Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A wasted talent

Today one of the kids from the orchestra gave back his violin to the church. Even though he was not my student, it made me sad that he won't play anymore. It is not that we have lost our best violinist in the orchestra either.

Those kids, they all learned to play their instrument in church and develop their talents playing for the Lord every Sabbath in the orchestra. They did not even have to pay for their instrument! The church (and a sponsor family) bought all the instruments for them to learn and use. If it was not for what God has given to them through this church, I don't know how many of them would still be in church now.

God allowed Sandrinho to develop a beautiful talent > music. And what a better way to learn to play the violin than in church, worshiping our Lord every Sabbath?! Sadly to say, after a few years of classes in the conservatory, he decided he did not want to play for the Lord anymore. There, he saw that other kids from the conservatory play in orchestras on the weekend. Last year he was invited to be part of a group that practices on Friday evenings. He started missing orchestra practice in church some Friday evenings hoping his mom would let him go to the conservatory. Since he saw his mom was not going to let him go, he decided he was going to give back his violin. Around November last year he started saying he was going to quit. We all prayed for him, talked with him and his mom, encouraged him to continue, but he has finally decided to quit.

God gave Sandrinho one talent. For a while, he developed it and it looked like he was going to make it into two or three. But, he finally did like the servant in Matthew 25, he gave up and has "hid his master's money in the ground" (25:18, CEV). I pray that Sandrinho changes his mind and takes back that one talent and use it for the Lord.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My cute student

"Happy Mother's Day!" A kid came to me last Sabbath afternoon during the orchetra/choir rehersal and said this to me and gave me a heart balloon. I was like, I am not a mother but thanks. And then he told me "but you are an excellent teacher." That was so sweet! We had just had one class up to that day but every time he sees me he tells me he's practicing his violin!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Give your best, God will do the rest

"And [David] took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:40)

Just as God used David & the sling to kill Goliath, just as God used David and his arp to calm the furious king Saul, He can use you with anything you have, as simple as it may be. You just need to be willing to give your all to God.

You can be big or small, weak or strong, pray and God will be with you and win your battles.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"No problem, I play"

It is of good use that I can play almost any hymn from the church hymnal by heart with my viola. And I am not saying this to show off. I just want to emphasize the importance of being prepared to worship our Lord with our instruments (or voice).

Today I was asked last minute (or second lol) to play a special music in church. We are in evangelistic meetings in church so there has to be special music every evening. The person in charge of the music this week decided to go for a social event today instead of being responsible. Since there was no one to play for special music, I was asked to play. So what did I do? I just opened a hymnbook in a random page, saw the hymn it opened at, gave it to the pianist and checked in which key the hymn was. Praise the Lord, He showed me which hymn to play at that moment, because it was all in a rush! And I was NOT nervous at all!! I actually enjoy a lot playing the "good-old" hymns in the simple hymnbook style (it makes me feel free lol).

But, what if I did not know any hymn? What if I was too shy to play a solo? 

Whould I had to say "I'm sorry but I can't"? Thank God, people see in me a person who can praise the Lord with my music. Thank God for my parents who encouraged me, since I was little, to play hymns (that was a Friday-evening thing at home).

Although I prefer things more organized (as in, I prefer when I am asked ahead of time) it is good when people add some excitement to my life asking me to play "ao vivo" (*).

(*) An expression in portuguese that, though it is literally translated as "live", it means, as far as I've understood, last minute or like always ready.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spiritual Retreat

It is not uncommon for the churches in Brazil to organize spiritual retreats during the Carnival holidays. I believe it is totally programmed with the intention of drawing the people's attention (esp. young people) to something  meaningful rather than waisting their time in events such as the famous Brazilian Carnival.

I was blessed to be invited to go camping with Central Recife SDA Church.

Our little 'villa'

With Priscila. The day we met, she invited me to go camping with them!
She's amazing!

With the youth leaders of Central Recife SDA church

The whole group

Friday, March 11, 2011

God of the impossible

(Numbers 11:21-23)

Moses was worried because the Israelites were asking for food. He tried to reason and think of possibilities to feed 600,000 men (+ their families). To his human perspective, it was definitedly impossible. However, God showed Moses that there's nothing impossible for the Lord.

It is interesting that Moses, the great leader and man of faith, goes to God and tries to convince Him that it is totally impossible to feed all those people. Moses even tries to look smart and give reasons why it is not possible (vs. 22). How many times have we done the same? We go to God and tell Him that it is not possible. Isn't He the God of the impossible? Didn't He say that everything is possible for Him? Isn't He the Creator? Then, why do we try to limit God with our limited mind?

I love God's answer to Moses' concern, which is an answer to my concerns as well. (vs. 23) "And the Lord said to Moses, Is the Lord's hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my words shall come to pass unto thee or not." The way God provided food for the Israelites was so great and magnificent that it showed how powerful He is.

