Friday, December 21, 2007

A Change for the Better

As many of you already know, Andrea has been working for the American Lung Association here in Austin since October. Unfortunately, the experience has not been a positive one for her. There are vast differences between the organization here and her previous position in Florida, not to mention, her commute is over an hour long one-way! Quite simply, it wasn't working as she had hoped it would. So, she regrettably gave her two week notice. However, the Lord has provided once again by making an opportunity available for her. On January 7th, Andrea will join the World Video Bible School staff! (Pictured below) We are SO excited about it! This is the same company that produced and publishes the "Searching for Truth" DVD's. Working at WVBS will be a great experience for her and it will allow her to attend some classes at SWSBS! Brethren, God is so good!

Monday, December 17, 2007

From a Floridian in Texas

Hello Everyone!
Having grown up in Florida my entire life, I have never experienced the joy of watching the seasons change. Over the past few weeks, Troy and I have really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful Fall colors. And Austin has plenty of evergreens too, so we will not have to experience a brown winter.
Things are really starting to come together for us in our house as we are finally seeing the end to all the boxes. I have really enjoyed decorating our new place and I am sure we have the most tropical home in Texas! We started putting up all our holiday décor this week, including hanging our stockings over the fireplace. Can’t say I ever did that in Florida!!!
Thank you all for the prayers you continually send up on our behalf. Have a happy and safe holiday season. We love you, miss you, and pray for you!
May God bless
you all!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The walls came tumbling down!

What a great idea! These missionaries, who were down in El Salvador, are making a little "Jericho" for the children to march around seven times, blow their trumpets, and then see the walls fall down! They took paper bags and made "bricks" out of them. This will make a great impression upon their minds that will last them a lifetime!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Great Quotes

Here are some more of the quotes we hear in class. Some of them may be an old saying or a cliché, but I have attributed them to the person whom I heard say them, (or I read). Hope you enjoy them!

What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake?! - Johnny Ramsey

Husbands and wives should never yell at each other unless there is a fire. - Tim Ayers

He that is convinced against his will is of the same mind still. - Carl Garner

If you don’t do much teaching in your sermon, you ain’t doing much preaching! - Roy Deaver

A scholar is a person who has been educated beyond his intelligence.
- Al Macias

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Before and After

Today is the official "Open House" for the Dripping Springs church of Christ. There should be a whole lot of people there from all around the area. Many of the Christian's in the Lord's church from this area have relatives and many friends in different congregations in and around Austin. I know they are all excited for a chance to come see the new building and fellowship with their brethren.
Tomorrow there will be a "pot luck" dinner on the grounds to "commemorate" the building, if you will. We are praying this will be an opportunity to introduce the church to our neighbors in the area, as well.
It's hard to believe the building looked like this (picture below) just a few weeks ago! But, thanks to the help of many of the members of the congregation, the work was completed within a very short time. The general contractor, who's company built the facility, is also a member at Dripping Springs. The old church building was purchased by the city to be used as city offices. They were anxious for us to get out and the time was running out on the agreement. Thanks be to the Lord that all was completed in time!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

For God's Glory

That's what the new building at Dripping Springs is going to be used for!
After several months of construction at an almost "frantic" pace, the new facility is complete. It is truly a beautiful place! It has a very comfortable and inviting feel too it, which I think is very important.
I had the opportunity to design the sound system for the auditorium and I am happy to report that everything worked out great! I will be posting more photos later.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Future Preacher

Sorry I haven't "blogged" lately, but I've been "bogged" down with homework! I appreciate that you keep checking in though!
The young man in the photo is Joseph Sheeran. It was taken at the Midtown church of Christ, in Victoria, TX where he and his parents attend. We were there on a door knocking campaign and conducting Bible studies. Joseph was so impressed with the SWSBS students being dressed for worship all the time that he told his mom he wanted to start wearing his tie to church. We told him that he was now qualified to sit with the students, but only if he takes notes! We think he would be a fine candidate for SWSBS someday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Quotes

When someone said, “I don’t believe in God because there are too many wicked people in the world,” Billy Bland replied, “Well, I guess I don’t believe in soap because there are just too many dirty people in the world.”

