Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Second Month – November

The Challenge

*Sorry for posting this entry super late, I had been procrastinating :( But it is finally here (the report for December will be posted soon).

After all the excitement of having a new English teacher at the Union headquarters passed, the students started to miss classes. My basic class started with 10 or 12 students and after a month I regularly had 3. The intermediate class is a little more regular with 4 students.

At the church things were tough as well. I missed orchestra practice and music classes for several Sabbaths because I had some invitations to play for other events in the city. Then an orchestra performance at a camporee was cancelled because most of the kids said they were not going to be able to go. Two Sabbaths in a row, the orchestra played at church with only eight instruments. Things were looking not that great. However, I was still hoping things could improve, especially because of the church anniversary appointment we had. In the end, the kids got motivated enough to go to class on Sundays and not miss the practices.

The church anniversary program (blog entry) was a blessing, and even though it was tiring for the kids because it was three evenings in a row, they performed well. Now all we got for this year is the Christmas program, and it is finally ready! Oh, and we have a new instrument: a Xylophone.

Nov. 7th, 2010 (Violin lessons)
It was a productive day, from 9am to 5pm with 1 hr lunch break.

There are other ways of enjoying the water. 
We don’t necessarily need the beach!

Monday, December 20, 2010

FB fasting

Last week I said to God that I was going to stop using FB for a while. I said so in an attempt to stop anything that makes me waste my time, and also because I decided to feed my mind with productive things that prepare me for the great challenge that is coming ahead next month. I know that only with God I'll be able to 'conquer stars for my crown' and be a faithful Caleb.

Sadly to say, I decided to stop using FB last week but I wasn't able to do So I'm trying again. This time, with God's help and power I'll do it!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

People will always talk

I was told that some people at the church got mad and complained that the orchestra did not play last Sabbath at church. They do not know the reason and they do not want to listen to any explanation. They just want to criticize and complain.

The reason why the orchestra did not play is because of our busy weekend. We were invited to play at another church Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. Therefore we thought it was nice for the kids to have the morning to rest and enjoy church without playing. After all, they were going to play three evenings in a row and had so far performed well that they deserved the morning off.

It is sad that some people just want to criticize. However, we should not let all those things and people affect us and make us walk away from Jesus. We should focus on what we are to do and do it our best. People will always talk and complain, but we must be careful to please God and serve Him with the best we have.

Let people talk! As long as things are OK with God ;-)

So, in a happier mood, here are some pictures of the orchestra from last weekend!

Cruz de Rebouças church orchestra

Jardin Paulista church

Never a small job for God

God knew David was going to be king of Israel. Even when David was forgotten by his father, despised by his brothers, and left all alone with the sheep, God had a plan for him. But it was necessary that he spent some time alone with the animals to shape his character so he could learn to trust and depend on God always. “The Lord had chosen David, and was preparing him, in his solitary life with his flocks, for the work he designed to commit to his trust in after years” (PP 637.1).

The same way, now I understand that no matter where I work, at home or abroad, God has a plan for me. Just like David with the sheep, I know God puts me in places where I can learn to trust and depend on Him so he can lead me throughout my life.

Another thing I like about David’s life as a shepherd is that there’s no such a thing as a small job. “David had proved himself brave and faithful in the humble office of a shepherd, and now God had chosen him to be captain of his people” (PP 641.1). We always have to do our best in whatever we have to do because God is always watching us. The Bible says that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23, NIV). One of my favorite quotes “I will serve Jesus while I’m waiting” (song by John Waller) exemplifies David’s spirit while working out in the hills. Even as a ‘simple shepherd boy’, he was excellent. When we do an excellent job, we are serving Jesus (we cannot say we are serving Jesus and be mediocre). God will see our small job and He will see that we are faithful in the small things, then He will trusts us with greater things (Luke 16:10, NIV).

*Inspired by Pr. Ivan Saraiva @ the church Jardin Paulista, PE, Brazil.

Read David’s story in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and Patriarchs and Prophets (EGW) chapter 62.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Babysitting in an amusement park! Can that be called babysitting?

Yesterday I went to Mirabilandia with a 9-year-old PK and her school. The point is that she was not allowed to go alone, and her mom could not go. Since I'm the volunteer and my schedule/job is more 'flexible' than everybody else's, I was asked to go with her. It ended up being fun but tiring as well. And I think my cold is the result of all the sun from yesterday :(

At the roller coaster... first time in one that has a corkscrew. I think I like roller coasters now lol. Though I got a headache after a few rides.

The other time I babysat here in Brazil was with another PK. I was staying for a weekend with a pastor and his family in Caruaru (here) and on Saturday evening I stayed with Andrezinho. This time was funny cause the mom would call me like every five minutes telling me she was on her way back lol.

