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.”
video

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.

video



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!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fête Evangeliza Saubara

Ce week-end, nous avons été invités par nos amis de Saubara à participer à leur fête "Evangeliza Saubara". Voici quelques photos souvenirs :

Départ à 5h45.. En route pour retrouver les jeunes d'Alto da Esperança qui nous ont accompagnés.

La prière du matin, dans la maison de Dona Consa.

Une petite heure d'attente à la gare principale de Salvador. Nous avons pu y prier les laudes :) 

Et nous voilà partis !

A peine arrivés, nous avons eu la chance d'avoir un moment d'adoration et de bénédiction individuelle !

Pour se reposer de cette longue heure de route, nous sommes allés à la plage. Un frisbee, une balle, et l'après midi avec les jeunes est super !!

De retour, il nous a fallu trouver des matelas pour dormir un peu plus confortablement qu'à même le sol. Les "saubariens" ont une telle générosité que la mission  a été bien vite accomplie !

En attendant la veillée, André et Faith ont pu discuter en portanglais de tout et n'importe quoi :)

Départ de la veillée "Procession aux flambeaux" pour la Vierge Marie !!


Puis, une belle Messe pour conclure notre journée.

Le jardin de notre logement, plein de bons fruits exotiques !!

La mer au loin, vue des hauteurs de Saubara.

Faith et Jésus :)

Père Emmanuel a pu célébré pour nous la Messe dominicale dans l'église principale de la ville. A la fin de celle-ci, nous avons pu confier à la Vierge Marie nos intentions.

15h, début de la fête, avec une danse sur une musique créée spécialement pour l'occasion !

Des artistes, connus au Brésil, se sont déplacés spécialement pour l'occasion !

Un pestacle d'enfants pour nous expliquer l'histoire de Notre Dame d'Aparecida (Patronne du Brésil).

La fête terminée, c'est le moment de raconter notre week-end sur Facebook :)

Un grand merci à nos hôtes, que le Seigneur les comble de grâces !!

Les jeunes de Saubara, qui ont entre 16 et 24 ans, ont pu organiser une fête d'une ampleur considérable, dans l'unique but d'évangéliser, de partager leur foi.

Nous rentrons avec en tête la certitude que nous pouvons, nous aussi, faire de belless choses dans notre vie de missionnaires, en suivant simplement Jésus.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Right Time for Mission

Bom Dia! Some of you haven’t met us yet, but hopefully we can get to know each other over the next couple months. We are Kevin and Kara and we arrived here at the beginning of October. Kevin is a financial planner and Kara is a first grade teacher and we’ve come here from Las Vegas. Once we learn a little more Portuguese, we are moving to the favela to take up residence in Mary Magdalene House. I would like to sincerely thank all you who sacrificed time and treasure to enable the work on the house to come along to near completion, and assure you that we will do our best to be beacons of hope for the community at Alto.
We've finally made it!

Kara and I have been praying about being missionaries since 2010. Kara and I got married in 2012 and tried to go to Malawi as missionaries, but things did not work out. However, our desire to be missionaries only grew stronger. We shared this with our friends and family and many asked, why aren't we just doing it? The answer to that is complicated. Mission isn't always about you. I wanted to be a missionary; I wanted to change the world; I wanted to do awesome things. Did you notice how may "I"s there were in that stream of motivations? Although I had a deeply held conviction that I was supposed to be in the mission field, things did not work out... probably because I was still being formed. I truly believe that this is a matter of God's timing. But we have a God who is persistent... in our prayers we were in a state of agony many times, stuck between the desire to go and things not working out. But we didn’t give up hope, we just begged God all the more.

Convent courtyard. Just in time for morning prayer.
 
The past two and a half years have been a cleansing experience. Our motivations became purified every time our plans didn’t come to fruition. The humility of telling friends and family that we still were not going was an important part of our growth. But we are here now; and we are here because God has been persistent in letting us know that He wants us here and we are responding to something outside ourselves.
 
Sunrise over Salvador: A veiw from our temproary bedroom in the convent.

I see similarities in other areas of my life. I tend to be a reactionary person - jumping on things because they are good opportunities... I am very guilty of that. But what is important in the long run is doing things out of conviction and not necessarily out of opportunity. Sometimes the right thing to do is not the most convenient or opportune thing. Also, God has His own time-frame that we don’t always understand. As Christians, we need to find that balance between action and enthusiasm and thoughtful prayer and consideration. But God is persistent in loving us and showing us where we need to go and when we need to do it.

A view from Mary Magdaline House in the favela.

This week, pray about something in your life that God has been persistently pursuing you about. Take it to prayer, give the timing over to Him, and see what wonderful things He has in store for you when you follow His timing.

 
“Despite the difficulties, be courageous and joyful bearers of the message of salvation” – Pope Francis

Monday, October 6, 2014

Salutations!

Merry Monday everyone! What is better than to start off the week other than to read a good blog post all the way from Bahia, Brazil.

First I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to be here. If it was not for their prayers, love and (money) I would not be able to answer to his missionary calling serve Christ and His Church in Bahia.

These are just a few pictures to share our beautiful moments:


To the right we have our missionary couple, Kevin and Kara, who have finally arrived this week. Edouard is in the back looking holy as usual, my beautiful companion Faith in the striped shirt, and then some Brothers that wanted to make it in the picture.


Our meninos enjoying painting musical notes and instruments. 



Musical inspiration for the meninos drawn by Br. Francis Therese and Edouard.





The highlight of the week was visiting the Church of St. Francis in the historical center of Salvador. 




Thank you for everything folks! Keep praying for us and we will pray for you too!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Problem with "Y"......

In the past week and a half, we have been blessed to welcome two new missionaries, Gabriella from Illinois and Edouard from France!  They have both already spent some time in Salvador before, and have a better grasp on the language than Faith and I who are still responding to everything with “thank you” or “Good afternoon” regardless of context.  They have been great additions to the team and are already bringing great new ideas to our ministries with the kids. 
 
Getting owned by the locals in football
 This morning the four of us and Br. Francis Therese, instead of our usual Portuguese lesson, played Portuguese Scrabble.  All was going great until my partner, Edouard and I discovered there aren't any words which start with Y........


On our day off, Faith and I and our new friend Gabriel (who is from Salvador and speaks excellent English), visited Barra beach.  It was about a 20 minute walk through Pelorinho, the historic district, and a 10 minute bus ride from the Convent. Barra is located at the mouth of the Bay of all Saints or Baía de Todos os Santos, and was the site of Bahia’s first European settlement, guarded by a small white colonial fort and a lighthouse.  The beach was filled with locals and vendors selling jewelry and mysterious looked foods and the water was very pleasant.
Scenic views over the Bay from Pelorinho



Historic fort overlooking Barra Beach
 As a missionary, it can be uncomfortable to express the “fun” things you are doing to family and friends……I mean, we’re here to help others, not have a good time! However I think it is important to learn about the culture, the history, and the things that make a place unique and special in order to learn about the people and appreciate the experience fully.  I think the secret is to search for Christ in both the “fun” times and the not-so-fun times, always keeping our objective of serving others through Christ always.