Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Once Upon a Time - A Really Important Post

Once upon a time I had a life (outside of cooking, cleaning, kids activities, and facebook). I worked for our local Christian radio station. I had several areas of responsibility, but mostly I organized their community events. One year, my boss wanted us to have an outdoor concert of local talent. Sort of a Battle of the Bands, without the Battle part. Anyway, we solicited tapes from the community and I screened them to see who could play and sent out letters to the folks I selected. What I didn't know was that my boss had envisioned, like, 4 bands, and I (not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings) accepted 24 acts.

So, we had to lay out some ground rules--the first of which was NO SOUNDCHECKS. None! Whatsoever! NO EXCEPTIONS!

I've never seen so much angst from so many people--angst is something you see alot when you deal with divas. Experienced in diva-dealing, we stood firm. Most of them eventually got over it and performed well.

"George" did not. He broke the rule. He just couldn't stand it. He had a friend at the sound company and he weasled a soundcheck out of him.

So, 23 other people who were already mad at me got way madder.

I threw a hissyfit. (I threw a lot of hissyfits back then. I like to think I've outgrown them, but that's another post). After a series of events, I landed in a meeting with my boss, the guy, and his pastor.

We both got fussed at pretty good.

But, in the midst of the meeting, my boss said something brilliant that I will never forget. She said,

"George, what you really want in your music is something that a soundcheck can not give you. What you really want is the annointing of the Spirit of God on your voice as you sing."


How many times do those of us in ministry think we want a tighter show, a better quality production, more small group leaders, a seminary-trained music minister, more folks at outreach, more books and commentaries, our people to act right, a better facility, more money--WHATEVER! When what we really want is God Almighty to show Himself in our midst.

When the annointing of God is on a sermon, lives are changed.
When the annointing of God is on a music ministry, people really enter into worship.
When the annointing of God is on a small group ministry, there will be love.
When the annointing of God is on a life in the marketplace, people will come to Christ.

So, go after GOD and when He shows up, the rest of that stuff will, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time- Paradise Lost

Being a missionary is really sort of a heartbreak assignment. When you’re on the field you miss your loved ones at home, when you’re at home you miss folks from the field, there is always change, transition, goodbyes….

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I realized this, long before I realized I would be a missionary. My husband came home from class in seminary one day with the campus newsletter in hand. “I’ve found our calling!” he said.

A church of 35 people in Hawaii wanted an intern for one year. We called them and four weeks later, we were on a plane. When we arrived, we were greeted by church members, who presented us with leis and chattered excitedly using many strange words that we didn’t understand--Likelike, Kamehameha, Liliuokalani (I later found out these were street names).

Something inside me said, “You will never be as happy again as you were a few minutes ago. While you are here, you will miss home. You will fall in love with these people and when you go home, you will miss them.”

I never got over leaving Hawaii….

Friday, November 21, 2008

As the World Shrinks

I'll be taking time out tonight from a course I'm taking, offered last weekend in Phoenix and downloaded via internet, to watch Jeff at the South America Summit, also in Phoenix, also via internet.
Afterwards, they should be archiving the video here. Jeff begins speaking around minute 41.
What I want to know is, "Whassup with Phoenix?"
Go figure.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Schedule - the most boring NaBloPoMo ever!

I struggled for weeks to settle into a good housekeeping schedule. Finally, here it is:
Monday - Wash sheets and towels, bathrooms (easy way to start the week)
Tuesday - Floors
Wednesday - Grocery (sale day at our supermarket)
Thursday - Dust
Friday - Kitchen (since I'm in there all afternoon for pizza/movie night preparations)
Saturday - Iron (not that I've actually done this yet)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cam, edition 4.1

Launched today, thus officially beginning the holiday season!

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Sunday nights, I like to serve pancakes and applesauce for supper. I don't like to brave the grocery on weekends, so these are ingredients I can buy during the week that'll last until Sunday night.

Here's my applesauce recipe:

Peel, core and quarter 12-15 apples
Place in large pot with 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon citric acid (or juice of 1/2 lemon or lime).
Boil until apples are translucent (30 min?)
Pull out cinnamon sticks. Smash apple quarters with a fork.
Stir to incorporate liquid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Very Restful Weekend

I had such a restful weekend!! It was wonderful! I had caught up all my housework and cooking. We ate leftovers Saturday noon and night. I did the boys Saturday homeschooling in the morning and slept ALL AFTERNOON!!
We all slept late this morning (church doesn't start until 10:30 here).
What a treat!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pizza

Every Friday night is Pizza/Movie Night here at the Dunson household. This means that Mommy spends Friday afternoon in the kitchen.
Then menu doesn't vary. We do two Pineapple/Canadian Bacon, one Pepperoni, and one Chocolate, usually with peanut butter.
It's a simple recipe, I take pizza dough for one pizza and mix in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon while kneading. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or so. Spread with peanut butter and top with grated semi-sweet chocolate shavings. Bake for another 5 minutes until the chocolate melts (being careful not to overcook).
There you go! Fancy-schmancy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I've been going to Curves (Pronounced in Brazil: KUR - vays) for a month now.
I'm amazed at the results.
I've not dieted, except to not TOTALLY PIG OUT.
I had my first evaluation the other day. I've lost two kilograms (that's 4.4 pounds). I've lost centimeters everywhere (most places 1 or 2).
But the best thing of all is to see my body return. Little pieces of me are suddenly recognizable as what I remember me looking like (in college, the last time I had lots of time to look at myself).
It happened first on the apartment elevator. I looked in the mirror and suddenly saw a tricep. No wait -- 2 triceps!! My college arms were coming back!!
About a week later, I looked down at my knees. There were MY knees!! I don't know where they've been the past ten years or so but they certainly weren't there!!
I'm so excited!!
Thanks, Cur-vays!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My New Favorite Workout

OK, so it's not my FAVORITE, but I have to do it anyway so I might as well burn some calories.
See, in Brazil, it is imperative that you sweep (or vacuum) and mop your WHOLE HOUSE every day. So, once a week I vacuum and mop the apartment. My family takes shoes off at the door, which is why I don't have to do it every day.

Up until last week, Jeff was helping me. I would vacuum and he would mop, or vice versa. Well, in his post-shingles fatigued state, I decided to do both last week and I was SO PROUD! I did it!! The only thing was I didn't stretch out afterwards so I was REALLY SORE the rest of the week. That's when it occured to me--this has to be aerobic!

So, as you read this I'll have on my heart rate monitor and Ipod and I'll be melting the pounds away to this playlist:

Precious Plankton Dances in the Kitchen
1. Baby Got Book (Dan Smith)
2. Dragostea Din Tei (O-ZONE)
3. Instanbul (Not Constantinople) (TMBG)
4. The Heart of Rock & Roll (Huey Lewis and the News)
5. Jailhouse Rock (Elvis)
6. Escher's World (Chagall Guevara)
7. Boycott Hell (Newwboys)
8. The Pascagoula Run (live at Usc) (Jimmy Buffett)
9. The Great Adventure (Steven Curtis Chapman)
10. House of Faith (Geoff Moore & the Distance)
11. Time is... (DC Talk)
12. I Like to Move It from Madagascar (The Party Cats)
13. I'm Not Ashamed (Newsboys)
14. Twist and Shout (The Isley Brothers)
15. Jump (Van Halen)
16. Livin' La Vida Louca (Ricky Martin)
17. What I Like About You (The Romantics)
18. WHOOMP! There It Is (Tag Team)
19. U Can't Touch This (MC Hammer)
20. Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles)
21. She Blinded Me with Science (Thomas Dolby)
22. Who Let the Dogs Out (Baha Men)
23. Superman (R.E.M.)
24. Oh, Yeah (Yello)
25. Don't Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) --to cool down

I'll post cardiac results afterwards.

