Lee and I work with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Lee's at SALT this week. It's the Southwest Regional Chi Alpha retreat/conference. It's actually the largest one ever. There's 1,100 Chi Alpha students and staff gathered together to worship God and learn more about Him. Lee's has the honor of getting to lead worship for this conference. It's so exciting. It's also a great way for Lee to share his passion for worship and discipleship with some of his guy leaders. This is what one of the guys on the team had to say about it. His name is Deon.

"I've seen God do so much in my life since the first time I met Lee and we talked about me wanting to be apart of Chi Alpha and the worship team. I am really excited about working with Lee for SALT this year. This is an opportunity for me to experience Christ in a whole new way and learn from this Great Man of God. I love to worship God in song, and ever since I've been apart of Chi Alpha Lee and Darrin [our student worship team leader] have pushed me to be not only a better worship leader but a strong M.O.G (Man Of God).

In December I get to be apart of the SALT worship team, which has been a desire of my heart since I was in high school. It's times like this were I can not doubt there is a God who loves me and has a purpose for my life. I am willing to say that I don't deserve to be a part of any of this, but the grace of God in my life has been unbelievable and I am grateful. I thank Lee for allowing me to be a part of this awesome experience. I truly love him for the example he has been in my life. When I look at Lee, he is a physical example of what I am desiring to be as a Man and Worship Leader and I know God has put him in my life for this season."

We don't always get to see the impact we make on others. But, because our faithful support team members are empowering us to do what we do, you can see a small glimpse of what is happening at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Missionary = "Sent One"

The word missionary means "sent one." They are sent to a group of people who cannot afford to pay them financially for the work that they are doing. Just like missionaries are sent to people in Africa, Asia, or Latin America, we have been sent to a group of people who cannot afford to pay us financially...the college students of UL!!

So, part of the process of being a missionary is raising funds from family, friends, businesses, and churches, to help us be able to minister to these college students full-time. To do this, it takes a lot of time and effort. Phone calls have to be made, letters are mailed, personal meetings are held, and miles are put on our car. We schedule as many meetings inside and outside of churches that we can.

Being at a church is fun. Getting there isn't always the easiest with 2 little ones, but we're making it happen. Bella gets to make new friends in the nursery. We get to meet new people and tell them stories about what we do as Chi Alpha missionaries...and how lives are changed.

Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to be "adopted" by a church for Christmas. We made a wish list of things we'd like for Christmas. We were completely humbled as we opened gift after gift given to us by our new church family at First Assembly of God Des Allemands. Bella squealed with excitement as she opened the gifts that the kids of the church handed to her. I found out after service that the parents were encouraged to let the kids pick out the toys...which gives them so much ownership in the giving process. They are learning the importance of generosity, and I know that they will learn the blessing of receiving too.
It was such a special day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


so much to be thankful for... I often don't know where to start!!

We are thankful for our family. Immediate and extended. We both have amazing families that we love and adore. We are so proud of our families. We love these people. They have helped shape us into who we are today. We can confidently follow Christ because of the examples we have from our parents. We are encouraged to go forward because the members of our family support us. We are loved.

We are thankful for our happy, healthy babies. Just can't be thankful enough for these little world changers. We adore our kids. Sure life is challenging at times, but the smiles that we get from these little babies make everything else melt away. They are so precious, so delightful...we love them and are blessed to be a part of their lives.

We are thankful for our support team members. We are so grateful for the sacrifices that are made on our behalf. You are making an impact on the students of UL. Your sacrifice is bringing in a return. We know that you believe in us and what we are doing. We are loved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coming in and Going out

The semester is almost over. It's unreal. Things are just flying by. One of the craziest things to me is the constant change that takes place in Chi Alpha every year. It's like a revolving door. Students come in, and within a short amount of time, they are graduating. They are moving on to a different stage of life. And the cycle continues with a group of new students coming in. That is the great thing about discipleship and leaders helping other students become leaders - if it wasn't for that, this ministry would be dead in 4 years. There would be no growth. But we do get to see growth.

Some of these student leaders don't have a clue how much influence they are having on this campus. It's crazy to think that there is a whole group of freshmen who don't know Tyren Snyder, but they are being impacted because of him...because he invested in Tony Jones, who is leading a group of freshmen guys this year. The list will continue to go on and on and on...

Chi Alpha becomes a safe place for these students - those who came to college with a relationship with Christ and those who have began following Christ while here...and it can be hard to move on. Sure they don't want to write papers forever, they want to get at job, get married and have a family, but it is hard to leave this comfortable, encouraging environment. But it must be done. Their new role is to continue this life-style of investing themselves in others as they live life - just like they did in college.

Our goal is not to produce a great student leader who only changes the university while they are here. It is to help that student transform into a great leader in their church, community, and workplace. They will then change the world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smores for the First Time

What a beautiful day it was on Friday!! The weather was just gorgeous. I knew it would be a perfect night for a little fire. Instead of having an international student cook for us tonight, we decided to share some of our culture with them. We had hot dogs, and then we taught them how to make smores. Most of them didn't have a clue what we were talking about. One of the girls from Oman said that she learned about smores last year, and taught her sister when she went home. It was really cool hearing her describe how she taught her sister about the "cookie with the chocolate"...
Everyone was around the fire with wire hangers going everywhere. There were quite a few marshmallows lost to the fire, but it was an enjoyable experience for everyone who was there, especially the international students who had their first taste of a smore. I know they are going to want more after their first one!

That's what it's about. Exchanging cultural experiences. We get to share our culture with them, and they get to share their culture with us. Spending time together is how we get to know each other better. And we get to learn so much in the process!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chi Alpha International = Bella's Entertainment Show

We brought our kids to Chi Alpha International last night (let me just interject here that it is really weird writing "kids" - like more than one...). Brennan wasn't feeling too good (he's congested), so I was just going to stay home with both of them. But, it's hard having Lee at home for a little while on a Friday afternoon and then sending him off again. So, we went as a family.

