Wednesday, October 28, 2009


For those of you who don't use a blog reader (I recommend Google Reader, personally) and frequently check my blog for an update and are met with that sad photo displayed in my previous post, you can rest easy because the construction is over! There was a wedding, the FIRST EVER wedding from our church held in that building, on Saturday, and that was the deadline for all of the construction to be completed. Since a picture says a thousand are like 10,000. Enjoy. :)

Wow...good thing OUR church building doesn't look like that!! How embarrassing! (Or...another appropriate title would be BEFORE.)

Tearing off all the grodiness

Tearing down the three columns...that represented The Trinity. They were left over by the Nazarene church from whom we bought this building. it doesn't have an angled roof anymore...interesting. What will it look like?

Gluing long skinny rocks by one...I feel it was probably a task as tedious as laying a cobblestone street.

Hmm...lookin' good!

This title of this photo is "Sneak Peek" because here comes...


And without the nasty dumpster in front...the dumpster that spent 2 months uglifying our building. This photo was taken this past Sunday, the first Sunday we had worship with the construction (at least on the auditorium...) FINISHED!

So some of you may be wondering why this is so exciting, why I would dedicate two whole blog posts to show you a simple building remodeling project. Well, my friends, because this project was paid for all on our own. Those of you familiar with missions know that many times a mission team will raise funds to build a building, or buy a building. Many times those funds are supplied almost entirely by an American congregation(s). Our congregation is VERY blessed in that it already owns its own building, and has for a long time. (Graciously purchased by the Westover Hills congregation many years ago.) However, when you purchase a 30 year old building, sooner or later some major updates and adjustments will have to be made- not only aesthetic, but structural and legal! (You may or may not notice that the new doors are SIGNIFICANTLY larger than the previous ones. The new ones are up to code.) The new changes were 100% funded by special contributions, the fees paid by our English class students, costs cut in energy conservation (leaving things unplugged, etc.) and a few generous donations by outside visitors. We are blessed to have a church building on a main avenue, in the single largest and most populated neighborhood of Natal, and now we feel like its pretty new face lives up to the wonderful reputation it already has about what goes on inside. May God be glorified through this project! Rejoice with us!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

If this were your church building...

If this were (was?) the facade of your church building, what would you think? Let's play a free-association type game.

*Look at picture*
*Say what comes to mind*

"What is that?"
"Church building? I don't see a church building."
"I didn't know 'Dirt' was an actual paint color..."
"Those 3 columns...what are they for?"
"Oh...that used to be white?"
"May I use the side entrance please?"
"Aww...what a sweet logo..."
" that a two-foot band of red clay tile going up the base of the wall? What in the world?"
"Hmm...maybe they should plant another giant palm tree to cover up the right side, too."

Well, thanks for being so honest....

That picture, which, at one point, to me, was just that...a picture of an actual thing, has now become a portal into the past. Because HALLELUJAH, Glory be to God, were I to stand in the same median at the same time of day and take that exact same picture, the only similarity you would see is a structure with a door in the middle and the same black iron fence surrounding that structure. I'm pretty sure the tree isn't even there anymore, but I'm not really one to pay attention to those kinds of details.*

The remodeling process at CDC has been quite a feat, and a very dusty one, at that, and I have tried my best to document the process with photos. When the final paint coat gets painted and the scaffolding gets taken apart, I will be oh so proud to show you the finished product. Until may go ahead and begin trying to erase thise icky image from your brain.

Like the old adage says, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." My new, church-remodel version goes like this: "You don't know how ugly your building is 'til you make it nicer." Amen.

*Just checked my in-between process photos, and yes, the tree is still there, but there is no need to plant another one. Phew.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Busy Weekend

I got word that I have two very faithful readers who check my blog every single morning, so since I'm working on this "not being verbose so that I blog more frequently" thing, I figured I should try to give them something to read today!

On Saturday I took on every mother-with-junior-high-aged-children's nightmare and invited 14 girls over to spend the night at my house. Granted, none of them were junior-high aged, but if you know Brazilians, you know that sometimes the decibel level reaches that of classic middle-school heights! Kelly, one of the oldest members of our church, will be getting married at the end of this month. Saturday afternoon we had her personal shower, and Saturday night was her "goodbye to singleness" (aka bachelorette) sleepover at my house! We had a lot of fun staying up until the wee hours of the morning chatting and being girly. I felt blessed to be able to offer my apartment for them to use, as it is exactly for this type of reason that I rented this place. The girls really had a great time and Kelly thanked me about 20 times. Andressa, Roberto and Marisa's daughter, always jokes and calls my house "Grandma's house" because anything goes. :) It's true, and I think that the girls were happy to have a place to relax, be able to be silly, and not have any parents coming out and saying "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" (Although I bet my neighbors probably wished they could...oops.)

Sunday we had another English worship service. John and Samantha Jewell, my only American teammates, have decided to return to the United States to work with a church in Miami, FL, so yesterday was one of the last English services that John will lead. It was a great service, and we had some new faces there that have never come before. I always look forward to worshiping in English, although lately it seems like I've been singing a lot of solos! (Have you ever noticed how many songs there are where the women have to echo or sing differently or something? Did you know that I am the one who has to teach those things? Yeah...bummer...)

During the regular Portuguese service we had a special collection for our church building project. We are very blessed to have a really great, spacious building that is ours and we don't have to pay rent on. However, that blessing of a building is about 35 years old and is in need of some serious "reformation," as they say in Portuguese! This was the second special contribution that we have had this year for this purpose, and although our church is small and full of university students (meaning no steady income,) I am always encouraged to see everyone who makes a sacrificial effort to contribute. Our building is used 6 days a week for community outreach, English classes, and church gatherings, so we trust that God will bless our efforts to not only make it prettier but also make the necessary improvements. I'm proud of what our little church has accomplished thus far, and I think you will be, too, when I show you the finished product!