January 6, 2002

Sunday night after church report:

It was a good service. However, it was raining so hard that it made it very hard to hear. But an older man told us that because it was so noisy, folks had to listen closely. They had a good sound system, and I certainly know why they do. The church had a tin roof, and though it is in town, it is on a hill. It was a typical tropical rain storm, and the water was running down the street almost curb deep. Everyone stuck around for some time after services because of the rain and deep water.

The message is posted on the web site that I used tonight.

A lady came up to me after service with tears in her eyes, and said she now for the first time understood the gospel. She is on the church mission board, and is the one who presents the mission statement to the church. She is also involved in a ministry to drunks &c., here in Anapolis, and when they lived in Brasilia, she had a ministry, Bible study, among the foreign embassy wives, which included Muslims.

She spoke good English, and I gave her a salvation booklet to review.

Her testimony makes the trip down here worth while.

So we certainly praise the Lord for His goodness to us.

We are looking forward to getting back on a schedule. This time next week, we will be on the plane back, Lord willing.

Thank you for your prayers; the Lord answered them.

This week will be spent getting to know my brother Richard (Dick), and giving them a chance to get to know Bettie. I had forgotten that they came back to the states for 10 years for the kids' schooling, but they lived in Waxhall, NC. We did not see much of them when they were here then. They came to Brasil in 1968, and returned after 10 years in the states in 1996.

We love you all, and are looking forward to being home.

January 8, 2002

Yesterday we went to the town known for its soapstone cook ware. Bettie got some clay cookware.

Then last night we went for a "cook out" or "BBQ" at Fay's aunt's house, her dad's sister who lives next door. BBQs here are NOT hotdogs and hamburgers. "Churrasco" is what it is called, and it is always meat cooked over coals, like our better "cook outs." They use steak, pork cuts and both pork and chicken sausage. Fay's dad has been to the States a couple of times. When someone told him they were having a cook out, he was greatly surprised when it turned out to be no more than hot dogs and hamburgers. He still talks about it.

Like we found at Fay's house, these meals start late, not before 8 PM and last until someone decides to leave, usually at least a couple of hours later. It was three weeks before Bettie or I could sleep past 5 AM. But we will soon be back on schedule.

Today we went to see about Christina's braces. I also found the dentist seemingly more thorough than the what we found in the States. She pointed out, and we agree, that the dentists in the state are more interested in pushing people through the program and saving time than they are in doing the job right. She takes her time with braces, letting each adjustment have many weeks to permanently move the teeth, and she removes no teeth until the patient is at least 17. The dentist we went to in the States wanted 5 teeth pulled at the start; the one here said that was totally necessary this early in her life. The length of time Christina will be here will not be long enough to change anything for the better.

Then we went to another late dinner, 8 PM at Steve and Kristin VanBeveren's home. They are missionaries with MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship), and he trains Brazilian pilots for the mission field. Rather than planes being used to open up the interior with the gospel in this area, they are used for medical services where the government does not reach. And the medical service strengthens the local church in the communities they serve.

Steve went to school with Richard and Darlene's children. Richard first met them when Steve was probably 8 years old. Steve's dad was a pilot up in the Amazon region where Richard had the only certified radio shop within 1000 miles. Richard also flew into a tribe with him.

Steve and his wife are good friends with Fay's parents. They live within a few blocks of each other.

Dick and Darlene said this is the first time they have been able to go into Brazilians homes and be treated as equals. All of the Brazilians where they are treat them only as honored guests, and won't hardly sit at the same table with them, only because they are Americans.

Dick and Darlene are enjoying their short stay here. They feel they must leave to bo back Friday evening, so they can be at work Monday. So that means a non-stop trip back, 40 hours. Their son, who works for Microsoft, installed new operating systems on several computers, and left. So Richard is under pressure to get them operating properly. Dwayne, who works for Microsoft, helped on the development of Windows XP, so he was very insistent that XP be loaded on all of their computers.

The developers, according to Dick, work in a totally unreal world. Even Dwayne, installing XP, could not get it to install properly. The only way he got it to work was because of his inside knowledge of how it was supposed to work, so he was able to do several undocumented things to get it to install. And then the system still do not know as promised by Microsoft. But it will self destruct if the proper number is not registered with MS, or if too much hardware is changed in the computer. They made sure that new property will work.

I guess the answer for about any problem where he works is to reformat the hard drive, but that just does not work in the real world. I guess the advertising department is totally unrelated to the development department, so advertisement makes unreal claims for the products.

Anyway, Richard has some interesting stories of how things work inside Microsoft.

Time is quickly expiring, so we will see you all very soon, Lord willing. I dread the long flight back to the States, but it is not as bad as 40 hours in a bus.

We have not seen much of Fay. She is in a training course to equipt her to teach English, and she has been staying with an aunt through the week. But her dad pointed out that our families are now tied together in a way that cannot be broken. Him being a lawyer for a hospital, he can get our prescription drugs for an excellent price through the hospital pharmacy. Blood pressure medicine that cost over $1 in the states is less than 50 cents each through him. The doctor who looked at Christina gave us samples of the medicine. He is one of Fay's dad's cousins.

January 9, 2002

Today we tried to straighten out Christina's paper work, so Becky can get the papers enabling Christina to travel on her own. Darlene is moving about half way down toward Anapolis to prepare for the Wyclyff Conference. Then in a couple of weeks, Richard is coming down also. They will live there for a month or so, and they want Christina and Jessica to come up by bus to visit with them for a week. Before they can do that, we had to get some documents in Portuguese in order for Christina to travel on her own. We had them in English, but rather than get them translated, we just got new documents. That took some time, seeing as how this is a "document" driven social order. Everyone needs a document for any and every thing, and every one has an idea of what kind of document is needed for what activity.

We then went to some shops. We saw a shoe store with a good sale going on, and we had to stop. Becky's boys needed shoes, of course. And I was able to pick up a very good pare of all leather shoes for about $30 US. Tennies were only $6 US, and they seem to be as good as the ones made in China that have expensive brand names on them. And these were not made in China by slave labor.

We got to talking, and the store manager introduced us to a young man who worked there and is studying for the ministry. After finding out I am a pastor, the young man ask me to "speak a blessing for me," that is, pray for him. He could not speak English, but took me into a back room and asked me to pray for him. Bettie told me what he was saying, but he said he did not need an interpreter for the prayer. It was a good "experience."

We stopped for lunch in town. These restaurants still amaze me: They have no doors nor screens, and open as can be for whatever breeze is avalible. And there are no bugs. I guess it is because of the abundance of birds.

The fresh fruit has spoiled me.

Christina is already "home sick" for us as we are getting ready to leave.

Darlene pointed out that this is the most time we have ever spent together since they have been married, which is right.

Keep us in your prayers.


Bro Need, Bettie and Christina