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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Graduation Day

Last night Bronwyn graduated from high school. We couldn't be more proud of her.

She was blessed to have her grandmother here too. We had a fun night. After the party we had a late supper. We aren't really a late night supper kind of family.After supper Ansley was able to go with Bronwyn to her after graduation party. They had a lot of fun together. Everyone is a little bit tired today but for good reason.

Next stop is the incoming freshman class at ACU in 2010. She plans on studying nursing.

She could enter college in the fall of 2009, or next month for that matter, but Bronwyn has chosen to work, travel (she wants to go to Africa for a few months and be helpful in whatever and wherever God wants to use her) and get to know Giovanni better before she heads off to college.

As one of our friends said to us last night we have one down and almost a half dozen more left to graduate. It was a great first graduation for our family.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're Getting Close

We've recently visited the big guy and put our requests in.......................and we spent some time in his neighborhood.
We are officially ready for his arrival Wednesday night.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mother Teresa

Some thoughts from Mother Teresa in her book called A Simple Path:

"Let Jesus use you without consulting you. We let Him take what He wants from us. So take whatever He gives and give whatever He takes with a big smile. Accept gifts of God and be deeply grateful. If He has given you great wealth, make use of it, try to share it with others, with those who don't have anything. Always share with others because even with a little help you may save them from becoming distressed. And don't take more than you need, that's all. Just accept whatever comes."

Friday, December 19, 2008

What Garrett does when he's bored

Garrett is our soccer player. In fact, part of his daily prayers for years has been for him to be a professional soccer player when he grows up. There are even adults that have joined him in this prayer. We believe God will honor those prayers and Garrett will use soccer to spread the Good News of Christ.

I made the mistake recently of filming Garrett while standing in the goal of a field we were visiting and telling Garrett to aim for the camera. Maybe I should have thought that out a little better since he plays/practices every day.

Attempt 1:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Attempt 2:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Attempt 3:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2 Year Anniversary

We are in a town right now called "Canela" (which means cinnamon.....that's your Portuguese lesson for the day). We have a family tradition of coming here every Christmas season because of the incredible Christmas shows they do in this area. It's good to get out of the hot city and come up into the mountains for a couple of days. We love to come here and my mom loves to come here as well. This is her second time to come with us.

Two years ago today we were here with Benay's parents. How do I remember it was two years ago today? Because that's when the greatest soccer team in the world won the world championship in Japan.

The Inter fans literally shut down the main street of this small city with their celebrations and you can see, on the video below, what 30,000 Inter fans look like as they watched the game on a big screen tv in the middle of a street that was shut down just for the game.

Benay came in, looked at this blog title and rolled her eyes and told me no one wanted to hear about, or cared about, soccer or our soccer team. It's a misguided assumption she has. That's okay, because I know that because of this blog there are Inter fans around the world. Well, even if that part isn't true, my dad likes them and likes the videos and that's good enough for me. It's also fun to remind my friends in São Paulo that we beat them and that Inter is so much better than São Paulo.

Here's a two minute video of all three of our goals in the two games we won in Japan. Enjoy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bible In a Minute

This is a little video that we can't get out of our heads. Maybe because Carys has almost learned the whole thing and sings it all the time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Rights

From the book Every Man's Marriage:

"You'll never be a servant as long as your rights are a factor in the decision-making process.

It's far better to get used to giving our rights away. Soon it will become a way of life, and you won't even have to think about it anymore. You become a servant in your mind, and thinking sacrificially becomes a matter of course."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Family Pride

I (Kevin) have an older sister. She's okay as far as goofy big sisters go.

She rarely impresses me because, like I said, she's goofy. But she did last week.

She ran a half marathon in 1:58:56.

Here's a mini photo of the elite runner in action (ahead of 2 men.....I love it):
I guess I have to admit that I'm (cough, cough) impressed with her and her time. Way to go sis.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look Who's Here

My mom got here on Tuesday. We met her at the airport.She's here for a two week visit.

