Thursday, April 20, 2017

All Around Brazil in 4 Minutes


We arrived home from our big trip this past Thursday, April 13 around 8 o'clock in the evening.  We left happy and arrived the same.  All in all it was an incredible experience and I'm so glad that we did it....

You can read all about each place we visited at our travel log @

athabrazilroadtrip.blogspot.com 

Trip Stats:

  • slept in the back of Pajero 4 times at truck stops
  • stayed with friends 4 times
  • slept at a bed and breakfast once
  • stayed at one cheap hotel
  • spent one night at a hostel
  • stayed two nights at a campground
  • stayed in guest accomodations at two Bible colleges
  • visited three museums 
  • visited three national parks, three state parks, and one city park
  • took around 4500 photos between the three of us
  • visited three Bible colleges
  • saw 5 different waterfalls including the largest of Brazil
  • visited one cave
  • took paid tours of three cities
  • ate at three different Burger King restaurants 
  • one Subway
  • one McDonalds
  • one self-service grilled meat restaurant
  • stopped at one mechanic
  • ate about 20 tuna fish sandwiches, 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and around 20 cheese and salami
  • saw quatis, lots of tropical birds, a dead iguana, lots of cats and dogs, a lizard or two and one snake, a couple of ox and a few horses and cows, ah, a goat or two and a few sheep
  • paid some BR$200 in road tolls
  • saw all kinds of churches but mostly Christian Congregational and Roman Catholic and quite a few Evangelical Foursquare
  • saw one Islamic Worship Center
  • traveled around 6000 kilometers or the equivilant of 3728 miles
  • were gone for 17 nights and 18 days

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Traveling Song


When William and Dalton were small, we took them to the States for the first time.  On the way coming and going, William sang a different little song for each of the airplanes we rode.  He was so cute.  There we were getting on one plane at midnight with a four year old singing at the top of his lungs and his little toddler brother ringing in on the la, la, la's. I'm getting on a plane to Brazil... la, la, la!  People commented about how cute he was and how much he must love to travel.  Since then he has done he fair share of wandering on mission trips and to places all over Brazil and the USA.

This next week we will take off to parts unknown to us all around Brazil.  We won't have Dalton and William to sing-along as we go which makes us sort of sad.  But we will be making new songs as we go with lots of Greyson's instruments tagging along no doubt.  If you want to keep up with our travels, please check out my travel journal at the link below.  As we go, I'll try to post some pics from time to time.  Upon our return, I'll make more detailed entries about the places we visited along the way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Birthday Blessings



Just "the other day" it seems you were racing around the house with your arms in the air shouting, "Super Greyson!"

Now you're as tall as your father and fit into his suitcoat.

HAPPY  17th BIRTHDAY, GREYSON

As the last one of three in the home, you've brought smiles to our hearts and kept a spring in our steps.  It's been a joy to have you serve along side of us over the past few years on the mission field.  

Our prayer for you is that God will show you where He would have you serve Him in this world and that perhaps, just maybe, it might not be too far from home! 


Psalm 127:3-5

 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What About Praying?

I recently heard conversation about a pastor who said basically that he doesn't sit down to pray any more and wanted to change up the traditional mid-week prayer meeting at his church to not include any sort of small prayer groups or an open public request time.  Why?  His reasons included some of the following - God's almighty and will do what He wants regardless of my constant nagging, group prayer times are mostly gossip sessions, public request opportunities often get long and detailed with one or two hogging the time.  Wow!  Whoa!  Okay?  No Way!

So is group church prayer out of date?  Does prayer make a difference for God?  Or, can we change an infinite God's mind?

1.  Is the traditional group prayer meeting out of date?

Maybe!  In our little Brazilian congregation on Wednesday nights we have a short devotional Bible study and a time for spoken praises and prayer requests, then we divide into small groups for a period of joint prayer.  Sometimes the praises are old news and the requests are long accounts of  the details of some unknown to anyone's cousin's disease.  Sometimes the small groups are too big and sometimes there's more chit-chat than actual prayer.  How do you fix that?  You could just cut out the prayer time.  Or, you could train the people involved to do their job more efficiently.  Yeah, it takes some work and there will be "off task" moments, but the rewards of sharing praise and problems with the church family are worth it.  Set some rules for requests.  Repeat them frequently.  Let people know that if their request goes on for more than so many minutes the leader might say  "Thank you, very much" and move along.  But think about, how are younger Christians going to learn to pray, if they never hear an older man or woman do it?  How can the family, the members, be better "knit together" as a body in Christ without participating in the joys and griefs of others?

I can remember the men and women in the little Free Methodist church where my family attended in Baltimore, Maryland kneeling down between the pews to pray on prayer nights.  I can still see many of their faces with eyes closed as they prayed for strayed youth, sick family, the church work, missionaries.  Seeing older Christians in fervent prayer for others had a big impact on my life as a young girl.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up... James 5: 13 - 15

2.  Does prayer make a difference for God?  Can we change God's mind?

Is the future set in stone?  The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Does that indicate that everything is already written in the great annals of time and cannot be altered?  I'm a big fan of science fiction and some of my favorite works and movies have to do with time travel.  But here and now, through prayer, can I really make a difference in what is supposedly or seemingly going to happen?   If God is really the holder of the keys of that great book of all events, can my feeble human prayers have any effect at all?

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.  James 5:16 -18

I don't think you could find a clearer passage then this!  Confess your sins and pray and God will answer.  Will we always SEE those answers in our life time?  Maybe not,  God is on His own time line, but these verses do indicate that good prayer of fessed up believers AVAILS.  It doesn't say how long it might take.  It just says that God will answer.  That's good enough for me.

Lastly, prayer is our time to speak directly, one-on-one with our creator God.  So many times in my life, just telling my problems to my Daddy without his even saying much at all in return, put me on the right path.  It's almost like I knew what I needed to do, but after sharing my burdens, I was ready to act.  Perhaps prayer is partly that - looking to our Great God for the wisdom to put into action what needs to be done.  It's a time to rest on God's wisdom and ask for help.

Let's not give up on talking to God - individually in private and collectively at church.  God is still answering prayer in big and small ways all around the world.  Having problems with your church prayer times?  Change it up!  But don't give it up!

Dalton Atha, left, was saved in 2016 after people all over the world had prayed for the past three years.  Doug Reiner, middle, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April 2016.  For the past year hundreds of people have been participating and continue in round the clock prayer for him and his family.  Today he is still alive and seen some improvement.  William Atha, right, is a faithful, effectual praying man!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Long Haul Prayers

Have you ever wondered how long you should keep a certain person on your prayer list?  A year, 5 years, 10?  How long is enough?  Take a moment and hop over to my other blog to read about one man that was on a prayer list for twenty some years and another for just three.  When you're done, think again.  How long is really enough?  If God's in control, do our prayers make some difference?  In my next blog post here at the Cactus Flower, I plan to consider these questions.  The big blue link will take you to my story post for my nephews about praying for a uncle...


Stories by Aunt Michele: Long Haul Prayers 


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.



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