Sunday, May 30, 2010


For two years now I have been best friends with Asian students, specifically Koreans, and have wanted nothing more than to go to Korea.

However, once I went to Brazil for Missions Reality, that completely changed, I feel in love with the people of Brazil.

And it gets worse...

This year through Word Of Life there is a new Internship Discipleship Program. It allows you to go to other countries, learn to be a missionary, study with Liberty Online (within three semesters I would have my Bachelors in Religion), and be actively involved in the ministry going on there!

Sweet, eh?

Well, I thought so too, and both Brazil AND Korea were some of the countries offered.

The problem with that is, they are both great countries, both great ministries, and both God glorifying (done in the heart heart motives)!

I applied to I/M IDP (International Ministry Internship Discipleship Program), and I will know the outcome by Monday!

Pray that I get accepted, and pray that I get the Country that God wants me in!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Psalm 118

This verse really blessed me today,
I hope that you can get out of it as much as I did.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2Oh let Israel say,
"His lovingkindness is everlasting."
3Oh let the house of Aaron say,
"His lovingkindness is everlasting."
4Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
"His lovingkindness is everlasting."
5From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.
9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.
10All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.
11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.
12They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.
13You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the LORD helped me.
14The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
17I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD.
18The LORD has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.
19Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.
20This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.
21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.
22The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23This is the LORD'S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Nothing else needs to be said.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brazil: Friday-Saturday

Friday was a sad day, it was the one when we left...
It started off well, we had a missionary panel,
where we could ask questions of the missionaries.
But we all knew the inevitable was coming...

After about an hour and a half we all had to say good bye.
It was tough.
Levi was one of the translators, and now a good friend of mine.

Fernanda was also a translator, although her English wasn't as good. But we are good friends too!

Abraham actually only spoke a little English. More than I spoke Portuguese. Even though we don't speak the same language, that didn't stop us from becoming friends!

This is us all leaving. It was ridiculous picture time. We are all happy looking, but we are all sad...

The trip from Palavra De Vida to Brazil to Word Of Life New York took a bus ride, two plane rides, and a car ride to get there. The whole Trip took about 30 hours...

It was sad.

But just like Frosty, I'll be back again one day!

Brazil: Thursday

On Thursday we started the day early, again, and we went to a Tribal Ministry Headquarters. We got to learn all about tribal ministry; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was really interesting, however, it was the first time we really slowed down all week, the first and only time we were in an air conditioned room, and we were all falling asleep. The president of the ministry thought that someone drugged us. How rude of us!

This was a drawing of a traditional Brazilian tribal man. The tribes actually gage their lips, and place flat wooden pallets into their lower lips. They also shave off all their eyebrow, eye lash, and the middle of their head hair. They then paint designs onto their faces. Not for religious reasons, but for fashion.

This is a technology advancement that the tribes use. They may not have Internet or computers, but they still have "technology"!

This is an idol from a remote tribe. This is a design of one of their gods. You can't really see it, but on the back is a Roman Catholic design. The tribes didn't want to get rid of their ancient held gods, but they also didn't want to throw out all of Roman Catholics ideas, so they combined the two.
Unfortunately, Catholic sacraments will not get you to heaven, and that is all they practice.
The Brazilian Government makes it illegal to go into tribes, they want to preserve people groups. However, missionaries can go to villages where the ultimate destination village trades. The missionaries stay there, make friends with the village they want to visit, and eventually get an invite. Once the tribe invites them to come to their village, Brazilian law cannot save them.
It is a slow process, but God wants us to share His Gospel with everyone!

After we went to the Tribes Headquarters, we got to go SHOPPING! It was cool. This is a picture of downtown Belem as we headed into to go eat. After that we went to a local market, and got to barter for the items that we wanted, I got a lot of cool things for friends and loved ones.
For myself, I wanted a knife. That was the one thing that I wanted. So I looked all around, and I found a cool one for about $13 USD. However, upon getting back to campus, I found out that the six inch swithch blade that I bought... was illegal.
I really didn't know.

While we shopped a storm swept in. You could see it coming for miles!

After we got done shopping we got to go to this ministry for getting boys off of the streets. It is surprising how many children are reduced to living on the streets! Either because of bad home conditions, or because they have no home, this ministry works to help them!
They do a fantastic job!

It was a long and tiring day.
I didn't drink enough,
and I have to drink a lot!
So I got a headache and felt sick.
But God definitely was at work that day!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brazil: Wednesday

Brazilian law says that all public school children have to have a religion class.
And so all kids are taught about "religion."
Sometimes schools can't afford religion teachers,
so Palavra De Vida steps in a volunteers their time.
How nice.
But this gives us huge opportunity!
Between the 3 groups,
we got to reach about 13 school in that one day!

