Kids Update (from Betsy)

My theme for the last two years has been that “God gives me the grace I need, when I need it.” And as I listen to my kids play outside this morning, I am reminded of how He has given me grace through my kids. The fact that they are doing so well here in Brazil has meant a lot to me and has helped me do better also.

Remember what summers were like as a kid? Playing outside from morning to evening; exploring; pretending; going from one type of sport to the other; riding bikes; rollerblading. I feel like we have placed our kids in a constant state of “summer break” by moving to Brazil. Just throw in some homeschooling in the morning, and its pretty much summer year around.

Because it’s like summer, I am continually striving for structure. That’s where homeschooling helps. Our “normal” schedule is school in the morning, lunch, finishing what didn’t get done in the morning, then music lessons or free time. The problem with “normal” is that it often doesn’t happen. Our life here offers many interruptions, which can also be looked at as “life experiences” and therefore, worth the interruption. Boat trips, visitors, motorcycle trips are regular events for us. We view school as “year around” and shoot for the end of July to have the year accomplished.

I’m very thankful for what short-term missionaries add to our children’s lives. The kids have done two plays (extensive and well done), learned some ballet, had art lessons, and gotten a taste for good photography. And then all the other intangibles that come from rubbing shoulders with people that love the Lord. It’s God’s grace that puts these people into our lives.

As I begin to write about our kids to other people, I could go on and on. I won’t do that, but I’d like to try and give you an idea of the sort of things they are doing while here in Brazil, and how they are growing.

LUKE-just turned 14, Luke has grown more than just physically over the past year and a half in Brazil. Physically, he towers above his Brazilian friends, at 5’10” tall. He is usually thought of as being at least 16 years old. While his good friends are currently home on furlough, he is pouring his time and energy into learning music, with lessons in piano, guitar, and drums. The Mirante Church, where he attends Youth Group, has given him the opportunity to play in the worship band. (Guitar and electric guitar.) Luke is also doing very well with the language and serves as interpreter for teams (and his mom and dad). He loves Brazil (many have commented that Luke has “gone native”) and is making the most of the experience while here. He would like to learn to spear fish next and he loves driving a motorbike whenever he can (which is often!). When praying for Luke, please pray for good guy friends and for his schooling, as he is approaching high school.

ELLIE-at 12 ½ , Ellie has a servant’s heart. She is often seen hanging out with younger missionary kids, or holding a baby, helping out the parents. She gladly helps cook or bake and enjoys learning to make new things. Her mind is always working, creating a new dress design or a swimsuit for her American Girl doll, or dreaming about buying material. She hates to be bothered with school, when there’s so much to be made with her hands. She too is doing well with the language, and I love hearing her talk with our neighbor Sirley. Sirley has a 6 month old girl Carissa, and Ellie likes to go to their house and help Sirley with Carissa, while Sirley does her work. I see Ellie growing spiritually, helping to pray for people at ministry time. Thank you for praying for Ellie for motivation to learn in school.

BEN-at almost 11, some of you may remember Ben as quiet and shy. Since moving to Brazil he has became much less shy and more willing to talk. He can talk forever if the topic is Pokemon! And he has two other willing parties, his two missionary friends Justin and Logan. Ben is very diligent at chores and with his school work; and at keeping track of how much Game Boy time he has left, as he is allotted only so much per day. Ben loves the adventure of motorbike and boat trips with his dad. He does admit he seems to be the one that deals with more problems: he recently had a full-blown allergic reaction to something, and while he’s itching all over for that, he gets lice and his head starts to itch. Poor guy! But he has been quite the trooper. So pray for his itching and for how to deal with a teen-age brother and sister!

MERE-is the youngest at 9, and plays the part well. She can produce tears on a dime, (though her siblings don’t fall for it anymore.) My affectionate daughter loves when we have one-on-one time. She and her friends (many her age) can be heard playing pretend, dress-up, and house. Yet, she’s just as happy playing pokemon or other games with the boys. She does well in school, but better when I’m sitting there beside her. I pray God gives her a love for worship, as she loves to sing and dance and can make up stuff that I never could. And she has no problem performing it either. Mere could use prayer for focus and taking on more responsibility.

They all have put me to shame at how adaptable they are and how they have embraced their new home. It is such evidence of God’s grace. They are doing well here in this somewhat strange and wild environment, and that means everything to me.

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