Monday, October 24, 2011

September/October

HEY guys, here's the next installation of my life in brazil. Either enjoy here, go to my blog at Iamthedesperate.blogspot.com, or give me your email and I will send you my beautiful jazzed-up pdf versions :)

God bless,
Liz McMain

Minha Vida No Brasil

THE past two months here in Recife have been both incredible and incredibly difficult.To be totally honest God has really used my pain and frustration and exhaustion to stretch and mold me in ways that I never believed possible.Three months ago the leader of the house left with his wife and daughter, and we really felt the absence of his calming presence with the boys. Another staff got sick and was gone for quite awhile. A short time later we went several weeks without internet and during this involuntary fast God began to recall my heart and mind to Him, His grace, and His calling in my life. He directed me to make some very difficult decisions and in faith and obedience I ended my relationship with someone I loved very much and began to make new plans and new dreams. So here’s the surprise: I’m not coming home in May. I have decided that I like Brazil and I think I will stay.

Leaving that cliffhanger, let’s review what’s happened since my last newsletter. We have had three boys turn 18 since I arrived, and I am so happy to have Arlan, Luciano, and Carlinhos as “volunteers.” Like I mentioned before, we have been very short-staffed and without Marcos living in the house, the boys were much more difficult to keep in line. This next story is a strong example of the spiritual atmosphere of the house right now.

Beto
I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know this: the boys were provoking Beto and he manifested a demon. Or several. When I heard about it from an excited volunteer, I was irritated and concerned. Irritated because I’ve seen someone possessed by a demon before, it’s neither cool nor fun. And concerned because I didn’t know if he or the other boys were hurt or frightened. A friend told me that this may be an opportunity for Beto and the others, that this was a powerful demonstration of the spiritual world we are always telling them about. For me it was proof of what I already knew, these boys must be incredibly special, or satan would not be fighting so hard for them. I can’t tell you exactly how this all has affected Beto or the others, but I can tell you what God has put in my heart: that Beto will come to know Him and healing and it will be worth the fight. I have already seen so much profundity in him, like when he says things like, “Lizzy, the past has died, there is nothing now except the future.”
Living in this house is constant reminder of what the scripture says about using the foolish things to confound the wise :)

THE NEXT FEW MONTHS

I have been working in the Projeito Amar since before sending out my last newsletter and I love it- I love spending the time with the girls and having a creative outlet for myself. I intend to continue working there as long as I am here in Brazil.

I also intend to work with a DTS with a Children at Risk focus in April. Because my visa expires in May, I plan on renewing it and staying in Brail another year- which, as a side note, means that if you live in the Dallas area and want to go on the now bi-annual mission trip to Recife with Geoff and Ilma McMain, you will be seeing me in about 8 months!

While my original plan was to only be in Brazil a year, I really feel that this is where I am meant to be and therefore will stay as long as it is legally and fiscally possible.

As some of you may know, I am coming home in 6 days and am extremely excited for it! This will be a great time to relax with family and friends, but also to try and raise money as my plans for Brazil have changed and therefore my budget along with it.

So I end my newsletter with this: if you have not prayerfully considered either supporting me or the Hope House I really urge you to do so- and it may truly be that financial support is not something God is leading you to give. If so please be in prayer for me as I continue to take these steps in obedience and faith. God bless you guys, you are all wonderful, and it really blesses my heart that I can share God’s work here in Recife with you!

PRAYER LIST
1. First and foremost, the boys. They are deeply in need of God and His restoration
2. My influence and attitude with the boys- always reflecting Christ
3. Working with a DTS in April- that God will use me and continue to help me with my Portuguese.
4. Provision and direction in pretty much every area.








Interested in giving?
Cut this out and mail it along with check to Accounting Department, PO Box 3000, Garden Valley, TX 75771-3000
*Important note: my name CANNOT be written anywhere on the check
I would like to give once/monthly to the account of Elizabeth McMain
$10___ $25___$50___$100___ Other Amount _____

Friday, September 2, 2011

August

Hey guys, here's my August Newsletter.... even though it's September. We had some internet problems the last couple of weeks, but here it goes...

God Bless you guys!
Liz McMain

The Boys

I have now been in Brazil almost three months which means my Portuguese has, thankfully, improved substantially. I went to my first church service last week and UNDERSTOOD THE TEACHING. I have also begin get to know each of the boys better. I know how to talk to them when they are sleepy or grumpy- who to ask for help and who to be wary of- for instance, Adriano almost got me to eat bike grease while convincing me it was Brazilian food. I've also gotten to speak more with the new boys and watch their progress. It's not as exciting as you think- they still have a long way to go.

