Friday, July 2, 2010

In Which I Do Not Mention the World Cup.

FOR TODAY...July 2, 2010

Outside my window...sunny and windy

I am thinking...about the weekend, my cousin's wedding and the song "He hideth my soul"

I am thankful for...God's Word and the solace it brings.

From the kitchen...baked chicken and potatoes for lunch.

I am wearing...a denim skirt and a black t-shirt.

I am creating...this post right now...but planning on working on tomorrow's choir arrangement.

I am do laundry.

I am reading...Pride and Prejudice (for the umpteenth time!) and Oswald Chambers.

I am praying...for some friends, for next semester, for God's will in my life, and praising God that the Lockharts found a car!

I am hearing...the wind chimes on the front porch.

Around the house...everything is in need of a little attention :-).

One of my favorite things...walking with my brother.

A few plans for the rest of the week: a voice lesson, choir practice, discipleship study and company.

Picture thought that I am sharing...I am always excited about strawberry season here. Last week we made these for dessert.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I've been up to...

When I came home this summer, I prayed that the Lord would use me and help to be a blessing, to serve others(primarily my family) with a joyful heart and attitude. Well, it's never and easy road - that of servant-hood (just ask my family!)- but I can say that God has been teaching me so much about dying to self daily. The more I dig into His Word and focus on His will for me on a simple day-to-day basis, the less I struggle with my own will. A huge blessing for me lately has been my daily readings of My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I always am challenged when I read it! Another favorite devotional book of mine is Like Christ by Andrew Murray, and although I have not started reading that one yet, I am looking forward to beginning soon.

After reading a very encouraging post this morning, I decided I too, would count my blessings and praise God for what He is teaching me and doing in my life.

  • First off, I thank God for my dear family. I have learned so much from them and from being with them in a mere month. I had so missed our times of talking, singing or playing sports together. I praise the Lord for parents who instilled in us the fear of God. I praise Him for allowing us to have been born in Brazil and giving me the privilege of being an MK. Raised on the mission field, I have the opportunity to learn and focus on developing an even more Biblical Worldview. Hey folks, God's Word applies to ANY culture and generation!
  • My second praise is for the gift of friendship. Although my family also falls in this category primarily and beautifully (My siblings are the best friends ever - they know all my faults and they still love me!); God has also given me some amazing friendships that never cease to be a source of encouragement. I thank Him for friends that rebuke and challenge me; I thank Him for new friends as well as the old ones. I thank Him for YOU!
  • Lately, God has been trying to teach me so much about giving - giving my love, my time, my hands, my smiles, my skills, my hugs - you name it! Anything and everything for the sake of others. God has placed some very giving people in my life and of course, HE is the ultimate Giver himself (John 3:16), so why should I not in return, desire to give as He has?
Here are just a few things I have trying my hand at this summer...

  • Personal make-up artist :-) Helping two special ladies in my life get ready for a night out with their hubbies.

  • Music Lessons - Teaching is such a good opportunity to live for eternity!
  • Cooking and plans for Fourth of July has been the buzz around out house lately. This is the dessert we want to make... Doesn't that look good?

Hope you all are having a blessed day, week, summer and year! Don't forget to count your blessings!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Every Sunday afternoon, a group of us from church go out door-to-door in our suburb handing out tracts, and inviting others to church; sometimes we get a chance to witness and share the gospel more fully. Yesterday I decided to take the camera and record a few of those moments.

Happy Flag Day!

GOD SAVE THE FLAG - by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
Snatched from the altars of insolent foes,
Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,
Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,
Vainly his worshippers pray for its fall;
Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
Emblem of Justice and Mercy to all:

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,
Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

Borne on the deluge of old usurpations,
Drifted our Ark o'er the desolate seas,
Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze !

GOD BLESS the FLAG and its loyal defenders,
While its broad folds o'er the battle-field wave,
Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
Washed from its stains in the Blood of the Brave!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jess!

