Category Archives: A New Journey


I learned something important today! I want to share what happened and see what you think.

As many of you know, I’ve been working with people in Natal, and an outstanding lawyer in Brasilia, Brazil, for about four years to acquire my Brazilian citizenship. (Someone tonight asked me “why do I want it?” You can read the response to that question by clicking on the link at the end of this post.)

Back to the lesson I learned? Around the time of Joe’s death in February, I receive a note from the lawyer saying my citizenship Is being published in a journal from the Brazilian government and she included a picture of some names (my name was there!) I remember how happy I was that the process was going ahead…in fact, I said something about it on Facebook.

The pressures and confusion of grief and the need to move immediately (almost all income stopped at the time of Joe’s death,) swallow my brain and thinking process. I am like a stranger going through motions, aware of what is around me, but numb. (I’m getting better, but I never know for sure when the tears will come.)

I want to make plans to go to another daughter’s home in Georgia to spend some time there and continue working on details so I can proceed on to Brazil. I begin to be concerned. Will there be a time limit for me to get to Natal to finish the citizenship process? How much time to I have Do I need to be in Brazil by a certain date? A good friend in Natal tells me “ no, the papers are waiting for you.” But I continue to worry. Finally, I remember another friend who had worked with immigration in Natal for many years. I send an email, asking him for details.

The following day I receive an email that has me jumping with joy. He lists what has happened (with document references), my time limit (February of 2018) with an explanation, and a copy of an official document stating what I need to do when I get to Natal, dated May 19th

As I read the email with all the details, for the first time I totally realize that the Brazilian government has given me the citizenship statues: I AM BRAZILIAN AND AMERICAN!






So, what is the lesson I learned?

The first notification, I did not understand what it meant for my name to be published in that official government paper. Because I did not ask for clarification, I misunderstood what was happening. So I lived with uncertainty for another three months until I finally asked.

Is that understandable? Yes. Is that foolish? Yes. I was given my answer in February but I unconsciously chose doubt rather than clarity.

My question: How many times do we do this in our lives? How often does it happen when we are studying God’s Word? Too often we take words we think we understand, such as “salvation”, repentance”, “Christ died for our sins”, God created the universe”, ‘the Kingdom of God”; the list of words continues. We don’t understand the depth of the meaning and, instead of security in our relationship with God, we don’t have certainty that we are citizens in His Kingdom.

The words are on the paper, written out so we can read and understand.
Was I negligent in my way of looking at the info sent to me? The answer is YES.
Was I foolish? Yes.

if we don’t have the understanding, then let us ask.

I need to apologize to my lawyer for not asking for clarification… Fortunately, I can.

But I lived with doubt – and it wasn’t her lack of communication. It was my responsibility to make sure I understood.

Maybe we all need to ask for more clarification, as we look at the words that are on the paper?

What do you think?

– Voni

Why am I returning to Natal, Brazil?

A New Journey Beginning

March 4, 2017 Saturday Night 8 pm. Portland, Oregon

It has been almost a month since Joe left us to go and celebrate His walk with the Lord and be with Him!

I’m becoming a little more accustomed to him not being here, but it is still strange. I miss him holding my hand, even as I am aware that it is now God holding me.  I know from experience that there is still more “letting go’ for me to do. But I’m not going to dwell on it. I will do it as it comes, day by day.

Right now, this 84 year old faces decisions I must make about where I am going to live, and what are my future goals. These questions I am constantly bringing before the Lord. Some of the answers are slowly filtering into my mind. I have six adult children, four married: so I have a council of 10 adults where I can bring my thoughts and ideas; my children can be encouraging and/or bluntly honest. I also will use a few of my trusted friends.

I will be sharing pieces of this thought process with you: some of you may remember when you’ve had the same questions and, for others, I hope this process may help you in your own future.

This journey is going to be challenging, sometimes exhausting, full of laughter and of tears. For that is life. But I do not think I will soon get to sit in that rocking chair I’ve dreamed of… but I MAY get to use my hammock in Brazil where I can stretch out and study, write and pray. It makes a fantastic temporary office!

Tomorrow I will share some quotes of Oswald Chambers from “My Utmost for His Highest” which show one of the basic foundations for my decisions.

Walk with me? This could get interesting.


Voni Pottle