Drink one drink and you’re one drink drunk. - Carl Garner

It is possible to lie while singing hymns to God. - Burt Jones

One transgression unrepented of will keep us out of heaven and send us to hell. - Don Walker

A greedy preacher is about as useful as a square circle. - Tim Ayers

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little Blessings

God has blessed us in so many ways! We are always very thankful for what He has done for us. One of the little blessings that we have received while being here is Andrea being closer to her niece and nephew, Chelsi and Dillon. They live just north of Austin with their mother. Instead of seeing them only once or twice a year, now she gets to see them almost every month. This picture was taken last year during the holidays when her brother, Andrew, was home from Iraq and brought his children to Florida.
They sure have a lot of fun together! She takes them shopping and swimming, they play games and watch movies together, and they usually call Andrew on the internet over seas together to say, "Hello!"

Monday, November 5, 2007


Soccer is by far the most popular sport in South America. Much like football is in the United States, except not everyone has a TV to be able watch the games. So when there is an important match, like Paraguay playing Argentina or something, then the fans will gather around any TV they can find. On the night this picture was taken we saw several big groups gathered outside convenient stores, bars, and other places that had a TV (mostly little ones)! This place was just a little convenience store along the sidewalk.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is it just me, or is this scary?

Halloween is obviously known for some scary ghouls and goblins and we certainly had our share last night. This little neighborhood we live in looks like something from an old fashion all-American-town. So, it is pretty safe for the kids to roam about and collect candy. There were a bunch of 'em and it was a lot of fun!
Some things that actually are scary to me, however, are some of the things that I've seen when visiting Central or South America. For example, this guy working on a power pole with a gazillion wires hanging off it, (hope he doesn't mind getting bug eyes!)
Or, what about this kid riding on the spare tire BETWEEN the cab and the bed of the dump truck! OSHA would just keel over and pass out if they saw all the different safety violations going on! I'm not sure how many people actually get hurt, and I doubt it would even be reported, but it sure gives you an appreciation for some of the laws or codes we have in this country.
- God Bless

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quotable Quotes

I have heard some really great quotes lately by different preachers:

"You can't get more aller than all" - Robert Taylor

"I wonder if devil worshippers always hear, 'You people in the church of Satan think you're the only ones going to hell!'?" - Kieth Mosher

"I love Goodwill! It's the only place where you can get a 1970's suit for a dollar!" - Chance Blackmer

More later.....................

Monday, October 22, 2007

Final Exams!

This picture depicts about how I feel right now. We have our final exams this week and my poor head is spinning! Not just from all the studies that I have been doing, but also from the fact that my first quarter is already over! I can't believe how fast everything is going. Lots of people have told me this would be the fastest two years of my life. If this first quarter is any indication, I do believe they're right! God bless! - Troy

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Feast of the Word

One of the things I have really enjoyed about being in Bible School is the opportunity to attend Gospel meetings and Lectureships. We just returned from the 10th Annual Lubbock Lectureships hosted by the Southside church of Christ. What an incredible feast of God's Word! There were several outstanding speakers and I had the opportunity to meet many of them, as well as, many brethren from all over the country. The subject was "Your Adversary the Devil." It was a thoroughly interesting topic to study and the speakers did an outstanding job in their preparation and delivery of their lessons. Next month we have the opportunity to attend the Shertz Lectureship for a couple of days.
This picture is of a classroom in the Institute of Theological and Cultural Studies that I visited while in El Salvador. It is interesting to me to know that there are preacher's schools in all parts of the world that are learning the same things that we are here, just in different languages!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thank you for your thoughtfulness!

We have received a ton of cards, emails, and calls from our brethren in Florida wishing Andrea and me a happy anniversary. We can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate the thoughtfulness! Of course, it did make us miss home even more! God bless you all!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Congratulations Andrea!

Andrea has been offered a job and has accepted a position with The American Lung Association here in Austin, Texas! We are really excited about it because it is an organization that she is familiar with and it will give her an opportunity to get to know the community better. Andrea really loves her kind of work as an event planner and coordinator. I think she is really good at it, myself. We are also very thankful that God has provided this opportunity because it gives us a little more stability while we are attending Bible school. If you get a chance, give her a call and tell her congrats! I know she is really happy about this. - This picture is of her with Ambassador Paul Bremer at one of the events she was involved with. Way to go, Andrea!

