A Story that Is Real – part 2 An Unnormal Day

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My next-door neighbor, Maria, and I are standing in her kitchen. She’s been talking to me, and now she is using a serious tone of voice.  I still must listen intently to understand – and my mind had wandered as I asked myself: (Maria – why is everyone named Maria, Even some of the men? A friend’s doctor is named José Maria Santos.  Why ???)

Suddenly, a word got through. “medium” …(in reference to the person who speaks to and hears from spirits, transmitting their requests – and orders – to you.)

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand.”

 “You need to listen to me more carefully!” Maria sputters.
“I’m telling you that you NEED to take Joãozinho to a medium so he can get well!
He’s been sick for several days with a fever and diarrhea, and that is dangerous. He could become dehydrated and you wouldn’t even know it!”

My stomach turned over. Our three-year-old needs a doctor, not a medium.

Maria continues. “Think about it. Whenever one of my children gets sick, I take them to a medium I know. I would be glad to take you and Joãozinho.”

I thank her profusely
(I’ve learned how to do that well, as I discover how much the Brazilians like to help.) Then we kiss on each other’s cheeks (left cheek first, so you don’t bump noses) and I return to my house, talking to God as I go.


Lord, help! Why is Joãozinho so ill?  All of the children know to drink from the filter, and not from the faucet.  It isn’t the alligator tail we ate a few days ago – at least I don’t think so! I know it was well -fried. WHAT is wrong? “

I am worried. No phone to call for help. I walk and pray, check on Joãozinho and get some more water down him, then pray and walk.

About 45 minutes later, someone knocks on our front door. I hear Cal answer it, then voices talking.  I go downstairs. Paulo and Ana (a Brazilian couple who will be married in a few months and who both  speak English, Ana’s younger sister (her sister was with them as their chaperone – in 1967 any couple has to have a chaperone on a date) – and another man – who also speaks English. I am thrilled to have company and start to the kitchen to make some cafézinho. Paulo stops me.


Voni and Cal, I brought Dr.Fabio here to see Joãozinho. Dr Fabio is an obstetrician. Someone told us your little son was sick, and Dr Fabio wants to see him, first of all. Then we’ll have that coffee.”

I want to jump up and down, praising God.  This morning Maria told me I needed a medium.  God knew we needed a doctor, and He brought one to us!

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What I learned?  We were on a well, so I trusted the water. WRONG.
Dr Fabio takes a water sample for the labs, examinesJoãozinho, gives him medication-
then we adults had some delicious cafézinho , along with a wonderful visit before our guests left; and Dr Fábio giving me a condensed version of things I needed to do – immediately. I had to start boiling all water for 30 minutes before using it. 24/7 Even the water used in brushing teeth.
A few days later, the lab report stated the water was heavily contaminated.  So the water boiling regimen continued all the time we lived there..😊


That day will always stand out in my memory as a water-shed moment.
I still remember the shock of Maria saying I should take our son to a medium.
Spiritism was imbedded into their lives. Dealing with the spirits —  I had thought that evil spirits were in Biblical times but not now
I have had many lessons from God showing me this is not true.  Because of His grace, the lessons started gradually.  I’m going to share some of them with you, for I want you to be aware of the spiritual world that surrounds you and I.  It is just as real as my bones and flesh. We may deny that angels, evil spirits and/or miracles exist today. But what we think does not change the reality.

In the following stories I may change some of the names and not always give you the year . . . But what happened, happened.


– Voni –

A Story

A Story that Is True. 

This is how it began. . . 

A baby girl born in Ontario, Oregon, a small community set in the midst of farms and ranches, on August 28, 1932. 
Name? Vondelae Eldred (no middle name – and people always asked me why. Yes, there was a reason) 

A very brief history here: 
My brother was born in 1934. 
In 1935, Dad sold his part of the ranch to his brother, and we moved to Bellingham, Washington, close to the Canadian border. Dad started a fuel business (at that time the fuel was coal). 
My earliest memory was when I was three, and talked Dad into letting me dry the dishes he was washing. (Mom was taking care of my brother.) Dad pulled a chair up beside him, helped me climb and stand on it, and gave me a towel to dry the dishes. I was one very proud little girl – and Dad hid his nervousness well, as he kept a close eye on me. 

The memories come rolling in. 
Me sipping some of Mom’s perfume after stern instructions not to touch it – so, of course, I did – to my sorrow. 