The food was delicious. The interns did a great job cooking fajitas. There was a ton of food. It was great!! Our discussion topic was "Motivation," and there were 5 questions that went with it. Lee and I went to the front of the Chi Alpha house because there's more room up there for Bella to run. The kitchen stayed full, but we had a few students (who've been around for a while) come up to the front with us. It was actually all guys. We tried talking about "motivation," but Bella's show was much more entertaining! She sang her ABC's, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Counting to Four and anything else she could think of, along with doing flips and jumping on chairs.

We then got to talk about family. How many kids did these guys want to have...what did they think it would be like raising kids. It ended up being really nice. One of the students actually told Lee that we show them that having kids can be fun. It wears us out at times, but our kids mean so much to us.
A lot of 18 year olds believe that they will have happier lives if they don't get married. That's crazy! Lee and I love being together, working together, building a family together. I couldn't be happier! But, if these 18 year olds (and 21 year olds) only see bitter, angry people in marriages that are failing, they wouldn't know how much fun marriage can be!

The students that we work with love us and they love our kids. We know that. And we are happy that we can be a healthy, godly example of what kind of marriage and family they can have for themselves in the future if they choose to put God first in their lives.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Lee spoke at one of our Thursday Night Live meetings about "Bromance." It's about men (and women too, but men need more encouragement in this area) having deep friendships. There are 2 guys mentioned in the Bible who have this kind of friendship - Jonathan and David.

According to the story, Jonathan and David should have been enemies. Jonathan was supposed to be the next king of Israel, but because his dad Saul didn't follow God, David was made king. Jonathan's dad hated David, but that didn't stop Jonathan from loving him. I think this story in the Bible is the first "bff" example (best friends forever).

The cool thing is that after Lee spoke on this at the meeting, guys have been coming up to him to tell him that this challenged them in their relationships. Lee and I have even noticed that the guys in leadership (the ones who lead Bible studies on campus) are getting closer to each other.

One of the cool things about Chi Alpha is that you can't join it, you can only experience it. Everyone is welcome. There are students who could have sat next to each other in a classroom and never spoke 2 words to each other for a whole semester, but they are close friends because they sat in a Bible study next to each other, or cleaned the bathrooms together, or played ultimate frisbee every week together. I love looking on facebook and seeing the people who comment on each other's walls knowing that their initial friendship took place at a Chi Alpha related event. That is so awesome to me! It's the beginning of a beautiful, life-long, relationship. A true Bromance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What a Week

It's been a crazy week!!

Highlights and Lowlights:

High: We had a great family weekend. It was our first big outing with Brennan. We went to the Boudin Cookoff downtown Lafayette. It was fun! Bella played in the water at Parc Sans Sauci. Some of the students were there and got to watch!! It was precious.

High: Bella and I went to "Come Learn and Play with Me" today (Friday). She had a great time. It's a safe environment, and I met 2 mommies there. I am definitely going back, and I'm going to do a little investigating...like possibly signing up for the Mother's Day Out program and possibly asking to design the owner's newsletter.

High: I went for my postpartum check up. I'm cleared to do whatever I want! :) It made me thankful for my health, my perfect delivery (which was super fast compared to what I heard while waiting for doctor), and my healthy beautiful babies. I'm one blessed girl.

High: We were super financially blessed this month from supporters and friends! It's amazing to know that people believe in us and what we are doing.

Low: Lee's truck broke down. Wouldn't start at all. He was not far from our house getting cardboard for the homecoming float, and he called me to come to the rescue. I towed his truck with our suburban back to our house. THEN I towed it to the mechanic's across town. CRAZY! (and that might be a part of a high). The mechanic told us it would cost one price, and then the next day his brother told us it would cost $300 more! When I told my dad (a diesel mechanic himself), he freaked out and told us to go tow the truck back because we were being ripped off. Luckily, the truck started and I didn't have to tow it back home. Now we are trying to figure out where we're going to take it. At least we didn't pay the $750 we were told it's going to take.

Sometimes when I think about my lows, I don't want to put them because they seem so petty. My 3 day headache doesn't compare to some of the other things that my friends are going through. We are a blessed family, no matter what goes wrong...or how rough the week may seem. God is so good to us. He wants good things for us. I want to be like the Apostle Paul in the Bible and learn to be content and have joy no matter what circumstances a week may bring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nap Time

Two months ago, Bella and I were in a pretty good routine. She took her nap around 1:30-3:30 pm with a little variation, and I could decide what I wanted to do during that time. I would often read my Bible and pray, catch up on a tv show, clean our house, or take a nap myself.
Now, things are different. It's almost rare for both babies to take a nap at the same time. It seems like when I get Bella down, Brennan is starting to wake up. On the days that their naps overlap, I don't know what to do with myself. I know the rule of "sleep when the baby sleeps," but there are so many other things that need to be done!!

I also know that this is just a season. I keep thinking how it seems like we just brought Bella home from the hospital and now she's a mini-adult :o) Things happen so quickly. Brennan is almost 2 months old already. That's just craziness. And that is what is getting me through life right now. I know that this season is going to pass by very quickly. The Bible even says that our lives are but "a vapor." Mists don't last for long.

The next stage will be here soon. He's already laughing and cooing. He'll be rolling over in no time - to get away from Bella. Bella's using reason and logic and using it to communicate with us. That's just insane. When the students see her at the cafe, they say they can't believe how much she's grown and how she communicates. They are the ones who say she's a mini-adult.

So, I may not get as many naps as I would like right now, but I know that soon enough, I can have as many as I want. And I will sleep through the night again. It's just a matter of time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have thought about this a few times recently...if I were still teaching, I would be going back to work this week. I would be leaving my children in the care of someone else for about 9 hours of the day. Brennan is just 6 weeks old. He's so small. He wants to be held and cuddled. I want to be the one to do that! I know many mom's who want to do that too with their little one, but they don't have the option. So, thank you to our support team members who sacrificially give of their finances to us so that I can have the opportunity to be at home with my babies. It is worth it to make our own financial sacrifices for me to stay at home, too. It would break my heart every day to have to drop them off and pick them up and miss out on so much of their day every day.

