Not Florida but Floripa..

Just got back from a week long All-Brazil conference in Floripa. A beach 7 hours north of us. We learned so much and were so blessed by the new relationships we made with some really cool people! So neat to hear what is going on in the lives of missionaries in other parts of Brazil. The bad weather held out and we enjoyed beautiful days at the beach. So thankful for resting in the Lord, God is so good!


the Read, the Eat, the Trash

So I (Mandy) had one of those 'life-changing' moments yesterday. It's been a long time coming…

Part 1 - the Read

I just finished reading through Ecclesiastes. Awesome book. The man who brought us so much wisdom literature, brings us this really depressing, hard-pill-to-swallow, book of regrets. Like he woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something. As I read over a period of weeks, my initial perceptions about Solomon’s bad attitudes came to a screeching halt as I "woke up" to the truth in his words. I didn't read between the lines much less consult a commentary. Scan the chapters and you'll see the consistent theme yourself. Solomon writes repeatedly "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?" Eccl 2:24

Solomon enjoyed being rich and famous, he had family and fortune, he had anything you could dream of yet he declared: all of it was meaningless. Then he writes: enjoy your WHOLE life, every difficulty, everything you work for, everyone you labor after... enjoy it, because that is your purpose in life.
So I sat on this idea, trying to re-shape my inner grumblings and complaints into thankfulness for challenges etc...

Part 2 - the Eat

Anyone who knows me probably knows I love to cook. Which inevitably means I love to eat. I know what you're thinking, just remember, I'm 25 - it's gonna catch up with me soon!

SO ANYWAYS... Maicol and I go to this Rodisio De Pizza. It's like a pizza buffet. Don Vitto's is one of the most popular places in our city so we try it out. 69 different flavors of pizza and about 20 flavors are dessert. We’re stoked. This place is every foodies dream. Any style of food you can imagine baked to perfection on a crisp crust in a classic pizza oven. Maicol easily downs 20 pieces and I'm on 12... My meter is just about full and we haven't started dessert! I nearly panic except for the fact that my state of satisfaction is so high that I’m in that sleepy, slouchy, peace you only have after a big meal. Dessert pizzas start coming and I look around and realize the place is packed, there's one table open next to us and I see the waiter seat a family. I'm in the dazed and confused moment from being so full and suddenly it hits me.. I look down at my plate of dessert pizza that I can hardly finish and I look back to the people who just sat down to begin. I remember that feeling an hour ago. The anticipation, the excitement, the feeling that I could conquer every slice they offered me. I start to actually wish I could do it all over again. Every bite, every flavor, the good, the okay, and the "not my type".

Such is life! We see this wisdom from our grandparents and those nearing the end of their time on earth. They’ve had a taste of what life has to offer, and maybe wish they had the chance to do some of it over. They tell us stories of their achievements and see the spark in our eyes as we set out to conquer all life has to offer. They sit in awe of a Creator God and all they've learned simply by journeying through and reflecting. This is what Solomon meant by enjoying your life! Whatever life brings you, enjoy the toil, enjoy the labor, and utilize the energy you have to be content with the ups and downs. This is your purpose. Not to regret but to realize that one day you will reflect on everything and see that most of what you did was meaningless. What matters most is that you enjoy every part, and who can enjoy life except the one who intimately knows God? Those without him, they have no peace or ultimate satisfaction.

Part 3 - the Trash

So I started to tell you I had the "Ah hah" moment yesterday and here it is. My object lesson. One thing you may be intrigued by is how Brazil does trash pick-up. For some reason this fascinates me. You tie your trash up in bags and place them on the street. Occasionally homes have a metal basket cemented in front of their house just for trash. Other times, you just hang the trash on your fence or place it on the road. The trash truck comes over and two or three men are standing on the back. They jump of the moving truck, SPRINT for the trash, pick it up and SPRINT back to the truck. All day. They sprint. Constantly. Talk about enjoying your job! You can imagine not everyone is qualified to be a trash man. These guys throw around on average 3 tons of trash per day for about $700/month! That amount includes overtime and compensation for the fact that they are inhaling diesel fumes 50 or more hours per week

It gets better. Yesterday I see this guy running for the truck as I drive by. Sweat dripping off his face, eyes bulging out of his head, and he's shouting something I don’t understand. Maybe he's about to faint! Then the neighbor he was apparently conversing with shouted back and he jumped on the truck and went on his way. He was, enjoying his job. The trash guys laughed and smiled and shouted to each other all the way up the street.

I remember Maicol telling me that many times the trash guys will show up for a soccer game or marathon in their work shirts. It's quite the intimidation factor considering everyone knows how they train. They run all day long! So I start researching and find these two men Beserra Fernando da Silva and Solonei Rocha da Silva who trained for marathons as trash men. That ladies and gentlemen is making the most of your work. That is doing everything for the purpose of enjoying life, bringing God glory, and making the most of the moment.

I really don't enjoy running so why I won't make a lifestyle of it, when I have to run i'll be remembering my fellow trash men who encouraged me to make the best of it!

Solonei Rocha da Silva placed fourth in last years marathon Pan American Race in Rio and placed second here in Porto Alegre behind a Brazilian who has had two victories in NYC's marathons.


Auto Escola

Today Maicol signed up for his final leg of driving school! He has practice hours, 2 hours/day for a total of ten days. Monday November 14th, 2012 he will have his practical exam and hopefully, after two months, be an official Brazilian motorist! The things you celebrate in life... Yesterday he passed the theoretical test with flying colors so we are confident after driving for ten years, he should have no problem with the practical portion.