Monday, October 1, 2007

When in Rome.....

There are so many cultural differences in Paraguay that are new and interesting that one can easily be overwhelmed by the experience. There's the traffic, the language, the signs, the street vendors, and so many other things that contribute to a sensory overload. One of the things that it is truly unique and interesting to Paraguay is the general preference for drinking yerba mate. It seems that everyone in the country drinks it all day and almost everyday. They all carry around a little cup called a guampa, which holds the yerba, and a cooler of ice water. You can see men (and many women) all over the city just sitting around sipping their mate and relaxing.
I snapped this picture of a local Paraguayan man sitting in a street market enjoying his own. Something about him seems very familiar.......

(For those who don't know: this is Chris Fry - American missionary to Paraguay)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

High on a mountain...

There is a mountain top that can be seen from the hotel where we stay in El Salvador. It is called Cero Pena de Cayaguanca (there seems to be different spellings). I have had the pleasure to climb it two different times. The first time was when Josh and I went to La Palma and the second time was with Ralph McClurg. Each time we we were lead to the top by a local Peace Corp worker named York.

It is a very steep and tiring climb up a very narrow trail that switchbacks through the forest. The view from the top is amazing as you can see three countries: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. In fact, the boundary between Honduras and El Salvador bisects the mountain. It was such a great experience! This picture is Josh and me "on top of the mountain."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Brokedown Blues

My old Ford pickup truck has decided to get 'onry with me for some reason. Maybe it doesn't like Texas (after all, it is painted Miami Dolphin teal), I don't know why. But, I just had to replace the clutch and now it has a miss in the engine! This is getting expensive! Is this where James 1:2-3 comes in??
Well, one of my classmates, Russ Tracy, has been a real friend and helper with my problem. He introduced me to an honest mechanic (yes, they do still exist) and he was even kind enough to let me drive his old Chevy pickup that he just had sitting in the driveway! (pictured above) I must say it is a really cool truck and I get some interesting looks while driving it down the road. It reminds me of that old TV show, Sanford and Sons!
- God Bless!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Point of view......

I have been reading the La Palma, El Salvador blog this week and following the mission team from Missouri that is down there working right now. I feel close to that work and I like to see the updated pictures to see how everyone is doing. It makes me wish I was there! Here are a couple of pictures from when I went with the team last March. It shows the local preacher, Jose Castillo preaching at an evening meeting at someone's home.
The picture below shows what he had do deal with (from my vantage point) while speaking to the people: a puppy curled up at his feet and a chicken walking around! That's concentration!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Knockin' at the door.

Hi ya'll!
We just got back from a campaign in Victoria, TX where we knocked on doors and conducted Bible studies in conjunction with a Gospel Meeting at the Midtown church of Christ. Brother Don Walker from the Shenandoah church of Christ in San Antonio was the speaker for the week.
It was a very successful week with many doors knocked, flyers passed out, and invitations made. There were two baptisms and about 15-20 Bible studies conducted during the 5 days we were there! All the SWSBS students and I are really pumped up right now and are really grateful for the hospitality shown to us by the Midtown congregation.
God bless! - TROY

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Here are we Lord, send us!

Andrea and I are excited to report that we have arrived at a decision that we have been thinking and praying about for many weeks now. After much consideration, we have decided to join the work in Asunción, Paraguay, South America. As many of you may know, we have been working with Josh and Cara Blackmer in an effort to form a missionary team to go into the world somewhere to evangelize to the lost. Chris and Vickie Fry have invited all of us to come join their team in South America, so we are going to begin the application and fund raising process to be able to enter that work. If all goes according to plan, we should be in Paraguay sometime in late 2009 or early 2010. We are really excited about the possibilities and we are thankful for the opportunity that God has blessed us with. We are praying diligently that we are doing this according to God's will. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue through this process!
The picture is from one of our meetings with Chris while we were on our survey trip to Paraguay this past July. - TROY

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Day in the Life of.........

