Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome To Brasília

Well its been about two and a half weeks since we've arrived here in Brasilia and we're just getting settled down enough to write about all that has happened. These days have been a blur but the overall sensation is one of being tremendously blessed by God not only to be living here but also in so many of the small details of life. 

We were greeted at the airport by a joyful group of christians singing "O happy day" and holding a huge welcome sign for us. We were overwhelmed by the joy and love that was expressed by the church that day. 

After that we moved into a hotel which would become our temporary home while we looked for apartments. The disciples took care of us and encouraged us that it would probably only be four to six weeks that we'd be in the hotel. The first day we were confronted not by tropical summer heat as expected but by cool air and rain all day. We found out that we are in the middle of the rainy season and some times it rains continuously for days. That didn't stop us as we got started on the incredibly long list of things to do to get life setup here in Brazil. 

Jorge Bittencourt, the brother who has been the main leader of the church here took 10 of his vacation days to take us around to look for apartments, buy furniture etc. Thank you Jorge, we could not have done it without you!!

On just the second day of being here we identified apartments, looked at a few and decided on one. Jorge told us it would still take a few weeks to get all the documents arranged. But, in just one of the many examples of God's grace on us, we were able to secure the apartment and start moving in after just one week!! We are so grateful for the place God has given us as it has ample space for our family and is located just a 10 minute walk from the University of Brasilia (UnB) campus. 

One week after arriving we were able to have the privilege of receiving a visit from my old college roommate Vernon Harris and his wife Muthoni.  For 6 months they are traveling around the world, taking in the sights and encouraging as many disciples as possible. I hadn't seen Vernon for over 5 year so it was crazy to meet here in Brazil. We showed them around our new home city and had a great time as they helped us move into our apartment. You can click here if you want to read more about their adventures. 

The main hallway at UnB
The last thing I want to share about is the "Bate- Papo" (Bible discussion) that we've been able to participate in at UnB. The university has around 30,000 students and is recognized as one of the best in Brazil. Many students come to UnB hoping to get good government jobs. Our main focus in being here is to reach out to these students and teach them about the Gospel. Currently our group consists of Pedro, Hamilton, Ana Cristina and Kay and I. Another sister also works at the university and is able to participate some times. Yesterday we went out to invite people (our first time in portuguese) and were able to see a few students come out. By the end twelve people were talking about Jesus and their lives. It gave us a great vision for what God will do in the future at UnB. 

Thanks again to everyone who has supported us and encouraged us. Please keep us in your prayers, that we may learn portuguese and that our lives can bring much glory to God here in Brazil. Até mais!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Missionary Supporters

Today I want to take a few minutes just to lift up all of those who are Missionary Supporters. There are numerous people that in the last few weeks have helped us immensely and made our departure to Brazil possible. Certainly God calls all of us who are disciples of Jesus to be involved in teaching others the Gospel, but these few have recently gone above and beyond. 

I want to thank all the people who have housed us. We moved out of our house on December 18 and have since then been able to count on the hospitality and love of the following special people: Grandma and Grandpa (Jim & Dottie) Allison in Oregon, Ian & Crystal Scott in Gainesville, Colleen Parramoure, and Mike and Maritza Swabb in Orlando, Bob & Barb Owens  and  Denice Janis in Broward Al & Mimi Gonzalez (the best next-door neighbors ever), Ralph & Aileen Ojeda and Thomas & Tina Allison in Palm Beach. Its a bit of a scary feeling to not have a place you can call "home", but because of each of you we have felt at home even in this time of transition. THANK YOU!!

There are others who have supported us either financially or in special way through prayer and friendship. I want to thank Chris Overstreet for her special love from Gainesville, and Loni Charters, Evelyn Clayton, Cindy Whitaker and Dot Nelson for their support from Orlando. We know that you and many others wish to remain unnamed and unnoticed, but we want you to know that we could not do this without you.

Finally there is our family. While we have grown accustomed to their support through out the years, they have been so amazingly helpful in the recent times. I'm not going to name them because they know who they are, but we could not have done this without your help through the myriad of details, errands and decisions of the past few weeks. We love you and are so, so grateful for each of you. 

Certainly there are many more that I have left out that have served us, loved us, encouraged us and taught us more about God. I hope that whether you have "only" said a prayer for us (maybe the biggest contribution) or sacrificed money and living space for us, you can feel a part of what God is doing in our lives and in South America. May it be as it was for our first century brothers and sisters:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. Acts 5:32-34

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 Year in Review

As 2012 begins, now seems like a good time to remember a few things from 2011.

First of all I am so thankful to God for how he did "immeasurably more" than we could have imagined. Especially with our campus ministry in Palm Beach, God showed himself to be powerful, faithful and loving in so many ways. I rejoice for the 9 students who were added to D.O.C. and for how new leaders were raised up. I also rejoice (and will miss dearly) the family that was created in the ministry. Through good and bad and lots of fun we learned to love each other in a deeper way. Also, the first year of the G.O. Program got started in Asunción, Paraguay with 4 amazing students. I'm so grateful how God used those 7 weeks to radically impact their lives.

I'm also so grateful for the spiritual lessons that God taught me throughout the year. I think one of the main things I saw this year was that God answers prayer. Over and over he answered prayer after prayer. Some He answered the way I had hoped and others he answered in different ways. But He answered. One of the most recent answered prayers was that my mom was able to obtain her Missionary Visa to Brazil. This is a huge deal because it allows her to stay as long as she wants and not to have to worry about lots of things related to her coming with us to Brazil.

Finally, I thank God for my family. Today I got to say goodbye to my Dad, my Grandma Betty, and my aunts Susie and Dottie in Orlando. It was a nice way to begin the year and I am grateful for their support. Last week we were able to spend time with Dan and Mary, Thomas Tina and Leila, and my mom in Ellijay, Georgia (Many thanks to Al & Mimi Gonzalez and their "Casa de Luz"). It was an amazing time to enjoy nature, play games, relax and recharge spiritually. We had nightly devotionals meditating on the character of Jesus and I think that we will carry with us the lessons throughout 2012. I can't thank God enough for surrounding me with people who want to love God and love one another. And most importantly, I thank God for my amazing, beautiful and patient wife and beautiful children. It had been my dream ever since I can remember to have a John Wesley Hoyt IV and this year God gave me a son who already surpasses my dreams.

So now 2012 begins. Thank you to everyone who made 2011 a special year for me and my family. I hope that through this blog we can not only give you a glimpse of our life and the missionary adventure that we are on but also relate the joy of following Jesus together as a family.