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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Head and Shoulders


Remember when Joel Santana coached South Africa and everyone always got a good laugh when he spoke English?

Seems like he has a very funny sense of humor and can even make fun of himself.

Thought you'd like this. It cracks us up every time we watch it.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

What do happiness and unhappiness mean? They depend so little on circumstances and so much more on what goes on inside us.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, July 26, 2013

Winter Has Arrived

This is our 12th winter in Southern Brasil.

I remember before we moved here our old teammates John and Samantha told us winter in POA was the worst cold they had ever felt.
They had been here before and talked about how cold it was.

I confess that my girlfriend and I just kind of looked at each other when they said that and kind of smiled. It was our way of saying, "Yeah, right." without actually saying it out loud. How could southern Brasil be colder than any other place they'd been?

We moved here in the middle of winter 2002 and quickly had to confess our judgmental sins.

John and Sam, if we've never verbally confessed our sins, we do it now. You were right. It can be brutal. We apologize.

I was reminded of them last night as we sat in a very cold building worshipping with some brothers and sisters.

It's been cold here this week. Very cold. Low to mid 30's at night cold.

If you don't know anything about our city then allow me to share a little with you.

Our buildings don't have insulation. Just concrete walls. We also don't have central heat. You have options of electric, gas or oil heaters. They are awesome to have when it gets really cold but we try not to use them too much because it really spikes your electricity bill. So we typically put 2-3 blankets on our beds and try to get warm. Some days those blankets are used as coats in the house because when it gets cold outside it is usually colder inside your house. You can easily see your breath on nights/days like we've had the last week. Even after the temperature warms up the cold stays in your house for a few days.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining, even though it probably sounds like it, just stating facts. We've grown accustomed to the rituals of our winters. Everyone here is in the same boat as us. Everyone bundles up and waits for spring. We are thankful that we don't have 3 straight months of 30 degree temps at night. That would be almost unbearable.

When we get whiney about not having central heat or air we remind ourselves that most people in the world don't have those luxuries.

This past week we had some of our best buddies come and visit us from São Paulo state. They wanted to go up in the mountains while they were here. The day we went we were told that it had actually snowed that morning in the city we were visiting. Our friends had never seen snow.

It was very cold in the mountains. Cold and windy. If it had been cloudy I thought we might have been able to see some snow. We didn't and, sadly, our friends still wait for that day.

It rarely, rarely snows here. Most people haven't seen it. The day after we visited the mountain city one of our newspapers had this on the cover.

It says that over the previous two days 104 cities had snow. Places that had not seen snow in decades. It said the intense cold was going to last through yesterday. I even read that someone living in the streets had died this week because of the cold.

I agree with what the paper predicted. Yesterday it was very cold again.

Like I mentioned earlier, we were in a building last night worshipping.

We have a brother in our city who planted a church a couple of months ago. He asked my girlfriend and I to help him. We've been a part of their Thursday night praise times since we got home from the wedding. It's been an amazing blessing but I confess that last night was tough for me to stay focused.

Why? Imagine sitting in a building with no heat, all concrete and with temperatures in the 30's. As we sang you could see everyone's breath.

Our brother, André, actually stopped one time and told everyone to get up and move around to get the blood flowing. He kept preaching while we all did mini exercises.

When the worship was over I told my girlfriend that I had never been this cold in my life and that even included spending time in the Ukraine one winter. The cold and humidity mix is brutal and it feels like the cold gets deep into your bones.

As I shared how cold I was my girlfriend she said her feet felt like this.
Last year we had the mildest winter we've ever experienced. We had one week in June that was freezing cold. It then warmed up.

So far this year we've had one cold week and it's ending today. Forecast says warmer temps to come and we are thankful for that.

Thankful that some people got to see snow for the first time in their lives. Thankful that we won't be able to see our breath in our house anymore. Thankful that people living on the streets will be spared from the brutally cold nights.

I'm even thankful that my girlfriend can now ditch her "winter time" boyfriend. You can click here to read about him. He's such a bed hog.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I realize that most of the readers of this blog don't speak Portuguese so let me go ahead and apologize to you right now.

I wanted to share a couple of my new favorite commercials here for those that do speak Portuguese to get a laugh. At least I think they will laugh.

I first thought of B. Then I thought of our old teammates that read our blog and like to laugh. I thought of Stephen who picks up quite a bit of the language as well. I also thought of Pops since Portuguese comes so easily for him. Isn't that right One Week?

Both commercials are from Posto Ipiranga.

Here's the first one. It makes me smile every time.

The second one makes me chuckle every time I see it. My laughing then makes Carys ask, "Why do you laugh at that every time?"

What can I say? I think it's funny.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Future DJ?

We had a couple that came to visit Porto Alegre last year. They are our brother and sister in Christ. Their names are Josh and Elyssa. Here they are during their visit with us.

