June 30, 2005

In Glory

My wife just IMed me from Brazil and let me know that her mother passed away earlier today. She was a believer, so we rejoice that she is now with Jesus. Please be in prayer for Tassie and the rest of her family--especially those who do not yet know Christ.

Posted by Andrew at 7:41 PM // Comments: 2 //
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Just for Laughs

From Steve Camp's website, here are the top ten signs you may be in a bad church. I have seen alot of strange things on deputation, but so far nothing this radical.

10.) The usher asks if you prefer the smoking or non-smoking section
9.) Foyer includes beverage machines to give you a choice of soft drinks, Snapple, bottled waters, and exotic coffees.
8.) Regular attendees earn frequent flyer miles
7.) Sunday School replaced by an extreme image make-over class with Dr. Phil
6.) Baptismal tank has a wave-maker machine installed
5.) Twenty dollar cover charge at the door
4.) Sign out front has latest pastors name written with dry erase markers
3.) Offering plates mounted with credit card swipers
2.) Worship team performs their favorite Led Zeplin medley; with an altar call of "Stairway to Heaven."
1.) Banner across front of sanctuary reads, "Today's Worship Service Brought to You by Chevrolet."

Posted by Andrew at 7:33 PM // Comments: 2 // TrackBack: 0 //
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June 29, 2005

Tassie Update

I am chatting online with Tassie right now. She says she was able to visit her mother, and that her mother is not doing well at all. She was not able to talk. Tassie showed her some pictures of Mikey, and she cried when she saw them. She is planning on spending tomorrow in the hospital with her mother. Please continue to pray.

Posted by Andrew at 8:01 PM // Comments: 1 //
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Valeu Brasil!!!!

Brazil just annihilated Argentina in the final of the Confederations Cup, 4-1. Wish I could have seen this game! Click here for photos.

Posted by Andrew at 7:43 PM // Comments: 2 //
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GARBC Update

This is my second day at the GARBC conference in Lakeland, and, with all the other things going on, I have still been able to get to a couple of the sessions, and see a lot of people.

The preaching sessions have been great. Nate Osborn gave a great challenge this morning on the subject of multiplying workers within the church.

It has been interesting attending with just Mikey. He seems to be having fun at the children's sessions--although admittedly with Mikey it is hard to tell.

Posted by Andrew at 7:20 PM
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Just got an e-mail from my wife that she arrived safely at her parents home. Thanks to all who prayed.

Posted by Andrew at 4:30 PM
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Vacation Pics

This is a belated report on our family reunion/vacation at Canaan Land. You can see more pics by clicking here.

A great time was had by all. Here are a couple of the best quotes from the week:

Daniel (helping my wife cross a stream): So Tassie, to you think you are predestined to get wet today? Tassie: I don't think so, but I know that if I am, you are too.

Daniel: Hi. We're here for some after-three golf.

Clubhouse Manager: Um...this is a private club.

Daniel: Ok, bye!

Posted by Andrew at 9:35 AM
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June 28, 2005

Tassie Update

As of 7:51 this morning, Itacyara is officially on her way to Brazil to visit her ailing mother. The set of events that made it possible for her to go is truly a testament to the sovereignty of our God.

On Monday morning I came to the office with no idea how I was going to get my wife to Brazil. All I had was a list of phone numbers given to me by Jim Leonard. One of the first numbers I called was to a travel agency in Tampa called Costa Brazil. The Brazilian lady who took my call seemed genuinely touched by our situation. She said she would look for tickets and get back to me.

A couple hours later she called back and told me she had a ticket available for an unbelievably low price--almost $1,000 lower than anything I had found up to that point. Even though it was low, however, it was still more than I could afford.

My pastor had asked to be kept appraised of the situation. I called him and told him about the low ticket price. Within an hour he came by and handed me the money to buy the ticket, plus a little more for my wife to spend once she got to Brazil.

I then drove to Tampa and picked up the ticket from the travel agency. At 9 a.m. I had no idea how my wife was getting to Brazil. By 4:30 p.m. I had her ticket in my hands.

As I talked to the travel agent, she told me she had been lucky to get that price. I was able to smile and tell her that it was not luck, that God had used her answered our prayers and the prayers of many of His people.

Please continue to pray for Tassie as she travels, for her mother and siblings, and for Mikey and I as we keep the home fires burning here in Lakeland.