Andres watching his fav. Bible story movie

Do I look like a babysitter? I guess it's all part of my versatility :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Caleb Mission Training

“Your talk will be in the afternoon. You will have 30 minutes.”

I was shocked when the Youth Pastor told me this on Sabbath morning. I was going to give a palestra on being a missionary in different countries (This is my first official missionary place. People usually do not understand when I say I went to Thailand but not as a missionary). I had never given a talk on that, and to make it more shocking, I was going to do it in Portuguese! It was for a youth-evangelistic training (700 people), Treinamento Missão Calebe 5.0, on Sabbath November 27th at the Central Pernambuco Mission (MPeC), which is part of the Northeast Brazilian Union Mission (UNeB), where I serve as a volunteer for this year. Playing viola and singing was definitely OK for me, but talking!?!?

Treinamento Misssão Calebe - MPeC
I was a little scared and had no idea what to say or where to start. I prayed and asked for guidance because I knew God had planned something for me that day. I knew I was there for a special reason. After praying, ideas came to my mind on what to say. God put the words in my mouth to talk to all those young people. And, what about my Portuguese? God can make us fluent in a language when it is used for His purpose! And as the Brazilians often tell me: da para entender.

With Pr. Andre Lima (MPeC Youth Director) and his son, Andres.
The little boy is so cute! The pastor would say "I am.." and he would complete the sentence "Caleb!"

I know it was not me but God who talked that day, and I pray that the impact in them was not of a ‘traveler’ or a great girl who has lived in other countries, but of a servant who, just like them, loves God and wants to share that love to others through missionary work.

*Missão Calebe is a youth evangelism project by the South American Division (SAD). It started five years ago and  thousands and thousands of young people in all the countries of the SAD spend their summer holidays (January) doing missionary work, giving Bible studies and having evangelistic meetings. According to the Division, Missão Calebe is one of the biggest, best and most important projects in Youth Ministry in recent years. In the Northeast Brazilian Union Mission, 12500 young people will participate in this project in January 2011.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Missão Brasil – The first month

In Salvador, Bahia, on my way to Recife
The adventure began 2 months ago, in September 16th when I landed in Recife International Airport. *Well, it actually started in Mexico, by collecting EFL books a lot of orchestral scores.*

I was welcomed to the 4th-largest Metropolitan area in Brazilian (according to Wikipedia), but not as crowded, polluted and developed as Sao Paulo. It is colonial, historical and nordestina (that would be like a southern city for the USA and Mexico), but most important, it is a coastal city :)
Boa Viagem beach, Recife
I work as a volunteer in two different places. On weekdays I live and work at the Northeast Brazilian Union Mission (UNeB) headquarters. I teach English to pastors, staff and PKs. I like my classes very much, though they are very unstable and varied.
UNeB headquarters

UNeB staff members

My second job is conducting an orchestra and giving music lessons on weekends in a church in Cruz de Rebouças, a small community 25 kms away from Recife. That church has a great music ministry: a choir, two singing groups, and an orchestra of around 20 people. Sometimes the orchestra is bigger, but most of the times it is smaller (please pray for us, as we face challenges every week).

My packed weekends are like this: on Friday evenings we have orchestra practice, on Saturday mornings we practice before church service and then play for the Divine Service (hymns and offertory), and then in the afternoons we practice with the Conjunto Joven and with the choir, all that before AY. On Sundays I teach music (violin, viola, flute and clarinet –I know what you are thinking!!! Sendy teaching clarinet/flute?!?! It’s been all by God, not me!!).
Cruz de Rebouças

Cruz de Rebouças church

Orchestra @ Cruz de Rebouças church

Playing for a Publishing Ministries Annual Meeting

Thank God life is not only about working :) and though I am the only SM in this place, which means I do not have a travel partner or things like that, God has given me the chance to visit some nice places with some families from the Union.

I have been here for 2 months, and I have got more holidays than I could probably get in a whole semester in any other place. Brazil has a big amount of holidays and of that I am grateful! :) And living in the litoral nordeste brasileiro mans that the best beaches of the country are just within a few hours driving. What make these beaches so beautiful is the clear and warm water pools naturally formed by coral reefs during low tide. There are a few things that Brazil has changed in me, and one of those is that now I like the beach. I do not mind the sand anymore, nor the salty water either!