The ice truck driving down the alley and me running out to tell the driver how much ice we needed for our ‘ice cooler” that used huge chunks of ice to keep the food cold (before the days of electric refrigerators) and the mess it was to get rid of the ice water and put in new chunks of ice., (the kitchen floor always received a thorough mopping afterward. I loved the confusion – Mom hated it. For her, the worst part was it had to be done every couple of days.) 

Me poking holes in a box of avocados to see if they were ripe (I still love avocados). 
And more memories – some funny, some embarrassing. 

When I was five we moved to a small farm near Bellingham. Dad loved the land, and always found a way to work with it, wherever we lived. He added another truck and Eldred Fuel became a part of Bellingham businesses. More memories 😊 

Mom and Dad loved God, each other, and my brother and I… in that order. I was secure in that love, and loved them, God and my brother (some of the time). We had the normal sibling disagreements – but Dad did not allow fisticuffs. And he taught us about the heartbreaks of angry words. With time and experience, I learned the value of those teachings. 

I talked to God all the time, about everything – and still do. Jesus was involved in those conversations, also – but I did not know much about the Holy Spirit, other than He was also part of the Trinity. 

I understood the value of water baptism – and was baptized when I was eleven. 

Now I am going to skip years of memories – I will only say that it was a different world than the one we know now. 
But God was not different. He was always God and present in my life. 

However . . . I did not know the Holy Spirit. 
but I was about to! … 

 
In the summer of 1967, our family (Cal Hall, myself, and our five children – ages 15 to two) moved by a Japanese freighter to Brazil. We were part of a large group (in 1968, 68 people) who moved to work together to share the Good News about Jesus Christ in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. 
The group began forming in 1962, representing years of work and learning, and was called Operation ’68. 

We were as prepared as we could be – but I had no idea of some of the now indelibly printed adventures in my mind that were waiting for me, including moving next door to an active spiritualist family. That is when God began a process of deeper teaching. 

I’ll share some more about that in the next post 

-voni 

THANKING GOD -AT ALL TIMES !

Tonight I am feeling pensive. Memories passing in front of my inner eyes. Do you know what I mean?

An old swimming pool in Contagem, MG. Moss is growing between some of the stones… but Sr Jose keeps the water clean so family and friends can cool off on those hot days w/o wind. Some mango trees are growing close to the edge of the pool, so we can pick them and eat. Then we jump back into the water to get rid of the juice that has dripped all over us.:)

—————-

The house we built on top of a mountain above Belo Horizonte, MG. It was a miracle, for we had no money coming from the states… only what we earned through teaching English. An absolute impossibility for us, but not for God!

The laundry room was on the basement level … once a week I gathered up all the linens and dirty clothes, separated them in piles on the cement floor (many piles), filled the washing machine with cold water, added some Omo Laundry Soap, threw in the first pile of clothes, filled the laundry tubs with water, and began. I often thought of all the times I helped my mom wash clothes in the basement of Mom and Dad’s home in the US., using the same type of washing machine! So many years ago!

Washing machine, wringer, first laundry tub for rinsing, then wringer to second laundry tub to rinse again, wringer to clothes basket. It was automatic from throwing in the clothes until they were washed and rinsed and in the basket to go hang them up. ..It was like a dance. My hands and body following the steps and my mind talking to God – a lot! I discovered it was a great time to work things out in my conversations with Him.

One memory that stands out: A thunderstorm rolled in and surrounded us, with all the noise and lightning. I just had the last basket of clothes to hang up… and I rushed to get that done.

The rest of the basement area had only an unfinished cement floor, and the wall to the outside was open to the weather, with bricks creating an “inside/outside” feeling. For the clothesline, we’d had to use wire extended rather than clothesline cords- for the latter didn’t exist in our locale.

I ran out of the laundry room with that clothes basket and hastily started using the last clothespins to hang wet clothes onto that wire line – NOT smart! A few times I felt my body tingle as lightning arched across the sky. Many hours of tiring work – and it was done until the next week.

Only later, when I thought of those “tingles” did I realize what a blessing it was that I was wearing sturdy tennis shoes that had sufficient rubber to break my contact with the ground – AND a loving Father Who protected me!

Countless times He has protected you and I: many times without us realizing it when it happened. Then, with a backward look, we see – and are full of thanks! When I recognize those times I am in awe and thank Him again, every time I look at that memory.