We HAD a bat in our house!

To add to all our "first" experiences... we just had a bat flying around our living room! Maicol sent me up to our bedroom so I closed the door and laid on the ground to listen underneath the door. I heard one big swat and the bat was down... my wonderful husband saved us! Removed the bat and restored us to peace. Almost. I still have a hood over my head - what if there's more!!!

Practice makes Perfect

Saturday night Maicol had his first basketball game with Sogipa. It was fun to watch the game, sit back and relax. I took a friend, Amy, who is also an American and speaks English. We had plans to speak English, enjoy watching the competition, and relax. After a full week of Portuguese for both of us, this was feeling more like a need than a want.

Two minutes into the game Maicol looks up to me long enough to ask for a bottle of water and then turns around. I couldn’t get his attention to tell him I didn't have any money. For the next ten minutes I tried to get his attention. He was in the zone...

So I knew what I had to do…Practice my Portuguese.

The teenage boy sitting next to me heard Amy and I speaking English and he stared inquisitively. So I assumed he understood some of it. In Portuguese I smiled and asked " You speak English?!" He replied - "no." Great, now I have to continue. So I proceed to explain to him who my husband was and that he needed water. And I "have no money". Then, I very politely demanded HIS money. Saying: "Can I have your money please?" I had no idea what the verb for "borrow" was. He stared at me for what seemed like an eternity. Amy scanned her brain and whispered to me what the word for "borrow" is... so glad she saved me! I turned red and the then tried to explain that if I could borrow his money, the tall red-head which the Brazilians fondly refer to as "Cenoura" or "Carrot", would pay him back after the game. The boy was very kind and loaned me the money.

Maicol had a fantastic game. The boy who loaned me money was part of a group of high schoolers who had just finished their game prior to the start of Maicols. Once they saw me struggle through demanding this kid's money, they became our friends and we helped them yell at the opposing team during free-throws and they cheered for "Cenoura" all night long. Maicol had a chance to "make peace" with a player from the opposing team after a few bad calls. You could tell from the way the player responded he wasn't used to making friends on the court. Who knows, maybe Maicol will have a chance to see him again!

Both of us have learned an important lesson when it comes to basketball and language studies - practice makes perfect!


Just like Ants...

You must understand the annoyance of ants marching all over your kitchen counter and the floor. Here in Brazil we have a beautiful white tiled floor. The ants can be seen for miles! And while they can be an annoyance at times, today I'm thankful for their persistent march around my house!

Last week I thought I'd beat them when I laid down salt along where I thought they were getting in. Someone told me they won't cross the salt line. As soon as I sat down to appreciate my efforts, ants started marching up and over the salt and right into my living room. So I tried to think of a potent spice that might deter them, so I laid down cinnamon. I watched for a few minutes and nothing! I checked the next day and still, no ants! I was so proud!

Today I noticed ants all over again so I went back to the barrier I built. The ants marched right through it this time, and persistently kept marching on. They’ve been working for a weak at plowing through, and finally they did. Well, this was quite the encouragement for me, the language learner...

The frustration of trying to explain anything lately has given me a true appreciation for the term "language barrier". I try my hardest but sometimes I just can't crawl over it. So with my newest object lesson, I will do like the ants and keep plowing until I get through it. Trite, I know. But there will be days when God gets your attention with something silly and you won't care how silly it sounds, you'll just be glad you found the encouragement to push through the trial.

Now I'm off for another day in Brazil. This barrier will slowly crumble, and then i'll happily march right on through!


Hit the ground running...

While the saying may be overused, it's precisely what we've done since our arrival 9/2/2011.

The missionaries here in Brazil rotated us through their homes feeding us and sharing their tried and true advice about adjusting to a new culture (for Mandy) and re-adjusting for Maicol. We are visiting each of the different church plant works here and getting a feel for the diversity and opportunities for ministry. All in all, we are "adjusting." It seems to take it's toll physically and mentally!

Mandy started language school the week after we arrived and is enjoying her teachers. Maicol began practicing with Sogipa, the basketball team he hopes to have a ministry with, also the week after we arrived. Our days are pretty full of running around!

We attempted to begin the process of getting our paperwork taken care of such as visas, passport renewals, I.D. cards, driver's license... Notice the word "attempted". We have pretty much had hang-ups with each corner we turn. Our marriage is not recognized in Brazil because the certificate needs to be authenticated by the consulate in the state we were married. This process will be expensive if we attempt it now. So we thought, "why not get married again here in Brazil?" Yea. NO. So we are back to square one. Mandy's visa and I.D. card cannot move forward until the marriage is recognized. So we have a lawyer in Sao Paulo we've emailed and we will pray God gets us through this without too many scrapes!

Maicol is in driving school! His U.S. license could not be renewed in the States because his school visa expired and therefore the license was not recognized here. His only option is taking the whole driving course which takes about 2 months to complete. So for now, he appreciates his brunette chauffeur...

Driving in Brazil is freeing and scary all at once! Having only driven in the U.S. it's strange to not stop at stop signs or drive through red lights. It feels wrong! But it's the safest way to drive here at times. The chauffeur ended up the wrong way on a "one-way" road. Needless to say, she didn't get a tip for the ride that day!

We are taking things day by day and so in need of your prayers! This summer was a spiritual high for us, and we felt that way throughout most of the summer. It was green light after green light and everything was coming together so smoothly. Lately our lives have been figuratively and literally "stuck at red lights". So we are thanking God for the growth we know is taking place as our patience is tried and our character is refined.

