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Good deaths. Bad deaths.

Well, the car motor is dead. Yup. After 7 years in country, with roads and mechanics not being what we were used to before arriving, it has finally taken its toll on our car motor. The action that finalized it was the gas station attendant putting unleaded into our Diesel engine.

Then last night we received word that Sir Hops A lot, the CCA school bunny who is kept in the 2nd grade room (Max’s new class) also passed away.

So, if you are keeping track, Kira died the day before school started, my car motor died last week, and the CCA bunny died last night. I’m doing my best to resurrect some fractured relationships between locals, but some of those feel like they are on the verge of dying as well.

These deaths are difficult. But not all deaths are bad…

This coming Sunday the new home group we are helping with is planning to “dunk” at least 5 of our regular attendees, including our daughter Ella.

That’s right, Ella along with 4 or maybe 5 others are going to follow our Savior in his death and burial. But unlike some of these other recent deaths, new life is also on the horizon for each of them.

We have been going through a 5 week course on the basic tenants to get all these folks ready. We ended with a history of the faith in this country (Augustine, Tertillian, Saint Cyprian). We did a tour of the old sights. Incredible. We even visited the very place Perpetua and Felicity, two of the most famous female martyrs in history, were killed. Again, not all deaths end with badness. Perpetua and Felicity are testaments to that.

Please be in prayer for this coming Sunday and the first 5 people to be dunked in this small local chch plant. Ella will be among them. We are feeling blessed in spite of all the darts the enemy has been shooting our way.

Thank you for caring enough to read and pray. We love you all deeply.

Dead to sin. Dead to our old self. Alive in Him.

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A KICKOFF like we never thought!

Well gang, we somewhat predicted this, but we couldn’t know what exactly would unfold.

Months ago Jenny was selected to be the new principle of the elementary school where the kids attend.

Several months ago we helped launch a new “home group” made up of practically all locals.

Several months ago we didn’t know our family guard dog would die.

Several months ago we didn’t know some key relationships in ministry here would combust.

Several months ago we didn’t know, actually I take that back. Several months ago we had hoped our Opel 7 seater car would hold on but we didn’t anticipate the gas station to put unleaded in our diesel tank… therefore rendering our car temporarily useless.

Several months ago we didn’t exactly predict our toilet bowl would break, our water heater would continue to decline and our front door knob would snap off.

We didn’t expect Jenny’s morning Kindergarten teacher would quit week 3.

We didn’t expect Jenny to direct the elementary school while also simultaneously teaching Kindergarten and pre-school.

And I didn’t expect to have such a slow start to this new fall in all my main categories (wood, ministry, discipleship, etc).

———————————————–

However, Jenny and the kids and the school are doing well. Jenny told me this morning she is not headed towards burnout. Some things at school need to change, but God has built my woman uniquely for such a time as this.

Our “home group” is about to dunk 4-6 people in two weeks and celebrate 6 months.

We have some exciting momentum with new discipleship groups.

Enough wood is being sold to press on.

Hope for damaged relationships between people remains high.

We have found a new puppy Luna Rey who is growing fast and it’s absolutely adorable.

Bolt (an Uber like service) is now operating in country, so who needs a car? 😉

Jenny found a new toilet bowl she likes.

We have enough funds at the moment to fix our broken things.

Our love for each other remains high. Our love for the Lord is strong. Our hope in Him grows and grows. And our hope for this country is at an all time high.

So we say “Blessed be His Name.”

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Through fresh eyes- guest blog by Beka Dean

I met the Brown family through my friendship with Stevie’s older sister in college, and somehow over the past twenty years have grown to consider them as much my family as the family I was born into. I’ve been present for weddings and births, holidays, and even family vacations. It was on one of those family vacations that the invitation was given to come visit Stevie and Jenny (and the kids) overseas. Having never even been outside of North America, the idea sounded good and I really did want to, but practically it scared me to death. There were dozens of reasons in my head of why I “couldn’t” go, at least that’s what I told myself. Then I did something completely out of character for me: I just bought a ticket. And that is a decision that I will NEVER regret and was the start of something inside my heart that I have not fully processed yet. It’s hard to know how to summarize an experience that literally changes who you are and what you believe about the world, about yourself, and about God. But that’s what my time with BrownSpot4 has done for me.

Going into my trip, I told Jenny and Stevie both that I didn’t really have an agenda for what I wanted to do. There were a couple places I wanted to visit and I thought riding a camel would be cool, but I didn’t really have any expectations. I just wanted to experience as much of their normal lives as possible; every facet. Be careful what you wish for, people. From the first terrifying ride through city traffic (and I DO mean terrifying), to the tow trucks; from the panic inducing ride in an over-crowded elevator, to the shock and amazement of the public bathroom setup (no toilet seats or toilet paper); from the questionable Google Maps route through single lane dirt roads, to eating more harissa then I thought my taste buds and stomach could handle; from exploring the roman ruins, to an afternoon spent on the beach; from the torrential rain resulting in flooded streets, to the unexpected encounter with head lice. Yes, head lice. Every day seemed to bring a new adventure and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Every experience or excursion, whether “good” or “bad” (because head lice can’t really be a good thing), had a part in making this a life-changing trip. 

