Friday, December 3, 2010


"A Week on the Farm" w/ the Ellingsons

We had a week in Wadena in between our services in Pequot Lakes and Pine River. 
Stories from that week are soon to come. 

Thanks again for checking in with us. 

Bryan & Molly


Riverview Church-Pine River – Nov. 21, 2010

Saturday night was a church game night with about 30-40 in attendance. It was a good time to fellowship and just have fun. Sunday morning we split the sharing time with Aaron Brakefield. I (Bryan) had the privilege to lead the congregation in worship through music. It is always an honor to sing with different groups of God’s children.

In his sermon, Aaron Brakefield challenged the Riverview congregation with this statement. “The mission is across the street AND around the world”. He then applauded their efforts in their own community. Quite literally across the street, the Riverview Church is fulfilling God’s mission. “The Warehouse” is one of the best community outreach centers I have seen and it is located just about thirty steps from the church door. This facility gives youth a safe and fun place to go after school and on the weekends. They have a full size gymnasium, a computer lab, a video game room with all the latest technology, and a fully stocked kitchen with soda and ice cream sandwiches. Saturday Nights are alternate between dodgeball nights & movie nights. Kids get free pizza, soda, and popcorn and they usually show a couple different family friendly movies between 6 and 10 pm. There were about 130-150 youth in attendance on November 20th. Trevor Schwirtz serves as the Riverview youth pastor and a lot of his time is spent at The Warehouse.
Trevor and his wife Meggan are good friends from Vennard College. It was great to spend some time with them and their adorable daughter Addison. There were many familiar faces from Vennard. Aaron & Cristiana Brakefield (missionaries to Brazil and former Vennardians) stayed with Brent and Sara Norman. We all reminisced about funny and a bit embarrassing college stories. I told Molly about some of the amateur video projects that some of us made, but Brent didn’t break those out for viewing during the visit. Perhaps next time we’re in the area we can all watch “Super Charged Indian Fighters: Attack of the Gnomes” starring Luke Hettinger, Josh Peterson, Ryan Trosen & featuring Brent Norman and Bryan Canny as “the Gnomes”…with special guest appearance by Aaron Brakefield as “one who gets attacked”.

I’ll talk to Brent. Maybe we can get it uploaded to YouTube…..

Friday, November 19, 2010


Grace United Methodist Church (Pequot Lakes)

After a couple weeks of being close to the Minneapolis area, it was time to get back out on the road. We planned to drive the few hours up to Pequot Lakes on Saturday because the weathermen were forecasting just a bit of light snow near the Twin Cities. As we loaded the vehicle last Saturday morning it was easy to see the weathermen had far underestimated. When it was all said and done there were about nine total inches of very wet and heavy snow blanketing the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. We drove slowly while listening to the static filled broadcast of the Iowa vs. Northwestern football game and we arrived in Pequot Lakes early Saturday afternoon. Thanks be to God for His continued protection on the roads. With all the traveling on deputation we never want to take God’s protection for granted.

 I want to share with you another story of God’s protection and provision. Pastor Diane Ciesluk shared with us a bit of the history of the church building in Pequot Lakes. The church itself goes back many decades, but the current building is only about eleven years old. They started construction in 1999 and were in the process of completing the main entry way when a propane tank, used by one of the construction crews, exploded and set fire to the entry way as well as the education wing. As far as I know there was no one seriously injured, but there was obviously a lot of clean up once the fire had been contained. The church building today is beautiful and serves many needs of its members and the community. When I heard of the fire I figured they just tore down all that was burnt and started over with that construction. I found out as we were standing in the narthex of the church that much of the furniture in the church was made by a member of the congregation and constructed out of wood salvaged from the fire.  The altars, benches, and some chairs are absolutely gorgeous and show marks of a true craftsman.

I am sometimes quick to make the spiritual parallel, but in this case I think it really makes sense. Think about some of those things in your life that you may have thought were a total loss. Think about times when you’ve been burned. Then think about how God as the master craftsman can take those “scraps” and fashion something more beautiful than you could imagine. This is my challenge to you this week. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



