September 25, 2007

Shanna's Mad Skilz

My friend Shanna Riddle has been attending the ABWE ADEPT seminar this past week where she has been learning how to apply her graphic design skills to missionary presentations. Below are is a picture she did with a partner in 15 minutes that won her a competition.

She also did some "representin'" at the seminary, using one of my pictures to practice on. Is this an example of cross-mission cooperation?

Posted by Andrew at 6:08 PM
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Boy do I Feel Sheepish

Got to the Fortaleza airport this morning to meet Pastor Piatt, who will be speaking at our conference. One small problem: he doesnt arrive until tomorrow.

Sigh. Well, Mikey and I get to spend a day together in Fortaleza. Fun!

Posted by Andrew at 7:06 AM
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September 20, 2007

Itacyara Teaches English

One of our missionaries is on a short trip to the US, and Itacyara is filling in for her in her English II class here at the seminary.

Explaining things right.

The happy students.

I remember when we were first married, and Itá spoke nary a word of English. Now she is teaching it to college students here in Brazil. I'm so proud. *snif*

Posted by Andrew at 5:20 PM
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Palestinians Relocating to Brazil

clipped from www.unhcr.org
Thirty-five elated Palestinians boarded a plane at Amman's international airport on Thursday and flew off to a new life in Brazil after years of hardship in an isolated desert camp in Jordan.
They will be settled in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul state. The Palestinians will receive rented accommodation, furniture and material assistance. Employment profiles are being analysed to ensure job opportunities for all, while Portuguese classes will be given.
"I am very thankful and happy that Brazil has accepted us in their country," said Hamadan. "We will work hard, learn the language and try to give something back to the Brazilians who embrace us in their country," added the cigar-puffing 62-year-old, whose only regret was that he could not take the camp cats with him.
 blog it
This is a very generous offer on the part of the Brazilian government. And still I ask--where are the oil-rich Arab countries taking the lead in helping the Palestinian refugees? Why does an economically emerging country like Brazil have to shoulder the burden?

Posted by Andrew at 4:45 PM
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Banned Textbook in Brazil

The editor of an eighth-grade text book that praises the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong and Cuba's communist government is crying foul after the Brazilian government stopped using the book in public schools.
 blog it
The fact that this book was banned is amazing. It must have had some real off-the-wall stuff to get banned in Brazil. The leftists have almost total control of the educational system here.

Posted by Andrew at 4:36 PM
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Puppetry School in Currais Novos

Some weeks ago a good friend of mine, Radyfran, paid me a visit here in the Cariri. As he had been instrumental in helping me start the puppet team here at the seminary, I took him by to show him the Cidade Feliz operation. He became very enthused, and invited us to do one of our puppetry seminars in the city Currais Novos where he currently works. Last weekend we made the six-hour trek and put on the seminar. It was a roaring success.

The following are pictures of the event, as well as sites along the way.

On the road again! Cicero snapped this picture of a very concentrated missionary.

We arrived just in time to set up shop and give the first session. Twenty people were present to take the course.

As always, the highlight of the event is when the students get to make their own puppets. Here some new puppets and their puppeteers sit around and chat.

This is me showing them just how it is done.

On Saturday morning we had some free time to visit some of the surrounding attractions. The dominating feature of this area was this cone-shaped mountain.

There is also this rock, shaped like a giant cashew friut. I tried in vain to push it over.

This picture deserves a caption...I'm just not sure what.

Something people in the US don't see every day--a truck full of cacti.

We had the unique opportunity to have the students present short puppet skits to the whole church on Saturday evening. Here, one of the groups waits in the wings for their turn.

Caution: Puppeteers at work.

This is the audience that gathered to watch the presentations.

The program continued later that afternoon. After it was all done, we got pictures of everybody that took the course, and their new little friends.

After the event was over, it was time to pack up and go home.

On the way we passed the "Riacho Sem Nome" (Creek without a name). Further investigation revealed that it was also without water.

We arrived home late Sunday afternoon, exhausted, but at the same time energized by the great reception we had received at Currais Novos.

Posted by Andrew at 4:35 PM
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Little City

A few weeks ago I was in Fortaleza, and I was able to go see a model train setup that I had been hearing about for months. Below are a few pictures. More on my photo page.

