Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bits September

It is game day! One of the things I miss most in the US is sitting around watching college football, snacking and hanging out with family on Saturdays. My brothers and I (and Dad) used to even go out and play a game of football in between games or at halftime. Today, our team gets to play on a Saturday afternoon into evening underneath the lights. This week we had to come together as a team and go after sponsors for our game. It was neat to see the team work together outside of the lines. Last night at our team dinner I talked from Ephesians 4:16 about unity, working together and love. I told them football needed to be a stage in which they worked on not being selfish, working together and loving one another because once they get a family the stakes are much steeper. The football team has been a great opportunity for us to reach into the lives of these players as well as our community.
Once again, construction has dominated this past month. There is great progress though and Lord willing we will have pictures of a Bible study going on in our building for the next update. Not for sure though! Please pray for everything to come together. We had a workday with our study group members this month and it was fun and profitable! They were excited about what the future holds there! 

I participated in a Servant Leaders Strategic Planning weekend meeting over Skype this month. We are excited about what God is doing with SL. We are in charge of the translation and training for Brazil as well as helping out with organizational development and curriculum. Below is when we did a grill out and taught the Conflict Resolution seminar for the group that had finished the Processing Life Biblically class. 

Sarah and the girls are going with me to Tupanatinga once a month (I go every other week) and this last week we had a bouncy ride out to a rural farm. We met a new family and their relatives and talked about what it means to be a disciple. 

In our Arcoverde study group we have had more families coming, which is neat to see. They are excited about being in the building soon and many offer to help in various ways. It is good to see a big part of our group wanting to serve. In many churches 20% of the members do 80% of the work. We all need to make sure we do our part and work together as the body of Christ!

Sarah’s cheerleaders will be on the field this afternoon! They are really cute. Check Facebook for a video soon! Sarah has also been able to go to an English school and teach recipes. The kids all enjoy that! Thanks for all you do so that God’s kingdom can grow here in the Sertão! 

All for HIS glory,


David, Sarah and our little gymnasts; although Evie started ballet again, the girls spend free time playing with polly pockets and performing the floor routine in the kitchen with the youtube gymnast routine music. Also, Evelyn turned 8 last week! 



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bits August

This month we finished our 7 week men’s study on Processing Life. The group seemed to grow as we went which really encouraged us as we look to the future to implement Servant Leaders, our leadership training course. For celebration, we decided to grill out last night as well as do another study on Conflict Resolution. It went really well and girlfriends/wives came and enjoyed themselves as well. 



Last weekend the football team had a road game, a good 8-10 hour drive away. I was able to have some good conversations. One guy told me how he had been pretty much an atheist (I would probably say agnostic) before starting to come to the studies. Now he really enjoys them and doesn’t like to miss. On gameday I gave a devotional on David and Goliath, presenting the gospel once again to the team. We had over 40 players there and they pay attention and are respectful. As I continually evaluate how long I want to be involved with coaching football, I think of the quote by Billy Graham that says, “A coach will impact more people in one year than an average person will in an entire lifetime.” I am not sure how accurate this quote is, but I do know he has a great point. Coaching these guys has been an important place of influence for lots of lives that would be hard to achieve in any other position. Oh, and we played in a World Cup stadium this last game, which was a really cool experience. 

Sarah has started a discipleship with a woman who has gone through some marital issues. She also continues to do a lot of hosting in our home. Frequent hosting in our home might not last too much longer though as we will soon be moving some of the studies to the church building. Maybe not this month, but October will give us a good chance to have some studies start there. I have decided to start the Servant Leaders program November 1st at the building as well. Pray for us as we coordinate the electrician, dry-waller (actually we don’t have dry wall, but the equivalent here), window maker, and tile layer as they come and try to have the building ready for us to use soon. I am in charge of the painting and will be busier carrying out that task this month. This morning I was applying sealer and walling mud. 

This month we were also able to report to our partner/mother church in Recife during their missions month about what God is doing in the Outback. They were excited to hear and I hope challenged in the area of missions. They have been a great partner as we seek to establish a church planting base here. 

