Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Pizza, Instagram, Comparison and what I’ve learned

This past weekend I packed my bags and went to hang out with my long time friend Brandon and his family—  They live Niceville, Fl.  The change of scenery was just what I needed.  Who knew there was such a place.  Ok, Ok! I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… “Are the people of Niceville really nice?” I mean, they not mean. LOL

During my 4-day adventure, we spent a lot of time eating— Pizza, Hibachi, seafood, and even Chick Fil A. I’m stuffed thinking about it. By the way, If you’re in the area, you have to try the buffalo chicken pizza from Domonics. SO YUMMY! We even threw in some Alabama football too (he’s a HUGE fan). Y’all know I could care less, but I watched with a smile. You’re welcome, Brandon. But I think what I loved most about my time there was our conversations. It’s always fun to catch up and reminisce on old times, but it’s also fun to meet new people.

Greyson, Brandon and Amy

While in Niceville, almost as soon as I arrived, I met this sweet gal that attends their church. The following day we met again and it was as if we had been friends for years. Ok, not years, but months. Haha. She introduced me to her group of friends, but it was the way she introduced me that made me stop and think. “This is Evan. He has 5,000 followers on Instagram and a Youtube Channel.”  At first I laughed, thought it was comical and cute, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think, “is this what our world has come too?” Living in what people call the “Millennial Generation (myself included), we too often define our lives by the number of followers we have or the amount of likes we get.

Social Media has created this idea that “it’s okay to pretend to be okay.” We post only the pretty stuff.  The stuff that makes us look good. The stuff that makes people think we’re living a perfect life, but the reality of it is, we aren’t. We’re humans. We struggle. We hurt and most days we don’t have it all together.

As most of you know, over the last few years, I have been through some pretty rough patches in life. I never in a million years thought I would see the day my parents called it quits on their marriage. It hurt and it hurt deep. I’m known as the funny guy, the guy who makes people laugh, the life of the party if you will. It was during the darkest hours of my life, I lied to people. I pretended to happy, but deep inside I was hurting. I needed someone to talk to, but instead, I turned to the internet where I pretended to be ok.

During that time period of my life, one of the most important things I learned was that “Comparison is the Enemy of Self-Worth”. I realized that I was too worried about what others thought of me. I used social media (“Likes” and “Followers”) to validate who I was. I was more focused on my image being tarnished.  I learned the hard way that comparing myself to others and their accomplishments made me feel inferior. I let the disease comparison burry itself in me.  It destroyed who I was— my self-worth and my confidence.

Comparison will eat you alive if you let it, yet so many of us do. We compare our success, talents, job titles, relationships, looks and even our cars and house.  Genesis 1:27 says, “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  No one can take this away from us. We were created in the image of God and that alone is something to be proud of. Be who God created you to be.

 

Alabama vs. LSU

As most of you know I went to my VERY FIRST College football game a few weeks back. (Click Here to see previous post) I guess I couldn’t get enough and decided it wasn’t too soon to go again. We didn’t go to just any game, we went to the rivalry game of the year.. AL/LSU. It was CRAZY. Pouring rain and all.

If you’ve every been to an Alabama game at Bryant Denny Stadium you know it’s part tradition to go to the walk of champions. So we started my second adventure in T-Town there. 2015-11-13_0004 Of course you can’t go to a game without tailgating. It might be my new favorite thing. Y’all know I LOVE a good party. Free Food and Drinks. SIGN ME UP. I called one of my Favorite past clients, Mother of the Bride and told her I was in town and wanted to stop by. She treated us right. Thanks Mrs. Donna for having us.  2015-11-13_0005 Obligatory panoramic stadium photo. 2015-11-13_0008 Roll Tide America. I’ve learned all the chants and cheers and I’m a pro at shaking that Shaker.   2015-11-13_0007 Ok. If you personally know this usher, please send him my thanks. His dance skills were impeccable during half time. I think I will forever have that image imbedded in my brain. Andrew kept nudging me throughout the game… “Look the Usher”. His choreographer routine to UpTown Funk was my favorite. #Hilarious  2015-11-13_0009 Number 1, folks. Andrew was like a kid in a candy store after the win. He was hyped up the rest of the evening (his vocal skills on the ride home were on point). Alabama killed LSU. 30-16. Thanks AGB for putting up with my shenanigans. I would’t have wanted to experience the game with anyone else. You da best! #biffles 2015-11-13_0010 You knew it was coming….You asked for it!! Here it is folks. Part 2 of #EGCdoescollegefootball Share, Share, Share. 

#Vienna13

I have sat down to finish writing this post 100 times but keep getting pulled away from my computer. So glad I was about to finally finish it. Enjoy Vienna through our eyes. and iPhones. 😉

I was beyond thrilled when I heard the #allchurchmissions trip was to Vienna Austria this summer. We’ve been all around the world, South Africa, Germany, Panama, Guatemala and even the Canary Islands. Each trip is special in its own way and Vienna was no different. It is certainly the most beautiful country I have ever been to. Full of culture and history.

Our journey began Sunday afternoon after our morning service. We loaded the buses and headed to the airport. Do you know how long it takes to get 30 people through ticketing and security? We arrived at the airport 4 hours before our flight. We flew out of Atlanta on KLM airlines. So thankful we had our own TV’s and USB ports at our seats. We’ve certainly been on flights without them! We traveled all night—a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam to be exact. EXHAUSTING! Then a 3 hour lay over in Amsterdam and FINALLY our last leg. The Final Flight— 2 ½ hours to go before arriving in Vienna.

