Saturday, July 24, 2004

Mother Africa Trip - Here we come Benin!

Kendra and I are very blessed to have the opportunity to go on what will probably be a life-changing trip in a little over a month.  My twin brother, Randy and his wife Kelly are missionaries ("international ministers" as Randy prefers) in Benin, West Africa.   They have been there for several years working with the Aja people in several villages close to where they live.   They have made some great friends and have some great fellow believers to worship with, pray with and live everyday lives with there in Aplahoue.   Randy and Kelly are supported by family, friends and their home church (RHCC).   They have recently been blessed with some new teammates from RHCC.   Steven and Dawna Price (and their family) are members of RHCC and felt the Lord calling them to join Randy and Kelly this year.   What an amazing blessing to have the Price family there to bless the Aja people.

Anyway, back to our trip.  Earlier this year, we felt the Lord calling us to go to Benin some time in 2004.   We've wanted to go for several years but timing was just never right with kids, pregnancies, work and financial thoughts to deal with.   However, it's exciting when we step back and let God take over.   We have seen all the timings work out perfectly.  We have witnessed incredible peace and support from family, co-workers and friends.   And we have just been so incredibly blessed to have generous supporters who have given to our cause.  God has truly blessed us more than we could possibly ask or imagine !!  (wow, that scripture actually means something now! :)

We leave on Tuesday, August 31st from DFW and arrive in Cotonou, Benin on Wednesday, September 1st.  Yes, that's about a full-day flight !!   We will spend several days with R&K at their house and then a few more days visiting other areas of Benin before we leave.   We will leave Benin on the following Wednesday (Sept. 8th) and will have the opportunity to stay over one night in Paris on the return flight.   I can't believe I get the chance to take my wife to Paris !  We will return to DFW on Friday, September 10th and very anxious to hug and kiss our kids.   Oh, did I fail to mention that?  Yes, Kendra and I are taking this almost 2-week international journey without our 2 boys, Tyler and Colby.   No worries though as they will be in the trusted care of some incredible generous (and brave!) grandparents (both sides), a wonderful Aunt Moni and some of the boys' closest friends.   Again, we are so blessed and marvel at the way God has orchestrated this whole event.

Please join us and our family in praying for this trip.  We know that God will be with us and our boys as we are separated and I ask that you pray for that void in our hearts (that will exist by being away from them) be filled with incredible experiences involving the Aja people and loving family and friends, respectively.    If you'd like to know more about our trip, email me and I'll give you more specifics.    Look for an update on my blog as we get closer and obviously after our return.  Until then ...

God bless you all,




Thursday, July 22, 2004

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers !

Just got back from a late-night run to Wal-Mart.  The terms 'late-night' and 'Wal-Mart' bring up a lot of discussion topics.  However, while I'd love discuss why parents have an infant in a carrier at Wal-Mart when it's 10:00 pm or why a couple decides to have a "fight" in the middle of aisle four over who-knows-what, I think I'll tell you about the other thoughts I had as I went through the store. 

I started thinking about all the products in there and which ones I would only buy name brand vs. buying the Great Value Wal-Mart generic or cheapest brand.   I think we probably all have things that fall into each category, even if we are on somewhat of a budget (or not).   Let's try of few of these on for size:

Toilet paper:   Definitely name-brand (was Charmin but now is Cotonelle for those who care)
Toothpaste:   Name-Brand (Crest)
Flour:   Generic/cheapest
Milk:  Generic/cheapest (usually the "store" brand will do)
OJ:   Name-brand (Minute Maid Pulp Free - the rest is yuck!)
Cheese slices:  Name-brand (Kraft 2% - you don't skimp on these)
Socks:  Generic/cheapest

I think I'm probably more brand conscience than not.  I'm sure I could save alot more if I was to buy generic but I guess all those advertising dollars work.  Anyway, just think about this the next time you go shopping.  I'm sure you'll grin and say "Can't believe Donny wrote that in his blog that I would think about this because right now I'm thinking about it."   Just make sure you don't have an infant with you, while fighting with your spouse on aisle four... please!

God bless you all,


p.s.  One more "commercial" for Randy's blog.  He wrote a hilarious blog on wacky church activities in Africa - it's worth the read.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

This is your captain speaking - You are now free to make a fool of yourself on TV

Ok, I must admit that I'm addicted to a new reality TV show that I came across in the last month or so.   It's awesome to watch if you like "distance conflict" (the kind that doesn't involve you directly but you can watch others be involved with from afar).   It's a show on the cable network A&E called Airline.   It comes on Monday nights at 10E/9C.   It's perfect too because we usually put our kids to be between 8:30 and 9:00.  I can honestly say that I've rushed a prayer or bedtime story a time or two so I wouldn't miss the beginning of the show.   Go ahead, call CPS and turn me in!!!
The show is basically showing different conflicts that arise between passengers and Southwest Airlines at LAX and Chicago.   They weave in some human interest stories from time to time (like last night's episode involving 2 SWA co-workers getting engaged) as well.   What's funny (and sometimes uncomfortable) is watching how upset people get and the way the react.   I'm amazed that people act this way with a camera in their face.  Even if you didn't know that you would be on TV, wouldn't you wonder if your actions would show up somewhere again for others to watch - why else would someone be recording it?  
Just thought I'd pass on my public service announcement for this for those who are interested.   It may not rank up there with The Apprentice or Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance' (yes, I admit that I got hooked on that show) but it's a fun way to wind down a Monday - watching others make complete fools of themselves.   I go to bed thinking pretty good about myself !!
God bless you all,

Monday, July 19, 2004

More "I like it, I love it ..."

Thought of a few more things to add to my July 6th post called "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!"
  • Debit cards over credit cards (when possible!)
  • Gift cards over gift certificates (the old paper ones)
  • Swimming in the evening over swimming in the heat of the day
  • Aquafina over Dasani (bottled water)
  • Teaching 3 yr olds over 13 yr olds
  • Tahoe/Yukon over Benz/Lexus
  • Chocolate milk over regular milk
  • Skim milk over whole milk
  • Cheetos Cheese Puffs over Cheetos Crunchy
  • Crunch PB over Cream PB
  • Heinz ketchup over Huntz (make a note honey!)
  • Honey mustard over plain mustard
  • Golf on TV over Baseball on TV
  • Winnie the Pooh over Thomas the Train (the classic wins out!!)
  • Seeing family in person over email them 

The last one is for my sister-in-law, Kelly, who is in from Africa for a few weeks.   I was able to be with her for a couple of days this past weekend and it is so fun to see her in person and talk to her.  It was also fun hanging out with my niece, Tori and nephew, Timo (short for Timothy).  Timo and I bonded which I was think was due to the fact that I looked like his Dad (my twin in Africa).   Tori and I got to sit and watch some movies on Saturday so that was fun.  She's so grown up for a girl her age.   Fun to sit and just talk to her. 

My brother, Randy, is in Benin West Africa ministering to the Aja people there.   If you want a good read from someone with a unique missionary viewpoint, check out his blog.   For those that know Randy, you can also email him at - I know he'd love to hear from you.  

Randy, only 44 days to go til we land in Benin !!  Kendra and I are blessed with the opportunity to visit Randy and Kelly in Benin coming up this September.   We are so excited to see the work that is being done their, meet the great friends that Randy and Kelly have made there, see their house and living conditions as well as have a little play time on the beaches of Africa.   I know the Bible tells us not to be anxious about anything, but I hope He'll make an exception here !!   Can't wait !!!

God bless you all,