Friday, April 22, 2016

MK's and Missionary Uncles

This same content was posted on the blog I write for my stateside nephews this week. Every Friday I post some real life story for them to read.  I don't see them very often - just on furloughs.  So it's a way to relate and keep in touch and for them to know a little more about their crazy missionary aunt.

My boys have been blessed over the years with visits from their real life Uncle Wesley, their paternal grandmother, and their maternal grandfather and grandmother on numerous times.  But not growing up in the States meant that they lacked in the extended family area of life - cousins and family reunions and every body at Grandma's on holidays.  Things that I did have as a girl.

But my boys did have and still do some incredible missionary uncles and aunts and many adopted MK cousins.   I can still remember the first time William might a cousin's son about his age at a wedding on one of our furlough's.  He insisted I take a photo of him and his newly discovered Real Live Cousin.  I did not explain how far "removed" his was as a third cousin or it would have entirely destroyed the moment.

This post is just a little about the people in my boys' live who have stood in the gap and went out of their way to fill a hole in some MK's hearts...

Missionary boys get the grand privilege of having lots of aunt and uncles.  I don't know about all mission fields, but at least here in the Northeast of Brazil it's true.  MK's call other missionary adults by their first name with Aunt or Uncle attached to the front.  Today I'm going to tell you about some of those uncles...

Uncle Joel Johnson and Dalton at SHA, 2015

Uncle Joel and Aunt Melissa caught up with William and his girlfriend earlier this year.

Uncle Joel and Aunt Melissa arrived in Fortaleza the same year that Uncle Byron and Aunt Michele did.  They were graduates of Piedmont Bible College just like us and we did a lot of things together as families before and after the boys were born.  After William was born and came home from the hospital, Aunt Melissa came and stayed with us for a week!  All through the years inspite of many moves we have always kept up with them.  Uncle Joel even went to make a visit to Dalton when he was in boarding school in Georgia.

Uncle Randy Small on a boarding school visit with Uncle Joel, too.
Uncle Randy Small was one of Uncle Byron's best friends when they were both in school together as MK's at Fortaleza Academy. He and his wife, Renee live in Walnut Cove, NC and you have met them.  Uncle Randy has visited us two times in Brazil and whenever we have come home on furlough we always take vacations together and do things as families.  Uncle Joel and Uncle Randy are friends and they went together to visit Dalton once in Georgia and Uncle Randy went another time with Granny Atha and Aunt Renee.  Uncle Randy and Aunt Renee agreed to help take care of our boys if anything was to happen to us when they were little.

Monster Truck Jam, Roanoke, 2009
Uncle Bruce Dennis was the principal of Fortaleza Academy for several years in Fortaleza.  Our boys first met him and his wife, Carol, when they filled in for us at the church in João XXIII once for a furlough.  When we went back to Brazil, they stayed on for several months at the church.  There, the boys always heard people called him "Pastor Bru-cy" in Portuguese - so since all the boys were little they always called him Uncle in English and Bru-cy in Portuguese.  Once another MK asked me why they did that.  I tried to explain but she never figured it out - did you?  Anyway, Uncle Bruce moved to our region of Brazil a few years ago and helped the boys with homeschool chemistry once a month for a year.  They had some fun experiments!

Chemisty, 2012

Chistmas Day, 2014, Petrolina

Uncle Tim Reiner lives about an hour from us.  When we first came to Bahia, he committed to be a special uncle to our boys.  He is the one that helped the boys make their sand rail.  They worked for a whole year sanding the frame and rebuilding the engine and doing all the work.  Uncle Tim loves to go fishing for piranhas and used to take the boys on midnight fishing trips!  He and his wife, Aunt Vicki, always remember the boys on their birthdays and on Christmas.  William stayed with them some while he was in Brazil by himself for six months.

Uncle Tim helping William weld his super bike frame in 2012.

Sometime in 2012 here in Sobradinho.  Tim in his sandrail, boys' in background.

Last but not least is Uncle Doug Reiner.  Uncle Doug and Uncle Randy were in the same high school class at the missionary kid school in Fortaleza with your Uncle Byron.  He was the one we most worked with out on the island camp.  Many of our holiday celebrations since coming to Bahia have been with Uncle Tim and Uncle Doug's families - they are brothers!  Their father was the missionary that started the camp - Treasure Island.  His name was Uncle Harold.  He passed away a few years back.  Uncle Doug's father and his mother told us frequently that our boys were just as important to them as their own grandchildren.  Uncle Doug did his best over the years to make that happen for our boys with lots of  pool parties and outings and lunch meetings at the McDonald's in the mall in the big city.

Uncle Doug Reiner teaching the Island song at kids' camp, 2013.

Doug Reiner is currently in the hospital in Cleveland, OH. Prayers would be greatly appreciated by his immediate and missionary family right now as he awaits news about test results concerning a mass in his pancreas. 

Send him a word of encouragement through their website 

Byron and I are grateful for all the men in our boys' lives - 
near and far, blood and water, thick and thin.

Philippians 3:17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

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