Dougie

Since my last post I’ve been asked more about Douglas so here’s the full testimony about his life. I wish everyone could meet him in person. He’s truly a joy to be around. His smile goes from ear to ear and the fact that he finds joy in the simplest things that most of us take for granted makes him a blessing to be around.

So… Here it is.

Here he is with Pastor Genaro

Douglas is 18 years old and has had a difficult life. He’s the 4th child in a family of 8 and was born unwanted like many of his siblings. He’s never known his Dad and his Mother barely speaks to him. The day he was born his mother left the hospital without him. She ended up sending one of his older brothers to get him from the hospital later. This is how life began for him. For some reason he was more unwanted than the others and he felt it. He grew up feeling sad, rejected and lonely.

One Christmas a young woman, in her early 20s and from their neighborhood, stopped by their house. She noticed that the family was sitting together eating, everyone except for Douglas. She asked, “why is he all by himself?“ His mom simply stated, “cuz he’s not apart of this family“. He was 5 years old at the time and still remembers that comment like it was yesterday. That comment and many more afterwards fed into all the depression and suicidal thoughts he would experience later on in life.

The young woman’s name was Emanuela and that day she told his mom, “Well, if you’re not gonna take care of him, I will.” Douglas’ mother just shrugged and continued eating. Day after day Emanuela would stop by and check on Douglas. She’d bring him food, snacks, and anything else he needed. For the first time in his life he felt like someone cared about him. One day she made him promise to be a good boy and never to get into a life of crime or drugs.

Years later, when Douglas was 9 years old, Emanuela surprised him with a trip to the movies. He was elated with joy at the experience and felt extremely blessed. While heading home after the movie that night, some men opened the passenger side door of her car at a traffic light. They pulled Douglas out and started beating him. Emanuela ran to him and tried to stop the men but one of them shot her in the stomach 3 times and got away with the car. She was left there to die in Douglas’ arms and needless to say, that moment scarred him and he’s never truly gotten over it.

At the age of 10 he felt so broken and depressed that he began cutting. He had promised Emanuela that he wouldn’t do drugs or break the law and he kept that promise. However, He turned to cutting as an outlet for the pain he felt inside. It helped him to deal with the fact that no one loved him and he didn’t love himself either. That same year was the first time he tried to commit suicide and he tried many times after that, never succeeding.

Life at home got worse as well. One brother is often violent with him, hitting him and putting a gun to his head, his mother has become more distant and now there are other mouths to feed and never enough food to include Douglas. He is used to going days without food. He’s also excluded from celebrating holidays with his family, never even celebrating a birthday.

Fast forward a few years and a friend of his has introduced him to the dark internet game called ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’. The game has different steps that present a new challenge each time that an administrator gives you. You must send a picture to prove that you completed the challenge before you find out what your next challenge will be. The last challenge is always suicide.

While on his 30th challenge, he was walking and a police officer stopped him because she thought it was odd that he was wearing long sleeves on such a hot day. He always wore long sleeves to hide his cuts. She began to probe into his life after seeing the scars on his arm when she grabbed his arm as he was trying to walk away from her. She took his phone and began to look through it. She came across his text messages about the Blue Whale Challenge and proceeded to give him a pep talk and he’s convinced she began to track him somehow because she’d often just “show up” where he was and check on him.

Eventually, he arrived at the last challenge which was suicide. He’s plan was to jump from a bridge to complete it. As he stood on the edge of the ledge looking down, he took the final step off the bridge and felt a tug backwards. Someone had caught him by his collar and was pulling him back! It was the same police officer. She twisted his ear and gave him a massive scolding. Making him promise to change and find something to live for.

After that, he was still cutting and thinking of suicide. A friend of his that was a Satanist, began hanging out with him more and even took him to a satanic gathering in the woods. He felt frightened at what he saw; chanting, black robes, etc. He told Douglas, I’m going to help you kill yourself. I can provide a room and a weapon when your ready. That gave Douglas a lot to think about.

A couple days later his friend said he was meeting a girl in the park and for Douglas to go with him. When arriving at the park his friend said, “let’s find her and leave, this park feels ugly with those Christians here”. Douglas didn’t know he was about to be confronted with the gospel.