Talk about tiring,
but boy did God work,
I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

God loves all the little children!

Brazil: Monday-Tuesday

I combined Monday and Tuesday, because we spent that day and night, and most of Tuesday on a River Community.
The Community, Igarape Grande, was a small village about two hours north on the Amazon. You can only reach it by boat.

So about 30 of us boarded this boat, and rode for two hours. It was a fun trip, it was also really pretty. The pictures don't really do it justice, but you can see your yourself.

I got to spend a lot of the trip talking to friends, reflection, and interviewing one of our translators, Levi, about what it is like to be a missionary. It was really enlightening to learn all about what it is like to be a missionary, but definitely not discouraging!

We finally reached the community after two hours of travel... and I feel in love. Maybe instant love isn't real, but looking back it seems like that is how it happened.
WE got there, and two girls were on the docks waiting to see who was coming in. The looked scared, but I know they were excited! I sure was!

We were told not to share the gospel because some missionaries had come in five years before, and did a poor job of presenting the true gospel. We were only allowed, by the mayor, to be there for travel reasons.

That can't stop us living the gospel though! I know, in eternities future, we are all, all of us on the team, are going to see many good things come from this stop on our trip!

We started by playing some games with the kids, and it ended in Brazil vs. USA... in the rain. Totally out of our league. But luckily an Australian, four or five Brazilians, a Canadian, and a really good USA soccer player were on our team. Basically, we won, but not without the "foreign" help. Good times.

After that I wanted to go swimming in the Amazon, so I got some people, and we jumped in! It was great. I got up onto the barge, and was standing there trying to catch my breath. Sure I used to be a life guard, but it was been a while! While I was standing there, I saw that two boys, about my age, were standing there. Lacking the language skills to communicate. i did something that is universally spoken. I pushed the one closest to me in.

After that it became battle royal. I fought with two little kids, about 7, and two older boys, about 20, and we tried to throw each other in. Believe it or not, I got them a lot, although they did get me too. Some where from people that I thought would help me, Maddie Robinson, but all was well, we had a great time!

And I got a good friendship out of it! (This is Jonas)
Jonas and I spent a lot of time together. Even though we don't speak the same language, God's love is universal, and doesn't need to be verbally spoken. And I know that he could feel it!
We taught each other English and Portuguese. He took me and some friends on an exotic fruit hunt (although they are not exotic to him, I thoroughly enjoyed them!), and I got to give him an English Portuguese Bible. I wanted so bad to explain salvation to him, but I highlighted a few key verses (John 3.16 and Romans 10.17). Luckily for me, the Bible is strong enough, that it doesn't need a weak vessel, like me, to explain it. It can do all the talking it needs to by itself!

I cool thing I liked learning about, was charcoal, and how it is made.

This is the building that it is "cooked" in. There is a hole out back were a certain type of red wood is placed. The hole is then sealed, except for a small portion, where air can enter. The oxygen travels into the cavern, carbonizes the wood, and travels out through a hole in the back (or the front in this picture) as smoke. It sits for four-five days, and when it is done cooling, it is ready for BBQ or cooking with!

This was Jonas' job, that is what he did for work. Tuesday morning, while the rest of the group was playing with the kids, I did a little personal exploring. And I happened upon Jonas. I got to help him move the wood for charcoaling, and talked to him a little. That is a loose term though. The whole time this was taking place his boss was watching with a glaring eye. Gringo distraction. I helped Jonas move 2 loads of wood, and the time flew! So on the third time I decided to take over pushing the wheel barrel. And I was pushing it fine, although it was difficult (that and the humidity made me break out in a sweat in no time!). A man happened by us, and thought that it was so funny that I was pushing the wheel barrel. Having seen me take pictures before, he wanted my camera to take a picture. Laughing the whole time, he just couldn't get over it. I was happy to let him take the picture.

That is when Jonas' boss saw us... and he was laughing too! He had me take several pictures of him, and then had me come over, hold his ax (he was cutting the wood), and had Jonas take a picture.

The quote goes, "The people won't care about how much you know, until they know how much you care."

We could have gone in there, pushed the gospel at them, and had some come to Christ, while others were left forever scarred.
Or we could have done it just like we did.
Showed God's love.

The boat driver, Wilson, goes in there, and now he, and others, have tons of ministry opportunities to share the gospel with that community!

