Monday, December 29, 2008


Just a quick note, again, to let you know our status. We are doing well. My older little brother left this morning headed back to Oklahoma, so the Christmas festivities are officially over. We did lots with lots of people and got lots of great gifts (and gave a few too). It was fun!

Last night we relaxed. It was a first since we've been here and it was much needed. The kids got to bed at their normal bedtime and we got to bed at a somewhat normal bedtime ourselves (O.K., 11:30 or 12, but that's pretty good). We all have runny/stopped-up noses, so that's no fun...but, that's the norm too here in the cold weather where all infected people are all together in closed-in places. :) Gotta love germs with no place to go except the next human that walks in the door.

We are living in the incredibly awesome lake house where we lived before (for those 6 months we lived here before we went to Brazil). We love it there. There were a few things still there from our stay there a couple of years ago (spices for example, towels, blankets, kitchen utensils), so it was like coming home in more ways than one. Fun.

We are slowly setting up house for the next couple of months. Today we are going grocery shopping...a MUCH needed venture (our poor kids ALL ate Cass's rice cereal this morning for breakfast, ha ha ha...they loved it excited to have rice cereal to feed Cass by the way, but I'll talk more later about all the super things we are enjoying here in the states). And, we plan to eat lunch at a MEXICAN RESTAURANT!!!!!! My stomach and taste buds are so very excited!

The updates will be hit and miss until we get a laptop of our own. Right now I'm sitting in the Saline Library (yes, we have is super duper cute, by the way...I'll have to post a picture someday). Grady is with me and picking out some books to check out...FUN!! We plan to do a big shop this week sometime (clothes, that laptop I was talking about) to get some things we need to take back with us. Did you know that things here are SO VERY INEXPENSIVE?!? So yeah, we need to stock up on some things. Anyway, after that I will be posting more often. You might not here from me again until then. Just wanted to let you know.

Now I'm off to enjoy some Mexican food!! Ahh, I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Here and Happy

So short, once again. But, just wanted to let you all know that we arrived and all is well. We flew in to Louisiana at noon on Christmas day and have been enjoying family, food, and good ole America once again. I'll post more later. Just wanted to give you an update. Now I'm off to hang with my brothers.

Oh, and you will be getting Christmas cards from us. They will be 2009 cards now. You can thank Snapfish for that. :) Note how they now say "Hope you HAD a merry Christmas." Ha ha ha. But, yes...they will come...eventually.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Been Cra-Zy

This is going to be really quick and I'll explain fully later. But, basically we are stuck in Brazil. We were supposed to be in Louisiana by now. We are in Belo Horizonte.

We are making the most of it, but the earliest flight out is tomorrow night. We will arrive at noon on Christmas Day instead...2 days later than planned. Sadly (so so so so so sadly), we will miss my family's big Christmas celebration. Some of my family that travels in for that get-together will have already left by the time we get there.

Again, we are making the most of it and even having can we not with the fabulous, funny kids we have, who by the way, amazed me in their flexibiliy and teamwork last night as we didn't even fall into a bed until after 5am this morning after spending all night in airports. They are super cool, I have to say. But, even though we are making the most of it, and even though we are actually staying in a very nice hotel (thanks for the lollipop, God), as you can imagine, this isn't exactly where we wish to be.

Pray that everything else from this point out will just be incredibly smooth. We have 1 flight down, 3 to go (from here to Miami, to Dallas, to Shreveport). Thank God for provision, for our health, for the kids' compliance, and for just fun in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.

Thanks you guys. Love you.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

EvangeCubes and Santa Catarina

Things are going well...thanks for praying. We are slowly packing up and actually having a nice, somewhat relaxing weekend after all the craziness of these past few weeks. We got a call on Thursday that Cass's passport is ready to be picked up...Praise the Lord! So, we will head to Brasilia on Monday, pick up the passport, and board a plane. Please pray for us as we travel with 4 little ones...a trip that will involve 2 car rides lasting more than 2 hours, 4 flights, multiple layovers, and over 24 hours of travel total. We will arrive in Louisiana on Tuesday. I will not be posting any more until after we get there sometime, but wanted to update you on something else and give you something to pray for (besides our trip :) ).

