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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

When we get to heaven I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me," or, "When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me." Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: "you fed me....you visited me in prison....you welcomed me into your home....you clothed me."

Shane Claiborne from The Irresistible Revolution (thanks Mark and Ali)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Small Group

My girlfriend is one of the best Bible teachers I know. I know I'm biased because, well, she's my girlfriend but I've also heard the same comment from many Brasilians and Americans as well.

God has gifted her with an ability to share His Good News in a way that disarms people who come with preconceived notions about the Bible. Her humility is one of the things that I love about her. I love that she doesn't think of herself as someone with a deep understanding of scriptures who also has the ability to share those truths. Her humility naturally draws people to Christ. 

Recently an older Christian man (whom we love very much) in the states said this to my girlfriend, "It's obvious that God has gifted you with a special understanding of His word, why would He give that to you if He didn't want you to use it?"

Even though my wife would never repeat that to anyone and will be embarrassed when she reads it here, those thoughts are my thoughts exactly. 

I share all of that to share the following: Since we moved to Brasil over eight years ago we've always tried to have some kind of Bible study in our house during the week. We've studied specific books and specific subjects. My girlfriend has led every one of those studies. I've been blessed to see lives changed and spiritual lives deepened through those studies. It's always been a blessing and it's always fun. We love to laugh and be goofy. Our studies can easily turn into goofiness. I like that. 

Two weeks ago, we began a new study on Wednesday nights.  It is a study based on Ephesians 4 that helps us think about attitudes that will improve our relationships within our family.  We printed up little invitations and invited lots of people to come.

This past Wednesday night, we had nine people in our house for the study.  You need to know that we aren't number counters. In fact, we hate that so many people seem to define "church" by how many people are at a certain function. I'm not doing that here, but the number part of this story is very encouraging to us.  Why? Because almost half of the people present were visitors - not regular participants in our faith community.  The cool thing was that my girlfriend and I had not invited any of these visitors.  Every one of them came because of someone else in our house church.  Two were invited by our daughter, Ansley, and two by our sister, Ivoli.

You see when you are working with so many new Christians, it is easy to get discouraged.  To always feel like we are the givers, the inviters, the planners and the more mature (stop laughing if you know me) people spiritually. To be honest, sometimes I don't want to lead by example. My selfish nature wants to take over. 

Those things I mentioned aren't always true. Not by a long shot. God has blessed us with some good teammates and Brasilians to walk side by side. Some of those teammates have already moved back to the states and some will be moving back in a couple of months. It's just that it feels that way sometimes. 

There is this feeling of "If we don't do it, it won't get done."  Not really the situation that you want to be in as a missionary.  We want this family that we are a part of to continue on, whether we are here or not.  

Wednesday night reminded me that God is definitely working and we have a group of partners in this ministry. Partners who are getting stronger and stronger in their relationships with Jesus. 

We are all catching a vision of what "real" church is. We are working together to bring heaven to earth one person at a time. 

We could not be happier and can't wait to see what God has planned for our future together. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Painting Buddies

October 12 is Kids Day here in Brasil. It's a big deal and gives everyone a chance to honor kids. It's pretty cool.

Our house church family had a special day together to celebrate. My girlfriend blogged about that day. You can click here to read about it. 

One of the things Benay made for the celebration was sidewalk paint. 

To say Giovanni liked the paint would be an understatement. He grabbed a paintbrush and, along with his friend Rex, went to work. 

They painted bricks.

They painted a tree. 

Giovanni painted Rex.

They painted a step. 

They painted some wire. 

Giovanni painted Rex again. 

They painted our security fence. 

Giovanni even painted his own pants. 
If you need something painted just let us know. These guys work well together.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For Pops

So this morning I'm driving to an appointment that I had after I dropped the kids off at their school.

I was listening to the radio and these two DJ's played a song and couldn't stop talking about how good it was. It was an older song.

You see Brasilians love older American music. Bee Gees (yes the Bee Gees), Beatles, etc.

The song I heard this morning brought back childhood memories as my dad loved (and probably still loves) this group.