Now, staying home isn't always the easiest thing. There are days when I want to pull my hair out every hour on the hour. Bella has gotten into this thing that when she wants something, she repeats it over and over until she gets it or gets your attention to see what she's doing. She talks ALL of the time now. Non-stop. I won't trade it, though.

I have a hard time imagining what it's going to be like when Brennan is 2 and Bella is 4. I'm happy that they will be able to keep each other entertained. It is hard to think that day will come!! After rough nights, it seems like it is oh sooo far away, but I know, it will be here sooner than I want it to!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bella Slept Through the Storm...

Bella slept through the storm...

While I was up feeding Brennan, it began to pour down rain. Such a good sound that I haven't heard in a long time. I could hear the thunder and see the reflection of lightening through the windows. There was one really close lightening strike followed by an immediate crash of thunder - the loudest I've heard in a long time.
I began to think that Bella was going to be awake and afraid of the storm. I laid Brennan down and went to her room. She was still asleep in the same position she was in right before I went to bed earlier. She was sleeping through the storm.

When Lee and I encounter the storms of life, I think it is important for Bella to sleep through the storm. Sure, I want her to know that we live in an imperfect world. I want her to know that there are struggles, and that her mommy and daddy may not always see eye-to-eye. But for now, she needs to feel safe and protected. She needs to live a blissful, carefree life. She's 2...she should enjoy it.

Maybe I need to sleep through the storm as well. I'm safe. I'm protected. God is working in me and through me. There's not much else to really do through a storm besides get a good night's sleep. Instead of worrying that my roof is going to fly off, I should just go to sleep. If it does fly off, then we'll deal with that. That's what insurance is for. :) But there's no sense losing sleep until then!

Embrace the Moment

I really don't enjoy 3 am feedings. It's so hard to get up...be up for 20 minutes or longer and then know that I'll be up again soon. I'm just not a morning person. I find myself thinking, "I can't wait until he sleeps through the night." Embrace the season. Soon, before I know it, he'll be walking, talking, and not wanting me to hold him close for any amount of time. I only have this short season once in his lifetime and mine.

We're in a drought in Lafayette - and everywhere else too. Everything is dry and thirsty. It's really dusty. Embrace the season. There have been multiple, beautiful days to play outside with my little girl. When the yard is soggy and gross, it's hard to take her out. I can do that when it's dry.

It's easy to look to the future when the current circumstances are not lining up like you'd like them to be. It's more fun at times to live in the past or the future and not the present. There's so much in the moment that we're living in. It's important to plan for the future and reflect on the past. It's where we're going and how we've been shaped into who we are. But we can miss so much if we don't appreciate where we are at now. God wants to teach me something now just as much as He did in the past and will in the future.

Now, when I'm up at 3 am, cuddling a little boy who is going to change the world, I will embrace the moment. This moment is going to lead to another moment, and those moments with him are going to transform him into the man of God he is called to be. This is a powerful moment now.

Next time you find yourself doing something that may not be enjoyable, but you know you have to do it...embrace the moment. The next time circumstances are not making sense, there seems to be stress and chaos...stop, and embrace the moment. The adventure is a good thing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hearing His Voice

Is listening to the voice of God is different from listening for the voice of God? Maybe it is a position of the heart...a state of mind. Both require being in a distraction free zone.

That's really hard to find. With a newborn and a 2 year old, everything about me seems to be a distraction right now. There's not a lot of silence. So, how do I hear from God? How is He speaking to me? I do believe He is still speaking to me, even if I'm not hearing anything. I want to do whatever it takes to hear Him. That is something I have to learn to do in this new stage where there's a baby crying, Elmo and Bella singing, and thoughts of all the other things that need to be done right now and really all I want to do is sleep for a few more minutes.

I know He is speaking to me, and I desperately want to hear Him. Maybe He will speak to me through my little girl as she's singing, or the look in Brennan's eyes when he smiles, or a quiet moment with my husband. His voice is there in all of those...I just want to know what He is saying.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Phone Calls and Legacies...

Lee and I were able to talk to some good friends yesterday. Such a comfort knowing that we have people we can call on who care about us. It's really cool that they are people we both love and admire, and have for a really long time now. They are a part of who we are today...a part of our legacy.

Whose legacy are we a part of? Who is going to call us after years of not seeing us just to talk about life? Is what we are doing impacting people enough that they would feel that way about us?

We are so thankful for our support team members - those who give of their time by praying for us and those who give of their finances to support us in our adventure. Because of their investments, we are working to build relationships with the students of UL and hope share in their legacies.

Speaking of legacies - our own little legacies are growing right before us. Brennan is going to pass up Bella soon. He's already in 3 month clothes, even some 3-6 month stuff. He's just so long. He's going to be a tall boy...and a great big little brother.
Bella is still doing great with him. She loves to be with him. Brennan will be 6 weeks old on Sunday. It's flown by. I feel really good physically and emotionally. That's a huge blessing I don't want to take for granted. It's still crazy to think that we are now a family of 4.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bella Boo is Turning 2

Bella turned 2 on Sunday. What a special day. I was up at 6 that morning to feed Brennan. As I was getting into bed almost an hour later, I opened Bella's door to check on her, and her head popped up. She said, "Lay down Mama." So I brought her to bed with me. I was holding her almost exactly at the time I had her 6:41 am. So neat.
We were able to really spoil her this year, which is something we've never been able to afford to do. The Lord has really blessed us, and we got her everything we wanted to: a new tricycle, princess dress up clothes, and the winner - an automatic bubble machine. It was so much fun watching her get what she loves!! The only thing was that she found her tricycle hidden in Brennan's room, and was quite disappointed when I wouldn't let her ride it until her daddy got back from picking up her cake.
She spent the day surrounded by family and played her heart out with her 2 cousins - Diamond and Mercy. She played so hard that she crashed on me at 8:30. Talk about another sweet moment...I had one baby in each arm. I absolutely loved it.
We are so blessed. We have 2 happy, healthy, beautiful babies. We pray every day for that, and ask that they will serve the Lord for the rest of their lives. A lot of that will be determined by our personal relationship with Jesus. If they see our relationships with Jesus, it can give them the desire to have a relationship of their own with Him.
I'm disappointed in some of the students who have come to UL and have a strong church background - and they are MIA. It makes me think that they never really had a relationship with Jesus in the first place. I know that seems harsh, but it's how I feel. I don't understand it at all. And I don't want it to happen to my children. I want them to love Jesus on their own and continue to no matter what happens and where they go when they leave our home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Surviving and Thriving