I suppose that when you spend your whole life within the confines and comfort of the United States, it’s pretty easy to have an extremely small and limited view of other people and cultures. At least it was for me. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I thought the people there would be like. I had nothing to compare it to. But every person I met in that country was so very kind to me and gracious in my attempts at speaking to them in broken Arabic. One specific instance stands out in my mind, when I was standing on the sidewalk waiting to meet Stevie outside of the museum. It was clear that I was a foreigner (blonde hair and blue eyes can’t hide) and one of the police officers crossed the street to ask me if needed directions or if he could get me a taxi. When I told him I was simply waiting on a friend, he smiled and said he would keep an eye on me while I waited. Then he crossed the street and went back to his work. While that may not seem like a very big deal to some, that spoke volumes to me. Especially in that moment where I felt completely vulnerable and out of place. That man went out of his way to make sure I was comfortable and safe. And that gesture changed me. 

The week was full of moments like that. Moments that caused a shift in my heart and spirit. None more so than the time spent with local believers. When you can sit in a room with a group of men and women, who have come to experience saving faith, and listen to them sing a song you know in a language you cannot understand – that will change you. When you can sit in that room and listen to them debate, question and express a true desire to understand the Word and everything it means to them and for them – that will change you. When you come to see the reality of the gospel in the lives of people who look and speak differently from you – that will change you. God is real. And He is still moving and working and bringing people to himself. Seeing that anywhere will change you, but seeing it across the world changed me in a way that I am not even fully sure I understand yet. But I do know that my life will look differently as a result of it.

The ten days I spent in NAfrica were some of the fullest of my life. I laughed through every ridiculous experience and adventure, even the head lice. I am forever thankful to Stevie, Jenny, Ella and Max for inviting me into their world and sharing their home, their community, their friends, and their lives with me. I can’t believe I waited so long to visit. I’ll be back for more. 

If you’re reading this guest blog, don’t just take my word for it. Book your ticket. Experience it for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it. 

~Beka Dean
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“Spice it Up”…

Our friend, Beka, has been here visiting from the states for the past ten days. And let’s just say, she’s been a part of spicing things up!

More from her later.

Here’s just a glimpse of the first week and a half as I added “Director of the elementary school” to the list of my two most favorite job titles… mom and wife!

Day One (Meet the teacher night) This was the day Kira died. And then we digress from there.

Over the past week and a half we have experienced two tow truck incidences, lice, yes read that again….lice, so of course that also requires head treatments, and cleaning every bedding piece in the house, then there’s been flooding, getting lost, off roading through cactus and wild dogs, oh the list is too long.

I can’t wait for Beka to write her guest blog, but until then here’s a video from our flooding today.

Never a dull moment! Come and visit! placeholder://

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Top updates of interest

Jenny and I have discussed it and we have made the decision to spice up the blog a little bit. Jenny says we have become a little too serious.

I’m asking her to step up her game then hehe 😜.

But truly, we are settled back in our good rhythm. School has started. Things are in a better flow, so we will do a better job. Once again, thanks for your patience.

Although moving forward we will spice things up on the blog, I wanted to do justice in updating everyone on some highlights from the month. God has still been at work.

1) Mahrez (21 yrs old)- one of the first guys I walked with as he came to faith about 3 years ago lost his dad soon after we arrived back. This gave me the opportunity to meet his entire family for the first time very. Up to this point it was too “un-secure” to be introduced to his family because of the faith I shared with him. But through this tragedy I was able to meet and encourage them all. Here is the young man:

2) Mad Dog- you guys remember this guy? Late 40’s. Got dunked last year around this time. Has had difficulty with his wife since he chose to follow The Son. Well, my buddy J talked to him a week ago and evidently Mad Dog’s young son of about 10 yrs of age, Youssef, has accepted The Son in his heart. Huge news and answer to prayer.

3) There is new guy who I met during Ramadan (Sammy- 52 yrs old) who said he has come to faith. He has met with us several times along with a tiny group of other men. Just last week when 4 of us met to catch up after being apart for the summer, Sammy said he has been tormented for 13 years with 5 bad spirits in his stomach. This is extremely similar to Alex’s situation who so many of you have prayed for. Very similar “symptoms,” except Sammy says his spirits talk to him. This guy will need many of you to put him on your prayer list. More and more stories of people battling spirits are surfacing all around. God is working. The enemy ain’t happy about it. “Lord, please free these people and this land from evil spirits, Amen!”

