First time

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations
— Jeremiah 1:5

My brother in law Jake has been away from home for a  s e v e n month deployment. During his time away his daughter was born.  So on December 22nd he met his daughter (my niece) Mackenzie Maree Vargas for the first time! After almost 5 months he got to hold his little girl for the first time. This sweet precious moment was captured by me!! 

The Mrs. eagerly waiting for the return of her love! 

Family and friends greeting Jake.

Oh the sweet reunion between my sister and her husband. To see the Vargas family complete makes my heart happy. There's nothing like having a loved one home for Christmas. Jake's homecoming is a Christmas miracle.

God loves to see his children happy

Jake meeting his daughter for the first time. 

The love Rick has for his son. This photo gives me chills from all the emotions behind it. 

It's the little things in life that bring much joy. Happiness comes and goes like the seasons, but to find joy and to live it out makes the days easier. In order to fully understand we must look to the Father for guidance. To surrendered each day and say "This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad". 

Mackenzie is a courageous lover. A lover of people and of life. Kenzie is a extrovert and is comfortable in large groups. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, Mackenzie will make each person feel special!  A true gift from God!  Mackenzie, be prepared to lead your generation into a boldness of Christ, like the missionaries. The world needs more missionaries to be the hands and feet of Christ!  

Big blue eyes, smooth flawless skin, and kissable chubby cheeks. Can you tell I love my niece?! 

First photo together as a family. 

My prayer to the Vargas family. I pray for God's protection, I pray for strength, and an abundance of energy.  Most of all God, I pray that when the trials get hard and going gets tough, that faith and love becomes the foundation for this family. Amen. 

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
— 1 John 4:8

 

 

Desires of my heart |8-8-15|

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
— Psalm 37:4

Lord your timing is SO perfect! wow. Today worked out so perfectly!! I got to see the birth of my niece without having WiFi all day and with the time difference it all worked out. With God there is no time difference His timing is… PERFECT! Today was the 35th anniversary for the Jocum (YWAM) base in Belem. We spent most of the day celebrating and attending classes. After that we drove to a church in Belem where Joy will speak tonight. Throughout the day I had to put my trust in God and let Him take control. I tried WiFi at the base.. but no luck. After arriving at the church, Igor happened to ask if they had WiFi and yes they did.. Not only WiFi but FAST internet. Calling at 7:10pm (3:10pm medford time) the baby was about to be DELIVERED, wow I’m so blessed by God, only 2 4 minutes later baby Mackenzie Marie Vargas was born. 

 

He made everything come together for me, for my desires to make me happy. It goes to show you every moment in life has been planned. Down to the second you take a gasps of air, God is behind every step I take. God has planned my w h o l e  entire life (insert mind blown). From knowing this I can put my trust, hope, and faith in HIM and only Him.

Mackenzie Marie Vargas- A c o r u a g e o u s  lover. This is the Lord’s baby, and I saw Jesus wrapping His whole body around her protecting her from the world. Wow what a precious sight.

Now that auntie is back in Southern Oregon, I get to have fun with Kenzie. Which means photographing and kisses these sweet cheeks all day long. 

Back on Base |July 27-August 6th|

Let the gospel change society
— Igor Milhomens

10 or more days we have been on base. We have no idea what or which village we will attend next. Our time here we’ve been working on a overload of media we have to edit and sort through. Last weekend was ‘Kings Kids’ a program dedicated for kids. To learn more about God and to share what they’ve learned to there parents. My team and I got to capture the event, and more importantly hang out with the kids #bondingtime. 

This is the school bus we took each day with the kiddos. Filled with laughter and smiles at the end of each day. Oh I miss these moments. 

This is the school bus we took each day with the kiddos. Filled with laughter and smiles at the end of each day. Oh I miss these moments. 

At first it was a struggle trying to be creative with our photos in the dying heat. But in the end of the day. I pushed myself and got some awesome photos. Our times we’ve had as a team has been a treasure. Each day one of us teaches a devotion to one another out on the dock. It’s times like this I’ll remember forever, learning together and endless conversations about the bible, personal struggles, and life in general. Being away from home has hit me.. I miss my family and friends and with being away from my soon to be niece is difficult. I knew in doing this I would miss out on major events back at home. Would I change anything? NO way being in God’s will and supervision is calming and peaceful. 

This is Edinam. A boy who fund raised to attend kings-kids camp. Fun spirited and what a joyful boy he is. God is doing amazing things in Edinam's life. What an artist he is!  

God has been teaching me things. Teaching me to trust Him to be brave with the Word. I know what I’m doing now is going to make an impact for the rest of my l i f e. In how I love people, how to react in difficult situations in life, and what it looks like to fully trust God. I wish I could take you all to Brasil.. the jungle once again is amazing. The sounds, view, and the ultra vibrant colors. wow.. It’s worth the dying heat to experience God’s country. 

This is the view from our dock. Many meetings, hammock sessions, and of course swimming off this dock. The tree's you see here are Acai trees. Or Acai palm trees I like to call! 





Moju Morin (July 24th- 27th)

“Put on the full armor of God” -Ephesians 6:11

The white VW passenger bus pulls up and the adventure continues. Loaded both cars and off we went on a two hour drive to the village of Moju Mirin. This short trip was a challenge for all. We stayed in the communities local school which was all closed in (bathroom, kitchen, and shower). After talking to a few locals to figure out the dynamics of the village. We discovered that we (my team and I) were the first white foreigners in that village.

