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

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Return of Chuck

Remember Chuck? If not, then click here to read about the last time our friend came for a visit.

He stayed with us again a couple of weeks ago.

I don't have any video of his visit this time sharing the quality time he got to spend with my girlfriend but Carys snuck him in again to let them "bond."

We have some "after Chuck time" pictures.
I don't know why she doesn't like him. He always helps her to tap into her emotional side. Last time it was screaming. This time it was screaming and crying.

It's strange because everybody loves Chuck except her.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Chef

My dad doesn't cook. Never has. He's blessed with a great cook for a wife.

I don't cook. Never really have either. I've had my short spells of cooking pancakes for the kids on Saturday mornings, making some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or heating up some frozen pizzas. I had Home Economics in the 9th grade and learned how to cook some stuff but quickly forgot all of it. That's about it for my cooking history. I'm blessed to be married to the best cook I know. Our kids won't ever starve and they have their own favorite recipes that my girlfriend makes.

Garrett has received the "no cooking" gene as well. He doesn't know how to cook anything.

Our kids only go to school for a half day. They start around 7:30 and go until 12:30. Garrett only has three years (including this year) of high school left.

One of the things that I like about their school is that they make the high school students take afternoon classes to get extra "credit" to be able to graduate. They have to do so many hours of after school work before they are allowed to graduate.

So, right now Garrett is taking a science class one day a week.

He's also taking another class.

That's right, it's a cooking class.

He, and all the students, even have a special cooking hat that has to be worn in each class. It's awesome.
 Don't you love it?
Bronwyn sure loved it when she was skyping with him recently.
So far he's made chicken pie and cupcakes.

Feel free to come visit us and try some of chef Garrett's food.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



You got to see our first goal, during Sunday's game, while we were talking with you on skype. We wanted to share the rest of the highlights with you.

We won 2-1 which puts us in the final (of the second part of the Gauchão) against gremio. If we win Sunday then we play them two more times (first game at Beira-Rio and the second game at the chiqueiro) for the outright championship.

Also, if we both win our next round games (we are in the mata-mata part now) of the Libertadores we will play each other. So we could have five Gre-Nais in the next month. Should be fun but, if it happens, I think we'll turn off our tv and radio so we don't get sick of only hearing about these games.

But if they beat us on Sunday and one of us doesn't pass the next round of the Libertadores then we will only have one Gre-Nal. Of course everyone here is assuming there will be five. We'll see.

If it happens then you should be home in time to see a couple of them. That would be fun.

Anyway, here are your melhores momentos from Sunday's game. All three goals were awesome, especially what Damião did to set up Tinga's goal.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Battle Scar

There is a certain college student in the United States who mentioned to me and my girlfriend last week that we weren't posting enough blogs for her. She wants more blogs to keep up with what is going on here with her family.

The same day she mentioned this to us there was a certain seven year old in our house who instructed me to, "Take pictures of it and do a blog about that."

What was the "it" he was talking about?


We (me and all the kids) were having a nice wrestling match on Ansley's bed. Me and Anderson versus Ansley, Garrett and Carys. Anderson and I were winning of course.

In the wildness Carys accidently pushed Anderson into the old mini book shelf by the side of the bed.

It made a nice little cut/scrape.

You know Anderson hit the roof with his dramatics but, after a couple of minutes, we got him to calm down. We put some ice on him and I told him how cool it was to have a battle scar. He smiled a little bit when he thought about it and then asked me to take some pictures and put it on the blog.

I asked him for his warrior pose and here's what he came up with .

Mom then put some medicine on him, but he didn't want the couch to touch his hurt spot. He also didn't want a normal fitting shirt touching his spot. He wanted a big shirt so it could be loose. This is the shirt he came up with (complete with sympathy face).

You wanted more blog posts, you got them Bonni.

Be careful what you ask for.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another Birthday

February through April are our main birthday months. Five of our eight family birthdays fall in these months.

Today we celebrate the last birthday for a while.

It's Ansley's turn. She is now of legal age, in Brasil, to drive a car and to purchase alcoholic beverages, so this afternoon we are going to let her drive our car to go get the beer for her birthday party. (Come on, it's a joke.)

You guys know the deal on birthdays so here we go:

Giovanni: "I love to play with Ansley and I love to play "Teacher Mary" (a teaching puppet Ansley uses in her job). I'm really going to miss Ansley when she goes to Ecuador."

Anderson: "She's one of my favorite sisters. I love her. She's really funny. She's really fun. She makes really, really, really good food."

Carys: "She's a really good, funny, silly, weird and dorkyish sister and I love her very much."

