Hello peeps! This post has two ‘happenings’ of Jaelah and I’s life recently. The first is the yearly teen camp that we go to, a few pictures and a brief account of how it was. The second is a boat trip that we went on a few weeks ago!
On our way to camp! With friend Adria.
I assume most of you have heard of the color fest, in the U.S. they usually are done after a long run. It is a powder made from corn starch (well, actually, we homemade ours and that’s what we made it out of. I’m sure stores’ are very different) & coloring. It was really cool how they turned it into a Biblical thing. For example, share with your friend or someone beside you if they don’t have any, and have FUN together!! It was so much fun to throw it at each other hahaha and see everybody screaming and laughing and being crazy. And, the video they did of us throwing it turned out pretty sick.
A few more pictures with a few more friends!
These are some friends that we made playing cards we just sat down at a table in the dining area and started playing with some of our other friends and then other teens just came over and asked if they could play. So we said yes and taught them how & laughed a ton & just had fun!!
hi, now it’s Jaelah’s turn! so we had a few weeks after camp to continue settling in to our new house & then we were off on the boat trip to Cucaru! it was such a wonderful trip & i (or we are so grateful we got to go! being able to help out with the kids’ ministry was by far my favorite. they had such a joy & are always so fun to be around! they took quite a liking to all of us so that was quite fun hahaha we actually went to more than one community because there was PAZ churches in both of them and the other one (Sao Diogo) was only 5 min. away. below you can see pictures from when we got stuck in the mud trying to drive there the morning after a big rain!
we left on Monday morning and got there late Monday night. we left Friday afternoon around 4 and arrived home (like at our house, since now we live a minute from the boat shop at 7:30AM Saturday.
we were really tired & i got a cold/flu something for a few days after but it is ALWAYS worth it. loved this community and these people & their souls just as I do every community <3
worship before devotion one morning
teaching the kiddos in one community (Sao Diogo) about Nahum!
sharing the evangelism cards with the kids
the Dr. Amanda and the monkey skit!
the day we got stuck in the mud on the way to the community!
we stood on the edge (right where there is more of a pileup of dirt) of the road while they were getting it out and then walked down the road to where it wasn’t flooded to get back in the truck :)
me, Emmile (a friend we made who came with us on the boat), Thayane (the children’s leader in Cucaru who also became our friend), and Mariah, with our sandals that were almost completely covered in mud lol
doing a Noah’s ark skit with the kids at the school! they sure like this one! :)
a group walking on Tuesday (the first day there) to do house evangelism & invite kids to the children’s service that night & everyone to the service that we held in front of the church on Thursday night :)
If you’ve read the book about the mission (Sunrise on the Amazon) or heard us talk about the mission, then you’ve probably heard of Pastor Nilton. He co-founded the mission (as an 18 year old) with Luke Huber. He is now 60 years old, still doing the same thing- pastoring churches in the Amazon Basin. He has traveled many rivers and streams around Santarem over his lifetime and is well known near—- and kinda far.
But, our desire is for him, actually for HIM to be known FAR and near. Nilton has been “confined” to about 30 hours by boat from Santarem. More than 30 hours by boat, and it gets very difficult to oversee churches. We have bases that are farther out, but Nilton rarely gets to those because of the transportation difficulty. Last year I had the idea of taking him to these other bases and doing mini-training series. Calling the river workers in (or better yet, going out to them) and letting this powerful man of God speak into their lives. Forty years of stories, experiences, and miracles.
We are planning to do one of these training sessions every other month, squeezing it in alongside of the many other responsibilities that Nilton has in Santarem.
Last weekend we went to Itacoatiara. A city two days by boat from Santarem, or less than 2 hours with the RV6. Friday afternoon Nilton did a session on evangelism. Friday night he shared about missions to a group of young adults. Saturday we were out on a river (2 hours by speedboat from the city) where the local worker / pastor was installing water filters as a way to begin a Gospel work there. We had three teams installing the filters in the local houses.
Loading the speedboat Saturday morning
Water filter (blue barrel in corner)
I was blessed to be with someone that was skilled in installing the filters, leaving me time to evangelize! The first house, the owner was a little preoccupied, but his daughter and her cousin listened. I started with Adam and Eve, then moved to Jesus. The girl said, “Oh, I have a book about Him. Here in the house.” I was then called to do some more filter installation, but when I left her and her cousin were hunched over that book studying the life of their Savior.
Typical Amazon house (with outhouse on left)
The last house we waited and waited for Nilton’s team to come back and pick us up. We installed the filter, I went through the Gospel, and then we still had an hour and half of waiting, talking, etc. It was getting dark and I was anxious to get back to Itacoatiara because I had marked a flight with another missionary at 6AM the next morning. They finally arrived and Pastor Nilton had a huge grin on his face. “We won a couple to the Lord” he said. That was worth it! Because it was dark and our boat driver was unfamiliar with the way back, we got lost. We were so lost that he was asking me which direction I thought we should go!
With all those different islands and channels, it’s easy to get lost!
Praise the Lord we made it back by about 10pm. I took a Brazilian missionary up the next morning to show him the value of aviation. He has been working in that area for about 9 years. His range is about 250 miles, and wants to go farther but without an airplane it is almost impossible. Our 30 minute flight took us to one of his training centers — which he normally spends 4 hours traveling by boat.
