9.21.2011

New Favorite Spot


Riley has a new favorite place in our house...the kitchen sink. Most of the time, it does not bother me for him to carry his stool over, climb up and attempt to help me wash dishes. However, there are times when my type-A goes crazy and I just have to ask him to get down. I know, horrible mother. I try so hard to be patient, but it's just not always there! In fact, I've started leaving the dishes to do while he's eating (contained in his booster seat), napping, or after he's gone to bed for the night. Yesterday afternoon I was feeling a bit more patient, so I let him climb up and "make soup" in the sink. As he was 'cooking,' I had a little conversation with him that I think you'll enjoy.

video

What a sweet, big 2-year-old! I'm just hoping that a few years down the road his love for washing dishes and cooking will be just as strong! :) I may just have to show him this post to remind him!

9.17.2011

Beautiful Feet

I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that it is I who speaks to them. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
Isaiah 52: 6-7

My husband and three other members of our church will be using their beautiful feet this next week to tell Peruvians about the love of Christ. Let me just say how excited I am that within a month and a half of each other, we've both gotten to go to another country to share His story! Wow! God's plans and ways of providing are absolutely amazing!

(L to R) Leslie, Daniel, Elizabeth and Cody
The team left Thursday night and drove down to Houston where they caught their plane early Friday morning headed for Lima. They were able to enjoy a 5.5 hour layover in Panama City, Panama before arriving in Lima late Friday night. Today they were gathering supplies in Lima and then headed to the mountains! It's about a 6-hour drive on some pretty scary roads, so much prayer is needed and appreciated! They will be spending the week in Huayacundo Arma, Peru - a small village that does not currently have an evangelical church. There is one catholic church that stays locked up except when the priest comes once a year. Oh, and he charges for confession when he does come. Wow! Anyway, their goal is to share Christ and hopefully lay the groundwork for a new church plant. Our church has partnered with this and 4 other villages in the area, so this is not just a one-time mission trip. Whatever seeds are planted this time will be watered many times over in the years to come. Pray the seeds will take root and GROW!

We will miss him, but are so excited about this opportunity he has!
The team and families
Saying goodbye to Daddy
As Daddy's away, Riley, Ella and I are missing him, but having a good time. The weather has been wonderful, so we've been able to spend a lot of time outside, which Riley loves! A great friend from seminary is coming with her 10-month-old to visit for a few days next week, so that will help a lot, too! As my mother-in-law said, Riley will be able to practice his big brother skills! :)

If you think about it, please pray for our team this next week! Pray for boldness, strength, unity and a willingness to do whatever the Spirit leads them to do. Thank you!

9.15.2011

Her Name

In case you have trouble deciphering these pictures (like I do!), her feet are at the bottom left with her legs going up towards the top right of the picture.

As I said in my last post, Daniel and I were ready to call our child by name! Up until this point, we had not been able to decide on a name for a boy or a girl. This was so different from when I was pregnant with Riley because a week or two before my 20-week ultrasound with him, we had both a girl and a boy name picked out. When we found out it was a boy, we immediately started calling him by name. I don't know why it was so difficult this time, but I guess we just needed the extra two months to think and pray about it.

When we got in the car after my appointment on Tuesday, we jumped into the name discussion. I was afraid there might be some arguing and difficult moments involved, but God was so gracious to lead us TOGETHER to the right name for our girl. So, if you haven't seen this on Facebook and you're not a family member or heard us talking about her at church, here's her name...

Elizabeth Grace Bramlett

We will call her Ella. The exciting thing to me is that I have always loved the name Ella Grace. In fact, if Riley had been a girl, that was going to be his name. When we found out I was pregnant this time, I mentioned Ella Grace and Daniel wasn't too keen on it because he didn't feel like there was much meaning behind Ella. He really wanted a Biblical name, and we both wanted a name that was more significant to us than "we just liked it." So several weeks ago the names Grace Elizabeth and Elizabeth Grace came to me. In case you didn't know, Elizabeth is my middle name, and I love Grace because it's only by HIS grace that we're even pregnant with another child! I mentioned them in passing to Daniel and asked him to just think about them. I then heard from a great friend in New Orleans who is due the exact date I am and is having a girl as well. Guess what they're naming her? Grace Elizabeth! So, I thought maybe we should lean towards Elizabeth Grace. :) Anyway, fast forward to this past Tuesday when we started talking about names. Daniel said, "Now what were the names you mentioned a couple weeks ago?" So I told him and he said he really liked Elizabeth Grace...not only because it incorporates my middle name, but also because of the Biblical character, Elizabeth. At first I said, "Ok, well let's call her Ellie." My husband then said, "Why don't we call her Ella?" This shocked me! Just a few weeks before he didn't care for the name. However, he said now it carried more meaning because it would be short for Elizabeth. So, there it is! That's how we came up with her name! Not only will she bear my middle name (just as Riley is Daniel's middle name), but I get to call her by my favorite girl's name! God is so good! I love how He always works out ALL of the details, if we will simply wait on Him!

