"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Prayer Request

It's hard to believe it's been six weeks since Ansley left for her trip to the states. She left her grandparents today to begin her journey back home. We just got an email telling us that she arrived in Miami. She is staying with some friends. Tomorrow night she will get on a plane headed for Brasil and be back with us on Friday.

We ask for your prayers for Ansley. Please ask God to send his angels of protection over her international flight and to bless her with a safe trip home.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why We Love our Big Family

This was our bedroom yesterday. There's something about our oldest and third oldest child feeling their little brother kicking inside their mom's stomach, and understanding.....really understanding..... that it's a miracle from God, that is just really cool.

And two days ago we had this:It's Carys doing some pre-training for her future little brother. You see Carys and her (soon to be named......maybe.....we hope) little brother will be sharing a room and she is VERY excited about it. Sunday morning she and Anderson were up at 5:30 separating some baby clothes in different piles. Later in the day she wanted to learn how to change a diaper. So after a little coaching and instruction from a woman who's been there before.........

........she had a great first try.

Both coach and student (and I hope the practice baby) were pleased with the result.

We love our big family.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Carys's New Pet

Remember the cricket our friend made us while on our recent trip? We still have him but the little guy has changed a bit. His fresh picked green color has faded and he's more of a sick tan color now.

Carys decided to adopt him and give him a little style. Here's what she did: Yes that's a top hat.

And his name that she gave him? Abraham Cricket of course.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Granna's Birthday

Hi, it's Benay. Today is a special day for our family - my mom's birthday. She is affectionately known as Granna around here. There are so many wonderful things that I could say about my mom. She has been and continues to be a wonderful mom and grandmother. She's a wise woman who has taught me so many things.

Here is a picture of my mom in high school. Isn't she beautiful? In her school yearbook, the phrase that was chosen by her classmates to describe her was "The Model of Propriety". Propriety - doing what is proper and right. That phrase fits her personality perfectly. She is a person who will do the right thing whether it is easy or not. I was taught by her to do what is right - even if I didn't want to.

There are so many more wonderful things about my mom that I could write, but I decided to ask the kids what are some of their favorite things about her. Here goes:

"Her biscuits!"

"I like it when she sings lullabies to me when I am going to sleep."

"I like it when she says, 'Remember, always pass the plates clockwise at the table' "
(that whole propriety thing coming out)

"I appreciate that Granna spent over 2 hours rolling my hair up and giving me a perm."

Oh the depth and sentimentality of kids.

Granna, we love you so much and hope you have a wonderful birthday. Wish we could be there to give you a hug in person.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pop's Birthday

Today is my (Kevin) dad's birthday. He's been a pretty good dad. He's been a great role model of what a Christian man, husband and father looks like. He's always been there to give me good advice about whatever, and one time he even told my girlfriend (now my wife) to break up with me when she said I was being a jerk. What? He's supposed to be on my side. He listened to her, agreed, and then told her to leave me behind. She did, and, yes, I was being a jerk. Turned out to be exactly what I needed -a kick in my pants to knock it off and start treating my future wife the way God wanted her to be treated.

That's one thing I love about him.......he doesn't let flesh and blood come before what God wants. Like I said, he's a great role model of what Christ desires.

Now before you think he's Mr. Perfect, he'll be the first to tell you he's not. He's a sinner saved by grace and he knows it. This knowledge helps him to lead with humility. He's not afraid to admit when he is wrong and ask for forgiveness.

He also isn't afraid to grow his faith. Unfortunately too many Christians think they've got all the answers. With this attitude comes a lack of spiritual growth and maturity. My dad will continue growing his faith until he breathes his last breath. I know God couldn't be more proud.

The Blume family name could not have a better patriarch.

Oh yeah.....he's also lots of fun. He loves to goof around and he especially loves spending time with his grandkids. He will even reproduce the picture on the DVD box of "High School Musical" when asked by his grandkids.
We think they nailed it.

