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

Friday, October 18, 2013


Today is Garrett's birthday. You guys know what we do on special days. Here we go:

Gi:  "Well, be nice for your graduation.  Don't worry, we'll go at McDonalds just to play toys and get toys.  I'm going to give you a surprise, but I'm tricking, it's NOT soccer cleats or a shirt.  And (in a whisper voice)....  he's always funny.  Happy Birthday, Garrett."

Anderson:  "You are the best big brother in the world.  You are always there for me when I'm sad and crying.  You are a great soccer player and I love you SOOOOOOO much."

Vivi: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! i love you so much, your the best big brother ever!! thank you for always taking care of me (like when i got stung by a bee and mom and dad were in the USA, you kept checking in on me every 5 minutes) thank you for being awesome and so sweet and the biggest gentleman i have ever met. Love, Carys"

Ans: "Garrett, you are one of my best friends. Period. I hope you know that. I love talking to you about random things and watching the best movies ever (Anchorman will be happening in December, also a few others I have selected here). I can't wait to see what God does through you in soccer and in your whole life! You are handsome, sweet, funny, and generous and I am so excited for the next couple of years!!!! You are my bro, my pal, my G-Dog, Gus Bus, my weird movie buddy, my Gare Bear. You rock. Hope you have THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. If anyone is mean to you today you should just call on this mean panda. He'll save you.
Peace out, girl scout. Love, Ansley, I like to party."

B: "What up Gart!!!!! Happy birthday!!! I am so proud of you. Seriously. You are such a cool and sweet brother. I love how you love to give people presents, and how much you like to try to make me laugh. I am SO excited to see you in December and to convince you to come play soccer somewhere in the States so you I can see you all the time. You da bomb. Remember, beneath the clothes you find a man. And beneath the man you have his... Nucleus."

Stephen: "G-Man-Dawg, I miss you brother. You are growing older, taller, handsomer, brawnier, and mustachier. What a man you have become. Thank you for being an example of selflessness and spiritual maturity beyond your years. Lately Bronwyn talks about you so much, with funny childhood stories, but she mostly talks about how amazing you are. I love how just talking about you makes her smile. Thanks for being a great brother, I can't wait to be around you again. Happy Birthday Mr. Gareth Bale,)"

Girlfriend: "Happy Birthday, Garrett!  I am so proud to be the mom of such a sincere, good, honest, faithful, talented and handsome guy like you.  I can't believe that you are 17!  Thank you for being a great big brother to your little brothers.  They look up to you so much.  Thank you for being an example to me and all our family in your prayers, your generosity, your loyalty and the way you respect and show love to your parents and grandparents.  I love you so much and can't wait to see the plan that God has for you unfold in these next few years.  I am expecting GREATNESS!  Love, Mom"

Me: "Dear Wimpy man, it's an honor to have you as a son. I love how you protect your mom and sisters and brothers. I love how respectful you are to people. I love how you honor God with your actions and words. I love the example you are to your friends. I love how you are a silent prayer warrior. You pray till the answer comes. I love how easily you accept the prayers of others too. You believe in the power of prayer. I love how God has given you a sensitive heart. You care for others and are compassionate to their needs. I love watching you play soccer and how you give that to God. I can't wait to watch you play as a pro. I love how easy it is for me to pound you. That never gets old and I will always be able to to that! That's so cool :) I love how we do our devos together on the way to soccer practice. I love watching you laugh with your buds, especially Elias. You guys always crack me up. I love that you are the Light of Jesus to your friends. You are an awesome young man and I'm so thankful that God blessed me and mom with you. Love you bro."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This is a picture of our brother Larry, his wife Margaret Ann and our goober daughter.
I would love to tell you how God brought these guys into our lives but it would be too long of a story and this story will be long enough. Maybe we'll share that story another day.

We first me Larry in January of 2008. He came here to a missionary conference that was held close to our city. He came just to be available to be used by God. How many people do you know would go to another country to just be available to be used by God? Right off the bat I liked this guy.

