Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bits December

Merry Christmas (a little late) and Happy New Year! (a little early). We have had a great Christmas season in the states. It was wonderful being around Sarah’s family, getting lots of cousin time for the girls and relaxing with the whole family. Now we are headed up to Michigan for a couple weeks to spend time with my family. Also, Sunday (the 3rd) we will be speaking at Heritage Baptist church, our sending church. We look forward to seeing our church family! 

This past month we were also able to speak a couple times in some small groups; both in the Chattanooga area. We always enjoy sharing about Brazil whether it be one-on-one in a small group or to a large group. We have answered some great questions about living and working on the mission field. 

In January we will be speaking at Yellow River Baptist in Atlanta area and then possibly a couple churches in the Chattanooga area. I am also planning a prayer night with some of the Pastors from Brainerd Baptist Church for January 15th from 9PM to 1AM at the BX in Chattanooga. It is open for anyone and I would love to see various churches from the area represented. We will be praying for our community, churches and outreach. These prayer nights have always been really good for me spiritually. Come check it out!

Our building has started in Arcoverde on the church property! They have started on the outside property wall and will then move on to the foundation of the building next; but we still need lots of funds! Please consider a special gift to this project! If you each give 100,000 dollars, we will be able to build 500 churches; but we don’t even need that much. Our total we need for this phase is just 120,000 and we already have at least a fourth of that. Give what you can whether it be $10 or $10,000, everything will help. I checked the exchange rate the other day and it had jumped over 4, which means your money doubles what it could normally buy! What a great opportunity!

We are excited about how God is going to use American football in Brazil and our influence seems to be expanding. From May 31st to June 6 there will be a mission trip to Recife to run a clinic for several teams in Northeast Brazil. There are still spots to help out with this clinic. If you have experience with playing or coaching football and are interested in this trip or know someone who might be, please let me know. Also, if you are going to be close to me in the next couple months, I would love to make some videos that show drills or explain certain concepts in football. These would probably go around to all Brazil and we could use that influence to spread the gospel. I still think it is crazy how God is using football in a soccer country for people to hear about His Story.

You all’s love and support is humbling to us. We probably had one of our best years ever (without me verifying the actual numbers) as far as giving to ABWE to support us on the field. We love being on the field and know that you all’s partnership has enabled that. Thank you!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my sweet lovely Evelyn who worked hard this year to get an American girl doll and was so grateful when she received it, and our Anna Claire who understood Christmas a little more this year and so was able to really enjoy it. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's a baby!!!

Parents hopefully don't mind as I stare when newborn babies are nearby. There is something so beautiful about new life. I remember when my first baby Evelyn Grace was born and I held her close to me. I remember my tears as her little hand held my finger while she received her first shots and I told her that the pain was actually for her own well-being. Walking down the halls with her I showed her to whoever would see her because I was so proud! A new baby is beautiful to behold.

God chose to send a baby as His love gift. He sent His Son as a beautiful baby; as a new life for us and that is what Christmas is all about. But with Jesus it is so much more than the new life as a baby. The gift God gave to us as represented by Christmas is not just about the new life of a new baby, it is about life for all! Jesus came as a baby so that we could have eternal life with Him forever.

Romans explains it using a comparison with Adam. The first man Adam came, sinned and brought death on all of us. That is, separation from a perfect, holy God. But Jesus came and just as Adam through sinning brought death, Jesus, through faith, brings life!

As much as we look forward to family, fun, presents, food and a day off on Christmas day, may we look forward to the new life that God has for us through His Son Jesus Christ. There will be no January after this gift of life; we will continue in joy in Him forever. There will be no more separation from this beautiful new life; it will go on forever.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jesus and Power Distance

A few weeks ago I heard a lecture on Power Distance. No, the term Power Distance does not refer to home run hitting. The given definition goes like this:
  • “Power distance is a term that describes how people belonging to a specific culture view power relationships - superior-subordinate relationships - between people including the degree that people not in power accept that power is spread unequally.” - Hofstede
  • Power distance refers to the extent to which less powerful members of organizations and institutions (including the family) accept and expect unequal power distributions. This dimension is measured not only from the perspective of the leaders, who hold power, but from the followers. In regard to power distribution, Hofstede notes, "all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others."

I was intrigued by the lecture because I had never heard of it, yet it explained so much about government rule and how it affected the church. The USA has low power distance because supposively we elect our leaders, so essentially we elect what we want in government and that happens. (Again, this is in general; I have watched the news lately...) Countries with kings or dictators would have a high power distance because they say it and that settles it; the people have little control. 

High Power Distance     Low Power Distance

So Americans generally view organizations with a low power distance mentality and generally disagree with high power distance society's. Think of the family. I am serious when I say if I am the head of the family, my wife Sarah is the neck that pretty much controls the head. Women have fought for equality in society to the point where having a female president is a very real possibility. 

Churches also deal with Power Distance. I grew up in a more High Power Distance type church where the Pastor had a lot of control even though there was a board as well (deacons). Recently I have seen many churches go to more of an elder led Low Power Distance type governance. 

So when you study the family or government or church; what is the right way to go? The lecturer (whom I am not able to name due to security issues) talked about his experience in both settings, both in country and out of country where he served in a high power distance society where Americans were going in and creating unsuccessful church governing systems. 

He discussed how the Bible addresses both sides of the issue. Moses learned from Jethro to have people help lead, but that still didn't turn out too well. The New Testament encourages church members to submit to those who rule over them. (Hebrews 13:17) The Bible also emphasizes the Kingdom of God; meaning a land with a King who rules...

But it doesn't end there. Jesus says, "you call me teacher and Lord" and then says that He came to serve. So yes, Jesus is Lord! Jesus is King! But He says to use that power to get down and lift people up.

Personally I learned a lot from this lesson. I don't need to be afraid to lead and make decisions cause people look for that from leadership. But when I am making the decisions I need to serve people because that is Jesus' example. He uses His power to lift others up. I also need to submit to the leaders in my life. God has put them there and I need to follow their lead. (Of course, we need to be careful who we are following). 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bits November

Spoiled. That is how we feel when we are home sometimes. This month we were able to speak several times. Before speaking Sunday morning the 8th in Prattville, AL the Pastor took me to the LSU-Alabama football game. That was fun! The 22nd we spoke at our church in the Chattanooga area, Cloud Springs Baptist in Fort Oglethorpe. Then the 29th we were at West Huntsville Baptist. This is the church that sent a group down to Brazil last year. It was great seeing all of them. Each church has been a blessing to us and we really feel encouraged each time we visit.

