End of Year Giving: 5 Great Places to Give


Today is the last day of the year. That means today is the last day to give contributions to nonprofit organizations so that the deductions count towards this year’s taxes. So here are a few places you can give where I am confident your money will be used well for the Kingdom of God.

I’ve been on both sides of giving and I used to think if I couldn’t give a big gift or give monthly it was worthless or that it was some sort of insult if I could only give $5 a month or a small one time donation. Now that I’m on the other side I can tell you we truly need both. Even $5 is not an insult, it makes us feel loved, encouraged and supported far beyond you could ever imagine. So please consider supporting some or all of these people, even if it is a very small amount; just seeing your name in our list is a great encouragement that I know many of us need.

1. Us of course, you can read about Church Plant in Manhattan and how you can help here or you can give online at GiveToRUF.org and typing in my name, “Brian Hough”

2. Jon Dunning is the RUF Campus Pastor at K-State. He is working right now to establish this new campus ministry with a great emphasis on teaching the Word of God. Jon is a great guy, he loves the Lord and handles well the need to help new believers wade into the Word of God, while also taking those who have walked with Christ longer deep into Word. Jon is in need of support for the coming year. You can give to Jon by going to GiveToRUF.org and typing in his name, “Jon Dunning.” I know he would really appreciate it.

3. Shannon Johnston is a missionary with a focus towards art and the art community. She is bringing the Good News of Jesus to a people group that very few can legitimately get into. Right now she needs support so she can return to Perth, Australia where she is helping with a Church Plant and ministering to the large population of artists. You can give support and help Shannon get back to Perth by clicking here. Even if it is only a small donation, please consider encouraging her by giving.

4. Sam Kassing is working with CRU at K-State and a great guy who cares deeply to see Jesus save sinners. If you desire to support Sam or learn more about the ministry he is involved in you contact him through Facebook here.

5. Robbie Hotz grew up as a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park; he was in high school when I began as the Youth Pastor there. Today Robbie is serving with Young Life on their college ministry at Kansas State. If you desire to give to Robbie click here. Then select button that reads, “A Young Life Staff Member’s Ministry” and type in Hotz. I know he would really appreciate any financial support you can give.

There are many more ministries and people worth supporting, I just made this quick list of people I’ve talked to recently and know could use the support and encouragement.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. We don’t take for granted the body of Christ God has graciously given.

My Return to Baseball

Astros and Papa

My Papa, Alec Anderson, was a baseball fan. I remember his Toledo Mudhens hat and his high-fronted ill-fitting Astros hat. He took us games in the AstroDome where we howled with the crowd “Jose Cruzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” My Papa was a fantastic grandfather.

As a child I played one season of little league. It was elementary school and I was on the Angels with the halo “A” and I hated it. The game moved too slow and I while I can’t remember if I actually did quit, I know that was my desire.

I returned to baseball again in 5th and 6th grade. My family had crumbled during sixth grade, all summer long I feared the Fall when school would return and a huge dude named Donny promised to smash my face in. The last time I saw him he had his hands wrapped in chains on the last day of school looking for me while I was hiding from him. Between that very real fear and divorce my life was unstable, but not baseball. I could count on baseball.

I loved the A’s that summer. Jose Canseco was my hero and I checked the newspaper box score every morning to see how he did. My Aunt Sally and Uncle Roger on July 5th, 1991 took me to Kansas City to watch Canseco play while I was staying with them. He hit a grandslam. It was one of those  great moments that just seem silly looking back, but it meant so much to me. It was that rare moment that a hero actual lives up to the title.

The following day we came back to watch the next game and Danny Tartabull hit three homeruns in a single game. It was like watching the Greek Myths in real life.

In the years that followed David Waindel, Eric Haig and various other people played a version of baseball in our front yards with a tennis ball and a metal bat. The house roofs were homers and it was great. I even signed up to play in a league again. There were tryouts and drafts. David made the majors and I was in the minors. The fields were great, non-symmetrical like any stadium worth anything in the big leagues with advertisements across the outfield fences. It was great.

The following year Jeff Bagwell was destroying everything thrown at him. I met him and Craig Biggio at the card shop in front of our neighborhood. It was the best year of baseball ever and then the greedy players and the greedy owners couldn’t agree leading to a strike. That made me so angry at the game. It felt like my family’s divorce all over again. Two selfish people can’t work it out and it was the little people getting punished. In this case the fans. The once stable baseball was broken.