He went to check out the concert going on, while his friend begged him to leave; but he says he felt drawn to it. A guy name Marcilio from church approached him and began witnessing to him about Jesus Christ. He didn’t get saved at that moment but he felt intrigued by what he was saying and wanted to know more. He decided he was going to go to the church the next week. His friend mercilessly tried to talk him out of it, to no avail. He went home and threw a few razor blades away that he had, hoping for a change.

During the altar call, the next morning at church someone approached him to see if he wanted to repent and ask Jesus into his life and he did. He said he felt a huge weight lifted off his shoulders after that. Milito then asked him if he had anything on him to harm himself and he threw away a cutting kit he kept with him in his backpack, then later at home he threw away the rest.

He hasn’t been the same since. His situation at home is the same, but he isn’t. Instead of fighting back when things get heated with his family, he just walks away. Everyone notices a difference in him. Even his posture has changed and he smiles constantly now. He no longer wears long sleeve shirts to hide his scars. Instead he’ll tell people what Jesus has done in his life when asked about them.

A week after praying a prayer of salvation he was at our church music outreach, except this time he was witnessing. He ran into some people he knew and they said, “Wow, you look so different. What happened?“ to which he replied, “Jesus happened! “

Now, Douglas is surrounded by people who care about him. The church threw him his first birthday party with cake and some gifts and he’ll be celebrating Christmas for the first time soon as well. He says God has given him a new family that cares for him. He is so appreciative of even the simplest things in life. God has already opened many doors for him and he says he’s called to preach.

At his first men’s discipleship he received a word that God was going to bless him with a family of his own one day. His life is a miracle and his greatest joy is going out and sharing that miracle with the world.

Recently, he wore a tie to church for the first time! He’s a serious man now.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about his life as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about it. Pray for Douglas and that our fellowship would continue to send and make impact all over the world.

God Bless – and for my American friends, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Melody

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Good Things Are Coming

Hello Peeps!
Hope this blog finds y’all well. If not, well, then I hope it at least encourages you a little.

Things have been going really well lately, but before I get into that I wanna back track a little.

I’m not sure if some of you remember my post called ‘If it’s Not One Thing… ‘ where I wrote about my back troubles, among some other things?

Well, after getting some MRIs while in the states, it turns out I have 2 herniated discs, 4 protruding discs, and a tear in one of them as well.

And I have no idea how all that wonderfulness happened. 🤔

Continue reading “Good Things Are Coming”

My Brother’s Keeper

In this post I wanna talk about family and personal responsibility.

I’ve been changing some things in our home regarding the way we work together as a family. Just like most families, a lot of things change as our kids get older; new problems arise, as well as new attitudes. The obstacles we have as parents aren’t going to be the same ones we had when we were raising toddlers.

The struggle is not as simple as when they’ll take their first step or how to get enough nutrients into our picky eaters.

If only it stayed that simple.

Now we’re raising individuals. Individuals trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in life. Individuals who have their own tastes and desires, gripes and fears. Now we’re trying to shape minds and attitudes.

Now, I’m hardly an expert. I’m figuring all this out as I go. I’m picking the brains of those that have gone before me and succeeded. I’m scouring my bible for godly wisdom and direction.

I believe it’s my job to be an expert on those living in my home.

Continue reading “My Brother’s Keeper”

If It’s Not One Thing… 

Do you ever feel like life gets ahead of you sometimes. Like, before you’re done dealing with one problem 3 more have popped up?

Yes?

Sigh… Ok good, I’m not the only one.

So what do we do when things get overwhelming? Honestly, sometimes I just wanna hide under a rock. Sometimes,  I’ll joke with my husband, “I’m going to hide under my rock now!” The “rock” of course, being my bedroom. My place of solace, where the boogie man aka life, can’t reach me.

Continue reading “If It’s Not One Thing… “

Sweet 15

Olá y’all!

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Yes, I did just say that! Haha! What can I say? I’m a southern girl livin’ it up in Brazil. Well, maybe not “livin’ it up” but I’m definitely trying to make the best of my life here.

Anyhow… my sweet, amazing, beautiful daughter just had a birthday and not just any birthday either, it was her “15th birthday”! I’m actually looking more forward to her 16th birthday but she’s half Mexican so her 15th should be special too, right?

