Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Monday, January 18, 2016

From Kole: Freaken Blog Post

I told Kole I would not give him any food if he did not bless me with a blog post.  He came thru.

Sympathizing with Joseph
We read many stories in the Bible, but few stories that we read about God intervening into the lives of sinful people throughout history are we (as Christians in the 21st century) truly able to sympathize with.  None of us have ever walked on water with Jesus, stepped into a raging furnace without breaking a sweat, or seen an entire sea split in two so that we can walk on dry land. However, during my recent journey to Uganda, East Africa, I was afforded the opportunity (though be it unwillingly) to step into the shoes of one of the great prophets of old, Joseph. 
Many of us have seen the Disney movie, heard parts of the story, and for some of the more zealous Christians among us, might have actually cracked open that 66 book love letter to us and read the story for ourselves. I was not given prophetic dreams, nor did I interpret a dream for the President, and neither was I rescued from prison only to become the second most powerful dude in the land, rather I was nearly sold off into bondage by my brother. For those of you that are not aware, I have a Ugandan brother named Andule Simon, and he nearly sold me.

We were driving back from visiting a farm some 93 miles outside of Kampala, which is where we were staying, and we got a flat tire from the journey because, as has been our mantra throughout this trip, T.I.U. (this is Uganda). We stopped in a town and waited while our CSI Ministries escorts attempted to find someone to fix the flat.  Dad, Simon, and I stayed close to the van while we walked around to stretch our legs from the long drive. As we’re standing there, a truck pulls up in front of us and around 7 people jump out to promote and sell an assortment of snacks and drinks. They were playing music and were talking to the local kids, getting them to dance and sing. While we are spectating the amusing promotion happening in front of us, I notice one of the girls that is a part of their team keeps looking over towards us. Which is nothing too out of the ordinary when Dad and I are the only white people for 50 miles in a country full of 34 million black people and Chuck is swinging his rope around, you tend to catch some lingering glimpses from people.  This girl, whom is about me and Simon’s age, then walks over to Simon and starts a conversation with him, during which he keeps gesturing to me and smiling. After their brief conversation the girl turns to me and says, “Hello, how are you?” to which I reply, “I’m good, how are you?” she answers “Fine.” and walks away without another word. I walk up to Simon, whom I was standing right behind, and ask him what in the world that was all about, meanwhile Chuck makes his way over to us. Simon informs me that the girl had walked up to him and said, “Give me your Mzungu.” which I have come to learn is not an entirely uncommon request from bold young Ugandan women. He responded by asking which one she wanted, she gestured to me, and Simon said, “Well then go and talk to him.” She informed Simon that she was too afraid, to which he replied, “He is right there.” Then we had our conversation and that was it.

Simon.  Kole's Ugandan brother.
Chuck however, hearing of this exchange offered his best fatherly advice that he could to Simon. “You were going to give him away for free! You should have at least got two cases of that pop they’re selling for him!” So like Joseph, my brother tried to sell me off into bondage to a woman that probably would have ruined my life, but unlike Joseph my father was in cahoots with my brother and was actually trying to get a better price. Ah the love of family! Also, like Joseph I was able to forgive my betrayers and we all have become closer because of it, I think. The best part of this story is the same thing happened AGAIN only a couple days later. A bold young woman shouted to Simon as we were walking down a street, “Give me your Mzungu!”
                This trip has been an experience of a lifetime. I feel glad that God has so graciously intervened in my life that I get to be a small part of what he is doing throughout the world. He has given me a brother half way across the world that encourages me and prays for me that I might finish the race well. He has given me a brother in Christ that I got to start my race with. Nine years ago Ben Mclane and I sat in his house while his father spoke the gospel to us and I have not been able to get over it since that day. He has blessed me with a father that has radically grabbed ahold of Jesus’ words when he said go and make disciples of all nations. He has led me and shown me what a man that loves Jesus can do. God has given me a mother who supports and prays for me, and I will have to wait for eternity to comprehend the full gravity of the blessings and grace that have come into my life because of her intersession on my behalf.

                In closing, God is good! He allowed me to experience the panic that comes with being informed that you are to preach at a church of a completely different culture in less than 15 hours when you feel that you have nothing to say. He has allowed me to be brutally humbled as a young orphan boy stands up and says, “God bless you for all that you have done.” God graced me with the experience of giving some snacks to children of extreme poverty, and in the midst of my musings of, “the problem is just too freaken big!” have him speak to my spirit and say, “You’re right! The problem is way too huge for you! And that’s the point! But Kole, the fact is my grace is sufficient, and I AM! You want to change the world, try abiding in Him who created the world, and see what wonders I will poor out through broken people like you.”
Soli Deo Gloria

(Glory to God alone)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Thank You Simon For Sharing!

