August 27, 2008
It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's...
Mega propz to Shanna for seeing through my secret identity...
He has been content to crawl for some time. Last night he finally stood up and walked.
August 26, 2008
An Evening on the Set
We did a filming session last night, and I am going to try to post some pictures so people can see the kind of setup we work with.
This shows an overall view of our set. The room we use is not very soundproof, and we have to deal with interruptions from time to time. When I get a chance to post one of our more recent clips (hopefully this Saturday) you will be able to hear for yourself that sound is our biggest challenge right now.
This is the best we have been able to do for our puppet mics up until this point.
Another challenge we face is the lack of a raised platform. This makes it necessary for our puppeteers to get themselves into all kinds of weird positions. (The painfully white guy in this picture is me, and the lovely Brazilian to my left is my wife).
This shot shows our entire cast. The woman with the yellow puppet is Nice (pronounced NEE-see).
This is Cicero, Nice's husband (aka "Brazil's answer to Thomas Edison") checking a shot.
Yours Truly checking the script...and apparently choking a puppet. This puppet is the only one we use in our filming that was not made by Nice. He became somewhat of a star of our live performances, and we couldn't leave him out. Also, since he only produces short growls, it lets me be a puppeteer again and not have to worry about my American accent.
Up until last night we used large posters with the script printed on them as prompters for the cast. Last night we decided to use my iMac, and it actually worked pretty well.
August 25, 2008
Blogging has not been a high priority in recent days as I have been slogging through a mountain of tasks. I have, however, been following--off and on--the olympics, particularly as they relate to Brazil. Below are some random observations:
1. What was it this year with the US playing Brazil in just about every final or semifinal?!? This causes much stress within the Comings household.
2. Congratulations to the US women's soccer team on their spectacular win. In case you missed it, here is the goal.
The American goalkeeper Hope Solo was given ample chances to put her money where her mouth was...and made good on them.
3. The announcer for the Brazilian network Globo is unbelievably obnoxious. After the US win over Brazil in women's soccer, I was all prepared to join my wife in cheering for Brazil against the US in the men's beach volleyball final. I even went with my Brazil shirt. After ten minutes of listening to this guy talk about how the Americans were shaking in their boots, and how the Brazilians were going to humiliate them, I switched.
Perhaps someone translated his nonsense for the American players between the second and third sets.
4. Emotional Control. Most of the Brazilians I talk to--and even commentators on TV--are lamenting the Brazilian lack of emotional control this year. From the humiliating defeat the men's soccer team suffered at the hands of Argentina(!), to the tantrum a Brazilian pole vaulter threw when she couldn't find her pole, to the disintegration of the Brazilian beach volleyball duo in the gold medal round--it seemed to be all about control. One Brazilian marveled to me yesterday: "The Americans are so unemotional!"
This highlights one of the main cultural differences between the US and Brazil. It has ramifications for missionary work as well. Many times what seems perfectly logical to us as Americans meets with resistance from our Brazilian colleagues because they analyze it first on an emotional level. Of course this is a generalization--there are emotional Americans and "cool" Brazilians. However, when a missionary to Brazil understands this national "psyche", he can be much more effective in his work. His Brazilian partners can help him see the emotional effect of his decisions, and he can help them see the unattached, logical aspect. Kind of neat when it works. When it doesn't, things can get messy.
August 19, 2008
Panorama of Doctrine Class
Took my camera to our Panorama of Doctrine class. Here are the results.
This last pic is the entire class...plus me...standing in front of the main building.
August 18, 2008
Multiple Caption Challenge
Mikey has been insisting on wearing his cowboy duds just about everywhere as of late. We got some really strange looks in Church on Sunday. Today I got out the camera to make sure this phase of his life was duly recorded, and then messed around with the editing software a little bit, and this is what we came up with.
Anybody want to take a crack at some better captions?
I Think Mark Driscoll Has Better Things to Do With His Time...
I just checked my e-mail, and this was what I found:
A Course Site, of Course
Just created a site for the Panorama of Doctrine course I am teaching using Google Sites. I hope to generate a little interaction outside of the classroom--as well as streamline my paperwork a little. Time will tell how it works.
Youth Conference at Betel
Those who have been following us on Twitter are aware that I have spent considerable time over the last few weeks preparing messages for a weekend youth conference at one of our local churches. I learned a lot through my studies of the subject matter (Hell and the Fear of God), and hope to publish a series of short devotional articles about it in the near future.
For now, however, I am going to content myself with posting some pictures from the weekend.
This (rather dark) picture is of yours truly preaching on Saturday evening. It was a youth conference, so I decided to be a little radical. I didn't wear a tie.
This is me with the Betel youth group (that would be the people standing behind the bright red table that kind of dominates the photo).
Michel (pictured above with me and his wife, Aline) is one of our seminary students who also serves as assistent to the pastor at Betel.
While I was preaching on Friday my son made this little video of me. I'm not saying anything profound--just a few introductory remarks. Still, I think it counts as "The Missionary In Action"(tm).