How about you? Have you stopped to thank God in all your circumstances? Have you looked and see all those times He has blessed and protected?

-voni-

“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

DID YOU KNOW…

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No – the picture isn’t of the ocean in Natal – 

Nor the roof tops and sky from the apartment in Brasilia – 

Nor the green grass and homes around a small lake north of Miami 

Nor the back yard of my daughter’s home in Portland, Oregon. 

Rather, it is the view from my chair where I am sitting and writing 
at another daughter’s home in Valdosta, Georgia. 

The eight months that I was in Brasilia (capital of Brazil) turned out to be crazy. Nothing as planned but God was still involved. How thankful I am for that!  
I learned more about age and pain, and continue to learn more. Those classes follow me, regardless of where I am.  

I’m working on learning: How can I teach and share effectively, using the internet? I did several “live” classes while in Brazil.  Now I need to learn how to do them from here. 

I’m also working on putting things together to go ahead on two books. I’d like to have them finished in October -prayer backup would be appreciated! 

February: I was in Brasilia when the pandemic hit.  Because of my age, I was stuck in the apartment which, thank God, had a small balcony so I could breathe fresh air.   
My six children in the states began to ask that I return to the states. 
 
The end of May, fewer flights between Brazil and US. It was time to return. 
God opened the doors, I had mileage, so arrived in the US on the second of June, had a few days with son Jonathan Hall and family in Miami, then came to Valdosta. 

During this phase of things happening, the mail outs on my blog were interrupted for a period of time.  Now working on it to normalize. Many things I want to put here. 
 
WHEN you receive this, would you please reply with a simple “received”.  That will help me greatly. 
And if you have any questions or comments re: something you would like to know about in the future, please leave that info and I’ll answer. 

God bless! 

Voni

Mr Ben

From: Senhor Ben Gala
To: The friends and family of Pastora Voni Pottle.

First, let me get the less important things out of the way,
My name is Senhor Ben Gala..  a name I am proud of that has been in the Portuguese dictionary for years.  The translation into the American language dictionary is “cane,” but I much prefer my Brazilian name!  I believe it carries much more dignity with it than that tiny word “cane” which is inconsistent with my position of responsibility of helping Pra. Voni  (for those of you who don’t speak Portuguese, this means Pastora Voni – which is the feminine word for Pastor.) 

Forgive me, I got side-tracked!

What do I do that is so important?  I assist an 87 year old woman to walk without falling.  I DO NOT        not consider her a normal 87-year-old. She speaks fluently in English and Portuguese, and also writes in both languages. (Portuguese is considered as one of the more difficult languages: it makes Spanish look like child’s play grammatically.) 
At times, she complains about her accent.
 But, as a language teacher told her many years ago, “An accent proves that you speak more than one language!”  I totally agree with him!

She has some difficulty walking (which is why I AM SO IMPORTANT IN HER LIFE!)

She also has a dual citizenship, American and Brazilian.  She and I will ALWAYS remember the days she received her citizenship card and then her Brazilian passport.   They are both well-guarded, along with her American documents.
 

I was there … and proud to be at her side!  She used me a lot that day, as we walked through the Federal Justice building (that is an impressive edifice!)   From there, we received the info of what we had to do, took the car to an older section of the city, then we walked over broken sidewalks (THAT was a challenge for me) to enter an ancient building (ITEP – don’t ask me what those initials mean.)

When we entered that building, a long old stairway faced us.
The clerks offered to bring the fingerprint equipment and the seals for the documents downstairs to where we were. BUT (did I already tell you that this lady can be very determined (I call it stubborn), she refused to have everything brought downstairs.  She insisted that she could get up those stairs and then back down again.  (I, along with some friends and one of her daughters who was also with us,  ALL tried to convince her to not use those stairs, even though they had a hand rail (which she uses quite well). 
She would NOT listen!

We went up those stairs slowly, one at a time, and were ALL relieved when we got to the top.

We went into the office and were seated. The ladies in the office brought us coffee and cold water and congratulated us on getting up those stairs!  Everyone (except me) enjoyed the water and coffee.  I had to just look on as I was propped up against a wall ☹

I had to chuckle (although they couldn’t hear me) when they took her fingerprints.  What a mess!
When she was done, her friends took a picture of her hands as she held them up for the camera: each finger BLACK.  I would have been embarrassed, but not her!  She was so thrilled to be getting her documents that she just laughed. (She smiles and laughs a lot. and is always talking about how good God is to her!))

