Archive for July, 2008

Heading down south below the equator is always an adventure that seems to assault the senses.   There is so much to take in and process that my little mind sometimes just starts sputtering and misfiring.  You taste things you’ve never tasted before, you hear things you’ve never heard before and you see things you’ve never seen before.  That’s what makes Brazil so unique and so intoxicating.  It’s a different experience everytime, and the rhythm and passion for life expressed there gets into your soul and leaves you wanting…needing more.  

Take the act of getting from Point A to Point B.  It’s an unpredictable and truly unique Brazilian experience that leaves your senses dazed and confused.  It’s kind of a cross between the Cannonball Run meets Thelma and Louise meets Driving Miss Daisy.  Brazilians hop in the car, put the mental “top down”, take off going 125 miles per hour, tires squealing, not quite knowing how they will get there but knowing that they need to get wherever that is as fast as they can, all the while enjoying the scenary and having some good conversation along the way.  For them, it’s how they do it.  For us, it’s like an amusement park ride that you take knowing that you may wet your pants, go hoarse yelling for them to “watch out”, turn gray prematurely, seek God in new and creative ways, and decide that staying at the hotel people watching while perched in a non-moving chair while sipping a coconut is really a great way to experience Brazil.

Having been three times, Christy and I have come to take these “rides” with a true Brazilian mentality, “hey, we’ll get there when we get there…somehow and we’ll probably get there in one piece but if not, it’s all bom (good).”  It’s always good conversation and a great way to practice your “Life is Good” attitude. 

So, to help us remember and reminisce about Brazil, and to share this experience with you, we’ve come up with some “Brazilian Road Rules”:

1.  Cars always have the right-of-way.  Pedestrians cross the street at their own risk.  You get hit, then that sucked for you.

2.  Red lights are just a suggestion!  The cops may actually stop you if you don’t run them.

3.  Concerning traffic accidents:  No significant loss of blood, limbs or life and it’s all good.  No need to get stressed out about a twisted heap of metal that used to be your car.  You’re still breathing right?

4.  Motorcyles have no apparent road rules to follow.  Jump three cars while traveling through the intersection while running a red light and plowing over a pedestrian then ssssswwwwwweeeeeeettttttt!

5.  MotoTaxis are the Dr. Kovorkian of the transporation world.  You have a death wish?  Then hop on.  We’ll send you out Evel Knivel style.

6.  Need a driver’s license in Brazil?  Not a problem.  Just know what the square root of 9 is or how to drink a coconut while balancing on one foot while juggling three chainsaws.  Seriously, Joe told us that you will fail your test if you actually know how to drive and know the rules.  Joe told us that they ask questions like these on the actual driver’s license tests.  No wonder they can’t drive.

Just a little insight into a unique Brazilian experience…getting from Point A to Point B.  Hope you enjoyed!

 

 

 

 

You want to

Have you ever walked in a place where the Holy Spirit lives, blowing through your spirit like a wind sent down from heaven, touching everything and everyone that wanders in its presence?  Have you ever walked in a place where God’s mercy, grace and love were more than themes read about in the Bible or hollow words thrown forth by people who talk about their faith but rarely show their faith?  Have you ever walked in a place where your soul and spirit could find rest from a dark and godless world? 

At the Davis Lar Orphanage on the outskirts of Fortaleza, Brazil, down dirtroads that wind throughout the Brazilian countryside, we found ourselves in that place where the Holy Spirit has taken up habitation. 

The Davis Lar is a Christ-centered sanctuary for the forgotten children of Brazil, children that have been abandoned and severaly abused, most sexually.  These children have come to the Lar straight from the gates of hell, in dire need of spiritual, emotional, mental and physical renewal.  They come with no hope because that hope borne from a child’s innocence was ripped from their spirits years ago.  They come knowing nothing of geniune love and affection.  They come ignorant to the fact that they are gifts given to this world by God himself, and they are worthy of holding the keys to God’s Kingdom.  They come to the Lar with broken spirits in need of God’s healing, searching for their significance…and they find it at the Davis Lar.

They are taken in and become a part of God’s family within the gates of the Lar.  They are shown the mercy, grace and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ and they are given hope and a future.  They are given stability and roots firmly grounded in God’s Word.  They are hugged and they are kissed and they are told that they are significant, they are worthy and they are precious gifts to be handled with tenderness and caring, not objects to be discarded by the curbside like this weeks trash.  They find shoulders to cry on for the first time, and a hand to wipe away their tears. They are taught respect, dignity and integrity. They are restored to health, they are given an education, and taught to think with open minds and open spirits. 