So here's your video Pops. Hope the rest of you enjoy the song, the clothes, the hairstyles and the foreign language at the start of the video. I apologize for everything but the song.....it's actually pretty good.

Kitchen Talk

Conversation in our kitchen last night:

Carys: "Mom, is glue bad for you?"
My girlfriend: "What?"
Carys: "Is glue bad for you?"
Me: "You mean to eat?"
Carys: "Yes."
Me: "Why? Did you eat some?"
Carys: "Yes."
My girlfriend: "Why did you eat glue?"
Carys:  "I just put a little on my finger and then I ate it off."
My girlfriend:  "You mean like the school glue?  That kind won't hurt you."
Carys:  "Oh good."

(Now Garrett enters the conversation...)
Garrett:  "Did you know that if you eat glue or deodorant you have to go straight to the hospital?"
My girlfriend: "Where did you learn that?"
Garrett:  "I read it."
My girlfriend: "Where?"
Garrett:  "On the back of my deodorant."

Saying, on the back of the deodorant, that if you eat deodorant you need to go to the hospital makes perfect sense, but can someone explain why they would also add glue?  And isn't it great that Garrett reads his deodorant before he puts it on (before bed)?  Has anyone else ever read the back of deodorant?

We have the best conversations in our house.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Teenage Boy Logic

Yesterday my girlfriend and I took the kids to Oktoberfest (more on that later.....I love Brasil) at our club and had a great time. 

As soon as we got there Garrett peeled off from our group to find his buddies. He found them on the soccer field and, of course, they played a pick up game. They played for over an hour. 

After we got home and I told him he needed to take a shower before he went to bed. 

He told me he would take one in the morning. 

I looked at my girlfriend for a little help and I was met with, "That's what he always does. He takes his showers in the morning."

I told her I knew he took his showers before school in the mornings but that wasn't the point here. 

Getting no help from her I turned back to my son and told him his sheets would stink if he slept in them without taking a shower. 

The 14 year old solution?

"I'll just put on deodorant before I go to bed."

You've got to love teenage boys.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Noggin Thumping

I love it when God just smacks you on the head, or noggin, with something.

I felt that way yesterday after João and Clarice left our house.

The house church that meets in our house is studying Francis Chan's Crazy Love book.

I've shared before that my dad has a ministry (one of many) to me and my girlfriend of finding good books and then sending them to us. He gave us Crazy Love last Christmas.

I read it first and just loved it. Benay then started reading it. We both agreed it would be good to study with the house church that meets here.

Today we studied Chapter 2.

Last night as I read from this chapter I felt God reminding me of what I did not see in João and Clarice. The following comes from chapter 2:

"When I am consumed by my problems--stressed out about my life, my family, and my job--I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.

Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed."

In João and Clarice I saw no worry or stress as they dealt with their upcoming move to a new city or the upcoming birth of their new baby around the same time.

I want to see God move in the lives of all His people in these house churches in our city to not react with worry and stress when problems come. That they can meet these problems head on and even be thankful for them because they know God is still in control. I want to see this more in my life.

Benay chose the following verses to share with everyone this morning as she led us in prayer. These verses just fit perfectly in what we saw in our friends yesterday and how chapter 2 led us in our study this morning.

Philipians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I love it when there is no doubt when God is sharing something with you. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kingdom Mentality

My girlfriend and I had lunch with some of our best friends today. Their names are João and Clarice.

We found out this week that they will be leaving our city in about 6 weeks and moving to another city in Brasil.

We've actually known for 3-4 years that this day was coming. They could have been transferred 3-4 years ago but we believe that God has answered our prayers.  Our friends asked us to ask God to allow them to stay here a little longer. One year became two which became three, etc. which finally brought us to this week. God is good.

They were actually hoping to move back to their home city and had hopes that it would work out. They felt good about the chance to return there.

They found out this week that they will be moving to another city that, honestly, wasn't even in the picture of possible moves.

When Clarice called Benay this week to tell her they would be moving soon Benay asked how she was feeling about everything (she is also eight and a half months pregnant).