After that flight Nilton and I hopped (30 minute flight) to another larger community and met with another river pastor. This pastor moved to a small community (he go up at 5:30 to leave his house and travel to this larger community to meet up with us at 10AM) about 8 months ago and now has 17 disciples. Twelve are ready to be baptized and he is asking for counsel on a variety of things. He is self-supporting and is in need of boat gas as the other nearby communities are asking him to come and visit them but he doesn’t have enough gas to make these trips. We are in prayer on how to help him.
Airplane in the community of Urucara
Sunday night we were in another city (Parintins–see Jaelah’s previous blog). Nilton preached two services on missions– they did let me share a little before each service!
Pastor Nilton praying with the church in Parintins.
Monday morning we were back in Santarem.
Thanks for your continued prayer support! Each flight over the Amazon jungle is a risk, but worth taking as more and more people are able to hear about Jesus!
hi guys! so it’s been awhile huh? sorry to have left you for a bit! we’ve been busy around here lately
on June 17th-June 19th i went on a trip with Dad to a city that is about 12 hrs. by boat from Santarém and 2 1/2 hrs. by plane.
we took Pr. Nilton (a missions pastor and co-founder of Project AmaZon) & Jusilene, a brother in Christ who is also a worker on the river and he (Julsilene) is actually planning to move with his family to Parintins! (the main reason we went was so he could check out the city, etc. 😉
we left early Sat. morning (the 17th) and actually had to go pick up the other guy somewhere else about 55 min. from Santarém. we stopped and picked him up, stretched our legs a bit and then got back in
Nilton, Jusilene, Dad, ME
Parintins is actually an hour behind us so Pr. Nilton had told the pastor there we would get there at 11 but it was actually 10 their time! but we got there within good time! Pr. Samuel (the pastor in Parintins) picked us up and took us to the stadium where they do the Festival of the Bulls. not sure if anyone’s heard of this but the city of Parintins spent $10 million dollars (that is wasted pretty much) getting ready for it & 50,000 people come for it. it’s just a sinful party & only Carnival draws more people. it’s based on a local folklore about a resurrected ox. there is two teams (red & blue) that try and outdo each other. so, yeah, not a good party :/ but they were starting to get ready for it when we were there so he took us to see the stadium.
we picked up some açai and some fish and things for lunch and headed out to the church’s camp. we ate there and then spent the afternoon talking & strategizing. (well, the adults did. i talked with Pr. Samuel & Pr. Fatima’s son & held a baby 😉
they had pigs out at camp (and geese & ducks & dogs :P) so they killed one and we took it home & Pr. Samuel cooked it for us on the grill. my, i missed pork 😛 talk about your mouth salivating! (and yes, mine now officially is
Sun. morning the men got up and flew to another community to encourage a brother there & check out his churches etc. I stayed back with Pr. Fatima & Judá (their son).
When they got to the community on Sunday morning they had to figure out how to get to the village because they really didn’t know anyone at the airport. God provided and they found a guy with a boat that took them and let them sleep on the boat when they got back.
The boat parked at the village where Dad and Pastor Nilton were able to visit. One family has accepted Christ and they were blessed as Nilton shared from the Word. We are hoping to return soon and encourage them!
we hung out, watched cartoons, read books, had lunch, took naps, took showers, ate more açai, then left for church they are the head pastors in Parintins (and there is only one church there) so Pr. Fatima preached for the 5 & 7 PM services. so i got to hear the same sermon twice after the last service was over i met some of Judá’s friends and we chatted for a bit & i got to know some of them, which was super cool! when we were all done talking we went down to like the main park, i guess you could say it was. they had (have) a bunch of stands set up that you can get burgers from (that are verrrrrry delectable!). a disciple of Pr. Fatima’s & her husband and son were there so they chatted while we waited for our food (yes, they. i chatted a bit but was really trying to focus more on the keeping my eyes open part ;). we ate and then we went back to their house, i got my stuff all organized to leave the next day. (actually it was kinda already the next day by the time we got in bed. and yes i was very tired the next day!)
this is part of the stadium where they do the Festival of the Bulls at
me & Dad after visiting where Pr. Samuel works :)
this was at the camp in Parintins. twas a very restful & relaxful afternoon ;)
at one point during the afternoon at camp i was reading my book and the geese started making a bunch of noise so i looked behind me and they were all headed like this towards the river. i thought it was funny for some reason :)
açai before church 😛 we had this every.single.day when we were there! yes please! ;)
the baby that i got to hold at camp <3 i could do this every day, all day long ;)
(from left to right) Judá, Pr. Samuel, Pr. Fatima, & me on Monday before we left love these people so much!!!
our view on the way to pick up Juseline! right after this we flew thru clouds! it was amazing! God is amazing! ;)
and this was right after we left Parintins! all those communities that still need Jesus!!! raise ’em up Lord!
so, the men had left early that morning and they actually stayed over in the community because Dad didn’t want to fly back in the dark. so they slept on a boat that night & got up really early the next morning (Monday) and flew to Parintins, picked me up, and we left.
i called Dad after we got back to their house and he told me to get all of my stuff together & the guys’ stuff too (they hadn’t taken anything hardly) and be at the airport at 6:30 AM
so we slept and then got up early, Pr. Fatima made some coffee & we left & went and got some bread & headed to the airport.
they were landing right as we got there so they landed and came out to the truck and we ate and then walked to the plane, took some pictures, said our last goodbyes, climbed in and we were off
we dropped Jusilene off again & then continued to Santarém.
andddddd we were home by 11AM on Monday
so that’s it! I so enjoyed this trip and want to go back soon!