We actually had never met them before their visit but we knew Josh since about 2007.

Weird right? It's a long story. Short version is the Holy Spirit brought us together in a very strong "Him" way.

We spent some time with them during their visit and immediately fell in love with them.

We shared meals, shared prayers and they even led our worship time when they met with our house church family. It was awesome.

Josh is a DJ and he is gifted. Very gifted. He uses his gift to glorify God. It's one of the coolest things I've seen. If you like to exercise, or do anything, to Christian music with a beat that keeps you going then this is your guy. It's my new favorite music to listen to.

He and Elyssa get to work together setting up different events, usually sporting events, where they get to use their gifts. One of those gifts is his DJ work.

Anyway, we were in the car yesterday and Anderson made this declaration, "If my being a professional soccer player doesn't work out then I want to be a DJ."

I reminded him that Josh was a DJ and he said, "That's so cool."

I told him Josh could train him. His response? "I would love that, but only if being a pro soccer player doesn't work out."

So get ready Josh. You could have an apprentice soon but only if he doesn't play for INTER (not gremio....sorry bro).

By the way......Benay, Gi and Anderson are all dancing to your music right now.

May God continue to bless you guys and your ministry. And like we've always told you, we'd love to have you here with us in POA :)

We love you.

Monday, July 22, 2013



It's been a good couple of days for us Inter fans.

This happened in the 46th minute of the second half yesterday.

We squeaked out a 1-0 victory, got our 3 points and are now in 4th place.

Saturday Inter announced that we signed a new atacante. Check out his bombs:

His name is Ignacio Scocco. He's coming from Newell's Old Boys. One of his nicknames? El Nacho. You know he's moved up on my favorite list just from his first name and nickname. I love this guys already.

The other new player? It's actually an old player. It's Alex. Remember him? If not, here he is:

Now we just need to get the stadium finished and we'll be set. They say they are going to open it up again in December.

Maybe we can sneak a game in the new Beira-Rio when you and Stephen are here. That would be cool.

By the way, it's supposed to be 33 degrees Wednesday night. You guys missing that?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Twenty five years ago today I married my best friend.
Neither one of us had any idea that 25 years later our family would look like this.
We love it!

I thank God all the time for His goodness and the ways He has blessed me with such an awesome family. I am blessed in so many ways.

But the biggest blessing in my life, outside of my salvation in Jesus, is my girlfriend.

She has taught me more about Jesus than anyone in my life.

I've seen her love on people who most people wouldn't spend time with. I've seen her give grace to people who stepped on it. She kept giving grace to them and never stopped. I've never seen her judge anyone. She trusts until someone proves that they can't be trusted and then she still wants to trust, to believe they can be trusted.

I've seen how she loves on our kids and prays for them and raises them to love Jesus.

I also know who I was and who I am without my girlfriend and it isn't very attractive. What good comes out of me is because of Jesus and this incredible woman.
Side note: I know I'm biased but she is the best looking girl I've ever seen! Ever.

I'm super thankful, especially today, that this incredibly beautiful, amazingly talented and Godly woman chose to spend her life with me.

Here's to 25 more amazing years with my best friend!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you. You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am. Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me. Invite me into your thoughts by whispering My Name. Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly. You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with My presence.

You gain confidence through knowing that I am with you--that you face nothing alone. Anxiety stems from asking the wrong question: "If such and such happens, can I handle it?" The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs. It is this you-and-I together factor that gives you confidence to face the day cheerfully.

Psalm 5:3; Psalm 63:1; Philippians 4:13

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Thursday, July 04, 2013


I first visited another country when I was 27. I went to the Ukraine with a group on a short term missions trip.

How I got there is a post for another day. Today I wanted to share how that trip ended.

There was a man in my group that had been to the little town of Torez, Ukraine before. He kept warning me of how bad the goodbye will be. He warned me of lots of crying.

I'm not a big cryer. It's not that I think it's not macho or that it shows weakness. I have no problem with crying. I cry when someone close dies. I tear up at some movies and when I listen to some Christian songs. I don't mind crying but I don't tend to be weeper. At least not much before I went to the Ukraine.

So when my friend told me to be ready for weeping I really didn't think much about it.

Then the last day of our time in Torez arrived. I had spent close to three weeks being with my Ukrainian family. My life would never be the same.

I woke up that day very sad. I was super excited to get home to my girlfriend and our two young daughters. Very excited. But at the same time it felt like someone was ripping my heart out of my chest. How could that be? How could these people have that kind of impact on my life in just three weeks?

We left the city on a chartered bus that would take us two hours away to get on a train.  Everyone knew what time we were leaving and people came to tell us goodbye. As I said my goodbyes I couldn't even talk. Why? I was weeping.