Holidays are one of the few reasons we chose to do a furlough at this time. Thanksgiving was great. Evie and Anna Claire were with their cousins 75% of the week and loved it. Now it is the Christmas season and we are glad to be here with family. We were even more excited when we found out that Sarah’s sister Anna and her family will be home from China for Christmas. Then after Christmas we will be headed north to Michigan in hopes that Frozen will be replicated for our Elsa and Anna. It is looking like most of my family will be there and we are looking forward to some tubing, New Year’s parties, and family time. 

This month I also went to the NextGen Leader’s conference in Miami. There were around 75 leaders representing 24 different countries from all over the world there and the week really impacted me. I have written a couple blog posts about some of the ideas during the week if you want to check them out by scrolling down after this update. The conference addressed soul care, prayer, discipleship, mentorship along with other tools to use as leaders in different capacities.

This month I have also used to work with Maicol Venter, an ABWE Brazil colleague, on our Servant Leader’s project. We are building a resource website for churches to better train leaders. Pray for us as we find materials in Portuguese, translate other materials and put together a site that will be helpful to churches around Brazil. We are excited about the direction it is taking! 

It is the end of the year! If you want a nice tax deductible giving opportunity; we have one that is paying more dividends than usual. The fence/wall around our training center/church property has begun and the exchange rate is almost 4-1. It is double the average it has been during our time in Brazil. A video of the architecture project is towards the end of our furlough video if you haven’t seen it yet; click on the link and check it out! This month we have received $5500 so far in gifts toward the project! 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a great December. 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my summer girl that lamented having to wear long sleeves and pants all the time and is grinding out 1-2 Christmas present projects per day, and our energetic little one that is speaking clearer everyday now and enjoying life on the farm with the cats she picks up and dog she hugs but is bigger than her. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The goal in disagreement

Last week I was at a conference full of content; and although I would have liked for all to have been there, that wasn't possible, so here is another phrase to talk about:

"The goal in disagreement is not compromise, but what Jesus says."

I can't tell you who said that (for security reasons), but he discussed some deep thoughts. He talked about n=1 which basically says that there are a certain amount of minds in a room. In a marriage there are two; in a small group there are 4-8; in a church there are who knows how many, but usually a lot of different people with a lot of different ideas. So finding a compromise is difficult. But when you do want to find a solution, generally you want to appease as many as possible...and actually make a sensible decision. This is difficult to say the least. So what do you do? n+1 says that you need to reach the mind of the +1 or the mind of Jesus.

This makes a big difference in our decision making. Plans usually have ulterior motives, but when you decide what Jesus would decide, then it is hard to get to those motives. Now deciding the mind of Jesus obviously means much study of what He would do.

Another phrase that speaker threw out briefly was "love trumps humility." I am still trying to sort out what that means in my different situations, but it has to do with decision making. I can't use a great characteristic like humility to get me out of what I know I should do out of love for God and love for people. I think of passing in basketball. It is a great thing; except when you have the ball wide open with a great look in a good shooting zone for you. You may think that the humble thing to do is to pass it and give up the glory found when making a shot, but that is not the right thing to do. Your coach and team want you to shoot it.

I prefer to be in the back of the line when it comes to serving food in large groups. Mainly because I look humble in waiting for everyone else even though I know I just do it so I won't feel bad about taking as much as I want of whatever I want because everyone has had their chance. :) But sometimes no one wants to go first and the loving, serving thing to do is to go first.

So look at your decision making and first of all find the mind of Jesus. Live His life of humility, submission and obedience!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Discipleship and Jesus

This past week I went to Miami for a conference called the Next Generational Leader's conference. I was not sure what to expect out of the week, but I received more than I thought I would. There are many phrases and conversations that impacted me during the week and I was able to implement them into my message Sunday morning and it was really neat.

One speaker said the following phrase: "Do we measure our discipleship by how much we love Jesus or by how much He loves us?"

That one stuck with me quite a bit. I think our "do" culture places emphasis on the actions of being a Christian and our sermons tell us what we need to do to be a good one. It is good to do, but it is more important to be. The gospel tells us that God is great, we are made in His image and responsible before Him, but we mess up and sin and deserve death; but Christ came down, lived a perfect life and then took our place on the cross and those who have faith in His work, repent of their imperfect life and trust in Him will receive eternal life. The first part of the gospel and Isaiah tells us that even our best works fall short. It is not about what we do; it is about what God did through Jesus.

So instead of focusing on ourselves in our trying to be like Jesus, why don't we focus on what Jesus has already done for us. :) It might just help.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bits October

October started out with our first football game in Arcoverde. Despite the opposing team arriving late and us losing the game, it was a real success. The city was exposed to football as there were around 1200 fans that day, many more fans than the latest soccer games have had. The city officials are impressed and much more willing to help with the team. We also were able to be more organized as a team after the game. 

The week after we had another service in Arcoverde. There were plenty of people there and they heard an excellent gospel message from Pastor Claudio, a Pastor from our mother church, Koinonia in Recife. The day after, we left to head back to the states for four months. (Although we didn’t actually leave until a few days later due to a passport issue; read about that in this link). 

We arrived in the states on a Friday and left for Orlando from Chattanooga Sunday morning for a leadership conference with ABWE. It is always good to see our colleagues and we received some great training on time management out of the book “What’s Best Next.” We also saw my parents for a few days and then Sarah’s parents came down for the weekend as we went to Disney on Saturday with them and our friends Maicol and Mandy who are missionaries to Brazil and have a little girl Stella who is the same age as Anna Claire. They have also been working with me on getting the Servant Leaders program going. 

This past week our friend Alison has been here mainly to pick up equipment for the football team. We were able to see our friends from West Huntsville Baptist who had a donation of equipment. In addition to picking that up we planned for a football clinic we are going to do together in Recife next June. We are hoping to gather a few teams from the region to train as well as insert the gospel. I never thought football would open up so many doors for the gospel in Brazil. Please pray for this clinic and also for Alison as he is on his way back to Brazil with a few extra bags. He takes a bus out of Chattanooga tonight (Saturday night) to arrive in Orlando Sunday morning where he will catch his plane (that has an expensive extra bag policy). We have a bunch of equipment to get down to Arcoverde and so if you are planning any trips to Recife and don’t have any bags, let me know. :)

Well this month is busy! Sunday morning we are in a Sunday school; November 8th preaching in Montgomery; the 15th-20th I will be at a Next Generation Leader’s conference in Miami; the 29th we will be speaking at West Huntsville Baptist! Pray for us this month to be a blessing while we are here. If our finances continue as they are, we will not need to raise extra money to get back to Brazil; and so all the money that comes in while speaking on furlough will go to our building in Arcoverde. For our first phase of building we are looking at raising 120,000 US$! 

