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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

They're Here

After a little delay on their last flight, which caused some kids to have to wait an extra hour at the airport,

my parents got here safely this afternoon. 
They'll be here for a couple of weeks.  Thanks for your prayers for their safety.  

They didn't have any problems and because of the kindness of some Christian friends (thank you Machen family for making this trip possible!!!) they were able to fly for free and even got to fly first class for the first time in their lives.  

We'll have lots of fun with them.  

Sorry Bronwyn.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Okay, getting a confirmation email from my sister that the grandparents are on the plane and on their way to visit us in Brazil........check.

Our family spending the afternoon cleaning up the house, buying flowers for the backyard, fixing the hot water heater, fixing the kitchen cabinet, fixing the broken glass door, cleaning up dog mess, cutting the grass, cleaning up more dog mess and general clean up in preparation for their visit......check.

The above is otherwise known as a) trying to make the grandparents think our house is this clean all of the time; b) being thankful for visitors because it forces us to clean up and fix things that we've been procrastinating on or c) all of the above.

Whatever you call it it's been a long day. After a long day like today it's good to unwind with a buddy.

We are officially ready for their visit.

By the way, if you answered c you are correct.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Visitors coming!

We are so excited that Grandmommy and Papa (Kevin's parents) are coming to visit us this week!  We have been anxiously awaiting for everything to work out for their visit.  Papa needed a new Brazilian visa, but it arrived today - JUST in time for them to leave tomorrow. Whew!

Please pray for their safety and also for ease in travel.  If you have ever made international flights, you know that sometimes they can be a headache.  This time the grandparents are flying on stand-by because some of their friends set them up with some FREE tickets.  So, please pray that they would be able to get on every flight that they need and make it here Wednesday without any trouble at all.

Also, Bronwyn made it safely back from her retreat in Kenya.  She has some new pictures on her blog.  Keep her in your prayers as next week she will go on a camping/safari trip and will be going on a gorilla watching trip the week after that!  This week is a national holiday in Rwanda to honor those who were killed in the genocide.  I'm sure that many are suffering remembering that terrible tragedy.

Thanks for your prayers for all of these things.  We'll let you know when the grandparents arrive safely.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paul jumped all over the Galatians for allowing a handful of legalistic Judaizers to invade their lives and clip their wings. Remember his rebuke? "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. . . . For you were called to freedom, brethren" (Galatians 5:1, 13).

In other words, "Permission granted." Enjoy! Go after it! Be who you are. Give yourself the okay to break the mold and exercise your God-given freedom. Chase those goals with all your heart.

It may take awhile. And you will have to train yourself to care less and less about what a few may say. It will help if you'll remind yourself that when they criticize you, they simply want you to be as miserable as they are. Since they cannot give themselves permission, who do you think you are to get away with it? If you keep that maverick thought in mind, it will help you soar like an eagle instead of standing around with all the turkeys.
Do you know your biggest hurdle?


It's giving yourself permission, plain and simple. If you fail to press on while the light is green, you will spend so much of your life in the amber zone waiting for "just the right moment." Christ has literally set you free.

Give yourself permission to soar . . . then jump!

Chuck Swindoll

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More From Anderson

My good friend Freitas came over to help me this afternoon.  I had gone to his hardware store this morning to get some things for some projects I wanted to do around the house.  After he closed his store he came over to help me.

When he comes over to do projects I'm kind of like the surgeon's assistant.  I help when I can but end up supplying the tools or securing something while he does the work.  We are a good team.  We always have fun together. We laugh a lot.

Anderson likes being around Freitas as well.

As we worked on our outside projects today Anderson hung out with us.  If you hang out with Anderson for longer than five seconds then you will hear some funny stuff.

Here are a couple of good Andersonisms that stuck out to me today:

"Hey dad, did you know if you hit a hammer on a white wall it will leave an orange mark like a Dorito?"

I noticed the hammer next to him and quickly checked the white wall for some kind of orangish Dorito looking mark.  Whatever that might mean. Thankfully I didn't find one.  Guess he was just playing it out in his mind what it might look like if he tagged the wall with the hammer. 

Later as I was doing some work in the rain Anderson came up and, while standing and looking up at the sky, started this conversation:

Anderson: "Dad is rainwater fresh?"
Me:  "Yes."


If you know Anderson then the word silence means he's either left you and the conversation to go to another place or he's dead, which I guess would also be another place.  Those are the only two options.  Silence and Anderson just don't happen together. I turned around and saw him on all fours, bent over drinking water from a puddle that had formed on the ground."

Me:  "Anderson, knock it off.  Don't do that.  That water isn't fresh.  It's on the dirty ground where the dogs goof around.  It's only fresh if you catch it falling from the sky. Go inside and get a cup and come back out and catch the rain in the cup so you can drink it. You don't need to drink it off the ground.  That's nasty."
Anderson:  (on his way inside to get a cup) "I know dad.  I wasn't drinking it.......I was licking it."

Okay.  My mistake.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back Home

Remember Leni?

She came back home a few days ago.  You need to click here to read about how God worked through her, in an unexpected way (He's good at that isn't He?), on her recent employment and trip out of the country.

You will be blessed by reading what happened.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Birthday Time

Hard to believe that this little squirt....
........looks like this now.
Bronwyn turns 19 today.

