Friday, December 21, 2012

When Heaven Invaded Earth

Part one

As I (Garrett) have been reflecting upon Christmas this year, I felt like the Lord has been revealing more to me about Christ coming and invading Earth, with emphasis on the word invade.

I feel that the Christmas story that is so often shared is possibly a little watered down in today's society. In re-reading the Gospel account in Luke 2, I think we often have a children's program view of angels. Here is the account of the angels and shepherds in the New King James version:

Luke 2:8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Now read it in the Amplified Version:

Luke 2:8 And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. 11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! 12 And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. 13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]."

Go back and read the bolded text in each translation. I find the Amplified to be so much more powerful. This is not a knock against the King James Version at all, but I think that we can gloss over the word "Hosts." I know when I have thought about the Christmas Story in years past, I think more of a choir showing up to sing. This year though, I feel like the Lord showed me, that Jesus didn't arrive alone. There was a beachhead established upon the Earth. It started in Bethlehem in a little stable. But, the Heavenly Knighthood was there too. See, this was not a surprise attack. This was the Lord returning to Earth to begin re-establishing His Kingdom here. The enemy was not going to give up its territory without a fight. For hundreds of years, prophets had foretold the coming Messiah. I have heard the book of Isaiah referred to as the "Gospel of Isaiah" due to the vast amounts of Messianic prophecies that are foretold.

I want to share another version with you of the Christmas story. I can almost guarantee that this will NOT be the main text at your Christmas service this week. Here is Revelation 12:1-5 in the Amplified.

Revelation 12:1 And a great sign (wonder)—[warning of future events of ominous significance] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crownlike garland (tiara) of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and she cried out in her birth pangs, in the anguish of her delivery. 3 Then another ominous sign (wonder) was seen in heaven: Behold, a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns (diadems) upon his heads. 4 His tail swept [across the sky] and dragged down a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered, so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth. 5 And she brought forth a male Child, One Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.

This to me is the spiritual reality of the Christmas story. Satan was not planning to passively hand over Earth back to God. He knew that God was going to put on flesh and dwell with men. Satan had schemes in place to try and foil God's plan. He gave Herod the idea to have all the little boys under three years of age murdered in the region around Bethlehem in hopes of killing Jesus. Read Matthew 2:13-20:

13 Now after they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Get up! [Tenderly] take unto you the young Child and His mother and flee to Egypt; and remain there till I tell you [otherwise], for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him. 14 And having risen, he took the Child and His mother by night and withdrew to Egypt 15 And remained there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son. 16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been misled by the wise men, was furiously enraged, and he sent and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that territory who were two years old and under, reckoning according to the date which he had investigated diligently and had learned exactly from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they were no more. 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 And said, Rise, [tenderly] take unto you the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.

My heart aches for the children that were mercilessly killed by Herod. This reminds me of the story of Moses' birth where Pharaoh ordered all the Israelite babies to be killed as population control but Moses was put in a basket and actually was raised in Pharaoh's house.

I know that The Lord is still speaking to me about this. As I continue to get more revelation, I will share with you more.

I just feel that what The Lord wants to share most right now is that He came to Earth two thousand years ago. The beachhead has been established and we are His army today on the earth. What do you need to do to help advance the Kingdom of Heaven upon the Earth? I pray that we would not be idle, but that we would be proactive in proclaiming Jesus as Lord to all we meet.

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas Season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Throne is Still Occupied

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1 NKJV)

King Uzziah was a good king for Judah. He was (for the most part) a Godly man who was a good leader for the nation. He led Israel for 52 years. That is quite a long time to be king in that era. Basically everyone alive in Judah at the time only knew Uzziah as king. When Isaiah 6 starts, I believe that Isaiah references the death of the king because everyone would remember that time.

I feel that with last night's election, our generation will also reference this event in a similar fashion. Two states (Colorado and Washington) legalized recreational marajuana use. I believe 2-3 more legalized same-sex marriage. A congress with a 15% approval rating was re-elected at an alarming rate. And a president that I disagree with on several issues will probably be able to select 2-3 new Supreme Court justices over the next few years. The repercussions from November 6, 2012 will be felt for 3-4 generations.