Thanks so much for your prayers this month. They were extra needed!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, our little first grader who is enjoying her cousins and shopping, and our fearless (and black-eyed) energetic 2 year old who loves the farm animals (we are living in Sarah’s parent’s renovated barn during furlough) and went right up to all the princesses and started talking as if they were old friends. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Balancing sovereignty and stupidity

Tomorrow we leave Brazil for the US. I said the same thing last Saturday. We have planned a four month furlough for a while and preparations have been made. I saw the Evelyn's Brazilian passport needed to be renewed a couple months ago and picked it up last week so we could travel on Sunday. Things went smoothly as we arrived at the airport three hours early just to be sure and to be able to sit together.

As we went straight to the line I pulled out my folder with all of our important documents. There are several passports in there as I had left a couple expired in there as well as Evelyn having one Brazilian and one American. As I looked at the dates I saw Evelyn's American passport had an expiration date of March 2015. I knew it right away and evidently my face showed it after frantically looking at all the others. Sarah knew something was wrong and I told her about the problem. She handled it well and positively as she thought there might still be a chance with her having another passport and both guardians with her. My stomach did circus loops as we waited a while before confirming what I knew was the inevitable. There was no way we could travel without a valid US Passport.

Defeated they sent us away to take a copy of it and said they felt bad. There we were in the airport on a Sunday night with a Monday Brazilian holiday looming for the next day, without much money in our Brazilian account and without our car that had driven away an hour earlier. Fortunately we have great colleagues and friends around us. I picked out my phone and called Dan Cook, our colleague who would surely be at church at that hour. But I didn't have enough credit on my phone. Fortunately Carlos, the Brazilian missionary that works with us has the same phone company as us and had left his phone on during church which he never does. He went to the airport right away to pick us up and our exhausted selves made it to the Cooks house where we have been resolving everything since.

Tuesday morning our appointment at the consulate went quickly as they were friendly and gracious in issuing an emergency passport. We were gone before nine in the morning. I then went to the airport and picked up Anna Claire's permanent Visa (which she had, just not the permanent card). When we arrived back at the house it took us until six at night to book the best price option with the soonest option. We leave Thursday at 3 in the afternoon and will arrive Friday around noon in Chattanooga via Miami and Atlanta.

During this whole process people constantly said God is in control. A popular phrase among everyone in this state is "if God wants" or wills. A definite true statement. But in all honesty it was my fault for not checking the passports in advance. So do we really need to place the blame on God for our stupidity? Can I pray for God's will and walk across a busy street in New York City hoping for the best?

God is certainly sovereign and can allow or prevent whatever He wants, but we also have responsibility for our actions in life. We must stay focused, be organized and follow God's will for us in the Scriptures. We must use our brain and exercise it as well. Planning is important as well as including God in the planning. Praise God when plans are successful. Then when they do not, you may want to check your own limitations as well as understand it may not be God's will. I try not to blame God for never making it in any professional sports (that was a joke). We live in a day where issues are polarized; try to focus on balance in life. God is Sovereign and we have responsibility (which sometimes reveals are stupidity).

*as an asterisk to this article; I am not too down on myself for this whole event. It certainly was entirely my fault, but mistakes do happen. I am not depressed or anything, but I am a little disappointed about my mistake. Our family has grown closer through this. Evelyn made a book for me Monday that's title was "I still love you," despite being very disappointed Sunday night.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Saturday night lights in the Sertão!

Saturday we had the first American football game in the "Sertão de Pernambuco" which is our area of Northeast Brazil. We played the Caruaru Wolves, a team from about two hours away. They have been playing for about two years and were on their third game. This was our first game.

Normally it takes a while to get the public involved, but we had around 1200 people at the game, which shocked people within the American football community here in Brazil. We garnered the support of city officials and businesses. The event ended up being a big success in which the team made money to buy equipment and be more organized, the community was introduced to the game of football, and the players were able to experience their first game.

Shockingly, the game started at least an hour late due to the late arrival of the Wolves. This stressed out a few people, but didn't seem to effect the environment once we started to play. It did give me the opportunity to pray with the team while we waited for the other team to arrive. It has been amazing how open they have been to allowing me to speak about God and pray.

The game was a close one between a team that looked bigger and more organized as far as equipment goes. We played with borrowed equipment which did not even equip our whole team. We ended up losing 18-8 after they had a pick six in the final quarter as we were driving for the win.

I was able to start the game as quarterback. We drove down the field right away, had a TD called back because of holding and then instead of a 4th down field goal we went for it and they intercepted the ball. We then allowed a safety on a kickoff after they had kicked a field goal and we were down 5-0 without the ball. When finally getting the ball back we started driving and then lost the ball on a bad snap (and bad recovery on my part).

In the second half we started driving and I ended up leaving due to injury. They had been hitting me late and out of bounds all game and the last one did something to my ribs. I was fine, but unable to continue and so our back up went into the game. We got our first touchdown and 2 pt conversion and were only down 12-8. Our defense made another big stop and we soon got the ball back with two minutes to go. Unfortunately our QB threw it downfield and it got picked off and run back for a TD. Down 18-8 we didn't do much more.

But we were proud of everything (and just a little sad about the victory). The other team realized we were not a joke, which is good and our team showed a lot of promise for only being our first game. The community has especially embraced us as the stadium filled up. We had way more fans than any soccer game ever draws. I am grateful that God has allowed me to use sports again to reach people for Christ. Last night in our Bible study (in which our non-religious head coach was present) I told them that football was not the most important thing in life; that we need to glorify God and seek Him. For sure I am looking forward to our four month furlough and a break from football, but I will look forward to getting back to it as well. I will let you know when we post the video from the game, but I hope you enjoy the pictures posted here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bits September

Last day of September, 12 days until we leave for the USA, 4 days until our first football game, and 11 days until our monthly service. We are ready for our short furlough. I wrote a blog post about furlough that you can read here, but we are ready to get a breather for a few months, (even though furlough is not usually a breather). I just mean we are ready for a little break from our schedule here. We also do not want to be gone too long and have to start everything over, so we chose this time that includes 2-3 months where people in this area do little (December-February). If everything continues as planned we go into furlough not needing to raise more support (although if you want to start supporting us we will not impede you) and we have a car to use, housing, and cell phones! Let’s just say my in-laws are great, but then again so are everyone else’s, right??? :)

This month Gabriel finished going through the Story of Hope. He repeatedly said it is true about the gospel in regards to God, man, sin, death, Christ, cross, faith and life and walked away believing in God’s promises. We are excited to have this new brother. Pray for him this month as he takes a big test in trying to study to be a doctor. He is a good guy and certainly deserves it.

