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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

And He keeps on rolling.....

The other day I shared how we've been blessed to be a part of some amazing things that God is doing in our city. He's on a definite roll and He did some more cool, unexpected stuff yesterday.

Stephen and I were running some errands all day yesterday and were just returning home around 5:00 when I got a call from our brother Freitas (owner of the hardware store). He asked if we could come to the hardware store to talk to one of his friends/clients about a Bible story that he had some questions about. The friend's name is Giovanni and I've gotten to be friends with him during the times I've gone to the hardware store to just hang out. I didn't really understand everything about the situation but we pulled back out of the driveway and went to see Freitas and Giovanni.

We got there and a few minutes later Giovanni came in.

Turns out he is a spiritist. They believe in Jesus and God and they also believe in reincarnation. Honestly I don't know everything that they believe in but I know that they believe that the way you are in this life will affect what kind of life you will have when you are reincarnated.

Giovanni is an incredibly friendly guy and I've always loved to be around him. He laughs easily and is easy to talk to so I was excited to hear what he wanted to talk about.

Turns out he is teaching a weekly class at the spiritist center to young kids and every week they teach a Bible story. His next lesson was about Jesus multiplying the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fishes and he really wanted to hear some different ideas/opinions about the story.

So we got together and Freitas read the verses from the story. We then just talked about what those verses meant to us and we pointed out some cool things about the story. We talked about faith (how little the disciples had before this happened, how God may have used 12 basket's full of leftover food to grow the faith of 12 disciples....maybe one for each one to pick up?, how little faith we have and how we have to have faith to believe in Jesus). We also talked about how Jesus is the only way to God.

If you know me, you know I'm no Bible teacher or scholar. I think what helps people not be afraid of "church" when they are around me is that it's not uncommon for me to say, "I don't know" when someone asks something specific about a certain passage in the Bible. I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know where the story is and that we need to look it up on google. I love google search! It helps people to see that as a "missionary" I'm no different than they are. I don't know everything. I don't have all the answers, in fact, I'm searching just like they are. I'm not some special guy just because I came here to share God's word. It's for all of us to share and study together.

During our time together yesterday Freitas wanted to share an encouraging verse with Giovanni but he couldn't remember where it was. What did he do? He googled it of course. I loved it. We even used how we use google to share with Giovanni how his transparency, with stuff like that, will encourage the kids to want to come back and learn Bible stories from him. To not be afraid to say, "I have no idea but let's study together." Only good can happen from that.

I loved our time with Giovanni because he felt comfortable enough with Freitas to ask if he could come to the hardware store, during business hours, to talk about the Bible.

If you read this blog consistently then you know for the past few months we've had a support/prayer group that meets at the hardware store every Thursday morning at 6. If you haven't read about that then you can click here to check it out. 

Since we've started that group the owner of the bakery next door to the hardware store has become a regular member of our group. Yesterday in the middle of our talk the owner, Silvio, came in and sat down and shared with us as well. This was at 6 p.m. on a Friday night. He was putting kingdom over bakery sales.

Giovanni told us later that he had seen Freitas with his Bible and had seen verses taped to his computer (we've written down scripture, cut it out and passed them out before on our Thursday morning prayer time)and he knew he could ask Freitas about some doubts he had about the Bible.

The coolest thing? For the last few months Freitas and I have been talking about how to include Giovanni in our church family. Bar-b-que? Invitation to house church? Invitation to our support group? Soccer game? We've been talking and praying about Giovanni.

When he left the hardware store yesterday Freitas and Silvio both invited him to be a part of our group on Thursday mornings. Freitas then looked at me and said with a smile on his face, "We've been talking for a while on how to reach out to Giovanni and we didn't have to do anything. God did everything and brought him to us. How cool is that?"

Very cool indeed.

When I got home from the hardware store Giovanni had already sent me an email thanking us for spending time with him and how much it helped him. I loved that it was the body of Christ (Freitas, Silvio, Stephen and myself) who spent time with and just hung out in the word with Giovanni. More and more I'm seeing the body become the true body here and I feel so blessed to see what God is doing through our church family.