The owners and players did reconcile, but it just wasn’t the same. I still went to games. As soon as we could drive, Aaron Armstrong, Brian Attaway, Keith Carpenter and others would drive down to the AstroDome and get five dollar outfield seats. We’d heckle the other teams’ outfielders and have a great time feeling free to be in the city with no adults.

My love of baseball fizzled; I kept up with the home run war between McGuire and Sosa and later Bonds, but that all seemed fake even as it happened. When the steroid scandal bust open it was tough to hear. I mean we all knew it, but to hear my childhood hero was an actual fraud hurt even at an older age. (That bubble never burst with soccer. In fact soccer has been on an upward trend my entire life and I love that, but baseball has always been less sport and more life to me.)

In baseball, Spring time is like New Years Day where hope is alive no matter how unrealistic it is. It’s like opening the fresh pack of baseball cards that just might contain the next Honus Wagner card. It’s also long and slow and people play big roles and small roles and they all matter.

I was still on strike from baseball in 2005 when the Astros finally made it to the Series. We lived in Dallas and watched every game, but my heart wasn’t there; I still hadn’t forgiven baseball for 1994. While at Redeemer I was drawn back into baseball listening to Jon Meyers in the office and playing Wiffleball with Ubuntu and Sam Basham in the back field every chance we had. I’ll never forget Sam being robbed of a home run one day by a tree and then the next day looking out my office window to see he and Chris Earnshaw cutting down the tree with a chainsaw. Never again would he let that tree interfere with a home run. I know I should have stopped them, but it was just too great to interfere.

My love for the game began to return in Kansas City. Beckham and I play catch and Wiffle and go to games together in Houston on vacation. It’s a shared experience in life that will continue long after I’ve gone to be with my Savior.

Baseball is different than soccer and football and basketball. It doesn’t mimic what modern life is so much as model what modern life should be. It’s slow, it’s thoughtful, it facilitates conversation at the games and in the office. There is a clear villain in the New York Yankees with legions of  glory hunting fans. It’s unfair that one team can have a payroll of $230 million and another $23 million, but true to life that the favorites sometime fail to succeed and the underdog can triumph.

There is no clock, time just stops in this game. You can’t run out the remaining seconds, just holding the ball is not an option because you must face your opponent, you must play to get to the end successfully.

This is not a knock on soccer or other sports, I genuinely enjoy sports of all sorts. I’ll be ecstatic when the World Cup plays this summer, but baseball is unique, it’s been a comfort to me these last few years. As my Astros have played the three worst seasons in their history, I’ve enjoyed every second of it and I can’t wait for the new season to begin. I’m glad to be back in baseball.

I got a kick out of seeing our photos tagged with baseball in Flickr, here they are.


Junie B’s life at the Hough house

 Some (read: “one”) of the Hough kids are gentle and kind to Junie B.


Then there’s the girls. For them, Junie B is their doll.

In the high chair

In the play pet carrier

In the shopping cart

In doll clothes (for the record, her nose was a casualty of her falling off the bed!)

In the stroller

In a tupperware. Cause she’s naughty apparently.

And my personal favorite: being traced on the chalkboard

I think Junie B is playing dead here to get a break

But then people come over and she gets real, grown up love!

MPC Game Night

Also, I bought this. In real life. I’m going to potty train Junie B.

(Cause if you recall when I brought her home I didn’t factor in litter…cause I really believed she would be an outside cat and they poop outside)

This one's for you Junie B! I'm either brilliant or a sucker. We will find out!!

I can’t remember why he was in the bathtub with his clothes on.


Also, the cat gets in our tree. And most of the ornaments she knocked off. And the ribbons, well, they became her toys.

And she climbs VERY high in the outside trees.

But then there’s this:

SP with the kitten Berkley has named "Hello Kitty" #theregoesmylastmancard

5 Things 2013

Five Things 2013

Last year we started what we hope to be a tradition. We asked friends to name five things they are loving or are thankful for right now (Last years post). Not over spiritual or huge picture, but what are the little things that are just really fun. Foods, stores, products, people, movies, songs, ideas, games, smells, whatever. After asking people I wait a few days and post the answers of those who respond in order by taking their birth year and adding it to their graduation year and numerical equivalent of their favorite flavor of ice cream and then dividing by seven. Actually, it’s completely random, here it is.

Robbie Hotz

  1. My girlfriend
  2. Comfy sweaters
  3. Laughter
  4. People changing for the better
  5. Handshakes and what they symbolize


Amy Shanahan

  1. Coffee
  2. Laughing
  3. Family
  4. Showers
  5. Amazon

I rejected that list (first rejection ever) because Amy is way more interesting than that and she sent this much better one.

