Dinner is Served

I have really enjoyed cooking this month while I am in Sacramento.  It has been good to be able to create some food in my own kitchen while house sitting for my parents.  Two of the best meal’s that I prepared this month were twice baked potatoes and stuffed round loaf.

stuffed-baked-potato

Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

I was thinking about what sounded good and I came up with a stuffed baked potato one night.  To prepare this I got some spicy sausage, bacon, onion, bell pepper, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parmarsean cheese, and russet potatoes.  I began with baking the potatoes and while they were baking I prepared the sausage, bacon, vegetable, and cheese mixture.

stuffed-baked-potato-1

Sausage, Bacon, Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I took out the baked potatoes cut them in half, hollowed them out and then stuffed them with the mixture and melted everything together. It turned out great.   I enjoyed the left overs for a few meals also.

stuffed-bread-round

Stuffed Bread Round Loaf

Another night I was inspired to make a stuffed sourdough bread round loaf.  I had seen something like this on Facebook and decided to make my own version of the meal.  I do have to say that it turned out very good.  I stuffed the loaf with Italian seasoned BBQ chicken, bacon, cheese, and meat marinara sauce. After cutting off the top of the loaf I hollowed it out and then layered the stuffing in.  I then replaced the top and baked the entire loaf until it was all crispy on the outside and hot on the inside.  This meal will be made again and it was great to be able to eat it a few more times.

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Chicken, Bacon, Cheese stuffed Round Loaf

Destination South Brazil

I am so excited to announce that I am going to South Brazil as a missionary with ABWE.

I went on a survey trip to South Brazil for 3 weeks in November and December 2015. During this survey trip I spent all of my time in the State of Rio Grande Do Sul.  It is the most southern state in Brazil.  I spent most of my time in the area surrounding Porto Alegre.  Below you will find 9 reasons why I am excited to go to South Brazil.

Brazil State Map

1) The idolatry in Brazil is front and center in the culture.  The picture below is of the Fresh Water Idol in Porto Alegre, notice the fresh offerings and candles which are below the idol.

Brazil Freshwater Idol

2) The Roman Catholic presence is strong in Brazil.

Brazil Catholics.jpg

3) I have a growing love for the people in Rio Grande Do Sul.  It seems like the children like me also.

Brazil Ministry

4) There are great opportunities to share the gospel with people in Rio Grande Do Sul.  The picture below is of a missionary sharing the gospel in a shoe factory that is owned by a man who had his life transformed by the gospel.

Brazil Gospel Opportunities

5) The ABWE missions team in South Brazil works closely with national pastors.  They meet regularly with national pastors of like minded churches in the area that they work in.

Brazil National Pastor Meeting

6) There are national churches who are passionate about church planting and asking for help.  Below is a church in Santa Cruz that wants to plant 52 churches in the region around their church.

Church in Santa Cruz

7) ABWE supports national churches planting national churches.  Below from left to right are two church planters, the mother church pastor, and the Brazilian director of ABWE.

Brazil National Church Planters

8) Fellowship is sweet in Brazil.  I enjoyed the times getting together to spend time and talk with pastors of like minded national churches.

Brazilian Fellowship

9) Brazil loves BBQ.  This is the cherry on top of the cake.  It is not necessary but it is absolutely awesome.  I can’t wait to get back to have some more.

Brazilian BBQ

Encouraging Words

One of the most encouraging things to happen to me this month was to catch up with an old friend of mine. He first contacted me on Facebook and we were able to talk a little.

Last Sunday we had an opportunity to catch up further. It was then that he told me that the LORD had used me to encourage him while I was at college.

While at Cal Poly we would spend time discussing different parts of the bible. At the time there was some very frustrating because we would talk about different passages and have some very different views. I loved my buddy while at Cal Poly, while it was frustrating to have different views we both were very committed to using the scriptures as our guide.

Now he sees the scriptures in a very similar way. He figured that it would be very encouraging and it was. After this conversation it got me thinking. Why don’t I call people who have impacted me life and let them know different ways that they impacted my life? It only takes a couple of minutes but it can make a world of difference to someone.

