Monday, November 23, 2009


God is Good, and Unpredictable

On May 18th, at about 8pm, I was going through final details on my travels to Jamaica for the next day. My little brother Matt (22) was home to say goodbye, and I told him he should really consider coming down and helping out for a month or so (he had plans to go to Europe with a friend but those plans had fallen through earlier that week). He had already been thinking about it and new it was an option, but wasn't sure what he wanted to do. Ticket prices were still pretty good, so I was able to talk him into going with me, so at about 10pm we booked his ticket, and at 5am the next morning we left for the airport.

First, Matt and I enjoyed a blessed week at the Deaf Village with Ted Hirstein's May team.

(Matt and I laying block together)

(Matt goofing off with my brother Ionda)
Then we headed to Kingston where Matt and I both had to learn a new place and a new culture. We hosted three teams, FPC from Macon, GA (a first time team that was a huge blessing to us), Tracy McAvoy's long-time group from Conyers, GA (another blessing to our ministry), and Mark Geib's annual group from Naples, FL (they did an awesome job painting our new office, as well as the school building).

(Matt and I with Britney Barnes, a student at Kingston campus)

During our stay in Kingston, we had friends and family (well, our brother John's in-laws) at the Deaf Village, so one night Matt and I made a trip up for Papa Tone's birthday!

(Matt, Papa Tones, Mama D, Kaitlyn (Tots), and me)

Following Kingston, we were with the Rittman/Smithville AC team at the Deaf Village. This is where things started getting interesting. A friend I had met back on a team in 2007 (Tamara Raber) was doing a short-term internship with the ministry, helping out for 6 weeks. She's an interpreter for the deaf in Indiana, so she was a great help interpreting for teams. Tamara didn't really know anyone on the team, so she hung out with me and got to know Matt a little bit (this may or may not be accurate, I don't really remember to be honest). Long-story short, Matt and Tamara hit it off and got to know each other really well during the next 10 days (they were block masons together a few days, I guess you could say they were laying the foundation for the their relationship...momma, at least you'll laugh at that).

Matt was flying out on Wednesday, July 2, so on the 1st we went to YS Falls and Little Ochie seafood restaurant for his farewell. I didn't know the way, so Erin Davis (fellow ACWR missionary) went with us, and naturally she needed a sister to go with her so Tamara tagged along as well. We had a great time at the falls

(Matt and I at YS Falls together)

and enjoyed a great meal at Little Ochie. Little did any of us know (Matt and T included) but their friendship would plant a seed in each of their hearts that last week resulted in Matt asking for Tamara's hand marriage. I never would have predicted any of this to happen, nor could any of us have planned it any better...the Lord knows best, and in Seeking Him First, He will always provide. Praise God for an awesome, Christ-focused little brother and the blessings of another amazing sister-in-law (Cookie is pretty awesome too)!

(the infamous picture at Little Ochie, which my Grandpa Leman saw back in August and commented, "doesn't Matt seem to be holding her kinda close?"...very prophetic Grandpa!)


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