Sunday, April 17, 2011

Here we go!!

Hey y'all, my name is Christy Christiansen.  I am beginning a new adventure in my life.  I am preparing to go teach with NICS (Network of International Christian Schools), an organization that has 20 international schools in 16 countries across the world.  I am going to Amazon Valley Academy in Belem, Brazil to teach in the upper elementary grades. 

I decided to pursue this opportunity because I am not currently teaching, which is what I feel God has called me to do. Early this year, I came upon an email I received previously from NICS telling about the job fair they were having in February. At the job fair I learned more about the organization and I spoke with several of the school directors. I fell in love with the 3 schools in Brazil and finally decided on AVA.  I chose AVA because I felt like that's where God opened the doors.  For me, working at AVA is a mission opportunity, not just another teaching position.

Brazil is a wide open door for the Gospel of Christ. There is complete religious freedom. The Vatican claims Brazil to be the largest Roman Catholic country in the world. However, only 70% of the population say they are Catholic and only 12% are practicing Catholics. Spiritism has a major influence in all aspects of life in Brazil. I have been to Brazil once before on a short term mission trip. While there we went to visit a Catholic church in Rio, where spiritism was very evident.  There was a shop where people could buy wax figures to burn on an altar at the church so their ailments would be cured. This is a country that desperately needs the message of God’s love.

Once I accepted the position at AVA, I had several hoops to jump through to get prepared to go to Brazil. First thing I had to do was to renew my passport, a process that usually takes 3-6 weeks.  I had the passport paperwork expedited and received the new one in only about 1 week. Then I had to begin gathering documents to get a work Visa.  These documents had to be notarized, certified and then I had to send them to Nashville to get them authenticated.  I had these documents expedited as well and received them back in only 2 days, which is a miracle considering how long these things can take.  I believe the process for the passport and documents has gone smoothly due to God continuing to open doors.

The next big hurdle is to raise financial support.  I will need approximately $3000 for pre-field expenses:  legal documents, plane ticket, etc. Once in Belem, I will need $700 a month to cover basic living expenses.  I need this because the school is currently unable to pay a full salary, although they are working toward that goal. 

I need financial support in order to get to Belem to serve. However my most important need is your prayers as I take on this adventure.