I’m writting this from inside a train going from Stockholm/Sweden to Narvik/Norway.
I will post some pictures and some info, but don’t expect much since the Internet here and the conditions are not very favorable.
The RyanAir flight from Dublin to Stockholm was fine but they did not play the song since it was not very on time (kind of).
The bus from the airport was fine, I was very worried in because there was a major disruption on the road going to Stockholm (due to snow), but it ended up well.
The train is great, we are sleeping in 6 beds carriages and it’s not bad, they provide linen, water, power sockets and light. There is a restaurant in the train and I got a cup of hot water to prepare my soup
Our next stop is Boden and from there we will stop for a night in Abisko to visit the Sky Station, From Abisko we are going to Narvik and from there to Tromso. Wow! Its a great adventure! (Later update, Sky station was fully booked, but we had a great time in Abisko)
Our group at the Dublin airport
Inside the train
** this post was edited/updated after the trip ended**
Me again, after trip now.
After ~12 hours on the train we arrived in Boden, the guys were doing great. No complaints and enjoying every moment. My 5 cents for you, don’t join a trip like this if you don’t like adventure.
At Boden station waiting for our next train to Narvik.
Man, I know that sounds funny and even silly but this was my second time crossing the Arctic circle by train and I was very excited when that happened… We all have a desire to go beyond our limits and cross the borders that are difficult, going far like this is something that makes me think about our limits. What limits do you have in your life? Don’t allow the situation you are living or the wrong voices limit yourself.
N 66′ 42.
AbiskoTuristation! They are very good, they even have their own train station… We just loved that hostel! And we did not know it but that would be our best Aurora night, the Aurora was dancing in different colors and shapes.
Great! We arrived on our first destination Abisko!
We were: Hungry – Tired – Sleepy – Excited
That may be the first night that my 4 friends would see the famous Aurora.
Question for you, how long have you being waiting for something? Don’t give up!
After a meal and leaving our stuff in the room we went to chase the lights, 7:15pm was the time showing on the clock and our walk to the frozen lake without light pollution would take around 20 minutes.
That’s it! We went twice that night to chase the lights and we saw fantastic displays both times. Me and the guys were tired and we almost canceled the second walk, however, I did not traveled 20 hours to give up! The picture below were taken during our second walk.
Now we woke up at 7am to catch the train to Narvik, from there we will get a bus to Tromso where we will collect our car. Narvik is a lovely little town and the train journey was amazing…
The train was going through fjords and the red/orange light from the dawning of the day was creating a perfect scenery.
We arrived in Narvik around 9:40 and the bus to Tromso will departure at 12:50, 5 hours inside a bus! Again, beautiful way to Tromso, the guys could not sleep because the Mountains on the way were speaking loud.
While in Tromso we got the car and went to our Cabin, really perfect place for us!
This is the view from the front of our Cabin, our car there rented with avis.no, which again provided a great service for the adventure. No surprises, the car just worked and drove us where we wanted. Thanks Avis!
The Cabin was fantastic, the camping site name is Strandbu and it’s a family business. Very little light pollution as you can see on this image and the provided for us as much logs we wanted to burn in our stove.
Parece que eu comecei o ano olhando pra trás! É que janeiro, para os Alves Passos, é um mês cheio de motivos para comemorar. Já passamos o aniversário de casamento (oba! 7 anos juntos!), na próxima segunda-feira é o meu aniversário de nascimento, e sábado passado foi outro dia especial.
Dia 19 de janeiro de 2003 foi o dia em que eu nasci de novo! Hein?! É, nasci de novo! Quando você ouve pessoas falarem que “nasceram de novo”, geralmente está relacionado a algum acidente que a pessoa sofreu e superou, ou alguma cirurgia grande que a pessoa fez. Mas o meu nascer de novo não tem nada a ver com acidentes nem cirurgias.
