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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This past Sunday we had a special time in our house church.

We actually had 3 house churches together to be with João and Clarice and their boys one last time before they move to Brasilia.

People shared from their hearts what João and Clarice meant to them. João and Clarice shared. People cried and hugged and prayed with them one last time.

I've shared before but I can't tell you what this family has meant to our family.

Our teammate Matt led a strong prayer to close our time together. He prayed for their new baby Levi. He prayed for each family member and their upcoming move. He thanked God for how He used them here and how He will use them in their new city.

We will miss them but it was a happy time.

In sharing from her heart, my girlfriend brought in a big spool of yarn. She showed everyone about an inch of it and said, "This is our life on earth." She then showed the rest of the yarn and said, "This is eternity. Even if we never see João and Clarice again on earth, we get to spend eternity with them."

Very cool and very true.

God was with us on Sunday and we were all blessed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And it Begins

For the past 5-6 years my girlfriend and I have been kicking around an idea.

There really aren't good American sweets here. No good cookies, cupcakes, cakes, brownies, cinammon rolls, etc. Brasilians are now attempting those things in our city but they just aren't the same and most aren't that good.

My girlfriend is the best cook I know. I'm not biased, just honest.

Ever since we moved here, Brasilians have gone crazy when they taste all her food. They really love the sweets that she makes.

About 5 years ago we met with some friends of ours from São Paulo. We spent some time talking about opening up a cookie company together. They came to our city and we looked at locations to rent, met with the manager of a hotel in town about supplying cookies to them and their other hotels around the country and spent some time talking with another Brasilian couple about being a part of this idea.

It sounded good then but we just didn't have peace in our hearts to start something at that time. One thing God has shared with us over the years is that if we don't both have peace then it isn't from Him and we shouldn't move forward.

We didn't and we didn't move forward.

But the idea never left our minds. Our kids talked about it alot and we talked about it frequently as well.

Recently we've felt God's peace to try to start something.

My girlfriend has done a good job of sharing about this process. You can click here and then click here to read what she shared.

We literally spent all day Saturday and Sunday getting ready for this week. We are tired but excited about what God may do through this company.

Here is a picture of half of what we made this weekend:
Like I said, it was pretty tiring for everyone involved.

We are excited because we can see some possibilities with this idea.

We see so many opportunities to grow and strengthen God's kingdom through this company. From meeting lots of new people, meeting people who don't (and do) know Jesus, to maybe providing jobs to our brothers and sisters in Christ to maybe one day having a place that people can come and meet together.

We are also okay if we only earn enough money every year to fly our kids back from college when they want to come home.

We are even okay if this entire idea flops and we make no money and it doesn't last for more than 6 months.

It's God's to do what He wants with it and we are okay with that.

Benay and our sister Leni will spend the next four days (9-6:30) selling our products at the first Christmas bazaar.

I just went to visit them and took this picture.
They told me a man showed up and asked them if they had a cookie distributor? He wants to sell them to two suburb/cities just outside of our city. Benay laughed and told him it was "literally" our first day in business. Who knows where that will go but it's already been an interesting day for them.

Please pray for them to be Christ to everyone they come in contact with over these next few days.

And please pray for us and this new company. Not for us to be millionaires but for us to be faithful to everything God is asking us to do.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am convinced that Jesus came not just to prepare us to die but to teach us how to live. Otherwise, much of Jesus' wisdom would prove quite unnecessary for the afterlife. After all, how hard could it be to love our enemies in heaven?

Shane Claiborne

Thursday, November 25, 2010


My girlfriend is doing a Turkey Day play by play (everything she/our family is doing today) on her blog.

If you want to check out how we do things on this American holiday, while living in Brasil, then just click here. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mark and Ali

Some of our most favorite people in the world are Mark and Ali. You can type in their names at the top left part of this page if you want to read our past posts about them.

They live in the state of São Paulo in a city called Itu.

We met them about three years ago and immediately fell in love with them.

They've come to our house a couple of times. Bronwyn and Ansley stayed with them earlier this year when they took the ACT. We've talked about taking vacations together.

