Videos about Living Stones

quarta-feira, 29 de fevereiro de 2012


We celebrated the birthdays at Mussurepe and Cajueiro Claro:
Pastor Flavio

(Rumor has it that there will soon be wedding bells for Pastor Flavio and Mercia)
Since we haven't reopened Paudalho yet, we took the birthday parties to them:

Luana, who turned 12, with her brothers and sister: Moseis, Guilherme, and Iasmine.

Her first birthday card, ever! Special thanks to Lillian and friends for buying and writing (in Portuguese) special messages in cards for each one of the children to receive this year!

Glabison turned 14. His father looks pretty grumpy, but he smiled when he got an extra big piece of cake!

 If you would like to write one of the children, and get more involved, please write to
The neighbors came to celebrate Luciclede's 17th birthday with us (Luci is the one in the red tank top), sing Happy Birthday, and enjoy cake.
Thank you to all who made this possible by giving to ! The other children on the list were celebrated, but not when a camera was around.

sexta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2012

March Birthdays

Since Carnival is taking up most of the rest of February, Here are the March Birthdays a little early. If you would like to contribute to the $10 for Them campaign to provide birthday parties for these children (

March 6- Claudia (Cajueiro)—Given by Ann Turner (who also provided for the February parties!)
March 12- Leandra (Paudalho 97)
March 21- Josefa (Paudalho, Karla’s sister 07)

March 23- Camila (Cajueiro)

March 29- Morgana (Paudalho 96)

Leandra, the oldest of eight, had a little brother on her hip and was leading a couple other siblings around. God is not only working in her life, putting a bright smile on her face, but also in the lives of her whole family. Through the ministry of Living Stones, her mother is learning how to take care of her children and run a home, and her father was able to get a steady job. They went from a one room home with a dirty mattress in the corner to proudly inviting people in to sit on their couch.

Josefa’s dad works at the dump, sorting through the trash to get piles of recyclable products that he can sell and make less than minimum wage (minimum wage is about $2 an hour in Brazil). She and her 6 sisters (the oldest being 13), live in a mud and stick house, with only the bare necessities. No bathroom, no kitchen. None of the girls knew their birthdays, so their mother got out their birth certificates and handed them to me. She was too shy to tell me that she didn’t know how to read. This year will be the first year that these girls get to celebrate their birthdays.

Five Things you should know about Carnaval

1.       Spelling = Carnaval. That isn’t a typo. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t let the Brazilians know. It is their claim to fame: The biggest party in the world. Wikipedia says that 70% of annual tourism to Brazil happens during Carnaval, and Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners. Only Brazilians can turn a three day holiday into a month long celebration. The town I live in, Carpina, decided that because there are so many cool parties and Blocos other places, they are going to do all of their parties and Blocos BEFORE Carnaval. So while I am getting up at 6am to teach English, they are outside my apartment living it up until 6am.

2.       Blocos. The official picture of Carnaval is one big party that revolves around parades that are presented by different Blocos. Think Macy’s day parade with sexy women dancing the samba instead of Snoopy. Blocos are different groups/clubs that get together and give themselves names (like "o cachorro lambeo tua cara" --the dog licked your face), sell matching shirts or crazy outfits, have a band, and at least one Trio Electrico (fancy ones have floats), which is a truck with huge speakers on the roof and a dance floor on top of the speakers with singers/dancers going crazy on top of that. Carnaval is the time to forget, it is the time to dress up and be someone else, to let it all go.

3.       A Catholic holiday. Carnaval culminates on Fat Tuesday. The basic idea is to get in as much as you can before Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, the 40 days until Easter, and traditionally a time of self-denial. That is the only part that resembles anything religious. For most Christians in Brazil, you do what you can to get away from Carnaval: it is something you culturally DO NOT do as a Christian. They normally use this time to have a church camp at the beach. The trifecta of Carnaval is drinking, drugs, and sex; but after seeing four Carnavals, it looks to me more like vomit, pee, and trash. Carnaval leaves a big mess everywhere, especially in people’s lives with violence, addiction, and prostitution. Carnaval accounts for about 80% of annual beer consumption in Brazil, and probably the same statistic for prostitution.

4.       The dark side. While Carnaval is full of bright colors and laughter, for the many in poverty (Recife has posted statistics of more than 35% of the population living in deep poverty, and rural Brazil is 41%), Carnaval is dangerous and victimizing. Some families earn their yearly income through their daughters during Carnaval. Anyone with money can come and take whatever they want--and then leave the pieces. From an outside look (not Christian); here are some good articles about what people have to say about Carnaval:
b. (A party girl saying it is not what it seems)
c. (There are still a lot of issues to deal with)

5.       Living Stones Children. Most do not have the luxury of going to the beach—and if they do, it is to work. They will be selling beer and snacks, running back and forth, doing little errands for whoever has some moedas (coins) for them. It is not uncommon for children to go missing or get lost during Carnaval. Please keep Brazil in your prayers, especially the children. I feel frustrated, because my hands are tied—they are going to what they choose to do. Also remember those traveling, as car accidents go way up during Carnaval: a couple years ago, there was a car accident with one of the Community churches as they were coming home from Beach camp, and two people died.

