Thank you for praying for us as we packed and traveled. We left Brazil mid October as planned, spent just over a week in Arizona, visiting with friends and updating the leadership there, and then flew to Northern Ireland at the end of October. The travel was hard on the whole family, but we had wheelchair assistance for Martha through the airports and that was a huge blessing. She would not have made it from one gate to the next without it.
While we were in Arizona we did notice a difference in Martha’s health. She was not having as much joint pain in that drier climate, which meant that she was able to visit with more people than we expected her to.
We now have been in Ireland for a month. Setting up home again, organizing phone and internet service for the house we are living in, all the little jobs that we normally ‘divide and conquer’ now rest on Robert’s shoulders. We are very thankful for the snug little house that has been provided for us. We also have a good vehicle to use while here.
Martha’s joint pain is much more noticeable in this cold, wet climate. She still has very little strength and each day is a balancing act to try to make it through. It took us a few weeks to get back on the register with the doctors, but last week Martha had her first appointment. The doctor has already ordered up some blood tests and she is referring Martha to specialists already. We are told that she is going to push Martha forward as an emergency case but she still did not think that we would have appointments with the specialists in less than six weeks. That will mean it will be into the New Year before we get to see the specialists.
While here in Northern Ireland we hope to be able to catch up with friends and family as much as possible. We are putting together some pictures that we have of our time in Brazil and we would love to share them with your church or youth group if we can.
Please continue to pray for those serving in Brazil, there is much hardship and discouragement that has to be faced day by day. So many there are dealing with health issues; with difficulties traveling into and out of their tribal areas; with just living in a tropical climate.
What we do know…
We know that God is in control and HIS PLAN is perfect. We know that all we have to do is ABIDE in HIM (John 15:5). He gives rest (Mtt. 11:28-30). He leads and guides where we do not know the path ahead (Heb. 11:8-10). We know that we can trust God to do right . Nothing takes God by surprise.
After all the testing that has been done, we know that Martha has two different health issues that will require more testing to pinpoint them. Doing these types of testing is not easy in your own language, but to do them in a different language add to the complexity of this. Therefore the decision has been made between ourselves, the field committee here, NTMA and our home church to take a medical furlough, to return to Northern Ireland to run tests and try to discover the causes, treatment and medications needed to help Martha. This has not been an easy decision for our family, but this is the direction that the LORD is leading and all He asks is for us to follow.
We are planning to leave Brazil mid October, fly to AZ, spend a week there allowing Martha some rest time before flying on to Northern Ireland at the end of October. Each leg of the journey takes a full day of travel, so we felt that it would be better to have a little time between to recover some.
Please pray for our transition into Northern Ireland. We will need a house in the North Down area so we can be near our home church in Bangor. Also a suitable vehicle will be needed. Then there are the basic needs of setting up home again, starting to get appointments with a GP for referrals, adjusting to a cold climate after being in a tropical one and so many other little things, yet we know that God is able to do much more than we can imagine and He has it all planned out, our job is to trust Him. We look forward to a chance to visit with family for a while.
Greetings from a hot and humid Manaus!
We have now been in Brazil for a full month and it seems like we have been here longer that is until we start trying to communicate with others here!
Most of this month has been filled with orientating ourselves with the area around the mission house, practicing simple greetings and simple commands. The children love to play a game of “stand up”, “sit down”, “walk”, “stop” and point at different objects. There again maybe they just think it funny to see Mom and Dad doing these things.
Arriving at this time of the year means that we are during rainy season, there are only two seasons here… hot and humid or hot and wet! It feels like Missouri in June so we are trying to use the fans more than the air conditioner seeing that this is a slightly cooler time. It really helps to cool down in showers that are cold water only (thankfully that is not Northern Ireland coldness)
Last weekend we visited the mission school near Manaus. That sounds nice and easy, right? Well after a 40 minute drive in traffic that reminds you of the chariot race scene in Ben Hur… you’re just watching and waiting for spikes to slice the side of the vehicle you are riding in! You then get into a little boat that takes you for a ¼ hour ride on one of the tributaries and onto the main river! Of course you don’t think of the cruise ships and container ships that travel this river every day! When you get to the dock for the school you realize that to get from the dock to dry land you have to walk across a plank that bounces well while you walk on it! Great experiences within an hour!
