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

Thursday, December 31, 2009


When our family moved to Brasil, in 2002, we made a five year commitment to stay.  When the five years were up we didn't feel like God wanted us to leave.  We felt He still had some things He wanted us to do here.  

Around that same time we decided to start a blog. What started off mainly as a way to keep our families up to date with pictures and stories has become something that quite a few people from, literally, around the world check.  

We don't really understand why people enjoy reading about the goofy stuff that goes on in our family but it's fun to see how the blog has grown.  It's also fun for us to see where people are who read our blog.  We have, obviously, people who follow us from our hometowns in the states as well as from the different places we've lived during our marriage and we love hearing from all of you guys.  

We've also been surprised by our new friends.  Through this blog we now have new buddies from across the globe (Hey Roberta in New Zealand!).  

We are thankful for everyone who reads our blog.  We are thankful for your comments but, more importantly, your prayers. 

2010 will be another interesting year for us.  We will have one child leaving our home and moving to the states to go to college.  We will have another one graduating from high school. Another will graduate junior high.  Two others will change schools this year.  One will start pre-school.  How's that for variety in our house?

God continues to morph and change our ministry.  The things we are doing today are not the things we were doing seven and a half years ago, or even last year for that matter.  Benay and I spent some time talking just last night about how He has already touched our hearts in some of the things He wants us to do in 2010. It's always been a pretty cool thing to see how God brings my heart and Benay's heart together on our ministry before we even talk about things.  I am very blessed to get to do what I love doing and getting to do it with my best friend.  It might be bragging, but I think we make a pretty good team for the kingdom. 

Benay and I still feel as if God is not done with us here yet.  We still feel like He has some things He wants us to do in Brasil for His kingdom.  

Until He speaks clearly to us about leaving (just as He spoke clearly to us about coming down here), we will continue to try and do exactly what He wants us to do here.  

So, as long as we are here you should have the opportunity to continue reading about our family, our ministry and, of course, more Andersonisms.  

Our prayer for anyone reading this is that God will bless you in 2010.  That 2010 will be a great year for you and your family as you serve God's kingdom.  

And if you are reading this and you don't know Jesus, then our prayer is that 2010 will be the best year of your life because you begin a relationship with God's son.  

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our 4th daughter?

We spent halloween in the states.  Giovanni had never done halloween before and he had a ball.  

A day or two later Carys and Granna (Benay's mom) thought it would be funny to dress our little boy like this:
Okay kind of funny especially around halloween.  "Hey everybody, look at the little boy in the belly dancing outfit."  Chuckle, chuckle.  Everybody has a big laugh.  Okay, now let's get that off my son please. 

Yesterday morning I left for a short run around a nearby park.  I wasn't gone very long.  When I got home I found out that Benay and Bronwyn had been at work.  

I was met with this:
Halloween is over.  What is going on?  

They claimed that Giovanni wanted to wear Benay's nightgown.  

How exactly does a 15 month old child, whose main words so far are ma ma, da da and bob-bob, (for Sponge Bob Squarepants) ask to wear your nightgown? In the words of Anderson their comment was.........interesting

It seems that I now have to deal with a bigger version of Anderson and Carys in our house in their ability to make a story "come alive." 

Feel free to pray for our son.  Poor little guy.  

Go ahead and pray for Benay and Brownyn while you are at it. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Remember the scene from The Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch gets a little water splashed on her and she melted?  

That's kind of the way we feel right now.  We are in the middle of a heat wave.  It is HOT.  

Yesterday at 5:00 in the afternoon it was over 90 with the heat index of 99.  Today is worse. Benay checked the temperature an hour ago and it was 93 with the heat index of 103.  It's supposed to be 96 today. Not bad if you have central air.  We don't.  I just looked and it's 87 in Giovanni and Carys's room which means it's that hot  in the entire house (and even hotter in the kitchen).  

Even our new pool is suffering.  Look at this sad little guy:
That goofy shape  is 100% heat related.  

It's so hot that we are taking showers using only cold water and even then we sweat as soon as we get out.  

It's tough sleeping at night as Benay's parents can attest to.  They were here last summer and swore they would never come back during that season.  It's tough to get used to.   You literally sweat in your bed.  Not fun.  

It's tough but it isn't our first summer here.  We do the best we can to fight the heat.  

Yesterday we went to the pool and boy did it feel good.  We played together:
We happily hung out together.
Okay, that was a lie.....these two lost pool time for fighting.  I couldn't resist taking this joyful picture.  Notice the joy flowing out of both of their bodies. 

