Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Musical Week

Bom dia! Our Portuguese lessons with Br. Francis Therese every morning have been going well, though we still can only communicate basic phrases.  At least we are getting more polite!  It has been a very busy and musical week here for us.  From the very festive (loud) concert outside our convent walls last night, to radios blaring all around the city it seems music is an important part of the culture.  This past week, Faith and I joined Brother Francis Therese at a Baroque choir.  The choir meets every Monday evening at the lovely home of a German priest, Fr. Hans Bönisch, to sing sacred music.  They were in desperate need of altos, so Faith and I were heartily welcomed to join.
Here is a link to the choir webpage:

Also this week we began our music/dance class in the Mary Magdalene house in the favela for the children where we will meet two or three times a week.  Faith and I were able to teach them the Virginia Reel, an old American folk dance with some peppy Irish music to keep the beat.  The children, ages 5-10 absolutely loved it and not surprisingly were able to keep up with the quick tempo.  (Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures since I was busy having so much fun with them.)  After dance, Br. Francis Therese gathered them around and gave a small lesson in music theory.  This week they began to learn the scales of do, re, mi, etc. 

Yesterday Faith and I began our arts and crafts class with the children of the same age group.  We provided paint, paper, brushes, and asked them to paint something they were grateful for. Some drew their families, their homes, and there was a general theme of rainbows.  Next class they will be able to take their works of art home.

Faith and I have also been able to partake in the ministries of Holy Hour and Sunday mass at the Church in the favela once a week.  Both are open to the whole community and provide a wonderful opportunity to meet the people of the neighborhood.  We have been welcomed by the people of the parish with open arms and even received a special blessing on Sunday from Brother.  It has been a blessing to be able to use our talents to take part in the community here and we look forward to getting to know more people!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Katie and Faith's First Day

Katie on left, Faith on right 
I was checking Facebook and Gmail one afternoon in the last semester of College, when I received an email entitled “Missionaries Needed”, now five months later I am a Missionary living in a convent in Brazil, thus proving my theory that life really can be like a movie.  Olá! I hope this blog post finds you well! “Olá” means “Hello” in Portuguese.  It's okay if you are just learning that, I am also. I honestly know the “um pouco”-est of this new language but recent circumstances have made me realize that I should probably learn some Portuguese.
 My fellow missionary and classmate Katie and I met in Miami at 11:30 pm and landed in Salvador at 8 am. Katie and I used each other as pillows and were able to arrive in South America well rested and ready for the adventure God had laid out before us. We were warmly welcomed by Brother Francis Therese, and within minutes were talking and laughing about the work to do in the months ahead.
                Rustic and full of love, the convent quickly made Katie and I feel right at home. The walls are worn yet charming and the overall sense of quiet and tranquility calmly convey Christ’s presence.  Midday prayer was chanted in French by the Brothers in the chapel, which is a breathtaking display of eighteenth century Baroque architecture. We then sat down as a community for a delicious lunch and then taken for an exciting tour of our new city.
Getting ready for a beautiful new day!

                The night ended with the chanting of Vespers, celebration of the Mass, and the exposition of the most Holy Eucharist. Sitting in the presence of my Creator I felt calmly reassured that He was calling me to this mission. This morning Brother Francis took Katie and I to a Catholic community center which has a holistic approach to aiding the people of the neighborhood through a synthesis of art, music and culture. We then visited a children’s cancer ward, and hope to be able to volunteer at both locations.

I am overjoyed at this wonderful opportunity to spread Christ’s message and pray that I will be able to show the people I encounter even a glimpse of the infinite love God has for his children. Please keep us and our mission in your prayers and know that you will be in ours! Praise God!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bakery Roof!

Before we can get the bakery running, we've got to get a non-leaky roof in place!  This morning we finished putting into place the new roof.

Here are the rafters where the old roof tiles were.  They were old, and water was still finding its way through and landing on the machines, so we put up some new material that will keep the water out!

Once the new roof is fitted, we put screws in to keep it in place.

Here is a pictures of the last section of old tiles before I removed them this morning.

Here is a shot of Adrian and Edouard carefully carrying off the old tiles to the storage area - maybe we'll use them for an arts and crafts project with the kids in the future!

We hope to get the bakery cleaned up soon now that roof is in place.  We should already be able to start experimenting with the machines again after Carnaval!

Keep us in your prayers!
The Brothers and Missionaries in Salvador da Bahia

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Music Class!

Much has happened since our last post: Leo has returned to the USA and moved to Austin, Texas.  We are very happy for him as he has already found work and a place to live - thanks be to God!  After Christmas and New Year's the Brothers adopted a more peaceful rhythm so as to be rested and renewed for the new year.  Our two current missionaries, Adrien and Edouard, have returned from their break as well and are itching to serve in new ways.  In just a few days we plan to start repairing the roof over the bakery where Adrien will be moving forward with setting up a bakery program for the young people from Alto.  Edouard is very happy to be back spending time with the kids and in prayer with the community.  He is going to start teaching computer skills to a few of the young people who have shown interest.