But, the good news is: God is still on His throne. He is even still sitting down. Nothing about the elections - from the presidency to the smallest county officials - took God by surprise. He didn't unexpectedly hop up from His seat last night and exclaim "Obama won Ohio!?!?" No, our sovereign King was well aware of the results.

I was thinking about the prophet Jonah this morning, and about Nineveh. Nineveh was in a bad spot.

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4 NKJV)

He walked around for 3 days and the by the end of the time, the whole city repented and from the king to the beggars, everyone was wearing sackcloth. The king proclaimed a fast and the people repented. And then here is the awesome part:

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10 NKJV)

Now Nineveh was much worse off than America is today. Last time I checked, we didn't have any guys that were spit up from the mouth of a big fish on the shore of Florida that are walking around proclaiming "40 days and America is no more!" (By the way, I am not advocating that you start dressing your family in sackcloth.)

I refuse to be just a critic who sits on the sideline and comments on things happening. I want to get involved. I am not planning to run for office, but I don't want to sit idly by as our nation continues down a path that I do not feel it should go. I want to be a vital part of changing the course of our nation. We need to continue to pray for our nation. Prayer is not something that we need to shelve for the next 3 years and 11 months. We need to begin today to pray for Godly leaders to step up and throw their hat into the ring. We need to see Godly men and women who want to run for county commissioners and mayors and state senators. We need Godly people on our education boards and running our polling places. We need people to be as passionate about voting as they are in supporting Apple, Chik-fil-a, or American Idol.

I will leave you with this final thought. Prayer is a vital component in Christian Warfare. Like the Air Force in a battle, prayer is used to drive the enemy off the ground that we wish to occupy. Prayer can also travel behind enemy lines to attack supply lines and command centers deep inside enemy territory. However, there is one thing prayer cannot do. It cannot take/hold ground unless there are troops there. We need to continue to pray for our nation. We need to remove ground from the enemy and we need to cut off the enemy's supply. But we as Christians need to be prepared to take the ground! Lets do our part. Lets begin now to volunteer in our local communities. Together, we can help lead a nation to a course that will be set toward the King who is still on the throne!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A short house update

Well, by this time next week we will be homeowners. We heard from our lender yesterday afternoon and our loan is now in closing. We have met every requirement a week ahead of schedule. Once again, the words used to describe the loan process were: smooth, easy, unbelievable, and surprising. At 9 am on Monday 9/25, we go through our final walk through and then at 11, we close.

We really could not be more a
amazed about this entire process. When we began this, a very dear couple to us prayed over us that the entire thing would be stress free...and it really has. So we wait a few more days. We actually have a deposit down on a refrigerator and we have movers scheduled for Tuesday.

Would you still pray for a smooth adjustment into the house? We are so grateful for all of your support through this process.

With love,

Garrett and Samantha

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guatemala recap

Hello friends!

I realized it has been too long since I wrote an update about my trip to Guatemala in August with Gateway Church.

To sum the trip up in one word: phenomenal.

This trip probably had the best team interactions and connections of any I have been part of. Also, we all really connected with our in-field partners as well.

Here is a quick recap.

Monday: we arrived at the airport around 2 pm and everyone was on time. We checked in and boarded our flight to Guatemala. After checking into our hotel, we went to dinner and had a great time bonding.

Tuesday: we departed for Chimaltenango and arrived at our home for the next few days. We met our partners, Pat and Charlie Reynolds with His Appointed Time Ministries. Pat and Charlie are one of RU4Children's key partners in Guatemala. So much of what we do is connected with His Appointed Time. I was so excited to finally meet them both face-to-face after having spoken and emailed with them for over three years!

Wednesday: we left for a village about 45 minutes from Chimaltenango. We visited a government school and were able to play with the kids for a while. From there, we went to the mayor's house where we met with several poor families. We were able to provide the families with a bag of food staples to help them for the next few weeks. Afterward, we were able to install new stoves for two families in the area.

Thursday: We visited the Christian school that Pat and Charlie helped found. We attended chapel, and it was so powerful seeing the children worship. After that, we traveled to a garbage dump where dozens of people "work" in exchange for the right to scavenge through the trash for items that may be of value. We were able to bring everyone there sandwiches as well as pray for their needs.

