Thursday, June 30, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Even so, this is how our trip went. It was a little crazy.
5 am - leave hotel
6:30 am leave Natal fly 31 minutes to Recife get off plane, get on different plane,
8 am - leave Recife to fly to Rio De Janeiro
11 am - 6:30 pm - hang out in Rio (see Rio Post)
7 pm - leave from Rio to Sao Paulo. Get off plane, get back on plane
8 pm - leave Sao Paulo for D.C. fly 11 hours
7 am - get off plane, go through customs get bags, check bags back in, run to next plane
8 am - barely catch flight to Seattle, pull into Seattle 11:30 am
Whew! 1 pm - Try to catch breath, we are finally home.
There were more than a few times that we were commenting that this must be what it is like to be on the "Amazing Race."
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
We left from Natal this morning and changed planes in Recife. We arrived in Rio a few minutes before noon and we realized we couldn´t get our boarding passes or check in until 3:30pm. Instead of waiting at the airport, we rented a taxi van and we went on a 3 hour tour of Rio. We first went to see the huge statue of Jesus on the hill above the city. Wow! What a sight! It is on this mountain in the middle of the city. The drive is a windy road that is very steep. Add to that the crazy driving here in Brasil and it was quite an experience. From the top you can view the city. I believe the driver said that the mountain is 709 meters tall that is (2326 ft). The statue was beautiful and it was amazing to think of all the work that went into making it. The Statue is 98ft tall and arms stretching 92ft wide and it was completed in 1931.
We then drove down to the Beach. The area of Rio and the Beach we went to was called the Copacabana. The sand was the consistancy of sugar. The softest stuff I have ever walked on. Justin, Caroline and I walked into the surf and I was surprised by how warm the water was. That was quite an experience as well. Then we drove by Ipanema beach. It is just around the corner from Copacabana and is just as well known. We saw the Soccer stadium, the Carnival location and many beautiful churches from the outside. And then we came back to the airport. Today has felt like we were on the amazing race. Well, I can´t stand to watch the money go by any more. I will write more when it isn´t so expensive. We will be back at 11:11am on Wed. If all goes well. We fly into Washington D.C. which is a change in plans of which I will explain later.
Monday, June 27, 2005
After that visit the pastors from Natal took us to lunch at another place that fed us too much good food. (Come to think of it, all of the places seemed to feed us too much. Oh, wait, maybe the problem lies with me and my inablility to stop eating. Who knows?) Shopping at the Prison followed that. There is an old prison in Natal that has been converted into a market. They sell all kinds of tourist things. On the way home we stopped by the "Natal Shopping." Yes, you read it right. The people use the word shopping as a noun to describe a mall. It is an English word that has infiltrated their society but it was not brought in as we know it to be correct. We found a candy store to pick up some treats to bring back with us. We also finally made it to a McDonalds in Brasil. It was the other one in town and was located in the mall. We were proud to research and determine that the "Big Mac" was very similar in taste to the ones we have in the States. And that was it, our last night in Brasil.
After church we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was buffet style and very good food but there was one different thing about it. After you picked up your food and before you went to sit down they weighed your plate. So you were only charged for the amount of food you actually took. Interesting concept. It was fun to visit with the other people who came from church. There was a guy named Filip (pronounced "Fill Leap"). So now I know two people with that name. He was the pastor's son. He is going to school to become an Electronic Engineer so we had plenty in common.
After eating we quick drove by the beach and took a few pictures. We then walked out to an old military fort at the end of the beach. We didn't have time to go in but it was really cool looking from the outside. The rest of the afternoon was spent resting up for the evening service.