We had a great time at the school; the children took baths in the river, climbed the jambo trees, found out the difference between fire ants, army ants and leaf cutter ants, saw a bushmaster snake (a dead one thankfully) and listened to the frogs and crickets at night. It was hard to leave there, but we know that it would be too difficult to learn the language there. So we had to come back to city life.
Robert has been helping out with construction and maintence in the mornings and then we are in class in the afternoon for language practice. After a week of this we are trying to process all these new words and their meanings.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement as we adjust to this new country.
Right now it is very hard to believe that anything is real. We are enjoying the amazing moisture of the humidity of Manaus. It reminds us of when we first arrived in Missouri over 10 years ago. Faith was having some problems with her breathing, but I think when she realized that she would not drown when she took a deep breath everything became a lot better. We have so much to learn and so much to see and so much to take in, I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.
These past 2 weeks in McNeal have been a real blessing to us. After our refreshing time in Missouri we were ready to face the chore of repacking and sorting. We had a great time of fellowshipping with others and I got to fly some and help out with a couple of little chores on the 206. Somehow, and I can only put it down to my wife’s patience and enjoyment of puzzles, she managed to pack all that we felt we needed to bring down to Brasil in 12 tubs/cases. She is amazing, of course Shandy was there to help out at the end also. As we left McNeal, we had been encouraged and refreshed by so many and it was great to see everyone banding together to be part of us heading off to Brasil.
Friday morning the big adventure started around 6:00am. With some help we had all our stuff aboard and ready to roll by 8:00. Ace Glidewell drove their bus to the airport with us to transport our cases, what a help and encouragement that was. When we arrived at there the first thing we did was turn in the rental car, that is where the first hint of God in control was shown. When we checked in the car, the bill ended up being $20 less than the quote, that might not seem like much but to me it was a huge symbol of what lay ahead. As I thanked the car rental guy he said “may God go with you” and the more I thought of that the more at ease I became as we went on into the terminal. Well we arrived to the counter to check in our bags and they would not let us all go up to the counter at once. So while I stayed back with most of the luggage, Martha was up there getting all the tickets sorted and all was straight forward. Ace took the first lot of bags up to be weighed and that is where we had our first test. The lady kept telling us that all our bags were over weight and we would have to pay extra. Martha very nicely told of how the web site said 70 lbs not 50 and was told you did not read the fine print, that is only if you buy the tickets in Brasil. So as Martha looked across the terminal at me I said it was too late and we were going to Brasil no matter who tried to stop us so charge it up. Of course when I realized they wanted an extra $1800 I did have a moment of weakness. But as we talked we said it’s all good, we are trusting God and if He wants us to pay an extra $1800 then so what? It is only money. I decided that I was going to focus on the $20 we got back from the car rental instead. Well all our bags are checked in when they decided to check with higher up the airline command and the word came back that we were right, we were allowed to have the extra weight. So they reimbursed our card for all the extra charges. It honestly felt like we had passed a test. The counter lady was so great to us that she showed up where ever we were at to make sure everything was all right and that we got to the plane on time, she was even in the plane for a while also.
We decided to sit and eat lunch before going through security and it was good. Thanks for lunch. While we ate we were waiting to hear if we were called about any of our bags, but they all went through security without any problem. Then after saying our farewells we headed through security our selves, and while I may not have been singing aloud, I sure was praising God from within. Everything went very smooth and hassle free. On our first flight we had some gentlemen sitting close by that were very entertained by Josiah. The first flight was short and sweet and we were in Atlanta before we knew it. There we were able to stay within the security boundaries and never had to go back through security that made things so much easier. The whole trip we had so many people looking out for us and making sure everything was just right for us, in ways that we had never saw before. It made us so aware of all that were praying for us and we thank you all for your part of a wonderful trip.
On the second flight, we had a Brasilian flight attendant that was so taken with the kids, she made sure that we were well looked after. The older kids had a hard time settling down for the flight and Josiah was sick, but still it was a good trip and we can be thankful for all God has done. Martha had all the paperwork done before we got to Manaus, it is so great to have a wife that handles all that part for us. I was so aware of having a Peace in my heart as we travelled, more so than I have ever felt as we have travelled. When God handled the first test for us, I just knew the rest was in His control. When we got to Manaus, that Peace was still there, even though we were exhausted. We had no problems going through immigration, all our cases made it, some of the zip ties had broken but all were still securely shut, we have not opened them all yet, but it looks like none of them were opened by security! That is amazing to me. Of course we will know for sure as we open each case whether they were searched or not. But then came the last test, customs. Well here we were with all 12 cases and we walked up to the desk and they counted to make sure we turned in 6 pieces of paper, Josiah waved at them and we went on through.