Also, if you ever decide to travel to Brazil (say, to visit us once we get down there), I would highly recommend that you check Costa Brazil, and tell them I sent you. They were very professional, cost-effective, friendly, and efficient.

Posted by Andrew at 1:13 PM // Comments: 2 //
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June 27, 2005

We Got Your GARBC Blogging Right Here

This week the annual conference of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches will be held here in Lakeland, Florida. I am planning on being there for most of it, and blogging what I can. Chances are good I will be the only one blogging the conference.

Below is an article about the GARBC that appeared recently in the Lakeland Ledger. It is pretty interesting, although I think many of my Regular Baptist bretheren would blanch at the idea of being called the "Northern cousins" of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Continue reading "We Got Your GARBC Blogging Right Here"

Posted by Andrew at 11:25 AM // Comments: 2 //
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Conspiracy Theory, Brazilian Style

Did you know that the US is planning an invasion of the Amazon rain forest? Chances are good, if you are American, you have heard of no such thing. However, if you are Brazilian, it is common knowledge.

I have had Brazilians tell me about this alleged plot as if it were fact. One look at the public ambiguity over our invasion of Iraq would seem to dispel any rumors of an impending invasion of a peaceful nation. Yet Brazilians don't see it that way. For a detailed look at this Brazilian conspiracy theory, check out the Seattle Times story below.

Continue reading "Conspiracy Theory, Brazilian Style"

Posted by Andrew at 10:32 AM
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June 26, 2005

Update on Tassie's Mom

Last night, on the way home from our family reunion/vacation, we got word that Tassie's mother (my mother-in-law) has taken a turn for the worse, and is in critical condition.

About a year-and-a-half ago, she had an operation on a cyst in her throat, and has not been the same since. She has had a couple of follow-up proceedures, but has continued to steadily decline.

Now we are trying to figure away to get to Brazil (or at least get Tassie to Brazil) in the next week. We will keep you updated. In the mean time, please be praying for my wife, her mother, and the rest of her family.

Posted by Andrew at 4:17 PM
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June 22, 2005

Brasilian Flag Mosaic

The other day I tried to do a mosaic of the Brazilian flag, but it did not come out nearly as well as this one, which appeared on the flickr site of Helen Melon, and is shown here with her permission.

Posted by Andrew at 10:44 AM
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Vacation is Great

The lack of posts for the last couple of days is due to the fact that I am currently on vacation with my family at Canaan Land, near Brevard, NC. In fact, I am in a coffee shop in Brevard right now, getting a little work done. As I am writing this, the coffee shop is playing Brazilian music over its sound system. Very nice.

The above picture is from a hike we took yesterday. I will post more pics of our vacation when we return to civilization. I am in no big hurry, though.

Posted by Andrew at 10:38 AM
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June 20, 2005

Caption Challenge for 6/20/2005

I am on vacation, but the caption challenges just keep on coming!


Posted by Andrew at 8:00 AM // Comments: 18 //
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June 17, 2005

Reasons to Love Brazil (#0001)

The View

This picture was taken by Ana Ma--a young lady I have never met, but who graciously allowed me to post it on my site. You can see more of her outstanding, breathtaking pictures of Brazil by clicking here.

She also has a blog.

Posted by Andrew at 4:46 PM
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Memory Lane: BMM Brazil Missionary Team

As the day draws near for our move to Brazil, we are excited about the prospect of working with this wonderful team of Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries already in place. This is a picture of the BMM Brazil team taken last March while we were in Brazil for a conference.

Posted by Andrew at 3:23 PM // Comments: 2 //
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The Latest from Brazil

Ok, I guess I better blog about this, since it has been going on for a few weeks now. It would appear that one of President Lula's chief cabinet ministers, one Jos Dirceu, has been caught in a corruption scandal. The chatter on the internet indicates that Brazilians are getting very tired of governmental corruption. This could have serious consequences for Lula's administration--which took office with a promise to end corruption.

The full AP article is included below, or you can just click here.

Continue reading "The Latest from Brazil"

Posted by Andrew at 2:10 PM
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Brazilian Nic-Nacks

Chuck and Elsie Smith, retired missionaries to Brazil who now attend our church, recently returned from a trip to that country. They brought these magnets with them for us on depuation.