We went to the Rocas District Church in the evening, it used to be a movie theater. Justin, Lynette, and I also were able to play a few songs with them for their worship service as well. Al shared his message on finances as well. Afterwards they had really yummy sandwiches for us. Monday was going to be a day of rest for us but plans change.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
We arrived at the Lily of the Valley Orhpanage in the mid morning and spent the time until noon touring the facility. It is run by the Christian Mission in Natal and was more humble in construction than the state run orphanage we went to in Caruaru but the children were much better behaved. Just before lunch I was invited to share my balancing talents and slight of hand tricks with them and I talked about Micah 6:8 in the Bible. The children showed more knowledge about the Bible as well here. It was a lot of fun to help some young people who were also visiting to try to learn to balance and do the slight of hand.
Another fun thing that we learned was how Cashew nuts and fruit work. The Cashew fruit looks similar in shape to a pear. The nut hangs out the bottom of the fruit. After you eat the fruit you take the nut which looks like a kidney bean the size of a half dollar and put it in a fire. The outside burns and the inside cooks. After it has been in the fire a while, you take it out, break off the outside and the nut as we know it is there ready to eat. A fresh cashew is much better than those we get in the can.
Sonya, a pastor's wife from Natal was visiting as well and took the lead in teaching us about cashews. She even built the fire right there on the ground and roasted the cashew nuts for us.
That afternoon we spent some time swimming at the hotel, resting and then were picked up for the evening church service at Wilma Erie Memorial Church. They had a lot of special music done by their young people. It was very up beat and loud. Al thought that it would be best of Kim and I told our relationship testimony again there because of the large percentage of young people. It seemed to be well received. Pastor "Junior" spoke that evening but more important than the words he spoke was the expressions on his face and how animated he was. It was a lot of fun just to watch him even though we couldn't understand the words. In fact we were able to understand much more because of his unique method of sharing. We went to bed tired that evening. It was a long day.
After arriving in Natal at our Hotel we rested for a little while then walked 5 blocks to a Mall. We found a grocery store and bought some bottled water and ate a snack in the food court. The following day (Saturday) another driver came to take us to another orphanage that we support in Natal. We got a tour and met many wonderful kids. I must get going now. My time at the internet cafe is running out. More later.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
We then went over to Luz da Vida, Light of Life, the correspondance ministry where they send out Bible course work. There were some errors made in one of the printings. It was our job today to correct as many of the pamphlets that we could. We had to white out and change some verse references, add an insert and stamp the address. There were five of us working--me, Kim, Lynette, Al and Caroline. We worked for 2 hours and got about 500 done.
After lunch we went to a market to shop. We saw many tourist type items. We were able to get some things for really cheap. Kim got a blanket for 12 Reals(pronounced hey al), or 7 dollars and some wooden spoons for 2 Reals, or 80 cents. We enjoyed seeing all of the culture.
In the evening we had a bar-b-que with the youth. Kim and I were asked to share our testimony of our courtship. It went well but it was hard to tell how much it really sunk in with the youth. They seemed to pay attention the whole time so that was good. We went to bed after midnight that evening and we had breakfast with Lou and Fay in the morning at 8am. Then we said many goodbyes. It was very hard to leave those wonderful people.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
When we got back to the house we ate lunch and got ready to go see the kids. All of us loved going to the children's home. We had kids hugging us and giving us kisses. They loved having their picture taken and then they liked to see it on the digital cameras. While at the home we sang worship songs and had a little service. Al and Caroline each spoke about how much God loves each of them. Then I got up and did some balancing, silly faces and magic tricks. After performing I spoke to the kids about mercy and how even though we have all done bad things, God loves us and sent His Son to die for our sins. I layed out the plan for salvation. About 29 of the kids accepted Jesus as their Savior. It was so great to be used by God and see him working! Please keep these children in your prayers. After our little service we had the kids line up to get their treats. They loved getting the candy and a balloon. When it was time to go it was hard to leave them.
In the evening we went to the mid-week church service where Justin and I helped with worship. Then Justin and Caroline gave their testimonies. Justin worked hard and learned some Portuguese phrases. Both Justin and Caroline talked about trusting in God. Al spoke on finances and taught about debt and giving. After the service Kim and I talked with the worship leader, Marcius, and his wife. It was interesting talking with them since we did not speak each other's language. Marcius knows a little English so we got along okay, but there were times when we had to do charades.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
When we arrived at the house we ate dinner. Kim was starting to feel yucky so she rested while I went to the church with Justin to teach music. Justin taught some of the kids voice lessons. I showed some of the boys how to play bass guitar. After the lesson we played basketball.
