Into the woods

The other weekend my awesome wife planned this great weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. Something different from just going out to eat or hanging around the house. I appreciate this kind of thing because I love quality time but probably wouldn’t take the initiative to plan something out of the ordinary. We went on a camping trip! It was a LOT of work on her part to prepare and pack all of us to go camping for 3 days but it was so fun once we got there. We haven’t been camping in a long time so this was a long over due trip!


Elly was probably the funniest to watch as we packed up the night before. I don’t think that we have ever taken her camping so she was not really getting the concept that we weren’t going to have electricity. You could tell she was concerned how we were going to make it without electricity. As she packed some toys she would ask funny little questions like; can I take my radio and listen to music, how are we going to see at night-time, and what if we have a problem and need to call someone??? She even tried to pack her pink bedside lamp but then realized it wouldn’t work at the cabin.

Part of the camping experience is simply living. You have to cook everything and it takes more time than normal. You have to build fires in the morning and evening to keep warm. You have to wash dishes and clothes without having a sink or dishwasher. You have to find somewhere to use the bathroom every time you need to go…even in the pitch black dark of night! You are constantly cleaning or putting something away so ants and other wild life doesn’t come around (we forgot this and a nice size raccoon woke me up one night!). But for us these are all a part of the experience and are kind of fun, at least for a few days.

Most of our time was spent lying around in hammocks, staring at the fire, exploring through the woods, hiking, playing in streams and waterfalls, playing games, and good ‘ol eating! It was just what we all needed! No phones, computers, tv’s, or any other electronics, just family time. My favorite part of this Father Day trip was spending time with the 4 most important people in my life. Watching Grey run around in the woods with no shoes, no shirt, and dirty enjoying nature was awesome. Chilling with Mac by the fire in the hammocks was totally relaxing. And taking walks with Elly down the mountain to the store was pretty entertaining as she talked the entire way there and back. I love these people and couldn’t imagine life any other way! Thanks baby for making this weekend so memorable!

Shining Bright

I have been in this routine lately of getting up super early during the week. I don’t actually like to geglory1t up early but I do like to get in a work out before the day starts. During the winter months this is extremely difficult to do since I do not enjoy cold weather. Those mornings when it is freezing outside and the sun isn’t up until later are really hard for me. Over the past few weeks however I have enjoyed watching the days get lighter earlier and earlier. Now as I drive home from the gym I can see the sun peaking just behind the tree line shining bright! It reminds me of a child standing ready to tell you all about a big surprise. This morning the sun was high in the sky and exploding with its brightness! So bright that it was blinding me and it was only 6:30am! I love this time of year!

This week I have been finding myself reading some about God’s glory. So, when I saw that radiant sun bursting with light blinding me in the eyes this morning all I could think of was His glory. His glory covers the earth while it also fills my life. He has chosen me to be one that carries and displays His glory! When I am living life fully and abundantly it is His glory shining through. Every morning that I wake up and see the sun coming up is a direct declaration and reminder that my God is alive and pouring out His glory on me! glory3

Let us look for the glory of God in our lives and around us today! If the sun is up His glory is shining!

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.- Psalms 19:1 

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
    The Eternal One’s brilliance (glory) has dawned upon you.
See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth;
    people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you;
    the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see.
Nations north and south, peoples east and west, will be drawn to your light,
    will find purpose and direction by your light.
In the radiance of your rising, you will enlighten the leaders of nations. – Isaiah 60:1-3 (The Voice)

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

noun: glory
  • high renown or honor won by notable achievements.
  • praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to God.
  • magnificence; great beauty.
  • a thing that is beautiful or distinctive; a special cause for pride, respect, or delight.
  • he splendor and bliss of heaven.

verb: glory

  • take great pride or pleasure in.

Mac’s trip to South Africa

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I will travel with this kid anywhere because he knows how to eat! Sushi!