Thanks so much for your prayers and support! God is good and keeps working on us! I hope that He has been busy working on you as well!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, and our two little ballerinas that are stoked about starting ballet classes soon. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Prayers and football

I have messed up and just now I am starting to see it. In 2014 our family moved to a small interior town in Brazil and looked to start a church. Seeking contacts in a place where we knew no one, american football fell into our laps. I started out as offensive coordinator and quarterback and ended up as head coach as of November of 2015. Coming from the states I have been hesitant to force my Christianity on the football team as a whole. Starting out they all knew why I was in Brazil and knew they were invited to studies, but it wasn't until our first game in October of 2015 that I realized they were ok with praying. Before our game in the locker room the players asked me to pray for the game. Since then they have been ok with saying a few words, giving a few challenges, as well as praying. 

The work here did not spread right away. Few players came to studies at the beginning. I even thought it might not be worth it for a while and thought about seeking out another way of meeting people. But slowly more and more players have come to studies. Eight weeks ago I started a study for men on Wednesday nights where we went over the seminar Processing Life Biblically. We had a good group of ten guys the whole time, several of them from the offensive line. They have been faithful and since the study started the OL has played better. They argue less and are stronger mentally. I did not correlate the two until one of the players commented on how the climate has been changing. 

My conclusion has been that the best thing we can do for these players and for the team is to introduce them to Christ. Of course I always knew that, but because of being american I have been nervous about forcing them to hear about God. Fortunately in Brazil on a club team, this is not a problem. They have welcomed it. Emphasizing character has improved the lives of these guys off and on the field. Our mission is not just to win games but to win at life.

In the states the worst thing we have done is take God out of everything. We need God. We need his blessing. We need His grace. We need to be bold in taking a stand for prayer, a stand for God. I am not talking about being Crusaders and killing everything in our path; I am talking about being firm that we are for Christ and that the world needs Christ. Our teams will grow from this and better men will be produced!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Grateful



This morning in my timeline on facebook, a memory of us at the beach showed up. Last week we went to the beach as well. Vacations are fun and I think we take them for granted sometimes. Maybe we have always done them and think they are our right as Americans. But not everyone can just pack up and go to the beach.

I do not post much about my family on facebook, but I love them so much and we have a wonderful loving family. We had a lot of fun last week. Many families are broken and unhappy and might not have time for one another. I am grateful for what I have in my family.

Just being able to read a blog on the internet means that you are a couple steps above many people in the world and we all need to be grateful for where God has put us.

What can you be grateful for today?

Blessings!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bom dia! Hope you all are having a wonderful summer! We have seen many of your pictures at the beach, visiting family, enjoying the sun. Here in the semi-arid desert we are experiencing an abnormal rainy, cool season. Last year it didn’t even rain and the last 7-10 years have been more dry here, but this year God has blessed with a couple months of lots of rain! Lots…We are not allowed to complain about rain in the desert, so I won’t, but I am grateful that we have a beach vacation scheduled for a few days in just a couple of weeks. We are looking forward to the sun and being able to get away for a little bit!

                                                                                             Sarah's Surprise Birthday Party       

We started a men’s Bible study this month on Biblically Processing Life. It has been incredible. I originally had a couple guys in mind for this study and ended opening it up and we have had more than ten guys the last couple of weeks! The study is really good too. It is available in English and very solid and practical. If you are interested in seeing it; I can send the notes, the power point, a video of it. Please just ask! 

I have been more involved with the overall organization of Servant Leaders the last couple of months and am excited about how SL’s vision of supporting the local church, serving with resources and training. Some of the same guys involved in SL are the ones that I am working with on my master’s degree. The current class is administration and my project has been putting together a policy manual for the church. This is a practical step that will help us with our decision making! It has also inspired our Sunday night Bible studies where we have talked about our own spiritual growth, how we grow together and serve each other in fellowship. We are ramping up for moving into the building soon.

Construction continues….continues to help my sanctification process! Most days I spend a portion of it going to the building or store or doing something with this process. It is coming along and will soon be ready for use. My hope and prayer is two months for now….but you never know! Pray for us to have the right resources for finishing it up (resources mainly being proper workers and then buying the right material). 