I talked Andule Simon, our Ugandan son into writing a blog post to give us his perspective of these mission trips.  Oh this kid blesses me and everyone he meets.  Enjoy reading his thoughts!!!  Thank you so much Simon for stepping out of your comfort zone and writing this post and letting me share it.  You are amazing!

        When ever it comes to the end of the year, i strongly expect my beautiful American family, I mean the Brewer family.  This time round I was so excited to see dad (Charlie Brewer for the 7th time in Uganda). Oh! and I was much excited to see my young brother Kole.  It was hard for me to recognize him because I last saw him in 2011 when he was a little boy, but this time....oh my Gosh he was so big. When dad or mom come to Uganda, they introduce me to different people that they have come along with and this time round I was introduced to this young man called Ben,  this guy is so nice and cool, I miss him already. It was my first time to meet him but it was like we had met before, he was so free with me, he told me many things and we shared a lot with him. he truly  loved me so much, and, "BEN just know it was a blessing meeting you bro." we had to travel to JINJA  at Redeemer House, yes Jinja was my favorite. We had to hook up with the big X HOPE team and it was lots of fun, I got to meet uncle RICK and miss Wendi plus all the big crew,  we had to join hands together and we did an amazing job in Jinja.  Our first days we had to do the painting of the new future Redeemer House, again we had to visit one of the slums in Jinja at a place called MASESE. Oh my GOD, here we did a wonderful job, Dad and Miss Wendi had to preach to the adults and the rest of the team had to teach the kids.  There was around 400 kids at MASESE. I did the interpretation from English to our local language called LUGANDA to the kids, after the teaching we served out soccer jersies to 400 kids and we left a smile to everyones face. Then, we went ahead and did VBS at Redeemer House with the kids, just know it was a wonderful moment. and here comes my favorite part, we went and drove the four wheelers, oh my God it was fun.  It was my first time to drive them just know i had fun. And here comes my worst moment, I mean my worst yes my worst, saying good BYE to people that I was used to, the people that i was eating, sleeping, working, praying and having fun with, I cried, but tears couldn't solve anything, yes I had to say good bye, and I miss you all. We left Jinja and right now me, Dad and Kole are staying at CSI where we are treated like Angels, I love this place. hummmmm, there is much to say but those are the few things I had to share with you. LOVE YOU MUCH AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cowboys Will Find Cows Even in Uganda

(No Subject)To:

Everyday Charlie sends me an update letter while he is in Uganda, it keeps a journal for us both.  I just had to share his today as it reminded me of missionary letters I have read in books.  It made me laugh....COWBOYS will always find cows to look at NO MATTER where in the world they are.  

Here is a decoder:
GF = Girlfriend, this is his name for me.
CSI = Christ Sanctuary International
IU = I love you
freaks = our kids

Hey GF,
Got to CSI today about 4pm. after a easy trip here.
We stopped in Mukono to see Agnes and her family.  The mother Margeret, is doing well, although Adoni, the husband has left.  She has started a little pig farm and is selling piglets, and has a bunch of chickens which she sells eggs from and has kept the kids in school throughout last year.  Pius, the head teacher said they are doing well and are doing good in school.  Little Agnes was mortified we showed up unannounced as she had to go and change her clothes so that she was properly dressed.  Very cute.  So... we gave Roberts money to the head teacher to make sure the kids school fees are taken care of, so Margaret has one less thing to worry about.
We then headed to Kampala and met up with Michael M., Nicole, his wife and kids over at the coffee shop at Game, where we spent 4 hours last year getting phone service.  Nicole knows about the school fees and will handle that.  Its about 100K UGX per semester, so school is taken care of for the next two years I believe.  Margaret said if she knew we were coming she would've written a letter thanking Robert, the mystery man, for all he has done.  I told her I will make Robert come and she can thank him herself.  So, we are going to try to visit Michaels farm/ranch which is 90 KM. northeast of Kampala on Wednesday.  It sounds very interesting, as he is farming about 300 acres of corn and has Boran cattle on the place.  Boran are Kenyan cattle, that look alot like a Brahma, but bigger.  He said they are aggressive, and showed us his belly from where one of the mamas smoked him.  Not sure if they are like our cattle, and they are used to the Ugandan docile herd.  Will be new country to see anyway.
Kole and I are preaching tomorrow at CSI so we are preparing.  Tucker is gone to S. Africa and will not return until the 22nd.  So Kole and I are it tomorrow.  Praying for the right words.
IU. Love the freaks for me and wish them all success this weekend, especially Luke.
Love you.

