Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Much Does It Cost?

Just in case you're wondering......

In American Dollars:
Plastic clothes hangers: $3.00 for 3
Sour Cream: It doesn't exist...ughhh
Worcestershire sauce: $4.50 for small bottle
Kiwi: $2.25 for 2.2 lbs
Furniture: don't even ask!
Oranges: Free in yard!
Tangerines: Free in yard!
Lemons: Free in yard!
5 Liter Bottle Water: .60 cents
3 bags microwave popcorn: $6.00
Peanut butter: doesn't exist
Kool-aid: doesn't exist
Cheap high chair..not so cheap: $55.00
Size 10 ladies shoe: doesn't exist
Cheapest small bottle of hair conditioner: $4.50
Smallest bottle of baby powder: $4.00
Ranch dressing: doesn't exist
Awesome cup of coffee: .60 cents
Fresh baked rolls.. the chewy kind: .15 cents ea.
Weed eater: $375.00-guess we'll pull by hand
Carrots: .50 cents for 2.2 lbs.
Tea bags: $6.50 for average size box

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Maurizio, The Portuguese Pizza Man

Well...he isn't really Portuguese, he's Italian. But he is a pizza maker in Portugal, so he is a Portuguese Pizza Man. Some of you remember Michael's testimony of the conversation he had with Maurizio back in November of 2006. Well, Maurizio has people all across America praying for him and for his salvation. We carried the kids and Ms. Lora to meet him Tuesday night. We had a delicious pizza, some pasta and good conversation. Hopefully we can develop a relationship with him, and eventually lead him to Christ. Please help us pray.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pictures On The Coast

Ms. Lora took some pictures of our family today. Aren't they good? I have so many I'd like to post, but there is a limit to how many I can upload with each post. So I'll have to show you more later.

After a week of trying to find what our actual address is, we've finally figured it out...I think. Please note the change of address listed at the top of this page.

We are still trying to get the house in order. Everything takes forever here! But I praise the Lord for what has been accomplished in this first week. Being able to leave the kids with Ms. Lora has been a tremendous help.

Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed, or left a comment on my blog. It certainly helps to know you've not forgotten us.

I'll write more soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lemons, Baskets, Boosters & Crazy Americans

We have tons of lemons on a tree in the yard. We've made lemonade several times already. When God gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Today we had church in our basement. Just us and Ms. Lora. We were scared to drive 1.5 hrs south of here to attend church with another missionary family. We heard last night that all children under the ages of 13 have to be in a booster seat and we didn't have any, so we were afraid of tickets. Also, our 7 passenger van only holds..well...7 people. And there are 8 of us while Ms. Lora is here. So after church this morning, we went to rent another small car and then in search of 4 booster seats. (We brought Justices' on the plane with us) After two stops at two different Continente's (a small version of a super wal-mart) we discovered that they close at 1:00 every Sunday. Why in the world would they do that? It makes no sense to me. The other missionary family said in response to that..."Welcome to Portugal". We did end up at church this evening with the other missionary family. In two vehicles, but no boosters...sshhhhh...don't tell anyone.

The picture above, Ms. Lora took of me wheeling and dealing at the market. The market in Barcelos, Portugal has been held every Thursday for about the last 800 years, so they knew how to work me. They ended up being the ones wheeling and dealing, not me.

After being in Portugal for 5 days without a refrigerator, we were eagerly awaiting it's delivery yesterday. All day we waited, waited, and waited some more. Finally at 9:00 pm, the delivery guy shows up drunk, fussing the entire time he was here (in Portuguese...we didn't know what he was saying, but it was obvious he was upset). He even made the finger around the ear symbol for "crazy" when he saw the way we had rigged up our dryer so that it would have a vent out the window. But who cares cause WE HAVE A REFRIGERATOR!! Now, we can have something cold to drink, and I can finally go grocery shopping. Ms. Lora said if someone knocked on our door and offered her a cold Diet Dr. Pepper, she'd be willing to pay 10 Euros ($15.00) for one. I think I would too!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Someone Pinch Me...I Think I'm Dreaming!

Where do I begin?! I am so thankful to finally be in Portugal. I have so much to say, and thoughts flying through my in the world does my computer have Portuguese on the screen instead of English...oh..wait a minute..I'm not in Kansas anymore!!! Yahooooo! I am so very excited to be here!

