Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Au Revoir, Edouard!

Tragedy struck the mission this week as we bid farewell to our dear friend and fellow missionary, Edouard.  He returned to France this past Thursday , after a lovely “Bon Voyage” party in the Mary Magdalene House in Alto.  

Many of our students, their parents, and people from the community came to wish him off.  His presence, hard work, and his beautiful decorations for adoration will be greatly missed L

This week, we were able to celebrate the advent of the birth of Christ this Gaudate Sunday by seeing some of our dear friends from choir perform a selection of pieces by Beethoven including his “Ode to Joy”.  

It was a fun night for us missionaries all together!

Kara, Gabriel, and Kevin after the concert
Lunch with the Oblates

Please keep us in your prayers this Advent season!

Friday, December 12, 2014

SJM & Irma Dulce

"O que fazer para mudar o mundo? Amar. O amor, pode sim, mudar a realidade."

"What to do to change the world? Love. Love can indeed change reality."
                                                                         -Irma Dulce

Exciting news from the missionaries of St. John. We are now working with the Obras Sociasi Irma Dulce (OSID)/social works of Irma Dulce. Let's find out a little more . . . 

Blessed Irma Dulce was a Brazilian sister who worked with the poor of Salvador, Brazil (where we are at now!). Now, 22 years after her death her charitable works in health and education are flourishing more than ever. 

Recently a film came out about her life and has been a hit in Brazil.

Mission of Irma's social works: to love and serve the poor and needy, offering free care in health and social care, innovating educational activities.

Few facts:

4 million outpatient visits a year.
1,005 beds for the care of clinical and surgical pathologies.
10,643,000 surgeries per year (HSA).
1.2 million meals served per year for our patients and 537,000 for our employees
700 children and adolescents in situations of social vulnerability, seen at the Educational Center San Antonio.
Approximately 4,300 employees work in the Sister Dulce Social Work.

Inside the Church where we were privileged to watch the film with other volunteers. And finally we understood the life of one of the most talked about women of Salvador.

Visiting the remains of Irma. Blessed Irma Dulce pray for us!

Side view One of Irma Dulce's social centers where we will be soon giving English classes to adults twice a week, volunteering and also participating in their arts & craft classes. That way we can share our English expertise with the people of Salvador, practice our Portuguese and learn crafts to later teach them to our kids in Alto (the favela). So many win-wins. God is good.

Front view of the Irma Dulce center in Perulinho. Only a ten minute walk from the convent!

Our first craft lesson. Here we have Faith with such artistic precision painting a Christmas tree made out of recyclable materials: old magazines and tape holders.

With the arts and crafts teacher, Cris, who generously shared with the us her knowledge and skills of recycled crafts. Such a lovely soul . . . a picture can never do justice.

Our beautiful finished product. Thank you Cris and thank you Irma :)

Source: http://www.irmadulce.org.br/ 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Festival Johannes IV

Le week-end du 22/23 novembre dernier, nous avons participer à l'organisation de la 4ème édition du Festival Johannes au couvent, pour les jeunes de Salvador et de sa périphérie.

Nous avons eu de beaux moments de louange..

De partage..

De témoignages, de leurs missionnaires préférés.. (en portugais !)

De danse..

De repas..

 Et surtout.. de prière.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

We are excited to announce that in about two weeks Kara and I will be moving into Mary Magdalene House as the first residents post “Extreme Makeover: Salvador Edition”. Let’s give you an overview of the house floor by floor…

On top, we have the classroom. We have been plugging away at our classes in art, music, recorder, and Catechism. This week, Katie surprised the kids and did a dance class which they loved. I was able to sneak upstairs and take a quick video which I think you would all find charming. All of our work in the classroom is going to be displayed during the week of December 18th, the feast of our Lady of Hope – the patroness of the community. For the beginning of Advent, Edouard is going to do a Nativity theater piece with the kids and they are learning “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

The middle floor is going to be our apartment. We have a guest bedroom, so we can now have company in Alto! We are in need of some things before we move in, but we are hoping to acquire them soon so we can get there. Our Portuguese is coming along. See the picture below - Gabriela has been teaching classes here in the mornings and Kara and I have been taking courses at a language school here. Nothing like immersion, though. We will have to figure it out once we live away from the comfort of the convent.
Our Classroom 

The bottom floor is a tutoring center. We lost our tutor because she got called back to work, but we are waiting on God for this. Please join us in praying for someone to come help the kids one-on-one… at least until Kara can speak Portuguese well enough. We would love to open this floor for socials on Sundays after Mass at Alto as well as on holidays. We are looking for some folding tables and plastic chairs to have so we can accomodate company.
It was Kara's Birthday on Saturday!