O meu novo nascimento surgiu das orações de alguns amigos. Eu não acreditava em Deus, odiava igrejas porque achava que tudo o que todas elas queriam era o nosso dinheiro (eu sei, infelizmente isso é verdade para algumas delas… e eu não concordo com isso). O lugar favorito para beber (muito!) com os amigos era na porta de uma igreja dessas. Eu achava que assim, bebendo em frente à igreja fechada, faria o meu protesto… Mas um desses amigos tinha algo que eu não tinha…
E à medida que nos aproximamos, eu via cada vez mais que ele tinha um conforto, um sei-lá-o-quê que eu não tinha. Lembro de uma conversa em que eu disse “às vezes tenho inveja de você. Eu às vezes sinto falta de ter algo para acreditar”. Parecia que o que ele acreditava o deixava mais confiante, mais forte. E eu parecia forte e confiante quando estava com os meus amigos, mas quando ia pra casa e os confetes acabavam, eu me sentia vazia.
Ele era cristão. E eu tenho certeza que ele não me convidou pra ir à igreja dele porque sabia do nojo que eu tinha a igrejas evangélicas (com todo o meu preconceito, sem não ter nem visitado nenhuma…). Mas ele orava por mim, ele e alguns outros amigos, eles oravam por mim. E um dia, do nada, eu disse pra ele: “Quero ir com você na sua igreja neste domingo!”
Não sei dizer o que me fez tomar essa decisão, o que me fez deixar meu preconceito de lado, mas eu fui. E naquele domingo, Deus falou comigo. Ele primeiro usou o pastor e a mensagem (pregação, sermão, como você preferir) para me tocar, mostrando que Ele me conhece mesmo sem eu nunca ter falado com Ele. Ele me fez, Ele me atraiu até ali, Ele me via chorando em segredo, Ele sabia que a minha “sabedoria, força e extroversão” eram máscaras pra cobrir o meu coração partido e rejeitado. E Ele era o único que podia mudar a minha vida.
Eu só precisava de uma mudança de referenciais. Os que eu tinha (mãe, família, escola, amigos) não estavam de acordo com o que Deus falou. Mas eu poderia tomar o próprio Deus e a sua Palavra como referenciais dali pra frente. A decisão era minha. Ninguém me coagiu, ninguém podia me forçar a nada… era só entre eu e Deus.
Nascer de novo é uma decisão. Jesus explicou para um homem chamado Nicodemos, no capítulo 3 do evangelho de João que quando nascemos, todos nós somos “frutos da carne”, e o que é só carne não pode entrar no Reino dos céus. Precisamos nascer do Espírito para podermos ter acesso a Deus. E nascer do Espírito pode parecer simples, uma oração de confissão, uma mão levantada na igreja, uma lágrima correndo junto a um sorriso, mas envolve uma mudança muito complexa.
Uma mudança de atitude. Eu decidi, ali, naquele dia 19 de janeiro de 2003, que viveria tendo como referencial a palavra de Deus. E dali em diante a minha vida começou a mudar. Muita gente diz que eu perdi muita coisa ao decidir seguir Jesus, minha “fama”, popularidade e alguns amigos que não me aceitaram depois que eu mudei, mas eu ganhei algo que não se pode medir: a vida eterna, o próprio Deus me guiando e cuidando de mim!
Assim, faz 10 anos que eu nasci de novo, não da carne, mas do Espírito de Deus. Agora eu sou nova criação, as coisas velhas passaram, tudo foi feito novo! Glória a Deus, pois Ele é bom demais!
This post will show some pictures of the trip itself, we went by plane from Bodo and returned by plane from Tromso, however, you can do everything by train buying the super duper Minipris offers on the nsb.no (Norwegian train website)
This is Oslo, our first stop on the Northern Lights pursuit. We all dream of something or someplace we want to visit and explore. Many of us believe our dreams are too difficult to ever come to fruition and even when they are possible sometimes our budget won’t allow us access to them. I will describe, using this set of 5 photos, how we saw the Northern Lights spending a fifth of the price required by the main travel agencies to see the Aurora. Firstly, cheap airlines offer return tickets to Oslo (from the major European Capitals) for ~ 50 Euro return, if bought in advance.
When we reach Oslo the real adventure starts, we are heading deep into the Polar Circle and the train journey for 50 Euro return is a bargain of a lifetime. After 8 hours inside the train, travelling through many snow engulfed parts of Norway, we eventually arrived in Trondheim.From there we had 10 more hours of travel time left. Our destination was Bodø, a town ~100km north of the Arctic Circle.