Friday, January 8, 2016


When you have a baby and life is mostly simple, and your child is strapped safely into the car seats and boosters, tucked snuggly each night in the crib, and held every day in your arms, while your other spawn play somewhere within earshot, nothing about that routine prepares you for the day when he decides to play football or shows up in your driveway on a motorcycle or thinks sleeping in the woods without cell service is “fun.” But, slowly, your faith muscles get tuned up and you learn to loosen the reins or, risk the silence of a nest that is not only empty but, also, never even visited.

 And, then, right in the middle of your peaceful yuletide preparations and first world menu planning and shopping festivities, your college senior drops a new grace-growing opportunity right in your lap by announcing his intentions to spend Christmas break working in Uganda, Africa. “Ha! You think. That child sure likes to kid around.” Only, he isn’t kidding. He’s been praying, and seeking just like you and his Father taught him to. (DANGIT!) And, being a person that has a built-in aversion to airplanes, strange beds, public restrooms and roller coasters, you start kicking yourself for teaching him the whole “life-abundant” doxology instead of stunting his growth with your default anthem of fear and worry (like that would even work anyway.) So, you book tickets, arrange vaccinations, buy luggage, engage with your son in collecting and packing things that can make life a whole lot easier for a child growing up in a third world country, and you cry, not because you don’t want your son to go, but because it is so damn beautiful what he wants to do and what he’s willing to sacrifice to get there.
One would think that, after being a parent for 22 years, you would accept that you are mostly along for the ride that your kids choose to embark on in life. Your main job has always been to act as a compass of sorts, reminding them of where the truth is and how to find it any time their path gets crooked. However, you are still frustratingly caught off guard when your services are no longer needed in the sippy-cup and water-wings end of the parenting pool, and, instead, you find yourself ever deeper in waters that require you to choose between trusting or running and hiding; in other words, GROWING UP! Oh sure, you get a kick out of being their glorified personal assistant, who can produce a password out of thin air, show them how to balance a bank statement, teach them how to drive on icy roads or the lyrics to any 80’s song ever written; except for that part where you can barely keep your chin above water because your heart is still hopelessly tethered to their every move and mood, no matter how old or how far away they are. 
But the further you wade into these uncharted waters, the more you feel some new and different words begin to bubble up in your spirit. Because you’ve just been schooled by the one you’ve always prided yourself in teaching. By his actions, your son imparts wisdom that challenges your heart to dip its toe into intentional and uncomfortable places, as you ring in the new year, half-a-world away from your child whose heart is breaking for the poor while yours is ripped open wide to new possibilities.

Doxology: (noun)  - a liturgical formula of praise to God.

Written by:  Holly McLane

I asked Holly (Ben's Mama) to share some of her journey on this Uganda mission trip.  She is at home, but she is very much a part of their trip.  It's amazing that God uses our kids' hearts that are more brave and open to break ours wide open.  It was Lashae ( our oldest daughter) who felt God calling her to do a mission trip 5 1/2 years ago, and it CHANGED all of us forever!  To God be the glory.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Update From the Mom on a Mission

Update from the homeland.
I love love love when my man is away on mission.  As Ben put it, Charlie is more alive in Uganda than he has ever seen him.  I think it has to do with his love for Uganda and the people, but I think it has more to do with the fact that when he is so far away and on mission,  he is submitted to God more than ever with a fresh understanding of how small he is and how big God is. And this time, Goose (Kole) and Ben went with him.  I am cheering them on with everything in me.

But....there is my human heart that I fight on a daily basis that goes into overdrive when the men are away on mission....

Here's what happens...every single irritating thing that Charlie typically takes care of will need attention while he is gone.  Mostly little stuff, like the highest fire detector in the whole house will chirp at me until I am nearly crazy.  Thank God my wife Charsie got married and her hubby is around to handle a few of these things.

Then, there's the daily kid stuff, like they forget their gym shorts for the 400th time, this is normal stuff, but I can't call up Charlie, who doesn't have time to deal with this stuff when he's home, but I can at least call him and complain about whatever child happens to be the problem at the moment and pretty much blame him on some level.   Kinda kidding kinda not.