Today is the birthday of my beloved older sister Jessica! Today is also the Brazilian Valentine's Day, so Jess has always been called the "love baby". :-)

Jess has been the exact person that I needed in an older sister. She is kind, loving and fun-loving! With Jess around, it's hard to stay serious for too long of a time. She always finds something to be happy about and especially to laugh about. When I was younger, this trait used to annoy because so many times, the object of her laughter or teasing was... ME! :-) Today I am so thankful for her cheerfulness; it has taught me so much and been a wonderful example. You see, she is now married and has a darling baby boy and has become a great wife and mama. Her husband works and studies a lot so needless to say, he isn't around as much as we'd all like him to be. Although we know this is just temporary (He will graduate and it will be worth it all!), we know it's hard on Jess, but she does not complain. Jess, I'm so proud of you; your strength is a challenge to us all! Remember that this too, shall pass! I love you, dear, and wish you a MARVELOUS day!

YOU can go over to her blog and wish her happy b-day, too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Joshua is 3 months old!

My adorable, darling nephew Josh turns 3 months old today! Jess asked me to get a few pictures of him, something I don't mind doing one bit! Below are some of my weak attempts to capture the budding personality of a little man I so love.

Isn't he precious?!? I love you, Joshua!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Long Time No See

Here is a long update after a long time of silence!
Life has been so much fun lately that I forget to take the time to post :-)
I have been having a wonderful time. What follows is a brief highlight of the past few days along with pictures.

*Our new CD is here!*

*Jed's new method of transporting Josh - in a wheelbarrow*

*Lots of auntie time!*

Last Thursday we had a holiday, so we took advantage of it and spent the day with some of the church folk at our chacara. As always, it was lots of fun and we left refreshed, encouraged and just a little bit sore from all the sports!

*Mom cooked us some good food*

*Holding an afternoon service*

*Fellowship time*


On Friday night, we went to a plant/flower fair with the Lockharts. It was a fun night. We topped it off by eating at another fair. We always enjoy being with their precious kiddos!

*Jana, Allie, Bethany, and Jenifer*

*Mom and Esther flower shopping*

That's all for now. I hope to get a post of this week up soon, so keep posted!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Update

Here is an update of this past weekend. As usual, it was plenty busy but also very blessed.

On Friday, our family went "restaurant shopping". It was the first time we had ever done something like that and although it took awhile, I actually had fun. We were hunting for a nice, but not too pricey restaurant in downtown Cuiaba for the annual couples outing. The couples from our church go out on every (Brazilian) Valentine's Day - they spend the evening talking, fellow-shipping, eating, and of course taking pictures. After checking out probably 8 or 10 places, Mom felt that we had enough options and she presented the findings to the couples last night.

Saturday was a typical Saturday around here. Lots of baking and cleaning was accomplished :-)

During last night's service, a husband and wife came forward because they wanted to make their lives right with God. Their two teenaged daughters also came forward to get saved. Please pray for this family; their names are: Marcio, Sandra, Julia and Maria Luiza.
Last night after church, we also celebrated the May birthdays. Each lady brings a cake or some "salty" cake/pastry and we have a little party.

Here are the birthday people, and a few extra who wanted to be in the picture :-)

And, guess what is the biggest source of excitement for Brazilians right now??? If you guessed "World Cup", you got it right! Brazil plays its first game in two weeks and the "patriotic" spirit is rising high.

(Green and Yellow streamers decorate the streets)

That's all for now folks! Hope you have a blessed week!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Picture-less Post

Good evening from noisy Pedra Noventa:-)
Wednesday was a long day so chose to go to bed a little more on time instead of blogging. We had company for supper and they stayed for church at night. We had lots of fun with them as well as getting ready for them to come. I'm afraid the fellowship was so good that I forgot to get any pictures.
Another major and very exciting highlight is that our family CD's (in portuguese) finally arrived! After long months of recording and waiting, it is so rewarding to have the finished product. We pray that the LORD would use it to bless many here in Brazil.