She has been, like all of our kids, a blessing to us since the day she was born.

We wish she could be here with us to celebrate.  It would be nice to send her an email or to get a chance to skype her but she's without computer access all week.

That's okay.  We think it's pretty cool that she gets to celebrate this day in Kenya.  We know she is having a great time with her sisters in Christ in Africa.

Even though she won't get to read this until she gets back home in Rwanda we continue with our birthday blog tradition.  Here is what we think of our daughter/sister:

Giovanni:  "I miss mama."  (Yes he really does call Bronwyn mama)

Anderson:  "I really miss her and she's the best sister ever and I really like her to come back and if she dies that's not going to be okay because I love her and I really want her to come home."

Carys:  "She's one of the best sisters ever.  I love her a lot and I miss her a lot.  I'm really glad she is coming home soon. I wish I could be there to celebrate her birthday with her."

Garrett:  "I love her and she's the best sister ever!"

Ansley:  "I miss her so much.  She is my best friend and she has always been a loving, compassionate person.  I love you Bronwyn!"

Benay:  "It's been a joy to be her mom.  I'm so excited for what the future holds for her."

Me:  "Happy Birthday Dork!  Not to copy mom but it's been a lot of fun to be your dad.  You are a blessing to me and mom and I too look forward to see where God takes you in the future.  Keep being Christ to those you meet.  I love you!"

Hope you had a great birthday!  We know you were blessed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God's Goodness

God continues to bless our family in allowing us to see His work with our own eyes and to be a part of what He is doing.

He continually speaks to us and shows us the importance of running the race until the end.

Go here to read what He shared with Bronwyn and then go here to see how He is moving here in our neighborhood.  

We feel very blessed to not only walk by faith but to also be encouraged, at times, to be able to physically see His hand moving around us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Missionary Kids

I need to make a confession.

I hate the term "missionary kid"  or "MK's."  You will never hear me or my girlfriend use those words.

I hear them all the time and it absolutely drives me up the wall.  I have always hated those words.

Why?  Because, to me, they can (subconsciously or not) make kids feel like their parents are the "chosen ones" that were called to do mission work.  That they aren't really missionaries but are the kids of the missionaries.

I hear those words a lot and I just don't like them.  We've visited colleges that have programs just for "missionary kids." A gathering of kids who grew up in foreign countries as missionaries.  Those words seem to be commonly used by many people to describe our kids.

That being said, I know that I haven't met anyone else who has this problem with those words. This is my thing.  I get it.

We have many good friends who use those words and I know they don't feel that their kids or our kids are not missionaries.

I've met the leaders of those "MK" college programs.  I confess I went in with a skewed view of what those groups are about.  The last thing we or our girls want as they look at colleges is to be in an isolated "MK" bubble on campus.  We want them to enjoy college and not feel like they are any different from anyone else just because they grew up in another country.  I know they are different and will have some different views and takes on things versus an American kid, but I also don't think it's healthy for them to be running to the safety of a "MK" bubble whenever there is a problem.  I've seen a lot of the "bubble" mentality and I (we) don't want that. After I met with these leaders I felt better about what they were doing.

Again, I know these feelings are just that......my feelings.  I just know I don't want my kids being called missionary kids or MK's.  I have seen people using those words and using them in the context of my dislike.

Where am I going with all of this?

I want our kids to know that they are missionaries also.   We are raising our kids to remember that Jesus told all of us to be missionaries.  Not just the people that go to another country and receive support from other Christians to share about Jesus.

The world also needs people to believe that wherever God has put them, (fry cook at McDonalds, garbage man,  president of a big company, little league coach, school teacher, nurse, etc.) He put them there for a reason.  He put them there to share the love of Christ.

We are all his missionaries.  Wherever we are and whatever we do.  Those are our mission fields.

There have been a few people who have come to have a relationship with Christ, since we've been in Brasil, that only had that opportunity because of our kids.

Our kids played soccer together, our kids went to school together, our kids met at an English party, etc.  God can and has consistently used whatever means to open doors to begin showing His love to His people here in Porto Alegre.

God has and continues to use our kids in a mighty way here in Brasil.  We let them know that.  They have a calling to be Christ to their friends right now.

I'm proud of all of our kids.  They understand what "being Christ" means.  It's not always easy.  They have lots of temptations here.  Many people claim to know Jesus but don't live their lives for Him.   We encourage our kids to just listen to the Spirit and do what He says in regards to their friends.  God has opened up the doors a little bit in conversations that our kids have had with their friends.

Honestly the thought process of this blog post today was started with a conversation I had with Anderson last night in the kitchen.

The other day he asked if we could invite his school teacher, at his new school, to come over and play one day.  I told him we could absolutely ask her to come and play but that she might not be able to because she is a teacher and might not have time, etc.  He was okay with that.

Last night he told me that his teacher was not a Christian.  I asked him how he knew that.  Did he ask her?  He said he did and then he said, "Well, I guess I need to start telling her how much Jesus loves her don't I?"  

You guys know Anderson. Whether this 5 year old actually had this conversation with his teacher is up in the air.  I actually would not be surprised if he asked her this but I don't know for sure.  That's not really the point for me.  The point for me is that our 5 year old is already wanting to share the love of Christ with someone who is really important in his life.  His mind is already thinking in terms of being a missionary.  He is sharing Christ where God has put him.