Hi friends! I have had several people asking me what it is like at school so I thought I would describe a day in the life of a 1st year student at SWSBS:
We start the day by setting up our desks with our laptops, printers, and subject notebooks. On MWF, our first class is Hermeneutics, and then we have Matthew. These classes are followed by a chapel service where the students lead singing, pray, and give a devotional for the rest of the students. Sometimes a faculty member will give the devotional. Afterwards, we return to class for Personal Skills Development, then we break for lunch. After lunch are Exodus, Mark, and Christian Doctrine. Tuesdays and Thursdays we take Genesis, Intro to the Old and New Testaments, and Bible Geography. Each of our Bible book classes start with a memory verse that we have to recite for roll call; that’s 11 memory verses per week! Right after school we usually work on our notebooks or class assignments before going home. Once home, I usually grab a quick snack and then retreat to my office where I study, write, or read my homework and class assignments until bedtime.

All of the classes include LOTS of note taking. Depending on the class, I will take notes by hand or on my laptop. Many times, I’m also taking notes in my Bible. In addition, we are required to complete “Quarterly Work” which is work assigned to us that has to be completed by the end of the quarter. We can work on it when we like, but there is so much of it that it demands we work on it almost everyday. These are things like outlining the entire Bible book(s) that we are studying that quarter, marking up geography maps, reading several books, writing sermon outlines, completing class notebooks containing everything for that class, and a research paper.

With all that said, let me add this: I love this school! Being in God’s Word everyday, all day is amazing, rewarding, fulfilling, and encouraging! Thank you to everyone who is supporting me and helping me to be here! God bless you!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Class Photo

Have you ever seen a more studious looking group?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Matthew 6:25-34 "Do not worry..."

Without the support of many wonderful and kind brethren within the Lord’s Kingdom, it would not be possible for Andrea and me to attend preacher’s school. When we left to come to Austin, we had still not raised the amount of support that we needed in order to be able to cover our living costs. However, we stepped out on faith with what we had raised, believing that God would provide the rest. Well, wouldn’t you know that within two weeks of arriving here, we received calls from several congregations that had heard of our need and offered their support! We have now reached our goal! God is so good! If we can, we are going to try to raise a little more support so Andrea doesn’t have to work very much. The reason for this is because she has decided to take several of the classes at SWSBS also! She has signed up for and is taking Bible Geography, Hermeneutics, and Christian Doctrine. She also has a “Preacher’s Wives” class on Monday nights. We’re having fun helping each other with our memory verses and our homework! Please continue to pray for us!


Avondale church of Christ, Decatur, GA - $200.00

Birdville church of Christ, Haltom City, TX - $200.00

Buda/Kyle church of Christ, Buda, TX - $200.00

Central Avenue church of Christ, Valdosta, GA - $160.00

Dripping Springs church of Christ, Dripping Springs, TX - $200.00

Hwy 95 church of Christ, Taylor, TX - $200.00

Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ, WPB, FL - $600.00

Portland church of Christ, Portland, TX - $300.00

Roanoke church of Christ, Roanoke, TX - $200.00

Schertz church of Christ, Schertz, TX - $150.00

Suncoast church of Christ, Lake Worth, FL – textbook expenses

Friday, August 17, 2007

Whew! Are you serious?

Ever since I started school on Monday, everyone keeps asking me, "So, what do you think? Can you handle it?" The reason they ask is because the course load is very difficult and my fellow students are wondering how I will react. Many of them have told me their horror stories about being in complete shock when they first began classes. I guess they can sense the "deer in the headlight" look that all of us 1st year students must be exuding. Well, I must say after my first week, it is definitely going to be a lot of hard work, but I think I can handle it just fine.
Here is an example of what I have to complete by Tuesday: 8 Bible memory verses, 8 Bible chapter outlines from Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, and Mark, read several chapters in Hermeneutics, complete marking four or five Bible land maps, memorize the Old Testament books in order, and prepare sermon outlines. Somewhere in there I have to fit in preaching this weekend and, oh yes, get some sleep. Whew! Are you serious?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

School is in session......