Today was a fun day!
After the Lockharts' morning language lessons, my parents and they went into town to take care of some business and do our monthly grocery shopping. Jana, Jed and I got to watch their kids and we had a very good time. I think both the adults and all us kids are wore out tonight, but I think that will make us all sleep well! We have prayer at 5 tomorrow morning so yours truly is finishing this post so I can get to sleep. :-)
~ Jenifer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cleaning Mess and Losing Chess

Today was a busy day in the Duarte household. We gave the house a thorough cleaning (similar to an American spring cleaning). Because of the make-up of the houses here, our cleaning involves a LOT of soapy water and scrubbing. Our light-colored tile floors, for example, were scrubbed with bleach water today. I had greatly missed REAL cleaning while I was in the States.

After the house was all clean, we rested for awhile and I made the promised treat - a chocolate-chip, butterscotch chip and craisin cookie, made of course, with ingredients brought from the U.S. They were awesome!

Below are the pictures of the day. Jed taught me to play chess awhile back and it was always my goal to beat him one day. I fear I shall never accomplish that! We revived our old habit of playing a game at night right before bed-time and I have lost every time, much like the days before college. Arggh. He of course, loves every minute of it and tries to flatter me by saying that I am improving. Oh well, I really do enjoy myself playing chess with him and have no intention of quitting now. I always tell myself, "Maybe one day"!
Do YOU play chess? Do you win more or lose more? :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Chair

Meet my favorite chair. This is a Brazilian-style rocking chair. It's design makes it cool even on a hot day. It is shaped from iron bars and wrapped in a plastic tubing, which makes it very comfortable. This is where I like to have my devotions in the morning. The problem is that every other member of my family has the same idea, and since we only have two of these chairs, we often "fight" over them.:-) Not really. They are the popular spot here; from their location we can sit out on the porch and look over our yard and the street, not to mention the neighbors' yards. :-) It can be really easy to be nosey here in our suburb. I had a friend who once said that she always knew she was in Brazil when she could smell what the neighbors were cooking for dinner and know what TV channel they were watching!

This chair is where I have sat and held little Joshua these past days. Watching the colorful sunsets here is another favorite daily thing to do.
I know my days at home will fly by, so I am trying to enjoy every moment of every day!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Three in One

Whew! I have a lot of catching up to do. This post will be a condensed one covering the past three days.

On Friday afternoon, Jana and I took off to the Ladies' Retreat. We had the opportunity to serve as kitchen help and it was such a blessing. We helped prepare the evening meal and later a late-night tea/snack time. There were around 60 ladies present on Friday, but by Saturday morning the number increased to almost 100.
Saturday morning bright and early, we were up preparing their special breakfast. That was a real treat for them! It featured french bread, ham and cheese, two types of cakes, cheese bread, and lots of fruit. Jana and I had a lot of fun decorating the foods.

We then helped make the noon meal and finally closed off with an afternoon tea. It was work, but we were so thankful to be working with sweet ladies who knew what they were doing! We came home Saturday evening and had our regular church service. I think we were all quite tired by the end of the day, but happy for all the was accomplished.

Today -Sunday- was another busy, yet blessed day in our household. Jana and I tidied the house and helped get ready for our sunday meal before church in the morning. I had a good time with my old Sunday school class. I have a dear friend who is now teaching them and she is doing such a great job. I praise the Lord for Geane!
Mom made a delicious lasagna for lunch and the Lockhart family as well as my sis and brother-in-law and dear nephew came.
In the afternoon, several of us went on door-to-door visitation here in our suburb. It was the first time that two of "my girls" went with me and I was so proud of them! Please pray the the seed that is being sown would take root in hearts.
The day was topped of with a good evening service. We just started a "choir" and today was the first practice ever. I was so thankful for the number of people who showed up and sang so heartily unto the Lord. Our people are very, very limited in finding and listening to good music. Many of them had never sung until they were saved, so they have difficulties in learning to sing, or they just think that they can't do it. I am so excited to see how the Lord will work in all of our lives as we seek to improve even our praise unto Him!