We finished all the documents, thanked the ladies in that department, then headed towards those stairs again!  (Did you know it is more difficult to go down the stairs than up them?)

We worked down those stairs, one at a time. When we got to the bottom, we turned and thanked the clerks again. We headed out to the car (walking over more broken sidewalk, ) drove back to the Federal Justice Building, carried in the file of paperwork, the clerk took it and went through everything. She then printed out the Brazilian citizenship ID card and handed it to Pra. Voni.
 
You cannot imagine the smiles and hugs.  I think everyone was just as happy and thrilled as Pra. Voni.

I know I was!

We finished the afternoon by going to a great restaurant overlooking the ocean.  This was a treat from Pra. Voni to everyone for all their help and patience. 
Once again, I was leaned against a pillar, but this time I could see the ocean.  No  one offers me food nor drink because I am too thin.  No one thinks I can digest anything  – and they are probably correct. ☹

This is only ONE of the many experiences I’ve had as I’ve helped Pra. Voni.
I’ll be back and share more of them with you, when I’m allowed to once again write for this blog.


It’s a life full of contrasts… excitement … tears … and fulfillment.
I think she is right about God being so good to her – and to me, as well.

Sincerely Yours,

Sr. Ben Gala

Sir. Ben

FORGIVENESS Is Beautiful

My eyes follow the eagle flying through the sky...

I watch the trees sway in the fresh warm wind...

I feel the fresh breeze touch my body...

and I think of how all of this compares with forgiveness!!!

I see the effects of it, I can feel it in my heart and body,
but I can’t see it.
Some things are too beautiful to see with normal eyesight;
However,  our spirits perceive forgiveness – and rejoice.

Voni

IS GOD SPEAKING?

2020 04 20 Brasilia – DF, Brasil   

I am literally sprawled out in my hammock.
It is hanging in a small space; my left leg and foot extend out in the hammock, my right leg and foot hanging over the edge.  Sprawled is the correct word 😉

It is 5:00 pm  and the sun will go down soon. The clouds are covering the sky leaving small patches of blue. The temp is about 72 degrees F. (22 C)  No rain today -which is nice

The parking lot for part of the four building complex here in Brasilia is almost full.   Normally, it would be empty. I’m unsure when the lockdown will be lifted. For now, the population here in Brazil is still accepting it – but the rumblings of discontent are beginning to grow.  How much longer will the country be able to survive without working?

I am unsure of anything right now: except that I can trust God.
Memories of His faithfulness are pouring into my mind, along with the important principles He taught me.

foto: Ahmed S Shalapy

I remember World War 2 – 1941-1945   which tells you some about my age? 😊

 Because we lived in the state of Washington, close to the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese theater of war was VERY real to me.

The conversations and concern, when someone found a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on the sands of the coastline. Air raid drills at our school caused students to have nightmares. Maps hung in front of the blackboard showing Europe (the horrors  of St Petersburg- Russia, and the Bataan Death March –Pacific Ocean – plus so many other places,) The teachers had us  following the war without TV. The evening news on the radio glued the population to the words spoken.

 The only times we saw footage of what was happening was when we went to a movie (seldom!) and saw the newsreels –

it is amazing to me how much I remember.
Uncertainty. Rationing. Families planting “Victory Gardens” so they could have more food No butter (margarine was invented.  It was white and we had to mix the small package of coloring into it so it looked edible.)

 Friends and loved ones not coming back from the war. Our lives were totally changed. But God was still there.

1987 – Another time when I was walking in uncertainty.
When our children discovered that their dad had another family none of us knew.  He was the father of two more children. Their mother was someone I’d helped for many years. No bombs, but the death of our family as upheavals and truth battered on our doors.  Moving back to the states. Walking in the fear of the unknown. Three years of nightmares and learning more of God’s faithfulness.
The Holy Spirit taught me so much that totally changed my life concepts.
Forgiveness. Blessing. Thankfulness. Learning that God was still with me, even in the USA. My husband abandoned us, but God didn’t!

It is different today – but the uncertainty and fear once again walk through the nations.
For most of us, there are no bombs.  But there IS death – unexpected; leaving each person aware that we do not have control over our lives.

If we were honest, did we ever have control over our lives?
No – but we liked to think we did.