It's stuff like this that will surely happen the minute the man of the house is gone for a few days.  This is normal stuff, I know, but when he is on a mission trip there is something that happens.....I feel like that tunnel vision that I get when I am in  labor, happens to me, but on a heart level.  I can't deal with anything but what is in front of me at the moment, and at the moment, the thing that is in front of my heart is spread from here to 10,000 miles away. When this tunnel vision takes over,  I don't handle outside noise as well.  I'm easily irritated and quite distracted.  I am aware of  the time and people and the jobs that happen to be going on on the other side of the world, they are on my mind and heart at some level, at all times.  It's quite nice when I know they are all tucked in for the night, which happens to be our daytime, but, it's during the night that I know they are up and about and there's this awareness even in my sleep that occurs. 

Let's just say, God hears from me A LOT!  

I wouldn't have it any other way.  The good outweighs the petty irritations and my selfish heart a million to one, and I have the added bonus of lots of good help and company from my kids at home.  

It is in these times that I'm more aware than ever the greatness of our God and how He can hold all of us in His hands and NOTHING is lost on Him or slips by Him not matter how big this world seems and how far spread out we are.  It brings me to a new and fresh dose of trust in Him. 

  I feel completely out of control and that is when I have to remember I KNOW WHO IS IN CONTROL. 


2 Corinthians 5:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Grab Your Kleenex - Uganda Update by Ben McLane

Grab your kleenex, here is a Ugandan Mission Trip update from Ben McLane:

So I hear it's my turn to send in a piece for the blog, seeing as I've never written a blog before I'm just going to wing it and tell a story for my contribution:

Around 2:00pm
Masese; a slum on the outskirts of Jinja, Uganda

"Dude, we gotta make a decision here," Kole says, as the last few of the xhope group file out of the classroom we had been eating lunch in."Muzungu!" pipes a child about three feet to my right. Somehow 6 or 7 more kids had slipped into the room, through the legs of the team members leaving.
I look down at the packs of trail mix we wanted to give to the couple of kids that had been looking in the windows longingly as we ate. The plan to get them something sweet without exciting a riot as the rest of the group left was easy when there were only a few small hands to fill. Now, pleasing everyone was impossible.
"Muzungu!" the child again pops off, a foot away this time.
"Alright here's what we do.” I say to Kole, “I toss a pack to this one on my right. When I do that, you take three to the kids at the window and I'll pick two more to give the other two, then we bolt for the door!"
"Sounds good!" he says with is mouth, but his eyes give back more of a "this-could-get-out-of-hand" look.
"Muzungu, please." she whispers, almost in my ear now.
I toss the first pack and, in a flurry of excited yells and laughs, we are out the door trotting past Chuck.
We navigated that situation without too much physical chaos, but that wasn't the case in my head. I was irritated. There is never enough! Why isn't there ever enough?! These kids lose it over a pack of trail mix and, back home, kids their age throw temper tantrums because they got the wrong color iPhone for Christmas.
I was in the middle of trying to figure out how much trail mix I could buy with the iPhone's of those spoiled American kids when God spoke, in a big way.
I felt a tiny hand wrap around my little finger and I looked down to see a little one munching on an almond and smiling up at me. This was definitely NOT one of the kids that got a pack of trail mix.
I looked up to see one of the bigger kids, who had gotten a pack, passing out pieces to his friends in a more peaceful and orderly fashion than Kole and I could have ever hoped to do. 
Kole told me later that almost the same scenario had happened to him a few hundred yards away.
God was very clearly saying, "chill dude, these are my children and I LOVE THEM. I will take care of them, ALL of them. So you don't have to. Today I took care of these few by using you and the others. Tomorrow I will take care of them, and many more in another way. Because, I am a good, good Father." 

When it was all said and done, God gave presents to around 500 of his children today in the village of Masese, just like Jesus said He would in Mathew 6: 25-26 - 
"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more then food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your Heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him then they are."
The gift He gave me was the peace of knowing that all I need to do is what He asks, nothing more and nothing less. It's not my job to give a pack of trail mix to every hungry orphan, just the ones that God sends to whisper "muzungu" in my ear.
Being able to be a part of today was humbling and has left me craving more. I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Thank you for all the prayers. Charlie, Kole, and I are healthy and keeping our eyes and hearts wide open!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Hubby, The Bloggy Missionary Gives an Update From Uganda

My hot missionary hubby is AGAIN stepping out of his comfort zone....I asked if he would give an update as to how it is going in Uganda so I could post it to my blog.  He agreed!!!  He is now a missionary and a blogger!!!  