A Real Gentleman

Messias turned thirteen and is still cute as ever- he's adapted the fastest to life in the house as he was only on the streets for about 6 months. Just the other day we were carrying boxes of food from the base to the house and Messias mentioned several times that the boxes were heavy, but when I offered to take it for him he said, "no, women can't carry heavy boxes because men are strong and need to do it for them. I am a gentleman so I can't let you carry it." Like I said, he learns fast.

Unconditionally

Beto has been more difficult to work with, but out of all three he has the greatest history of hurt. Yesterday I talked to him and he began to open up to me. "You are angry with me and you don't like me," He said. My response was, "I am not angry with you and I like you very much." His response broke my heart, "you won't for long. Soon you will turn on me and you won't love me anymore." I tentatively explained to him that when I became a Christian I learned to love the way God does- without condition. He seemed to understand and we got along all morning, but with Beto with every connection there is a backlash. I have a rule: any food that remains in Beto's hand for longer than 30 seconds will either end up on the floor or the wall. That afternoon was not so peaceful, but I am still grateful that I had the opportunity to speak some truth to him.

Show De Bola

I have only learned a bit about the ministries here but I really like their focus on prevention as opposed to correction as in the hope house. The biggest ministry they have is the Show de Bola- which invites kids from the neighborhood to come and practice soccer with one of the staff who accomplished every Brazilian boys dream by playing in a professional soccer club. The rules are simple: keep out of trouble, keep your grades up, and you can play. I think its brilliant and from what I know it has really helped the community.

Work at the Base

Every Tuesday I work up at the base in the kitchen helping prepare lunch which I really enjoy because it's a chance for me to get to know the staff there. Right now we are short staffed in the Hope House so I only have one day off a week, but when I get two days off a week I want to help in the Projecto do Amar which is a weekly meeting with young girls to counsel them and give them healthy creative outlets, like art. I'm really excited at this prospect.
Prayer

1. For the spiritual warfare in the house: I really feel that right now there's a really strong battle against the house in the area of rebellion and rejection.
2. Patience and wisdom for me in communicating with and disciplining the boys.
3. Finances for the base and the house

Psalm 27: 14
W




ait and HOPE for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and HOPE for and expect the Lord.





Thursday, July 7, 2011

JULY NEWSLETTER

Hey, guys, happy late 4th of July- I had a good one! As you may know I'm really trying to switch to my really awesome PDF newsletter files over email because it's much easier for me and you get to see much better pictures- so again please send me your emails if you have not yet. But for those of you who prefer facebook and this blog- allow me to introduce my JULY newsletter (It's pretty much a copy and pasted version of the PDF file so if there's an issue lemme know so I can fix it)



My Life in Brazil
July 2011 Issue No. Ten IAmTheDesperate.blogspot.com

LIZ MCMAIN:
JOCUM
Caixa Postal 64, Camaragibe PE, 54759-970, Brazil
TELEPHONE 
55 (81) 3484-5196
EMAIL
LIZMCMAIN@YAHOO.COM





TRIAGEM
After working with the boys here for just 1 week, Daniel, a fellow staff-worker, announced that after weeks of spending time on the streets with the kids there and hours upon hours of paperwork, it was time to take in 5 boys off the streets into a house, referred to as the triage house, a little over an hour away from the base. Here the boys would spend two weeks making the difficult transition from life on the streets to life in a home with rules and work, and most importantly, people who genuinely care about them and their future. Did I say difficult? I should say impossible- at least by my human standards. We are just fortunate that we pray to a God who for Him, nothing is impossible. And so for the two weeks of triage there was 24-hour prayer surrounding the house, the workers and the boys.