We don't know where this will end up but it was another obvious moment for us to see God's power and see how He is in control of stuff. He put Giovanni on our hearts. We talked and prayed about him and God did the work. We know that as we study more together God will share with Giovanni through His word or through us just what he needs to hear. This is one thing I'm certain of and am seeing it more and more.

We would ask you to pray for Giovanni and for us to have many more good conversations with him and spend more time just hanging out together as well as in the word together and for us to allow God to do His thing.

And He keeps on rolling in Porto Alegre.

Monday, July 25, 2011

God Roll

You know when you can sense, I mean really sense, God doing some amazing things around you? Like He's on an awesome roll?

Okay, I know that God is always on a roll and He's just waiting for us to see where He is working and join Him. He's waiting for us to join Him and roll with Him. But he's definitely been on a pretty cool roll lately here in Porto Alegre.

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend did a blog about a new house church in Leni's sister's house. You can read about it here. 

Last week we did a blog about a couple of new house churches that are getting started from the house church that meets in our house. If you didn't read about that then you can just scroll down one post to read it. More very cool God stuff. 

Yesterday God blew us away again. 

Leni couldn't go to her sister's house so she asked if we would be able to go. So Benay, Giovanni and myself went there to do whatever God asked us to do. We had no idea what was going to happen or what it was going to look like. We are trying to be more and more open and less and less "planned" when we are church with a group of people. 

Our time with Leni's sister couldn't have been more of a blessing to us. 

We showed up and Isa (Leni's sister) and her husband Marcelo were waiting for us. There was also another couple (José and Ines) who were there. We spent some time sharing and reading from God's word and it was awesome. In the middle of our study another couple showed up. There names were Americo and Nara. We finished our time together with a prayer. 

They joyfully invited us to stay for lunch. Unfortunately we weren't able to stay but we will definitely be going back and plan on sharing a meal together. Benay overheard Americo telling Isa that we need to be added to their couples suppers. We are looking forward to spending more time together with our new friends and seeing what God wants to do with this new group. 

You might have noticed that I only mentioned Giovanni going with us yesterday. Why? Because the rest of our kids along with our summer/winter interns (Stephen/Weston) went back to Everton and Daiana's house. 

They also had a great time, had a good worship time together and Stephen even blessed them with some much needed groceries. Family taking care of family in all ways. 

Later Bronwyn told Benay that Daiana asked us to come back to go and have a worship time together with their neighbors who used to be a part of God's family but have since moved away from God and His people. 

The stuff that is going on reminds me of the last few verses of Acts 2: "And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved."

Keep praying for us and for our church family to stay strong and continue moving on wherever and to whomever God leads us. 

And He keeps rolling on in Porto Alegre. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


Yesterday was a wild and good day. Or as Anderson might say, "Better than good!"

We awoke to Carys crying and saying she felt like she was going to puke.

We thought it might have been because she stayed out past midnight the night before as she went to the Harry Potter movie with Bronwyn, Ansley, Stephen and Weston. Sometimes when our kids get less sleep than usual they say they feel sick.

Her pain didn't go away so she stayed home and didn't go to house church. Bronwyn offered to stay to take care of Carys as well as to fix lunch and tackle the mounds of dirty clothes that we had.

The rest of us went to Everton and Daiana's house.

If you read my girlfriend's blog post last Monday then you know that going to their house was something that was already planned.

Our house church was divided three ways yesterday. Our family went to Everton and Daiana's to start planting a new house church there. Others from our house church went to Daniel and Miguelina's to begin a new house church in their neighborhood and Leni has been working on starting a new house church at her sister's house. Again, go back to read Benay's blog post for more details.

