Tuesday, November 9, 2010

O man I'm behind again

Well here it is, I am behind again on writing on this blog I started writing it a few times and each time I ended up getting sidetracked...but today I'm going to stick to it.
So live has been wild, exciting and crazy but its all been good. I'm really enjoying my time here and I feel like I am growing exponentially.
Highlights from the last month:
Ok so somehow I was a bus monitor for 42 twelve and thirteen year olds on a a public school trip to Hopi Hari, the largest amusement park in Latin America. My friend Guto is a math teacher at one of the schools here in town and when the school put out a list to have people sign up to go they only thought they would have 7 buses worth of students sign up(its a big school) but they had 12 sign up, so they were scrambling to get more. So Guto put my name in, and apparently no one better arrived. So I got to spend the day at the amusement park for free...and free is generally good.
Mark, Barbara and I went to Belo Horizante to go pick up our friend Eric from seminary and pick up our another friend named Eduardo (I will relate the Saga of Du in a second) to come back to Itu. Eric came back in order to have 10/10/10 with us. 10/10/10 was a camp reunion, so everyone came back from camp and we all had a blast. What was really interesting is that we went and picked up Xic Xou, the campers parents were there, and a bunch of people from the states all Skyped in so a whole lot of worlds that rarely interact with each other all came together at once...and it was my birthday!
So we went to go pick up Du in BH. Do was one of the homeless here in Itu, and in my first week here Mark had been able to find him place in a the rehab clinic in BH. So after three months he was clean and headed home. The difference was incredible he was a completely different person. The plan was that he would go back and live with his family, but after a few days of Du staying here in the house with us as a halfway options his family decided that they wouldn't take him back. So Du moved in. He was doing really well, he was working here around the house getting used to working daily. After about two weeks Mark found him a job at a construction site and Du went to work. He worked the entire day, but when it came to walking home he didn't make it back to the house. He came back at around 2 that night in pretty bad shape, with the key to the house. He decided that the life on the street is easier and that he would get his things and leave. It was hard for everyone, but its important to respect his decisions. We are still hoping that something might happen and he might choose a different life, I saw Du today and he said that he wanted to change so we are praying he can make some good changes.
Ok so we have started taking capoeira classes on Sunday afternoons. Capoeira is a Brazilian Martial art that was developed by the slaves during portuguese colonization. Its supposed to look like a dance because the slaves were not allowed to practice fighting. So your not actually supposed to hit each other...but since we are all just starting out sometimes we do hit each other...its not like the pretty youtube videos...I am pathetic but it is a whole lot of fun.
So a few weeks ago Jackie Beth arrived, JB was here for camp and she has come back to stay with Mark and Ali until January
Ok another cool that that has happened out of the ordinary in the last we weeks is we went hiking to the the top of a mountain in Atibaia, a city close to here. It took us around 5 and a half hours to ascend and descend. It was fun, I got burned, I got to relive my fear of heights and we had a great view of the city. At the top there were even people taking off in para-gliders
Tomorrow my friend Rolando Diaz gets here, he is going to help us with a project called Louvarte and meet with Robson Britto.
Wow so it really is a crazy life. I'm learning about time changes, early morning ovens, how almost every tree has fruit here, and that ticks in South America don't have limes disease.
Love and miss you all,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wow its been awhile

Hey everyone!!!
I am so sorry that it has been so long since I have written! My computer broke, actually the power chord on my computer broke. So I took it in and had them fix it, but then it still wasn't working, so I brought it back, and they fixed it...this time it worked for a few minutes but then stopped. So I brought it back again and I hope that everything is going to work well.
Ok so starting out, right after I wrote my last post Mark and Ali had to make a trip to the U.S. Mark's Dad is in poor health and Ali is starting a masters degree in Missional Leadership. So they were out of town for three weeks...festa festa festa (party party party)...ok not really, but this time was really good for me because I spoke more Portuguese and had to take a more head on role than I was before. I had to make some mad dash trips into the city. I now have a Sao Paulo bus/metro pass and I can manuvure my way pretty well on the subway system. I'm continuing to improve in language but its still tricky for me.
When Mark and Ali got back they were here for a week and then they had to leave town again to go on a couples retreat with people from the Church. While they were gone Carioca, Barbara, and I were left with two incredible boys Joab (pronounced Joaby) and Paulo Joao( the Portuguese equivalent to Paul John) to watch and ensure they where safe... I will not lie, it was a challenge...so props to everyone who has ever been a parent and anyone who is thinking about being a parent.
Another big thing that we were apart of was Passion, a conference for University age people in Sao Paulo, it was really interesting and we had a blast there.
Lately we have been trying to move the homeless ministry in a different direction and Mark has some huge plans that could change this whole thing in the next few months, but right now we are trying to build community among the homeless people and us in order to move away from doing things for them but to start doing more with them.
So several things are happening, but one of them is the start of a community garden where we work together to grow part of what we eat together.
There are so many things going on, but everyday is different, sometimes I could be mentoring youth, other times I'm helping with people who don't have houses, and other times I'm chopping down bamboo behind a shady bar outside of town with a machete to use for projects that Mark has. I'm learning a lot Samba, Jujitsu, Portuguese, Forro, how to cook better, patience, politics(btw its elections season here too), love, and how to remove ticks. It's a crazy world but I'm loving Brazil,
Hope everyone is well