We have dinner as a community every Thursday and this past week we spiced things up with a camp fire. We sang “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and made some delicious banana/chocolate roasted things over the fire. We ate chocolate again when we had cake for Kara’s birthday! Kara and I got to go to a friend’s house and celebrate with an authentic Brazilian barbeque. The BBQ season is officially kicked off here in Salvador, so hopefully that can happen more often. However, there won’t be any barbecues if it keeps raining. It has been raining like crazy here. Nonstop for about four days. We want it to stop in time for the St. John festival that will take place here over the weekend. Also, it would be nice for our laundry to dry J… Besides the rain, things are pretty “normal” here. Which, we all know is not really possible.


Bonus Photo: Monkeys hanging out near Barra

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Festival Of Pizza

The Celebration of the Mass before the Pizza Party

Hello from Brazil! I can honestly say I have never been this busy in my entire life. As I spend more time here the style of living becomes more and more natural. In my first few weeks here it was a struggle to rise early for silent prayer, and now, I cannot imagine doing anything else. We all rise, splash water on our faces, and walk to the Chapel to say hello to the most important person in our lives. On average we spend about three hours a day in the Chapel, and at first this also was quite an adjustment.  We now work from 5:30 am until about 9 or 10 pm everyday. I realize that without turning to Christ time and again throughout the day asking for grace, we would be incapable of working as hard as we do for as long as we do. He is our strength, and through him and for him, we are able to give of ourselves more fully everyday…Or at least we try to :]

Last week was one of our most exciting events! The Festival De Pizza, Aka, The Festival of Pizza, Aka, The Pizza Party. From now on I have made the personal decision to call all Pizza parties, “The Festival De Pizza” I feel like it gives pizza the respect it is owed. 
Our week was one of trepidation and excitement.  
“We’re having a pizza party.” Brother informed us early in the week.
“Oh?” we responded, unaware of what was to come. “How many pizzas are we making?”
“100.” Brother responded.
A hush swallowed us up.
100 Pizzas? Had anyone ever made that many pizzas before? Was there even enough flour in Brazil for such a feat?
We quickly realized there wasn't a moment to spare. We spent the week making dough, delicious homemade sauce, and slicing vegetables. We went to sleep the night before the Festival, each one of us closed our eyes, knowing what was to come.
We arose early the next morning, dressed for battle, and descended the stairs. We placed the days in Christ’s hands, and got to work. Katie and I spent four hours grating cheese, and then got to work making sure the dough the ready to go. Before we knew it the time had come. Gabriela, Katie, Brother Francis Therese and I set up the bakery. We braced ourselves, said a prayer, and got to work. The night went off with off without a hitch. While we cooked the pizza everyone celebrated mass in the courtyard. We made a variety of delicious gourmet pizzas, and everyone was very happy. Afterwards the cooks had a mini party with the extra pizza and talked about the day. We sat in the court yard, laughing and eating.

Me, dressed to impress. 

A few women, running for cover from the rain. 

As always, know that you are all in our prayers. Stay tuned for more exciting events next week! 

- In Christ, Faith 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Believe in the Incredible and you can do the Impossible" -Fulton J. Sheen

This past week with the missionaries of St. John…


One of our proud accomplishments this week was getting rid of the pile of rubble from the convent’s patio.


Shoveling away


And after a few hours of hard work we have our end result!


Celebrating our clean patio by eating dinner outside


We had the privilege of celebrating Kevin’s Birthday with a Brazilian coco and pineapple dessert.


Singing Happy Birthday to Kevin


There has been visible progress on the garden in the favela



We visited the community of Heart’s Home for their 20th anniversary in Brazil. There we were surprised with wonderful music. 


Thiago Bols, a professional artist, came and gave a class to the kids about art. Explaining how art is a form of communication.


Monique, a young girl from the favela, participating in class.

After a long day we were invited for Brazilian treats at one of the home's in the favela J

Thank you for all of those who have made this possible: missionaries, Brothers, parents and benefactors. Tchau!