It's me

It's me
The Bedouin Woman

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back From Brasil (first installment)

Reading over my notes from before I left for Brasil till now, as I sit here getting acclimated back into Louisiana society, it amazes me how much was done in 4 months.

I started writing about our adventure when we first found out that Brasil was in our future. Pauline and I both wanted a trip abroad, we thought it would be a trip to Italy, which intrigued both of us. I had received a sizeable birthday gift and expected that was my first installment to Italy, boy was I wrong!

When God directs your steps you can be sure it will work out. From the time we started planning to the day we boarded the plane we knew God was in control. That is why neither Pauline nor I was upset when, our plane was delayed, we knew it was a God delay. We ended up praying for several friends of Beverly’s(Pauline’s and now my friend)something God had directed from the beginning but we didn’t get that memo until, our plane was delayed.

I tore my right rotator cuff as I was getting luggage from the trunk to airport. I didn’t think much about it until after 4 weeks of pain and finally getting to a doctor and finding out that was, in fact, what it was. A small lesson in patience, maybe? Or perhaps dealing with some pain issues? Some people have a pain issue much more severe than mine I think God was showing me more compassion for others through my situation.

Pauline was the one who carried my heavy bags and back packs through this whole trip, what was He speaking to her, well we might have to ask her about that. But she never complained, unlike myself, who wanted to carry her own bags but couldn’t, perhaps once again He was telling me to let go and let others be a help top me? Pauline was a trooper and was always thinking about me and was always there for me through some very rough times.

While flying out from Houston to Miami we were blessed to sit next to a young man named Jonathon Matthew Cervantes. This young man told us the story of how he became disabled, we had the privilege to have him as our “seat mate” on this flight. He is a paraplegic and he preceeded to tell us the story of how he became so. He was at a beach party when some shots were fired and everyone started to run there were 250 people scattering everywhere and people getting into their cars and two separate cars hit him and 3 other people. 6 years later he is still trying to recover. He says he is the “Bionic Man”. Yes, he was mad at God. He has feelings in his legs but no muscle control. He has 2 jobs and is finishing school, majoring in computer science. He was on his way to Santiago, Chile, by himself, in a wheelchair, to see his girlfriend.

An amazing young man who bared his heart and soul to Pauline and myself and at the end of the plane ride Pauline led him to the Lord and we both prayed for his healing.

So, you can say our delays were a “coincidence” but I say they were Godincidence. God was giving us a taste of what it was going to be like in Brasil, to get us ready to be prayer warriors for people in another country.

Exercise was never my strong point and if someone were to ask me what is my least favorite thing to do I would have to say exercise. Prior to coming to Brasil, I had foot surgery, a bunionectomy and a cyst removed from my right foot. I had done some walking with friends but nothing much to talk about here. I heard from others who had been to Brasil that a lot of walking was involved, really, how much could it be?? Well, I was to find out and quickly, when they said a lot of walking they meant a lot of walking.

Our first experience with the walking was the very next day that we arrived in Lagoa Santa. Some church people had made Pizza for us and we walked to their house. When people who had been to Brasil prior to our trip said they walk everywhere, that is exactly what they mean, “walk everywhere”. It was a good 2 miles to these friends house and by the time we got there I thought I would die. If God didn’t take me home that night to be with Him in heaven I knew that I would make it the rest of the journey He put me on.

I made it, and from then on I walked up hills and down valleys, across mud filled roads, stone and dirt roads. You name it we walked on it!

Walking became our way of life. When I left Louisiana I was walking around Our Saviors Campus and got out of breath on the first go round. Now, I’m proud to say I can do about a mile without complaining(as long as I’m not carrying a big heavy bag)and more on flat(ish)ground. I still hate hills! This exercise has made me stronger and I thank God for it.

I will stop here for now. I plan to write in installments so as not to bore anyone. Maybe it will be more exciting this way J Besides I could never write about the past 4 months in one entry, and I would never expect you to read all that at one sitting.

Stay tuned for installment 2 coming soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ellie and Yago

Several weeks ago I wrote some stories about 2 of the kids who have impacted me most(at that time)So, here are the pics of them(I finally to permission to post).

Believe me since writing about those 2 kids, so many more have enriched my life, y'all have NO idea. I came here to give them something and they GAVE to me,,,,God sure knows how to squeeze your heart when He puts precious children like these in your life, know I now WHY I'm here not to change anything here in Brasil but to have Brasil change ME!!!!