The Lyngen Alps are ~350km north of the Polar Circle. Renting a car allowed us to find cheap accommodation, (typically B&Bs and log cabins) and more importantly to find clear skies to see the lights. Driving in the North Pole was something very special – the stunning views and beautiful skyline were mesmerising all along the way. The colour and light of the place felt like we were in another world. No buildings or pollution, no traffic noise or sirens, the only sound comes from the water, wind and wildlife.
After two hours of driving we had to stop at a beach near Skibotn, in the Troms County. The sky was clear and the Tricky Lady, as the northern lights are also called, was starting to show up. After an hour or so, the sky began to be painted with a Green Brush, the full moon and the stars seemed only a supporting act to the stunning Aurora display.
This picture was taken ~400km north of the Polar Circle at Skibotn, it’s definitely an unearthly experience. The beauty in the sky is different every time and it is a challenge to even attempt to explain the feeling you have when seeing it. The picture helps to explain what it looks like and how mesmerising it is. This was the last night in Norway. This shows how possible it is to fulfil your dreams if you are willing to leave your comfort zone and think outside the box.
And as in any new year you receive a “blank page” that you can fill with your plans, thoughts, promises, actions, adventures and so on. It actually starts in December, when you start thinking what really you really didn’t like about the year and decide that for sure it is going to change after the 31st, or you look back on your frustrations, things you wanted but didn’t achieve during the year. Those are the so called new year’s resolutions!
Did you do yours? I’ve thought about some of them, but unlike I’ve been doing the past few years, I didn’t write them down, YET. December (and the 2 months before that) was crazy busy in this house, so I didn’t have much spare time. Between sickness, visitors, Christmas with a full house, unplanned trips and a crying baby day and night, I didn’t really have much time to think and was basically running on autopilot.
When I was thinking about my “resolutions”, I decide not to stick with the common, broad ones. I’ve seen how long term goals can help, but if we’re not specific about them or about progress they may end up being my next year’s resolutions too. If you Google the most common resolutions you’ll see that losing weight is one of them, probably because people just write it doen and never take any actions about it. Yes, I plan doing that. No, actually my “resolution” is to KEEP losing weight, because I did get quite thinner this year, even after having the baby (and yes, I know exactly how much I want to shed, and up to when, and how to get there!)
But, I don’t want to write just about common new year’s resolutions and the fact that I’m back to my wedding weight. I didn’t write it down my resolutions yet because I don’t want them to be me-directed. I didn’t write them down yet because, not because I didn’t have time to think or physically write them, but because I didn’t take time to PRAY about them.
I don’t want my 2013 to be Mariana-led. I want it to be God-led. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my previous years haven’t been. I’m here in Ireland because God gave me and Esdras a clear direction to come and when to come. But there have been some stuff that He’s been pointing to me all through last year that I didn’t change and I’m willing to rely on Him to do it now.
Perhaps the first thing you need to do is decide to live a God-led 2013?! Perhaps you’ve gone astray of God’s path, God’s word, God’s people?! Perhaps you need a major change that will start by giving your life up to your Creator by trusting Jesus as your Savior?
I don’t know where you’re at, but I know some of the changes I have to make… And those are not the type of things like planting a tree that you do in a day. The changes I need to make are those that will demand daily efforts and commitments. I’ll have to work on something that I was never good at: being consistent/persistent.
Maybe that’s the change you need to make as well. But if you’re a Christian like me, you can cling to the promise that Jesus made “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) If you’re not a Christian, maybe that’s the change 2013 is holding for you!
My prayer is that we live a God-led 2013! Happy New Year!
January 5th, 2013 | Category: Messages | Comments are closed
The Season is here, few days for Christmas and a bit more for new years eve. Suddenly everything changes for the most waited season. Why? What’s so important about it?
In the commercial point of view, this is the time of the year that the shops make more money, because of Christmas commercials the Santa Claus became RED (He was green before) and he is started giving gifts on the 25th of December (it used to be November). Wow! Everything changes because of the season, even our culture.