That is a pretty simple response to what God has asked each of us to do.  Just do it.

We are all missionaries.  There are no missionary kids.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Some requests

We wanted to thank you for your prayers for my girlfriend.  She made it home safely from Paraguay.  She had a great time and was really encouraged by her week at the spiritual renewal conference.  I'm sure she will blog a little about her week either here or on her blog.

We also wanted to ask you to continue to remember Bronwyn in your prayers as she ministers to the people of Rwanda.  We'd like to ask for your prayers for her this week as she travelled to Kenya today participating in a women's spiritual retreat as well.  Please pray for her, as well as Louise and all the women who will be attending, safety and that she will be encouraged by her time with these women just as Benay was encouraged in her time with other Christian women last week.  

She won't have internet access this week but she told us that she did some scheduled blog posts that should appear on her blog this week.  Mainly just pictures.  She posted her first one today.  Click here to look at it. 

Finally, my parents are planning to visit us next week.  Someone has given them plane tickets to come to Brasil but they can only travel during March and April.  My dad's visa expired from his last visit her so they are in a mad scramble to get his new visa in his hands before next week.  We would appreciate your prayers for them that everything can get done in time and that they can come and spend a few days with us starting next week.  We have faith it will all get done.  We would also appreciate prayers for their safe travel. 

Our family has been doing a lot of traveling lately and we really appreciate your prayers for our safety.

Thank you in advance for your prayers for what we mentioned.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it."
— Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


You may or may not remember this Budweiser commercial from about 10 years ago:

Our kids have never seen it but, without knowing there even was a previous commercial, Ansley found the following spoof on you tube:

The kids are now hooked on the annoying orange and his videos.

Every day, this past week, on the way to school I got to hear the kids say "wazzup" to each other.  Let's just say it wasn't just one time either.  I'm not sure if and when this will get old for them.  For Anderson and Carys it may take a few months.  Anderson already does a pretty good imitation of the orange.

I have to admit the annoying orange was very annoying to me the first time I watched him but the little guy is growing on me.  I guess that's good since he's going to be with me for the foreseeable future on our drives to school.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bronwyn Stuff

You may have noticed that we have a new header on this blog.  That comes courtesy of Bronwyn who did that in Rwanda and then sent it to me to make the switch.  For some reason the header we've had for the last couple of months was driving her crazy.  We received a few emails from her asking us to change it because she was tired of it.  When we didn't respond in a manner that she felt was timely she took matters into her own hands and sent us new pictures.

She's a little bit weird like that.

You have one fan already Bronwyn.  Chelsey immediately noticed the change and said she likes it. 

Did you know that Bronwyn now has a job in Rwanda?  Click here and read the last couple of blog entries to find out about it.

She is going, next week, to a women's conference in Kenya.  She said it's in a place that's like a rain forest.  The week after that she may be able to go on a safari.  After that she'll return back to her new job.

She's having a great time with the Koonce family and is loving her experience.

It's very cool to see how God is using her for His kingdom in Rwanda.  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

For the Girls

This blog post today is mainly for my girlfriend and my daughter.  The two moms of this family.  They are beginning to offend me with the daily emails I'm receiving asking if Giovanni is eating enough.  My daughter even asked if he is still chunky.  Like that's going to go away in the three days that I've been Mr. Mom.  Somehow they think that since they are both in other countries right now I'm going to forget to feed our kids......especially Giovanni.  Oh.....I'm supposed to feed him when he's hungry too?  Every day?  I thought it was just the older ones.  Maybe that's why he's been screaming so much.  Thanks for the reminders!

So as a little proof that your baby is okay I am including pictures (along with some funnies from the week).

The kids, for the most part, have been good.  There have been some spats between those who normally fight but in general everyone has been good.

Carys has been my best baby sitter so far.  Here is an action shot:

I still have no idea why Giovanni's shorts are on her head.  He seemed to like it though.  She read quite a few books with the shorts on head look.

She really has done a great job but babysitting is a tiring job.
This picture has nothing to do with anything.  I just thought you girls would like it.

Okay here are your proof of nourishment shots:

Notice the chocolaty happy smile?  It's a breakfast bar.....not cookies.  Relax.  He's doing fine girls. You can breathe easier.

Of course right as I was telling Freitas this morning about your concerns of his eating enough Giovanni started trying to bite the straps on his sandals.  Great timing.  Freitas thought it was funny.

Do you want to guess where Giovanni ate the most food?  Paulinho's of course.  He ate his weight in beans and rice and bife.

Some other family updates from our week:

There was also a minor emergency in our house on Tuesday.  I had to get some tweezers and get a thorn our of Anderson's (cover your eyes mom and mother-in-law) nipple.  I had to say it.  That's where the thorn was.

We have no idea how it got there but the kids, and even Anderson, got a good laugh out of it.

Anderson asked me this week if Supra is two times bigger than Mega.  I told him yes.  Am I right?  He then asked where Ultra fit into that discussion.

Yesterday at Paulinho's he asked if he was eating animal fish or just fish.  I wasn't sure so I asked Carys. She said animal fish.  Anderson said it was so much better than just regular fish.

