Mid-Year Report 2017

Hear about our three programs in Brazil, reaching over 175 children in needy communities. A lot has happened so far in 2017, and we have many praises and some prayer requests: find out more!

Biggest Trek Ever!

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With 75 people raising around $4,000, this was the biggest turnout we've ever had for our annual Trek for Transportation. It was a rainy day, and we had over 30 brave souls who trekked 4 kilometers through the stormy weather. 

Congratulations to our top 5 runners:

1. Matthew Wickham (14 minutes 18 seconds)

2. Matt Wickham (16 minutes 12 seconds)

3. Maggie Lutes (16 minutes 14 seconds)

4. Rachel Covey (16 minutes 24 seconds)

5. Kyler Nivens (16 minutes 24 seconds)

An amazing Lularoe selection!

An amazing Lularoe selection!

Special thanks to Julie Turner, who bought all these amazing Lularoe clothes! Lularoe is an amazing company that gives a percentage to Living Stones for every piece purchased. Sadly, the rain cut our shopping time short, so we are having round two: 

Mother's Day Celebrations 2017

Each one of the children from Cajueiro Claro, Lagoa de Itaenga, and Guadalajara worked hard at Living Stones to make and share something with their mothers. We know how hard these mothers work to provide for their families, and it is always a joy to be able to come together and celebrate. Thank you for your support in making this happen!

Alessandra gives her life to Jesus

Alessandra (circled above) is 12 years old and has been coming to Living Stones Guadalajara since 2016. Many of her close friends told her how cool it was to play basketball, and this is the only place in her community she can. She enjoys the classes: math, Portuguese, and reading, because she gets to be with her friends, and Lane and Misse (who run the program) are really nice. 
This year, some of her friends started going to church on Sunday, and she joined them. Lane shared with her what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. On April 7th, after playing basketball, she came up to Lane and Misse and said she wanted to give her heart to Jesus. They sat down with her, carefully went over the gospel message, and she prayed that day. 
Two other children have given their lives to Jesus this month at Guadalajara. At Living Stones, we regularly share about Jesus at events. We weekly talk about Jesus in the classes, and the leaders live out the Christian life in real time. When someone gives their life to Jesus, it is not another name on a piece of paper, it is another member of our family. 
Living Stones Guadalajara is on a one year trial period that is up in June. To continue the program, we need to have more individuals and groups partnering with them on a long-term basis. This means that before JUNE, we need people to say YES, we will commit to supporting Guadalajara through Living Stones child sponsorship. Is this something God is calling you to do?

Easter Celebrations

The Passion play in Lagoa de Itaenga

The Passion play in Lagoa de Itaenga

Each year, Living Stones takes time to celebrate and share the incredible story of Resurrection Sunday with the children and community. This year, Lagoa de Itaenga put on another Passion play, and the Living Stones children had a special song to share:

Living Stones Guadalajara had the children color and share what Easter meant to them, and illustrate the Gospel message:

Misse sharing with the girls

Misse sharing with the girls

Cajueiro Claro had an Easter feast with the community:

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Why Trekking Matters

When people donate to Living Stones throughout the year, that money goes directly to the programs for the kids. But how do the workers and leaders get to the programs? The Trek for Transportation.
Join us for our 7th annual Trek at Southeastway Park, as we raise the yearly funds needed to provide gas and vehicle upkeep for the Living Stones workers. We are making it a Brazil experience for the whole family: wheel and pet friendly! Come eat Brazilian hot dogs, win Brazilian medals, listen to Brazilian music, and hear stories about the children whose lives you are changing. If you register by May 1st, you get an awesome tee shirt as well!  
If you can't make it to the Trek, please consider sending in your donation at the link above. For updates and all questions answered, write to amobrasil99@hotmail.com

Carnaval Camp for Kaylane

Carnaval is the biggest holiday in Brazil, bringing in most of the tourist for the whole year. But what does that mean for the poorest children? It means there is little protection (parents/guardians are often away at parties or drinking), and a lot of danger (high levels of tourists, alcohol, and violence means many children are exploited). Many of the churches in Brazil use Carnaval as a time to have church summer camp: Living Stones has a scholarship to help enable to kids to afford it. 

Kaylane loves to sing and draw. She is quiet and kind to all of the children. She lives with her mother right down the street from the yellow church in Cajueiro Claro, and loves to learn about Jesus. She is working hard this week to earn her scholarship. As one of the children who can read, she is memorizing five Bible verses, the books of the Bible, and reading one (of the shorter) books of the Bible to share about with the others. 

Because of many financial hardships in Cajueiro Claro, instead of having camp at the beach, they are holding it right in the community. The church is one of the few safe places they have. Pastor Flavio and his family are "moving in" Saturday, February February 25, until March 1st. They will have a (blow up) pool, soccer, and days full of games, worship, learning, and food. Twenty-two other children are signed up, and hope to have this opportunity for growing and safety: would you be able to give a scholarship for $30?

Kombe Plans

Many of you know that Pastor Flavio's car was totaled the end of November. (For more information, go here.) The World Renewal Brazil board got together and decided that it is time to sell the Kombe (We purchased the Kombe in 2013 from kind donations raised at the Trek for Transportation). 

Pastor Flavio's totaled car

Pastor Flavio's totaled car

The Kombe has been broken down and barely usable for the past year, and so we are hoping to sell it and raise enough money to purchase two smaller vehicles (We need about $2,000). Kombe's are wonderful ministry tools, but they are a bit money pit for gas and upkeep. One vehicle will be used for Living Stones ministries, and one will be used for Glory Sports ministries. 

Goodbye to our faithful Kombe! Many people were blessed by it!

Goodbye to our faithful Kombe! Many people were blessed by it!

These two ministries work closely together to be God's hands to hard-to-reach children. The smaller car makes longer and more frequent trips possible (but unfortunately limits the amount of people you can bring with you). 

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