Results (not as good as I expected):
Time 1:09, that's one HOUR, not one minute
average heart rate 106, that's 59% of my maximum

It varied greatly, between 98 and 122, depending on what I was doing.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is funny.

Our kids do grow up with an amazing knowledge of technology these days.
On the way home from music class today, Parker and I were singing that 10 Little Indians song.
You know, One little, two little, three little Indians,
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys!

Parker decided to change it around a bit:
One little, two little, three little Ipods,

oh my!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tentmaking Opportunity

A brilliant idea from fellow missys here in PoA:

is here

I would so love to see our school filled with believers!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Once Upon a Time -- The Little Rock

Once upon a time there was a Little Rock. Bigger than a pebble, smaller than a big rock. Little Rock lived on top of a big rock in the middle of a stream.
One day, it rained upstream. The stream's water rose. And rose. Soon it was a rushing, gushing river with rapids and currents swirling all around the big rock. Sticks, leaves and rocks floated by, swept up in the current.
Little Rock stayed on top.
Little Rock stayed dry.
Little Rock was hot.
Hot and dry, a little dusty,
Little Rock had no idea the river even existed.
Poor Little Rock.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Changes in Latitude....

Sometimes it's really bizarre living south of the equator. Time zones illustrate one of the strangest realities of this...
See, we're two time zones east of the US east coast. This means that we are 1, 2 or 3 hours ahead of Eastern time.
During the US Summer months, the US is on Daylight Savings time, we are on Standard Time and we are one hour ahead. During the US Winter months, the US is on Standard Time and we are on Daylight Savings Time and we are 3 hours ahead. There is a period on either end of a few weeks in which we are only 3 hours ahead.
Weird, huh?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

High Tech Tools for Missy's part 2 -- ITunes

5. I-Tunes With the increasing spiritism, violence and perversion on TV, many of us have gotten disgusted with the tube. We had three families here rip out the cable in the same month for this reason (we didn't decide this together, each family made the decision on their own) I heard a preacher say once that Christians don't have more intimacy from God because they were, "always in front of the hellivision and all that gives them is devilvision."
Anyway, the thing is I just love to watch TV. With I-Tunes, I can legally download shows one episode at a time and only bring into my home that which I choose. I spend about $2-4 per week on kids shows and about $5-7 per month on stuff for me. I gave Jeff a show season (Stargate Atlantis) for his birthday, which got me off the hook at the last minute.

I-Tunes is also useful for other things. You can buy songs, one at a time. No more buying a whole CD to get one song. Then you can group songs into playlists and burn them to CDs to take on the road.

You can also hear 30 seconds of any song, free. This is good for culture education for the kids. Questions like, "Mommy, who is Elvis?" or "What's RocknRoll?" or "I have to investigate what is rap music for school tomorrow" can be answered with a few searches and no committments.

You don't need an IPod to use ITunes. We just watch stuff on the computer mostly. But if you do have an IPod, then you have an instant, tremendously portable way to keep the kids occupied during car trips, doctor's appointments, siblings' suzuki lessons, etc.

BUT, the VERY BEST THING about ITunes is podcasts. Podcasts are free, downloadable audio or video files that just anyone can put out there and you can download them. Many major ministries (almost anyone with a TV or radio program) have podcasts of their broadcasts. Search for them on the store under podcasts, and then hit subscribe. Every time they post a new edisode, your computer will download it automatically the next time you open ITunes.
There are news podcasts, where you can hear 1-30 minutes of news from the states. There are kids podcasts, like Sesame Street and They Might Be Giants.
There are exercise podcasts, like Pilates on Fifth.
There are humor podcasts, like Short Cummings Audio or NPR's Car Talk Call of the Week.

You can even become a podcaster yourself and put your own recordings out there for your fans to download. I'm hoping to shortly have the September Month of Prayer for the Gaucho People videos in podcast form. Podcasting for Dummies is an excellent resource for getting started.

Well, those are the high tech tools for missys that we have discovered so far. Now if Scotty would just get that transporter up and running!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

High Tech Tools for Missys - part 1

(Missy being missionary, not necessarily young female).

Our planet is getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days (Praise God!) when missionaries packed their belongings in their coffins and sailed off over the horizon never to be seen again. Gone are the days of waiting a month to get a response to the letter you wrote yesterday. Gone are the days (I HOPE!) of annual missionary prayer letters!

In order of importance:
1. Skype If you don't know what skype is, I don't know what rock you live under, but you need to crawl out from under it. It does require broadband, but you can access it from a lan house. Free calls computer-to-computer, cheap calls elsewhere. It is actually cheaper to call Jeff's cell phone using skype than using our home phone, or my cell. Chat is also available if you don't want to commit to an actual voice conversation (or if you need to be quiet when kids nap).

2. Facebook is not much of a tool for those of us with kids still at home, but it becomes invaluable when you send a kid back for college. You can spy on them and their friends, see pictures, write notes. Of course, it goes without saying that if you have a kid on facebook, you need to be on there spying on them. And, of course, anyone in youth or college ministry needs a presence there. I have enjoyed it mostly for keeping up with missy colleagues around the country who are on there spying on their teenage children.

3. Blogging I would think blogging would be an absolute necessity for any missy raising funds and wanting to keep their ministry before their supporters. Even though as IMB missys we don't solicit funds, my husband uses his blog to solicit prayer support for our ministry. We have blogs for each of our boys to give them some writing/computer practice and to give the grandparents some photofodder. As you can see here, my blog is for mostly therapeutic purposes.

4. Strategic Network.org There are a LOT of missy resources on strategic network, but the two we have used the most are the e-groups and the missiology articles. With Jeff working on his doctorate long-distance the articles on this website have been a tremendous help! For a small yearly subscription fee, we have access to the major missiological journals.

The e-groups feature is how we send out our prayer letters. With all the SPAM blockers out there nowadays, it's very hard to convince all the email servers that you are legitimate if you're sending out 500 copies of an email message. We were getting blocked not only by our server for sending too many messages, but by the recipients servers, for looking like SPAM. So, we set up a group on Strategic networks with everyone's email and then we just mail one message to the group. Everyone gets their copy and we don't get blocked by spam blockers. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but it's well worth it to be able to be in touch with the folks who pray for you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!

