December 27, 2007
The Lilies of the Field
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
The above verse has special meaning to our family right now. We are being reminded once again how we are totally dependent on God's provision.
Let me start at the beginning. Most of you are aware that the house we were renting got sold out from under us back in May. Since then we have been living in the home graciously provided for us by a missionary couple who are on furlough. They return at the end of January.
For the past month, we have been planning on renting a house close to the seminary. It is owned by an elderly couple who are planning on moving to smaller, more manageable quarters in January.
Or I should say, "were planning". The last time we talked to them, they were gung-ho for us to move into the house. They told us to come back after Christmas in order to set a date when we could move in. Therefore, on December 26th, I came knocking on their door. The lady of the house answered, and after we exchanged pleasantries, she dropped the bomb:
"My husband asks if you can come back after new years, because we have not talked to our daughter yet to find out what she thinks about us moving, and we have not settled on a place to live."
I was floored. They had always made it clear that they had already had a place to go, and had never intimated that they were needing their children's approval first.
This had all the appearances of the beginnings of a Brazilian way of letting someone down easy. It happens all the time. For example, let's say someone agrees to fix your computer on such and such a day. You call, and they say "Oh, today is not good. Call tomorrow." You call tomorrow, and you hear a story about how the piece that they need has not arrived, and it will take a couple of weeks. If you are persistent enough to call back in a couple of weeks you will get the bad news that the piece is no longer available.
Of course, the guy knew it was not available shortly after he agreed to fix your computer, but he did not want to lose face by saying so, so he plays a delaying game in the hopes that you will get the message.
Back to the house. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but both Itacyara and I are fairly sure that the decision not to rent it has already been made, and now the face saving(!) delaying dance has begun.
The only detail is that we really need a place to live. Today I acted on a lead, and found a beautiful house that--according to my sources--was well within our price range. Upon further research, however, we discovered that our sources were less than accurate. The actual rental cost came out to nearly three times what we had originally been told--way out of our price range.
So here we are. Tomorrow Itacyara and I will take a day off and traipse all over town (actually, two towns) looking for rental units that will meet our needs. Meanwhile, we have two major camp events to plan for February, reports to write for the BMM field conference in January, a message to prepare for Sunday, and...well...you get the idea.
On the day after Christmas, while I was talking with the lady who owns the house we had originally planned on renting, I explained to her the tough place this delay was putting us in. She replied by saying "It's ok, Jesus will take care of you." I must admit, that phrase was not appreciated by me at the moment.
Yet, while she is an unbeliever, she was unintentionally correct. We are in Christ's hands. He has never left us homeless before.
I started out writing simply to ask for your prayers. As sometimes happens, I got carried away. We do appreciate your prayers. I am looking forward to writing in a few weeks to tell you how God intervened on our behalf. Whatever happens, we are determined to trust Him, praise Him, and love Him.
Beware of Falling Penguins
My parents got Mikey a game for Christmas, the object of which is to gingerly place plastic penguins in tenuous positions on a shaky iceberg.
As can be seen in the pictures, the teens at our house on Christmas day were enthralled.
"Peace"ful Christmas at the Comings'
As a boy, I remember going to my grandparents' home for the holidays. Invariably the extended family would be there, and on Christmas Day the table would be loaded with delicious food. Laughter and merriment could be heard throughout the house. Outside, snow would be blustering. Somewhere in the distance, Bing Crosby would be crooning "White Christmas".
On Christmas day this year we managed to create a good part of that atmosphere here in northeastern Brazil--minus the snow, of course.
The table was indeed groaning with delicious food...
...and our home was full of the sound of laughter and merriment coming from the mouths of fourteen young people from Peace Baptist Church. When we all got around the table, it made for a regular Christmas feast.
And although it was Il Divo doing the crooning instead of Bing Crosby, "White Christmas" could still be heard in the distance.
We missed being able to spend Christmas with the extended family this year (we were not able to get to Maranhão as we had planned to visit Itacyara's family), but we thank God for the opportunity he gave us to host this "adopted" family of young people.
December 24, 2007
Feliz Natal and Merry Christmas
Just a quick Merry Christmas to all of our friends and supporters around the world. The Comings family is busily preparing for a full holiday schedule, including hosting a get-together of about ten young people from our church tomorrow afternoon.
The whole reason we are in Brazil today is because over two thousand years ago Christ took on human form in order to redeem a people for His name. May your Christmas season find you experiencing much family warmth, and remembering the miracle of the Incarnation.
December 19, 2007
I spent a good part of yesterday coming up with the promotional poster for this year's Carnaval Retreat at the Iguatu Camp. Below is the result.
The more I use Comic Life, the more I like it, and the more uses I find for it.
December 12, 2007
Yes, this is our youngest, Nathanael. The picture is begging for a caption. Have at it! For more pictures of the cutest baby alive (and his equally good-looking older brother) click here.
Concert Post Script
We took the picture, and the comic wrote itself.
December 2, 2007
Puppet Test Video
For the past two Saturdays we have been holding intensive training sessions for perspective puppeteers in the TV program. Below is a little test video we did. The quality of sound and image is poor. Also, the weird transitions are due to the fact that I am trying out different effects on our video editing software. You may notice things like that on a lot of the video we post from now on.
December 1, 2007
Can It Be True?
Nah...just a friend of mine with too much free time on his hands and Photoshop (TM) on his computer. Take a look.
Mikey in space...
Would you eat at this restaurant?