So we have now been in Campinas, São Paulo state, for two weeks. What a whirlwind it has been...then again, when is it NOT a whirlwind to move? Even still, it's a new culture (yes, for me, Ben, it IS), a new language (again, yes, it really is), and almost everything unfamiliar to us in a big city. Last time we lived in a city this big was when we got married in 2003 and lived in Fairfax, VA, right outside the beltway of the crazy area of Washington, D.C.
Anyhow, since we've been here, it has taken a week and a half to get our phone & internet set up. As soon as this happened (this was last Monday), our car started having problems. It's very interesting to me that God uses every little thing to draw us to Himself. We were praising God that we finally had contact with others via our phone and internet, yet could we praise Him even while the car busted each day this week?? Yes, every single day. Last Sunday, the car started making a horrible noise when I put the gear in Reverse (manual gears here). By Monday afternoon, I couldn't drive the car backwards because reverse wouldn't work without me forcefully holding the gear in place all while it's loudly grinding and popping out of gear. So I took it to a mechanic guy we were referred to, a believer, and he fixed it for a LOT cheaper than he should have. Tuesday, the front left tire started wobbling really bad, so bad that I thought maybe a steel cable or something busted within the tire...so that night I started to take off the tire and found that it wasn't on TIGHT! So, I tightened those lug nuts. The next morning, Wednesday, after dropping Becky off at language school and Caleb at his school, the tire started wobbling again. So... I took it to a tire place that afternoon and he "tightened it" himself and "guaranteed" that it wouldn't happen again. So far, so good. While there, I had him do an alignment on the wheels b/c the car was pulling hard to the right when going over 65mph (100km/h here in Brazil). Come to find out that the front right tire was leaning (in or out, I don't remember, I just said FIX IT please). Thursday we went to a large park as a family (Lagoa Taquaral, Campinas, SP--look it up!), and parked. When we left, the front bumper had gotten stuck on the cement curb that we pulled up over (oops). Guess what happened? Yep, it almost completely got ripped off, hanging only by the front top of the fender. That's why I always carry DUCT TAPE in my car! So...we got that fixed yesterday, Friday. Today, Saturday...well, nothing yet, and I'm not getting in the car until tomorrow...I could use a day off from car troubles.
Does God laugh when this stuff happens? I think it's more that He wants US to laugh when this happens. And, actually, this week, I HAVE been able to laugh at all this... In fact, I laugh to myself, thinking: "Welcome to missionary living"...and it's only the beginning. I should have taken pictures of all this stuff this week, but being as busy as we have been, there ARE no pictures. But, there ARE pictures of an outing we did today, Saturday, to the local Ecological Zoo Park, it's a zoo type park that you walk through to see all the animals in semi-captivity. Many native to Brazil, many from around the world. The climate in Brazil allows for many other tropical, sub-tropical and semi-arid animals to do well here year-round. Take a look at the pictures! Or look at them to the right of this webpage.
Keep in touch...let us know you are reading/praying!
Ben, for the family.