Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Recent Newsletter

Dear Friends,
Where have the past 6 months gone? It’s hard to believe we’ve been living in Brazil for 6 months already. So much has happened and we want to give you an update of how God is moving.

Housing: We stayed with Renato’s parents for about 3 months before we found a house to rent. The house we found is such a blessing! Here are a few of the blessings: Good area of town, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedroom closets (houses in Brazil usually only have the walls, you bring your own storage), and kitchen cabinets (usually the kitchens are totally bare).
We were also blessed by Renato’s parents who gave us many “used/old” furnishings. This was amazing, because we only had to purchase a washer, microwave, water dispenser, stove, table/chairs, TV stand, and buffet table. Furnishings in Brazil are VERY expensive, so Praise God for “hand-me-downs”!

Transportation: After almost 2 months without transportation, we were able to buy a car. It may be small, but it gets us where we need to go!

Teaching English: We needed to find a way to earn money here in Brazil, since we don’t have enough monthly income from the U.S. to fully support us. So we started teaching English. It’s been great! Michele is able to use her “teaching skills”, and Renato is able to teach them techniques for learning a 2nd language. We have 8 students so far!

Personal: Renato has been busy with pursuing other business interests. Michele has applied for her Brazilian Green Card, and is trying to learn Portuguese. Camden is busy keeping his parents on their toes.  He is growing into such a fun little boy, with a HUGE personality. We are spending a lot of time taking walks, reading books, and playing together as a family.

Ministry: After 6 months of “transition/adjustment” time, we feel we finally have an outlook for what God wants us to pursue ministry-wise. God is placing so many people around us that Renato knew from Denver, it’s just amazing! We feel we’re being called to really serve and get to know the people He’s placed in our path. So we’re beginning a weekly Bible study/fellowship time on Sunday mornings, and inviting the people we’ve met so far. We are so excited to see how God moves in the lives of these people.

In March, we traveled to Belem (in northern Brazil) to work with a church we know there and minister. Renato was able to travel into the Amazon once again to visit the churches along the river. He also had a chance to speak at 2 of the church services in Belem.

Prayer Requests:
1) Ministry opportunities/Bible study. Pray for God to guide us and to give us wisdom and vision.
2) Finances. With furnishing the house and making an unexpected but necessary trip to CO in May, we had to pretty much wipe out our “one-time” donations savings account. We also need about $400 more in monthly donations.
3) Michele can always use prayer for learning Portuguese!  Thanks!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Your prayers are POWERFUL and we feel them daily.

**Please consider becoming one of our monthly financial supporters. Like we stated before, we need to increase our monthly donations by $400. We need only 8 people to donate $50/month, or 16 people to donate $25/month. If giving monthly doesn’t work, you can help us “build-up” our one-time donations account. Every cent you donate is a HUGE blessing!!!!
Send in donations to: Now Hope
PO Box 62337
Colorado Springs, CO 80962
**Write CASSULA in the memo**
Or contact Now Hope by email for credit card donations:

We’d love to hear from you! Here is our Brazilian contact information:
Renato & Michele Cassula
RUA Benedito Correia #45
Bairro Sao Domingos
Americana, SP- Brazil 13471-150

Home Phone: 011-55-19-3621-3997 Cell Phone: 011-55-19-8204-2633

Our continued thoughts and prayers are with you!
Renato, Michele, and Camden

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Going Green

"Going Green" is definitely a popular movement throughout the U.S. It's starting here in Brazil as well, but what I've found, is that Brazil is just naturally a lot more "green" in the sense of taking care of this planet. They run a lot of their cars on alcohol, sugar-cane alcohol, and they've been doing it since the beginning of the 80's. The U.S. is making big gains in ethanol which is great.

Since I've been in Brazil I've definitely gone "Green"! First, doing laundry here is Green because they don't have dryers, so big points there. Also, they don't even have hot or cold settings on the washers because most all water here in Brazil is cold. Houses usually have reserviors on the top of their roofs to warm the water in the sun, and that's the water for showers. All the other water from the facets is cold. SO no wasting of hot water here.

Second, all stoves/ovens are gas. I don't know if this is "green", but it saves electricity. Also there are no dish washers to waste tons of water and electricity. I'M the dish washer!

Third, and this is the best ever, the house we rent has solar panels to heat our water. Let me just say a huge, "THANK YOU JESUS!!!" for this amazing blessing! After living without "hot" shower water for a couple of months, I will never again take for granted a hot shower. (Especially since a really steaming/scolding hot shower is close to heaven for me.) They do have electric shower heads here that make hot water, but they aren't the same, and not "green". Our solar panel also heats the kitchen sink water, so that means on cold days like today, I don't have freezing cold hands from doing the dishes. Again, "THANK YOU JESUS!!!"