I didn't think I would end up writing a note about this but I guess I did.

More to come with more pictures of these sweet kids.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More from Brasil!!!

It has been awhile since I have blogged, not for lack of interest or anything to say but definitely for lack of internet time and availability. So, with that said and a little block of time I will give you all some of the happenings since I last wrote.

Several of our team members have been going through a rough patch. Let me say right away that no one told us (me and Pauline) about “Culture Shock”, which is a very real thing! Some say, “well you should have know that”! Well, I for one, have only been on one other “mission” trip and that was for 10 days (2 of those days were traveling) and my friend Pauline had never been on one, yes, she had been out of the USA but only for pleasure and not for a period of time we are talking about here. So, one of our team members recently said that they did have a class about it right from the very start and she was wondering why we hadn’t remembered that class. We didn’t get here to Brasil until about 10 days after all the others arrived and they had that class without us. So, that is why we were unaware of the evil “Culture Shock”.

There was a period of time when 4 of us had to go to the emergency room for various ailments. I had a chest cold, Sidney and Andre had fevers and another one of our pastors here also had a fever. Now, these were ailments that had been going on for some time. Our team here in Brasil don’t just go to the ER for any simple reasons. ER’s here are seriously different than in the USA. Sometimes (most of the time) the wait time is about 8-10 hours. We, on the other hand, that night had God’s favor we, all 4 of us were in and out within 6 hours. Most of us ended up with IV’s and Sidney was thought to have “Dengue” fever, that is from mosquito bite, the symptoms are severe headache and high fever. Fortunately that was not the case, because it takes several days to get better and he had already been sick for 2 days with this high fever.

God is so good, He makes sure that He is with us even though at times we think He is far from us during times of illness or sadness or homesickness or “Culture Shock” situations. We, our team, have all been through it but God in His goodness and mercy seen to it that not all of us went through it at the same time but individually, so we had each other to cling too along with Him and His unfailing Word. I praise Him and thank Him for my team members and my best friend Pauline, she always puts things into perspective for me J

We have adventures as well. One of them being a trip to the Campinas Mall and I think I already wrote about that, how we got off the bus at the wrong stop only to take another bus and was made to get off that one and ended up deep in the Favella (slum) and had to walk up a mountainous hill(the locals call them hills I call them mountains)Fortunately it was early in the morning and not at night or in the dark J We were also looking for one of the team who was supposed to go with us but decided not to and sleep in instead, but because of the lack of phones and communication being what it is here we didn’t know that until later that day. We had a great day the 3 of us, all women, who ended up with loaded back packs with shoes, food, juices and many other such items.

Last night we were invited to Sidney and Eli Ruama’s house for dinner. A special time for us because we don’t get to go out much during the week and they are very busy with being the directors of the Social parents (they are the ones in charge of the boys) so, it was a pleasant time with great food and fellowship. After dinner we watched a movie and didn’t get back to our house until around 11 PM. Pictures will be posted with this note.

That is it for now, more to come soon…….

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Usually most of my notes are on but today I felt the need to write about a certain little boy here at the Cidade dos Meninos(City of Hope). He shall remain nameless as I don't want to get in trouble for writing about him. But he stole my heart and here's why. Last Friday the students had some special points of interests, some history from their country, there was games, sweets, particular to this area. It was fabulous, as I was relaxing under a tree, feeling some nice breezes a small boy, that I took to be about 12 years old, came to sit by me, we exchanged smiles and hellos(that is about all I have learned so far)and we just sat there enjoying the cool. I knew that he was somewhat developmentally disabled but not to a large degree. He saw some friends and made a hasty retreat and smiled his lopsided smile of ciao(goodbye)to me.

A while later as I was taking some pictures a lady came to me and told me the story of this incredible young man. Apparently when he was born with disabilities, his mom, probably very young, "threw him away". Now I'm not sure what exactly that meant but this boy did end up in a orphanage of some sort, and by the time he came to CM, he was not walking, talking or feeding himself. After a period of time and much therapy, he is now talking, walking and feeding himself. Because he is the oldest of the boys, now 19 years old, the other boys fondly call him "grampa". He does continue to get help outside of CM and enjoys most activities within the school.

This boy will grab the heart of any human being, I know he will forever be ingrained in mine.