As many know, last week I was able to take Mac with me to Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was so fun to have this cool guy travel with me, especially on such a long trip. When he was 5 he had the chance to go with Lara and I to Panama but honestly he doesn’t remember much other than the ice cold showers we had out in the jungle first thing in the mornings. He even asked me if we would be able to take hot showers this time a few days before we left. haha!  This trip was kind of special and it was his first time to Africa which was pretty special for me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t praying that he would fall in love with this place and the people much like Lara and I did 10 years ago.


It was a long journey just to get there. 32 hours to be exact. He was a champ the whole way there and back. He slept, talked, ate, talked, read, talked, did home work, talked, watched movies, talked, played games, and then talked a little more. Let’s just say I was more tired by the time we got there than he was. It was fun though!

This week in the Cape Town area was good for he and I. I was busy many of the days in a conference/leaders summit with some remarkable leaders from multiple African countries, Thailand, India, Mexico, multiple European countries, and the US. We dream, talked and planned for how God can take this way of life, living and serving in intentional community, and transform lives around the globe. Let’s just say He is up to big things…and by His grace I have a chance to be a part of it!Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.10.40 PM

Mac had a full week too. When I was in meetings he would hang out with some of the families that live in Stellenbosch and are a part of the East Mountain community. I think he really liked being with them more than me but I can’t blame him for that! The other half of the time he would come along with me to visit ministries, head into town, or go have a meal by the water. Lunch by the ocean with your son and friends is pretty cool if you are 11 or 33 years old! Mac also just hung around with us at the East Mountain house and busted out some homework. Yes, he had to do homework per his teachers but just being in Africa was pretty educational.

“Dad, I need a coffee and I have my own money.”

I asked Mac a bunch of questions on our way home so that he would be ready for when people asked him, “how was your trip?”. I know how this kid works and I didn’t want him to just say, “good” in his non-excited tone. Once we talked through the trip he really had some great answers so, I thought I would share just a few of them.

What was the craziest/best thing you ate? Ostrich steak and kudu sausage…This kid loves some meat!

Braai – South African for cookout or BBQ. We had 7 or 8 different meats!

What kind of money do they use? The use the Rand which is around 15 ZAR to $1USD. I love math so I liked figuring the price of things out when we went to buy something.

Did you see any cool animals? penguins and seals

Was it what you expected? No, I thought it would be a bunch of huts and animals but it was really normal.

What was the funnest thing you did or visit while you were there? The day we visited the township and saw just how poor some of the people were. I couldn’t believe that people in the world actually lived that way. They were also cooking goat heads on the side of the road which looked weird, but smelled so good.

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Over looking Khayelitsha

What language do most people speak? I think it is called Afrikanns but they also have some tribal languages but I can’t say them.

What’s one cool fact that you learned about South Africa? There are 2.4 million people live in the Khayelitsha township which is only about 15 sq miles.


The top of Table Mountain. Usually you can see for miles.

What was the weather? Well, they say that it is really nice but it rained while we were there, especially the day we went on top of Table Mountain. It’s not too cold though.


What did you do most days? When I was with you (dad) we hung out at the East Mountain house which is really cool and when I wasn’t with you I played with my friends Asher, Madeline, Caleb, Dylan, and Isaiah. They were pretty cool!

How do think God could use you in a place like Africa one day?  I would love to work in the poor townships teaching people about Jesus, playing with kids, and helping with whatever they might need.

Mac visiting a church sponsored school in the township. 

Well, I think we have another lover of Africa and future missionary in the RouseHouse! He did great and loved every minute of his time in South Africa. It was a really blessing to be able to spend so much one on one time with this kid and see him love being a world traveler! He was made for this.

17 Hour flight with NO TV! What else can you do but sleep.


BIG Things, Legacy, Life’s Purpose….

Grey (left), Mac (center), Elly (right)

I believe that God has created me and called me to do BIG things in this world! Big things that will move the Gospel forward. Big things that will change lives, families, and communities. Big things that will help people know Jesus better and better. Big things that will put a smile on my Heavenly Fathers face and things that will become my legacy.

I have dreams of what these BIG things might be, could be, or want them to be. They all revolve around our life and family’s mission statement…we are going to love people well, serve those in need, and help them know Jesus and grow in a real relationship with him…The BIG things could be endless with a focus like that.

