Christmas Celebrations

We love celebrating, and Christmas is no exception. Each of our three locations had their own way to celebrate: 

In Cajueiro Claro, they had a special Christmas morning breakfast, with the whole community!

In Lagoa de Itaenga, they had a Christmas cantata where the kids from Living Stones had some special songs to sing, and then each received a special Christmas present from the generous donors of World Help. 

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At Guadalajara, they had a special end of the year celebration with prizes and presents and special medals for hard work done all year. 

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well!

Merry Christmas from Living Stones!

We hope you have a wonderful season full of meaningful moments and memories.  We pray that you see Jesus in and through the lives and actions of those around you, and radiate Christ through your own life. We thank you for your love and support of children and workers who live far away from you, but are your brothers and sisters. God bless you!

Check out what God has been doing in 2016, as well as more specific updates about Cajueiro Claro, Lagoa De Itaenga, and Guadalajara

Guilherme's Successful Surgery

Guilherme has been a part of Living Stones in Lagoa de Itaenga since it began. You can tell he has parents who love him and want to see him succeed in life. He has an older sister severely disabled and unable to leave their home. His mother spends her life caring for her. His father is a fisherman and works hard, but minimum wage is less than $300 a month for their whole family.
Guilherme was born with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain), which causes an enlarged head and different physical problems like headaches and shaking. Things got worse until this year, Guilherme's hands shook so much he couldn't write anymore. 
In April, Guilherme had major surgery, with all of us at Living Stones and his church praying for him. We are excited to share that it was a success, and that by August, he was able to return to the Living Stones program. He still has some shaking, but it doesn't hold him back. When asked about his favorite part of the year, he said it was the Living Stone's trip to the zoo (where we snapped this smiling picture), but that he was looking forward to the Christmas celebration. Help us provide special Christmas celebrations for all of these wonderful kids here

Luan's Full Tummy

Luan’s big smile quickly gets him out of trouble, because trouble finds Luan quickly. He lives in Cajueiro Claro, his days filled with Living Stones and running around the community barefoot. Many days his family has enough to eat. But some days they do not—enough days to be a serious problem.
Brazil has come a long way in the past 10 years, and children are not starving to death. But many, like Luan, do not have food security. Regularly not having food triggers the brain to go into survival mode, making it harder for the children to learn. Living Stones is the only social program in the area, and we feed them hot, complete meals four times a week: this fills in the gaps and helps Luan’s smile to shine. It costs around $1 for a meal, also providing for the Living Stones program. This Thanksgiving, let’s also remember those who don’t have.

Maria Eduarda's Shy Smile

Maria Eduarda lives in Cajueiro Claro, in a small home with dirt floors. There is no running water, and life is not easy. She and her three sisters just moved into the area, and have been able to find friends at Living Stones. As it gets close to October, every child in Brazil is thinking the same thing: Children's Day is coming!
When Maria Eduarda was asked about Children's Day, she said, with a shy smile, she hoped there would be a party. She then whispered into my ear: "Children's Day is my birthday! I will be eleven!"  Since most of the families in Cajueiro Claro don't have the money to celebrate birthdays, they don't remember the specific day, but tell their kids, "Oh, you were born close to (insert closest holiday)." For this reason, Living Stones has registered an unusually high amount of birthdays on Christmas, Valentine's, and Children's Day. 
Living Stones will be celebrating Children's Day at each of our three locations this year, and we need your help. It is not just about making sure kids get presents, or that we celebrate Maria Eduarda's birthday: it is about sharing God's love. Children's day isn't just for kids who can afford it, it is about celebrating that God made each child, and so they are special and valuable and loved. 

International School Partnership

We are so excited to share with you about Living Stone's partnership with the International School of Carpina! We have always appreciated our connection with the school, as they have come and celebrated many Easters and literacy parties with us at Living Stones, but now we are deepening our relationship. 

The International school children are divided into three houses for competitions and events. These "houses" are named after some famous castles: Stirling, Pembroke, and Arundel. At Living Stones we have three program locations: Cajueiro Claro, Guadalajara, and Lagoa de Itaenga. Each house will partner with a Living Stones program to create opportunities to serve, share, and learn--for all of the children. 

In September, a group of students from the International school prepared a presentation about Brazilian folklore. They shared it with the other classes at school, and then they visited Living Stones and presented there.

