October 26, 2010
Many of you who are avid readers of this blog will remember that during our first term we made several trips to the city of Exu in support of our good friends, Pastor Edson and his wife Marli. Some of you may even remember that they have bought land and are looking to build. I recently received a communication with the good news that plans have been drawn up, and the first phases of the construction have begun.
Here is a look at the floor plan for the proposed building...
...and here is a computer-generated image of the finished product.
Finances are still an issue for this project. If you would like to help them move forward, please send me an e-mail and I will let you know how this can be done.
The Embrace of the Redeemer
From RioGringa comes this amazing video of a projection that was done on the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. Scenes of Rio are shown, followed by an amazing sequence in which the statue appears to actually bring it's hands to it's chest in an embrace. The whole piece was done as part of a campaign against sexual abuse of children and teens.
Would that Rio--and Brazil as a whole--would embrace the true Christ, who indeed stands with arms outstretched to embrace them.
Side note: The accompanying music is by Brazilian composer Villa Lobos.
Talk back to the missionary: What do you think of this display? Opine in the comments section.
October 23, 2010
A Brazilian In Snow
It snowed in Upstate New York yesterday. My lovely wife, aka The Brazilian Bombshell, was thrilled. She and the boys went out and cavorted in the falling white stuff.
Me? I stayed inside and shivered.
Talk back to the missionary: What about you? Does snow mean "party time" or "turn up the thermostat and put on extra layers of clothing"?
October 21, 2010
Latin Musical Interlude: "L. Beethoven" becomes "El Beethoven"
For the second time in a row, our musical interlude comes to us via Abraham Piper's blog. In this video, the ever-popular 5th Symphony is played as a salsa. For someone who loves Latin and classical music, it doesn't get much better than this.
Talk back to the missionary: Salsa goodness or sacrilege? Give us your opinion of this fusion in the comments section.
October 20, 2010
Stuff that's Changed: Americans Now Use Play Money
For the last five years we have been dismayed at the continual spiral in the value of the dollar. Now, I'm no expert, but could it have something to do with the coins you all are using now? They feel like they are made out of tin, and there are about as many different designs as there are coins.
It reminds me of the Brazilian currency back in the days of hyper-inflation...and that's kind of scary.
Oh, and one more thing: is it just me, or did they give Washington a more pronounced double chin in the new quarter pictured above? I remember when there was a debate about publishing a "skinny Elivs" or "fat Elvis" stamp, but isn't a "skinny Washington" and a "fat Washington" coin taking it a bit to far? He is, after all, the father of our country, which is a little more important than being the king of rock and roll.
Talk back to the missionary: Anybody care to expound on why the new coins feel like they should be in a Monopoly box? Clue us in in the comments section.
October 17, 2010
Apparently last week was "Missionary Max" week, with stories from the series capturing four of the top five spots. Here are the five most popular posts from the week, according to YOU, the reader:
The first in our series on things that have changed in the US since we left for Brazil, this post looks at the ever increasing variety of McCoffee available at our kid's favorite restaurant.
This is chapter 17 of the Missionary Max saga, where Max finds himself in two wrestling matches while visiting Yamani people. One of them is a friendly tussle, the other one, not so much.
What happens when a jungle tribe decides to go "back to it's roots"? The Yamani do, and the results are not good for Max and the beautiful Ilana.
In this ninth chapter of the series, a surprised Max finds himself a guest of the beautiful Ilana at a formal ball in Cabrito's presidential mansion.
What do the tropical island of Cabrito and the ancient Palestinian city of Ziklag have in common? Find out in the eleventh chapter of the Missionary Max saga.
Talk back to the missionary: What is your favorite post on the Comings Communiqué? Let us know in the comments section.
October 16, 2010
Stuff that's Changed: "Fail" is a Noun
When we left for Brazil in 2005, the word "fail" was a verb. The noun form of said verb was "failure". Now, however, it is common to hear the phrase "That was a fail." And if the event being described is of a particularly unsuccessful nature, the word "fail" is often modified by "epic".
