Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Website

Big News! We now have a new website! From now on our blog will be updated from there instead of here. The site also contains more information about who we are and what we are doing. Check it out at:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Travel to the DR in January!!

That's right! You and your family can come on a short-term trip January 18-25 with FBC Hendersonville's team to pass out shoeboxes to kids and minister to the people in Sosua, Dominican Republic. We are very grateful for this team as they arrive 6 days after we move! In fact, this team is planning to bring some of our stuff what we can't fit in our 4 suitcases we get to bring!

Informational meetings are scheduled for the following times and located in Weekley Room 3311 at First Baptist Hendersonville:
  1. October 28 @ 6:00 pm
  2. November 4 @ 6:00 pm
  3. November 8 @ 5 pm

Friday, October 23, 2009

La Bandera

As Brandon mentioned in a previous post, we had the opportunity last Sunday to have lunch with a family who lived in the D.R. for 4 1/2 years. They now live in Bolivar, but up until last year, they were living in La Romana on the southern coast of the D.R. Even though we will not be residing in the same area, they were able to offer much insight as to what we can expect.

We joined this couple at their home for an authentic Dominican meal, La Bandera as they call it. La Bandera typically consists of black beans, rice and some sort of stewed meat, in this case chicken. They also prepared tostones, which are fried plaintains. The food was very tasty and I think Brandon and I were surprised as to how much we liked it!

In addition to a great meal, we enjoyed hearing about what everyday life in the D.R. is like. The following are just a few things we learned to expect to encounter when we move:

1) Rodents. Yes, rodents. Apparently it is not uncommon to have a rodent problem (think rats, not mice) in homes, stores, etc. This also explains why cats are a vital part of Dominican life. Cats = less rodents. Did I mention Brandon is highly allergic to cats! Yikes....

2) Tardiness. Well really it's not tardiness, it's Dominican time. You see in the Dominican if someone says to come over at 6:00 pm, they really mean don't show up before 7:00 pm. And if you show up at 7:00 pm, you will still probably be the first person there. I'm thinking about just setting my watch two hours fast. Then I would always be on time, right??

3) Everything seems to take longer, move slower. This is actually one aspect of life that we are looking forward to, although I can see how it could become frustrating pretty quickly. In America we are use to everything being fast and convenient. In the D.R., not so. This couple said they would go to the doctor with the expectation that they would most likely spend all day there waiting...and waiting. Again, in some ways this will be a welcome change, in others, a daily frustration.

Honestly there were so many other things that we learned from them. One thing that really excited us though was that when they heard what we were going to be doing in regards to working in an English speaking church, they were beyond excited and encouraging. One of the main reasons they left the D.R. was because they didn't have a church or community of believers to fellowship with. They were ecstatic that we were going to be working with an organization that was meeting the needs of all people in the Dominican, including the expats. It was so encouraging to us to hear that they, as people living there, saw the need to reach out to the English speaking people in the D.R.

All in all, we were so blessed and encouraged by our time with this family. Both of their children were born in the D.R. (which was also encouraging to hear), and they both said that they would move back if given the opportunity. Thank you Darrell and Holli for opening your home to us and for your openness and honesty in sharing about your life there!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Fantastic Weekend...

Rolling into the driveway Sunday at midnight was exhausting, yet I was energized like never before! Nikki and I spent the weekend traveling to make the rounds before we move. We also wanted to share what God is doing in our lives. It started with a lunch in Nashville with a dear friend who has been an encouragement to me in youth ministry, Bruce Edwards. Then we took off to west TN to spend some time with my Aunt and Uncle at their cabin in Pickwick, TN. Saturday morning we took off to Jackson to see a former student and a girl Nikki discipled. Then we spent the rest of the day and evening with a family who invested in me and took me in while I was at college. Sunday morning I was able to go to Englewood Baptist in Jackson, which is where I served as an intern. Immediately after church we drove down to Bolivar, TN to have lunch with a family who lived 4 years in the DR. After about 3 hours of incredible stories and advice, we headed over to another dear friend's house for some rest. And finally, Sunday evening I had the wonderful privilege to speak/preach at FBC Bolivar!

As I prayed through what to say that night, I longed for God to get the glory and it not be about what "Brandon and Nikki" are doing. It is such a struggle for me in that we want to share with everyone how incredible/challenging/exciting/difficult/rewarding/joyful/humbling it is to follow hard after Christ, yet I never want it to seem like we are trying to "promote" ourselves.

I believe God truly answered that prayer. God clearly revealed HIMSELF last night and challenged them personally in their life. One lady came to me and said, "You know, I expected to come and hear a really neat story of what God was doing in your life, I had no idea that God wanted to speak so clearly to me."

If God is working in your life, look for opportunities to share it! Don't feel ashamed, because we have found that it is an encouragment to others! One of the best parts of the worship service last night was when a man from the congregation stood up after a song and shared a 4 minute testimony of how God was at work in his life! It was beautiful.

Too often we just talk theory that God changes lives and don't get to hear personal "real" evidence of it happening! What's the real evidence in your life that God is transforming you?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Take up your cross...

Over the past year and a half, God has been working on me to understand the concept of "take up your cross." Luke 9:23 says "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his crosss daily and follow me.'" This has somewhat been a theme of my life, in fact it has really been my life! I remember writing in my journal this past summer about feeling as if I was "dying." There was a time I felt a need to "mourn." (Sounds kind of weird, I know). Over time, God revealed clearly that surrender does not take place without dying. That is why this verse does not leave any option. He clearly says, IF ANYONE comes after me, HE MUST DIE to himself.

