Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hi, Cris...

Hello, my name is Cris, and this is my first time to BBA (Bad Bloggers Anonymous.) I fell off the blogging wagon just over a month ago, and am trying to get clean again. I hope that all of you here will be able to forgive me for my negligence, and I trust, in accordance with the nature of the BBA program, that you will welcome me back with love and forgiveness.

My absence is justified but not excusable, and I have so much to catch you up on! I am currently at the church building playing secretary for the LST team, so I am without a file of pictures to post, but I will give you a written update and then add the pictures later.

I had a WONDERFUL but QUICK two week "vacation" in the US of A at the end of May with my college friends and family. The first week was spent in the Dallas/Ft Worth area for wedding festivities, and then the second was spent in Edmond with my family. The wedding was beautiful, the bride was beautiful-er, and getting to spend a few days with my friends was priceless. [Insert wedding pic here.] My parents drove down for the wedding and took me home the next day (thanks, guys. Gas prices are unbelievable...) and I got to see the inside of my parents' completely remodeled house and do some necessary WalMart shopping. I spent good, sarcastic time with Sister and Sister's husband, including gelatto. It was no Freddy's Frozen custard, but I suppose it was still sufficient. :) I also got to hang out with my high school friends and double my body weight in Mexican food. [Insert pic here, of HS friends, not body weight.]

THEN the craziness began. The same day that I was to leave the US to come back to Natal, my parents and their LST team were scheduled to leave the US and...come to Natal. It was quite the zoo getting three people ready for an international trip under the same roof, but we managed and all came out alive. When we arrived in Natal on Tuesday I couldn't stop smiling. I was so proud to show my parents where I live and introduce them to all my friends. We hit the ground running (ok..we actually just hit the ground and stayed there. 30+ hours of travel is TIRING.) and had their LST information meeting on Wednesday night. [Insert information meeting pic here.] There was a good turnout, considering it is the end of the semester at the university, and we signed up about 25 new readers. Since then, as always, tons of new people have called to sign up, and their team is almost to capacity (i.e. 15 readers apiece). As soon as they all fill up and feel good about it I will begin accepting new readers. It's worked out, though, because Sergio, who usually plays LST secretary/advertiser/information giver/GURU has been busier than in previous years, so I have been helping him with answering phones, signing up readers, making schedules, making party invitations, giving directions, etc. Although I haven't been spending much time in actual reading sessions, I feel like I've been working harder these few weeks than ever before, and I go home completely zombified every night! [No zombie picture to be inserted here, sorry.]

Last week we had the first party, with a Valentine's Day theme because it happened to fall on Brazilian "couples day." [Insert party pic here.] We invited all the single people we know and had a GREAT turnout! It was so fun and really got the party thing off to a good start. I don't consider myself a party planner, and assumed that I came by it genetically, so needless to say I was a bit concerned that out of 4 LST party planners, 3 of them were Carpenters. Like...not a bit concerned...really worried...but WOW did God bless it! We had 42 people, about half and half readers and church members. One reader even brought his mom, cousin, and two aunts. We expect the party this Thursday to have an even bigger turnout considering it's not a romantic holiday, and we are already planning to go out with the Baseball theme, including hot dogs, cracker jacks, baseball shirts, and home run derby. Check back this weekend for photos of that...I'm really excited. I'd also like to take the oppportunity to give a shout out to my Mom. She has done a GREAT job with the party planning, tiring herself out to make them fun and innovative. In fact, she's upstairs right now researching good Baseball party games! Three cheers for you, Mom!

So I've really loved having my family here. The only way it could be better is if Kelly and Mark were here. It has felt so natural for them to be here and be involved in my life in Natal. The church has welcomed them and asked my Dad to do a lot of teaching. I can't believe their project is already half over! I don't think we've taken any pictures together, which Carpenters are also famous for, but if we had I would [insert it here].

So, please check back another day for the pictures. I will make sure we take a family pic at the party on Thursday. Please keep this project and all that it entails (reading sessions, parties, English worship services, Bible studies, etc) in your prayers. God has shown His hand in every detail, and we are grateful for the people He has sent to us. And FYI, the bracketed [insert party pics here] are not reminders for myself, they are for you to know that you can come back later and there will be pictures to look at. :) I'm not that lame...

Have a good week!!