Welcome to Little City. The sign is in English, and many of the construction kits are from the US, but the builders are Brazilian. This makes for some interesting mixtures of Brazilian and American culture.

Suburbia...

...in the shadow of a medieval castle. Doesn't get much better than that.

What is the "Prairie Star Milling Company" doing in Fortaleza, Brazil?

Downtown.

Traffic was terrific.

This is the most impressive skyline I have ever seen in a train layout.

One of several soccer courts that dot the landscape. Definitely Brazilian.

What would a train layout be without a tunnel. Or two. Or ten.

Even in an HO scale layout the Catholic Church dominates.

A more modest Protestant church.

The Coca Cola train!

Posted by Andrew at 4:20 PM
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Student Reports

Last year--long before things got really crazy--I would post on this blog some of the prayer requests given by students in their ministry internships. This week I decided to do it again. Who knows, I may make it into a semi-regular thing.

Evaldísio, a first year student, is rejoicing that his congregation of 15 members in the little city of Quixariu had about 70 visitors this week.

Diego asks for prayer for Ricardo--a young person from the church where he works in Barbalha--to accept Christ.

Freshman Israel is praising God that one of his Sunday School students behaved in an excellent manner this week. There was no word on the others.

Júnior
is excited for Paulo Henrique, a child who accepted Christ during the children's service. (Júnior works at our home church, Peace Baptist in Juazeiro)

Carlos Heron asks for prayer for more open doors in the Grangeiro neighborhood where he works, especially among the adults who are the most difficult to reach.

Marcos Paulo
would like us to pray for a lady in the church who is being persecuted by one of her neighbors--as well as for two members who have required discipline.

Edson--a senior--is praising God for one person who was saved, and another who returned to the church--as well as for the fact that both showed up for evangelism class later that day.

Posted by Andrew at 10:15 AM
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September 12, 2007

Saved by a Tomato?

When we do our puppetry seminars (as we will be doing this weekend), I always emphasized to the students that puppetry is not just for kids. I often use the illustration of Bugs Bunny episodes I watched when I was small. I got a kick out of the falling anvils and pies in the face. Today I watch the same episodes (confession time!) and get a kick out of the cultural references--such as the episode where every line is from Shakespeare. I would never have picked up on that at five.

For this reason I try to embed truths in puppet scripts that I write that will speak to both children and adults. One of my main models for this type of communication is Phil Vishcer's Veggietales (yeah yeah, I know Big Idea is technically not his company anymore...he is still the creator, he still writes some stories and consults on the others...he still does the voices). His most recent blog post linked an amazing story that goes to the heart of why I invest time and effort in the puppet ministry. Read it, and see if you see Bob the Tomato the same way again.

Posted by Andrew at 8:16 PM
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September 11, 2007

English IV

To the list of my responsibilities was added this semester the teaching of English IV.

It is a fun class, very eager to learn. As always, I enjoy the classwork part...not the paperwork part.

Posted by Andrew at 8:48 PM
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New Brazilian Blog

I just helped one of our outstanding area pastors, Almir Marcolino Tavares, set up his own blog. Pastor Almir is theology professor here at the seminary and pastors the Novo Juazeiro Regular Baptist Church. If you are one of the Portuguese-speakers who frequents these pages, you will find Pastor Almir to be insightful, profound, and edifying.

If you do not speak Portuguese...you can check out his profile pic.

Posted by Andrew at 7:36 PM
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Speaking of Burger King

Driving through around Fortaleza last week, I saw this Burger King ad:

The title, "McAdeus" means "McGoodbye".

Posted by Andrew at 7:08 PM // Comments: 0 // TrackBack: 0 //
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September 7, 2007

When Nations Get Together To Negotiate...

...spelling?
Brazil and Portugal have signed a few orthographic (spelling) reform agreements in the past, but could never come to an understanding.
Brazil - Brazzil Magazine - Will Brazil and Portugal Ever Agree on a Common Language?

Posted by Andrew at 10:15 AM
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September 5, 2007

Burger King

I reported some time ago on the arrival of the Buger King chain here in Brazil. Today, I ate there for the first time.