In my devotional time recently, I read a statement explaining why Jesus was so blunt in this statement about following him. It said "His reason for this is simple: self cannot and will not follow Him, but taking one's cross results in death to self, and newness to life in Christ Jesus!"

The phrase "we must die" is not an easy one to digest. In fact, we will often refer to "cross" as some kind of burden we must endure and carry around with us. However, this is not what Jesus was referring to. Galatians 2:20 says "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

So clearly, the cross we must take up is the cross of calvary. The cross of death. I came across this powerful statement as to why it must be the cross of death.

Miles J. Stanford writes: "May we cease to confuse the words 'a cross' with 'the cross.' Sometimes believers in self-pity bemoan themselves, and say, 'I have taken, or must take up my cross, and follow Jesus.' Would that we would lose sight of our 'cross' in His cross, then His cross becomes our cross; His death, our death; His grave, our grave; His resurrection, our resurrection; His risen life, our newness of life."

I have found that dying to self leads to living completely in trust of God. This has happened in our life. When we were going through the application process, we had to get a physical. It was during this time that the doctor found what he thought to be a nodule on Nikki's thyroid. The ultrasound came back negative, but the doctor wanted her to see a specialist. After an ultrasound and bloodwork, this past week the specialist diagnosed Nikki with Hashimoto's Thyroiditus and Hypothyroidism.

This entire process went from the beginning of July until about last week. We didn't know what was going on or what the problem was. The doctor even told us when he thought it was a nodule that it could be cancerous. As we prayed and struggled through this, the one thing God continued to show me was this: If you are going to say you trust me, you must trust me with EVERYTHING, including your lives!

Hoshimoto's Thyroiditus is an auto-immune disorder that causes certain things to attack the good cells in her thyroid because they think they are bad. This has resulted in her having Hypothyroidism, which is easily treated with some medication.

We wanted to share this with each of you so you can know how to pray for us specifically. Pray that we will continue to trust in Him through this process regardless what comes our way. Pray that Nikki will not have any other complications or issues result from this diagnosis. Pray that we will daily take up our cross (not a disease or struggle), but the cross of death, and die daily to live in the newness of His life!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Latest Update

It has been busy since our last entry! First we had our 6th grade retreat, support meetings almost every day, getting our boat ready to sell (that's it leaving the church parking lot last week), and then a camping trip with some incredible families (and yes, I was able to wakeboard even though it was 65 degrees!).

God has been so good during this time. There have been many unanswered questions (and still are), yet we have seen God answer many of those and provide in incredible ways. Just when we seem completely worn out, God brings someone into our lives who He uses to say, "Don't worry, I have this in my hands...I AM in control. Just be faithful and allow Me to do it in My timing."

Excitingly, we have also found out that another family from our church, the Luther's, have been officially accepted to serve in the DR as well! They have been going through the application process for the past several months and just this last week they learned they were accepted to serve there too! God is forming an incredible team to pour into the people of the DR. Please pray for them in this journey. You can read more about their story and life at www.wondrousadventure.blogspot.com

Thank you for your continued support and prayer! Please pray specfically for our house to sell. We found out there are over 90 homes for sale in this area in our price range. We have toyed with the idea of renting. Pray for wisdom as we make these important decisions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Change and Competence

Today at work I am working on an article for our parent newsletter we are sending out. I got somewhat bogged down on it as I realized this is really my last opportunity to write something to every parent in our ministry. It feels like my "last words" to the families that mean so much to me. So, I got overwhelmed and thought I would hit the blog with a few thoughts.

Why is it that change is difficult? The best answer I can come up with is our expectation of how we think things will go versus the reality of how it does go. As I think toward people in the Bible, one of the things that we see with most all of them is change. With Paul, we see a change from killing Christians to willing to be killed proclaiming Christianity. In Moses, we see a scared, timid man who doesn't think he can face Pharoah, to a man who becomes God's servant to lead the Israelites across the Red Sea. We see in Peter, a man who denied Christ 3 times, become the man who preached at Pentecost and 3,000 believed!

Regardless of who it is, we see one thing in common among all of them. The end result is different because the beginning result was THEM doing it, and the end result was GOD working through them! I remember waking up one morning this summer doubting BIG TIME whether I could do ministry in the D.R. I feel very comfortable where I am, but the change of doing ministry in the Dominican scared me! God led me to this verse and said "it isn't YOU who is competent to do this...it's me through you."

2 Corinthians 3:5 "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God."

What are you NOT doing because you don't think you can do? Remember, yeah, change is scary but think of what God can accomplish through you if you are willing to surrender and say, "God, do it through me!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

House Showing

Well, the house is showing again Saturday morning. Keep praying! God is our great provider and is not a God of chance. We trust completely in His timing and providence.

Today through different circumstances I was reminded of this truth. While we do not always understand why certain things happen, we can know that God's ways are perfect and may not be our ways.

Please continue to pray for us on this journey. We have several meetings planned over the next two weeks. God has partnered us with several families who are passionate about His Kingdom work and we are very grateful for that. We trust Him to lead us to more. Thank you all for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


If you have never heard of Bolivar, TN, you should look it up. Those who aren't real familiar with the town maybe have heard of Western Mental Hospital. Well, it is also where I grew up. When I (Brandon) was in the 7th grade, we moved to Bolivar where my dad served as pastor of First Baptist Church for 15 years.

