Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So pretty much the biggest confidence booster EVER in learning a new language is when you get the chance to translate for a person who doesn't speak it. They depend on you for survival, primarily in ordering coffee, and there is sweet satisfaction when that coffee arrives exactly how they wanted it. I'm on Cloud 9 this week.

So, it's been a while since I've checked in with you, and you are about to find out why. Remember that reference I made to not being the only American in the church anymore? Well, here is your explanation. Last week a new American family arrived to join the missionary work at Comunidade. They were missionaries in Porto Alegre, the complete opposite end of Brazil from Natal, for a few years in the early 00s. There they met and worked with Roberto and Marisa before their move to Natal, and due to family needs/priorities had to move back to the States for a couple years. They have spent those couple years resolving those family needs/priorities and raising money to come back to Brazil. They finally made it, with a mom, a dad, a 6 year old boy, a 3 year old boy, and a grandma. And they are my new best friends.

I seriously had not realized AT ALL how much life as the Lone American here had affected me. I didn't realize how much I missed the company of Americans (not because We are a superior people, but we are a similar people, and they look like me and sound like me!). In the span of one short week I have already been blessed so much by their company, and have spent some serious quality hotel-pool time with the boys.

As John and Samantha (the parents) have been running around trying to buy furniture, a car, an exterminator, etc, Joann (grandma) and I have been hanging out with Jonah and Andy (the boys) during the day, primarily keeping them out of the hair of Mom and Dad and right smack dab in the middle of the hair of every hotel guest who happens to be in the pool at the same time as we are. :) I have learned all kinds of things about Spiderman, as well as how quickly kids pick up on new languages. It's quite remarkable, actually. As Jonah accidentally kicked a girl in the face in the pool on Monday, he smoothly turned around and said "tudo bem." (It's all good...) Wow.

We haven't only played, though. I've had some great conversations with John and Samantha about how we can work together in our ministry. I explained to them how HUGE of a window of opportunity English provides in outreach for the church, and they were gung-ho to start meeting my readers, holding English Bible studies, hosting get-togethers, etc. Every single one of these things were ideas I already had, but they beat me to the punch in laying them out on the table. It has not been easy for me to plan these kinds of events all alone, and so having teammates who are just as excited about it as I am definitely gets me jazzed about all the possibilities! This morning John even stopped in on my advanced group class to answer a quick question we had, and I saw a twinkle in his eye as he was able to participate, even if only briefly, on the discussion we had going on.

The Jewells (the whole family) are definitely an answer to a prayer I didn't know I was praying. When I prayed for God to bless this work, He had them in mind. When I prayed for God to grow this work, He had them in mind. When I prayed for God to keep me happy and sane, He had them in mind. When I prayed for God to keep me from getting lonely, He had them in mind. It's only been a week since they arrived, but already I can see how God's timing is impeccable!

Please keep their family in your prayers as they begin this adjustment. They've made it once before, which definitely helps, but it's still exhausting and challenging. I'll definitely keep you updated, and even if you aren't interested I'm afraid I won't be able to help it. They seem to already take up a rather large part of my life here, and I'm all smiles.


Cyndi said...

Your ego will be continually boosted when I get there because you will have to do lots of translating and I will need coffee!

Cyndi said...

Did I say ego? I mean confidence.

Cris said...'s definitely an ego boost as well. Especially when sometimes I mess up the language and accidentally tell a complete stranger I need to poop. My ego needs to be stroked after times like that...

Anonymous said...

The Jewells sound so great! I am so excited about the English-speaking devos and all that! I've been reading their blog, and they sound like a truly great, godly family. And I'm grateful to God that He has provided American companionship for you.

I'm glad to be a conifdence-booster for you. :) I keep mixing up my languages. By the time I get to Natal, I'm going to be speaking Espanuguese. I'll learn fast. After all, I know one of the single most important questions to ask: "O que e isso?" Thanks Rosetta Stone.