Please pray for our Tupanatinga trips (that are going well), personal discipleships (Sarah and I are both doing) and opportunities to get to know more people. 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my second grader who just started school, and my little hair comber who can brush her hair for hours on end (well, maybe not hours). 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bits June

Little girls are loud! :) Sarah is putting on a clinic this week for cheerleading! She has girls ranging from three to ten years old learning to cheer as well as learning about character. She is doing a great job and so far all the girls have loved it. This has been a major project for Sarah and she has done awesome. 

Before this major project she put on a party similar to a harvest party here. June is the corn harvest and the weather is much cooler and we have more rain. So there are lots of bonfires and parties. We did a Bible study with the fire and fellowship attached to it and had a really great time! Sarah did a great job decorating. 

This month I have been busy taking care of the construction, getting the football team ready for our first game of the national league next week, doing studies for Sunday nights and our bi-weekly trips to Tupanatinga, preparing for a men’s study to start next Wednesday night, helping organize the weekly area Pastor’s meeting, working on Servant Leaders Brazil and going through my master’s class on Church Administration. 
Servant Leaders has taken a step up in priority as we are close to starting our program here in Arcoverde as well as reorganizing at the international level. We are wanting to be organized as a team as we develop the resources and partnerships we have. Servant Leaders offers free resources to churches to train their own leadership. God is opening so many doors that it has been hard to keep up with all the work that needs to be done! We are grateful to God for this and look forward to the fruits of the labor which will be developed church leaders across the world. Please pray for wisdom for us and resources (human, financial and time resources).

Thanks for all your prayers as they have sustained us! Pray we would continue to separate time as a family through all the busyness and that God will multiply His harvest!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, and our two little cheerleaders; one being the loudest and most exciting and the other maybe the most distracted and randomly interested, but both as cute as can be!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bits from Brasil May

Rain! Normal May/June months in the Sertão are rainy. However, last year’s climate was really dry with little water. Lots of cattle have been sold as the brown vegetation has not changed for almost two years. This month has been different as God has sent a good amount of precipitation our way! A true blessing from above. Since being here we have often compared the rain to God’s blessings and both the rain and spiritual blessings arrived this month.

On Mother’s Day we had a service/party at our house. Sarah put in long hours decorating and preparing to make the day special. We had a great group including several couples who had never been to a study. One was a neighbor couple we had invited over the previous night for pizza. We have been able to socialize with several of our neighbors this month. I heard from a Pastor whose church recently decided to separate Sunday nights for the members to intentionally schedule dinners/events in which they could meet their unchurched neighbors and friends. This vision for the unchurched excites me as it is our vision as well!

A few weeks ago a training was held for the Samaritan’s purse Operation Christmas Child program. Our colleague Roger Smith is on the national board of directors as the Prayer Coordinator. Within our Pastor’s group he started explaining the children’s discipleship program and the Pastors were soon excited. Although my involvement was very minimal, my excitement was through the roof as 17 different ministries were represented by around 60 people! Why so excited? This area rarely has cooperation between ministries. One of our main goals through our training center has been to train people from different areas to reach the Sertão. People came from all over our city and region. Several different towns were represented. This gave me great hope for what we want to do with our training center. It seems as though different people will be willing to come here to be trained. 

Our annual football camp happened this past weekend where we had seven coaches come from the US to Recife at Camp Paradise. Their character challenges were accepted by more than sixty athletes that showed up to learn more about american football. For me the most exciting result was in the facebook posts that followed where several athletes emphasized the spiritual teaching they received as being a main highlight of the weekend. I posted a bunch of photos on my facebook page in case you are interested in seeing the impact. 

Construction has ramped up on the building and we hope to be using the incomplete facilities in a couple of months. I have started being more involved with the construction and go there and to the store most days. 

Servant Leaders development is going well and the site seems to be getting quite a few views per week. We are getting close to translating as much as we can before the other courses are fully developed. I am excited to start these seminars and courses here soon. I feel like our influence base here is going well as we have developed our relationships with the churches and people here. 

Excited to partner with you all in this ministry in Brazil! God continues to blow our minds with the doors he opens up! God bless you all!