He lived in the same city as my girlfriends parents so every time we visited the states we got to spend time with him. On our first visit back to the states after his visit here we got to meet his wife, Margaret Ann. We immediately fell in love with her as well.

In the fall of 2010 my girlfriend took Bronwyn to college. While she was in Alabama she had the opportunity to be ministered to by Larry and Margaret Ann. They have a spiritual liberation ministry. It changed my girlfriends life.  She came home to Brasil and all she talked about was this ministry and how God had used this couple to release some demonic strongholds in her life. In 25 years of marriage I've never seen my girlfriend so excited about something that God had done in her life.

We invited Larry and Margaret Ann to come to Brasil to minister to our family here. They said they would pray and ask the Spirit to tell them if and when to come. I liked that response.

They came here in September 2011. God used this amazing couple to open our eyes to the spiritual world in a way that had never been done before. Ever. I remember before we moved to Brasil a man we love dearly told us that we would see things in the spiritual world in Brasil that we could not come back to the states and share because people couldn't handle it. I can honestly say we never saw those things until God sent Larry and Margaret Ann here and used them to open our eyes to a spiritual/demonic world that is real, so real. And yet it wasn't frightening at all because these guys dealt with the demonic and confidently dealt with things in Jesus' name. God showed His power through this couple.

We did 22 ministry sessions in 14 days. We were all worn out. I remember walking home from one with my girlfriend one night and we were just in awe at the things God was allowing us to see in the spiritual realm through our ministry time with Larry and Margaret Ann. We talked about the people we've known for 5-10 years who were being ministered to and the spiritual things we were seeing and the conversations we were having and God was just blowing us away. God used this couple to open our eyes. 

I remember being in awe at both of them in how they did this ministry. With humility and purpose. No screaming. No shouting. No dancing and throwing themselves on the ground. Just quietly going to war for the Lord and allowing His power to release and set free. I remember sitting with Larry in a session with a friend of mine and just being in awe at what was happening. I had never seen anything like it. Spiritual was becoming physical before my very eyes. I was freaking out a bit. I looked over at Larry and he was calmly looking intently at my friend and releasing God's power into his life. I loved that. Quiet warriors for the Lord. 

Over the last couple of years no one has called us, outside of parents, more than Larry. He would call and talk for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, one hour, whatever. He called to share dreams he had. He called to ask how we were. He called to share a word the Lord had given him about our family and this ministry. 

A few months ago he called to tell us he had been diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He said it was a form that was treatable with medicine. They tried the medicine but it never seemed to fully do what they thought it would do. A little over a month ago he had to be admitted to the hospital. His daughter had been sending updates on facebook. 

We had been praying for a miracle healing. We really felt like God wasn't done using this man on here on earth. He had such an important ministry. I can't stress how important their ministry is. 

Yesterday their daughter Allison posted something. They asked for a quick cure or for God to take him quickly. We stopped in our house and prayed for a quick cure. 

Today God gave the response. Here is what Allison posted just a while ago: "Dearest friends. This morning just before 8 with my sister, my dad's sweetheart, his first nurse, his dr, and myself with him- he went home to be with Jesus. As much as we are grieving and don't understand we know he is rejoicing and pain free. And for that we are thankful."

Our earthly selves feel sad with this news. We will miss our close friend, and 3rd granddad to our kids, but we are so happy to know that he is with God now. And we are so grateful for the time God blessed us with being with Larry. He taught us so much about the kingdom in the short time we had with him and we thank God for that. 

I'm reminded of a note that he left for me when he left Brasil in 2011. He prophesied over each one of our kids. God has already used those words in amazing ways and we had the chance to share that with Larry. His footprints are all over our house. That note will stay in my Bible until I breathe my last breath. 

Join us in praying for his wife and two daughters. We love this family and can't wait to be with them soon. I especially can't wait to see Larry again in heaven. Until then, we will continue sharing what he shared with us and grow the kingdom of God. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Carys made our lunch the other day.

