Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fulfilling "The Great Commision" and Bringing Back Souvenirs

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..."Matthew 28:19

Last weekend, we got to spend some good quality time with my brother and his wife. We were all so excited to see them because they just got back from a missions trip to El Salvador, and that means one thing: SOUVENIRS for everyone!!!

My brother devotes big chunks of his time to do missions work all over the world.  He has sacrificed many worldly possessions and creature comforts to complete what he feels like the Lord has called him to do, and he's more joyful and fulfilled every day because of it.  He's seen more places, and shared the love of Christ with more people over the last few years, than most people get to see and do in a lifetime!

My brother left a lucrative career building multi-million dollar custom homes to build orphanages, churches, homes, and ministry buildings for needy people and Christian organizations all over the world.  He leads and organizes teams of volunteers to complete building projects, and minister to the needs of the local people.

He's the adventurous one in the family.  I don't even own a passport, and his is filled with stamps from all over the globe. I love to see his pictures and hear the stories of the way that God's spirit is working and moving all over the world.  Even though  I rarely travel, I feel like I get to be a part of his experiences in some small way.  Before he leaves, my kids and I get out the map, and find out where he's headed.  Then our whole family begins to pray for him every day, and for the ministry work that lies ahead.

When he returns, we ALWAYS look forward to the gifts he brings back for us.  Some of his presents are gorgeous, some are hideous, and some are down right ugly.  Most of the time, we have to ask him what in the world the gift is because we have no clue! But each and every treasure he brings back is definitely....unique.

I'm going to share a few pictures from each of my brother's recent trips, and some of the souvenirs he's brought back from his travels.

Below, are pictures of my brother in Rwanda.
Grinding Coffee beans.

Carrying food.

Spending time with kids in the village.

Here are some of the gifts he brought back.
Some beautiful wood carvings, and paintings.  The one below was done on a feather.

My brother recently went to Tanzania too.  Below are some pics of his travels.

Scary ladders!

Ministering to some local people.

Each picture carries a story and memory with it.

Here are just a few gifts he brought back for us from that area:

How do you like the cow's tail fly swatter?

I think he has a thing for gorillas.

My brother also goes to El Salvador several times a year to do work for an orphanage he supports.  The kids that live in the orphanage think he's the best ever!! I agree.

Here he is with his team...which now includes his wife!!

Here he is goofing off with the local law enforcement. Ha Ha!

Here are a few of the real gems he brought back for us....

Bet you don't know what this is!  When he presented it to me, I couldn't stop laughing because it's so...."unique" looking.

Do you give up yet?

It's a bowl that keeps tortillas warm on the table.  I know. I was clueless too.  I can't wait to use it.  It could be a real icebreaker at our next dinner party.

 This looks like an ordinary coffee mug for my husband, until you look inside...

Say hello to my little friend.

Here are a few treasures he's brought to my folks over the years from El Salvador.

Do you see "Guerrilla Gorilla"? I'm sure my mom loves the fact that my dad displays it in their nicely decorated house.

My brother also goes to Fiji with his wife.  They are involved in a ministry there that rescues women from horrific and unspeakable things that are too graphic to mention in this blog with young readers.  Fiji needs your prayers, everyone!

They are going back to do more work very soon.  Here my brother is leading a team to build a new counseling center for the ministry.

Here's one of my most treasured gifts from Fiji.  It is a necklace made by the hands of women trying to gain a new start, and a better life.  The beads are made from rolled up magazine pictures, and mud.  Every time I wear this necklace, I get to share about the ministry, and the work that is being done in Fiji.  I love it!

Below are a few of the other treasures he's brought home from Fiji:

Do you see that black thing? It's some sort of Fijian brain fork!?!? I have no idea what it's for, I just nod my head when he brings this stuff back.

My brother also goes to Mexico several times a year to build homes for less fortunate people.  The recipients of the homes all have jobs, and many of them work at fancy resorts by day, and then return to shacks made of cardboard and tin at night. They are often overwhelmed when they get the keys to their first "real house".

Putting up the walls.  The house takes only two days to build from start to finish...with no power tools.

Showing off his "mad carpentry skillz."

Playing with the kids.

Here are some of the souvenirs he brings from Mexico:

The hat is hideously gargantuan.  That's all I'm gonna say about it.

That's just a very small sampling of the many souvenirs he's brought back for our family, and a small snapshot of his extensive traveling on the mission field.

I just love my brother!

I love his obedience to serve God, wherever it takes him, and I love his heart for people all over the world.

Most of all, I love that he share's his experiences with those of us who can't travel the globe with him.

We get to petition heaven's gates on behalf of him every time he's gone, and we are never disappointed with how the Lord moves mountains on his behalf.

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