The Tooth Fairy has been to our house twice this week.  For Carys both times.  I know that isn't that big of a deal but you need to understand this 11 year old.

I have been the official teeth puller in this family forever.  Benay and blood and the noises just don't mix.  Everyone has let me pull their teeth until Carys.  I pulled her first one but haven't been allowed to pull any since then.  Why?  She pulls them all herself.  Since she was 5-6 she has pulled every tooth herself except for that first one.  None of our other kids have had any interest in doing that.

The other night she came into our room and told me she would let me pull her loose tooth out.  I was pretty happy.  Here's the space from where I pulled it.

Last night as we were watching a movie she looked at me, smiled and showed me another tooth she pulled out.  Pulled it out during the movie without making a peep.  She's just kooky.  Here's the space from that one.

She's assured me that I'll get one more crack at the 3-4 baby teeth she has left.

Carys called me "a cobrar" from school today because she forgot her shorts.  Want to guess the name she used?  Julia Brasil.  That sounds right for Carys doesn't it?

Hope you girls now feel updated a little bit and can stop sending me your harassing emails about my son.

He's doing fine but I do know he misses you both.

He loves talking to you Bronwyn on skype and Benay he wakes up from his naps saying "mama." He even said it this morning at 2:20 when he thought it was time to get up.

This is what will be waiting for both of you when you come home.
We love you girls!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Andersonisms

We realize that most of you might be sick of Andersonisms.  That's okay.

We also realize that you actually have to know him to really appreciate the stuff he says.  That's okay too.

For those that really know our son you know how funny it sounds when he says the stuff he says.

So today we share for grandparents, Aggies and the Terrys and for the rest of you that don't know him but have come to appreciate Andersonisms.

Anderson gets out of school 40 minutes before his brothers and sisters.  This is definitely not ideal for our family.  We either have to take him home after school and then turn around and go right back to where we were to pick up his brother and sister before we go pick up Ansley at her school or we pick him up and wait until everyone else gets out.

Last week, while Benay was in São Paulo, I picked up Anderson and he, Giovanni and I sat in the car waiting to pick up the rest of the group.

He entered the car and we immediately had this interesting exchange:

Anderson:  "Can you get arrested here for saying Kabloosh?"
Me:  "No."
Anderson:  "What about in China, Africa or Minot (as in North Dakota)?"
Me:  "No."
Anderson:  "Okay."

Just so you'll know......Anderson is not a geography pro.  The only reason he had even heard of Minot is because Giovanni is really into Veggie Tale movies right now and Anderson watches them with him.  On one of our DVD's they mention Minot a few times and it stuck with Anderson.

We thought is was pretty good that Minot, North Dakota got thrown in with Brasil, China and Africa in regards to his very serious "kabloosh" question.

Now that I think of it.  This post should really be for Benay's sister and brother-in-law who actually used to live in Minot.

Anderson is pretty funny.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


WARNING:  If you have a weak stomach then you don't need to read past this line.  You have been warned!!

Saturday morning we woke up and the right side of our kitchen sink was backed up.

I got a little plunger and went to work.  It only pushed water out of the pipes below the sink.  It did not solve the problem.

I then went to the hardware store that Freitas and Auristela own and bought some acid crystals.  You put it in the drain and pour hot water over it and it burns through the clog.  I've used it before and it worked great.

This time it didn't do anything.  It bubbled liked crazy but didn't break through the clog.

I went back to the hardware store and Freitas let me borrow his plumbing snake.  We've used that before on problems and it's solved them.  This time it did nothing.

When I borrowed the snake Freitas told me to call him if it didn't work and he would come over after he closed his store and help me.

I called him and he came over.

He tried the snake again and we thought he removed the clog.  We turned the water on it came out through the pipes again.

He opened one pipe and saw nothing.  He closed it back and opened another one.

When he opened the second one we saw this:

That's right it's a rat tail and back legs.


One by one the kids and Benay came to check it out.  Everyone was thoroughly disgusted.

Everyone wanted to see but not get too close.

Freitas asked me to get a plastic grocery bag.  I got one. He asked if I was going to pull the rat out of the pipe.  I told him sure.  As I got closer I realized that was not going to happen.

Freitas then got the bag and pulled him out.  The kids were in the kitchen when that happened and here is how that went:

I asked Freitas how long the rat had been in there because his skin was worked off his body.  He said he probably only came in through the sewers the day before.  We would have smelt him if he had been in longer than a day.  The acid I threw down there today was what peeled his skin off.  Lovely.

This all happened right before lunch.  None of us had much of an appetite.

Freitas called us later in the afternoon to see how we were doing.  He told Benay that he had a steak sandwich for lunch.  It was cooked rare and every time he took a bite he had to remind himself that it was steak and not rat.

Benay sterilized everything in the kitchen after lunch.

I kept feeling sick thinking about how many times I pushed that rat with the plumbing snake, fried him with acid and tried to plunge him out.  The water that came back up through the sink was gross looking.  I felt sick again as I thought of my hand in the water as I tried to plunge it out.  The hand in the water that had hit the rat and was pushed back up into the sink.

We tried to pay Freitas for what he did.  He wouldn't except any money and told us that he did it with all the love in his heart for our family.