Tuesday preparing for the tea took all day. We broke up into two groups one group went grocery shopping, while the other packed up the car. Phil and I then drove the car up to the village church to drop off the tables, linens, decorations and tea cups for the sha (tea). Kim stayed home since she was still feeling yucky. Phil and I stayed at the church and set up all the tables and put the linens on them to get ready for that evening. On our way, Phil took me to a little place for lunch where we had traditional Brazilian food--rice, beans, beef, a root that tasted like potato and salsa. Have I talked about Guarana? It is a Brasilian soft drink made from a root in the Amazon, it has natural caffine. So, naturally I like it a lot! It is very sweet, kind of like Mountain Dew.
Since all of us would not fit in Phil's car to go to the tea we decided to rent a Toyota--which is an extended Jeep type vehicle. There were twelve people riding in the Toyota which can fit fourteen comfortably; however, Phil says they have fit 30 in the past. We all thought it was like the Indiana Jones Ride in Disneyland, but much, much longer. On our drive we saw many animals on and near the road: pigs, horses, cows, chickens, goats, peacocks, parrots, lightning bugs, lizards, dogs and cats. It was quite an adventure.
The tea went well, there were about 50 ladies from the village Serrote Dos Bois (Hill of the Cows, Sounds like "Say Hoe tay those Boys") and surrounding area. It was a very special time for them because they live simple lives and this was a time just for them. Our team sang "Jesus, Name Above All Names" to open, followed by testimonies from each of the ladies on the team. Justin played interlude music while the ladies drank their tea. And I even got to play my three and a half songs I know on the piano. At the end there was clean-up, fellowship and driving home.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Sunday was church in the morning, out to eat at a chinese restaurant for lunch, church for a small village in the afternoon and big church in the evening. I was able to help with music by playing my Bass Guitar in the afternoon and evening services. I guess the services in the evenings get the largest turn-out here. Phil has been putting my Balancing talents to work as well in the afternoon and evening. A few of our group spoke in the evening service including me sharing what God has done for us.
It was wonderful to see a family that we saw at the Chinese restaurant and invited, come to church that night. Phil said that he had invited the father but that he hadn't come. He told us to invite him because he is an English teacher here in town. Now the teacher heard that there is another group coming after ours and is asking if he can tag along to improve his English. This will be a great opportunity to share the love of God with him.
After another long day we were happy to get to bed again.
Today is monday and as you can see I have a little free time to be able to finally update my Blog. It is very nice. We slept in, had a small group meeting and then some free time. Justin (my brother-in-law) is not feeling well today. He is running a fever so he will rest today. His mother, Caroline is going to the hospital to visit with a doctor that goes to Phil's church here. She may get to watch a few surguries too. Our plan is to prepare for the village Tea that we will be putting on Tuesday night. Getting tables, chairs, and other items out to the village. It is about 10 miles out of town but takes at least 30-45 minutes to drive because the roads are so bad. We are talking worse than the road out at my Grandparents (Seidler side) can get (for those who know it). There is water covering the road in many places and deep ditches carved out by water going across the road.
So I will try to keep you up to date. Talk to you soon. And for those who are wondering. I left my Pocket pc phone at home. And I am finding it very difficult to cope. I am going through withdrawal and I keep on trying to adjust it on my belt.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
The Black Cow is the name of the restaurant we came to. It was a wonderful and unique experience. Their specialty is meat. And for those who know me, that is right up my alley. There was a buffet of side dishes that we filled our plates with then the real fun started. The servers started bringing large cuts of meat prepared different ways and from different animals. They would come to each individual and ask if we would like some. Then we would say yes or no and much or little. They would cut off a slice or piece of the meat and place it on your plate. There were at least 30 different things they brought out. Beef of all cuts, water buffalo, chicken, pork, sausage, fish, and alligator. The highlights were the alligator, chicken hearts, beef cut from the shoulder, and the sausage. I ate and ate and ate and ate until I thought I could eat no more. Then I had a few more bites. It was so much fun. It was so nice they had handtruck/dollies to wheel us out of the building when we were finished if we couldn't move. Okay, maybe that wasn't true but they should have.