At the Lar, they are able to find their own voices amid the noise of a dark world that has silenced them. They are taught that they can make a difference in their own lives and they can make a difference in the future of Brazil and for the Kingdom of God.

Part of our group was honored and privileged to have spent time with these children at the Davis Lar Orphanage outside Fortaleza.  Our travel-weary bodies were able to find a spiritual rejuvenation as we walked within the Lar, among these children and their keepers.  We laughed with them and we even shed some tears.  It was really overwhelming to be in such a Christ-centered place where God’s children can find their significance once again. 

Paige and Mark Anderson, Directors, their children Matt and Rach (we didn’t get to meet them), Wade, Michelle, Ali and Brie Withrow were gracious hosts and the love they have for this place and these children was worn all over their faces and their actions.  They have given sacrifically of themselves in order to do God’s Will in their lives.  It’s not always easy for them living in another country, far from home, and it’s not always easy for the children.  For many, the healing takes many months but it comes…it always comes. 

God is doing an awesome work at the Davis Lar.  Please check out their websites to see the happenings of the Lar, and to see the plans that God has for the Lar.  They have started a medical clinic for the children, are in the process of establishing a Foster Care program and are building a new site approximately 30 mins. away in Eusebio.  They have a transitional home and a new “Apprentice Program.”  They are in constant search of programs and ways to reach these children and improve their lives. They are always in need of financial support and prayer so seek God’s guidance as you read this and look at the photos in order to discern how you can personally help.

www.davislar.org and www.davislar.wordpress.com

Also, check out Ali and Brie’s website:  www.aliandbrie.blogspot.com

Our visit was a Divine Appointment orchestrated by God himself, and we were humbled that God arranged this meeting for us.  Just three weeks before our trip, we didn’t even know the Lar existed until Eddie from Bountyland Church happened upon my website and commented that they were going to be in Fortaleza at the end of July to work at the Davis Lar.  From that comment, we were led to the Davis Lar website, which led us to Wade and Michelle, who just happened to be from the same church just down the road from Savannah that our current pastor at Calvary led before coming to Calvary.  We emailed them, told them we’d love to see them and the next thing we knew, we were in Brazil being picked up at the hotel by Mark (thanks again my brother).  Man, it’s just awesome to experience God at work isn’t it?

Obrigado to the Davis Lar for a wonderful, God-inspired time at the Lar.

Christy and I would like to give “Shout Outs” to the following people for making our Gospel for Brazil trip possible and for all the support that we received.  We may have been a group of 14 Americans rocking on down to Brazil to reach lost souls but it took a community to make it happen.

  • Our parents, family and friends for their prayers and their financial support.  I know these trips cause you to have an increased level of worry and anxiety but we are doing God’s work and it’s important to us that we receive the support that you gave us for this trip.
  • All the members of Calvary  and all the individuals (like Richard, Melinda and Austin and many others) that supported us financially through donations or by purchasing Coupon Books.  Your financial support was greatly needed and helped ease some of our financial burden that a trip like this puts on you.
  • To the Brazilian Church in Savannah, thank you so much for your prayers and for you financial donation.  You guys have a very special place in our hearts and we can’t wait to share our experiences with you.
  • Special thank you to our Prayer Warriors that were praying specifically for us and the group:  Grammy, Christy’s grandmother, Barbara Colson, Garry’s wife, Debra Jivens, a coworker of mine, Everaldo and Elaina Rego, our Brazilian family that is living with us, Tom and Phyllis Sanford, Calvary members.  We definitely needed all the prayer and intercession we could get and it gave us a sense of peace knowing we had strong Christians praying to God on our behalf.  God heard you and definitely answered. 
  • To everyone that prayed for us while we were gone.  It takes the members to go but also takes Prayer Warriors to intercede on our behalfs.  We go to a very dark place and the prayers are powerful weapons in the battles that are waged between us and evil in Ubauna.
  • Amy and Vic Jarvis for donating children’s clothes to Gospel for Brazil that we could take to share with the extremely needy children in the Paxolas community in Ubauna.  Also, thank you for taking our mortgage payment by the bank while we were gone.  It eased our minds greatly.
  • Thanks to the Rego family for looking after our home while we were gone.  Definitely eased our minds.
  • Thank you Allison Alexander for the thoughtful and very much enjoyed “goodie” bags and special note that you provided for each of the missionaries going on the trip.  The group was touched by your gesture.  By the way, Allison is a new mommy for the first time and is stretched thin trying to figure this “mommy thingy” out but made the time to prepare the note and goodies.  Awesome!
  • Although J.P. Fesperman went with us on the trip, he provided us via mail with a CD of Brazilian Christian songs we were going to sing.  The copy we had been given didn’t work and without J.P. taking the time to do this, we wouldn’t have been prepared with the music we needed.
  • Barbara Colson for taking us to airport and picking us up from the airport.  Definitely made it much easier on us than last year.
  • Joe and Arimar Carr for being… well You!!!  Joe and Arimar work tirelessly for Gospel for Brazil and to prepare the trips for us. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, effort and time and we geniunely appreciate your effort and your openness to God’s calling and leading.  We miss you guys so much already.
  • Mark Anderson for picking us up at the Hotel Beira Mar in Fortaleza so that we could visit the Davis Lar Orphanage and to Paige Anderson, Wade, Michelle, Ali and Brie Withrow for embracing us at the Lar and giving us an awesome tour of the Lar. 