All for HIS glory,


David, Sarah, my little coach who also started Ukulele lessons, and our arts and crafts major

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bits from Brasil

A week before we left the US this month we all talked about being ready to be back in Brasil. Our time in the states was fun as we were able to spend some quality time with family and friends and see many friends from churches that support the ministry here in Brasil. We live a very blessed life. Our trip home went smoothly even as we traveled with a bit of luggage. Evie was a big help and cause of your prayers, we were not pushing all our bags all over the airport, but the pick-ups and drop-offs turned out being close to each other!


I did not expect for us to jump right into the routine here, but that is what happened. We arrived late Saturday night after coaching a football game in Recife. On Sunday night we invited our Bible study friends to come over for a get together and we packed the house out and had a great time talking with everyone. On Tuesday night we started a Bible study with a couple that had started in our studies when we first arrived. He invited his Grandma and we met at his aunt’s house. The study went well and we were told we could return. Breno did not grow up in church and is not used to that kind of setting, but is open to in house studies. Pray that they go well with him!

On Thursday we went in the early afternoon to Tupanatinga. Sarah and Bia caught up while the girls continued playing. The study at night went really well with a good group. We are excited about what the Lord has for us there.

My current class is Team Dynamics and I have learned so much in it. Part of my project has been meeting with our colleague Roger and talking about team. We feel really good about what we have been discussing and the future of the ministry here. Please pray for synergetic work that pushes God’s work forward here. One aspect of our conversations has been the construction. Pray for us as I will be more involved in working together with Carlos in getting the building ready. We are putting together priorities to 1) get the building usable 2) finish this phase of the project. We will be seeing how much money we have available right now and what that can finish and evaluate how we will manage that. If you would like to participate in not making the money matters an issue, let me know! :)

Our service this weekend went well and it was good to be back in that rhythm. Normally we do not have services at our house, but due to the location being unavailable, we had it here. Sarah has started projects for the kids to give to their mothers on Mother’s Day. She received some new craft ideas while we were in the states. 

Well, one of my friends said I write too much, so I will stop for now! :) Thanks for all your love and support for the ministry here! 

All for HIS glory,


David, Sarah, and our two little gymnasts, one girl with the janelinha (little window…referring to her two front teeth being out, the second being pulled in the airport forcing a dilemma for the tooth fairy giving in dollar or real), and the other girl who is going to start learning portuguese and is unsure of what to do when someone speaks portuguese to her. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Bits March

This month has been our main travel month. On March 4 we went to North Carolina to be with Calvary Baptist in Raleigh and First Christian of Ramseur. We enjoyed catching up with each of these churches who have supported us since our pre-field ministry. I was able to preach Calvary’s two morning services and then spend time in a home group at night. On Wednesday night we talked about our ministry and answered questions about what is happening in Brazil. We also had our friend Alison from Brazil down here as well and he got a glimpse of what we do while we are in the states. 

The following Monday we headed north to Michigan. We usually split up our trip as we can spend the night with another Brazilian Alisson who lives in Louisville. We studied at college with he and his wife Christina and were able to see their small group the night we stayed with them. A couple days later I was able to meet up with my friend Jeff who I grew up with and is a youth pastor. It has been a blessing seeing many friends involved in ministry whether it be as full time ministry workers or church leaders. Speaking at our sending church, Heritage Baptist, was a big blessing. There were so many people there who have invested heavily in my life. While there we had a great time with our family and friends. 

We have been blessed with our sending church ever since we have gone to the field as they have supported us for a good percentage. They raised their support to match that percentage and so we are technically only 15 dollars short on our support to get back to the field. I was also able to meet with the missions Pastor and senior Pastor and deepen our relationship, especially in regards to accountability and involvement. Dave Graef, our lead Pastor spent years as a missionary with ABWE and is one of the main developers of the Servant Leaders ministry. It is great to have someone that understands where we are in ministry. It is also important to have sending church accountability. 

On our way back from Michigan we swung over to Virginia where we visited more college friends, Jonathan and Michelle Watson who we went to college with. They had visited us last year in Brazil and it was neat to see their growing church! 

This month we leave for Brazil on the 20th. We speak at our church in the Chattanooga area Sunday morning the 9th, but for the most part we will just be wrapping everything up. In fact, as I write this, Sarah is at Home Depot grabbing our favorite black and yellow tubs to take back to Brazil and we are going to do some packing tonight. 