It's really cool to see these new things happening and to see our Brasilian brothers and sisters taking initiative and doing spiritual things on their own. It's the dream of every missionary to see real fruit and to see their church family rely less and less on them as they move towards full dependence on God. And God is blessing us so much we are see our family here thinking outside of the box and starting to get out of their comfort zone as they realize that God has equipped all of us to do His work, to be his family and to start house churches wherever He tells us to do so.

Our time at Everton and Daiana's was very encouraging. They were excited to have us in their home and we were excited to be there.

We sang some songs (some led by the children) and then Benay had us read some verses from Philippians 4. The kids and adults shared what those verses meant to them. It was very encouraging to hear the kids share what God's word meant to them. We then shared some prayer requests and had a prayer and asked God to bless Everton, Daiana, their kids, their house and their neighborhood. We prayed specifically for some people in their neighborhood that they had invited to come to house church but that couldn't. We believe that next time some of their neighbors will be there.

We had a blessed, fun time together.
We got home and Carys looked like she was feeling a little better. Bronwyn had been busy doing her thing but told us that the dryer stopped working. She had put some shoelaces in the dryer which had gotten sucked up into the motor and locked it up.

We really don't have the money to call a repair guy to fix the problem and I'm really not a "do it yourself fix it guy" but I found myself getting aggravated that two little shoe laces were going to set us back at least $60 for some guy to come out and do what was probably going to be a quick fix. So what to do?

I kind of decided to take a piece of the dryer off to see if I could do the quick fix. One piece became two which became about seven. Before I knew it my girlfriend assistant and I had taken the door off, the back, the top, the side, the covering of the motor, the covering of the vent, etc. It looked like a jig saw puzzle and I was wondering if I would be able to get everything back on in the right place. Just as I was reaching the end of my patience level (me and fine motor stuff don't go well together) we saw the wire that had been cut. We were able to re-connect the wire, cover it with electrical tape and put everything back together. And it worked! Amazing. My girlfriend and I high fived when we were done. A definite, unexpected victory and money saver.

We got through with that job around 5:00 and by that time our teenage boy had ants in his pants about going to the Inter game. We left at 5:20 and made it to the game, that started at 6:30, in plenty of time.

We probably should have stayed home. It was cold, raining and our team took a 3-0 beating. But we went and made the best of it. Stephen and Anderson even got to take a picture with a gorilla. Come on, does it get any better than that? I don't think so.

We actually didn't get to see the whole game. We headed back home with about 20 minutes left. Why?

Anderson told us just after halftime that he wasn't feeling that great. He's done that before at lots of games but it turns out he was just hungry or tired and sleepy. We were planning on getting some supper after the game so I told him just to hold on for a little bit longer. Hoping it was the hunger bug. If you know Anderson then you know drama is his game. If he says he's going to puke 9.99 times out of 10 he doesn't. So we figured we were right in line with the 9.99. But I told him if he was going to puke to shoot it away from everybody else. Sympathetic I know.

About 5 minutes later we found out we were getting the .01 time out of ten as he, sitting right in front of me, begins to bend over. I watched him but couldn't see anything. He's quietly puking on the concrete between his feet. In between puke bursts he turns around, looks at me, doesn't say a word but points down to where he is ralphing to let me know what's going on. Poor little guy.

He finishes and we all jump up and head to the car (a 15-20 minute walk from the stadium) to try to get him home before the second wave possibly hits. About 5 minutes into the walk his big brother asks if he can carry him. Anderson agrees and for 5-10 minutes Garrett holds and takes care of his sick little brother.

Garrett gets tired and sets Anderson down. Anderson says he's okay to walk. So as we are walking along the street, he asks me if I could pray for him to feel better. I told him I was already doing it. He said, "You're going to when we get to the car?" I told him I was doing it right then in my head. He got closer to me, brushing me as we walked, and asked, "Could I get in on some of that?"

He felt a little better all the way home. We kept asking how he was doing and he kept saying, "Okay, but weird." He got home, took a shower and got in bed. He's slept peacefully through the night with no problems. Thank You God! Seems like he and Carys may have gotten some kind of bug together.

