Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Role as Mission Coach


For the past few months I have been at home in Minneapolis, raising support to return to Brazil and continue my ministry there with WorldVenture. Support discovery has been a difficult journey and it has been a real challenge to find new support partners so that I could reach the 100% support level required to return to the field for another term. Because of these challenges, I have arrived at the difficult decision to bring my ministry in Brazil to a close, at least for now. Although I will not be returning to the field, I have been invited to continue in ministry with WorldVenture as a U.S.-based Mission Coach.

In this role I will be recruiting and mentoring missionary candidates as they discern God’s calling for them in missions and explore opportunities to serve with WorldVenture. I will be representing WorldVenture on college campuses, challenging students to consider missions, organizing global prayer groups, and bringing together students interested in short-term opportunities on WorldVenture fields.

Mobilizers have a vital role in missions and I am excited to see how God can use my experience and passion for missions to raise up other workers for the harvest. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. The late Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission, made this statement: “The number one priority is for more mission mobilizers. Why do I say this? Because I believe there must be at least 40,000 younger adults who have in the past few years made a missionary decision, but who will never make it to the field—due to ignorance, indifference, school debts, etc... Anyone who can help 100 missionaries to the field is more important than one missionary on the field. In fact, mission mobilization activity is more crucial than field missionary activity.”

While on Home Assignment, I have had a chance to meet with new appointees, other North Central Regional coaches, and mentor a sweet gal for a short-term trip to Japan. I am looking forward to this new role in missions.

P1180923 NC Regional Coaching Team of WorldVenture, Below coaches and appointees



I have the privilege to mentor, Phoua serving short-term in Japan, teaching English at one of WorldVenture’s ministries. She recently had a group from Brazil visit her – small world! Here is her blog:

Interested in missions? Check out the WorldVenture Discovery Group on Facebook: 

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over the years. Your partnership in my ministry made it possible for me to impact scores of at-risk children in Brazil; together we provided them with valuable language skills and offered them hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. My transition from international staff to U.S. staff will be effective August 1st. This new Mission Coach position is also a support-based ministry. Please pray for me as I continue to raise support for this new role of mobilizing others to cross cultures and borders to bring the life and light of Christ to the nations. And would you pray about becoming a financial partner in this work yourself? To be fully supported in this new position I need a total of around $2,500 per month in support (which is less than a support package for Brazil). To make a support commitment, please go to and click on “Donate” to get started; my account number (6154-931) will remain the same.

I will be making a trip back to Brazil in September to retrieve my things that are in storage, say my goodbyes, and seek closure in my ministry there. Please pray for me as I bring this chapter in Brazil to a close and begin a new chapter here in Minneapolis as a Mission Coach with WorldVenture. Brazil will be in my heart and prayers always.

praying for Brazil

Reaching Brazilian children – here in the US – through VBS

Even though I am not in Brazil, I have had the privilege and pleasure to attend a Brazilian church here in Minneapolis. I love being able to worship in Portuguese! 

During the month of July, a youth group from a church in Colorado came to do outreach ministry with the Brazilian church; they volunteered at ‘Feed my Starving Children’, prayer walked in the neighborhood, and held a free car wash and ministered to the people getting their cars washed.

Additionally, the group helped put on a Vacation Bible School for the church and neighborhood kids. The theme was the ‘Jungle Jaunt’ which, coincidentally, takes place in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. I had fun working with the group during the week and they were a huge blessing to the church and the community.

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Psalm 145:1-2

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Protests in Brazil

In cities around Brazil as well as throughout the world, Brazilians are protesting. Why? The catalyst was a .20 centavo (10 cent) increase in bus fare, from $R3,00 to $R3,20. While that may not seem significant, the majority of bus riders are from the working class, and taking two buses per day equals 25% of their monthly income.  That is a big chunk of money for people already struggling.