Hello everyone! My name is Derek Steffen and I recently got to spend time with Matt, Janelle, Mariah, Jaelah, Luke, and Sierra in Brazil, so they asked me to write a short account of my experience. For a little background about myself, I am originally from Alto, Michigan and I count myself very blessed that I got to meet the Steidinger family while they lived in Michigan for Matt’s flight school. During their short time in Alto they had a big impact on the church community there and my family especially enjoyed their friendship. This year I just graduated from college (thank you, thank you) and I have a short break before I start my first professional job. I asked Matt and Janelle I could come visit them in Santarem and even though I didn’t give them much notice, they were extremely generous and accommodating making it possible for me to see Brazil and their mission there.
I first flew into Manaus where I had an overnight layover and stayed with another American missionary named Jim Benson. During that short stay with Jim, he introduced me to the violence and corruption of Brazil. He told me a little about the different missions in northern Brazil and how there are tens of thousands of unreached communities along the Amazon. Jim was an extremely interesting person who has served in the military and lived in almost all 50 states. I think if I had spent my entire trip talking with Jim, it would have been a trip worthwhile.
After my all too short layover in Manaus I finally flew into Santarem where I was picked up by the entire Steidinger family. All of the kids wanted to come along; what a warm welcome! We had to drive all the way across town to get back to the mission and the streets of Santarem are very poorly maintained with potholes that could swallow a small truck. The lanes in the streets might have been painted once, but a “four-lane” road was treated more like a seven-lane road with cars, motorcycles, and trucks doing whatever it took to get ahead each other while dodging potholes, stray dogs, and horse drawn carts. Matt had obviously adjusted well to the culture as he raced through the traffic and potholes with formula 1 precision. Luke calmly read his book in the back of the car seemingly unaware of the surrounding traffic buzzing like a beehive.
That afternoon I helped Matt attach a wing to his float-plane named Rebel. Two bolts and a prayer later, we had the wing attached. Matt always test flies his planes after a repair to make sure all of the instruments are working correctly. He asked me if I would like to go with him to test fly the amateur built float plane over the Tapajos river that had a missing wing just minutes before. He didn’t have to ask me twice! I waved to the fishermen in their canoes as we skipped, bounced, and lifted off the water in the orange light of the setting sun.
Matt diagnosing the plane to find a wing missing
The next day I got to go on a boat trip down the Amazon with a group of pastors visiting from southern Brazil. This was no doubt the most special part of my entire trip. I was introduced to Marcos who was not much older than me and fluent in English. Marcos and I sat and talked on the boat for countless hours about how the church started by Project Amazon, Igreja da Paz, has grown tremendously over the past 40 years through discipleship and small house churches called cell groups. I had with me a book called Sunrise on the Amazon, the story of how Igreja da Paz was started by an American missionary named Luke Huber and a Brazilian named Nilton Cordeiro. Marcos took the book and flipped to a picture of Nilton, who was then a young man, and told me that Nilton was his father! Then Marcos took me to the man who was piloting the boat and said, “this is Nilton, my father.” I couldn’t believe it! The original person who started Igreja da Paz and helped it grow to what it is today was right here with me on the boat! I pointed to the picture of Nilton in the book and said to him (through the translation of Marcos), “it is such an honor to meet the man in the story.” He then said to me with a warm smile, “you are now a part of the story.” I will never forget that special conversation I had with Nilton that day.
Marcos (left) and his father, Nilton (Right)
That night we stopped at a small village along the river. Even though it was a Saturday night, the river community was very excited to have church and hear the visiting pastors preach. We started with worship lead by an electric guitar and drum set. The entire community was in the church with their hands raised in worship. Each of the visiting pastors took turns going up to preach. Marcos very graciously translated the fast-paced, energetic sermons for me to hear.
The river community and my new friends I met on the boat trip
The church in the river community
The next day we took off down the river again. We found a sandbar just up the river of Santarem and spent most of the singing praise songs on the boat and swimming around the sandbar.
Singing praise songs on the boat
Our boat “Because of Jesus” parked at the sandbar
During my stay, I also got to go to church with the Steidinger family. There are dozens of small Igreja da Paz churches all over the city. We attended the largest church. The worship and sermons had so much energy and passion! I couldn’t help but feel rejuvenated and encouraged even though I didn’t understand much of what was being said.
Janelle piloting through the wild streets of Santarem on our way to church
One of the many small local churches
My favorite part of the trip was all of the many wonderful people I met. I would describe Brazilians as being friendly, genuine, and anxious to celebrate anything! Saying hello or goodbye to anyone involves a ritual of a dozen hugs! I personally wouldn’t mind if America adopted that practice 😊. While I was sitting in the Santarem airport before I flew out, some men tried to talk to me. They were obviously fascinated by an American in Santarem. We had a hard time communicating, but I recognized the words “Igreja da Paz” and I quickly lit up! Yes! That’s why I’m here! One of the men explained through cognates and hand gestures that he was a pastor and the other men were his disciples. I told them that the famous pastor, Abe Huber, was my cousin. He’s technically my 2nd cousin once removed, but I don’t know how to say that in Portuguese. They were so impressed they wanted to get a picture with me! They all gave me many hugs and shouted every English word they knew, “Chicago bulls! Michael Jordan! Scottie Pippen!” They each took turns taking pictures with their own smart phones smiling and patting me on the back. Apparently, since I’m part Huber, I’m a celebrity in Brazil! It was a very fun way to end my time there and the epitome of Brazilian friendliness!