But what if the BIG things that I dream about and hope for are smaller than I initially imagine? I had this thought the other day and it is something that I have really come to ponder a lot over the past couple of years. What if the biggest thing I ever do for God, for those in this world, or as my legacy is NOT to change the world?  When I say change the world what I mean is making a lasting difference wherever and with whoever the Lord puts in front of me.

What if God’s whole purpose for me in life is to simply raise/disciple/train up 3 little people that will then go on to change the world? Not that this is or would be a simple task but at first glance it does seem way smaller than the dreams I have for changing the world.  What a difference could it make if I simply tried to, Be the best, most Godly dad I can be to my children?  I whole heartily believe that if this is one of the main focal points of life that my children will go on to change the world, at least the world around them. They will be people and are people that love others, enjoy serving others, and know the truth that Jesus loves people more than anything else already. If this is who they are today, WOW, who will they be in 10, 20, 40 years from now!!! They will go on to do BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS, GIGANTIC, UNIMAGINABLE things for God. I get the opportunity to shape these kind of people. That seems like a mission worth pursuing.

I know two things in life. God has created us to be people that love and trust Him wholeheartedly, and He has called each one of us to a specific purpose. If I can live out the first part of that then I will live out the second. As I come to love and trust God with my life I will live out the purpose of raising world changers! I have never been great with words but I do great with numbers therefore, 3 is always better than 1. What the 3 of them will do with their life will make a greater impact than my single life could every make. I can live with that kind of legacy!


Visiting the Community, South Africa part 2


The second half of my trip to South Africa was pretty amazing! My beautiful bride was able to fly down and join me for the second week which very cool for us. It was the first time in 5 years that we have been able to travel to Africa together. When we are together in that special place it is always some kind of wonderful.

The reason for this part of the trip was to visit one of the biggest projects/ministries and groups of missionaries that I support and have the blessing to serve alongside here at UWM. My biggest priority for this part of my trip was to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do in South Africa. My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to spend time with the people that are living and serving in South Africa. What better way to get a feel for the ministry than to get to know the people.


I have wrote about East Mountain, the ministry there outside of Cape Town, a couple times and many of you have heard me talk about them because they are just that awesome. **Actually the very first missionary couple and the first intern that I had the opportunity to work with when I came on board here at UWM, both went to serve here with East Mountain South Africa. I just wrote a blog post on East Mountain not long ago and you can read more about who they are and what they do here EAST MOUNTAIN or you can check out their website for more info here

DISCLAIMER – This may sound like no work and all play but…I enjoy my work so much and most of my co-workers live in beautiful places around the world so…most of my work does feel like it is all play. Great things were accomplished for the Kingdom while we enjoyed every sight, sound, and taste of South Africa! If you got to have a job it might as well be one you enjoy, right!


When I travel I usually get the question, “how was your trip” from many of you and my response is often, “amazing!”. This time I would say exactly the same thing, “amazing!” So, I thought I would share with you some of the experiences, pictures, and stories that Lara and I had from being there and being with the East Mountain Community that made it “amazing!”. It was a full week but really fun! Fun, not just because we were in one of the most breath taking places on earth but because of the people we were with…the giant mountains, gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, wine country, and delicious food didn’t hurt either!

Sunday: Lara had just arrived the night before so we took it easy and hung out with the Halbert family. They allowed us to crash with them for the week and it was great. These guys are great host and friends to spend time with. Sunday lunch was at a local winery where they have what they call, “market”every week. It was like a small, relaxed festival with local food and crafts. Then we headed to the famous Table Mountain to hike and see the sunset. The views were unbelievable! Pictures can not do it justice. Unfortunately, we did not see the sun set because the winds were so bad they evacuated the mountain. Still an awesome day!


Monday: We did the “Loop” as they call it. Basically, you start going down the eastern coast of Cape, down to Cape Point, then back up to Cape Town. This was a long day but a really fun way to see much of the area and cool sites like, penguins, Cape Point, and the beach! We finished the day off having dinner with all of the interns from the US and Africa that live at the East Mountain house. Awesome day!