Thank you all so much for your prayers and your support of the ministry to the Sertão! We are looking forward to our next email we will send, probably asking for prayer the day we are flying out!

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, our second grader (Evie finished first grade a few days ago), and our big four year old (Anna Claire turns four on the sixth)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Family! We love seeing family. A main reason we have done more frequent furloughs is so our families can see each other more often while our girls are younger. However, we were able to fly up to New Hampshire this month to see my brother and his family. Dan has twins Anna Claire’s age and a nine month old. It was our family’s first time to ever see them in person and we all had a lot of fun. We also enjoyed attending a service at their church. 

Our second family trip was to LA! Lower Alabama. Sarah’s mamaw lives down there as well as a couple aunts and uncles. We had some good talks there and were able to visit Silas First Baptist, a church that has been involved in our ministry in Brazil. 

While there I finished a class project for my Strategic Thinking class. These classes have been very practical to ministry and this was no different. I developed a strategic plan for implementing the Servant Leaders ministry in our church plant. When one looks at disciple making it can be divided up into evangelism, discipling and leadership training. The Servant Leaders ministry at our church will help all parts of disciple making, but it is mainly designed for leadership training. Please pray with us that God will already prepare hearts for leadership. 

Servant Leaders for Brazil continues in its development. We have someone translating seminars and then I am working on a new website, power point development and planning for using it. 


On Saturday we leave for North Carolina to visit two supporting churches. Our friend Alison from Brazil is flying in for a few days while we are there and then we will pick up some football equipment in Huntsville, Alabama. After he leaves we head up to Michigan for a couple weeks. Sunday March 19 we speak at our home church, Heritage Baptist. The following Sunday we will be in Appomattox, Virginia. No we will not be ending anything there from our mixed marriage. We will be speaking at our college friend, Jonathan Watson’s church. After that we will head home and should be mostly in Chattanooga until April 20 when we head back to Brazil. Please pray for safety for us as we travel! 

The construction in Brazil is making progress. We are looking to prepare a couple rooms in order to start using the building. There are plenty of details to be working on and we need around twenty eight thousand more dollars to finish this phase. 

We are always looking to the future. If you or your church are interested in going to Brazil, we would love to host trips for VBS, English camps, football, cheerleading or any other specialty. We will have a training building that can be used to teach special skills that can be used as an outreach to the community! 

Thank you all for your sustaining prayers and support! 

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, my little story writer Evelyn, and her student Anna Claire who is learning to write letters, though not exactly cohesive 

Cousins in South Alabama

Which one is mine??????
Ice skating!



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bits January

Before we left we had one more service. We did not expect many as beginning of the year crowds are generally slim. We had a decent amount, but we had three guests that stood out. One neighbor from the church property came for the first time! Then Gabriel's (who plays the guitar) dad came! Then another gentleman came with his daughter. He normally comes with his ex-wife, but this time she couldn't come, so I was really surprised to see him come on his own!

The day after this service we dropped Evelyn off for her first week at camp! She had fun at our co-worker's camp Paradise. She was able to go with her best friend Alice.

We are back in the states now and enjoying a little bit of rest. Tomorrow we head up to New Hampshire to visit my brother Dan and his family. He has twins that are about the same age as Anna Claire (three and a half) and they haven't met yet! So we are excited about them being able to play together for the weekend!

Last Sunday night we drove down to Atlanta to speak at Yellow River Baptist Church. We enjoyed our time with them and they gave a very generous offering towards the construction of Cetak. We are looking forward to the work of Cetak. The building will serve as our church, but we also look forward to the leadership training that will go on. I am working on a strategic plan for implementing the Servant Leaders program as we head back. We will be looking to have classes there that will cover topics including family, team building, business, English, and who knows what else! It will be a great opportunity to reach our community for Christ! The neighbors that live right around Cetak are already excited about it!