Well, it is hard to believe, but the day that I have been waiting for is finally here! We had our first couple of days at school with orientation, class photos, and some entrance exams. I am so thrilled to be here! The director, brother Rick Brumback, said, "Remember this - it is a privilege to be a student here, not a right." I would add, "It is also an honor!"
One test we took was a Bible knowledge exam. The second year students have nicknamed it, "The Humbling Test." They were right, it was very hard! But, when I take it as an exit exam I plan to ace it!
The picture on the right is inside the Dripping Springs church of Christ. Andrea and I placed membership there this past Sunday. God bless! - TROY

Thursday, August 9, 2007

One Step Forward and Three Steps Back

Since we don't actually have a physical address in Texas yet, Andrea and I needed a place where we could receive our mail. We decided to go and get a post office box a couple of days ago. However, thanks to Osama bin Laden and/or Global Warming, one can no longer get a post office box without a large amount of unstructured rigamarole. The man behind the counter said, "I'm sorry, but your Florida driver's license with a PO Box address on it will not do. You have to have a Texas driver's license." The man behind the driver's license counter said, "I'm sorry, but you will need to register your vehicles in Texas first." The lady behind the Tax counter said, "I'm sorry, but you have to have your vehicle inspected first." Then, the man at the garage said, "You got insurance?" I said, "Yup." He said, "Texas insurance?" I said, "Nope." So, I called Geico, and the little gecko on the other end of the line said, "So, you got an address in Texas?" I quietly said, "That's what I have actually been trying to do......."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Home New Home

Wow! We made it and we are now set up in a travel trailer on brother Grady Moore's property. Friday we made it to Kelly and Angela's house where we met up with my brother and his family. We had a great time visiting with all of them. We are really thankful for the Blackmer's hospitality. They let my brother hook up his travel trailer while Andrea and I stayed in one of their guest rooms. Yesterday, we worshipped with the brethren at Dripping Springs. We really enjoyed John Moore's preaching and the congregation was very friendly to us. They are a strong congregation with many very nice brethren. We are still trying to get a feel for everything but it's coming to us slowly.
This picture was taken when we stopped to visit the Pamphiles. The kids are getting so big! It was great to see them again.
God Bless! - TROY

Friday, August 3, 2007

Almost There........

Andrea and I have had a safe trip so far and we are now on our last leg of travel. Today we are going to go by and see Cleave and Colleen Pamphile, then we're on to Kelly and Angela Blackmer's home (Josh's parents) in La Grange, TX. Tomorrow we will meet my brother who is bringing a travel trailer that Andrea and I will stay in for a little while until we find a suitable place to rent. Grady Moore, one of the elders at Dripping Springs church of Christ, is letting us put the camper trailer on his property for the time being. We are very thankful for these blessings!

I love this picture. I was looking through some different pictures this morning and came across this one. It was taken during the mission trip that Josh and I took to El Salvador. We had climbed this big mountain and decided to take a break on what we called "Stairmaster Pasture" because it was so steep. We are looking out across the valley to the little pueblos scattered throughout.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

So Far So Good....

We're in our new time zone!
We made it to Pensacola last night and worshipped with the congregation in Milton, FL. What a wonderful group of God's children! They were very friendly and warm towards us. One of the families, the Temples, let us stay at their place for the night.
We also stopped by to see Tori Shelley for a few minutes while on the way here. She's doing OK but obviously would rather not have to be in a hospital. She was happy to see Andrea and Andrea was happy to see her!
Today we are going to try to make it to Beaumont, TX.
So far so good...............

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cry, Cry, Cry

That's about the extent of the emotions shared yesterday at Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ as we said goodbye to our beloved family! I became choked up in the morning as I tried to address the congregation and then Andrea was choked up in the evening when she was talking during the "finger foods" gathering. But, hey! That's what happens when there is a lot of love between family! To everyone at PBL, thank you for all your kind words and gifts, we love you, and we are going to miss you!

All that crying turned into sweat today as we loaded the trailer with all our stuff! We have to say thank you to Kip Affron, Douglas Alvarenga, Ron Brackett, Josh Blackmer, Pete Brown, Dan Fuller, Jeff Goodall, Gorman Erickson, Clayton Parnell, Jerry Pittman, David Sproule, and Kevin Weeks, for all their help today! We couldn't have gotten it done so easily without you. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who has the right-of-way?

This was an interesting picture. These two policeman watch as a donkey cart attempts to cross the street. You don't see that in downtown West Palm Beach everyday!