so, blogging has not been a priority for me lately. Survival has. And, I'm happy to say that we are moving out of the survival stage. I grew up in Buras, and my extended family was all around us. The saying "It takes a village to raise a child" can easily be applied there. My children's village will look different. Bella knows who her grandparents are. She's really good with names and faces. She often pretends to call her Popie (my dad) whenever she gets a hold of a phone. But, she doesn't see our family every day or whenever she wants to like I grew up doing. It's just different being a US missionary. It's not the same sacrifices as a world missionary makes, but there are a lot of sacrifices.
The thing about being a missionary is that you are sent. We've been sent to a group of college students who need to know about Jesus...because if they don't meet Him now, there is a small chance that they ever will. So, there is a huge responsibility in front of us. We are training our student leaders to reach out to their roommates, classmates, and peers so that we can work together to reach the 19,000 students in Lafayette. It's working. Our events have been blowing up this semester so far!
The one thing we don't want to sacrifice is our family. It's weird saying that we're a family of 4 now. That's just crazy. We want our kids to love Chi Alpha, to love being missionaries to UL, to love the Lord. In order to do that, we need to put them first before the ministry. We have to work hard to do that.
For a while I felt like if I wasn't at a Chi Alpha event, I should be at home. I don't know why I thought that way - besides the fact that Bella is really fast and it is hard to chase her around! I've decided to participate in a women's Bible study at our church Crossroads on Thursdays while Lee is at TNL. They provide childcare, and Bella is loving getting to play with the kids. She easily goes to the nursery now. Praise the Lord! So, tonight will be our first night. I'm really looking forward to it. It feels weird not being with Lee, but before I know it, my kids will be old enough to come to TNL with me or even on their own. Time flies so quickly. I mean, Bella is going to be 2 this weekend. She's a little girl...and we're going to get to spoil her for her birthday like never before. Life for us as missionaries is quite an adventure.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Brennan's Here!!!

He's here! It's almost 2 weeks ago that it all started. That's crazy to believe. I started having contractions on Saturday - yep, he waited for every Welcome Week event to be over...All day Saturday, I wasn't sure if it was false labor or not. I spent several hours in the triage when we went to the hospital for Bella, and I wasn't going to repeat that mistake. So, we waited it out. Lee cleaned like a madman last Saturday. Bella played. I had contractions every 10 minutes. All day long. I tried going to sleep at 1 am. I guess if I had wanted my contractions to speed up, I should have tried going to sleep. They got closer and stronger. Around 3:15 am, they were about 4 minutes apart, and I told Lee we should call Hope to come stay with Bella. We got things ready, Hope got here, and we were off to the hospital. They almost put me in a room, but made me go to triage first. I told the nurse that if I was at 1 cm, I was going home. I was at 3 cm. I started to tell the nurse how quickly I went through transition and my delivery. Thankfully, she believed me.
To be honest, I did not feel as brave this time. I wanted to deliver this baby naturally as well, but I'm not going to lie...these contractions hurt worse than for bella. I just wanted it to be over with. I seriously contemplated medicine. It was awful. Thanks to my nurse Jordan believing me, they brought me to a room even though they didn't check me again. After getting in the room and getting in the bed they checked me. I was at 6.5 cm. this was only about an hour after being at the hospital. Everything intensified. I moaned - ok, screamed - a lot more this time around. I couldn't help it. It just hurt. Before I knew it - yet it seemed like hours - they checked me again and she said I was complete. She pressed a button and the doctor was there a few minutes later. All of the sudden, I felt pressure. Last time they told me to tell them when I felt pressure and they would tell me when to push. This time, I said, "OK, somebody help me, I feel pressure!!" The doctor said, "OK, push when you're ready." So I pushed. Then I leaned back to take a breath. They said that it was ok to take a break and to push again when I was ready. I did. They said they saw the head. I pushed again and he was out. 3 pushes in 3 minutes. No stitches needed this time. Everything was perfect. The first thing I said was, "That's a big baby!" All I saw was little rolls.
He is absolutely perfect. God has blessed us with 2 happy, healthy babies. God is so good to us. We couldn't ask for more. Another new adventure begins. It is definitely different this time around. Experience helps so much more than you would ever believe. I'm still tired, but I know that this is only for a short season. Bella's almost 2. Brennan will be 2 before I know it. I want to enjoy every moment, and that is what I plan on doing on this wonderful adventure with my beautiful family.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Great Welcome Week

Welcome Week at UL is officially over. The freshmen are here. We'll find out in a few weeks just how many are officially here. We've had a great week of events, and again, it is so exciting to see so many new faces around. Thankfully I get to stay connected by watching everything on our website www.lachilapha.org (click on Watch Live). Oh the internet. It is keeping me connected. I get to talk to students through facebook...share ideas, be a sound board for advice. I love it. I feel so included. It is just enough for me, and it can be done from home. Bella can be eating lunch, or watching Fresh Beat Band, or taking a nap, and I can still be involved. It's important to me to feel a part of the ministry that our family does.

It looks like Brennan will be coming soon. I've been having contractions throughout the day. They've been pretty consistent at 10 minutes apart. I hope that they get closer soon. I'm ready. We're ready. And Welcome Week is over.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Still No Baby...

