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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Dallas

I have to share a little history to get to the meat and taters of today's post. It will take me a while to set it all up. Bear with me.

Many, many years ago I was a senior in college. My girlfriend had graduated already and was living 5 hours away. I was madly in love with her and so I, literally, lived for the weekends. I would leave every Friday as soon as my last class finished and would drive 5 hours to where she lived. Sometimes she would drive the 5 hours my way. Usually we met at my parents' house in the middle.

I would come in late on Sunday night and go straight to bed to make Monday come faster which, in my logic, would make Friday hurry up and get here.

Let's just say I didn't enjoy my senior year of college. I had lots of great friends and still had fun but I just couldn't wait until I got to see my girlfriend.

How does all of that play into today's post? Well my senior year I had a roommate named Andy. He was a great roommate and we got along great. We had known each other pretty much since our freshman year. His family even invited me to an A&M (Whoop shout out to my Aggie buds) game against Arkansas in Little Rock one year. I have to admit I liked the Aggie traditions.

Anyway, he, unfortunately, got me at my worst year but we still managed to have a good time. He had to put up with a lot of my grumpiness of being away from the woman I knew I was going to marry and he was really great to me. Better than I deserved actually.

We graduated and Andy and I, as is easy to do after college, got out of touch. In fact we didn't talk to each other or see each other for 13 years.

Then one day we got an email from an address that I didn't know. I thought about not opening it because I didn't know the address and I was afraid it might be some kind of virus. I stared at it a little bit and decided to open it. It was from Andy. He asked how we were doing and then shared that "they" would like to talk to us about our fundraising. We were leaving for Brasil the next year and still had a shortfall so it was a blessing to get his email.

We found out he received a Christian magazine at his work (one he had never received before). He was putting it in the trash when he looked at the cover. It was about a missionary to Brasil that had died. Andy decided to read about the man and as he looked through the magazine he saw an ad about our team. He saw me and he began to laugh (a common reaction from those that knew me in college).

Anyway, he reached out to us and I assumed that the "they" he was talking about was he and his wife. I was wrong. It was a business that he worked at. He and the owner (another guy that went to the same college we attended) asked us to come in and just share about our mission. They had been supporting some missionaries in Africa who had returned to the states and they were looking for new ways to use their tithe.

Since that day the company, and both of these guys, have been partners with us in what God is doing in Porto Alegre. Strong partners and not just financially.

Before we moved to Brasil my girlfriend and I went out to eat with Andy and his wife, Jennifer. It was the first time we had ever met her and we all just hit it off.

We come back to the states every two years and each trip back we go to Dallas to visit our buds. Every time we go back Andy and Jennifer offer up their house to us.

They have 4 kids. Caroline is the oldest and Jonathan, Sydney and Alexandra are triplets. Caroline is close to Carys' age and the triplets are Anderson's age. Our kids always have a great time when we go there.

We've come in and stayed a week with them on three different times. First time we had 5 kids (Giovanni wasn't born yet). Second time all 6 kids and this time 4 kids (Ansley is still in Brasil and Bronwyn is in college).

We invade their home and they always make us feel like it's our house. Even the kids don't complain about sharing rooms, toys or whatever. They even let us use their car to get around in. I don't know if most people assume our transportation is provided for us when we are stateside. It is not. We rely on the generosity of people in sharing a second or third car. These guys have always shared everything they have with us. Humbled and grateful are two words that come to my mind when we think of Andy, Jennifer and the kids.

One of the tough things about doing what we do is having a family in the states and a family in Brasil. You always have your heart ripped out when you have to say goodbye to one of those groups but that same thing also brings so much joy. As we said goodbye to our family in Brasil the Thomas' were welcoming our family and being our family at our first stop in Dallas.

They are an awesome family and are a great reminder to us of how good God's family is.

Thank you Thomas family for another incredible week! We can never repay your kindness to our family. We love you guys.

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