Friday, May 16, 2014

Random News

Ever since last December when Dad was diagnosed with cancer and ended up spending eighteen days in the hospital with pneumonia, our lives have really changed, and one of those changes is that, it is very hard for me to find time to develop posts for my blog. I miss it, but there are a whole lot of more important things in the balance right now. In an attempt to keep my blog from dying completely, I hope to post some random news every now and then. We will see how things go. :) 

  Thee first Sunday of December 2013 the church here in Prudente asked Ben to baptize three candidates for them.  

The woman on crutches is Luciana. She is the daughter of Edson and Isabel, who are members of the church. For a number of years she didn't want anything to do with the church, but then she started coming occasionally when her mom invited her. After a few months of coming off and on, she began coming faithfully and shortly after that she was in a motorcycle accident. Her leg was broken in several places and she underwent major surgery to have pins put in. She was unable to walk for almost three months, but as soon as she could get around in a wheelchair and walk a bit, she started coming to church again. Not long after that she professed salvation and asked to be baptized. Luciana gradually improved and was even able to start working at a bakery that supplies bread for many of the public schools in town. However, about two months ago the pins in her leg broke and she had to go through surgery all over again. The Lord has really blessed through it all. The doctor who did the second surgery used a larger plate and pins this time and her leg is even better now then it was after the first surgery. Luciana is currently doing intensive physical therapy and she hopes in another month or two to be able to go back to work.

Yasmin and Isabela
The young girl in the pictures is Isabela. She is 10 years old and is Luciana's daughter. Since she attends school close to them, Isabela has always spent a lot of time at her grandparent's home. Edson and Isabel bring her to church with them whenever she is at their house, so we have know Isabela since she was about 2. I often tease Isabela about how when we first met her she did not like us at all. She would sit in her Grandpa’s lap and watch us. If any of us tried to play with her, she would cry. Things have drastically changed now. The last couple of years, Joy and I have been teaching Isabela in Sunday School and when she goes on break from school, we have her over to the house to play ping-pong and board games. She loves it and I might add, that she beats us most of the time! Just recently on a holiday, Isabela and I and Yasmin, a cousin of Isabela's, spent the morning together making cupcakes.

The young man that was baptized is João Carlos. Several years ago, David met him while he was giving English classes at Wizard. David invited João to church at the time and he came several times. João even made a profession of faith and Dad started doing a Bible study with him, but he eventually came to the place of having to choose between continuing at church or keeping his long time girlfriend. He stopped coming to church and even told Dad he was sure that he wasn't saved. Several years passed where we had no contact with him, but the middle of last year, João got in touch with David. He said the Lord had saved him and asked if he could come to church. He started coming faithfully, eventually joined as a member, and just two weeks ago he preached for the first time. 

 At the beginning of this year, João graduated and is now an official computer programmer. Shortly after his graduation, he was hired by a German man here in town to do maintenance work for a humongous online clothing store here in Brazil. Just for you to have an idea of how big this store is, on a Wednesday evening just recently the "Purchase" button on the website quit working and in the few hours that it took for the maintenance men to fix the problem, the store lost approximately $130,000.00 worth of sales. It is hard for me to imagine an online store that big!  Due to the way the store's website was built the online store has constant problems and they have at least three teams of computer programmers, one of which includes João Carlos, which spend eight hours a day, five days a week fixing problems as they come up. The job tends to be quite stressful  for João Carlos and the other programmers since the problems that show up are usually complex and the store, of course, puts pressure on the maintenance men to fix things quickly, but João said he is learning a lot in his field and for that reason he enjoys the job, even though later on João said he might like to look for another job opening that would allow him to do his own programming instead of spending his days fixing computer programs that were built by others. We’ll see what happens.

 Dad and Mom's first granddaughter (and my first niece) was born last November.  It is a real joy to have her around, and our joy was doubled soon after when Daniel and Sabrina told us that they are expecting a little one to be born in July. 

 On March 10th Sabrina had an ultrasound done to check on the progress of the baby. The baby is growing just fine and they found out that it is a little boy. Afterward, Daniel and Sabrina made this picture to tell family and friends that it is a little boy. :) Now Sabrina said they are working on a name. They would like a name with a German root, because after all both sides of the family are of German descent. They want a name that isn't too common, but yet it can’t be sooo uncommon that it doesn’t have a nice meaning. Lastly they would like a name that is spelled the same in English and Portuguese so that the little fellow doesn't have too hard of a time getting around in either side of his extended family. Considering all of that, Sabrina said they are just going to call him "Baby" and when he is old enough, he can choose his own name. :D

Well, I better sign off for this time. Joy went out to do the grocery shopping this morning and pretty soon she will be coming home and it will be Bitsy and I’s job to help carry things in from the car. Yes, it is hard to believe, but of her own accord Bitsy carries small objects in her mouth from the car to the kitchen rug. Of course, Bitsy doesn’t work for free. I have to pay for every item she brings in with a bite of cookie and if I don’t have a piece of cookie in my hand, she won’t put the item down. :)