Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Centennial Fellow Storytellers!

We celebrated our Centennial Anniversary today! 100 days in Rio! This means that we are now more than half way through, closer to leaving than beginning, and what a time it has been. God has taught us a lot and we're excited to see what He has in store for us during our remaining 9 weeks here. But we're ALSO excited to see some of our wonderful friends when we return home, like our sweet small group! It was a perfect end to our centennial day to open up a giant package that they sent us in the mail all the way from League City, TX! See pics below-

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Church Without Walls

I know it's popular to say that yours is a "Church without walls", but when this is literal instead of figurative, it's not so popular. Our church in Sitio did not have all of its walls, so this past Saturday we put some elbow grease into it and started to make things happen. We could potentially have three rooms in the church, but the back "room" had been turned into a public garbage/bathroom because of the lack of walls. So with the help of some locals, the team got together and helped construct temporary walls as well as clean out the back room.

This back room (pictured at right) was about three feet high in garbage and waste. We actually thought it didn't have flooring until discovering tile after a couple hours of digging. We can't describe everything we pulled out of there without ruining your appetite.

Missionary Aurora (pictured at left) hard at working helping put in these walls made of "madeirite" which are thin pieces of plywood.

After a morning of clean-up, we held a service at the church. The preaching took place to the background of our hard working wall-installer cranking away with the skilsaw. This bullet hole tells the history of this building- execution center turned church.

We're receiving another mission team on Tuesday, so please be in prayer for these 16 people coming from Florida and 1 from New York. This time they will be working in the ministries that we have been actively involved in so we are excited for them to help!

-Giulian & Christy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fifa Fan Fest

We're leaving in a few minutes to go to Copacabana Beach where we'll watch the Brazil vs. Portugal game with thousands of other crazies at the Fifa Fan Fest- a ginormous screen placed on the beach. Should be awesome! We'll be bringing our Brazil flag so they know we Gringos come in peace... Video footage to come shortly!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bus Stop Conversation

So on Friday afternoon as we were leaving Sitio, the location in City of God where we have a new church, we saw a little boy, about 7 years old, that we call Cauan #2 at the bus stop. He's always shirt-less, shoe-less, and dirty. He was siting on the bus stop bench, alone, with his hands curled up to his mouth. An older lady was drawing attention to him because he was there alone and his mother wasn't taking care of him. "Look at this boy, all dirty, taking the bus here and there by himself. I told him to go home but he said his mom's not there. What a shame. Look at him!" We sat next to him and tried to talk to him about where he was going and what he was doing, but he was too embarrassed to say anything I think. Then, the squawking lady drew attention from a man who then proceeded to castigate frightened Cauan. "What are you gonna do? Go out and beg on the streets? You know there are people that drive around looking for children just your size," he said as he pointed out his height, "they want to take you away and steal your organs to sell them."

What a disgusting experience. We convinced Cauan to walk back to Sitio with us so we could buy him a drink and some cookies. After explaining to him that many people will tell him things to scare him but God will always tell him the truth and that God will always take care of him, we prayed for him and his protection and told him to go back home and not go out into the street alone. What is he supposed to do? He is actually one of our more tough, problematic kids, but at this time he was obviously timid and afraid. His mom probably demands that he goes out to beg, unaware or apathetic toward the possible consequences. I'm pretty certain he no longer attends school, at least not consistently. For this reason, we are planting a church in Sitio. Boys like Cauan need to know the hope that we have in Christ, because it is the only hope they have for a future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"I like Jesus & He sees everything."

Today we went to our church building in Sitio - City of God for our normal Wednesday gathering. Recently we decided to switch Wednesday mornings from a mid-week church service to an outreach day, similar to Fridays, so we're able to connect more with the community and pray with them. But today when we arrived we found a rude awakening.
While we were with the mission team in Niteroi, the wood scrap dividing wall (pictured) fell once again, but this time for good, leaving the church exposed. Aurora, the missionary that has been working in the area for four years, went as soon as possible with her sons to lock away the chairs and tables in our storage closet where we keep donations, music and art equipment, etc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brasil World Cup Game 1

Well, we made it out alive!! It was quite an intense game as Brasil did NOT blow N. Korea out of the water as they had anticipated (not speaking literally of course). In fact N. Korea defended them well and scored one goal of their own, but still was no match for the Brasileiros who defeated them 2-1. I think Brasil will be more on guard against Ivory Coast this Sunday. Enjoy the following videos from our time at a friend's crowded apartment, there was a lot of hugging-

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adventure in Store

Hey friends,
     Please pray with us as we embark on an adventure into downtown Rio tomorrow in order to extend our visas for the full 6 months. (By the way- we finally got our flight home for September 1st!) They only grant 90 days at a time, so now we need to beg them to give us 90 days more and we have heard that they can be a pain in the rear. That is why we ask for your prayer because we don't want to wake up again at 5:30 am and take a long bus ride to try it again. But as always, we are going to make some fun out of it and check out some of the beautiful museums Rio has to offer while we're there. After all, it is our off day so we must make the best of it! Tuesday will be another adventurous day with the first Brazilian World Cup game. I guess we should ask for your prayer then too as we've been told it can get preeeetty rowdy here, but we're pumped!

Enjoy these pics from our beautifully, relaxing day in a coastal town called Cabo Frio with the mission team from Karis Church. We got to take an incredible boat trip around the bay, visiting a few of the beaches and hunting for shells and sea creatures. It was a blast! More on the mission trip to come...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grace-filled Adoption

We went to see the Prince of Persia the other night. It was interesting to see the story of his adoption. He was a peasant boy without parents and was adopted by the glorious King once he saw the courage and strength the young boy had shown himself to possess.

That is not the Gospel. That is not grace. In fact, it is the opposite.