The VW wagons are a popular car in Brazil. Just last year (2014) the company stopped making the vans. 

Before arriving my school leaders (Philip and Lily Lin) flew into to see us. To have a one on one with each of us. The morning before arriving in the village we gather and prayed before heading out. The Lord highlighted some words, and visions. Each one with a different purpose and meaning, H O L Y|S P I R I T    The color orange, a word ‘rider’, turkeys, vision of a young man, and for me a vision of me telling the gospel to a house full of people! 

Day 1: A team of dental hygienist came and cleaned teeth at no charge. This gave wonderful opportunities for us. To build relationships and share the gospel. While the adults went first for the teeth cleaning the kids needed to be entertained. BB tash, Joy, and myself taught games and bible stories to the kiddos. While playing sheep, sheep, Shepard (duck, duck, goose) half the group of kids ran down to the swimming hole stripped down and jumped in! Following after joy and myself lived in the moment and joined. Fully clothed. Splashing around a girl by the name of Carol  l o v e d  me. How I miss the joys of being a kid..with no worries. Carol and I shared something special this little girl captured my heart from sharing laughs and giggles, to embracing each with many hugs, to exchanged a few words in Portuguese. Thank you Carol for reminding me to have a child like mind set when loving others. 

Day 2: Home visits. From house to house we would share the gospel and would offer prayer to people. Each household we visited loved to talk and visit with us, coffee was offered along with greetings of hugs and kisses. We ended the night with a giant christian dance party ‘giant meaning Tash, Eline, and I’. If only we knew 3 hours later half the team got the flu virus. From the stories I heard violently sick. (Praise God I slept through it) 

Day 3: Just like that h a l f of team brazil was sick and ended up leaving the next morning to return back to base. Plans changed all the time in brazil. At first Eline wanted everyone to return home, but God had other plans. Now the Holy Spirit came into this village. Breaking into smaller groups for house visiting I was the only green-go (white person) along with 3 other Brazilians. Now the fun stuff. My vision came true. Each house we attend I shared the gospel. The last home I attend hit the ‘home run’. Walking up to this house I felt something different a good different. As we entered the home we started to chat. The father of the household knew Jesus, but was thirsty for more. In this moment I shared my testimony and a man whom was handicapped started to cry. I asked if anyone wanted pray and this man looked me in the eyes and nodded. He wanted prayer to press on, to be strengthen so he could impact and strengthen others. After ending the prayer I felt the presence of God and the room felt lighter and brighter. 

Here's the photo of the family I had a vision of! How exciting to talk things of the Lord, and agreeing and releasing of prayer. The Kid in the Kiss shirt later came to talk to us on how to get involved in YWAM. 

Thinking to myself..wow this is what life is about. No mater what age, color, status, or language. At the end of the day we have the same wants/needs. To be loved, and that love come from Jesus. We as Christians carry his love, and carry that love to others. That my friends is called revival.  Walking home before 6 o clock (that’s when the snakes would come out) I had a HUGE smile on my face.The next morning we packed our things and heading back into the VW bus and returned back to base. I did it, I conquered the challenge and God showed up in a radical way. When you commit and say “Jesus here I am, send me” He does. It’s a dangerous prayer but that’s when heaven kisses earth. Amen?!

Arapapucinho (July 13-July 20th)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart!
— Jeremiah 29:13

We spent seven days in a small remote village by the name of ‘Arapapucinho’. A total of 70 families live here. From car to bus, from bus to boat we made it. About the community you can only come in and from the village by boat, and only when the tide is ‘in’. That’s why the people have stayed hidden years ago. Run way slaves from Africa passed down from generation to generation. We (Igor, Hailey, Ryan, Natasha, Joy, and myself) lead by the community development school leader Wellington and his team. Elline, Bianca, Raissa, Thiaco, and Cassico. Each night we slept in hammocks with mosquito netting to protect from all the creators and bugs. In the day time we SWEAT like crazy. Being right on top of the equator the sun is HOT and humid. 

All the jungle- rain forest books I listen to as a child.. has come to life! On the last night being in the village of Arapapucinho as I swung in my hammock before bed the stars popped. Right before my eyes was the big dipper. So crisp and clear no city lights to distract. The moments before my eyes.. its a dream.. something I’ve wished for.. for so long. I have asked the Lord for a crazy life.. and here’s just a taste of whats to come. If I continue to pursue and dream big with Jesus. 

The relationships we’ve built with the people have been life changing. Communicating by a smile and laugh has opened and captured my heart. As a team we came here to love… to build relationships and to become like the culture. Slowly we are learning the language. 

The river is S O peaceful and not scary. Like i thought it would be. I swear my imagination makes things 10 times worse. Every time I ride on the small boat’s my heart races with such excitement. Words cannot describe this place. It is magical. 

Our fellow captain to take us back to base. The vibrance in the jungle is so bright and g r e e n! 

What my life for the next 6 months will look like this. We spend 1/3 of the time at the amazon reach base. The other 2/3’s we will be going into other villages. Establishing relationships and pouring blessing with each step we take. We pack up our backpacks and head out by boat. Each community we attend is a mystery. Let the Holy Spirit games begin! My heart is SO happy here. I see the beauty all around me and I reminds me of how beautiful and creative our Father in heaven is. So honored to be chosen to see and expericence Jesus in such radical way.