Friday, August 6, 2010

End of July-Start of August

Howdy Everyone!!!
I hope life is treating you incredibly, and that your closing in on your dreams.
Ok Brazil is still amazing and I'm starting to figure things out. I have Portuguese classes on Tuesday's through Fridays. Jujitsu classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Youth group on Thursdays. Xic-Xou(the homeless lunch)on Fridays. I help teach an English conversation club on Saturdays. So those are most of my set responsibilities, while other things have come up. Like last week the local artist that Mark and Ali are friends with asked Mark and I if we could help him take some of his work to Sao Paulo. There we made friends with Robson Britto who is the brother of Romero Britto a huge artist from Brazil. So we connected with him and and showed him some of Rolando's work, which could be a great contact in the future. Then last weekend we had Eric (pronounced Ericy in Portuguese)back here in town, he is an amazing person and I have been really glad to have gotten to know him. But he left to go to seminary in another city here in Brazil, so we took him to the bus station in Campinas. Then earlier today Mark and I met with a man who is connected with the Brazilian political system in order to know what it would take to move the work with the homeless here in Itu into another level. I'm also getting the opportunity to cook a lot here in Brazil, because I don't mind doing it and I like to try really bold flavors so its fun (btw a kilo of chicken and a whole root of ginger goes a long way...amazing yayaya!)
Working with the homeless people here is really challenging me, one because language is difficult and it keeps me thinking about the good that I want to do. Patience is difficult because while there are days when I can understand everything in Portuguese and respond perfectly there are other times, especially late at night and early in the morning. But its coming along.
Brazilians like ham and cheese...alot, coffee, beens and rice, fruit and fruit juice.. Then there are all kinds of other things like sausages, parmesianos, olive oil, and churrascura... and I found jalepenos and Heinze mustard...so I'm set on food.
ok everybody
I'm out, but I'll write again soon
peace, paz
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

first few weeks

Hey everyone,
Sorry I've been pretty sloppy about getting what's been going on in Brazil out for people to know about. Life has been a completely insane last few weeks, but this week I'm going to start getting into a rhythm that will be similar to for the rest of the year.

I arrived in Brazil on July the second after a crazy few days of traveling that started in with a flying trip from Denver City to Abilene back to Denver City, then the next day I went to Midland and flew from there to Dallas where my good friend Richard Hooper picked me up and let me stay at his brother's place there in Dallas. In Dallas we ran into Marion Barber, one of the running backs for the Cowboys, that was pretty cool, and then we had lunch with Rolando Diaz, the artist that I work for, and I got on a plane.
I went from Dallas to Charlotte, Charlotte to Rio de Janeiro, Rio to Sao Paulo, and then got in a car with Mark and went the hour or so to Itu.
Itu is a really interesting town, it is celebrating its 400th year of being a city and is known for everything being bigger here. So after two days in Itu, I went to be a camp counselor in a bilingual camp that the church in Itu puts on. Camp was amazing and I had a blast, there were kids from 13 to 19 and we really had a good time. The next week I worked at a medical campaign in a poor area of town. This was a joint effort put on by a doctors from Brazil as well as doctors from the United States. We were able to see over a thousand people with multiple specialist doctors in areas such as dentistry, gynecology, ophthalmology, as well as general medicine and an on-site pharmacy. The first day I walked around the neighborhood and passed out pamphlets letting people know we were there, and the next few days I worked the return desk helping people who had to come back for return visits or who needed to fast overnight for a surgery I would direct them on where to go. It was incredible to be a part of the campaign and I loved seeing people getting helped in ways that that they might not have gotten otherwise. Here is a link to a video about the campaign http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktV4qqRy8vs
I didn't make the video but its really cool.
After the medical campaign Mark, Ali, and I went with the doctors from the United States to Rio de Janeiro to show them around and help them in Rio. Rio was really cool It is a beautiful city, but there are a lot of people who are hurting there.
After Rio I stopped in Sao Paulo to hang out with my friend Pedro de Marco and his sister Marilia. All in all a great trip which included getting lost in the subway system and crazy opening of my soul to the language of Portuguese.
Now I've been back in Itu for a few days and I started Brazilian Jujitsu Classes yesterday and Portuguese classes today. So things are coming along. I'm going to go with Mark to the drug rehab clinic he works at tomorrow and there are several projects that are starting to get wheels. I'll have a lot of pictures soon.
Hope everyone is good
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yesterday I went to Houston

I got my visa for Brazil!
I made a crazy trip to Houston where I was able to get a five year visa to Brazil and coming back to Abilene in under 30 hours!

This thing is really happening. I leave July the First for Brazil, flying out of DFW. I will go from there to Charlotte,NC, the Rio de Janeiro and then to Sao Paulo where hopefully someone will pick me up!
So I hope yall are good