Friday: We traveled back to the same village that we went to on Wednesday. We were able to distribute several more bags of food to needy families and we also installed two more stoves.

Saturday: We left Chimaltenango and traveled to Antigua. We did some shopping and sightseeing before heading back to Guatemala City. We checked into our hotel and set our alarms to depart early Sunday morning.

This trip was so amazing. It was a great time of ministry and connection with phenomenal people. What was even better was seeing how RU4Children and His Appointed Time Ministries are partnering together to help people in need in Guatemala. I cannot wait to go back!

Computers RU4Children provided to the school in Chimaltenango
Children at the village school

A family with some strawberries

Steven handing out a bag of food to a family

A stove installed for a family
The view from the compound in Chimaltenango

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Blessing of God

I have been thinking about the Blessing of God quite a bit lately. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As Christians, I feel like so many people are too concerned about losing the Blessing of God. We will fret/worry/pray about a situation making sure that we choose the "right" thing*. 

My question is this: does the blessing rest on the choice or does it rest on us? I would say that the blessing actually rests on us. We need to realize that God wants to bless His people, not things. Several times, I have felt that Lord has actually told me in the midst of a situation to choose, and that He will bless me no matter what decision I make. 

Let's take a look at the Aaronic Benediction in Numbers 6:22-27. This is the blessing that the Lord commanded Aaron to speak over the children on Israel.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."'"

"So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them."

I love what the benediction states. We are the object of each part of the blessing. God is the one that is performing the action in each phrase listed above. So therefore, I challenge you to trust the Lord and live in His blessing!

*One small caveat: obviously, I am talking about two good choices, as opposed to one right and one wrong choice. Just look at Deuteronomy 11:26-29. God set before the children of Israel both a blessing and a curse. If you follow the commandments of the Lord, there will be a blessing, and if not, there will be a curse.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guatemala bound

As many of you know, Garrett is heading to Guatemala tomorrow. He will be joining a Gateway Church team that is working with one of RU4Children's key partners. The team will be visiting schools in the Chimaltenango area and they will also be installing stoves in several homes. Almost all Mayan families cook inside their home on an open fire with no ventilation. Many children, along with adults, suffer from Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) as well as danger from exposure to the open flames. We want to replace this cooking method with an enclosed stove, including a chimney to vent the smoke outside the home, making the environment much safer for the children and adults. The stoves will be much more efficient for the families as well.

Will you all please pray for both of us while Garrett is away? Samantha unfortunately cannot go on this trip due to school commitments. Garrett will try his best to post photos to Facebook and hopefully even post a blog while he is in Guatemala. We look forward to sharing with you all about the trip once Garrett returns.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A house update...

Everyone, we just wanted to take a minute and update you on our house. We met with our construction superintendent today and everything is going great. It looks like everything is right on schedule. By the end of next week, we should hopefully have sheetrock up and brick on the outside. Here are a few photos we wanted to share.
Our house

The view out of our front door

Andy, our fearless construction superintendent

Ready to brick any day now
Our bathroom water pipes
Standing in the dining room looking at the Living room
Entering the front door, looking towards the kitchen
Garrett hamming it up outside of the History Maker office
Our garage
Our back patio
The window above our (future) kitchen sink
The hallway from the 2nd bedroom towards our living room

Friday, June 29, 2012

Home of the Future

As some of you know, Garrett and I are BUILDING our first home! We are beyond grateful and very excited. This was something that was on our radar for 2012, and really didn't believe it would happen this fast. This is definitely all the Lord's doing, and it's awesome to see Him work so smoothly. I mean how many people look for a house in 2 weeks, and put money down that 2nd week. Well, that is exactly what happened. 

 Here is a timeline of how things went down: 

Monday, March 19th- My aunt (Kelley) who works for DR Horton, told us we should think about a house. She explained that we would probably be more qualified than we thought we would be. We were curious so we started look online. Knowing we can only get a loan for the price of the house, and that renovations would not be possible due to our lack of funds, we were slowly ruling out buying a used home. We did continue to look online and do a few house drive-bys. 

