Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bits from Brasil December

It is nice to feel at home. It is not uncommon for missionaries to never feel that way during the holidays. Sarah said she felt that way this year and that makes me super happy. We have not even made it to the year mark here in Arcoverde and we are already feeling like we fit in here.

We had our Christmas party on the 17th and it was a blast. We had around 30 people there, sang for the first time and had a little message. No one wanted to leave and we didn't leave until late. Many expressed gratitude for the group and what it meant for them. We are hoping that the momentum carries to 2015 even though we have taken a couple week break.

Our life right now is divided into major projects and daily tasks. The major projects going on currently include the youth event for February 5-7 that is at a huge building. We are praying for many youth as we could have anywhere from 50-400 youth. The uncertainty of the numbers makes the planning a little difficult. I am also working on a website that will have courses and seminars available for churches in Brazil. This involves networking with missionaries, gathering and organizing material. The house construction is also a major project that we hope to finish in 3-4 months, Lord willing.

On Sunday I get on a bus for Recife where I will speak at Adventure week for Camp Paradise for a week. I will be speaking on Colossians 3. Pray that the time there would be effective and that Sarah will be ok with the girls for a week here in Arcoverde. 

This year we will be trying to build the church and start services, host a church from Alabama that will serve here for a week, have outreach events, host more training events (we will do a Good Soil seminar in April), make more friends and disciples! 

We pray for a prosperous new year for you all and appreciate your faithfulness. A couple weeks ago I wrote this blog about our financial situation and how you all have been a blessing. Thanks!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our five year old who is growing an inch a day, learning to read, make up songs and stories and ballet, and our little tornado with gusts ranging from 80-120 miles per hour that is starting to talk a little more each day. (Evelyn and Anna Claire, since I never mention their names :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Support!

This year has been amazing for us as far as support goes. We started off being super blessed in our return to Brazil by people going above and beyond for us to arrive back in Brazil on schedule. We are continually humbled by the sacrifice of many for us; from people who scrape money to get by and send in a once every couple years offering of $60, to one who is facing cancer with little time left and is still making giving a priority, to a big chunk of friends who budget us in monthly. We count it a privilege to serve the Lord and alongside you all.

As I shared the gospel on Saturday with a friend, he told me how he did not want to be religious because he had to be; he wants to do whatever he actually wants to do. I told him how we are here and we serve because we want to, not out of obligation. And I am pretty sure (or at least hope) you all are the same way when it comes to giving to us.

God has blessed us this year to the point where we have not been in the red in our general support account; which used to live in the red! We are still at full support after almost a year of being back on the field (usually people start forgetting about you after a few months). And usually we receive extra gifts around Christmas that make up for lower support towards the end of the year. That has not been necessary.

I just wanted to write all this to say thank you. (We will ask for money later with the youth event and church construction coming up, but not in this post :).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A selfie culture

Smart phones have brought in a lot of time/energy saving resources. They have also put a high quality camera into something you have with you all the time; allowing picture-making to happen much more often. We can see first walks, random acts of kindness, crimes, and all sorts of activities because cameras are always a reach in the pocket away.

Phones also have games on them. All kinds of games from simple word search games, to time consuming games like candy crush to video games where the phone is the controller, screen and audio. The sky is the limit with the apps you can purchase or download to your phone.

Unfortunately the camera and the games have mixed into a new culture buzzword: the selfie. Apparently, the game is to find the most creative way to make yourself look good while still holding your camera. The object is to receive the most praise possible by one picture. This game is almost addicting as candy crush as people take the game to all different levels. Level one started years ago when no one was around to help take a picture and couples had to creatively extend their arm and catch a picture of themselves. Hopefully this has nothing to do with the busy-ness of our culture in not being able to ask someone to help you out when your group is wanting to take a group picture. This whole game might be avoided if we were all friendlier!

The part of the selfie culture I find most devastating is the selfie mirror picture. Find the best angle that will make you look impeccable; put on your seductive smile and BOOM, you conquer the highest level. You can expect dozens of comments on your beauty that should boost your self-esteem for a whole three days!



I tried not to be too sarcastic and brief with the above comments, but the whole selfie culture really makes me sick to my stomach. Not every time; the group ones can be fun, and I realize that. But I wonder what we are trying to prove when we post pictures of ourselves all over the internet. What is the motivation?

It seems Jesus and the Bible highlight thinking of God and others first. I wonder how selfies fit into seeking to bring honor to God and serve others. I know that it is hard to fit that phrase into every aspect of life, it just seems that generally selfies have the opposite effect.

But just so you know, whether you take selfies or not, you are beautiful in the eyes of the most important person in the world and He loves you unconditionally. He wants you to be even more beautiful on the inside than you are on the outside and has provided a way in which you can accomplish this. And I love you too because you are important; God made you in His image! I hope you can receive worth as a child of God and accept the praise of man only as a little bonus.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bits November

Our small group on Wednesdays has officially passed the small group magic number of 13. We are thrilled to have so many participating. Roger and Carlos are doing a series called God our Provider. On Sunday nights we are starting out small scale. A couple of the football guys have come to the studies and a few others have said they would come. We will continue to encourage them to come out!

I am finishing up the Story of Hope with Breno and am halfway through the Way to Joy with Chico and Bia. We always face other tasks that get in the way, but have still met a few times this month. We are unsure how December will affect all of our groups and discipleships; we will see! We are planning a couple Christmas parties though. Pray that people will have a good time at the parties and be interested in participating in a study group. 


This month we have had meetings about developing the land for the church. We are blessed to have several people around us with experience in church building. We have decided to build in stages as we do not yet need the building to fit a hundred thousand people. :) We are planning to plane the land, sod it, and put up some lights in order to have a field to play on. We will then build a small building on the other side that will have a bigger room that will serve as an auditorium, a nursery, kitchen, bathrooms, office and another room or two. We estimate the cost will be 100,000 dollars and is our first goal for the construction. We are looking at a180 square meter building. The cost right now is around $575 per square meter. Would you consider donating a square meter or two (or 180)? Praise the Lord we are at a great advantage right now with a high exchange rate! (To give, go to www.abwe.org/give, David and Sarah Carrel Account 013323 and sub account 006).