We have had a lot of opportunities to ride the public transportation and it's great! Getting lost, not so much but we only tried that once. We are beginning to figure out the bus routes. We also enjoy walking. We have a gym membership and the facility is a two minute walk from home. There's also a few bakeries and a salon within walking distance. Mandy's language school is about 2 miles away and most times we walk there.

Once our car gets fixed we'll be able to drive more. Since we've purchased it, the car has overheated nearly every time we drive it so the mechanic has it in for the second time and will try to get it fixed soon.

Now it's time for the highly acclaimed Sunday afternoon lunch. Chicken and beef seasoned and skewered, grilled to perfection over a charcoal delight fondly referred to as a "Churrasco". With that said "tchau"!


It's the most wonderful time of the year... Christmas?!

No, not Christmas. But it sure does feel like it when I can't sleep because I wake up anxious! Some kids, never grow up! Dad will drive us to NYC today to get to the JFK airport. We'll be in the car about 9 hours. Then we board our plane tonight at 6:15pm and fly to Rio. We arrive in Rio at 5am and our final destination, Porto Alegre at noon. Can't wait!

It's been a crazy week since last Thursday! The people of VA were evacuating to escape Irene and we were swapping planes and heading to Iowa on Friday. Our time in Waterloo was wonderful. It was amazing to see God revealing His perfect timing. Every aspect, was really amazing. Needless to say, we were moved to tears by the end of this trip by God's provision of EVERYTHING we need! It was astonishing to see everything come together at the last minute! Our support reached 100% and we received gifts to help us pay for half of our baggage. The people at Walnut Ridge were extremely generous and such a blessing to visit with. Everyone we've met this summer has been generous! What made this past weekend amazing was to see God's providence in placing us through difficult trials and right at the end using so many people to meet our needs and bring us great joy in fellowship.

We spent our last few days with family, and our luggage! Packing has been a full-time job. Hopefully all of our planning, shoving, and crunching will pay off as we unpack and hopefully feel settled somewhat soon. It was hard to hear our niece (4 y.o.) talking about missing us and wanting to move to Brazil. And the other niece (3 y.o) kept saying "I'm gonna miss Maicol". Her dad asked "What about Meme?" Olivia: "NO, I just gonna miss Maicol". Quite comical.

We've had such a wonderful summer travelling, raising support, being with friends and family. Really we have been blessed beyond measure. We really do not deserve it! And to think we have been asking for prayer and faithfully asking God to bring us to 100% and He answered just in the nick of time! Astonishing! We are glad to begin our journey encouraged and reminded of God's power and provision. It's the only place we're safe and sound. Now we just can't wait to board this plane!


Irene's Impact thus far..

Saturday morning and the storm has made landfall in NC and the outer bands are whipping around the east coast of VA. Irene has dropped from a Category 2 storm with sustained winds up to 100MPH to a Category 1 with winds maxing out at 85MPH. Huge answer to prayer! 13,000 people in NC and 16,000 people in VA have lost power overnight. Irene is moving NE at 14MPH. This will be a lot of rain for VA. Praying that the storm continues to weaken, and maybe even turns and heads off coast.

We are safe and sound in Iowa after last minute flight changes! Praising God we made it here, no more delays during connection! Our last weekend in the U.S. begins here in Waterloo, IA!


Earthquakes, hurricanes, broken windows - Oh My!

And it starts. Someone told us recently these last days in the U.S. will be like "survivor week". Hurricane Irene has required a mandatory evacuation of where we live. Our flight to Iowa was cancelled for Saturday so we are now trying to fly out Friday night. Our laptop came back repaired! And our automatic windows in the car broke. Dad and Maicol used electricity to finally get the windows up in time for the storm, even the $103 and 8 hours at the Kia dealership was unable to do that much. Boy are we surviving! Our 18 bags are stacked up on the bed to keep them off the floor in case of flooding. We are praying that JFK airport is still standing Thursday so we can still make it to Brazil. These are exciting days! We have the adrenaline pumping as every turn holds a new surprise.

Maicol said today " I experienced my very first earthquake and hurricane all in one week". Yes, that's one optimistic way to look at it! So we take each step knowing that if there is yet another deterrent, it's far from a coincidence. Just trying to take each set back in stride and look at the bigger picture. Hurricane Irene has the potential to do more than shake the ground for thirty seconds. The power of our awesome God is about to be displayed as he allows a massive storm to sweep across the U.S. or as he calms and redirects the wrath meteorologists predict. We wait and watch, knowing that God ultimately is in complete control.

He knew this storm would cancel our church service so he prepared us to be somewhere else! How cool! And even now, the flight that we are waiting to board had available seats for us to re-route at the very last hour. God is good. He loves us, He protects us, and He grows us as we walk and allow each step to mold us and shape us into His image!


Sports Fanatics

Maicol and I love to watch sports. Basketball, baseball, soccer, football... it's all good. Maicol knows players, statistics, and the major history behind many of the college and professional level sports teams. And as a result, I've even picked up the lingo and some of the important statistics surrounding the current events of the athletics world. I could fall soundly to sleep every night without the recap from ESPN. However, the longer I've patiently endured the recaps I get from my highly knowledgeable husband, the more excited I get about the latest news and upsets.

I love making my bracket during NCAA playoffs; I love it even more when my bracket is doing better than Obama's! I love yelling "Gooooooooaaaaaaaallllllllllll" when Gremio scores on the soccer field. But what I seem to enjoy a little bit more than most sports fanatics you may find strange.