I mean weeping uncontrollably. Like blubbering, can't say a word type of weeping. And I couldn't stop. My Ukrainian family was hugging on me and telling me to not be sad. I heard them but I couldn't stop. We said goodbye and got on the bus where I wept for another thirty minutes. My brother put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I told you this was going to be a tough goodbye." I couldn't speak. I just waved him off.

I would get quiet and thought I was stopping and then a wave of emotion would overtake me again and I would begin weeping. For thirty minutes I did this. It was tough but I felt so blessed to have met those people.

Why in the world do I share all this today?

Ansley leaves Ecuador tomorrow. For those that don't know she has been in Ecuador for a month working at the same orphanage she worked at for five months last year.  Thank those of you who helped her get there. We can never repay your kindness!

Anyway, she leaves tomorrow and is dreading it. Dreading it because her heart hurts for those kids. She LOVES those kids. Especially one little guy named Anthony.

Tomorrow she gets on the plane to come home. She's coming home to a family that loves her and can't wait to be with her again.

I know she is super excited to be home but yet she is sad because she has to leave her kids and she doesn't know when she will get the chance to go back.

So excited to see us and so sad to leave the kids at the same time. It rips her heart. I understand that feeling and I only spent three weeks in the Ukraine, not six months.

So I ask that you pray for Ans. We would love for you to pray for her safety on her flights home. That would be great. But we also ask that you pray for her heart as she gives those kids goodbye hugs. That God will bless her with the strength to leave them one more time.

It's going to be hard but your prayers will make it easier.

While you are praying, why not take a minute and visit her blog? Just click here to read her latest post about Anthony and while you are there leave her an encouraging comment. I know that will help her through the next few hours as she says her goodbyes.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Sixty More Four


For the last two weeks Gi, as we walk to school together, asks me how many more days until you get home. Every day as we walk he asks about you.

This morning was no different.

He said, "Hey dad, two more days and Ansley gets home right?"

I told him that he was right and then tried to explain to him that he wouldn't see you until three days because you get home so late and he would already be in bed. I had to use his language. I said, "You go to sleep (making the snoring noises that he makes when he counts the days) and then wake up. You go to sleep (more snoring) and then wake up. You go to sleep one more time (yes, more snoring), wake up and Ansley will be home!"

His response? "Yes!!! So only thirty seven more hours right?"

I told him a little more than that. He wanted to know exactly how many.

I did some quick math in my head and said, "Only sixty four more hours until she gets to Porto Alegre."


We are now counting hours and he is so excited!
We are all super excited. But you know us, we tend to show our excitement in different ways.

See you Friday. We love you!

P.S. When I picked Gi up from natação today he asked again how long until Ans gets home. Then he said, "How many hours until Bonni gets here?" Sheesh Maria. B, I'll let you do that math.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Who Am I?

We received an email yesterday from a family that we love dearly.

In it was attached the following amazing video and we wanted to share it with you.

You will be blessed and it's so worth 1 minute and 40 seconds of your time.

P.S. We love you L and MA and are praying for you!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Hino Nacional

The first time I ever saw a soccer game was in 2001 when our family first visited Porto Alegre. I watched the national team of Brasil play. I had no clue what was going on but was told it was a big game. At that time I didn't really understand the rules of soccer. I didn't know the world famous players I was watching and I remember just trying to take everything in. I didn't understand many things that night but I remember thinking it was the coolest sporting event I had ever attended and that's saying a lot because my dad has blessed me with lots of incredible sporting events memories with him in my lifetime.

Other than 2 things that happened that night I honestly don't remember much from that game.

The first thing I remember was that Brasil won and it was a BIG deal. It ended up being kind of a jump start game to us winning the World Cup in 2002.

The second thing that stood out clearly in my mind was the way the Brasilian people sang their national anthem (hino nacional). It was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard. Everyone sang and sang as loudly as they could. There was an amazing sense of national pride.

Yesterday Brasil played Spain in the final of the Confederations Cup.

It's a tournament hosted by FIFA the year before the World Cup and it's played in the country that will host the World Cup the following year. So this year Brasil hosted. Before every game the national anthems of both teams are played. But FIFA only plays around a minute of the anthems and then they just kind of cut it off. Everything is done in a very specific way with FIFA. It's all timed out to the specific minute.

Except something happened during this tournament. The Brasilian anthem cut off over the speakers but the fans kept singing. They began to sing even louder once the music stopped. The players stayed where they were, before moving to shake hands with the other team before starting the game, and finished singing the entire anthem with the fans. I have never seen anything like that.

We, obviously, watched every game in our house but we found ourselves getting to the tv in time to watch and listen to the anthem as well.

We thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share it with you.

B and Ans feel free to get your nacional pride on and sing along.

By the way, Brasil won 3x0.