 

Please lift these people up to God with a special Thanksgiving Prayer.  There may be more and if we have forgotten you, we sincerely apologize.  We didn’t mean too.  God Bless You!

Well, we arrived back to Savannah from Brazil last night at 10:15 pm (7/18), and Barbara picked us up.  We were completely exhausted from the sleep deprivation that Joe put us through (just kidding Joe). Honestly, I’ve never slept so little over a two week period before in my life.  If not for the Holy Spirit sustaining us, we would have gone into a coma days ago.

We got to bed last night around 1:00 am and slept late this morning before getting up and going to eat at Tybee.  It was a nice lunch and Christy and I got to finally discuss some of the happenings on the trip and begin to process everything.  The trip was awesome and spiritually renewing but so busy we just didn’t have time to talk it through. 

We then went down to Brighter Day and the store to pick up some food before coming back home and taking a nap.  Christy then got up to do some more laundry, the washing machine is beginning to smoke I think from the 14 loads that Christy has already done (not quite that many but you know how she exaggerates.)  We then took a nice long, hot shower (nothing like an American shower).  It was so nice to actually feel clean after showering. 

It’s been a good, restful day and we’re headed to bed (did I mention how good our bed feels?).  It feels good to be home but we miss the group and our Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ.  For us, it’s always hard to leave Brazil and we never seem to get enough time there.

Anyway, stay tuned over the next few weeks for photos, stories and Brazil inspired posts. 

Boa Noite and Tchau.

Blogging in Ubauna

Blogging in Ubauna

Greetings to the outside world!  Christy, Garry and I are sitting in the Ubauna Internet Cafe writing our very first post from this tiny, forgotten town in the middle of the Northeast desert of Brazil amazed that the internet has finally made it to Ubauna.  We definitely wouldn´t have envisioned this four years ago when we made our first journey south to Brazil. 

Tonight is our last night in Ubauna and we´ll be heading back to Fortaleza early tomorrow morning.  The trip has been a spiritual and emotional barn-burner of an adventure that our minds are still trying to sort through and process.  Being in Ubauna on a mission trip is comparable to opening up the Bible to the Book of Acts and stepping into the pages back to the time that Christ was setting the world on fire with His Truth.  We´ve experienced first hand the power of Christ and how He works to build His Kingdom in areas that have experienced hundreds of years of darkness.  They may call this area the ´´Heart of Darkness`´ but the day is quickly approaching that this area will be referred to as the epicenter for Christ in this region.

I wish I could begin to give you some insight into our trip but church is about to start and we don´t want to miss too much of our last service this go´round.  Please stay tuned and visit often over the next few weeks as we begin to share our experiences with you. 

Tchau and Boa Noite!

P.S.  Barbara, Garry can´t wait to see you and share his experiences with you. I have a sense this trip has dramatically impacted him spiritually, and I don´t think you´ll be getting the same ol´Garry back.  Hope you´re ready for the new ride!!!  He says ´´I Love You, Sweet Pea.´´

Welcome to our first post from Brazil!  Landing in Fortaleza at 6:30 am Thursday morning after nearly 24 hours of travel and a very, very long, physically draining 11 hour flight, we are finally back after being away for a year.  

Leading up to the trip, I had been going 250 mph at work and hadn´t had time to prepare my soul for the trip ahead.  Quite honestly, my soul was experiencing a spiritual drought.  I was working so much that I was neglecting God, family, friends and the preparation needed for a mission trip.  But God is a merciful and gracious God, and He sustained me and I made it onto the plane to head out on our adventure.