THE BOYS
I came to work with the triage during the second week when there were only three boys who had not given up and left: Beto (15), Cristiano (16), and Messias (12). At first it was very startling for me to be around the boys, at times they seemed so sweet and innocent and at others more filled with anger and hate then anyone I have ever met. Even though things were hard-going, I didn’t foresee any serious problems until my second day working with the boys- the day Ricasso came back. Ricasso had quit just before I arrived and so I never really knew him- but when I saw him standing at the gate I thought it was so wonderful that he was coming back to the triage... until I saw the bottle of glue in his hand. His only purpose of returning was to show the other boys what they were missing. It was like chaos in slow motion as everyone tried to calm the boys and get them away from Ricasso, but I am so proud to say that none of the
three left- they all went back into the house and waited where we kept them occupied until Michael drove Ricasso back to the streets. Like I said, I was so proud that the boys stayed and didn’t try to leave or go for the drugs, but what I didn’t see so much as feel in that moment was shift in the spiritual atmosphere. We were all about to learn more about Beto.

Beto’s Story
I didn’t know much about Beto until I found out what happened after I left for my night off the day Ricasso visited. I knew that he was very troubled, that he had been on the streets a very long time with some of his siblings and that he was very very angry. I knew that after such a long time sniffing the glue it left him a little slow and strange in all his movements- like he was still high. I also knew that he was so involved in voodoo and that he was terrified to take off the bracelets, anklet, and necklaces that supposedly derive power from satan. What I didn’t know was how this tied into his family. After I left that night, when everyone was getting ready to sleep, Beto began banging on the doors and then suddenly, leapt (yeah, leapt) down the stairs and out into the yard, running and leaping and rolling in the mud like an animal. When he came back inside, he seemed confused- claiming he didn’t remember what had happened. That was all I knew until I worked with them the next night and it happened again before my eyes. But this time when Mati went to get him, he began to share more of the story: when he was younger, he got angry at his mother and started yelling at her- she got so angry in return that she put a curse on him: that for the rest of his life he would be condemned to act like an animal. It was from his mother that he inherited his involvement in voodoo. Honestly, we didn’t know what to believe: was it demons that made him act this way? Was he pretending? Or has he actually lost his mind? Either way, he stayed with us to the end made it to the hope house, and no one was going to make him leave if he really wanted to change.

BACK AT THE HOPE HOUSE
As you can imagine, getting the boys settled in at the Hope House has not been an easy task. They are not like the other boys, who have been here for much longer- they still lash out when they get angry and start fights and break things. The best I can relate it to is living with a hormonal 5-year old recovering from a drug addiction- very stressful. Another huge challenge for the female staff in particular is
something I had never truly faced until coming here to NE Brazil: sexism. I really believe that two of the new boys truly think that being a woman puts me beneath them and they can do and say whatever they like without any consequence because how could I have any real authority- you know, being a woman and all? Sometimes they are outright disobedient and sometimes worse they are seriously disrespectful- calling us names and in one boys case, continually trying to kiss me and getting angry, yeah angry, when I tell him he can’t and that I will give him a discipline if he doesn’t stop. But as much as we have seen difficulty, we have seen progress. These boys have been hurt and so in turn they hurt others, but they are growing and learning. We have started homeschooling them until they can go to real school which is really amazing for me because I love to teach. I have been able to help teach Cris harder addition, Messias to spell, and Beto (who I don’t know if he has ever been to school) his alphabet. It has been difficult and rewarding in so many ways working with these boys, and just like when I was in Belo, I really see how God answers prayer. Just yesterday, Beto got angry and was set to leave the house and we all began to pray and asked many of you to pray for a miracle- and WE GOT IT! Just a minute before leaving Beto’s heart was touched and for just a minute I saw the walls around his heart tear down- and after talking to a staff for a while he decided to stay! I really believe that God is doing a work in these boys lives and that our job is to love and encourage them and trust in God’s love to change their hearts, but eventually the decision comes down to them- will they stay and change or give up? I’m seriously banking on them hanging in.

Prayer Points:
- Patience for all -Encouragement for everyone in this house. - Against Satan and any plans
he has against us,
specifically Beto - Changing the heart and
mindset of the boys

Bible Verse:
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

PICTURES:
Because these boys are minors, I have to obscure their faces when posting pictures online. If you want good ones, then gimme your email ;)

Barbar shop

Boys Devo

Boys Devo

Beto

Cris

Messias

All the boys- minus the three new ones
I LOVE EM :)



Interested in giving?
Cut this out and mail it along with check to Accounting Department, PO Box 3000, Garden Valley, TX 75771-3000 *Important note: my name CANNOT be written anywhere on the check I would like to give: ONCE/MONTHLY This financial gift to the account of Elizabeth McMain $10___$25___$50___$100___Other Amount _____ For more options or information please email me at lizmcmain@yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June Newsletter

The Journey
As you can probably guess, I have made it all the way to Recife. But due to Airport issues I did not arrive here until after 30 hours of travel with no sleep and a solitary meal in my stomach from the first flight. Needless to say, God was making sure I knew who to depend on from the very beginning. Sadly it wasn’t until I got to Sao Paulo in a hectic array of delayed flights and flustered people and lots and lots of confusion that I needed to not only ask for protection but for faith and security in One who knew exactly what was going on and exactly where I needed to go.