Anderson got to play with one of his best friends and his family. 
Giovanni got to play hide and seek with his big sister. 
We love the pool. 
Even so, you can feel to pray for rain and cooler temperatures. 

By the way, Bronwyn has a new post on her blog.  Go here if you want to check it out.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Andersonisms

Believe it or not, we actually get, from time to time, requests from people to share more Andersonisms. So here are a couple from over the weekend.  

On Saturday we bought a little swimming pool to put in our backyard. 
It's very hot and we thought the kids would like some quick relief when we aren't able to go somewhere cooler (i.e. the beach, a real pool or a nearby waterfall).  

After we put some water in the pool and then got in Anderson asked this important question:

"Do waves kill blubber?"

The only thing we can figure that took his brain there was earlier he talked about going to the zoo and seeing some whales (which never happened, by the way).  

Yesterday we had our house church.  Everyone was traveling because of Christmas.  I mean everyone. For the first time in three years our house church consisted of just Americans. Our family. We had an all English worship and that hasn't happened in a few years.  Just our family singing and sharing.  It was kind of cool for us to have a day like that.  

Anyway, Benay shared with us about when Jesus was tempted in the desert after he had fasted for 40 days.  Anderson listened to what she was sharing and then asked this question:

"Who is more hungry?  Jesus or Africa?"

He's a pretty deep thinker.  No one had an answer to either question.  In quoting our current president all we could say was: "It was above our pay grade."

We'll share more as he shares his wisdom with us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindus left in India."  This great leader of the Indian nation was fascinated at the thought of knowing Christ.  But when he met Christians, he felt let down.  Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who feel the same.  They are intrigued by the claims of Christ, but they shrink back because of disappointment with his offspring. 

"Don't look at people," we might protest.  "Look at Jesus."  But while that may be true, the sobering truth remains:  Whether we like it or not, we're the only Jesus some will ever see. 

Dwight L. Moody put it this way:  "Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian."

From the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes

During our recent visit to the states Benay and I did some shopping at a Christian bookstore.  

We noticed a movie with an interesting title and bought it.  

It was called Faith Like Potatoes

Our family just got through watching it.  Pretty strong movie.  It's based on a true story. 

Benay said it just became her new favorite Christian movie. 

If you want a movie without 50 f-bombs, without sex, without twisting things that Christians believe and also want a movie that is based on real life and will encourage  you then this is your movie.  

Check it out.  We think you'll like it.  

Friday, December 25, 2009

Do You See Him?

by Max Lucado

IT’S CHRISTMAS NIGHT. THE HOUSE IS QUIET. Even the crackle is gone from the fireplace. The last of the carolers appeared on the ten o’clock news. The last of the apple pie was eaten by my brother-in-law. And the last of the Christmas albums have been stored away having dutifully performed their annual rendition of chestnuts, white Christmases, and red-nosed reindeers.

It’s Christmas night.

The midnight hour has chimed and I should be asleep, but I’m awake. I’m kept awake by one stunning thought. The world was different this week. It was temporarily transformed.

The magical dust of Christmas glittered on the cheeks of humanity ever so briefly, reminding us of what is worth having and what we were intended to be. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and warring. We put away our ladders and ledgers, we hung up our stopwatches and weapons. We stepped off our race tracks and roller coasters and looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem.

It’s the season to be jolly because, more than at any other time, we think of him. More than in any other season, his name is on our lips.

And the result?

For a few precious hours, he is beheld. Christ the Lord. Those who pass the year without seeing him, suddenly see him. People who have been accustomed to using his name in vain, pause to use it in praise. Eyes, now free of the blinders of self, marvel at his majesty.

All of a sudden he’s everywhere.

In the grin of the policeman as he drives the paddy wagon full of presents to the orphanage.

In the twinkle in the eyes of the Taiwanese waiter as he tells of his upcoming Christmas trip to see his children.

In the emotion of the father who is too thankful to finish the dinner table prayer.

He’s in the tears of the mother as she welcomes home her son from overseas.

He’s in the heart of the man who spent Christmas morning on skid row giving away cold baloney sandwiches and warm wishes.

And he’s in the solemn silence of the crowd of shopping mall shoppers as the elementary school chorus sings “Away in a Manger.”

Emmanuel. He is with us. God came near.