It’s Family time, when the family (when you have one) get together and usually eat a lot and you are under pressure to give gifts to Everyone. Because we only show our love if we can give gifts right?
Now, let’s go back to the basics. Christmas is time to celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus and THERE IS NO WAY to really enjoy this season if this is not something that you really understand. Christmas is not about money or gifts:
Luke 2:7 and she gave birth to her first-born a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Christmas is time to show LOVE to people you LOVE, maybe you don’t have a family but you surely have a friend you love and care, get together! celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ because that’s what it’s all about. Forget about fancy food, anything prepared with care to share with others will do. Forget about fancy gifts, your time is much more important than any gift. Send a hand-made card to show your love and care, you will see the reaction of your loved ones. Forget about the commercial season, go back to the basics, we are going to 2013 next year, why? Because Christ came to this world 2013 years ago, who else is so powerful to change the time? to split it in two?
Christmas is HOPE
Christmas is LIFE
Christmas is JESUS
Below some beautiful Christmas songs, the singer is Francesca Battistelli (As you may know, one of our Favourites singer)
It is a Christian organization, also known as OM, that sends missionaries to work with churches of various denominations in over 100 countries in the world. Three years ago I have never heard about OM… But it was with them that we came to Ireland the 1st time.
The past weekend, OM Ireland celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Even though there were already OM projects going on with Irish churches for some 50 years, it was 10 years ago that Mike Mullins (and his family) decided to accept the challenge of opening an office, independent from the UK office, to recruit people from abroad and send Irish people all over the world.
We could celebrate with them the projects, new and old, that happened and are still happening because of OM, remember difficulties that were overcome, times of small or abundant harvest and could thank God for what He has done through the people who serve with this organization. Esdras and I also met George Verwer, the founder of OM International. He is a visionary, served God in several countries and nowadays doesn’t spend more than a couple of days in the same place. He is always traveling to encourage and mobilise people, but he is just like us, flesh and blood, human! We are not missionaries with OM, we served with them in 2 short term mission trips: july/2008 and july 2009. But we could rejoice in acknowledging what God has done and also see some people that were also part of our history.
George Verwer at Lacken House
OM Ireland itself is part of the Alves Passos’s history. It was the instrument God used to bring us to the place where He wanted us to be. George himself said that OM exists because (and to form) relationships, and it was because of the relationships that we had and have, in and out of OM, that we are who we are today, and that we are here in Ireland.
Many people have a wrong idea about why we moved to Ireland. It wasn’t to improve our English, or because Esdras got a job, neither because the quality of life here is better than in São Paulo/Brazil. We came because God confirmed in our heart that he wanted us here in Ireland for this time. And it was during these 2 projects with OM that he spoke to us.
Now thinking about my Christian life, it’ll soon be 10 years that gave my life to Jesus. My Christian life has been a great roller coaster, with much more downs than ups. I was reading a blog post on Manna for Moms today about “what is not there (anymore)”, and I now see that I’ve been transformed by God in so many areas, I’ve overcome so many challenges, I’ve produced so many fruits, I’ve influenced so many people. And this was the objective of OM Ireland’s 10th Anniversary celebration: to remember what is past and look forward to what is to come.
My memory has been failing me since I had my first child. The few hours of sleep, the million tasks to do (and never finished), every body needing you, normally all of them at the same time. All this few stuff don’t really help my brain to function well, so I decided to start to write here in my diary, or in a notebook, or in any ordinary piece of paper any of those “things that are not there”, so that I can remember them and thank God for the past things, and glorify Him when the things to come actually come!
Bot, back to OM Ireland, I thank God for bringing us here in such a wonderful time as this. There was a time in which the work was hard and not valued by the people they preached to. This truth has not changed in some places, but many churches are now seeing the fruits of that first investment. We are seeing in our church the fruit of many prayers and of the efforts of people who, like us, came to serve with OM for only 2 weeks. The results and the fruits are eternal, and are for the Glory of God alone!
