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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:25

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Game Day

Yesterday Brasil had a World Cup game.

We again had people in our house and had a great time as we were covered in green and yellow.

Giu got there early and allowed Benay to cut his hair. She does a good job. You don't have to be brave to allow her to cut your hair.

But Giu is either brave or stupid because he also allowed me to work on his hair a little.

We love Giu like our own son.....

......but he definitely had too much hair on his head.

Bronwyn then helped him clean up by sucking up the leftover hair off with a vacuum.

Grace and Ivoli got there early and Grace had some reading time with Giovanni.

We, as always, had fun together......

......especially when we scored (notice Giovanni even celebrating our goals).

We, as always, ate good food together as well.

We won 3-0.

Next up: Holland on Friday.

Tough game but we have faith.

I'm sure our house will be full again and that's just the way we like it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Run the Race

I never stop being amazed at how good God's family can be.

Yesterday I ran in a race with Matt.

We didn't take a picture after the race yesterday so I used this old picture taken after a run together last year but you get the idea......sweaty guys after a run together.

I wanted to show a picture of Matt so those that don't know him could put a face with the name.

Anyway, back to God's family.

Our family arrived in Porto Alegre with Matt over eight years ago. Same flight, same day.

We are the only two American families that are still here from that day.

Matt and I could not be more different.

He is a brainiac....a nerd. I have never been and never will be called a brainiac.

He's the straight A guy in every class. I, again, was never and never will be a straight A guy in school.

He and I both love to read. We love to read Christian material. Stuff on house churches, discipling, Chrisitan living, etc.  He reads all kind of stuff but he reads some things that my brain just can't wrap around. He likes the deep stuff. I like the stuff that my young kids can read and understand (and maybe even explain to me).

You get my point. We are different.

You would look at us and wonder how we are ever as close as we are. Matt and I have talked about the same thing many times before. We are very different in lots of different ways.

But we are family.

I've spent more time praying with him that with anyone else since we moved here.

We've had weekly prayer times together almost since the day we arrived. We've been a part of big prayer groups together and smaller prayer groups together but we've spent the most time praying together just one on one.

I love Matt. He's an incredible brother and encourager to me and my family.

Matt has always shared his heart. We've had arguments before and we always talk later and apologize and ask forgiveness when needed. Matt is not proud but humble. When he is struggling with pride or some other sin he shares it and asks for prayer. His humility strongly shows His walk with Christ.

I can be very different from everyone I work with and that's okay as long as they can communicate and be open. Matt is very different from me but what makes our relationship work is that it's based on Christ and we have the freedom to be who God has made us. Warts and all. We share everything. It's open and safe.

It hit me yesterday how strong this brotherhood is with Matt and how much we are the church.

Yesterday we ran in a 10 mile race together. Over the years he and I have run in lots of races together and spent many hours together just running. There were lots of people that ran in this race yesterday. It was in the downtown part of our city.

Neither one of us had trained the way we should for the race so we decided to just enjoy each other's fellowship and hang out while we ran. We prayed before the race. It's something we do before every race. Just a simple prayer of asking God to bless everyone in the race with safety, to allow us to run with joy and for His glory and for us to be Christ to everyone we come in contact with.

We had a great time together. It was a beautiful, but hot day. Normally this time of the year it's already pretty cool. It's our winter here for those that don't know. We had a morning, a few days ago, that hit 37 degrees (fahrenheit).

Yesterday was not a day like that. It was warm.

The older I get the less I like to run in the heat. It just zaps me.

So about 9 miles into our run I feel the heat just killing me. Matt asked how I was doing and I told him that I was cramping a little bit and the heat was taking my juice. I asked how he was doing and he said he was surprisingly good. I told him I wasn't going to stop running. I knew I could finish but that there was no reason for him to slow down. I told him that I released him of his burden of running with his older, slower, cramping brother.

He didn't leave my side.

He told me that we started together, that we said we would run together and that we would finish together.

He then began to say, out loud, words of encouragement. It wasn't screaming, it wasn't yelling but it was words of encouragement as we ran. "Come on......you got this......almost home......one more corner......there it is."

A funny thing happened in that last mile. I actually forgot my cramps and started running faster.

We rounded the last corner and actually sprinted the last 300 meters.

We finished faster than we thought we would (just under 1:25 for any runners that might care).

I thanked Matt after the race for the way he brought me home when I was struggling when he wasn't and could have gone on. He told me that we were in this together and that it didn't make sense for him to finish without me.

And I realized how this race was a perfect example of our Christian walk and why God felt it was important to make the body of Christ.