My kids have taught me so much about praying about everything and I literally saw God blessing and taking care of so many needs yesterday through simple prayers.

God is really doing some cool things here. It reminds me of two responses from two people I love and respect.

1) I read one time where people would often ask Mother Teresa what God was doing where she ministered to the poor, sick and dying of India.

Her response?

Come and see.

2) I know God does things in our lives that sometimes we just don't see because we don't have the simple faith of a child. He's waiting to do amazing things if we just allow Him access to our lives and souls. He's also, if we just look around, doing some cool things in our lives and we just need to be ready to ask the same question wise Anderson asked, "Could I get in on some of that?"

As you read about what God is doing here we would encourage you to "Come and See" for yourself because I promise you that God would be super excited to see you "Getting in on some of what He is doing here."

He is moving in our city. The invitation is open. Our house is open. Come see for yourselves.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


23 years ago today I married my girlfriend.
I'm very blessed because on that day I married:
-my best friend

Over time I've come to realize that on that day I also married:
-the most gracious person I've ever met
-the person who has taught me more about God's grace than anyone else in my life
-the most forgiving person I've ever met
-the best cook I've ever met
-the most incredible mom I've ever known
-the best wife a man could have
-the best bible teacher I've ever met
-the best example of what a Christian looks like that I've ever met

Am I biased? Maybe, but I believe with all my heart that every one of those things are true.

23 years later I also know one more thing to be true:
She's even prettier now than she was then.

23 years later my girlfriend is still my best friend and I can't thank of anyone more blessed than me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gettin Payed!!!

Bronwyn graduated high school in December of 2008. She took a year off to get to know her new little brother, work to earn money for college and take a mission trip to Rwanda.

Ansley graduated high school last December. She is also taking a year off. She is spending this year working and next year she will go to Ecuador to work at an orphanage/school.

This year she is working as an English teacher. She wasn't real excited to be an English teacher when she started but it's one of the best ways for an 18 year old American living in Brasil to make money for college.

She wasn't excited at the beginning but she is beginning to tap into the gifts that God has given her. She is a great teacher of young children. Kids love her. Her teaching skills even apply to her younger brothers.

She has a puppet called "Teacher Mary" that she was given, at one of the English schools she teaches at, to use with small kids as she teaches English. And Giovanni LOVES it. If he is ever having a 2 year old moment we call for Teacher Mary. Ansley gets her and Giovanni immediately sits down and listens as she teaches about the weather, etc. It's really funny and Giovanni is learning new words at the same time.

The owners of the English schools have been heaping praises on her. Telling her that even though she is their youngest teacher she is one of the best teachers that they have. God has obviously given her a gift and she is really using it to the fullest.

We couldn't be more proud of her. Here is a picture of her with Grace (a young Brasilian woman who is part of our house church as well as a fellow English speaker and teacher) before one of their classes that they teach together.

After working for a couple of weeks it was time for Ansley's first pay day. She was very excited. She's doing all she can to earn money for college and she was excited to see how much she would get with her first check.

Later I got a text on my phone from our English teacher daughter. Here's what it said:


After cracking up at the note we called her and asked about her "English" text. She told us she was so excited about getting her first check that she didn't really pay attention to the spelling.

So if you hire a Brasilian for a job one day and they tell you, after they get their first paycheck from you, that "They Got Payed!!" it's a good bet that our daughter was their English teacher.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We've shared before that Garrett wants to be a professional soccer player. He has (and we and other brothers and sisters have as well) been praying for this since he was 6-7.

He LOVES soccer but we've also talked to him about the importance of being a Christian soccer player. To be an example on and off the field.

This week he took an 18 hour bus ride with his team to the state of São Paulo. He went to the city of Angatuba (google map it if you are bored) to play in a big tournament.

He called yesterday and said they got beat 3-0 yesterday. They have another game today. We believe the outcome will be different but even if it isn't we know that Garrett's head is screwed on straight.

How do we know this?