It was a real joy to be led into worship by our good friends Mike Graff & Tim Lemmens. Mike admitted that it seemed a bit early for Christmas music, but felt led to sing "O Come All Ye Faithful". As we sang, I thought of the Magi (wise men) mentioned in Matthew 2:7-16. They journeyed to meet young Jesus. They "came to adore Him". Now the scripture doesn't say Jesus' exact age at the time of their visit, but King Herod was led to believe Jesus was around two years old. Can you picture that for a minute? Three wise men, bearing gifts, traveled many miles to bow down and worship a two year old.  Have you been around a two year old lately? In Luke chapter two we see Jesus at age twelve as a young scholar holding His own in the temple discussions. We know His great works in performing numerous miracles and of His sacrifice on the cross to forgive the sins of all mankind. We read about His temptation in the desert and how He remained blameless. Christ lived the example of how God intended man to be at creation. Christ lived a life without sin. Does this mean that two year old Jesus never threw a temper tantrum? Two year old Jesus never threw His food on the floor and never disobeyed Mary and Joseph? He never scattered Joseph's carpentry tools all over the lawn and blamed it on His cousin John? I can tend to be a bit of a speculator, but stop and think about a sinless & fully obedient two year old King. This is one truly worthy of our adoration. I pray the lyrics of this holiday favorite will ring true in our lives all year round. As we near Thanksgiving and the Christmas season let us truly remain faithful, joyful, and triumphant. Come. Let us adore Him. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We all have different experiences in our lives that hit us all across the emotional spectrum. We have good times, bad times, trying times, times of struggle, frustration, times of joy, laughter, peace, times with no answers, and times with all the wrong answers. We can often find ourselves in the place of being "fair weather Christians". We only praise God when times are good. Sometimes I don’t know if I would even give us that much credit. Sometimes when the “sun is shining” in our lives we don’t praise God for it, but rather just take its warmth for granted. Yet when the “rain is pouring” its all to easy to just blame God.

This past Sunday, Pastor Bescye Burnett reminded us with the lyrics of a gospel song that no matter what is going on in our lives, “It’s all good”. God is in control and has a purpose for everything even when we cannot see it.

We visited both United Methodist churches that Bescye pastors in Elyisan, MN and Janesville, MN. We saw a few smiling faces of youth from Red Rock Camp at each church and tried to catch up on what had gone on in their lives since June.

Each week we visit different churches to share about the ministry God has called us to. Sharing about the ministry, we keep foremost in our minds that we are really sharing about Christ. We are introducing people to Christ with every word we say and every action we take. Pastor Bescye challenged each of the congregations to think about how they introduce Christ in their lives.

She shared a clip from Comedian Steve Harvey. Steve Harvey has been known as a rather inappropriate comedian with some foul language, but God seems to have done a work in his life and brought him to a new understanding of grace and redemption. Watch this clip, Introducing Jesus , and ask yourself the question, "How do I introduce others to Christ?"


Friday, October 29, 2010



We had the privilege of sharing at Lydia-Zion United Methodist Church (LZUMC) in Jordan, MN this past Sunday. I got the chance to see several of the youth from Red Rock Camp where I have served as a senior high boys counselor for the past eight summers. One of the boys I counseled, Mark Boettcher, serves as Sunday School Superintendent LZUMC. Mark might be the youngest Sunday School Superintendent I have known at only age 20 and he knows how to do his job well. 
Mark & Bryan circa 2008...?

I always enjoyed counseling Mark and his younger brother Alan at Red Rock, but little did I know that my connection would go further. This past year Molly and I both counseled at Red Rock Camp and also served as the Missionary speakers for the week. It had never come up before, but I found out that Mark and Alan are the nephews of Wayne and Cindy Boettcher who were formerly missionaries to Bolivia through World Gospel Mission.

The church’s connection with Wayne and Cindy made the discussion at Lydia Zion flow very well. Some of the congregation already had a decent knowledge of Bolivia and it was a really great time to share our story. Thank you so much to Lydia-Zion for your prayers for health and safety in Bolivia.

We were also privileged to share in the church’s birthday tradition. As they celebrate birthdays they have a basket filled with papers that have “mission projects”. Each person celebrating a birthday takes the basket around and gives an assignment to someone in the crowd. That paper might say, “Visit someone in a nursing home”, or “carry someone’s groceries”, or any number of other great local mission project. When the person completes the task they pin it up on the bulletin board at church. I thought this was a great way to remind everyone that mission work starts in our own backyard.

Praise be to God for always preparing the pathway ahead of us and preparing the hearts that will hear us.


Thursday, October 28, 2010



“Lets run the ball a bit, then stop, drink some water and have a commercial,” he said in his thick South African accent. I never would have thought about meeting a South African family living in rural southeastern Indiana. Yet there I sat across the table from Walter Claussen at the Saturday evening chili potluck supper as we talked about the key differences between American football & rugby. Walter and his family are from Capetown, South Africa and have been attending the Dublin Gospel Mission in Dublin Indiana for the past year. Walter’s job brought him to Indiana and we were meeting them only a week before they returned to Capetown. We felt blessed that the timing worked out for us to cross paths. Hearing Walter speak brought up fond memories of my youth pastor, Ken Paynter, and his family who were also from South Africa near Johannesburg I believe.