We have had and will have days of struggling. Jesus even promised suffering. It won't be easy. In fact, it might be impossible to deal with alone. But we have the body of Christ to walk with us, to encourage us and to help us to the finish line.

And the older I get the more I realize that that isn't going to happen in a big group. You can't just show up at a church building and sit next to 100, 200, 500 or 1000 people every week and think that that kind of relationship is going to take place in that kind of environment.

It only comes from lots of time spent with a small group of brothers or sisters who create a safe place to share, confess and cry without fear of judgement. Matt and I, over the years, have allowed God to create this kind of place in our relationship. We've shared joys and pains. We've had fights and good times together. We've shared sin, doubt, bitterness and hurts. But we've always been open with each other and we've always had Christ at the center of our relationship.

Being the body of Christ just doesn't happen because we give our lives to Christ one day. We are people, we are sinners and we are on a journey together. As we grow we have to give each other grace and forgiveness. Easy to say but hard to do at times. But the Spirit gives us His fruit to be able to live an empowered life.

I've learned a lot from Matt over the years. He's helped me to get rid of sin that has slowed me down and helped me focus on running the race.

"Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us."

Hebrews 12:1

Ten years ago I would never have thought Matt and I would be as close as we are but we are and that continually reminds me of what God wants from His family as He brings all types of people together.

As God's family it's our responsibility to run this race together. To really get involved in each other's lives and encourage each other to not only finish the race but to finish is strong because in the end, we'll be so blessed to hear the applause of God.

"You take over. I'm about to die, my life an offering on God's altar. This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting-God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming."

2 Timothy 4:7

My prayer is that God has put a Matt in your lives and if that hasn't happened that it will happen this week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holy Spirit

Without the Holy Spirit people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results. The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.

Francis Chan from the book Forgotten God

Friday, June 25, 2010


For the last three years Anderson has been DYING to go to soccer school. Problem was he was never old enough. The youngest age we've found that is allowed to start school is six years old. Believe me, we've checked many different schools.

Six years old was the youngest you could be before you could sign up.

We've shared before that Anderson finally got to start soccer school this year.

He absolutely loves it.

A couple of Saturdays ago he had a little practice game and he was in HEAVEN.

He is the youngest. There are some kids 10-11 years old in his class. Big kids compared to Anderson.

He got out there and just played his heart out. He doesn't care about the size of the other kids.

Here is a quick video of him trying to make a goal right in front of the net. Just look for the smallest kid in the red jersey going against the biggest kids in the green jerseys. It's kind of a blur but if you concentrate you can see the little "Messi" trying to score.

I also love the video because you can hear his coach yelling "Valeu Andeson" about halfway through. Basically it means, "Way to go Anderson."

Here are some action shots from the game.

This next one is my favorite. He did a sliding tackle to try to steal the ball from the bigger kid. He missed (you can see the ball just behind Anderson's head) but I love that he went after this kid twice his size.

At the end the coach let everyone take a penalty kick. Not a big deal......unless you are Anderson.

Other kids are playing in dirt or looking at the clouds.

Not Anderson. He was keeping up with the score as each team kicked.

Then it was his turn.

Here are the pictures of what happened:

And here is the video. Notice the concentration before the kick....

.... and the disappointment after. He was DEVASTATED that he didn't score.

He came over to us (me, Benay and Bronwyn) and it was so obvious he was about to cry.

He fought it off for a little bit while the big guys were around. Then he just broke down.

One of the things I really like about his school is that the bigger kids have never treated Anderson like a six year old. Never. They have always treated him with respect.

The big kids run with him sometimes when they run warm up laps.

At his first practice he scored a goal and the big kids picked him up to celebrate. They treated him like that on the first day.

Anyway, he was heartbroken that he missed his penalty kick.

Then a very cool thing happened.

First his coach came over and loved on my son. Talked to him about how well he played, how well he kicked the penalty and how proud he was of Anderson. He then gave him a big hug.

As we left the big kids then started coming over to Anderson and telling him how well he had played. Some even reminded him that they missed their penalties as well.

The crying stopped and his spirit changed.

It's cool how God works. Four months ago I had never heard of this soccer school. It's fairly close to our house but I had no clue it existed. Our friend Freitas, who is part of the house church that meets in our house, told me about it. God used Freitas to put Anderson in this school.

For Anderson, right now, it's the perfect place for him and as I saw God working through this coach and these boys I realize it's the perfect place for us to be right now as well.

P.S. At Anderson's last practice the coach spent some extra time with him before the penalty kicks. Anderson made two. Six year old heaven.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And the Club Grows.....

Yesterday Bronwyn....

....ran a 5K. 

You might think that isn't such a big deal. You would be wrong. 