He's kind of cool. We think we'll keep him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


One of the interesting things about living in Brasil is reading signs in English. Rarely do we find a translation that is really well done. Something is usually misspelled or just doesn't make sense. As a former school teacher, it drives Benay crazy. The rest of us always get a really good laugh from it. We think we could make some good money working for the city government, hotels, etc. just being English advertising translators.

It's not just print advertising. Recently Bronwyn and Ansley were asked to do a voice over, in English, for a commercial that would be played in Brasil and also taken to the Cannes Film Festival in France. Benay went along and listened to what they were saying in the commercial. She finally couldn't stand it and told the director of the commercial that what they were saying in English made no sense. He actually argued with an American, English speaker about whether or not it made sense. He finally said, "It will be shown to an international audience. It will make sense to them." At that point Benay threw up her hands and gave up. Like I said, it drives her crazy.

We thought we'd share an example of my amusement and Benay's frustration. The following is from a breakfast card that was at our hotel on our recent trip. It was set in front of the food item and it was explaining, to those who speak English, what the food item was.

Here it is:

Any ideas? Here's what it is.Still don't know for sure? It's our hotel's version of French toast.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Celebrating Spiritual Birthdays and Breakthroughs

Yesterday was a day of celebrating spiritual birthdays. It was one year ago, yesterday, that Bronwyn was baptized at church camp in Memphis. Here she is, between Kevin and me, on that day with her sister and several cousins. It was a great day and we continue to be proud of the wonderful young woman that Bronwyn is becoming as her faith grows and matures.Also, last night, we were invited to go to Sascha and Jennifer Terry's house for the baptism of Cesar. Cesar is a young man who has been a part of their house church group for some time now, but had never given his life to Christ. A few weeks ago, he had a dream about making the commitment to Christ through baptism. He and Sascha began to study the Bible together about what this decision would mean and then last night we celebrated this day with him. Here are some pictures from last night.

The Terrys have a swimming pool, but in the middle of winter in Porto Alegre, Cesar opted for the bathtub - I don't blame him.
This is Cesar's mom. She is also a Christian. She was there last night. She is, obviously, very proud of Cesar's decision.
After the baptism, we had a time of worship and encouragement. We sang together, and several people shared verses of scripture with Cesar as an encouragement to him as he begins his new life in Christ. Afterward we shared the Lord's Supper together and talked about the way that God had blessed us that week.Yesterday morning, we had our normal house church meeting here at our house. This is vacation time in Brasil, since students have some time off from school. So yesterday, many of our members were traveling. The only people who came to our worship time were Garigran and his son, Arthur.You would think we would be depressed about this - I mean just 2 people! But we have learned that God always has a plan. You see, Garigran is a pretty shy kind of guy. When we have a roomful of people, he normally doesn't say anything and seems kind of absorbed in himself. Yesterday, we saw a breakthrough. As we sang, he started several songs. Kevin asked who wanted to say a prayer, and Arthur, said "My daddy". So Garigran led the prayer - the first time we had ever heard him pray.

When it was time for the Lord's Supper, Arthur, with Bronwyn's help, led the prayer. We ended with a Bible study together. Next week, we will have our celebration and Garigran has agreed to give his testimony in front of the church. It will be powerful and we can't help but think that God used our small group yesterday to give Garigran the confidence he needed to be willing to share next week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Roberto and Moema

This is Roberto and Moema:
They, along with their son Kjeld, are a part of the house church that meets in our house. They've been Christ followers for almost two years and, as with any young Christians (or long time Christians as well) there have been many ups and downs in their faith walk. But they always do their best to follow what the Bible says.

We first met them at Garrett's soccer school. Kjeld was taking soccer classes at the same school.
Our meeting them really shows that God has a wicked sense of humor. You see Moema grew up as a full fledged, hard core Marxist. She hated the United States, Americans and the English language. Then she was diagnosed with cancer. She fought and won the battle with cancer and came out on the other side with a new perspective if you will. God began to break her hard heart. She decided she wanted to learn English and became crazy to absorb anything English.