Having a baby is one of the most unique experiences any woman could ever go through. It's just insane that you don't know how your body is going to react, and it will most likely be totally different each time you go through it. This pregnancy has been nothing like the one with Bella. I had Bella 10 days early. I woke up in the morning with a contraction, and I knew that I was going into labor. That was that. Every morning I wake up and think "could today be the day??" and it hasn't been so far. I'm still waiting. I'm still dilated at 1 cm - for the 3rd week in a row! What the heck!?! He's just not ready to come!
I know that he's going to be so different than Bella. She was almost predictable. She kicked regularly at the same time every day. When someone wanted to feel her kick, it was almost like she knew she needed to perform...which she still does today...she loves to perform. His kicks have been sooo inconsistent. I never know when he's going to start moving. He moves a lot, but it's never at the same time or the same way. Lee and I have discussed that we'll most likely hear Brennan say "Bella, you're not my mom." She's already getting bossy. She gets that from me. I'm still bossy. It's amazing to see the character traits as well as other traits that she has picked up from both of us. How she says things like I do...she stands like Lee does...it's just crazy. It will be fun to see how Brennan is. I'm definitely excited that I get to stay home with them both. It is going to be fun to watch them grow. When Bella was born, I really felt like I was "left out" of everything that was happening at Chi Alpha...and I tried really hard to be a part of everything. Now, I don't feel that way. I am excited that our kids and I get to be a part of all that we can, and we'll get to see the students as they grow over this year...and they'll get to see our kids grow. It's a great place to be in!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Faces

New faces are everywhere!! It's so exciting!!! I love seeing our student leaders walk in with groups of new friends. It's amazing. We really do have the potential to grow our student group to the vision that God has given us for this campus. It seems like a lot to have 1200 students - even overwhelming because we know that it is going to take a lot of work and dedication to get there. But our student leaders are working for it!! And it would be absurd for us to think that we will not be spiritually attacked during this time. Things are going really well so far. I am praising God for that. Sometimes I don't want to say things like that because I don't want to "jinx" it. That's not how the God that I serve works!! We are having and will continue to have a great start to this semester. We're going to double our student group this year. I believe it. I know it can happen by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I love it that these new faces I see right now will be the future faces of leaders. That gives me chills. We have met and worked with some amazing leaders in the 3 years that we've been here. Right now, it's hard to say who will be the next Tony Jones or Lindsay Mula or Tyren Snyder or Shelly Duet. They could be standing right next to us at one of these Welcome Week events. Or they could be in the dorms still waiting for an invitation. There is so much power in an invitation.

I love what we do. I'm guessing (maybe hoping) that Brennan is holding off for the week. He must know that his daddy is extremely busy right now. That's OK. Bella knows that her daddy is "working at cafe." That's pretty cool to hear. And it's pretty neat that we can go to visit whenever we feel the need. We're going to make it a part of our week, even when the baby gets here. I am blessed to be working alongside my husband in this ministry. We are blessed to be a part of lives that are changing the world. Man, this is a great adventure!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

And So It Begins...

I'm exhausted. it's been a long week, and it's not even welcome week - that's next week. I hope that Lee gets the supernatural strength he's going to need next week. It's not just a physically tiring week, it's a spiritually draining week. There's so much going on.
Friday night was our first Chi Alpha International event for the semester. We had 16 international students from 16 different countries. It was awesome to meet new students as well as have our returning students come. There is a great sense of community within Chi Alpha International. I love it. I love that they are friends with each other and not just connected to one or two of us. It's really exciting. I'm looking forward to being a part of it this year. Bella has met so many people from so many countries. A lot of the international students are fascinated by her...I mean, she is a blond-headed, blue-eyed, happy center of attention. How could they not be? :o) She doesn't come to our dinner and discussions, but for these first few events, she's great at relaxing people. It's amazing how warm the chi alpha house becomes because people realize that it's a casual event because there is a kid there.
We've actually met some international students who are already Christians. That is a huge answer to prayer!! AND we are meeting true freshmen, which means that they will be here for about 4 years. This to is an answer to prayer! We know that God is helping us reach out to the 100 nations that are represented at UL. We get to continue to build relationships with these students, which is exciting! We get to have friends from around the world!! Bella and Brennan will grow up with a ton more cultural experiences than most kids because these students are their friends, too. What an exciting adventure our family gets to be on!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The First Day of the Harvest

So,today's the big day. Our students are working hard moving new students into the dorms and making connections that could last a lifetime. The next 10 days are vital to setting the standard of the rest of this school year. Lonely freshmen are finding new friends even at this moment. Parents are being relieved that there is someone at UL who cares about their child. It's just a huge day. And praise the Lord that the weather is cooperating!! God is so good to His people.
We're now entering into the busiest time - the harvest. There will be many students who will be presented with the Gospel: some for the first time ever, some who have heard it all their lives...and a lot of decisions will be made.
God gave us a vision last summer for the growth of our student group. He set before us that we would have 1200 students in UL Chi Alpha in 4 years. The first year into it, and through a lot of hard work and prayer, we reached 350 students. Now, we're at year 2 and we want to double that. That is a HUGE challenge. It is way beyond us. But God is bigger than we are. And this next 10 to 30 days will have everything to do with this vision coming to pass.
Please pray for our students leaders to make lasting connections with the students that God wants us to meet. Pray against the fraternity, sorority and anti-Christ-following groups that would come against us.
This is the time of our harvest. Our student leaders will be working harder than ever. We covet your prayers. I believe that prayer changes me, but it will change what happens on the campus of UL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Challenge of Prayer

I've definitely been challenged in the area of prayer lately. I know the importance of prayer. I believe in the importance of prayer. I just don't practice the action of prayer like I should. Martin Luther said that he had too much to do during the day so he could not devote less than 3 hours a day in prayer! I have trouble devoting 3 minutes to prayer!! My lack of prayer leads me to doing things in my own strength and not through God's strength, or grace, or mercy even. I find myself trying to do things the way that I think they should be done without even consulting the Lord. I'm too busy planning! This isn't how it should be.
Each person has to come to terms with what they believe about prayer. It's a personal conviction. For me, I believe that prayer is about lining my heart up with what God's heart is. I believe that things change because of prayer, but most importantly, I change because of prayer. Prayer changes my motives from selfish ones to broken ones...something that would please God instead of disgust Him.
I have found that my heart has changed in the past 9 months I've been pregnant. It wasn't a quick, overnight change, but it has changed. I was not thrilled about having another baby, especially at the busiest time of our whole year. I was thinking about all that I was going to get to do for the ministry and the students of UL, and suddenly, it all changed. My heart is now excited about having another baby who will be exposed to the greatness of loving God and loving people. I'm excited about being a wife and a mom...and having the opportunity to stay at home to do this. My view of ministry is changing again, and I know it will look different each season that I go through. Prayer is helping me get a better idea of what God wants this season of my life to look like.
Prayer is a very behind-the-scenes kind of thing. No one knows how many prayers are being made for our students, our ministry, our family. Now, I'm getting the opportunity to participate in this important role. The beginning of the fall semester is the most crucial time of the whole school year. A lot will be determined in the next 10 days...yes, I will be at home with a little girl, and possibly a newborn. Lee will be gone a lot. BUT, I can do my part by praying for him and everyone else who will be involved in this crunch time. That's why we are in ministry together, and my role, even though it looks different is just as important as his.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trust and Obey