She made a very good chicken pot pie.

She named it Bill.
Welcome to our house.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Forgiveness doesn't diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God.

Max Lucado

Friday, October 11, 2013

Movie Time


I took Vivi to the movies the other day.

Want to guess what we saw? Her shirt is a hint.
That's right. It was the One Direction movie in 3D.

Her friends had already seen it but she wasn't able to go with them so we had some dad/daughter time. It had been out for a while so the crowd was small. The two of us, 10 teenage girls and and their moms. It didn't bother us that I was the only guy there. In fact, we probably bothered them with our loudness.

We had fun.

And Ans, I know when you hear One Direction now you think of Gi doing his impressions from the video so here you go.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Need a Spy?

Looking to hire some spies to do your dirty work?

We have your guys.

They have all the high tech gadgets.  (Thanks for the package Grandmommy!)
They work hard in the office to get their reports done on time. Notice their guns never leave their sides.
And, most importantly in the spy world, they are good looking.
Give them a call if you need their help.  555-GATOS (for our girls)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Two years ago something very special happened.

Anderson demonstrated his love for Jesus through baptism.

Dee and Laura graciously opened up their home. Anderson only wanted our family and theirs to be there for this special time in his life.

It was very cool and we were all blessed.

The blessings kept coming a little later when Dee and Laura welcomed everyone in their home for the baptisms of Cledi and her daughter-in-law Marcia.

Benay had the privilege of baptizing Marcia.

Cledi asked her son Elinton to baptize her. It was awesome.

It's a day none of us will ever forget.

Especially these three who now share the same spiritual birthday.
God is so very cool!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

For the Girls

The following is a video that probably only our daughters in Texas will enjoy and laugh at. The rest of you won't find this as funny as they will. You know when you are visiting a family and everyone laughs at something and you are just sitting there thinking it's not funny at all? This is one of those times. You've been warned.


Gi got the camera again and used it to give a tour of the apartment. Of course the video is filled with his awesome comments along with family interaction (family interviews, mom singing, mean brothers, smooching, etc.....what you'd expect from Gi).

I know it will bring you guys some joy, smiles and laughter. Just think, in a couple of months you get a front row seat.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Our family started a cookie company at the end of 2010.

My girlfriend is an amazing cook. Best cook I know. As we say in our house, "Mom doesn't make any bad food."

Our Brasilian family would agree. Whenever she cooks for people they love her food. 

Over the years when we've been invited places people have asked my girlfriend to make her American sweets. They especially like her cookies. 

Bronwyn started college in 2010 and we realized it would be a good idea to have some extra money for plane tickets, college expenses, etc. 

So we started a little cookie company. It's called American Cookies and Sweets. Ansley came up with our logo. We think it looks cool. 

We started slow. We started selling at our kids school whenever the mother's club had bazars. The kids loved them. We sold a bunch. Those bazars were two to four times a year. Just the money we earned from that school helped bring our girls home from college. Pretty cool. 

We went to government offices to find out what we needed to do to become an official company. 

We bought the rights to a website. It's www.americancookies.com.br if you want to take a look. 

We started selling at other schools as well. Word of mouth began to generate some business. 

We sold so many cookies at those bazars that my girlfriend had to teach me how to make all the recipes. It was too much for her to do it alone any longer. Now we share all the making and baking. And my parents are laughing as they read this because I'm no chef. But I really like making the cookies and I think I've gotten pretty good at it. 

We don't make enough money to be self sustaining but God is blessing us by growing our little business. And He's done it in really cool and unexpected ways. That is a blog for another day. 

I share all this to share that yesterday my girlfriend and I spent almost six hours in the kitchen. Why? We had a lot of deliveries to make today. 

We spent that entire time making and baking this:
55 big cookies for a restaurant/coffee house/market place. 

150 cookies for a birthday party. 

8 coffee mugs filled with 8 mini cookies for teachers appreciation week that the parents in Anderson's class ordered on behalf of the entire class. 

