Thursday, April 9, 2009

Russ, Angel, Tom, Lilly and GOD'S MOVEMENT

*edited with Angel's photos!

I have been a bad blogger lately! It's for good reason, though. . .I swear! Sometimes I fail to go back and blog what has gone on once a new week has begun. But this entire blog would be remiss if I failed to blog all of the wonderful things that God brought to pass this past week!

We had several visitors in town. . . .(drumroll please)
Russ and Angel!!!

They came to Fl for a kid-free vacation. . .(stop drooling and read on =) We got to meet for dinner on their way into town and sat and talked for 5 hours straight! Can I tell you I love these folks? If you don't know them, check out Angel's blog (if you are the one person who doesn't already read it!). They are also the brains behind Red Letters Campaign. Well. . .Angel is the personality and Russ is the brains. . hehe. Russ is wicked smart and Angel is a ball of energy on fire for God. They share a passion for the poor and for seeing believers lives transformed by Jesus as they follow Jesus' commands to feed, clothe and love on others. They are truly a joy to be around. We actually got a sitter (thanks Mom!!!) and went to the beach with them on Monday afternoon. We spent the entire afternoon and evening walking the beach, talking and dreaming. Seriously, words can't express how much we enjoy them. It's often hard to find a couple that you both really get along with. . .especially since Greg doesn't find friends online like I do. I think it always makes him a BIT nervous when I say that we are hanging out with someone he doesn't know well in real life. No reason to fear here. . .he and Russ hit it off immediately. We love them both dearly and are thankful for this friendship that has begun and that they are allowing us to be involved in this precious ministry that they have begun (with the help of their amazing friends back home).

The next crew to join us were Tom and Lilly Davis.

We planned months ago for Tom to come in for our church's launch of our sponsorship of Rapha Orphan Village (I'll tell you about that soon). Since Tom's speaking schedule is crazy this spring he has been trying to bring along a kid or two to different events. So, we had the joy of hosting not just Tom, but the precious Lilly Joy as well. What a doll! I am a sucker for 5 year old girls anyways, but she takes the cake. Tom and Lilly flew in late Wednesday night and spent the entire day at Disney on Thursday. Can I tell you how thankful I am for sweet friends who work there? A friend of mine (you know who you are! thanks!) was able to get Tom and Lilly park hoppers into Disney so they could enjoy Epcot's Disney Princess breakfast and a day at Magic Kingdom. It was a joy for us to get to bless Tom and Lilly in this way as we recognize how much sacrifice Tom's family makes for the kingdom by allowing him to travel the way he does to preach the good news and the opportunity to serve the world.

Speaking of awesome friends. . . .after a great morning on Friday with Tom speaking to a group of lay leaders from across Orlando. . .we headed to Sea World! Sea World is my favorite park because of how relaxing it is. Tom and I packed up his girl and my gang and headed down to Sea World to meet my sweet friends Jay and Carrie and their crew as well as the infamous Russ (Angel's foot hurt so she couldnt' join us =( What a fun and relaxing evening we had! Our kids all got along famously (we also had the Dunwell boys join us) and we all enjoyed Shamu, Sharks, Pets Ahoy and a leisurely dinner as well. . . interesting note: in the 4 families that were there, we had all adopted. . .China, Guatemala, Liberia and Russia represented!

Lilly spent the night on Friday night because the guys (tom and greg) had an early golf game. This was a blast for the kiddos because I'm pretty sure my Brayden has a bit of a crush. He kept hugging Lilly. . .too cute! I packed up the kids and did a Chick Fil A breakfast and a morning at the pool. Our first swim of the season! whohoo! (though I did get mean comments on FB from people who live in the Tundra!).

Lilly kept saying, "I don't have to wear a coat here!" We had a blast and finished up just in time to meet the guys for a quick change and out for lunch to meet. . . .Russ and Angel on their way OUT of town. Pastor Jon and Christie met up with us too! After Russ and Angel's favorite Gluten-Free Pizza (I couldn't even tell the difference!), we headed to church for our launch weekend.
Angel's caption for this photo: Russ and Brandi plotting to take over the world. haha. I tease that I'm not allowed to talk to Russ on the phone. . .because I'll never sleep again. . yes, we'll take over the world but I'll just be exhausted! haha
An impromptu dance party at Uno's.

What a blessing our church is to us. You should have seen our church take on responsibility for these precious kiddos. We have built it up over the past month and this body was READY for the challenge. And let me tell you. . Tom brought the challenge. He did a great job preaching the word and sharing God's heart for the world. . . . and our folks answered the call!

ALL 52 children were SPONSORED!!!! AND a waiting list of 13 families!!!

That's what I'm talking about! Not only that, but every family was SUPER excited about me going to Uganda in 3 weeks to see their kids. A full on letter writing campaign is starting. Families that weren't able to sponsor at this time are also writing kids. We are getting a list of all of the teachers names and starting a campaign of encouragement to pair them up with families that will love, pray for and write to them as well!!! God is GOOD. Many of my friends just sat and wept through the service. I am so thankful for people upon whom God has laid this burden. I rejoice with their tears because we share a common bond!

So. . .that's my excuse for no blogging. . .good enough? hehe. This week is just as crazy. Today we have our Easter Party at the Rescue Mission and Saturday morning is our Spring Fling, a community event at our church where we expect 1500+ people and I'm in charge. . yeah. . I may be certifiable!

PS Russ, Angel and Tom all have way better pictures of our weekend, but I've been waiting and waiting on THEM to blog it so I could steal the pictures. . .couldn't wait any longer! So, check their sites later. . .you may see more fun pictures! I know Tom got some good group shots and Angel has our beach pictures! Thanks guys for a wonderful week! We love the friendships God has provided in both of your families. Can't wait to spend time with the Weir kiddos and meet the rest of the Davis clan too (if Lilly is any indication, I really can't wait!)


Erin @ T5M said...

Looks like a great time, of course I was "virtually there" with you guys cause I was following you all on twitter, while drooling over talk of the beach, SeaWorld, and Disney! (It's still in the 40-degree range in Maine!)

Looking forward to meeting you all "in person" soon!


Angela said...

Oh, my goodness--how exciting!! I am so thankful for your passion hooking up with their passion and you all working with God to move in such an incrediable way for "HIS" sweet ones we call orphans!!

God bless you--
I'll be praying for you as you keep on moving-- :-)

Russ said...

Hey Brandi! We had so much fun getting to hang with you guys too! Can't wait to do it again soon. You guys amaze us with all you do and inspire us to keep on keepin' on. Wish I could clone you guys, put you in bottles and ship y'all around the world 'cause the world could use more McElhenys :o)

Vanessa said...

That's a true blessing in deed!! I just wish I could get people on fire like that!! I'm working on it though! A little over seven months until travel!!

Tom Davis said...

I'm working on it, but I'm under a book deadline!

Melissa said...

Looks like you were having too much fun!

I was reading this and am so sad that my church is just not there (orphanage sponsoring) yet. I just feel like they are missing out! But, I have a couple other ideas brewing and gonna see how it turns out.

Also, have to say how excited I got to see my girl in your sidebar!! Thanks again for that :)