As I think back over those years at First Baptist Bolivar, I realize that much of who I am today is because of the teachers and leaders who poured into me during my "teenage years." I am very grateful for them. It was my junior year of high school at summer camp that God called me to the ministry. But, it was many people in that church who would come up to me (and pinch me on the cheek) and say "you are going to be a great minister one day just like your daddy." Of course, I always rolled my eyes and said "yeah right!" (not to them of course). Well, they were right about one thing, I was going to be a minister! It was there I was given the opportunity to preach my first sermon, and it was the people there who encouraged me and said I did such a wonderful job (weren't they soooo gracious!).

I am so excited because I have the opportunity to return to First Baptist Bolivar on October 18th to preach that evening and share what God is calling Nikki and I to in the Dominican Republic! I look forward to coming back to my "home church" to share, fellowship, and catch up with so many again!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exciting Monday Updates

A few fun things to update everyone on. The first, I have sold my jeep! No longer are Nikki and I driving our vehicles that have created so many memories. She is now driving a bright light blue Volkswagon Bug and I am driving....yes...a MINIVAN!! We are very grateful for these two vehicles as they have allowed us to get 2 of our major items out.

The second big news is our official moving date is set. Nikki and I will fly out January 12th around 6:15 from Nashville! Our church is looking at Sunday evening January 10th to do a commissioning service for us. We would love for anyone who has been reading to be here for that evening. When I get a final confirmation on that date I will post that.

Please continue to pray as January 12th is right around the corner. Specifically, pray for our house to sell and for the financial support process. Pray that we will continue to rely on His strength and rely on His provision.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

House Showing

Just wanted to update and let everyone know our house is showing as I write! God is so good and His timing is perfect. Yesterday was a difficult day for both Nikki and I, so this is a welcome surprise and encouragement. We give God the praise. Even if they do not want it, what a joy it is to know that God can use them to encourage us in this process. Thanks for your prayers everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The not so sacrificial sacrifice

I (Nikki) had the opportunity to share our story with a 9th grade girl's sunday school class this past Sunday. It was fun to sit in with these young ladies (most all of whom I have had the privilege of watching grow up over the past three years) and recall once again the many ways God has changed my life over the past two years. The lesson was focused on John 12:23-26 which says:

"Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. "

The teacher asked me to share specifically about the surrender and sacrifice that comes with complete obedience to Christ. In addition, she pointed out to the girls that although following Christ requires complete surrender and sacrifice, in return we are promised a sweet blessing, an eternal blessing.

Something struck me as she was explaining this. Throughout this whole process I have realized that what we are doing doesn't really "make sense." I mean to us it makes complete sense, we know fully what God has asked of us, we have felt fully his Spirit guiding and preparing us for this task, but to the rest of the world, what we are doing probably sounds a little extreme or, at the very least, risky. But this is what makes me fall even more in love with my Savior, that he would call us to do something completely out of this world, and then in turn, pour out his blessing abundantly and profusely. I love that he has dared us (can I say that?) to trust him, dared us to step out for him, dared us to lose ourselves to him, and then has promised to carry us and ultimately bless us beyond what we could have imagined.

That is the God we serve. The God that promised old Abraham that he would make him the father of many nations (and did!), the God that stepped out of heaven and chose a man like Paul to carry forth his gospel, the God that demonstrates his own love for us by sending his son to die for sinners, not the righteous, but sinners!

So it is because of all this that my sacrifice doesn't really feel like a sacrifice at all. I look at what we are doing and letting go of and I know it is really of no value. It's just stuff. And just as I have stuff here, I am sure I will somehow manage to accumulate stuff in the D.R. And one day when I die my stuff will sit, and I am sure my children will love finding a place for it all. But what Christ has offered is of much greater value. He has offered to bless us and to honor us. Think about that. The God of the universe wants to honor you.

So my challenge to you today is this, are you willing to lose your life? Are you willing to let go if he asks, are you willing to make the sacrifice, knowing full well the best is yet to come? I pray that you are and I pray that I am.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why The Desert Wanderings in Our Lives?

The one word that continually comes to my mind is "journey." Most likely that is because I feel like I am on a journey. Physically this is the case. I am on a path leading Nikki and I to move to a foreign country with a foreign culture and a foreign language. It will lead us to eat foreign food and who knows what else! As the excitement continues to build toward the big move, I can't help but also think of the faith journey he has brought us on.

I say journey because I keep finding myself learning, growing, forgetting, trusting, doubting, joyful, and sad (I am sure there are others, but you get the picture). In this journey though, I have realized that the process of our journey is where the growth is at. While the journey of my Christian life has been a 21 year experience, the journey of this phase has been relatively short. But in that short amount of time I have experienced the ever powerful waterfall of God's goodness poured out, and the ever dry waiting of the desert wondering how everything is going to happen. I have been encouraged in the times of waiting though. Here is why.

This tough question from The Green Letters got me thinking... "Are we to love and trust and respond to Him only when He seems to be 'blessing' us? What sort of love is that? Self-love?" Tough question huh, he goes on to explain "Our Father strips everything away from time to time to give us the opportunity of loving and trusting and responding to Him just because He is our Father."