Each student shared a different folklore story

Each student shared a different folklore story

The Living Stones children really enjoyed the presentation

The Living Stones children really enjoyed the presentation

After the stories, they had a special event: quebra panela, which is like a pinata. 

After the stories, they had a special event: quebra panela, which is like a pinata. 

After the presentation, the Living Stones children then showed the International school kids what they know best: basketball practice! It was a wonderful (and first of many) experience for everyone!



Rachel's Birthday Wish

Her birthday was the same day as my nephews, but she didn't know that. Like many of the kids from Living Stones, she didn't know when her birthday was because there was no money to celebrate, and her family was focused on survival, not on remembering another year of life. 
When we began celebrating birthdays at Living Stones, something changed. The children began to see that they were special, and that they had received a wonderful gift: time. Time to learn, to change, to grow, to make a difference in the world. When we celebrate them, we celebrate that God made them for a reason: something only they can do in the time they have been given.  
I have always loved birthdays, but I never imagined what a difference they could make. Living Stones has celebrated over 500 birthdays since 2011: my birthday wish is to celebrate 100 more. Help with our 10 for Them program. 

Writing a New Story: Father's Day

The celebration went from heaviness to hope as we focused on how these boys could, and many will, be fathers someday. Step by step Living Stones is writing new stories of families and fathers who make a difference by being fathers and leading their families. Join in at Day for Dad

Cammilly Won a Scholarship!

Cammilly is a hard worker, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She lives with her mom, younger brother Joao, and stepfather. Her father left to live with his “other family” (many men have two common-law wives) when she was 5 years old.

Because of the Living Stones program, and all the extra tutoring she received, Cammilly won a scholarship to a private school in a near-by town. The only sad part was that she's unable to continue with Living Stones (her new school is an all-day program).

Cammilly and her family were excited that her brother Joao was able to take her place at Living Stones: In Lagoa de Itaenga, 150 kids signed up to join Living Stones this year, but there was only room for 60 children. We need you to join our child sponsorship program called Foundation Builders so that we can reach children like Cammilly and Joao. 

VBS 2016

Lagoa de Itaenga (July 8,9,10), Guadalajara (week of July 11), and Cajueiro Claro (July 22,23,24) all had amazing Vacation Bible School programs during Brazilian winter break from school! 

We Have No Story

The two boys in the picture, now men, saw their father killed when they were young. They have no story for Father's Day. After talking to every leader and worker in Living Stones, we found there are no stories to share with you about Father's Day: about how lives were changed and families brought together through a father stepping up and becoming a man of God. Children, yes. Teens, yes, mothers, yes. Fathers? No. 

We ask you to join with us in our father's ministry: in prayer and in support (under "Day for Dad"). Perhaps you even felt it yourself this past Father's Day: the ache for what could be; for what should be. In Brazil, Father's Day is August 14th.  Help us provide an outreach to the fathers of the Living Stone's children. We want to change the story--we want to write new stories.

Cesar Finds Jesus

Cesar's family didn't go to church--they made trouble. But Cesar did play sports, and when he was invited to join a basketball team, he didn't care where it met. For three years he came to the sports ministry in Guadalajara, played hard and went home. 
In December 2015 something changed. Cesar started listening when they talked about God. He started to fight less. He started to go to church. And there, he gave his life to Jesus. When his family partied, he began to pray. Cesar is now a leader for the other kids (and a very good basketball player). 
Sports ministries make a difference. In Guadalajara, the local school does not have a gym: there is no other safe place for the kids to play. Living Stones is working with this sports ministry that reaches 60-100 kids to add education and nutrition--something this community desperately needs as well! We need churches and individuals to come along side and support children like Cesar for $30 a month to keep this program going. Consider becoming a Foundation Builder today

Polar Trek

Our 2016 Trek for Transportation was a bit chilly, but lots of fun! Thank you everyone who came, prayed, and supported Living Stones and GETTING US to those kids! 

These guys helped us raise $2000! You can still donate to our $5000 goal here

Our top three speedsters: Thanks all our runners and walkers! See you next year (with warmer weather!)

Making Moments for Mom

We had a wonderful Mother's day with Living Stones: crafting, decorating, and preparing presentations for our mothers! Thank you for your support!

Books for Living Stones

Illiteracy is a big problem in Northeast Brazil. The International School children have a solution: books for Living Stones Literacy program!

The children gave 240 books to begin our "library" at Guadalajara, where Living Stones is just starting an education program! We couldn't have done it without them!