This past Sunday was the first day of spring here in Brazil. The new season brings with it new joys, new goals, new challenges, but, thank God, always new mercy (Lam. 3:22,23). We're amazed at God's grace to allow us to be here and serve in this capacity.
I usually post a blog when I send out a letter so that people who can't get picture attachments or have slow connections could see some pictures. But certain people (read grandparents) have requested to see some more pictures so I'm posting this blog early. We also have some prayer requests that we'd like you to remember.
1. Please continue to pray for our language training. We've finished seven weeks and are now attending a Brazilian church and working with a Brazilian pastor who has told the congregation NEVER to use English with us! We know this will help immensely.
2. Please pray for the salvation of our friend Marcello that we met on the train.
3. Pray for Melissa. She's 4 months pregnant with our baby boy.
Now some pictures:
Here's Melissa waiting with the crowd for the afternoon train and having a little salgado (salty snack). Remember... she's pregnant! If you want an experience in cultural immersion, just ride the train for a couple of hours every day like we do. In seven weeks we've seen people jump in the small train windows to avoid the toll. We've seen children and adults illegally selling almost any kind of item imaginable on the train from ice cream, to cookbooks, to gum, to toothbrushes. It's a hard life having to constantly look over your shoulder to avoid being caught by the many plainclothes and uniformed officers. Every day, people in desperate situations are begging for money. There are children, the elderly, people without legs who wear thick gloves on their hands, people who can't speak, can't hear, can't see, and one with an grisly open wound that covered a large portion of his leg and caused him to limp. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes and I believe the Lord uses these things to graphically illustrate his heartbeat for urban missions to us each day. Oh, that we will not grow calloused.
This is our Portuguese language class. On the left is our excellent Brazilian teacher Liliana. Next is Norie from Japan. Her parents are missionaries with the Presbyterian church and she works for a travel agency for Japanese living in Brazil. Next is Juninho. He's from Korea and training here in Brazil to be a soccer coach. Next is Shin. He's also from Korea and recovering from cancer. His family is back home in Korea. Guess who the lovely, studious lady on the right is?