The bigger issue, however, is the wasteful spending of the government and abuse by the wealthy citizens of Brazil. While money is being poured into new soccer stadiums and sporting venues for the upcoming World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016, hospitals remain in ‘third world’ standards, with people lying on the floor waiting to be helped, and schools sub par, with teachers only earning the equivalent to $400 USD.

The rising, more educated middle class wants to see some results for their high taxes – a better standard of living from their government, who takes credit for bringing 40 million Brazilians into the middle class. But that is not happening – corruption is rampant, money disappears, the media is biased and controlled, etc. A giant has awoken in Brazil, led by those wanting to see a change for the better in this great country. 

See articles and photos below for more information and share.


Reporter Tells how the Police Brutality Marked the Latest Protest in São Paulo.

Photo: Reporter Tells how the Police Brutality Marked the Latest Protest in São Paulo.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What do you know about Brazil?

The flag of Brazil

The famous Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist Tom Jobim (Girl from Ipanema) was once quoted as saying, “Brazil is not for beginners.”  I recently read another similar quote saying, “São Paulo is not for amateurs.”  Having lived as a missionary there for over four years, I would tend to agree with both statements. 

To get a feel for life in São Paulo, I’ve posted some links and videos which give a small glimpse of what living in Brazil is like. I hope you not only find them informative (i.e. understanding the high cost of living in São Paulo or how poverty affects the lives of the children in the slums), but will be moved to partner with me in praying for the poor communities and at-risk children I work with. Ask the Lord of the harvest what role He may have for you in ministering in this part of the world.

From Operation World, fact sheet on Brazil and video Prayercast:

Video on ‘Poverty and Economic growth in Brazil’ by DW-TV reporter Roberto Manhães Reis, who explores the streets of his hometown São Paulo, Brazil after an absence of ten years.  This video is shot in the ‘South Zone’ of São Paulo, where I live, and some of the scenes are neighborhoods near where I worked. This is a very eye-opening journey into the heart of a slum.

Cost of Living in São Paulo:

Article on why things cost so much in Brazil:

Learn about the city:

For thrill seekers – video of a crazy motorcycle driver maneuvering in busy São Paulo traffic. Motorcyclists are dangerous not only to other drivers, but to pedestrians as well!

Ten fun facts about Brazil

Fact 1:
Brazil has the 10th highest number of vehicle owners in the world.
Fact 2:
The world’s best and most delicious coffee is produced in Brazil.
Fact 3:
Brazil has the biggest rain forest of the world, the Amazon forest
Fact 4:
Brazil has the 2nd highest Christian population in the world.

Fact 5:
Almost 200 million people live in Brazil, which makes it the fifth largest country in the world in terms of population.
Fact 6:
About 1 million people who live in Brazil are Asian.
Fact 7:
Scientists have estimated that there may be up to four million species of plants and animals in Brazil.
Fact 8:
Brazil has won the soccer world cup five times.
Fact 9:
Brazil has one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Christ Redeemer statue, located in Rio De Janeiro.
Fact 10:
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America.

brazil facts

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stateside Activities

While on Home Assignment here in the States I have kept myself busy with various volunteer projects, personal development, mentoring and speaking engagements. Here are a few highlights:

Operation Christmas ChildTrainer for Shoebox processing volunteers

P1170502 P1170504Franklin Graham also came to speak and celebrate the 100 millionth shoebox being sent! Pretty cool!


Urbana Student Missions Conferencevolunteer

P1170976 P1170985 with my friend and fellow Minnesotan, the ‘other’ Karen - appointee to Uganda

WorldVenture Renewal Conference

A great opportunity for prayer, personal renewal, to be blessed by staff and gleaning wisdom from seasoned missionaries. I also received my certificate for 5+ years of service with the mission.


Honored to be present for the installation service of our new mission President, Jeff Denlinger.