Garrett: "I love her." (deep teenage boy response)

Bronwyn: "Ansley is so sweet to everyone and everyone loves her. She's my best friend. I miss you, Ans!"

Girlfriend: "Who can turn the world on with her smile?  Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"  (I realize I'm showing my age here, but a lot of you will get it.)  Ansley has so many talents and a contagious personality.  She is so much fun to be around and I know that God will use her in so many ways to bless the world.  I love you Ansley.   PS  She can also make me laugh more than anyone!

Me: "She's funny. Really funny. I love how it takes her all of two seconds to make my girlfriend laugh. It can be about anything and my girlfriend is, literally, crying. She's a great big sister and baby sitter of her little brothers and sisters. When she wants to entertain them it's like show time. They would rather be entertained by her than by any movie or show. I love watching her begin to really tap into the gifts that God has given her. I love that even though she thinks that her friends don't see any difference in her life I know that she is making an impact on them for God's kingdom by the way she is a light for Him.  She stands out for God but not in a "Pharisee type...look at me" kind of way. She leads by example. I love that she is going to live in Ecuador in a few months to grow God's kingdom there. I love that she isn't afraid to let God stretch her and take her out of her comfort zones. I love that God has given me this tough, stubborn, fun, funny young woman of God and I love that I get to see how she is maturing and growing and growing His kingdom.

We love you Ans!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Answered Prayer

Some of you receive our monthly newsletter. If you do then you already know about the prayer request I'm going to share. 

If you don't then you need to know that our family and a big group of people have been praying over the last few weeks for four specific things.

God answered three of those in one month. They were serious things (possible divorce, child in hospital and recovering alcoholic drinking again). Serious things. God worked in all of those in a short time and lives were, literally, changed and saved because of so many people praying for them. 

The fourth prayer request was for our family to find a new place to live. 

We have lived in a house over the last two years that belongs to the Baptist Mission. 

Over the years we've made lots of close friends with the Baptist missionaries. We've shared birthday parties, coffee, meals, games, etc. with them. God has been very faithful in blessing us with a big family. We've known someone from the Baptist mission from the very first month we lived here. 

Two years ago our friend, Cam, approached us about living in one of their houses to take care of it until the next missionary family moved here. 

We've lived here for almost two years now. The best thing is they asked us to live here rent free. They have actually paid the utilities as well. They wanted someone to live in this house to take care of it and to keep it safe. An empty house in our city is an open invitation for vandalism. 

We've been incredibly blessed to live here. It really has been God thing that put us here. We've made some really good friends in this neighborhood and it's been a blessing to us. But we've always known it was a temporary deal. 

Honestly, I'm not sure we could have been able to stay in Brasil over the last two years if it wasn't for the generosity of the Baptist Mission. The value of the dollar is horrible and inflation is just as bad. I'm not sure we could've survived, financially, without this set up. This house has been a huge blessing. 

Anyway, we were recently told that we needed to be out of this house by the 15th of June. 

A few weeks ago we began searching for a new place to live. That's not an easy thing in our city. 

I confess that I've woken up very early on more than one occasion over the last few days feeling anxious about finding a place that is in a safe place and doesn't cost a fortune. I don't know what you know about Brasil but our city is super expensive.  Super expensive. We've seen reports that say our city is the most expensive city in Brasil to live in. We compare the cost of living in our city to a major city in the states. 

We believe God did a miracle yesterday. He has definitely, again, grown our faith and I again feel like the man in Luke 9 when he said, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt."

My girlfriend wrote a blog today about the process that led us to a new place. You need to click here to read about how God worked to lead us to the perfect place for our family.  Your faith may grow by reading how He worked in our lives. 

Moving day in 6-8 weeks. We HATE moving days but today those words have a good taste to them. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Futebol Sunday

This blog is about soccer. Everyone is welcome to read it but it's mainly for Bronwyn and anyone else who cares about soccer....and our sons. We know some people really hate soccer so you've been warned. 

Yesterday was futebol (soccer) Sunday for our family.

First we had an awesome house church with our Brasilian family. Right after that we had to take two boys to two different games.

Anderson had the first game. His team got beat 2-0. He actually plays futsal which is soccer played inside a gym on a court that looks like it's for basketball (same dimensions, hardwood, etc. but it's for soccer). Smaller kids start off playing futsal because it helps with their skill and ball control and really prepares them to move, as they get older, to the soccer field.

Anderson had three great shots on goal but just missed on all three. Hit the post on one of them. He was disappointed but he played great.

His pre-game warmup is worth the price of admission. I'll try to film it next time to share. Knowing Anderson you can imagine what his warm-ups might look like.