It is always very interesting to me the connections that we make along our travels. In Canby, Oregon we met Gordon Elliott’s youth leaders. Then in Dublin, Indiana we met the Pastor and his wife, Steve and Sherry Cox, who attended Kentucky Mountain Bible College at the same time as Jerome VanKuiken, my Systematic Theology professor at Vennard College. Steve was in a singing group with Jerome.

I wish I could write out a biography on each of the great personalities we met at the Dublin Gospel Mission. The church is filled with warm hearts, good cooks, talented musicians, and people actively seeking after God. It was a real joy to visit around the tables at the chili supper Saturday Night and to share our story on Sunday morning. Dr. Bruce Moyer was in Dublin with us and was the revival speaker from Sunday through Wednesday evening. We weren't able to stay that whole time, but we are praying that hearts and lives were consecrated to the Lord through the messages shared.


After a great morning in Dublin we got on the road for a short one-hour drive up to Dunkirk. I (Bryan) know the Pastor, Josh Huggett, and his family from their time at Vennard College. We became good friends as we worked alongside each other in ministry at the Oskaloosa Evangelical Church. Josh was the associate pastor and I worked with the youth. It was really great to reconnect after a couple years apart. 

A group of about 30 people met at a home for a nice, informal time of sharing. We had pizza, apple cider, and great desserts and then met in the living room to play some PowerPoint games about Bolivia. This intimate setting sparked some good question and answer time and Molly and I really enjoyed sharing our lives with the people of Faith EC in Dunkirk.  After supper and our sharing time we gathered around the campfire in the back yard and made some s’mores with about the largest marshmallows I have ever seen. I felt like I had placed a volleyball on the end of my skewer. I have found that there is a true art to eating a s’more when one has a beard.

We had a Sunday with two wonderful times of sharing with two wonderful groups of people. There was one downfall in the day though… The Chicago Bears lost to the Seattle Seahawks. 


Brashear, MO

Brashear Community Bible Church

When Pastor Shannon Perry mentioned an opportunity for us to help with a service project for a woman in his church we were excited to roll up our sleeves and work. Each week we speak to congregations about the story of how God brought us together and the ministry He has for us in Bolivia, but I never want to lose sight of the ministry that God has for us in each step along the way.

We arrived in Kirksville, MO on Friday evening October 2nd. We were really excited to stay with our good friends Chad and Kendra Stearman. Molly and I had chance to connect with the Stearmans and their little boy Chase at Camp Zion. Chad and Kendra will be taking over as the young adult directors at Camp Zion 2011.  Chad and Kendra have great hearts devoted to God, devoted to youth, and devoted to missions. They are also avid board gamers and enjoy Settlers of Catan. We had a lot of fun with them.

Saturday morning (October 3) we arrived at the house in Brashear where the work had already begun. A large bonfire was sending smoke high into the clear blue sky. We looked for Pastor Shannon for direction. Molly, Chad and I each got a pair of gloves and went to our assignments. Molly was sent to help weed the flowerbed and garden. I took my place on the demo crew for an old storage building near the house. We stripped off old shingles and tore apart the falling walls to take the pieces to the fire. It seemed like no time had passed when all that was left of the old building was the concrete slab that it set upon. Then Pastor Shannon called for lunch break. As we sat down with our sack lunches we looked around the yard to see just how much progress had been made in such a short time. It was amazing to see how as we all worked together we transformed the entire look of this property. Beyond just changing the look of the property I knew we had touched the heart of the owner and her family.

Following lunch we got back to work. Molly was put on weed eating duty and it didn’t take long before the whole work crew knew that the patch of weeds Molly was cutting down was filled with some wild garlic. The aroma filled the air and filled our nostrils. We all had a pretty good laugh.

Sunday was a real blessing to make some new connections as well as see some familiar faces from Camp Zion. Pastor Shannon introduced us with a video from the Camp Zion 2010 talent show. (Click for: Camp Zion Video)

We had a wonderful time fellowshipping at the carry-in dinner after the morning service and had a lot of fun Sunday evening play ultimate Frisbee and pass the parcel with the youth group. The highlight of my day was when Shannon let me ring the church bell.


