Helping families grow closer together as they grow closer to God.
Faith. Family. Fur. These three things are Jamie and Brittany’s life in a nutshell. Jamie felt a call into ministry in 2009 while he was the mascot for the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team. At first he thought it was simply a heat stroke. After prayer and discussion with then fiancée, Brittany, he set out to understand his calling. After 5 years of praying, studying, and fur flying, Jamie knows for certain he loves Jesus, he’s passionate about his family and helping other families, and he makes a pretty good stuffed animal. Thus, Otter This World, LLC was born in March of 2014. Jamie and Brittany were married on December 31, 2009. They love serving Christ together, dancing (especially to funk), enjoying the outdoors, and watching superhero and animated movies. They have performed as the RiverDogs’ mascots side by side. It was indeed epic. As if December isn’t busy enough with holidays, anniversary, and family birthdays, the couple welcomed their first born, Benji, in December of 2013. Benji came home from the hospital in his Superman outfit (cape included), uses his super lungs for attention and to sing along with the Gaithers (thanks G-Pa and Grandma), and enjoys the funk. He’s quite the charmer. Be on guard, ladies. Jamie and Brittany hope to use their passion for Jesus and odd talent of performing as a living stuffed animal to help families grow closer together as they grow closer to God. Jamie has performed over 25 characters, including University of South Carolina’s Cocky (2002-2006) where he won the 2003 Capital One National Mascot of the Year, SCETV’s Smart Cat, and New York Yankees’ affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs’ Charlie T. RiverDog, where his boss was Bill Murray. He suffered severe identity crisis over the years until he understood he is a child of God in Christ. Life is now full, more joyful, and a whole lot of fun. Jamie and Brittany serve the youth, better known as “Da Bears,” at Pine View Baptist Church in Blythewood, SC. Jamie is also an active volunteer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Westwood High School.
Haven't posted in a while! Follow Olly on Twitter @RealOllyOtter or friend him on Facebook.com/ollytheotter. We have some new things in the works. Our president has been focused on his pastoral duties lately. Stay tuned!
[03/04/16] Hope everyone has an otterly fantastic weekend!
[03/03/16] Mascot training today with Rush's! The #ColumbiaSC area will soon meet the epic Rushy!
[02/17/16] Did a mascot camp last summer at Westwood High School (Janet you rock) and I just received a phone call from one of the participant's parents inquiring about Olly. But the coolest thing was the encouraging words shared about the impact I made on her son. I'm so stoked I could knock down the Great Wall! #WhyIdoWhatIdo
"Let’s be honest about what we feel toward God — our tangled thoughts, our slogging feet, our raw experiences, our dulling passions, our disappointed expectations. Anyone who gives you a single answer for all of humanity — to fix every single sorrow — is a fool. That’s what makes us wanderers. You can’t podcast away sin’s tedious yoke. What, then, does it look like for us to encounter Christ when we cannot yet praise God for pulling us out of our emotional marshland? It begins with honesty."
desiringgod.org Christians often find themselves spiritually stuck. Here are six places to start when God seems far, our hearts feel cold or wandering, and the next step is unclear.
Olly has another week of PT. Cheer him on!
Olly's preparing for something big!
ligonier.org It might surprise many today to find out that Saint Nicholas (spoiler alert) is a real person after all. Is he the white-bearded man with a red suit, a cap, and a sleigh? Not quite ...
Olly had some major surgery earlier in the year. He's on the road to recovery. Hopefully if he gets this figured out we'll have more posts more often!
Olly's preparing for something big!
kidsactivitiesblog.com This dad wants to make sure his son has a great day, and he does THIS every morning to make sure it happens!
thegospelcoalition.org Most of us don’t just want to buy tickets to a 'Star Wars' movie. We want our childhood back.
[12/15/15] Holy Neglection Batman! We haven't posted in a long time!
Awesome student at USC, John Del Bianco, just wrapped up a story on us. Do ask you to pray for his family today as they have to say farewell to their beloved dog. Love ya, John.
columbiavoice.org Blythewood pastor Jamie Ballentine has his own way of preaching and teaching the word of God. He uses his past skills as a mascot to dress as Olly the Otter and provides a different perspective in …
[11/05/15] Does anyone find it interesting that we go from being excited about pretending to be someone/something we're not (Halloween) to presents (Christmas) and totally skip out on being Thankful? #TurkeyGrateful
[10/21/15] Happy Back to the Future Day, Marty!
[10/19/15] One of these days we'll update more frequently and you'll be a wiser person
[10/04/15] Stay safe out there!
[09/19/15] Our president spoke to the Westwood High School Football team yesterday during pregame meal. Please be in prayer for their teammate, Mark Mickens, who was severely injured two weeks ago. Mark is still in the hospital. Thanking God for a great coaching staff and leaders.
[08/28/15] Anyone who would like to send Olly a get well card can message us for the address :)
[08/27/15] Olly has been placed in the mascospital. He's having a whisker and paw transplant, stitches for tail tear, and literal plastic surgery on his nose. We're hoping he doesn't have to stay in long. #weotterprayforOlly
[08/25/15] Love seeing newborn babies in the newsfeed! Children are a blessing!
twitter.com “@RealOllyOtter Enjoyed your positive energy for Jesus & kids at BNE church yesterday. @LeevyChris #BackToSchoolBash”
[08/21/15] God seems to be opening doors for us to be more than just an outreach tool. We've received many entertainment requests and have been amazed with the ministry opportunity that has presented! Wherever He leads, we'll do it with all our might for His glory!
