A Year in Retrospect

     January 1st marked one full year since we bounded a plane for Brazil. Making that trip was the hardest yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Traveling New Years Eve wasn’t my first choice but that’s just how it worked out. As the clock struck midnight we were flying somewhere over South America. We couldn’t see much below except the lights at that hour. Our plane was large and only half full. At midnight, people started wishing each other a Happy New Year. Some were dancing in the isle and singing. Some were toasting and drinking. All were speaking Portuguese. It was overwhelming and I cried a little. I’m not even sure if I cried because I was sad, nervous or happy. Maybe I was just overwhelmed with all these emotions at once…?

     Then we landed and God opened door after door for us. I’ve learned so much just in this past year. Most stuff I knew already but God has either solidified some things or taught me new things. I want to be like clay in the Potters hands. The clay doesn’t fight the Potter but allows itself be molded. I pray I am always moldable. Here are some things I learned…

I have learned that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…
Of course I knew this already, I have the scripture memorized but it’s never as true as when you’re stretched beyond your limits or out of your comfort zone. That’s the moment you realize where your abilities end and when God’s begins. I love those moments although they’re painful at times. I tend to dream small and reachable but God has bigger plans for us, doesn’t He? I’ve been through some things this year but God has always shown me that He had my back. I’m still learning to have faith; before I worry.

I learned to be more diligent with the time I spend with God…
It’s not that I didn’t spend time with God before, but it takes more discipline when you’re not close to your mother church for events, showers, revivals, fellowships, etc. I found I need to seek God on a deeper level. I don’t have all the “add ons”, per se. I need to dig deeper to sustain me, especially because I don’t understand much of my husband’s sermons yet. I’m so grateful for technology though. What a blessing! I can visit any of our fellowship apps and get fed spiritually. I also have friends that send me sermons or post them for downloading. I don’t know what I’d do without them. If you’re far away from home and want to stay refreshed it’s important to utilize these things. They can be a lifesaver!

I’ve learned that my children have their own relationships with God…
Because life has slowed down considerably after moving here I’ve learned so much from observing my kids. I did spend a lot of time with my kids before coming here too but there’s definitely a difference. We’re going through all this together. We’re learning a lot together. It’s not always me teaching them now. They teach me what they’re learning as well. I think that’s brought us closer. It’s another thing I love. Through their own struggles I’ve seen them say they need to pray or read their bible or, in my daughters case, here a sermon in English. I love that when they’re out of their comfort zone they’re learning to seek Jesus. Oh! That brings me so much joy!

I also learned that God doesn’t need me… as much as I thought…
In church I’m used to working with people, giving them rides to church, encouraging them, giving advice, praying for them, even babysitting at times, etc. Anything to help. Here, I can’t drive (to scary) and because of the language barrier my ability to encourage is limited. However, I can pray and be a friend! Praying doesn’t always “feel” like I’m doing much but that’s a pretty faithless way of thinking, isn’t it? I’ve learned God loves these people more than I do. He will build His church. He just needs me to love them and pray for them. Everything else will come in His timing.

I’ve learned that my husband is so much more supportive than I could ever imagine…
I’ve already known that my hubby was awesome. That’s why I married him! He grew up with a single mom and 3 sisters. It’s shaped him in some ways so I definitely think I benefit from that. He’s used to emotional. He’s used to indecisive. He’s used to seeing the ups and downs of being female. On top of that, he’s saved. A God fearing, Christian man. He’s always been good to me. I love that this year we’ve gotten even closer and learned many new things about each other. After 17 years of marriage we’ve learned more about each others weaknesses and strengths and ways we compliment each other. There’s been areas that being a missionary has been a struggle for us, things that I didn’t know would be such a struggle for him or I. Now I know how to better pray for him and him, I.

I’ve learned that my daughter is turning into a confident, godly, kind person with her own burden for souls and a prayer life…
I love seeing this side of her. The other day I say next to her to pray before service and was amazed at hearing her pray! I thought, “When did she grow up and learn to pray like this?” She turned 12 after moving here and will soon be 13. Wow! The decisions we make and places we live will have tremendous impact on our kids. Coming here was an easy decision ONLY because we knew it was God’s will. We’ve had to make smaller decisions that were harder because we didn’t have that certainty or confirmation. There’s times she misses her friends and family. She’s been lonely but this girl WANTS to be here. She loves being here. She doesn’t ever want to leave. She has her own burden for people. She feels blessed to have this experience. She’s expressed that one day she can share her adventures with her kids. She has vision. She has her own relationship with God.

I’ve learned that my son has a huge sensitive heart that desires relationships…
He’s our social butterfly. He thrives on relationships and fellowship. He’s only 10 so as long as we carve out plenty of time for him he’s happy. He also loves it here too. Last Sunday, my husband prayed for the Holy Spirit and he wanted to be included. He’s barely starting to feel the responsibility of having his own relationship with God. No two kids are the same and you can’t parent them that way. We’re getting closer and learning about his struggles and strengths. He accepts everyone. He never holds a grudge. He considers a 19 year old guy in church his best friend. He just loves everyone. I’ve learned of many things that are hidden in his heart this past year. I pray God continually helps us to help him sort them out.

I learned that being alone and away from familiarity doesn’t mean my kids are getting the short end of the stick in life but that being in God’s will gives them purpose, memories and the adventure of a lifetime.