It took us a couple days to travel between Canby, OR and Glendive, MT, but we were able to stop too see some friends along the way. We stayed with Dylan and Aubrey Does and got to meet baby Xavier Christian Does who was only about 2 weeks old and incredibly adorable. 

We also stopped again in Spokane, WA to stay with the Schmidts. When we traveled west, only a couple weeks before, baby Caleb was just crawling but now he is walking all over the place. We spent one night with each of our friends. The last night before making it to Glendive, we spent with Chad and Emily Jackson and were able to hold baby Ellie Grace one more time. It is amazing to see how God orchestrates life. Each new life is a precious gift.

Glendive, MN


Have you ever been in a building or house and just felt the history in the atmosphere? We had this experience when we visited THE BRIDGE in Glendive, Montana. John and Kristen Marble lead a home church group in a more than 100-year-old church to home conversion. John, Kristen, and their 10 children (7 adopted and 3 biological) live in the basement and hold church service Wednesday nights on the main floor. This place has some of the coolest architecture with high peaked ceilings and brick walls. 
Here are some photos. 


The Bridge has been working through Spiritual Disciplines for several weeks and the Wednesday evening we were there they talked about “Needs”. Kristen shared a message about how we are called to provide for one another just as the apostles did in the book of Acts. In her message, Kristen shared some incredible stories of sacrifice and how God blessed every single time. As missionaries on deputation we know exactly the importance of the spiritual discipline of providing for needs. Our need is clear in the amount of shares we need to raise to return to the mission field. Each week at The Bridge they hand out a laminated card with the Spiritual Discipline, some scriptures, and some life applications. Each person receives a key ring to add his or her cards to. I thought this was a great way to continue the lesson in everyday life and a wonderful reminder that the discipline was more than just a good message.

I had the privilege of leading worship at THE BRIDGE. I haven’t played my guitar regularly while we’ve been on the road so it was nice to play, but also just a great experience to lead others into the throne room of God. My prayer is that as worship leaders we never take for granted the great responsibility we have to show others the face of God. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We were truly blessed in the month of September to have a house provided by the Oregon City Evangelical Church. We used this as our home base as we traveled around the area. Canby Evangelical Church is only about a 10-minute drive from Oregon City so we were afforded a few opportunities to shake hands with the people of this congregation. 

CANBY, OR September 26, 2010

Fun Fact: Canby is nicknamed “The Garden Spot”. 

Some of you may be familiar with the names Kevin and Lisa Hoffman. Lisa’s dad, Gary Schuknecht, is the pastor at Canby Evangelical Church. Lisa and Kevin served as short-term missionaries in Santa Cruz & Mizque, Bolivia and just recently returned to the states taking on the position of Associate Pastor in Harmony, Oregon. With the Canby E.C. having this connection, they already had some basic knowledge of Bolivia, but it was fun for us to share some of our personal experiences from Bolivia. 

We attended prayer meeting on Tuesday night, Bible Study on Wednesday afternoon, and service on Sunday morning. In each of these times we met welcoming hearts and smiling faces. We made some good connections and even met a fellow Iowan. 

I mentioned in our post from Yakima about meeting Shelly Fuehrer’s parents and brother. It is nice to meet the family of your friends and see where parts of their personalities come from. We were able to have that family connection experience again in Canby as we met Lisa Hoffman’s parents and grandparents. You can certainly see how Lisa is much like her mother, Linda. We found out, around the lunch table, that Lisa’s grandparents were Gordon Elliott’s (ECM Missionaries) youth leaders. I joked with them how they were the ones to blame for Gordon’s goofiness. They chuckled, but then you saw the pride in their faces as they spoke about how Gordon is so intelligent and a real stand-up gentleman. The conversation sparked my excitement to return and partner in ministry with Gordon and Niki. I will admit that the kid in me was thinking about getting back to play legos with Mark Elliott. 

I always enjoy hearing the stories of other missionaries and the ministry God is expanding globally. I had the chance to speak with Dave Green, a member at Canby E.C. He and his wife Julie, a native of Guatemala, have been involved in a ministry of building small homes for the lower class people of Guatemala. These basic four walls, cement foundation, and electricity help the people get on their feet and start a new life. Dave and I talked about ministry and cross-cultural experiences. Dave spoke about Julie’s son, Danny, who is an accomplished musician who works with Central America Mission (CAM) through their Mobile Bible Institute ministry. 