Driving in Paraguay is very similar to........hmm, what's the word?...........RACING!
It is amazing how fast people drive in and around the city! I would regularly break into my announcer's voice, "...and the blue car takes it three wide into turn one! Whew! Close call there! We almost had a pile up on the track!" Yet, in the whole week we were there, we only saw one wreck. Mario Andretti would feel right at home in Paraguay!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Emma and Ella

There are two precious little girls in Paraguay.........
You better be careful or they'll steal your heart!

That is exactly what happened when we met Emma, the daughter of Chris and Vickie Fry, and Ella, the daughter of Ethan and Ashly Hardin. These little girls are the highlight of the crowd where ever they go! All of the church members just love to come up and talk to them or simply love on them.

It is really interesting to see young children of missionaries that are growing up in a different culture. What great and interesting stories they will have when they get older!

The top picture is Emma and Troy goofing around. The bottom photo is Ella's best attempt to savor one of her favorite meals - spaghetti! These two are just too cute!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Two Faces of Asunción

There are two faces to the city of Asunción. One side is a very pretty, elegant, painted, and even a little quaint. The other side is quite ugly and unpleasant. That is Latin America. It seems that in the few places that I have been, (Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Paraguay), that there are two types of people: wealthy and poor. There is not a "middle" class. That is never more evident than just looking at the neighborhoods within the city. It really causes a person to gain an appreciation for the country that we live in.

As illustrated here in these photographs, there are two extremes in housing. Asunción has some absolutely spectacular homes in many varieties and sizes. It also has some of the poorest dwellings that I have ever seen.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Long Flight Back Home!

Traveling to and from South America can be quite an adventure! I have experienced some hard trips myself and we have been told many stories about others who have had big adventures while traveling to Paraguay. Well, our trip home didn't fail to give us a surprise as our plane was delayed while we were on our layover in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We were supposed to leave at 10:00 pm but after several changes, much confusion, and many hours of waiting, we finally boarded our plane at 3:30 am! That turned out to be an 11 hour layover.
Overall, it was a great trip and we are now blessed to be back home safe and sound.

This picture was taken on top of a big hill in Asunción that has a monument on top which overlooks the city. It was a great place to take a team photo.
Keep checking back often as I will be posting more pictures from the trip and also giving updates about our move to Texas.
God Bless! - TROY

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Returning Home

Well, our time in Paraguay has come to a close. Tomorrow we will board our plane back to the states. We have learned a great deal about the church, the people, the culture, and the way of life here in Asunción. We are thankful for the hospitality that has been shown to us by the team here and by the warm reception given by the Paraguayans. We will look forward to seeing them again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Freezing in July?

It is freezing cold here! Actually, it's only about 52 degrees but with the humidity it feels like freezing. We have been shivering all day! Paraguay is usually very hot year round so cold weather is a bit of a shock when it comes. Most of the houses and buildings here are not built for cold weather and they are not insulated very well either. We went to an orphanage today to play with the children, but it was so cold they were all cooped up inside and going a little stir crazy. Once they warmed up to us, (no pun intended) they all wanted us to hold them or play with them. It was obvious that they were all starving for a little attention.
This evening the ladies had a Bible study in one of the member's homes while Josh and I toured a sock factory. Afterwards, we headed back to Chris and Vickie's house where we ordered pizza.
It's going to be a cold night.......................

Traditional Paraguayan

We have been blessed to be able to see and experience many wonderful things while here in Paraguay, but what we were able to see yesterday was truly unique. After our morning devo and meetings we went to the Expo which is a large fair that is held in Asunción every year. There were a lot of interesting sights including a stage where there were several groups performing traditional Paraguayan dances. The groups dressed in traditional costume and used many traditional props within their performances. The Paraguayan people have such a vibrant and colorful history!