Now when I read about the corruption in the news, and see the statics about the violence, it brings me real sorrow. I can’t help but share the burden of my brothers and sisters in Brazil. Brazil is full of beautiful people but you can’t miss the ugly razor wire around the houses and the metal bars covering doors and windows. There is a richness in their joy, but you can’t ignore the poverty that infects the city and the countryside. I had a very fun time, but the main thing I am taking home with me is a new sorrow. Pastor Nilton was right, now that my eyes have been opened to the need in Brazil, I am a part of the story. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
it’s been a little
so on March 23-29, we had the HONOR of having my BFF & her family come here to visit us!
we only had 6 days together but they were super-packed, full-of-fun, laughing-all-the-time days. the best kind, right?!?! and, ok, there were some not-so-good moments because we’re all sinners, right? but, for the most part, it was all fun
we hung out at our house quite a lot, which was super nice, took them to a fish market, the fruit & vegetable market, took them to eat some ‘regional’ foods, fed them açai (a must! LOL), and went on a on a two-night boat trip.
below are some pics of their time here.
thank you all once again for making the huge effort to come to Brazil and visit us! we SO enjoyed our time together & we will be forever grateful that God gave us these 6 days together!!!! HE is good always!
swimming the first day (excuse the neck veins, we were a little excited hahaha)
flying with her mom and Dad :)
at the Orla (downtown by the river) eating regional foods
all 8 of us kids on the boat 😉 this pic was not easy to come by hahaha i was the third phone that asked for a pic :P
the river when we went flying
the sunset the first night on the boat! God is incredible
the sky on the way to do children’s ministry
teaching the (adorable!) kiddos at the school a song :)
me & Maggs on the last day <3
the whole gang!!!!
we caught quite a few piranhas!!!!!!
so…yep! thank you guys once again, we love y’all so much!
and goodbye everyone else reading this
Jesus & Jaelah
hello friends! it’s been a little while!
so this post is about a trip we just took. we went to the town we might move to (and some other towns as well) to ‘check it out’ & see if it’s where God wants us, etc.
U. Scott & Auntie Aldine (a missionary couple that we are very close to. #familyawayfromfamily:) ) went with us (THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR GOING AND PUTTING UP WITH US AND MAKING IT 1000000x FUNNER!!!! WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!), they took the mission’s truck and we took our SUV/suburban/boat/monster. LOL
below is a little layout of what we did on the trip, where we were what days, etc. and then after that allllll the pictures
#Lábrea2017 Jan.12 11:56AM-Jan.27 6:21PM, 2017:
Jan.12- left around noon, drove to Itaituba; stayed in Itaituba for the night
Jan.13- got up early; stopped for potty breaks & lunch, otherwise drove all day; stayed in Jacareacanga
Jan.14- same ol’ same ol’ from the day before; stayed in Santo Antonio
Jan.15- same ol’ same ol'; drove to Lábrea; went to church in Lábrea; met the AMAZING church family there (they were so on fire!!!); stayed the night in Lábrea
Jan.16- us kids & Mom checked out the city, along with Auntie Aldine & Miss Colleen (the missionary lady that lives there with her husband), the men went to get the truck fixed and meet the Jocum (YWAM) guy; some wonderful people from church had us over for a delicious lunch; afternoon we hung out at the hotel; the men disappeared again hahaha;went to Mr. Pablo & Miss Colleen’s house for supper (the missionaries that live in Lábrea; they are also the head pastors of the church); slept in Lábrea
Jan.17-Luke, Dad & U. Scott went on a day trip out to visit some river communities; us ladies stayed back; went to Miss Colleen’s to help her unpack her things and help wash her dishes (they had just gotten back from furlough the week before we got there); that night they had a cell group multiplication at church & we got to see all the people we had met on Sunday that already felt like we knew them forever, for the last time (at least on this trip! ); slept in Lábrea
Jan.18- men went to the airport & church camp in the morning; packed for Humaitá; left after lunch for Humaitá; arrived in Humaitá around 4; Dad, U. Scott & Auntie Aldine went to visit some cell groups with a leader there in Humaitá, as there is no PAZ church there but there is a church that uses the MDA vision (the MDA vision: cell groups & discipleship) that wants to be a PAZ church (sorry that is probably very confusing!); slept in Humaitá;
Jan.19- spent the day hanging out in Humaitá; drove around checking out the city which turned in to ”house hunting” (hahaha, okkkkayyyy so WE’RE not planning on moving to Humaitá, but God may be so…..arms open, right? ); slept in Humaitá that night
Jan.20-got up early to head to Porto Velho (the capital city of Rondonia; this city would be our ‘go-to’ for big supplies & maybe things like orthodontists and doctors etc.); arrived in Porto Velho; met some other missionaries that are with Wycliffe, they live in Porto Velho and the husband is a pilot also; went to lunch and then hung out at the missionaries’ house for the afternoon (thank you P & L & boys for opening your home to us that afternoon, for having us for supper on Saturday night & for going to church & pizza afterwards! God really opened doors for us to meet y’all!); we stayed in some missionaries’ apartment that are also with Wycliffe that we met while in Campinas learning Portuguese (us kids stayed at their house when Mom & Dad went back for Grandma Jane’s funeral), they are in the US now and let us stay in their apartment! (thank you P & M! it was much better than a hotel! ); slept in Porto Velho
Jan.21-SLEPT IN!!!!!!!!! (some of us did at least! but still HALLELUJAH! hahaha); washed some clothes (again, SOME of us did 😉 ); went to the mall for lunch and had MCDONALD’S!!!! always yay for that right, missionaries? 😉 (at least ones that don’t live near a Mcdonald’s, which we don’t so ); went to P & L’s for supper; slept in Porto Velho
Jan.22-hung out in the morning; tried to wash more clothes; went out to lunch with U. Scott & Auntie Aldine (they were staying with some friends of theirs); went to church at 5 & to pizza afterwards; slept in Porto Velho
Jan.23- left early to start HOME!; drove all day; slept in Vilhena
Jan.24-we stayed in Vilhena as our car had some problems accelerating/turbo & U. Scott & Auntie Aldine’s AC was off/on; the men took them to the mechanics and the guy said he could fix it but it would take the whole day, so we stayed ; went to the park, bought some movies & things, and then went to a buffet-type place for lunch; hung out on electronics in the afternoon & then the ladies and the kids (men were at the mechanics) went to an adorable coffee shop that was connected to the hotel (it was so fun & the shop was aaaaaadorable!!! they had cakes & cupcakes and they were delish!!!!); slept in Vilhena
Jan.25-got up for second day driving home; slept in Sorriso; (this day we got lost a little so we lost almost an hour i think, so by the time we got to our hotel it was around 7 + it was raining pretty hard :/ yeah…..and we had to go to 2 hotels before we found one that wasn’t full!! talk about tiring and ready to just shower and be in our rooms & SLEEP! hahaha) oh, and we found DONUTS at a random gas station! *praise hands* Dad said, ”they’re not gonna taste like ‘real’ donuts” and they actually did! so booyah, Dad, & thank you Jesus!!