I’ve learned how big my mother churches heart is for the nations…
Many years ago it was prophesied that our church would touch many nations. There was 100 people in church then and we were so excited. Fast forward 20+ years and their burden is still as strong. I can’t wait to see all that God does through our church and continues to do through our fellowship!

I’ve learned who my lifelong friends are…
Out of sight, out of mind is such a horrible saying when talking about relationships, but it’s true! It’s a good way to find out who stays in touch with you. I can talk to my best friend once a month and I still feel as close to her as ever! It’s not about quantity but quality. I love that many people will send me a random text or email. Just to let me know they’re praying for me. Keep em’ coming Peeps! I’ve also made several friends this past year that I may never meet but I know we’ll be friends forever! We email and pray for one another. It’s nice and important to have friends fighting the same battles.

I learned how to encourage myself in my weakest times…
Pastor Warner made this quote at a conference. I had many notes in my bible from that sermon! It’s so true. There will be challenging times, lonely times, frustrating times, etc. But can we encourage ourselves in those times? Can we say, “It’s gonna be ok?” “God will work it out.” “I should read my bible, pray, here a sermon, etc?” That’s a better alternative than freaking out and cashing it all in. I’ve gotten better at applying that great advice this past year.

I’ve learned the true meaning of the words “from scratch”…
I LOVE to read recipes, I love to google recipes or try recipes. However, many recipes aren’t truly from scratch. There’s no cans of diced tomatoes here. Can you imagine!? I have to dice my own! The audacity! Need stewed tomatoes? I have to boil them myself then cut!? What am I? A cavewoman? I’m just kidding, of course… It doesn’t take much to fill in the gaps of a recipe and it’s kinda cool learning to be more efficient in the kitchen. The only area that Brazilians cook easier than me is probably their use of pressure cookers. Now, I can totally see how much faster this thing cooks and they’re always trying to get me to cook my beans in them… BUT! There’s just so much more flavor absorbed in charros beans when cooked for hours that I know a pressure cooker wouldn’t give it the same flavor. They beg to differ, but I won’t budge! Don’t mess with my beans.

I learned to value family more…
I miss my family but we actually talk more now that we’ve got a “Hangout” room just for us! We can take advantage of time spent with family and not talk or visit as much when our address is close. I’m thankful we keep in touch more. I lost an uncle a few days ago. He lost his battle with cancer. We hadn’t been very close in a long time but he’s my uncle, he’d been a tremendous blessing to me when I was younger. He’s a wonderful man to many people. I hate missing his funeral. He made his peace and I’m so happy about that. He will be missed. Love you Uncle Lee!

I’ve learned about hospitality…
I actually think this is a strong point of mine. But Brazilians take the cake! They even make my kids feel like royalty. They’re just so kind and hospitable. Even to the point of being pushy! Lol! They just want you to know it’s a blessing to serve you. So, just say yes to that offer of juice, bread, coffee or cookies! Tip: Serve yourself a small plate the first time because nothing makes them happier than seeing us get seconds!

I’ve learned that stuff is just stuff…
I think my first post was about this. We found out we were coming here last October then had 2 months to sell everything and pack. Wow… Those were crazy times. The funny thing is the year before, my husband had blessed me so much and we bought most of our new furniture then. Even new dishes. I didn’t have much time to enjoy those new things but I’d give it all up all over again if God asked me to.

I’ve learned to have patience…
Pioneering in itself will teach you patience. The church or people don’t always grow as quickly as you like but isn’t all of life like that? Brazil is notorious for being laid-back. Which is just a nice way of saying “slow” . My patience is always tested as we wait in the many lines. It used to drive me crazy when we’d buy groceries. You’d think people were paid to take their time. I’m much more relaxed about it now. I’m a master waiter now. Just kidding… God is still working on me in that area.

     There’s so much more but I’ll leave you with that. Thank you to anyone that takes time to read these blogs. I love making new friends and I thank God for the fellow Pastor’s wives that have contacted me or left comments. We’re in this together!

     Here’s a pic of last Sunday pm service and one of a fellowship we just had. We’re happy to report that Bryan’s converts have yet to miss a service! Praise God! Pray for us as I pray for you!

download_20150112_004442 farkle

Beijos,
Tchau!

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Author:

Happily married Christian mother of two. Gave my life to Jesus at 17 in 1997. He saved me, cleansed me, turned my life and set my feet upon His solid ground. Love Brazil & the US, love to read, love technology and love to homeschool my children and date my husband.

8 thoughts on “A Year in Retrospect

  1. Your decision to leave all things behind and come to Brasil was a great blessing to us. We really thanks God for your life and for all your family as well. May God be with you all blessing you, and dropping over you his wisdom to keep moving on His will and His work.

  2. Wow😊….amazing. Thank you for everything you share. We love you , we miss you, we are praying for your family. Thank you for everything you are doing. You are a blessing to McAllen and a great example to us. I’m sorry for your lose. I’m also glad he made his peace. I’m happy for the turnout of the services y’all are having . I laugh and cry and take notes from what you share. Thank you XOXOXO – Jazmin

  3. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year girl. I remember saying bye to you guys at the airport. That’s a lot of learning your doing over there. Lol… love you and miss you friend! We are praying for you guys… take Brazil for Jesus!

  4. Melody once again I loved your post! Though we don’t know each other very well I feel like I can hear your heart~your a great writer and I experience Brazil with you.Lot’s of prayers for you guys.BRAZIL for JESUS!

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