Friday, February 29, 2008
We liked the idea of the next family that came through, reading the sign and seeing the big snake hanging over it. That would've been a good reminder for the kids that don't like to obey, don't you think? Yeah, that's what Garrett was doing......teaching other kids to be obedient. Sounds good doesn't it?
We are thankful that someone got to it and killed it before we met him because as Anderson said later, at least ten different times, "THAT'S ONE NASTY SNAKE!"
Thursday, February 28, 2008
This is an incredibly powerful video and, whether you've seen it 10 times or have never seen it before, it's worth every second it takes to watch it. Like Bronwyn, our oldest, said after watching it, "I've got goosebumps."
Sunday, February 24, 2008
My dad and four of the men from this group have been praying together every Tuesday morning for the last few years. Garrett calls them the Memphis guys. I've seen what this time together has done to these men.
When we are back in the states and visiting Memphis, I have the privilege to join them on Tuesdays. It's been fun for me to move into an adult, spiritual relationship with these men after years of seeing them as being "the dads of my friends." I've learned much from my times of prayer with these guys. I've seen them confess, cry, laugh and, of course, pray together each Tuesday morning. I've seen them being faithful during hard, very hard, personal struggles. I've watched them bring their paper and pens and write down each prayer request and then pray for every thing listed usually more than one time. I've been blessed to see these men grow in their faith as well as have my faith grow just by being around them.
They are all different today than they were years ago. They are different today than they were yesterday and isn't that what God wants from His kids? Transformation and growth? What I've seen in them reminded me of a quote I read from an older brother in Christ in regards to growing his faith and how he continues to be changed in Christ. He said, "Yes, I have changed on many issues BECAUSE I have been studying the Bible, praying, trying to have a daily, intimate, personal relationship with God. Paul says in Rom. 12:1-2 to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and it is very difficult for me to understand how a person can be transformed without changing. If transformation is not change, what is it? How can one put off the old person and put on the new without changing?" I say......EXACTLY! This is what I have seen in the Memphis Guys and what I want for Benay, myself and our kids as well as our new family in Porto Alegre.
Transformation and growth.
My blessings continue as I now see the influence that these guys have in my life being passed on to our kids. Here is a picture of me and Garrett with the guys and my dad, at their prayer time, last year during our visit to the states.
When I think of the "Memphis Guys" I feel very blessed to have had them in my life since I was a child. It's been a cool thing for me to realize that God had these prayer warriors planned for my family in Brasil years before we ever felt the call to move here. He is so good that way isn't He?
Thank you Paul, Gerald, Larry(a.k.a. The Duke), and Danny for praying for my family every Tuesday, for praying blessings on what God is doing in Porto Alegre, for being there for my parents and for continuing to show Christ to a family 5,000 miles away. We love you and your families.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
This is our son the pyro. He LOVES to build fires. When it's time to have a cookout he HAS to help and so it was just natural that on our recent camping trip he spent a good amount of time trying to build a fire. Why the trouble? Well, like I said he LIKES it....ALOT, but he also wanted to build one so that we could have the pleasure of making smores (or as close to smores as we could make with our Brasilian choices of ingredients.......we had to pay $6 for a bag of imported marshmallows). Most of the kids had never had them and didn't know what they were and so Benay was determined to make some. She needed a firestarter and that is where Garrett came to the rescue.
Which brings us to the second video. This is Anderson going to take care of the sticky foot problem on his own, by washing it off in the shower, and he really doesn't appreciate the laughing that is taking place at his expense. Just so you can appreciate it fully, his initial response on this video is, "When I step in marshmallow you don't laugh! You guys are weird!" He then punctuates his anger with his final response of "go away." Things weren't going well on the sticky marshmallow walk up to the bathroom. Anderson had to endure some of his brothers and sisters ignoring him while they continued cooking marshmallows, his dad thinking it was more important to film than to help and his mom laughing throughout most of the long, humiliating walk to cleanliness. Finally, his loving big sister comes to his rescue.
Some went out and explored nature. While others had a more passive approach and allowed nature to come to them......in the forms of a good book, Twix bars and Diet Coke.
