It's been too long!
I haven't written an update since I got home from Brazil in September, but I figured that it is about time. I have some really great news. As you can see in the picture above, I studied really hard for my Doctrine Exam and.... I PASSED!!! I enjoyed studying and being challenged in giving reasons for what I believe and why I believe it. I am thankful for the people who helped me study Scripture to uncover truth, those who quizzed me and discussed the various topics with me, and those who encouraged and prayed for me throughout the entire process.
I think my favorite part about all of the studying is that it further helped me see connections in God's word. It brought me a deeper understanding of the Bible and deepened my relationship with the Lord in turn. It helped me dig in roots of faith, trust, and reliance on God. Through studying, I determined the attribute of God that stands out most to me is His holiness. He is completely set apart in His kindness, love, justice, forgiveness, grace, etc. It is not like that which I see in the world; it is deeper, unconditional, and consistent. One of my new favorite names for God is Emmanuel - God with us. It is such a powerful name that reminds me that God is never far off but is closer than my very breath.
Now that I've passed my doctrine exam, what's next?! Well, I have started my doctorate in Education. I finish my first class this Friday. It has been extremely interesting, and I have learned many different types of educational theories and methods.
In March, I will participate in New Candidate Seminar! At the seminar, I will be learning more about the vision of ABWE as a ministry, hear some of the testimonies of other candidates, complete screening and interviews, be placed, and be further trained in preparation to go to Brazil. At the end of this seminar, I will either be accepted or denied as a new missionary to Brazil by the ABWE Board. The timeline for this is March 5-12. Please be praying for me that God would lead me in this next step and that His will would be done. That is what I want the most.
I have had many really amazing conversations with a variety of people concerning what my next steps are, why I'm going, and why Brazil. It has been cool to share more of what God is doing and how He has been rearranging my life. As I consider leaving my home in the States to go for a new land, I cannot help but think of my home with Jesus. As I long to be in Brazil currently, I know that once I am there, I will long for my family and friends back in the States. This is just a dull shadow of my longing to be home with my Father and family of believers in heaven.
For this reason, I have named my jewelry creations fundraiser Saudade. Saudade is a word I learned in Brazil that means a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. I think it represents this journey very well for many different reasons. I started selling my handmade jewelry to begin raising funds to go to Brazil. This is a fundraiser that I will continue to do for one time donations toward moving to Brazil. It has been cool how God has used it to draw me closer to Him through creating this form of art. I love it!
I have learned more estimates of the cost of going, and it is not a simple feat. I will share now so you all have an idea of what those amounts are. I know that if God wants me to go, I will. If not, I won't. There isn't much more to it than that. It is around $3200 per month and about $30K for moving costs, furnishings, language school, and buying a mode of transportation (these are estimates). In my mind, this seems insane!!! But His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not mine. In this next stage, in these next steps of faith when I don't understand how in the world this is all going to be possible, may God teach me more and more to trust in Him.
Thank you guys for supporting me, praying for me, and caring about what God is doing in my life.