Worship With Our Brethren

Sunday was a cold and rainy day, but it was warm and bright in the church buildings of Capiata and at Sacremento Street! We had the opportunity to meet and worship our God with these two wonderful congregations. The brethren were very welcoming to us and invited Josh and I to participate in the study hour and the worship. The photo shows Josh teaching the Bible study. I was asked to preach for the worship service and although it was unexpected, thankfully I had a sermon with me that I had been practicing for a later date! It was a very uplifting day and great insight to how well the mission work here in Paraguay is growing.
Please keep us in your prayers! - TROY

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sightseeing and Shopping

After our devotional and team meeting this morning, we finally got around to something that the ladies have been looking forward to: shopping! I do believe Andrea and Cara enjoyed themselves on our little trip to downtown where we ate at the Lido Bar and also saw several interesting sites. We saw things like the Monument of Heroes, the President's House, the Senate House, the Port of Paraguay, and several other places. This picture here is of Andrea looking at jewelry from a Guarani Indian lady. Andrea has learned a key phrase in Spanish, "Cuanto Cuesta?" which is "How much does this cost?"

Reunion de Jovenes

Tonight we went to Enoch's place where we had a bar-b-que and the teens had their weekly devotional. It is so amazing to hear these young people singing the same songs that our teens sing back in the US, but in a different language. They are also just like any other youth group, they love to talk and cut up with each other. It is very encouraging to see this happening within the mission work here in Paraguay.

Q & A (times a thousand)

Yesterday was Q & A Day. We must have asked a thousand plus questions! Chris and Vickie has been doing such a wonderful job of giving us information and answering our questions. We have learned so much that we feel like our brains are about to pop! But, we still have much more to explore and to learn.
Let me say this: this is an exciting work!

Yesterday we went to the Yacht Club and had lunch while overlooking the Rio Paraguay. Clubs are a common thing in Asunción for recreational purposes. All the things like tennis, basketball, and racquetball courts, including golf are all part of a club. These also include water parks, weight rooms and many other things. If you want to use these type of facilities, then you have to belong to a club. It's an interesting part of the culture here.

Last night we went to visit some of the team members homes to see how and where they live. We spent time with each of them "picking their brains" for more information about the mission work here, as well as, their way of life. We had dinner with Ethan, Ashly, and Ella at a little Italian trattatoria and then, afterwards we went to a coffee shop to have a team meeting. Tomorrow looks like another busy day!
God bless! - TROY

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Productive Day!

Our first day here in Paraguay was very productive! We started the day with a devotional at the church building and then, we sat in on the Asunción Missionary Team's weekly team meeting. Afterwards, we looked around a supermarket, went to some medical facilities, and checked out some general sites around the city. We've been asking the team a million questions and they have been graciously patient with us. We are very grateful for their hospitality!

This is a picture of some guy juggling in the middle of a busy intersection who was just trying to make a buck. (Actually we gave him 1000 guaranies, which is about 20 cents).

We also went and checked out "Death City" which is a Catholic cemetery across the main street near the church building. The place is pretty creepy, but it is very interesting to see! It has these little "houses" where the caskets of the dead are laid upon shelves that are stacked on top of each other. During the Catholic holiday, family members go into these little houses to pray for their deceased family members.
Chris has a pretty busy schedule for us while we are here so that we can learn as much as possible about the culture and the work here. Tonight we went on visits to church member's homes which was very enjoyable. The Paraguayans are such a friendly and open people.
We've only been here a day, but we're liking it already!

'Til next time! - Troy

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

We Arrived Safely!

Thanks to a little thunderstorm in Miami last night, we were delayed about three hours getting out of the airport. Three hours is what our layover in Brazil was scheduled for, so it looked like we were going to miss our connection to Asuncion, Paraguay! My first thought: "Here we go again!"
Fortunately, all the planes were delayed coming into Sau Paulo, Brazil so we were able to catch our flight. We arrived safely in Paraguay about 1:00 pm and we received all our luggage!.
We're tired but we're glad to be here!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Heading South of the Equator!

Josh and Cara Blackmer, Andrea and I are all heading to Paraguay, South America tomorrow July 3rd. We are going on a survey trip to visit the church and the mission team there to see if it is a place where we would like to go into the mission field. We are excited about this opportunity and we will try to update the blog as often as we can with pictures and news. Please pray for us!

This picture was taken just a few weeks ago at Juno Beach as our PBL Mission Team photo.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Our Last Sunday in Belle Glade

This coming Sunday will be our last time to preach out in Belle Glade. It will be an emotional day for Andrea and me as we say goodbye to many of our close friends. All the members at the Belle Glade church of Christ are very special to us and we will always remember them as the loving congregation that helped me develop as a preacher.
We will look forward to return visits in the future when we can all fellowship with one another again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thank you to these brethren!

