You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
Here in the land of Brazil, in the “home” of the Tsukayamas, the intense Bootcamp of the Holy Spirit continues! We have much to be thankful for. First of all, THANK you for praying for us and for sending notes of encouragement. We really, really appreciate it so much!
The constuction I described a few post back is mostly done, so the apartment once again has a useable living area, for which I am very thankful. As are the children! Funny, the apartment seemed quite cramped when we got here, but after having been trapped only in our bedroom for two weeks, it not seems quite spacious! God really has a sense of humor!!
Once we all got over the virus, we enjoyed several days of perfect health, and then I got a relatively mild case of mastitis, which only lasted two days. Then, we enjoyed another few days of perfect health, and this time we were hit with the most serious one yet: Fabio came down with “dengue” last Wednesday. Dengue is a mosquito-caused disease that is currently an epidemic in this area, and for which there is neither prevention nor cure. The symptoms are fever; head, eye and body aches, and later on, a rash all over the body. In some cases, hemorrhage may occur, and the joints also may be attacked. Thankfully, Fabio seems to be over the worst of it, but is still not totally out of the woods yet. We have to keep checking his temp and blood pressure over the next couple of days… So, please pray for a full and quick recovery for him.
We finally got some word about the where-abouts of my document. It has been shipped back and forth from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro five times!!! It never has reached Santos, and we have no idea why. It has been six weeks now since it was sent, and nearly two months now that we are being fine for each day that goes by without registering for my ID card (which we need that document to do). So… that has been extremely frustrating. Waiting for the document’s arrival is the reason we have stayed in Santos all this time – trying to avoid further fines. If we had known it would take so long, we could have gone and come back — several times! So, the Brazilian post office is looking into things for us now and is supposed to have an answer for us this week. Please pray about that too!
We spoke to our friends in Santa Catarina, where we plan to travel first, and they are looking forward to receiving us and it seems there is much work to do there, so we are anxious to find out what is going on with that document so we can be on our way.
Here in Santos, however, the Lord has also opened doors for us. I have developed two very special mentorship relationships with two girls here that are going through some tough times, but have soft hearts to learn from the Word through it all. Likewise, Fabio has had special mentorship opportunities with two of his cousins, and that has really been a blessing.
I have also made friends with a girl named Margareth, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, and is moving away from Santos tomorrow. She really wants us to come visit after they move, and we have had some interesting conversations about the Lord. Who knows what His plans are?
This past Saturday, we went to visit an orphanage. Fabio could not go since he was sick, but the children and I went, just to play with the children and talk with them. We had a wonderful time and hope to go back. They asked for me to not take close pictures of the children’s faces, so these are the shots I got:
Dominique found some make-up to play with and paint the other little girls with:
Sunday, we went to the Japanese church again. We wanted to introduce Fabio’s dad to the pastor and the people there. He had made a decision for the Lord in Japan, but has not been in church here since coming back to Brazil. We thought he may feel more at home there since it is small, etc. Fabio could not go, so I went with him, and the children. They had a potluck afterwards, since they had a special speaker come.
Just had to share this pic with y’all, just because it was so yummy! Makizushi:
ENCOURAGEMENT AND CHARACTER NEWS:
The BEST news of all is that God is good! He has not abandoned us for a minute and on the contrary, He continues to make His Word come alive to us and strengthen us from the inside out. He has many creative ways of encouraging us.
For “some strange reason”, when we were packing, I threw in a little paperback of which I knew nothing. I ran across it the other day and started reading it: The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. I had never heard of David Wilkerson, but how timely! After my last post of wondering how to reach people in the favelas, I read of David Wilkerson, whom God called to the “favelas” of New York City, and the victory God gave him there working with the gangs. It gave me so much faith to do whatever it is that God is calling us to here, even if that means moving our family to the favela!
The minute I finished the book, I went to check my email, and there was an email from Bill Prince, sending us a link to a message by — of all people, David Wilkerson! I read it several times, as did Fabio, and cried. I highly recommend it to you: The Making of a Man of God.
And another creative way God has encouraged us is with a song – an oldie but goodie: So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt. It is a humorous/sarcastic song with a powerful message, but until now I mostly just saw the humor. Now I got the message! Especially this first stanza:
So you wanna go back to Egypt where it’s warm and secure
So you’re sorry you bought the one-way ticket when you thought you were sure
You wanted to live in the land of promise, but now it’s getting so HOT
Are you sorry you’re out here in the desert instead of in your own backyard?
Nope, we don’t want to go back to Egypt. On the contrary, in spite of the difficulties, we are more sure with each day that passes that we made the right decision to come here and we are even thankful that the Lord is dealing with us in this way. Fabio pointed out last week that if we had had unlimited funds to go our right away and purchase a car, an air conditioner, a washing machine, our own place to live and other creature comforts, we would have missed out on a lot of what God wanted to teach us. We would have cushioned our cross…
And Fabio emailed me more encouragement last week too. I will share this from his email:
Being stagnant is not when we are not performing as much as we thought we should.
Being stagnant is when there is no work of God being performed within us.
PRAYER REQUEST SUMMARY:
*Full restoration of health for Fabio and continued health for the rest of us
*Super-extra abundant grace as we continue living in someone else’s house (this has been a big part of our bootcamp experience!!!)
*Expedient delivery of my document, like NOW!
*Clear direction for the next step of our journey