Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feliz Natal- Merry Christmas from Rio!

After the unusual rains we've been having, the heat has finally come. This week it is in the 90's. It's Christmastime! There is no official Thanksgiving holiday here in Brazil, but we recently got together with friends for a feast of tacos (we know it's not traditional but they generally don't eat tacos in Brazil and we all had a craving for them!). At our gathering we told the kids the Thanksgiving story and we praised the Lord for His incredible goodness to us. One common theme for all of us was our thankfulness for Christ and for our brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who mean so much to us. For all of you who pray for us and have a part in the ministry here, "Thank You!"

Family News: Since our last post, we celebrated two birthdays. We celebrated Melissa's --th in October and Myla turned the big "5" in November. Ellie has unlimited reserves of energy and Daniel has 4 teeth that he is very proud of and he began to crawl last week. As our colleagues said, now that we have three very active kids who can move around we'll have to go from man-on-man defense to the zone defense as parents.

Another item of news we are very thankful for is that we'll be able to spend Christmas in the house that God provided for us! We know many had been praying and for that we are very grateful. Although it was frustrating at times to see several of the options of rental houses that we had chosen fall through "mysteriously," now we can see just how God was orchestrating every move we and the realators made to put us exactly where He wants us. The location (very close to our co-workers), the price, and the layout of the house seem ideal. And we know that over time we will discover even more reasons why the Lord chose to put us in this location.
May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

The kids in their new sweaters from Aunt Barb. Myla and Ellie having fun.

The first picture is the apartment building that is in front of our house. The
apartment and house are on the same property. If you look through the gate
of the apartment our house is at the end of the corridor.
The second picture is of our house.

This is Rua Corumbiara, the street that our house is on.
The second picture is of Erik and Myla. Erik showed us the house
and really loved the kids. We invited him over for a BBQ once
we get moved in. Pray for his salvation!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On the Move

Preparations for the move are being finished up and goodbye's are being said. Though moving itself is not exciting, it is exciting to see the vision that the Lord put in our hearts to work in Rio being fulfilled. Thank you to those who pray for us. Please continue to pray for His enabling grace as we begin in Rio.

Our "flower children." We had fun at the Patefield's trying on their sunflower hat. Daniel didn't know what to think at first but Patricia Patefield got him smiling again. The girls are becoming quite the helpers around the house.

Here are some pictures from Vacation Bible School. The first picture gives you an idea of the area in which we were working. The VBS was held in a school gym/party hall in the center of a slum area in Rio. Each day the children heard the gospel and a Bible story, participated in a game, and made their own handcraft. We thank the Lord for opening up this opportunity.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The End is Just the Beginning

In June we finished language school. But as is true with every graduation, we are reminded that receiving a diploma only signals the beginning of a lifetime of learning. We know there will be many, many hilarious and embarrassing language gaffes awaiting, there will be more misunderstandings (you can't avoid those even in your native tongue), and there will be more "I feel clueless" moments. But we glorify the Lord who has brought us this far, and with faith we look to Him to bring us to our goal of being able to proclaim the Gospel in Portuguese, plant churches, and teach the Word (disciple) in a linguistically and culturally appropriate way. We ask for your prayers now as we've finished school and look by God's grace to begin this new phase of ministry. We thank God for each one of you who, through prayer and giving of yourselves, has encouraged us in this calling and enabled us to do what we could not do by ourselves.

Here we are with our teachers on graduation day. Daniel attended every class with us so we thought he ought to be in the picture to celebrate too. After graduation we visited the tallest building in Sao Paulo, The Italian Building, and had our pictures taken with diplomas in hand as we stood on the scenic terrace of the 41st floor.
By God's grace, I preached my first full sermon in Portuguese in our church in Jandira, Sao Paulo on June 22. It was an extra blessing that my parents were here during that time.

The kids had a great time with Grammy and Papa Holmquist. They had the treat of having Grandma and Grandpa Hall here earlier in March too, but we missed the opportunity to get a picture :( Next is a picture of the 20lb. 4 month old Daniel just kicking back and relaxing after a hard day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Almost a Year in Brazil

God permitting, on May 18 we'll celebrate one year in Brazil. It's been an amazing time of stretching, learning, depending, seeking, and trusting in God's leading. From providing for our needs to get here, to allowing us to grow in our understanding of the language and culture, to being accepted with open arms by a church made up of people who were strangers to us, to allowing us as sinful creatures to be a part of God's redemptive plan on a global level, in all of these things, we are overwhelmed by His grace.

Friends and family, we think about you often and we miss you. Thank you for the interest you've shown in our ministry and in our lives. Here's some pictures to keep you updated on ministry and family (and for those who demanded- more pictures of Daniel!).

This is a game we played at our church Marriage Seminar in April. The men are trying to eat an apple off of a string.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cheguei - Gracas a Deus (He arrived. Thanks be to God.)

We want to thank you for your prayers. On March 4, 2008 Daniel Marcos Holmquist was born. His name is a tribute to our fathers. My dad's name is Dan. Melissa's dad's name is Mark. We spelled our son's name with the Portuguese spelling in honor of his birth in Brazil - the place where God has called us to minister. He weighs 9.3 pounds and is 20.7 inches in length. "Grande," "lindo," and "forte" were the words the Brazilian nurses used to describe him (big, beautiful, and strong). We give the glory to God for him and have dedicated him to the Lord. Please keep Daniel in your prayers. Please pray that the Lord would grant us wisdom as we raise him and our two other children. And pray for Melissa's continuing recovery.

The black and white outfit is a soccer jersey of one of the local teams.
The view from Melissa's room in the Hospital.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Year - New Mercies

Myla and Joanna her missionary friend from Rio.

We thank the Lord for the New Year and the ministry to which He has called us. We had the opportunity to spend New Year's Day with our colleagues in Rio de Janeiro and enjoy Rio's world-class fireworks display that lasted late into the night.

Now in February, Brazil's famous Carnaval has just come to a close. Carnaval is basically a nationwide party which encourages people to drop their inhibitions and engage in any and all lusts before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent when they are to do penance and purify themselves. Because of this, many churches have a retreat for the youth during that time to help them avoid the temptations that Carnaval presents. So, while our sending church in the U.S. had Teen Snow Camp, we had our Summer Youth Retreat. Below are some of the pictures from the retreat.

Below are our friendly neighborhood monkeys. Recently they have been hanging out in the tree in our front yard. Melissa and the girls went out one day to see them and feed them crackers.