Thomas Watson writes,
Consider what we were before God adopted us. We were very deformed; and a man will scarce adopt him for his heir that which is crooked and ill-favoured, but rather him that has some beauty. Mordecai adopted Esther, because she was fair. When we were in our blood God adopted us. "When I saw you polluted in your blood, it was the time of love." Ezekial 16:6,8. God did not adopt us when we were adorned with the jewels of holiness, and had the angels' glory upon us; but when we were diseased as lepers, was the time of his love. (A Body of Divinity, p. 235)

That is grace.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fear - Christy's Guest Post

Speaking of guest posts (see previous post below), I recently guest posted on a really awesome blog for women - Girls Using Their Strengths (G.U.T.S.) - directed by a friend of a friend, Aurora McKeehan. The topic is weighty, and I believe it is one not only for young women but for all. So please take a few minutes to check it out and ponder the implications of God's Sovereignty in reference to our fear of death -


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Guest Post - Josh Block

Our absence from the blog for a week made for a perfect time to present this guest post from our fellow missionary, Josh Block (missionary here from Seattle). He recently recalled this story of life change for a summary paper we were writing about the church-plant in Sitio - City of God. This story is one of many, and we´re happy to share it with you thanks to Josh. He and his Brasilian wife Ana (pictured below) have been working faithfully in Sitio for some time now, and we are privileged to get to know them better.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This Week´s Mission Trip

Hey guys! We just wanted to direct you real quick to the Karis Blog where the mission team from Missouri is updating daily with wonderful photos, video, and stories about their daily adventure here in Niteroi. They´re doing an awesome job communicating about their trip with their congregation, so we wanted to direct you there if you want to see what we are up to this week! We have had a comfortable stay with one sister from the church we are serving this week, and have enjoyed this experience as working in Niteroi is new for us also. Please continue to pray for the team and us as we will be finishing VBS tomorrow with an expected attendence of 200 (yesterday we had 150) and only about 18 of us volunteers.

-Giulian & Christy

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fully Surrendered to Christ

Mini-Biography Part 3
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This brute orator was born in 1850. Unlike Bunyan, at a young age it was Spurgeon's self-righteousness that kept him from Christ. "I really thought I was quite a respectable lad, and might have been half inclined to boast that I was not like other boys, untruthful, dishonest, disobedient, swearing."

But around the age of 16, he rushed into a small church to avoid the snow storm that halted his journey. The snow had kept the preacher from coming that day, so instead, an unlearned layman spoke from the Bible. For Spurgeon, this church service was impromptu, but for God it was set in stone from before creation. That night he gave his life to Christ. Only a few months later he dipped his toes into preaching, and it snowballed quickly from there. He became a pastor at 17 and by the time he was into his 20's, he was preaching to crowds of up to 10,000.

If you have ever read any of his sermons you know how gifted this man was. He had an uncanny capacity for serving God. He published weekly sermons, monthly newspapers, traveled extensively preaching the gospel, started an orphanage, shepherded his people, and ran a pastors college. I believe God blessed him mightily because he was so surrendered to being used by God. At about the time of his conversion to Christ he wrote, "I gave Him my body, my soul, my spirit; I gave him all I had, and all I shall have for time and eternity. I gave him all my talents, my powers, my faculties, my eyes, my ears, my limbs, my emotions, my judgment, my whole manhood, and all that came of it, whatever fresh capacity or new capability I might be endowed with".

May we be this surrendered to Christ, and may Christ use us so.


A Taste of Spurgeon's writings from a sermon on Colossians 3:11 "...Christ is all..":
The way to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. "But what is it to believe?" you say. I have heard of a captain who had a little son, and this little boy was very fond of climbing aloft. One day he climbed to the mast-head, and the father saw that, if the boy attempted to return, he would be dashed to pieces; he, therefore, shouted to him not to look down, but to drop into the sea. The poor boy kept fast hold of the mast; but the father saw it was his only chance of safety, and he shouted once more, "Boy, the next time the ship lurches, drop, or I will shoot you." The boy is gone; he drops into the sea, and is saved. Had he not dropped, he must have perished. This is just your condition: so long as you cling to works and ceremonies, you are in the utmost peril; but when you give yourselves up entirely to the mercy of Christ, you are safe. Try it, sinner; try it, that is all. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," is Christ's promise, and it shall never fail you. The invitation is to all who thirst.
Read more Spurgeon here :

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Karis Community Church Working Together for the Gospel

Let me just begin by saying that we have been without internet since Thursday and it has been difficult to communicate with the outside world. Even with all of our teammates here we generally communicate through Facebook since the cell phone system here is unfortunate. As I type these words now I am sitting in an internet cafe. We´ll be leaving in a couple hours to meet Josh and Ana (our fellow teammates working in the Sitio church-plant) at the ferry to go to NiterĂ³i together for a week. Hopefully the internet situation will be resolved by then, but for the week we will probably be without internet. It won´t matter though because we are so pumped to work with a mission team that travelled all through the night to get here from Columbia, Missouri, representing our A29 partner Karis [Car-iss] Community Church!! Twelve strong team members led by lead pastor, Kevin Larson, will be teaching a Vacation Bible School, among many other things, for dozens if not hundreds of slum kids in NiterĂ³i. We are super excited to meet them and hear their stories as each of them are bringing their unique mission experience and passion to the table. Moreover, we´re eager to further our relationship with Renato Vargens and his congregation; this is the first time Restore Brazil will be partnering with them for a mission trip. This is going to be an exciting week with lots of challenges, so we ask for your prayer as we open up the summer with the first of three mission trips coming down to serve whole-heartedly to bring Gospel Restoration in Brasil.

We´ll be publishing various blog posts while we´re away, so continue checking back. They´re goodies you don´t want to miss (including Mini-Bio Part 3)!

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