How do I (Aubrey) know this for sure? God the Father has taken the time to prove it to me. The last few years I have struggled even more than usual in the winter. Emotionally and physically. Paying outrageous fuel bills, taking half an hour to dress kids to go out and play for ten minutes, sore muscles and headaches. The dark, the cold and the snow. God knew we only had a couple more winters to make it through, so to help, He blessed us with butterflies and a frozen oak.
Last year two gorgeous butterflies lived in a 'butterfly house' in our kitchen window until well after Christmas. We found one on our boot rack in October and the other in a friend's heated shop. It cheered me up to watch them stretch in the sunshine coming through the window or to uncurl their amazing 'proboscises' to slurp up brown sugar water. They were oblivious to the -35C temperatures, (not including the windchill). The winter didn't seem as long with them part of our everyday life.
We have an oak tree in our front yard, which technically is not supposed to be there. Oaks aren't known to do very well in the north. Apparently ours isn't aware of that, as it has grown a fair amount since we've been here. It just makes the best of the situation it is in. It would always make me sad though, to look out the window in the winter and see it bare, it just reminded me of how dead everything seems all winter. So, because my God delights in the details of my life, He sent a rain and then a hard freeze this winter that locked the leaves onto the tree! I look out the window now and instead of a dead bare thing, I see a tree who doesn't know a) it isn't supposed to be living up here and b) it most certainly isn't supposed to have leaves in the winter!! They even stay on in the bitter winds!A good question to ask here is, "What on earth am I doing in Hay River, NT?" I don't like cold, snow or dark. Well, God brought us here to grow us up in Him and get us ready for the next stage in our lives. Which seems to be Brazil, where there is no snow and very limited cold! I have to admit, I've been a bit like the oak. I was quite surprised when Koos finally got up the nerve to tell me God had asked us to head to a different continent. "What do you mean, I'm not supposed to be in Canada for my whole life?" and oblivious like the butterflies, "You mean, this wasn't just another place to live? God was actually doing something in us here?"
While I am excited to enjoy the change in elements, we have friends and family here and in Alberta we will miss dearly. But if God has taught me anything through the butterflies and the oak, it is that if we accept the fact that He has ordered this step in our lives, He will continue to delight in the details, even if we have no real clue as to what's going on!
So here are the facts of our situation: our house is for sale, we've purchased a cargo trailer to use to take stuff to BC and probably serve as a storage unit while we are in Brazil. We've been officially accepted by Xtreme Mercy for training and are allowed to give presentations and explain what we will be doing in Brazil. We are not sure of the timeline in BC. To get into Brazil on a 'religious purposes' visa, a person has to have completed Bible school or be ordained with a church. We are probably going to go the ordination route, as it is a shorter process. It involves working with a church, fulfulling the requirements of their denomination to become ordained and then having the approval of the church board to do so. As it looks right now, this will take about a year. We will also need some time to learn Portuguese before we go!!
Xtreme Mercy is also able to take donations on our behalf and hold them in trust for us until we need them. The most pressing financial need right now is the "outgoing expense", which will include plane tickets for the six of us. If anyone feels led to donate, here is a link to the Xtreme Mercy (Xingu Mission) site so you can check out what they are all about: http://www.xingu.org/index.html. Any donations are tax deductible and if something crazy happens and we never make it down there, the funds will go to a general fund to help wherever the need is greatest. We will be working with the Bergens (see international missionaries) in the Maraba region. For interest's sake, here is the most recent video from the Maraba region of youth testimonies from a retreat they held earlier this year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlCReNHp3lE.
So, thanks for reading. I will do my best to keep everyone updated as more of the details are revealed to us. If anyone is on Facebook, I have also posted some 'Farewell to Hay River' pictures as a tribute to the good times we had in the snow.
God bless and may you give Him the opportunity to show you how He delights in the details of your life, too.