Why did we buy a house when we are supposed to be leaving the country in a few months?
The expression on peoples faces is predictable when I tell them we bought a house, it goes something like this 'oh, that's goo-wait a sec, you bought a house? Aren't you leaving for Brazil soon?'
Yes, we are planning to leave for Brazil soon but the reality is we still needed somewhere to live in the mean time and, although we feel like Brazil could be a long term commitment, we are trying to be obedient to God and He doesn't always give you the full picture, usually just the next few steps. If, for example we feel like we are supposed to come back to Canada after two years, buying a house will be very difficult after two years with no credit history. This gives us a place to land should we need it and at the very least it is an investment.
So, when DO we leave for Brazil?
As plans stand right now we will leave for Brazil in January. Here's how things look:
The Bergen family who have lived in Brazil for 17 years have come back to Canada for a 1 year leave while they help their two eldest daughters, who will persue their post secondary education here, assimilate into life in Canada. Rick Bergen, will take a few trips during this year to make sure things are going smoothly and to help the two missionary families (us and the Raes) get settled. The Raes leave in less than 1 week, they will be working with the same mission and on the same base as we will be. When we arrive in January they will leave for a few months of language study while we have a chance to get our landlegs in Maraba.
This is the plan, but in order to make that plan a reality we still need to raise the funds.
Why do we need to raise funds?
The question has been asked, more than once, how will you live? Will you work there?
A few people have asked what we need, if there is anyway they can help us with our preparation.
We will be going to Brazil on religious workers visas, this DOES NOT permit us to be employed in Brazil. In order for us to be able to go, to live and to do the work we need help. We will need to raise 15-20,000 in start up costs (for flights, to furnish the house we will live in, buy a motorbike for transportation) and $5,000 a month in support. I realize that seems like a really large number, and it is for a few reasons. Some of the money will support us as a family so we can eat, pay rent and utilities (which are surprisingly expensive there) and the rest goes towards supporting the work the mission does, helping youth find hope for a future, changing whole families and eventually the community-it has been done before in several different areas where the mission has reached out in love to hurting people.
There have been individuals who have had enough passive income at home to support themselves-but it doesn't work. Why? When the going gets rough -the self supported get going. That has been the experience over the years, not having a team of supporters just doesn't work. When you are backed by a team of people who believe in you, invest in you and support you-you are buoyed up, by more than just their financial support, but by knowing there are people at home who will pray for you when you are down, who will encourage you. You have a team of people to be accountable to. Also, not everyone is able to pack up their lives to move to another country to help those less fortunate, but by supporting us to do the work you get to be a part of the big picture-and stay in your neighbourhood!
What exactly will we be doing there?
This is a tougher question to answer, and it feels like I should be able to rattle off a laundry list. But it's not that clearly defined. The base in Maraba is in it's fairly early stages, which means everyone does a bit of everything. In the early days, we will be spending half our days learning to speak Portuguese (which will make us much more useful!) and the other half of the day will be spent working for the mission. For Phil this will most likely mean building at first, and for me I will spend time homeschooling our children in the afternoons, and helping with whatever needs to be done for the evening church services and youth groups. As we learn the language and get a better lay of the land, we will have a clearer idea of where we fit. What we can't do is arrive in a new country, with an agenda.
Most of the kids we will be working with are coming from homes where abuse is common, addictions are part of every day life and no one has ever told them they are worth believing in. Although it doesn't seem as tangible as some other forms of work, teaching and showing children that they are loved, that they have potential and that they can believe in themselves is the foundation that changes families, communities and cities. It's a mission of Hope and we would love for you to be a part of it.
What about England?
This is still up in the air. It depends largely on our personal financial situation. It is a big priority for us to be able to get to England, see friends and family that we haven't seen in many, many years and may not see for many, many more. But, we are holding it with an open hand and at this point it depends on how many houses I sell between now and then. It also depends on whether or not we have raised the necessary support to get us to Brazil. If we haven't raised the support, we need to stay to continue fundraising until we reach our goal.
What do we need?
What we really need right now is interest to transform into action. We have many friends, family and collegues who have been following our story, some have even been inspired to make life changes of their own and this is awesome and overwhelming! Can we ask, if you have felt this stirring something in your heart, if the videos and pictures and stories of what goes on in Brazil and what we will be helping with seems like something you want to support, can you turn your interest into action by deciding if you would like to be a part of the team that will launch us and carry us in Brazil? It is a tough question to ask, but without you we can't go. And for us to be able to know what the next few months look like we need to know where we stand in terms of financial support. Ideally, we would like to have commitments from people by the middle of October, this would help us a lot, we can then better prepare our kids as well for what the next few months look like.
The other thing we need is prayer and lots of it! This is a rather tumultuous time in our lives, lots of change and transition for all of us-we could use the cover!
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We really appreciate all the encouragement and support we have had from all of you so far. Your words and comments on this blog are extremely powerful!!