Thursday, March 29 we go to a DR Horton community. The lady thought we couldn't afford her community. Using their loan lady, we discovered we would qualify no problem for a loan, but we needed to possibly go with another builder. 

Friday, March 30th- We were on our way to Beaumont, and Garrett gets a call from a lady from History Maker homes. She sends us their pricing and floor plans. We discovered we got more home for our money and a design closer to what we wanted with them. 

Sunday, April 1st- We visit a History Maker community in an area we like, and we look at their models. 

Monday, April 2nd- We go back to History Maker, and the lady shows us around & shows us 3 plots we can choose from. We didn't really like the area the plots were in and I was hoping to have a community pool. The lady told us about Fossil Creek at Waters Bend Community 5 minutes from the place we were at. This had a community pool, park, and was in the school district we really like, Northwest. 

Thursday, April 5th- We go to the Fossil Creek at Waters Bend  Community and meet Norm our History Maker contact. We choose a lot, do lots of paper work, and then visit our land for the first time.

Design center- This is the day the design center was open to the public. I wanted to gather my thoughts about everything, before we actually had our appointment on Wednesday. History Maker gave us $5,000 in the design center and anything we went over got rolled into the price of our house. We went and spent about an hour going over everything we wanted. Small things I never thought about we got to pick. Colors, shapes, sizes, etc. One can easily get overwhelmed, and Garrett helped me with that. 

April - Design Center, visit 1- Here we told them exactly what we wanted. I'm sure it was the fastest the lady had ever done, Because I had my paper ready to go with everything marked. :) 

April - Design center, visit 2 - Here we finalized the colors, placements of outlets, lights, switches, window placements, etc. 

Now that our design center options were chosen, they could draw up our plans and then apply for permits. So a big portion of our waiting time, has been getting permits through the city of Fort Worth. They are very backed up and this process can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks. 

June 9th- Garrett and I went to visit our land. They have cleared it, and got the pad ready. This means that any day now they should be ready for pour foundation. 

Here is our anticipated time table from when everything is approved:

Foundation- 2 days
Framing- 3 days

From framing it will take them 45 good weather, business days to build our house. This puts us in our new house around the end of September or early October. Things definitely could change but we are feeling good about everything. 

We look forward to having all of you come over and enjoy our new home this fall when we move in!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Our Summer Plans: Leaving the Heat

Family and Friends, 

We hope you are doing well. I know for us 2012 has flown by. We want you to know we are so very thankful for each and every one of you in our lives. Your prayers and belief in our cause mean the world to us.

We wanted to let you know about another wonderful opportunity we have. This summer, we are planning to leave the states and travel to Guatemala. While there, we will be visiting several of the ministries R.U. 4 Children partners with. Our goal for this trip is to serve our Guatemalan partner schools through teaching English, developing teachers and optimizing their systems & procedures. 

Do you want to know how you can get involved? Here are some ways:

* Pray for the trip finances and logistics to come together 

* Go with us:  We are looking for people would want to join our efforts. You can join us for anywhere from 1-2 weeks. Flight to Guatemala and on ground expenses would be up to you, 
but we can provide resources to help you raise money to go. 

* Donate supplies and materials:  We are looking to bring suitcases or backpacks full of hygiene products to our partners. Anything from deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, tooth brushes, socks, underwear, hair bows, etc. 

* Financial giving: Donate to the trip at for us to help cover the expenses. Just mention Bonnette Guatemala Trip in the memo on the donation.

If you have any questions, please email us here.


Garrett and Samantha 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sri Lanka Recap


So sorry it has taken me several weeks to write the blog post about my Sri Lanka trip. The trip is one of the most amazing events I have had the privilege of being a part. I am incredibly impressed with the work of Child Empowerment International. The work they are doing with children in need in Sri Lanka is second to none.

Here is a brief rundown of the trip: 

We flew from Dallas to Los Angeles and then flew on to Hong Kong. It has been a long time since I have been on a 15 hour flight (flying to Guatemala generally takes 3 hours!) I don't usually sleep well on planes, but I was able to sleep about 2 - 3 hours on my way there. In Hong Kong, we met up with an American friend that lives there and she showed us around the city. We were able to take a ferry across the Harbor and also ride the Train to the top of Victoria Peak. 
The View from Victoria Peak
After a few hours in the city, it was time to take the high speed train back to the airport and head on to Sri Lanka. We flew from Hong Kong to Singapore and from there onto Columbo, Sri Lanka. We started traveling around 7 pm on Wednesday in Dallas and arrived in Sri Lanka around 10 pm on Friday evening. Needless to say, we collapsed into bed. 