And on this happy note :-) I bid you good-night!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today was a lovely, busy day. Each day feels more and more like "home".
We are still doing lots of catching up and year-book flippin' :-)

In the morning Mom and Dad went into town to do some errands then in the afternoon we all went out to the chacara to feed the dogs and horses. Mom and Dad could not wait to introduce us to their two new dogs, Mel and Valente. I was not looking too forward to it since I already knew that Mel was a full-bred pit-bull (a breed I loathe) and Valente is so hyper that he jumps on you non-stop. They turned out being not so bad; they are actually sweet dogs that act love deprived as you will see in the picture. :-)

It was just so pretty out there and I could not choose between the many pictures we took, so I am posting several. We waited until sunset and when the mosquitoes got too bad, we left to attend a service in a sister church across town. We had a really good meeting there; we kids sang "Do You Know My Jesus?" and Dad preached. Dad helped in the birth of that congregation so it was neat to see how it is growing.

The horses grazing

My pretty sis, Jana

SISTERS! - It's so fun to be back together again! (oh and don't forget Josh!)

Mel decided to interrupt the portrait session

I had missed the attractive mango trees!

The service in Quinze de Maio tonight

Well, now this gal is retiring for the night. Tomorrow is another busy day. Jana and I will be helping in the kitchen at the annual Ladies' Retreat at Bible Camp on Friday and Saturday so I will not be able to post. I look forward to sharing about it on Sunday, though so keep 'posted'! :-)
May God Bless you,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Today was a nice, relaxed day at home. Many of us have colds and or coughs, so we spend our days mostly talking and resting close to the tissue box. :-)
I have been trying to make up to the lost "auntie" time and hold Joshua as much as I can. He is such a cutie-pie!
We have been having mildly cold weather, which feels so good to this yours truly who is unaccustomed to the heat.
In the afternoon I played with Allie and Bethany Lockhart for awhile. They learned to build "rock castles" with the abundance of stones in our yard. After their nap, they came over and helped me make cookies. They were such fun and really enjoyed the results. We don't get chocolate chips here, so I chopped up a large piece of a big dark chocolate bar into small chunks. I think "tasting" that was our favorite part!

Good night!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Who needs words when the subject is cute like this???

Monday's Post

On our first Monday here, we woke up early and headed to a large construction and home improvement store here in Cuiaba called Todimo.
Through a friendship with one of their workers, Dad has been called twice to bring a brief message at their weekly devotional. This time all of us kids were able to go and we got to sing. What an amazing opportunity it has been to be witnesses and seek to show these people life with joy in Christ!
They have about 80 employees in this department and probably 60 were present that morning. It was interesting to see their neat unity and get a glimpse of their professional world. We brought Bibles to be given to some of them who did not receive one the first time Dad spoke there. Daddy preached on conquering the giants in our lives, (whether in our personal, social or business lives) based on the Biblical account of David and Goliath.
We were really excited about this opportunity to minister and pray that the Lord will use the Word that was sown to work in the lives of many.


Dear Friends,

Welcome to this blog. This is my attempt at a a daily journal of my summer break from college.

On May 12th, my sister Janalee and I flew from Charlotte, NC to Cuiaba, Brazil with stops in Miami and Sao Paulo. It was a fun, eventful trip; we lugged 420 pounds of baggage between the both of us! We arrived home tired but happy!

(Leaving the U.S)

We had not seen our family for ten months and had not met our adorable nephew, Joshua. What fun we have had catching up since!

(Flying somewhere over Brazil)

My goal is to write a post a day and also post a picture per day.
May the LORD bless you!

- Jenifer