Posted by Andrew at 1:42 PM
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June 16, 2005

My Sending Church

It was September, 1996, and I was in my first week of studies at the former Spurgeon Baptist Bible College. One of the many decisions I had to make at that point in my life was what church to attend while studying in Florida.

I forget just how it was that I ended up at Fellowship Baptist--probably somebody at school who had a car was going, and happened to have room.

I do remember in detail what made my decision to stay. As the evening service was progressing, the song leader asked if anybody in the congregation had a verse they would like to recite. A lady stood up a few rows behind me and began to recite. In the course of her recitation, she tripped over her words.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I get my Portuguese mixed up with my English sometimes."

That got my attention. After the service I went back and engaged her in conversation in Portuguese. I discovered that she and her husband were retired BMM missionaries to Brazil, and that there were two (now five) other families in the church with ties to Brazil. I stayed.

Since that day, I have tremendously appreciated the ministry of Pastor Piatt, and since going on deputation, have discovered that this church has a heart for missions. They have been 110% behind us in our effort.

Just recently God has shown us quite explicitly how blessed we are to be a part of this church. Nine years ago, I had no idea these people would be such a blessing to us.

Thank you, God, for bringing us to this wonderful congregation.

Posted by Andrew at 9:48 PM
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June 15, 2005

A College Dropout Talks to College Grads

This post is a little off topic, but bear with me.

I am becoming a real fan of Apple Computers--I use iTunes, have an iMac at home (one of the old, multi-colored units), and drool every time I see an iPod ad. Up until today, however, I did not know that much about Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Apple Matters just published the text of a graduation speech given by Mr. Jobs to the students at Sanford University. What he says--though colored by the fact that he is most likely unsaved--generally makes a whole lot of sense.

Here is an excerpt:

I was lucky I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories in the Bible, found in I Samuel 30:1-6

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

Steve Jobs and David both found themselves in desperate (and completely unexpected) situations, both of them involving disloyal friends and circumstances beyond their control. Their individual responses to those situations are strikingly similar.

Steve Jobs:

I really didnt know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.


And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

Now I understand that David's response was ultimately much better, because he put his trust in the Eternal God, not some internal voice (in another part of the speech, Jobs encourages students to "trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever"--you can't win 'em all). The point is, NEITHER ONE OF THEM GAVE UP!. There was no self pity, no bitterness towards the faithless friends, just a dogged determination to keep going.

And the results?

Steve Jobs:

I didnt see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apples current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

And David:

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil.

Many times God has led me through valleys from which there seemed no escape. Most recently, there have been times in our journey to get to Brazil when I felt like giving up, packing it in, and looking for work in the food service industry. The past couple of weeks have been such weeks for me, for a number of reasons. Yet, God always brings to mind the story of David, and how he encouraged himself in the Lord, and I am motivated to persevere.

Whether it is starting a computer company, going on deputation, or kicking some Amalekite tail, perseverance is a necessary character trait.

I would encourage you to read the rest of Mr. Jobs address, bearing in mind that it was given by an unsaved man on the campus of a secular college. It may just make watching Toy Story with your kids a lot more meaningful.

Even more important, I urge you to read the account of David and the Amalekites, and encourage yourselves in the Lord.

Posted by Andrew at 4:37 PM
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June 14, 2005

Brazilian Choro

As we go from church to church talking about Brazil, many people ask us about Brazilian music--what does it sound like, what kinds do we use in church, etc.

Today I came across the website (thanks to Daniella Thompson) of a trio of Brazilian sisters who play Choro, one of the most beautiful and intricate of the Brazilian stylings. I believe it predates Bossa Nova and Samba as a popular musical expression in Brazil.

Be sure to watch this video, which gives has some nice scenes of Brazilian life, as well as featuring the three girls playing their music.

Choro--just one of the many reasons to love Brazil.

Posted by Andrew at 6:22 PM
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Support Update

Today has been a very exciting day in the support department. Due to one individual supporter raising their monthly investment, and another coming on board with us, we are now at 86.6%, with only $545.00 left to go. Brazil-by-my-birthday is looking all the more feasible now.

Posted by Andrew at 5:25 PM
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First Baptist, Dania Beach

We spent this weekend with the good folks at First Baptist Church in Dania Beach, Florida--near Miami. This is a picture of the beautiful temple God has blessed them with. The first time we were there--about two years ago--they were worshiping in an office building.