So, there have been a few times in my life where crazy things happen that I don't understand until a little while later. When I was looking for my first teaching job, I put my parents' phone number on all of my applications since my cell phone number was a Dallas number - it just made sense to me that way. So, the week/weekend before school started, my parents' phone line went down. It was just a busy signal all of the time. My dad was sooo frustrated. We had another phone line in the house, and it worked fine - but the number I had given everyone was not working.
That Monday, I used the other line to call my high school principal to ask him if he knew of any jobs. He told me that there was a special ed. opening in Boothville and to tell the personnel director that he recommended me. So, I called her, and I started my spill of "My name is Brianne Latham. I have a degree in Secondary Education with a specialization in English..." She said to stop right there and to call this number and tell Brian Biggs to hire me right now. I knew that Brian worked at the middle school. He was a friend of my sisters and had been a teacher when I was in high school. So, I called him. He asked if I could come in right then. When I got there, the assistant principal, Becky Ballay, walked in and dumped a box of books in my lap. I didn't even know what I was going to be teaching.
I found out from them that the night before, Brian had called their 8th grade English teacher who had a baby that summer, and there were some complications. Buras Middle School is at the end of the world, so a lot of people commute, and this teacher felt like she needed to be closer to home with her baby. So, she told them the week that school started that she wasn't coming back. I called the week school started looking for the same job.
To be honest, I cried for 3 days straight. I wasn't looking forward to working there. If I only knew how much I would fall in love with that school...how the administration would love and respect me and my ideas and creativity. It was a wonderful place to begin my career.
The day after I got the books dumped in my lap was new teacher orientation. And I was in my classroom with students by the end of the week. God knew what I needed before I did.
My parents phone did start working. A lady from a different parish called while I was at orientation, and she told my mom that she had been trying to call all week. To be honest, I would have taken that job just to get out of Buras, but it wouldn't have been where I was supposed to be.
The same kind of thing happened this week. We were trying to make a decision about insurance and Bella...and we called to make changes. The guy was really embarrassed as he talked to Lee because his computer kept messing up, and he said that he was going to make a note of it and call us back. He never called us back, and we didn't really think about it again until I started doubting our decision. Lee called back, and because of the glitches the changes hadn't been made, and it won't affect anything. I cried so much before Lee made the second call. It would have been easier if I would have just trusted God with the situation in the first place. There is such peace when I trust God. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding." It doesn't make sense to me...but it doesn't have to. I don't have to even be frustrated when things don't go the way I think they should because if I'm trusting God, they are going the way He wants them to.
Lee and I are good about balancing each other out. When I am having a very doubtful time, he is able to encourage me to trust God. The same goes when it's his turn to doubt God. That's what we say..."It's my turn now..." Yesterday was Lee's turn...and with his encouragement, it's my turn too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cyprus Meets Lafayette

Not every day looks the same being a college minister. Actually, every day is quite different. You never know who you are going to meet or where you are going to meet them.
We have a beautiful relationship with UL's Office of International Affairs (we call it the OIA, and if you ever call the office, a girl with a really cool accent usually answers the phone). The director - Ms. Rose - is from the Philippines, and she came to the states for her college career. During college, she was introduced to Jesus and began a relationship with Him. She is a dedicated follower of Christ and knows the importance of campus ministries. This has given us a great opportunity to serve the international student community at UL.
Ms. Rose called Lee on Tuesday and said, "Hi Lee, I have 2 guys here in my office that I would like you to meet." Lee went over the OIA, which is a very short walk from Cafe Chi Alpha. There he met Angelos and Mike from Cyprus. Mike has his undergrad and graduate degrees from ULM and is here to help his little brother Angelos get settled at UL. Lee spent the day taking them to different apartment places and anywhere else they needed. He also brought them to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants here in Lafayette, Poseidon's, which is owned and operated by a man from Cyprus. The guys were so appreciative of all of his help. They were staying in a hotel in town, so I told Lee to invite them to our house for dinner. It was so cool having them over, and again they were blown away by the hospitality that they had experienced throughout the day. They told us that the next time we go to Greece, we have to plan to come to Cyprus to stay with their family. How cool is that!?!
Angelos will be moving to Lafayette on Saturday, and he already has a friend in town. He's a true freshman - meaning he'll be here for 4 years plus he's planning on getting his master's degree here too. (Most international students are here just for 1 or 2 years)
Now, things like this don't happen every day...but when they do, it's just another day in the exciting adventure that is laid before us!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

"I need people"

Bella's vocabulary is really starting to expand...and her amount of talking has also increased. She's almost to the point of carrying on a whole conversation - that we can actually understand!! She definitely knows what she wants, and she's learning how to communicate that with us. It is amazing. We were on our way home yesterday, and she just talked the whole time. It is something I'm not used to! She started talking about all that she saw out of the window, which led to wanting to play with La La (one of her favorite friends). I told her that LaLa wasn't home now, but that I would take her to Cafe Chi Alpha tomorrow to play with other people. She's liked the word "people" lately, so she started repeating it, and then said, "I need people." I am happy that she has come to this realization so early in her life! haha

We all need people. Sometimes my pride gets in the way, and I don't allow myself to "need" people as much as I should. I feel like I have to do it on my own. I'm more of an introvert than my husband is...I can stand to be by myself for long amounts of time. But, I need to need people. It's probably why God put Lee and Bella in my life. They need to be around others, out of the house, enjoying life. I think that's one thing that is going to be different about having this baby... with Bella I felt like I needed to be supermom....that pride thing again. I really didn't let anyone into my life to help me at a time when I needed it the most. This time, I'm preparing for the help!! I'm counting on the people in my life - the ones near and far - to help us get through this transition.