I’ve been tagged!! Actually, I got tagged months ago by Kerri Hamilton, who is on her way to Brazil TODAY with her husband and four children to serve here in Rio Grande do Sul. So, it seems fitting to post the tag blog today in her honor.
You see, as I have a TON.of.blogs. in my reader and the writers are always getting “tagged” by one of their many hundreds of readers and finally one of them tagged ME!! Yeah!
Anyway, here are the rules:
Here are the rules:
*Link the person who tagged you.
*Mention the rules in your blog.
*Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.
*Tag a new set of six following bloggers by linking them

So, I’m supposed to explain 6 "unspectacular" quirky things about myself. It’s taken me a week to narrow it down to just 6…Here goes:

1. I totally don’t get video games. AT.ALL. I don’t know if it’s lack of hand-eye coordination or the terror that came from the knowledge that if that little frog got squished on the road, it was ALL MY FAULT. I have never played though a whole one or enjoyed anything about them (except for the peace and quiet I get when hubby and the boys play together).
2. I totally don’t get sports, thanks to a high school gym experience that is a subject best left for another post and, possibly, therapy.
3. I fantasize about being a long-haul big rig driver. (*sigh*) Just me in my big rig, open road, lots of GPS-type gadgets and no veggietunes on the cd player….aaahhh…. Breaker Good Buddy…
4. It took me 20 years to realize The Official Preppy Handbook was a satire. I still choose to live (or at least dress) by it.
5. Actually, along those same lines, I never really left the 80s. But, reuniting with college friends on facebook has shown me that this isn’t as quirkly as I thought it was.
6. I LOVE living high in the sky in a small apartment. Easy to clean, compact, and I can look out the window, wave at the little people below and pretend I’m queen.

I am tagging:

Tim Black
My Hubby
Lori Vernon
Bill Cook
Keri Cunningham

Monday, November 03, 2008

Easy Chicken Whatever...A Suzuki Mom Favorite

It has been said that "chicken is the canvas on which the chef paints..."
and, as any Suzuki Mom, or baseball mom, or swimmom, or bowling mom, or whatever knows, dinner prep on lesson day is rough.
Leftover night works for one night a week, but I can't squeeze two out of it. So, we have crockpot night.
One of the easiest options is to throw some skinless chicken (I use legs) into the crockpot, sprinkle lightly with Mrs. Dash, or Seasoned Salt, or something like that and cook it. High for 2 hours or Low for 3-4.
Then I pour on some sauce of some sort. Tonight it's Uncle Ben's Sweet and Sour. If I were in the states, I'd probably use a flavor packet of something.
Put it on some jasmine rice, and voila!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The buried post...

This is too good not to share. Still, I'm posting it early so it'll be buried soonest...

Saturday, November 01, 2008


It's that time again folks!!
National Blog Posting Month 2008 (NaBloPoMo) is finally here!!
I figure this should get me nicely back on the blogging bandwagon.
You can be sure that:
1. There will be a post everyday.
2. I will be cheating (backdating and frontdating and such)
3. There will be some really good recipes, stories, spoilers, etx.
4. There will be some junk.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Criminal Justice 101

Dinner table conversation:
The 8-year-old decares: Probably, there are more criminals in the US and England and China and Japan than anywhere else. China is where most things are made.
Dad: Why the US?
8y.o.: The US is just such a big country and a big chunk of that is New York with, you know, all those cat-burglers and such.
Dad: Why Japan?
8yo: Japan has all the Ninjas.
Dad: And England?
8yo: I just think they would have a lot of robbers with all that jewelry.
Mom: Excuse me, I have to type this up before I forget it...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stronghold #4: Witchcraft

September is beginning to draw to a close, and with it, the major push for the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can request the DVD by contacting us , view them online or download them. The final video on Witchcraft is available on GodTube and also on YouTube .

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Witchcraft. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of voodoo-like African witchcraft which bind the Gaúchos in incredible darkness.

Blake, Parker and I made it back to Porto Alegre yesterday – it’s nice to have the whole family back together! Parker got a good report from the doctor and will be continuing with follow-up with eye doctors here in Porto Alegre.

Even though the Month of Prayer officially ends after this week, we still need your prayers throughout the year – please don’t stop praying!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stronghold #3: Materialism

We are well into the Month of Prayer for the Gaúchos of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net.

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Materialism. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of the unhealthy aspects of modern culture which keep them from being open to receiving the gospel.

Jeff is in Porto Alegre, while Blake, Parker and I are still in the USA. Parker goes to the doctor today (Wednesday), and if all goes well, he will be cleared to return to Brazil next week. Please pray that he will get a good report from the doctor and that we will be able to fly to Brazil next Monday and Tuesday.

The evangelistic service and social action project Jeff participated in on Saturday went well, and the groundwork is being laid for a new church plant in that neighborhood. Please pray that in short order, a new church would be flourishing in that area. Jeff’s evangelism and church planting classes also got off to a good start, although he is struggling with the blessings of having a large number of students and way too much material for them to absorb!

Thank you for your prayers for the Cunningham family who arrived last week to join our team of missionaries in Porto Alegre as our volunteer coordinators. They are getting settled in and finding their way around, so please continue to pray for them.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers on our behalf!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stronghold #2: Pride

September is rolling right along, and with it, the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net. The second video on Pride is available on GodTube and also on YouTube.

Our prayer emphasis this week will be on the stronghold of Pride. We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of the unhealthy aspects of their cultural pride which keep them from being open to receiving the gospel.

Jeff has returned safely to Porto Alegre, while Blake, Parker and I are still in the USA awaiting Parker’s medical clearance so we can return. Please pray for our family as we are separated, as well as Jeff’s church planting and evangelism classes starting Thursday and an evangelistic service Jeff will be leading at a church plant in a nearby city on Saturday.

Also pray for the Cunningham family as they are driving down to join our team of missionaries in Porto Alegre. They will be serving as volunteer coordinators for our team, so we hope that many of you will soon get a chance to meet them in person!

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers on our behalf!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September is the Month of Prayer for the Gaucho People

September is finally here, and with it, the Month of Prayer for the Gaúcho People of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! As you may remember, the prayer focus this year is on the spiritual strongholds that bind the hearts and minds of urban Gaúchos. If you have not yet received a copy of the videos and the accompanying bulletin inserts, you can watch it here, view them online or download them at www.teamgaucho.net. Here is the first video on False Religions.

We would encourage you to watch the videos with your church or small group and to devote time during this week asking God to free the hearts and minds of the Gaúchos from the deception of false religions.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

TO DO Lists

I am so behind on my blogging, I've been tagged and written about 4 posts that I haven't published. I want to publish my "Live, Not Live Blogging from the Beth Moore telecasts" posts. Most of all, I want to tell you the story of the many, many God-incidences that have brought us here now for Parker's surgery and wonderful recovery.
That's my blogger's TO DO list for these coming few weeks, BUT FIRST,
this one couldn't wait.
I've heard that blogging TO DO lists can be quite attractive, even profitable for some. So, when my 8-year-old son, Blake wrote out a Summer's Day TO DO List for him and his brother the other day, I knew it was worthy of a post.
Here is Blake's TO DO list from a hot July day with his 4-year-old brother:



-- Dancing

-- Movies

-- Card Game

-- Emergency Defense Barriers

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on our situation

Since my computer is still being repaired, I haven't posted in awhile. Good news is that the DVD is completed and a master copy burned!!
Our other big news is that we're in the states for longer than we expected. For the skinny on our situation, here is a copy of the prayerletter we just sent out:

Greetings from Newark, Delaware! We arrived in the USA from Brazil last
week to attend a missions conference sponsored by the IMB in Richmond. The
day we left Brazil, we had an appointment with Parker’s eye doctor who
told us that surgery would probably be necessary to correct his crossing
eyes. I had already arranged an appointment with the ophthalmologists at
the children’s hospital here in Delaware, and during that appointment they
confirmed that recommendation.
We are so thankful to God for the opportunity to get Parker’s eyes
corrected and to get it done here with such good care available. It is,
however, something of a challenge to work out schedules, since it will
involve more time here than we anticipated. We are so thankful to the IMB
for supporting us through this time!
Parker is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday, July 28. It’s an
outpatient procedure with a follow-up appointment the next morning.
Please pray for Parker’s surgery to be successful and for the correction
to be 100%.
Please pray for us as we juggle our schedules to accommodate the extra
time here for post-surgical follow-up.
Pray especially for us as we make decisions regarding Blake’s schooling
this semester, which begins at the Pan American school on July 28. At
this point we are considering homeschooling for the semester, or at
least half of it. An added complication is that we left our
homeschooling books in Brazil! Argh!.
Pray also for our preparations for September Month of Prayer for Urban
Gauchos –we’ll let you know more about this in a Dunson Diaries next
week. Be in prayer about how God would have you participate in touching
the lives of Urban Gauchos through both personal prayer and the raising
of prayer support for this tremendously spiritually needy people.
Thank you all so very much, your prayers make a tremendous difference in
our lives and ministries!
God bless you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We Need Prayer for the Month of Prayer!!