Speaking of construction, they started on the second floor of our house this week. Click here to see the video of me stepping through the roof. :) Thanks for all your prayers; I know they are out there. As I told Cousin Carolyn on Thanksgiving when she said she is praying; “I know, that is why enjoy sending the updates each month, cause I know there are people out there praying for us!” 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my little school girl that is reading some words, and my climber that recognizes when we are praying and in trying to close her eyes puts on a mad face. :)


Friday, October 31, 2014

Bits October

Boom. We have land for the church. God blessed us with a gift of land from money from the sale of land in a different part of Brazil. We did not even imagine we would receive this and we have been rejoicing since we found out of its probability. This month we will start drawing up plans for the development of the property in phases as the church here grows. We look forward to presenting that to you soon, but if you are just too excited and want to give to whatever it will be you can send money to our ABWE account and reserve it for the church plant construction (David and Sarah Carrel sub-account 006). 

(We have the lots in the middle; 6 lots and 1200 square meters)

Wednesday night we had a party at our training center as we finished going through the Story of Hope this month. We had some good conversations about salvation and are looking forward to one over lunch on Sunday. Please pray for God to continue to work in their hearts in regard to Him. Also pray as we make decisions on our next step as far as studies go. At the moment of writing this, times, locations and child care are issues to work through as we think about what would be best for the work here. At the moment we are planning a Sunday night study and a Wednesday night study. 

This month we traveled to Fortaleza, Brazil for a conference for all the ABWE Brazil missionaries. It was awesome. We have lived on 3 different fields in Brazil and many of our colleagues are great friends. We shared conversation over meals, fun in the sun (or pool) and ideas from ministry with many of them. 

We also stayed a couple of days more for some separate meetings about strategy in Brazil. I have the task of working on some church/seminary education ideas. Please pray for wisdom as we try to organize training that would work for the churches in Brazil as they develop leaders. 

This Saturday we will have the English conversation and the following Saturday we will be watching “Facing the Giants” with the football team. The following weekend we will have the last NT module in Recife. Sarah is also wanting to start an afternoon coffee for ladies. Are those enough prayer requests for you all? We appreciate your prayers so much!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, ms project lady Evie, and the little one that makes her daddy stand at the door before he leaves each day to hear her say bye in a strong southern accent (compare it to what a sheep says). 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bits September

This month has been exciting on the church front here. Our best friends here Francisco and Bia accepted Christ. Salvation is so beautiful; and to witness the process of understanding the gospel and it culminating into a point of realization and acceptance is thrilling. They are both hungry and thirsty for righteousness and say that there is so much to learn. We have also taken some steps as far as a future property goes. Later this month I will send out more information on what is happening with this and how you can help.


Evelyn’s birthday party went really well and we had quite a crowd at CeTAK where we held it. One of our main goals now is to get people exposed to the building and then give invites for some new studies there at the end of this month. We have been friends with some people that do not always show too much interest in God, but with some difficulties that come up, you start to see them show more interest. Pray that God can use us to help them out during these times. We will be doing some movie nights and hopefully start a new Bible study there by the end of the month. Pray that there will be some crossover of people from other social networks like soccer, football and English. 

This month (week of the 19th) we have All-Brazil, a conference for all the ABWE missionaries in Brazil held every three years. We are excited to see so many friends/colleagues as well as participate in training/services/worship. The girls will have child care provided. Pray they do well in their classes and that Sarah and I will be able to have some relaxing time together. 

Evelyn is five now, in school and doing really well with Portuguese. She keeps getting injured with swings though! This month a swing broke while I was pushing her and she had a hard fall to the ground and then last weekend a swing busted her lip open! She is doing fine though. Anna Claire is very mobile and dangerous and has such a cute smile that at only 1 year and 6 months she already knows how manipulative it can be. :) Here is a video showing Evie’s birthday party and the past few months.

We have some interest in short term groups and we are excited! If you have any interest in doing a youth event in February, a football clinic once high school football is done in the winter (any level coach/player would be helpful), or any other type of trip, please let me know! 

All for HIS glory!

David, Sarah, our little Brazilian American bilingual 5 year old and our quick little climbing monkey.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Behave wisely/ Se comporta com sabedoria

"I will behave wisely in a perfect way,
Oh, when will you come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart."
David says this in the 101st Psalm in verse 2.

Behaving wisely is a difficult thing to do all the time. We may make some wise moves every once in a while, but on a consistent basis is difficult to do. "In a perfect way" is even harder. How do we know perfect behavior? We must be immersed in the Bible to understand how to live perfectly.

Then we need God. Because being perfect is no easy task; in fact, it is an impossible task without God. I can try my hardest on my own, but ultimately I fail when I do not give God the controls; when I do not willingly submit to His will in my life.

The most difficult place to live perfectly is in your own house. I think that in the public eye I do alright usually, but my house is a different story. David did not talk about just having a good reputation outside of the walls of his house, he wanted to have a perfect heart within his own house.

Life is full time. We do not just need God once a week, we need Him for all of life.



Seguirei o caminho da integridade; quando virás ao meu encontro?
Em minha casa viverei de coração íntegro. 


Davi fala isto em Salmos 101:2.
O caminho da integridade não é fácil. Talvez sejamos sábios de vez em quando, mas é difícil ser sábio continuamente. Integridade quer dizer que sempre agimos com caráter boa, mesmo que seja na escuridão quando parece que ninguém nos vê. Como é que podemos agir perfeitamente? Precisamos da Bíblia para nos guiar.

E precisamos de Deus. Ser perfeito não é tarefa fácil; na verdade, é impossível sem Deus. Eu posso me esforçar muito, mas enfim, eu vou falhar quando não dou os controles para Deus; quando eu não submeto minha vida para a vontade de Deus.

O lugar mais difícil viver com integridade é na sua própria casa. Nos olhos do público eu ago razoável normalmente, mas dentro da casa é outra história. David não só falou sobre ter uma boa reputação fora das paredes da casa, mas queria integridade dentro da casa também.

A vida é tempo integral. Não só precisamos de Deus uma vez por semana, precisamos dEle for toda a vida.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Humility and trends

I am a big fan of humility. I have always wanted to be a professional humble person, but for now I am just a fan living the dream by watching from my favorite lounge chair. When I was a kid my mom challenged us to memorize the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7. I never did it, but I tried a couple times. Humility is an underlying theme in the part of the sermon that talks about our actions such as giving, fasting and praying. Our character does not just affect those areas in our life, it affects all of our actions. Either humility or pride plays out daily in all aspects of our lives. 