Example: "That guy just rode his bicycle off the roof of a barn and into a manure wagon! Epic fail, dude!"
Talk back to the missionary: Ever been witness (or party) to an "epic fail"? Tell us about it in the comments section.
Puppets Brazil Continues to Grow
I just received the following video from Cicero and Nice, showing their latest presentation, to a group of kids in Porto Velho. The first part of the video is a report on the local affiliate of a national TV network. Nice appears at about 1:18, talking about how their presentations include cultural stories and biblical lessons to "teach the children Christian values".
The second part of the video are some stills that Cicero put together of the event.
We are so proud to have been a part of the beginning of this great ministry!
Talk back to the missionary: Leave your opinions and questions in the comments section.
October 14, 2010
Just a Reminder...
Talk back to the missionary: What are you doing leaving a comment here? Go over to Missionary Blogs, and don't forget to mention your all-time favorite missionary blog in the whole world.
October 13, 2010
Stuff that's Changed: McDonalds Has Become Starbucks
Since arriving in the US in July, there have been several changes we have noticed in everyday life in the US--things that were different when we left in October of 2005. Over the next several weeks I will chronicle some of them here.
First up, McDonalds.
When we left for Brazil, you could get two kinds of coffee at McDonalds: regular and decaff. Now, in addition to these two, you can get mocha, ice mocha, ice coffee (in several flavors including vanilla and hazelnut), caramel frappés and mocha frappés.
What ever happened to burgers and fries.
Also, where did the super size go?
Talk back to the missionary: Can you think of anything else that has changed in the last five years? Leave it in the comments section, and we just might feature it in its own post.
October 12, 2010
Musical Interlude: Awesome Guitar, Botswana Style
Via Abraham Piper's blog (which is a continual source of coolness) comes this amazing musician from Botswana, and his incredibly bored sidekick.
Talk back to the missionary: Got an interesting video you think would make a great musical interlude? Leave a comment and the link in the comments section!
Book Review: Uncle Sam's Plantation by Star Parker
The provocative title is what caused me to choose this book as my next BookSneeze review. I figured that with such an over-the-top tagline, the content must be bold and hard-hitting.
I was not disappointed.
When author Star Parker refers to the "plantation" she is talking about the destructive addiction of many (and she focuses in on her own African-American community) to government assistance. And Parker knows what she is talking about. For years her life was on a downward spiral of welfare, drug abuse, and sexual promiscuity that led to multiple abortions. According to her account, she had a wake-up call while listening to a message at church, and God helped her turn her life around. Since then she has been a business owner, a talk-show host, and is currently running for Congress.
Parker pulls no punches in this book. She accuses the liberals of "hijacking history". She divides the poor into three groups, one of which she names "the lazy poor". She lists the categories of the welfare system (EANF, Food Stamps, etc) and describes in great detail how they form a vicious cycle that dooms the poor to be even more dependent on Uncle Sam, and less motivated to become productive members of society. Her descriptions are at times graphic, and her logic is unassailable.
In this reviewer's opinion--based on experience working in sectors where living on welfare is the norm--every thinking American needs to read this book. Taking the principles Parker outlines very seriously is the only way we can start toward a solution.
The only problem I had with this particular book is that it is and updated version--and this creates a little confusion. It is obvious that parts of it were written during the Bush administration, and others after Obama had been inaugurated.
Having said that, what Star Parker says is just as relevant now as it was then. The question is, is anybody listening?
Incredibly annoying legal jargon: I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program, with the understanding that I would publish a review of it. I am under no obligation to write a positive review.
October 10, 2010
Here, in case you missed them, are the five most popular posts from last week. Enjoy!
1. At the top of the list was a brief synopsis of the recent Brazilian elections.
2. In second place was this alternate mode of transportation.
4. Think political candidates are clowns? In Brazil an actual clown ran for congress, and he won!
5. Rounding out the five most popular posts, we have this picture of the 2010 graduating class from the Cariri Baptist Seminary.
