Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Quick Note

My dear friends,

Due to the sale of my laptop as well as the busyness of life, I will not be posting as much over the next week or so. Once I have returned home and settled in, I'll be sure to update you all again. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel.


Katie :)


I'm so excited about today! All we have left in school is a final math test and a final social studies test. Praise God! This school year looked humanly impossible so many times. Thankfully, my Savior specializes in the impossible, and He has brought us through with flying colors. He is amazing!

Now comes the flurry of packing and cleaning and flying home, and I'm so excited. Yet, in my time here, I've gained another set of grandparents, a little brother, an uncle, an entire church family, and many many friends. I don't think I can yet fully realize how much I will miss this place.

However, I am eager to see what God has in store for the future. I know it will include more learning and growing because school always includes those things, and this earth is a school. Jesus is the best teacher, and He knows just what it takes to pass the final test, so I trust Him to prepare me in His way. Still, I can't wait for the day when the last heart will understand, the last mind will see clearly, the final choice of multiple choices will be made, and all who pass the final test will go home forever.

With Christ as my teacher and study partner and friend, I don't have to worry about the final test test (He's also the one who grades the tests). I know that He will prepare me well, and in the end, I'll pass by His sweat and blood.

Praise the Lord! We're already in the end of the year crunch time! Can you feel it? This training school is almost finished, and soon we will go home!

Study carefully! Listen closely to the Teacher's voice! Diligently do your assignments. The final exam is coming soon. Let's all be ready for that last day of school.

Praise the Lord!

"Greater Works Than These..."

Today, as I was cleaning up the sticky notes on my desktop, I came across this little paragraph, and it was exactly what I needed today. I had been thinking about righteousness by faith earlier, and these thoughts tied things together in my mind. I think I've likely posted it on here or shared it somewhere before or got it from someone else since it was on a sticky on my desktop, but it did me so much good that I just had to share it once more. Praise the Lord that He is so merciful. He even sends me His messages multiple times when I have forgotten them or need to hear them again. God is so good!

John 14:10,12
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works...Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
    Christ lived a life of victory over sin, but even Christ didn't do it by Himself. Here He reveals the secret to His perfect life: "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." To me this is incredible. That Jesus, who, though fully human, was yet fully God, would rely on His Father for every word and every work. How much more should I depend  on my heavenly Father for every word and action!

No one has lived a life like Jesus did, but look at the promise in verse 12: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."  "The Saviour's promise to His disciples is a promise to His church to the end of time. God did not design that His wonderful plan to redeem men should achieve only insignificant results. All who will go to work, trusting not in what they themselves can do, but in what God can do for and through them, will certainly realize the fulfillment of His promise. "Greater works than these shall he do," He declares; "because I go unto my Father."  {LHU 190.3}"

Father, I choose to believe on Your Son. Dwell in me, and do "greater works" in me for Jesus sake. May You be glorified by what You accomplish in me. Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Birthday Party II

The prep for Miguel's afternoon birthday party actually started long before the party I mentioned in my last post, Birthday Party I.

Here is part of the cake that I started baking at seven in the morning (that's not so bad actually...but, it was Sunday morning...).

And here are some goodies for the treasure hunt that Paulo started laying out before I was even up.

After I had baked the cakes, I went to Birthday Party I, and when we got back, I set to work decorating my masterpiece. 

With a camping themed party, we figured a campfire would make a good cake. 

I attempted to make flames out of white chocolate (the only non-vegan component of the cake...but the cake wasn't for me to eat anyway, it was for the birthday boy. So, I did what made him happy).
Once the white chocolate was melted and dyed, I spread it out on wax paper and stuck it in the freezer to harden. I think there's still some left, but Miguel doesn't need to know that... ;)

By the way, melting white chocolate is not the easiest thing to do - especially on a funky gas stove like the one we have. Also, um, steam is really hot... :-/ 

Next, the outdoors-man wanted a manly beverage for his party, so I set out to get the apple bug juice. ;)
If any of you would like the recipe, it's pretty simple: cockroach legs, fly wings, dragonfly eyeballs and caterpillar guts. If you don't have fresh cockroaches in your area, you may replace them with dried ones and some extra water. You may also try substituting with another insect, but I can't guarantee that the flavor will be quite right.

Finally my cakes had cooled and it was time to assemble! 

Thanks, Mom, for the wonderful vegan carob icing! I could spread that stuff on gf toast...mmmm I'm sure it's better than Nutella!

The extreme heat and humidity were melting the icing as I spread it on, so I had to stick it in the fridge as fast as I could.

Here's a glimpse of our campfire in the fridge. lol

Just as I put the cake in the fridge, our happy campers arrived and set out on their treasure hunt.
At least to me, they're walking right past all the treasure. Just look at those flowers!

Water-bottles and maps in hand they set out on the trial.

Avo brought up the rear. 

We started to see some incredible views of Dili by the time we got partway up the first hill.

When the explorers reached they're first base camp, they found some puzzles awaiting them.

Some took longer than others to finish, but that just meant I got to take more pictures of them.

 This is Lake Tacitolu. 

Can you see the clouds? There were storms going on over the hills around us, but we had our own little patch of sunshine. Praise the Lord! The storms around us even sent us cool breeze that was so relieving as we trekked along. hmmm Even storms can bring good things to those who are following the map and are on the right path... There are so many spiritual lessons to be learned on treasure hunts...


 I'm pressing on the upward way, new hights I'm gaining every day...

I especially found this treasure hunt thought provoking because our path followed a Catholic pilgrimage trail that is marked with crosses along the way.

While we went, we came across several locals. These ladies wanted their pictures taken. 

They were up on the hills gathering wood with their machetes. They didn't really seem to like it when I took pictures of them working, but this lady let me take one.

One thing I found inspiring about our hike was Avo. He is so determined! So old, and yet so strong and fit! He just kept hiking and hiking!

 While the kids worked on their puzzles, he sat and read his book. Avo is such an amazing man. He's really become like a grandfather to me.

We finally reached our last base camp!

Under three crosses, the scouts finished their last challenge. Their final challenge turned out to be building several mini lego sets and bringing them back to the main camp in one piece, however, we adjusted the rules a bit and ended up giving at least half of the lego sets away to some local children who were also hiking. That's the way to do a treasure hunt. :)

 Some more views from the end of our hunt.

A bunch of tired, sweaty kids...of all ages!

Thankfully there was a cool pool and some refreshments waiting for our little hikers.



(potato chips) 


These last ones are left over logs from the "campfire."

 Last but not least, the campfire!

Here are a couple pics of the inside of the cake later in the evening.

 So, what about all those puzzles that got solved on the treasure hunt? Every correct answer got to be cashed in for "Miguel Money" and could be used at the convenience store.

The lines at the cash register were quite long...

especially because people kept coming back and deciding to buy more...

Overall, I think it was a great party. The birthday boy had fun, the guests had fun, the food turned out, and we all slept really well afterwards! :)

Praise the Lord for another year of life for my dear Miguel!

ParabĂ©ns a vocĂȘ,
nesta data querida,
muitas felicidades,
muitos anos de vida.

Hoje dia de festa,
cantam as nossas almas,
para o menino Miguel.
uma salva de palmas!