We had lots of fun together as a family and that's what's most important isn't it?
There is something about getting out of the city and being in God's nature that just causes you to sit down, relax and take things a bit slower than the big city pace you're accustomed to.
Okay, so that would be in theory and is not necessarily the rule.
The kids are already asking to go back when Bronwyn gets home from her trip. I think they enjoyed their first camping adventure.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
After it was over, I don't think there was a dry eye among us as all of our house church members, one by one, hugged and loved on Gracie as we sang songs of praise. This is Gracie's mom, Ivoli, hugging her.
This was an especially bittersweet day because the week after this, Gracie would leave us for a while to do a work exchange program in the US. She is an excellent English speaker, and she was chosen for an opportunity to work in Orlando at Universal Studios for a few months. Here she is sharing a prayer with Bronwyn and Ansley at the airport right before she left. She is still in the US now, and has had a wonderful experience - although we have missed her terribly. We are so proud of the way that she has represented her family, Brazil and especially Christ on her trip - as He, too, represents her before the Father. I couldn't write this post without thinking of the song by Point of Grace called "Saving Grace". I looked up the lyrics, and while all of them don't pertain to our Gracie, some of them were very appropriate. You see, Gracie didn't decide to become a Christian because one of the missionaries had a Bible study with her. I believe that she was shown Jesus consistently by our group, and especially by Bronwyn and Ansley. These lyrics say it all.....
Thank you, Lord, for letting us be a part of your saving work in Gracie's life.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
This is André. He helped Carys every step of the way. After all the hard work of picking Sam out it was time to leave the mall and to take him/her home. He/she is in the box Carys is holding. We all love Sam. When we came home all 7 of us were in Carys's room with her helping get everything set up just right before we put Sam in the tank. Sam has to be outside every day for 5 minutes soaking up some rays. I think he/she likes it.
Not sure how but Carys has already taught Sam a trick. I guess in dog language it would sound like this, "Come on boy/girl.....come on."
"That's it boy/girl. That's it. Come on." "Good boy/girl. Who's my good boy/girl? That's right you are!" (insert "dog licking your face" with "turtle just staring at you" here)We think Sam is in good hands.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Our oldest daughter wanted to know why we got engaged on the 12th instead of Valentine's day. Here's why: It was my senior year in college and I lived in one state and Benay lived in another while working her first post college job. The only time we ever had to see each other was on the weekends (usually on my college campus, the city where she lived or the place in the middle which was where my parents lived). The weekend I asked her to marry her happened to be at my parents' house.....thus the congratulations cake already ready. What would we have done with the cake if she had said no?
Anyway, I had already asked Benay's dad for her hand and he said yes (I'm sure he's still kicking himself on that brain time-out). The ring was bought and it was literally burning a hole in my pocket. We got to my parents' house on Friday the 12th and there was no way that ring would stay hidden until the 14th.
It's been an incredible 20+ years of being with Benay. I am very blessed.
Thank you for saying yes!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Life would be good.
Far from being a cosmic Mr. Fix-it, Jesus is taking every priority and ambition that I ever held and - without so much as asking - turning it over like he did the tables in the temple.
But the truth is - having come to know the Jesus who messes with me at every turn - I would never go back to the old one. For all his annoying qualities, this is the Jesus that feels authentic to me. I feel like I finally am coming to know him for who he is. And in spite of all of the discomfort and downright inconvenience that he causes, I’m coming to see that the things that he is about are the things that really matter in this world.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
She wanted to follow up present time by going to the pool. We had lots of time to relax.....
......and do some wrestling as well.
We then went home, got cleaned up and went back out to go see a movie together. We had to walk down the street to get to our van. Why?
Because they've been ripping up our street for about 6 weeks replacing our sewage lines and they chose Benay's birthday to completely block our driveway.
The day was long and some couldn't make it through the movie.
While others barely made it to the couch before crashing..........yes she really is asleep.So, Happy Birthday to a very special woman. An incredible wife,my best friend, an amazing mom and beautiful child of God. I don't know how but she seems to get more beautiful with each passing year.