I love reading up on the personal lives of the players. I love feeling like I can get a glimpse of their personality, their passions, and the most foundational snippets of who they are and who they pay loyalties to. It always amazes me to see a player with unprecedented talent throw it all out the window with a bad attitude. Even more fascinating, players who set records on the field and carry around criminal records just as noteworthy.

I went to Kecoughtan High School with Jerod Mayo. He was actually in my 6th grade class. He was funny, amiable, and popular as usual. From what I saw, he was level headed with a long time girlfriend in high school that was also an athlete. He is now #51 for the New England Patriots. I love hearing them pronounce his name, even though the announcers usually say his first name wrong. It makes me so proud to see him so huge (6'1/245lbs), so successful, and doing what he loves. I'm glad he's not making the media for anything other than success. I remember hearing the stories of the conversations he had with his family as he was being drafted, he was just a normal kid and then suddenly he was the 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year. I hope that somewhere inside of him he has a larger purpose than personal pride and accomplishment. Even still, it's nice that he isn't known for dog fighting, D.U.I.'s or scholarships scandals like some of the other crowned jewels of professional and college level sports.

Last year Maicol and I watched Auburn defeat Oregon. Maicol recounted to me that because Oregon was sponsored by Nike they had some of the most impressive uniforms in college sports. He told me about the impossible odds and how Oregon was sure to come out on top. A lot of the statistics and details came in one ear and out the other, but there are a few moments of that game I will never forget. Cam Newton's short interview after Auburn's victory. He thanked God. He recounted blessing. He unashamedly claimed victory due solely to his savior Jesus Christ and the love of his parents. I was floored, almost moved to tears to hear this young man swarmed by pride and popularity risking what others might think as he praised the Lord.

That's when I love sports. Trying to figure out the thoughts and actions in these individual players' lives. Does he realize the pressure he will face from believers if he doesn't live up to these claims? Does he realize the criticism he'll face as unbelievers react to his claims? All I kept saying to Maicol was that I was so glad for his public testimony and courage. I felt like a proud mother.

I just learned recently about Cam Newton's alleged scandal being "paid to play" for Auburn. He was almost disqualified from receiving the Heisman trophy. The NCAA dismissed the ineligibility claiming that while Cam's father was involved in the scandal, Cam had no idea. Regardless, I was somewhat discouraged. Yes maybe Cam didn't know. And still, maybe he did stand up there and thank God while knowing he was cheating the system. Either way, he must face a lot of inner turmoil over all this. Even now he's been drafted with the NFL Panthers, he'll be in the spotlight for many years to come. I will watch and hope that he shines pure, true, inspiring light.

Usually when we're watching a game I'm targeting a player trying to pick up on body language, facial expressions, and pinpoint who he or she is. Wikipedia helps too :) Good thing I have my husband recapping to me what actually takes place play by play otherwise all I remember is the winning score (if I'm lucky) and the latest hairstyle on the field. Maicol and I we make a good team, and the only reason my brackets ever do well is because I pick ridiculous wins based on if I like the players or not ;)


Hard Drive needs Peanut Butter?

Well the bad news is our hard drive crashed last night :) The good news is it's under warranty. God knows exactly what He is doing. And even though we leave for Brazil in two weeks - it's gonna be okie dokie... So we went shopping for comfort food/stuff to take to Brazil! We bought chocolate chips, taco seasoning, tabasco, favorite shampoo, mac & chz, instant pudding, orange marmalade, nutella, and Peanut Butter. Sorry - but we're not sharing! We will be rationing these items off to ourselves for the next few months! Now that hard drive... maybe Peanut Butter will do the trick? It seems to fix everything else!


"Atheism is not a natural state."

Robert Mounce has a commentary on Romans that I (Mandy) got in college for my class with Dr. Basilious. It's proven to be a concise and insightful resource which is why I'm going through it again.

In Romans 1:18-20 we read about how God has made himself known, through general revelation, to the whole world. Anthropologists say they have not discovered a people group that do not worship some divine being (Mounce). It's astonishing that everyone in the whole world seems to attest to something higher than themselves. "Atheism is not a natural state" Mounce says. I've met atheists and discussed at length how they can deny any God. And yet, God explains how they can live in denial. They suppress the truth, willingly, by surrounding themselves with godlessness. I ask myself-who would do that? Even atheists must have contemplated the idea of a higher power, they must feel that turning inside as they consider the consequences if they're wrong. Yet then I realize how easy this free fall into unbelief can be.

I remember a professor urging us to set up "fences" in our life to protect us from falling eventually into a pit of sin. Maicol and I more fondly refer to these as "buzzstrips" since driving all over the country reminds us of the important and yet subtle purpose! Walking over a fence won't kill you and driving over a buzzstrip won't either, but it gets you one step closer. But here's the kicker. As a child, did you ever walk over a fence you weren't supposed to? Trespass in a restricted area? Did God strike you dead? Did the police find out immediately and arrest you? Probably not. And therefore, trespassing isn't so dangerous anymore.

I remember my boss telling me to write something that wasn't exactly true - actually it was just a huge lie. I did it because he told me to. And I really struggled wondering what would happen if my bigger boss asked me about it. Then I justified it because I had a defense - my boss told me to do it! The sting of conviction faded. And it became easier and easier to slide, until one day I realized, I wouldn't have the courage to tell the truth because I didn't want to lose the reputation I had among my professional peers.