While here I am working on the development of Servant Leaders. Besides putting it in Portuguese I also get to help develop some of it in English. This month we have worked on the Strategic Planning seminar. If you would like to check out the site, click here. We offer free resources for churches that include classes that are different than normal. We also have people that can help set up Servant Leaders in your church to help train. The time commitment is not overwhelming and the program is very practical and helpful. If you are interested in me coming and teaching a seminar one night, please let me know!

I wrote another post about what we are up to on furlough. Feel free to scroll down on the blog or click on this link to read that!

This next month we do not have many meetings, but will go on a couple trips to see family. We are staying in Chattanooga, but still have trips planned to Alabama, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. Please let us know if you would like to meet up!

I have been sad lately with the divisiveness of the country. Let's learn to love more and stop sowing seeds of hate! Watch what you say! We do not have to be so negative, defensive or go on the attack so much! Love God, love others!

All for HIS glory!
David, Sarah, my big reader that loves her Civil War book (we will see how that works with a yankee dad and southern belle mom!), and our cat lover that loves being outside (pray for her as the weather has been cold and she can't go out as much! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Presidential Strategic Planning

My current course for my master’s degree is Strategic Thinking where we delve into the world of strategic planning. Throughout this course I have been inside of lots of strategic plans and recognized that Trump has been working under a strategic plan. 

The main recognizable part of his strategic plan has to do with his slogan, “Make America Great Again.” This became very recognizable and he even had it branded. I think that he liked it so much that he decided to run because of it. This is his mission. A mission in what you do; it doesn’t necessarily have an end. His decisions revolve around his mission. 

His vision he sells as well, talking about a safe and secure wealthy country. He throws in unity and a country of patriots as well. 

His strategy has been his main talking points. He calls for secure borders, taking down ISIS, repealing Obamacare, bringing jobs back to the US, and cutting taxes. Of course, he has big dreams and promises, but he does provide a vision of what he plans to do. 

There are other indications of his strategic plan, but without knowing it, the people really resonated with a plan. Whether you like it or not, Trump is a leader. He has a big following, despite most of the following being aware and not agreeing with his many faults. (Admittedly, that statement might be hard to agree with me on). People I talk to mostly say he is crazy, makes promises he cannot fulfill, but are still excited (and nervous) about seeing what he will do. But there is no doubt about it, he is a leader.

Trump turned a million dollars into billions. He is no fool, though one could say he acts foolish. He is a smart man that figured out how to appeal to the masses. Now, what choices do we have, now that we have him as president? 

This is a tough question because we know how prideful he is about being right all the time; yet everyone knows that he is not right all the time. It might be best to just admit that he is right some of the time. Opposing him 100% of the time is only going to work backwards for the left. With the Republicans holding a lot of power right now, he is going to be able to do quite a bit. I imagine that opposing him will only want him not be willing to work with you or your type of people. He is a deal maker looking for deals. If you do not give him anything, he won’t give you anything. 

We can protest. Yes. Sign petitions, wave banners, but for heaven’s sake, quit the violence! Yelling, screaming, burning and breaking things about injustice is kind of ruining to your own reputation and repudiates everything you are trying to state and makes everyone look down on you. While you protest Trump being like Hitler for ruling by force, you try to rule by force! Instead, protest civilly, whether marching, or signing petitions, or calling your representative. That is how government is supposed to work. The government needs to know what its people are thinking. 

The third thing we can do is be leaders ourselves. I do not like the type of leader Trump is; but he is a strong leader that people are following. Learn to lead and may I suggest, learn to lead humbly. One humble leadership skill Trump does have is putting smart people around him. While they are mocked for being so rich….uh, doesn’t that mean they must be doing something right if they are so rich, they are there for a reason and it looks like Trump does want to surround himself with smart people, which is a strong leadership quality. So follow his example in that, surround yourself with smart people. We face a leadership crisis these days and although there is a debate on whether leaders are made or born; there is certainly things everyone can do to improve their leadership skills. 


The last and most important thing we can do is love. Serve one another. Whether you are black or white, rich or poor, look for how you can make our society a better place. There are extremists on all sides of the aisle, may we all learn to be extremists in love. Assuming the other side is always wrong, deplorable, racist, sexist, ignorant, etc…. is not only wrong, but not going to get this country anywhere. I read an article today from a Muslim gay man today who decided to get to know the other side of the aisle right before the election and was surprised to be treated fairly and respectfully. Usually when I talk to my friends from the other side, they still remain friends. The only people I unfollow are the ones who constantly take mirror selfies. Laugh a little; love a little. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What are we up to on furlough?