Our study group on Wednesdays has had a faithful group and Sundays for the first month ever has consistently had a good group as well. I have been especially excited about the football players. Four of them have been very consistent and a few others have showed up a couple times. We have also had another English student that has been the last three weeks. We are studying stories in the Old Testament and the gospel is constantly brought up. This week after studying king Josiah I talked about him not knowing about the Bible, to finding the Scriptures and deciding to obey them and how they could do the same process with God. 

Alison is really involved in the church. He is an architect and on the football team. He comes from another church in another city and has taken ahold of the music team. This last week Pastor Roger had him teach the lesson and he did a great job. That night Chico jokingly said he would be teaching soon as well. We quickly informed him that he wasn’t joking. Chico and Bia have shown tremendous faithfulness and dedication to their newfound faith. It is great to see that we are not just in the gathering stage, but also growing into leadership development. 

Saturday I play football here. I am the quarterback of the team and am asking for your prayers. :) I am not old, but I am not that young to be competing like this, but I am looking forward to having fun. 

Alright, well we will see some of you soon! But to all of you we thank you for your faithfulness in prayers and support. God bless!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our big 6 year old who thinks she is running the show now, and our little energy bug who is talking away and slowly arriving at a place where we can understand a good bit of what she says.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Being understood

To be understood is to be loved. To understand someone takes time, patience and lots of questions. In our busy world understanding others rearranges our agenda and for this reason is not a top priority. But people need to be understood in both the private world and the business world.

We have a Pastors group here in Brazil that meets and the Pastors are greatly encouraged. Not because the topic of conversation is anything great. The topic is each other and we share about our lives. We can understand each other because we all lead similar lives of busyness with ministry. Pastors are generally misunderstood people, and just the knowledge that there are others in the same boat you are in is an encouragement to keep moving on. Pastors do not have many places to go where they are understood.

The keys to understanding are listening and asking the right questions. I will never forget my wife having a crisis of faith early in our marriage. She called her mom and sister and they came straight over, sat on the bed, looked in her eyes, asked questions and listened. That is understanding. Sarah felt ok in pouring her heart out. The opposite would be showing up, asking questions, then interrupting and talking about one's own experiences, which is what usually happens. Most people in today's age are not listeners. Cell phones might help with this fact. I don't think I have to explain that one, just to say that our attentiveness to our cell phone keeps us from the reality of the face to face conversation we are having in the moment.

When listening, look into the other person's eyes. Confirm that you have heard by your body language as well as your speech. Ask questions like, "let me make sure I am understanding you correctly." Then summarize what they have said to show you heard them.

Christians should also do this in evangelizing. We need to understand those to whom we are talking. Their viewpoint will help you know where to start with them with the gospel. Not everyone will understand John 3:16 right away; they might have misconceptions about the God of the Bible. Or they may understand who the God of the Bible is but not understand the concept of sin. This is why we must understand their viewpoint before we tell them to bow their head. We also need them to know that you truly care about them and are not just pushing your beliefs on them.

Understanding others is serving others, loving others and as Christians we have a great opportunity to lead this chaotic world in understanding each other better and uniting us more.

PS: Don't ask my wife if I am 100% perfect at this, but you can ask her if I have gotten better since we got married.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


18 days until we leave for a four month furlough. I have been ready for this furlough for a few weeks now. I really didn’t like our last furlough too much, but I am looking forward to this one. I am ready to rest and refocus. My mind has been scattered lately. Things are going well here, the study groups are growing and our friendships expanding, but my long term goals have fogged up. I have gotten into a daily rhythm that does not address those goals and lives for the present ministry, which could be fine if it were not for these other goals. 

I am ready to go out with my wife by ourselves fairly often. I am ready to watch football all day on a Saturday with chips and cheese dip. I am ready to see my in-laws new farm/house that they bought and we are going to stay at. I am ready to eat out at good restaurants. I am ready to take my girls to Disney and spend, oh wait, no I’m not…(but we are going to go for a day after our conference).  

I have a problem, well, a blessing with having all these ideas that I want to do to change the world. Occasionally I realize that the possibility of accomplishing a great idea is not likely and start to give up on them. Then sometimes I am really motivated. Lately the motivation has been random. In the last couple of months I have pulled out two different book files and randomly worked on them, have worked on the Servant Leadership translations for a new website to launch to help Brazilian leadership with training materials, have started doing short podcasts in English for Brazilians, and have worked on a long term business idea to supplement support for missionaries. But these tasks are all just in the beginning of the long processes it will take to accomplish them. 

The word the Brazilians use for furlough is the same word for vacation. That always bothers me cause it usually isn’t. We will arrive in Chattanooga on a Monday and leave for a conference on Friday. So far we have a couple of meetings in November and then a couple in January as well as visiting our Chattanooga churches. If you want us to go to your church, let us know. Fortunately we are not needing to book new churches for support at this time, but we are available to speak if it works out for both of us. We look forward to meeting up with many of you! But I also look forward to focusing on the tasks we have in front of us.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Presidential Qualities

I am glad I am not a politician. The family and personal attacks would really bother me. Last presidential race Herman Cain dropped out because of such attacks. I liked him because he had the main idea down. The President does not have to know everything, but he has to surround himself with people who do.

Here are a few characteristics we should look for in a Presidential candidate:
1. Humility- Someone who is humble will be willing to admit he doesn't know everything. No one knows everything, but there are plenty of people who think they do. If you think you do, you will not seek out advice. Proverbs says there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. A humble person is also able to admit their mistakes. People are much more forgiving of mistakes when you take the blame. It is hard to attack someone when they are already pointing to themselves.

2. Service- Can we say of any presidential candidate that they are there to serve the country? I know they are there to serve; serve their own interests or the interests of special interest groups. This is not the right service. The office was created for service to the American people. I can imagine how interest groups started in politics and I can only imagine it starting in secret; now it is in the open, everyone knows and it is still allowed. Why? Can we not find someone with the service of the country in mind?