She told Benay that she had made a promise to God to be okay with whatever He wanted to do regarding the move. Even though this new city was unexpected and not really what they were hoping for she said she could not be upset after how good God had been to her and her family.

João and Clarice really live the Good News. Today they both had such great peace about what was happening. In the midst of a new baby arriving and the unexpected news of a move to a new city, they both had such peace that only the Holy Spirit could give them.

There is a chance that the person making the decision might change his mind and allow them to go back to their home city but they aren't assuming that will happen.  That move would be a great thing for them. Being back close to their families would be a real blessing, but they aren't wasting anytime worrying about it.

How many reading this would have the same response?

I praise God for our awesome brother and sister in Christ and their examples to our family and everyone they meet. They are such Spirit led people and we are really going to miss their influence here in our city. They have blessed me and my girlfriend in ways that I can't explain here. I feel God put them here for many reasons but one was to help minister to our family as we have dealt with lots of crud.

I ask that you pray for them as they get ready for this new baby and this move.

The kingdom will be grow and their new city will be blessed by their presence.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Family Stuff

Having eight people in one family means there is always lots to do. Something is always going on and someone is usually needing a helping hand with something. Because of this it's good for everyone to learn how to do at least two things at one time.

Like, for example, doing your homework and allowing your little brother to watch an episode of Phineas and Ferb on your ipod at the same time.
We are a talented family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Personal Alarm Clock


I have no idea how you wake up now to go to your classes, to church or whatever.

Is it by alarm clock?  Is it by Asia, Shelby or some other goober screaming in your ear?

Whatever it is it can't beat the personal wake up calls you used to get here.

To help you remember how sweet those 5:30 a.m. wake up calls were I've included the following video from your birthday last year.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One More Birthday

Yesterday Garrett turned 14. 

One of the traditions we do on the blog (if you happen to be new here) is to just have family members share what we think of the person celebrating the birthday. 

Here's what we got for the birthday boy:

Giovanni:  I love "Geh".  I like it when he plays with me.  He does a pretty good job of taking care of me even though he doesn't like to change dirty diapers.

Anderson: He's good at soccer. He's really strong but his muscles are made out of peanuts. He is a sports brother. He's really nice, well, sometimes. And he's a great brother. That's all. 

Carys:  He's crazy and funny.  He's really nice to me (sometimes).  Whenever I want to go to the park and play, he goes with me and when I wrestle with him on the floor, he always takes my side to attack Dad.  He's really cool.

Ansley: Even though we fight a lot I really love him. He is really sweet and generous.

Bronwyn: He's a really sweet guy who always thinks of ways to make other people happy. I love how he tries to make me laugh whenever I talk to him. I miss you Gart!

My girlfriend:  Garrett is very sweet.  He has an honest and sincere heart.  He is a good big brother and he knows what is important in life.  I am very proud of him.

Me: He's a good brother and son and he's fun to be around. He's a great soccer player and does his best to "be Christ" to his friends. He is a natural giver. Money is not his god as he would rather buy presents for his family (with his birthday/Christmas/allowance money) than spend it on himself on some stupid stuff. He's a great example to me, and others, of what a persistent prayer warrior looks like. He's already making a kingdom difference.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Embrace spirituality and grace...run from religion."

Unknown author 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Buddies


You already knew how much your little brother LOVES Lightning McQueen.

He now has two new buddies.

Mom found Toy Story 1 and 2 DVD's on sale last month so we bought them.

Quigs is hooked.

The movies, the Woody doll mom brought back from the states and a Buzz Lightyear car have made him a big fan of Buzz and Woody.

Woody and your brother do everything together. Even take naps.

They're pretty tight. Sometimes they even share clothes.

In Giovanni's language Buzz and Woody have become Buh-Who (one word). Very cute.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Your Team


Thought you might be missing your team so we wanted to share some pictures we took during the Kids Day holiday this week.

Your brothers and sisters got 2 days out of school (lucky.....Napoleon) so we took some of the kids on a mini field trip on Monday. We had a great time.

The following pics were taken just for you.

It's good to be Colorado.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Movie Time


We watched home movies last night for a couple of hours.