  1. That Isaac is finally potty trained…hold up…never mind.
  2. The decorative balls that I love to move around to different spots in my house.
  3. That the day I forgot Isaac in the van [for a few hours] was not hot.
  4. When kids throwing tantrums are not mine.
  5. Texting while driving (totally joking about that. It’s illegal here) texting while not driving is my favorite.


Josiah Wegener

  1. Friends
  2. Laughter
  3. Warm drinks
  4. Singing in the crisp air
  5. God’s great love


Hayden Hager

  1. My son William
  2. Netflix
  3. Warm House
  4. Black Coffee
  5. Winter break


Berkley Boo

  1. Playing with kitty (Junie B the cat)
  2. Playing on trampoline
  3. Playing with Sadie and Beckham
  4. Going to fun places like Texas and the Library
  5. Honey sandwiches and Mac & Cheese
  6. Wearing Cowgirl boots


Sam Basham

  1. Lecrae
  2. The Hobbit
  3. Indoor Soccer
  4. Sporting KC
  5. Sporting KC
  6. Smartphone
  7. Social media
  8. Instagram
  9. Sporting KC
  10. The chiefs


Julia Chesnut

  1. My team. Go KSU Rowcats!
  2. My Manhattan Pres family and the fellowship I’ve had with them over the past few months.
  3. The excuse to make and eat anything pepperminty because it’s the holiday season. Even brushing my teeth is a joy now, thanks to Colgate “Winter Sparkle”. Minty fresh.
  4. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and the world of Middle Earth
  5. Big-band Christmas music (Harry Connick Jr., specifically!)


Carolyn Conrad

  1. Great Sushi
  2. Dry Bar blow outs
  3. Spontaneous trips
  4. Fierce loyalty
  5. The unexpected


Brookie Reymond

  1. English Breakfast Tea
  2. Footie Pajamas
  3. Running Water
  4. Puppies
  5. Christmas Lights


Rudy Prins

  1. Soccer
  2. David
  3. Sporting KC – Cause they are the champs
  4. Christmas Time
  5. Cold Weather
  6. Good Food


Bethany McGuire

  1. Christmas crack aka toffee
  2. Alaska- the final frontier with the family just about every night
  3. Meeting people at the gym/ swim meets and in our community and listening to them tell about their lives.
  4. Watching the chickens interact with the dogs and each other. Watching the dogs get stung by bees (awful I know, but it is seriously entertaining)
  5. Teaching the kids what my dad would have taught them changing the oil, putting on a new axle…engine/ car type stuff. And teaching them how I grew up on the farm through actual experience.


Kelly Bean Thomas

  1. Basketball
  2. Driving
  3. Scarfs
  4. Family
  5. Baking


Joe Catudal

  1. Afternoon Naps
  2. Modern Marvels of Science, Namely Apple, Keurig, and Dyson Products (all conflict with #1)
  3. Bad Puns
  4. Kids Excited to See Me Home From Work
  5. Board Games That Are Not Monopoly or Scrabble


Katie Thomas

  1. Colorful Pens
  2. Lindt Truffles
  3. Stationary eaters
  4. My Apologetics class
  5. Spending time with family and friends during the holiday season


Andria Merrill

  1. Living within five minutes of the best friends I’ve ever had
  2. People who trust me enough to let me see behind their mask
  3. The journey of recognizing that I have the tools to make my life what I desire it to be
  4. Once Upon A Time TV show
  5. Panic at the Disco


Christine Durrett

  1. Sufjan Stevens “Songs for Christmas”
  2. Legos
  3. Peppermint stick ice cream (esp. as the only member of my family who likes mint)
  4. Piano lessons (lifelong dream)
  5. World class babysitters that adore my kids and vice versa


George Deines

  1. College football
  2. Date nights with my wife
  3. Taking my kids to the park
  4. Twitter
  5. Jesus

Cameron Earnshaw

  1. My New friends
  2. Watching Sports
  3. Playing Basketball
  4. Cold Weather
  5. New Shoes


Andy Denekas

  1. Pour-over coffee
  2. Kindle books
  3. Pilot G-2 0.38 (the only size)
  4. Apple Products
  5. ESV Daily Reading Bible


Annie Prins

  1. Oreo cream cheese white chocolate covered truffles.
  2. Hanging out with people I enjoy hanging out with
  3. Not going to school
  4. Matt Kearney pandora radio station
  5. Cute big bows for cheerleading.