One day she heard a woman and man speaking English at Kjeld's soccer practice. She talked to the coach and found out that Garrett was an American and that the couple speaking English was my parents visiting from the states. She got our phone number and got in touch with us.

One of the first real conversations I had with them was during a soccer tournament. They both told me they wanted "spirituality" for their son but they didn't know what that meant. I almost fell over and really felt Spirit led to have a conversation with them right there about what this "spirituality" was. We got home and Benay said, "I hope you didn't come on too strong." Rarely do I just jump into biblical things with new people and rarely do I come on too strong. I believe that everything starts with a friendship and usually it goes slowly as you build up trust but I really felt led to go deeper with them on that first conversation. During the conversation I invited them to a mid week bible study we were having. They came but, as Moema confessed later, they were just being polite in accepting the invitation and decided to come once and then never come back. The opposite happened........they never quit coming and about 6 months later they gave their lives to Christ.

They have good hearts, question lots of things and really study and try to do what God wants. We love them.

When Moema's cancer was diagnosed she was able to retire from her job as a sociology professor at a university. Roberto is a gifted singer but has had a difficult time being able to keep a job since we've known him (not from any fault of his). When his last job didn't work out he and Moema decided to really turn their future over to God and ask His guidance on what to do next.

God has led Roberto to begin a 5 month training program with Youth with a Mission. It's an international Christian program that trains people for mission work around the world. They have a training center not too far from our city. Roberto left today to begin his training. Moema and Kjeld will stay here.

This past week Benay sent out an invitation to all the house churches to come to our house to send off Roberto with a blessing.

Roberto had a chance to explain what he was being called to do:
We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came to bless their brother.
People had the chance to share with him from their heart. We were also able to bless him by reading emails from people who weren't able to be there and at the end we put Roberto and Moema in the middle of all of us and laid hands on them and prayed for them and this training.

We, of course, had fun as well:
A cute, future mom (again) got to get a little practice in.
We even got to watch a guy try to break into his own car after he locked his keys inside. Like I said.......we had fun.
Please pray for Roberto, Moema and Kjeld, as God puts them on your heart, over the next 5 months. That He will keep them safe and will really make it clear to them where He wants them and what He wants them to do at the end of these 5 months. This organization literally has contacts around the world and so, in just a few short months, we could be sending off our first missionaries from something that didn't exist here just 6 years ago.

We praise God for Roberto and his family and for God's faithful love for His children.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Official

This is a picture of Bronwyn and myself this afternoon holding two very important things:What are they? Members' cards to our favorite soccer team. We joined today. Fans of soccer teams throughout the world can become members of their teams and receive discounted(or even free) ticket prices to games, as well as other benefits.

Bronwyn and Garrett are my soccer nuts and game companions. Garrett didn't need to join yet because, until he turns 13, he gets the best discounted ticket. FREE. That's right, you don't pay if you are under 13.

Our team turns 100 years old next year and they are trying to get 100,000 members by then. We thought $12 per month wasn't too much to help them toward their goal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

20 Years

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
"Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer."

Twenty years ago today Benay and I were married. We were talking last week and it feels like these twenty years have passed in 5 minutes. We never thought we would have 6 kids. We never thought we would be enjoying the blessing of the pregnancy of our 6th child while we celebrate our 20th anniversary. We never thought we would live in another country and love the experience of being missionaries. We've known what it's been like to literally have nothing and we've known what it's like to have jobs that made our lives comfortable (materially speaking). We've been blessed to watch and help each other grow spiritually. We've also been blessed to be able to see our kids tell the world of their love for the Savior and as well as watch them share the love of Christ with their friends. We've been shown how truly big and good God's family is. Many things have changed over the last 20 years.

Two things that haven't changed are God's love for us and our love for each other. As I type that I realize that I am wrong. God's love never changes but our love for each other has changed. It's stronger today than it was 20 years ago and grows stronger every day. God's faithfulness overwhelms us. We could not be more blessed.

Here we were 20 years ago today:
And here is a picture of all of us last December.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why the name "Porto de Galinhas?"