We then went back home and crashed. It was wonderful to finally sleep laying down after the plane trip.
The next day we slept in and had the included breakfast at the hotel. Wow! They need to have this kind of breakfast in the states included with hotel stays. There was a buffet with many kinds of fruit, pastries, juices, eggs, bacon, sausage, and many items I didn't recognize but were delicious. Plus there was a lady making eggs to order. Omelets, over easy, whatever you wanted. She also made a tapioca, coconut, cheese item which was really tasty.
It was raining really hard when we woke up and continued all day long. Our driver picked us up in the van after we checked out which took another hour. We drove to a store that sold dishes to look for tea cups. We had found out that all of the tea cups we had sent (over 100 of them) hadn't arrived yet. We sent them 6 weeks ago. So this store had a river surrounding it. The rain was starting to flood the streets. It was quite interesting. We did find what we needed and were able to purchase 100 nice teacups, and 6 teapots for $160 dollars. For those who don't know, that is a very good price. The people in the store treated us like royalty and it was like a party the whole time. Because of the rain and the amount of time it took in the store we had to leave for Caruaru afterwards. It took 2 hours driving to get to Caruaru.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
We left Seattle at 8am on Thursday. Flew to New York and had our longest layover of the trip. It lasted 4 hours. 2 of which were spent standing in line trying to get new boarding passes. Varig, the airline we were using, changed our plane, seating assignments, and the plane was late leaving. So that was interesting. We finally left the airport and flew for 9 hours to Sao Paulo. Then the instant we got there, we were escorted onto another plane that flew strait to Rio De Janeiro. In Rio we had to go through customs which went smoothly then barely had enough time to re-check our bags and fly to Recife another 5 hours. Getting off the plane in Recife was a relief. 21 hours in the air, I was offically tired of flying.
When we were leaving baggage claim there was quite a surprise. We walk out and there are all of these TV cameras and lights and ballons and banners and lots of people. But they weren't waiting for us. Turns out there was a business man who was on our plane coming back from Irak. He had been taken hostage for 2 days and was very fortunate to have made it out alive. It was a big deal there in town. We were met by Phil and his father Lou Warkentien. They took us to a hotel to get some much needed showering.
More info about the hotel and Recife, next time.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Saturday, June 11, 2005
We went to Justin's Graduation today. He is my brother-in-law. It was in the Seahawk's stadium "Qwest Field." There were about 10,000 people there. The graduates who were seated on the field numbered at least 1,000. Not exactly the intimate environment I am used to. But it was an experience.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Monday, June 06, 2005
This is my friend Bob. He is explaining how the internet works to me on "Guy's Night." He is the most knowlegable person I know when it comes to the internet. But his true love is video editing. He taught me how to edit some video for my band "Sons of Dust." If your company was interested in getting some video editing/production done you should contact him at www.bigalproductions.com But I prefer just hanging out with him on a regular basis. It costs less.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
This event also marks the end of Kim's work for the summer. She still has to go to work Friday and Monday but thats it. Then she gets the rest of the summer off. I am soooooo jealous.
Here is the link for her school.
Des Moines Creek School
Here is the link
Laos & China Summer 2005
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
This is a picture of the living room after we tore out the built-in
bookshelves. They were made using paneling so there was no need to
keep them. Plus it made the room seem bigger. This picture was taken
after we had one coat of paint on the walls and the trim hadn't been
painted. That explains the white lines between the colors. I
apologize for the quality of the "before" picture. I didn't think it
would look quite that bad. I hope this one looks better.