I awoke Saturday morning to a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean from our hotel. We worked with the children at the leadership academies on Saturday. On Sunday, we attended a local Sri Lankan church and then we went into Columbo and ate lunch and shopped. Monday through Wednesday, we worked with the kids on a vacation bible school program as well as a few construction projects. Instead of typing out the details of those days,  here is a video of our time spent with the children.

After the amazing time with CEI, we began our travel back. I once again was able to sleep just a few short hours, but it took the edge of my exhaustion. When I finally arrived back in DFW, Samantha was there to take me to dinner and then home. I took a quick shower and was OUT in bed about 7:30. I didn't wake up until about 7:45 the next day.

With all that said, thank you so much for all of your prayers. There is no way that Samantha and I can do what we have done without your support and prayers. This trip was such a success because of you being part of it with us. 

We pray God continues to bless you all and we pray that you have a wonderful Easter celebration this weekend!

Garrett and Samantha

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Connect to the Source

We serve a Great God. He is all powerful, all knowing and ever present. Recently I was praying about peace. Not peace as in the absence of conflict, but about the Prince of Peace. The Peace from God that surpasses all understanding.

I was wondering about the current level of God's peace I had currently in my life. I felt like the Lord whispered to me "if I give you peace, I give it completely. You will not need more peace than what I give you." This statement brought such comfort to me. Our God is an ALL-SUFFICIENT GOD. If you need peace, He provides all the peace you will need. The only caveat is that the true Peace of God comes from the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

I know this concept is where many Christians struggle. They are seeking out the Peace (or Love, Joy, etc.) without realizing where our source is. We must connect with the Spirit. the fruit of the Spirit only comes from the Spirit. Please realize that the Holy Spirit is seeking a relationship with you. Do not deny the Spirit that is moving across the earth a place to dwell in your life.

My prayer for all of us would be for us to bear fruit. The river in scripture is synonymous with the Spirit. Psalm 1:3 says "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."(NKJV)

Revelation 22:1-2 says "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." (NKJV)

To me, the trees mentioned in Psalms and in Revelation are one and the same. Let's plant ourselves in the river of the Holy Spirit and let's bring forth fruit in season. Also, let's be aware of those around us. The "leaves" of our lives are to be used for the healing of the nations.

Seek out the Spirit. Ask for a friend to pray for you to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Invite Him to work in your life. You will not believe how amazing your life can be with His fruit growing in your life. Go out and let your fruit change someone's life today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A little info about Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island nation located off the southern coast of the India subcontinent. Its official name is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It was known as Ceylon until 1972. Due to its location, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and Southeast Asia, and was an important stop along the old Silk Road.

Sri Lanka has a very interesting history. It was an independent monarchy for several hundred years until the Portuguese, Dutch and British each took turns ruling it. The British held control of the island from about 1800 until 1970. From 1970-2009, Sri Lanka was an independent republic. That time period, however was marred by a 25 year long civil war. Since 2009, Sri Lanka has held a presidential election and there have been approximately 3 years of peace in the country.

The population makeup of Sri Lanka consists of the Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people. The primary religion of the island nation is Buddhist (69%), with a smaller amount of Hindus (15%), Muslims (8%), and Christians (8%). There is a very important note about religion in Sri Lanka. It is against the law to convert someone from the religion that they were "born into".  The punishment if someone is caught can range from deportation to imprisonment of up to 7 years.

The purpose of our trip will be to spend time working with the orphanages we are visiting. There are 5 men and 6 women traveling, and we have several things we want to accomplish. The women will mostly be working with the children by playing with them and teaching them curriculum. The men will be constructing a basketball court for the kids to play with, as well as take care of any additional items that need to be repaired.