9.14.2011

SHE cooperated!


If you remember, almost 2 months ago to the day, we attempted to find out if our 4th family member was a boy or girl. Unfortunately, the baby did not care to share that info with us on July 15, so we had to wait until yesterday, Sept. 13, to try again. MUCH prayer went into yesterday, and I'm excited to say SHE finally agreed to let us in on the secret!

I'm thinking, though, we've got either a strong-willed child or a shy child entering our world soon! The ultrasound tech (same guy as last time) took all of the measurements again this time and said when he was finished with that we'd look for the sex. When it was time to start looking, he said, "I'm afraid your baby is being stubborn again!" My stomach dropped and I thought, "no!!" He said he was going to go get Daniel and while he was gone I should poke around on my belly and roll from side to side to try and get her to move. I did both of those, but I also had a little chat with the sweet girl. I said, "Listen, we don't care about the pink or blue stuff or whether or not we need to paint the bedroom. We just want to be able to call you by name! We want to pray for you by name! Please let us know what you are so we can do that!" So after the pep talk and some poking and prodding with the u/s machine, we were finally able to determine that it was indeed a girl. However, she kept her knees together and ankles crossed the entire time! Such a prim and proper little one! :) Needless to say, we are SUPER excited about our precious daughter!

I'll share her name tomorrow and how we came up with it. Right now, though, big brother is refusing to take a nap due to some mean teeth attempting to come in, so I better go check on him. See you tomorrow!

9.11.2011

Swaziland - Day 4

On Thursday, our 4th full day in Swaziland, we headed to the community of Ngowane (N-go-wa-nay). I think everyone on the team was a bit nervous because this would be our first time doing homestead visits. A homestead is a piece of property where a family lives and there are usually multiple huts on this property - cooking hut, adult sleeping hut, children sleeping hut, living room hut, etc. Our goal when visiting these homesteads was to share the Gospel in a very clear way and give the people an opportunity to come to Christ if they hadn't already. After sharing with them, we were then supposed to invite them to the afternoon Bible study we were having at the local school. We divided into teams of 2-3 people plus a translator.

Here is a typical homestead

On our way to Ngowane, we came across this dam...out in the middle of nowhere, but beautiful!

View from the dam's welcome center - last potty break before the rural area!

Very rough road to Ngowane

When we arrived, we split into our teams and began walking in opposite directions looking for homesteads to visit. My team lovingly appointed me as the first person to share the Gospel because "I had been a missionary before." :) So, as we're walking down the road looking for a place to visit, we came across the woman pictured below. We greeted her and our translator began a conversation with her. The next thing I knew, the translator was looking at me saying, "Okay, you can share the Gospel with her now!" Talk about jumping in feet first! :) That kind of took me off guard, so I said a quick prayer and began talking. I'm sure my words were a bit jumbled and not quite as clear as they could have been, but I'm thankful the Lord is the one who actually saves people, and it's not based on OUR words or lack of words! She claimed to be a believer, so we asked how we could pray for her, prayed, and were on our way looking for the next place to share.

We came to this homestead where we found two men outside working on a car (sure wish Daniel had been with us!) and a woman (the wife of one of the men) working around the yard. The men were not interested in talking with us about spiritual matters, but the woman invited us into the round hut pictured below.

My friend Jill was able to share with her and she, too, said she was already a believer. She did ask us to pray for her family, though, because her husband is not a believer and it makes life at home very difficult. It was obvious she was very broken over her husband's spiritual health, and she asked us to pray for peace in their home. I shared with her that true peace will not come until all family members are believers. She agreed, and we prayed with her.