Jan.26-got up early; next to last day! almost home! ;drove all day; it rained more this day too, quite a lot; when we stopped for lunch Dad bought all 4 of us kids a little ice cream bowl (see pic below) that was only like $2.50 (american dollars) thanks Dad!
Jan.27-lastttttt dayyyyyy!!; drove all day; arrived in Santarém around 6; home by 6:21PM; showered in our showers and slept in our beds <3
thank you Jesus for a wonderful trip & for all Your protection!
ok, now for some pictures! (also, if you thought that up there was long, feel free to skip it (now that you’ve read it all hahaha) and just look at the pics! and if it felt like a lot, it was beginning to feel long and like a lot for us too!)
Map here of where we went and what roads we took etc,; the blue on top is where we came going to Lábrea, and then the blue on the bottom is on the way home!
ok so the pics are kinda in order but kinda not. sorry, i was going to try and put them in order (meaning the days they were taken) but gave up—too much work…..hahaha maybe someday when i’m better at this! 😉 and so so sorry that the pictures are so far apart too!! :/
a little ‘waterfall’
the beauty just outside our window for most of our driving days
one of the many, many, many wooden bridges we crossed
reading or playing his game on the kindle—his fav things to do on the trip :P
our clean car—the first day….. ;)
cozy toes on the dashboard….. :)
Dad & his daughters, just missing one (me! hahaha)
remember the clean car? this is what it looked like 2 days later….LOL
the donuts we found with filling too 😛 yummm
some of the crazy dust (spewed up by other vehicles) we drove thru!
our one (and only) family selfie from this trip :)
the fog was so pretty! glad i got at least one (good) picture of it :)
God being merciful sending us a beautiful sky heading in to Lábrea, as we were all so tired of driving, etc.
God doing it again, when we were tired of more driving, again :)
from when we were driving around in Humaitá…..after we stopped for ice cream
my $2.50 ice cream :)
that’s us :)
being crazy in the car waiting to go into the hotel in Humaitá :P
this little boy had a pack of mints and opened them all on his lap & popped them in one by one…so cute :D
me & Mari at the mall in Porto Velho….she always tries to hide from the camera :)
i just had to share this…. 😀 let me know if y’all are having difficulty reading
a town we went thru…..on the first day :)
so many pretty, peaceful lakes
and….one more sky because….God is awesome, right???!!!!
rain heading out of Humaitá, on the way to Lábrea I believe
SANTARÉM aka HOME hahaha
‘the view from our hotel in Lábrea
i am so in love with these tall, straight trees that they plant in straight rows…oh my goodness, i don’t know why but…..i’m hooked! LOL
ok, i’m going to stop here cause this is reeeaaalllly long, sorry! maybe you’ll still come back for next time tho, right?
Jaelah & Jesus
so you may be thinking, ‘ummmm, Jaelah? it’s New Year’s Eve today, why is the title 2016?’
and my answer, dear friends, is because i wanted to write a post about just that. about 2016.
here is an excerpt from Jan. 1st, 2016, in my journal:
”this past year (2015) went by so fast, like every year has gone since we’ve been in Brazil (our new country )
these 3 years (living in Brazil) have probably been a few of the best years of my life!
the way God has blessed us and we were able to learn the language was just so God-given.
my new year’s resolution last year (and probably will be every year for the rest of my life hahaha) was to grow closer to God.
this year it’s the same thing…
grow closer to God, seek Him out in trouble, love Him & love people more.”
so you see friends
in 2016 i have grown closer to God (it’s ALWAYS, CONTINUALLY, a work-in-progress, but so thankful for all that I did learn and how much i did grow this year), which was my main goal i think.
in 2016 i learned so much more about the presence of Jesus, how overwhelmingly, blissfully wonderful it is.