Let me tell you about Elli, she is a developmentally challenged young woman who lives at the Chakra in Casa 3. I must say when I first met Elli she scared me! Elli, at times is very loud and she is no small framed woman. Sometimes DCA(developmentally challenged adults)can be loud. Elli scared me! When I found out I was having dinner at Casa 3 I was a little concerned and we sat facing each other which made me nervous, because she stared at me without saying a word. But for the most part she didn’t do much of anything but eat her food. I breathed a sigh of relief and the next time I ate at Casa 3 it went about the same. When I got to know her a little better Elli didn’t scare me anymore.

The clincher came the night Pauline, Michelle and I were praying for the Tias(pronounced chee a’s)and Elli was on the swing close to where we were and she decided to come and see what we were doing. We were standing by the pool so I moved closer to the dryer land Jjust in case Ellie felt like tossing someone in the pool, it wouldn’t be me! Then Ellie said something that would forever change my attitude toward her and also plainly melt my heart.

Avo, a simple word that has so much meaning. Tia Delores, said that I reminded Elli of her Avo, her grandmother. As Ellie was repeating this in Portuguese, she was also stroking my arm and gently squeezing(the fat, dangling part of my arm J)and looking right into my eyes and smiling at me. This gesture and those sweet words totally changed my attitude towards Elli She hugged me with all the tenderness of my own granddaughter.

By the way this young lady is twenty years old, and oh, one more thing, I’m not afraid of Elli anymore, she is becoming my friend and I have become her Avo!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Trip to the City of Campinas

Well, it has been several days since I’ve written and several new things have come up. Not sure if I told you about our trip to the city of Campinas to shop. We took the bus and that was very uneventful, the bus had very few passengers on it and I thought to myself “this is easy”, one thing that Pauline doesn’t like to hear, especially when it is not J . It was a nice cool day so we dressed warmly and did a lot of our shopping and browsing. Anderson and Andre took us to a great restaurant, buffet style, BUT you needed to pay extra, by weight for any meat or fish. It was still a lot cheaper than in the states and so, so good! 7.68 in Reais about $6.00 American.

We saw some great sights and some sad sights, like the homeless sleeping outside the big Cathedral. They stay awake at night because it is too dangerous to fall asleep, one may not wake up. So, the homeless, sometimes with their dogs, sleep outside the big Cathedral, I wanted to snap a picture but out of respect I did not. This is where, in due time we will be doing street ministry with the team.

The meal plans here are quite unusual. Wherever we go for breakfast we always have bread, butter, either hot chocolate, tea or coffee. If the Tia’s(pronounced Chee a’s)now you like coffee then you can be sure you will get coffee! Speaking of coffee, maybe I mentioned this before, but the coffee here in Brasil is dark, strong and very sweet. One gets used to it and if you put some leite(pronounced leich)which is milk, no cream can be found trust me, I tried! J Lunch and dinner is always beans and rice, no bread is ever served with those meals, and that is ok with me, the portions are BIG! There is usually a meat and sometimes potatoes and/or pasta added as well, and praise the Lord, always a salad with this wonderful dressing that consists of lemon juice, vinegar and salt, wow, so simple yet so very good!

Back to downtown and our shopping day. We finished our sight-seeing and shopping about 3 PM and then just had to have some Acai and some smoothies, well that took longer than expected we had to be back to the CM by 4:30 to bus home with the girls, so we caught the bus at 4PM and that was NOT a good thing because unlike the bus ride to town the bus ride back to CM was, ummm how can I say this delicately? Nope I can’t so I will just say it was not a heavenly ride and NOT easy(Pauline well agree. We had some bags and the boys took care of handling those for us. The bus was already quite crowded and we had to stand up. Now, Pauline being short in stature and somewhat claustrophobic was not a happy camper because those all around her were much taller than she, thus we found her standing on her tippy toes to see. About 40 minutes later we arrived to our other bus stop and were happily on our way back to our “casa”. That was a Monday our day off.

Our internet access has been interesting to say the least. We do not get internet where we live, so most time we leave our computers at the boys house, where we meet each day at 8 am and have our team devotions, each day one of our team does devotions, it’s a great way to start the day! My computer was not being nice to me this week so one of the boys who teach computer class looked at it for me and he fixed it. I’m so blessed to be in a team of people that know how to fix things J We have a lot of “stuff” on our computer that we need to access daily so, it is a necessity to have a working one. We also will be doing online studies to obtain an AS in Ministerial studies, in 6 mo. And in 18 months we can obtain a BS in the same thing, we are very excited!

This is where I tell you about our schedule just to give you a little info on what our days are like.