September is the month of prayer for the Gaúchos. We are producing a DVD with 4 videos that highlight 4 strongholds which bind the Urban Gaúchos of POA in darkness: Witchcraft, False Religion, Pride, and Materialism. These videos and accompanying bulletin inserts will be distributed to interested churches and individuals in the USA to use in worship services, prayer services, Bible studies, small groups, etc. We did this last year, and were surprised with the positive response.

However, we have been running up against one technical problem after another. After much wrangling, the videos are ready to go, but we still can't get them to burn to a DVD. We need to get the master DVD ready so we can make copies to start getting them distributed.

There is no doubt in our minds that this is spiritual warfare - it's interesting how much push back you get when you do something to raise up prayer to combat the forces of the evil one.

PLEASE PRAY NOW and ask God to make our computers work so that this DVD can be prepared. Also pray that the forces of evil that are trying to use our technology to drive us nuts would be bound and pray that God's Holy Spirit would be fully loosed to raise up prayer support for the lost in Porto Alegre.

While at a meeting in São Paulo, Cam dropped her computer--the only computer that has the movie files stored on it. Thankfully, the files weren't damaged, but we'll need to send the computer away to Dell for a screen replacement. We don't believe this is a coincidence. Please pray for this project.

JULY 22--DVD is completed and a master copy is burned. Materials are arriving tomorrow to make the copies and begin sending them out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Want a Do-Over!!

I have very few regrets in my life, and almost none in my marriage. BUT, after seeing this--I want a Do-Over Reception!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trust: The New Knowledge

I have way too many feeds in my reader. Just when I'm about to delete one, though, something really meaningful comes through.

This happened last week with the following quote.
Knowledge Is No Longer Power
Knowledge is and will always be valuable, but Power has moved. It has moved from Knowledge to Trust. In any situation, the person who is most trusted by others is the person with the most power. In Social Networks you are able to build your connections, strengthen your reputation, and expand the number of people who feel comfortable communicating with you. You can begin by simply communicating and exploring, then when appropriate, contribute something you feel they will value. Before long you will be known and trusted. Soon after, you will find people seeking your advice, input and recommendations.

Build Trust Before You Need It
By cultivating these relationships you will be accumulating a relationship “bank account” from which you can make withdrawals (asking for something) later on. At first though, you will need to make plenty of “deposits” by seeking ways to share useful information, offer encouragement, and take an interest in others. Get known and liked in the “neighborhood” by being a good neighbor and friend. --Jim Cathcart


Evangelism, for example. When we lived in the north of Brazil, people listened to us because (a) we were Americans and (b) we knew stuff--we had read books. We could present the gospel and they would simply listen and believe us. We could tell them how to plant churches and they would assume we were correct.
Now, down here in the south, we're in a post-modern mindset. They are not impressed with our US passports and bizarre accents, actually they laugh at us for talking funny. These folks require a relationship before they will listen to us. They want to know we'll still be here next month. They want to know we care about them as people. Trust.

Discipleship is another example. I have a dear Christian friend who really wants a ministry. But, she views informal time spent with people as wasted. I keep trying to tell her that you can only minister to people whose needs you know, and you can only know their needs by getting to know them.

I think there may be some implications here also for the current misunderstandings we see in the SBC between the Old Guard and the Younger Leaders. One values knowledge (experience), the other trust.

The original context of the above quote was neither of these situations. The author was advocating a strong internet presence for businesses on social networks such as facebook, myspace, twitter, etx. (YES, I KNOW I have Way.Too.Many.feeds in my reader...just hang with me here...)

I found myself wondering how twittering builds trust and then I realized it's really something that these networks feed on -- SELF-DISCLOSURE. While there are elements of exposure, empathy, common interests, the most outstanding feature of these "communities" is self-disclosure. What are the younger leaders screaming for? Transparency, or self-disclosure.

I know the quickest way to gain my trust is to trust me first. When someone chooses to place their trust in me, I recognize them for the excellent discernment they show. When someone chooses to mistrust me, I figure they must really be seriously dishonest to be suspicious of even little ol' me.

Anyway, just a snippet found in a long list of RSS feeds that may be another piece of a puzzle you've been working on.

HT for quote:Ted Demopoulos

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This video is 8 minutes long, but WELL WORTH IT!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Steven Wiley We Need You Now!!

In 1986 a man named Steven Wiley recorded the first Christian Rap song released on Brentwood records and then promptly disappeared.

I'm here to say now:
Steven, if you're out there, the teenagers of 1986 have grown up. We have kids now. We're trying to teach them the books of the Bible. WE NEED YOUR HELP!!

Everybody chant together:


Note to feedreaders: click on over and watch the video--it's worth it, especially if you're a child of the 80s like me.

Friday, May 09, 2008


This video is a great portrayal of how sometimes we missionaries feel at the task looming in front of us that is so much bigger than ourselves.

In the end we just have to hold to God's promise in Isaiah 52:15
Those who have never been told of Him will see and those who have never heard will understand.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Recipe: Simply Baked Apples

This is another non-recipe recipe.
Core and quarter 2 apples. Place in microwave-proof baking dish.
Nuke on high for 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetables

This is really a non-recipe recipe.
I took a bunch of vegetables, washed them really well, chopped them into 1-inch chunks and put them in a big bowl.
Then I whisked 1/3 cup of olive oil with 1 teaspoon of salt and some ground pepper and tossed it in with the vegetables.
I spread them out into 2 9x13 casserole dishes, covered them with foil, and baked at 400 F for 40-50 minutes. Then, I took off the foil and let them brown for 10 minutes.
I turned out really yummy.

I used:
1 large tomato (or 5 cherry tomatoes cut in half)
2 sweet potatoes
2 large white potatoes
3 carrots, peeled
2 large zucchini
2 portobello mushrooms
1 HUGE red bell pepper

I think the only 2 items that were indispensable were the tomatoes and the red bell pepper. They really gave the other veggies a good flavor.

This isn't as much work as it sounds, since you're not peeling (except for carrots) and the chunks are big. It's a quick put-together and one person can get 3-4 FULL meals from it if they aren't eating anything else. I would think that as a side dish it would feed 8-10.

I will try to add a picture tomorrow.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 11 -- Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization

May 11 is a big day this year.
If you're following what's going on in Lakeland, you know it's a big day.
If you're a participant in a church that follows the liturgical church calendar, you know it's Pentecost Sunday.
If you're a Mommy Blogger, then you already KNOW it's REALLY BIG. (PSST -- you, clueless Dad there: It's Mother's Day).
It's also the single biggest day of the year for the US restaurant industry.