We think she's enjoyed her time here so far because:

The kids had her watching a Jackie Chan movie on her first night here (Jackie Chan!!.....that's grandma love right there)...... .....Anderson had her helping him make cookies....... ......and she only lets Giovanni out of her arms for about 1 hour per day.She's already been to Ansley's theater play, Anderson's end of the school year program, Garrett's soccer practice, one of our favorite places to eat and there's lots more to come. We're keeping her busy but it seems like she doesn't mind.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This Championship is for you Pops

So we went to the finals of the South American Cup last Wednesday night to see the greatest soccer team in the world play. The regulars went (me, Bronwyn and Garrett) and our brother Garigran and his son Aaron also went with us.

We got there a little after 8:00 (for the 10 p.m. start) and it was already 60-70% full. By 9:15 it was packed. It was the first time in the history of Brasilian soccer that members of the club bought all the tickets to a game. Tickets are normally sold first to members and then open to the public. Inter now has 80,000 members and all 50,000+ seats were sold out to the members. When we left after the game people were just hanging out on the street watching tv's in their cars and listening on radios. They just wanted to be close to the stadium. I haven't seen anything like it.

We sat next to the Estudiantes (our enemy from Argentina) crowd. It was wild and the police were out in full force. Let's just say both sides were pretty animated about their teams.

Two weeks ago in Argentina we won 1-0 so the return game was back here in Porto Alegre.

If you don't follow soccer allow me to explain the typical rules. You add up both teams goals scored during both games (in a home and home series) and the one with the most wins. A tie breaking twist for these games is that during a home and home series during a championship, if you score on your opponents field it's worth more. Let's say you get beat 2-1 on their field and then next week you play in your stadium. You win 1-0. You would win the series even though it was 2-2 after two games because you scored on their field and they did not on yours.

This rule was changed during the finals of this championship. So it was the best combined score wins after the two games. If the score is tied after the two games you then play two 15 minutes extra periods. If still tied then you go to a penalty shoot out.

So, all we had to do was win last week or even end the game in a tie and we would be champions.

It was a pretty nervous night. We didn't play that well at all. They scored first. The game ended and we went to the extra periods. We score once and hold it until the end of the extra 30 minutes and we win. They score and hold and they are the champs. If no one scored we went to penalties which are insanely nerve racking. Here is what happened.

A funny thing happened during the game. I realized that it was just a game. Before the game even started Garrett was complaining of not feeling well. We went and got him someting to eat and drink and he felt better. About halfway through the second half he told me he was feeling worse. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he said yes. Funny how your son being sick can make you realize how stupid getting nervous over a game came be isn't it? Bronwyn, Garigran and Aaron graciously understood and we left the game. We didn't see the winning goal in person but heard it on the radio in the car on the way home. We got home at 12:45 this morning and got to the see the highlight of the goal.

Garrett is feeling much better today.

No Brasilian team have ever won this championship before. It was fun, again, to be a part of such a big game.

If you would like to read more about the game you can go here or check out this blog just about Inter. You can even go here to check out some more videos.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Prayer Request and a Disclaimer

We wanted to ask you to pray for my (Kevin) mom as she leaves the states today to come for a visit. She's coming to get to know her new grandchild as well as be here for Bronwyn's high school graduation. We are excited she is coming.

It's supposed to be about 95 degrees here when she gets off the plane. Should be interesting to watch her melt when she gets in our car.

This makes the 6th time she's come to see us but the first without my dad. I don't know who's more upset about him not being here, us, my mom or him. We are praying he'll be able to come back soon with her. I think my mom won't mind a quick return visit to hold her grandkids. I learned a long time ago that these visits are for the grandkids and that I've been shoved into last place and I'm okay with that.