Brian Hough

  1. Wiffleball & Astros – Can’t wait for season to start so Stros can try not to lose 100 games again.
  2. Manhattan Pres – Just love the people who make up MPC and look forward to who God is yet to add.
  3. People’s Generosity – We couldn’t be here apart from that.
  4. David’s Tea – It’s like Bertie Bott’s for Tea, crazy flavors that are so good. I like Santa’s Secret, Chocolate Chili Chai and Sea Salt & Carmel.
  5. Laura’s cooking – Cookies, bread, Chupe, pot pie, salsa, etc.
  6. Taco Lucha – Best Mexican restaurant in Kansas and it’s in Manhattan.
  7. Roku – It makes Hulu and Amazon Prime and MLB.tv all work on my TV and it has no subscription fees. Jon Meyers alerted me to this great device, so I am thankful for Jon Meyers too.
  8. Manhattan – It really is the perfect size town. Small enough that there is no traffic, easy to travel by bike, great stuff to do and explore, plus it’s big enough that we still have Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.
  9. Olive Tree Bible App – turns my iPad into a study Bible that is actually easier to use than paper.
  10. 34-Ton Bat – A book I got at the library that is telling history of baseball through objects (bat, ball, glove, etc)


Tammy Schumann

  1. Spending time with friends this month
  2. Eggnog
  3. Christmas music
  4. My new Bobs(shoes)
  5. Snapea crisps (wasabi ranch my fav)


Emily Preston

  1. No Homework
  2. Reading
  3. The TV show Cake Boss
  4. Christmas Songs
  5. Vineyard Vines


Sadie Piper Hough

  1. Ah, I like the way Christmas is going
  2. Trampoline we have now
  3. Getting Kitty
  4. Our tree getting unelectric soon (electric company trimming tree in yard, no idea why this is in list)
  5. Warm weather today
  6. Cheer class (CheerExcel)
  7. Mac & Cheese
  8. My new Guitar


Mich Hotz

  1. The Church family.
  2. Clothes, specifically jackets, gloves, hat, hoods, balaclavas, etc.
  3. Fruit and all that derives from them. (i.e. Cranberry Sierra Mist)
  4. Christmas break
  5. Human interaction


Laura Hough

  1. My pink ceramic Knife
  2. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf coffee powders.
  3. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (melskitchencafe.com)
  4. My pink Bubba water cup
  5. Raspberry Lemonade Crystal Light.
  6. Manhattan Presbyterian Church
  7. Amazon Prime – Because I live in the middle of nowhere and I don’t want to pay shipping.
  8. My Whip Cream Maker
  9. Infinity Scarves – They don’t fall off
  10. Dillons – Grocery store that is actually Kroger.
  11. Smith’s Rosebud Lip Salve


Sam Kassing

  1. My soon to be wife.
  2. Books, good books.
  3. Universities.
  4. Collegiate wrestling. (Taught me so much )
  5. My dad.


Nicola Lippert

  1. Gravity by John Mayer
  2. All the wonderful ladies in West 118 (Sarah, Morgan, Kaitlyn)
  3. Manhattan
  4. Sherlock (BBC version)
  5. Dessert


Harriet Reymond

  1. Heater
  2. My fiance Aaron
  3. Amazing girl friends
  4. The best family anyone could ever dream of
  5. Hope (something often taken for granted)


Danielle Fisher (her blog

  1. Kennedy and being married to him & hopefully starting our lives in ks
  2. Gods Word
  3. Auburn football!!! War eagle!!!
  4. My family and Kennedy’s family and friends
  5. Technology and ways of communicating overseas!


Beckham Hough

  1. Getting kitty
  2. Having two sisters
  3. Mr. Perez
  4. Varsity Donuts
  5. Call Hall Ice Cream (K-State Dairy makes it)
  6. Rebekah our helper teacher
  7. Andria
  8. Tarik & Koyer (friends from school)


Elle Hershberger

  1. Christmas music
  2. Hummus
  3. Batman
  4. Journalism
  5. Poetry


Connor Lutz

  1. My woman
  2. Christmas
  3. My Nexus
  4. Friends and Family
  5. Kansas State University (where he will be attending next fall)


Maggie Dean

  1. These rolls. One hour. Seriously. They have changed my life.
  2. Tieks ballet flats
  3. My car dressed as a Rudolph. Not only is it festive and my kids love it, but it makes my car easier to find in the parking lot.
  4. The ornaments coming home from preschool. Little hand prints and painted angels. Perfection.
  5. Starbucks Via Pumpkin Spice packets
  6. Tums Chews, Cherry Flavor. What? I am pregnant.
  7. I know that is 6. But as previously stated I am pregnant so I get a pass.