August 16, 2008
Article Published on ISBC Site
An article I wrote has just been published in the "Voice of the Professor" section of our seminary website. It's in Portuguese, and it deals with what it means to be a Regular Baptist. If you are interested, you can check it out here.
August 11, 2008
Filming in Santana do Cariri
A couple weeks ago I posted about our visit to Santana do Cariri--fossil capital of Brazil. Then yesterday I mentioned we had gone there to do some filming for the TV project. Below are some pictures of our adventures.
This is me setting up a shot. At this point we were preparing to film the very first scene, where Manu arrives at the Cidade Feliz.
This is our actress preparing for the scene.
The camera is rolling. A truck appears over the horizon.
The truck approaches and stops. Manu gets out and thanks the driver (played by yours truly).
After looking at a map, Manu begins walking towards the city.
The sign: Cidade Feliz, 3 kilometers.
We managed to shoot that particular scene in two takes. The next one took longer because people kept walking past.
We also shot several background scenes that will be used when we tape in the studio in front of the greenscreen.
This is me shooting some background footage from the overlook.
We have been preparing for this shooting for many months now--gathering equipment, training puppeteers, writing and re-writing scripts--so it is very exciting to finally begin the shooting process.
August 10, 2008
Vaquejada--Rodeo, Brazilian Style
Yesterday we did some filming at Santana do Cariri (more pics and vids to come, stay tuned...). As we were leaving the city we came upon a group of vaqueiros (Brazilian for "cowpokes") having themselves a little rodeo.
I caught the following on tape.
The object of this game is to catch the calf by the tale while riding full speed on horseback, and flip him over. As you can see from the video, it's not as easy as it sounds.
August 8, 2008
Church Graduation Report and Questionings
Last week I had the privilege of attending the "graduation" service for one of our area congregations--in which it was duly constituted a church.
This is the front of the Filadelfia Regular Baptist Church. The picture doesn't show it, but the church actually has a decent piece of property with ample space for growth and--something that is becoming increasingly important as Brazil's economy grows--parking.
This is me with Marcelino, pastor of Filadelfia Baptist. He is a pastor who is pushing 70, and has more energy than many 30-year-olds that I know.
One of the coolest things about my job as director of ministry internships is how I get to participate in the lives of many churches. In the above picture are seminary students who have worked or are working at the Filadelfia congregation.
From left to right: Ronaldo and his wife Solange (Ronaldo worked at Filadelfia for the entire four years of his course here, and is now a co-pastor), a (temporarily) bearded Andrew, Sheila, and David.
Now a couple observations and questionings that the graduation proceedings provoked.
1. What is our biblical base for starting "congregations" and then graduating them into churches? I recently talked to an experienced missionary on the field who said that, if he had it to do over again, he would start churches and not congregations. Interesting.
2. Are we too protectionist in our outlook? (To give you an example of what I am thinking, a good portion of the constitution had to do with what is to happen should the church dissolve.)
3. If this is protectionism, is this hindering our growth and audacity in "doing ministry"?
4. To what extent, if any, does the infrastructure of the local church overshadow the ministry of the local church?
These are all questions that I am working through as I prepare for future church-planting ministry. They are questions for which I would like to have answers and solutions before I begin. Feel free to answer, expound, and expand in the comments.
August 6, 2008
Considering a Move...Again
Today I looked at some apartments that are just being finished up in the city of Juazeiro. To be more specific, I looked at an apartment on the 18th floor of this building:
There are pros and cons for a move for the Comings family right now.
*An apartment that was actually designed for family living.
*Proximity to just about everything (work, church, school, shopping).
*Because of previous reason, more involvement in our local church.
*Pool that we don't have to take care of.
*Relatively low rent.
*The apartment we would rent is owned by the seminary, so by renting it we would be helping the school's budget. Win-win!
*We would not have to absent ourselves twice a year for the super-secret, mysterious, unspeakable CCC and JCC events (this is a long story...but suffice it to say that this has been a major inconvenience for us this year).
*Did I mention privacy?
*We would have to buy a couple pieces of furniture.
*Contact with seminary students would be limited to business hours, weekend trips to practical ministries, and special seminary events.
Below is a floorplan of the apartment, with helpful annotations by me.
Right now I am leaning toward making a move. There are more details that need to be ironed out. We need more wisdom than we have on this.
I think we have discounted this option for now. I took Itacyara back and we had a closer look. While there are many nice features, there are some things that make the apartment decidedly not suited to us. Please continue to pray with us as we look for God's will regarding a place to live.
August 2, 2008
Following what seems to be somewhat of a trend, I set up a "comingstobrazil.com" page on Facebook. If you are a regular reader, stop on by, become a "fan", leave a note.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you may or may not remember that our plan is to ultimately plant a church in the state of Maranhão. We are currently looking at a city called Chapadinha, a city of around 63,000 people about 3 hours' drive from the capital city of São Luís.
The other day my brother-in-law posted some pictures of Chapadinha online. Here are a few of them:
It's Election Time in Brazil
Would you vote for this guy?
August 1, 2008
The Power of Twitter
Congressman Culberson's Twitter page.
Congressman Hoekstra's Twitter page.
My Twitter page.