Last week his coach came over to me, during practice, to tell me more about the trip. He told me that he was going to be a father to the boys and he would make sure that the boys behaved. I told him that if Garrett gave him any trouble then he could feel free to discipline him.

About this time the other coach heard the conversation, came over and joined in. He then began to tell me what kind of example that Garrett is to the team. He is a quiet leader. If you know Garrett then you know he isn't a big talker like others in our family (me, Ansley, Anderson). He never has been loud or liked to talk a bunch. So the quiet part wasn't anything unexpected but I was curious to hear about the leader part.

The coach began to tell me that most boys his age are loud and, if one is a leader, then they try to lead the group into trouble. He told me that he has never had a problem with Garrett but rather the other boys look to him to lead. What he does, or doesn't do, leads the group. The coach told me that the other boys look to him to set the tone and that Garrett always leads with a good example.

He plays the game the way he has always been. He doesn't yell, scream or cuss but he quietly leads by his example. He is getting better every day. Ever since the tournament in January his confidence has soared. He now is the starting attacker (forward in english?) in a group that has 30+ players but you never hear him brag. He is a humble player.

Don't get me wrong he is a boy and he is a teenager. He still prefers to play sports than study and he recently received a one day school suspension for blowing up some fireworks at school (I admit that I smiled before my girlfriend laid down the punishment).

He's a boy and we have to deal with what that means from time to time but he is a good kid and it really made us proud to hear his coaches praise his Christian attitude on and off the field.

I brought him home that night and then called him and my girlfriend into the kitchen to tell him what his coaches had said.

In typical form he didn't say much. In fact I don't remember him saying anything. He just had a small grin when I finished.

The sports world definitely needs a Christian soccer player.

Feel free to join us in praying for him to be one of them and please pray for his safety as he returns home this week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

House to House

And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”

Acts 5:42

Our house church is breaking up.

This might sound bad, but really it is good.  For the past two Sundays, a group of around 20 people have gathered in our somewhat small living room for worship and sharing together as a family.  Next Sunday, this group will be breaking up.  For one Sunday a month we will be meeting as two groups in two separate houses.
Our house church group yesterday.

Everton and Daiana and their kids live in the same neighborhood as a lot of Daiana's family.  Half of our group will be meeting with them.  Miguelina and her family live in a new neighborhood, somewhat close to Everton and Daiana.  This family and this neighborhood need a blessing.  Half of our group will be meeting there.
Everton sharing a song that he wrote.  Very talented.

Yesterday we shared from Luke 5:1-11 about how Jesus called his first disciples.  From these verses we learned what it means to be a disciple - be a follower of Jesus because of what he has done for you.  But, we don't keep this Jesus gift to ourselves.  Being a disciple also brings a responsibility - to be a fisher of men.  Of course every Christian knows that this is our responsibility, but HOW to do it often trips us up. Later on in Luke 5, we have the example of Matthew, the tax collector, who, when he met Jesus, immediately had a party in his house and invited all of his friends.  That is basically what we will be doing next Sunday.  There may not be a formal worship service - maybe just a prayer, maybe just some hugs and making friends.  Church is not what we DO on Sunday morning - it is WHO we are.
Kids' class in the dining room with teacher Ansley. 

We are so excited about this opportunity.  This is the kind of thing that we have been hoping and praying would happen for a long time.  Our group is a close-knit family.  But we can't keep the goodness to ourselves.  We are ready to share.

God's timing is always perfect.  Yesterday, our sister Leni didn't meet with us in our house.  She has been taking care of her sister who recently had back surgery.  Her sister, Iza, asked to have a worship in her home.  Since she lives close to Ellinton, Marcia and Cledi, another house church group in our family, Leni got in touch with them, and yesterday they all met at Leni's sister's house.  God placed a scripture on Leni's heart to share with the group.  Guess what it was:  Luke 5 - the exact same thing that our house church had read and studied here at our house.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Here is some pictures of the group at Iza's house yesterday.  You can read more about it on Leni's blog.(use the google translate tool at the top of the page.)

