As we’ve traveled around the states over the last three months, visiting family, friends and churches, God has brought new people into our lives who are just learning about our ministry. They, of course, are curious as to what we do, where we live and what our ministry plans are. We try to share as much as possible but sometimes things are so hectic during those meetings that the conversations are too brief to share much. So we decided to share some here. So here are some “Frequently Asked Questions” and their answers.
Tell us about your family:
Kevin and Benay met in college and were married in 1988. Kevin grew up in Memphis, and Benay in Huntsville, Alabama. Before moving to Brazil, Kevin worked as a physical therapist and Benay worked as an elementary school teacher. We have 6 children: Bronwyn, married to Stephen, lives in Texas. Bronwyn and Stephen are the proud parents of Waveland who is 2 years old, and another on the way, due to arrive in April of 2020. Ansley is our second daughter. She is married to Will and they live in the Washington DC area. Garrett, is the oldest son in the family. He plays soccer for the University of Memphis. Carys is the youngest daughter in the family and she is a nursing student at a university in Texas. Anderson and Giovanni are the Brazilian-born Blume sons who still live at home and go to school in Brazil. They both love soccer and hanging out with their friends.
How did you end up being missionaries in Brazil?
As mentioned above, our original careers were in physical therapy and education. However, Kevin took a 3-4 week mission trip to Ukraine in 1994. During this trip, he fell in love with the experience of meeting, serving, and growing to love people in another country. He felt the desire to become a missionary at that time, but circumstances led our family in another direction for a while. One day, we received a magazine in the mail called “Church and Family”. In this magazine there was an ad for an organization called “Continent of Great Cities” (now known as Great Cities Missions) recruiting families to join a mission team to go to South America. This ad stirred up all of those longings to become a missionary that had been planted in Kevin during that first trip to Ukraine. So we began the process of praying and taking tiny steps in the direction of moving our family to Porto Alegre, Brazil to work as missionaries with a team that was being put together to plant a church. It wasn’t an easy or fast process, but God made His will known and provided what we needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually to move to Porto Alegre in 2002.
What is your ministry like?
While we moved to Brazil to help plant a congregation, we don’t work as church planters anymore. In 2013, we felt that we weren’t being effective any longer in that ministry and began a season of prayer and fasting to decide what God wanted us to do. Did He want us to return to the states as our teammates had done over the years? Did He want us to move to another city or country? Did He want us to stay in Porto Alegre and do the same thing? Or do something different? At the end of this time, the only clear answer that we had from the Lord, was a feeling in Kevin’s heart that he should begin volunteering at a drug and alcohol rehab center that was located about an hour outside of our city. So he began visiting there a few times a week. Garrett later began to accompany him, and then Benay began to visit as well to teach Bible and addiction recovery classes at the center. We also began to do a counseling/spiritual warfare ministry to help the men release some of the wounds from their past, so they could move forward in recovery.
Over time, we began to see the great need for a second step program, or halfway house for the men who were leaving rehab. We saw that even the most enthusiastic, dedicated, God-fearing men weren’t able to maintain their sobriety when they returned to their homes after their 9 month stay at a rehab farm. They simply didn’t have the skills or the community to support a drug-free life. So, our dream for Hope House was born.
What is Hope House?
Hope House will be a training program to help men who are leaving rehab gain skills and support to live a drug-free life and contribute to society. Men will live in the house and, for the first few months, participate in classes and counseling. The classes will be focused on what it will take for them to live an abundant Christian life. Subjects will include Bible, financial responsibility, family relationships, addiction recovery, anger management, sexuality, job skills, physical fitness and health. The men will be provided with individual counseling opportunities and mentoring with Christian men from the local church. After a few months, they will still live at the house but will begin working during the day, returning to the house for evening classes and activities. The entire program will last for 6-9 months and opportunities will be given to stay even longer to participate in a leadership training role.
Is Hope House open yet?
No. We have purchased a house that will be used for the ministry and are currently remodeling the house to fit our needs and to be able to accommodate up to 16 men. We plan to open the house next year, 2020.
Who will help you in this ministry?
In 2018, we were blessed to be joined by Lyndsay Phillips, who has a doctorate in Organizational Leadership. She works with us in a leadership role, getting Hope House up and running. We also have another ministry partner, Josimar, who is a Brazilian man. We met him in the rehab facility several years ago. He has since married and worked in ministry in a rehab facility in Sao Paulo. He and his wife, Aline, will be working with us at Hope House as well.
We also rely very heavily on the volunteers from our local church, O Brasil para Cristo (Brazil for Christ). This is a dynamic congregation with capable individuals who are ready to serve as teachers, mentors, cooks, and whatever else is needed in this ministry. You can check out the church website here.
Do you have a cookie company also? How does that tie in to your ministry?
We do have a cookie company called “American Cookies”, where we sell homemade american-style cookies. We work in this business with our Brazilian friends, Vanderlei and Luisa Fraga, who are pastors in our church. A very generous donation was given to us in 2016 to formalize our cookie business which we had been doing informally for several years. That money was used to construct an industrial kitchen from a shipping container. As we get further in the remodeling process with the Hope House, we plan to move the container to the site of the house and it will be used as a job training program for some of the men in the house. A good portion of the proceeds from the company will also go to support the ministry of Hope House.
How can we help you?
We need your prayers for these ambitious endeavors which are God-sized and beyond what we know we can do on our own.
We would love for you to visit us, or lend your particular skill to what we are doing if the Lord leads you in that way.
We need financial support to get these projects off the ground and for our family to continue to live and work in Porto Alegre. If you would like to support us financially, monthly or otherwise, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate to Hope House, or our family online, you can do that through the website of our sponsoring church, Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, by clicking HERE. Just go to the part of the page that says “fund.” Then scroll down to either “Missions: Blumes” or “Hope House Building Fund” and make your donation. You don’t have to create an account or do any type of log in. We need both personal support as well as support to get the Hope House up and running so any monthly or one time financial gifts would greatly bless the ministry.
If you have more questions about this ministry please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.