Thursday, November 8, 2018

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect in an ideal world is earned. We naturally respect people that we like or admire. So does that mean we should not respect people that have not earned our respect? If so, what are the guidelines for who we should respect?

The main trigger for this post was witnessing the live news conference with President Trump on Wednesday the 7th of November when Jim Acosta from CNN started speaking to the President. I do not necessarily think the President has earned respect due to his politeness nor do I approve of many of his mannerisms; yet I do think the office of the President demands a certain level of respect.

What I witnessed in that conference is common in Brazil. The loudest person gets the platform. Recently I was accused of being a silent person in a meeting. In that meeting environment it is very true because the environment is full of talking over the next person and interrupting each other. I prefer to remain silent than to try to force myself to be rude in order to get in my two cents. It is not worth it (especially if it really is only worth two cents).

Respect should be given to those in authority whether it be Presidents, police officers, referees parents or whoever is in authority. I was not even raised in the South and I see the great value in using yes ma'am and no sir.

Besides those in authority, to whom else should we show our respect. My opinion: everyone. People can annoy the heck out of us or believe the opposite of us, but that person was made in the image of God. Jesus talked about how we should treat the "least of these brothers of mine." Treat them like you would treat Christ. I am not saying we have to agree with everyone, but we should respect everyone.

If we really got to know more people, listened to their stories, understood where their history, their passions and desires and what drives them, it would be easier to talk to them with respect. Most people's passion stems from a strong value that you might not disagree with at its core. Their fruit may look different than your fruit, but their core values probably have to do with being good and not destruction. The stories we tell ourselves are that these people would want to destroy us (which may be the case with some groups, but most definitely is not the norm). Understanding that most people are real human beings with ups and downs and passions can go a long way towards encouraging love within humanity.

So let's show some respect people!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thanksgiving

I do not think that I would do well posting every day for Thanksgiving during the month of November but I certainly can write a post about my thankfulness. This year has been wonderful for us. This year I have told many people that we have a great life. God loves me and has saved me and my family. We can have joy in Him daily if we so choose. This has been so clear to me this year. Misery is my choice; circumstances do not determine my happiness; I do. I am thankful that God has shown me this and that more often than not I am choosing joy.

My wife and children have been wonderful to me. Sarah has grown so much spiritually and is a great friend to people in our church. She runs and organizes the women's group, children's ministry and our household all at the same time. The girls are growing into well behaved sweet girls with their own personalities. Evelyn is growing up and taking on responsibilities. Anna Claire is a little crazy but is more and more sensitive to how to treat others.

God has sent awesome people to our church. We have many involved in ministry to the point where one visiting pastor said our people ministry involvement ratio is out of the roof. We have a solid Bible study in another town that is probably going to take a big step in organization as a church next year. So many people work hard with us and are so kind to us.

When I signed up for missions I thought I was signing up for a life separate from family and the benefits we enjoy as Americans. I thought we would be poor our whole life and would have many difficulties. While some of those thoughts may be true to a certain degree I feel like the missions life is not as difficult as it has been in the past. I prefer to be in Brazil; we are very comfortable here and our family has only extended to include Brazilian family. Our other families are a Skype call away and our furlough schedule has made it possible to see them fairly often. Missionary families use to move to the field and pack their belongings in coffins as it symbolized giving their lives for the ministry of the gospel.

We have a load of faithful supporters. There are 62 churches/individuals that give to us regularly. It blows me away that there are that many people who make us enough of a priority that they send their hard earned money to the mission so that we can live, work and make disciples in Brazil. We often get single gifts or anonymous gifts that carry us as well. Our actual monthly support level has been below our need for a while but because of people who give a little extra here and there we have not gone in the red (at least not since 2012). 

Continuing to list everything would probably bore you as there is so much more. I do want to say though that I am thankful for my failures and weaknesses. We are all born with pride and it can come along so easily in life. I am already pretty prideful, but if I didn't mess up so much it might be worse. God is gracious, merciful, kind, good and Sovereign! Blessed be His name.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Bits October


October was a really busy month for us with two different groups that came down. Pastor David Frye, and Jamie and Kelly Nicholson came down for a preview trip. They will be bringing a group from their church in Raleigh next July. While they were here they helped us with some events for children’s day. The next week Jeremiah and Cindy Cook with their two kids came down to help with a women’s day event as well as for Jeremiah to speak to the police. 