It's also the Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization, with a special focus this year on South America.

Since Mother's Day, restaurants, and fasting don't go so well together (if only they would just consult ME before they go planning these things!), I have decided to invite you all to join me in a week-long fast (type of your choosing) PRIOR to the Big Day.

So, while you're praying for an outpouring of God's glory on our nation, or your moving, contempletive worship service, or your Mom, or My Mom (who gets really bummed on Mother's Day because her children ran off to South America), you can also pray for the Unreached People of the Amazon Basin.

Let's start on Sunday, May 4th at 6 a.m. and end Saturday, May 10th at 6 p.m.

I haven't yet answered the question of whether Daniel would be drinking Diet Coke.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Once Upon a Time - Like Last Month

I promise this is true.

One year ago, I began physical therapy for some back pain I was having. The pain was really getting worse and I finally gave in and began PT, which in Brazil is an endless endeavor.

Anyway, so I worked hard and STR-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-ECHED and really enjoyed getting to know my physical therapist who, I thought for awhile there, was going to get saved in the process. BUT,

I spent so much time on her treadmill I got hip bursitis. This happened in September and I got really discouraged. I couldn't do anything, it was pretty much all I could do to hobble around and get my work done at home. My back was feelling somewhat better, but my hip was ruining any joy I had in that.

Months went by.

In November, I really began to discuss this seriously with God. One day, I was praying about it and I heard Him say, "You need to clean your own house."

Of course, I thought He was talking about the falling US dollar and the ever-increasing amount of money I pay to have a lady once a week clean the house. With a move to the South of Brazil and the fall of the dollar, my ability to support a widow and her family of four on Coke money and pocket change was gone.

I thought God was just changing the subject on me. BUT, I wasn't sure.

See, the main reason I still had a maid was that I was afraid to try and keep my own house. I was afraid I couldn't do it because of my back. My mom had given me a little booklet in which the author says God told her to clean her own house and not use her health as an excuse not to. SO,

I decided that, as soon as my hip was better, I would clean my own house. Anyway, all my maid's other employers were at the beach for the Dec-Feb summer, and she was totally dependent on me for her income in those months.

I changed doctors (twice), changed physical therapists (twice), and took a series of injections for the bursitis. Some small progress was made, but I finally gave up on all of them. By mid-March, it seemed I would have to clean my own house in pain. I told the maid how much I liked her, how pleased I was with her work, and blamed it all on the value of the dollar (remember, I still thought God had changed the subject on me).

The following week, armed with a new ironing board, US-branded cleaning products, and MUCH prayer, I set out to clean my own house. This was also the day the last of the injections wore off.

The first day of cleaning (it takes three mornings and one evening to clean the apartment--things get dirtier here), my hip pain went totally and completely away.

Gone. Completely Gone.

That was March 20 or so.

Hasn't been back since.

I feel like Naaman.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm From Delaware

OK, so I'm not really. . . just married into it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Once Upon a Time - Readiness

In my first ministry job, I had an office mate. Now this guy was INCREDIBLY BLUNT. He said exactly what he was thinking, all the time, with no flowery words or disclaimers attached. He loved God, he loved people, but he alienated most of them by being so very direct.
I never understood why people got so upset with him. Couldn't they see that he loved God? Couldn't they see that he just wanted the best for them? Didn't they know what scripture said about those who don't listen to criticism?
Anyway, every time Al corrected me, I listened, examined, prayed and, frequently, changed.
One day we were working late and I was telling Al the latest saga of my adventures as a CSDS (Christian Single Desperately Searching).
"Cam, you are so manipulative." He went on to point out how this is sin.
"No," I responded, "I'm not! I'm not at all manipulative." I then went on to explain, in depth, how very UN-manipulative I was.
Nevertheless, I took his words to heart and went home for prayer and self-examination. After MUCH prayer, and MUCH self-examination. I decided that he was really off-target and there was NO TRUTH WHATSOEVER in that particular rebuke.
Twelve years later, I was doing some mindless task at home and reminiscing on my days as a CSDS. Absentmindedly, I found myself thinking, "WOW, I was SO manipulative back then!"
Oh, my goodness. Al was right!
Why hadn't I seen it then?
The answer: I just wasn't ready to.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Precious Plankton Remembers. . .

It was Spring of 1989, Charlotte, NC. The business establishment doesn't really matter as I'm sure it's long gone by now. We had traveled to see They Might Be Giants play a show that evening. Now, at that time, to my 21-year-old eyes, those guys looked SO OLD. I remember wondering where my college radio crowd would be in 20 years. How would we age?
Would we ever really grow up? Would we make suburbanite families? Would our kids have damaged hearing because we dragged them all over the southeast to see our favorite bands play? Would we ever have real jobs? What would it all look like?
Fast forward to Spring of 2008. I have my answers, at least a lot of them. Those of us who aren't Baptist missionaries, or Episcopalian priests, or high-powered D.C. bigwigs, or the Hasbro VP in charge of all the Star Wars toys, or Hootie, are doing this.
Maybe you can't go back to Constantinople. . .
. . . but Istanbul's pretty cool, too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eric Reese-Braving Bullets

Eric and Ramona Reese are IMB missionaries serving in Rio de Janeiro. They have a beautiful rapport with Brazilians. They love Brazilians, the Brazilians know it and love them back.
One thing I didn't realize about the Reese's ministry is the dangers they face in the slums of Rio. The IMB recently featured their ministry in this video short that is part of their Commission Stories series.

HT:Pascal and Amy Stowell

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ministering as Jesus Did

Recently, we had the opportunity through our mission to request some college students to come and work here in Metro PoA for a semester. In an admirable attempt to make us fuddy-duddy missys seem more hip, hop, and happening to the "Millenial Generation," we got the following primer on how to word our job requests:

What are they [today's students] looking for?

• For ministry that will help people both spiritually and physically. They really want to see people helped in both ways.
• For an opportunity to minister as they see Christ ministering in the N.T.
• For the opportunity to build relationships with both the people they will work among and with the missionaries they will work along side of.
• For a request that sounds less like a project and more like an experience.
• For ministry reflecting a real cause and a real need - not statistics but a need.
• For specific types of ministry. They respond to ministry with orphans, a chance to help hurting people or projects that require "roughing it".

It's specifically the second phrase that caught my eye: "For an opportunity to minister as they see Christ ministering in the N.T."

Here were my thoughts, in this order:

1. DUDE! wow...

2.I wonder, given the current pentecostaphobic climate of our mission, if whoever wrote this gave any thought to what he was actually saying,

3. That opportunity would depend much more on the student than the job description he came to.

See, I've spend a good many hours these past two and a half years listening to those who regularly see the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead raised to life again. There are some amazing consistencies in their stories:
1. This kind of annointing requires TREMENDOUS amounts of time spent in the presence of our Lord. TREMENDOUS. Like A LOT more than just a WHOLE BUNCH. It also requires a complete sellout to our Lord. COMPLETE.
2. They saw, on average, two full years of TOTAL, COMPLETE, HUMILIATING FAILURE before they ever got any results on this type of ministry.
3. The persecution they have faced from the church is ASTOUNDING. For a few, the scars still show.

See, I'm still trying to figure out if I'm up to/called to/brave enough for that kind of ministry. I'm pretty sure that, even if I am, I won't be up to leading college students in it by Spring of 2009 and I'm definately sure they can't get there in 4 months.