It was a busy Sunday in our house but we loved every minute. 

Let us know if you want some cookies too :)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


It's been a while. Here you go:

Gi: “Do elephants drink water or juice?”

Gi: “If you get squished by a car you disappear right?”

Anderson: “Is it against the law to give baths to dogs you don’t own?”

Anderson: “Did you know that dogs like their eye balls more than they like their mouths? “

Anderson: “Dad, yesterday when Lucas and I were coming home we saw our neighbor mistreating her dog.”
Me: “Why?”
Anderson: “Because her dog was eating out of the trash. She was like, ‘No! Don’t do that!’”
Me: “Well maybe she was just trying to teach her dog to not eat trash. I mean eating trash is gross.”
Anderson: “But there were all kinds of good stuff in that trash. Like a chicken leg and that, my friend, would be worth it!”

Anderson: “Dad, why didn’t God make the world different?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Anderson: “I mean His world is awesome and I love all of it but why didn’t He make it just a little different?”
Me: “Like how?”
Anderson: “Like why didn’t He make robots to serve us?”
Me: “Why do you need a servant robot? What would a servant robot do for you that would be so cool?”
Anderson: “Make me toast with his laser eyes.”
Gi: “Why are skunks and birds best friends?”

Anderson: “Hey dad, what was Jesus’ last name?”

Anderson: “Hey dad, what was the happiest day of your life?”
Me: “The day I married mom.”
Anderson: “Not by emotionalism dad but by fun.”

Gi: “Who makes my skin.”
Me: “God does.”
Gi: “How?”
Me: “I don’t know. He’s just awesome.”
Gi: “Do you say that because I’m annoying you?”
Me: “No way. I said it because it’s true. God can do anything.”
Gi: “Can He fly?”
Me: “Yes.”
Gi: “That is awesome!”

Anderson: “Hey dad, what’s the most appropriate name for a nucleus?”

Gi: “Hey Dad, when is God going to make Chuck E. Cheese live in Brasil? Please, please, please God make Chuck E. Cheese live here! (short pause) He heard me!”

Gi: "Hey dad, why do you never wear your ninja pants? Only when you sleep."
Me: "Uh my ninja pants?"

Anderson: “He doesn’t have ninja pants. Those are his pajama pants.”

Gi: "Hey dad, does Burger King live in Brasil?"

Special one for B:

Anderson: “When I get married I want to marry someone like Ali.”
Me: “Ali? Like Ali from Mark and Ali?”
Anderson: “Yes. Someone who is crazy and fun.”
Carys: “What about someone like Bronwyn?”
Anderson: “No. I’m not marrying some daffodil!”
Gi: (with mom coming into the room) “Hey mamacita!!”

Anderson: (eating lunch that Benay made) “Mom this chicken is awesome! It’s as good as JFK!!”
Benay: “JFK?”
Anderson: “Yes. The chicken place in the United States.”
Benay: “I think you mean KFC.”
Anderson: “Oh yeah. I don’t know why I said JFK.”

Gi: (ready to go to school) “Hey dad, do I look handsome in these clothes?”
Me: “Of course you do. Very handsome.”
Gi: “I know. I just looked into the mirror and saw that I looked really handsome.”

Gi: “My favorite breakfast foods in the United States are doughnuts, pop-tarts and hot dogs."

Anderson: “Can you believe people still play Bey Blades?”
Me: “Kids seem to like it.”
Anderson: “No kidding. It sticks to people like cheese."
Gi: “My favorite color of door is brown.”

A special one for grandmommy:

Anderson: “Dad, why is dog poop wobbly like a stick and our poop is round?”
Me: “I don’t know. Did you say wobbly like a stick?”
Anderson: “Yes. Like a sausage.....link."
Special one just for our girls: 

Gi: “Eu soltei um pum na aula de natação hoje.”
Lucas: “Saiu bolinhas?”
Gi: “Sim.”
Followed by everyone in the car cracking up. Knew you guys would like that one.