God wants us to never forget that everything is possible for Him. Even when it looks impossible to our human perspective. We do not need to worry, God has his own powerful ways.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A sweet naughty boy

Jean was one of my English students during Caleb Mission. He was not supposed to be in my class because of his age, but somehow I could not reject him in my class. I felt like I had to accept him  even though he was older than the rest of the kids. Soon I discovered he was a naughty boy! He also had a look of a little gangster boy lol but somehow he would always come to class. Sometimes his older friends would come and tell him to go out with them, but he never went (I also did not let him lol).

The last day I was there, I sort of had a party with the kids. When Jean came, he just opened the door but did not get into the classroom. I could see in his face that he wanted to get in, but I did not understand why he wouldn't, so I left the kids inside and went to talk to Jean. I asked him to go in but he did not want to. He looked sad, so I asked him what was happening, I told him it was my last day with them and that I wanted him to enjoy the party together with the rest of the kids. Then he said something that almost made me cry. He said that he hates goodbyes because he does not like missing people. I tried to convince him to go in the classroom but he did not want, so we took a picture together. Then he finally accepted to get in, but he just sat there and did not really enjoy the party. I could tell he was really sad. In the end, I had prepared special gifts for the kids who did not miss any class during the 3 weeks, and luckily I had an extra gift, so I gave it to Jean.

Jean showed me that every kid has a sweet side, even the naughtiest of them all. He also made me remember that every single kid is important to God and that we should love them because Jesus loves them.

"And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." 
(Matthew 18:5)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Missão Calebe 5.0

Maraial, Pernambuco, Brazil

I'm finally posting some pictures of Caleb Mission (previous post about it).

The whole month of January was a blessing in Maraial (and I'm sure it was a blessing all around Brasil where the "Calebs" were). I was the first to leave the group (I came back to Recife on Jan 31st); therefore, I did not have any information about the number of baptisms they had. However, to my surprise, Mr. Marcos and Mrs. Sandra (the Mayor or Maraial and his wife, who is adventist) came to Recife yesterday and decided to visit me at the Union. She told me that 16 people were baptized and that her husband is getting baptized this coming Sabbath. It totally made my day, my week, my month!

I left without seeing the fruits of the mission there. All these time, I had only been praying for them, but yesterday the Lord allowed me to hear just a little bit of what He's doing in that town. The Lord is pouring his blessings unto those people and is guiding them to the light. I thank my Lord for allowing me to be part of that story, but most important, for allowing me bring people to Him.

Calebs in action (L to R: Mauricio, Naide, Sendy, Mr. Itai-the evangelist, Rafael,
Wesilany, Cizinha, Jessica, Sister Vade-the cook!, Cristina and Jedson.)

My kids!! I taught them English every evening for three weeks.


Inviting the people of Maraial to the community service project and evangelistic meetings

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Major updates - Christmas & New Years

Christmas this year was great, though simple. My friend Cherry, a missionary from the Philippines, was on her way to Thailand after working in IAENE for a year, and decided to visit me in Recife :) It was fun! It was great speaking fast/fluent English with her without having to worry about speaking slow or explain some terms lol.

It's was also the 2nd time I spend Christmas in a tropical area, so guess what!? We went to the beach on Sunday :)

With Cherry & Pr. Ivanaudo. He's the one in charge of the AVS in this union.

Christmas program @ the church

The only good picture I have of our Christmas Dinner lol

Christmas at the beach!
New Year was indeed great!! Cherry invited me to go with her for a week in Rio de Janeiro. Rio is probably the most famous city of Brazil, and especially during the Reveillon (New Year's)so with the excuse of having to renew my passport, I did not have to think twice when Cherry invited me. Our host family (Pr. Marcio Nascimento, Angelica & Arthur) was extremely kind. They were a true blessing for two missionary girls that wanted to do some sightseeing lol :-)

L-R: Angelica, Arthur, Cherry & I
Behind us, the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

We got to stay at one of the nicest (and safest) neighborhoods in Rio > Recreio.

Maracanã Soccer Stadium, one of the biggest and most famous in the world.
*The Stadio Azteca is still bigger though.

Christ the Redeemer. Do I have to explain more? :P

With Cherry (left) and the Nascimento family.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A nice visit

I love how God keeps surprising me making my life in Brazil a total adventure. I was starting to feel sad because I had not had a chance to revisit Maraial and see the church that started with our mission work during January. However, last Friday evening I received a phone call from Mrs. Sandra, the wife of the Mayor of Maraial, telling me she was sending a car to pick me up in Recife so I could be in her husband's baptism!

Not only did I get to be in the baptism, but I also got to see some church members and the new church that is growing there. It was a blessing!

With Mrs. Sandra and Vitoria (her daughter). I taught her violin for only 15 days, and she is already playing in church :)

Some church members. All a result of the mission project in January :)

The church in Maraial. This was taken at the beginning of the service. Later, more people came in. It was packed!

Mr. Marcos getting baptized. He's the Mayor of Maraial.