Here is a quick review:
  • Our flights were fine. Long, but fine. The kids did great! Several people commented on how well they did and called them "troopers". We are still adjusting to the time difference and suffering from jet-lag, but overall were doing great.
  • Exhausted, we drove the 2 - nine passenger "mini buses" that contained everything we brought with us to the real estate office to pick up the keys to our house. But the door was locked and the lights were was about 1:15 pm. Do they take "siestas" in Portugal? The Agent told us he'd be there all day, but apparently, he forgot about us. We were all starving, but the only place in sight was a coffee shop. Imagine is more important than food around here! I think I'm in love! So, we had coffee and a roll. Finally, someone stopped by and made a call for us, and we had the keys in no time.
  • When we pulled up in front of the house, the girls all cheered and clapped their hands. "FINALLY"!! we all shouted! They immediately started running through the yard, picking oranges, tangerines and flowers.
  • After a brief stay at the house we went in search of the internet or phone to call our loved ones in America to inform them that we were safe and sound, but it was much more difficult that we imagined. We finally found a computer, sent a quick email and then had our first meal at a local restaurant. Liberty slept through the entire meal with her head in her plate. Justice slept on my shoulder. Faith ate in a daze with huge eyes. Brooklyn and Trinity ate fairly well. Daddy rewarded them with a cup of ice cream and me with a cup of coffee. (better than ice cream any day!)
  • Before going to bed, we spent way too much time trying to figure out how to turn the heat on. Oils, gases, wires, knobs, valves, tubes...nothing made sense. But we finally got heat and hot water, just in time for bed at midnight.
  • The second day, after I backed the rental van into the neighbors house,(no damage done to the neighbors house, only a caved in bumper...oops..thank goodness we purchased the extra insurance) we shopped for appliances while Ms. Lora watched the kids. (By the case you didn't know, Ms. Lora McGee came with us and is our Nanny! Praise the Lord! She'll be with us for two weeks to help with the kids as we get everything set up.) We couldn't figure out how to work the stove. We called the only person locally we knew... our real estate agent. He came with his wife, they couldn't figure it out either. They called another couple that used to rent this house and they came over and showed us how.....funny huh? How many people does it take to light a stove??
  • Day three, we finally get the internet and phone. So now you can call us using this number...1-731-438-4567. I walked down the street to the butcher to get some chicken for supper. They didn't have what I wanted so I had to choose something else. With the language barrier I ended up snorting like a pig to make sure that I was buying pork....the butcher in turn snorted back at me to confirm that indeed it was pork. With a big smile on my face, the Portuguese people will help me through anything, thank goodness.
  • The weather is incredible! Beautiful spring weather. We've met several people. We have a language teacher and things are on a roll.....!
That is the cliff notes version. I'll have to share more when I have more time. ---By the favorite flower is a Cala Lily. There is a bush in my yard full of them!! The picture above is an example. I believe God did that just for me!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cluttter, Snow & Good-Byes

First, let me apologize for not writing in a while. This last week has been a whirlwind of packing, cleaning, packing some more, throwing away when it doesn't all fit, and trying it again. I'm really amazed at how much I've gotten rid of. If I thought that I could use something again I refused to throw it away. Honestly, as a frugal housewife, I thought that was my duty. My thought pattern has been one likes it when that happens and I am not the exception. Imagine a few days, I'll be in my new house that is 100% clutter free! I guess there are upsides to all this adapting and adjusting.

We are now staying in a hotel just down the road a bit from our home church. To remove the last of the furniture from our little rental house and clean it up before we left, it required us leaving. So we are spending the weekend at the hotel as we finish up the house. Today, our home church hosted a type of "going away" service for us. Several visitors from other states as well as close by came to be a part of it. We had good preaching, good singing, and of course, good eating. It was humbling to see some of the folks that drove upwards of six hours, just to say goodbye to us.

The picture above was taken last week. Our kids haven't seen snow in...well...forever I guess. The Lord sent us a pretty little "dusting". Just enough for the kids to play. We had already packed all the winter coats and gloves, so I improvised as all good moms do in dire circumstances. They had all sorts of "odd and end" pieces of clothing on to stay warm, complete with Daddy's socks on their hands. The girls are convinced that God sent that little bit of snow just for them. They certainly won't see any snow where we will be in Portugal, so this was their last chance to see it, and God came through for them....sounds like something HE would do, huh?

This very well may be my last post before we leave. I will try to post more, but please understand if it doesn't get done. If I'm not able to, I will once we get the internet at our new home. No telling how long that will take. Please pray for we pray for you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So...Why Portugal?

While pastoring a great group of folks in LaGrange, GA , Michael was doing his normal daily Bible reading when he came across the book of Jonah. He began reading in the first chapter where God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh. But Jonah purposed in his heart to go as far from the Lord as he could....

(Jon 1:3) - "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."

Twice in this verse it says that Jonah was trying to get away from the Lord. In Jonah's mind, he wanted to go where the presence of the Lord was not, and to him that place was Tarshish.

