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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I haven't been around death that much in my family. Benay and I have been blessed to still have both of our parents and they are all in good health. Our brothers sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins are all alive.

My dad's parents were killed in a car wreck over 30 years ago. I was 9 then and can still remember them but only bits and pieces because of the short amount time I spent with them.

My mom's father passed away almost 20 years ago. Because of the fact that I was able to have a few more years with him and be able to see him more it really was tough when he died. I can remember my dad walking with me outside the funeral home as I just wept like a baby.

I wish I could have had that closeness with my dad's parents but, as you all know, life doesn't always work out like we plan.

My mom's mom lived by herself for a while and then she moved in with my parents around 15 years ago.

We called her "Grandma" until my sister and Benay and I had kids. Somewhere along the way our kids changed her name to "Mammy."

I got a call last night around 11:00 from my dad telling me that Mammy had gone to heaven.

Mammy was 93 and had an amazing life. I might share some things (photos, cool things) about her in the future. I would like for you to see this woman and not just read about her.

For now, I ask that you especially pray for my mom, her sister and her brother in the loss of their mom.

We have all been blessed to have so many years with such a Godly woman.

A few years ago my dad had open heart surgery. We got the call in Brasil that it would happen the following day. I immediately went to the airport to catch a flight to the states and was told that the last flight out just left. I was depressed to find out that I would have to wait until the next day. We then got a call that they moved the surgery back one day. A Christian brother of mine, who travels frequently, hooked me up with his travel agent in the airport. I got the quickest flight out to the states and was even able to go with my brother on the same flight to the states. I knew that I would miss seeing my dad before his surgery but hoped to be there when he got out.

When I got off the plane I was told that my dad's surgery was moved back again. I was able to get to the hospital, give my dad a hug, be with my family and pray together before he went into the surgery.

To this day I believe that God allowed all of that to happen so that I could be with my dad and family before the big surgery.

Why do I share that? I feel like God did it again with Mammy.

We were scheduled to come back to the states in December instead of now. About six weeks ago we decided to change our trip to September.

We arrived in Memphis last Thursday. Benay got to be with Mammy on Thursday. I waited until Friday to go because I had a little cold. Mammy looked very different. She had lost a lot of weight and she wasn't clear on everything but she knew who we were.

On Sunday my mom, dad and I took Bronwyn, Ansley, Garrett, Carys and Anderson to see Mammy. She smiled when she saw the kids. She could not stop holding Anderson's hand. She wanted to kiss Garrett and she joked a little bit with Bronwyn. It was important for me to allow our kids to say goodbye and for Mammy to get to see her great grandkids one more time. I want our kids to not be afraid of death. As Christians, I want them to always be reminded that death is not the victory and we should not be afraid of it.

God blessed us with just enough time to say our goodbyes to Mammy. It was a time that none of us will forget.

I spoke to my dad later and he told me that he could see a peace wash over Mammy after talking to our kids. Almost like she was waiting to see them before she moved on to be with Jesus.

Six years ago former NFL quarterback, Trent Dilfer, lost his 5 year old son to heart disease. I couldn't think of anything more painful than to lose a child. Especially at such a young age. What impressed me about Trent Dilfer was his faithful comment right after his son's death. He said, ".......we are comforted in knowing that as a child of God he has returned to his maker. We grieve, but not as those without hope.''

We are, obviously, grieving the loss of Mammy but we know we will be with her again in heaven.

I thank God for what Mammy has meant and will always mean to my family.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Trip

Trips for our family are never boring.

Our trip to the states last week was no different.

We were blessed to have lots of people tell us bye. The day before we left we had 6 people come to our house to give us hugs, hang out for a while and tell us bye. One sister stayed with us the whole day to help us get stuff together for our trip.

The next day we were then blessed to have Matt and Leni take us to the aiport. It was pouring down rain and just a gross day to get out but they both wanted to help us as well as tell us bye.

We then had some people come and hang out with us at the airport.

Bronwyn's buddies.....
......and Garrett's soccer coach. He and his family are becoming great friends to our family.
We are blessed by lots of people who care for our family. It was harder to say goodbye to our church family and friends this time than it's ever been before any of our past furloughs.

We almost missed our first flight.

I got into a small discussion with a couple of airport workers about one of our carry on bags. We were taking a tent to our great friends from São Paulo. They left it at our house when then visited us in January so we told them we would drop it off to them when we had our layover there.

I put it on the x-ray machine and they told me that I had to check it in. When I went to go check it someone else told me that I didn't have enough time. If I did I would lose my flight. I complained that no one told me that I had to check in a bag full of long metal spikes. I have no idea what I was thinking. Finally after much discussion a guy from the airlines took it and ran it onto the plane.

