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

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...