God created us as relational beings. He wants us to have a relationship with Him as well as others. I know that as I get closer to God, I get closer to Lee. I'm more open (as an introvert) to getting closer to other people. God doesn't intend on us to walk out our faith on our own, but sometimes I need to be reminded of that. That's probably why He gave me a little girl who needs people.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Serving vs. Selfishness

Last week was a very busy week for us!! I know that it's the beginning of the busiest time of the year...I guess it just caught me off guard. I knew Lee would be busy, but I wasn't expecting to be busy myself. It's nice to feel needed, and it's nice to be able to use the giftings that God has given me. I like organizing food and meals, and I was able to do that when all the pastors from the Lafayette area came to our cafe last week for a meeting. That's just fun for me. (I would have went shopping for it this year, but it would have been a little much for my 9 month preggo body.) It is one of the things that I get to do throughout the year for Chi Alpha International.

Pastor Jeff talked about it at church today...serving. He said the best way to stay in Christ is to serve. The way to keep our eyes on Christ is to keep them off of ourselves. Lee and I talk about how we didn't realize how selfish we were until we had Bella. We were able to do what we wanted when we wanted, and now that has changed and will continue to change for the rest of our lives. Selfishness has such a huge impact on me. If I let it, it can determine how I feel and how I think. It affects my motives...which sometimes makes me do things I don't want to do.
Serving definitely helps me focus on others instead of myself. Philippians 2:5 says, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." Jesus became a servant. So should I. When I am in the moment of serving Jesus and others by using the abilities and giftings God has given me, I will find peace and joy. There is strength in that moment that cannot be described...well part of it can - it's a great adrenaline rush!!

My role in Chi Alpha is changing due to the little ones in our home...but I can still serve. It may look different than the way that Lee is getting to serve UL, but we are both working together to accomplish what God has asked us to do. I know that I won't be able to be at Cafe Chi Alpha as much as I have this past week, but I'm looking forward to using my giftings and abilities there whenever I get the chance!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When the head and heart don't mix

I wanted to be able to write that my doctor told me Brennan will be here any moment now...but that didn't really happen today at my weekly check up. The baby is in position, but that's all we know. I have to believe that God's timing is absolutely perfect. To be honest, my heart wants to believe that, but my head doesn't seem to be following through. Brennan is due on August 30th, which is the Monday after the BIGGEST event of the year - Burger Bash. It's one of Lee's busiest days ever...There were over 500 people at this event last year and we're expecting more this year...Last year we gave away a Wii...this year, we're giving away an iPad to one lucky freshman. This is just huge. It makes me nervous to think that I would still be pregnant at this time. When I think about having to adjust to sleepless nights and all kinds of other things, I just want to say, "God, we are not as busy right now...this is just the fall planning stage...it would be a great time for the baby to come..." But in my heart I know that God's timing is perfect. It's the whole idea of me not trusting in my own understanding. I don't understand how this is all going to work out. But I have the faith that it will. Faith doesn't mean that I understand. It means that I believe even when I don't understand. I know that God has our family's best interest in mind. He also has the best interest in mind for each of the 3,000 freshmen who will be coming onto our campus in a matter of weeks. We are getting ready for the biggest harvest time of the year, and also the biggest change for our family. God's going to take care of both. I can believe that...even though I don't really have a clue how He's going to do it all. It is a comforting thing to know He's God and I am not.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Speak to Me

God can speak to people through dreams at night. Lee has had this experience way more than I have. He'll have a dream, and then the Lord reveals what the dream was about after he wakes up. God spoke to Joseph that way. He appeared to Mary about her supernatural pregnancy, but He spoke to Joseph through a dream...a couple of times. There were many other great men in the Bible whom God spoke to through their dreams. I don't really remember a specific time of this happening to me, but I do know that I'm ready to hear God's voice. I'm ready for Him to speak to me. How He speaks to me is going to be different from the way He speaks to Lee. I'm ok with that. I just need to listen. My time is spent in different ways now days. There's a little girl who requires a lot of attention - or else we end up with crayon coated walls...And soon there will be a little boy who demands full-time attention for the first few months of his life. So the way that God speaks to me is going to be unique to my circumstances.
This won't stop me. I'm ready to experience God more. I'm not content with where I am...

Sunday, August 1, 2010


One of Bella's new words is "yucky..." She says it when she tastes something she doesn't like - but in reality, if she didn't think she'd like it she wouldn't even try it in the first place. She would go straight to gagging. She's become a picky eater. I attribute that to my dad. He's a picky eater. :o)

Well, yucky is how we all feel right now. Lee and Bella came home from YMI with some kind of cold. I was able to take care of them because I wasn't sick. Well, this little sickness has stuck around our house, and now I have it! yuck! And, all 3 of us are not feeling well now. It's hard to take care of others when you don't feel well yourself. When I was in my first trimester of this pregnancy, I was really sick for 10-12 hours a day. It was awful! Poor Bella! She would just lay on the couch with me and watch Sesame Street for half the day, and then play with her toys in front of me on the couch. It was such a rough time. I don't feel quite that bad right now, but I'm starting to feel like there's not much else I want to do...there are moments when it seems like my head is too heavy to hold up on my own and it feels like a cat is scratching its way down my throat! Oh the joys of a summer cold! I know, I know...lots of water and juice...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lee's NEW truck!!!