Today, Tarshish would be found somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula that now make up Spain and Portugal. In Jonah's day, it was all the country of Spain. Having been in the ministry for a few years, Michael was aware of the number of missionaries in Spain and understood that although there weren't enough there, nonetheless there were quite a few. The Lord then directed his heart and mind westward to the smaller country of Portugal. Realizing that he had never met, or heard of a missionary to this land. After further research it became evident that there were very few families in darkened Portugal trying to spread the Light of the Gospel. Michael began to pray, "Lord, would you please send missionaries to Portugal" and the resounding answer came back......"What about you??" Michael says that he replied to the Lord, "Lord, you know things are going well here, our little church is growing both numerically and spiritually. We've seen the Lord increase our missions giving. We have plans for a building project." But the Lord continued..."What about you?" So after more prayer and the birth of our 5th child, he resigned the church as pastor and we began making preparation to get to Portugal.

That was in October of 2006. Now here we are, on our way in 6 days. "Thank You Lord!"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Some of you have expressed interest in seeing the house that we are now calling "Home". Well, here are a few pictures of it that we took in December. It's just a matter of days and we'll be there. Praise the Lord!

Also, is a picture of the van we were able to buy. Vehicles in Portugal are EXTREMELY expensive. This 12 year old van would have cost, maybe, $3,000 here in the States. But in Portugal it cost over 4 times that amount!! Praise the Lord for His provisions. He has taken care of everything we've needed.

He called us to this beautiful country to share His perfect love with the Portuguese people. Please pray now, if you've not already begun, that the hearts of the people will be softened. That they would open up to us, and receive what we've come to tell them. The Portuguese love children. Pray that the Lord will use our children to open doors for ministering. There is a reason that God called us specifically to this specific country. It could very well be that all 7 of us are each instruments the Lord wishes to use. May we all be willing.

Does anyone want to know, "Why Portugal"? Leave me a comment if you're interested.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

So True......

Admit it, Mom....If you've never said this, then you've at least thought it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Our Latest Prayer Letter

Click on it to pull it up.

Our Biggest Fan

This is my cousin Danielle Pelkey and her precious daughter Raygan. Danielle is my cousin, and the office manager for The North Jefferson News. I believe she may be "our biggest fan." She wrote this article a few weeks ago:

This past weekend held lots of exciting events for our
One exciting thing was the snow that fell on Saturday.
We were so happy about it that we bundled up Raygan,
took her outside and threw snowballs at each other.
Of course Raygan didn't enjoy it as much as we did.
And let me clarify that we did not throw snowballs at
Raygan. It was so out of the ordinary to have such beautiful,
white snow fall. It wasn't the four inches that we
were promised, but I'll take whatever we can get for
Alabama weather.
Another exciting thing that happened was the
missionary conference that was held at Lee's Chapel
Baptist Church. My dad has pastored this church for
more than 15 years and they were my home church for
most of that time. I still feel like I'm coming home
each time I visit.
The feeling was the same this weekend as we enjoyed an
international dinner before the Saturday evening
service. My cousin, Michael Andrzejewski, preached the sermons
throughout the conference. Michael, his wife Nina and
their five children, were called to be missionaries to
Portugal. They will be leaving on Feb. 18.
Along with this calling comes the hard decision to
leave your family and everything that is comfortable
to you and call another country your home.
They will not be returning for another five years, at
which time they will only visit for a short time and
then head back to their new home to continued their
work on the mission field.
I had never heard the calling of a missionary
presented in such a passionate way. Michael and his
family will have to choose what they would take with
them and what they leave behind in order to pursue the
call that God had placed on their lives.
I actually thought that I might want to go to a
mission field, but after Michael's sermon, I realized
that it takes a better woman than me to answer this
call. Michael said that wasn't the point that he wanted to
make, but it really opened my eyes to the sacrifices
that they must make in order to do what they were
created for. Needless to say, Saturday night after service was a
hard time for me and my family. It was the last time
that I will see that part of my family for another
five years. There was a tearful embrace, but it was
joyful at the same time. I told Nina that I was so
very proud of them and what they were doing. I can't
think of a better family to spread the gospel to the
Portuguese people.
It is a hard time, but a wonderful time of excitement.
I'm proud to say that my family members are "going and
teaching all nations" just like Jesus instructed us to
do in the book of Matthew.
Please send your prayers with the Andrzejewski's as
they set out on this new adventure in their lives.

--Isn't she sweet?! ---For those of you who don't know Danielle...If you've ever watched That's So Raven....then you've met Danielle. She acts just like Raven Baxter!---I love you, Danielle.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are We There Yet?

Only this time, it's me asking this question instead of the kids!

With 12 days left until our departure, we've officially come to "crunch time". There are black plastic trunks all through our house. Each labeled with it's weight and contents. Now, we're down to only 3 trunks left to fill but we have enough stuff to fill another 10! I though I had been doing good throwing stuff away. But it looks like I need to do better.

Two weeks ago, Michael and I bought a little storage shed to hold our "treasures" that we can't take with us. We put it together behind my Mom's house in raining 30 degree weather. After two days of assembling, drying it out and filling it with our things, it exploded in a strong wind storm less than a week later. So now, my "treasures" are homeless, we're exhausted, and the fun is just beginning!