Monday, August 5, 2013

Winter Vacation

Yes, Brazil has survived another winter – no snow, though, Jack Frost didn’t make an appearance in João Pessoa and was no need to pull out the long sleeve shirts – we did have a little more rain, and the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler in the evenings – it’s pleasant. Some Brazilians think they are freezing, but you would just laugh at them.

Most schools have the month of July off for vacation. Yeah, vacation! That means lots of time to spend with the family, yeah right.

The first week of July was João Pessoa’s Vacation Bible School. This is the 11th year we have had it since the Joelton church of Christ’s youth group came down and helped us get it started. The theme this year was True Nature Survivor, and we helped the kids learn to have character qualities that Jesus wants them to have. Monica Newlin managed the team of workers that made this event possible. VBS is always a lot of fun and a lot of work, but children look forward to it all year round.

That weekend our kids went to the Acampkids, hosted by the Peixinhos congregation close to Recife. Lucas McKinney, Dylan Newlin, Mathias and Sabrina Hagewood, plus one more went for a crazy camp on the theme: The Day the Earth Stopped: Discovering the most incredible days in the Bible.

On the second week of July, our youth group, 22 of them, went to the Acampteen, also in Recife. The theme was You Decide, and there five people decided for Christ and were baptized. Nicholas Newlin received the Best Camper award. One unusual but interesting aspect of this camp: about 70% were visitors.

Third week in July, as soon as we arrived from picking up teens from camp, the ladies took off. 35 ladies hopped in vans going to Campina Grande for the Women’s Seminar, hosted by the Santa Cruz congregation. Imagine a three-day weekend with 287 women crammed into a place with 160 beds – many didn’t want to sleep anyway – with the sole purpose of praising God, encouraging one another, and mediating on the theme of God, My Point of Equilibrium. These women’s seminars are worth it for the church and for our families; the ladies come back tired but so energized spiritually. Next year’s seminar will be in João Pessoa. It’s our turn to sacrifice our time and energy to bring about this important event.

Fourth week, I would like to say that after all the kids were taken care of, the women also, the men got together for their camp to get away from the hustle and bustle to have quiet time with God and uplifting moments with spiritual men, but it didn’t happen. The church is probably all camped out anyway, and the men’s moment will have to wait for another time of initiative.

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