Why do we have a furlough? Sometimes we do not really want to have a furlough, but in reality, it is needed. Furloughs are based out of Acts, when Paul returned from his missionary journeys to report to the churches about all that God was doing. We have some main purposes that our mission board puts out for us to accomplish during furlough:
1. Rest
2. See family
3. Report to churches
4. Recruit new missionaries
5. Raise money
6. Use time for education
7. Do ministry from here

People understand furlough to mean rest and so some missionaries do not like to use that word and might go with home assignment as their term for furlough. I agree with them, but I do think we should rest. I know we needed it the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed sleeping a little more and having a more relaxed day.

We love seeing family! This last week Sarah's sister Anna was in town with her son Judah and we were able to spend a lot of time with them as we stay at Sarah's parent's barn while we are here. We get to go see my brother in New Hampshire the first weekend of February and meet his children (twins three years old, one baby not quite a year old yet), whom my girls have never met! Then in the end of March we will head up to Michigan and meet a new set of twins my other brother and his wife had this last year!



We are reporting to a few supporting churches and one new church while we are here. So we will be in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. If you are semi-close to us in Chattanooga, let me know and we can schedule more.

We need new missionaries in Brazil, especially with us in the Sertão! If you are interested, let us know and we would love to talk to you. We need football coaches for a quick mission trip the end of May if you are interested in that!

We do need to raise some money this trip. We are short around 200 dollars in monthly support and would love to raise the $30,000 needed to get us moved into our Cetak building! (click to watch a video tour of the building)

My main projects these days have to do with my master's program. Fortunately the program integrates your present work into your studies and has already helped me so much practically speaking!

As I work on that homework we are still doing some of the work we normally do on the field. I am using these days to develop the Servant Leaders program for the US and for Brazil. If you are interested in having a seminar in your church, let me know! The site for Servant Leaders is servantleaderstraining.com and has great resources! This is the program we will be integrating in our church and that we would like to help other churches implement. There is actually an external platform that helps with mentoring leaders, going through classes and facilitating learning. There is an application that goes with it as well. Please let me know if you are interested!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another transition

I remember as a kid crying in the kitchen as President Clinton was elected. "How could this happen?" I asked my mom through my tears. She assured me that God is sovereign and it did not surprise Him.

This last year I watched as Hillary supporters cried when realizing she had lost the election. Come to think about it, each election cycle has spelled tears and doomsday predictions, yet, still we are here. Though many would debate me about the country worsening, the country still exists and is still a beacon of light to other countries. A trip to the US is still the dream of most foreigners as they wonder what it is like in such a great country.

The political state is worsening though. This election year had more votes against the other side than for their own candidate. The fact of the matter is that our politicians are a reflection of the people. Our people created Donald Trump and other politicians. If we have dishonest politicians it is because we have dishonest people. How can we have moral presidents if our people are not moral? People complain about the crude comments Donald Trump has made, but laugh at the same jokes on comedy central or the latest movie from Hollywood. What do we expect?

No matter who you voted for this year, think about the past. Last time your candidate won, or last time your candidate lost (besides a few million Americans). We know how it feels to be on the winning and losing side. Sometimes you lose in life, but it is not the end of the world. I listened to a podcast today where the speaker talked about losing all of his money he had in a sure investment. He said it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him because he could not get comfortable.

We should not be comfortable with where we are at as a society. We need leaders who will influence change on their neighbor and it starts with love. Don't argue, love. Don't shove your beliefs down people's throats; love by listening to them. Last night I listened to a friend from the other side of the aisle. He was not a racist, sexist, murdering, annoying guy; he was passionate about people. Most people who have strong opinions are passionate about people. They do not want their loved one's rights to be infringed on. You see, we are not all that different; we just have different perspectives that are misunderstood by an inability on our part to listen to others.

So start today with love. Love through listening. Don't argue; at this point it is not worth it. Few are convinced by arguing anymore. Love and let that do the talking.