Partner Development Training at Headquarters

photo with my friend Soraya, appointee to Spain



Meeting new people with a heart for Brazil

This couple and their daughter went to Brazil in 1960; it took them 30 days to arrive by boat, and they only paid $5 for a Visa to enter the country! My how things have changed!  But their service to the Lord has not. They are now in their 80’s and continue to return to Brazil every few years, writing biblically based theological books in Portuguese and supporting church leaders.


Have you visited my WorldVenture webpage?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Student Teachers at the Lar wrapped up classes

I received great reports from the teacher at the Lar Project whose class I had student teachers leading English lessons during my absence. She said they did a great job, gaining confidence and improving as the year progressed. I knew they would! Thank you for your prayers for these girls! Below are pictures from the end of the year – I sent down Christmas goodie bags for the students and a Thank you gift for my student teachers.  It looks like all was enjoyed! I am looking forward to seeing these kids in person soon!


WP_000662[1]students enjoying a Christmas treat from the States


Meurium, student teacherWP_000668[1]

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Greetings from the Land In-Between


Minnesota is my current base of operation where I am having my first Home Assignment (or furlough) since going to Brazil in October of 2007, but the whole process of a home assignment feels a bit like being in the ‘land in-between’ – meaning not sure of where you really fit. 

A Home Assignment, I have learned, is “an integral, inseparable part of the work of a missionary, to be entered into as seriously as any other part of his/her vocation. In the Church at home, there is not any recurring period in a career comparable to the missionary’s furlough. The man or woman who works at home has no opportunity each four or seven years to become a new man or woman, and perhaps this is one of the chief causes of the staleness amongst us which we deplore. For the missionary, home assignment is enforced because of the combined effect on body and spirit of alienation from home, climate and unequal battle against evil.”

For me, I personally experienced a strong spiritual battle in the last year that left me needing to come back to the States for a time of spiritual, emotional, and physical recovery. I needed rest, time with family, and time to get centered and re-focused on the next steps that God has for me. I have been blessed to receive wise counsel and prayers from close friends, family and supporters – without them, I would still be in the ‘desert’. I thank God for each and every one of these servants.



I imagine most of you have seen the movie  “The Return of the King” (Lord of the Rings).  The last segment of this movie shows the four Hobbits in a pub clinking their mugs together – no one else in the room had any idea what they had been through. 

This is a great analogy of what missionaries coming together for a debrief session experience – we get together with our suitcases filled with experiences, feelings, hopes, griefs, uncertainties, and questions. And then those items get unloaded at a debrief session, amongst others who know, like no one else on the ‘outside’, what it is like to travel the road we’ve been on. 

Debriefing is a Biblical idea, practiced by Paul and the Antioch church (Acts 14:27) Peter (Acts 11:4) and Timothy (from Paul, I Thes. 3:1-6) among others. I was blessed to be able to visit my mission headquarters in Colorado for a debrief session with other missionaries back in the States on home assignments. This was a great time to verbalize thoughts, feelings, experiences; to normalize in a group of people who understand what you have been through, and to contextualize – putting these experiences into the context of our lives and seeing how God is using them to prepare us for the future.


I have had the opportunity to share about my ministry work with church groups and some of my donors, as well as attend a retreat with Brazilian women who live here in Minnesota, which was really neat. At one event I attended, I went as a guest, but one of the speakers didn’t show up; the coordinator heard I was a missionary and asked if I wanted to share ‘last second’. The missionary motto “be prepared to preach, pray or die” certainly took on new meaning for me then! I enjoyed getting to meet new friends.

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Brazilian Ladies retreat


Church visit

P1160089Visiting with a dear prayer partner – this godly woman is such a blessing to me!


College Missions Fair – talking to college students about missions


Enjoying time reconnecting with family

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Enjoying my first autumn in 5 years!


I think missionaries have a unique perspective on time, as we regularly make transitions between places so different, seemingly popping in and out of a parallel universe rather than traveling across the same planet. These transitions are good reminders that we are sojourners engaged in eternal matters, aware of the brevity of life.