We feel so loved. I know that we are loved, but we really feel it today. Joey & Angie Harville have been on our support team since our internship. They have been so faithful and encouraging to us. We've hung out with them several times through the years...and Lee's been able to talk trucks and hunting and all kinds of guy-country living things with Joey and the guys from Jena. Lee made the comment once that it was his dream to own a Chevy Silverado Z71. When it was time for Joey to get a new work truck, they remembered what Lee said, and they decided to give the old work truck to Lee. I think they were more excited about giving Lee the truck than they were to get the new truck!! So, Lee is the proud owner of a '98 Chevy Silverado Z71 4x4!!!
A crazy thing about the Kingdom of God is that we all have to trust God with our finances and everything else that we own. He gives it to us - whether we're in full-time vocational ministry or not. When I was a teacher, HE was the One who provided my job and my salary. Sure, the money came in at the same time every month, but He was the One who made it happen...not the school board. Now that we're missionaries, and our finances come through people who choose to support us, and it's not always the same amount or at the same time every month...we know that God is still in charge of our finances. Being missionaries, He just chooses to have us partner with people. It's been a test of our faith on multiple levels, but God has been so faithful to us. He has given us more than we need...like a Z71 truck...a house with a yard..."Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." He really has. He's been so good to us. In the times when things are hard, we can look around and see the things that God has provided for us. We can know that He has our best interest in mind. He cares so deeply for us...not because we're missionaries, but because we're His children. He cares for you just as much too...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Preparing for a New Baby

I'm not due until August 30th. I tell everyone that I have a feeling that this baby is coming sooner. Honestly, I don't know if I'm more ready for a baby or to not be pregnant! :o) I know that everything is going to change...there will be 2 babies crying instead of 1 - because I know that Bella will be inspired to cry when the new one cries. We've already seen that happen with other babies. I know she'll get used to it, but it will be an interesting beginning, I'm sure.
It's exciting to know that our family is going to grow. Bella will have someone to play with. That will be fun to watch. We've talked about how the older baby doesn't get a lot of attention when the new baby comes around, but I don't think we will have that problem. Bella is the star of Chi Alpha. Of course everyone will want to see Brennan, but Bella still has the floor. Everyone gets so excited to see her, afterall, they are her friends! They love her and want to see her. She's going to be ok.
I'm actually going to ask for help more this time around. When we had Bella, we were just getting on staff. I don't know why I felt like I needed to be supermom and do it all myself. It was such a rough time for me. This time, I'm already planning to ask our babysitters to come over just to play with Bella while I take a nap or take a shower. They can bring a friend even! I've heard that girls open up even more when there's a baby around! I just know that God has brought us to this community of students for a reason, and it's important for us to open our lives to them. The girls who watch Bella regularly have great families...but a lot of our students come from broken homes. They need to see what a functional Christian family is like to have the hope that they can have this for themselves someday. We're happy to be a model of what God can have instore for them! We have been told before by a student that they actually considered having kids after they saw me & Lee with Bella...because they didn't think it was possible to have a "happy" family. That's a powerful compliment!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fulfilling the Call of God...

I have a degree in secondary education with a specialization in English. I taught in public schools (high school and middle) for a total of 6 years. Teaching was a great experience for me...I really did enjoy it. I can say that I was fulfilling the call that God placed on my life. Now, I'm fulfilling that calling in a different way. I don't know if I believe that God calls us to do just one thing for our whole lives. Now, I'm teaching my little Bella. Her mind is a sponge. She soaks up so much. She has an uncanny, photographic memory.
I also get to teach different classes for the Learning Parties for the Chi Alpha Diversity Project Internship. That is something that I really enjoy. It's my degree at work.
Another thing that my degree/experience allows me to do is to talk with students about their observations and student teaching experiences. I can encourage them as well as give a few ideas of what might work for them.

I may not be using my degree in the function that I originally planned to, but God is still allowing me to use all that I have learned and experienced. Honestly, if I could teach right now - my kids were in school and I was looking for a job - I don't think that I would. I would want to spend my time at Cafe Chi Alpha. I'd want to work full-time there furthering God's Kingdom here at UL. I'd want to work alongside Lee. That's my calling. We're in ministry together.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bella's Friends...

Around Bella's first birthday (September 09), I started freaking out a little. I thought to myself, "Bella doesn't have friends." I know that she was only turning 1, but I felt like the most awful mom because she was going to grow up not knowing how to socialize with other kids her age.

I was at the cafe at the end of a Free Meal with a Message (which happens every Wednesday from 12:00-12:45 pm during the semester), and I expressed this fearful thought to some students. I said, "Bella doesn't have any friends her age." Tyren was quick with his genuine response, "I know, all of her friends are college students!" This is so true. Bella has a large group of friends who just happen to be college-aged. They absolutely adore her, and she loves them in return.

This weekend has been our Leadership Advance. Bella and I went to visit, and everyone has been so excited to see her. At the same place, there was a family reunion happening . There was the cutest little 4 year old girl who played with Bella...and Bella knew how to play with her. Bella is actually really sweet with other kids. It's like she's fascinated with them because she's so used to being around college students. She's always wanting to hug little kids - something that she's not too fond of with big people. But she knows how to play with kids around her age. The only thing about babies is that she gets frustrated that they don't give her a high five when she asks.

God has blessed us with a precious little girl who has unprecedented potential to change the world. At her age, she knows more people from different countries and ethnic groups than most people will know in their whole life time. Color will not be an issue to her. Socioeconomic status won't be an issue to her. If we teach her to love and accept people like Jesus does, nothing will stop her from making a new friend.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Adventure Begins...

I'm just jumping into this. I know that this is a great way to communicate what is going with our family and our missionary journey at the University of Louisiana Lafayette (UL). So, here we go! And the adventure begins...

What an adventure it is! School is starting soon. Brennan will be here soon. Bella is turning 2. So many changes. So much to be excited about. I'm reminded of the statement, "God is always working around you...and He is always wanting to work in you and through you." That's definitely where we are at. We know that He is working in us, and we want to be available for Him to work through us.

As things change, and I am staying home more, I am seeing different things that God is working on in me. I'm also seeing how I have to let Him work through me. Everyone has a circle of influence...some are bigger than others. My circle is changing...it will revolve around 3 of the most precious people on this planet...my husband and my babies. My attitude will affect their days. It's a big responsibility. It is also an honor. Something I should cherish.

Thanks Syl for pushing me to do this. It's a great way for me to stay connected beyond our newsletter.