We've mentioned here before but we are very blessed to have such an awesome Brasilian family.  Saturday we were VERY blessed to have our good friend deal with this nasty problem.

Writing this is making me feel queasy as I remember all of that fun experience. As Anderson would say, "I almost just about puked."

Benay wanted me to put the following picture on the blog (I didn't want to but she persisted):

If you are feeling queasy right now it's your own fault.  We warned you at the beginning but I know how you felt.  It was kind of like coming up on a car accident wasn't it?  You know you shouldn't look because you might see someone seriously injured, blood or even death but you look anyway right?  You guys read the warning at the beginning but still just had to look didn't you?

It's never dull in our house.

Thanks Freitas!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Missionary Conference

I just put my girlfriend on a plane headed to Paraguay.

She is going to a women's missionary conference for the week.  She'll be back on Friday night.

She went to this conference 4 years ago and was really blessed by it.  We know she'll be blessed again.

I'll be doing the Mr. Mom thing for the week.  I've got some good helpers in the house so it won't be a problem.  We'll have a good, fun week.

I don't like being away from my girlfriend even for a night but I know this conference will be a blessing to her spiritually and will strengthen her as well as recharge her batteries.  It's a good thing for her ministry.

I ask that you pray for her (as well as all the other women who will be attending this conference) safety both going to and coming back from Paraguay as well as while she's there during this week.

As always, thanks in advance for your strong prayers.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

If God's people are to be living examples of one thing, that thing ought to be---it must be---compassion.

Chuck Swindoll

Saturday, March 13, 2010

God's Will

We have a pretty cool niece.  She also has a blog.

She wrote a pretty insightful blog today.  Click here to read it.

She mentioned a blog that a friend told her to read (you can go there once you go to our niece's blog).

Bronwyn found this same blog a few months back and even got in touch with the girl who writes it.  She is a 20 year old who lives in Uganda.  Bronwyn thought about trying to visit her while in Africa but it didn't work out.

Honestly I am amazed at the spiritual depth of Bronwyn, our niece Katie and the other Katie's blog.  The things they think about and do are a far cry from where I was when I was that age.

I am thankful that these girls are already making a kingdom difference.

You've been checking out Bronwyn's blog.  It's worth your time to read our niece's blog today.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Odds and Ends

I shared yesterday that it was my mom's birthday.  Click here if you want to read what my girlfriend thinks of her mother-in-law.

Bronwyn went to a concert tonight in Kigali.  She was pretty excited. Click here to see a video of the Christian singer (Sara Groves) she went to see.

Garrett and Giovanni have bad colds.  Giovanni is completely whiny. Anderson puked yesterday and stayed home from school today because he felt sick again. We would appreciate prayers for all the Blume boys.

Benay leaves for Paraguay on Monday for 5 days.  She's going to a women's retreat and is very excited about having the opportunity to go and get her spiritual battery recharged. We would also appreciate your prayers for her safety.

Couple of teenage tidbits from this week:

1) Garrett asked if deodorant could also be used to put on your neck like cologne.

2) Ansley came outside, while holding the house phone and making a call, and asked Benay and me to listen for her cell phone vibrate while she called her cell phone.  Listen for her cell phone vibrating?  Outside with all the noise around us?  Okay.

It's not just Andersonisms that we have around here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Different Things

Today is my (Kevin) mom's birthday.  She's an incredible mom and grandmother.  If you know her and live close to her then go ahead and give her a hug or a phone call today.

Bronwyn did a blog yesterday about a village called Nyamata.  To me, it's her most powerful blog so far.  God is really touching her heart and I know she is making an impact with those she comes in contact with. If you haven't read it then just click here.

As you know, Carys had a birthday this week.  We've blogged about it a couple of times here.  Benay also wrote a blog sharing about the day of Carys's birth.  If you haven't checked it out then click here to read it.

Finally we wanted to thank you for your prayers for the guys at the chácara.  Matt, our teammate, was able to go out there on Tuesday night.  Here is an update email that he sent to us and Paul (another teammate) after he spent some time with the guys from the chácara the night after the robbery.  We translated the needs that the brothers have and put that in parenthesis.  Here's his email:

I would have written to you guys last night, but I was too exhausted after I got back.  Here's the skinny: between 6-8 guys, armed to the teeth with all variety of guns, invaded the place around 7pm.  They made everybody get into the cafeteria and took turns holding them them at gunpoint for the next three hours.  During this time, the rest of the crew cleaned the place out as much as they could: computer equipment, speakers & microphones, TV, DVD, stereo, printer, radios, guitars, etc.  They took most of their food supplies and even took clothes and personal hygiene products from the alojamentos.  According to them, most of the invaders were high on drugs and confused, disorganized, arguing amongst each other.  They are very, very fortunate that God was watching over them and that none of the assaltantes did anything really stupid in their drugged state.  The best news is that no one was hurt physically - all lives were spared.  Thank God.  

The way the brothers described the assault, sounds like it was an inside job - probably orchestrated by somebody who recently spent time at the chacara, maybe a few weeks, scoping out the place, left, and organized a crew to come back, surprise them and clean house.  The assaltantes seemed to know so many details about the guys' routines and horarios, where stuff was located, who was in charge, etc., that they had to have an informant.  Even more revolting.  