But in today’s world the culture pushes us out of the humble prayer closet. Actions go public easily. We see each other’s every move on social media. Here in Brazil the offering often involves walking up in front of the church to give. And the trend of the selfie… well, that just deserves a post of its own. It seems that we do whatever to call attention to ourselves, when our real job is to call attention to someone just a little more important than us. 


I don’t want to offer a list of suggestions; you can do that below. I just want to offer the first: that is, to be aware of God’s call to humility. Be conscious of the words of Jesus and the words of Scripture that call for humility.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bits August

And we've got ourselves a big school girl. Evelyn started school this month and is doing great. Sarah and I are both proud of her progress in the Abeka homeschool curriculum and with her portuguese. She will turn 5 this month and is growing up super quickly. Here is a quick message from her: "Hi, my name is Evie. My birthday is in three weeks and it is going to be Doc McStuffins."

Our Bible study group has entered the New Testament in our study of the Story of Hope. We continue to have great conversations with them and look forward to finishing the study and culminating in a good talk about salvation.

I started teaching English in an English school this past month and have 14 students and the permission to talk about whatever I want to (as long as I finish their curriculum). In one class I was asked how to know for sure you are going to heaven. I am glad for the chances that God has given us through English to talk about Him. We have people interested in coming here short term and I have told them that they can have an immediate impact just through English.

Another trip that would be great is football; yes, american football, the one that started this weekend. I am helping coach/play with this brand new team in this soccer country. They are pretty low level; so any football knowledge helps!

We continue to develop relationships and make new ones by playing sports, going to the park and most recently going out for ice cream. People are everywhere and intentionality is key.

We were able to finish our Old Testament modules in Recife this past month. We did a small training for a church with using Good Soil materials (Story of Hope and Way to Joy) and then preached in 3 different churches.

Sarah has a couple different parties this month (Bia's baby shower and Evie's bday party). Pray those go well as we will have new people around.

Thanks so much for your prayers! This last month we prayed over some land that we saw that is at a good price and in our target location. I also have been praying about a church that is already built that does not have a congregation. But most of all I am praying for the actual future church; the salvation of the people that will make up the church! God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my little schoolgirl that asked for the keys to the car last night, and my little monkey who turned her nose up at a homemade chocolate chip cookie last night to reach for cold leftover broccoli and loved it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Urgency and the Spirit

War in the Middle East; another suicide of the rich and famous; and a continuous changing world that can be radically offended by all different types of actions. As Christians, how do we know how to approach people with the gospel?

The Word of God has the answer to the world's problems. So do we just give it to them straight? Do we jump into the streets throwing the Word here and there to see where it hits? Do we call out sin as we see it?

The problem with this approach is in God's command to make disciples. So many in this world are immediately offended at anything and as soon as we start to preach anything they distance themselves even further from our loving God.

In reality, what we need is discernment. We need wisdom in how to deal with others. Some may be ready to embrace the gospel with their whole lives, while others just need to know that Christians care and are here to serve the world (which is true). They need a faithful friend and once they know you are there to be their friend despite their actions, then they will be more open to the gospel. Sometimes we need to preach, but sometimes we just need to hug someone.

So what I suggest is that we get in better tune with the Spirit. We need God's help. We need wisdom from above. We need divine appointments that come from our being in step with the Father. God is ready to use us but our responsibility is to be ready and available and dedicated to doing His will. We are not robots; we constantly choose whether or not to listen to the Spirit and we must constantly ask Him to guide us through our day. With the urgency of our time, we must depend on God for every decision so that others can ultimately be changed by God's marvelous grace.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Traditionalism and Sinning


Last night I preached in a tie. I am not against ties in general, but when there is a "traditionalist, you can only preach with a tie on" mentality, I am against it. In our region in Brasil this mentality exists in some evangelical churches. I went to one church in the normal dress up wear of jeans and a polo and the Pastor invited me to preach. When I stood up at the front he said, “even though he is not wearing Pastor’s clothes he is going to preach for us tonight.” Most of these churches here with this mentality are small and dying and filled with scandals. 

I compare this to the priests and leaders of the Old Testament that were separated for the work of the Lord and wore all white. In the beginning it may have been good, but after a while it turned into a pride thing. Jesus ended up calling some of them white washed sepulchers; white and pure on the outside and dead on the inside. (I wonder if that is why Hebrews talks about the priesthood of every believer).

So personally, I like to emphasize to people that as a preacher/pastor, I have the same sin capability. I have flesh and blood just like everyone else and sin just like everyone else. We all struggle and all need God’s help. 

But the problem is; we often use that mentality as a crutch. The truth is: we don’t have to sin. We have all that we need from God to never sin again. Now, before you put me with the radical group that stands on the street corners with signs condemning the world believing that they cannot sin, that is not what I am saying. 

If we constantly choose God over sin, we do not have to sin. God has given us power over sin so that we do not have to live in it any longer. We were set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). In OT Survey class the other day I told the class that they did not have to sin; that they could live without sin. They did not believe me. I had to teach them as if it were a new truth. Could it be possible that the pendulum has swung to the opposite side of traditionalism that we no longer even think that we can go through the day without sinning? I know that is really hard to do, but if you aim for nothing you will hit it every time. 


We must choose God early in the morning and give him the controls for the day. Every day. Let’s pray more often for the Holy Spirit to have total control over our lives so that we do not choose sin over God!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bits July

Opportunities. I feel like that is a good word for this update.

In our Wednesday night Bible study we started the New Testament this past week. The first story is the birth of Jesus. Before getting deep into the study one friend explained how we had gone through the Old Testament first because it gives a base and tells us why Jesus is important. Well said. I did not even have to pull that out of anyone. The discussions during the study continue to be very good.

Arcoverde is getting a football team! "haha, you say, Arcoverde has tons of football teams, the FOOT ball!" "On the contrary," I reply; "an american football team." A guy whom I met in the park that speaks English told me he also played football and loves it; and just recently he told me he is forming a team here that will be part of the state league and will be supported by the sports department of the state government. I am trying to assist him in this. I told him that maybe we could get some people to come down and do some teaching/coaching if he let them share their story about their Christian life. He said of course. So, let me know if you are interested and what kind of experience you have! This is a brand new team and I am pretty sure that most of the team has never played football before.