in 2016 i learned just how much more i have to learn (yes, i admitted it. those who know me well, know i’m a know-it-all…)
in 2016 i learned that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
in 2016 i learned that we will never understand fully, every single little, itty bitty thing about God, but we’re not necessarily meant to, because that’s part of the journey of following Jesus
in 2016 i learned that we should seek to know HIM, not just ABOUT Him. (relates to one above)
in 2016 i learned how life can be taken in a second, that we don’t know what tomorrow holds, and that tho we can say, ”life passes so quickly. we need to get off our phones and BE with people, in the moment” as much as we want, nothing is gonna REALLY, ACTUALLY happen until we take that first step to make it happen.
in 2016 i learned all-the-more just how BLESSED i am. how much God has given me.
in 2016 i learned that i have so many sisters (and brothers) that may not necessarily be related to me, but we are sisters in Christ, and to me, that means we ARE sisters, related physically thru genetics or not.
in 2016 i learned that Jesus is everything and tried to wrap my head even more around that fact that He REALLY is everything we will EVER need, not just in this life, but for eternity as well. (praise hands emoji)
in 2016 i learned that tho we may never understand why certain things happen, God really does have a purpose for it, and it WILL make us stronger.
in 2016 i learned that God is omnipotent, and omnipresent.
in 2016 i learned that God brings people in to our lives, if only for a very short time, to help us, to give us a listening ear, and to give some great advice. (looking at you Hannah Shope! i don’t think i’ll ever forget our talk on that orange couch in our living room. thank you for that!
in 2016 i tried to be thankful for all the things & people in my path.
in 2016 i tried to be more respectful to my parents and nicer to my siblings. (hey, that said tried. i did try, so could have tried harder, but there’s always next year! (hopefully!) :/ praise God for that!)
in 2016 i tried to praise God more
in 2016 i tried to be a better light to those around me that are lost
in 2016….i don’t feel like i accomplished that much, but that’s not important. what’s important is the people i met, the things i did, the things i (sometimes wasted) spent my time doing (SO gotta work on this!), and how much more i grew to love God.
guys, i am so thankful. so much so that i feel like if i tried to write it you guys would not be able to read it because it would make sense to no one except me!
so to those people that made a mark on me this year, thank you. thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you taught me & how well you loved me, showing me God’s love for me along the way.
to Mom & Dad: thanks for being my parents you had to put up with a lot from me this year (hey, teenage years!) but you still love me and i know that love you <3
to Mari: thanks for being the best big sis ever. for driving me nuts but for keeping me in line too. for keeping on trying your hardest to make me laugh, time & time again, even tho you have little success. can’t wait to see where we’ll go in life.
to Luke: thank you for being so crazy & weird. for teaching me to have more patience. to be nicer to people. to watch my tone of voice with people. and for that once-in-a-lifetime hug or laying on my lap love ya bud
to Si: thank you for teaching me so much about innocence. for giving me your advice & wisdom, wanted or not. (someone takes after me! hahaha) for being cute (& super sassy sometimes!) & getting SO excited about the little things in life, teaching me that that’s what counts. love you Si Si <3
to Mags & Alisee: thank you girls for being my best friends since we-can’t-even-remember-when hahaha. thanks for being willing to email me & chat about life thru Skype & email. thank you for your encouraging words sent over the miles, for asking for prayer requests and being those friends i know i’ll have my whole life. love you both tons & tons <3
to Chloe: thank you for being the best fruzzin that ever existed. thank you for wanting to do the ‘accountability thing’ & read Romans with me. thank you for being there for me, thank you for being the first to apologize when it was my fault, and for always gently showing me my faults (sometimes by admitting yours by apologizing first!), not throwing them in my face. thank you for being so patient with me when i’m stubborn, and taking turns so we each get to be ‘the bossy one’. i’m so glad you’re my cousin AND my friend, cause that’s double the lifetime of fun & friendship. love ya sis <3
to Naomi: thank you for being my cousin & letting me join you & Mari & Sheree and be a ‘big girl’ too. thank you for being SO stinkin’ kind & patient, so soft-hearted towards people, but for also having a stubborn side that comes out at just the right times thank you for pushing me to do more, and by being a great example, pushing me to be more patient & kind also. love you cousin thanks for all you’ve inspired me to be.
to Sheree: oh my. you’re one of my soul sisters. thru & thru. it’s so crazy to think that God knew from the beginning of the creation of the world, that in 2016 you would come to Brazil and meet me and we would, indeed, become soul sisters. thank you for forming LLPT with me, and ‘putting up’ with my overload of hugs & opinions & everything else, & for accepting me, even me being quite younger & way more immature than you you don’t know what you mean to me. God has blessed me by letting me meet you. love you forever girl <3
to my family in the US: thank you for loving us thru the miles, for supporting us & for trying your hardest to come & visit us, even when it’s expensive & there’s long layovers. we/i have been blessed with the best family God could have given us.
to my PAZ family, as i love to call you: you have blessed us SO much, and are truly our family away from family you guys know what it’s like & understand you love our family so well, and I am thankful for all you have done for us. love y’all <3
to all you teams: the dental team at the beginning of the year, Wellingdon, Journey, and John Utt’s. you all blessed me & taught me lots this year. thank you for making your best effort & coming and serving SO well. (MISS LINDSAY!! lookin’ at you <3 you taught me SO much & i’m grateful for it & your friendship! love ya)
to the river communities: you guys taught me about the love of Christ. what it feels like to be welcomed in & loved without caring where we come from. for blessing us, more than we bless you. you guys never fail to teach me something new about Christ.
to all you reading this: wow guys. you’re awesome. first for getting all the way here (a definite round of applause to you!) and second, you’re awesome cause God made you
i guess i’ll end here, otherwise i’ll never have any readers again hahaha
love you all, see you in 2017! (oh my goodness that will take a LOT of getting used to! hahaha)
Jaelah Eden & Jesus
This is my battle cry for 2017! NO RESERVES, NO RETREATS, NO REGRETS!!