You see up until a few weeks ago Bronwyn had run about 5 times, just for fun, ever.....in her life. 

Bronwyn and running didn't really go together. 

A few weeks ago she decided to start running around the park that is next to our house. I don't know if it coincided with me and Benay telling her to be aware of the "freshman 15" or the "freshman 50" that she will battle in a few months (that dreaded college disease that attacks most freshmen women...at least it did when Benay and I were in school) or if she just decided on her own to get a healthier lifestyle. 

Anyway, each lap around the park is about .6 kilometers. The first day she started to run she couldn't even finish one lap. 

Yesterday she finished 5K. Impressive.

She did great and I think she even surprised herself by finishing. 

The Blume Family Running Club is now growing. She is the 4th person in our family to complete a 5K.

The running club is mainly made up of the four running chicks in the following photo (the 4th being my sister) and me.

I'm very proud of all these girls. 

We (me, Benay, Ansley and Bronwyn) want to run in a 5K together before Bronwyn goes to college.

And after that? Who knows what's next? 

Maybe one day our family will run in a 10K together. 

Maybe a half marathon. 

Heck, why not a full marathon?

Nobody knows. 

For now, we are very happy that Bronwyn finished her running goal. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

House Church

Earlier this year our friend Freitas wasn't able to come to house church any more because he decided it was best for his family and his business if he opened on Sundays to try to generate more customers at their hardware store. 

Benay and I grew up in church environments that said, "Well it's a shame that he has to work on Sundays now and can't come to church. Maybe he can come back to church soon."

Which meant maybe one day he can come back to "the hour" at "the building" on Sunday. 

Unfortunately we lived like that for many years.

Thankfully, God isn't done with us and He continues to open our eyes to so many things. He continues to show us that His people are His church and where they get together is where His church will take place. 

When Freitas said he wouldn't be able to be a part of house church anymore we had two options. 

1) Talk about how sad it is that he couldn't be a part of "church" anymore and continue doing what we do or 2) take the church family to Freitas. 

Over the years, we've talked about how much we like house church because it's mobile. It can go with the flow. 

So the men in our house church chose option two and we started meeting every Sunday morning at the hardware store while the women and kids continued meeting in our house. 

It was, as it is in our house, very informal.  But very good. 

As we studied, each man would read certain scriptures from a certain chapter and then we discussed any questions we had about those verses. That just naturally brought up lots of good questions. 

As we studied, customers would come in. We would stop, Freitas would help them and then we would continue. 

There is a bakery next door to the hardware store and the owner, Silvio, comes in to the hardware store all the time. He and his family are good friend with Freitas and his family. Anyway, there were a couple of times he would come in and listen to our study and then go back to his bakery. Very cool. 

I mentioned earlier about the type of churches Benay and I were raised in. It was normal in those days to see church as a specific building, time, etc. It was kind of the general mindset at that time. 

One thing that I can't be around are people who have all the answers in their Christian walk and have no room to continue to grow. However that looks. I've been around older and younger people who felt like they "knew" all they needed to know about the Bible and just stopped growing.  Content in their faith and where they are spiritually and not feeling a need to continue to study, grow and, if needed, change. I don't do well around those people. 

Thankfully God has blessed us with parents who haven't stopped growing. My dad, when they were here, went with us to the hardware store and just fit right in. 

He made comments and felt at home in the hardware store. I'm thankful for a father who knows that people are more important than tradition. That a hardware store is the church when God's people are there. 

Meeting at the hardware store went on for a few weeks and then Freitas one day told me he was going to close his store on Sundays so that he could be back with the entire family. 

So we are all back together and growing, and it's great. But we are ready to be mobile again when God asks us to do it.

We feel really blessed to be a part of what God is doing here. 

Our family is learning a lot. God has really changed us, in many different areas, since we moved to Brasil. We continue to study, and grow and change. It hasn't always been fun or easy but God continues to grow our faith.

God has also blessed us with a church family that grows more in Spirit each day. We are blessed. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Am I a bad dad because I wanted to see how many times I could get my one year old to say "cheese" while he waited for me to take a picture when really I was taking a video?

He never did get tired.

Monday, June 21, 2010

House Church-Soccer Style

We've mentioned before but one of the things we love about house church is that it can change as needed because the bible says we, the people, are the church. It isn't some fixed building with some fixed hour on some fixed day of the week.

The church should be mobile. It should be able to adapt to the needs of the family. I might share more about that later but today this blog is about yesterday.

Brasil played in the World Cup yesterday afternoon. We've mentioned before house the country literally shuts down for 2 hours when Brasil plays.

Yesterday, the house church that meets in our house shifted it's normal routine to have house church around game time.