I have had several opportunities to speak, teach and preach and will have several more this month including some Good Soil training August 16 and finishing the Old Testament module I am teaching in Recife on the 22nd and 23rd.

Sarah is looking to do a baby shower for a friend. Imagine that, Sarah trying to plan a party! (that was sarcastic; Sarah loves parties and does a wonderful job on them)! She is loving the life here in Arcoverde, super excited for the house we are building (click on this for pictures), and has recently started running again. She received more presents and attention than she ever has on her 22nd birthday that she had earlier this month. :)    (To not be accused of a liar; that smiley face represents a purposeful typo in the previous sentence, fyi).

We are both excited to receive our friend Ben Foster this month here in Arcoverde and also to see Alisson and Christina Arruda in Recife as they will be here visiting family! We love visitors! We just had a family here that are looking to come to Brasil as missionaries in the future and the Outback is an option! We were able to spend some time with them and show them around. Pray for the Surrett family as they make a decision regarding their future!

Our Pastor's group really flourished this month. There seems to be a strong unity, friendship and common goal of seeing the Outback reached for Christ! Just today I heard from them of two new works that will open up in nearby cities.

I also started teaching English at a local school here once a week. I have 12 students and had a good time in my one class I had so far. I am also arriving at a point where I will have to decide to say no to some things, which simply means we are not as new here anymore and that we have a good amount of friends! Please pray that we would use our time wisely. We are also at the beginning stages of looking at land to buy for the future church that we will have here. Please pray for wisdom in that and we will let you all know details as soon as we have time to work through them ourselves. But we will possibly be starting to ask for land and building money and also building work teams (which will be our first time as missionaries to do this)!

Thanks for all your prayers. They are evident and sustaining. Please keep them coming.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, the very creative singing little mommy who enjoys playing house, and the climbing, running little monkey that we found standing on the dining room table the other day.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bits June

Goal!!! Anna Claire and Evelyn come running when they hear the TV announcer or their daddy yelling. We then run around the living room celebrating the goal for whoever scores (unless it is against the US or Brazil). The World Cup happens every four years and this year it is in Brazil which has caused a lot of madness around here. Besides the World Cup there is a cultural 10 day party called São João that just ended Saturday and our city is the “capital” of that party. There is a concert every night, a type of fair with rides for kids and adults, and cultural food. It has to do with harvest time and there are all kinds of corn dishes. 

So basically we have spent the last few weeks partying. We have been in three different houses for Brazil games and had a Brazil game party in our house (everyone showed up early) as well as for the US game (everyone showed up way late). We have met many family members of our friends that came from out of town for São João. I also received a couple boxes of pamphlets for the World Cup about the Victorious Life and the book of Romans. I was able to pass out a couple of boxes already. The church I preached in last night took more than a box worth and are going to pass them out. Our colleague in Recife received 55,000 of these. Pray he is able to distribute all of them. 

This month we did some more English sessions with some friends. I was also asked to teach at an English school on Saturdays. I really do not think this is a strong point for me, but am considering it as God could open doors through this. We have friends in a creative access country that are seeing their relationships flourish through an English center and we have seen how beneficial it can be here as well. Pray that we have wisdom to do what is best for God’s glory here. 

Starting a new term in a new area has slow starts in terms of ministry busy-ness. Life is busy, but it is not full of teaching, preaching, etc… But we know those times will come as we continue to build relationships. Pray  that the gospel permeates our lives and affects those around us!

We are continuing with the construction of a house here and as usual are thrilled with the paperwork demands here in Brazil. We may be able to get a loan here, but so far it has been all but easy. Please pray that God provides something for us. 

This next month there will be a couple visiting the Outback to see about possibly working here in the future! Pray for God's will for their visit!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my bruised up four year old (three marks on her forehead; ran into wall, fell into chair and I don’t know where the other came from) and my little fishy face one year old

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Prayer Kick-starters

Praying is a discipline that is an up and down for me. You are probably thinking, “but David you are a missionary, and are perfect, and follow in the footsteps of others in ministry who had so much to do that they had to wake up earlier so they could pray more.” Well, no. I am very in and out and was appalled the other day when someone said something about me being a prayer warrior. I did not respond or correct them though I knew it to be far from the truth. The reality is that I am pretty random. My strides to be consistent in the morning have failed often due to wandering thoughts, wandering tasks and most of all, wandering children. But there have been many times in my life when my prayer life has been kick-started and I thought I would list just a few:

  1. Tribulation: Probably the number one kick-starter for a good prayer life is a good tribulation. Something goes wrong. The baby is sick. A close friend has cancer. Persecution looms. Difficulties are inevitable in life and we all pass through them; (yes, even those in churches who have the promise of a prosperous life for their faithful). Once we hit them we realize that only God can solve the problems and we tend to be more serious about our prayer life.
  2. Financial Needs: A financial difficulty could also be under the classification of a tribulation, but I separated it here because people are pretty close to their financial needs. When there is no bread, the Lord’s prayer is there to ask for the daily bread. We are building a house but have not found a good loan yet and that has caused us to pray more. We need God to answer; otherwise we don’t receive what we want (and prayer helps us realize that maybe we do not need what we want).
  3. A good prayer book: There are some great prayer books out there. Jim Cymbala, Mark Batterson, AW Tozer, (I am guessing Kay Arthur and Beth Moore both have written on the topic), E.M. Bounds and maybe even Bruce Wilkinson (although some would say that book brought in the Prosperity Gospel). I read Circle Maker by Mark Batterson last year and it made a huge difference in my prayer life. I grew in my prayer life during that time. 
  4. Deliberate morning worship: After going to some prayer services where we sang and then prayed I decided to include singing in my prayer time. If you go to my youtube channel I have my favorite praise and worship songs separated out so that I can go through them and think about the love of God, majesty of God and worship Him through music. Worship is part of prayer and has made a difference when I realize that the better part of prayer is concentrating on God rather than on my needs and wants. 
  5. Hanging around a prayer warrior: Growing up in church we had a man in a wheelchair named Brother Jack. He would ask you to help him “practice” praying. I know he prayed more than he did anything else (besides maybe smiling). Although the thought of such people is sometimes overwhelming because we know we could never be like them, it does help us to pray just a little bit more. 
  6. Prayer education: Learning that you do not have to close your eyes and bow your head to pray has helped me quite a bit. Prayer is a conversation throughout the day that includes many small prayers that do not start with a reverent “Heavenly Father” or end with an emphatic “Amen.” God knows when we are talking to Him and prefers the relationship. The “written off by theologians” book The Shack taught me that God wants us as part of the trinity in terms of our fellowship. The Trinity has a close interpersonal relationship and God wants the same fellowship with us. Every aspect in our life intertwining around Him. 