Isaias, Paulo Renato, Ellinton, and myself held a session of community therapy with the guys last night.  It was a powerful time of sharing, working through emotions, and beginning the healing process.  One of the most meaningful moments I've experienced in ministry here.  

Isaias is taking measures to make the chacara safer, within his possibilities.  They will now have two guards (from amongst the brothers) at night, one positioned in an area where he can see the whole chacara but he cannot be seen by any potential invaders.  This person will have a cell phone and will be able to with one toque call Isaias and/or the Brigada Militar in case of an incident.  They will also have a guard  during the day making rounds.  Ellinton is getting an estimate for some sensor-activated floodlights to place on the alojamento and the patio, for better illumination and a deterrent effect.  The brothers are also going to close up an entry point in the mato behind the chacara with dirt, branches, bushes, whatever they can find, to make the access much more difficult for potential unfrendlies. 

Josimar and Carlos Rafael were the ones most directly confronted by the assaltantes and were so scared that they left the chacara temporarily.  Thankfully, Josimar came back yesterday.  Carlos Rafael says he will come back today.  Again, thank God - apparently no one will abandon the treatment because of this unfortunate episode.  

In terms of material, what they most urgently need are non-perishable foodstuffs and hygiene products.  Here is a list of what they most need:
arroz (rice)
feijãp (beans)
açucar (sugar)
azeite (olives)
café (coffee)
caldo de carne (boullion cubes)
fermento para pão (baking powder or yeast)
suco em pó (drink mixes like koolaid)
manteiga (butter)
sabão em pó (laundry detergent)
sabonete (dish soap)
esponja para lavar louça (sponges to wash dishes)
sabonete (soap)
pasta de dente (toothpaste)
aparelho para fazer barba (razors or shavers)
desodorante (roll-on) (deodorant)
Any and all quantities of these items are welcome and needed.  

If you guys can get out there to see them either today or tomorrow, to visit them, counsel them, and help out with these items, I know they will greatly appreciate it.  I sent them your love and abraços last night and assured them that they have a church family both here in POA and around the world praying for them.  PR and I plan on going again Friday and spending the day with them.

On a final note, I am extremely grateful that God has blessed this church family with Paulo Renato and Ellinton, two mature Christian men who are ready and willing to serve in these kinds of situations, and who speak, teach, and encourage in such a Spirit-led way. I was very impressed with the quality of these two men last night.  I felt like John the Baptist - just preparing the way for those two to be present and to do the work God called them to in terms of comforting those guys at the chacara.  God has blessed this church family with two solid pillars for whatever future work He has planned.  

"Do not fight evil with evil, but overcome evil with good."  That verse from Romans 12:25 took on a new meaning for us last night.  Let's pray also for those men who invaded the chacara, that they may repent before its too late and turn to the One who can save them.  Let's do our best to do good to those whom God has blessed us with, and even those who would do us harm.  


Please keep praying for these brothers and for their safety and healing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday List

Monday we blogged about Carys's birthday and how she wanted mocha chocolate chip banana muffins for breakfast.

She got those.

We also said she would let us know what the rest of her day would look like after we picked her up from school.  Birthday person gets to pick family activities for the day.

We were met with this list:
Carys takes her birthday choices seriously.

We started working through them.

She, obviously, did the first one on her own.  She went to school.

The second one says "show locker."  That means to show it to Benay.  We had to get to school early so that Benay could look at Carys's first ever school locker.

Eat at Paulinho's was number three.  This is probably our most favorite place to eat.  The food is incredible but we also love the owners.  They are some of our most favorite people.  Here is Paulinho and his wife Karen with Carys.  They even gave Carys a birthday present.

Play at Playland is number four.  This is a game room at a mall.  We definitely took care of number four!

Get toy with tickets at Playland is number five.  She took care of that one as well with help from her brothers and sister.

One toy she bought was hair spray paint.  After we got home it took about 5 seconds for that to get opened.

Look at toy and bookstores is number six.  We skipped that one.  No good stores like that in the mall we went to.

Go home and have family wrestling time is seven.  That one was skipped as well.  Too much food from Paulinho's.

Open presents is eight.  Of course she did eight.

We even called Bronwyn on Skype and put her on the "toilet of justice" so she could see Carys opening her presents.

Seeing Bronwyn in a computer was pretty cool to Giovanni.

Play twister is nine.  Skipped as well because Benay gave that game away.

Eat cake and watch movie from Blockbuster is number ten.

As always we had Mammy's Chocolate Cake.

Carys chose to rent the movie "RV."  It wasn't that bad.  Pefect goofy level for kids.

We worked our way through the list as best we could.  Carys was happy with our progress.

She had a great day.  Thanks to everyone who sent her a note.  You made her day even more special.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Prayers Needed

If you've followed this blog very long then you know about the Chácara.  If you don't know what I'm talking about then click here to go to Matt's blog. He hasn't updated it in a while but you can go back through the blogs he did to get a feel for this place.

You can also type in the word "chácara" in the little white box at the top left hand side of this blog page to see old blogs that we did about this place and the men there.

The guys at the chácara have a special place in our lives.  Our church family is pretty connected to this place and these men as they battle their drug and alcohol dependence.