Jennifer Thomas

  1. Daisy, the cutest puppy ever!
  2. Baking days with my mom, daughters, Aunt & cousin
  3. Cold weather, snow & snow days
  4. Sweatshirts & flannel pj pants
  5. Watching Kelly & Cole play basketball & hearing Katie play the violin & piano


Scott Creecy

  1. Christ my Saviour
  2. My wife and our marriage
  3. My new grandson, Jameson (Baby Momo)
  4. Watching Blu-ray movies with the volume up really loud
  5. My wife’s pozole and chicken & dumplings


Morgan Casteel (her blog

  1. Varsity donuts
  2. Spotify
  3. RUF/MPC Community
  4. Sociological and deep talks with roommates (Sarah and Kaitlyn)
  5. Getting to call the Hough’s home a second home.


Momo (Mallory) Bradford

  1. Snuggling my sweet baby
  2. New baby smell
  3. Duck Dynasty
  4. Hot tea
  5. God’s goodness


Shannon Johnston – Artist & Missionary, go support her here.

  1. COFFEE. And the days I miraculously don’t spill it on myself. Also black t-shirts which hide coffee stains well.
  2. Heated car seats, even in the middle of summer.
  3. Narnia
  4. Imagination, vision and creativity. They all go together in my book.
  5. The internet


Jenny Preston

  1. Mike
  2. K-State
  3. Mexican food
  4. Fudge
  5. My Ughs


Kellie Finch

  1. Anthropologie
  2. High school football (this one is also top 5 dislikes!.. because it takes my husband away)
  3. Sweet tea
  4. Laughing until i cry
  5. Dressing in costume.. and watching my children dress up too!


Renae Vos

  1. Making memories with my family.
  2. Friends that are just like family.
  3. Bella boo who always excited to see me!
  4. Traveling.
  5. Christmas decorations.
  6. Finding any reason to get dressed up and celebrate!
  7. Boots with Dresses.
  8. The many wonderful diversions St Louis has to offer……except for the traffic.


Alissa Melton

  1. Keurig coffee machine
  2. Real friends
  3. All things peppermint and white chocolate
  4. My kids’ dimples
  5. Bedtime!


Chris Earnshaw

  1. Coffee
  2. Spotify
  3. Biblical Books (thanks to you and Jon)
  4. Walks to Class
  5. People Watching


Chip Prins

  1. My morning routine: Coffee/News on Ipad/Wolfthorne body wash
  2. My Iphone – everything at the tip of your fingers. aps I like: TV guide, Weather channel, redbox, movie phone, OOtunes, Drudge Report, Facebook, Metcalf Bank (photo deposits are awesome!)
  3. Pop’n tags at the Salvation Army – picking up slightly used Polo shirts
  4. Gidget – my dog (aka: gigi)
  5. And most of – all: My family!!



We Need You


I’ve been told the longer this is the less likely you are to read it. Don’t stop yet! Bottom line is we need your support, so if this is too long just skip to the end and see if you can help in one of those ways. But if you’re one of those against the grain people who will actually read this, go forward at your own risk.

We are planting a church in Manhattan, Kansas (original post about The Manhattan Project). We could not be here without the generosity of so many people who have loved us, really praying and giving of their hard earned money during this “incubator” stage and for that we simply cannot thank you enough.

People who are bold enough will ask me how it works financially. So I’ll tell you. We have been raising support since the project went public at the end of March of this year. Travis, Jon and I (mostly Travis) worked for a long time leading up to that point to develop a church budget that includes rent, supplies, salaries, etc. My goal in this was to get the budget as low as possible. Because I’m cheap but also because I desire for the church to be congregationally supported as soon as possible. We have been told many times that our budget is on the low side of budgets. I share that not (only) to brag, but because I’ve been on the other side of fundraising and I always want to know that the money is being used wisely and not frivolously. If the budget is what is holding you back, let me know and I’d gladly share it and walk through it with you.

So we need outside support from the wider Church and individuals for three, maybe four years and then God-willing there will be gathered a local church that is large enough to support its own expenses.