In these times of waiting, He has proven himself and shown himself to be enough. As He painfully strips away all the layers of flesh from my life that have held on to the things of this world and life, I find myself being fulfilled not by the flashy, but by Christ Himself.

Here is the tough question: Are you longing to be blessed, or are you longing for Jesus? He alone is enough, for in Him is all we need.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doubt and Reality

Vacation is such a funny thing. I often find a familiar theme. At the beginning and middle of the week I am fully relaxed. By the last few days, the stress of what is to come the next week hits. The reality of "there is still a lot going on in my life" hits. This morning I woke up to my mind fully churning with all that has to be done at work and the large task of raising support. As I began to feel overwhelmed, doubt crept into my mind of the ability to raise the monthly support needed to serve in the Dominican Republic. As the time ticks, the reality of what has to be done creeps in.

As I processed this today, I kind of chuckled. First, I remembered back to this summer as I woke up one morning scared to death of the possibility that we might move to the Dominican Republic and I might be doing ministry in an environment and way I knew nothing about. God was gracious to show me in Scripture the truth of what the result of doubt was versus faith.

Second, as I was reading The Complete Green Letters, I read an interesting quote from A. W. Tozer that has really challenged me in this process as I consider my doubt and ability to raise our support. In reality, God doesn't want me to raise support, He wants me to rest in Him and allow Him to be the great provider!

Here is the quote: "In our private prayers and in our public services, we are forever asking God to do things that He either has already done or cannot do because of our unbelief. We plead for Him to speak when He has already spoken and is at that very moment speaking. We ask Him to come when He is already present and waiting for us to recognize Him. We beg the Holy Spirit to fill us while all the time we are preventing Him by our doubts."

Today and every day, let us trust fully in Him and allow Him to live through us. May our doubts cease as we die to ourselves and live in faith knowing full well that the God of this universe is our Life!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Understanding Needs in Our Lives

This week Nikki and I are on vacation in Florida with her family. We are very priviliged to have this opportunity. There is not much better than staying in a nice large house, in a beautiful neighborhood with pools, the beach, restaurants, and more. As I think about our stay in this wonderful place, it is easy to see that every need we have is met! Whenever something is needed from the store, well, someone walks across the street and gets it. When we want to go get some sun, we walk outside to the beach or pool. When we want to go for a bike ride, we hop on the bikes and take off. When we want to eat, we hit the well stocked pantry and fridge.

While this does not seem uncommon to most (except the beach part maybe) who are reading this, it is very uncommon to most in the world. I have been reading a book called The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford. In his chapter entitled "Appropriation" this quote is found. It stood out to me as I think about our lives and our needs and how we try to not have needs:

"There was a 'supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ' for Paul, and that made it possible for Christ to be magnified in him. It was a supply which was always available, but only appreciated and appropriated as and when the Apostle came to know his need. Life is meant to bring a succession of discoveries of our need of Christ, and with every such discovery the way is opened for a new inflow of the supply. This is the explanation of so much that we cannot otherwise understand--this plunging of us into new tests where only a fresh supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ will meet our need. And as our need is met, as we prove the sufficiency of Christ to meet our inward need, so there can be a new showing forth of His glory through us."

Sometimes I wonder if we miss out on the power of the Spirit of Christ at work within us and the truth of this verse "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph 1:3 NAS)? If God sovereignly uses the needs in our lives to reveal Himself and power, then could it be that we often do miss out on this blessing as we attempt to meet every need (inward and outward) in our lives ourselves?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Partnership Through Going!

Some of you might think I am crazy to say we want you to partner with us through going! But here is the reality, you could be riding through Sosua on this truck as well. God could use you to make an eternal impact in the life of a child, a mom, or a dad. Would you be willing to go if He called you to?

One of the things Nikki and I are most excited about are the short term teams that come on a regular basis to work with New Missions in the Dominican Republic. Our church has been sending teams the past several years. It changed my life and I know it changed many others!

Why do we want you to come on a short term trip? We believe if our partners see what is taking place in the Dominican Republic first hand and partake in it themselves, they they will believe in it that much more and know how to pray specifically. When we send names of people to pray for, no longer is it just a name. It is a person you have met and had a conversation with. If there is a specific area we are praying for, you no longer wonder what it is. You know because you have been there.

You may be wondering how it works? Well, if you are a part of our home church in Hendersonville, you can sign up for the yearly trip the church makes! If not, you can encourage your church to send a group down. For more information on team trips to the D.R. (or Haiti for that matter), check out the New Missions website at www.newmissions.org.

Nikki and I would love to see you there!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Partnership Through Giving

God has required us as believers to live in faith. We often throw that word around in our Christian culture yet often find ourselves depending more on ourselves than God. As we prayed that God would expand our faith and help us to depend on Him more, we had no idea how that would look.

No longer will Nikki and I have the comfort of knowing we get a paycheck every two weeks. As we prayed through surrendering to the call of going to the DR, one of the things we knew going in was that God would have to provide for us. It scared us, yet at the same time excited us because we were thrilled to see how God was going to work. Even though we have officially been on this journey not quite a month, he Has done immeasureably more than we could even dream of! From a car to drive once we sold Nikki's, to a place for our yardsale, to generous givers, and now someone covering our airline tickets! We are so grateful to the Lord for His blessing and those who He has used in this process.

