OK. I know I'm going to sound crazy, but here it goes... we went to church on Sunday, which was great. The kids love church. After 2nd and 3rd service they had a meet and greet/reception for us and the kids so that whoever wanted to, could come by and meet the all our new children and see the rest of us since we've been gone so long. It was amazing to see all the support and love for our family (thank you Hope and Life... you truly are our family!). We were given so many gift cards and other gifts. It felt really awkward because we're not use to being showered with that type of attention. We'd rather be on the giving end than the receiving end. But it was amazing none the less, thank you everyone who came by! When it was all over Pastors Tony and Gwen asked us if we'd like to go and get a bite to eat with them... we were all so tired but it had been so long since we've been able to see them so we said, "yes." We went to a Mexican restaurant right down the street from the church. Now, in case you don't know this, brazilian food isn't spicey. Actually it's kind of bland in comparison to Mexican food. We didn't know if the kids would like mexican food but we didn't care because we just ate their food for 46 days and you didn't hear us complaining... well maybe you did a little bit. Anyway, off we went. When we got there and were waiting for our food to arrive we were all eating chips and salsa. Gabriel was sitting next to me and he likes to touch everything! He also eats just about anything (remember our blogs from Brazil?). But I know he doesn't like spicey food. He kept on wanting to dip his chip in the salsa like everyone else. So, to teach him a lesson and to make sure he wouldn't want to dip his chip in the salsa anymore... I took his chip and scooped up a nice heaping blob of salsa and let him take a big bite. As he was chewing, it seemed like it took at least 20 seconds (delayed reaction?) and he then cupped his hand over his mouth and made the sound you make when something is hot... all the while his other hand was waving up and down in a fanning motion. Of course I was laughing the whole time because it was funny (it is funny, right?). Then I picked him up and whisked him away to the bathroom so that I could rinse his mouth out with cold water. When we were finished I asked him if he wanted any more salsa and he said, "NO!" So, mission accomplished... he will probably never touch the salsa bowl again. Wow, this parenting thing keeps getting easier and easier...LOL! Now here's where the 'payback' comes in. When we were finished, Matthew, Gabriel and Diogo wanted to ride home with me in my truck. We all sat in the front seat next to each other (in seatbelts, of course) just driving along, minding our own business, nobody talking. We drove for about 25 minutes everybody was happy, listening to music, singing... it was very relaxing. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the house...then it happened. I looked down at Gabriel, who was wedged in between Matthew and Diogo, and he just looked me in the eyes... and he kind of had a blank look on his face. He then looked down and began throwing up! I'm not talking a few little spirts of liquid either... I'm talking projectile, solid column hold your mouth open and let it all fly vomit! And of course it was salsa colored! He did it back to back 3 times in about 30 seconds! It was everywhere! We couldn't do anything because we were all wedged in the front seat and couldn't move. The only thing we could do was sit there and watch in horror. Matthew rolled his window down and said, "Dad it smells soooo bad... I think I'm going to throw up!" I said, "please just hold on... we're almost home!" I reached my arm around Gabriel and started to rub the back of his head to let him know it was alright... then he looked back at me and smiled reeeal big. Now this is where you're going to think I'm crazy... I could swear to you that when he looked at me and smiled he had that look of "that will teach you to put spicey salsa in my mouth, won't it Dad?" Payback! Lesson learned son, Daddy's sorry (it was still funny though). Maybe this parenting thing isn't that easy after all.
Everyone is doing great. It was such a blessing to see our kids in church clapping and raising their hands, in participation, during the worship. No one told them to participate. They saw everyone else doing it and felt comfortable enough to want to join in. That makes all of our struggles worth it. To know that these kids are going to be raised in a christian home with christian parents who have all christian friends and family, who attend a church that isn't afraid to worship God and reach out to change the community...it's such a blessing. I'm still in awe of the way God pulled this whole thing together. He took a couple with no desire to enlarge their family, without the resources to make it happen, without the space in their home to house 5 extra children adequately, who had busy schedules and... bam! Our hearts were changed when we realized the enormous amount of orphaned children in our world, he provided over $40,000.00 to bring the children home, He worked through friends and family to enlarge our home and He was able to make all of these things happen in spite of our busy schedules. So if you're contemplating stepping out in faith on something God has laid on your heart, even though it seems crazy... go for it! You're going to be amazed at what He will do for you if you are only willing to step out and trust Him.
Jim and MJ