Every church begins like this. In 1993 when Mike Milton led a group in planting Redeemer in Overland Park they relied on the outside support of churches and individuals until the local congregation could support it. I expect the story is the same for your church as well. This is the stage that is like teaching a child to ride a bike: you hold on to the seat until they figure out the balance and then you let go and they ride.

So right now we have been blessed by churches and individuals who have moved Laura and I to tears at times by their sacrifice to help establish this church, one that may never benefit them personally. It’s humbled us because it shows us the love that people have towards us and it shows us how valuable they find the Gospel that Manhattan (and the world) desperately needs to hear.

People also ask where we are in the process of establishing a church. So I’ll tell you. At church plant training they help pastors set their expectations. Church planting is a slow process. However, the response we have gotten has far exceeded our expectations. We have been here with the Dunnings and Shanahans almost four months. The first month was just settling in, getting to know this town.

Then on September 15th we started a Bible Study on the Gospel of John in the home of a family who has been an absolute blessing of God in our lives. We meet for this Bible Study every Sunday at 4pm and after the study we share a meal together. I love it so much! On weeks they can’t host we meet at the Shanahan’s home. The hospitality shown by these two families is amazing. It is so great to see community forming as we discuss Scripture and share a meal. Hard to believe we can love people so much when we didn’t know some of them even existed just six months ago.

On October 6th we held our first Worship service at 4pm in the Mennonite Meeting house. It’s actually an old Presbyterian building built in 1906 with pews and stained glass. The building has changed ownership over the past 107 years. We meet every month for this and it’s been such a joyful time of worship, gifted musicians, loud singing, people serving wherever needed from the start of setup to the end of the night when the floor is being vacuumed after our shared meal together.

There is also a ladies’ book study on Feminine Appeal at our house every other Thursday morning and a men’s book study on The Masculine Mandate meeting in a local coffee shop early on Saturday mornings. There was a fall party with the best smoked meat I’ve ever had along with great tasting Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. Last week was our Grown Up Game Night where Joe, who is a self professed “Board Game Geek”, introduced many of us to really fun games I wouldn’t know existed apart from this shared community.

In the new year we will continue all that is going on. We hope also to move to worship twice a month by the end of the first quarter and at a later date go to weekly worship. We are in process of preparing and receiving those who will be the founding members of Manhattan Presbyterian Church. So, God-willing, that’s the plan.

We also hope to continue to meet people in the community. Thus far we have and it has stretched us beyond our comfort zone. God is growing us in a way that is encouraging and, while difficult and lonely at times, is sanctifying us and forcing us to live in the way we set out to live. To live by faith. Faith that God will use us in the establishing of this church, faith that God will give us relationships that are encouraging, faith that God will provide in all the ways needed. God has and we are grateful for that.

So like I said, our goal from the beginning has been for MPC to be 100% congressionally supported. But in the meantime, we are over 50% funded for the next segment. With your help we can reach 100% funding for the coming year and focus fully on the work of the church and the community of Manhattan, Kansas. I was advised by a wise supporter to ask at this time in the year because it can be a help for tax purposes.

So that was really long, which means very few of you made it this far, thank you if you did.

Will you prayerfully consider joining us?

Here is how You Can Help


Please consider a 100% tax deductible donation to our general operating budget. Giving on every level can make a difference. Some examples of what your money can do are:

  • $120 is the cost of one month of bulletins
  • $140 provides the fee for our website and sermon hosting for the year
  • $500 covers music supplies or Lord’s Supper supplies for the year
  • $1,200 will help fund the church outreach and fellowship events
  • $1,545 can send us to Church Plant Training in the summer

How to Give
By Check (preferred method due to fees)
If you need a stamped envelope I will get you one, just let me know.

Mail check payable to Reformed University Fellowship to the following address:

1700 North Brown Road, Suite 104
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

*Please write “Brian Hough” on the memo line to ensure proper designation.

Online at www.GiveToRUF.org. Type “Brian Hough” into the search box.



Please partner with us not only financially, but also in prayer. We send out an update every month that shares what God is doing and how you can specifically be praying for the church plant. For now, please pray:

  • for God to be a supreme joy to Laura and me
  • that we would disciple our children well
  • that the church would continue to grow close to God and close to each other
  • for new people looking to mature in their faith and those who need to hear the hope of the Gospel
  • that God would provide the support needed and that He would continue to bless this Gospel work.



The last way you can be a huge help to us is to share. Share this blog post with anyone you think might desire to support financially or by prayer. Share about the church plant to anyone you know in or near Manhattan looking for a church to be a part of.