My favorite part of talking to Dave was when he shared a story about when he was just grasping onto the Spanish language. He was sitting around the breakfast table with Julie and her mother. Julie’s mother asked Dave to pray over the meal. He gathered up all of his knowledge of Spanish words and started to pray. He knew they were having oatmeal so he thanked God for the oatmeal and right then Julie’s mother started to laugh. Dave knew he must have said something wrong, but he uttered a few more words and finished his prayer. He then leaned over to Julie and asked what he had said wrong. Julie informed Dave that when he meant to say, “Thank you God for my oatmeal”, he had actually said, “Thank you God for my belly-button.” 

As a new missionary and someone who took French in high school it was good for me to hear that everyone makes mistakes. Dave told me that the most important phrase to learn is not, “¿Dónde está el baño?” which means, “Where is the bathroom”? He told me to learn to say, “Estoy aprendiendo español. ¿Podría usted ayudarme por favor?” which means, “I am learning Spanish. Could you help me please?” Dave told me that the people in Guatemala were so loving, caring, and helpful and really appreciated that he was making an effort to learn their language. This made me think about how we respond to new Christians. Are we loving and forgiving as they are learning a “new language”? Do we come along side them and tutor them in the ways of this “new culture”? Just some questions that crossed my mind that I hope you can meditate on as well.


Friday, October 1, 2010


THE GROVE (in North Albany,OR) September 19, 2010
I have to tell a little story and slightly embarrass Molly to explain the title of this post. So we are looking over the schedule with our wonderful hostess Betty Larson as we are gathered around her home computer. Tina DeSimone did an amazing job of making sure we got time with many different groups of people throughout the weekend. She coordinated a great schedule for us for the entire weekend. On the schedule was listed the name of each event and then the host/hostess. One night we were at the Dodd residence. Another night we were with the Rileys. So Molly comments to Betty, "Wow that is really nice. This family is hosting a couple events. Who are the Grovers?" You could see as she verbalized it that it clicked in her brain that "The Grovers" referred to anyone from the church. Betty, Molly, and I got quite a laugh. 

Hawkeyes disguised as Beavers

As we set down our suitcase in our room at Boyd and Betty Larson’s house, we turned to see a gift bag sitting there on our bed. With much excitement we opened the bag to find 2 bright orange Oregon State University Beavers Football T-shirts. As any good missionary couple on deputation we try to color coordinate and match our outfits as often as possible. We were now equipped with the proper attire for the OSU vs. Louisville game on Saturday afternoon.

Friday Night Sept. 17th

We first met Aaron Swank, the youth pastor at The Grove, at Mid-winter conference in Newport, OR in January 2010. Molly and I have both been involved with middle school & high school age ministry (me in the states and Molly in Bolivia) and so we were excited when the opportunity arose for us to spend some time with the youth from The Grove. I don’t think I will ever get too old for pizza and video games. After a few delicious slices and a session playing drums on Rock Band (video game) with some of the Junior High boys, we all gathered in the main living room and played a game called “Pass the Parcel”. This is a game that Molly developed. It is a bit like musical chairs with a gift. As the parcel stops at a person they unwrap a layer and we ask a question for them to answer and then tell a fun fact about Bolivia. It was fun to get to see some of the personalities in the room and hear some of their stories.

Saturday Morning Sept. 18th

Adorned in our game day colors we set off to the first event of our eventful Saturday. We met some of “The Grovers” for breakfast at Pop’s Branding Iron. We were glad to feel welcomed as part of the group as most of the people that were at breakfast were dressed in OSU clothing. God continues to surprise and bless us with new friendships with the most unique and gifted people. Molly made a new friend in Kori, a sixteen-year-old girl who had just returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua. She was so energetic and filled with all kinds of questions about mission life. Some of you may know that I’ve always loved to draw and paint and I was at one time considering studying art in college and pursuing it as a career. God had other plans for me in ministry, but He still blesses me in unexpected ways through that interest. Sitting across the table at breakfast was Peter Mathios who is a professional painter. He paints photo-realistic wildlife paintings and he gives all glory to God for his amazing talents. It was great to meet him.  His daughter, Olivia, is only 9 ½ years old and has a strong desire to be a missionary in China or India. . Molly’s call to be a missionary came at age 11. Olivia and Molly talked about what it is like for God to speak such a clear calling at such a young age. Keep Olivia and her friend Maddie in your prayers over the next few years as they continue to pray about God’s calling in their lives toward missions.