As missionaries, we will not be attaining a salary, therefore, we are expected to be financially supported by family, friends and churches who believe in what God is doing through our work in the Dominican Republic. New Missions has told us we will need to raise monthly support to cover our living, travel, insurance and tax expenses each year. We are praying that God would lead us to people who have a burden for our ministry in the D.R. and would consider partnering with us by giving $25, $50, $100, $200 (or other) each month. This partnership is a tax deductible gift that goes through the New Mission's headquarters in Orlando and can be set up on automatic draft. We are trusting in Him and know that He is faithful to provide for that which He calls us to. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in partnering with us in monthly support, please contact us for more information at nikkirjames@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Many have asked how they can help in our journey to the Dominican Republic. To answer this, we are doing a three part series on what a partnership could look like for families and churches. This first aspect of partnering with us is prayer.

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul mentions the sufferings and hardships they encounter while proclaiming Christ. It is a beautiful picture of a man who lives with complete surrender trusting fully in God to sustain Him for life. In verse 9 he goes as far as saying “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” He goes on in the next verse to describe the deliverance they have experienced and that their hope is anchored in the one who has saved them. The part of this that stood out the most to me comes when he says this: “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Clearly Paul understood an essential element in his ministry, the prayers of brothers and sisters in Christ! As Nikki and I venture into a new journey in life, we do not underestimate the temptations, the spiritual warfare, and the desire of Satan to hold us back. We are walking into a country that is roughly 87% non-practicing Roman Catholic, Voodoo, and Atheist. We know that God loves the people in the Dominican Republic and we know that they need to hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We also know that on our own we are unable and incapable to accomplish this task.

We are looking for prayer warriors who will partner with us and commit to pray for us on a regular basis. Nikki and I will send regular prayer updates via email to our prayer partners. If you would consider partnering with us, please contact us at nikkirjames@gmail.com so we can put you on our Prayer Partner List. We look forward to seeing all that God does through the ministry of hundreds of individuals praying specifically for those we will encounter in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Exciting Updates - Garage sale and more!

As we continue down this journey, God continues to reveal Himself. I wish I could recount everything that happened last week. Here is a quick recap: Incredible support meetings, new location of yard sale, showing our house the day before a HUGE yard sale (good thing we got a new location!), yard sale that was phenomenal, more great support news, and then today we find out our house is showing again!

First, let's just talk a bit about the yard sale. Many people have asked how it turned out, etc. Let's just say, our goal was to get enough money to purchase our plane tickets and we got much more than that! But, that is just one small piece of how God worked in the yard sale. We had some incredible families and friends help us all day on Friday getting ready and all day on Saturday. Several 7th grade girls came and set-up shop to sell cookies, donuts, waters, and lemonade! We are very grateful for their friendship and service.

So here is how it went down. Nikki and I arrive at 6:00 along with a few shoppers. They were kind enough to help us pull stuff out of the garage. By 8:30 (when we counted), we had made over $1,000! There was a steady stream of shoppers coming by to check out what we had for sale. Several would just buy a bottle of water and tell us to keep the change (when they gave us $10). A lady from the Dominican Republic stopped by, she moved here 4 years ago from Santo Domingo. Nikki and I had a great time talking with her. I met another couple who vacationed in Sosua, Dominican Republic (the small town we are moving to) last year. They said when they would go out on a tour and see the area and where people lived they couldn't believe some of the living conditions!

Here is my favorite part of the day. At 1:30 we began to bag things up and box things up to prepare for our 2:00 ending time and take things to Goodwill. As we were doing it a "yard saler" came up. Someone mentioned to him that for $20 he could have everything. He ended up giving us $60 and loaded his mini-van to the brim and took everything! It was such a blessing for us to look around and realize, there was nothing left except a storm door someone donated! We were ecstatic! About 1:50 someone shows up asking if we were finished. We told them the only thing left was a storm door. They looked at each other and said, "we know someone that needs a storm door." They bought it and then we literally walked away and had sold every single item! Could not believe it! God answered so many prayers from weather, to providing help, to raising money, to getting rid of everything!

We did have someone look at our house on Friday (have not heard anything in response), but we have someone else looking at it today! It is exciting to sit and watch how God is moving and working in this journey. Continue to pray!

Our desire in this journey is to have families/individuals who will partner with us in ministering in the Dominican Republic. Over the next three days we will do a series that describes what that looks like. Check back to see it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yard Sale and Bake Sale

108 Jackson Lane in Hendersonville

Right off of Bluegrass Drive, don't miss out on this! We have gotten some sweet stuff. Also included is a bake sale so come and check it out. Here are some of the big items: very nice foozball table, tv and entertainment center, full matress and box spring set, 4-burner gas grill, push mower, dresser, and patio set with cushions. We also have a ton of good small stuff. Lot's of new stuff that has never been used or barely been used. See you all tomorrow!

House Being Shown Today!

Well, our house is being shown for the first time today! We trust God that it will sale in His perfect timing. Nikki and I were so encouraged yesterday with this news in addition to SEVERAL other bits of news we received. We are grateful to the Lord for His provision. While this may sound odd, please pray for the showing that this would be the house for them! Watching God work is so much fun.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Provision

I cracked open the fresh pages of my Beth Moore study this morning and had to smile. This semester I am doing “The Patriachs” study with a group of women at our church. This was our first week of homework and week one’s title “Leave Your Country,” hits a little close to home. I have been glued to the pages of the study today and find myself suddenly relating to the biblical story of Abraham more than I could have imagined.

