Last week, from Monday to Sunday, we had the blessing of a visit from our friend and missionary colleague, Carol Dennis. She and her husband, Bruce, have worked in Fortaleza, Ceará since 1993.
On Tuesday and Thursday she helped to teach my English I class at the seminary.
We tried to take her to as many places as possible here in Curitiba. This is on the Rua das Flores (Flower Street), downtown.
We admired all the beautiful and colorful produce in the mercado central. We even bought a couple items. Imagine that!
No visit is complete here without visiting the Tôrre de Mercês, a 41-story telephone company tower. Here one can see a 360-degree view of the city.
On this day it was unusually clear and the view was fantastic! Even the distant mountain range, the Serra Do Mar, was clearly outlined.
Another must is the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden). The building in the background is a greenhouse for tropical plants. This is necessary because Curitiba does not always have very tropical weather! In fact, March is usually a bit colder than what we had the week Carol was here. The Lord wanted her to have a wonderful impression of our fair city.
I was glad that Carol had the opportunity to get to meet several of the people here that we have come to know and love.
Thank you, Carol, for the blessing of your visit!
Here's Johnny's account of the trip:
Thank you for your prayers in behalf of the trip to Argentina that David & I made together with Adriano, the 18-year-old Bible college student. Praise the Lord we made it safely and we learned a lot from the experience.
We didn't reach my goals of distributing several hundred wordless book keys chains together with tracts, neither did we make it to Uruguay. We could not find large groups of people in the interior towns we visited and Uruguay was just too far away for the number of travel days we were working with. It seemed a lot closer on the map.
However, we found the Argentine people receptive & relatively friendly for the most part. We were able to converse with several people about the gospel, even though our Spanish was rather limited, but the Argentines seemed to appreciate the key chains and two types of wordless-book bracelets we were also giving away.
We did one gospel presentation at night on a public square in a little town called, La Cruz (The Cross). David & Adriano presented a harmonica-guitar duet as well as an interesting two-man dramatization. I attempted to explain the 5 colors of the key chain hearts with one of my little paintings. I guess about 10 people sat to watch us.
A goal that we did reach was simply that of exposing Adriano to a neighboring country to Brazil. He is a dedicated kid and wants to be a missionary to one of Brazil's neighbors. He was quite impressed with the difference he saw in the Argentine culture even though the country lies just across the Uruguay river from Brazil. He has been studying Spanish for a few months and I believe he was thrilled that he could actually present the gospel in another language. Hopefully his experience will encourage other Brazilians to become interested in foreign missions right here in South America.
Many times I depended on Adriano and David to help me to understand what the Argentines were saying, but at times none of us knew what was being said. Even though Spanish has a lot in common with Portuguese when you read it, hearing it spoken is another story.
Due to our incomplete understanding of Spanish we traveled further in the country than out allotted quota of 60 kilometers. We knew we had permission to be in the country for 72 hours, but we didn't notice the 60 kilometer limit which was rubber stamped in fading ink on a small piece of paper. We learned we had broken the law when we were getting ready to cross back over into Brazil on a barge at an Argentine port. The port official just called our attention to our irregularity, but did not scold us and let us proceed with the river crossing. I'm sure that had happened before.
Lest I tire you with two many details I'll finish up by telling about the river crossing. We entered Argentina by crossing the huge Uruguay River on a bridge which took us to a beautiful little town called, Santo Tome, where we spent the night. The next day after our "illegal" 100+ kilometer trip further south and another night in a hotel in La Cruz, we headed home. When we got to the port I had no idea how the barges functioned to take vehicles across. We had to talk with the port officials and pay a fee to the barge operators to cross. We were trying to communicate in Spanish and were trying to pay in pesos (Argentine currency) so I was a little on edge with the uncertainty of our situation. There were several tractor trailers waiting near the ramp to go across. After being told to move my car to three different locations, I waited to see how they were going to sandwich my little Renault amongst all those monster trucks. (There were three lines of them). All of a sudden a guy motioned for me to take the car down the ramp onto the huge barge which had just come across from the Brazilian side. So we got on the barge with our car, and I thought the trucks would roll down and join us and squash us in, but the barge immediately pulled out with just us aboard and in a few minutes we were back on Brazilian soil. I suppose all those trucks were waiting for inspection before going across with all their cargo.
Well, I still have plenty of Spanish tracts and hundreds of key chains and bracelets. Maybe Uruguay next year! Want to go?
On February 21-25 we joined our colleagues here in south Brazil at the Hotel Peninsula in Avaré, São Paulo. This is normally a 7-8 hour drive but, well...we won't talk about how long it took us. We missed turns, the car overheated and the GPS was even confused a time or two!
A highlight for alot of us is the choir, led by Paul Van Loh. What a joy to sing beautiful songs of praise to Him!