I know that there are many more kick-starters in our prayer life and I also know that we should not need a kick-start! Prayer should be consistent in our lives, but for all you people like me that are unholy and lack in your prayer life, I hope these help. What kick-starters are on your list?




Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bits from Brasil May

This month we have launched into having a Bible study at our apartment. We have had four meetings so far and plenty of different faces. We are studying the Story of Hope on Wednesday nights and have heard four different testimonies as well. People seem to enjoy the study and we are seeing who will be the faithful attendees. We have had good discussions and we can see them learning. We have had fun too. I started the first week telling them that they were the reason we would be staying in Arcoverde for longer and that their friendship meant a lot to us. They have made this transition to a new place much easier on us.
(Our good friend Francisco the fireman in front of the truck he drives at his work)
The English conversation group has had some good discussions. We have some more people interested in having conversations. At some point we would like to have an English camp in Arcoverde with a short term mission group from somewhere. Let me know if you are interested. If you can read this without google translate you qualify! 
The last couple of days (Friday and Saturday) I taught an Old Testament module class in Recife at our partner church, Koinonia (No, that is not portuguese, it is greek for “fellowship”) Baptist Church. The class went really well and both teacher and students are excited for the continuation of the class by email and for the next module in July. We will probably finish the class in August and move on to New Testament. Our colleague Roger Smith will be teaching them a Devotional Life class on Friday nights for a couple months. They have 25 students doing these courses. Praise the Lord for this “mother church” that will be assisting us in planting the church in Arcoverde. 
(The girls on the rock pile with the excited Carlos in the background)
Another big event this month was buying land and starting to build. Right now one of our outside walls is going up, but soon there will be a wall around the lot and soon after construction will start on the house. Fortunately Carlos, the missionary/Pastor that has been in the Outback for over 20 years doing mission work is also an entrepreneur and is our “contractor.” He has a lot of experience and we have been able to leave both the tough and tedious work for him. 
(Standing on our property with the side wall behind us)
The World Cup is coming up in the next couple of weeks. We are not sure what will happen at this time. It could bring great opportunities to share the gospel, it could bring riots or we could lose friends if the US beats Brasil (they are not scheduled to play and it would be unlikely) (and I am just joking about losing friends). But please pray that we can be profitable for the kingdom during this time. We might be able to do some soccer tournaments during this time as well. 

Your prayers sustain us! God bless you.
All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and our ballet girl dedicated to learn portuguese and to read, and my little teething monkey that is climbing everything

Friday, May 16, 2014

Using our resources

I am all about making sense and making cents. One way we can do both of these together is by using ABWE Foundation as your charity when you are shopping on Amazon.com. I am pretty sure most of us shop there anyway and with this program .5% of the total goes toward ABWE. Now this may not be too much (unless you are buying a car online), it all adds up and missionaries know that every penny counts.

One long term project/goal I have had for a long time is to have a fund that will creatively multiply our missions' dollars to offset missionary's costs. This is a good step in the right direction that could potentially accomplish just that. Missionaries are blessed by so much giving and yet there are still needs out there. Helping us out with this just makes sense!

So how can you make ABWE Foundation your charity? You must enter the Amazon website as follows:www.smile.amazon.com in order to have your purchase count into our account.  You must also choose your charity (ABWE Foundation) upon first entering the site from this path.  The charity will remain the same until you would possibly change it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Goals, dreams and a book by Stephen Covey

I have been excited about the book I am reading right now. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey has been a popular book since it was written when I was six years old. It has a lot to do with prioritizing and looking to your future. It is easy to live from day to day without planning what is supposed to happen in our future. Most of us do not even think about our future, much less try to change it.

What do you want to do with your life? What will be in your eulogy? What can you accomplish with your life? It is easy to get married, have kids, and just think about surviving from paycheck to paycheck; but highly effective people will have a plan. So how do you reach those high aspirations?

First, you must decide that you want to be proactive about your life. You want to change what you can change. You want to make a difference. You decide to chase your dream (that the Dream-giver gave you- in case you wanted to hear from a different book as well). Decide you will take the necessary steps and be disciplined enough to go for it.

Then start with the end in mind. What will these goals look like in the end and what are the necessary steps to reaching those goals.

Then put those goals into your calendar or schedule. Each week should include steps in your schedule that will help you attain these goals. If you do not prioritize them into your week, then you will be too busy to work on the important tasks and settle for the non-important urgent tasks.

Personally speaking, I have some main goals I would like to accomplish in life that are very long-term goals. One has to do with church planting. We would love to plant multiple churches and be involved in a big church planting network; (specifically at this point in Northeast Brazil). I would also love to be part of an innovative means to multiplying our missions dollars. Both are lofty goals, but I can start dreaming and being proactive about reaching these goals.

What about you? What are your dreams and what goals do they involve? Are you just dreaming about them or are you taking action towards reaching them?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bits from Brasil April


Yesterday I went to Teen Challenge located right here in Arcoverde. The director is a Pastor that attends our Pastor’s group and has been excited about our project here in the Outback. I was able to talk to him more about the ministry as we added up receipts to be sent to the government in hope for money for their project. He told me about the land being donated several years ago and how God has supplied their needs. I asked him how he received his salary; to which he replied; I don’t receive a salary. “But how do things run?” I asked. “By faith” was his reply. 

Many people have stories of when their bank account was empty and they lived by faith to receive their daily bread. Sarah and I do not have those stories and it is because for some reason God has chosen to supply our needs before they are dire. Praise Him for that and for supporters like you all. Last night I again had the chance to tell a soccer buddy about our awesome job and how people like you are on the other end allowing us to be here. Thank you!