I just got a call from our teammate Matt.  He told me that 5 heavily armed men came into the chácara last night around 7:00 p.m.  They made all the men go into the kitchen.  The armed men then proceeded to go through the grounds and steal food and whatever electronics that they had there.

These men literally have nothing and for someone to come in and steal what little they had is just wrong on so many levels.

Getting robbed or having a gun pointed at you is, unfortunately, fairly common here.  It's happened to our family and it's happened to Matt before.  That doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Matt is taking a group of men from our church out to the chácara tonight to minister to these guys. They are, obviously, pretty shaken up by what happened.

We hope to send more groups out this week to care for their psychological needs.

Matt and I agreed that we have no doubt that our church family will take care of the physical needs that these guys have.  God has blessed us with such an amazing group of servers and they will meet the needs for food and replacing the electronics.

What these guys need now more than anything is prayers.

We wanted to ask you to join us in praying for these men.  That God would bless them spiritually, psychologically and physically as they deal with what happened to them.

If you also feel led to do more than pray for these guys then just let us know.  We'll make sure what you give will immediately help our brothers at the chácara.

Thanks, in advance, for your prayers for these men.

Quick Trip

My girlfriend is flying to São Paulo today.

She has to make a visit to the consulate of Paraguay.


She has to get a visa so that she can spend next week in Ascucion at a women's conference.  She can't get into the country if she doesn't have the visa.  Even though we have a consulate for Paraguay in our city they don't do visas.  That would make too much sense wouldn't it?

So, she has to make this trip today.  Her return flight is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

We wanted to ask for your prayers for her safety and that everything goes smoothly and quickly as she gets this visa.

(P.S.  by Benay, pray even more for Kevin who will be taking care of the kids and house and everything else all by himself!  Thanks!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Birthday Kiddo

Today is a special day for our family. Carys turns 11. Hard to believe that our youngest daughter is 11.

On birthdays we allow the special person to pick everything that's done that day. If you know Carys then you know she put a lot of thought into this and it is well planned out. Here is what our today is looking like:

For breakfast she ordered mocha chocolate chip banana muffins. Benay worked on this last night to have them ready for breakfast today (it's kind of wild here before school if you can imagine). After school she wants to go out to eat for lunch (kids only go to school half days here). She doesn't know what she wants yet so she said she will think about it during school and let us know where we are going once she gets in the car. That could be interesting. Then she wants to go to a game room in a mall to play video games. For supper she has requested Totosinhos. That is the name of a company that makes mini hot dogs.  

Here is what the family has to say about her on her special day:

Bronwyn: "She's so sweet.  She's my movie partner and she gives me hugs everyday.  I miss you!

Ansley:  "She is just all around sweet.  Even when we fight she is always the first one to come and say she is sorry.  I love her."

Garrett:  "I love her and I want her to have the best birthday ever!"

Anderson:  "We laugh together so hard and we like to play with each other.  We like to play video games with each other.  She helps me on video games.  She helps me a bunch.  She's my best, best, best friend and we go togther to the same school."

Giovanni:  "I'm kind of a grumpy wake up guy.  Carys has a way to make me smile and laugh when no one else can.  Sometimes I just giggle at her when she really isn't doing anything.  She is fun and I love her!"

Benay:  "Carys is a FUN kid.  I love doing things with her and just talking with her.  She has a sweet heart and is a helpful and good big sister.  I am so glad that God gave her to us!"

Me:  "Carys is a blessing to our family.  She has the most infectious laugh of any kid I've ever been around.  She definitely has a glass half-full mentality.  She sees fun in almost any situation.  We've said it before but the world really is her playground.  I hope that never changes in her.  God really blessed us with her.  Our family would be less fun if she wasn't around."

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Anderson brings us joy every day in his words.  Sometimes he overloads us with his words but he's always got something to say and it's usually funny.

Yesterday he brought a stool in to sit on while I put on his shoes for school.

He told me he was sitting on his "toilet of justice."

If you aren't familiar with what a "toilet of justice" looks like then this picture is for you:
Toilets of justice are only made in Brasil.  If you want one just let us know.

Later, on the way to school, he wanted to talk history and world events.  He is a gaúcho.  That is the name of someone born in our state, Rio Grande do Sul.

I tell people we are the Texas of Brasil.  Gaúcho's are VERY proud of our state and VERY independent.  Reminds me of most Texans I've met.  I love those traits about Texans and Gaúchos.  Anderson is not shy about letting you know that he is 100% gaúcho.

Yesterday he wanted to know if the United States and gaúchos had ever gotten into a war.  I told him no.  He said it was because the United States knew they couldn't beat us.  Like I said, he's very proud he is a gaúcho.

We then switched to the rest of the world.

He gave some facts that the rest of us didn't know.

Here's a brief overview:

"Africa has troubles, dad..........big troubles."
"Africa is the poorest country in the world."
"Africa is the most magical country in the world."
"Paris is the richest country in the world."

He then asked me which country had the most killings in the world.

I think my brain was already tired from answering so many questions plus the fact that I have no idea how to answer a question like that.  So I said I didn't know.  He then asked Garrett and Garrett said, "I don't know.  Maybe China and Germany.  No, not Germany.  Probably China."

After Garrett's answer Anderson looked at me and asked with a disgusted voice while shaking his head, "Dad,how can a teenager know more than a dad?"