As I stand on the small verandah looking at the rooftops of Brasilia,  I sense an invisible blanket over everything.   The streets are quiet. The noise of children playing is almost non-existent. I arrived here only  months before they started locking it down two months ago.

Now we don’t turn on the radios: but depend upon TV and our smart phones to keep us informed.
Thus far, we have limited rationing. Most of the basics are available. But there is a definite rationing of hugs and kisses.  And it is creating a vacuum in all of our lives. It’s interesting how  important the physical touch is.  There is also a fear: will the nation be able to escapee an economic crash?
The people are praying: on the streets, in their cars and homes. Waiting for God’s answer.

Much of what is happening here is also happening in the US – and  other countries. However I am mostly conscious of Brazil and the EUA. 

Many things hit you and I, emotionally and physically. People are fighting fatigue, fear, lack of peace – and the list continues.  But it isn’t for us to feel guilty about these emotions; rather, we are to face them, accept them, then take them to God, requesting His help and guidance as we learn how to walk through the challenges. 

foto: Sérgio Lima/Poder360 – 20.mar.2020

Look at what Paul wrote. Can we apply it to what we are walking through now?

2nd Corintians 1:8-11

Brothers and sisters, you need to know about the severe trials we experienced while we were in western Turkey. All of the hardships we passed through crushed us beyond our ability to endure, and we were so completely overwhelmed that we were about to give up entirely. It felt like wehad a death sentence written upon our hearts, and we still feel it to this day. It has taught us to lose all faith in ourselves and to place all of our trust in the God who raises the dead. 10 He has rescued us from terrifying encounters with death. And now we fasten our hopes on him to continue to deliver us from death yet again, 11 as you labor together with us through prayer

Because there are so many interceding for us, our deliverance will cause even more people to give thanks to God. What a gracious gift of mercy surrounds us because of your prayers!

Will you and I discover the same faith that Paul had, locking our hopes on Him as we walk through the unknown, holding onto God’s hand (Isa 41:11-13) and knowing the truth of God’s promises.(Romans 8:28) ???

  • Voni

DEUS ESTÁ FALANDO COMIGO?

Brasilia – DF, Brasil, 20 de Abril de 2020.   

Estou literalmente esparramada na minha rede.

A rede está pendurada em um espaço pequeno; minha perna e pé esquerdo estendem-se na rede, minha perna e pé direito pendurados na borda. Alastrado é a palavra correta 😉

São 17:00 horas e o sol se põe em breve. As nuvens estão cobrindo o céu, deixando pequenas manchas azuis. A temperatura é de cerca de 72 graus F. (22° C). Hoje não chove – o que é bom.

O estacionamento de parte do condomínio de quatro edifícios, aqui em Brasília, está quase cheio. Normalmente, estaria vazio. Não tenho certeza de quando a quarentena estará suspensa. Por enquanto, a população aqui no Brasil ainda está aceitando – mas os estrondos do descontentamento estão começando a crescer. Quanto tempo o país poderá sobreviver sem trabalhar?

No momento, não tenho certeza de nada: exceto que posso confiar em Deus.

Memórias de Sua fidelidade estão derramando em minha mente, juntamente com os princípios importantes que Ele me ensinou.

foto: Ahmed S Shalapy

 Lembro-me da Segunda Guerra Mundial – 1941-1945, que mostra um pouco da minha idade? 😊

Como morávamos no Estado de Washington, EUA, perto do Oceano Pacífico, o teatro de guerra japonês era MUITO real para mim.

As conversas e preocupação quando alguém encontrou um torpedo de um submarino japonês nas areias da costa. Os exercícios aéreos em nossa escola fizeram com que os alunos tivessem pesadelos. Havia mapas pendurados na frente do quadro-negro mostrando a Europa (os horrores de São Petersburgo – Rússia e a Marcha da Morte de Bataan – Oceano Pacífico) – e muitos outros lugares. Os professores nos fizeram seguir a guerra, mas sem TV. O noticiário da noite no rádio colou a população às palavras ditas

As únicas vezes em que vimos cenas do que estava acontecendo foi quando fomos ao cinema (raramente!) E vimos os noticiários – é incrível para mim o quanto me lembro.

Incerteza. Racionamento. Famílias que plantam “Victory Gardens” para poderem ter mais comida. Sem manteiga (a margarina foi inventada. Era branca e tivemos que misturar o pequeno pacote de corantes para que parecesse comestível).