Kid’s day in Brazil is pretty close in importance present wise and activity wise to Christmas. In fact, kids are probably more likely to receive a present on kid’s day than on Christmas. They have the day off from school after a week of special activities at school. We had a two day event at the church. The kids came, played on the playground, learned songs and games and even had some kitchen cooking activities. Then they had plays where they learned about God and fitting in. They crammed in a lot in two days! Jamie, Kelly and David did a skit as well as dressing up as clowns and doing fun clown stuff with the kids. The event was a blast.

The next day we took a group from church to Tupanatinga and did some of the plays with kids there. It was our first outreach event in Tupanatinga! We had a good time and our study group there did a great job of organizing the event. They were able to get a gym and bouncy houses to play on. I was proud of them for their iniciative. 

The next weekend Sarah and the ladies organized a women’s event with Cindy there. Cindy has a blog where she talks about making crafts for their home. She is involved with moms at their church and around Chattanooga. She was able to share her testimony as well as teaching how to do a craft. The women loved it. Sarah is doing a wonderful job with the women’s group! 

Jeremiah has served on the Chattanooga police force for eight years and the SWAT team for four years. This drew the interest of many people around here. We went to the Police station on Monday morning where he talked to them about SWAT. They loved the experience. They then gave us a tour and we talked to the commander for a while. The next night we held a time at the church that was open to the community. We had many unchurched people there. On Sunday night two families came as a result of being here that Tuesday night! So great to see. 

Pray for us this month as Roger and I go to Tupanatinga to check out options for the future of having an organized church there. Last night I talked to the study group about it and they loved it and are already looking at some options. As we head to the states for furlough November 20, this will be one of the things we will be raising money for. We need to get a new car when we come back to Brazil which will probably cost a good 12,000 dollars (yes, cars are much more expensive here). Then we want to see what our options are in Tupanatinga, whether we rent or buy or build. Pray for wisdom for those details! 
Thanks for your prayers and support. We would love to see some of you when we are back in the states! God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my motivated, growing up, smoked our visitors in Monopoly, Evelyn, and our rambunctious little kitty cat Anna Claire.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Bits September


On Sunday Brazil will have their presidential elections. The political climate is very similar to the US two years ago, except they have more candidates. Please pray for God’s will to be done and for their not to be a bad response from the results. Unfortunately there are problems with relationships due to political choices. Pray for unity!

This month we continued our study of Philippians at the church which focuses on joy and unity in the church. It has been really good for us to study! We generally have attendance ups and downs. Usually every other week we have a good crowd. For the last two Sundays we were supposed to have a down week, at least in my mind. Last night we had four key families who were travelling and could not be with us. Yet, we have not had a down week! We have had people coming from all walks of life and that has been very encouraging. We have all been fed by His Word. 


One major project has been finishing up the playground. We are practically there, just need to stain it for a couple more hours, but we pretty much have it all done. This has been a good bit of work.

The women’s prayer group has been very strong! Sarah does a great job helping with organizing it along with several other women in the church. Praise the Lord we have a lot of people in our church who enjoy serving and using their spiritual gifts. 

I continue studies in the Story of Hope. Pray for my organization! I am doing the study with several people and I keep forgetting where each study stopped! :) 

Pray for new unchurched families for the church. I am hesitant to use names as these days anyone can access these letters, but we have several families with whom we invest in that need Christ. We continue to reach out within our neighborhood as well. I keep praying that God would just give us ten percent of our neighborhood. There are around eighty families in our neighborhood now. We have opened up the playground to them on some days and have seen some come. This month we also had a conversation night about suicide as it is suicide awareness month. We hope to continue to offer opportunities (like neighborhood meetings) to get the neighborhood involved in the church. 

