Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another Tuesday of Rain

View from the court
As many of you may know, I love to play basketball. It is something that I believe I cannot live without. Now that may be a bit dramatic, but it is definitely something I never want to live without. Watching it is great, but I love to play it. When we visited Niterói two years ago, I had to confirm not only that there would be a group of guys to play basketball with, but also that the group was fun. Obviously, the decision to come to Brazil did not hinge on basketball, but it certainly helped!

I love the group of guys I get to play b-ball with every Tuesday night. I have made some really good relationships with some of the guys and have invited many of them to "youth" events and other church events. And though only a few of them have taken me up on those invites, I will keep inviting them and only God knows what may come from these friendships. It is group of guys that I can joke with, discuss our mission and work here with and I always try to get into their lives as well. Some are married, so it is easy to ask how their wives are. Some are still in school, so I can always ask how school is going and talk about that with them. Some recently have had kids, which is obviously an exciting time for them. So I love to ask about that and see their eyes light up. It isn't just basketball on Tuesday nights for me. I see it as much more!

Just some of the guys...
However, March and April are often rainy months here in Rio. It is an outdoor court and so rain pretty much ruins Tuesday nights of basketball. And today it is raining yet again...so it will be one more Tuesday night without basketball, and getting together with some of my friends, for me. I think we have played like 2 times in the last month and a half. Sad times...I know! Brazil needs the rain (like seemingly the rest of the world), however, I only wish it would take a break on Tuesday nights!

Kelly "Mão Quente (Hot Hand)" Tomasi

Friday, February 20, 2015

Year One...Still Unbelievable!

Yea...we celebrated with donuts for breakfast!!
And McDonald's Ice Cream after a day of swimming...
One year in Brazil. Wow. It feels like we just arrived and were living with the Zincks and feeling like it was a short-term mission trip. I guess it can surely be defined as long-term now. We have learned a lot about ourselves, each other, the church and most of all God in the past year. We have almost learned a language (it is going really well btw). We have made new friends. We have seen new places. And fell in love with a different country, culture, and way of life. We have tried many new foods, most we like...some...not so much. We have gotten used to taxis, traffic, and tourists. And speaking of tourists, we no longer feel like the tourists and can even be tour guides for those visiting. We experienced the World Cup, a Presidential election, and Carnaval. We have constantly been reminded of the power of prayer and the presence of the Spirit. Without them we would be lost. We've had sad, frustrating, and tiring days...as well as joyful, fulfilling and victorious days. It's been quite a year. One that we will surely never forget. We look forward to the coming years in this beautiful city, with our wonderful friends and family here, and our amazing church. We are lucky and blessed. Thanks for your prayers!

 - Kelly and Kelci
(One Year Video Coming Soon...)
(Consider this the preview or something...)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pray for 2015

Last night we had a prayer night here at the church. We often will come together weekly when we take a break from our small groups. It seems that our members like it and it is a lot of fun as well as spiritually focusing, both individually and as a church. Well last night we took the opportunity to thank God for some of the blessings we have received from God in 2014 and some things we would like to see in 2015. I am not going to share my personal hopes and requests for 2015, however, I thought I would make a list of some things I hope to see for our church in 2015. Please join me in praying for these things:

  • Spiritual growth! We as a mission team decided that we want to focus on spiritual growth and discipleship next year for our members.
  • Our building project. I want to see us worshipping there next year. Things are moving and I see the light at the end tunnel!
  • For our youth program to get established and grow.
  • We want to give more responsibility to our members next year. For our trust in that process and their willingness and desire.
  • For the Spirit to move through our church and city, combining in a way that can only be explained by the Spirit. 
  • For our Small Group ministry to grow and become essential to our church. 
  • Though numbers don't always signify true growth, I do pray that we grow numerically. I give it to God in terms of how many and what that looks like.
Join me in prayer over these things and thank you so much for your continued prayer over us, our ministry and the church here. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Packages and Love!!

We have been blessed in many by ways by our friends, family and churches back in the states. We have received numerous packages from friends and families with candies, seasoning packages and much more! We received a huge envelope recently from the Memorial Road Church in Edmond with numerous blessings, prayers and encouragements. We received a similar package from our supporting congregation, Park Plaza in Tulsa, a few months ago as well. The Garriot Road Church in Enid, OK recently sent us three large boxes full of goodies. We receive emails and text messages from numerous family and friends. Hardly a day goes by without receiving an email, text, or phone call, or using one of the things or foods we have been sent, or reading one of the notes we have received. We feel extremely blessed and encouraged and we want to thank you all. We appreciate your love! And we also know you are constantly praying for us and we appreciate those even more! This may be how Paul felt when he wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 7:4 these words: "...I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds." We definitely take great pride in you all and love to tell people about our awesome supporters. Our hearts are full! Obrigado por tudo!

Kelly and Kelci

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Praying in Portuguese

I have recently started praying in Portuguese more. In team and staff meetings, when I study with someone, at dinner with our friends and in my personal prayers as well. I feel like I always apologize before doing so because I know that it will be rough and that I will make some (ok...many) errors. But I still like to try and I have learned, and been reminded of, many things and I thought I would share them here with you all.