We were the last ones on and were seated on the last two rows of seats on the plane. All 90 people seemed a little upset with the delay because of our tent problem.

Our flight to São Paulo had a lot more turbulence than anyone (except Anderson and Carys who thought it was like a roller coaster) wanted. A little bit scary but God took care of it.

We got to São Paulo and our tent didn't come off the plane. We found out that they had sent it to Memphis. Bronwyn found a friendly person who worked for the airlines and after a little searching she found it.

We then got to hang out with Mark/Ali and Big Garrett for a few hours in the airport. We took over a small section of the airport......
......ate supper together (this photo was taken by a guy that we met who was a American who also grew up in my old neighborhood......small world........even better he was our brother in Christ)....... ........and got an autograph and picture taken with an NBA player. This is Leandro Barbosa. He plays with the Phoenix Suns. He was super nice to the kids.

If you think he was the only famous person we saw you would be wrong. Our flight to the states was awesome.

The guy who gets our tickets every two years was able to get our family in two long rows of 5. They were together. We literally had 10 seats for 7 people and a baby. The bigger kids sat together and really relaxed.....
......and Benay and Giovanni were able to lie down in 3 seats. We've never had that luxury before. It was great.Not so great was the fact that Ansley and I had the chance to use the airplane barf bags two times with Anderson. It wasn't fun but we think it was airsickness or something like that because he's been fine ever since.

The flight from Dallas to Memphis was a little bumpy. We blame it on the pilot and co-pilot.
We then got to Memphis and were able to see a grandfather hold his grandson for the first time.

All in all it was a blessed trip.

Some of us are battling colds now. Benay has the worst of it. We would appreciate prayers for better health.
Now that we are in the states come look us up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The most marvelous ingredient in the forgiveness of God is that He also forgets, the one thing a human being can never do.

Oswald Chambers

Thursday, September 24, 2009

United States

We just wanted to share that we made it to Tennessee.

As you might expect with our family, it was an adventure.

We'll try to share about it in the next couple of days.

For now, thank you for your prayers. We are tired but are thankful that God blessed us with safe travel.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Travel Time

We leave today for the United States. It`s been fun working up to this day. We've heard the joys of things to come.....

Waiters on the plane (Anderson)
Doughnuts every day with Grandparents (Carys and Anderson)

....and we've dealt with doubts.....well, kind of......

"Bronwyn, what happens if I get diarrhea on the plane?" (Carys)
"That would be too bad."(Bronwyn)

We've also found some interesting things as we got into our big bags that haven't been used since our last trip to the states. Just now I found 3 suction cups and one suppository that had been in a bag for over two years. As Anderson might say......interesting.

We've had sick kids over the last couple of days but enough people have prayed for us to have the kids feeling much better.

We would appreciate your prayers for our safety.

And if you happen to be in Memphis,Huntsville,Nashville,Dallas,Abilene,Chicago,Oklahoma City,Arkansas,Washington DC, Mississippi or Florida......look us up. We'd love to see you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day of Firsts

Yesterday Giovanni got his first haircut......

(This is Alice cutting Giovanni's hair. She has been Anderson's personal hair cutter for a few years.)

......and Anderson got his first Mohawk.
They are now officially ready for our trip to the states tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Smart Mom

Hi! It's Benay. Today, between cleaning up after yesterday's wedding, doing laundry, running errands, and packing for furlough, I sneaked in some blog time. (Is it sneaked or snuck??) I love reading blogs of other moms. Here is something I came across today that I loved. I am not successful at doing this 100%, but I can totally relate to what she is talking about and I couldn't agree more. I read it to Kevin and he suggested that we put a link to this on our blog. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Freedom does not mean I am able to do whatever I want to do. That's the worst kind of bondage. Freedom means I have been set free to become all that God wants me to be, to achieve all that God wants me to achieve, to enjoy all that God wants me to enjoy.

Warren W. Wiersbe

Thursday, September 17, 2009


You remember Everton and Daiana don't you?

Yesterday we were blessed to be a part of their wedding day.

It took place at a government building in front of a justice of the peace. It was a big deal. A lot of Brasilians prefer to live together instead of actually getting married. It's very common. So these guys are great examples of wanting to do it God's way.

Benay, Leni, Paulo Renato and I went to pick them up at their house and take them to the justice of the peace. Benay and I were also blessed to be asked to be the official witnesses to their wedding.