So much for "always tell the truth" - I didn't suffer immediate consequences. But eventually I realized I had surrounded my thoughts with godless rationale and thinking. So who would deny God? People who step over one little fence and ignore the burning conviction, over and over. People who make a mistake but don't have the courage to fix it. People who know if they told the truth about who they are, and what they've done - they'll face more pain of rejection than just keeping the guilt suppressed.

We need to have boundaries and buzztrips to guide us along through life. On the other hand, our buzzstrips shouldn't make other observers suppress their guilt because they know we'd never accept them much less understand them. We let people around us believe that we're so "together" and they "know" they can never measure up.

The Pharisees exemplified this concept flawlessly. They lived careful, deliberate lives. They had rules for how to pray, what to eat, and where to walk. They got angry with Jesus for "working" on the Sabbath because he harvested food for his friends that were hungry. The Pharisees were safe in this carefully constructed box of a world that supposedly kept them out of harm's way. They were the teachers, the respected, the "godly" elites. What's fascinating is they made these rules on their own and they lost sight of the purpose in the first place! If God ordained the Sabbath as a day of rest, they would rather their friends starve and hunger than break the rule?! The purpose of a "buzzstrip" is to let us know real danger is on the other side. My professor in college suggested this - if we set up in our lives multiple barriers to protect us from sin, and we live by them, and we love, by them, and we set the example with these "rules" what message do we send those who don't do this? We confuse them!

The world is full of danger. This is Satan's playground and he is doing a wonderful job wreaking havoc. We must be careful not to step over so many fences that the scare of real danger fades and eventually we step over that last fence that lands us in a deep pit of sin and regret. The more we compromise, the less it stings, until one day you go over tat last buzzstrip and end up head on with a tree. It happens so fast. So many affairs-the adulterer always says: "it happened so fast". Yes we must protect ourselves. And yet, we must have the courage like Paul to love our weaker brother. To set aside our fences when they keep people from knowing our true, Creator God! When people view me as so "godly" that they can't strike up a conversation with me, I need to re-adjust. When I don't reach out to someone in need because I need to go to Bible Study? Yes, I know you will disagree with some of this because each of us have a God given mind to make our own choices, under our own circumstances. The Pharisees all lived by the law and Jesus condemned them for it. Yet Jesus who did love God and honor him, served his brothers, his friends, instead of resting. I thank God that when I was in need someone left her own Sunday School class for many months so she could sit with me during that time and teach me about an awesome, forgiving Savior named Jesus Christ.




·Safety in travels flying 9.1
·Language tutor for Mandy
·Car purchase in Brazil
·Visit to Iowa 8/28


·84% support
·Successful yard sale
·VBS - 3 salvations
·New supporting churches


Denbigh Baptist
Newport News,VA


Immanuel Baptist Church
Arcanum, OH

Bethesda Baptist Church
Brownsburg, IN

Calvary Baptist Church
Quincy, IL


·84% committed support of required $4104 per month

·Outfit and Passage/Car Fund goal is $10,000 we still need $3700 to fulfill this goal

·$50/month = 1.2% committed support

·13 new partners at $50/month will bring us to 100%

·$150 moves one piece of luggage at 70lbs - we need to take 10-15 pieces

August Update

We will be flying Sept 1. and cannot believe we are now counting the days until we go! If you would like to follow our blog you can subscribe and see our updates at your leisure. We are currently 84% supported and we need to raise about $3,700 for our moving expenses and a car when we get to Brazil.

THANK YOU for your prayers on our behalf! We ran into a friend the other day that very enthusiastically shared that her son did not want to pass on the soccer ball "prayer hat" because he wants to pray for us every night before bed! This was so neat. Children teach us so much - how persistent and how much belief this boy has in prayer! This was a blessing to hear and even more encouraging to know these prayers are being heard and answered!

Recently we asked some of you to pray with us about a possible moving company taking our things but God was clear that the best option would be bringing our things along on the airplane as additional baggage. Now if you would pray for sanity as we try to pack it and strength as we carry 700+ lbs through airports! This should be interesting! We will pay $150 for each additional bag. If you are interested in giving this would be one way you could help. We are hoping to take 10-15 additional pieces.

We are daily amazed by the provisions for our support! We received a call that Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Waterloo, IA would like us to candidate on August 28th - our last Sunday in the U.S. We are so happy about this opportunity as we really enjoyed our short visit there in the beginning of July! Our support requirements went up from $3,792/month to $4,100/month due to the expense of living and increases in health insurance yet God is good and nothing is "last minute" to him!

Mandy's brother has been offered a job at Turning Point in California and is now faced with the pressures of moving his family of 6 hopefully within three months. Please say a prayer for him to sell his house in VA and find an affordable place in California in God's perfect timing. This is another long-distance move for Mandy's extended family and another example on waiting for God's provision, taking each step in faith and waiting on the next!

The Help

"The Help" came out in theaters yesterday and we saw it with Mandy's mother. Highly inspirational and thought provoking movie. In the midst of viewing the real pain and strife of the black/white issues, we actually experienced a real-life example as a drunk man was escorted from the theater for his crude talk and rather racist comments as we viewed the movie! Ironic? Maybe, or maybe it's a reminder that we still have a long way to go in "loving our neighbor" - black or white, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, loved one or enemy. Thank God He makes no distinction among His loved creation. The children raised by "the help" made no distinction either.