It’s Christmas night. In a few hours the cleanup will begin—lights will come down, trees will be thrown out. Size 36 will be exchanged for size 40, eggnog will be on sale for half price. Soon life will be normal again. December’s generosity will become January’s payments and the magic will begin to fade.

But for the moment, the magic is still in the air. Maybe that’s why I’m still awake. I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. I want to pray that those who beheld him today will look for him next August. And I can’t help but linger on one fanciful thought: If he can do so much with such timid prayers lamely offered in December, how much more could he do if we thought of him every day?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We're Ready

Okay, we've made our cookies for the big guy.......
.....and also left carrots out for his reindeer.
We've also had some time to spend with our neighbors to wish them a Merry Christmas.  Our new neighbors Abelardo, Jane and their granddaughter Maria Eduarda........
......and Dona Amelia.  We lived in her house for five and a half years before we moved in July. 
We've tracked Santa on the internet at the "official site" (very cool......if you have small kids then you need to check it out).........
..........and personally visited and ....... 
........shared our list with him before he left the North Pole. 
Or at least waved at him if we weren't quite ready to sit in his lap.  
We've had our Christmas nap.........  
..........and even done our Christmas stomach exercises to properly prepare for the good meals to come. 
It's Christmas and it makes us feel like dancing. We can't help it. 
We are officially ready for Santa.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I wonder what I'm getting for Christmas.....

Last night while tucking Anderson into bed, we had this conversation:

Mom:  Good-night, Anderson.  Are you excited about Christmas?
Anderson:  Yes. Hey, Mom, what do you hope you get for Christmas?
Mom:  Um, well......
Anderson:  Is it soap?  Do you hope you get soap?
Mom:  Yes, I do hope it is soap.  Because when I'm cooking in the kitchen, I need to wash my hands a lot and I need some good soap for that.
Anderson:  What kind of soap do you like?
Mom:  Um, let's see......
Anderson:  Is it Apple?  Is that your favorite kind?
Mom:  Yes, I love Apple Soap.
Anderson:  OK!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Math Problem

Yesterday Anderson asked me this question:

Is eleventy bigger than a kazillion?  

I told him no.  Is that right?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What would the tone and volume of your home be like if you tried this biblical approach: 
"See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another" (I Thessalonians 5:15).

Few of us do patience very well, and none of us do it naturally.  But wise men and women will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage relationship. 

From The Love Dare (Day 1: Love is Patient)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Summer Christmas

It took a couple of years to get used to it,  but we have come to love Christmas in the summer time.  We actually planned our recent furlough to end in time for us to get back home to have our Christmas here.  There are lots of things that we love about wearing shorts and a tee shirt during the Christmas season.  But today was one of those days when we long for a wintery Christmas. 
Today was about 95 degrees.  Horrible is the word we would use to describe days like this.  

Why?  Because Brasilian homes aren't built with central heat and air.  The heat gets in your house and stays.  You sweat as much inside as you do outside. We have some window air units but to run them a lot cost too much.  In fact, you can use them for a while and cool off a room but the room gets stinking hot within a few minutes after you turn it off.  

Thankfully this new house we moved into has screens on the windows so you can at least catch a breeze, if there is one, without letting ginormous mosquitos in to snack on you during the night.  They like to wake you up at night with buzzing in your ear.  I know God made them but I hate them.  

Even though we have some super hot days we don't let it slow us down in the things we do day to day.  

Here's a little play by play of our day today. 

Last night Benay told Anderson he could pick the breakfast for today.  He woke up today and stated his breakfast choice was champagne and fondue.  We had cream of wheat and toast instead.
Then it was time to make some Christmas cookies for our little friend, Maurício's, birthday.
Then Leni and Jorge dropped by.  They brought Ansley home.  She had spent the night with them.  Leni's next door neighbor had sent some Christmas presents for Carys, Anderson and Giovanni.  

We think Giovanni liked his horse.  

We then went to Freitas and Auristela's hardware store to deliver Maurício's birthday presents.
After lunch everyone either tried to stay cool under a ceiling fan by moving as little as possible........
.........or by not moving at all.  
Garrett then went to a birthday party.  He called about 30 minutes after he got there and asked if we could pick him up.  He NEVER wants to be picked up early.  What was the difference this time?  Ten girls at the party and only one boy.......Garrett.  

