Author Archives: Shane Latham

About Shane Latham

Shane and Erin Latham are missionaries in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil where, after participating in the planting of three churches, they currently facilitate a church-multiplication network. Shane moved to Brazil with his parents at age five and later returned to the U.S.A. for college, where he met his wife Erin. They have two children that were born in Brazil. Shane writes and speaks on Missional Living, Church-Planting, Personal Restoration and Biblical Storying. Shane and Erin are founders of and you can follow them on twitter at @endvisionetwork or on facebook at Shane is the author of "The Wisdom Spiral" available at

Defining “Home” for a Missional Family


, what is our address?”


That was me asking the question after four years of living out of a station-wagon prior to moving to Brazil at age five.


Dad said, “If anyone asks you for your address just say you live on 4 firestones.”


And that’s what I did say, to the amusement of many, (only I misquoted my dad, saying, “our address is 4 styrophomes”) as I experienced the series of transitions common to missionary kid life. After four years at three different addresses in Brazil, at age nine, home became Atlanta, then French Lick, Indiana, Minneapolis, a Ford Granada on the road, and finally Southern Brazil. In all that movement, the stability we found as a family was in relationships and memories, pictures and stories. Christmas 2011, dad digitalized his thousands of family slides and gave them to us kids as a present.



These memories became our home even more than the many roofs we slept under while growing up.  And this is a legacy Erin and I hope to continue with our family. Although we have had only one home in Brazil over the past sixteen years, we have stayed in many places across the USA during furloughs and we have learned what it means to have important moments that create home-defining memories.

We have just enjoyed one of the best of those. In Latin American countries, a girl’s fifteenth birthday is considered a wedding-sized-event. In the secular realm it’s the time the girl is presented to society as a woman, and in the Christian culture it becomes a celebration of all that God has done and is doing to prepare her for womanhood.

Camilla turned 15 on August 2nd and after a year of preparation (with Erin and my mom sewing, family friends helping with the dress, the food, the organization, Erin’s parents coming to Brazil to help with the cake and logistics) we invited one hundred and twenty close friends to my parents’ (redecorated/transformed) house for a night to remember.


Is it worth the work?

During all the setup and take down with the help of both sets of grandparents, our family discussed the implications of spending time and resources on a fifteenth birthday which few would invest on a wedding. Here are the main points we came up with:

  • In the highly transitional life of mission work, home is not where you hang your hat as much as it is the where you place your heart. Relationships are the cornerstones of the life worth living.
  • Moments of celebration are worth great investment when they become worship, as they reflect (dimly though it may be) the future eternal fellowship we long for.
  • These kind of important life moments should be full-on definitions of what we believe and celebrate most, not run parallel to our Christian testimony.

The individual speeches from the pastors’ wives, from fifteen of of her youth group friends, along with the video of testimonials from across America, together formed a montage of affirmation through which we were declaring to Camilla “you are loved”,  “God made you beautiful”, ”you have many gifts to be thankful for” and “you were created for a mission that is worth great effort and celebration.”