What a great way to arrive in Brasil, with such an obvious display of God being in total control. It is so great to have the prayers of God’s people and to have the Lord carrying us each step of the way. Well we are enjoying the heat and humidity. For the first in a long time, Martha feels warm. We got to meet a bunch of folks here, maybe by next year we will understand what was said as they welcomed us, but the warmth of the greeting was very clear. We are so thankful for the privilege of being part of this field and we look forward to adjusting to our new home and culture. We mean to go on as we have practiced, trusting God one step at a time. We will try to keep you all informed as to what God is doing right here.
On February 28th at 7:00pm Bangor Free Presbyterian Church are holding a special farewell service for us. We are so thankful for this church that has encouraged us, prayed for us and supported us throughout our years in the States. If you are free to come that night, we would love to see you again before we leave Northern Ireland that incoming week. If you need directions, email and we’d be happy to give them to you.
Packing and organizing again!
We are leaving Northern Ireland at the start of March, in two weeks, flying to USA for about 6 weeks before entering Brazil about the middle of April. So now we are packing and cleaning and sorting… oh yes we still have about 10 meetings to speak at too, so we are very busy, as usual.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.
Dear praying friends,
Thank you so much for praying for us faithfully as we seek to follow God’s leading in our lives. As you all know we have been waiting for visas to be granted for us to get to Brazil. We are so excited and thankful to be able to say that today we have received our visas! We thank God for their arrival and that we can plan our departure dates for leaving Northern Ireland. It is exciting to be that much closer to arriving in Brazil and working at learning Portuguese. Pray with us that we will keep our eyes on the Lord and that He will supply all our needs, spiritual and financial as we travel to Brazil and on a monthly basis as we serve the missionaries in West Brazil.
Thank you all for your prayers and support
Robert Martha and family
On Tuesday Dec 8th we all headed to London to submit our paperwork for visas at the Brazilian Embassy. This meant a 3-hour ferry crossing and about 8 hours of driving. We would like to thank all those who prayed for us making this journey and our time in London we even managed to do a little sightseeing while there. On the way down England we encountered roadworks after roadworks. We arrived at the Embassy on Wednesday afternoon with paperwork in hand and ready to start the process. Not long into it we realized that they were not only happy with our paperwork but were going to be granting our visas on Tuesday, Dec 15th. Well that would mean that we would have to leave Northern Ireland right after Christmas! So we have been told that if we come back by the start of February we would not have to redo any of the requirements… This means that our leaving date from Northern Ireland is end of February and not May as first planned! So this also means that we have a lot to sort out in two months. We are so thankful for the prayers of God’s people that have so clearly carried us through this process, please continue to pray for all the little details to be sorted out now that we have a more clear leaving date. To read the full story of all the little ways the Lord worked while we were there, please email us and we will gladly share London Trip – the long story.
On The Road
This month we have been doing a lot of traveling! Thankfully in a country that would fit into a 80 mile-square (just over 5,000 sq mi) we do not have the extra expense of motel rooms just being out until after midnight most nights. We have met so many people and one of the most encouraging things is when people have talked to us after the meeting and have remembered us all this time! It is such a blessing to know that we are remembered and prayed for. It was also a great encouragement to have several at the youth meetings come up and ask questions, take information about mission trips, etc. We pray that others will be challenged about serving Him with the gifts and talents He has given them.
November is also very full with a possible trip to England for paperwork to be fitted in around the meetings.
At the end of last week we received the children’s British Passports! We are so thankful that this first of many steps has been completed. Now we can start the visa process. We are still hoping to be starting language study in August 2010, so please pray that the visas will come through at the RIGHT time. Pray that we will be patient while going through the process too! We will be going next week to start organizing a vacination program for the family so that when the visas do come we are ready! (Also so that we do not have more than one child ‘recovering’ from the side effects at a time)
No we are not referring to the cartoon, but to the job that the Lord has provided for Robert at the minute. He is helping with an extension to a neighbor’s home and so is very busy again. Most nights it means that he is coming in just in time to clean up grab something quick to eat and rush out to a meeting that we are taking! Please pray that he will have clarity of mind while speaking and safety in traveling.