Remember this post way back in May? My friends Brock and Auny contacted me right after that post and said they wanted to provide the EvangeCubes for us. What a blessing!! Brock and Auny actually host a Party With a Purpose every month. Each month they pick a 'purpose' and ask all their friends over. They (or a guest) present a need and they all fill that need...right then and there. Can we say incredible? Talk about being the hands and feet of Christ. Oh, and they also do full-time ministry, traveling around the world, in their spare time. ;)

They put together a Party With a Purpose for the EvangeCubes back in June. We were able to order them and have them brought to us by our friends Neil and Michael (from a couple of posts ago) back in October. With Ester's traveling (you'll meet her below) and our moving, we finally delivered them to Asas last week and wanted to show you that in action.

We thank you so much Brock, Auny, and friends!! You are so generous and many will come to know Jesus because of it. Love you guys!!

I'm not sure if you guys heard of all the flooding that went on, last month especially, in the state of Santa Catarina here in Brazil. You can click on the picture to enlarge it and see Santa the very south of the nation (right above Rio Grande do Sul). There was much flooding and many lives least 116 from a report I saw printed at the beginning of December.

Asas de Socorro quickly put together a team last week and they went down to help this week. With our trip, Joel was unable to go this time, but hopes to go, if possible, on another trip down this spring. There are hundreds of thousands of people displaced and it will take much time and resources to get people back on their feet. Our team took down lots of donations and will be doing medical/dental outreach as well as children's ministry there within the camps where people are living now. They will be using none other than the EvangeCubes while they are there too. I also wanted to share a few videos related to Santa Catarina. The videos related to the EvangeCubes will be first, then the Santa Catarina videos. Also, check out the really awesome new video on my sidebar all about Asas de Socorro.

So, over the next few days, enjoy your Christmas...and also think about and pray for all the others who will be having a very different Christmas this year...who might not be so warm and cozy, drinking hot chocolate around an elaborately decorated Christmas tree.

Heading in the Asas de Socorro headquarters building with the EvangeCubes.

Delivering the EvangeCubes to the AMDE office.

A word of thanks from Ester, head of the medical/dental/evangelistic outreach department here at Asas de Socorro.

A news report aired on Nov. 25th, from Santa Catarina.

The beginning of the clip states, "The scenes that follow are of a real tragedy. These are real people like you and me. They lost everything that had taken a lifetime to build, but more importantly, they lost their loved ones."

When we went to drop off the EvangeCubes, the office was a-buzz with getting ready for this impromptu outreach to Santa Catarina.

Have a blessed, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! We love you guys!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

He Heard You

I just got back in from gathering 5 loads of laundry from the lines. Around 2PM the heavens opened...literally (O.K., I guess it was literally the clouds) reveal some blue skies and a wonderfully warm sun. There were clouds all around...both black and white ones. But, I got all the clothes out and they had about an hour and a half to get dry out in the glorious sunshine.

About 4:30, the sky got completely black again and it started thundering. I hustled to gather up the mostly dry clothes and now it is once again pouring out there.

So, 5 loads dry. One load still wet (but newly wet...will be O.K. for a while). And 4 more loads to get washed in the next few days (plus what we use between now and then of course). I think we'll be O.K. If I need a break from the rain for laundry purposes in the next few days though, I know just who to call on. You people know what you are doing! ;)

Seriously, I think that God just stopped the rain here in Brazil just for me. He totally knows when we are just about to snap and go "Narf!" (Veggie Tales Esther reference). What a great Guy we kind and caring.

Thanks so much for your prayers...for real! Just wanted to update you and let you know how they were answered. Pretty cool.


I have a prayer request.

This may seem silly.

It's not.

It may seem that way.

Especially coming from Brazil, where we have the climate and weather we do.

But, again...not silly. You'll see why.

Here's the deal.

We need some sun. We DON'T need rain.

It's rained for about 3 days straight now. I have absolutely no idea how we will be ready to leave on Monday (yes, we vamoose, skat, high-tail it to the USA in 5 days) if this continues.

I have 4 loads of laundry, soaking wet...can't dry. I have about 5 more loads that still need to be washed.

We woke up this morning with Cass's room in a big puddle. :) God is so sweet to us. We had a big leak, but instead of the leak being over our books, or our boxes that are yet to be unpacked, or our clothes packed away in suitcases as storage, or Cass's new (used, but new to us) closet with her clothes in it...instead of those places, the leak was right above our weather-proof rocker. Guess what stuff on the floor got wet, even though there was quite a lot of water in that room under the leak...NOTHING...just the rocker. We were amazed.