This month has been a month of developing friendships and even starting Bible studies. Dhiego has heard a summed up version of the Bible by using the Roots of Faith images as well as watching a DVD called the Hope. I believe he understands there is a decision to be made. Pray for him as we continue to study.
I am doing an English conversation group on Saturdays. The first week we had two; second week we had 5; and I think it will continue to grow as they seemed to really enjoy their time. 

Next Wednesday night we are starting an open home Bible study. Our friends have promised they will be there and are excited about it. We will be starting in Genesis and going through the Bible so that they can get a full understanding of God’s redemption plan. Most of them have at least a Catholic background, but are unchurched right now. 

Evelyn is starting to be courageous with learning Portuguese. She has enjoyed her ballet classes with her best friend Alice. We have spent a lot of time with her family (Francisco and Bia are her parents). They are a lot of fun to hang out with and we are blessed to call them friends. 

Last week our administrators Cal and Carol Clark came for a visit. They have been a huge blessing to us in our decision making and encouragement. (If you have ever seen my blog posts on whether or not to use mission boards; they are a huge reason I advocate having one). We went to Afogados da Ingazeira to check that out as that city will most likely be our next step. Then we talked about what our goals are for the future. Looking at the big picture (20-30 years ahead) can help you decide what to focus on in the present. We decided that it would be good to have a strong church in Arcoverde to support the work in the central of the Outback. One year will not be enough time to start a strong church and so we decided it would be good for us to stay in Arcoverde for 3-5 more years. We will have more contact with colleagues until we have recruited more for the interior. 

God has been so good to us in sending us here and in supplying a great home team that prays and supports us regularly. When the guy asked me last night why we were here when we could be there I wanted to ramble forever about the blessing it is to be a missionary. Thank you all so much for making that possible. Pray for fruit that remains!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my chatter-box ballet story-teller and my big one year old (turned one on April 6) who eats so well and wants to talk so badly!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rejection

Rejection is tough to handle. I remember taking my basketball to school one day during elementary school and at recess we went to play outside. They excluded me when they picked teams even though they used my ball. I sat over next to the wall feeling rejected. It must not have been a good feeling if I still remember it over 20 years later.

Rejection does not feel good and few like to be left out of the crowd. Good Friday is a day when Jesus was rejected by us. He was not just left off the team, but was disgracefully expelled from society. With a beating, spitting and mockery He went to the cross.

Jesus understood God's sovereign plan for His life. He understood that it would mean rejection and He accepted that and did not react negatively to the plan.

We will all feel rejection at some point in our lives. We can react negatively or accept it as part of God's sovereign plan and have a proactive response. Jesus reacted with forgiveness not revenge and our reaction should be similar.

As in the rejection of Jesus we receive the gospel, so in our rejections we have a chance to display the gospel.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

PFR

This morning on facebook I posted about our water situation and I thought I would explain a little more here. Since being in Arcoverde we have never been without water, although we have been without running water over half of our days here. We arrived in the middle of the drought season and thankfully it is about to be over (according to everyone we have talked to).

Lack of water, especially running water, seems to complicate things quite a bit. For example, cleaning is difficult. Any kind of cleaning; washing dishes, laundry, ourselves, our hands, vegetables, the floor, etc... We do not usually think about how water affects our every day lives. In order to flush the toilet we need to fill up a bucket of water, lift the lid off the toilet and pour it in. When we are without running water we usually ask around the house who has to go to the bathroom so we can all go around the same time and use one flush. Yeah, that sounds gross...that is because it is gross. So naturally we do not feel very clean. Especially since we all take a bath in the same 8 liters of water every night.

But the thing is; we do have drinking water and we do have water. We can usually buy water pretty easily (besides yesterday and today). We have a Planet Earth DVD on water that shows people traveling 3-4 days in the desert trying to find water. We are not even close, not even anywhere near that desperate. Plus we have money to buy water, lots of water. If we really wanted (and I don't), we could spend the $3 it costs for 20 liters of drinking water and use that water all the time. We are very blessed.

God is using this time (hopefully short time) without water in our lives to better understand the people in this region. We can live as they live and see the value of their lives. Just as starting with the weather is an easy conversation starter so is using the water situation.

We know that God has reasons for this time in our life and we are doing fine. Our family has grown very closer the last couple of months and we have learned to appreciate so many benefits that we have in life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bits from Brazil March


The church in Recife prayed at a park three years ago for the ministry here in Arcoverde. Most afternoons we go for a walk at that same park. Evie rides her tricycle or pushes her baby stroller and Anna Claire puts up with it for a while, but begs to be out of the stroller and roaming around on her own picking up whatever is on the ground. We receive all kinds of looks and conversations naturally happen very often. There are two families that we have spent more time with as a result of these conversations. Francisco and Bia have a 5 year old girl named Alice. We have been to their house and both of their parent’s houses about an hour away. Evelyn is going to take ballet classes with Alice and we look forward to spending more time with them.

Roberta stopped to take a picture of the girls at the park. Since then she has recommended and gone to a pediatric appointment for Anna Claire. We have gone to eat with her, her husband Jajilson and daughters Bruna and Maria Valentina. She calls often to check up on us.

Dhiego I met playing soccer and we have since been biking together and had he and his girlfriend Juliane over for pizza. We look forward to hanging out much more when he is off work for a shoulder surgery he is going to have. 

I continue to play soccer, basketball and we all walk in the park. On the training side of things Pastor Roger Smith started a Pastors fellowship group in Arcoverde and I will be able to participate in that. Through that group we hope to have more contacts for some of the training courses we have to offer. 

I did start the Story of Hope with Adegilson who made a decision with Carlos several years ago but has never gotten into church. He seems excited about the study and we hope to soon include his wife. 

We did make a trip to three more cities this month and saw the many needs there. The trip made me a little sad for the lack of vibrant churches, but excited for the future opportunities. It enforced our burden for a strategic location for church planting and training that results in leadership development to enforce local churches and plant new ones. Pray with us that we would be able to dream big, pray hard and be faithful with the little things!

God bless you all for your faithfulness in prayers!
All for HIS glory,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Visiting friends

Sunday morning we drove to the city of Triunfo where Brazilian missionary friends Francisco and Dalva work tirelessly with the endless needs in the Outback. We spent some time with them talking and then I preached at their afternoon church service on their front porch/garage. They have recently taken on more responsibility as the Pastor at the other Baptist church in town had moral failure which caused many problems in the church. Francisco had started helping out there. Before I preached he "sold the fish" (tried to give us some reasons to work in Triunfo) and they were very convincing.