I'm very grateful for Edourad's expertise in technology, he was able to make a little video of the music class we started a couple of weeks ago for the kids.  Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I teach an introduction to music to a group of about 12 kids: we learn how to read rhythms and notes, listen to pieces to try to identify what instruments are being used, what kind of voices are singing, etc.  We also play rhythm games and have started learning some songs.  Here's the video:

I started this music class because we are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of Gabriela - a missionary from the USA who has been trying to get her visa for almost six months now.  Please pray that this situation gets resolved quickly!  We also have a couple who are interested in coming to live and serve as missionaries in the Mary Magdalene house - they are also in need of prayers so that their visas and paperwork are accepted.

God continues to bless us - may He continue to bless you!
Br. Francis Therese

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Special Guests

Hello Folks,

This past early December we had some special guests from the USA enter the community of Alto de Esperanca. They were welcomed with arms wide open. we had prepared a special welcoming for them, Showed them the work that had been done, and invited them to see the different houses. It was a very special day for all the folks.

 Meals were also made by our very own cook Dona Consa!

 little catholic girls smiling.

Big Catholic man smiling. Even though they didnt know how to speak to each other they both can express the joy in the lord the same.

 Americans can be a little shy.
But Brazilians have a way of making you feel at home, making you feel like "Family."
 I got to translate, and Fabio was able to speak English!

 Brother Francis showing these folks the work in progress at the Mary Magdalene house in Alto.
 Birds eye view of the community.

 I think when they saw how big the Favela was they were in a bit shocked.

It was really special to see people from different cultures share one faith. It was a good day. To be honest I really thought these folks were going to have a little bit of a culture shock but everyone got along just great. 

The community of Alto de Esperanca made different Brazilian food so they could sample. To see people from different cultures, different worlds able to communicate without languages, a simple smile was beautiful. J

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Festival Halleluya

Bonjour à tous :)
Connaissez-vous le festival Halleluya, organisé par la communauté Shalom ? Si non, voici une vidéo de présentation :

Et bien figurez-vous que nous avons eu la grâce d'y participer durant 3 jours, avec les jeunes d'Alto et de Saubara, à Salvador ! 
Des milliers de personnes étaient présentes chaque jour sur la plage de Pituba.

Petit cours de danse pour Léo et Adrien :)

Et puis nous avons pu constater le talent des danseurs brésilien sur scène.

Un jeu a été lancé : la foule dansait sur la musique, et au stop, chacun devait garder sa position. La figure la plus originale était récompensée.. et nos amis de Saubara ont gagné ! Bravo à vous !

Tous tournés vers la lumière (du flash :) ).

Un peu plus loin, la Sainte Vierge nous ouvre les bras, et nous appelle à adorer son Fils :D

Le voici, l'Alpha et l'Omega, Jésus Christ !

"Que celui qui souhaite donner sa vie à Jésus lève la main..."
C'était vraiment impressionnant à voir !

Et nous voilà déjà sur le chemin du retour, à chanter, danser, louer le Seigneur de tous nos coeurs et corps :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November post

Hello there,

I've been a little late to write about a blog, there have been a few changes in the mission that have taken place.
First my dear friend Ricardo has left Brazil to live in France in the hopes and dreams of becoming a Brother! Best of luck to you Ricardo.

Secondly we have recieved 2 new volunteers from france. Finally we have a team of missionary volunteers, that are here to help the community here in Salvador. Eduar and Adrien. With these new members of the team we are finally realizing how to function as missionary group. Together we are a really strong group that help eachother out.  They are way better then I am in soccer but its ok, I'd like to say a can beat them in real football, yea! Murica.

The house project is nearly complete Fabio and Joao are doing a great job, with the construction of the Magdalene house, its nearly complete. We have a grand opening ceremony in Dec.

The kids in the community in Alto are doing great, my soccer I think has maybe somewhat improved...

 Fabio is teaching the kids in the Alto to play at mass

This is Adrien and Ricardo being blessed by a cardinal!! pressure pressure Adrien!! Welcome to the Team!

My Brazilian foster mom, Dona Consa
 it was Eduards birthday!

 Ricardo left our "Monday spiritual group"and it looks like Eduar will be picking it up!!

This is Luis Carlos he helps us a lot in Alto de esperanca, he is 14 wants to be either a nurse or a priest!! He's helping with the work in the Magdalene house..

                                                                                 We are trying to have a game night with the kids on thursday at the Magdalene house :) it can get a little crazy with the kids and us
Life goes on in Brazil, one thing I am sure of in life in Brazil, Futebol is their passion..
  One last request, there is a button on the top left corner that asks if you could sponsor a missionary, I know some of you don't have the time or maybe even short on cash. I am asking if you are short on money that you pray for this mission in Brazil. After you read this blog set aside 5 minutes to ask God to protect and guide is mission in the favela, Alto de Esperança, Missions need money but they also need prayers. God bless you and thank you!