(please click on the photos to enlarge them)
The blessings received at the Bible College's Missionary Conference were tremendous. Our two preachers did an excellent job, we are so proud of them! Here are some photos taken by at least 3 different photographers and collaged by Marly, our college secretary.
(please click on the photos to enlarge them)
To hear what the choir sang on Friday night, click here.
As of today, it is only 17 days until Brazil's Election Day.
At many junctions we are given pamplets with political propaganda. And at least twice a day 50-minute blocks of time on TV are given to showing the campaigning of Brazil's many political parties. We doubt that many people watch that for a solid 50 minutes but...what do we know?!
There are at least 9 people running for President. Of the 3 main ones, 2 are women. Brazil has never had a woman president. For those of you who are interested in international politics, click here to read about it in Portuguese or click here to read about it in English.
Last Saturday morning we received all of this-pamplets, newspapers, bumper stickers, and even a stack of almost 100 little papers for US to hand out! Thanks, but no thanks.
Well, we can't vote here and we can't even tell others for whom to vote but we can pray for this important Presidential election. It might determine what we can and can't do in our ministries here as missionaries.
Please help us PRAY for Brazil's elections on October 3rd!
On September 8th the city of Curitiba celebrated its 317th birthday! Yay, birthdays, we all love birthdays, right? Well, this one was so quietly celebrated that we didn't even know about it til the day after.
(To know more about Curitiba, check this out.)
Since Curitiba's patron saint is Our Lady of Light (one of the many forms of Mary), most of the celebrating was in the form of idolatry...worshipping, praying and giving thanks to this saint/image.
Mass was held at many of the Catholic churches on this day. Here the state's governor, Orlando Pessuti, is seen at the mass in the Catedral Basílica de Curitiba which is dedicated to the patron saint.
He said, "I am here today to ask Our Lady of Light to intercede for us and make us have more faith..." The archbishop who presided at the mass said, "As we manifest ourselves on our birthday and above all on the birthdays of our mothers, much more we want to do this for Mary, who is our mother, mother of the church, mother of our city."
Sometimes it's a bit difficult to minister/witness to those of a religion & culture who don't see their adoration as being contrary to what the Bible teaches. Pray for wisdom for us and enlightenment of the Spirit for them.
"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."-John 8:32
Lots of national stuff going on here these days! On Tues (Sept 7) Brazil celebrated its Independence Day. She is officially (or unofficially, as some would think) 388 years old. Not bad-looking for her age, I'd say. :) There was a parade one block away from our house on Saturday but I thought it was just a practice so I didn't bother to go see it, I wanted to wait til Tuesday. Well, I missed it because the "practice" was the real thing...I found out later. Then I didn't have time to go see the big one in downtown Curitiba because I was busy making a salad for our dinner together with the church people...*sigh*
But we had a good time...
...Can't you tell?! My 14-ingredient salad is in the blue, square container.Several went back for seconds so I think it got at least a passing grade. Six of the women made potato salad, each one being a slightly different recipe.
Keep scrolling down to see a close-up of a very artistic one...
We live in "grilled meat country" so sausage and chicken was also on the menu. Hoo-wee, good eatin'!
What are we waiting for? Time to eat!
This is missionary Pastor Ed Alexander and his wife Jan. He brought a short devotional after the meal.
Plenty of time for chatting and fellowship.
Some of the men and boys played a game of soccer.
Click on the picture and you'll see that there was lots of clover in the field. Who wants to watch a game when there's clover to admire? is what I say. :)
...Not as others who have no hope! We are so sad for our colleagues, Nathan and Diane Fray (parents) and Marv and Diane Fray (grandparents) in the loss of 13-yr-old Lydia who went to be with the Lord last night in São Paulo. She'd had spina bifida since birth but experienced her first real crisis a few days ago and was not able to come through it. What a joy to know that she is now in perfect health!
Good-by, sweet Lydia Joy. We will miss your ray of sunshine, the joy that you brought to all those who knew you!!
There is another small post about this on my blog: anaspinkroses and, below, is a testimony written about her by the grandparents.
Sept 3, 2010
Nathan and Diane were accepted by Baptist Mid-Missions in 1992 and arrived on the field in 1995. While Diane was in language school they received the happy news that she was pregnant with their first child. However, the first ultrasound showed that our Lydia Joy had serious physical problems as a result of a condition called spina bifida. Diane's doctor showed her ultrasound results to 10 doctors and they all agreed that she would not live.