3. Courage- Tony Dungy in his book "Uncommon" refers to courage as standing by one's convictions. First of all, one has to have the correct convictions, but also be able to say no to what is wrong, or even to what is not right at that moment. The country right now is in lots of debt. Plenty of people "need" the government's help, but if the politicians keep saying yes to everything, they will soon have to say no to everything when there is no longer any money left to spend. Can we find a President who will have the courage to say no to the norms of present government to return the country to the government our founding fathers created and the one which made this country so great?

4. Honesty- Integrity is not common these days. Dishonesty is the norm, especially amongst politicians. Everyone can point to promises that were made and not fulfilled. If you are honest, you never have to remember what you did or didn't say. A trustworthy President would go a long ways in gaining confidence with the American people. But the American people also pressure presidential candidates into making promises. Can we look for a candidate that has priorities rather than promises?

5. Leader- We need a President who can lead our country back to greatness. A President who finds the right people for the right job independent of anything else. A leader who will pass down high requirements for leadership so that those high qualifications will be esteemed in the eyes of us everyday Americans. Brazil right now is suffering economically largely because of the corruption within the government, but the word on the street is that it is not just the government. The everyday Zé (Joe) is corrupt as well; so how should they expect the government to be any different. The same goes for the US.

Truly the President is just a representation of the American people and if the American people like you and me are not displaying these characteristics, how will we expect a President who does as well? Take the steps you need to take to stay informed about government through reading and research, but also take the steps in character development. If we are not where we should be character wise, how should we expect our government to be?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bits August

Disciple making is the main command of Matthew 28:19-20. Lots of times we immediately think of conversion as the command, but it isn't; it is the whole process. As we ponder this, we realize that every step in disciple making is important. This month we have seen many steps made in this process and it is pretty exciting.

I thought about stopping with the football ministry for a while. It seemed no one was interested in the studies from the team. But this month, in most of the studies there have been 3-6 guys coming out. A couple of them have been very faithful and even though they have not made a decision yet, they are enjoying the study, coming back, learning, and more importantly, hearing the gospel just about every week. 

Besides this, the team is having me do a short devotional talk each week. The team is very respectful during these times and I am grateful for these opportunities. We have also continued to have English conversation which has opened more doors as far as kids interested in other studies.

Gabriel is over halfway done with the Story of Hope with me and really enjoying it and wanting to dig deeper. His study time is a highlight in my week as his interest really encourages me. I am sure you will hear more about Gabriel in future emails. 

Sarah has been busy with Evelyn doing school. Evie was also able to go back to her Brazilian school and visit her friends there. She constantly invites her friends to our studies. 

We are supposed to start construction on the walls of the church this month! The floor plans are just about ready for the church and so Carlos is working on contracting the workers for the start. Pray this goes well! Pray he finds the right workers for the job, as good trustworthy workers are hard to find. Then pray that the money will come in for it. The dollar is super high right now, so our money goes a lot further! If you want to give towards it, let me know, we will let you. :) 

Once again, we will be in the states from October 12 to February 8, so if you would like us to speak at your church, please let us know. As of this moment we do not need to search for new churches to support us during this furlough, Praise the Lord! God has provided through many of you; Sarah and I are amazed at you all's generosity lately. God bless you all!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, and my soon to be 6 year old (Sept 20) who is doing well in school, riding her bike without training wheels, and rattling off in English and Portuguese, and our little energizer bunny that is jabbering away, running away, and taking away our hearts with her extreme cuteness. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The same old me or a new me?

"I am stubborn and hard to deal with; that is just how I am; if you don't like it, don't deal with me." Beautiful words to use when you want to talk about yourself. I still cannot wrap my mind around the mentality behind these words. If you are annoying and know it, why not change?

I have many faults, but I try to work on them and improve my personhood. Some think they do not have a choice when it comes to what kind of person you are, but that is completely false. What separates people who are what we would call successful and the rest? While there are thousands of correct answers to this question, I am going to say that the most successful people invest in themselves. You have many decisions and actions to take in life and you prepare for those by what you put in your mind.

When someone buys a car they look for value. Is the car new? Does it have problems? What kind of trinkets does it have? When we bought our car the DVD player with screens in the back added a lot of value. So when someone looks to hire, they look for value as well. What kind of person are you? What trinkets (or good characteristics) do you have that add value to you as an employee? Maybe you don't have any! Surely that is not true. But certainly it is true that you can add more value to yourself.
How do you do that? Be proactive with yourself. Look for ways to learn (reading being the primary method) and start putting good material into your mind.

Reading a book yesterday I learned new information (and old). I noticed that at some point in life I had learned some good insight in my relationship with my wife and others. Had I read the book sooner I might have saved a few battles with my wife. It is funny cause we will spend time learning lessons through negative experiences (like fights with your wife) or you can learn them by prevention done through reading. If you need me to tell you which of these is easier send me an email and I will let you in on the answer!

This process can happen to anyone, but Christians can have a great advantage. You see, we have the Holy Spirit in our life who often works through the Bible to help us out. My grandfather and parents have been great examples of putting the Bible into their minds. They consistently read every morning. The bible says this is being transformed by the renewing of your mind. We are more like Christ!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tim Tebow

I am one of those people that reads all the articles on Tim Tebow. Not because I was ever a Gators or Broncos (or Jets) fan, or cause I think he is the best unused talent around (I don't think that), but because I want good to win. I often look out for Christians who are not ashamed to say they are Christians and silently root for them.

The world needs good role models right now. With all the wrong things going on, it is nice to see people trying to stand up for what is right without an in the face approach. Wherever Tim Tebow has gone he has won over people. I am pretty sure that most people that have really known him and talk to him have ended up respecting him and that is the kind of guy for whom I want to root.

I follow his foundation on Twitter and it is really neat to see all of the stuff his foundation does for the needy; especially Timmy's playroom where sick kids can get away. Who can't love that? Tim Tebow is an example of someone genuine. I don't think you can question his motives because you know he is for real. I think we can all be genuine as well if we put our mind to it. Love God and love others as yourself. We all mess up, but we can admit it and try harder (meaning depend on God more).

This year I am hoping he can get in the game and make a few plays and maybe even shut a few people up, but if he doesn't, I hope he knows he can come play for our team in Brazil, take over my position and help us with our church plant!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A victim of circumstance

July, August and September all have important dates for me as far as my Christian life. I was appointed an ABWE missionary in July of 2005, saved August 12, 1987 and then we arrived in Brazil for career missions September 26, 2008.