I will be trying to post a few updates throughout the trip, depending on internet, so please stop back by and see what we are up to!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sri Lanka

On December 31, 2011, Samantha and I were talking and praying pretty close to midnight about 2012. She and I both prayed that I would be able to travel more in 2012. With no trips scheduled so far, this was an area that we knew that we just had to trust the Lord with. Well, we didn't have to wait too long for Him to show up in 2012. I received a phone call from Gateway the second week of January asking if I would be interested in traveling with a ministry team to Sri Lanka in February. Well, let's just say that Samantha and I were very excited about this answer to prayer (although she is sad she can't go with me)!

I will be leaving February 15 and will return on February 23rd. While in Sri Lanka, the team will work with orphanages and schools run by an American organization. We will be building soccer goals and work with the students, including putting on a VBS for the orphans.
Sri Lanka is about as far from Dallas as you can get. It is an island just off the coast of India. Their culture is very different and the travel will be quite long (about 30 - 35 hours).

Sri Lanka is a fascinating country, and I look forward to sharing more about the country with you in a blog next week.

We want to give you and opportunity to "go" with us on this trip by praying for us during this time.

Garrett's prayer needs:

1. Safe and restful travel for the him and the team
2. Safety against injury and sickness while in country for the team
3. Favor with the orphans and people we will come in contact with

Samantha's prayer needs:

1. Protection and safety while Garrett is away
2. Pray for favor with her co-workers and knowledge to come to her kindergarten students

Another way you can go with us, is through donating items for the kids. We could use soccer balls, crayons, jump ropes, chalk, coloring pages without words and travel size hygiene items. If you would like to donate to the trip, please send us an email at and we can give you more information.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Holidays

The past month and a half have been incredibly wonderful. I love that the Lord sent His son for us, and we get to celebrate it with our friends and family. This season has been a full and blessed one at that. Our friends Josiah and Cindy had their sweet baby girl. There were Christmas parties, tacky sweaters, and some fabulous home-made treats. Garrett was inspired to make some AMAZING Cinnamon Candy.

Here is a little rundown of our Holiday travels.

December 22
Garrett and I went to the picturesque Beaumont Ranch for our anniversary, even though it was a few days early. You would think the ranch was in Beaumont due to it's name, but it actually is just south of Fort Worth. The cabins were set up in a little village around a lake on the ranch, and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Here are a few pictures, including the overlook of the ranch.

December 23-26
After we left the Beaumont Ranch, we traveled to Georgetown, TX and had Christmas with my (Samantha's) family. Our time mostly consisted of me beating my sisters at Bananarams, and us laughing hysterically at our silly sentences from Telephone Pictionary. Oh, and we ate FABULOUS food. It was a great, refreshing time.

December 26-28

After spending Christmas in Georgetown, we headed to Kemah, just south of Houston for the day with my family (My parents, sisters, and grandmother). It was a cold day on the water, but we enjoyed walking around the boardwalk. We also stopped by the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Monument before heading to Garrett's parent's house. We love how our two families get along so well. We enjoyed getting to play and hang out with our nieces and nephew, although it was sad that Alyssa's family was sick so that we couldn't see them. It was a really relaxing time with all families together.

December 28-29

On our anniversary (4 years!) we traveled back to our apartment in Bedford, where Samantha's family stayed with us before departing for Amarillo. The boys headed out to a gun store, while the girls made a much-needed trip to Sam Moon.

December 31 - January 1

We celebrated New Year's eve by attending the weekend services at Gateway and then we headed to dinner with our great friends, Jeff and Jean. After that, Garrett treated us to a wonderful night at the Hilton by the Galleria. We left around 8 so that I could join my friend Ginger and little Avery for a trip out to Canton for the 1st Monday trade days. We had so much fun spending time together looking at arts and crafts and making a few purchases.

January 4

Back to reality...My students showed up at 7:30 am ready for the new semester. I am really praying that the light bulbs will come on during the next few months.

Garrett just received some great news!! He was blessed with a trip to Sri Lanka with Gateway Church in February. I am slightly jealous he gets to go without me, but I know that the Lord is going to bless everything the team does while they are there. He will be posting a blog shortly to share more details about the trip, as well as how you can join with us to bless the children there.

We hope that your holidays were as blessed as ours. We also pray that 2012 will be your best year yet!