Since Diane's parents lived near a children's hospital specializing in at-risk pregnancies, they decided to go to the USA for Lydia's birth. We were on furlough so got to be there with them and were amazed at their peace and trust in the midst of this situation. Lydia Joy was born December 13, and, contrary to predictions, lived. On the 14th she had very long and complicated surgery, closing the hole in her back and installing a shunt to drain the liquid from her head. Because of spina bifida, she was paralyzed from the waist down, and had other complications including kyphosis (bending forward her spinal column), club feet, a lowered brain stem, and a "compacted" torso. But very soon she demonstrated that she had a sharp brain! By two she spoke both English and Portuguese and could interpret for Diane's parents when they visited Brazil. But best of all, everyone soon knew that she was well named as she constantly demonstrated joy and contentment. Rarely did we hear a complaint!!!
Nathan and Diane were involved in their first church plant and the people loved Lydia Joy and she loved the people. They would vie to see who could hold her and she would be surrounded by loving friends. In her two's she would pass out tracts with her Daddy--who could refuse a smiling child in a wheelchair? Her testimony was a constant "sermon" for the whole church, which is still healthy and thriving under Brazilians leadership. Nathan, Diane & Lydia started two other churches and she continued to be an important part of their team, joined by her sister, Priscila, in 2008. Before they left for furlough in June of 2009, she was doing very well as a teacher in children's church and continued to be a joy to all her knew her or had any contact with her. One man in our church told us Wednesday at her gravesite that from Lydia he received the strongest sermon he'd ever had--and without a word. He came to his seminary classes one day upset with God. As he walked down the hall he saw Lydia and from her wheelchair, with her deformed body, she give him her big, happy smile. He will never forget the impact it had on him. Another young woman wrote yesterday in an email that as a teenager "I carried Lydia physically, but she carried me spiritually". Truly everyone who had contact with Lydia came away blessed.
When the family returned from furlough the end of July this year, Lydia Joy started having breathing problems. She was treated for pneumonia, with no improvement, and was finally taken to the hospital and put in the ICU as her breathing worsened. They diagnosed a pulmonary embolism. On oxygen she did better and she was moved from ICU to a regular room and seemed to be improving for two days, but then had a crisis where she couldn't get her breath. Friday she was moved back to the ICU and put into an induced coma-like situation so the more rigorous treatment would not be painful. Her last words to her mom were "Everything's fine". However, because of the embolism and complications from her other physical problems, she did not recover and never regained consciousness. Tuesday evening at 9:30 she met her Savior and is now spreading her joy in heaven as she runs with new legs.
In Brazil, bodies must be in the ground in 24 hours. Thus her memorial service had to be planned for noon so that they could be at the gravesite by 3:00. We were amazed at the wonderful service that was planned for her in that short time by her church friends. A large banner with pictures of her hung in the front of the church. A power point presentation was prepared. The Brazilian pastors of the three churches all gave powerful short messages exhorting us all to live life as Lydia lived it--dedicated to God and others. Dave Huffman (a fellow missionary who worked with them) and I both spoke, as did Diane and then, lastly, Nathan and Diane. God enabled them to thank everyone who had contributed to her wonderful life.
We who are left behind miss her so very much. But we have peace. Thousands were praying for her and we know God's will was accomplished. The amazing fact is that she had never had any serious health problems before!! People who know about her types of physical defects say there are always multiple health complications, but she had none. She lived an active, busy, fruitful life where everyone was her friend. Her mom made sure she participated in everything that was going on. Truly God knew Nathan and Diane would be the very best parents for her. She had a wonderful furlough year, seeing all her relatives, visiting the churches, and studying at their church's Christian school. She participated in their orchestra, which won second place at the BJU high school contest. The students picked her to go forward and receive the trophy, which she did with one of her huge smiles. Her mom and aunt took her to the American Girl store in NY shortly before returning to Brazil and they had an absolutely marvelous time. She was able to participate in our 50th wedding anniversary. God allowed her to have more wonderful experiences, both social and spiritual, than most people have in a long lifetime. He was totally good to Lydia Joy.
We will miss her greatly as we begin Nathan's fourth church plant together with him. She was always an important part of the team and was excited about helping with this fourth church. Therefore, Nathan and Diane have established the Lydia Joy Fray Memorial Church Fund at Baptist Mid-Missions. From now on, please send gifts to help with this new church through this memorial fund. Baptist Mid-Missions must be the name on the check, but on a separate paper write that your gift is for Lydia Joy's Church Fund.
Our truly heartfelt thanks to all who pray for us and to all those who knew to pray specifically for our family in this situation that caught us all by surprise. Your prayers gave us peace. Your emails encouraged us greatly. Just knowing that you care has given us joy. We will not be able to answer each email individually, but know that we have read and appreciated each one. Continue to pray for all of us as we adjust to life without our beloved Lydia Joy.