Monday, October 20, 2008

Thirty Faithful Years

This month marks the 30th anniversary of my parents' arrival in Brazil. My dad grew up in Virginia and my mom grew up in the West Indies, the daughter of missionary parents. They felt God's call to Brazil through the ministry of missionary Russell Gordon, and came without much knowledge of the country and its culture or language, with their two-year-old daughter in tow.

After finishing language school in Fortaleza, they headed to the city of Sousa where they worked with Russell and Judy Gordon. From there, they went to the city of Patos (Ducks) where they spent 8 years and founded two churches, one in Patos and one in the small town of Santana de Mangueira (Saint Ann of the Mango Tree).

They went back to Fortaleza, where Dad served as director of the MK school where all five of us kids graduated from. He and Mom taught classes there too and were responsible for a church in town for several years and then went on to help in starting two more churches in the area.

Now they are in the city of Curitiba. God led them there about six years ago and they are both teaching at the seminary there and are involved in a church plant as well.

Throughout all these years, they have been faithful to God and to the ministry, to each other and to us kids. They have endured difficulties with Brazilians and American missionaries, with loss of loved ones in the States and with sickness. They have seen ministries flourish and converts grow and become missionaries or pastors themselves. They have also seen ministries wither and many who professed to believe, walk away, but I have never seen their faith in God falter.

Now that I am here in Brazil as a missionary myself, my love and admiration for my parents has only grown as I begin to understand a little better what all they have gone through. They are so well loved by anybody who has known them. Whether it's a supporting church in the States, peers from their Bible college days at Piedmont, fellow missionaries here in Brazil or Brazilians who were involved in one of their ministries, people are always pleased to know that I am the Nunleys' daughter and always have the kindest things to say about them. I am thankful to have such Godly examples who have gone before me, showing me what living the Christian life is all about. Showing me that loving God and giving my life in His service is a small price to pay. Showing me how to be faithful to a faithful God even when the fruit of my labor isn't readily apparent.

Mom and Dad, thank you for your example to us. I know I speak for all of us kids in saying we're proud to be your children. We love you and we thank God for you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dia das Crianças (Children's Day) 2008

We had the privilege of putting the program together for a day of celebrating Children's Day at camp. Our theme was David and Goliath and we tried to incorporate that theme throughout the day and not just at story time. The teens from our church all came out to help and they did a great job (you'll be able to pick them out in the pictures wearing their matching green and white shirts). There were 81 children who came this past Saturday to spend a fun day at camp designed just for them. (in case you're wondering, Children's Day is a big deal here in Brazil, with presents and all) Here are some pictures of our day ...

Some of the teens stood at the entrance to welcome the kids to camp.
At the chapel, waiting for story time to begin. We sang some songs and then acted out the story of David and Goliath. (ironically, David played the role of Goliath ...) We don't have any pictures of the skit because I was narrating the story and David had a role to play, so neither of us thought to hand the camera to somebody else to snap pictures of us. The skit went over really well and the kids were attentive. The Biblical David was compared to Christ at the end of the story, and how Christ was also a young boy who would grow up to fight the ultimate battle for His people and deliver them from Satan and sin through His victory on the cross, like David delivered the Israelites from the Philistines by defeating Goliath.

The kids were divided into two teams (the Israelites and the Philistines) and had fun playing games that were named after actual battles in the Bible. Here we have the Battles of Mizpah and Gilboa. At the end of the day, the Philistines won ...

During the Bible competition, if the kids gave the correct answer, they got a chance to hit this Goliath using a sling shot.The boys got to make sling shots for their craft. The girls made bracelets.

There were various tournaments throughout the day -- swimming, carpet ball, penalty kicks, knockout. The kids could pick two to participate in. Here, the teen guys take a break and play some carpet ball. David and one of our men from church built this carpet ball table and the kids loved it. They had never seen one before and many asked if it was going to stay at the camp. There were happy to know it is.
Lunch time! The little boy in this picture is the son of a pastor in town. The boy's mother was a little girl in my parents' ministry when they were just starting out.

Jon Reiner, the camp director and missionary we're working with here, arranged for a horse to be brought for the day for the kids to ride. He also had someone set up a trampoline and had a lady come and make popcorn and cotton candy all afternoon for the kids.

Cake and pop to finish out the day. The kids were exhausted (and I think the teens and adults were even more exhausted), but they had a great time.

I think this little boy sums up how the kids felt after their day at camp. We hope to see many of them back at camp in January for their summer week-long camp.