Tuesday: We were invited to the staff meeting where we had the chance to hear about some of the things happening and coming up in the next few weeks. It was good for me to see all of the Community together and working together. Later that afternoon Lara and I went out with Gabe Smith, friend and founder of East Mountain, to the oldest winery in Stellenbosch. We had a good time catching up on life and ministry while doing a wine and chocolate paring. So yum! Later that evening we sat around with the more friends catching up, laughing, dreaming about the future, and talking about how God is doing a great thing with this work here in South Africa. Awesome day!


Wednesday: The morning was freed up so that Lara and I were able to spend a little bit of time together in the city. We walked around exploring this quaint city, checking out little coffee shops, talking just to two of us, and we enjoyed all of the fun shops that line the streets of Stellenbosch. For lunch and dinner we went out with two different couples that serve at East Mountain and got their view of life, ministry, and experiences as they have just recently finished up their first year being in South Africa. These times are valuable and very helpful for me as I work with others interested in serving overseas in the future. Another awesome day!


Thursday: This day got off on a good start! We had an early meeting to talk about future work and plans for East Mountain and how I could help resource them with the right people. The kicker is, our breakfast meeting was at the beach starring at the cliffs running off into the ocean. In the words of a wise person I know (wink wink you know who you are), this did not suck! We were then able to visit with another leader at East Mountain who serves one of our partner churches and school in a local township to see transformation…real life changing, long lasting transformation. Today this poor, lower class community is better than it was last year and in the next 5-20 years it will radically different! This isn’t the nicest, safest, or most welcoming township but there is a bit of light that is springing up out of the local church. They are educating, feeding, loving on people, tutoring, creating fun spaces to learn the bible and how to worship, meeting needs, interacting with the least of these, and making it a better place today and for the future. We have the opportunity to come alongside them as a resource, friend, and support to help them do even more of the things God has called them to do. This was one of the most impactful times of our trip for Lara and I. We were able to participate in some of the ministry while sitting with people in their homes and walking the streets. We ended the day by having dinner in the home of another “fresh to the field” missionary family that seem to be rocking it! It was truly an awesome day!


Friday: We headed back home but before we did Lara and I took advantage of this great weather and wonderful little city. We went walking, site seeing, got some coffee, ate at our favorite breakfast spot, and said our goodbyes to some of our new friends! It was an awesome day other than the fact that we had to leave!IMG_5886.JPG

East Mountain is a community of people who love Jesus, the local church, and each other. We are blessed to have spent some time with each one of them. For all of you who partner with the RouseHouse through prayer, financial support, and encouragement we want to say a BIG THANK YOU for making this time possible! It meant a lot to us as well as to the men, woman, and families we were able to sit with and encourage during this week. Thank you and God Bless!IMG_5854.JPG

Everything is going to be alright

Tis the season…

This is this Christmas season. It is also the season that most of us get sucked into stress, worry, and feeling overwhelmed because of the extra financial items in the monthly budget. I could talk about how bad this is and how this is nothing more than the enemy distracting us from the real reason for the season, Jesus, but this week I am caught up in the cycle of worrisome and frustration too. Therefore, I am probably not the best to be talking about the reason for the season.

We have been trying to save money for a new car since both of our cars have well over 200,000 miles but it seems like the more we try the harder it gets. Just in the past few weeks we have had expensive plumbing issues, both cars needing extensive repairs, medical bills from Lara’s shingles and my ankle, and all that comes along with Christmas. Needless to say the car fund has been depleted and I have been stressing over my stupid, rich, first world problems! (Embarrassed but honest)

–On the bright side I am SO thankful that we had the money to pay cash for some of these items. That is a blessing and we know it!–

After spending some much needed time of being refreshed by the Holy Spirit, I began looking through some emails and work stuff when I ran across this..It was a video from one of the missionaries I support in Africa that serves local at-risk-children. It was a GREAT reminder that “everything is going to be alright because of Jesus“. Hearing little African voices singing this song broke me, renewed me, and reminded me that life is all good with Jesus. I am blessed. 