He has a way of making a 30 minute drive very interesting, funny and never boring.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Last Night

Remember these guys?
It's Leni and her son Jorge.

Leni just got home 2 days ago. You might remember our blog about her from January. If not, click here to read it.  It was a very interesting, frustrating, rewarding and different kind of trip.  Not what she was expecting (in both very good ways and bad ways).  Benay will share all about Leni's adventure in a couple of days.

Last night Jorge and I started a Bible study together in English.  He works at Dell and needs to learn more English.  He also wants to learn more about the Bible, so we just combined the two.

Jorge and I have a couple of other friends that we want to participate with us.  Please pray that these guys will want to study with us.  We talked last night about also doing a mini-churrasco (bar-b-que) on Thursday nights to make our study even more laid back.  Jorge had this idea and I think it's a great one.

Selfishly, we are glad that Leni came home.  We know God used her greatly in her work for the last month, but we sure are glad she is back with us.

Leni and Jorge are very special to our family and we love spending time with them.  We know they are and will continue to make a kingdom difference here in our city.

Please pray for these guys.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Just Stuff

Bronwyn hasn't tried the milk in Rwanda yet.  It's fresh milk from cows (not goats) and she said it smells like grass.  She hasn't gotten the courage yet to try it.

Ansley just started her senior year in high school.  Hard to believe that in August of 2011 we will have two kids in college.  Hard to believe because Benay and I believe we are still in our early 30's (shut up Kirkman, Holman, Birdwell, Hill and Adkins)

Garrett, Carys and Anderson just started the new school year, last week, at a new school.  They love it.  They are also learning German in this school and are teaching the rest of us a few words. Thanks for the prayers for their new school.  It's already been a big blessing to our family.

Garrett is looking for a new soccer school.

Carys has a birthday coming up next week and is very excited because she has her first school locker.  She also informed us that she wants to take karate or fencing this year (this could change in an hour).

Anderson is also looking for a soccer school because, as he told us last week, "He was made for soccer."  He came out of school the other day and said, "Ah, the smell of freedom."  We still aren't sure what that meant.  He's been complaining that, so far, in his school they mainly do fun stuff (like playing soccer) and not any homework or studying.  Complaining that there is too much sports and that there isn't school work?!  Paternity test to come.  This can't be my son.

Giovanni calls his shoes "ffffffffff" and he likes to say no to lots of things now.  He says "ney" for no.

Benay and I had a little mini retreat one afternoon this week to talk about where we felt God was leading us and what we felt He was asking us to do.  We already had supper with some Christian friends of ours to plan an attack on enemy strongholds this year.   We look forward to the challenges and victories God has planned for us in 2010.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Sister

My (Kevin) sister has always tried to help me grow. Not just spiritually but in all ways.   

Just the other day she sent me an email that helped me grow both spiritually (through a "Bible" story) as well as mentally (not many people know the historical fact of what actually happened to the dinosaurs).  

Here is what she sent:

That's right mom........she sent us an email that said "CRAP" in it.  

Go ahead and pick up the phone and give her a call and discuss the types of words she chooses to use.  She's not too big to spank.  You could at least make her rake all the leaves in your yard. 

Hey Melissa,

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

First Day in Rwanda

Bronwyn sent us an email describing her first day in Rwanda.  

Here is a small part of her note that we thought you might be interested in:

Hey guys! Today has been CRAZY! The internet has been down all day today. We went to sewing class and the grocery store today. It was so different. It's weird here... I can understand portuguese, english, spanish, french, italian, some german. But Kinyirwandan is NOTHING like any of this. It's crazy! So hard to understand. I bought a journal today in the grocery store to write down words I want to know... basic stuff like thank you, please, excuse me, blah blah blah. 

Today at lunch Louise told me the person she knows that has a connection with an orphanage is in Europe for the next 3 weeks. Then, we went to the grocery store. While we were checking out, this family started talking to us. They run an orphanage about 20km from here and invited me to stay/visit with them for however long I wanted to. Is God cool or what? Here's their blog... www.tyrrellsinafrica.org

One of the things that Bronwyn wanted to do while she was there was to help at an orphanage. Meeting this couple on her first full day in Kigali can only be described as a "God thing." Only He knows where this connection will end up but just the fact that He had the grocery store conversation already waiting for Bronwyn today is just amazing! 

We would definitely agree with Bronwyn's words that God is extremely cool.  

She put up some pictures of her first day on her blog if you want to check them out and leave her a note.  Just click here to go there. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

She Made It

We just had a video call with Bronwyn on Skype.  Everyone was excited to talk to her.
She made it to Rwanda without any problems or flight delays.

She's already enjoying her time with our buddies Marty and Louise.

Thank you for your prayers for her safety.  God is good.


We've been following Bronwyn's flights on the internet.  We just found out she landed safely in Nairobi, Kenya.  Our daughter is in Kenya!  That is very cool.  Okay, she'll only visit the airport but it's cool to think that we have a child in Africa.

She has one more short flight before she arrives at her new home for the next 2 months.  She's made it safely through the longest flights and most boring parts of sitting in different airports.

She wrote a very insightful blog about her feelings leading up to her trip.  If you want to read it on her blog then just click here .

Thank you for blessing her with prayers for safety.  She's almost there!