Copied from: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/regret.htm
“In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his “desire to be a missionary.”1
One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was “throwing himself away as a missionary.”
In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”
Even though young Borden was wealthy, he arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905 trying to look like just one more freshman. Very quickly, however, Borden’s classmates noticed something unusual about him and it wasn’t that he had lots of money. One of them wrote: “He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration.”2
During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined what his classmates were seeing in him. That entry said simply: “Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time.”3
Borden’s first disappointment at Yale came when the university president spoke in a convocation about the students’ need of “having a fixed purpose.” After that speech, Borden wrote: “He neglected to say what our purpose should be, and where we should get the ability to persevere and the strength to resist temptations.”4 Surveying the Yale faculty and much of the student body, Borden lamented what he saw as the end result of an empty, humanistic philosophy: moral weakness and sin-ruined lives.
During his first semester at Yale, Borden started something that would transform campus life. One of his friends described how it began: “It was well on in the first term when Bill and I began to pray together in the morning before breakfast. I cannot say positively whose suggestion it was, but I feel sure it must have originated with Bill. We had been meeting only a short time when a third student joined us and soon after a fourth. The time was spent in prayer after a brief reading of Scripture. Bill’s handling of Scripture was helpful. . . . He would read to us from the Bible, show us something that God had promised and then proceed to claim the promise with assurance.”5
Borden’s small morning prayer group gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshman were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting in such groups.
Borden made it his habit to seek out the most “incorrigible” students and try to bring them to salvation. “In his sophomore year we organized Bible study groups and divided up the class of 300 or more, each man interested taking a certain number, so that all might, if possible, be reached. The names were gone over one by one, and the question asked, ‘Who will take this person?’ When it came to someone thought to be a hard proposition, there would be an ominous pause. Nobody wanted the responsibility. Then Bill’s voice would be heard, ‘Put him down to me.'”6
Borden’s outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale campus. He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden’s friends wrote that he “might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ.”7
Borden’s missionary call narrowed to the Muslim Kansu people in China. Once he fixed his eyes on that goal, Borden never wavered. He also challenged his classmates to consider missionary service. One of them said of him: “He certainly was one of the strongest characters I have ever known, and he put backbone into the rest of us at college. There was real iron in him, and I always felt he was of the stuff martyrs were made of, and heroic missionaries of more modern times.”8
Although he was a millionaire, Bill seemed to “realize always that he must be about his Father’s business, and not wasting time in the pursuit of amusement.”9 Although Borden refused to join a fraternity, “he did more with his classmates in his senior year than ever before.” He presided over the huge student missionary conference held at Yale and served as president of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa.
Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: “No retreats.” (OTHER COMMENTARY NOTE THAT HIS IS WHAT HE WROTE WHEN HIS FATHER SAID HE WOULD NEVER HAVE A JOB IN HIS FATHER’S COMPANY).
William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.
When the news of William Whiting Borden’s death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. “A wave of sorrow went round the world . . . Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice” wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.10
Was Borden’s untimely death a waste? Not in God’s perspective. Prior to his death, Borden had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words “No reserves” and “No retreats,” he had written: “No regrets.”
friends, i have no words. many, many topics, but no words.
life has been busy lately. really busy. our schedule is quite full….
but, it’s the holidays so…what to expect i guess?!? hahaha
yet, even in these super busy times, i have been trying to find time to sit.
to get off my phone and sit and be and look and watch and listen and hear.
whatever i can.
drink it in.
see God thru His creation,
see Him move in my life.
my everyday life.
and friends, let me tell you, it is oh so marvelous.
these times have been busy, but my heart has been full.
full to overflowing.
Psalm 23 says, ”you anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over. surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and i will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
my cup runneth over. it always does, if we look to see it. but i see it now. i don’t know if my eyes are being opened (so hope this is true!) or if they (my blessings) are more evident or what. but it runneth over.
again and again. over and over.
so i guess i will repeat what has sorta become my ‘saying’ lately: God is good (+ praise hands emoji)
so friends, i guess for this holiday season i can only hope and pray and wish that your cup runneth over like mine does.
that in the mundane of the everyday the little blessings will be evident.
that if your situations stink that you can still say, “God is good (+ praise hands emoji ;)”
that you will find God in the everyday.
that you will SEEK God in the everyday.
but above all, that your heart this holiday season will be right with the Savior.
the amazing God and Creator of everything whom we celebrate this season.
show people that it’s not about gifts or sales or things.
but that it’s about giving, it’s about people, it’s about GOD.
because HE is worthy.
and we can only sing His praises.
i am closing up this post but i just wanted to say thanks.
thanks for supporting us. not just financially but physically, spiritually, and mentally as well.
your support is what keeps us going. what keeps us up. what helps us not get stuck under the weather.
and this holiday season, i am thankful for ALL OF YOU.
may God bless you and may you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s with your family and friends.
know that you’re loved.
and BE the love. <3
tchau for now,
PS. maybe i did have some words after all hahaha 😀
this cross we’ve been given.
it is different than yours. it is difficult. meeting new people & then having to move on, because God is calling us somewhere else.
we recently learned from mom & dad that there is a region to the southwest/west of us where there are not many churches and so they need someone to go and plant more. and they need airplanes really bad too. so dad got the call.