There you have it. The good and the bad, the hype and colors, and the trash and smell. Brazil: land of irreconcilable extremes.

terça-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2012

Back to School in Cajueiro Claro

Summer break in Brazil ended last week, and we began Living Stones Cajueiro Claro with much joy and laughter.
We are so excited to now have a cook! One of the women in the community comes and cooks, providing her with an income to help her family, and giving us happy full bellies. She is such a blessing, and frees up Pastor Flavio and Rachel to be with the children. Her food is also MUCH better than Flavio or Rachel's.

To celebrate the beginning of the school year/Living Stones, we had a pizza party at Rachel's apartment in Carpina. It is a big deal for the children to be able to go to the "big city" of Carpina (about 80,000 people, compaired to the 1,000 people in Cajueiro Claro), and the kids loved the pizza we had last year--this being one of the few opportunities they get pizza.

After pizza and ice cream, we went up to the top of the apartment building to see the view (it is four floors). One of the kids said "Oh Rachel, I can't go up there! It is too high!" because it was the highest they had ever been. I grinned and thought of the Sears tower.
We looked at pictures and called Rachel's mom on skype, danced around to music, and played lots of games. But the final challenge was making a pyramid.

It was a wonderful time! Thank you to everyone who gave to make this possible!

segunda-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2012

Living Stones Mussurepe

Living Stones' second program! Eight more to go in Nine years for our 10 in 10 years goal!

Cajueiro Claro is in the middle of nowhere, off the main road 4 kilometers. Go off the main road a little further down and head the other direction, and after about 6 kilometers, you will get to Mussurepe. Some factories located there, as well as sugarcane fields and harvesting. The workers built their homes and worked hard for a meager living in the wilds of Northeast Brazil.

Ten years ago the factory shut down, leaving most everyone jobless and a long walk from anywhere. You can imagine the resulting poverty. One lady, we call her vovo Bel (grandma Bel), had a farm in Mussurepe, and saw the great need. She would open her home once a year for a Christmas party, where she passed out food baskets and toys to the families. She began to pray for more ways to help those around her: she met Pastor Flavio.

Last Christmas, Flavio helped vovo Bel with the program, and then began to dream with her of opening a Living Stones on her property in Mussurepe. February 2nd we began. Until there is someone to head up the Living Stones Mussurepe, it will function two times a week: Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Each time there is singing, devotions, and a weekly character quality, and then dividing up between inside and outside activities.

After about an hour and a half, lunch is served (much of the food being home grown on the farm)and then the children line up to take a container of soup and bread home to their families.

The soup and bread are donated from a restaurant and a bakery in Carpina, and vovo Bel is helping with most of the rest of the cost. One girl said, “The soup is so delicious! We mixed it in with the food we had and made it last all week!” In the future, Pastor Flavio hopes to teach the children to garden and grow their own food in this beautiful back country. What an amazing opportunity God has given us!

January and February Birthdays

The $10 for Them program began when a friend remarked “Is there some way that instead of my kid getting more toys for his birthday, a child in Brazil could get one?”  Celebrations are special moments that we treasure. Most of the children in Living Stones do not know when their birthdays are. Having a day to stop and celebrate is a luxury.
The first birthday we celebrated at Living Stones was Ivanilson. As we brought out the cake and sang, he sat so still and solemn I wondered if something was wrong. He blinked back tears and said, “Thank you. This is my first birthday party.” If you would like to be a part of this program, you can donate at  $10 provides a cake, present, and an unforgettable memory.
Here are the birthdays from January (we will celebrate late) and February:
4- Risoneide (Paudalho 96)

$10 for them given by Nicki
7- Cesar (Paudalho 97)

$10 for them given by Anna and Donovan Embry
20- Flavio (Pastor) Giving from generous friends

24 – Glabison (Paudalho 98)

$10 for them from Anna and Donovan Embry
24- Luana (Paudalho)
Luana still needs someone to give

25- Laisa (Cajueiro volunteer)
Laisa still needs someone to give

19- Love (Cajueiro)
Love still needs someone to give

25- Luciclede (Paudalho 95)
Lucy still needs someone to give

If you have given to $10 for Them this year and your name is not on the list, please contact If you would like to know more about the child you giving a birthday party to, please write to the same e-mail. If you would like to write a letter, pray for, or choose a specific child to give a birthday party to, please write to, or put a note with your donation to

Thank you!