Of course, probably what they are talking about is hanging out with friends cooking a few fish on the beach. THAT I can handle. or are they? . . .

Dude. wow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prayer request update

Here is an update to yesterday's prayer request. Jeff wrote it early this morning before leaving to be with the team.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We’ll write with more details later, but suffice it to say that your prayers are already making a major difference. The team did manage to get to the city where they were working yesterday without major difficulty, and even though we were down two translators, everything ended up meshing together in the end. The team led about 29 Bible studies yesterday, and many indicated a desire to follow Christ, including the president of the neighborhood association, who was like ripe fruit falling off into our hands – it was a wonderful thing to see. The kickoff service for the new church plant was a success, with a number of visitors present to sing and hear a story from the Bible. In short, God turned many of the difficulties on their heads and brought blessings. However, we still need your prayers – there is a lot of week left. We appear to have lost one of our translators for the duration to sickness, and there are still many challenges ahead of us.
Please continue to pray for God’s protection over the team, translators, missionaries, church planters, and the families of all involved. Pray that God would anoint us with His boldness, wisdom and protection, and that Satan would not be able to gain any foothold or have any influence at all in the work that is going on or in the lives of those involved. Thank Him for the fruit that we have already begun to see, and ask Him to bring a great harvest in the next few days of work, for His glory and honor.
Thank you for your prayers – they REALLY DO make a HUGE difference – we can tell.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prayer Request - Urgent

Greetings from Porto Alegre. We would like for you to pray for the work of our volunteer teams from Oviedo, Florida and Belgrade, Montana, who are currently here working with us. They arrived on Saturday, and will be with us throughout the week working to evangelize alongside a number of our national church planters.
We are only one and a half days into the trip and we are already experiencing major resistance from the forces of evil. Translators are getting sick, Jeff is suddenly sick and has barely slept, there are several other major problems going on, and to top it all off, and we just got notice that the main interstate highway which is the only route to the neighborhood in Novo Hamburgo where we will be working to start a church from scratch today is blocked both ways because of an accident. This is interesting, as the last time this same group from Florida came to work in the city of Novo Hamburgo, the exact same road was blocked both ways on the very morning that the team was on their way to the church plant – this is obviously more than a coincidence.
Please pray that the forces of evil would be rebuked by our Lord and would not be able to interfere in any way in what God wants to do here in Metropolitan Porto Alegre this week. Pray that God would protect the teams, the missionaries involved, the church planters, and the people who will be receiving the Word this week – not just physically, but also relationally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Pray that God would bring much fruit, and that all of the forces of evil would be pushed back and would be completely powerless to interfere.
We are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes, and we have seen many of these exact same things happen time and time again when there has been a major push to evangelize and bring light to the darkness. People are already being saved, and God has great plans for this week.
Please join us in prayer for God’s light to shine brightly, and ask that the forces of darkness would not be able to stand against it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My Life as a Tomato

I just love ITunes. Especially free Itunes.
Anyway, I was searching tonight to see if VeggieTales had a podcast and found this.
Phil Vischer speaks to Seattle Pacific University students on what happens when God give you a dream, fulfills it, and the dream dies. 21 minutes, given sometime in late 2004 or early 2005.

It actually makes me a little nervous, since we're coming in the middle of the story of Joseph in Parker's nightly Bible reading (he had the dreams last night, and was sold into slavery tonight) and then I end up listening to this. I think I'll go check to make sure the children are still breathing. . .

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blog Makeover?

The super fun people over at TheTrendyMommyBlogDesigns.blogspot.com are giving away 5 free blog makeovers - go visit them!
They have some really cool designs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Change of Address notice

12/13/1910 - 2/18/2008
Anna Mae Louise Wollerman has moved to heaven.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Once Upon a Time -- Inside the Union Tornado

This amazing testimony is from a student who was at Union University the night of the tornado. This was circulated to me by email, but it appears to have been a post to her blog or a mass email. I have removed her name to protect her privacy.

Well, most of you have probably heard by now, my school, Union University was hit by an F4 tornado this past Tuesday night (Feb. 5, 2008). Thanks for all the calls and messages. I will try to talk to you all as time and my emotional state allows. I don't know what reports you have read, but I was one of the 15 students who got trapped in the wreckage. I was in my dorm room with one of my roommates (K), the 3 girls from upstairs, and my mentor from church. About 2 minutes before the tornado hit, my other roommate (who is an RA) ran in and told us to get in the bathtub. We barely made it. Our ears popped, my mentor (J) looked at me and said, "We have to get in, NOW!" -- then the lights went off. I was the last one in. My legs didn't quite make it before the building collapsed on us. I have not yet found words to describe the actual tornado, the noises, and the pressure. Maybe one day I will. We felt our bodies being compressed and compressed, and then it stopped. I couldn't move. We made sure everyone in the tub was alive. It felt like we were miles from outside -- it was pitch black . My initial thought was, "this is where I'm going to die -- there is no way the rescuers will get to us in time". Then, I assessed my physical state. My body was twisted and contorted into a position that I plan on never attempting again...I think God placed me in there just so, because I don't know how else I could have fit. I had a pocket of air against J's legs. I couldn't feel my legs because they were pinned between the edge of the tub and all the debris on top of us. I thought through what my death was going to be like. I realized I was probably going to pass out first, and then I would be with Jesus. I've always wondered what my "last thoughts" would be. As one who has struggled in the past with doubts about salvation, I have always wondered what my last moments would be like. All I can say is, God was there. I knew He had me. And I knew He was either going to save me unto Himself or He was going to save me for a little more time here. I began to pray aloud, I prayed for peace, for the ability to trust Him. I started accounting for everyone who was in the tub.

At that point I realized that someone under me was near the point of death (from her breathing). Then, I called out J's name and realized it was her. My heart sunk at that point. I didn't think my heart could bear losing another friend. I started praying for her out loud, telling her to keep breathing, God was with her. I was so afraid she was going to die underneath me. I think I even asked God to take me if He took her. Every time I moved, she either couldn't breathe or she had excruciating pain. I tried to stay as still and calm as I could. I know God was managing my thoughts for me at that point. I could NOT panic...and by His grace, I didn't. I found out later we were trapped for 45 minutes. One of the other girls in the tub had her cellphone and was actually able to call 911. I honestly only felt like I was in there for 10-15 minutes. I don't know if I ever lost consciousness or if God just allowed it to seem shorter. I was told later the rescuers had to use a backhoe to remove the initial debris. None of us remember that -- again, that was by God's grace. We would have been terrified had we heard that. When the rescuers started digging us out, it was terrifying. J's neck was exposed in such a way that one wrong move and it would have snapped...she was still having lots of trouble breathing. At one point, the rescuers could see my face and I was screaming out to them...telling them I was not panicking but there was a girl under me and I could not move or she would die, and that they needed to lift the debris and not slide it. Once they broke through to us, they got everyone out in about 10-15 minutes. I was the last because my legs were stuck, and I couldn't feel them or move them.

J and I ended up needing to go to the hospital. But neither of us had to stay overnight. It was a night of chaos. And yet, God was in the midst of us. We were buried in a tangled mess of wreckage and yet He knew how each board, each piece of brick and rubble was placed. For example, right next to my legs was a 2x4...it ended up keeping just enough pressure off my legs so that I did not lose them. I haven't gotten all my feeling back, but I'm walking around.