All of them represent God's sovereign work in my life in making me who I am. We do not control where or to whom we are born. God placed me in a loving Christian household where the gospel was displayed to me since I was born. I don't know the percentage on that happening, but I imagine babies have less than a 5% chance they will be born into that type of home.

The year I was saved we lived in a house behind a church where we simply had to walk across the parking lot to get to church. After taking that short walk back home one night after church I talked with my mom about salvation and decided to follow Christ. When I was still a child my parents highlighted the importance of missions by going to Mexico for a couple weeks for health clinics (my dad is a doctor) and then two month and six month trips with their 7 children to the Amazon in Brazil. It was not hard to see that earthly riches were not my parent's life goal. They showed by their actions the importance of serving God no matter the difficulty or cost. Being a missionary is because I am a victim of my past and God's sovereign work in my life.

I love preaching on Philippians 1:6; God is completing a good work in us! I cannot forget that He is doing that in my life as well. If it were up to me I probably would have many hurt relationships due to anger problems, but fortunately God has placed people with wisdom in my path to point out my faults and how to correct them. God has grown our circle of influence by leading us to many different places whether they be churches for a day, internships for a couple months, or some cities for years. Deep relationships have developed that have taught me so much.

Different missionaries have been in my life that have taught me what to do and what not to do and they continue to be there as I continue to learn. Ed Gibson was a popular speaker for missions conferences and taught about being Jesus to the people; simple missions. Roy Seals and Doug Hodges were my missions profs in college who taught me so much and who never really left the mission field even though they were still in a position to influence college students. They both constantly re-think how we do missions and are passionate about more people hearing of God's glory. In South Brasil several missionaries showed us what starting churches looked like. I especially liked their sport's ministries. Al Yoder is a machine that goes non-stop. Chip Philips is as well and has shown me to never stop learning. Lloyd and Athena Peace have shown me true love and friendship. Now we are with Roger and Marcy Smith who have given us much wisdom in church planting. They have had to have patience with us and have calmly shown us what church planting takes.

God never intended for us to live the Christian life alone. He places a cloud of witnesses around us that show His path. We can do and do and take credit or we can listen, learn, grow and give glory to God for what is accomplished through us. I praise God that He has allowed me to be a victim of my surroundings and has sustained us where we are at today.

Never take for granted what God is doing in your life. He gives us difficult times, different mentors, and unusual ways of spiritual growth, but is present through it all with the goal of our conformity to the image of His Son. Praise the Lord for His work in our lives!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bits July

Blessed is how we feel after this month. Sarah had a good visit with her family to see Judah, her sister’s new baby. The same morning I picked her up from the airport, I picked up Zach, a Liberty University missions student who is doing a 5 week internship with us. He has been a help for us, especially as we received a team of 11 from West Huntsville Baptist Church and Ashley Hancock, our new team member here in Arcoverde. 

Ashley has transferred from São Paulo in South Brazil and will work with youth and women’s ministries in our church. She arrived with the missions team and helped out translating during the week. We are now helping her get settled here in her new home. Pray for her transition.

The missions team was a huge help in making contacts. The football team was excited to have an ex NFL player to coach them for the week. We just happened to have a training camp with another team from Recife and Hoss Johnson and Don Eade were able to coach them as well as speak into their lives spiritually. They showed their appreciation by showing up to our Sunday night Bible study where we had to rent the hotel auditorium to fit everyone. The team shared some testimonies and people showed up whom I never would have imagined and others who had promised to come for a long time. On Monday through Thursday the team taught VBS, ran football practices and ran a time of English conversation. All went better than expected and we made many new contacts. 

I have had a couple conversations with Danilo, one of my English students, before and he has always been closed to anything with church. At the English conversation at night he cornered Scott, who does teaching on dinosaurs all over the world and wanted to ask him questions about dinosaurs. Danilo had always believed all the teaching on evolution done in the schools and had never heard how dinosaurs lived with man. He went away with a new perspective on dinosaurs and the church! 

Marcelo has had some relationship problems and sought out the football coaches for advice. He ended up going to anything he could while the group was here and showed up for our Sunday and Wednesday night Bible studies (where Sunday we more than doubled what we normally have).  

In October we will start a 4 month furlough. We have a conference with ABWE in Orlando from October 19-25, so we decided it would be beneficial to go home for a few months to see our families and so later we aren’t gone for a year from Brazil. If you are a supporting church and would like us to visit, speak now or forever hold your peace. Well, at least speak soon… So far our plans are to arrive October 12 (in the Chattanooga area where we will be based during those few months), go to the conference in Orlando, be with my family during Thanksgiving week and Sarah’s family during Christmas and then head up to Michigan for New Year’s. (And of course plans change sometimes).

Much love to you all! All for HIS glory,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Power of Prayer

Oh come on; we all know the power of prayer. Why don't we do it more?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sovereignty of God

Last night we had a Bible study where the intern, Zach, who is staying here for 5 weeks taught on the birth of Samuel. He mentioned that the chapter (I Samuel 1) could have adoration as its theme because all throughout they worshiped God. It didn't matter the circumstance.

We had just come off a week of someone getting saved because of difficult circumstances. It is crazy to think the length of God's love for us. He does what it takes to accomplish His will. Because of this, we can thank God through our difficult times because we know that He is accomplishing His purposes in our lives.

Prosperity is popular with many, but the reality is that God often blesses us with difficult circumstances so that we can grow closer to Him. "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son!"(Romans 8:28-29 God loves us so much that he puts things in our life to make us more like Christ. That is why we can glory in tribulations. When is the last time you thanked God for a difficult situation in your life because you perceived that He was making you to be more like Christ?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What did we think would happen?

I am two days into being a single parent. My wife went to the US (we live in Brazil) for a week to visit her family and I have the two girls with me. And I have my parents here with me; which is plenty of help. But the girls miss their mom. I know that if she were to never come back my kids would get used to it, (and don't worry she IS coming back), but not having her makes a huge hole in our family. I can't imagine life without her.

Evelyn, Anna Claire and I have had some good quality time together the last couple of days. Their mom is their security blanket and I am needing to give a few more hugs, a few more bull rides and a few more stories in order to keep enough of that blanket around them so that they do not feel abandoned. No one can replace the feeling of a healthy family environment. It is no wonder we have so many crazy things happening in our world with the lack of secure families that exist.

I can't help but wonder how other families get along without a spouse. I know they do, but it has to be pretty difficult. The ruling this past week caused me to think more about our families. My first thoughts were "what did we expect?" The divorce rate in the US is terrible and in the churches is not much better. Families are often torn apart and the norm is having an abnormal family, which I guess would make the abnormal family being the normal family. We expect the nation to look to traditional marriage with respect when we have made it a joke.

