Greetings from Dallas, Texas!

This week I have been taking part in Wycliffe’s CHildren’s EDucation (CHED) orientation course at their Dallas center. It has been both a taxing and rewarding experience. I, along with 21 other missionary teachers and boarding house parents, have been learning just what it means to be a part of raising up missionary kids in the field. Academics are just the beginning.

I’m thrilled to be learning alongside several others who will be teaching around the world—many of whom are headed to the school that I attended in Papua New Guinea! I wish them the very best.

Meanwhile, I have recently gotten word that many Brazilian embassies around the world are on strike due to their lack of pay. So far, the embassy that I am working with (located in Atlanta, Georgia) has not gone on strike yet, but the possibility is looming. Even though I have already been approved for my visa, the paperwork has not come in the mail. I’m holding my breath and praying that the embassy doesn’t strike before they send me my papers.

I’m just a week away from leaving the United States! As sad as I am to leave my friends, I am thrilled to jump into what God has for me in Brazil.

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Open Letter of Thanks

This woman touched my heart 17 years ago when I was 9. I have never forgotten what she had done for me, but I couldn’t remember who she was until she came back into my life a couple months ago and gave me a donation for my Brazil mission trip.

Dear Fiesta Texas Lady,

I can only remember meeting you once. I was in 3rd grade and my family spent the summer driving across the USA to meet with the people who support us as missionaries. I met a lot of people that summer who knew my parents—one of my dad’s old girlfriends, the family that my mom had lived with in high school, people with faces I can’t remember and histories I never knew.

I remember your house in Texas. I remember watching your backyard for birds and seeing your room full of teddy bears. I remember watching Men in Tights for the first time on your TV. You took us to the Alamo. I loved that.

You took us to Fiesta Texas. I don’t remember much of that one. The only thing I do remember is that my little brother, Jordan, played a game at a booth and won a stuffed animal. I threw a fit.

I’ve never thought of myself as a brat before, but that incident was pretty bratty. I thought it so unfair that my brother played a game and won a toy and I had nothing. I cried and wailed. Then you bent down and told me that when we got back to your house, you’d let me have one of the teddy bears from your collection.

That shut me up fast. All the way home, I was feeling good. My brother was playing with his stuffed animal, but I didn’t care because I’d get to pick one out that would be better. I was feeling superior.

But when I walked into the room with your collection, I felt very different. These weren’t toys for sale; these were yours. And you were going to let me have one. For what? Being selfish? All my greed vanished.

You asked me which bear I would like. I picked a small one, but a unique one. You took him down off the shelf and gave him to me. He was a gift that I didn’t deserve.

I have never let him go. He stays with me as a reminder of love and kindness. I don’t know if you intended this, but you have become one of the most memorable examples of God’s love for us—despite our brattiness.

I’m not sure if I ever properly thanked you for him. Either way, I want to thank you again 17 years later. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It may have only been a stuffed toy, but it has had a huge impact on my heart. I will always remember you for that.

With love in Christ,

Jacki

Polar Bear

God Answers Prayer!

My mother (in the middle) with her two childhood friends

God is good. He always answers prayers! I love it when He does it in such a way that says, “I know what’s best and I can do things you never even thought of.” This time, He has answered our prayers with plans that He laid down half a century ago—reminding us all that He is God and not finite. Let me explain:

In 1949, my mom was born in Rio Verde, Brazil to two American missionary parents. She was raised in the village where her parents ran a school and taught the native children. She was home schooled until the end of her 8th grade year. Then she left Brazil for an American boarding school in 1965 and never went back.

My mom never had a Brazilian passport. She never even had a Brazilian birth certificate. All she had was a letter from the U.S. Embassy stating her birth abroad.

Skip ahead a generation and here we are trying to go to Brazil. It’s her village’s centennial celebration—commemorating 100 years since the first missionaries reached them. It is the first time my mother has tried going back and the first time ever in the country for the rest of our nuclear family (My dad, my brother, and myself. My sister cannot make it—she has her own nuclear family now).

When applying for visas, we thought that mine would be the trouble maker since I was planning on staying longer than everyone else. But we received a phone call from the Brazilian Embassy in Atlanta, GA that said otherwise.

The man on the phone told us that they would not accept my mom into the country as an American. Since she was born in Brazil, she was a Brazilian and she needed a Brazilian passport. “No no no,” He said, “You are Brazilian and you’re children are too!”

It was both an wonderful surprise and a great disappointment. My mom would need special permission from the Brazilian consulate to enter the country and get her Brazilian passport. Then the rest of us could apply for our citizenship as well. A couple phone calls and anxiety ridden waiting periods later (if they turned us down, my mom would be barred from the country forever), we had that permission.

Now the four of us have all we need to go to Brazil on July 4th (arriving July 5th). Not only did God work out the kinks, but took it one step further. Forty-seven years after leaving, my mom gets to return to her home as a native. Even more, I have the opportunity of having dual citizenship which can be a very useful thing for whatever future God has in store for me.

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