It is a little hard for me to believe, but my last blog post was in May! Time goes by so quickly and even though the Lord blessed us to be able to do a lot in the weeks since I last wrote, it seems like there is still a whole lot waiting for us to accomplish. Thankfully all this busyness means I have lots to write about. There is so much to say that I am actually a little confused about where to begin. I think I will try to begin with the oldest news and move forward. :)
|Hélio and Dad|
|Special service in Bauru|
June was quite a memorable month for me. It all started when someone tied up a young calf (approximately a month old) in one of the empty lots near our house. They tied the calf way at the back of the lot behind a hill of grass, and it was out of sight from the road and surrounding houses. Just like everyone else, I probably never would have seen it except I let Bitsy out of our gate to run around a little and she sniffed the calf out. Well, since I have a soft spot for little animals that look lost, I couldn’t just forget about the calf and I started watching it. I quickly learned that there was a young man that brought it cornmeal mush and a bucket of water on Saturdays and Sundays, but Monday through Friday the calf went without water or mush and soon ate all the grass its rope would allow it to reach. I couldn’t just stand by and watch the calf go hungry, so I started cutting a good sized pile of grass for it every day and keeping its bucket full of water. I also went to the police to see what I should do in a case of animal neglect like this. The two policemen I talked to were not very helpful; they kept repeating that there was nothing they could because the lot the calf was on didn’t belong to me. The more serious policeman eventually said “What do you want us to do? Shoot it?” I tried to keep a straight face but failed and replied “At least the calf won’t be hungry then!” At that both policemen laughed and became more helpful. They suggested I call the Centro de Zoonoses and see what they could do. The Centro de Zoonoses is a branch of the government that works to prevent epidemics of animal diseases. I didn’t have a whole lot of hope that they would help, but the following day I called them and within hours they sent a truck out to pick up the calf. They said that the calf would be held at their headquarters for 30 days during which time the owner could pay the fine and have it back. When the 30 days were up if the calf had not been claimed, it would go up for adoption. The truck with the calf soon left, and it was a relief to me to no longer have to worry about its well being. Exactly one week later, at five-thirty in the morning someone left a small black puppy in a box at our gate. Its lonely cries greeted me as I opened the gate to walk Bitsy, and once again I was wondering anxiously “what am I going to do with this abandoned animal?”. I spent most of that morning driving around town asking pet stores and several veterinarian offices if they would be willing to put the puppy up for adoption. I heard repeated no’s, and my ears actually grew tired of hearing the word. There was one lady at a pet store that made me chuckle with her answer. She said they couldn’t keep the puppy there because it was the World Soccer Cup. I didn’t understand what soccer games have to do with the adoption of a puppy, but it was a creative way to say “no”. I was just about to take the puppy home again, when I thought of calling Luciana, a lady in the church. One of her dogs had died recently, but she still had a dog and I wasn’t sure if this would be a good time to offer her a puppy. I called her however and she was simply delighted to take the puppy. The puppy is now named Nazus, and quite often at church I hear from Luciana or her daughter Izabela about how the puppy is growing, and sooo energetic, and chewing on this or that. J Thankfully no more animals have been abandoned near our house since then, but we did joke around about how it may become necessary to put a sign on our gate to discourage people from dropping their animals there. We tossed around several ideas about what the sign should say, and my favorite idea was: “ A big THANK YOU to all who left your puppies, kitties and calves here! I am now a certified taxidermist and I depend on you all to continue gaining experience in my field!” :)
In my last post, I told you about how Daniel and Sabrina had jokingly said that they were going to let their baby choose his own name. Well, also in the memorable month of June, two ladies from Daniel's work gave Sabrina a very nice baby shower. At this time, Daniel and Sabrina had already decided that their little boy was going to be called Arthur, so his name was made public at the shower. You will notice in the pictures of the shower that I am including that the name Arthur shows up in the very creative decorations. The theme of the shower was "There's going to be a Little Bird in the Gardner Nest", and the ladies decorated everything, from the doors in the room, to the tables and even the food, with little birds and nests.