4) Jenny has begun her new position as director and she is going to do great. Thank you for those who lift her up by name. Here she is at parent orientation:

5) The day Kira died I had 3 young believers helping work at CCA to get things ready for the first day of school. Clearly this was a sad day for all us BrownSpot4. But one very redeeming moment was when I went to pick up the three boys. I was late because we were burying Kira and they couldn’t find a taxi. So I went to pick them up. The one boy had to get to work or else he would get fired. When I arrived he said he wasn’t going to work. It was clear he had lied to his boss on why he couldn’t work that day. After 15mins of refusing to let me take him, I was able to impart into him many of the biblical lessons that dozens of people have imparted into me over my lifetime, such as “tell the truth and let God bring the consequences.” Two other young guys were in the back of the car listening to it all. By the end, he agreed to go to work, tell his boss the truth l, ask for forgiveness and serve whatever consequences may come. He did not get fired, and in fact it appears he has gained more trust from his boss after sharing the truth.

This seems like an elementary lesson to all of us. These lessons here are rarely learned. To be completely honest, this was one of the clearest victories I have been able to witness for a long time. PTL all the way.

6) My older sisters’ best friend, Beka, came to visit. She has become a family friend who is as close to a real sister as they come. More to come on her visit, but this is a big deal for us. It’s her first time ever out of North America and she came here! Just wow 😮 😉

More good things on the horizon. Here is a little hint…

We thank the Lord for all of you who care enough to read, pray and live for Him as well. To Him be the glory!

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Kira passed away this morning

Hey friends-

I don’t feel like texting too much. But wanted to update you all.

Just to update everyone.

Kira passed away a little bit over an hour ago.

It is clear now she was really suffering. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. Kira never quite looked confortable.

Ella was home alone at the time because I took Max to get a haircut.

A few minutes after we left Kira vomited a huge amount, then walked outside and fell over dead in front of Ella.

We have all cried. Ella is taking it really hard. We all are. So many great memories of that precious dog. She was so so good to this family.

Death sucks.

HE is alive.

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Kira update: good, not good

Well,

Doctor said her stomach was twisted. No apparent blockage or infection or intestinal block.

He straightened out the stomach and then sewed it to the muscle so it can’t retwist or rotate.

If this is the only issue then its best case scenario because he didn’t have to cut anything inside of her.

But now it’s almost 2am and Kira has been walking around the yard like a drunk pirate vomiting every 15-20mins.

In fact, she just threw up once again as I write.

She has had two very small poopies which is a good sign, but her system hasn’t started acting anywhere close to normal yet.

We imagine she is going to be ok, but it’s hard to predict. I’ve never quite seen an animal so uncomfortable and behave in this way.

Thank you for your prayers. It seems trite to pray for and care for an animal in this way, but we choose to champion life wherever death tries to land it’s sting.

We will keep you updated. You love us when you love our gentle guard dog!!

Lord, restore Kira to health we pray!

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Can we ask for prayer for our dog Kira?

We’ll be sending an update real soon on some really cool news that has been going on since we arrived back.

But to ask for a simple prayer immediately… Kira has become extremely sick over the last 6 days. We have gone to the vet, given her meds, and given her close care. But nothing has brought relief. She has some kind of stomach issue that is not allowing her system to poop.

She has barely moved for 4 days. So this morning we had surgery scheduled. Surgery here is only $100, but it’s always a weird thing to know how much care should be spent on an animal.

Considering she is nearly a member of our family like many of your pets at home, we decided to move forward with the surgery.

I’m in the operation room as I write. He is not finding what he is hoping to find. Please pray for His favor in this whole situation.

All of us are concerned for Kira. She is many things to us (companion, guard and layer of safety at home, pet, etc).

We thank you for prayer in this small but important event in our lives right now.

Thank you to all of you who can lift Kira up this morning while she is in surgery and as she hopefully recovers.

Have mercy Lord.

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You can help!!!

Hi everyone! We have LOVED being stateside this summer. T minus 6 days until we fly back home. Our other home. We always have mixed emotions of course! Please pray as we goodbye our loved ones! And thank you for loving us so well while we were here.

I wanted to give you a quick update of our teachers this fall! We are so excited to have several newbies joining us!! One GUY in particular who has previously lived in our area is coming back with his wife! I am attaching the website of where you can donate money to their fund! They are working hard fundraising and trying to arrive by September! Any little bit would help to get this sweet couple to our school!!!! http://give.teachbeyond.org/support/steven-and-faith-w

Much love!

Will post next week when we arrive home.

Bon voyage!

Jenny

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My kid sister got married.

Hey friends-

It’s been a bit since you have heard from us. Mainly because we have been in the states celebrating my sister who got married two weeks ago. Also, I’ve been working a ton for my brother selling wood.

It’s been a good time back and soon we return to NAfrica.

For those who didn’t see any pics of my beautiful kid sister, my new brother and their big day, here are a few fun pics.

Hope you enjoy.

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