It's funny how much our family has changed since we moved here eight years ago.

Eight years ago we knew "nothing" about soccer. Nothing. We were, obviously, raised on American sports. I could tell you lots of things about Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, the Cubs, etc. But soccer.....nothing. We didn't know the rules, the teams, the players. Nothing.

Eight years later it's our favorite sport (except for Benay who still holds on to college football). It's wild. Every day for the last 10 days there have been 3 World Cup games. We've watched as many of them as we can. I've even heard the girls getting frustrated with American people on Facebook who have made disparaging remarks about the World Cup. We've have to remind them that we were those same people eight years ago who would have making those comments.

Living in another country can change your opinions so much about so many, many different things.

Futebol (or soccer) has happened to be one of them.

Yesterday we had an American bar-b-que for our church family.

We cooked out hamburgers. Bronwyn made onion strings. We had a great time and everyone ate a bunch.

We then had our worship time together.

One of the best things about our worship yesterday was that some of our good friends were there for the first time. Machado, his wife Juliana and their kids Lucas and Lara were there with us. They are the family in the picture above. We met Machado a couple of years ago because he was Garrett's soccer coach. We love these guys and were blessed to have them in our house and in our worship time with us.

We don't get to see them as much as we would like because last year they moved to another city which is about a 30 minute drive from our house.

When we have visitors we always like to share with them what house church "could" look like and what they "could" expect. We say "could" because it can change on any given Sunday. We told them it was really informal and we have a good time when we worship.

We like to share because sometimes people come in with an idea of what it may look like.

Who doesn't do that?

It's normal to be expecting, if you've only ever been to a Catholic church or a Pentecostal church, something that might look like a Catholic worship or Pentecostal worship because that's all you've ever known. Other people that have been here have never really been to a worship type of any kind and the only thing they know is what they've seen on television and, to be honest, that normally doesn't shed a good light on God's family. So we just try to take all their worries and/or preconceived ideas away and let them know it's probably not like any other worship time they've ever been to.

If you want to talk, talk. If you don't, don't. If you want to sing, sing. If not, don't worry about it. If you have questions, ask. If you don't want to do anything except just sit and listen then that's great too. We want them to know that we are just happy that they are with us.

True to form, after letting them know how informal we are, we had to stop a song one time because one by one everyone started laughing. Jorge started laughing and that got Benay laughing and then it just snowballed. We don't have enough other people with strong enough voices to continue singing when 3-4 stop. It's not, obviously, like a family that has Pretty soon everyone was laughing. We stopped, finally quit laughing and Jorge started the song again.

Benay then gave a great lesson on Joseph and his trials.

We then shared the Lord's Supper together as a big family.

As soon as we finished it was game time.

As you can tell by the picture above, on game day it's very common to wear the countries colors. Green and yellow. Adults and kids wear them.

Even little toddlers get into the spirit with Brasilian soccer shoe/socks and borrowed bandanas.

Once the game got started Benay brought out some cookies that she and Bronwyn made. Giovanni didn't move too far from the cookie table.

We had a great time together and Brasil won 3-1.

It was a good day. Tiring but very good.

I love how God can use a soccer game to bring people together in His name.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ.

People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord's primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of the people--the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father.

If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a "doormat."

The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness.

Yes it is like a grain of wheat that "falls into the ground and dies"--it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) from My Utmost for His Highest

Friday, June 18, 2010

Profanities to a six year old Christian.....and Sandra Bullock

Today Benay and I took a short trip to the store.  When we got home Bronwyn told us of the following conversation she had with Anderson.

Anderson: "Would you say the L word is a bad word if you are not a Christian?"
Bronwyn: "What's the L word?"
Anderson: "Love."
Bronwyn: "Oh."
Anderson: "How about patience?  That's a bad word if you're not a Christian."
Bronwyn: "Okay."
Anderson: "And God. God is a super, super bad word if you're not a Christian."

He then got upset about something and said, "Oh my cuss."

Later Bronwyn was letting Anderson help her cook something in the kitchen. I heard the following conversation in the middle of Bronwyn telling Anderson how to help:

Anderson: "Is Sandra Bullock dead?"
Bronwyn: "No."
Anderson: "What about her dad?"
Bronwyn: "I don't know."
Anderson: "What about her mom?"
Bronwyn: "Pay attention Anderson."
Anderson: "What about her brother? What about her sister? What about her cousin?"
Bronwyn: "I have no idea Anderson."

So, in summary:

If you read this blog and aren't a Christian you've now been warned what not to say around our six year old.

Good things for you to know, so watch your mouth.

You have also been informed that Sandra Bullock is not dead.  As far as we know.

