After a period of adjustment, the Swaits are gratefully settling into life and ministry in their adopted city. Joffre and Kimberly are hosting a Bible study for young parents which ministers to Christians of various backgrounds. Joffre has started as a weekly men’s prayer meeting for the city, which meets in a downtown park between the Palace of Justice, the state legislature, and the Roman Catholic cathedral. He was also involved in starting a monthly men’s theological discussion group which meets in a bohemian part of town. Kimberly has started a small sewing circle. Please pray that God will bless these new works.
Joffre has also been building contacts and seeking ways to begin ministering to youth in Porto Alegre. He requests prayer especially for some doors that have begun to open with local orphanages. Kimberly and Joffre request that the supporters of O.M.I. pray for their continued development as they learn to communicate and interact with Brazilians, and for the children as they adjust to their new life not only in a new country but to their new urban context. Pray for the peace and joy of the Lord in our lives and we grow and witness concerning the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As always, thank you for your prayers, and we continue to covet them.
So much has happened since the last update you received, in part because SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED, and in part because it’s been over two months since we last wrote.
Our adjustment to Porto Alegre and Brazil has continued apace, but not always to the good. We confess to having gotten grumpy several times in the last few months, especially as we faced reams of red tape in so many things we tried to do. My dad used to talk about setting all day aside to go to the post office. It’s not that bad any more, but you get the idea. Just today, Kimberly and I spent four hours in a waiting room trying to fix a glitch with our power bill.
A few weeks ago Kim and I stumbled across this graphic on the interwebs, and admitted to each other that we were smack-dab in the middle of that hostility dip, a sort of slough of despond. Like Christian, we’ve had to pray for forgiveness over our attitudes more than once. Did that today, actually.
According to this timeframe, we’re right on schedule!
All that being said, we are grateful to report that we’re now halfway between hostility and humor. We’re adjusting. Half the battle, as they say, is knowing. We’re making fewer mistakes, and have better expectations.
Of course, throughout this time the saints at Igreja de Cristo church have been a wonderful community for us.
Little Joffre could almost be said to speak Portuguese at this point. He has displayed a relentless sense of dedication and cheer during this move (he’s only broken down a couple of times), and his brothers have rallied round him. When Big Joffre is out Little Joffre is his mom’s interface with the outside world.
The boys are staying busy, between homeschooling and sports. Sports are proving to be a good ground for them to learn the language, as well. We continue to search for ways to help Kimberly, Renata, and Mara socialize and sharpen their language skills, although our bimonthly Bible study has been helpful in that regard. Kimberly will be hosting a sewing circle beginning next week.
This month we can begin to say that we are living in Brazil! Like, living like normal people, which is what we want to do.
Last time we wrote we were set to begin a couple of projects, and are happy to report that the Lord has blessed them.
We are over halfway through our eight-session Bible study for young parents on raising little ones. It has been a joy for us to host so many families from different Christian backgrounds in our home. We have been able to study several topics ranging from education to worship to education, and it has turned out to be something the original group has invited friends to. Our apartment, which has a large central room, is full to bursting every other Tuesday, with a dozen children in the bedrooms or crawling at our feet!
We have begun planning the follow-up Bible study. Our plan is for the OMI Porto Alegre Bible studies to shift topics every couple of months, in order to minister to Christians at every stage and in all walks of life.
Joffre has also begun, under the aegis of OMI Porto Alegre, a weekly men’s prayer meeting in the heart of downtown Porto Alegre. It is an opportunity for Christian men to intercede for their people and their city in a park that is faced by the huge Roman Catholic cathedral, the Palace of Justice, the State Legislature, and the great facade of a theater. Being in that location helps us to pray to Jesus for all sorts and conditions of men, as the old prayer book puts it.
The Brotherhood of Man group is also prospering in grace. Once a month men from different Christian and other backgrounds, Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, agnostics, meet in a pub in a bohemian part of town. At each meeting one of the men is charged with proposing and defending an idea. If you are familiar with a project of Joffre’s in South Carolina, The Bird & Baby Philosophy Club, then you have a good idea of what goes on these evenings.
Joffre has several private students and part-time work at the North American School.
Joffre is exploring options for working with youth here in Porto Alegre, especially at a couple of local orphanages. He is also in prayer about how to proceed, both in work with youth and in the ministry he is currently engaged in. There is a balance between the initial ministry goals and “playing what’s in front of you” that Joffre is trying to strike with wisdom.
For continuing cultural adjustment and language learning, especially with the kids.
Although the Brazilian economy is in crisis, there was good news with the announcement of impeachment proceedings for corruption beginning against the current president. Immediately the real gained against the dollar, which was good for all Brazilians in the stability of their economy, but has meant a loss of 10% of the worth of our American support.
Thank the Lord, the month that happened was the first I received a paycheck from the North American School!
If you don’t support our ministry financially, please consider becoming a regular giver. Currently our ministry expenses (which are low right now) come out of our living expenses, and we would like to create a little more of a cushion.
The view from our church meeting room. With a romantic filter a friend added.
God bless y’all,
Joffre, Kimberly, Renata, Joffrinho, George, Ward, Mara