When I came back home, I started to think about the fruit that I produced in the past nearly 10 years. Maybe you, who gave your life to Jesus yesterday, have led more people personally to Christ that I did. I don’t measure my fruits for their number because I’ve invested a lot of prayer and tears in people that already knew Jesus. They only needed a little bit of discipleship (even if it was in distance!) I know that I won’t go before the Lord empty handed. I have 2 beautiful princesses now to teach how to walk in God’s way, and I know it is primarily my responsibility to do so, before Sunday school teachers or youth leaders (when they grow up, and they are growing SO FAST!)
Yes yes, I’m counting my blessings. People that I lost contact with who are now investing in other people’s lives, as much as I invested in them (or even more, I hope.)
Ten years is a lot of time, there were loads of challenges, loads of pains and tears, but fruit, YES, fruit! OM’s and mine, to Jesus!
I’ll write more about my 10 years with Jesus when my “born again” birthday comes. But I wanted to share with you my joy in having OM Ireland as part of our history and of being able to participate in the celebration of its 10th Anniversary.
Let me give you a brief report on how we are doing.
Evelyn, our pretty little princess, talks non-stop, hops the whole day, has been having crying fits and fussing a lot (especially since granma came to spend some time with us.) We’re trying to potty train her and she already did really fine with some dry days, but it looks like she’s regressing and doing a lot of stuff in her pants again… She’s (exactly) 2 years and 1 month old, has a contagious smile and has helped me a lot to entertain Melissa.
Melissa is (exactly) 6 months and 1 week old and is almost sitting unsupported. She has a very strong back but still arcs them a bit when sitting. No sign of wanting to roll. She has 2 little teeth and is starting to eat solids. No purees here, I’m using a different method for weaning (I’ll post about Baby-Led Weaning soon.) She is very smiley and likes music. She’s a happy baby and can entertain herself for quite a while. When she’s not in pain or with gas, she sleeps from 10:30pm til 7:30am.
Esdras is still working, leading the youth group, playing guitar in the Sunday worship, teaching Sunday School, and participating in as many outreaches as he can fit in this busy schedule. He went camping with the lads of the youth group! When he’s at home, he still helps me with the food, and to entertain and change the girls, and to put the in bed. Oh, and he decided to live a healthier life and lost some 30 pounds in the last 2 months!
And I… well I’m still the tired, baggy-eyed mom who always has things to do, with the house always “half-presentable,” the feeling that I should have done this or that different, but always with the immeasurable gratitude to God who gave me these two beautiful and healthy daughters and for my hero-husband! Oh, and I lost some pounds too! Feel like I’m 20 again
I have some posts and pages “still cooking” about food allergies, breastfeeding and other moms stuff. Hopefully I’ll post now that granma is here!
Now that you’ve spent some precious minutes reading my “report,” I want to pray that God will give you wisdom to face the coming week, may He give you opportunities to develop patience and to show His love to your neighbor. And that in the midst of it all (believe me, it’ll be challenging!), I pray that He’ll show you that He’s right there with you and hoe much He loves you.
Pregnancy generally lasts around 40 weeks, so we still have 2 weeks until the so called “due date”. My due date is April 17th. Here in Ireland the doctors still wait until 10 days after the due date to think of what to do. If the mother doesn’t want a c-section and baby’s in the right position, they’ll induce labour, otherwise c-section!
When I was pregnant with Evelyn I could still do it everything at 38 weeks. Of course that in a slower pace, but I could still clean the house, walk and so on. I could not sleep lying down because I had A LOT of heartburn… now I can sleep lying down but my back is so sore during the day that can’t do much anymore…
Besides that, we’re fine. Just waiting. Although the date is on the 17th, the baby is already fully developed. It’s just putting on weight, so it might be born at any time now! Today we went to the hospital for an antenatal check. We had a scan and the doctor said that our baby is already around 3.200kg! I hope it doesn’t get as big as Evelyn (she was born with 4kg!)
The next Sunday we celebrate Easter. Do you know what it means? It’s much more than bunnies and chocolate eggs (although I do enjoy the chocolate part ) Come back next week and I’ll tel you what Easter means according to the Bible.
Have a blessed week, with the peace that comes from Jesus!