Friday, November 13, 2009
MINISTRIES WE SUPPORT
I wanted to take this time to thank all of you, our friends and family, for your financial and prayer support. We are very grateful for the many ways we have been blessed. Some of you have sent care packages, and we cannot tell you how much that means to us. You don't realize all of the little things that you will miss from home until you spend some time away. The food, coffee, books, clothes, and toys have been such a blessing. The kids are beside themselves with excitement every time a package comes. Thank you so much. The biggest hits have been macaroni and maple syrup!! The things that I miss the most (besides you all) are: feta cheese, rice milk lattes, half and half, and my favorite iced tea from Haggens!!! None of which are really sendable (is that a word)?!!!
Your financial donations mean a lot to us as well. I wanted to give you an idea of how your money is helping us. It is pretty cheap to live in Brazil, but there are a few ministries that we like to support. Thanks to your generosity, we are able to be a blessing to the following people:
As you know, I am teaching English here in Brazil. I currently have about 40 students (down from my original 70). This is the end of the school year and many of my students are finding themselves too busy to "add one more thing" to their schedules. About half of my students are getting ready to graduate from the missionary school (CTMDT) in just five weeks. We will look forward to being a part of their graduation. These students, like many college students, are struggling to make ends meet financially. We asked them for a small donation for English class since we feel it is important for them to pay something. When someone pays for something it places more value on that item ( in this case-education).
I spend most of the money that I make on school supplies and providing snacks for my students. I love to spoil them with homemade chocolate chip cookies. They have fallen in love with American cookies and believe me when I say that I make A LOT of Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have had several cooking classes where I have taught my students to make this popular dessert!
I mentioned in a past blog that there are favelas (poor villages) on the hills behind our house. The people from the favelas walk through town every day there is garbage pick up (three days a week) and search through everyone's garbage to salvage whatever they can. Occasionally, we like to put out a bag of clothes, dishes, or food for them to take. They will take ANYTHING. One day I put out several dirty, worn out pillows that had been left at our house by the previous renters. The next morning they were all picked up by someone from the favelas. This was when I realized the truth in the statement "One person's garbage is another person's treasure." Now I don't throw anything away that is even only partially functional. Your money helps us to buy food for the poor in our community.
We support two local ministries. Our friend, Claudia, runs a small elementary school called The Creche. This school was opened to provide affordable, Christian education for the struggling families of our neighborhood. There are several families from the favelas that attend The Creche. They are charged a very minimal amount to attend school (again, there needs to be a price tag attached to create value). The Creche often struggles to pay the monthly bills. It is necessary for this school to remain available for the local families so we would like to continue to support The Creche even after we head back to the United States.
The final ministry that we support is one that our friend, Leo, started just out of the goodness of his heart. He rents a house a few blocks from us and is one of the CTMDT students, as well as one of my past English Students. Leo is an artist. He calls it "workmanship". He makes jewlry and sells it on the streets. This hobby has allowed him to meet many street people and other artists. He often befriends these people (many of whom don't have homes) and offers them a place to stay. At one time he had nine people (including a baby and a toddler) living in his two bedroom home. You can imagine the cost of feeding that many people. Milk for the children alone is a small fortune. They are all struggling artists and our heart is to help them out when we can. Thanks to your donations, we have been able to provide this household with food, milk, and even a Hedge (hammock) to sleep on.
Our own personal ministry is yet to be defined. Marko continues to pray about his involvement with i2 Ministries, and I consider my ministry to be teaching English to the local Brazilians. Beyond that, we know that we have been called to bless people in whatever way the Lord shows us, and you have been a part of that blessing.
I will leave by saying that we appreciate you all very much. I cannot begin to explain what your prayers, emails, care packages, and donations mean to us. Above all you are an encouragement to us- to our hearts, and to our spirits. Thank you and Deus abencoe voce(God Bless You)!