Well Christmas and New Years were a bit different for us this year. Thankfully, we were able to Skype with our families back in the US on Christmas Day. Other than that, Annie and I had a very quiet Christmas Day.
In Brazil, most families celebrate Christmas with family on Christmas Eve. We were invited to a family party with Pastors Ronald and Chris and some of their extended family. It was a great party and Santa, or Papa Noel as he is known here, even took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to show up bearing gifts.
We were all impressed at Santa’s appearance. He had clearly been doing the paleo diet and was looking pretty lean! After opening gifts, it was time to eat. We had an incredible Christmas meal, prepared by Chris’ sister, Simone. At midnight, we were finishing dinner and getting ready for dessert.
On Christmas Day, Annie and I had planned to go out to eat. We had been told that nothing was open in Curitiba on Christmas but I was skeptical. I mean, this is a modern, international city. We had a couple of restaurants that we wanted to try. As we started driving across town, I was amazed at how quiet it was. There was very little traffic and the only businesses that were open were a few gas stations and an occasional pharmacy. I guess they figured kids would need batteries for their toys or parents would need aspirin after celebrating too much. Every restaurant we passed, though, was closed.
We were amazed at the number of restaurants, big fancy places, with signs in the window saying they would open back up the second week of January. After about an hour of riding and not finding a single open place to eat, we decided to try one of the big hotels. We went to the Radisson and found that their restaurant was open. We were the only ones eating there but we had a great meal and the service was spectacular. They were falling all over themselves to help us.
On New Year’s Eve, we hung out with our good friends Idelton and Gisele. These guys have an incredible story about how God has changed their lives since they started coming to C3 Church Curitiba. Idelton cooked up some traditional Brazilian barbecue. This means several different kinds of meat cooked on the grill. He had chicken wings, sausages, and some wonderful Brazilian steak. Gisele had prepared several kinds of side dishes and we ate very well!
We all came back to our apartment to watch fireworks. We are on the sixth floor and our balcony gives us a pretty good view of the city. We watched fireworks for about an hour. They were going off all over the city. It was amazing.
Because Christmas and New Year’s are in the middle of the Summer here, many people travel to the beach. They actually shut down many of the churches here. C3 Curitiba took two weeks off and started back up again on January 12th. It is definitely a different vibe celebrating the Christmas holidays and summer vacations at the same time.
How was your Christmas and New Year’s? What are you believing God for in 2014?
Would you consider becoming a part of our support team as we serve in Brazil? Obrigado! (Thank you!)