Monday= DAY OFF. This is the day we do laundry, go shopping or just hang out at the boys house and do internet and catching up on e-mails, etc. We do have access to washing machine, one that you have to fill up with a hose. It washes and then we have to wring the clothes out and rinse them by hand then put them in a bucket with some softener and let them soak for a few minutes, then they are transferred to an electric spin dryer, they get spun out really good and then we hang them up to line dry. Now, this may seem like a lot but we have a process and it goes by fast we can do 4 loads of laundry in 1.5 hours, hung to dry(but not dry). We usually leave the clothes there to dry and pick them up the next day, the Lavenderia(laundry) gets locked at night, so our clothes are safe.

Tuesday= devotions, breakfast, bus ride to CM, devotions with team, classes(whatever they may be),sometimes we help out in the kitchen, if we have some free time. We don’t have all our team here yet so as soon as we do, things will be more organized.

Wednesday=same as above in the morning except every other Wednesday we have devotions and a service with the kids in church. After church we have a meeting about what we are doing that day, sometimes we meet with Pastor Sidney and Eli-Haumma, sometime PR drops by.

I won’t go through all the days because sometimes things change and you get the picture, we are busy, we hang with the kids and try to encourage them and show them the love of Jesus. When the school has events, we are there, helping and mingling with the kids. There are about 160 kids so it takes some time getting their names down J

We also have our house to keep clean and orderly and the girls to get to know.

That is enough for now, will continue with more soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Campinas Arrival

Campinas Arrival

August 18, we arrived in Campinas after, I could say a grueling 8 hour bus ride from Belo Horizonte, but actually it wasn’t so bad and the time passed rather quickly. The seats we comfortable and reclined, there were foot rests as well. The bus made stops about every 2.5 hours, I ventured out the 2nd time the bus stopped. Never thinking to look at the number of our bus, coming back I couldn’t find it. I searched in every buss, and there must have been 4-5 of them, the last one I looked in and saw Pauline and was so relieved.

Let me tell you about our luggage and the things like wedding gifts for Sidney and Eli-Ruama(the newly weds)Pauline and I had 3 suitcases each, Michelle had 3 suitcases, the boys traveled a little lighter but all in all we had 4 carts full of “stuff”. Thank God we had boys with us and strong women!

The mountains in Campinas are so beautiful, the locals call them hills but we Floridians and Louisianians call them mountains!! On a clear day and even on a not so clear day you can see forever, Just breathtaking and I will post pics on FB soon!

We came to the boys house first and rested for a few hours then met the rest of the team. On to the girls home, which is called the “chakra” or ranch. It is quite unique with several “adobe” like houses, 2 pools, one for small children and a bigger one for the older girls(in need of a good cleaning)Pauline and I were taken to a house that would be our house to eat breakfast and dinner in and every few days we change houses so we can get to know the Tia’s(house moms)pronounced “chia”. There are about 40 girls living in the houses.

I was very surprised the size of the house we would be staying in. Large bathroom and shower, which by the way doesn’t always have hot water L. The bedroom has 3 bunk beds, and 3 wardrobes to put our clothes in. Finally! We will be able to put our clothes in a place other than our suitcases.

Breakfast is usually bread and coffee and/or hot chocolate. Lunch is always at the boys ranch because that is where we spend the majority of our time during the week. Dinner is once again at the girls “chakra” where it is most always rice and beans and greens and chicken or beef or chicken stew, always good always filling!

We are always up by 6 am and at the house by 6:30 am for breakfast. Back to our house to get ready for the day and meet the ‘Omnibus” to get to the boys ranch by 8 am when our day starts with devotions done by one of the team.

August 19, today we met with the Pastor of Hope Unlimited, he runs this Cidade Dos Meninos(City of Youth). He went over the rules and regs of this campus, including not to take pictures of the kids and post on the internet. Some of the kids have been taken out of their homes and placed here due to family dysfunction and some parents don’t know where they are. I do have pics that I can show when I get home but none can go on FB.

The internet is sporadic at best, sometimes we have it for hours and sometimes we have it for a few minutes and sometimes it goes down and doesn’t come back on.

The weather has been cold and rainy, we needed to get more blankets from the house moms. During this time we had just warm water, not hot. We need to wash our clothes by hand, we were able one day last week to bring our heavy items like jeans and towels to the boys campus and do some wash here in a washing machine, no dryers, we air dry and it so totally different than a dryer, so fresh smelling!

This past Saturday we had some ladies come to the house with crafts for the girls to do, like make bracelets and necklaces, the girls had a great time and made some nice jewelry for themselves.