We are planning to visit in January, so then we will know better if that is where we are supposed to go. we probably won’t move till next year or even the year after maybe, if we do at all.
it was difficult, as i said up there. our wonderful friends that have mostly all become like family. and they are family in the spiritual sense. and Santarém, we are finally here. our destination all along, and we’re (finally) here, after a year in Michigan, MTI (mission training international in Colorado for 3 weeks), then we ended up staying in the States longer because of visa problems, Campinas for 11 months for language school, and finally here. it probably seems like little, especially if you’re a missionary reading this who had a much longer process to get where you (hopefully) are now. but to our family, it was hard. hard to leave all those people, some (MTI) who we weren’t sure if we would ever see again.
so, i kind of side-tracked from my title, but i wanted to just say why i put that. the night they told us i thought of it. because almost from the moment dad stood up and pointed at the map, i got teary-eyed (i’m very sentimental) and knew that he was going to say there was a possibility of us moving (again)…
but, this is the cross we’ve been given, so we must carry it faithfully until the end, until we receive our heavenly prize from God in heaven.
and the thing is guys, is that, God did not give it to us & leave, then expect us to carry it on our own till we got our prize. He didn’t say we had to do it on our own & if we asked for help from Him or someone else He would take away part of our prize.
no, He gave it to us, but stays faithfully by our side, whether we know it or not. and we have seen that from Him. my mom says that He gave us wonderful friends in Campinas at church & some at us kids’ school. she was worried about that, but He provided and proved faithful. and now in Santarém, He has provided many, many, many more.
so carry your cross, whatever it is, a mom or dad, a lawyer, a secretary, a nanny, a sibling, a student, a waitress, a cook…whatever it is. and when you stumble or fall, CALL OUT to Him, because He will be there to catch you.
i think most people struggle (sorry if you’re not one of these! maybe give us some advice on how to have more faith….:)) with calling out to God & not feeling Him, thinking He up & abandoned them. i have. people say, ”God where are you?! you said you would never abandon us. never leave us. but i don’t feel you. i don’t feel your arms around me, helping me.”
and maybe you were thinking that i had a solution to this…but i’m lost too. i’m a sinner too. but i do know that God is there, and somehow we have to have faith & not forget that. i do have a poem that i found in a coloring book the other day. it touched me. it was wow, eye-opening.
one night i had a dream.
i was walking along the beach with the LORD
i noticed two sets of FOOTPRINTS in the sand.
one was mine, and one was the LORD’s
to my surprise, i noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of FOOTPRINTS
the LORD said:
‘my precious child, where you see only one set of
FOOTPRINTS, it was then that i carried you.’
wow. it may not have touched you the way it did me, but God is there, and here is a confirmation of His love for us. that He carries us, thru trials, tribulations & hard times. there is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.’ (James 1:12 if you want it for yourself :))
so you see, there is no verse after that that says, ”and when you are going under trial, you must persevere all on your own, or you will only receive a sack of 1,000 gold coins instead of a crown of life.” nope, not there, and i’m pretty sure not anywhere else in the Bible either. because God is not like that guys. so if you just lost a loved one, or are going thru trial and you may not know it, a hard time in your life, God is there. and please DO NOT BLAME HIM for this. people blame God most of the time when they lose someone they love, but guys, you shouldn’t. and i know, it’s easy to say that because i’m not going thru that. but i did. i lost my grandma Jane (Steidinger) when we were in Campinas during language school. it probably lessened the blow that we were in another country so we didn’t realize it as much, but we still hurt from time to time. and my grandpa. wow, guys, i admire him. he came out with many scars, i’m sure. but he did not turn from God. he might have blamed Him at some point, but i don’t think he does in the long run.
lots & lots of people blame God. for lots of different things. but i have seen a lot of someone very very dear to them dies, and they blame God & turn their back on Him. like i said, we were young(er) & in another country, but my parents could have turned on God. said, ‘we’re done. we’re going back to the states,back to our old lives, & God, don’t think about calling us back here or anywhere else, cause we’re not going.” in fact, my dad has 7 siblings. they all could have turned on God. but none of them did. they are still following Christ, living for Him, doing His will, teaching their kids about Him, serving Him, etc. and here we are, still strong, might even be going somewhere else to help advance His Kingdom.
Job, guys, read his story when you’re going thru something like that! it is a good reference. 😉
it is a joy to serve Him. there are trials, and hard times. but EVERYONE has those. because everyone on this earth is human so, technically, no one ”escapes”. maybe some people have heavier crosses than others. maybe some people live in a dirt shack made of falling apart junk & others live in a 2.2 billion mansion. maybe some are starving & have 1/2 meal a day, while others have 3 full ones, all 4-course made by the finest cooks. yeah, talk about differences.
but the ones in the shacks are no less than the ones in the billion-dollar mansion, guys. we NEED to see that. they aren’t less by any means in God’s eyes & really, shouldn’t be in our eyes either. sometimes we look at people that have better ‘conditions’ with more respect. and that’s fine. but when you see people living in shacks or a homeless person on the street, have the same amount of respect. help them out. let them know God loves them, and because He loves them, well then, that means you love them too!!
everyone could probably use some more lovin’ in this world, so how about we start givin’ some more?
sorry that i went off on like 3 different points (i didn’t count), i hope you guys followed.
if you have any questions feel free to comment below would love to hear from you.
God bless thanks for reading come back always!