After I preached we drove down the mountain to another town where Francisco helps out as well. Fortunately I was invited to preach as I met the Pastor for the first time. He struggles there with less than 20 or so in the congregation. He said that he was the only Pastor in the whole city (partially true as there are some other denominations there with Pastors, but just a couple). He asked us to go work there as well. Both Pastors have been receiving invitations from other area churches to be their Pastors.

On Monday morning we headed to Afogados da Ingazeira and were able to meet with a Pastor there. He said most churches were very small and usually a result of a rift in another church. There is a lot of jealousy and a lot of loyalty to their church (usually the Catholic church).

The three towns made me both excited for the opportunities we have in working here and sad about the current situation. The reputation of Evangelicals in Triunfo is terrible because of the moral failures of several Pastors. Most churches are small and dying rather than large and growing (not that small is always bad).

The workers in the Outback are few. It is not an easy place to live because of the heat and the lack of water. Apparently religious persecution drives people away as well. Pray that God would 1)Raise up workers to go to the Outback 2) Raise up leaders in these churches 3) Through these steps the Outback would see a significant rise in Christians in the region resulting in more leaders, more churches, and a passion for missions. May God's name by mightily proclaimed and glorified!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A good work


As I prayed for my wife this morning I realized how excited I am about her spiritual growth. I can see that she has really matured in her trust in God. This takes so much time. The older I am (I am still really young), the more I perceive the quantity of time and experience it takes one to mature. Our microwave society does not produce maturity at the touch of a button. It is more like a crock pot set on warm that takes its time. 

One of my favorite verses to use in preaching is Philippians 1:6 that says, “Being confident of this very thing, that HE who began a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” We can have faith in this; God is working in us! He is allowing experiences, trials, friends and influences in our lives that will mold us to be more like Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:29). 

I am amazed by testimonies. I often tear up hearing of God’s grace in lives. I have had the unfortunate experience of counseling people in affairs, drugs and other difficult situations. Is life over for these people? No way! In fact, a few years after the fact, these are Believers. I mean, genuine, Spirit filled, grace giving Believers who have had a marvelous work done in a difficult situation. 

It is our job to first of all; allow God to work in us! He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be... Secondly, have the eyes to see God’s grace in others’ lives. Don’t give up on them yet! Thirdly, help others as they grow in grace! Goethe said “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Beautiful! We can help others in the process of growing in grace rather than complaining about their lack thereof. 

To God be the glory for the work He has done in our lives. May we bring praise to His holy name!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting offended


Why must we always be offended? I am easily disturbed by “my rights being violated,” someone saying the wrong thing to me, or my name being pronounced wrong. Think about it. Are people really out to get you? Do they really not like you so much they are trying to destroy you? We take ourselves too seriously. 

The media has a lot to do with it. No matter what side you are on, you have a news show you can watch that tells you what you want to hear regarding your rights being attacked by your enemy. Conflict sells. We become emotionally involved in checking the news to see who offended us today. 

After the Nelson Mandela funeral, photos emerged of the Obama and Bush families sharing laughs as they travelled together to South Africa. Yet the media would have you believe they would never cordially speak to one another. I fear the politics of media have created a debate atmosphere which has fostered much unnecessary hatred. It filters down in society to where we have learned to trust no one.  

Why must it be that way? I do not have to give in to those emotional appeals to hate my neighbor. Abraham Lincoln said “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends with them?” Why not reach across the aisle and get to know those by whom you are offended. If you reach with sincerity in love, I doubt there will be many who will shut you off. 

How do you talk to someone who is so different than you? Ask questions. Ask about their kids, school, sports, work, favorite teams, foods... Diverse people have much to offer when it comes to knowledge. You can learn from almost anybody. As you get to know other people, you will learn from them and find that you grow as a person. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Patience


In soccer practice we used to have a drill where we would have to pass it 10+ times before we were allowed to score. Sometimes the process is slow before the goal is accomplished. Roger Smith (the veteran missionary we are working with) has planted a couple churches in middle to upper class neighborhoods in the city of Recife. With these type of people it takes much more contact than just a chance encounter in the street. 

The plan in Arcoverde is to both have a resource/training center and eventually a church in the middle to upper class neighborhood in which it is located. A national Pastor recently said that the walls are high and people are rarely seen there. 

Several times as I have thought and prayed about it I have been unsure of where to start. The obvious answer is prayer. While we could just stay in the apartment and wait for God to send us members, we are getting out to places where we can meet people. Fortunately we have had a good bit of shopping to do. We are regular walkers at the park as well. I have found some time and places to play soccer and even basketball. 

People here seem to be really nice and I have wondered what would happen if we just started having services to see who would come. But I know that is not wise. A good goal would probably be a year from now before we had services. It seems like a long time, but setting a good foundation is important. Just like in practice when we had to learn to pass before we could score, we must be patient in our work so that when we do start services it will have results. Pray that we would have patience during this process!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bits February

This month has been pretty fun. One month ago I was picking up the girls from the airport and was so excited to see them and get ready to start our time here living in Northeast Brazil. I took a day trip with my brother-in-law Robert and Carlos (our Brazilian evangelist/missionary/negotiator friend) to Arcoverde to scout out the area. We found out there were no houses available to rent, but were satisfied with the apartment our colleagues had rented. We checked out some of the stores to see what was available and then headed back to Recife.

A couple days later Sarah went shopping with Marcy (ABWE missionary) for some of the furniture that we would need. We went millions of dollars into debt and now we don't have money for break or milk. ok, just kidding. She did a good job shopping, except our bed, table and chairs and a few other things won't be here until later this month. She got good deals and good quality items. After that we headed to Arcoverde on a Friday morning. After arriving and scouting things out at the apartment we found out that we did not have water or electricity. So we stayed at a hotel for the weekend and just went to the apartment during the day to paint and organize. Due to our address from the renting place being completely wrong, we did not receive our mattresses, fridge or stove until that Monday. 