We will miss Bronwyn when she goes to college next month because there are days, like today, where she gets the brunt of the Andersonisms.

Trying to take on the Andersonisms by yourself can be a heavy, mind taxing job. It's good to have help.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Food Tour-Part 2

This post is about the second restaurant that we've gone to on Bronwyn's "places I would like to eat before I go to college" tour. Or what is becoming known as "Bronwyn's artery clogging farewell tour 2010."

Not that we are complaining. This was our idea to take Bronwyn to a few places before she goes to college to be able to eat some things she won't be able to get in the states. 

It's artery clogging because Bronwyn's favorite places serve meat.  You see Bronwyn is a big time meat eater. 

This time it's churrasco. Churrasco means bar-b-que. 

For those of you that don't know our state is knows for being meat eaters and expert grillers. Everyone loves churrasco here. 

Anyway, Bronwyn loves churrasco. 

A few years ago a new restaurant opened in our city.  It was a restaurant that served churrasco but made Uruguayan style.  Bronwyn chose this restaurant to visit. We were all happy. 

What are the differences between Brasilian and Uruguayan churrasco's? 

Brasilian churrasco looks like this:

Meat is put on individual swords (espetos) and cooked over an open flame. The only seasoning used is thick rock salt. You put the salt on before, let it cook and then beat the salt off when you take the meat off the grill. It's great. 

It's then served off the sword as small bits are cut off onto your plate. At a real Brasilian churrasco restaurant they just keep coming with the meat until you tell them to stop.

Here is Uruguayan churrasco at the restaurant we go to:

Everything is put on one big grill and cooked over a huge open flame. 

We took Bronwyn a couple of days ago on a day when their steaks are half price. With 8 people in your family you need half-price steak day. 

Here is what it looks like. Unlike Brasilian churrasco this kind is actually brought out on a plate. 

The restaurant was decked out for the World Cup. 

They are cheering for Brasil.....

......and Uruguay. 

Bronwyn had a great time and we are thankful that she is able to visit some of her favorite places before she goes to school next month. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Game Day

Our team played their first game in the World Cup yesterday and our city has become a city of green and yellow.

Flags, balloons, ribbons, t-shirts, car flags, etc.  It's very cool.  

This is our third World Cup experience in Brasil and every time gets better than the previous one. We hope to see our team win their sixth World Cup.  

Below are some pictures of our transformed city.

Gas stations are green and yellow. 
As are the inside of restaurants.

Bakeries? Green and yellow.

Even the schools where our kids attend are transformed. The sign says, "World Cup 2010. Brasil, we are cheering for you."

The kids are even allowed to wear Brasil colors on game day instead of the mandatory school uniform.

You see these on lots of street corners. Street vendors selling Brasil flags and shirts.

Even our house was transformed by lots of people wearing green and yellow.

Freitas and Auristela closed their hardware store (very normal thing to do during a Brasil game) and came to our house to watch the game.

Just to give you an idea, we live on a busy street. Not a major street but we have a lot of traffic on our street as it's used to get to the major streets. During the first 3-4 minutes of the game I noticed two cars that went by our house. It's hard not to notice when a vehicle goes by our house because it can be very loud inside. Those two vehicles were a taxi and a work truck. For the next two hours not one car came by. During Brasil games the city literally turns into a ghost town.

During the game, Anderson had a deal with Freitas that he would jump up and down and hug Freitas first before he did it with anyone else after we scored our first goal. They did.
Giovanni and Carys cheered for Brasil. Carys really is excited. She just thought I was taking a picture instead of shooting video. That's why she has the "hurry up dad" expression on her face.

Maurício's (next to Giovanni) hair cheered for Brasil. It's painted in Brasil's colors if you can't see it.

Would you believe our cupcakes even cheer for Brasil?
We had a great time together with our friends. The next game is Sunday. We are already planning on  moving the time of house church to the afternoon so we can enjoy a time of fellowship, lunch and the Brasil game with our church family.

By the way, we won. It wasn't our best game but a win is a win.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cowboy Family

We've shared before that our state is the Texas of Brasil.

Big meat eaters, people very proud of their state and lots of cowboys (gaúchos).

Two of our kids were born here so they actually are gaúchos. Anderson is extremely proud of the fact that he is a gaúcho.

A few days ago the kids had a couple days off from school.

My wife has always wanted to live in the 1800's.  On our recent trip she got her wish as she got to pretend a little bit and live her fantasy life.

Go here to check it out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dia dos Namorados

Dia dos Namorados.  It means Valentine's Day in Portuguese.

Today is our Valentine's Day.

This is my valentine.

I am blessed.