It is the same old Burger King. Flame broiled, made your way, yadda yadda yadda.

One amazing feature: Free refills. Commonplace in the US, unheard of here in Northeastern Brazil. Sure there were big signs explaining "refill etiquette" (one cup per person, etc), and a guard (unarmed) was there to make sure nobody tried to take more than their share.

Still, it was free refills.

Posted by Andrew at 4:56 PM
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September 3, 2007

Homosexuals in Brazil using lawsuits to silence Christians

If you think the gay movement and runaway judges are wreaking havoc in the US, you need to read the following article about what is going on here in Brazil:
Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender People (ABGLT) is attempting to silence its opponents, especially Christians, with a flurry of lawsuits designed to take advantage of the pro-homosexual atmosphere in the country.According to a report by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman of Lifesite.net, the organization has filed lawsuits against various websites for exposing the fact that the leader of Brazil's homosexual movement, Luiz Mott, is a promoter of pedophilia and pederasty?The sites, Media Without a Mask, the Christian Apologetics Research Center, and Jesussite, are accused of ?charlatanism, infamy, defamation, and calumny?, for having quoted Mott's numerous statements endorsing sex with children and adolescents,? Hoffman writes.
So...the problem was not that he promoted pedophilia, but that somebody had the gall to report it. Surely it can't get more sinister that this, can it? Oh yes it can. Read on.
Although a law has been proposed to prohibit criticism of homosexuality, it has not yet passed. Nonetheless, many Brazilian judges simply act as if such a prohibition already exists. "They are proceeding as if the law existed...They want to force the parliament to approve the law, so they act as if the law were approved already. Many Brazilians believe that this law actually exists. It's a kind of psychological fraud," said Carvalho.
Homosexuals in Brazil using lawsuits to silence Christians

Brazilian judges really do have that much power, and are not afraid to use it...as was demonstrated when one judge--offended at the US practice of fingerprinting foreigners--ordered all Americans to be fingerprinted.

Pray for believers here. The time may come more quickly than we think when we will need to make a costly stand for what we believe.

Posted by Andrew at 7:09 PM
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Happy Birthday, Mikey

Please join me in wishing our oldest, Michael Andrew Comings, a very happy sixth birthday!

Posted by Andrew at 10:15 AM
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Caption Challenge for 09-03-2007

Posted by Andrew at 9:58 AM
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Sights of Belem: The Zoo

My morning exploration in Belem took me to a very nice nature park/zoo. While there, I saw some amazing animals.

This is a Brazilian animal called an Anta.

Closeup of a chamaleon.

This shot dedicated to Pastor Piatt.

Like an alligator among turtles?

When called by a panther, don't anther. Ogden Nash

It's hard to see because of the fence, but there is actually a very large otter in there.

Colorful birds.

Posted by Andrew at 9:34 AM // Comments: 0 // TrackBack: 0 //
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Book of the Week: The Dangerous Book for Boys

With the birth of my second son, I have decided that I need to brush up on the art of raising boys. I was an "indoor kid" myself--much preferring the company of books to that of my pals. My six-year-old is not displaying any of those tendencies, and my two-month-old is already showing signs that he is going to keep me running.

With that in mind, and determined to brush up on my skills in all things pertaining to little boys, I bought "The Dangerous Book for Boys" based on reviews I had read. I have not been disappointed.

The book covers everything from how to build the world's best paper airplane to the stories of famous battles. Other chapters include how to play make a "go-kart" and how to deal with girls.

I can see this providing for hours of "Dad-Mikey-and-Nathan" time in the Comings household.

If you have boys of your own, or if you feel like you may have missed out on some of the essentials of growing up (like knowing how to make a simple trip wire), this book is definitely for you.

Posted by Andrew at 9:26 AM
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New BMM Brazil Blog

I just found out that fellow Baptist Mid Missions missionaries Ben and Dani Jacobs have entered the wonderful world of blogging. Actually, according to their archives, they have had it since May. They are doing a wonderful work in the southern part of Brazil, in the same city as fellow BMM blogger Mike Jewel.

That brings the total of BMM blogs (counting mine) to seven.

Posted by Andrew at 8:49 AM
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