Life in Recife

Because I did not get into the base until late at night and my roommate had not yet arrived, my first night here was a very lonely one of unpacking and trying to make myself at home in my room. But again that night I asked God to come beside me and to give me peace in my new surroundings and to send someone to help me and it was then that I knew I was not alone. The next morning I woke up to a brand new sunny day and with greater confidence in the days ahead. Mariska was the first one who spoke english fluently I had met since my arrival here and she showed me around the house that I live in and introduced me to some of the staff. Most importantly though, she gave me bread and coffee while another staff member named Daniel made one of my favorite Brazilian snacks- pão de qeijo. These things may seem somewhat insignificant, but they made a huge difference to me and my sanity.

A Casa Esperança
I live in the Recife version of the Restoration house in Belo Horizonte. Only here it is called the Hope House. There are nine boys living in this house and they are not as used to foreigners as the boys in BH Centro. Mariska told me that in time they would get to know me, but they have warmed to me quicker than I expected. They have all been here for a long time so they are very nice and well- behaved. They LOVE to play games and like most teenage boys they really like making noise at pretty much every opportunity. I am very fortunate to live in this house because unlike the rest of the base we have meals on the weekends and in the mornings and most importantly we have a working washing machine!

Work
Me and my roomate, Loreen, have not started working yet, but next week we will begin working with the boys. This involves, waking them up and getting them to bed, making meals, and helping them with homework and devotional. there are currently 9 boys living in the house and the street teams are looking to bring in more boys in so things are very busy here now. I know this update is mostly about me and my arrival but next month I will be able to update more on how God is using this base, me, and the ministries I will learn about.
Prayer Points:
- For the boys in the house who must leave soon, that God would provide homes and jobs for them
-That I would be able to understand the portuguese here better and continue to learn
-That mosquitos would not find me as appetizing as they have in the past few days.
-Strength and energy for me to work to the best of my ability!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brazil, take 2


I am wired. 

Four days ago I received a call from the Consulate General in Houston to tell me that my visa was ready. And I could hardly believe my ears- because after 5 months of nothing but difficulty, the consulate (and the world) had finally conceded that I would be returning to Brazil. After issues with my lawyer, his secretary, USPS, and various members of the consulate, I finally had full confirmation that I was going back. So until I went back to work that night I made phone calls, sent emails, and made plans. Plans to finally start doing that fundraising thing that missionaries are supposedly supposed to do (plans for a garage sale to be posted), find a suitable date and flight, finally open an account to give supporters tax deductibility through YWAM Tyler, and generally spread the word: Brazil, you are officially stuck with me. 

I then went to the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen for one of my former fellow DTS-ers, Dustin Frugé- adding even more to a very crazy week.

But I am proud to say the date is officially set: I will be leaving for Recife on June 1, 2011 and rather than working with the DTS, which has already begun and is fully staffed, I will be working full time on staff. I am very interested in the Hope House (a shelter for street boys) and a school that they run for the favelas. 

And now what am I doing, you ask? Cleaning out my room, buying a very lovely red trunk, and planning a garage sale. Yes, my very own. Which (along with my love of blogging) prompted this update. 

If you live in the DFW area and are doing some spring cleaning I would be happy to relieve you of any items that you would like to donate- just call me at 214 536 6616. 

Also, if you are living in the DFW area and would like to help me raise money for my cost of living in Recife, come to the garage sale- most likely on the 20-21, if not on the 27-28 of this month! 

Please be praying for me that I may have a smooth transition this month and that God will lighten my heart for all the difficulties that may lie ahead!

God Bless you guys,
Liz McMain

Also, to those of you reading my blog/facebook note, I am trying to make a switch over to email newsletters with my fancy new macbook technology! email me your email address at lizmcmain@yahoo.com so I can get 'em out to you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

And so…the blogging continues.

And so…the blogging continues.

I have had two and a half blissful months back home in Plano, Texas and I look forward to two and a half more. But seeing as it’s the half-way, and probably the most important, point of my time before I return to Brazil.

