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 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 or

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 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 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 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!