I'm sad to say that it has been 10 days since my last post, but we have been under the weather to say the least. The babies have been running fever or playing fever tennis as I call it since it seems to go back and forth, back and forth! We also have had 5 out of 6 of us with a terrible stomach bug. And before you ask, we don't think it was the food. I never got what the rest of them had and I ate the same thing that Paul and Kati ate. Preston did not eat what they ate and neither did the babies but all 3 boys were sick as well. So, we don't think it was the food, just a bug. A nasty bug at that! We had to have fellow missionaries come over just to sit with the babies so I could get some sleep. Since all of the sick ones were up all night long, so was I and we were all exhausted. This time of transition has been tough but add sickness like this on top of it and it only makes small issues seem really, really big.
Please pray for us as we try to acquire some language because the communication barrier is hard on us Southerners who really want to be hospitable, but feel very rude when we can't say anything. The people are so friendly that they just come up and start talking to us, mainly about the twins (or gemeo in Portuguese), and all we can do is smile, nod our heads, and say Obrigada (thank you). We want to speak to them but can't and it has given us a feeling that we have never had to deal with before. We ask that you please pray for us.
Let me tell you a little bit about what Preston has done. There are all kinds of pet stores here and he wants to visit every single one of them. Well, we went to a big pet store on Satuday and there was a lady from a Humane Society, I think. She had several dogs that she was trying to find homes for. There was a sign on the cages that said, "Please don't touch the animals", at least we are fairly certain that is what it said. Preston was deteremined he was going to figure out how to get to pet the dogs, so he stepped up to the Brazilian lady who spoke only Portuguese and was going to try to communicate. In the meantime, Paul was about to panic and wanted Preston to stop. I convinced him to see what would happen and if Preston would be able to get his point across. Paul was a nervous wreck and had to walk away. He missed what God showed me clearly!!! As he stepped up to the lady she was speaking with another lady and they both looked at Preston and said something. He shrugged his shoulders and just looked at me. They turned to me and asked if we spoke Portuguese, I think. I told them, no Portuguese. Well, the lady obvious saw his little heart because she grabbed his hand in hers and they began to pet the dogs. He got to pet every single dog for a long time and never understood a single word that was said. I feel that God clearly showed me that this child has the faith that I am supposed to have. I fear not being able to understand or speak and he doesn't fear at all. He wants to understand, but he doesn't fear. By the way, he is doing great in school. Not necessarily the academic part of it, but just in making friends and communicating in some way, he has nailed it. Praise God! He was our biggest prayer concern and we now believe that he will be our translator soon. GRACE.
Now Kati, she has struggled in school because she can't understand what is going on and she just doesn't understand how being there and listening to the language is going to help her. We keep telling her that it is going to click but it will take time. We as Americans aren't used to waiting on much and the Cunningham's aren't immune to that, so giving it time is hard. Well, we have found that she is picking up on little tid bits and she isn't even aware of it. Paul got an email that had a Portuguese phrase in it, "Tudo legal." We didn't know what it meant so I got the dictionary. As I was looking it up, she looked over Paul's shoulder and said, "Oh, that means everything's cool." When we asked how do you know this. Her reply was, "The kids say it at school all the time." We just had to sit back and laugh and thank God for his faithfulness. She is getting it even when she doesn't know she is getting it. This is all a God thing and we give him all the glory for what he is doing. By the time we leave Campinas in mid-September, I can't wait to write to you all and tell you how the kids have blossomed and have adapted to this foreign culture that God has sent us to. GRACE.
Please pray that Paul and I will have the same story of blossoming because right now it is hard and we can't see how it will happen. We need all the grace we can get. Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and we will keep you posted on how we are getting along.
We love you all and look forward to hearing from you soon.
In His Loving Arms,