Jesus urged men to have faith like a child. Those white children raised by black maids were not instructed to trust, love and, obey with sincere devotion - it came naturally because the maids extended love and care first. Rather, the maids must have struggled against the bitterness of being mistreated in order to truly love those "spoiled" white children.

God tells us to serve one another, even the most unlikable, even our enemy. He knew something about serving long before man perverted the idea. Serving builds true character. Serving builds indestructible bonds. This must be why God displayed His incarnate form, Jesus,as a servant - above all else.

If only we grasped this idea of putting others before ourselves. Pastor Dave has been preaching on this at our church. God knows there is great reward in experiencing the joy and fulfillment of serving another - that is multiplied by the measure of difficulty in doing so! Praying that in marriage, in ministry, in life we would seek to grasp and practice true Servanthood and therefore, true love.


Waterloo, IA

We received a call from a church in Iowa that has invited us to officially candidate! Our last Sunday in the U.S. will be at Walnut Ridge church - God's timing is perfect! We are so excited and thankful for this "answer to prayer" opportunity. We are confident that the Lord will have us 100% supported on departure day!


Newman Visit

We are in Lynchburg,VA until Sunday spending time with our Newman family. This will be our last farewell for a while - we will miss you all so much! Thanks for being such a wonderful family to us!


July Update


We have made our last official church visit as of Sunday 7/24/2011! We are looking forward to spending most of August with family and friends saying our "goodbyes" and such. While we are excited to continue on this adventure, there is a natural strain on the heart as we pull away from our loved one's and what we've both called "home" for sometime now. It gives us relief and comfort to know we are being received by loving missionaries, friends, and family in Brazil!

There is not enough space to write the numerous ways we've seen God directing us and blessing us! We are amazed to report that we are about 65% supported and we are getting phone calls and emails daily of increases to our support! We have churches considering us and so we are excited to see what God will surely do in the next 30+ days! We are trusting the Lord that he will have us 100% supported on our departure date!

We want to thank you very much for praying for Chelsea Martin as she has been battling Leukemia since March. Some of you have asked about her lately as you have faithfully prayed. In June we were able to visit her and her husband in Cleveland, OH. Her spirits are high and her attitude is optimistic! She is progressing through treatment well and the doctors continue to be pleased with her endurance and recovery. We were greatly encouraged by our time spent with the Martin’s in June!

We have added many people to our newsletter list so if this is your first time receiving our letter and you would like to see past newsletters visit our website! Last week during ABWE's pre-AMP (short-term) conference we were able to attend the final evening of the larger Missionary Enrichment conference for all ABWE missionaries in Baltimore, MD. We were deeply encouraged and strengthened during our time spent among fellow sojourners in the faith. We witnessed nothing less than excellence and deep rooted faith in God alone. We heard testimonies from two missionary families. One husband lost his wife and mother of six to cancer. The other testified to God's power in bringing his wife and mother of two, out of a three month coma after a tragic car accident. Both families still eager to serve the Lord and believe in His sovereign plan for their lives. This is the family we are now a part of at ABWE and we are honored! Serving the Lord and being in the midst of His people and plans is awesome. We are finding relief in seeing the bigger picture. Life is but a breath. We will live this life we've been given to the fullest!

Finally, it is time to begin saying "until we meet again." We parted with our friends in Clarks Summit, PA in July as we made our last visit. We enjoyed our first two married years in Clarks Summit and more importantly we were happy to have the friends we did. God brings the right people into your life, at the right time, for the right reasons!


Left Harrisburg, PA after a three day conference/training for our ministry in Brazil. We learned so much and most importantly connected with incredible brothers and sisters in Christ. We feel refreshed and more equipped with next steps as we map out the next month and the next few years! Huge lesson learned: there is just no time for anxiety. Enjoy life because God is awesome and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Feels like a huge burden of worry has been lifted as we lay our hopes and dreams back into His Sovereign hands.


Relaxed in Clarks Summit, PA between events with Ben and Claudia and kids :) We had all our Brazilian friends over for dinner and said our goodbyes. We will miss our friends and are glad to have had the time we did together! Off to ABWE pre-AMP seminar in Harrisburg, PA!


Visited a church in Towanda, PA and experienced huge blessing! The church members don’t believe they should have A/C if so many people in the world worship without. We were so happy to be among these humble minded new friends and old. Mandy went to school with two girls in the church Stacey and Shelly and was able to reconnect! Maicol enjoyed preaching. Wonderful visit!



Finally! Mandy gets her very first, far overdue, BEACH DAY of the summer. Way to go U.S. Women Soccer! Caitlin and Taylor, thanks for being beach buddies!


Our home church of Denbigh Baptist has called a wonderful couple as the new youth pastor! We are very excited to have Kenny and Bethany work with our youth group and school!


Packing, crunching, weighing, and repacking… want to build character and patience? Try moving!


Babysitting our two nieces and nephew while their parents get the results from ultrasound of baby #4… it’s a girl! Happy for David and Sara!


Chicago. Fireworks. Giordano’s pizza. Garret’s popcorn. After a long trip – we spoiled ourselves!


Thoroughly enjoyed our time in Quincy, IL for the morning services and afternoon lunch. We met some wonderful new friends! In the evening we made it to Waterloo, IA where again we met really neat people who love the Lord and took great care of us! We are so blessed to be part of the body of Christ!


Driving to Quincy, IL to present tomorrow at Calvary Baptist. Our trip is coming to a close just a few more days! We will end up in Waterloo, IA Sunday night which is about 15 hours’ drive from home in VA. So we are going to have a little vacation in Chicago for 4th of July by ourselves! We’ve booked a hotel and then we’ll drive Tuesday 12hours to VA! Thankful for all God’s provision! This trip has been wonderful!