Everybody then cooled off in the backyard with a water balloon fight. 
After the water fight everyone came in for showers.  After his shower Anderson dressed himself.  We heard Ansley laughing and telling him to come and show me and Benay.  He came into our room looking like this.  
Somehow he picked out a long sleeve shirt and thought it was pants.  He quickly wanted to take it off because he said, "It's minty on my legs."

It may be hot but we stay busy.  

Rain and a cold front are expected to come through next week.  Amen.   

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Traditions

This is our 8th Brasilian Christmas.  We have quite a few traditions that our family participates in during the Christmas season. 

One of the things we started a few years ago is to have a Christmas party.  It's always a "Dirty Santa" party.  If you've never heard of that it's a party where everyone brings a unmarked present and they are put under the tree.  Then everyone draws a number.  Number one gets to pick a present first.  The second person can then steal that present or pick a new one.  That goes on until the last one chooses.  One present can only have three owners.  After the third owner it can't be stolen again and it stays with that person.  If not for that rule, we would be playing until two in the morning every year. 

We always invite people from the house church that meets in our house and encourage everyone to invite someone new.  Last night we had our party.  Four new people participated who had never been a part of our house church before.  

We let the little guys go first and just trade their presents.  Dirty Santa would get pretty ugly if we let the 1, 2 and 5 year olds play. 
Then the adults play and start picking the presents. 
Some people steal and end up with just what they wanted.  Like Carys, and her chocolate. 
Others aren't so lucky.  Like Flavia (in the pink shirt) and her machete. Yes a machete. 
Actually she lost the machete as it was stolen. Twice.  What was given as a joke ended up being a serious present.  I love this picture because of the fact that everyone is cracking up.  This is one of my favorite pictures from the party.  The smiling and laughing by everyone is a great snapshot (even if our snapshots were all blurry for some reason last night) of what these nights are like.  

Then you have people that just surprise you.  On the left is our neighbor.  It was her first time to play.  She picked these blue Christmas hand towels.  She immediately said, "I hate these towels!"  She was hoping to keep anyone else from picking them.  She was a quick learner as she figured out that if you show joy with your gift then someone is sure to steal it.  
Her gift was stolen.  She was then reminded that she could get her husband to steal it back and it would be theirs to keep.  Only thing was he didn't want to be a part of the plan.  He's the one in the blue shirt right across from her.  He finally agreed after she took off her shoe and threatened to throw it at him if he didn't go along with it.  

There is always someone that surprises you and it's always fun. 

I think the thing I like the best is that we, as a house church family, get to be Christ to people who are coming for a fun Christmas party.  What a great way to share the love of Jesus.  

We had a great time. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Abilene and Africa?

The day we got back from the states we had lots of mail stacked up.

One of the letters was a very important letter for Bronwyn.

What was it?

Here's what it was:

She is now officially accepted to ACU and will start the fall of next year.  She was very excited.

Before she leaves for college she will go on a short term mission trip to Rwanda.

She's going to be helping some missionaries who are friends of ours from college.  She'll be staying there in March and April.  She has had a heart for Africa since she was a little girl.  She will be doing lots of different things including working with orphan kids from the genocide (Have you ever seen Hotel Rwanda? It will crush your heart.).  

She has been fund raising for her trip and God has already blessed her with a few financial supporters, but she is still short of her goal.  

She has a blog if you are interested.  It's www.bronwynblume.blogspot.com or go here if you don't want to cut and paste.  

If you would like to be a financial partner to help Bronwyn get to Africa just let us know or go to her blog and leave her a comment stating your desire to help.  She HATES to blog so leave as many comments as possible to let her know you are following her blog.  Put some pressure on her to keep it up as her trip approaches. 

Our family knows first hand that fund raising is a hard but faith building experience.  We would appreciate you prayerfully considering helping Bronwyn on this faith walk.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Test Week

As you know, our family just got home after being in the states for over 2 months.  We go back every two years to visit with family and friends.  Everyone that supports this ministry.  It's always good to share what God is doing here and to be encouraged by so many in the states.

This last trip was the most relaxing one we've ever had.  We thank God for that and for those people who went out of their way to make sure we were fed spiritually as well as those who just goofed off with us.  We were blessed. 

The difficult thing about these trips is that it's always a hard thing to find a good time to leave our life here for a couple of months.  There really isn't a good time.  No matter when we go we always end up missing something important here.  Imagine taking more than two months off of your job and your life.  It's not an easy thing to leave one and go to another and then go back without missing a beat.  Too many things change.  Too many things happen in that amount of time. 

