Well, we have enjoyed our time off of school. Last week we got to spend 6 days with our fellow missionaries at a very nice resort in Atibaia about 45 minutes from here. We enjoyed the time of fellowship with other missionaries as well as getting to know the volunteers that came to minister to us and our kids. The volunteer team was from First Baptist Church in Oveido, FL. They were amazing and our hearts were ministered to. They did VBS with the younger kids, they led music for the adults every morning and they led small groups for the youth. There were 30 something people that came with that group and they were a blessing. We met some dear friends that we will be keeping in contact with. The time away was refreshing and tiring all at the same time. There just never seems to be enough sleep for Paul and I. I guess sick babies could have something to do with that. They are both better now, by the way.
Preston had a great time playing with all the MK's from around Brazil and one in particular he made a special bond with, Marcus Heil. (the picture is Preston and Marcus the day we went on the zip line) Preston and Marcus are like kindred spirits. Our last night, I went looking for Preston to get him in the shower and ready for bed. When I found him, he and Marcus were crying and hugging each other and neither wanted to leave. It was the sweetest thing. Marcus even asked his dad if he could write a job for Paul so that we could move to Bahia where they live. The funny thing is that he lived in Olive Branch about 5 minutes from us for about 2 years while his dad was in seminary. It was the same time Paul was in seminary and he worked with Marcus' dad. The whole 2 years that we lived so close we never got together and the boys never even saw one another. Now we live in the same country but about 15 hours apart and they would love to see each other. What a shame! Now for Kati.....she has a new focus for her ministry in Brazil. It was great for her to get to meet with other MK's that have gone through some of the same identity struggles that she is going through. In their small group sessions and even worship sessions, she was able to share and talk about some of the struggles and just be open and honest with people that truly understood. It did her soul a world of good. We came home with a different Kati and it has been a joy to be around her sweet spirit. She is absolutely renewed and we thank God for this transformation!
For Paul and I, we got to talk with people who have been through language school and experienced some of the same stresses and anxieties that we are going through. They all made it through so we have decided to relax and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are fairly certain that it isn't an oncoming train! It was nice to hear the stories that now are funny, but at the time just like with us, it wasn't funny at all. Hopefully, we will be able to look back on this time and laugh at ourselves just like we heard so many do.
We are excited to finish up our formal language studies even though we know without a doubt that our language learning will continue for as long as we live in this country. We are off of school until next Monday and we start off with a language evaluation exam that morning. So, the rest of this week we will relax but at the same time be studying and getting ready for the big test. We both feel better about this one than we did the first one and we did okay the first time around.
This past weekend we got to go to the beach. We went to Guaraja to visit with a missionary family that now lives there. It was a nice 3 days to get away and relax by the ocean. They live in a beautiful apartment that overlooks the ocean, so all night we could hear the waves crashing against the shore and it was wonderful. They were so gracious to the 6 of us and let us invade their home and they would have let us stay as long as we wanted. We didn't want to overstay our welcome, but we may return before we leave Campinas for one more visit to the beach.
Please continue to pray for us as we wrap up our time of formal language study. It is a short time, but we have so much that we need to learn. Please continue to pray for our health, all 6 of us. We want to finish strong and do the best that we can possibly do and being healthy will only help that process. Thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer, that is the greatest thing that you can do for us right now.