We love them because they are fun, really fun, to be around. We love them because they understand being the church instead of playing the church. We love them because they go about God's business in a humble, loving way. We love the way they treat everyone. No judgments or skepticism. We love them because they do exactly what the Spirit tells them to do. We love them because they love those that no one else loves.

It's one thing to say you are a Christ follower. It's another to be Christ to everyone.

Mark and Ali show and are Christ to everyone they meet, especially in their city.

Ali recently wrote a paper for a class she is taking and Mark decided to share it on their blog.

You need to click here to read it.

You will be blessed and, hopefully, moved in your heart to be radical for Jesus.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

House Guest

When Bronwyn went to Rwanda earlier this year she met a young woman named Natalie.

I don't have time to tell her whole story, but Natalie has been traveling the world over the last few months. She's been doing mission work as well as just traveling.

She was doing mission work in Africa when she met Bronwyn.

She is now on the South American leg of her journey.

She arrived here yesterday.

She had a welcoming group waiting for her.

And today we took her to a churrascaria where she "enjoyed" her first experience with grilled chicken hearts.

She'll be with us until Friday and then she's off to Rio.

Please pray for her and her safety as she continues to work her way back to the United States where she will start a new job in January.

Also pray for her that she can handle three more days of Andersonism's. He, and his talking, get even more ramped up when visitors come to our house.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New House.....New Life?

Our family arrived here in June of 2002.

About a month after we arrived, and after much searching throughout the city, we bought a car.

We bought a used car called a Zafira. It was a Chevrolet and it had 7 seats (for those that don't know we came here with 4 kids and we thought we were done......or as the Brasilians say, "We thought we had closed the factory.") It also had trunk space that was about 8 inches wide. I'm not kidding.

I found this picture on the internet. Our car was a different color but it looked like this:
We thought we were being good stewards of God's money by buying a used car but that car was quite possibly the worst car we've ever owned. Towards the end of life with this car our mechanic (who was making a lot of money off our family) even told us to get rid of it. It was that bad but this post isn't about our abacaxi. (Abacaxi is a Brasilian word for pineapple which they use for a piece of junk car.)

When we were finalizing our used car purchase from the Chevy dealer they told us they had on site insurance and asked if we wanted to just do an insurance policy then. We said sure.

That is when God brought one of my best friends into my life. His name is André and we have many things in common.

We were born within 2 months of each other. Our two oldest kids are more or less the same age. We had surprise babies years after we thought the factory was closed. We aren't from Porto Alegre (he's from Rio). We also married up.

He and I have spent time together playing soccer, going to soccer games, eating lunch together, laughing together, taking our families to the beach together, goofing on each other as well as having serious conversations about eternity.

He's always treated me, as a client, with respect and done everything he's said he was going to do. He's gone out of his way, many times, to take care of us when there was an insurance need. One call and he takes care of the whole thing.

He called me after we had had the car for one year. He was letting me know that he had started his own company and asked if I wanted to continue with him as our agent or stay with the Chevy place. I told him I preferred to stay with him. I honestly had forgotten that it was time to renew (the Chevy place had sent me nothing) and was thankful for his persistence. I was super thankful 5 days later when I was involved in a car accident. I would not have had coverage if it weren't for my friend. He's been a real blessing to our family.

I was raised that if someone treats you right, is honest and works hard for your business then you remain a loyal client even if that person might have prices that are a little bit higher than the competition. I honestly don't like it when people only see saving money as the most important thing, instead of being loyal to a friend and his business.

Okay, you get the point. He's my good friend.

Last summer he told me he bought some land to build a house. He wanted us to go and look at some lots in his neighborhood. He wanted us to buy one so that we could be neighbors. We went, and even started the process of buying a lot but the more we prayed the more it just didn't feel like God was leading us there right now.

I told André and he completely understood.

From time to time over the last 10 months he's taken me out to look at the progress of his house.

He hasn't owned a house since he moved to POA and he was super excited.