I know I have mentioned God a whole lot throughout this note. I know many of you who are reading this do not know Him and may think I'm a bit odd. But it comes down to this, there is NO other explanation as to why I am alive today other than, God had His hand over us. He kept just enough pressure off. He didn't let me panic. Was I scared?? Yes -- terrified at first. But at one point, my friend K said "It's gonna be okay". And a sense of peace came around us. I know God was with us that entire time. And He did give me a sense of peace -- it kept me from panicking, it all owed me to speak up for J when the rescue started.

My life has been a little screwy recently. I've struggled with trusting God. I've struggled accepting the fact that He loves me unconditionally. But God was with me. He showed me how to trust Him in the rubble -- in the chaos. I know I have some long days ahead. There are sounds stored in my memory that I'm not aware of until I hear them again. I freak out at some very random times and I'm not sure what all the triggers are. But this is what I'm holding onto -- God is not finished with me yet. He still has a purpose for me here on earth a little while longer. And the One who sustained me through the nightmare of Tuesday night will continue to sustain me, to love me unconditionally, to comfort me, and to hold me when I'm scared. And knowing that is what allowed me to get out of bed this morning. He is a good God. If you don't know Him, you need to. He loves you.wants to know you intimately, and He wants you to know Him intimately.

Like I said earlier, I want to talk to each of you. I am quite fragile emotionally -- so it may be a while. I'm at home -- have some fabulous painkillers -- will probably not have to take them except for at nighttime today. So, my body is healing. Just feels like a building collapsed on it...:) I love each of you.

HT: Berdie Hope

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Friends, Acquaintances, and People I Stalk, Part 2

In my last post, I mentioned the members of FBC Blogtown, or at least those in my Sunday School class. Actually, I resided in this little shack on the backwoods periphery of Blogtown for over a year before I met anyone here who is NOT Baptist. (and Yes, non-Baptists, I AM aware of how creepy that sounds).

Anyway, this past November I ventured over into another area of town. I found it really interesting and now head for afternoon walks over there frequently. It all started when I decided to try to participate in NaBloPoMo and ended up joining all these groups of Mommybloggers, SuzukiMombloggers, HomeschoolingBloggers, IOnceLivedInHawaiibloggers, Expatbloggers, and so forth and so on.
Most of these bloggers had the sense to blog anonymously, so I don't know their names, but it has amazed my how interested I can be in their adventures.

Alison, a very nice soup-loving lady in San Diego, is trying to have a baby. It's amazing how complicated this can be nowadays. I understand almost none of Alison's modern-day medical acronyms, but the drama grips me nontheless.

M~ homeschools her kids and is one of the adherents of the Urban Chicken Raising movement, a phenonmenon I understand even less than Alison's infertility lingo.

Alice is one of many Erma Bombeck successors. Naming all her family members for Alice in Wonderland characters, she gets the award for most consistent use of a metaphor. Mrs. Fussypants, another, blogs over at fussypants.typepad.com. The name pretty much says it all.

Paul and Lori Vernon are Four-Square missionaries in Thailand ministering to the Ankh people. I found them on Missionary Blog Watch and have really enjoyed praying for them and their ministry.

One of the reasons I wanted to begin blogging was to reconnect with old friends with whom I'd fallen out of touch. I haven't been able to do this but twice, but I've enjoyed the two chances I've had.

The Excogitating Engineer is an old friend from grad school who actually is Baptist(an IMB MK at that), but he fit more neatly into my category of "old school friends." He's passionate about adoption and has some great insights into life in general.

One thing I really have enjoyed in my meanderings in this area of blogtown is reading the thoughts of those that are decidedly Un-Baptist. My old college friend Tim grew up Southern Baptist, and boy is he mad about it! He got so mad he's off to become an Episcopal Priest! I enjoy Tim's blog, and those he links to, because of the viewpoints I don't often get in the conservative evangelical bubble that I live in. It's kind of like watching The West Wing, ya' know?

So, folks, there you have it. My RSS Feeds folder for all to see.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Friends, Acquaintances, and People I Stalk - Part I, First Baptist Blogtown

I LOVE my email program! In July, we got the new Outlook version and it has the best feature. It will check for me all the blogs that I like to read and put any new posts right in my inbox (actually, right in my Feed box, which is right near my inbox. . .but I digress).
Anyway, I thought I would share those blogs with you.
Since I live on the periphery of the backwoods of Blogtown, just across the river on the other side of the tracks, my neighbors are varied. I'll introduce you to them in the order that I found them.
The real estate developer who sold me a spot in blogtown is
Guy Muse
, because of his ingeniously visual use of the blog as a medium to raise awareness/prayer support of his ministry and people group. Linda is Guy's wife.
I would consider Dorcas Hawker to be my first "friend" in blogtown, although she couldn't really be called a neighbor because her real estate is in a much more swanky part of town. I met Dorcas because we were interested in some of the same issues that would come up in the Blogtown council meetings. She had some really brilliant contributions to the discussion. She has since changed interests, as has absolutely Everyone. Else. In. All. of. Blogtown., but Dorcas and I have continued to keep in touch.
Tim Sweatman is the real reason I'm excited to have a reader in my inbox. He only posts about every three months, and I got really frustrated typing in his address over and over. Now, if he should post I know it right away!

Of course, there are some friends in blogtown that I have actually met face to face. I'm speaking here of my IMB colleagues here in South America. It's always excited to spy on them to see if we can steal their ideas see how God is working across Brazil. Chris and Melody Julian work with students in São Paulo. I'm always glad to read their posts because they remind me how glad I am I don't live in São Paulo.
Pascal and Amy Stowell are about the nicest people you'll ever meet. Being from Louisiana, I guess that's to be expected. They serve in an interior area of São Paulo state and post a lot of videos of local folks and scenery.
Ron and Alana Greenwich work in social ministries in Florianópolis and are currently digging out from under a flood which recently hit their recovery center.
New Missionaries are the best, because everything is so new and fresh and exciting. They haven't had time to settle in and get complacent. Not that ANY of US ever do THAT! The Holemans, who I haven't actually met face to face, are Peru-bound, having just arrived in Costa Rica to learn Spanish. The Everetts are notIMBers but are ABWEers, are new to Porto Alegre and they have about 18 children. Or so it seems. . .
Kerri Hamilton is a mother of 4 and prolific blogger. She and her family are headed down here sometime next year, aiding Rio Grande do Sul to take the "Fertile Crescent" title away from the Amazon area--something which was inevitable given the arrival of cable TV up there (again I digress) and the arrival of the Greens down here.
Of course, no Baptist roll would be complete without a Pastor. Pastor Curtis Hill , aka CHill, is new to Ogletown Baptist in Newark, Delaware. I've learned a lot about Ogletown and Delaware by seeing them through his Georgia eyes.
Anyway, that's a pretty complete roll call for those attending FBC Blogtown, at least the ones I know of. I'll mention a few more residents in Part 2.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Homeschooling - Triple Time!

There's 51 days of summer vacation
and school comes along just to end it;
So the annual problem for our generation
is finding a good way to spend it!

I've mentioned before that I've been homeschooling our oldest son, Blake, in 3rd grade U.S. History this year. Blake attends an international school here in Porto Alegre, but they don't teach US history as a subject this early. Sonlight's two year US history curriculum was recommended to us by our regional educational consultant. We did the history curriculum, the readers and the read-alouds.