I love how God provides the right word, scriptures, encouragement to us at just the right moments. I had to take the time this morning to confess to God my lack of trust in Him today. I had allowed doubts to creep into my mind and could see them overflowing in my words and thoughts as the morning progressed. I lamented this morning to someone my concern over selling our house before we left. Deep down I know I need to trust God with this, with everything, but if I am not careful, doubts and concerns can quickly overtake my confidence in Him.

And this is why I am thankful that God uses scripture and the words of others to affirm what he has already told us. Through his word this morning he showed me that his call on my life right now is for me to surrender, for me to let go. To let go not only of my physical surroundings, but also any fears or concerns that I have clung so tightly to. This quote from Beth Moore herself hit the nail on the head for me: “We won’t embrace with both hands what God has for us if we hold our lives in a death grip.”

Lord, give me strength to continually let go, to release my grip, to unclench my tightly held fists!

On another note of praise and provision, we sold my car last night! Yes dear friends, the car I have known as mine for the past 10 years is now gone. Not only that, but while we were in the process of turning over the keys to the new owner, we received a call from a dear family at our church who wanted to bless us with a car to drive in the meantime. So if you see a blue VW bug around the area, that’s me!

Thank you Lord for your provision and faithfulness. Thank you for those who are willing to bless us because you first blessed them. May we continue to share and rejoice in the many wonderful ways you provide.

Things to Pray For:

Over the past year, the number one thing God has shown me is His power in answering prayers! Perhaps one day I will blog about some specific prayers He has answered during this journey. But, today I just wanted to post some specific things we would like you to join us in praying about.
  • Daily Surrender - Pray that we continually relenquish control of all that has to happen for us to move in January, that we would not worry nor be anxious, but trust in Him for all things.
  • The 3 churches, 4 schools, and Health Clinic in Sosua - Pray for spiritual growth and new spiritual life birthed through these ministries.
  • Our House to Sell - Pray that in God's perfect timing, our house would sell (tough market, lot's of houses for sale, but we have a BIG God!)
  • Raising Support - Pray as we start meeting with people this week. Pray that God would lead us to the people who have a heart and passion for missions and what He is doing globally. Pray that He would provide all that we need.

One example of God's provision is that as we were selling one of our cars, a family in our church called and said a car was ready for us to pick up and drive until we left! We are very grateful to them and to God for providing in all circumstances!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things We Have Learned - Part 2

Sometimes we learn things that we already know, but just "re-learn" them in a new or fuller sense. I have re-learned that I am an incredibly blessed man to have a wife like Nikki. Most of you have probably read the entry "My Side of The Story," Nikki's version of our call to the Dominican. Even as I read, and then re-read it, and then re-read it again, I couldn't help but smile to know how God has blessed me with a woman who is sensitive to God's call, is compassionate to the poor, lost, and hurting, and is just crazy enough to take the adventure of a lifetime for the sake of the Kingdom. I mean, hey, we only have one life to live together, so we might as well make it count!

I remember as we talked about getting married, the conversation of "missions" came up several times. It was an uneasy conversation for me to have because I felt such a conflict. I KNEW we were supposed to get married (and I knew she knew that), but I also KNEW she was so passionate about missions. It was hard for me to see her "give that up." But, that is the type of woman she is, one who is sacrificial to do what God has called her to do (marry me!!!).

Another interesting fact, in this whole process, is Nikki took a career profile to see what types of careers fit her personality. Of course, the number one career that came back was missionary! She was somewhat frustrated at that point because she knew that wasn't an option. Of course though, God is always working in the background.

Perhaps, could it be, that God is big enough to know that one day He would speak softly to me one evening that He wanted me to move to the Dominican Republic and could it be that God is big enough to know that I would need a wife who was the type of woman of God who would let go of everything and follow along on this crazy adventure? I think so! Praise God for working in our lives and praise God for such an incredibly wonderful wife! I love you Nikki.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We have changed locations for our big garage sale! Due to our driveway/yard being on a steep slope and the fact our street won't pull up on google maps, our new location is at 108 Jackson Lane which is directly off of Bluegrass Drive in Hendersonville. Thank you very much to the Bagwell's for opening up their garage, driveway, and yard!

While our original goal for this garage sale was to simply unload a bunch of our stuff and not really worry about how much money we made, we have decided to set a goal for this garage sale. When we move, we will have a few start-up costs: airplane tickets and a vehicle. We have decided that our goal for this garage sale is to cover the costs of our plane tickets to move down there and any extra will go to the purchase of a vehicle once we get there.

In order to help reach this goal, we will also have a Bake Sale to go with the yard sale! If you like to bake and want to help with this, please let us know ASAP. We hope to see all of you on Saturday, August 29th at 108 Jackson Lane in Hendersonville!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My side of the story...

Ok, wow, so I (Nikki) have never blogged before, so let me take a moment to welcome myself to the blog world :) Ok, done. I have been wanting to put a post up for the past week, but felt so overwhelmed with what to say, that I didn't. I have been asked multiple times to share my side of the "story" of our calling to the Dominican. In alot of ways, I think I had the most interesting seat as the journey unfolded. I will start from the beginning, which for me goes back to my senior year of college. A forewarning, this trip down memory lane may get long and I apologize in advance :)

My senior year at UT was a major turning point in my life. To make a very long and interesting story short, I turned down in internship in New York (one I had to have to graduate) because I felt God was doing something else in my life. About two weeks later, I was asked to join a mission team that was starting a ministry in Uppsala, Sweden, through Campus Crusade for Christ. The moment I was asked, I felt God say to me very clearly, this is what I have for you. I left for Sweden in the fall of 2004 and two weeks before I left, a guy named Brandon, asked me out on a date. We were crazy enough to try dating long-distance and that year God clearly showed me that I was suppose to return home to marry Brandon.