He finally moved in about a month ago and they invited our family out last week to see the finished product and to eat a meal with them.

We went and had a great time. Here they are. From left to right it's André, his daughter Caroline (over his shoulder), his wife Luiza, their boys Lucas and Mateus and André's mom.

We are so happy for these guys. You could not ask for better friends.

I ask that you pray for these guys to give their lives to Christ. About 3 years ago André told me he was ready to give his life to Christ but he wanted to wait one month for his wife to return from the beach (it's not uncommon to leave the city for the summer to stay at the beach).  He wanted to wait for her to get home so that she could be a part of his baptism.

After that conversation with me he never came back to our bible studies, he never participated in house church and he never talked about it again.

I was crushed for a while. Honestly we are used to hearing many no's. It's always tough but so much more so when it's a close friend.

One of the things I tell my friends is that the decision to follow Christ is theirs. It can't be mine and they can't do it to please me. I also tell them that even if they don't want to be a Christ follower it won't affect our friendship. I will always be their friend. Because André and I have remained such good buddies God has recently reopened a door for me to really shared from my heart about  how I want to be with him and his family forever in heaven. He's been receptive and he wants to talk more.

Please pray for this family that we love so much.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Even if there were no heaven and there were no hell, would you still follow Jesus? Would you follow him for the life, joy, and fulfillment he gives you right now?

Tony Campolo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back Home

This morning at 6:30 Anderson went with me to pick Ansley up at the airport.

She had a great time in Peru and is already wanting to go back.

More details and photos later.

Thanks for your prayers for her safety.

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Years Later-Part 2

There are four guys in our house church family that like to run.

My brothers Sergio, Matt, João Spencer and myself. I shared a little bit about our running history on one of our old blogs. Click here if you want to read about that (Part 1). 

Last week we ran one last time together. It was a revezamento (or relay team) of a full marathon. That meant we each ran a little more than 10.5 km. 

We didn't win but we did okay. We never really worry much about our time. We always get in a little circle and pray before every race (we do that whether it's 2 of us or all 4 in a race). We always pray to have fun, to be safe and to run to give God the glory. 

I mentioned one last time because João and his family are moving from our city next month and Matt and his wife are moving to the states in January. 

I'm really going to miss those guys. At our last celebration they both talked about their families leaving. It was kind of emotional. While Matt was talking, Benay leaned over to me and said, "I'm going to cry when Matt leaves." We feel that way about both families. 

It's going to be weird without them here. They've been a big part of our lives but it's like João said that celebration Sunday, "It's time for God to open up a new chapter in our lives and for the life of this church family as He sends us to a new city to do His work and as He keeps bringing new people in like Freitas to do His work here in POA." I could not of said it better. 

I feel blessed that our running group got together one last time. In this photo (if you've never met my brothers), going left to right, Sergio is in the blue shirt with João next to him and Matt on the end. 

God has really used these men to bless my life in so many different ways. I know I am a more spiritual person because of my time with them. 

Please remember Matt and João and their families in your prayers as they begin God's work in other cities. And please pray for us and for Sergio as we continue His work here in our city. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Special Delivery

It's always fun for us to get a package from someone, anyone really, in the United States.

Yesterday we got one from Bronwyn. Between studying hard, hanging with her friends and doing the whole college freshman thing she went out and made a special gift box for her family.

The kids, as usual, had a ball tearing into it.
 The bigger kids tagged the chocolate products.
Giovanni tagged the candy corn.......
.......while his brother just smiled as he read and reread your hand written note.
Mom was even excited about the box. In her own special way.
.....and my teeth are already a purplish/blueish color from all the blueberries.

Thanks Bronwyn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No victory but Andersonisms

Sunday I took Anderson to the Inter game. Ansley, as we mentioned yesterday, is in Peru and Garrett had to study for a test so it was just me and the chatterbox (Anderson's description of himself).

Most of what I share today (players names, etc.) only Bronwyn and Ansley will get and appreciate. I apologize to the rest of you.