This year we felt led to visit the states starting at the end of September.  We originally had planned on being in the states at the end of December through February of next year.  We weren't able to afford the airplane tickets for December so we had to look at different times.  

We know now that God had us go back to the states at the end of September so that we could see my grandmother one more time before she went to heaven. We arrived in Memphis on a Thursday.  She passed away the following Monday. We feel very blessed to have held her hand, to have given her a kiss and tell her that we loved her before she left this life.  God's timing was why we went back when we did.  

Because we left in September we had to take the kids out of school.  Our school year here is from February/March through December.  We took Anderson, Carys and Garrett out of their schools completely.  Benay then home schooled Garrett and Carys while we were in the states. Ansley stayed enrolled in her school here and did her homework online as her teachers and classmates sent her the work she needed to do.  

Because of our time away, Ansley and Garrett have to take some end of the year/make up tests this week.  

We just wanted to ask you for prayers for them as they take tests over lots of material.  It's not the funnest thing for a couple of teenagers to come back after being away for so long and immediately hit the books for some important end of the year tests.  

Thank you, as always, for your prayers.  I know they will give comfort to our kids during this week. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid "big" sins---is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?

François Fénelon

Saturday, December 12, 2009


If you've followed this blog through a past Christmas or two then you know that our family LOVES this time of year.  

It's hard not to when you spontaneously have big kids reading Christmas books to the little kids in the house......
We are blessed. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Back in Brasil

We made it home safely.  

As always, the trip was interesting.  We'll share some pictures and stories later. 

Until then, thanks for your prayers for safety.  God, once again, really took care of our family on the trip. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Going Home

Today is the day we will get on the airplane to begin our journey back home.  

We've had an incredible time here in the states and have enjoyed being with our family as well as getting to spend time with so many of our good friends.  

We've been here since the end of September but during our time here we've also had plenty of reminders of our family.........
and funny misspelled signs that make us miss our Brasilian home.....or does this sign actually make sense?
We ask for your prayers for our safety.  It will be a long day that involves 4 different airports and 3 different airplanes.  

We hope to see you back here in a couple of days. 

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mini Vacation

Giovanni is pretty much back to 100%. The medicine has done wonders on Giovanni.  His spots are pretty much gone.  We are thankful for your prayers for healing and for good medicine.  

Because he was doing so much better my parents really encouraged Benay and myself to leave the kids with them for a day and get out of town last week.  They told us to go to a spot they have on the Tennessee River.  We went and had a great time.
I think Benay needed the trip - she slept 10 hours that night.
While we were there we also got to check out the Shiloh National Military Park.  If you don't know about Shiloh, it was a place of a big battle during the Civil War.  It happened in April of 1862 and around 110,000 men from both sides participated.  There were about 24,000 casualties. As one Union veteran said later, "No soldier who took part in the two day's engagement at Shiloh ever spoiled for a fight again.  We wanted a square, stand-up fight and got all we wanted of it."  It was a pretty humbling experience for us to be there. 

Before we toured the park Benay wanted to watch a movie about the battle.  It was a 30 minute movie that the park showed.  I can tell you it was not a sellout.
  And it wasn't a current movie.  It was made in 1956.  That's right...1956.
Even though it was old, it was still a very informative movie. 

After the movie we toured the park.  

This is a monument to the soldiers from Tennessee.  There were many monuments representing many different states.  Both from the north and the south. 
This is the National Cemetery for the Federal soldiers.
 This is the cemetery for the Confederate soldiers. It's a mass grave. 
This came to be known as the bloody pond.  Wounded soldiers from both north and south came here to drink water and clean wounds.  Many died here.  So many came that their blood turned the water red.  Thus the name. 
You can go here if you care to read about the battle. 

After Shiloh we, by my dad's request, visited a catfish restaurant that has been around for 70 years.
We enjoyed catfish, hushpuppies (don't worry
 Brasilians, we'll explain huspuppies later) and caramel pie.  
The place actually has a pretty cool history that you can read about here. We ate too much.  Can you say lots of diet and exercise when we get home? 

We drove back to Memphis and enjoyed watching a movie called "The Blind Side."  Good movie and a true story.  

Our trip was very relaxing and just what we needed as we prepare to get on the plane on Tuesday to head back home.  
When we came home that night we were welcomed by a happy, excited group who had really missed us.  

We are very thankful for mom and dad encouraging us to take this trip. Thanks guys!