We are excited about what is happening here.  The family of God reaching out to bless others.  It may seem like a small thing, but this is how the yeast of the kingdom works.  We would love to have your prayers for these two new house church groups that will be meeting this Sunday.  Hopefully we'll have some pictures and good news to share next week!

Friday, July 08, 2011


Bronwyn has a great group of buds at college. They have lots of fun together. They are goofy and crazy and spiritual. Bronwyn has told me that they have some good discussions about faith, etc.

Her freshman roommate, Asia, is a missionary from Thailand.

She just spent a few weeks in Tanzania with World Wide Witness.

Last month she wrote a pretty incredible and insightful blog about beans, rice and heaven.

Click here to read it. You will be blessed.

And the mooching continues.

P.S. Asia, next summer is your turn to intern with the Blume family. Just letting you know.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I haven't really had much to share on the blog lately. I haven't really had a desire to blog much. That seems to happen when Bronwyn gets home from college.

So, until I get the desire to be a regular blogger again, I've decided I'm just going to mooch off of the blogs from other people.

If you've wanted to know what we've been up to and why we've not been big bloggers over the last 3-4 weeks then you can click here. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


This morning it was 34 degrees (1 Celsius) when we woke up.

It's been in the 30's every morning for the last few days. Seeing your breath in your house makes it hard to want to get out of your warm bed in the morning and it's hard to want to take a shower. It isn't the funnest thing but this is our 10th winter in POA and we are accustomed to it.

The cold also tends to make people stay together, bundled up for warmth at night. It's kind of like family bond time. We are hanging out together, close together, sometimes with big blankets on and always keeping the gas floor heater on.
Thankfully, we haven't let the cold keep us from goofing off.
The cold also makes us want to go to bed earlier than we usually do. Getting under the covers and getting warm has been very appealing lately. Sometimes we don't make it to the bed.

This has been a common trend the last few nights.

Monday, July 04, 2011


One of our brothers (thank you Alan) in the states sent us an email encouraging us to participate in the Call 2 Fall yesterday.

You can click here to check it out.

It was a call for Christians in the states to pray for their country. To be humble, to get on their knees to confess their sins and ask God to bring a revival.

We decided that we would ask our house church to pray for Brasil as well as the United States.

Yesterday was the first house church we had in our new apartment where most of our church family was present. Stephen (he and Weston are spending their summer break working with our family.......more on them later) and I were able to take a few pictures of what God did here.

We had a family of 8 that wasn't even able to be here and, honestly, our apartment couldn't have held many more people.
We spent some time singing. Our brother Tiago has a gift for playing the guitar (as do Ansley and our brother Beto but yesterday Tiago led the way) and he put his special twist on a couple of songs we've been singing for years. He always brings a unique, cool twist to our songs.
We spent some time reading scriptures and then we all hit our knees in prayer. It was very cool. It's been a long time since we hit our knees in prayer together. You could feel the Spirit moving as many different people prayed.
We then laid our hands on Weston, who wasn't feeling well, while Bronwyn prayed over him.
Carys led the prayer for the Lord's Supper and we all, like we always do, shared in that time together.

Our tithe went directly to a family who had an immediate need.

We meet next week to prepare the group for our branching off into two new house churches in a couple of the poorer neighborhoods in the city.

We closed our worship with our sister Ivoli praying for our church family.

It's been super cold here lately. Mid to upper 30's  (3-5 celsius) at night. You see your breath inside your house as much as you do outside your house. There is no central heat here and so the cold gets in your house and stays.

When it's cold like this many people don't want to leave their homes or even get out of bed. Some of our house church members have to take buses and come a long way just to get to our apartment so it was extremely encouraging to see our apartment full of people who want to be a real family and be a part of what God is doing in this city.

We've shared before that being a part of house church is tough. It's real. It's ugly. It's hard. It's frustrating. It's family. And after a day like yesterday we wouldn't trade what we do for anything.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Say little and do much--without wondering if you have been noticed or not.