I've been taking the kids to Inter games for 8 years and I can probably count on two hands the times we've been beaten. We are super tough at home.

Sunday was the worst game we've ever seen Inter play. At least the first half. We've never been to a game where every player was terrible. That was our first half.

We played Avai who are in the Z-4. What that means is they are awful. They are on the verge of going to the second division next year. The bottom 4 teams in the 1st division go to the 2nd division to play for the next year while the top 4 teams in the 2nd division go up to the 1st division. 4 teams switch leagues every year. Imagine the Yankees having a bad year one year and being sent down the next year to play the entire year in triple A. Inter has never gone down to the second division (sorry Grace).

On Sunday, we played a team who is on the verge of going down to the lower league next year.

They quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead. That meant a little disinterest in the game from Anderson which meant some Andersonisms. A few of the ones I remember:

Anderson: "Is Messi taller than Sobis?"
Me: "No. Messi is a little guy."
Anderson: "Is he a midget?"
Me: "No. He's just small."
Anderson: "Half-midget?"
Me: "No."
Anderson: "So he's just a shrimp."

Anderson: "Guiliano is stinking!! He's like Edu now."
Me: "No way he's like Edu now. He's way better than Edu."
Anderson: "Okay but he's definitely a half-Edu!"

Anderson: "Boy, that kid (guy around his age sitting right in front of us) is the luckiest kid in the world!"
Me: "Why? Because he is eating some Doritos?"
Anderson: "Of course.......he is so lucky!!"

Anderson: "I wish I were more of a boy."
Me: "What do you mean?  You are a boy."
Anderson: "I have no idea."

We were sitting in the social superior in the shade. The wind was blowing like crazy and we just had shorts and our jerseys on. He sat in my lap to keep warm. This led to this conversation:

Anderson: "Why are you not as cold as me?"
Me: "I am a little cold but I've got this fur on my arms and legs to keep me warmer."
Anderson: (about 5 minutes later and completely serious) "So do you hibernate?"

At halftime Garrett called me to find out why we were playing so bad. He's already worried about the Mundial. As I was talking to him Anderson started talking to two men, a woman and the Doritos boy in front of us. One of the men told him that Alecsandro was going to make 3 goals in the second half and we would win 3-2. Anderson told him that Damião was going to come in and make 3 goals.

At halftime Roth put in Damião and took out Alecsandro. Anderson tapped one of the guys on the shoulder and said, "I told you he was going to come in." They said, "You were right. Now let's hope he does 3 like you said."

About nine minutes into the second half guess who scored? Damião.

These guys (in typical Brasilian stranger fashion) immediately turned around and started hugging and high fiving Anderson. Anderson talked with them for the rest of the game.

Even though we lost, we had a great time.

Bonni and Ansley I include the highlights of the goals for you (as well as anyone else who cares.....Chris, Bretton, Pops, and our other Inter fans). They are painful to watch and I only include them so that you can see the first goal of Avai. They scored in 16 seconds. Garrett told me at halftime that it was the fastest goal scored in the Brasileirão. It really is a sweet goal. Every pass was just perfect. Sobis also had a sweet goal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Ansley made it safely to Lima. Thank you for your prayers.

The first couple of days were rough for her. She was tired from the trip, and was already worn down, before she went, by lots of studying for her SAT test.

She got to Peru and didn't feel well for a couple of days but she's much better now.

We don't have much internet access with her. After a couple of days though she was finally able to get online and we were able to skype each other.

She's staying busy.

The only pictures we have so far are ones that the school sent us.

This, I assume, is the Brasilian class being introduced.

This is a meeting, I think, between our kids and the kids that came here last month.

And this is one of Ansley lighting a candle. We have no idea. Maybe symbolizing the partnership between the two schools?

Anyway, she's been to a zoo and she's going to a water park. So it's not just hanging out at school.

She is scheduled to come home on Saturday morning around 5:00.

Maybe we can talk her into doing a blog when she comes back.