Amigos e entes queridos que não voltam da guerra. Nossas vidas foram totalmente mudadas. Mas Deus ainda estava lá.

1987 – Outra época em que eu estava andando na incerteza.

Quando nossos filhos descobriram que o pai deles tinha outra família, e nenhum de nós imaginávamos. Ele era pai de mais dois filhos. A mãe deles era alguém que eu ajudava há muitos anos. Nenhuma bomba, mas a morte de nossa família, como convulsões e a verdade, bateu em nossas portas. Voltando aos EUA. Andando com medo um caminho bem desconhecido. Três anos de pesadelos e aprendendo mais sobre a fidelidade de Deus.

O Espírito Santo me ensinou muito que mudou totalmente os conceitos da minha vida. 

Perdão. Bênção. Agradecimento. Aprendendo que Deus ainda estava comigo, mesmo nos EUA. Meu marido nos abandonou, mas Deus nunca!

Hoje é diferente – mas, mais uma vez a incerteza e o medo voltam a atravessar as nações.

Para a maioria de nós, não há bombas. Porém, há morte – inesperada; deixando cada pessoa consciente de que não temos controle sobre nossas vidas.

Se fôssemos honestos, já tivemos controle sobre nossas vidas?

Não – mas gostávamos de pensar que sim.

Enquanto estou na pequena varanda olhando os telhados de Brasília, sinto um cobertor invisível sobre tudo. As ruas estão quietas. O barulho das crianças brincando é quase inexistente. Cheguei aqui apenas alguns meses antes da cidade começar a “quarentenar” há dois meses.

Agora não ligamos os rádios, mas dependemos da TV e de nossos smartphones para nos manter informados.

Até agora, temos racionamento limitado. A maioria do básico está disponível. Mas há um racionamento definitivo de abraços e beijos. E está criando um vácuo em todas as nossas vidas. É interessante a importância do toque físico. Há também um medo: a nação poderá escapar de um colapso econômico?

As pessoas estão orando: nas ruas, em seus carros e casas. Esperando pela resposta de Deus.

Muito do que está acontecendo aqui também está acontecendo nos EUA – e em outros países. 

Muitas coisas atingem você e eu, emocionalmente e fisicamente. As pessoas estão lutando contra a fadiga, o medo, a falta de paz – e a lista continua. Todavia, não é para nós nos sentirmos culpados por essas emoções; em vez disto, devemos enfrentá-las, aceitá-las e levá-las a Deus, solicitando Sua ajuda e orientação como aprendermos a enfrentar os desafios.

foto: Sérgio Lima/Poder360 – 20.mar.2020

Veja o que Paulo escreveu. Podemos aplicar ao que estamos passando agora?

2 Coríntios 1: 8-11

“8 Irmãos e irmãs, queremos que saibam das aflições pelas quais passamos na província da Ásia. Os sofrimentos que suportamos foram tão grandes e tão duros, que já não tínhamos mais esperança de escapar de lá com vida. 9 Nós nos sentíamos como condenados à morte. Mas isso aconteceu para que aprendêssemos a confiar não em nós mesmos e sim em Deus, que ressuscita os mortos. 10 Ele nos salvou e continuará a nos salvar desses terríveis perigos de morte. Sim, nós temos posto nele a nossa esperança, na certeza de que ele continuará a nos salvar, 11 enquanto vocês nos ajudam, orando por nós. Assim Deus responderá às muitas orações feitas em nosso favor e nos abençoará; e muitos lhe agradecerão as bênçãos que ele nos dará. (Nova Tradução na Linguagem de Hoje).

Você e eu descobriremos a mesma fé que Paulo tinha, colocando nossas esperanças em Deus enquanto caminhamos pelo desconhecido, segurando a mão de Deus (Is 41: 11-13) e conhecendo a verdade das promessas de Deus (Romanos 8:28) 

– Voni

Place Your Life Before God Romans 12:1-2

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering

“Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.”

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”

“Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

“Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Voni

Passports to Where?

WARNING – THIS IS LONGER THAN NORMAL

HOPE IT BLESSES YOU 🙂

Passport

[ˈpasˌpôrt]

noun

an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.

synonyms: travel document, travel papers, travel permit, visa, identity card, ID, laissez-passer

I have three passports. Each one is from different countries

There is a list of qualifications that are different for each passport. However, each one has the same fundamental purpose: To allow me to travel between countries.

