Saturday, July 4, 2009

Named a Donkey Independence!

To you Americans, Happy 4th, I don't expect us to shoot any fireworks off down here, so if you get a chance light one for me!!

This weekend (which isn't over) has been packed full!!

Friday, around 13:00, 8 of us (Jordan, Bill, Donna Mocinha, Alane, Pastor Eudes, Peris, Aristones and I) left to head to VQ. (of course after a morning full of kids and preteens - so Jo and I were already tired!) Even before we left we had some fun with Sula~we were looking for 2 liter bottles to fill up with "good" water. We asked Sula where to find them and she pulled one from behind the trunk that Jordan has been using for her clothes! We were shocked, but at the same time, that's Sula for you! She got the others one from outside somewhere - don't worry they were washed before we used them!

But we loaded up the cars and were on our way, backpacks full and food & water packed! Getting there seemed a lot longer in the car this time, maybe because we didn't have a cake stop with Sula's soap opera, but it wasn't bad.

Once we made it to the "parking lot" (the house where we keep the cars), we were pretty ready to get down the road! The walk seemed a lot short this time, maybe because we knew what to expect, or there were less of us, or because it was with a new group of people that have never gone. Bill took his bike again, so for a while, Jordan and I were the only English speaking people on the road, so communication was entertaining too! We gave Bill some good laughs when he came back for backpacks (the picture says it all, but I don't have it yet).

Once we made it to the house, Bill was no where to be found. Come to find out, from Donna Mocinha (although it was in Portuguese, so we were guessing a little bit) that he went to pray with one of the ladies at the end of the road. But he showed up later, unharmed from riding in the dark without a lamp, to let us know that more people were coming.

Jordan and I were hungry, while waiting for Bill...and Jordan and I didn't want to be rude and eat in front of them! So we grabbed some crackers and headed to an empty patch of grass near the horse. We were trying to watch the stars, but at the same time sneak a snack! All of a sudden, while trying not to draw attention to ourselves, the horse had to pee! It cracked me up...of course it would do something when we don't want any attention...

After our eventful snack...we were doing our best to take turns teaching Alane words in English and her teaching us words in Portuguese. It became pretty entertaining, especially since there were limited things to point out and name. Alane had one of the little boys run over and touch a chair so that we knew what she was talking about! But we had fun!

Once Bill was back we had some children's worship time! We first started off playing the name game! Bill ended up making us say all of the names in the end, which was difficult because this was the first time we really met these kids and some had some difficult names! Alane then gave the kids a Bible verse to memorize and they were able to repeat it a lot better than Jordan and I, although Jordan did it a lot better than I! I could say it in English! Psalm 119:11!!! Its a good one!

Afterward we sang and danced to a BUNCH of songs! At one point I had Alane laughing really hard because I was doing one of the dance move wrong...Jordan plans to teach it to me later! After the songs we headed inside to play with some balloons and to give the kids candy!! We had a balloon race...who ever could blow up the balloon and make it pop, while blowing it up, got a piece of candy, well of course everyone got a piece, it just took longer for other. The three of us (AJC) tried after the kids and Alane kept knocking ours out of our mouths! Jordan won! Alane and I tied! We got candy too!

After sugaring up the kids, we danced the Electric Slide to "Forever" by Chris Tomlin. That was fun! The kids were LOST!!! Alane had it down really well, more than we thought she would...she was even the one that wanted us to do it! It was FUN! And Alane had us dance the Cotton Eyed Joe dance moves to another song! That was fun, but tiring too - the kids didn't join in on this one...we were just watched!

Pastor Eudes gave a short sermon on Nicodemus and what it means to be born again. Three people accepted Christ: Lucas, Donna Fatima, Jocelane ! It was an awesome experience to be a part of!

It was also Alane's birthday, so we had a cake for her! This was really neat too! The cake was cut, and Alane served it to everyone! When she got to us, she stuffed it in our mouths, which we didn't expect! But then we got her back! She actually wasn't sure if she wanted to come because it was her birthday, but I'm pretty sure it will be a birthday she will never forget!

It was 22:30 by the time we headed to bed! Alane was begging us to go to the river that night, but we decided it would be best to go in the morning! As we were setting up the hammocks, Bill was having some trouble because Erika wasn't there to tie a knot in his hammock. We told him to ask Alane, but he was pretty she didn't know! But as soon as he said that, she was showing that she was able to do it, I think she ended up fixing everyone's hammocks!

Bill woke us up at 5:25!! To go take a bath in the river, although we had to wait until the gentlemen made their way back! It was refreshing, although Alane was SHIVERING the whole time. Jordan delayed getting in the water, but Alane wasn't having it! She actually took me down in the water...but I wasn't complaining - I thought it felt good!

We got out, headed to the house, changed clothes, hung our wet clothes on the fence and then ate some breakfast! Bread and corn meal stuff that you can put sugar and milk was interesting!

We left on our trek to the "coffee house" around 7ish, later than we wanted, but not as late as we could have been! The trek (again) seemed a lot shorter than before...I think it helps when you have landmarks throughout the journey. And with those memories that help you get down the road! When we reached the first gate we knew we didn't have much more to go. Then there was the pond you can swim in, although there is A LOT of greenery in there right now. And then the Mini-Amazon River!