Marriage is not easy. Sarah and I have experienced plenty of ups and downs and the "easy" reaction of the moment is to give up. The biblical response should be to love and fight for the marriage. Which is interesting because Christians all over are citing the Bible when it comes to defining marriage between a man and a woman, but ignoring the part about staying married. If we are going to make a big deal about the court ruling we need to make a big deal about the state of marriage in our churches.

God created marriage partly to understand Him better. The roles played by husband and wife or mother and father are completing roles that are beautiful to behold when they are played correctly. The trinity has roles as well that complement each other and cause us to marvel at the holiness of our God. The man and woman's responsibility in the marriage may not be the same, but it is of equal importance (well, maybe the mother's is a little more important). Distorting this truth has destroyed the idea of marriage. No one knows their roles anymore. It is no wonder that mixing up these roles has blurred the lines of marriage.

So my challenge to you is this; instead of criticizing the world for acting like the world, how about we make our own marriages and families enviable.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bits June

Fireworks were going off late into the night yesterday as the June Harvest parties finished. June has been a party month around here; for both the city and for us. We continue to meet new people here that we pray will be involved in the ministry here some day. We hosted my sister Kim and her husband Kevin for a couple weeks. Now we have my parents in town for two weeks as well. Both have helped us in ministry and in playing with the girls.

The groups have been slower this month, but we did have a good seminar on Conflict. Most of the people from the first seminar returned and then asked when the next one would be. The unbelievers did not seem too interested in Bible studies, but the seminars really capture their interest (and are filled with Bible as well). Pray these continue to go well. This month we will try to do one on depression that a Christian friend who works in mental health will give.

Our second service will be Saturday and I get to preach! I am pretty excited as it will be the first time for me to preach to our people here; I have taught many times, but this feels pretty different. Pray that God will speak through me and that the right people will be at the service. Yesterday I appealed for support from the football team. As of yet they have not come to many studies and I really hope that they can be more involved.

Construction! The last couple months the Pastors have been working on the land documents, but we now in the stage of receiving plans from the architect to begin construction. We will be working in phases as none of you have donated a million dollars as of yet to complete the whole thing. :) But we are not planning on a huge donation coming in as we know that God will use many people to come together for this project! As of right now we have had a couple gifts come in through our prayer letters, some anonymous, then our colleagues Roger and Marcy Smith have raised some money, and then their church Koinonia (the mother church to this church plant) has raised some as well! It is neat to see us all work together. You can give through ABWE as usual and designate it to our account 0133233; mark it for church planting.

This month is a big month as we have an intern arriving next week and then a team coming down from July 17-24. Pray that Zach will learn about the mission field and be a help while he is here and that West Huntsville Baptist church will be a blessing here. We also have a new colleague arriving this month as well. Ashley Hancock is transferring from South Brazil and will work with youth here! That is a big answer to prayer that happened very quickly. Pray for her move, her funds through the move, for her to find a place to live and be able to start integrating into ministry soon!

Your prayers are such a blessing. Keep them coming! Also, please check out the other pages to the blog, especially the girls' pages as I just updated them.

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, Evelyn and Anna Claire

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The downward Spiral

Scrolling through the news reminds me of the downward spiral our society is in. Last week I taught a seminar on conflict and the material addressed how destructive conflict is a downward spiral. We constantly attack each other, fail to find common ground and destroy relationships through conflict. Most people don't want there to be poor people, injustice, war or violence, yet our lack of proper communication causes those very things. We constantly use violent communication as we try to defend what we value. Though conflict is necessary for growth, the negative affects of bad dialogue do not have to be necessary. 

When I started blogging, a transgender friend named Seda reached out to me for open dialogue through non-violent communication. Seda thinks we should talk to one another and share what we feel, but be careful in how we go about the process. We do not need to attack, but to understand, seek to be understood, and to love. I think society could start to mend if we took one another seriously and asked ourselves the question, "why would a rational human being act/believe that way?" Admittedly, not all people are rational, but my optimistic self would like to think that a good 99% of people are not against everyone else in the world. In conflict try backing out of the subject to find common ground and purposes before you reenter the subject to solve the conflict.

Constructive conflict must start in the every day. It would be hypocritical to try peacekeeping conversations with the world without first practicing them in your everyday relationships. Those closest to you know whether or not you live on the downward spiral or give priority to relationships over always being right.

Here are some tips for conflict to turn constructive:
1. Give priority to relationship. The friendship should be more important than the problem.
2. Follow OICA: Observe, Interpret, Clarify and Accuse. Make sure you understand all that is going on with the conflict before you start your demands.
3. Show that the others values are heard and important.
4. Create a secure environment for the others involved.
5. Show respect
6. Make sure it is obvious that you are both listening and understanding.
7. Show mercy and grace, both with others and with yourself.
8. Celebrate being different and not just conforming.
9. We have a great opportunity in conflict to show the gospel at work in our lives.

The material from this blog is from the seminar "Constructive Conflict" written by the missionaries behind the website

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bits May

We are in our new house. It took a bit, but we moved on May 9th to a mostly finished house. Now at the end of the month it is more finished, but still needs a bunch of little details (which will be the case until we are 80). This has not kept us from using the house! We had a birthday party for Anna Claire (a postponed birthday party) and the following day we grilled out and had a potluck style meal in which we had around 20 people, two unchurched families and a couple families from our groups. We are going to try to do this once a month. Last week we had our first Sunday night group and had more than normal. Sarah also organized a play date for some women to bring their kids, learn a new recipe and hear a testimony that came from another colleague who was visiting. She is looking forward to doing this again while my sister is here from the states.

Pray for rain! Usually it rains a bunch around this time of year, but it hasn’t rained much so far. Mentally I equate the lack of rain to the lack of the gospel in the area; pray the gospel will continue to spread here in Arcoverde. This month saw a growth of unity in the pastor’s group. We have talked several times about uniting for the gospel which would jump a cultural barrier with the churches here. Cooperation between the churches has never been the norm. Usually the members transfer between churches generating hard feelings and few new converts, but the churches seem to be better focused now. 

I was able to teach the first theology module in the church in Recife this month. I always enjoy teaching theology. Please pray that doors would open here in Arcoverde to teach Old and New Testament, and then theology later. This month we did start our seminars in Arcoverde. The first one about finances saw some new faces to our training building and generated interest in our church. Pastor Claudio from Recife taught it and did a great job. Next month I will be teaching on Constructive Conflict. 

