This is a blog about the word honestly.
Honestly we haven’t blogged in a while because we’ve been busy in the physical and spiritual realm.
A few days ago I read something. I can’t remember if it was a blog or an email but it talked about do’s and don’ts for missionaries.
I don’t remember everything I read, but a “do” from that list was to share the negatives in your ministry. To not only share the great things that are going on, because people will begin to believe that you live in a fantasy land. That it is just happiness all the time in your ministry. It shared that people need to know of your struggles to make things more real with what your life is really like.
So I’ve decided to share some realities of our life.
Honestly we have days where we wonder what we are doing. Nothing with the government goes quickly in Brazil. Nothing. So much red tape. So many new or changed rules. God put the idea of the Hope House on our hearts in 2016. We are trying to close on the house right now. We have the money to buy it and went to a closing where we thought we would walk out afterwards with the keys, you know, just like in the United States. We arrived at the closing with the money and left paying only half of the sales price. Apparently in Brazil, buying a house is in 2 (or maybe 3?) steps. First you sign a contract and pay half, then the authorities scrutinize your paperwork and let you know when you can come back in and pay the second half and actually own it. So our lawyers have been working for the last 2-3 weeks to get the paperwork needed turned in so we can do the second part and finally get the keys. This has been an amazingly long process and there are times it gets tiring.
Honestly it seems that our enemy is throwing everything at us to keep the Hope House from being purchased and being opened. It’s taken forever for us to be able to make a simple transfer of the funds raised in the states to our bank here. Difficult because of political corruption here in Brazil. The day the transfer was approved our banker yelled in my ear on the phone and said, “Satan threw everything at us to keep the purchase from happening and he couldn’t do it! God is so good!” We celebrated together. A week later we were waiting for our realtor to get to the closing and he called to say he just got hit by an armored car….on the way to the closing. The enemy never ever quits, and we are determined not to quit either. Just a few days ago, we saw a picture of the guys who are in a drug rehab program where we used to work. We knew almost all the guys in the picture. Why? Because they were there years ago dealing with the same problems and they are back again. There is a cycle that needs to be broken. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we believe that Hope House will offer these men a better chance for really living an abundant life.
Honestly with things finally happening with Hope House it seems like Satan and his demons have begun to attack our family’s health. I could make a list of what has happened to us and our kids and even our parents over the last few months and you wouldn’t believe it. At the beginning of this year we had our 12 nights of calling out to God at our church. We had one night when we were told to just be still with God and see what He wanted to tell us. He told Benay to just trust in Him. That health issues were coming with us and our kids and it might seem like we would be going down white water rapids but to just keep our focus on Him. Just trust in Him. So many things have happened to our family physically since that night. We are trusting in Him.
Honestly Satan has come after me this year in a way he never has before and it’s been a bit scary at how I had let my guard down just a little and he came bursting through. I’m thankful for an amazing wife who I can share anything with. I’m thankful for a special brother in the states who I talk to all the time to share things that I can’t share with everyone. Not for fear of judgement but for fear that they might not understand. Not everyone is comfortable in talking about the demonic. Through this process I’ve realized that it’s been easy for me to not share everything in my heart. Everything is coming out right now and it feels good to not guard or play church about any area of my life no matter how messy it is. Satan and his demons are real, they attack and they want us to not share the reality of spiritual warfare. Jesus wants us to get it out. I’m getting it out with the people He is asking me to share with and it’s a beautiful thing. A definite work in progress to release pride and stubbornness and whatever else but definitely a beautiful thing.
Honestly I don’t think I could be here if it weren’t for my family, our church in the states (Harpeth Hills) and our church here (Brasil for Christ). Each of those bless me in ways I can’t even express. My wife is the best person I’ve ever known. Kind, forgiving, full of grace, loving and beautiful. My kids bless me in ways they don’t even know but they are some of the greatest role models in my life. God sent Harpeth Hills to us at just the time we needed them. The love they have for us, our ministry and our church here just blows my mind. They are actively involved in our lives and ministry and want to be even more involved by sending groups down here to work with us and to get to know our Brazilian church family. It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t count the times we’ve received notes from different leaders and members of the church of just encouragement. You have no idea how much an encouraging email, from 6,000 miles away, does to lift you up. And, in God’s goodness, those emails usually arrive on a day when we really, really need it. God sent us to Brasil for Christ when, honestly, we had no more spiritual gas. They have lifted us up and encouraged us and gotten behind our ministry in ways I’m not sure I thought possible. We are overwhelmed by God’s goodness in this area.
Honestly it’s not super fun being thousand of miles away from your kids and grandkids. People have said, “just move back” and we could. That would be the super easy thing to do but life is bigger than us and our desires. We have to do what God says do and go where He tells us to go. There is no better place to be than in God’s will for your life. I’ve chosen to be out of it before and I’ve been right in the middle of it. I never want to leave the middle of it again. We’re in the middle of it right now. We’ve raised our kids to live for Jesus and follow the Spirit. We’d be hypocrites if we left God’s will for our lives so that we could follow our desire to be nearer to our family. Our kids are following God’s will for their lives and there is no greater joy than seeing your kids look to the Holy Spirit for direction. Right now the Spirit is telling us to stay in Porto Alegre and open and work at Hope House. We have great peace about that but, honestly, the home sickness to have people you love closer isn’t much fun.
Honestly I don’t know if anyone will care to read all the “not so fun realities” of our life but I needed to share it to make my heart feel lighter. Of course we will continue to share the great things God is doing. He’s done so much and we know He will continue to do so but in order for us to be able to continue doing what He has called us to do we need your prayers to help us fight against the enemy. You won’t know how to battle specifically for us if we don’t share and, honestly, that is worth sharing from my heart.