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We decided to celebrate with a Mexican themed party and it was sooo much fun.

Mexican culture is hardly anywhere to be found here in Brazil, with the exception of 2 or 3 Mexican restaurant and lots of paletas, so we figured it’d be fun to bring some of the culture to them! Well, Tex Mex culture anyways….

There were some decorative things I had to make myself, but I don’t mind the challenge and when Manuel came and preached for us he brought me some stuff I’d bought from Amazon for decorations.

Continue reading “Sweet 15”

Impact

Impact. Isn’t that what we all want our legacy to include? That we had impact?

Whether it’s in the ministry, in a nation, in the lives of others or maybe even in our trade. We all desire to matter and to have impact.

I’m just like everyone else. I desire to make a difference. I desire to make an impact somewhere. I desire to leave this earth knowing that my life had meaning.

Lots of things that we pour our hearts into can be thankless. Parenting, for one. You always hear that parenting is a thankless job. I don’t necessarily agree with that at all, btw.

Continue reading “Impact”

A Taste of Brasil

Hey guys!!!

So how are things with you all??? No seriously! I wanna know. Don’t forget how important your comments are! Nothing makes me happier than hearing from y’all, especially living the way over here.

ouro nava fam

Not that long ago we had a special visitor! Now, we’ve actually had lots of visitors since we’ve been here. Any missionary knows how special it is when people invest and come preach for you. Not only is it a blessing for your church but…..oh how it feeds our souls as well! Can I get an A-men!?

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Anyways, back to my “special visitor”. We were so blessed to have Manuel Delgado come do a revival for us, for many, many, many reasons. One of those reasons is that he speaks Portuguese. One of the unique challenges of being here in Brazil is the language. Our fellowship is really young here in Brazil. There’s no conferences in Portuguese, no conference videos in Portuguese to bring home and share and so on.

Continue reading “A Taste of Brasil”

I Was Mugged!!! 

Hey y’all!

We’re now in the fall season slowly inching our way into the winter months…. Opposite seasons remember? After 3 years here, it’s still a little strange celebrating Christmas in summer and July being “the coldest month” in Belo.

Right now it’s usually mid to low 80s during the day and in the 60s at night. Very nice weather, indeed.

I’ve been meaning to blog for a few weeks now. I’ve gotten all my pictures ready. We had a wonderful revival recently and y’all know how much I love to share our church events. However, we also moved recently and my kiddos started homeschooling so that’s taken up some time.

Continue reading “I Was Mugged!!! “

Desires of My Heart

Hey y’all!

Today I wanna get real. Let the nitty get gritty, the rubber’s hittin’ the road… And so on…

I wanna talk about desires. Will. Destiny. The hard stuff.

The bible says that if you,  “delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart”.


Sounds so nice, doesn’t it? There’s even tons of clipart!

So… I mean,  what does it REALLY mean to,  “delight yourself in the Lord and he’ll give you the desires of your heart”? It’s such a pretty and quotable verse,  isn’t it? It’s one we say to feel good and hopeful inside.  Continue reading “Desires of My Heart”

Boa Viagem

Oi gente!!! (Hey guys!!!)

I just returned from a two week trip to the US! It was an awesome trip even though it began a little rough because of Texas’ and Florida’s bad weather, not good weather to fly in. I missed two flights and panicked but it all turned out okay. At least I learned some things that’ll help when I travel next time!

Our mother church blessed my daughter by sponsoring her to this years South Texas Believers Boot Camp. She was so happy. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever have the opportunity to attend and had made peace with that, so it was an unexpected, wonderful surprise for her. It was special for me too, because I attended the same camp when I was a 17 year old new convert. I attended the 4th annual boot camp and she attended the 23rd….man, that makes me feel old! The experience changed my life dramatically for the better. I was a drug addicted rebel when I went. I had only been to The Door Church twice before going to the camp and came back completely changed and never touched a drug again. Her background is very different (Thank you Jesus) so her experience was different but with the same result. God dug deep and exposed issues of her heart and she’s thankful. We’re all thankful!

Continue reading “Boa Viagem”