Before we left for the game he made a sign with his name on it. He encouraged us to raise up the sign and yell for him whenever he did something good. We did and he loved it.
He got a medal. He was in heaven.
Garrett had a game in another city. He took the team bus so we only heard his report of what happened.  It works out better for him like that. Ever since he was a small kid he's always preferred that we stay away from his games. He's told us that he's worried that our big family might yell loudly and embarrass him.  Like we would really do something like that. Very offensive.

His team also got beat 2-0. They played against Inter (our favorite team) school.  He played against guys that were 2  years older than him. When he called after the game he was frustrated because the guys were so much bigger than his team.

Garrett is one of the starting attackers (forward) and so he was constantly going up against these great big defenders. He said they were really shoving him around. It didn't help that he was recovering from a fever over the weekend and said he felt weak. He complained before the game, before he even knew that he was going to be playing older guys, that his legs felt dead. Not a great way to start a game. But after the game he said he didn't think it would've mattered if he had been at full strength because these guys were just so big. The worst part he said was they would just hang all over him and then burp in his face and blow on him. We laughed, he didn't.

We assured him that playing against great big guys like he did would only make him better when it came time to play against guys his own age. And 2-0 is not a horrible score. Of course he didn't agree but he took everything in stride (as is his nature) after the game. He never gets too bent out of shape with stuff like that.

Anderson and I ended our day with a game at Beiro Rio.

We have a friend (our mechanic) who has given us a free ticket to every Inter game this year. Kids under 12 always get in free so Anderson and I have been taken in as many free games as possible. You can't beat seeing your favorite team play for free.

Yesterday started off 2-0 against our team and we began to think it would be a day of 2-0 defeats. Canoas did those two goals in about 16 minutes. It didn't look good for us. We were playing terrible. Anderson then informed me that he thought it could still be 3-2 or 4-2 in our favor by halftime. I agreed on the outside but on the inside I knew he was nuts.

It was 4-2 at halftime. I won't doubt Anderson again.

We ended up winning 6-2.

We had a great time.

Here are your highlights.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied."

Richard Foster

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

You've Been Warned

Conversation in our car on the way home from school this week:

Anderson: "Hey dad, could drive in just your underwear if you wanted to?"
Me: "Sure, if you wanted to."
Anderson: "And it's not against the law?"
Me: "No. I don't think so."
Anderson: "SWEET!! I am SO driving in just my underwear when I grow up!"

Monday, April 04, 2011

Birthday Mooch

We had a great day with Anderson yesterday on his birthday.

I might share more later with a video for Bronwyn but for now I'm going to mooch off my girlfriend's blog in what she shared about the day. 

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Hard to believe but Anderson turned seven today.

You know the deal.

Giovanni:  I call Anderson "Mano", which is a nickname for "brother" in portuguese.  He is my best buddy and I love to play with him and hug him.

Carys: "He's my number one A-man. He's funny and I wouldn't trade him for anything or anyone in the world."

Garrett: "He's funny and awesome and I love playing soccer with him. I hope he has an awesome birthday."

Ansley: "He is my creative imaginative silly buddy around the house! We always have fun together. Now we have 30 days of being SEVEN and SEVENteen... yes!!!"

Bronwyn: "He's so funny. I can't even remember what we did for fun before he came. I love you and miss you so much Anderson!"

Girlfriend: "I love spending time with Anderson.  He is so funny and so much fun.  He always makes me smile.  I love you a bunch, Anderson!!"

Me: "I've never met a kid who talks as much as he does. Never. And it's not just the amount of words, it's funny words. Hilarious words and thoughts. He cracks us all up all the time. I know soon he will need to filter (okay he already does) some of those thoughts but his mind is a very funny place. I am so thankful that this filterless little boy is part of our family."

A few pictures that help describe what it's like living in his world.

We love this little guy!!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Friday, April 01, 2011

Family Trip-Pyramid in Brasil


I don't know if you remember much about your visit to Tatuí in 2003 but in this town of 100,000 people there is a pyramid. 

There was a couple who lived there who had lots of money. One of them got sick (Ramilo couldn't remember which one) and someone told them if they built a pyramid and faced it north it would help the sick person. 

Facing north somehow brought in healing spirits. 

So what do you do if you have lots of money, little or no faith in God's healing power and someone tells you that building a pyramid and facing it north will heal your spouse? You build a pyramid and face it north of course.
It didn't work. The sick spouse died and the living one then built a big house across the street from the pyramid.

Not sure who lives in the pyramid now but just thought we'd refresh your memory about the only pyramid that we know of that exists in Brasil.