Another game Daniel and Sabrina played was a race to dress "Arthur". One of the ladies brought a teddy bear which was about the size of a baby and Sabrina, followed by Daniel, had to put a diaper and real baby clothes on it. Sabrina dressed the bear in one minute and fifty-seven seconds, but Daniel beat her soundly by putting the bear in a diaper and pajamas in only one minute and twenty-five seconds. However, after Daniel was done dressing the bear one of the ladies who was watching him said she was sure glad that wasn't the real Arthur! :)
|Arthur Sukerth Gardner|
Arthur was scheduled to be born on July 3, but like many other babies he arrived early. By 9 p.m. on July 2, Arthur was already in the hospital's nursery making many of the other babies look very small. He was a big boy weighing a little over seven pounds and
Lydia, my niece, is also developing sooo quickly! At the end of this month, she will be eleven months old and already she is walking well. It seems like just a few weeks ago she learned to crawl, then she discovered how topush chairs around and now she is walking! She is also learning to play with toys better and loves to read books. The other day Ben was sitting on the floor, and Lydia picked up one of her books, crawled over to Ben, threw the book into his lap and then sat down to listen to him read it. I think she is a bookworm in the making! :)
|Benjamin preaching at a park|
|David passing out tracts|
Ben said it is going very well, and he shared with us two pictures that I am including. This last Saturday, Ben, David and some folks from the church here in Prudente held a service at the downtown plaza. There was a political rally also going on downtown and the loud sound systems from the rally forced Ben and then David to speak up as they preached, but despite that several people stopped to listen and a good number of tracts were passed out to people walking by.
|Special service in Três Lagõas|
|Pr. Eduardo Cadete and Pr. Marcelo|
|Dad and Lydia|
|João Carlos and Joy|
|Food table at the bridal shower|
This month Stephanie hosted a bridal shower for Joy. Food-wise the shower was quite American with quesadillas, miniature runzas, and bacon tortilla roll-ups with cookies and fruit kabobs for dessert and strawberry lemonade to drink. The Brazilian ladies bravely tried and enjoyed these new things.
The rest of the shower was a little bit more Brazilian. We played some games that they are used to and even gave a little “lembrançinha” to each guest. It is a Brazilian custom to give these “lembrançinhas” to each guest at wedding and baby showers and also birthday parties. A “lembrançinha” is a small object (sometimes a refrigerator magnet, scented soap, box of candy, small knick-knack, etc..) that usually has a small card with it that says "In remembrance of so-and-so's wedding shower" or "Thank you for your participation in ________ ". Our “lembrançinhas” are small lilac colored teapots with an aluminum spiral to hold notes. As Stephanie needed it I helped her to plan the shower and Brazilianize it. One job she had me do was to find some funny hats, glasses, scarves, etc… to take pictures in at the shower. I had lots of fun walking all over downtown and also sifting through piles of stuff at a large thrift store run by the cancer hospital to find a nice selection of funny things. Once I arrived home I had even more fun trying the things on, and then at the shower, we shared lots of laughs as we dressed ourselves and each other up in the funny stuff and posed for pictures. :)
Now let me finish up with two little bits of random news. Number one is that Joy discovered PicMonkey, a website where you can edit photos online. Using this amazing website you can make “masterpieces” by taking a picture of Joy’s cat and putting Dracula fangs and blood splashes on her. :) However it is also possible to do profitable things on PicMonkey. Joy and I are learning how to put Bible verses on a variety of pictures, and then Joy enjoys using them for the bookstore’s Facebook. These pictures with verses are also handy to develop, slip into a simple frame and give as gifts.
Number two is that Sr. Armando made a caricature of Dad. Sr. Armando, like Dad, loves books and enjoys translating Spurgeon and other old authors into Portuguese. Well, last month Armando drew this caricature of Dad and put it on Facebook. Everyone loved it, and now Dad has a copy of it hanging on the pin-board in his office. :)
|Bitsy and I|
I wish I could say that it won't take me as long to put the next post up, but the truth is that it will probably take me months. :) We stay busy keeping the household running, working on the translation of John Gill, caring for the seminary course online and to prisoners, and helping out with church activities. On top of those things, we have a number of wedding preparations yet to do, and in my personal life my dog, Bitsy, isn't doing very well. Caring for her takes up a good part of my free time and energy. Bitsy has had a hyperactive immune system for years and has gradually become allergic to every animal protein available. The vet and I thought we had found an efficient solution to her allergies when we started her on soy protein earlier this month, but unfortunately she became allergic to soy in just a little over two weeks. Dr. Tony and I are now looking for other ways to help Bitsy. It is going to be interesting to see what the Lord has in store for her.
Thank you for reading!