Some countries I’m not allowed to enter, for the passports I have are not recognized in that country. I must know where each passport is valid before I travel and confirm that I’ve not broken any requirements.

Does that make sense to you?

The three countries where I have passports:

– The United States (where I was born)

– Brazil (that involves much learning, many challenges)

– The Kingdom of God (I’m also continuing to learn with this one)

The United States

Now, that was an easy one for me – and for many of you.

I was born in a maternity home in Ontario, Oregon, daughter of two American citizens. It was a small town, near the border with Idaho. My dad was co-owner with his brother of a large farm in Idaho.

I’m not going into detail here about life then, and how different it was. I do have a memory of a hired hand jumping into the sheep pen and grabbing me before the sheep trampled me. I was about 3 and have no idea how I got there.

Like most Americans, I took my American citizenship for granted. Many years passed before I realized how blessed I was to be born in the USA.


Brazil – we moved there in 1967

This citizenship had a price attached to it. Not so much in money – although money is involved in almost everything one does…

The price was –

– fifty years of living and learning to understand why people do as they do in Brazil.

– learning how to forgive when people who are helping us, steal from our home.

– learning that eggs put into the freezer could still be fried or scrambled.

– learning that meat cut off a cow’s carcass hanging in the open and covered by flies I could take home, wash, clean and cook it- knowing that the heat killed all the germs.

– learning how to live without a phone (it cost $1000 to buy a phone line)
   no phone line causes unexpected challenges and adventures.

– learning about spiritism and how it affects, controls and can destroy lives. And how to cast out evil spirits. (that is no joke.)

– learning the language of Portuguese. Interesting. The more of the language I understand, the more the culture make sense to me.

– learning and learning more

– we began a small music group and made three long-plays that sold all over the country.

– we started an ESL School … that paid some of our bills.

– we started a church in our English school – then moved it to the home we built on one of the surrounding mountains of Belo Horizonte. The view was incredible!

– God’s hand was all over this one that follows…
     I worked with Maranatha! Music… They gave me the tapes for Kid’s Praise & Salty (some of you may remember the popularity of that group with children back in the 1980’s?)  We translated and recorded several. That was life-changing!

This is only some of a lifetime of doing things I never dreamed of doing – and it continues. All of these years I was interested in getting my Brazilian citizenship…but I never learned how. . .it was complicated and expensive…

In 1985 the Foursquare Church in Brazil requested Foursquare Missions   International to place us as missionaries in Brazil. They did it and in 1986 we officially became missionaries of the Foursquare Church.

In 1987 I lost my marriage of 39 years. Cause: infidelity and children outside of our marriage.

Back to the USA (at the request of Foursquare Missions.) I was lost. God walks me through.

In 1991 I married Joe Pottle Sr. He was a recent widower: our marriage was a shock to everyone, including us!

In 1992, he took me to New England to meet many of his family and friends. In 1993, I took him to Brazil to meet my friends and loved ones.

From then on, teaching in Brazil became an important part of our lives.

We ended up moving to Natal, RN Brazil in the year 2000. That was home until the end of 2011 when Joe returned to the states because of his health.

During those 12 years, Joe taught (with me translating) in different states, primarily in RN where we lived. We made a good team and had fun even when teaching serious subjects.

Those times are unforgettable and what God did was beyond our understanding. Nine years later, people still talk about what they learned. I am full of gratitude to God for how He used a farmer’s daughter and a man who had a steel construction business to share His Word and His love with others.

We never got passports, but we had the equivalent of “green cards” in the US. The adventures were many. God’s faithfulness was there – always.

After almost 27 years of marriage, then living in Portland, OR., Joe Pottle Sr went home to be with God in February 2017.

In November, 2017, I received my Brazilian citizenship. God’s hand was in that!

However, once again I was lost.  It’s been three years of God walking with me.  He is making changes in my life. I’ll be sharing some of them and how – as I follow Him.

 The additions listed in my Brazilian passport represent more adventures and places God has led me through.  Besides all of this, following the requirements of my Kingdom Passport causes my life to make radical changes.

One of them is TRUSTING GOD when I have no idea of where He is leading me. These months, every time someone asks me a question about my future, I have to reply “I don’t know,” for I don’t. The United States?  Brazil?  My children?  Friends?
“I don’t know.”

Three passports. Three different cultures. Constantly causing the need for life decisions.

What about you?  What are your passports?

Do you KNOW you can trust Him?

And

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4