[08/19/15] Y'all have blessed us this morning! Love seeing proud parents encouraging their kids on the first day of school!
[08/19/15] We shoot our hype video for Hubbell Power Systems tomorrow!
[08/17/15] Share something your kids have said to you that melted your heart
The great blessings from all of our events today:
seeing a Church who REALLY loves kids and seeing the volunteers hearts for them! Keep it up FBC Lexington!
Being part of many churches in the Blythewood area as we worshiped as a community, and collected lots of food for the backpack programs in Richland 2.
Sharing our testimony and being reminded of all the ways God has worked in and through us.
Pretty great day. How were you blessed today? How did you bless the Lord today?
tosowaseed.net True story: one of the most discouraging times of my life as a wife and mother was made dramatically worse-- not better-- by my involvement in a women's Bible study. It had been a long, hard season of slogging for my family. We had been wading through tight finances, lost babies, and health dramas.…
[07/31/15] We've been blessed watching the reaction of the kids and parents of our video for Pine View's VBS! It's a hit! We'll have it online after VBS. We'd be happy to make one for your VBS next year. Contact us NOW to get on the list!
Be safe, stay smart.
familyshare.com Is it safe to post photos of your kids online? Here are some reasons why you should be careful.
[07/19/15] Today is the Lord's Day! Bless HIM today!
[07/18/15] Olly had a blast in Greenville last night celebrating Reedy Rip'It's birthday at the Greenville Drive game. Olly wanted to be the DH but became the Designated Streaker instead.....oh well, Genesis 2:25 right?
Facebook was generous to remind me that I haven't posted in 8 days!!
We've been very busy and haven't written the additional stories to our Kentucky Trip. We hope to sit down soon and share them in depth :)
In the meantime we hope you find this very encouraging:
"A Shepherd and His Unregenerate Sheep" 2009 Desiring God Conference for Pastors February 3, 2009 Full message @: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1620_shep...
Second Story: The Prequel
Our first show we ever performed was at Cedar Creek in Blythewood. It was May 7, 2014. I love those folks so dearly. First, they gave us a chance. The gave us love, they gave us encouragement, and they gave us motivation. I know they give us prayers. (I get to give back on the 12th this month....Olly is coming for round two!). Brother Jay also gave my number to a friend in Batesburg.
Later that summer brother Jay's friend called us. We were off to our first out of town show. Mt. Ebal was having revival. They had a pastor from Kentucky there to speak. We were the pre message/dinner entertainment. Fun group of folks. Olly brought chaos, I (Jamie) brought a message on family.
This family approached us afterwards (right before the revival service) and we hit it off with them. It was the Pastor from Kentucky, Pastor Troy. He and his wife, Julie, were so encouraging and extremely pumped with what Brittany, Olly, and I do for the Kingdom. He invited us to come hear the message.
We really wanted to get home to get Benji and rest up. God had other plans. We were loaded up, and in the car to leave, but both Brittany and I felt we needed to go hear Troy, so in we go.
We needed to hear his message. God ministered to us through him. We stayed and chatted with him and Julie for a while afterwards. Gospel Friendship for life was planted that night.
Fast forward to this year. Pastor Troy contacts us to entertain at the White Plains, Kentucky Freedom Festival. This would be our first out of State (or otter state) event. Neat how God took our first show ever, connected us to our first out of town show, that connected us to our first out of state show. That's basically "Otter" This World kind of stuff there. Only God. Only God.
Will a connection from Kentucky lead to our first out of country trip? Wouldn't shock me. God keeps connecting things and showing off. We're just along for the ride!
We'll share some of our Kentucky stories with you throughout the week. The first one is from Jamie:
Thursday, June 25, 2015
So Brittany and I made a last second decision to bring an 18 month old along because we couldn't bear the thought of being 8 hours away for 3 days from him. After all, our central message is family togetherness as we grow closer to God. Seemed inconsistent to leave lil' man behind.
We begin the chaotic hustle of rearranging the car, packing up his stuff (mountain of diapers: check), randomly pausing to go down his slide, or jump on the bed, and take off! Wait...we still have to pack up Olly....
Meanwhile God begins to move things for our first surprise. Brittany and I are dear friends with an incredible woman named Joy. She's the UT Vols Spirit Coordinator. Knoxville is the mid way mark on our trip. We planned on stopping in Rocky Top country to to see Joy and so we wouldn't go from sitting 8 hours to Otter time in a snap. This would also give lil man a break (before this his longest ride was 45 mins). Well Joy was in South Carolina as we head to Tennessee. She instead connects us with her dance coordinator, whom we never met, and this awesome young lady and her husband open up their home to a guy who dresses like a stuffed animal and his family.
I could go on and on about staying with the Tafazzoli family, but I'll stay brief. This was completely a God connection. It's amazing what the blood of Christ can do for relationships. Joy informed them of our ministry, she informed us that they are an awesome Christian couple. Done. No questions. They open their home. We gladly accept. Gospel friendship is planted for life! When we walked in you would have thought we were friends from years back who had not seen each other in a while.
Benji has never warmed up to someone so fast as he did with Kelley and Matt. It was incredible. For a night, it was home. I can't express enough gratitude towards them.
The stop, as odd as this may sound, seemed to be confirmation that our Lord has plans to do this more often with Olly. It felt as though He was telling us "I have all this mapped out, just trust me."
He kept us in awe the remainder of the trip. Those stories will come soon :)
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