Before we got married, we had the talk about career missions. I had found great fulfillment and joy on the mission field, but Brandon felt a clear call to the American church. Yes he supported missions, loved missions, and even spent a summer in SE Asia, but he made it very clear to me that he was not interested in living overseas. So we got married, settled in and started life. Deep down I mourned the fact that we would never serve on the mission field, but I never told my husband this as I knew how passionate he was for the American church and youth.

Fast forward two years into our marriage. Having completely surrendered my desire to serve overseas, I told Brandon I would like for us to start praying about an opportunity to go on a short term international trip. I figured, just because we won't move overseas, doesn't mean we can't still support and be apart of international missions. He wholeheartedly agreed, and in early 2008 we began to pray. Not more than two weeks later, we received a call from our missions pastor saying he had two spots left that he had to fill on a trip to, of all places, the Dominican Republic. We jumped at the opportunity and in April 2008 left with a team to serve in the D.R.

The trip that year was amazing. Now for those of you who have heard Brandon's side of the story, this was the year he felt the actual call from God to move there. I however was clueless that week to any of this. I was in missions bliss and oblivious to really anything else that was going on. It wasn't until two months later that Brandon told me that while we were there he struggled with God calling us to move there. I remember the exact spot in our neighborhood where we were walking when he told me this. I remember being shocked (this was my husband who was not called to missions) and honestly I don't remember much else. You would think that this would have sent me into a tailspin of questions, etc. but for some reason when he told me I was so stunned, there was nothing to say, nothing to ask.

After that night, we didn't really talk about what he had told me. Again, I know this sounds strange since that is a big thing to tell someone, but there were so many things going on at that point in our lives, I think we felt helpless as to what we could do in response. Brandon was entering his last semester of seminary, I was in the midst of a job change, we had just closed on a house the previous fall.

The following spring we signed up for the trip again. The minute we arrived in the D.R. I had a flashback of that night in our neighborhood and what Brandon had told me. All week I knew deep down that God was up to something. Brandon and I didn't say a word to each other about it that whole week. For me, I knew the power of persuasion a wife holds. I knew my word was gold to him, I knew whatever opinion I gave it would hold weight. And so, I said...nothing. This is actually kind of rare for me. Normally I don't mind giving my opinion, especially when it involves major life changes that effect my life, my family, my comfort. But I didn't, really couldn't, say anything. I have learned enough in my semi-short life to realize that when God speaks, you better get on board, or get out of the way. When we boarded the plane to come home I remember having that nervous feeling in my stomach of, I think my life plans just changed forever.

Since arriving home God has proven himself faithful in so many ways to get us to this point. And while I am overwhelmed with everything that has to happen in order to get us to the D.R. in January, I have learned that when God calls, he also provides. I am excited for this journey and I am ready for this journey.

While we were on the trip this past April I brought along a book that could not have been more appropriate. The book was "The Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun. I could spend the next 30 days filling the pages of this blog with all the quotes from the book that stood out to me, but today I will leave you with just one, one that was so convicting and so true to me the moment I read it:

"We're not called to live by human reason. All that matters is obedience to God's Word and his leading in our lives. If God says go, we'll go. If he says stay, we'll stay. When we are in his will, we are in the safest place in the world."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Things We Have Learned - Part 1

Over the past year I realized how dependent I was on myself, my resources, my abilities, and my stuff. I mean seriously, when was the last time I TRULY had to live every day dependent on God.

I got to see a real picture of this in the Dominican Republic. I had the opportunity to speak to a group in an area called Policlinica. After I finished sharing, two ladies began belting out songs of praise. It was spuradic, off-the-cuff praise, but amazing! They couldn't contain the joy of their Savior! One of the songs was about if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. It was then that it hit me: these ladies had seen mountains move in their life. The joy in their life was contagious, yet they had nothing (of earthly riches).

Later that day I came across James 2:5 - "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"

It is so true! These people have nothing to be dependent (because they literally have NOTHING) on except God Himself. Their faith is rich. Their faith is real. Their faith is BIG and they are moving mountains!

What about us? Are we "rich in faith" or are we rich in something else?

Here is the tough question I had to answer: If God were to call me right now to let go of all that I own to go reach the people of the Dominican Republic, would my faith be rich enough in Christ to say, yes?

As Nikki and I have gone through things in the house and have thrown some away, given some away, and prepare to sell off the rest, I realized how attached I am to silly things that could easily get in the way of being obedient to the One who is Eternal. If you aren't living fully dependent on Christ and living bold faith that can move mountains...I invite you to ask God to make you uncomfortable and do something BIG for His Eternal Kingdom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garage Sale Info

213 Osprey Drive :: Gallatin, TN in Twin Eagles
August 29th will be a day you DO NOT WANT TO MISS! Come check out our garage sale on that Saturday beginning at 8:00 am. Obviously with the nature of our move, our garage sale will not be a typical garage sale with all the stuff we are trying to throw away. Whatever you might be needing, we probably have it or something similar to it.