From Charlie:  1/2/2016

So for the Uganda up date.
Things went really, and I mean unusually smooth getting here. Starting in PDX, the check in gal was running behind on getting to a gate and thus basically tagged all of our check in bags without really weighing them, thus we brought an extra five pounds of stuff here. Our flights were good and got to Amsterdam in enough time to walk directly to our Entebbe flight and board.
Patience and Simon met us the airport, loaded up and went to CSI, where Prudence had our dinner waiting for us, so we ate once again and finally got in bed about 1 am.  Prudence was up at some ridiculously early hour to make sure our breakfast was awaiting us by 7am., at 6am when I came down in search of caffeine, she was already prepping and tea was ready. As we ate Patience came back from her morning routine with Irene close behind. I was excited to start the gift giving as Simon had already been treated to his new phone from Ms. Brenda, a computer from us and Scott Johnson, and some extras thrown in by Michael at Redmond Computers, plus clothes and shoes from us and the Harrods. He was so excited that Ben's work boots fit him and the Harrods black Sunday school shoes were perfect as well.
Then I was able to give Ms. Irene her purse and lotions that just so happened to match her outfit!!!! That was huge!

Patience and Prudence who do so much for CSI, I believe are actual angels here on earth that you can physically see.  They were giddy as well for the purses and little gifts brought for them.  Then, in comes my Ugandan cousin, Ms Gertrude.

 She is the CSI money manager. She reminds me so much of my cousin, Kari, its almost uncanny their mannerisms and just overall spunk.  She is the one we do battle with when it comes to CSI trying to spend their money on us, as we are there to bless them not them bless us. We have been fortunate the past few years to bring a wheelbarrow of money  that people give and things CSI can use in their various ministries, put together by our church family at Shiloh Ranch Cowboy Church, other people's, and ourselves; and Gertrude tries to spoil us.  Well let me tell you... That ain't happening, thus our reoccurring banter back and forth. She got a purse and goodies as well. Of course we had to take photos of everyone with their new goodies.  The girls and their purses, TJ's new boots, Devine and Destiny with their new shoes donated by the Harrods, and Pastor Tucker in his new SRCC hoodie. He said it made him ready for battle, to continue to fight for Jesus, plus it will keep his head warm as he comes and goes from the late night prayer meetings at church.
We headed out the next morning for Jinja with Mulundo Patrick, in the CSI van, which Gertrude had already made sure was full of fuel... see how she is... we rent the van and driver and should fill it up ourselves, right! I will get even.  We had to make a few stops on the way for painting supplies, thus, we got to Jinja just in time to eat supper with the X Hope team that had been at Redeemer House all day, and got to celebrate Rick Cross's birthday. We ate chicken and goat on a stick, Rolex, guacamole, rice and beans, and of course birthday cake and ice cream all while sitting around a big fire for the festive occasion. After eating our fill we took turns thanking God for all the things he had done for us the past year. The good and the bad. Of course I tried to speak of what Uganda means to us, the people we know and love here, and not bawl. Right. Not!!  After all I  do go to cry boy church! The RH kids look good and they were blessed with a ton, and I mean a ton of brand new clothes which the X HOPE team had brought with them, all 15 of them, which equates to 1500 #'s of goods brought for the RH family and the various other community outreaches they will do in the next few days. They have brought 300, yes 300 soccer uniforms that will be given out tomorrow after church and a VBS service in a village near Jinja.  I am sure it will be my next opportunity to have water flow out of my eyes, as Wendi Cross said that a lot of these children might have a shirt to wear. Might have a shirt, didn't say anything about pants,  just a shirt.
Kole, Ben, Simon, myself and the X HOPE men have been furiously working on the new RH house, prepping for paint and cabinets.  It is going as fast as anything goes here in Uganda, especially with the lack of electricity, power tools, air compressors, ladders, etc. Unless banana pole ladders are OSHA approved! So we will do our best and pray we can get the inside painting completed before we leave.
Praying for a clear mind and the right words God wants said tomorrow at church and VBS. I get to speak tomorrow as well at church, as is expected, "After all you have come such a long way, you must have a good word for us, right."  Kole and Ben will help with a section of the VBS as well and afterwards we all get to hand out the 300 uniforms. We are all praying God's provision for that as their could be more than 300 kids there.
That's all I have for now.