This month we will have two groups coming down. The first is Calvary Baptist from Raleigh and they will be scouting out some ministries for a trip next summer. We are going to do two events for kid’s day (October 12) with them. One is a two day event at our church in Arcoverde. The other is a Sunday morning event in Tupanatinga with our study group. This is the first event with them there in which we hope to see more interest in having a church there start up possibly next summer!

The next group is a family, Jeremiah and Cindy Cook. Jeremiah was the best man in our wedding and a Chattanooga police officer (actually just received the officer of the year award for the department). He is going to give a talk about the SWAT team to the police station here. Cindy has a successful blog and ministry with moms and doing really neat artwork. She is going to do a women’s event at the church October 22nd. Then both of them will also be involved in a field day type event with the local English school with whom we have a strong partnership. It is going to be a busy month! 

Thanks for your prayers! Life has been so good here and we are thankful for you all. We look forward to seeing some of you on our furlough from November 20- March 20! God bless!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my little roller skater who turned 9 on September 20! And my little kitty cat who enjoys roller blading, playing with Pollys and now learning her letters in her kindergarten class!

Friday, August 31, 2018

One more meeting to go with Romildo and Eduardo as they finish up the Story of Hope. Pray that God will give them direction in their lives. They have been faithful and really into the study. I started teaching the Story of Hope in English with them and they have really enjoyed it. I have enjoyed it as well, so much so that we decided to do another class of it on Wednesdays from 7-8 at night right before we do our Servant Leaders class. This week we had eight in both English Story of Hope and Servant Leaders where we are studying Bibliology! 
Church has been going great since we have been home. We have a great group that welcomed us back and then we gave them a break in some areas! They had worked hard while we were gone. We seem to be a normal church in that there are marriage issues, sin problems and other struggles. Fortunately they are mainly a great group of people, but we all need prayer as we seek together how to be more like Christ. The women's prayer group has been going very strong and they beg to have more and more!  

This week culminated a decision I have been working towards since the beginning of this year. The football team has had a low commitment level all year and with all my other responsibilities growing where people wanted my time, it seemed unwise to spend a good bit of it on a group that did not really show they wanted it. The team has been a great ministry for us and I enjoyed it while it lasted (well, up until last year) and I felt obligated to continue with it due to various reasons. Yet I have been at great peace with being able to let it go. Some of the group have taken the team under their wings and we are cheering for it to keep going despite a tough economy and time and culture to have such a commitment. 
This month’s project has been making the playground safe and ready for lots of action from the kids. They love it already and we haven’t even got the slide up yet! Hopefully that will be up this morning and the playground will be safe and ready to use Sunday night. We still have a bit of work to do on it though. We have had a few people coming out, volunteering their time to help out. One who has not done as much time on the park but has focused on taking care of the grounds is Seu Nino. He has been a huge blessing. Seu Nino never liked church even though his wife and family were in church. In December his wife of forty years separated from him. In March or April he started coming to church and since then has been very faithful. We just started going through the Story of Hope and he has even come to Theology class. 

In October we will have a couple small groups coming to visit us and do some activities. We are excited about them and working on the preparation. One church, Calvary Baptist of Raleigh, is coming with their Pastor David Frye. They are doing a “scouting missions trip” in which they will do ministry, but also familiarize theirselves with the area in order to bring a bigger group next summer. One of the ideas we have is to launch the church in Tupanatinga with their help. We are working on what that looks like. The study group has been strong with several faithful families, but we have been meeting in smaller living rooms which makes it hard to really grow. 

Another reminder that we will be in the states from November 20- March 20. If you would like us to visit, please send me a message! The girls will be doing homeschool, so it might be a little tough for them to travel too far, but please message us to work out the details! 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah and our third grader Evelyn Grace and our little kindergartener Anna Claire.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bits from Brasil July

Last update we had just arrived in the US for a few week visit. We are nearing the end of this trip as we head back next Tuesday. Our time has gone better than expected. We started in Chattanooga and headed north after a great Fourth of July at the farm with Sarah’s family. We have never been at the family farm in the summer and it has been memorable. 

On our way to visit my family in Michigan we met up with some colleagues from Servant Leaders and had a good time with them. My family met in Manistee, Michigan. The last time we did a week vacation with my brothers and sister was in 2010. This year there were 7 couples and 8 grandchildren in two houses that were connected by a deck. We had a great time and it was neat seeing all of us within our little families. 