WE HAVE HAD THE BEST TIME! Blake finished the 3rd grade curriculum yesterday. We had started September 1st on a ten-day training trip we took as a family. Basically, he worked on Saturdays and holidays (we're in summer break now, remember) for 2-3 hours each day and we finished up just in time for the end of summer break!

We both learned a LOT of US history and some really good American values (that I never realized were American until I moved overseas) like productivity, independence and determination. I also think it really improved his reading comprehension skills, as he had to be ready to face my questioning at the end of each reading session!

It was also a great way to keep him stimulated though the summer break.

We had a party with toasts, homemade ice cream (chocolate peanut butter ice cream and grape juice DON'T go well together, by the way), a new episode of Phineas and Ferb from ITunes, our giving him 7 free hours of video game time, and hamburger and french fries for supper.
"It's like my birthday or something," he said.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pioneer Woman, that's me!

"You need to make your own yogurt." I promised you, that's what I found myself telling myself one afternoon last month. Did you know that with about 30 minutes and Senhora Google, you too can become a yogurt-making expert?

All you have to do it take some milk (1 liter), warm it (if you're in the states and don't have MilkInABox, then you have to sterilize it first) to 120 degrees, put it in a clean glass jar and add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt. I then set it in a cooler that has some hot tap water in the bottom. I cover it and leave it for 12 hours. Then, I put the jar in the fridge and let it cool. After a couple of hours, I added some vanilla flavoring (about 2 tablespoons), and some sugar (about 1/2 cup).

It turned out great! It also supplies us with some lactase, that enzyme that helps us digest milk. Blake and Jeff loved it. Parker still doesn't recognize it as food, but he will soon.

I also made butter last night. I was getting ready for our "end of the homeschooling year party" and made some ice cream base. The leftover cream would have gone bad in the fridge so I put it in the mixer with some salt and whisked it into butter. It's really good.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Once Upon a Time, a doozy

Last night I was stalking googling old friends, a fav internet pasttime for me, when I came across the following story.

Jeff and I were in missionary orientation with Mike and Jeanne Melon and their kids, Jeanne and Gregory, back in 2001. They served an ISC term in Paraguay. I'm just proud to know 'em. This article is from a blog called "Remember Me".

Jeanne and Gregory left New Orleans mid-day on Saturday before Katrina hit. Mike, a bi-vocational pastor, completed his work shift and got home just after Jeanne had left. He had planned to leave immediately. But, when he got home he discovered that two senior adults had no way out of the city and would not leave. Mike purposed to ride out the storm and try to take care of them.

Mike’s . . .house began taking water about 8:30am and he watched as the water came up the road. He said it was almost surreal. He and the dog relocated to the attic with some food and an axe in case he had to cut his way out. About 1pm in the afternoon after writing his name and [wife's cell phone] number on his body, Mike and his dog came out of the attic. He waded in chest deep water to see how the two women had fared. He went first to Ms. Shirley’s. She had been standing on tiptoes for several hours unable to get out of the flood water. He then went to Ms. Connie’s. Carrying both women and his dog he swam to Mirabeau and Press Drive. It was all he could do to keep their heads above water. Exhausted, he saw a boat and was able to get all of them into the boat and to dry ground on Gentilly Blvd.

Mike stayed through the week and did not leave until Friday. He worked with Bethel Colony out of their building in Indian Village trying to get as many people to high ground as possible.
Now that, folks, is a pastor!

NOTE: The BP version of the story is here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not all issues are created equal

I just did the Presidential Candidate Calculator. It's a little self-test that tells you which presidential candidate you're most in agreement with on certain issues.
Mostly, I learned that I know NOTHING about the major political issues being discussed in the US right now. [They do offer good explanations of the pro- and con- side of each issue.] My result was very surprising.
The only thing I can figure is that, even though they weight issues, they don't weight them strongly enough.

Either that, or I've been watching too many Alias episodes. . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Igreja by any other name. . .

I'm taking advantage of Parker's loooonnnng summer break to teach him his letters. We can't start our reading program until he can recognize both upper- and lower-case of all letters. He has learned some letter names in Portuguese, which makes for some interesting interchanges.

We're up to I.

Mommy: This is a Big I and this is a Little i. What's this (pointing to Big I)?

Park: EEEE!

Mom: No, it is pronounced EE in Portuguese, but we say I (aye) in English.

Park: Aye!

Mom: This is an igloo. I makes an ih sound like in igloo. What other words start with the ih sound?

Park: CHURCH! Church starts with I!

[clicking sound is heard as pieces fall into place in Mommy's brain]

Mom: Very Good! Igreja starts with I.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Merry Christmas, all!

Sorry, I'm running a little late.

I hope that everyone had a very happy holiday season. We really did.
We spent our December in Porto Alegre as a family, just the four of us.

We had never had Christmas with just the four of us, so I wanted to take the chance to really teach the kids about Christmas, what it means, and start some traditions for them to enjoy through the years. (This was all inspired by the fact that we spent the entire day of Thanksgiving in the car rushing to get to Florianopolis that we totally forgot to ACTUALLY GIVE THANKS or EVEN TALK about the holiday with the kids). [BAD missionary mom, BAD, BAD missionary mom]

Anyway, we did have a good season. Here are some things we did:

We listened to LOTS of Chrismas music. I DO recommend Charlie Brown Christmas, I DO NOT recommend Christmas with the Rat Pack (they change a lot of words to things that were apparently cute back in the 1950s). We really enjoyed, as much as anything, the weekly Free on Itunes holiday choices.

We watched some Christmas specials, but not nearly enough. Surprisingly, I DO recommend Mr. Bean's Christmas. I think it will turn into a family tradition. It's the funniest I've ever seen of Bean. Next year, we'll get on Amazon in September and order some DVDs.

We re-created, sort of, my mother-in-law's tradition of a Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvres buffet. We called it our "Feast of Festive Finery." Of course, "Finery" is a lot easier to pull off when the audience is 3 and 8 years old. Vienna sausages and cheese cubes are very chique.

We discovered we owned two Christmas trees. How this happened? I have no idea.

I learned how to NOT buy a Christmas ham in Brazil. After 3 tries I DID learn to:
a. Make sure that the wording "pre-cooked" is on the package. (if you don't, you'll defrost 10 pounds of raw pork that takes approximately 18 hours in the oven to cook).
b. Avoid anything that comes in a perfectly spherical shape, especially if they have 30 of them in a row on the shelf.
c. Enjoy turkey for Christmas.

Although, we did enjoy a great "Week of Pork" following Christmas, in which I made Barbeque from the mistaken ham attempts.

I did make some resolutions for Holiday Season 2008. I resolve to:

Put up the decorations earlier. This always trips me up, as we travel for Thanksgiving. We frequently don't get them up before mid-December. Next year, I'll try for December 1st.

Order the holiday special DVDs earlier, probably September.

Shop all year long, putting items in my "gift idea list" on Amazon. Then, fill the cart and place the order on December 1st. This year I left all shopping for the last minute and almost missed some gifts getting there on time, not to mention my gift-giving discernment probably wasn't at it's best. [Didn't you know 2008 was the UN declared "Year of the Polartec Vest"?]

Use Amazon's wrapping service. My best friend used this service this year, and it really works well. Gifts come in a nice pretty box with a label. This eliminates the need for a cryptic email sent weeks prior in which you try to describe whose gift is whose without actually describing the gifts.

Enjoy turkey for Christmas. Continue the Barbeque week tradition following.

Well, I hope by posting those to hold myself to them next year. Have a very Happy New Year!