There have been SO MANY things that have happened over the past month and a half since our last update it was best just to write it all here. It is so overwhelming when you think about it! How can you pray for us would be the first question....pray that we stay grounded...that we not react on emotions and that we remember the calling the Lord has placed on our lives....especially during this time of year. I am going to begin with the most recent and work my way back.... :)
Last night, Jon and I were reminded why we LOVE Rio and the people who live here....
I have said it over and over again God is teaching me patience...we stand in lines ALL the time for buses, for ATM's, for groceries, for food, for ANY type of shopping, for taxis, for movies...these lines are NOT your typical lines they are the lines that take at least 20 to 30 minutes...no matter the time of year but they get even worse during holidays. Well, last night, we stood in a taxi line for over an hour...it was pouring down rain and it was as a Brazilian put it "emotional". As it finally got down to us being in the front of the line a mother and daughter in front of us asked where we were going...we told them and they said that they were going across the street from us...they said we could share a taxi...HUGE blessing because they were in front of us...we could have stood in line for at least another 20 minutes! So, we jumped in the taxi with them. The mom's name is Marcia...pray for them...I do not know much else about them, but I do know that God allowed us to laugh in the taxi with them as we went through VERY flooded streets with them!
(I am posting pics of this trip at the bottom of this blog with LOTS of other pics!)
On Thursday, as a family, we went on a trip that is still impacting our family...we went to Gramacho (the largest city dump in the world) a community has been built up around the trash. The people that sort through the trash live in this dump. Our school collected food for 25 families and we had the privilege along with some other teachers to take the food. It was the most precious site I have seen. We got to the community center and there were 50 kids singing with the biggest smiles on there faces! Of course, we walked in and Kierra and Raegan were big hits because they had blond hair and blue eyes. They sang a song in English for us....Oh, I can't tell you how many times I held back tears! At one point the missionary that runs the community center said lets pray and all of the sudden all the kids got on their knees to pray...WOW...can I say humbled!!!! Later on while we were standing outside in the rain with the kids....one little girl had disappear for a time and then suddenly she came running up with a brand new pink purse. She handed it to Raegan! Once again, I am holding back tears!!!!! This little girl was so proud that she could give something....yet you look around and they live in homes that are made of trash...oh, how can WE ever say we do NOT have!!!!! Forgive ME Lord!!! It was completely overwhelming!!!! I am still trying to take it all in!!! We are praying about a way to be involved in this minister. To share Jesus with these kids and their families...they will always have physical needs but we CAN meet their spiritual needs....BUT... Our FIRST minister is our school....which is my next story...
So the STARK contrast is our school...our students have EVERYTHING.... and this minister sometimes is the hardest because many times if you do not want for anything .... this will include Jesus...why do you need HIM...if you have all the nice luxuries of life? Praise God, I do see that many of our students are realizing that material things are NOT making them happy. It is just temporary joy! It is so strange how some of those kids in the dump had MORE joy than our kids who have everything....why??? b/c some know the Lord??? Anyways, I want to share one story of ONE student and her family that have been making an impact on my life. She is an MK, so of course I relate. In my Bible class we spent some time talking about what it means to have a quiet time with the Lord...reading His Word...praying etc. Well, after several weeks of talking about this....one morning this young girl come up to my assistant and I and said that she realized while reading her Bible that she had all the knowledge (which she does...she knows ALL the answers) but she didn't know Him in her heart. She told us she realized it and had made THE DECISION that day!!! Talk about JOY....as a parent to MK's (and I am sure many of you can relate) I do not want my kids to ride my coat tails ....having the knowledge but not KNOWING the Lord! We celebrated with HER...just as the angels in Heaven were celebrating!!!! :) She shared with the 5th grade class and it was such a huge testimony to her friends! Some of her friends are from European countries where Jesus is just a religion NOT a relationship, so for her to share ... was HUGE!!! Please continue to pray for her and her family.
Wow....I told you I had LOTS to share! We ask that you continue to pray for our school (Rio International School) and students. We are on our Christmas break right now. Students are traveling around the world, some teachers are traveling back to the states, and some are here in Rio. Pray for our families who miss us and WE miss them! I do ask that you pray for my 5th graders. My team teacher's husband was relocated so this means we have been interviewing for her position, pray God will place WHO HE wants in the classroom. Pray for rest over the break. Pray that we will continue to be a witness to those we encounter on a regular basis. We LOVE and miss you ALL!!!!
check out the pics below for a view through out eyes... :)
To Make a Donation to the NICS ministry go to...
our account number is 001833 or look for Isbell Family
A gallery of pictures taken over the past month and half!
The is the FIRST TIME Jon drove in Brazil!!! We borrowed the school van to go for a short weekend to Buzios for Thanksgiving with some friends. ONE of my favorite parts was us ISBELL's riding in a car together....Man, I have missed that!!!!
In Buzios, it rained every day except the first...but we had fun with the Rice Family...playing games and just hanging out. :)
Yes, we have a Christmas tree... :)
At Gramacho...Rio's city dump...I became fast friends with most of the kids!
Everyone wanted a picture and then wanted to see the picture....I wonder how many times they get to see themselves? So beautiful are these children!!!!
All the boys LOVED talking with Jon...they thought he was the funniest guy...especially when they could make fun of his Portuguese! LOL!
Do you see the pink purse? It was brand new. The girl with the pink shirt on gave it to Raegan. She was so proud...I had tears in my eyes as I took this picture...Raegan couldn't believe they were giving it to her! Notice the homes in the back ground....they were the nicer homes!
Everyone wanted to touch Kierra and Raegan's hair and they ALL wanted a picture with them! :)
Such cute girls!!!
Some of the boxes RIS donated with food for the families. They were VERY heavy and the families had to carry them to their houses. It was very quickly realized that the men were not around so guess who came to the rescue? Jon, Scot (teacher from our school), and the local missionary...they carried the boxes to the homes! Some of them were far away!
I fail in LOVE with this little boy. The local missionary carried him in off the street. He had no shoes on and was walking around in the rain outside. I never saw his mom or anyone taking care of him. He would never speak to me...but I did get him to smile for me right before we left!
My sweet little friend helping her parents carry food to their home!
Jon helping a family carry food to their home.
An elderly lady who had been waiting for food for hours. She was not on the list to get the "boxed" food, but fortunately the local missionary had extra food that someone else had donated to give to her.
Thought is was interesting.....
a little boy was sitting singing after all the kids had left and all the adults had left...he was singing the song they sang in English to us....so I had to go and join him....we sang "Hallelujah, for the Lord God Almighty Reigns...." a least 5 times...in English and Portuguese!
Then, Raegan joined in on the Fun! :)
Before we left we prayed for the missionary and the ministry...His name is Felippe..he is holding my little angel! :)
Some of the homes across from the community center
HUGE contrast...the next night....we went to a typical Brazilian wedding...Raegan's teacher got married...and here a wedding is a HUGE FANCY event!!!!
Please continue praying for the people here in Brazil and the families that we come in contact with! God Bless and Feliz Natal!