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

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

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 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.