Drove back to Brownsburg, IN for the evening. Had fun with our Traxler friends! So neat all the people we are able to catch up with along our trip!


Today we drove from Grand Rapids to Toledo, OH for lunch with Shane and Shelly. Enjoyed talking about what’s going on at Emmanuel and sharing our passion for Brazil. God’s providence led us to meet missionaries from Sao Paulo who were just getting ready to depart back to the field. Maicol went to school at Cedarville with their son Andrew and it was neat to chat with them about preparing to head to the field. Then we drove to Cleveland to meet Mandy’s friend Chelsea who we’ve been praying towards recovery and healing from her recently diagnosed Leukemia. We had a wonderful evening eating Panera and just catching up. Then we drove right outside of Akron, OH to stay the night with Martha and Phil. Enjoyed a nice long rest after a busy day! So thankful all the scheduling worked out and God has given us safety and perseverance thus far!


Stayed in Downtown Grand Rapids, MI with our friends Brett and Janelle. Learned two great games: Bang and Bohnanza. Met three playful cats that kept us entertained!


Wonderful couple of days with our friends Dave and Jen in Hudsonville, MI. Maicol met Dave upon coming to the states at Word of Life, NY. We enjoyed playing with their son, going for a boat ride and most importantly relaxing! Really enjoyed the fellowship and encouragement of these two. Praise the Lord for friends rooted in the love of God!


Visited Emmanuel Baptist in Arcanum, OH. Amazing God moment: The woman who led Mandy to the Lord was also the wife of this church’s former Pastor. We had no idea of the connection until that morning! Many people were impacted by this couple’s ministry and heart for evangelism and we enjoyed sharing memories!


Ed’s famous pancakes for Mandy’s birthday breakfast! Leave Brownsburg, IN and head to Dayton, OH area. Celebrated by shopping and eating out at The Green in Dayton which is a really nice outdoor mall. Lots of fun! Then we stayed the night with our friends Gabe and Traci.


Double date for sushi with the Jared and Leah! Their daughter Kate taught Mandy some valuable lessons this week about farm animals. Cow’s pee wherever they like and the flow is like that of a hose! Who woulda thought?!



Shared in the Maranatha Life Group this morning at Bethesda in Brownsburg, IN and had a few minutes in the evening service for Maicol to share. We enjoy all our visits with this wonderful church family! Wings after church with Kayla and Caleb!


My husband and the Ferguson’s threw me an early surprise birthday party! We ate like royalty! “Churrasco-galeto” which is Brazilian BBQ chicken, potatoes, corn, pasta salad and a delicious cake! We played corn hole and enjoyed our Indiana family!


Drive to Brownsburg, IN to stay with Ferguson’s as we begin our 18 day adventure around the Midwest! Planning to present at three churches, possibly a fourth. Visiting friends in OH, MI, and IN. Let the road trips begin!


Drive to Lynchburg, VA to visit at the Newman’s for the day/night. Great fun until 2am!


Spend the day with Mandy’s brother’s family. Mandy’s mom joins for dinner and great fun is had with the nieces and nephews! Can’t wait for #4!


Depart 3am back to Clarks Summit, PA to get our second and final load! Arrive PA 11am, pack and clean, head back to VA at 1pm and arrive 10pm. Sleep time!


MOVING DAY! Drive to VA and stop in Landisville, PA for Maicol to get his braces off! Whoo! Arrive VA 10pm.


Packed the van and trailer with boxes. Accidentally packed Maicol’s socks and the silverware before we ate … haha. Presented our ministry at Twin Valley Bible Chapel in Narvon, PA. What a welcoming church! Wonderful to get to shake nearly everyone’s hand.


Packed our apartment into boxes. Thanks Thomas and Ruth for lunch!


Last day of Maicol’s job at BBC maintenance and Mandy as an EMT on the ambulance. We will miss our friends from Clarks Summit, PA!


Last day of second grade! Mandy will miss all her 8 y.o. friends. Praying for each one to realize their great potential – very special group of children!


Maicol presents ministry at Summit in Clarks Summit, PA. Mandy still getting over being sick!


10% increase again! So excited to be 50% supported! Half way there!


Sold our bed – the last of our big furniture…. Our home is becoming more and more of a warehouse! Two weeks left here!


Only God knows when detours are necessary. Driving back from VA the highway was jammed so we detoured for a while. A family in distress waved us down because a man’s 3 y.o. son was seizing. He was frantic and didn’t know what to do. Mandy cared for the boy until the ambulance arrived. God’s perfect timing. The boy was sick and was having a febrile seizure. Even though Mandy caught the boy’s sickness it was worth it to offer some comfort to a family in need!


Present our ministry at sending church Denbigh Baptist in Newport News, VA. Wonderful, encouraging weekend. A woman in the church told us Maicol’s message on the Prodigal son was the best she’s heard in 80 years!


Tides baseball game with Dad and three of four kids to celebrate his 60th birthday which was 4/29. So much fun! Ammie had her first tastes of Cotton Candy…


Presented our ministry plans at Mountain Stream in the Poconos, PA. This was the church plan we worked with for nearly three years. Wonderful time of fellowship and spending time with friends.


Maicol’s birthday celebrated with friends at Texas Roadhouse! Happy 31st!


