Brazilian Exchange Students

Last month some friends and I had the joy of hosting 24 ninth-grade Brazilian students and their chaperones in our homes.


We loved opening our hearts and homes to these lovely girls from Brazil!

My friend Paula, who was born and raised in Brazil and now has dual citizenship, has a ministry that God is really growing. Each year she brings students from Brazil over here and takes students from here to her home city in Brazil. She loves exposing students to different cultures, and her heart’s passion is to share the love of Christ through this ministry.

These 24 students were given the opportunity to be immersed in our language and culture while staying in Christian host homes. Part of their month-long stay included going to school a few days a week, living life with their host family, touring the city, taking field trips, shopping, and partaking in serving opportunities. In addition, the Brazilians spent time at Orlando theme parks, did lots of shopping, had a weekend retreat, were part of a super fabulous New Year’s Eve party, had lots of birthday celebrations, participated in a day filled with hands-on learning and fun called “Life Skills Day,”and even had an Ellis favorite – a onesie dance party! (see next post for a video of this). Yes indeed. A lot was packed into a short period of time.

A “Life Skills Day”

One day was set aside for a “Life Skills Day.” We had all of the students, chaperones, and some of the host families in our home for a day of fun, laughter, learning, and hands-on experiences, and even exposed them to some new things (like shooting a gun, tying a tie, and making chocolate covered treats.)

Some of my friends who have served in other countries taught from their life-experiences. Family and friends took off work for a day to love on these students and teach practical life skills. Such a variety of passions, interests, and skills being invested into the students. That was moving for me to watch.

Photos from Life Skills Day


Teaching people skills and “The 5 Love Languages” with the emphasis on being others-focused not self-focused.


My son taught the boys about manners like eye contact, posture, a firm handshake and more.

The boys also learned how to tie a tie. They were so proud of their accomplishments!

The boys also learned how to tie a tie. They were so proud of their accomplishments!


The girls learned how to chop, dice, slice, peel, open cans, brown the beef, make spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad .


My friend Peggy organized this and many of the host moms helped teach the girls. Such fun!!


Team thinking games. Work together to match the tangram puzzle.


Two teams competed in being the first to complete the design on paper with the large, wooden tangrams.


Stewart taught an amazing lesson on The Middle East


Peggy and Stewart shared their love for the Muslim people and culture.


John III taught the boys how to shoot a gun. Heather threw the clays.


Learning to shoot a gun may have been their very favorite thing of the day.

My husband taught the boys car maintenance skills – checking and changing the oil, checking tire pressure, changing the windshield wipers, and more. (Isn’t that sweet of him to “stop his world” and be about sharing with others?)


Molly and Hannah shared the day with us by teaching chocolate decorating tips to the girls.


Molly and Hannah shared their skills with the girls by teaching them how to make chocolate covered treats.


Brenda shared her love of details and beauty with the girls . . .


. . .and they made floral centerpieces, set the table, and decorated with scrapbook paper as fun, bright placemats.


Yay for lunch time!!


The spaghetti lunch was delicious and enjoyed by all!


Paula taught how to write thank you notes using specific words of appreciation. Cards were made for each who gave of their time to serve.


Christy, who serves in South Asia, shared on purity.


Recreation time included volleyball, nine-square-in-the-air, basketball, rope climbing and swinging.


My daughter Laura may have come in first place in Knockout barely beating Coach Stew.


These onesie pajamas were a big hit. Click HERE to watch the Brazilian Onesie Dance Party!

And if you want to see the agenda all spelled out for you, here it is. But, don’t do yours just like this one. The friends you’ll have helping will have their own unique talents, interests, and journeys in life that will make your own event a success!

Life Skills Agenda

  • 8:00 People Skills and The Five Love Languages (emphasis on being others-focused not self-focused)
  • 9:00  Practice skills:
    • Boys: manners (eye contact, firmly shaking hands, confidence) and tying ties
    • Girls: cooking skills – actually preparing the spaghetti, salad, and bread. (chopping, cutting, browning,etc)
  • 9:30 Two teams: Outside team thinking puzzle game: (large tangrams)
  • 10:15 Current Event- understanding life in the Middle East/Muslim culture by Peggy and Stewart
  • 11:00 two twenty-five minute rotating groups:
    • Boys: car maintenance / shooting a gun
    • Girls: table setting, flower arranging, table manners /decorating chocolate treats
  • 12:00 Lunch – already plated and set at tables
  • 12:30 How to write quality thank you notes
  • 1:00 Lesson on purity by Christy, who serves in South Asia
  • 1:30 Sports tournaments: volleyball, nine-square in the air, basketball
  • 2:45 Onesie dance LOL

Share the love of Christ with your time, talents, skills, and passions.

Rhonda hostingthesestudentswaswonderful ellis

  1. Rhonda, who wouldn’t want to be at Life Skills Day? Looks like it was so much fun. My hat is off to all of you who spent time putting it together and putting it on! What great memories (and lessons) those students will take back with them to Brazil!

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