This video doesn’t exist

I am thankful for the small reminders my Heavenly Father sends me right when I need it! He is so gracious and merciful to this slow learner he calls, His beloved.

What a guy!

1176289_10151654099533616_807039967_nHave you ever meet someone who you are consistently amazed by? I have someone like that in mind. Mark. He is my immediate director at United World Mission, but he is much more than just a boss. Mark is a super hero! He has travelled to and helped set up ministry in over 80 countries, recruited 100’s of people to go to the nations as missionaries, started schools, seminaries, and training facilities on multiple continents, raised 1000’s of dollars for ministry purposes that he has simply given away. And did I mention he played a huge role in saving UWM around 20 years ago from completely going under and being nonexistent. This is the guy that pursued me for this role I have at UWM and this guy along with the leading of the Spirit of the Lord is the reason I took this “job”/ministry position at UWM.

It was exactly 1 year ago today that I meet Mark. I had inquired online about some mission trips and opportunities through United World Mission a week before. Mark emailed me and asked if I wanted to get lunch sometime the next week. I was taking a day off of work to hang out with my oldest son, Mac, and if someone wanted to buy us lunch, I was all in. I knew Mac wouldn’t care because we were meeting at a favorite BBQ spot. –  This is the same kid that told his doctor at age 3 that his favorite food was “MEAT!” –  We ate, talked about life and missions, and got to know one another for a little over an hour. By the end of our conversation Mark asked me if I would come work for him. I was completely surprised and quickly shared that I enjoyed my current ministry. “Thank you but no thanks.” That wasn’t the end of the conversation as I would learn over the next 7 weeks. This guy saw something in me and the more we met the more this passion for missions would build inside of me.

Now after working with Mark for over 9 months I can honestly say, this guy cares about other people! Not like some of us say we care about people but he actually puts it into action. Mark is one of the most selfless guys I know. His motto for his life is, “I help others succeed”. And he means it. I know I can tend to care more about me getting recognized or getting what I deserve many days, and in the 9 months that I have worked closely with Mark I have never seen that in him. I have seen the opposite. He goes out of his way for others…daily!

I count it a blessing and privilege to serve under someone like this! I know that I have much to learn and this is the kind of person and leader I want to glean from! He is a huge blessing to me. If you could take a few minutes to pray for Mark and for his family I would appreciate it! They have been going through a very long battle with his daughter’s health after she was strangled by her boyfriend on Christmas morning. Please take a look at his blog and Facebook to learn more and to find ways to be praying for them.

Summer Update

Mac having a water fight on one of the last days of school

Summer is off to a good but busy start for the RouseHouse! And man is it hot here in the south! We wanted to pause for a few minutes and share some quick family and ministry updates with you as well as share some ways that you can continue to partner with us in prayer.

Mac, Grey, Elly, PawPaw, and their cousins, Jake and Cole. Everyone loves to sit with PawPaw!

The kiddos are doing great! Mac keeps saying, “it feels so weird to not go to school every day!”, while Greyson is loving a break from the regular routine of getting up and going to school. Sometimes the guys can be night and day different. For Elly I think she is loving this time of having “her boys” at home with her…for the most part they are enjoying her too. They have already spent much of their time at the pool (and yes they have a nice tan already), at Nana and PawPaw’s with their cousins, riding scooters, having water gun fights, playing with the dog, shopping (Elly talks us into this one) and staying up late. There is still so much for them to do this summer!

Scooter ridging is a new family favorite! Elly is a little more concerned with everything matching (all Pink) than most people.

Lara is just getting over the Shingles and starting to feel a little more normal. She was a real trooper! You can tell she really tried not to complain even though she was in horrible pain, scratch even though it felt like a large patch of mosquito bites, and lay around even though that is probably what she should have been doing. She is one tough momma! I wish we had a dollar for every time someone would say, “I thought only old people could get the Shingles.” For the record it isn’t just for old people. This has been a painful and very uncomfortable time for Lara and we are thankful for all of the prayers and support! Other than that she has been busy taking care of these 3 crazy guys. It really is a full-time job! My favorite quote from Lara this summer so far is when Mac ask if it is time to eat again and Lara says, “do I have to feed you everyday!?” For the record Mac thinks it is always time to eat. When he is done with one meal he is planning the next before he gets up from the table.