Saturday Afternoon

It was time for “The Big Game”. On a rainy afternoon we were completely content to view the game from the comfort of the living room at the Layton residence while others from The Grove toughed it out in the soaking wet bleachers live in Corvallis. It was a well-fought game by the Beavers and they pulled out the victory at the end. I’ve been trying to take in as much American Football as I can while we are still in the states. I’ll be watching a whole different kind of “tackling” as I become a soccer fan in Bolivia.

Saturday Evening

The Rileys hosted us. We played another round of “Pass the Parcel” and heard a whole new crop of stories from people. The rain canceled out the plans for a bonfire so no s’mores were consumed, but the snack spread was in no way lacking. The understatement of the weekend would be that we were fed well. Each event was somehow focused around food, football, and fellowship. I can’t complain about that combination.

Sunday Morning Sept. 19th

It’s official. Canada has blessed us with yet another phenomenal female vocalist. Heather Carmichael has a set of golden vocal chords.  It was a joy to be lead in worship by her and the rest of The Grove praise band. Molly visited The Grove in January and we were excited to make a second contact with this congregation. This church plant is nearing their one-year anniversary in October and has already taken their vision far from their own walls. They have surpassed their purpose statement. “The Grove lives for Jesus, loving our city-to see people transformed by Him”. The Grove loves far more than just North Albany, OR. They love Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We pray that their love and our partnership will see Bolivians transformed by Christ

Thursday, September 23, 2010


YAKIMA, WA. September 12, 2010

It's no great secret that the life of a missionary on deputation is filled with introductions, first impressions, and the blessing of meeting all kinds of new people. As we anticipated our visit to Yakima, WA we knew we would experience a whole different kind of blessing. There is something very comforting about familiar faces. 
We spent a few days in the company of Dylan and Aubrey Does and their son Ian. Dylan and Aubrey attended Vennard College with Bryan, but Aubrey and Molly have known each other since their childhood years at Bethel Camp in Minnesota. Aubrey and Molly were also on the same mission trip to Brazil in 2002. One other familiar face that weekend was Shirley Roehl(Aubrey's mom) who Molly and I know quite well as the Evangelical Church Missions Office Manager. 
Shirley was in Yakima anxiously anticipating the arrival of her second grandchild. Aubrey was uncomfortably 2 weeks past her due date and we were all praying for her. It wasn't until the following Wednesday (Sept. 15th) that Xavier Christian Does decided to "discover the world". Molly and I plan to stop back through Yakima on our way back to the midwest so we can meet little Mr. Xavier. 
Dylan and I are not only great friends, but also both native Iowans, both Iowa Hawkeye fans, and both Chicago Bears fans. Being in the Pacific Northwest I had kind of surrendered the idea of catching any games. Dylan proved that you can take the boy out of Iowa, but you can't take Iowa out of the boy. We caught the traditional CY-HAWK game on the Big Ten Network  and saw the Hawkeyes tromp the Cyclones 35-7. Sunday afternoon continued the victorious weekend as we were able to tape and watch the Bears edge out the Detroit Lions. 


While Aubrey, Shirley, Molly, and Ian went on an outing to Toys R Us for a "Thomas and Friends Extravaganza", Dylan and I met some of the guys from Yakima EC in the back yard at the church for a game of touch football. After about 15 minutes on the field my muscles and lungs were barking at me. They seemed to say, "You should have gone with Ian to play with the trains". Sure my body was aching, but it was great to make new friendships with some of the guys from YEC. 

Yakima Evangelical Church is the home church of our dear friend Shelly Fuehrer. As we were anticipating our visit we knew we would get to meet her parents and her brother, Trent. It was so great to make those connections and put names with faces. Trent is the worship leader at Yakima EC and is a phenomenal guitar player. I had the privilege of playing drums with the YEC worship team. I played drums back home at the Oskaloosa Evangelical Church and since we've been on the road I've been missing that musical outlet.  

Molly and I have been sharing the story of how we met and where God is leading us and it is a bit of a different experience when the Pastor of the church is your best friend and heckles you from the front row. We love you Dylan. 

It is amazing how God can take you clear across the country and still use people and experiences to make it feel like home.

Bryan & Molly

There is a new video section on the right side of the blog. There is a video that Shirley took of Bryan worship painting at Yakima. Thanks Shirley. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


PUYALLUP, WA. September 5, 2010

Growing up in Iowa I am used to different Native American tribe names. I grew up in Oskaloosa and Molly grew up near Sioux City. Both towns named after tribes. Oskaloosa was an indian princess and the daughter of Chief Mahaska. Growing up with this Native American knowledge was no help when trying to pronounce Puyallup, Washington named after the Puyallup tribe. Some say "Pea-y'all-up", while others say, "Puh-wall-op". I don't know if I ever pronounced it right in conversation. The pronunciation I am going with comes from Shelly Fuehrer's dad who lives in Yakima, WA. He told me to remember it this way. "If you aren't sitting in your 'pew' you're gonna get a 'wallop'.". 