So as we landed in Fortaleza on Thursday morning, my body was experiencing a zombie like feeling of animation but my soul began to feel a sense of renewal.  There is something about Brazil that speaks to my soul.  I love the country, the people and the rhythm of life that Brazilians dance to on a daily basis.  

Although we all were delirious from being sleep deprived for the past two days, we have already had a spiritually powerful trip.  After arriving in Fortaleza, we bused over to the Hotel Beira Mar to check in.  We crawled through the doors with all 400 bags (not really but seemed like it), checked in and then got some breakfast. 

Now time for some rest right????  Wrong…we were just getting started.  After eating we went up to the room, took a one hour nap, cleaned all the stink off of us and half of the group headed out to the Davis Lar orphanage.  Man, what an awesome experience.  We could sense the Holy Spirit there at the Lar.  Paige, Mark (thanks for picking us up), Wade, Michelle, Brie and Allie took us on a tour of the Lar and we got to meet the kids and the Tia (House Mothers).  The children have experienced hell in their short lives on this earth but they were so full of love.  Please check back over the next couple weeks for pictures and more on the Lar.  Just can´t do it justice here.

After our free day, we went over to the Grace Refuge Church downtown and had another spiritually refreshing and powerful worship service.  Those folks are serious about seeking God and serving Jesus.  It was such an honor to worship with them and they brought us up to the front and showered us with blessings for our trip.  A good time indeed.

Now on to Ubauna tomorrow morning.  I don´t know what God has in store for us there but I can sense it´s going to assault our spiritual senses.  Stay tuned for more.

P.S.  Barbara, Garry is doing awesome but missing you bunches.  He says he loves you.  By the way, I think he mentioned something about wanting to move here…not sure though.

Journal entry I had written on July 23, 2007 (return to Savannah from Ubauna Mission Trip.)

After two weeks away from home, 10,000+ miles of traveling, two airlines, seven different airplanes, five airports (not including stops to unload, load passengers), two delayed flights, two missed flights, three hotels, one farm house in the desert of Brazil, seven nights spent sleeping in a hammock, two travel vans, several taxis (ride at own peril), three tarantulas (one large enough to eat a small cat), too many tree frogs and “Brazilian bullfrogs” to mention (they live in the toilets, the sink drains…they’re everywhere), one bull dancing all night long with a bell around his neck, three dogs barking throughout the night at their own shadows, one donkey that would scare the mess out of you in the middle of the night “e’aring, e’aring”, two charcoal ‘cocktails”, 1,200 + photos, one Spirit-led powerhouse of a worship service (the singing in Portuguese still sends chills down my spine) in a hollowed-out used car dealership that is the future home of Grace Refuge Church in Fortaleza, 61 lost souls that professed faith in Jesus Christ including an old woman that had devoted her life to the Macumba (spiritism) church, 53 people healed (including me, Christy), 250+ enthusiastic, infectious children learning about Christ in VBS, two new full-time missionaries, one new church location, and one exhausted group of Jesus Freaks, Christy and I are finally taxing down the runway in Atlanta headed home to Savannah. 

As I look out the window, I’m still trying to process the awesome, Christ-centered and God-led adventure and journey that we just experienced with eight other people “crazy” enough to be obedient to God and “Go” when He said “Go.”  We’re not talking about heading to downtown Savannah to help at the local soup kitchen or even to Atlanta to build God’s Kingdom but to a small, insignificant, arid area of Brazil to a village called Ubauna in the “Heart of Darkness.”

Why????  Because in January of 2004 a Brazilian lady that lived in Ubauna prayed out to her God in the middle of the desert and asked Him to send someone to their village to share Christ with her people and to teach them the Truth of Jesus Christ and God’s Word.  So God did.  God placed a spiritual telephone call to Joe Carr’s spirit and three years later here we are, returning from our second missionary trip to Brazil. 

Exhausted?  Yep.  Fired up for Christ?  Yep.  Ready to share Gospel for Brazil with America?  Yep.  Missing my new friends and Christian family members in Brazil?  Yep.  Ready to turn this plane around and head back?  Yep. 

Yea, I’m ready to get back on another plane this time next year and start the adventure all over again.”

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008, we start the craziness all over again.  I am so excited and pumped to get back to Brazil and see how God works this go around.  Like I’ve said, the Ubauna Jesus Caravan is loaded and ready to rock on down to Brazil.  Pray for us!!! There’s no seat belts on this ride. 

Gang…you know who you are…we’ll see you in Miami.