Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bits December

Tickets bought! And under budget by 103 dollars. We are a little behind financially than the ideal, but much better than we could have imagined a year ago when we were facing $1600 a month and a one time amount of $30,000. Now we are only short about $180 a month and have raised (and earned as I did work some odd jobs this year) around $21,000. Also since last year, the exchange rate has gone up which will make our money go further; so while we could raise more, we feel confident that our needs will be supplied as we return to Brazil. 

We spent most of December at home in the Chattanooga area and were able to speak a couple times. We enjoyed time with our family this holiday season. Sarah’s sister and her husband have been in China at an international school and church and she has been here for most of December. Reality is starting to settle in as we realize that family and friends will not be as close for a while. 

Pray for us as we wrap up final details. We will apply for Anna Claire’s permanent Visa in Atlanta next Tuesday. This can be really complicated; pray that their cuteness overrides bureaucracy! On January 15, I will travel to the Amazon where I will pack some belongings, sell much of the rest, and spend time with friends for 9 days. Then I will attempt a trip with 10-12 boxes to move them downriver to Manaus and fly to Recife, the capital city of the state in which we will be working. Sarah will leave Atlanta that day with the girls and her brother and meet me the next day on January the 30th. 

Please pray for all the final details, paperwork, medical tests and then for our adjustments to a new home and ministry. We have loved seeing so many of you all this year in our travels. You have been such a blessing and encouragement to us! Pray now that there will be a great harvest (after a lot of work) in Northeast Brazil.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, an energetic, dramatic four year old, and a 9 month old vacuum cleaner who is close to walking. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Most people try to have (a) New Year’s resolution(s), so here are a few ideas. I am not telling you what to do, just giving suggestions. Some are serious and some are with a little humor; I will let you be the judge of that. 

Try avoiding gluten. I know, it sounds disgusting, but it is not that bad. You do not have to be fully gluten free, but look for other alternatives. I did it for a month before the marathon this year and I could tell I was not as hungry, did not have as many stomach issues, and I felt better. Other people have found it has helped them greatly with whatever health issue they faced.

Give more and see if you can do it anonymously. I know, you are already giving more to your health insurance agent, but try to give more overall. And try to save more! How do you do both? Spend less. Try the dollar menu, order water at restaurants, have an emergency fund so you don’t spend interest money on unexpected bills, stop buying the latest gadget cause the new updates may not be all you wanted anyway (ie. iphone 5), eat all your leftovers rather than tossing them, and don’t buy that gym membership unless you really will use it all year!

Don’t run a marathon; it hurts. But do try to exercise, even if it is just walking. Exercise helps you feel better, have more energy and sleep better.

Read. Read your Bible first of all, but think about studying a little theology; www.biblicaltraining.org has lots of free classes to listen to on all different subjects.

Serve in your local church; don’t just complain about the church; get involved. 

Be a missionary to someone in your neighborhood. Have them over to your house for dinner to get to know them. Don’t worry about preaching to them. Just ask them questions about their life. Eventually you might see that there is a great opportunity to talk about how Jesus has made a difference in your life.

Spend more time with your family. When you are home try paying 1 minute more attention to your kids or spouse than to your devices. 

Find one seemingly impossible prayer request to pray about for the year. Pray boldly for God to answer that request.

Floss more often than once a month and the full week before your cleaning.

Cross two things off your bucket list.

If you don’t have a bucket list, make one.

Forgive the one to whom you are bitter towards.

Try to break a world record. Guinness has allowed all kinds of weird things in their book. Maybe you can eat two pizzas upside down while hanging from a light pole. 

Check your spelling and grammar on social media. 

Pray for us as we head back to Brazil to plant churches. We are excited and hope you are too! Maybe even come with us! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lessons from Christmas

In Home Alone we learn that family is important. As much as they bother you in little ways, it is much better having them around.

Frosty teaches us to enjoy your days while you have them!

Different people have much value as per Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. 

Christmas time news programs display perfectly that rushing for presents can get you in a fight!

The Grinch tells us that the reason we celebrate Christmas is much more than bags and boxes and toys; it is celebration in being together.

It’s a Wonderful Life shows us that there are more people around us that really care about us than we know! You do make a difference and you do matter greatly to others and to God!

And Linus tells us the real reason for the season when he quotes the birth story of Jesus as found in the Bible. Philippians describes it well when Paul writes that Jesus humbled Himself from being in the form of God to being found as man, a servant, who was obedient to the Father even to the point of death. The greatest part of Christmas is Immanuel, God with us. It is the gospel! Christ was born, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again, giving us the opportunity to receive the greatest gift we could ever receive; salvation. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas and Missions

The incarnation of Jesus Christ which we celebrate during Christmas time is one of the most beautiful examples of missions for Christians today. God left a comfortable heaven where He was worshipped to go to a place where He was largely unknown. Then when He was known He was beaten and killed. Jesus followed His Father’s will despite knowing it would end in His brutal death. 

Missionaries must also leave their own nation to go to a different culture and live amongst a people that are different from them. They must learn to be humble and learn from the people of the different culture even though they have learned a different way growing up. They must learn a different language and culture in which they have little previous understanding. 

The apostle Paul writes about being all things to all people, in other words, to relate to the people to whom you are ministering. Jesus benefited from His earthly trip in that as Hebrews says, He can now relate to everyone in their human feelings like thirst, hunger, pain, suffering and temptation. As missionaries go out and experience different cultures, their eyes open to the needs of the world as well as different cultural tendencies. 

As we celebrate the Christmas season, we can also be challenged by the mission minded heart of God. We can humble ourselves as we go out and relate to others whom we might not understand. In the spirit of giving, we can give of ourselves to others by the simple act of getting to know them. As you give of yourself, you will find that you grow in your own character and knowledge. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I might be in trouble; the holiday season still has 21 days in it. You know, the time when Cranberry Sierra Mist is available. I have already had it for a week straight and habits only take 21 days to stick. I guess my saving grace will be the holiday season ending and my lack of contacts in the black market.

When people think of addictions, they mainly think of the hardline drugs or alcohol, but we can be addicted to anything. Most of us are addicted to something and that something usually has consequences. We do not often think about them, but let’s ponder those consequences for a moment.

My first question is how much does your addiction cost? Do you realize what that means to you financially? I have been amazed at the Starbucks business. My brother now works there and he said there are people in there 2-3 times a day buying a mocha costalotofmoneycino. Let us just say you are not insane like that though and buy one a day; that equates to 30 dollars a week and over 120 dollars a month! 

Cigarettes at a pack a day; $180 a month.
2 cokes a day; at least $60 a month. 
Online porn site; I have no clue.
Gambling; the house always wins
Marijuana, cocaine, other drugs; pretty high up there.
Prescription meds; those are expensive too.

Those are just a few items;I know there are many more. 

After money costs; what about health costs? Smoking has serious diseases associated to it, but Coke might rank up there too due to obesity’s high risk problem in our society. Addiction to caffeine can also cause headaches.

Time could also be a factor if you talk about addictions like games, internet, smoking, porn, or gambling. Could you be doing something better with your time? Are you robbing your employer by your addictions (Yes, I saw you playing candy crush while your boss was on his smoke break). 

So if you are addicted and you think it may be having a negative impact on your life, what can you do to stop? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw  You can try that; it may help. Or you can try to replace it with something good for you. If you cut something out, you are going to have to fill it with something else. Instead of looking at bad stuff, read a book (I know a really good long one that you can reread quite a few times and it still is interesting and good). Like to drink a lot, try water! Like to eat a lot, try healthier foods. Learn to be addicted to good things like exercise, volunteering, and healthy foods and drinks.