Thanks again for the prayers for her safety.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This past week someone from another house church called my girlfriend and asked if there was anyway for us to loan them money to pay some bills. They needed a temporary loan. They are due to receive some money in the next month but don't have enough right now to pay those bills. They asked if we could loan them the money and then they would pay back half in December and half in January.

In the past, my girlfriend and I have always tried to help in a situation like this. We wanted to help this time but we also felt it was a great situation to let our house church help as well.

We brought this up during our midweek bible study and we asked everyone to pray about it and decided that yesterday's tithe would go to this family. Since this family asked for a loan and wanted to pay it back we also decided that we would save this money, after it's repaid, to add on to future tithes so that we would be ready to help when the next need arises.

You need to know that people in our house church aren't wealthy people. Some don't have jobs, some have just started new jobs, some have debt and all of us have monthly financial struggles.

The amount needed to help this family was more (by alot) than this house church family has ever given on any given Sunday.

What happened?

The entire amount was met for this family.

To me, it was nothing short of a miracle.

This house church family gave so sacrificially. It was an amazing thing to be a part of.

My girlfriend called this couple last night to tell them the good news about them being able to pay their bills. She also took a teaching opportunity to let them know that it wasn't the American's that did everything. It was their Brasilian family that took care of their need.

I know the Bible speaks against being proud but I must confess how proud I am to be a part of this house church family.

It's such a blessing to be a part of this group.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It is easy to fall in love with the great things, whether we are revolutionaries or church-growth tacticians. But we must never simply fall in love with our vision of our five-year plan. We must never fall in love with "the revolution" or "the movement." We can easily become so driven by our vision for church growth, community, or social justice that we forget the little things, like caring for those around us. An older charismatic woman told me, "if the devil can't steal your soul, he'll just keep you busy doing meaningless church work."

Shane Claiborne from The Irresistible Revolution

Friday, November 12, 2010

Election Update

Remember our recent Brasilian elections when we posted a video showing our "favorite" candidate commercials?

If so, do you remember our buddy Tiririca?

If not then click here, start the video and go to the 54th second to see him. Then go back, just for fun, and watch the entire video. You don't have to understand Portuguese to appreciate some of our candidates.

Tiririca's real name is Franciso Everardo Oliveira Silva and he is a comedian and a singer. Last month he ran for senator. 

In the video he asks, "What does a senator do? Actually I don't know. But vote for me and I'll tell you."

I loved it and apparently so did many Brasilians. He won.

Now there is a possible problem. Go here to read.

I personally am pulling for this guy. I'm tired of professional politicians and I loved his honesty. Of course being able to read and write is probably a good thing for a senator to know how to do. But I honestly sometimes wonder how many in Washington, D.C. actually know how to do those things.

Anyway, as we hear more about Tiririca we will let you know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travel Prayers

One of the great things about our kids going to school in Brazil is that they have the opportunity to be fluent in other languages.  Portuguese, obviously, but Ansley and Bronwyn also learned Spanish, and the three younger ones are learning German.

Ansley's Spanish class sponsors an exchange student trip every year.  This year, they exchanged with a school in Lima, Peru.

Last month, these two girls - Katia and Pamela - stayed with our family for about two weeks.

This morning Ansley left Porto Alegre to spend 9 days in Lima.  She left really early and was full of nervous excitement.  We know she will have fun and it will be a great experience for her.

We ask for your prayers for her and her entire group. That God would keep them safe during all their travels and bring them back safely next Saturday.
Ansley, have fun.....we will really miss you.....remember, Mom wants an e-mail everyday!
We love you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In case you forgot, this is soccer week here on this blog and these posts are mostly for Bronwyn as well as any other person who has lived in our city or those who have said they actually enjoy the soccer blogs. Contrary to what my girlfriend believes there are people that exist outside of Brasil that like soccer. Just last week I heard from an American brother who said he LOVED hearing about Inter and he wanted to make sure my girlfriend knew it (Thanks Bretton....nice job).

All that being said, today I'm going to share one of my favorite things about Brasil. It's not a video of a game or pictures of our favorite players but it's a big part of our soccer nontheless.