Before I go on I need to share that on Tuesday Benay, Leni and Bronwyn went and picked up Daiana and took her to buy some new clothes for the special day. The house church that meets in our house used our tithe from Sunday to buy those clothes. There was money left over and so they gave it to Daiana to get her hair fixed as well as her nails. I don't think she had ever had that done before. When we picked her up yesterday she was, literally, smiling ear to ear.Leni's son, Jorge, gave Everton one of his suits for the wedding. Leni made sure he looked perfect.
They both looked great.The ceremony was short but they were made to feel like they were important as the office workers kept every other person out while they did the official service. One poor guy came in and the woman performing the ceremony (I'll call her "the Enforcer") stopped and said, "Can't you see we are in the middle of a wedding? You will have to wait outside until we are done." The man apparently didn't think one question would hurt so he began to ask if anyone could help him and he got chewed out and told to leave again. He left and never came back. I almost lost it during that part. Those women were serious about making this just about Everton and Daiana. I liked that. When it was over "the Enforcer" presented them with their official marriage document. Immediately after the ceremony Everton told me that he felt like he could breathe again. He said had been very nervous.

After the wedding we took some family (blood and spiritual) pictures...........and then took Everton to work.

On the way, Benay and I were blessed to hear our Brasilian brothers and sister talk about how much of a blessing God's family is and how they are more connected with God's family than their own blood family. Isn't that the way it is supposed to be? Benay and I just smiled as we listened to the conversation.

Please pray for them as they continue to be a light to their kids and to their neighborhood.

A new house church was started in their house just two weeks ago. Our brother and sister, João and Clarice, are helping Everton and Daiana as they plant this new house church with hopes of reaching many of their neighbors with the good news.

We will have a religious ceremony/celebration at our house on Sunday. We hope to post some photos of that day as well.

God is doing so much good stuff here. It's going to be hard for us to leave next week for our visit to the United States.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing Family

God is really blessing this ministry.

Go here to see what He's been doing in our city over the last couple of weeks.

Our family is blessed to be able to witness all the things He is doing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inter Players

We did a blog in May about an Inter game where a guy named Andrézinho came in and won it for us. It was an amazingly exciting game. You can click here to see the video.

This past Sunday I took all of our kids (except Giovanni) to an Inter game.

For the first time ever our team lost when we went as a family (with no friends or visitors from the United States with us.....sounds weird but that's how the streak has been kept intact) to see them play. We were kind of bummed about it but we were blessed to see Andrézinho do his thing again.

The first guy who celebrates with him after the goal is a guy named Kleber. Andrézinho gives him a little pat on his head.

Today Ansley and some friends went to the mall and who did they see?That's right.......Andrézinho and Kleber. Ansley said they could not have been more friendly and they happily posed for a photo.

Makes us like them and our team even more.

Monday, September 14, 2009

3 down and 3 to go

We have one happy camper in our house today.

After 5 years of wearing some kind of apparatus (pre-braces and braces) in his mouth, Garrett got his braces off today. Impressive right?

I went to pick him up at the dentist and he crossed the road smiling and pointing at his mouth.

He literally has been through the ringer with all the things he has had to do to fix, not only his teeth, but a severe underbite. It's been a long road but worth it.
This is Garrett wearing an appliance to correct the underbite. Thank goodness he only had to sleep with it on for about a year.
God has blessed our family with a great dentist. She really knows her stuff and and does a great job with everyone in our family. If it weren't for her (Eliane is her name), Garrett would have had to had surgery on his jaw and his mouth wired shut to fix the underbite. She attacked the problem at an early age and saved him lots of pain later.

She has already told us that Carys and Anderson will be needing some mouth work in the future so we are assuming Giovanni won't be far behind.

Bubble gum, gummy bears and hard candy for everyone......it's on Garrett.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We cannot expect to experience the "more" God has for us if we fail to love those whom God loves.

Jim Cymbala

Friday, September 11, 2009

Soccer Boyfriends

All of the girls in our house (except Carys for now) have a soccer boyfriend. What is a soccer boyfriend? Just a soccer player who they think is really cute.

Benay's is Kaká. He plays for Real Madrid.Bronwyn's is Danny Morais. He plays for Internacional so she gets to see him in person.
Ansley's is a player named Nilmar. He played for Inter until about a month ago. We sold him to a team in Spain. You might remember him from a blog that we did of an incredible goal he made.

Nilmar is the main reason why Ansley is now a soccer fan.

It's been rough year for Ansley. First Nilmar had the nerve to marry someone other than Ansley... ...and then Inter shipped him off to Spain (Brasilian teams always need the money .

Now he plays on the seleção and he made three goals in one game on Wednesday night. Ansley was excited. (Except for the fact that after each goal, he made an "L" symbol with his hand for his wife, Laura. Ansley said "He should be making an "A"!) He probably will be on the World Cup team next year. He keeps getting better.

Even though it's been hard for Ansley to say goodbye she can at least hold on to this memory from their time together about this time last year. They had a short lived romance. It only lasted 5-10 seconds outside of the stadium and we all thought it had potential - but it wasn't meant to be.

Thursday, September 10, 2009