After sharing for a few minutes in our home church in Grand Rapids we left for Washington DC. The main reason for our US trip was to go to a conference for our mission that we are required to attend once every five years. There we did an interview on stage and talked about the church in Brazil. The interview went well and we had a good time catching up with other missionaries we had not seen for a long time. We were also able to go see a few key historical places in our nation’s capitol city. 

It has always been Sarah’s dream to catch a metro or train from Union Station and we did just that. We took the Amtrak to New York City for four nights. Evelyn really enjoyed the Statue of Liberty and Anna Claire liked chasing the pigeons in Central Park. 

We have lots of good news that comes in from the church and the services and prayer times that have happened in our absence. It is great to see our people taking ownership. Seu Nino, who has been unchurched all his life and has found a home with us, is taking care of the grass and plants at the church. Women have stepped up in leading the women’s prayer group. Each week a different man has preached and one of them is even going to Tupanatinga to do the studies. 

This month we will be jumping back into ministry but also rearranging our normal schedules. Pray for wisdom as we work on what our main works will include. Both girls will be studying starting August 15 which will keep Sarah hopping. I am working on trimming down my football activity to make more room for other ministries. We do want to eventually work the Tupanatinga group into a church and then start studies in other towns (Pesqueira might be the next one) and so we need wisdom as we proceed in those areas. 

This trip was mainly for the conference and vacation and so we were not in too many churches. We will be in churches soon though as we will be back in the states right before Thanksgiving until the end of March. So if you would like for us (or it might just be me as the girls will be in school) to come to your church for a visit please let me know. Hopefully we will not need more monthly support as we have had many faithful supporters that have kept us from that need but we have been close to our monthly need lately as some costs have been rising (health care and growing girls mainly). We appreciate you all’s prayers! Pray for our trip August 7!
All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, and my two little tourists; Evelyn who walked thousands of miles in NYC and Anna Claire who was grateful Pop found a stroller! 

Evie is second from the left and ACC is with her twin cousin Lyla right in the middle. Which one is ACC????? :) She is the first of the two. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018


This last week we had a great group come down from Salem, Oregon. They had three main ministry purposes. First of all they put on flag football clinics for kids and teenagers (and the adults joined in). We had great turnouts from the community and lots of fun. They heard the gospel several times as well. The group left flags, uniforms and lots of balls for them to use. As the amount of people involved in football grows in our community, the more contacts we will have for the gospel. They left many balls that will help the popularity of the sport to grow and thus our influence!

Secondly they did an English camp for three nights. There were several participants that came every night and we made some great new contacts. A couple of them even went to church Sunday night. The camp was mainly conversation and so they were able to share life stories.



Thirdly, a couple of the men in the group focused on building a playground at the church! It is well done and the kids are all really excited about it. 

This month we finished a couple of studies. First of all I did the Story of Hope with two of my English guys, Romildo and Eduardo. I did it in English! They started out as beginner English students in January but were able to study the Bible and English together. Pray for them as they wrestle through some questions. Then I did the discipleship book Way to Joy with Diego and Bruna who said they have never made it through a discipleship book, until now! We finished both these studies in the busyness of the last week! 
Sarah and the women’s group have been going strong with their prayer times. I believe that God has been blessing the church strongly because of this

We are on a short trip to the states right now and arrived last night. We are in for an ABWE conference and some family vacation. Being gone for over five weeks is not easy, especially since our colleagues Roger and Marcy are also in the states. Many people asked us what we were going to do with the church while we were gone. Yet we are not worried! We have a great group of people who serve. We have a good group of people who can preach and the music group is good to go as usual. 

With Servant Leaders I have taken on a project to do a quarterly newsletter to update people on what is happening. If you would like to receive that newsletter please send me a reply saying you would like to receive it and I will add you to the list. 

Your prayers sustain us! Thank you all so much!

All for HIS glory,


David, Sarah and my little flag football girls; Evelyn had a couple touchdowns and Anna Claire had fun.