Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Duck Duck Goose

Well, you didn't know it, but I've been owing you a report and pictures from the LST party we had last Saturday. The last big event I had for my readers was in November when we celebrated Thanksgiving together. Six months later I decided it was about time for another go around. :)

With Sergio's help, we decided to plan a party to celebrate the "end of the LST year." In June the normal 6-week project LST team will arrive (coincidentally, a team that just so happens to include MY PARENTS!) and "begin" the LST year. Also, a week from today, I will travel to the United States for two weeks to be a bridesmaid in one of my college roommates' weddings and spend a short time with my family. So, it just seemed like an opportune time to have a blowout. And a blowout it was!

About 25 readers and 20 church members showed up on Saturday afternoon for American birthday party food (Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Coke, cake, cookies, you know, the good stuff) and some good old fashioned American birthday party games (Duck Duck Goose and Telephone...ok, so American CHILDREN'S birthday party games.) It was an absolute blast, and everyone genuinely had a great time. The party was supposed to last from 4 until around 7, but at 8 we were still having a good time eating and talking. Coincidentally, my birthday is the 14th (tomorrow), so given that a birthday party is the easiest kind of American party to plan from Brazil, it inadvertently became MY birthday party as well as a celebration of the LST year. It was all good, though, because several readers who no longer study with me made a special effort to come when they found out we were celebrating my birthday. It was exhausting but such a blast. I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck, but it was totally worth it. It got a lot of momentum going for the weekly parties the LST team will have in June and July, and it got the church members excited to participate. All in all I'd call it a success. Now, if I don't have to plan another party until next Thanksgiving, I'll be just fine! Below are a few pictures of the party, and the rest can be found here. Enjoy!

One of the church members (who became a Christian through LST last year) with a few of my readers. L-R Aarao, Alex, Manoela, Junior, and Rodrigo

Sarah (another former reader-turned-church-member) deciding who to choose in the Duck Duck Goose circle

The plate of Sam's Club cookies...but no one cared they were store bought, these types of cookies don't exist in Brazil and are quite a hit!!

Just a funny picture. I'm cutting one of the DELICIOUS birthday cakes with Alexsandra behind me testing out the cookies. I promise my thumbs-up was not as strategically placed as it looks. :)

The rest of the pictures.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

...and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Today is audience participation day on the blog. I would like to know what you think of this verse:

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Please, honest interpretations here. And please give particular attention to what you think "delight yourself in the LORD" means.

I was reading this Psalm last night and, although I've read it and seen it on plenty of favorite quote listings before, was struck by what it truly means to delight yourself in the LORD. Not looking for any right answers, just some opinions and personal life applications. Thanks!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Good Day

Today was a good day. Usually on Saturday nights the jovens (young people...which means age 14-26) get together around 6:30 for a weekly Bible study. However, today they wanted to meet a few hours earlier and go around the church's neighborhood to collect non-perishable items for recent flood victims in surrounding interior cities. I don't stay caught up on local news, but I know that for the last several weeks there have been a lot of prayer requests for people whose homes have been destroyed by ceaseless rain.

So, although I had no idea what we were going to do, (they used a word I don't know when they invited me...I just accepted and decided I'd figure it out later) I showed up at the church building at 4 and we set out. I had done this type of thing a few times before with my youth group in Oklahoma City, but I wondered what kind of experience it would be in Brazil. Turns out, not that different! We got a few rude "No!"s, a few "Um...not today"s, a few "the lady of the house is at the store right now..." and one "we eat out every meal...but would you take sugar?" It was a great experience and I enjoyed getting out and getting to know the surrounding area a bit better. Plus, I spent a fun couple of hours with friends whom I usually don't have any one on one time with. When our group made it back to the building, we had three sacks full of rice, sugar, corn flour, and all kinds of odds and ends. We dumped our loot on top of the ever-growing pile, and I was proud of what our little group of jovens had accomplished today. It was your run-of-the-mill service project, but those aren't all that common here. I was proud to be a part of it. Later on during the Bible study, one of the jovens, Andre, even commented that they had gone by several really nice houses where the people didn't give anything, and then got to a street of very poor homes. He felt like he should be taking the things out of the sack and giving them to the people inside! He went ahead and asked anyway, and the first woman he asked sent her son to get beans, apparently a very expensive item right now. Andre reminded us of the story of the widow who gave all the money she had to the temple, and how so many of us could have given so much today but brought nothing. Definitely a lesson that never loses..potency? (My English is terrible these days...please disregard.)

So, it was a good day. I'll leave you with a picture of our fun day yesterday, a dune buggy ride through the famous sand dunes of Natal. We accompanied the Jewells while Samantha's brother was in town from Ft Worth. If this doesn't make you want to come visit, I don't know what will!

Our group for the day in front of one of the buggys (buggies?)

My friends Jonah (left) and Andy (right). Andy had a rough time and got a lot of sand in his eyes. They went home after 30 minutes but fully enjoyed those 30 minutes. And who wouldn't want to start out the day with no pants? They had the right idea...

Punting across the river on rafts for a mere 12 bucks