I have to admit I got a lot of flack when I told everyone we were taking a missions trip to Vienna. Did you know it is one of the TOP 10 cities to live in the world?! But it’s also a city where less than 1% know Christ. We were so blessed to work with Phenomenal missionaries Larry and Melinda Henderson.  They had a packed schedule for us. Between street Ministry, Surveys, pray walks, to a work day at the asylum home. There was no rest for the weary. Oh and I forget to mention the 5 church services we were apart of on Sunday Morning—African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Iranian, National service and that’s only half of them.

I don’t have time to write about everything that happened on our trip. Like divine appointments our Pastor had while sitting on a park bench or Stories of the families we worked with in the asylum home,  nor do I think you would want to sit and read paragraphs upon paragraphs about our trip. But trust me when I say God had his hand on our trip and moved not only in the city of Vienna and allowed us to plant many seeds, but also in our team. “We need missions more than missions needs us”. So below are several iPhone photos from our trip. I only took my film camera with me this year and I am waiting to get those back from the Lab. I’ll be posting the “real” pictures as soon as they are ready! Enjoy! Oh and be sure to check out the official #vienna13 hashtag on instagram for many many more photos.

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I couldn’t pass up a photo op in the Amsterdam airport. This wall was just screaming for a photo shoot after our 9 hour flight. Fedora and all. (By the way all my friends hate my hat.) 2013-07-26_0002

Our home for 10 days!  The Ibis Hotel– We arrived to a gift bag full of goodies, free wifi, a see through shower and tiny beds. 2013-07-26_0003

As soon as we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, they whisked us away to dinner. Our 1st dinner in Vienna was YUMMY! I can still taste it! I could go for some of that chicken right now. 2013-07-26_0004

The buildings in Vienna were some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen. Such history and character. Kodak moments everywhere! 2013-07-26_0009 2013-07-28_0008

Our first day of Ministry was in Stephansplatz– the home of the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral. The ground breaking took place in 1137. It took over 20 years to build. It was completed in 1160. 2013-07-28_0001 2013-07-28_0002

While in Vienna we were well fed.We ate dinner here twice. It was SO YUMMY! The food portions were HUGE. I don’t know if anyone even ate everything on their plate. 2013-07-26_0005

The dish below is cordon bleu. It was good but I think I preferred the Wienerschnitzel. They best was to describe it– country friend steak, minus the gravy. It was delicious. 2013-07-28_0025

One evening after dinner we took a field trip to the worlds oldest ferris wheel– This Vienna landmark has operated in the Wiener Volksprater for over 100 years. Incredible view over the city. 2013-07-26_0006 2013-07-28_0024

There is also a small little amusement park attached– we got to spend a little time there and decided to ride “Ecstasy”. BIG MISTAKE. I have never wanted to vomit so bad in all my life. The ride lasted like 8 minutes, honestly. The ride slowed down and we all breathed a sigh of relief and before we could catch our breath it started back up again. Below is a before and after picture from our ride. 2013-07-28_0026

A couple of days into our trip We participated in a 2 1/2 prayer walk around the city. We circled many needs, not only  for the church but the people of this country. Less than 1% of Vienna are born again believers. The beautiful street you see below at first glance looks like an ordinary street, but 100’s of girls are sold into prostitution each night. Girls stand under the trees of that street waiting to be picked up. Europe is proposing that the largest brothel be built right here in Vienna. Sex trafficking at an all time high. This country needs Jesus. It was so special to lay hands on a church that has planted on that street and walk up and down the sidewalks circling the area in prayer. 2013-07-26_0007

Off to dinner again. It seems like all me did was eat, eat and eat. Possibly the best Calzone I’ve put in my mouth. AND, Vapiano wins major points for interior design. 2013-07-26_0008

again, so many beautiful buildings– everywhere you turned. 2013-07-28_0010 2013-07-28_0015 2013-07-28_0027

Not even gonna lie, Y’all– Europe was a little smelly! 2013-07-28_0012

Let me introduce you guy to Almdudler. It’s like ginger ale, but quit possibly better. It’s all I drank. I even looked in to have a case shipped to the states. 2013-07-28_0011

It’s so fun to spend everyday with your friends for 11 days! Oh and that photo on the left– hahahah! The little girl was from the local church we worked with, she told me I needed a head message. Certainly not like any head message I’ve ever gotten.

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Trips on the u bahn are always fun! 2013-07-28_0019

I thought it would be fun to join the construction team for the day– It didn’t last long. 2013-07-28_0023

The official #Vienna13 Puppet team. If you guys follow me on Instagram you’ve already met my friend #steviethepuppet! I think everyone was tried of him buy the time we arrived back in the states. He even traveled back in my carry on! He might of made some appearances in a couple of airports and on the plane. 2013-07-28_0016

Meet my roomie, Jimmy. This was the the case every morning. The photo below was taken at 9:22am. We were suppose to load the bus at 9:30am. Can you say, LAST MINUTE?!?! Typical Jimmy. 2013-07-28_0022

So grateful to visit such a beautiful country with my Mom! We certainly missed having Morgan and Dad with us this go round!  2013-07-28_0018

AND It was pleasure to work with some of the worlds GREATEST Missionaries. Meet the Henderson’s. Such a passionate family for missions and reaching the lost. 2013-07-28_0009

 

Our 2013 Vienna Austria All Church Missions Trip Team

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We had a blast, but were more than ready to head to the airport. We were smiles to begin with, then the jet lag begin to set in. 2013-07-28_0028

Finally no trip back to the States in complete with out a trip to Chick-Fil-A. It’s a MUST!!

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