We reached the coffee house and Margarita had coffee ready to go! Jordan and I each ended up with 2 cups of AMAZING coffee in us...Bill had 3 1/2. That was A BUNCH of straight from the cow milk!

Margarita is an awesome hostess. She is so sweet and has a heart-warming and -breaking testimony. She mentioned today that "We are poor, but anything you need here is yours." WOW!!! This is the lady whose daughter drowned not too long ago, and she now has peace with God, knowing that her daughter is in Heaven and that through her daughters death, more have come to know Christ! I wish everyone could meet this amazing woman!

While enjoying our coffee, those sitting around us decided that to mess with Alane about riding their donkey...I've now learned not to dare that girl! She walked up to the donkey and got on! Then Thiago got it walking and she got to screaming as it took its steps! The little boy pulled out the rope and started hitting its side. That got the little guy going! She nearly fell off, but Thiago caught her!

Then it was Jordan's turn! Jordan made sure the little boy with the rope was far from her, but didn't expect Aristones to go up behind the donkey get him going, or get the rope thrown to him from the boy. Well, the donkey definitely got going and ended up knocking Jordan to the ground, Thiago was unable to catch her.

Then it was my turn. Now I have a bad record with Donkeys, and this poor guy had already had enough...he didn't need me. And come to find out he didn't even have a name! So we named him Independence...Don't know if that will stick, but its been decided! Well, I did get on the donkey, and Jordan had the rope...which we are on the same team so we back each other up, although she was swinging it around suspiciously...I was fine not having the donkey go anywhere and I can now say that I have ridden a donkey!

After the donkey ride, The Chaplain (Jo) told us the story of Noah, and how much faith and obedience this man had! And if we would just allow God to work in our lives as Noah did, He would use us for great things as well! Bill later said that he had never looked at that story in that way and Aristones left like Jo had box seats watching what was happening! Jordan has an awesome way of putting Bible events in a new light to help us better understand all that God does! Its been an awesome experience serving along side her this summer!

After the lesson, Thiago mentioned that he wanted to accept Christ as His Savior. Bill had Jordan pray a sinners prayer, Bill translated it, and then Thiago repeated it! It was such a neat experience! Thiago is Lucas's brother! So now this mother has two more sons who have accepted Jesus! This was an AWESOME weekend (and I'm not done!).

(Lucas is in the orange hat, Thiago is in the blue hat)

Jordan's Brasilian dad led us in some worship songs before we left!

Margarita also gives AWESOME hugs!!!

Then it was on to the "Dairy House." The couple at this house makes fresh cheese, yogurt, milk, etc... And its ALL good! Today I only ate some cheese and crackers, but Jordan, Alane, Aristones and I were able to watch Edison (the man of the house) make some rounds (if that's what you call it) of cheese. I also got to eat some VERY FRESH was good, but weird, I kinda felt like I was chewing on a balloon without the rubber even made squeaking sounds as we chewed!

Fatima (the lady of the house) had accepted Christ the night before and Edison prayed to accept Christ in the kitchen as we all held hands. Jordan said that Fatima held her hand REALLY tight!

While we were enjoying the new believer in Christ's first moments, we noticed the horse outside the window. Bill wouldn't get on the donkey, so we tried to tell Alane that Bill should get on that horse, but instead she thought we were telling her that in English, the horse is Bill! We had a good laugh! Fatima also gives some awesome hugs! I'm pretty sure I hugged her 5 times! She has a servants heart as well! I didn't want to leave the house, but it was time to go! But we didn't leave without buying some cheese from them!!!! (YUMMM!!)

On the way back to Marcos' house (where we spend the night) we continued to name other objects (besides Bill), Bill! It helped break up the length of the trip! We also taught Alane a few phrases that hopefully she'll use later on: Howdy Y'all and Don't Worry About It!! It was fun! We stopped at one other house just to say "oi" and to pray with them along the way back!

Once we were able to see the house, Alane was real excited! I don't think she expected to walk so much! But we made a deal to scream "GLORIA A DEUS" on three. We shocked those in the front of the pack! It was fun!

Once we got back to the house, we ate lunch (with some AWESOME potatoes - the best ever - sorry mom)!!! Packed up our clothes and headed out! We walked most of the way back, but then some of the guys from the community gave us a ride by motorcycle back to the "parking lot." So I am still unable to say that I walked the whole way in VQ...these people are just too nice! But I also appreciated it!

The ride home was uneventful, although we tried to sleep and Bill was enjoying waking us up while dodging holes (although the holes have gotten better).

We are now back. Erika is doing well, she is getting tired of being in her room, but the fact that she is staying down where she is suppose to be is good to see. We ate dinner (hotdogs!) and now we are getting ready to head to bed! We have an early morning...

Oh...and I have no clean lay around the house clothes (t-shirts, shorts) and the water was turned off, but I'm hoping to get them washed tomorrow!

Renan kept us entertained as he walked by our room dancing and singing...I finally got it on video! He has begged me to delete it...but that WON'T happen!

Check back for more pictures (once I get them from Bill and Jordan)...I'm really going to bed now...I just kept thinking of things that happened once we got home...