Very funny stuff. We had a great time.

We especially enjoyed the ballet recital of Christmas 2003.

Sorry we don't have a picture of that night to add here.

Even though you weren't with us we wanted to thank you for making our night fun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last Night


Yesterday we had a house church kids day activity at our house. Lots of people came and we had a great time.

Garrett and I had planned on leaving at 5:30, even if the activity wasn't completely over (with mom's approval of course), to go watch Inter play. 

He bailed on me at the last minute. I asked Anderson if he wanted to go. At first he didn't and then all his friends left so he decided that he wanted to go.  We left at 6:00 for the 6:30 game. 

That's right. Me and Anderson one on one....no Bronwyn or Garrett buffers during the game. 

You better believe I got some good ones. Here's a sample for you to "matar saudades" from game days with Anderson:

After the juiz made a horrible call Anderson asked, "Is he Japanese?" He told me it would probably already be 1-0 for the other team if the juiz was, in fact, Japanese.  (Let me go ahead and apologize to my friends Shin and Tetsuji who occasionally read this blog from Japan. Don't take it personally.....it's just Anderson's world.)

At the intervalo I asked if he wanted a Pepsi. He said, "Sure........I'm in the mood for some thirsty."

Nei got knocked over, got back up, stole the ball and then made a great pass. Anderson said, "Is Nei tough or what? I think both.......don't you?" 

He asked me a question which ended in "right dad?" Before I could answer he said "right?, right?, right?......" 8 times.

As we were leaving the stadium  he said, "Sheesh I talk alot don't I?" Before I could say a word he continued, "I'm a chatterbox. I'm going to try to not talk until we get to that guy selling hats (about 20 feet away)." We got to the guy and he wanted to go 20 more feet. He made and it and then let out a HUGE sigh of relief. Those 40 feet were murder for him.

And the next one is my favorite from the game and maybe all time favorite in-game question. During the game he looked at me and asked, "Does Falcão have a monkey?" I have no idea.

Here are your highlights. We won and that's impressive because we didn't have Tinga, Sobis, Giuliano, D'Alessandro, Indio or Wilson Mathias. They were all hurt or playing for the seleção Brasileira or Argentina. Also, pay close attention to Daniel Carvalho's hand. We watched it about 3 times. I read today that it wasn't broken but he'll miss the next 2 games. It's a weird injury.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to be a Christ follower."

Shelby Richardson

Friday, October 08, 2010

A New Beginning and an Answered Prayer

Two years ago, our son Garrett went to soccer class twice a week at a field that is pretty far from our house.   Kevin decided to use the driving time to and from to read and talk about the Bible with Garrett.  During one of these talks, they talked about friends that they wanted to see give their lives to Christ.  They each chose one friend that they committed to pray for regularly.  Garrett chose a friend from school, and Kevin chose Freitas, our friend at our neighborhood hardware store.

Wednesday of this week, that prayer was answered.

Freitas has been coming to our house church for a little over a year now.  His wife, Auristela, gave her life to Christ earlier this year.  Kevin has been visiting with Freitas weekly at his hardware store.  He, Auristela and Maurício have become our dear friends.

As Freitas and Kevin talked this week, Freitas confessed that he had a lot of peace about the decision to become a Christian and he didn't know why he was waiting.  Kevin encouraged him not to wait, because we aren't promised tomorrow.   So he decided that day to be baptized.

We filled up our water tank (like a giant rubbermaid container) and set it in the sun to warm.  That night some people from our house church gathered to witness a new beginning and an answered prayer.

This is typical house church style.  Kids playing in the baptistry.  I think by the look on Freitas's face the water wasn't exactly warm.
Maurício helped with the baptism.

Hugs and kisses for everyone afterward.  Auristela....
Even Rex, who didn't want to be left out!
It was an awesome night!

"There is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life."
Luke 15:10

Wednesday, October 06, 2010



Anderson walked with me to the bank today to pay some bills.

Of course he shot out a couple of good ones on the way home.

I bought him a Twix candy bar for being a good helper and going with me. He wanted to buy another one for his new friend (one of the girls from Peru staying with us).