Monday night, we showed the "Jesus Film" in Portuguese. About 25-30 showed up. I didn't understand what was being said, and having a lot of things I wanted to write down, I headed to a quiet part of the shelter. And Juliel came with me.
I was writing about 5 minutes, when this man, Juliel showed up. It was obvious that he wanted to talk.
After feeble attempts, he took my journal, and wrote in it. He kept that up for a good while. Then we tried talking again. Luckily Levi showed up, and was able to translate for me.
Juliel was an electricity worker, and traveled around to all the communities in that area and worked on electricity. He and about 20 others.
He and I got to talk for a while, if I ever go back, I know I will have his friendship.
But before he left, he told me that he wanted a present. Something to remember me by.
Boy, did he know what he was getting into!
I was able to give him a Portuguese English Bible (everyone wants to learn English, huge gateway to evangelism!). I don't know what he thought about the Bible, but it was in English, and it was from me. I think that he liked it.

Monday night we spent the night sleeping in hammocks. There was no electricity, yet, so we had to do all of our cooking and eating in the dark, but it was an experience. And even though the way the hammocks were wet up, were uncomfortable, and rooster started crowing at 3 am, and I didn't sleep more than half an hour. I have a lot of good memories, that I would never want to trade!

Sadly, it was time to leave, and when I say I didn't want to leave, I mean it.
But I did, and even got to take a nap on the boat.

After another two hour boat ride, we got to a boat landing, and got out. It was time for dinner! We got to eat at a Brazilian steak house, the food was great! And spend the rest of the time on the beach right below the restaurant.

It was there, that I was baptized (along with Jessica Pezzente and Josh Salinas)... in the AMAZON!

(Ryan Williamson was one of the leaders on our trip. He works with Missions at Headquarters here in New York)

Don't worry mommy! I got something for you!

Brazil: Sunday

Sunday was a more chill day than was Saturday. It was spent well though!
We went to a modest church, and actually got to run the whole service ourselves.

We had all previously broken up into three groups, children, teens, and adults. I was in the teen group. It was nice, there was a small, but decent number of teens at the church. We shared a testimony, our drama (The "Everything Skit"), and then Greg Sheridan, one of my teammates, shared from the word. It was nice.

(This is a group picture of our whole group)

After that we all went back to the BI to hang out for the afternoon, during that time, I explored the Amazon.

I found this tree house, my new home.

That night we went to another church, it was a bigger one, one that was in the city, Belem. It was really cool because they had a huge sign language ministry. There are about 2000 people in the Belem area that are deaf, and this church actively pursued reaching them!

That night, we got to eat out. I wanted to try something Brazilian, or at least Arab, but people screamed out Pizza Hut, and to be honest it was the only place big enough for all of us. So we went to Pizza Hut... In Brazil.
But it was cool cause I got to try a Brazilian pizza. I forget the name, but this is what it looked like.

It looks gross, and may even sound it, it had shrimp, this Brazilian leaf, and some sauce. The leaf would make your tongue go numb, or partially, but it was really good!

A night well spent.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brazil: Saturday

(School is winding down, and consequently, it is getting more and more hectic, especially trying to write down all my thoughts from Brazil!)

The first day that we were really there, we got the great opportunity to visit a place translated to Creative Hands. It is an organization the reaches out to kids that live with their families in the landfill. The landfill is where all the trash goes, from there it is organized, and disposed of. But the families that live there make houses out of whatever left over pieces of scraps they can find, and that is what they call home. Much below poverty level here in the states.

It was an amazing opportunity just to love on these kids, but it was also heartbreaking to see how little they had!
But you know what? Even with as little that they had, they were content!
Seeing them run around with nothing, and still having smiles on their faces, it humbled me. I mean I complain when I don't like the meal served here at school. Or when Facebook won't run as a fast as I like.

I am so selfish!

It truly was a humbling experience!

This is a home of one of the families, they have a new baby, Matthew, he was only two weeks old!

This is what the homes of many of the people looked like, who in America lives like this?!

This is us walking through the streets of the landfill, talk about Gringo parade.

One of the games that we prepared to play with the kids. This is Hudson, he never left my shoulders the whole day.

We played dodge ball with the kids. It was a little different then ours, and because of the language barrier, all of us American's had to catch on by watching.

There is that little rascal, Hudson, he walked into the room, hit me, and ran off. He was a little trouble maker, but he just wanted attention. And when you gave it to him, he loved you like no other!

I learned a lot about God's love that day. How it doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, or the color of your skin. God loves you, and desires a personal relationship with each one of us! I would love to go back one day and help out with the ministry there!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brazil: Friday

We arrived Friday, the 30th, around 12 pm, after having left the day before, Thursday, the 29th. It was a long travel time, but it was well worth it! Here are some beautiful pictures of the campus, and a few around Belem, Brazil.