The main prayer request and reason I am writing a day or two early is because tomorrow night (Saturday night) will be our first service here in Arcoverde. We are really excited and inviting lots of people we know. There is a group of almost 50 coming from Recife to pass out pamphlets as well as participate in the service. Please pray that it all goes smoothly and that there will be fruit from this meeting! 

This month we received news of a possible future missionary here. We also will have some visitors; my sister Kim and her husband Kevin will be here next week and stay for a couple weeks. Right after that my parents will be here for a couple weeks while Sarah goes to the states and spends a couple weeks with her family; particularly her sister Anna and her new baby that is supposed to be born tonight in China (there is another immediate prayer request). The girls are staying here with my parents and I. :) So that might need a little prayer. :) 

May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine down upon you! With lots of love from your friends down south.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my bilingual chatterbox, and my big two year old monkey who is also starting to talk away; both went with me two days in a row for an early morning walk to the church property where we have been able to pray for God’s work here, in the church and in our lives.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A relationship that works

The last few months have been very exciting and difficult. We are building a house in Arcoverde, Northeast, Brazil and it is the first (and probably last) time we have built a house. I was warned it would be difficult and so I shouldn't be surprised that it has been.

When I go to work on the house I feel as if I am doing it for my family and thus feel as if it is family time. My wife and I have talked about this because being gone so much between ministry and building a house has been hard on the family. In my mind I am doing it for them, but my wife brought in a new perspective. She said that she appreciated my work and knew that my motives are good, but that what she really wants is to spend time with me. All the work I am doing for the family is good, but means

nothing without the relationship. What a great point. A point I must learn from not just inside our family, but in my relationship with God.

Many times we want to work, work, work for God and do everything for Him, but that cannot go without a relationship with Him. This is the same thing Jesus was saying with Mary and Martha. Perhaps the better part is not in the service, but in sitting at Jesus' feet. God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Hoseia 6:6). Our works for Him will never mean more than our love for Him. Of course the love should be what drives the works (Ef. 2:10).

A few years ago the book "The Shack" came out with a little bit of controversy. I usually do not try to sign bad intentions to people and read it for what it was worth. And I learned something very important to me from the book. The author concentrated on the relationship and interaction between the persons of the trinity. They are three separate personalities that have different roles, yet they are one in Spirit and with their unity. God wants us to be part of that relationship. He wants us, not to be God of course, but to be part of that very close relationship.

Many work to provide a better life for their family, but remember that the family will only be there as long as the relationship is there. And remember that God wants that same relationship with you.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bits April

Last weekend I was able to teach a New Testament Survey module to a group of students from Arcoverde. I didn't know if we would get through the whole New Testament in 13 hours, but we made it. 

On Thursday mornings I participate in a Pastor's group from the Arcoverde area. It is an informal time to pray and encourage each other...and eat breakfast. The last few weeks the group has seen growth as far as participation as well as deeper conversation on cultural issues in the church. It has been neat to be a part of and see some possible progression in relation between the churches. The culture here has certainly been different than any other area I have seen and it has been hard to see the lack of unity between churches. But I think this is getting better, at least between the Pastors.

On May 30 we will have our first "preview service" where we will have a worship time with some of the mother church members from the "big city" Recife. We will be handing out invitations all month as well as getting a good push when the church bus rolls in. Pray for people to come and get interested in the studies! I have many people I want to invite. 

This month, Lord willing, we will be moving into our house (I think I said that last month as well). We are looking forward to opportunities to have people over. Sarah is already planning some play dates on at least one afternoon per week. We are excited about Sundays now where we will have a place for kids to have a good time while the parents study. Please pray that we will use our new house for His glory!

This month we will have a financial class on May 21. We hope to reach out through that. On May 22 and 23 I will be teaching the first module of Theology at the church in Recife. Pray that goes well! We also had an exciting meeting about our Servant Leader's program and we are looking forward to some pretty cool opportunities with what we can do through the website. 

Thanks for all the prayers! This summer we have a lot going on; pray for fruit from 4 different couples/groups that will be coming down. (My sister and her husband (Kevin and Kim Patton, my parents Dan and Bonny Carrel, West Huntsville Baptist Church, and a college intern named Zach). 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, our big 1st grader who finished Abeka Academy's kindergarten class earlier this month, and our big talking away 2 year old

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bits March

I am pretty sure April will be moving month and I am even more sure that we are excited. Construction has taken up too much of my time and finishing will be a big relief for us. We are hoping that we will have enough money leftover to throw a party and invite all those who helped on the house, whether by working on it, or the store people with which we have built relationships to other friends as well. We will see what happens, but we would like to use it as a platform to invite people deeper into our lives. 

This month we were able to have a new family come over for dinner. We are hoping that they will be interested in coming to the study some time. We are on our 6th week in a new study out of the Purpose Driven Life book and it is generating some good discussion. We have had some family members from some of our participants show up at our study and we weren't really expecting it.

The football team participation has died down in both the studies and in the team practices. I am hoping that a church group coming in July will help give a good shove to the team in both areas. West Huntsville Baptist will be here July 17-25. This is our first mission team ever! We are excited about them and have been planning for ESL, VBS, football clinics, construction and a beauty night. If you are interested in coming down here on a trip; it could be a game changer for making contacts here! 

This month I have been able to teach a couple times and preach a couple times. I went with our co-worker Dan Cook to a city a few hours away to teach the Good Soil course. It went well and we get to teach it here in Arcoverde in a couple weeks. Pray it fills up and that all the materials arrive on time. 

Evelyn has been sick over half the month with four different types of sickness. Pray that she can build up her immune system soon and avoid any more sickness. Her being in school has helped us with meeting people here and we are hoping to make some more personal contacts as the year rolls on. In her homeschool she has worked hard to get ahead and this month will be done with her first year. 

We were hoping to set up a little field this month, but a neighbor behind us decided to put all his bricks on our lot. Then they decided to store all the sewage tubes exactly on our lot as well. The good thing is that proves we have the central lot in the neighborhood. We are dreaming of what we can do with this piece of land God has given to us. Please pray about giving towards it! 

We have been blessed with your financial faithfulness and it is humbling to see how you all give so generously. To the anonymous donor this month, thanks! And to all of you who read and say a simple prayer, to those of you who wear your knees out interceding for us, we love you and thank you.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah and our hard working, intelligent, talkative 5 year old Evelyn, and our energetic, bouncing, climbing, mess making birthday girl (next Monday is her birthday).