This month we are interviewing a wonderful singer from the church I go to. She used to be a missionary in Brazil, her name is Mrs. Valerie H.
Th!nk: Through what ages did you live in Brazil?
Mrs. Valerie: We moved to Brazil when I was 5 and moved back to the United States when I was 15.
Th!nk: What did you do in Brazil?
Mrs. Valerie: I moved to Brazil because my parents went as missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. My dad was the director for several Christian campgrounds around the country and my mom ran the kitchens at some of the campgrounds and also taught music at a seminary. I went to school – first home school, then at a Brazilian Catholic school and finally at a small American missionary boarding school.
Th!nk: What was your favorite food in Brazil?
Mrs. Valerie: My favorite Brazilian meal is feijoada, which is basically a big black bean and sausage soup eaten over rice with toasted manioc flour called farofa. My favorite dessert is called the brigadeiro, a little ball of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate, rolled in chocolate sprinkles. My mouth is watering now!
Th!nk: Tell us a little bit about your family now.
Mrs. Valerie: My parents now both live in the United States and are very active in mission activities here. I also have two brothers and a sister who live in the USA even though my youngest brother and sister were born in Brazil. I now have my own husband, who is the Music Director at Countryside Baptist Church in Safety Harbor, Florida, and three amazing children: Joshua, Jonathan and Jessika, whom I’ve had the privilege to home school.
Th!nk: What mission opportunities do you do now?
Mrs. Valerie: I get excited to do mission work with my whole family! In the last 7 years my family has had the opportunity to take a VBS to underprivileged kids in Raleigh, NC 3 times. We have also helped do things like feed homeless people at Everybody’s Tabernacle in Clearwater, sort food at a migrant workers’ farm in Wimauma, and Christmas caroling at nursing homes around Pinellas county.
Th!nk: What was the funniest thing that happened to you in Brazil?
Mrs. Valerie: When we lived in Belem, near the mouth of the Amazon River, it rained every day in the winter season. Big puddles stood all the time in the roads. I’ve been splashed several times by buses as I walked along the road. It wasn’t that funny at the time, but funny to look back at now!
Th!nk: What was the scariest thing that happened to you there?
Mrs. Valerie: I’m very thankful not to have had many scary things happen to me. I once, by choice, jumped off the side of a big boat into the Amazon River. I just kept going down and down, and pictured the piranhas all around me! I was fine, but that was scary!
Th!nk: What were the biggest differences between here and there?
Mrs. Valerie: I don’t remember a lot from when we first moved there, so the biggest differences I noticed were when we came back. The US is a much cleaner place than most of Brazil. There is a lot of trash along the streets there and not much attempt to clean it up. The biggest thing I noticed though, was in the grocery store. American grocery stores have so many options! For example, my cereal options growing up were basically Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies. I was very overwhelmed by the long aisle of choices I had when we came back!
Th!nk: Best memories?
Mrs. Valerie: My best memories are of times spent with the people in Brazil. Brazilian people are friendly and fun-loving. They love to sing and dance and play lots of soccer! I learned to appreciate the little things because sometimes that’s all you have. I also learned that God works in and through people of all types – all you have to do is being willing to take on the adventure and trust that He has already prepared you for it!
Thank you so much for letting us interview you Mrs. Valerie!!! If you have any ideas for who we can interview. Please tell us in your comments. Or if you would like to be interviewed, please tell us.