Porto de Galinhas literally means "Chicken Port." The city used to be called Porto Rico. This changed when Brasil outlawed slave trade. The slave trade market was big in the northeastern part of Brasil and so slaves would continually be smuggled in. One place where this happened in a big quantity was the Port of Porto Rico.

Obviously the slave traders couldn't openly go against the law of Brasil so they hid the slaves on their ships and also brought in a great number of chickens. When asked what they were bringing in they would show all the chickens and state that they were chicken venders.

I read where, once they arrived, they would let slave buyers know that new slaves had arrived by going to the beach and using the following code, "There are new chickens in the port."

So the name changed from Porto Rico to Porto de Galinhas.

Our tour guide told us one day that they aren't proud of the history of this name but it stuck and so they make sure they tell the story so that no one forgets the history involved with the city.

Although there isn't pride in the way the city was named, the city won't let you forget the name. Even if you didn't have a clue as to the name of the city, after a 5 minute walk through the main street you would gather it had something to do with the flightless chicken as noted by the slide show below. We took these pictures in the city on our first day there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are You a Christian?

God has blessed our family by putting an amazing Christian sister named Dottie in our life. She has a blog and you can check it out here. I stole the following from her blog and wanted to share it here:

"I learned last year not to answer too quickly when someone asks me if I’m a Christian. When asked that question I now ask the question, “What do you mean by the word, Christian?” Sometimes after I hear the definition given to that word, I have to say, “If that’s what you mean by the word, Christian, then ‘no, I’m not.’ But I am a Christ Follower and…” I read somewhere this year, I think in the book, Un Christian, that perhaps the reason churches all over are declining in growth and in reputation, is because of the behavior of Christians themselves. I guess we have a bit of God within us though – we seem to hate the hypocrisy we see in others – we just don’t seem to be able to see it in ourselves very well -another reason we need time in the word, good preaching and good books - and perhaps, I should add, people who really love us enough to confront us when we need it. I prefer the gentle confrontation, but God loves us enough to put an Amos in our life when we need it.

God hates hypocrisy, but loves those who are sinned against. Someday, He will make it right. God loves those who act justly and who love mercy and who walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). That is all He requires. It is simple. The trouble is … this kind of life is costly."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back to our Trip-The First Couple of Days

The weather wasn't great the first couple of days we were in Porto de Galinhas. This worked out well for us as it allowed us to just chill out and enjoy some shopping and exploring in the city.On our first day we enjoyed a great lunch at a restaurant called "Peixe na Telha" or "Fish on the Roofing Tile". We, of course, ordered the fish on the roof tile.
I'm not a big fish eater and I loved it. There was no fish left over after we finished. Benay said the mashed potatos were the best she had ever had. We had a great lunch with a great view.
We then went and visited more of the town.

It's a pretty simple little town. Someone told me the city has about 5,000 people living in it. The city was about a 10 minute drive from our resort.

On of the common things about wherever you go in Brasil is that there are always people asking you for money. It's done in different ways and there are many different, creative ways that Brasilians do this.

A man came up to me as I was sitting on a bench waiting for Benay to come out of a store. He asked where I was from. I said the United States (normally we say Porto Alegre) thinking this might stump him in coming up with a song but he went right to it with a good song full of American things including President Bush. Impressive.
We saw this man selling cashews out of his wheelbarrow.
Then in front of every store there seemed to be these little guys carrying leaves from coconut trees and following people. We discovered that they would come up to you and present you with something, "as a gift", and then keep following you and asking for any money you might want to give them.The first one we saw do this was a little guy who was right outside of the restaurant where we ate lunch. When we came out we saw that he was making something with his leaves.
We started taking pictures and he then made some things for Benay out of the coconut leaves. As Benay spoke with him, he told her he was 13, went to school in the morning and did this in the afternoon. We couldn't count the number of young boys trying to earn money by selling these things on the streets. He made a rose and a cricket. Very impressive. We had a great time visiting the city. At the end of the day we were tired but, as we say, "it was a good tired." It was a good start to the week.