Quick Disclaimer: We need to make it clear that the blog from yesterday did NOT come from my mind. It came from the mind of Max Lucado. I put his name under the "subject" heading on the bottom and that's pretty small. Normally I put the name of the stolen author at the top for everyone to know who wrote it. I forgot to do that yesterday and today we got an email about how good my blog was. I had to send a confession email. Benay and I got a good laugh out of it. So rest assured, my writing abilities will continue to only focus on soccer, our kids and what God is doing here. My brain doesn't go very deep. (No comments needed Kaisers)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Leave Your Enemies in God's Hands

Some years ago a rottweiler attacked our golden retriever puppy at a kennel. The worthless animal climbed out of its run and into Molly’s and nearly killed her. He left her with dozens of gashes and a dangling ear. I wrote a letter to the dog’s owner, urging him to put the dog to sleep.

But when I showed the letter to the kennel owner, she begged me to reconsider. “What that dog did was horrible, but I’m still training him. I’m not finished with him yet.”God would say the same about the rottweiler who attacked you. “What he did was unthinkable, unacceptable, inexcusable, but I’m not finished yet.”

Your enemies still figure into God’s plan. Their pulse is proof: God hasn’t given up on them. They may be out of God’s will, but not out of his reach. You honor God when you see them, not as his failures, but as his projects.

God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven. He wears the robe and refuses to share the gavel. For this reason Paul wrote, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it’ ” (Rom. 12:19 MSG).

Revenge removes God from the equation. Vigilantes displace and replace God. “I’m not sure you can handle this one, Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I’ll take this matter into my hands, thank you.”

Is this what you want to say? Jesus didn’t. No one had a clearer sense of right and wrong than the perfect Son of God. Yet, “when he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly” (1 Pet. 2:23 GOD’S WORD).

Only God assesses accurate judgments. We impose punishments too slight or severe. God dispenses perfect justice. Vengeance is his job. Leave your enemies in God’s hands. You’re not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing.

Nor is forgiveness pretending. David didn’t gloss over or sidestep Saul’s sin. He addressed it directly. He didn’t avoid the issue, but he did avoid Saul.

Do the same. Give grace, but, if need be, keep your distance. You can forgive the abusive husband without living with him. Be quick to give mercy to the immoral pastor, but be slow to give him a pulpit. Society can dispense grace and prison terms at the same time. Offer the child molester a second chance, but keep him off the playgrounds.

Forgiveness is not foolishness.

Forgiveness is, at its core, choosing to see your offender with different eyes. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemy as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.

By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? This is a huge issue in Scripture. Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners. In the final sum, we give grace because we’ve been given grace.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Champions Again!!

We won another championship last night! It's our 5th international soccer championship in the last 2+ years. A guy could get used to this.We were there. It was wild. More details to come later.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas....

We finally got our new camera!! (Thank you to everyone who had a part helping with that - paying for it, bringing it down, etc...) I absolutely love it and have been taking lots of pictures here and there. So... the next few days you will be seeing some photo blogs.

First of all, our house is much more Christmassy now than it was a week ago. As usual, it was a family affair....

All of the Christmas decorations are stored in trunks in the laundry area behind our house. Garrett, Carys and Anderson were more than happy to get things started by fetching all of the trunks by themselves. Before moving to Brazil, we always had a real tree. Here, real trees are like giant prickly ferns. After I let that dream die, I bought a fake one and we have been happy ever since.Only in Brazil do you decorate Christmas trees with ornaments of Santa on the beach while wearing a bikini top.After some heated discussions and games of "par ou impar" (Brazilian version of one potato, two potato, etc.), Anderson was chosen to put the angel on top of the tree.He was pretty excited about it.Kevin had light duty outside. Here he is hanging the "icicle" lights in the 90 degree weather.Ansley had the idea to pose as models for this picture. We don't think Bronwyn got the message.Our new Inter ornament - pretty exciting.As soon as the tree was finished, Garrett rushed up to his room where he had his Christmas gifts for every family member wrapped and waiting. He loves to give gifts and started at least a month ago buying for everyone.I think we're in for a special Christmas season. Hope your December is merry, too!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

As our big family plays a part in the 450 billion dollar equation, this video was a great reminder of what Christmas should be about. Check out the video to make sense of what we are talking about. Who knows? Maybe God will use you to get your church family involved.