The words of Paul at the beginning of his letter the Church in Philippi really express our feeling towards all who have prayed, encouraged, given and shared in this ministry:

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”               – Philippians 1:3–5


So we have a few (too many) different ways to follow our family and the church plant. I’ll list them below.

www.ManhattanPres.com for sermon audio and transcripts, calendar of upcoming events, and PDFs of past liturgies.

If you have questions of any sort call or email or text any time. brian@manhattanpres.com  or 913-439-9319

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ManhattanPres  or  facebook.com/Brianhough
Twitter: @ManhattanPres  @BrianHough13
Instagram – brianhough or LauraHough12


Downtown Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting

 Brian and I both grew up in Houston. Houston has a metro population of 6.1 million. We now live in the “Little Apple” with a population of 55,000.

That’s a big change.

So we may be “city slickers” but we are adjusting to small town life just peachy! For us it’s like we went back in time to the days when life was, well, smaller. To the days when there was a Christmas tree downtown that the whole town came out to watch Santa Clause light!



Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Kids (Brian included) played chase before the lighting while carolers sang


Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Seven is a good age

The tree is beautiful and the lights blink to the rhythm of music playing


Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


So after they lit the tree, there was still more: horse drawn carriage rides. Cost is donated food to The Flint Hills BreadBasket, a local food pantry that is doing amazing things for the hungry in this town.

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


Brian has Berkley’s flash light friend. It’s a parent’s least favorite thing. But Berkley calls it her “best friend.” It’s a cute idea, a flashlight in a stuffed animal. But in reality, it’s the brightest light ever…mean for BED TIME. She now claims she can’t dream unless it’s on. She also gets really excited when we go anywhere after dark to take her best friend.

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


I feel like I’m the only one who really sold the scream, yes?

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Also free rides on the MHK Trolley! The kids all call it Charley. We don’t correct them.

Waiting for Charley

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

SP was all smiles this night. She will light up a room!!

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

It’s both cute and sad that Berkley Boo is hanging on the back…

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Pretending the bike racks are horses. Gotta love the imagination!

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

OH YEAH! The hotel the tree is in front of was passing out free cookies! YUM!

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Berkley did some dancing to keep us entertained while we waited.

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Trolley ride took us through downtown. Kids loved it!

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting

I love Beckham’s bear hat and that he’s still young enough to wear it!

Manhattan Christmas Tree Lighting


A Farm Cat named Junie B

Brian left town.

I got a cat.

That about sums it up.

I think the text exchange went something like this:

Me: Free kittens. Can we have one?

Brian: No

Me: It will be a farm cat, live outside. I learned all about it from the lady.

Brian: No it won’t. But ok.

I took the kids to a pumpkin patch and right with the lady at the entrance was a crate with three 7-week-old free kittens in it. Let me tell you, 7 week old kittens are cu-ute. I told Brian when we moved here I would like a stray cat to eat the mice in our back yard. But where do you find a stray cat? Talking to the lady (who lives on a farm) she told me these kittens had lived outside their whole life and that they will be great with just a dog house outside. So I’m sold at this point. I also tried to get Brian to let me take all 3. But he’s a fun hater and drew the line at one. (which I couldn’t be more thankful for now…)

So we played at the pumpkin patch!

This is my favorite picture of our Crazies. I love it.

There’s a fun zip line. We played on this for at least 30 minutes.

Then onto the slide!

Her face is aweseome!

Oh, so we also found this cat. He was just around and not looking for a home. But we liked him too!

Really fun train ride!

I thing horse tires are brilliant!

They have an old bus that they painted entirely with chalkboard and kids color it! Great idea! When Brian’s car dies I’m gonna petition we do this to it

They had a cool hedgeball shooter. Big hit with Beckham.

So our ride home looked like this:

I told them we were gonna name her “Kitty”….cause you really shouldn’t get too attached to farm cats and all.

And then by the time we got home, I realized how cold it got at night.

And how little she was.

And how cute and cuddly she was.

And how much the kids adored having a pet.

So she was no longer a farm cat.

Now her name is Junie B.

And she sleeps on my pillow.

Brian said he knew from my first text that she wasn’t going to be a farm cat….

But I mean seriously. How could you leave this outside?




Halloween, Manhattan Style

The town of Manhattan loves Halloween. It’s celebrated a lot like Christmas in that it gets the whole month. Personally, we loved this and hit every Halloween thing we could! Hough kids live for dressing up, as mentioned before. So literally every event we went to they dressed as something else. (Thanks Scott and Laura for the dress up clothes!!)