The second homestead we visited is pictured below

When we arrived here, we found this 19-year-old girl, Pilile (Pi-lee-lay) home alone. She was very willing to sit and talk with us, but she did not seem to have much hope. After sharing the Gospel with her, she said she believed in Christ and went to church. She then asked several really good questions and we were able to point her to different scriptures in the Bible which answered her questions. She shared with us that the reason she was home that day and not in school (she's a senior) was because her mom is an alcoholic and she had come into her hut early that morning and beaten her. We prayed with Pilile, and when we finished I looked at her and tears were just rolling down her face. Needless to say, this girl captured my heart and I will never forget the time we spent with her. Please say a prayer for her, if you get a chance!

After leaving Pilile's, it was time for us to meet up with the rest of the team for lunch before our afternoon Bible studies. We got a quick picture with our new friend, Khetiwe (Ke-tee-way) before heading out. We met her on the road when we met the very first woman, and she went with us everywhere we went after that! We called her our tour guide because she kept saying, "I'll show you which homesteads to go to!" She was awesome!

After lunch we walked over to the school for Bible study. We all began in this classroom with singing and prayer, and then the children headed outside while Rachel and I and the adults stayed inside. We taught them the story of the paralytic man who was healed by Jesus when his friends carried him to the house where Jesus was teaching and lowered him through the roof. After we were finished, we asked if they had any questions, and they asked some great, CHALLENGING questions!

My teaching buddy and roommate for the trip

Steve Allen (missionary) told us that after Bible study was over he was going to sell some Bibles to the people. He said they used to give them away, but people were taking advantage of them, so they had to start selling them for a minimal price. He asked all of the people to go outside and line up on the other side of the door. I asked why he did it this way, and he said if they stayed inside and brought the Bibles out the people would surround him and just start grabbing - that's how desperate they are for Bibles!

So, Maria, one of our translators, would crack the door, take their money, and then hand them a Bible very quickly. He only had 12 to sell that day, so once they were gone, they were gone.

I could not get over how eager they all were to get a Bible AND how limited the supply was. Steve said his Bible budget each year is only $800. That's enough to buy 5 boxes of Bibles with 16 Bibles in a box. I knew immediately that I needed to share this with my church. I did, and the gracious people in my church have donated money to go towards Swazi Bibles. I pray that one day every Swazi will have the chance to own their own Bible!

9.08.2011

Wildfires

I mentioned in my last post about the wildfires in our county right now. Actually, they're all over Texas, but the one we're focused on is the massive one in Cass County that continues to grow daily and has not been contained so far. It began this past weekend and has grown by thousands of acres every day. I haven't heard an acreage report today, but as of last night, there were 42,000 acres on fire. So far, Hughes Springs isn't in any imminent danger, but if the fire jumps the one major highway between here and where it is, it will head straight for us. I tell you all of this to ask you to PRAY! I'm not even praying for rain, honestly. I am praying that my God, the God of miracles, the God who can speak and the storms will calm, will perform a miracle and put these fires out! I know He did not start them, and I believe it grieves Him to see so many people hurting and in danger. I'm praying that He will act and He will receive all of the glory! If it rains, people will blame the rain for quenching the fires. But, if the fires just cease to exist, they will know there is a God who is so much bigger than ALL of our problems! Will you please pray with me?

Driving out of Hughes Springs headed toward Avinger (next town over) - might look like clouds to some, but that is all smoke

 In Avinger, TX...this is the highway (155) that divides us from the fires

 Heading towards Jefferson, TX

 Daniel and I were speechless (takes a lot to get us both where we aren't talking!) when we were driving into this


Hughes Springs Volunteer Firefighters working outside of Jefferson, TX



"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!" Psalm 33:6-12

"Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22

He's 31 today!

This crazy, yet good-looking, man is 31 years old today!

How are we celebrating? Well, in true D.B. fashion, he is out helping to fight the fires that are raging in our county. He's currently helping a church member attempt to save his parents house from catching on fire. So, today probably won't be the typical birthday celebration most are used to. But, Daniel's doing exactly what he was created to do...help others and encourage them to cast all their burdens on the Lord. I'm so proud of who he is and all he allows the Lord to do through him!

About a week ago I showed the picture below to Riley and said, "Riley, who is in this picture?" He responded with, "Riley!" If there was ever any doubt (which I don't think there was...) as to which one of us Riley favors, take a look at this photo of Daniel when he was 2.


 

I'm excited to know that my sweet son will one day grow up to be a handsome young man just like his daddy!

I love you, Daniel! I'm thankful I can celebrate YOU all year long! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!