But on Monday the 10th, we moved into our apartment. Much to our surprise, it is so cool on the hillside in the shade with a nice breeze that we do not need air conditioners! We got running water later that week and we were set to go. Until the running water ran out six days later. We have been officially introduced to life with water rationing and it is an adventure. As of right now we do have running water (in fact, it even runs out of the sides of the faucets) and everyone says that this month or next will bring rains that will halt the water problems. I figure that we need to go through these times to better understand the people here anyway. 

Over the weekend of the 14th we went back to Recife and I was able to preach in the church with whom we are partnering (Koinonia Baptist Church). I talked about how they could be a part of what is going on with planting churches. We have met some new friends from the church and we looked forward to their visit here with us. 

Our main ministry right now is meeting people. We go to the park almost every afternoon and usually meet people there. As often as we are out we are explaining why we have an accent. I am playing soccer with one group on Tuesdays and Thursdays and basketball with another group. I have met some people that way and I hope it brings even more contacts in the days to come. We inaugurated CeTAK on the 22nd with a group of fifty from Koinonia and about 15 area pastors there who were excited about having a resource center and a united effort to reach the Outback for Christ! It was neat to see the missionary vision for this area shared by so many pastors and I know there are more out there. Arcoverde is a strategic city as it is the gateway to the outback. We pray this center will train many for ministry both there and abroad.



We appreciate your prayers so much. Several of you have written asking for prayer requests and here are a few for this month. Pray that we meet people! Pray we can start some Bible studies; either individually or with groups. Pray that our furniture arrives so that we can have people over, and for other selfish reasons, like being somewhat organized inside our apartment. Pray that people will hear more about the resource center and come visit us. Pray for the sale of our car in the US to be finalized (we had it sold, but it is experiencing some mechanical difficulties). And pray for RAIN!!!

Thanks, God bless, We love you all!
All for HIS glory,
David, an extremely hard working Sarah, an imaginative, energetic fashion show expert, whose favorite story right now is Adam and Eve (video of her telling the story herself coming soon), and then an early rising, walking, almost 11 month old who can be both fussy and very happy. (In case you have forgotten their names since I rarely post them it is Evelyn and Anna Claire).

Resource Center (CeTAK) inauguration


Saturday night we had the inauguration of CeTAK, (The Center for training and support of Koinonia). Around 50 members of Koinonia Baptist Church from Recife came to Arcoverde on a big bus for this special service. Around 15 Pastors from area churches came to the service as well. There was excitement about the vision for this area in terms of missions and the gospel bring spread around. 



We had a praise service as well as an explanation to the Pastors about what the center is all about. Pastor Roger Smith told them the center would serve to support the Pastors with a Pastor’s group to meet and encourage one another, resources for their churches such as theatre, puppets, Sunday school material and books, and then a place for Bible study. It was neat to see the realization of a lot of groundwork done by Roger and Marcy Smith, Carlos (a Brazilian missionary) and the church. Praise flowed bountifully as we felt united with a common goal to reach this region.

There are many ministries here in Arcoverde that are doing a good job of reaching the community. Roger emphasized that we wanted to increase the work done here. Afterwards I was able to meet several of the Pastors and talk to them about their ministries. We are looking forward to the opportunities this center will bring! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Creating a Prayer focus


Our hillside apartment has two normal sized windows and a couple ventilation windows. The only one we can see out of has a pretty nice view of the city. I like to look out and pray over it. In fact, I feel like God has given us plenty of opportunities to pray with this new work. I have never really started a work from scratch before; which I guess the church in Recife has laid some ground work here, but there has never really been anyone working in the city. So starting from scratch, the only people I know, I have just met and barely know. In fact, I wrote out all the people that I actually know the name of, in the whole city. I am up to 15 names, 20 with some of the soccer guys from Thursday night.

The other time that is good to pray I already mentioned in an earlier post and that is my early morning walks with Anna Claire. Today we went to another high point that overlooks the back part of our hill. It is a neat view. I noticed another city or major part of this city that is a little separated and wondered about the church status there. 

I still think that God could do an amazing work in this region, but I know it is going to take time. Living in our fast-food/microwave world we want everything right now, but reality is that it will take time. 

Another time I pray is right after meeting someone. I think about the possibility of them coming to know Christ, or being a potential church member or I wonder how God could work in their lives. That wonder turns to prayer and it is neat to see how natural the thought is even though I do not consider myself someone who prays often. But with the circumstances we are in, it is easier to think about prayer; basically because we feel like if a church starts out here, it is not because of our ability, it is because God has gone before us. This definitely strengthens my faith. Today I met back to back with two potential church members. Both have either made a profession or been in a church before and both expressed interest in someday visiting the church (once we have one, that is a bit far away right now).

Another reason to pray is the water situation here. Last Friday morning we were excited because they filled up the water box and our apartment building had running water. They told us how big the box is and that it would last a while. Well, either it was not filled all the way, or there definition of a while is different than ours, but 6 days after its filling, it seems to be empty again. My prayers go like this: Thank you Lord for a wife that has a good attitude about this, help us to have water soon, help us to put up with this, and let it rain! They say after 3-4 good rains the water problems will stop. They also say that the politicians have promised sometime in March the city will have water lines from other cities and it will greatly improve the water situation....or something like that. Politicians usually are not the most honest...

So the situation here has been good to help me practice what I have preached lately, and that is on prayer. May we not be so dependent on ourselves!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The effects of an early sunrise!


Our first impression of Recife came late at night in October of 2012 as we arrived on a midnight flight and went straight to the beach hotel. We quickly went to bed, but woke up to a very strong sun and clocks that read 4:45. We wondered what kind of time change there could have been as I had never heard of the sun rising so early. But as we saw the other participants of the next day’s conference, we heard that indeed the sun had risen that early. 

Since we have lived here our wonderful second born has decided that 6:00 AM would be considered sleeping in and only for rare occasions. As much as I resent her for that decision, I do enjoy our early morning walks almost as much as she does.

We have an apartment with a middle room that stays pretty dark, so we put the girls in that room. Although it does not work for the morning, the room is at least dark enough for nap time. 

Recife is really hot and since the sun starts shining early, the heat comes early in the day. On the other hand, Arcoverde seems quite cool to us. Although the sun is hot during the day, we live on a hill that receives quite a bit of breeze that flows through our house very well. We were going to buy air conditioners, but have decided so far that we do not need them. At night it cools down quite a bit to where we can sleep quite comfortably and so we are happy with that!