Move in day! A group of friends and family gathered to pray for us and our new home. It was a very special time!

We are loving our new home! It is an answer to prayer that we had been asking the Father for years to grant us! We regularly look at one another and say with a big smile, “this house is perfect for our family”. We have been able to meet most of the neighbors on our street and regularly take walks to pray for them. God has big plans for the RouseHouse here and we believe that we will see Him transform this community and families for His glory!

I have been busy with some cool things at work but have also had some opportunities to spend a little extra time with the family since school has been out. Summer time can be a little slower for mobilization at UWM (this is the team I serve on) which has been good for me with the move, kids being out of school, and Lara being sick. But I have had the privilege of being a part of some great missional things too. We are in conversations about taking on more of a role with Business as Mission (BAM) and I have been chosen to be on that team which I am very excited about. I have also been able to be a part of some expansion opportunities. Expansion is when we open a new country for UWM or a new type of work we currently are not involved in. I can’t be too specific because of security reasons but we are opening some new African countries, possibly Asian countries, and Middle East areas. Taking the Gospel to some dark places! My team will also be leading a new missionary orientation/training in July for families going all over the globe. Did I mention I am heading to Zimbabwe next week too! I am so excited!zimbabwe-map

We truly value the prayers of our ministry partners! If you could please spend a few minutes over the next month praying for some of these specifics and anything else the Father brings to your mind we would appreciate it!

  • Physical good health for our family
  • Safe travels for Spanky and for Lara and the kids as they head out on a couple of trips
  • God’s wisdom and favor with all of these new opportunities at UWM and around the world
  • Peace, the kind that only the Father can give!
  • And anything else He leads you to be praying for the RouseHouse will be good

For those of you who financially partner with us to see His kingdom come around the World and right here in Charlotte we want to say THANK YOU! Our hearts and lives are blessed daily because of you therefore we thank God for you often. We have begun setting sometime aside to pray a little extra for you on the first Monday of every month. If there is ever anything specific we can be praying for please let us know by emailing us at

If you are wondering what it means to be a ministry partner of the RouseHouse you can simply click here. We always need and are looking for new partners! Generally, it means that you are praying for us, financially supporting this work God has given us, and are encouragers to us. We would love to share more with you and have you join this team of family and friends!

She is a masterpiece!

IMG_4232I think that every little girl wants to dance and be a ballerina when they are younger, maybe forever.  At least in my experience with Elly and her friends this is the case. I am also pretty sure that many girls grow up with a deep need, longing to know they are beautiful, special, and loved. These two things are what led Ellyana to Masterpiece Dance Studio or what led Lara to taking her to Masterpiece.

Masterpiece is no ordinary dance studio for young girls. It may seem like it until you listen to Mrs. Jackie and her teachers. They are well-trained professional dance teachers but they have an even bigger objective while instructing these young girls. They want them to know the TRUTH and know what in life really matters. It’s not how well you did your performance, it’s not how perfect their pirouette(look it up, I had too) is, it’s not how well they know their positions, and it’s not how they look in their outfits…or as Elly calls them, her costumes. It is so much more than that for these ladies. For them it is all about these girls growing up to believe this one truth that can change every facet of their life. They are a masterpiece made by their Heavenly Father and He cherishes each one of them just the way they are! That is what dance class is about at Masterpiece.


Some days I think to myself that maybe Ellyana could practice a little more and maybe she could try to do those positions and moves a little better but then I remember what she is really learning while she is simply having fun at dance. She is learning about one of the greatest principles that I could possibly imagine my little princess knowing. She is learning that God made her and God takes pride in who she is, what she looks like, and the gifts he has given her. She is gaining that foundation that she is a masterpiece! 


1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes…(or how well you dance…Spanky’s version) Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty, gentleness, and a quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.