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!