Our time in Puyallup was warm and welcoming. We had some great experiences and were able to connect with some really wonderful children of God. Like any good homiletics student I have 3 points, or words, to sum up our time in Puyallup. 

Puyallup Evangelical Church meets in a conference room at the Best Western Hotel. As we circled up the chairs in one corner of the room for Sunday School one of the ladies was bragging on the Sunday School teacher, Phil, and said that he was, "so thorough and really dives into the full meaning of the scripture". The class had been studying Revelation and were in chapter 4. As we studied there were few that had to look down at their Bibles. Most everyone was reciting from memory the entire chapter. Pastor Al Hoenhous talked about another member of their congregation named Norm who memorized the whole book of James and was working on Mark. I know I was challenged. Maybe you're like me and you can recite movie quotes or song lyrics right off the top of your head yet sometimes struggle to pull up scripture in your daily conversation. Lets be challenged together to truly hide God's word in our hearts. 

Pastor Al Hoenhous is more than your typical pastor. With a couple decades of carpentry work and experience in a lumberyard, God called him to full time ministry through a rather drastic way. You'll have to ask Al for the whole story sometime. I observed Al throughout the few days we were in Puyallup and he was always available to the members of his congregation and others in his community. If there was a handyman question he was willing to listen and give an answer. If someone had a project he was more than willing to take his tools and meet the person to help. It made me think about Jesus. I thought of His servant heart of course, but sometimes we forget that Jesus had experience as a carpenter. Do you ever think after performing miracles, the people of the village might have called on Jesus to stop by and help them patch the roof of their house or fix the leg of their kitchen table? These stories aren't covered in the Gospels, but they may have happened and I believe that Jesus would have been very willing to use his skills and serve His people. 

Sunday evenings for the Puyallup Evangelical Church are dedicated to prayer. Since they don't have a church building they meet in different people's houses. Molly and I felt this gave a really great family atmosphere to the prayer time. I was so impressed by the spirit in that small group. We shared requests with each other, but for the next hour it was so much more than just reciting a list of requests. There were times of silence that were in no way awkward. We all quieted our hearts for God's voice and felt the spirit meet with us. 

So maybe I'll never pronounce the town name right, but I definitely understand the heart of Puyallup Evangelical Church. These are people dedicated to God's word, devoted to God's work, and listening for God's voice. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Thursday September 2, 2010 around 5pm (MDT) the citizens of Spokane Washington, if they looked up in the eastern sky may have caught a glimpse of a white, four-seater, Cessna type plane flying overhead at an altitude of about 5,500 ft. The pilot, Tyler Schmidt, is the husband of Molly’s college roommate, Renae. Tyler attended Moody Aviation in Spokane after graduating from Grace University where both Molly and Renae attended college. Tyler now works for the Spokane Turbine Center and is preparing to be a missionary pilot. We were able to stay with Tyler and Renae and their adorable 13-month-old baby boy, Caleb, for a few days. It was really good to spark up another great friendship with people Molly has known and loved for years. Luckily for me the Schmidts are board-gaming people. We played many games as well as having the opportunity to pick a few fresh peaches at an orchard one morning.

Our whole time in Spokane was a blast, but the highlight was of course the plane ride. We had planned the flight and Tyler reserved the plane for Thursday afternoon. Tyler, Molly, and I climbed into the plane and put on our seatbelts. We slipped on our headsets and listened to Tyler speak in “Pilot language” to the tower. We approached the runway, watched the propeller spinning, and before I knew it we were in the air. After about ten minutes of our ascent, Tyler asked me if I was ready to “take over for a while”. With much hesitation I grabbed the steering device on my side of the plane and Tyler began coaching me. He showed me how to keep it level with the horizon. I didn’t learn any acrobatic maneuvers like barrel rolls or flips, but I sat white knuckled at the controls for about 15 minutes. When Tyler took over again I was relieved yet disappointed because it was fun yet a bit stressful. I pictured flying over remote villages and dropping down supplies or landing on a small grazing land near some cows. I thought about the Wings of Peace ministry in Bolivia and John Trosen. The experience really helped to broaden my outlook on all the different jobs in global missions. As you pray for Molly and me please also remember to lift up our friends Tyler and Renae Schmidt as they partner with Spokane Turbine Center and Proclaim Aviation to follow God’s call for their lives.