Boa Viagem beach, 15 mins walking from where I live

Praia dos Carneiros

Maragogi, Alagoas (another state, 3 hrs driving south of Pernambuco)


Snorkeling @ Porto de Galinhas, the best Brazilian beach according to a well-known Brazilian magazine

Food is another great thing that I have been enjoying here :) It basically includes arroz e feijão (rice and beans) all the time, but it is still great! But the best part is the wide variety of fruits (which means delicious juice!). Oh, and now I drink coconut water, and I eat papaya (fruits I used to say I did not like).

*Just the way Memphis helped me to like bananas, Brazil is doing it with coconut. Who says we cannot learn to like something? lol *

Pão de Queijo... I loved it even before I got to Brazil.

Maracujá = Passion fruit :) Love it! esp. the juice!

Pinha = Sugar-apple

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

aprendiendo portugués

¿Cuánto tiempo les toma a los niños en la primaria aprender que ZAPATO es con Z y no con S?
¿Cuánto tiempo les toma aprender que PALABRA es con B y no con V?

Yo no me acuerdo cuanto tiempo me tomó, pero ahora resulta que tengo que aprender que SAPATO es con S y PALAVRA con V. No estoy inventando nuevas reglas para Español, solo estoy aprendiendo portugués. A veces pienso que es bueno que estoy aprendiendo ahora que puedo razonar las cosas. O es peor porque quiero razonar todo y no solo aceptarlo como lo hacen los niños? Me pregunto si los hijos de Brasileños viviendo en Mexico, por dar un ejemplo, (quienes aprenden los dos idiomas desde pequeños) tienen algun problema similar?

Una cosa que decidí hacer fue no comparar más el Portugues con el Español proque eso sólo traía más problemas jeje. Entonces, ahora.... venga el Portugues que quiero aprender!!!

*Me pregunto si esto viene a mi mente por ser alguien del area de letras/educación jaja o si a cualquiera le pasaria.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Learning Portuguese

One of the things that has made my adventures in Brazil more exciting is the language. The first days I was comparing everything with Spanish, making learning Portuguese even more complicated. Then I decided to just say the words even if i felt they were incomplete or wrong to me. Now, I am memorizing and using more words in Portuguese and reducing the amount of Spanish words in my conversations :)

Talking about language, yesterday in a restaurant I was reading the menu and I saw “x-hambúrguer”. By the way, the Anglicism ‘hambúrguer’ and ‘sanduíche’ are just a few of the words that Portuguese borrowed from the English language. So, I could not understand what an “x-hambúrguer” was until today that I started to read my recently acquired Portuguese book where it says that in Portuguese you use “x-hambúrguer” because the name of the letter X is ‘shis’ having a similar sound with the word cheese. Therefore, “x-hambúrguer” is read shis hambúrguer. That is just very funny and interesting :)

I love Portuguese! I love languages!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ministerio de Musica

El viernes pasado fue mi primera practica con la orquesta y gracias a Dios salio bien (claro puede mejorar y espero que mejore pero para ser la primera vez estuvo bien). Segun yo decia que no se dirigur una orquesta pero se que Dios trabajo conmigo y que no fui yo sino El quien me ayudo a hacerlo. La musica especial del sabado salio muy bonita, se que los angeles tocaron con nosotros.

El viernes en la practica, como si supiera de toda la vida que asi se conduce una orquesta, practicamos casi una hora y media. Obvio no soy como los expertos en el area, pero si me esfuerzo por hacer las cosas bien y poner en practica lo que aprendi con tantos anios en el conservatorio y la orquesta, y que sin saber que me iban a servir, ahora entiendo.

Ya tenemos la lista de las piezas para el concierto navidenio. Gracias profe Pavel por mandarme los archivos :) y gracias una vez mas profe Pedro por tooodos los archivos que me paso. Con mi falta de conocimiento musical en cuanto a escribir musica, pues me toca simplemente pedir o usar lo que alguien mas hace.

Tambien la proxima semana voy a comenzar con las clases individuales de musica los domingos. Porfavor, sigan orando por nosotros para que pueda salir bien y que todo el ministerio de musica, especialmente el concierto, sea de bendicion para muchas personas. De hecho me comentaron que podriamos hacer varios conciertos en diferentes iglesias y asi la orquesta se motiva mas a practicar, y podriamos recolectar ofrendas especiales para comprar mas instrumentos. No tenemos trompetas y solo hay un cello. Y mas muchachitos quieren tocar en la orquesta, pero no hay mas instrumentos para ellos.

Quien diria que iba a estar haciendo este tipo de cosas. Ni yo me la creo!!! Estoy muy contenta con Dios por haberme dado este lugar para servirle.

En serio que gracias gracias gracias por su apoyo!!! El apoyo moral (y hasta mas!) de expertos en el area ayuda mucho :)