This garage sale will include everything we have minus major furniture, decorations, wall hangings, dishes, and certain kitchen items. Everything else...it is for sale! Some of the fun items off the top of my head are a Lexmark 3-in-1 printer, lawn mower, patio furniture, gas grill, serving pieces, unused toaster oven, hand mixer, and other kitchen appliances, Canon Rebel camera (film), white dresser, and who knows what else!

Once our house sells, we are going to have a fun time selling the rest of our stuff! That is when the big boys come out! Furniture, rugs, mirrors, tables, lamps, paintings, and other incredible stuff. We will update you on the process for selling these items.

Also for sale is one sweet looking 1991 Ski Supreme w/ wakeboarding tower! I will post sometime pics and info on it or you can let me know if you are interested.

If you are interested in helping out with the garage sale, you can email myself or Nikki directly at bjames@fbchtn.org or nikkirjames@gmail.com.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's Next...

Obviously with all that is going on, there are about 5,000 things I need and want to blog about. However, with his blog, I figured I would give just some random information that might answer some of your questions.

When Will We Be Moving?
The plan right now is for us to move sometime in January. We have not yet set an exact date to fly out, but hopefully we will have that nailed down soon.

What Do We Need Prayer For and Help With?
This has been a popular question from many. The biggest three needs right now are the following: 1. Selling our house 2. Getting rid of all our stuff and storing the few things we keep 3. Raising support

If any of you are looking for a brand new 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee or a brand new 1999 Honda Civic, let us know!! Or, if you are in need of anything else, we have lots of stuff for sale, including a house.

Who Are We Working With and What Are We Doing?
The organization we are serving with is called New Missions. Our first experience with them made me say WOW! God is clearly using them and the fruit of their labor is obvious. From their work in Haiti to the Dominican, God has blessed their work and is raising up generations of Christian leaders. It all started when George and Jeanne pitched 5 tents in Haiti after God gave them a vision to reach the people there.

In the Dominican Republic, they have started 3 churches (2 Spanish and 1 English), run 4 Christian schools, have a health clinic, and a Bible College. They have a child sponsorship program for the children in their schools and utilize teams that come from churches all over the United States. In Haiti, they have established 21 churches, over 9,000 students enrolled in 21 elementary schools, a high school, and a 4 year Bible College. The organization employs over 300 Haitians that serve as church leaders, school teachers, and clinic staff!

Check out their newly updated website at http://www.newmissions.org/ for more info on this incredible organization.

What is the Spiritual Climate of the DR?
The country's spiritual make-up is 6% protestant, 7% practicing Roman Catholic, with the remainder non-practicing Roman Catholic, Voodoo, and Atheists.

Continue to pray for us on this journey! Thank you all for your encouragement and support.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Moving where????

In April of 2008, Nikki and I prayed for an opportunity to serve on a "short-term" international mission trip. God answered that prayer quickly with an opportunity to serve in the Dominican Republic for a week. Not knowing God had bigger plans, we eagerly arrived in Sosua, Dominican Republic. The third night, God revealed that bigger plan. He and I had a long wrestling match that went something like this: "Brandon, you are moving here to work with these people and this organization. God, no I am not...it makes no sense, and it clearly isn't practical." As the night went on, I realized that I was not going to win. I simply said, "God, if this is you, then keep telling me this, don't let it go away."

Two months later I shared this with Nikki because He did not let it go away. I could not shake what happened that night because deep down I knew exactly what it was. It was exactly like the night I sat on the beach in Florida when God called me into full-time ministry.

When I shared this with Nikki, I told her I had no idea what this was about, what it meant, or what exactly was going to happen. The biggest issue was my fists were holding tightly onto many things...the most significant...my life and the way it was. But, as God calls an individual, He will work within that individual to shape his or her desires to match His desires. I found myself being restless in ministry and unsure of all the plans I had set for myself. The house I lived in was not as important to me as it once was. The comfort of life just didn't seem as good as living a bold faith and doing something that REQUIRED 100% dependence on God.

In April of 2009, Nikki and I returned for our 2nd trip to the Dominican Republic. I prayed specifically that God would either confirm His call by revealing the specific need for us being there or to close the door. I wanted God to show this need by one of the missionaries simply telling us they wanted us to move there. God wanted me to excercise my faith with ACTION. On Sunday of our trip, the sermon was on the man who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus and said "If you can heal my son..." Jesus simply asked him why he said "IF". The question posed to us that morning was, "what is the big IF in your life that you are not trusting God to be able to do?"

I took a step of faith and shared my story with a guy named Brent Gambrell. He told me the biggest question was if they even needed anyone else there. But, he was having dinner with Jeanne, who started New Missions with her husband over 25 years ago, and said he would throw it out to her.

The next morning, I find out that God answered my prayer in a very specific way. Jeanne said if they needed anything it was a minister. Then she said even more than that they needed someone who is a youth minister. The crazy thing is she had NO idea there was a youth minister and his wife struggling with God calling them to the Dominican Republic (that is me and Nikki) until AFTER she said that!

The very thing I asked God to do, He served up on a big fat platter and said, "I am calling you to the Dominican Republic for a reason. Now trust me with this. Let go of your life and all that you have and come serve me."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coming Soon...

Hey folks, thanks for checking our blog. We hope to have our first entry posted by Thursday afternoon. Check back often for new updates!