Praying for God to open doors for us to find willing and able church partners. Prayerfully and financially. We are packing up and moving out in 3 weeks and we have no Plan B! Praying God is glorified through our faith-filled steps.


Surprise birthday for Cintia. My dear friend we love you and are so excited for your journey ahead! Brazil – here we come!


Visit at Bridgewater Baptist in Montrose, PA was very nice. Good to connect with sending church Pastor’s former church family! Great people!



Fun times walking the boardwalk and eating yummy, expensive food with friends.



Dinner with Ellsworth’s and Alonso’s. Alonso’s are headed to Columbia. We had a wonderful South American evening!


Maicol and I are so grateful to have two wonderful mothers. To the mother who raised me (Mandy) – thanks! You are such a great friend to me and a wonderful comfort. I love you so much. I love your advice and you warm welcome every time we come home. I tear up thinking what I’ll do when you’re no longer 7 hours away by car…


BBC Graduation and congrats to our sister Danielle Newman! So proud of you! Happy to have our Newman family staying with us.


BBC hosted “The Lot” multi-family yard sale today. We raised the support we had hoped to by selling many of the big items that we advertised! Glad to see Mandy’s bake sale was also a success! If it wasn’t for our fellow yardsaler proclaiming the goodness of the cookies, not sure anyone would have taken a second look! A lot of the food was sold!


Easter Day what a great time of celebration! And great food and friends. The Lord rose from the dead! If that’s not a reason to believe, not sure what is. Explaining that Easter is not about bunnies and gifts to second graders last week during lunch was entertaining. When told that Easter is when Jesus rose up from the dead one child replied: “yea, my grandma always talks bout that!” Thank God for Grandmas!



First official presentation went great in Hampton, VA. Really neat to flashback to Mandy’s childhood years as this church knew her way back when. Thank you to our mother for being such a wonderful coordinator and host! Mom you are a lovely best friend!


So nice to visit with friends of like mind. Encouraged by the time spent talking and hanging out with great couples! We will surely miss the wonderful friends we’ve made here!


Our final numbers for support came in from March and we are at 30%! WHOO hoo! Thank you! We have four scheduled visits to churches coming up!


Maicol played a volleyball tournament at BBC and their team won!


Taught our friends one of our favorite games! Great night of food and fellowship!


A very concerned young man once asked: “So you work all day, then come home and clean, make dinner, and do dishes?” Ummmmm no, not always. Sometimes we work at night too… And we thank the Lord we have jobs!


Visited new friends in Brackney, PA and visited a church in Vestal. It's great to rub shoulders with good people. We had great food and great company! I learned a lot from that family of thirteen!


Great dinner with Rod, Annie and Dominic! And soon, we will meet baby numero dois!


Enjoyed a wonderful weekend with at the Pastor's house of the church plant we were involved with. Double dated with old friends and had an all around great time!


Praying for a lot of strength as we continue to get better and face a very busy work schedule for March!


Had a great encouraging visit with our friends the Southwells in Harrisburg! Came down with strep throat or some type of flu so we will rest it off!


Our Newman family just drove home after spending the weekend with us in our apartment. They brought half of the Allen family and we shared great fellowship and food! We love you guys so much!


Dinner with other interns praying and planning for next year. Two couples are still looking for an internship site. Another couple is raising support to go overseas to their hometown for internship and they have 85% support! We had another individual take us on today for monthly support bumping us up to 20%!


Maicol really did it! Surprise sushi and Chinese dinner over candle light in our PJ’s! Brilliant!


We spent a wonderful week in Indiana! Mandy visited with friends from Bethesda Baptist Church while Maicol attended the NANC Conference at Faith Baptist in Lafayette, IN. We had a great week and came back motivated with some new ideas for ministry! Best of all, we were able to spend time with Maicol’s “American Family.”


We spent an encouraging weekend in Avoca, NY with our friends at their Aunt and Uncle Rusty’s house. What a great time of relaxation, Settler’s of Catan and prayer. We enjoyed hearing their stories about love and missions work!


Our Sending Church had their official meeting tonight and committed to supporting us monthly! We are seeing a trend… our support is increasing 10% per month. And you know what that shows about the awesomeness of our God? We will be fully funded by our departure month of September if our support continues to increase by 10% each month! He does work in amazing ways, while this may not be a continuous trend, it was quite encouraging to see that we are getting there! Thank you Lord for those little moments of encouragement, we are so blessed!


Mandy had a great time with the wonderful ladies from Mountain Stream! Thank you to Sherrie for sharing with us from God’s Word about pressing on. Needed to hear that! And my dear friend Cintia, such an encouragement to me!


Maicol is finishing up homework from a one week intensive class and beginning the first day of his last semester!


Thank the Lord for Snow Days! Stayed home and took a much needed break. Movie Day!


Mandy had a great Seminary Wives meeting followed by Bobby coming to BBC! Another wonderful weekend with our Newman family!


Went to a beautiful wedding! Congrats Farron and Denise! And reconnected with Brett and Janelle. Thanks for teaching us Settlers of Catan!


Praise the Lord for a new year! Maicol and I are thinking and praying through so new initiatives we can take in building a stronger marriage and enjoying our time on earth. Mandy has been looking forward to beginning a bible study of Esther by Beth Moore and found out her church is offering it starting this month! How cool! God’s timing is perfect! Also at our church, Parker Hill, we began a great new series today called “Toxic”. We are looking forward to learning how to purify and cleanse our hearts and minds from all the toxicity of sin in us and around us. To God be the Glory!