I've shared before that our state is the Texas of Brasil. Gaúcho's (what people are called from our state) are super proud of our state. It's hard to explain that in a way that anyone outside of Brasil can really understand. So I've decided to share it in a couple of videos that I took during the final of the recent Libertadores.

The Libertadores, in case you forgot or are wondering, is the biggest soccer tournament in all of South America. The winner of it each year gets to go to the World Championship in December.

Our team, Inter, won it again (sorry Grace) in August. In a month we will be in Abu Dhabi to try to win our second World Championship. Garrett, our friend Alexandre (Auristela's brother) and I went to the final in August here in Porto Alegre. Alexandre actually flew in from another state the day of the game just to see our team.

This first video is the national anthem (or Hino) of Brasil. Listen to the sound and the passion:

This next one is the anthem of our state:

I know it's hard to tell a difference in things at times when you watch a video compared to when you are actually there but the difference between the two videos (in sound and passion) is easily heard.

I love it. In big games the singing of our state anthem drowns out everything else.

I especially love watching the end of the second video and seeing Alexandre's passion as he sings.

I told you the Brasilian Texans are a proud bunch.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Soccer Week-Day 2

Anderson had his first ever soccer championship a couple of weeks ago.

Two different soccer schools got together to play a futsal (indoor soccer) championship.

Seven teams played all morning.

What does a normally super excited (with just normal day to day life) kid do right before his first ever game? He does this:

Two words: Nervous energy.

He played five games and in every game he played better than the one before.

In this picture he kicked so hard it only came out as a blur. It was either that or the lighting was bad inside the gym.

He didn't know any of the guys on the team but by the last games he was having a great time with his new "best friends." You can see his happiness in this picture.

He even hugged the guys, in typical Anderson fashion, after his last game.

In the last game he made a great steal and pass to a teammate. The teammate scored. They won 2-1 and finished in 5th place instead of last place. He was super excited.

He had a great time.

At the end they were presented with medals by one of their parents. You know he loved that.

He ended his "championship" day by posing for photos.

He had an "AWESOME" day.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Soccer Week-Day 1

There is a soccer freak that we are related to who lives in a small town in Texas. Obviously, living in Texas, she doesn't get to see much or hear about professional soccer in Brasil. I promised her that I would do a soccer week just for her.

If you enjoy soccer you might enjoy some of the stuff we share this week. If you hate soccer, you probably won't want to come back to this blog for the next few days. It's okay, we aren't offended.

On the first two days of soccer week we will share some pictures and videos of two of the best soccer players in our city. Later we will share about the best soccer team in the world.

First up is a future college and/or pro star. He currently plays for the São Jose futebol clube.

Okay, it's Garrett and here are some photos of his most recent championship that was played on Kids Day.

They got to play at São Jose's professional stadium. As you can see the place was packed.

Seriously the side we were on was more than half full of parents, etc.

Typical pre-game photo. Can you find Garrett?

Then it was game time.

Garrett started and played every game at atacante.

Here was his best chance at a goal.

He was stinking mad that he missed.

In the semi-final game they won 2-1 with the winning goal coming on the awesome assist of your brother. Here's what that goal looked like.

Past the zagueiro.....

Past the goleiro.....
 Perfect pass to the atacante for the goal.

They played great. They made it to the championship game and got beat 1-0.

He, of course, was discouraged that they didn't win and he thought he didn't play well. He did play good in every game despite fighting through cramps. He even got treated by the preparador fisico who told him to try to burp or, uh, to burp out the other end to make his cramps go away.

During the championship game I took Giovanni for a walk at an empty part of the stadium. I told your mom to take some good pictures of Garrett.

Here are the only two that she took:

Notice anything funny?

They aren't Garrett at all. At least the two she took were of the same kid.

Thought you might enjoy that.

(from Benay.....Hey!! In my defense, you know my eyes are horrible and the sun was really bright AND this guy had the same hair as Garrett and the same socks pushed down.  The only difference was the yellow shoes....and that it wasn't Garrett.  Oh, well.....)