Bonus post: There is still time to help a missionary blogger (*cough* like this one *cough*) win a free Kindle.
Talk back to the missionary: Questions? Observations? Leave them in the comments section.
October 6, 2010
Musical Interlude: Praise Him With Strings and PIPE!
Perhaps the psalmist did not have this kind of pipe in mind when he penned Psalm 150, but this group of bagpipers played Amazing Grace as only a group of bagpipers could.
I filmed this at the Pumpkin Fest in Corltand, NY. I was using our point-and-shoot camera, so the sound is not that great. Still, it makes my Scottish heart beat proud.
I should mention that the very non-Scottish Brazilian Bombshell thinks this sounds like cats fighting. I told her it was a Scottish thing, she wouldn't understand--although we have featured Brazilian pipers here in the past.
(John) Calvin and (Thomas) Hobbes
October 5, 2010
The New MissionaryMobile?
Fell in love with this vehicle at the PumkinFest in downtown Cortland, NY last week. We are thinking about selling the van and traveling to the remainder of our furlough meetings "old skool".
PS. We aren't REALLY thinking about selling the van...especially with winter quickly approaching!
October 4, 2010
Preliminary Election Results in Brazil
For those of you who depend on this blog for all your information regarding Brazil, this just in: It looks like there will be a run-off between the first and second-place winners in today's presidential elections. Dilma Rousseff and José Serra will battle it out until October 31st.
In other news, the popular clown known as Tiririca has apparently won his bid for election to the Brazilian congress. And lest any of my American friends think it odd that a clown be elected to public office, I have two words for them: Al Franken.
Talk back to the missionary: Opnions? Quesitons? Sound off in the comments section!
October 2, 2010
How YOU Can Help the Missionary (without spending a dime)
Here are the rules, from his blog:
Leave a comment on this post mentioning (and linking to) one of your favourite posts from a Christian missionary blogger. Please be sure to include your email address (not in the post, in the comment form. That way it won’t appear publicly) so that I can contact you! You also must post the country you live in (not the missionary, you).
If you want to get an extra entry, post the link somewhere else. If you post it on a blog, you’ll get 3 bonus entries, if you post it on Twitter, Facebook, or somewhere else, you’ll get 1 bonus entry. But you have to post it and then leave a comment (with a link to where you mentioned it) below.
One detail: Unfortunately my Brazilian readers won't be able to help, because the missionary must be in a different country from where you live.
A Kindle is something we have been looking to buy this furlough. If we happen to win this contest we of course will be able to apply that money elsewhere.
I know there are a lot of scams that go out over Twitter saying "help me win a free iPad", or other such nonsense. This is real. James is a real person (from Canada, no less) who runs an outstanding blog which aggregates missionary blogs from all over the world.
Talk back to the missionary: For once, I don't want to you comment on this post. Go over to Missionary Blog Watch and post your comment there.
October 1, 2010
Monthly Roundup: Top Ten Posts for September, 2010
The following are the top ten entries (in terms of number of hits) chosen by you the reader throughout the month of September:
1. Burning the Koran, or How Not to Fulfill the Great Commission
A look at the almost-disastrous decision to publicly burn the Koran, from a missionary's perspective.
An update on the financial needs of this ministry. Look for another update in the next few days.
If you haven't contributed a caption for this one, don't miss out!
Not quite sure why this one was so popular this month. O. Henry is one of my favorite authors, and apparently I'm not alone!
A classic case of "lost in translation".
The second part of our report on our recent trip through Ohio and Michigan.
7. Don't Bother, They're Here
A look at one of the more flamboyant candidates in Brazil's upcoming elections.
The first part of our report on the Ohio/Michigan trip.
An exposé of a Brazilian prosperity cult that has set up shop in Houston, Texas.
10. Brazilian Musical Interlude: Corcovado
Brazilian-Japanese vocalist Lisa Ono gives an enchanting rendering of the Bossa Nova classic Corcovado.
Talk back to the missionary: What is your favorite Comings Communiqué post of all time? Leave your answer in the comments section!