Today I made an appointment online to visit the Brazilian consulate in Houston to apply for the infamous VITEM VII, the volunteer visa- essential to my plot to return to the country of blue, green, and gold, and apparently difficult in ungodly proportions to get a hold of. Thank you, bureaucracy. I will spare you all the notarizing and paper-gathering of the past couple months and simply share my problem: apparently, the man in charge of dolling out those lovely little visas is very persnickety in whom he chooses to grace with them. In short, if my paperwork is not perfect, it’s a no go. And the majority of this paperwork is still in transit to my home- though according to my lawyer it was sent on the thirty-first of January. So please be praying for me- that my paperwork will be perfect, that this man will have a lot of grace on me, and that my trip to Houston on Wednesday will go smoothly overall.

Now is also when I am starting the beginning phases of raising support. I have been working very hard since I got here waiting tables at Chili’s to pay for my plane ticket and visa costs- but I will still be needing support if I intend to live in Recife for the next year. And let me tell you- this is the part of missions I like the least. I believe it is exceptionally important to have supporters because it allows others to be a part of God’s work, but at the same I also hate feeling like I am asking for money. However, I will most likely be setting meetings, writing a support letter, and possibly selling some quirky crafts of my own making to raise money. If any one has any ideas about more creative ways of raising support, feel free to let me know- I love getting people’s input :)  and while I do not intend to use this blog as a means of raising support, if there are any of you reading this who are interesting in giving, the easiest thing to do at the moment is email me at lizmcmain@yahoo.com so I can work it out with you (hopefully, I will be able to make sure the support given to me is tax deductable).

Tonight I also had the supreme joy of sending off my wonderful Aunt Cindy, who is courageously travelling to New Zealand in less than two weeks to do a DTS there and we are all so proud of her! So please be praying for her too because we all know how scary it can be being in a new place :)

For those of you who are still with me thank you so much for reading and I hope to share some more soon about how my appointment went and a bit more about what I will be doing in Brazil!

May God bless and keep each and every one of you!
Liz McMain

Monday, December 6, 2010

final update from Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Final update from Belo Horizonte, Brazil

So I meant to write this about two weeks ago when I was still in Brazil. But life got crazy and it got set aside. As just about everyone reading this should know, I just got home a little over a week ago after spending three months in the lecture phase of children at risk school with YWAM. I lived in the Restoration House with (I think) 9 ex-street boys, 3 male students, and my 6 female roommates.
To be perfectly open and honest, I feel a little awkward trying to sum up those three months. There were moments when it was fun and easy and moments when it was pretty much unbearable. When I came home from my outreach to Scotland I had a lot to tell without feeling like I really had much to tell at all- if that makes any sense to anyone but me.  I didn’t understand the full meaning and impact of that outreach until several months afterwards. Now it’s completely different. There are so many things I want to communicate but no matter how many words I use I can’t seem to really convey the  images still swirling around my brain. How can I really explain and bring to life the smooth and rapid sound of the Portuguese language even when its being yelled at you, the twisted and stark beauty of the favelas with their steep hills and shabby yet brightly colored buildings, or the eyes of a little boy living on the streets, dulled and bloodshot by the copious amounts of inhaled paint thinner?  I love Brazil and I loved the school- but I couldn’t help but feel sometimes like I was being rubbed raw by the shear power of the emotions and circumstances around me- like all the protective coats I covered myself with were chipped away and now that I am home so much feels glossed over.
A wise man once said that if you cannot dance in the midst of the issue that is your passion, you have no voice. If there has been anything that I am learning about mission work or life in general its this- if you cant give yourself wholly over to God, then you will find yourself being slowly eaten away by the suffering of this world because when you take it all in it will have no place to go but your shoulders.
And so I leave you with this- because if you want to know the details, I have several other perfectly adequate posts containing details about my time in Belo. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God- and the only person without the potential to live life in the fullest of God’s grace and joy is a dead one.  If you need confirmation about this drive don’t the street a while- eventually you will find a nativity scene. In that scene is a story about how God used the worst possible circumstances to raise up the greatest king of all. So whether you are looking at a bum in the street, a kid at school, or yourself in the mirror, just remember God’s promise that His grace is sufficient, that man is made in His image, and that nothing can separate us from His love.

Merry Christmas everyone, I will write soon about my plans for Recife!