Blessings,Bryan & Molly Canny(Missionaries to Bolivia)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just Checking In.

Hello Canny Followers!

We arrived in Oregon City. We are basing out of a house owned by the Oregon City Evangelical Church. We will be here for the rest of September. We will be posting about our adventures in Washington within the next week. This past week has been rather busy. I (Bryan) have been working on questions for my Doctrinal Exam for commissioning through the Evangelical Church. We visited the Starbucks to get some wireless connection and get this short update out. 

Thanks you all of you for your support and interest in our ministry. 

We Love You, 
Bryan and Molly Canny

Friday, September 3, 2010


Recently Molly and I were comparing how many of the 50 United States we have each been to. After this trip out west I am creeping up on her 27 and taking my number to 24. One of the states adding to my number is Montana. Montana's official nickname is "The Treasure State", but it is more commonly known as "Big Sky Country". Both are incredibly fitting nicknames. I have found my fair share of treasure in this state. 

Bryan's Top 5 Montana Treasures (in no particular order)
1) "The Bobcat Special": A delicious turkey & roast beef sandwich at Montana's famous Sandwich Shop "The Pickle Barrel" in Billings, MT. Thanks for the free wifi Pickle Barrel.

2) Ellie Grace Jackson: This adorable little 6 week old baby girl is the daughter of Chad & Emily Jackson and she captured my heart. Chad is Molly's "honorary big brother" because the Jacksons ministered in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with Molly for a couple years. It was so good to create  friendships in Billings. 

3) Stockman Cafe:  Rapelje, Montana's premiere eatery. That town is pronounced (Rap.el.jay). This is a very unique "not for profit" restaurant with volunteer community staff. Molly and I were treated by John and Karen Tyra from the Columbus Evangelical Church. Neither one of us ordered the special and I was regretting it when I saw the complimentary dessert with the special called "Chocolate Yum Yum". 

4) Runaway Truck Ramps: I pray I never have to discover the real treasure in this innovation. For a small town Iowa boy, who has not spent time in the mountains, this was quite intriguing. So for those of you as clueless as me...there are signs periodically through the mountain passes that say "Runaway Truck Ramp ahead". The "ramp" is a quarter to half mile stretch of gravel to the right of the road that is supposed to slow a vehicle down to a stop after the brakes have failed. Call me a bit skeptical. 

5) Mountainous Golf Courses: I had to appreciate this treasure from afar. The view from interstate 90 was enough to make me drool all over the mission van window. Rolling hills, deep sand traps, and mountains in the background as you swing for the green just sounds like the perfect setting. 

COLUMBUS, MT August 29, 2010
The second stop on "Summer/Fall 2010 Deputation Tour" was Columbus Evangelical Church. I had seen Pastor Jay Forseth at General Conference, but hadn't put a name with a face until we arrived in the church foyer and had proper introductions. 

Jay told us about a wildfire that had burned through 10,000 acres about 3-5 miles outside Columbus just a week before we arrived. No homes or lives were lost thankfully. The fire was started by a careless welder near some dry grass. The fire had burned for more than a day and fire crews were working as fast as they could, but the outlook was grim and looked to take months to contain this fire. Jay really put it in perspective when talking about how God sent a rainstorm Sunday evening and in 20 minutes He contained the raging flames. 
We had a good service and were able to share the story of Evangelical Church Missions in Bolivia and how it intersects with "Our Story". Following the service we spent the afternoon with John and Karen Tyra. As we drove to Rapelje for lunch we could see the many burnt acres. The fields were covered with ash and the hills appeared to be covered with hundreds of giant charred matchsticks sticking straight up. 
Molly and I have a powerpoint game we sometimes play with congregations. It is called "The Bigger Picture". We zoom in on a portion of a picture and have the people guess what they are looking at. 
This summer our home state of Iowa has seen incredible amounts of rain. There have been records for flooding throughout the state. People have lost homes and irreplaceable items. How interesting it is to be asking God, "why so much water?",on one side of the country and asking God ."when will the water come?" on the other side. Only He knows His full plan. Only He is in control. Only HE knows the Bigger Picture. I was challenged and want to pass that along. Whenever you feel like the small part of the picture you see isn't enough and you just want to "pull back" and see the Bigger Picture remember that it is best in God's timing to reveal His plan. 

In His Hands, 
Bryan & Molly Canny (missionaries to Bolivia)

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