Quite possibly the first word that I learned in Portuguese back in February of 2013 when we visited was "obrigado" (meaning thank you). This is a pretty elementary word in all languages and when traveling, it and "hello" are usually some of the first words that people learn. In my Portuguese prayers, it is always an easy word and/or start to a phrase to go to when I find myself stuck. However, it has reminded me of the importance to thank God. Sometimes in my prayer life, it is really easy to fall into a pattern of asking for things. We even often teach our kids and teenagers this as well. Health, safety, assistance and help with our problems/needs, opportunities, and many other things. We ask for a lot in our prayers. This is not at all bad, however, we must remember to thank God as well. I often find it easy to do so in Portuguese and because of this have been reminded to do it throughout my prayer life.

When speaking in Portuguese (and maybe in English too), there are many times when I say something completely wrong, yet everyone understands it still. I will often even say something like "I know I said that really terribly, but you understood, so whatever." Now I do not say that vocally to God, however, I think he knows that is what I am thinking during some of my prayers. However, I have been reminded often times of Romans 8:26 where it says this: "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." How cool is that. I know that whatever I say in Portuguese, the Spirit is speaking my heart for me through "wordless groans." We don't always have to have the exact words in our prayers. The important thing is that we are in prayer. That we are presenting ourselves to God and coming into conversation (vocally and non-vocally) with Him. 

When I was growing up at the Columbine Church of Christ in Littleton, Colorado, there was a man by the name of Ray Grahn. He was the guy at your church who had the long prayers. You know you all had one or have one and I will be honest, as a kid, it was hard to pay attention through the whole thing. And since I have preached some in my life, I know for a fact that our preacher growing up was probably cutting stuff out while Ray was up there. Or he would just preach long over and hear all the complaints later. Anyways, as I became a teenager, there was something I always found so neat about Ray's prayers. It was not the length so much, but the pace and relationship that he had with the Father in his prayers. His prayers were on the longer side because he wasn't rushing through it like a fast food meal. He was having a conversation and he realized the unbelievable opportunity he had and we have to be in conversation with the Lord. In praying in Portuguese, I have to slow down or I will get way too ahead of myself and make even more errors and get stuck. I have been reminded that when I pray, I am conversing with God and that I do not need to rush through it every time

It is pretty neat to be able to pray in another language. I am blessed to have this opportunity and to refresh my prayer life this way. It is amazing to think of the thousands of languages that God hears and to know that he understands everyone equally without problem and even more than that, that he understands the words not spoken in our prayers too. 

Thank you for your prayers and know that you all are constantly in our prayers as well. 
-Kelly and Kelci

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pray Over Our English Course

As we have discussed greatly on here and in many other ways and with almost everyone we have talked to on the phone or on Skype or in text messages...learning a language as an adult is both fun and quite difficult. However, as Americans who speak decent English...we have a great opportunity to meet people and teach people who want to learn English, practice English or improve their English. In doing this, we can read the Bible together and both study the Bible with somebody and help them with their English.

Well tomorrow we will start our English Classes back up. We have revamped them, we have advertised them more, the church passed out flyers last Saturday and we have been hyping it and talking about it more with our members. We are very excited for tomorrow and really do not know what to expect. We have had already had about 20 people sign up and we could have a lot more show up tomorrow or in the coming weeks. Please join us in prayer in the following ways:

  • We are asking that the people searching for God come our way.
  • We are praying that we will be able to make relationships with whoever comes our way and...
  • That we are able to turn those relationships towards God.
  • We are offering one-on-one English Bible Studies.
  • For wisdom and boldness.
  • For our church to participate in these classes as well and that they ask their friends to join.
  • For God to be at the center of this course and for us to point everything towards Him.
We are all anxious, nervous, hopeful and excited to get these classes going! Thank you for joining us in prayer over our English course!

Kelly and Kelci

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6 Months Already!? Wow!

Wow is right!

Well first of all...this is probably the 3rd time that I have "returned" to the blog world. I often think about it, but it gets pushed aside. This is also probably the 3rd or 4th or 5th or whatevereth time I have said this...but...I wanna do it more. Gonna try it again! If at first...you don't succeed...try...try again! Right? Ok cool then.

So today, August 19th marks 6 months that Kelci and I have lived in Brasil. What a whirlwind it has been. We can't believe it has already been 6 months. It seems like just yesterday that we were making the rounds from Dallas, to Edmond, to Colorado, to Tulsa and many more places to say goodbye and to raise support and funds for this amazing work here in Niteroi. But alas...we are here. And we could not be happier about how it has all worked out.
When we went out to dinner last night with Chad and Micah we talked about the things about Brasil that we are still getting used to, the things we have grown to love about Brasil, the things we miss from the states (mostly the 3 F's: Food, Family, Friends...maybe in that order...kidding), the days we have had here where we just wanted to cry or yell or whatever, and the many many joyous days and successes we have had. At the end of dinner, we all realized again just how blessed we were and how much God has taken care of us and gone in front of us and how we have had many more victories than difficulties. We attribute that all to God and to your prayers, we thank you all so very much! Please continue to pray. It is a continued encouragement to know that you are praying for us.

Another success came today. The four of us had to get our Temporary Brasilian Identities renewed. Up to this point, our only real Brasilian Identity has been a piece of paper with a stapled on picture of us. It works, but it is not very official at all. We went knowing that in all likelihood we would just be given another one of these. However, there was a chance (in my mind a 1% chance) of getting our Temporary Identity Card. Just to show how difficult this process can be, one of our team members still only has the paper identity...he has been here for 5 years. Now you know why the chances were slim. But...some how...some way...all four of us left with Temporary Identity Cards and we were the first ones to leave the office. When we did this in February, it was almost a full day event. This time it took us a little more than an hour. Just another reminder of God leading our way and the power of prayer. We love you all!

Kelly and Kelci