An open air meeting hall, for church and other get togethers.

Typical red dirt.

A pretty garden decoration.

Local trees.

A typical Amazon style house.

A bridge to the scenic island.

Pathway to the dorms where we spent the nights.

Typical roofs.

One of the nicer bus stops.

This was just what I encountered on Friday, there are a lot more pretty pictures, exciting stories, and adventures to come!

Brazil: The Impact

Going into second year, I was greatly looking forward to Missions Reality. It was the talk of all my roommates the year before, and it was something that I really thought that God could use. When it came time and we heard about all the different trips, I quickly figured out which one I wanted to go on. I stress the “I.” After that I “prayed” about it, but honestly, I had made up my mind and I knew which trip I would be going on. God had a plan also.
Although I selfishly pursued Brazil, God totally blessed my support raising. I don’t have a big church, but when I got the newest directory, I was surprised to see that I had sent out over 70 letters to friends and family. After sending out the letters, I knew that I would easily get the money. However, from all the letters that I sent out, I only had about two responses from them. I wasn’t angry, but I was highly disappointed.
Despite not getting support form my church family, God REALLY blessed me in getting money. I got money from people I didn’t expect to. I got money from people I barely, and in some cases, didn’t know! I even got a significant amount from my favorite camper from the Island and Snow Camp!
When it came down to it, it was Thursday, the day before all the money was due. Up until that time I had been praying that God would give me peace, and not let me get worried about the money. And He was faithful, I wasn’t nervous at all. And just like that, Thursday dinner I had all my money in, and around $150 over!

Going on the trip I was so excited about all that I was going to be doing! Again, I stress the “I.” I prayed before hand that God would prepare the hearts of all my teammates, the people we were going to be seeing, and even my heart. But again, it was a lot about me.

Looking back now I can see that the trip started off as a lot about me, but God really worked in my heart and showed me how selfish I truly was! I am ashamed to have to write about all the negatives, but God was faithful, and He really glorified Himself through the whole process.
From all the different ministries we were involved in, Creative Hands at the landfill, to local churches, to Igarape Grande the River Community, to the Tribal Ministries Headquarters, God really worked in my heart and gave me a new, previously, unfound passion for the lost.
I have always known that I need to share the Gospel, and I have sometimes really felt burdened to share the Gospel with people I knew didn’t have the Lord. But never before have I had such a passion as to want to spend all of my days reaching those in a community as I have with Igarape Grande.

Going to Igarape Grande was an amazing experience! We loaded a boat, and spent the next two hours traveling up river to the civilized community. The ride itself was adventurous, but the view was even more intense! I spent a great portion of the time taking pictures so as to remember the trip for later on, but I also spent a good amount of time questioning and learning from, a now good friend of mine, Levi. It was a spiritually invigorating time, as well as thrilling. Once we got there, it was like the community stole a part of my very being. I instantly fell in love with the place. It may have been the scenery, or the time spent playing soccer, or the good times spent swimming around in the Amazon river, or the exotic fruit, or the love of the people, but whatever it was, it has taken my heart, and forever it will be help by them.
The past two years God has really been working on my heart as far as missions are concerned. Three years ago I would have greatly opposed anyone that would have told me I was going to desire to share the Gospel with a lost world. But now, all I can see myself doing is reaching the lost and dying. This last year specifically I have felt called to be a missionary at the up and coming Word Of Life Bible Institute in Korea. I love the people, the language, and the food. But something about the River Community has really captured my heart.
Korea is one of the leading countries in sending missionaries, were in Amazon region of Brazil there are 30,000 river communities alone that do not have the Gospel presented to them! And that is where my desire and passion now lies!
I have spent a lot of time talking specifically about the River Community, but that is because it has meant so much to me. However, Missions Reality as a whole was a truly life changing experience. The entire tea was draw n together under the connection of the Holy Spirit, and kept thriving because of the love that Christ enables us to have. Someone said it well, that the trip was characterized by love. Love for one another, love for the people that we were sent to, love for the God that we desire to glorify.
This trip may have started off selfishly, but God sure had other plans. He showed me how much we, as Americans, have and waste. How much we whine and are never content. How much we say we will go, but won’t when it comes time.
I now no longer desire to live this life for myself, but to glorify, surrender, and live for the One who has saved me from eternal damnation. First Timothy 1.12 talks about how God has appointed us worthy, and despite our previous life styles, we can (and all have been called) to give their entire lifes over to the One who has called us here below.
If someone were to ask me about second year, I will now tell them, that if for no other reason than for God to work in their lives over the ten days of Missions Reality, it is all completely worth it!