along with 3 others from Texas, were headed to Brazil to lead a Friends Camp with the  Let’s Start Talking ministry.  The Brazilian readers  had been studying the book of Luke since the end of May with different LST teams.   We were going to put on a camp like environment to encourage relationships between the local church members and the new Brazilian readers.  We all stayed in a ranch style house on several acres. There were 10 church members, 20 readers, and 13 American LST workers.  The people we met at camp were unbelievable…to listen to the stories about their lives…how Let’s Start Talking has truly changed their lives…I would go to bed every night in AMAZEMENT that I could be this little person with a little part in a HUGE life changing story.    We sang songs, played games, and held small group bible studies…

Playing games and competing against each other is always one of my favorite parts of camp.  I always love seeing people laugh and have fun…across the language barrier and the Christian/Non-Christian Barrier.  It’s the part of camp where the locals see that we like to have fun and that we  have a lot more in common with each other than they thought.   We were told over and over how much fun everyone was having!

In the first game each team was given a box of random things and they had to invent something.  My group made a balloon man that would advertise for LST…

In another game we gave each team an XXXL t-shirt and a package of balloons.  Within a certain amount of time you had to stuff the shirts with as many balloons as possible…Carter’s team won… with his team stuffing 19 balloons into his shirt!

In the last game, each team was given 200 straws and they were  told to make the tallest, free-standing structure that they could…this was the winning team!

We enjoyed the bible studies…and the games…but one of the most special times at camp was when Thalita, a Brazilian reader, decided to be baptized.  She was in my small group and I wish you could hear her tell her story.  I surely won’t do it justice, but I will try!

Around the age of 16 she chose a path dealing in witchcraft and spiritism.  She was very scared, lonely and lost.  Recently she had realized that she had chosen a wrong path and was seeking God.   She tells of trying to open the bible and being unable to see any of the words.  She took this as proof that God no longer wanted her after all that she had done. In May,  she was so depressed that she had planned on committing suicide.  The following week she saw an advertisement to read with Let’s Start Talking to improve your English.  She called and was told they would be reading from the Bible and they would meet at a church.  She felt like this was a sign from God possibly giving her another chance.  She showed up to read with the first team back in May.  She read all summer and the last two weeks she got to read with my sister-in-law Aimee.  She told Aimee that now she knew the truth and that she never wanted to go back to that dark  place again.  She said she  had truly experienced grace and wanted to be baptized.

Thalita and Aimee

Her baptism was such a sweet time for everyone that was there to witness it!

Our time in Brazil overlapped with Aimee, my nephews Kellan and Canon, and niece Cassie.  We LOVED getting to share these memories together!  These sweet little boys played their hearts out from sun up until way past sun down!  They built forts…caught HUGE frogs, praying mantis, and all other kinds of critters.  They got coconuts down from the trees and drank from them.  They had a  BLAST!

Kellan, Canon and Carter

Sweet Cassie and Caroline

Sunday morning worship…

  On the last night of camp we were all sitting around singing songs when this sweet 17 year old guy named Jonathan stood up to speak.  He told us that he had not really wanted to come to camp…but his mom had made him.  He said he had always heard people say that God had “spoken” to them and yet he had never experienced it.  When he arrived at camp he felt like God was telling him that he was in the right place.  He noticed that God was at camp with all of us because there was so much joy and peace.  I could go on and on about how grateful and appreciative everyone was that we had come to Brazil, but as you well know God uses trips like this to change everyone involved!  What a life changing experience was had by all!

We had 2 days left at the end of our trip for some sight-seeing.  We visited the beach.  Carter and Ben played in the ocean/waves all day…and sweet Caroline collected shells!  We all had fun building sand-castles…and burying Carter.

We got to go on an amazing sand dune buggy ride.  The sights were absolutely breath taking…beautiful!  There were miles and miles of HUGE sand dunes.  The kids had a BLAST riding in this car…

Carter, Caroline, and Ben in the distance.  They loved running free across the dunes…

 
God used LST to truly CHANGE lives this summer in Natal, Brazil.  I get emotional thinking that he decided to use our family to be just a very TINY part in all of it! 
 
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4th of July in Oklahoma

We had a GREAT time in Oklahoma this year!  We spent 4 days at Nanna and Poppi’s house with 8 adults and 8 children.  The kids LOVE playing with their cousins…swimming…staying up late…and eating junk food:).   We also celebrated Poppi’s birthday while we were all in town…

Here is Poppi with all the kiddos…

 After the birthday celebration we went to buy fire works and set them off in the driveway.  I always enjoy watching the kids do this…when I was a kid, there was NOTHING better than getting to buy a big ol’ bag of fireworks and setting them off!

Taylor and Caroline enjoyed watching from inside the garage:).

Carter, Bailee, and Brooks were right in the middle of everything…

Poppi helping Carter…

This was Leighton’s favorite position the entire night…on Nanna’s lap!  She did not enjoy being close to the fireworks.

On the night of the 4th we went up to the golf course and watched the fire work show.  Leighton LOVED watching the fireworks from far away:).  Every time one would go up she would OOH and AHH and point.  It was so precious to watch fireworks through her eyes of seeing them for the first time.

 

Sweet Caroline

Our attempt at a family picture…with Leighton chewing on a glow stick (safe, I know)!

The gang, exhausted from a LONG but FUN weekend!

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