The first 2 weeks here have just been getting used to the houses and the kids, making friends and trying to learn the language(which is not easy)the kids are also interested in learning English so we have a common goal.

We attend church services on Saturday nights here at the boys ranch for the youth, then on Sunday night we attend church in the city of Campinas which Pastor Derli is in charge of. We are here to serve, so if they are short on help in the nursery then it is our responsibility to help in that area.

That is all for now, I will try to continue blogging on a regular basis, it might be a slow process so bear with me, there is so much we are doing here it can’t be all said in a blog, and I don’t want to have the blog so long that no one will want to read it, so I will try to keep it relatively compact!

Love you with all the love of Jesus! Till next time, Ciao! J J

Monday, August 22, 2011

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte

This is the day we went to the city of Belo Horizonte. Up at 6:30 am for devotions, to boys house for breakfast. Let me explain the different houses and where they are in Lagoa Santa.

The girls and the boys are separated and each have a house. The girls house is like a normal house but with larger bedrooms to hold 2-3 sets of bunk beds. I say “normal house” this would be normal for Brazil but not for the USA. Houses are mostly brick and there are a lot of stairs and gates. Windows have no screens so bugs in your “casa”(house)is very normal. The kitchen is very small with limited cupboard and counter space. The stove is gas operated and sometimes we run out. The living room is fairly large but in ours we had our suitcases, but that was ok because there is no furniture other than plastic chairs.

The boys house is somewhat bigger with a larger kitchen(most of the cooking is done here)they share bunk beds as well and again, there is one bathroom and shower among the 7-8 guys. Their living room is about the same size, they do have some furniture because most of the meetings and devotions take place there.

Pauline and I shared rooms with 2-3 other girls. There is one bathroom and one shower and when the shower turns one the lights dim. I know what you are thinking, the electricity is very primitive.

Beans and rice area main stay in lunch and dinner. Greens and potatoes in some form and also some kind of meat is included.

The boys house is where we ate lunch and dinner most days. In the morning two girls go to the Padaria(bakery)for fresh rolls, we eat them with either milk or juice or water. Lunch is cooked by two or three people, depending how extensive the meal is, as well as dinner. Similar to E3D each person washes their own plate and fork. Another person washes the pots and pans and the floor gets swept after each meal.

For the most part Pauline and I had someone with us if we went anywhere. One day one of the girls, Mandy(pronounced Ma’ngi)took us to the Super Mercado(super market)and we finally got to get some coffee, even though it was instant, at that point with some sugar and leite(milk)it tasted like heaven!

Everywhere we go, we walk, and that is ok because I needed some exercise. The first day we arrived in Lagoa Santa we were invited for Pizza, I think I already went through that episode in the past blog but let me tell you we walked and walked and walked I was praying “please God let us arrive” and we did!

After the trip to the super market, Pauline and I felt brave and ventured out on our own it was not far from the house so Pauline felt like we could do it and we did. Then we took an easier way back and realized that there were many more stores on the way back that we never knew about and never got to visit because the very next day we were leaving Lagoa Santa for Campinas.

Our trip to Belo Horizonte will forever be etched in my mind because what is illegal in the USA is legal, or maybe not exactly legal, but it’s not looked upon as illegal. Does that even make sense? What I mean is they, the Policia(Police)look the other way. We did some shopping in the shopping area and then almost right around the corner is the area of prostitution. Right in broad daylight, right in the heart of town men go in and out all day long into the brothels. One of the girls that was here last did a video of this and here I was right in the middle of it. These women are anywhere in age from well, lets just say very, very young to very, very old. The prices they charge are so cheap $20 Reais(pronounced hay-I’s)about $16 dollars in American money. For the old women 50-60 years old the price is so much lower $2 Reais this is all per hour. These women rent the hotel room for $1000 Reais a month and never make enough to get them out of the prostitution life, so sad! Let me interject here that we did some walking and praying!

Ok, my blogs cannot cover half as much as we have experienced so far in our 1 plus week here.

All that aside, God Is amazing and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do through me and in me. I may come back fluent in Portuguese (one can only hope J )

Stayed tuned for the next blog when I tell you all about our 8 hour bus ride with 4 carts full of luggage and packages to bring to Campinas. Also about the trip with all this luggage in the back of a pickup truck (no, I was not in the back of the truck I was fortunate enough to be in the cab) J.

Signing off for now from the beautiful mountains of Campinas, Brazil. Ciao