Posted by Andrew at 12:21 PM // Comments: 1 //
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Caption Challenge

Have fun with this one.


Posted by Andrew at 11:28 AM // Comments: 17 //
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This blog has now achieved "adorable little rodent" status in the TTLB Ecosystem, probably thanks to the fact that it was mentioned (be it ever-so-briefly) in PyroManiac.

Addendum: I am also positive that this is the reason that unique hits to this blog--which usually run in the 2,000 to 3,000 range per month--are currently at 6,356 for the for June, and climbing.

Posted by Andrew at 11:23 AM // Comments: 2 //
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June 12, 2005

Camp Gilead Reprise

This is a picture of Itacyara "schooling" some guys in foozball at Camp Gilead last week. For the complete set of pictures of our week at Camp Gilead, click here.

Posted by Andrew at 4:09 PM // Comments: 3 //
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June 11, 2005

Worldview Survey

Before I take off for Miami, I will leave you with this...a quiz I found over at PyroManiac.





Cultural Creative












What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Many supporting churches and mission personel will breath easier to see that I am, indeed, a Fundamentalist. I was also quite delighted to see that I am less of a post-modernists than Phil Johnson!

Posted by Andrew at 11:44 AM
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Back from Camp Gilead

We arrived home yesterday from an awesome week at Camp Gilead. At last count, five kids had made a profession of faith. We were very impressed with the staff and leadership of the camp. I will be posting pictures of the week later on, when I have time.

Posted by Andrew at 11:21 AM
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June 10, 2005

Russia, 1992

In the spring of 1992, I took a trip to Russia with Bill Gothard's ministry. Here is a (rather grainy) picture of the group I worked with. Later on I will post more pictures of interesting things I saw on the trip.

One thing I remember distinctly is that, the whole time I was in Russia (about two weeks) I was thinking about Brazil.

Posted by Andrew at 12:37 PM
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June 6, 2005

Hasta la Vista

I am taking off now for Camp Gilead for a week. Blogging will probably be scarce...most likely limited to some audio posts, and a Memory Lane post that should appear Friday. Normal blogging duties should resume by Monday at the latest.

Posted by Andrew at 12:49 PM
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Caption Challenge for 6/6/05

I really have no comment for this.


Posted by Andrew at 10:50 AM // Comments: 7 //
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Berea Baptist Church

This is Berea Baptist Church in Palm Harbor, FL, where we ministered this weekend. We had a wonderful time!

Before going home we had a great time of fellowship with a family from the church. Michael made friends with their two little girls and we all went out to Dairy Queen, where we saw a '69 Corvette parked out front.

Posted by Andrew at 10:35 AM
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June 3, 2005

Memory Lane: This Magic Moment

As I am in an especially romantic mood today, I will post this picture taken on July 15th, 2000, at our wedding reception. More pictures of the blessed event can be seen here.

Posted by Andrew at 1:28 PM
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Committed Surrender

Today in my devotions I read an interesting article in Table Talk magazine entitled Committed Surrender. In it the author--John Sartelle--compares the recent youth trends of "hanging out" and "hooking up" to the modern church's tendency to "casualize" Christianity. Here is a great quote from the article:

[The "casualization" of Christianity] would be very helpful to the growth of the church if it weren't for Jesus Himself. Someone forgot to tell Jesus about the concepts of hanging out and hooking up. Every time I run into Him He is still demanding extreme commitment. He is so out of touch with the discovery of the advantages of casual relationships. "If you woujld come after me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."

Posted by Andrew at 11:30 AM
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Many Faces of Mike

On the way back from Tallahassee Itacyara captured some of Mikey's expressions from the back seat of the car. This is one of them. His entire range of emotions can be seen by clicking here.

Posted by Andrew at 11:19 AM // Comments: 1 //
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Phil Johnson Has A Blog

A couple of months ago I wrote about a session I attended by Phil Johnson at the Shepherd's Conference in Burbank, California. Today I discovered (Thanks to Tulip Girl for the heads-up) that he has a blog. I checked it out, and liked what I saw.

Posted by Andrew at 11:08 AM // Comments: 1 //
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June 1, 2005

Providence Baptist Church

Providence Baptist Church

This is the church we visited last Sunday in Tallahassee. We had a wonderful time.

Posted by Andrew at 9:50 PM
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