When we were walking home I told him to make sure he put the Twix in the refrigerator when we got home so it wouldn't melt. He said, "No way, I'm eating mine straight."

As we rounded the corner of the praça we ran into a "small" woman. Anderson made a comment that reminded me of Garrett at that age. As we walked right beside her I said hello to her and Anderson asked (in his typical loud Anderson voice), "Dad, is she a midget or is she just old?"

As you know, there are many times when we are thankful that not many people speak English here.

He then decided that she was "half midget and half old lady."

I was so proud.

Seeing her then sparked another thought in his mind.

He said he was glad that I wasn't a midget and that mom didn't marry a midget.

He then talked about mom's "could have been wedding day" with the midget. He thought of how she would kiss him.

He asked if I thought she would have to bend over or just pick him up. Great question.

He decided it would be best if she just picked him up because he said he was worried about her health and he wanted her to take care of her back.

I know you are missing these deep conversations. You know he will have lots more ready for you when you get home.

We may just let you guys (just the two of you) spend a couple of days together in December to let our brains rest.

You could call it quality time for you two.

He is one funny little guy. We aren't sure when the "don't say it out loud" switch will finally flip on in his brain. Maybe never.

I actually think I'd be okay with that.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Election Day


Yesterday was election day.

Ansley (who else?) found the following video that we thought you would like. It's a highlight of some of the best commercials from the country.

Personally, I would have voted for Luciana Costa (you have to love her passion) and Tiririca (you have to love his honesty).

I met with Giu this morning and he told me he read that Tiririca actually got the most votes in São Paulo. I love it. 

Yeda is out. Fogaça didn't even win against her which made Garrett and Anderson sad because they can't sing the Fogaça song anymore although I'm sure Anderson will keep singing it anyway.

We still don't have a new president. Dilma and Serra have a run off in about 4 weeks.

Sorry you couldn't experience the 3 hours daily of free candidate broadcasting on the radio over the last several weeks or the countless pamphlets, bumper stickers and general paper trash given away at red lights.  I know you missed that.

Hope you liked the video.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

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

--François Fénelon, The Seeking Heart

Friday, October 01, 2010

Inter x Corinthians.....for Bronwyn


Me, Garrett and Anderson took Paul to the game with us this past Sunday. We played Corinthians and sat right by their obnoxious fans.

After the game Garrett put it in his top five all time.

In Anderson's words, it was "AWESOME!!"

Below are your melhores momentos. Believe me, it's so worth 10 minutes of your time to watch the whole thing. Things to watch for: D'Alessandro's insane pass to Tinga for the first goal, the crazy thing Nei did at the end of the game (Garrett and I looked at each other, smiled and said "wow" when he did it......crazy but cool) and, of course, Andrezinho.....AGAIN!!

During the game Anderson kept doing this to the Corinthians fans after each of our goals:

I thought it was funny but had to ask Garrett if the hand business was something bad he learned in school from his friends or had seen on tv(you know I still don't know all the curse words and actions). He assured me it was nothing bad. He was yelling hard for Inter (as always) but was also giving it to the Corinthians fans. It was kind of funny.

Andrezinho scored the winning goal on the last play of the game. You can imagine how the place erupted.

Nobody left the stadium for about 15 minutes. Everyone was celebrating and yelling, "Aw, aw, aw....segunda divisão. We loved it!! It was like we won the Libertadores again. You know how deep the hatred is for Corinthians and how the juizes like the tilt it in their favor.

We were standing there celebrating and Garrett said, "I'm not going to but I sure would like to give their fans the middle finger right now."

I laughed and told Paul what Garrett said. Paul's response?  "Even Christians have those feelings sometimes too." Classic and very true.

As we left the stadium, holding hands, Anderson looked at me and said, "It sure is good that we are Colorado's isn't it dad?"

When we got home the boys were still talking about the game and celebrating as we went to the back door. Garrett stopped and looked at me and said, "I sure wish Bronwyn could have been here to see the game with us. I miss me, you and her going to the games together."

Me too Bronwyn. But we had you there in spirit.