This is Berkley’s homemade “Gus Gus” (the fat mouse from Cinderella) outfit that she planned for weeks.


First up, party with the Hiltons at the Dome! We slam dunked SP and Brian pretended to stunt like Damian….


Just for reference, this is Damian…

Watched “Monster House” on the ceiling!!


And life-sized Skee Ball courtesy of Damian and Brian!

Giant Skee-ball with kids in holes for added motivation

The college put on a kids carnival on campus which was awesome!! Tons of fun booths and wads of creative college students!

We dig face painting!

Painted pumpkins too!

Little castle for little Boo

The booths all had themes. At the Snow White booth you made caramel apples!! How cute is that??

Met Miss K-State. Not sure why Berkley is mortified by this.

Brian wasn’t as mortified! 🙂 If he wears Mss K-State’s crown, does that make him Mr. K-State?

If he wears Miss K-State's crown, does that make him Mr K-State? #ksu

We really do love anything with head cut outs!

Willie was there and Boo looks a little skeptical…

After the event on campus, Sadie Piper, the super observant child, said she wanted to dress like this in her jeans and boots:

Cause this is what she observed:

Manhattan has a LOT of parades. One of my favorite things about this place!! The homecoming parade was week of Halloween too! It was the BEST parade I’ve ever been to!!

Willie again!

Different princesses and different superhero.

Sadie’s was the only name we told people before her birth. And when we did the honest people told us that was a horse name. Or a dog. We never got that it was a cow name, but, well, lookie there…(fortunately Sadie the girl thought this was great!!)
This parade was especially fun because people we know were in it! Here’s Aaron!

This was a great idea of the water ski team!

And there’s Chris!

Who proceeded to pick Becks up and walk off with him!

You can see in this picture a few of the reactions that got. Chris must have seen the fear in the people around us, cause when he brought him back he explained (loudly!) “I KNOW HIM! It’s ok cause I know him!” I thought nothing of it, but looking back I can see how this might have looked odd…

The Dusty Bookshelf, a local bookstore, turns the whole store every year into a haunted house! It was spot on!! Not too scary for the kids, but enough. Perfect!

And we found a purple poodle. Seriously awesomeness

Afterwards on our walk back to our car we spotted some of the parade gear and Becks got to get in a race car!

And we got on a float! (These floats look like they are made of a ga-zillion pieces of tissue paper. Cause THEY ARE!)

Then the school celebrations!

SP’s cute class!

And then there was actual Halloween trick-or-treating!

Off to meet the neighborhood!

On a side note, of course Varsity donuts made the best Halloween donuts!!

Maybe Varsity donuts best one yet!!



Saturday: Weird Farms & Tool Boxes

Across the country Home Depot puts on these building clinics for kids that are easy, fun and free. Laura has been taking them for years, but I’ve never been able to join them before. Really fun event. Today they made tool boxes.

Home Depot Kids Workshops

It’s nearly impossible to get Berkley to look at camera and smile. Sadie Piper on the other hand sees a camera out of the corner of her eyes and she’ll usually face it and pose.

Home Depot Kids Workshops

Wood gluing

Home Depot Kids Workshops


Home Depot Kids Workshops


Home Depot Kids Workshops

 Here is the finished project. They also gave them free lego kits to build at home.


Santa was there and offered up candy canes.

Home Depot Kids Workshops

 Just seemed like the right response to stranger handing out candy.

Home Depot Kids Workshops

 Then we drove into the farmland in South Manhattan so I could show Laura one of my bike routes. We took a wrong turn and found this crazy pumpkin patch slash farm thing. There is a deal in from May to August where you pay a set price and then come every week to get a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables.

They also had a giant slide.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

There was a Pig with cow friends, at one point one of the cows was peeing on a chicken while they all ate pumpkins. I told Ubuntu this and he thought is sounded like a dream for Joseph to interpret.

Berkley found toys and just went to playing all by herself. In background you can see the billy goat towers. They didn’t have any this day, but the goats climb up there.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan


Weird Farm in South Manhattan

She’s just weird.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Here you can see Berkley going through the Great Depression as a young wife.

 Of course there were Roosters there, I still want to bring one home.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

  Riding a hay bail.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

 Driving a tractor

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

 Collecting eggs

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

 Chasing chickens

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Eventually we caught one





 And they also had this fancy Handicap Parking Spot.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan

Also on the trip we found this house built into a hill. Not exactly a Hobbit Hole, but could be made into that.

Weird Farm in South Manhattan