Our neighbors aren't so lucky. Joel broke out the umbrella to go borrow some eggs this morning. :) They had a leak in the closet that got clothes wet AND they now have mold issues in there.

So, for real...pray for some sun and for the rain to stop. We have so much to do already to get ready to go without these issues. Thanks so much.

By the way, Joel climbed up in the roof and was able to fix the leak. Thank You, Jesus!

Now, for a way to dry the clothes...put your praying caps on!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neil and Uncle Chu Chu :)

Way back in October, we had some very special guests. Neil called up a few months earlier saying that he wanted to come visit us. He said that maybe Michael would want to come along too.

We met Neil and Michael back in our Phoenix days. Joel and I visited a church a few times (had great friends there already...Kara and Gabrielle...both girls were part of my accountable group while there in Phoenix) before we found Hope Chapel (our home church in Phoenix...we also spent time at another fantastic church there, Vineyard Christian Church). We met Neil and Michael there.

Michael was the worship leader there. He is seriously our favorite worship leader of all time. We felt an immediate connection with him and his wife, Karen, even before we ever met. It was amazing.

Neil and his wife, Teresa, were always on the front row with their son, Jacob. Such sweet, generous, loving hearts they have. We felt a special bond with them too.

When Neil called to say that they were interested in coming, we were thrilled. Very, very excited!!

They were such an encouragement to us!!!! It was so wonderful having them here. At first, I wasn't sure what to expect. There were no mission trips, no projects going on with Asas. What were we going to do with them? :) But, it all happened just as it should and everything fell into place. They both went to Asas a few times to help Joel and the guys there. Neil spoke at the seminary here once...and also at our home group. Michael led worship at the Asas devotional meeting...and also led me, Joel, and Neil in some worship at our house one ENGLISH! :) It was SO VERY refreshing and needed.

We were in the middle of packing up to move and these guys just jumped right in to do whatever was needed. They helped move boxes and furniture. They helped build things. They even fed the children and cleaned up the kitchen...alot! And the kids adored them (Neil is the father of 4 himself and Michael has 7 (!) children).

Anyway, it was such a great, great time...we loved every minute and hated to see them leave. You know how sometimes when people come to visit, you love it, but then after a while, you know that it's time for everyone to get back to their routines and daily lives...and for your visitors to go. Not the case with Neil and Michael (or, Uncle Chu Chu...the kids' nickname for him)...seriously, they could've stayed forever.

We had such a great time with you guys! Karen and Teresa...thanks for letting them come to help and encourage us...mission accomplished! Kiddos at home...thanks for giving up your dads for a while. And ALL of you need to come next time, right? ;)

Here are some pictures and video of their time here. Unfortunately, remember when our computer crashed right after we moved to the apartment and we lost some of our pictures? Some of the Neil and Michael pictures and videos were lost, including when Neil spoke, when Michael led worship, when we took them to Salto Corumba, when we went to the churrascaria, when they went flying with Joel, helping to remodel our bed, helping to build some bookshelves, a group shot of us at the airport, and a really sweet picture of Neil and his favorite Ebersole (Cass). ;) But, here is what we do have. Enjoy!

1. The morning after they arrived.
2. Michael was a tad bit jet-lagged.
3. Helping turn wrenches at the hangar.
4. Michael repairing Joel's guitar.
5. He had lots of help. :)

7. Helping move the kids' gargantuan bunk bed.
8. At the churrasco we had while they were here. I think they liked churrasco.

Video #1: 10-16-08 Michael was fixing Joel's guitar for him. He got lots of help. I'm thinking he's used to it though...he's a father of 7. He told the kids to say, 'Come on, Baby' in order for the parts to come off the guitar...that's what you hear them saying.

Video #2: 10-17-08 After a churrasco the night before, we scrubbed down the porch really good. The kids got a kick out of the suds on the tile. Joel and his siblings used to do this when they were little

And now, just for you, Michael...LOTS AND LOTS of pictures (just thought your family might enjoy the play by play since they weren't here)...of ALL FOUR of your slides. To view the picture bigger, just click on it. If you want to save it to your computer, just right click on it. Fun stuff, right?