Difficulties of Focus

Each one of us has many different things to focus on. There are the usual financial difficulties, living arrangements, car issues, job responsibilities, and relationship issues that everyone seems to be consumed with from time to time. These are all normal parts of life which every individual has to deal with. As I was thinking about this I remember hearing that single people have it easier. From a Christian perspective singles are to be concerned about how to please the LORD while the married are concerned about how to please his spouse (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). The argument normally goes that the single guy or gal has less to worry about and so it is easier for them to focus on how to please the LORD. I have a hard time believing it. I agree that the single man or woman does not have to think about what their spouse would want or need but there are other things which they have to deal with that the married couple do not have to worry about. For instance the single person eventually has to think about someone to pursue or allow someone to pursue them if they are ever going to get married. This will probably lead to them loosing their sole focus on Christ. (At least it is hard for me to do this personally.)

All of this is actually a moot point. Both the married and single are to have a singular focus. Their focus is to be on Christ and his kingdom. Matthew 6:33-34 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The Christian’s focus can be divided but should not be. I was recently reminded of where Peter walks on the water in Matthew 14:27-32. Peter saw Jesus on the water and was focused on him. Peter was so focused on Jesus that he asked to be commanded to come to him over the water. Peter then got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. As his focus waned he saw the wind and became frightened. Jesus stepped in at that point and took hold of Peter and the storm stopped when they got on the boat. We should learn from Peter that what really matters is not what is happening around him but on simply perusing Christ.

During this month I have simply learned that I need to stay focused on what really matters, my pursuit of Christ. That means living out the gospel by evangelizing, discipling, and serving in the church. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but one which was well worth all the pain.

I think that each of us would live a more fulfilled life if we each focused on what really matters. That does not excuse us from work or things which are not enjoyable or maybe less important in the entire grand scheme of things but it does mean that we should stay focused when doing those daily or life tasks so that we can complete them sooner to get back to what really matters.

Mud Volleyball

Saturday August 20 I had the opportunity to play in a Mud Volleyball tournament fundraiser for Sequoyah High School in Madisonville. We had a great team who won every game we played. Our team had some great ladies who played awesome.  Here is a picture of us resting between games.

I was unable to get a picture of us playing but here is a picture of other teams with mud covered players like how we looked.

I am so excited that even though we were there to play in this tournament I was able to talk with some people about Harvest Knoxville. Continue to pray for the opportunities which we have for witnessing to the community and reaching out to speak with individuals about Harvest Bible Chapel Knoxville.

Tennessee or Bust

Tomorrow I will head out to Tennessee with my dad. The only thing which will stop us from leaving is that I have not gotten back my mini van back from having the transmission rebuilt.

We hope to have it back tomorrow so that I can repack it like it was when I got here. 

Note on the packing: I have consolidated some of the boxes and think that there is a good chance that I will have enough room for both me and my dad to drive to Tennessee.

Trouble Changing Gears

One of the things which I was terrified about while going to Tennessee was car trouble. When I got to Sacramento I went to get the transmission fluid flushed and they told me that the transmission fluid was burnt and contained metal flakes. The suggested remedy was to rebuild the transmission. This was a bummer but they were also able to fix a couple of issues associated with a check engine light which was on also. I am so thankful that this happened in Sacramento and not on the road where I would not know anyone. It seems like it has all worked out and it will be fixed by Monday (Hopefully).

(This is not my transmission fluid but represents what it looked like (minus the metal flakes), it should have been a pink or a dark red.)

 

 

Also I do have a change in plans. I did not want to change travel arrangements, I will miss seeing some friends along the way. But my father’s wisdom (yes even us older folk still get to listen to our parents) pointed out that the difference in the mileage was not that much and the weather was significantly better. Therefore I will be going along Highway 40 through the south rather than going along Highway 80 to the north.

So far I think that this trip has been almost like I was expecting. I figured that something crazy would happen. If the transmission is the craziest thing that happens than it will be an easy trip.