Fourth, we have a "low flow" shower head to save the precious hot water. (And I need to mention, that if we have a couple cloudy hot water....but again, this is Brazil, and most days are sunny.)

Fifth, most of the veggies we eat are organic. Straight from grandpa's garden. I'm so thankful for our organic veggies because they are good for us, and of course even better.....they are FREE! :) Thank you grandpa!!

These are some of the ways we are "Going Green". What are some things you are doing or that work well for you? Please share!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good Times in the Good Ol' U.S.of A.

I wanted to post a few pictures of our trip to CO. It felt sooo good to be back on familiar soil, even for just a week. We loved being able to see friends and family during our short trip. Camden didn't have such a great trip. Since he is teething (which is a perpetual state latetly), he's more prone to pick up "bugs" along the way. We had to make a run to emergi-care with him and found out he had an ear infection. Poor little guy. He was pretty miserable most of his time in the U.S. Thank goodness for medication though, because it got him up and going again by the end of the trip.

It was a great trip, but coming back to Brazil this time around was a little difficult emotionally. I think it was because for a week, I was surrounded by the familiar....friends, surroundings, family, food, English....and it just reminded me of what I'm missing out on here in Brazil. Thankfully after a day or two, Brazil became my "normal" once again. I'm just so thankful for what I do have. I'm one blessed woman!

Grandma & Grandpa doting on Camden.

Some friends at our BBQ.

We're blessed to have such terrific friends!

Daddies enjoying their boys. Ethan is Camden's friend since the womb. :) The boys are 3 days apart.

The Fast's and the Cassula's.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Camden's Favorites

Here's a list of Camden's current "favorites":

Animal: Dog, Horse, Bird

Food: Strawberries (new today!), Mashed Potatoes, Meatloaf, Bananas, Grapes,

Game: Chase

Activity: Wrestling with Daddy, Reading Books, Going Ba-Bye, Taking Walks, Talking on the Phone

Words he Says: Mama, Dada, please, milk, ga-gwa (water), ball, bird, na-night, ba-bye, beeza (Portuguese word for great-grandma), "b" for book, nana (banana), grp (grape), snack, baby, and others I'm sure I'm missing

Words he Signs: please, thank-you, milk, drink, eat, all-done, dog, bird, more, fish, hat, baby, and others I'm sure I'm missing

Here's a funny picture of when we dressed him up like a wrestler. A young "Nacho Libre". Too cute!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fun Day

Today was a beautiful day here in Americana, Brazil. We went to a restaurant/hobby farm/kid fun place today. Sorry for the wierd description, but that's what it was. We went with some friends who actually speak English because they lived in Denver for awhile. They have 2 older girls, and they younger one, Kelly (11 yrs old), had a great time taking Camden around and playing with him.

The restaurant was good, kinda like a buffet. Really nice. While we ate, we watched people getting horse rides in the arena next to the restaurant. Great entertainment for Camden while eating! After we were done eating we headed outside to the hobby farm to see all the animals. Camden LOVES animals and was so excited to see all the birds, horses, goats, and rabbits.

Then he played and played and played!

AND he got his 1st horse ride........and loved it!

Camden was so pooped after his afternoon of fun, he fell asleep on the 10 minute ride home. Which for Camden, is a VERY rare occasion!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

We've been home here in Brazil for almost a week now. It's taking me a bit longer to recup this time from our whirlwind trip to CO. Everything seems to returning to normal again though.

Our trip was great, but of course, too fast! We ate things we were missing, and saw lots of friends we were missing. My parents were even able to join us for a few days, which was wonderful. They got a few days in of spoiling their 9th grandchild. :)

Our immigration meeting went well, we think. I guess we'll know for sure in a few weeks if Renato receives his new Green Card in the mail or not. Thanks for your prayers!

It was a little hard coming back to Brazil for me. Going back to the U.S., I was just reminded of how easy, comfortable, and convenient life is there. It's amazing how easy it is to fall back into all my previous "comforts" of living. Even though life is a bit harder here, I know I am in God's will and that He is "stretching" me and teaching me valuable lessons in my life here in Brazil. (Like the lesson of patience.) I look forward to what He has for me to learn tomorrow. (I'm guessing it has something to do with patience.......even when I'm ironing sheets!) Ha!