Andrea and I would like to say "THANK YOU" to these brethren for their support towards our going to preacher's school:

Birdville church of Christ, Ft. Worth, TX - $1000.00 donation

Jupiter/Tequesta church of Christ, Jupiter, FL - $250 donation

Suncoast church of Christ, Lake Worth, FL - providing funds for the cost of all course required books while attending SWSBS.

We appreciate these brethren for their generous support and their encouragement for Andrea and me.

Monday, April 30, 2007

We need your help!

Because the work load at Southwest School of Bible Studies is extremely arduous, it is not practical for students to hold a job and be able to maintain good studies. Therefore, outside support is necessary for a student to be able to live and to support his family while attending the school.

Andrea and I have been blessed with several congregations that have pledged their support to us while we are attending the school. However, we are still in need of $800 a month in support in order to be able to go to SWSBS.

If you are able to help, or if you know of someone who may be able to help, please let us know. We would appreciate it if you could ask a neighboring congregation or a relative who could ask their congregation for help.

We want to preach the Gospel to all the world, but we need a little help from our brethren to be able to prepare ourselves for the work.

Thank you to our brethren at these congregations who have offered their support:
Avondale church of Christ, Decatur GA - $200.00
Birdville church of Christ, Haltom City, TX - $200.00
Dripping Springs church of Christ, Dripping Springs, TX - $200.00
Hwy 95 church of Christ, Taylor, TX - $200.00
Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ, Riviera Beach, FL - $600.00
Portland church of Christ, Portland, TX - $300.00

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mission Trip Photos

Here are a few pictures from my recent mission trips. The top photo is from Capiata, Paraguay, SA and the next two are from La Palma, El Salvador, CA.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What's Been Happening

On my return trip from El Salvador, I had the blessed opportunity to be able to visit the good folks at the churches of Christ in Dripping Springs, TX and at Southwest in Austin, TX. I was also able to visit the school and tour the facilities. Wow! I am even more excited about starting school! The facilities are really nice! Everyone was very kind and very friendly, especially Robert Wright who helped me find my way around the area. Thank you, Robert!

I also owe many thanks to John Moore and his family, and to Kelly and Linda Miller for their gracious hospitality during my visit there. It was a wonderful visit and I sure enjoyed the Barbeque! Thank you very much!

Josh Blackmer and I attended the Paraguay Mission Workshop at Collegeside church of Christ in Cookeville, TN on March 19th. It was very encouraging to us to meet the many other congregations that support this work. Josh and Vanessa Harding, from the mission team, were there to give the report on the work - which is doing quite well. If everything goes according to plan, Andrea and I, along with Josh and Cara Blackmer are going on a survey trip to Paraguay in July to see if this is a work we would like to go into after Bible School. God Bless! - Troy

Sunday, April 15, 2007

God's Children in El Salvador

Nestled in the remote mountains of northern El Salvador sits a beautiful and vibrant little town called La Palma. As of four years ago, the Lord’s church did not even exist in this little town. The closest church was an hour’s drive away. Thanks to the efforts of some brethren from Monett and Mt. Vernon, Missouri, the church has been established there and has been growing ever since. Today, the church is alive and strong with a regular Sunday attendance of more than 75 brethren and friends, two full time preachers, and now, a K-4 Christian school!

I was blessed to be able to return to El Salvador in March to help with the evangelism effort there, as well as, to assist in other works.

The main effort in La Palma is to save souls. One way of doing this is by raising up a generation in the Way of the Lord. This became a reality with the new Christian Academy that already has 66 students! The children of La Palma are so special and very eager to learn.

It is absolutely thrilling to see children reciting Bible verses in class after just studying science. It is heart warming to hear them singing songs about Jesus before they begin their math lessons. Oh yes, and they begin their day with a class prayer! What a joy to see such eagerness to make God a part of learning!

Please pray that each of these precious children will someday grow up to be preachers, teachers, deacons, elders, and godly wives. - TROY

I will post more about La Palma in the future!