Sunday, February 22, 2009

Water and other events

Well, we've had quite a bit going on lately. Just for kicks, I took the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale test (which rates a variety of life events such as job change, death of a family member, illness, etc...on a point scale) the other night just to see where I rated and found I was well over 300 points. Actually, I came in at 321, which places me in the "severe life crisis" area with a 79% chance of a major health change. Interesting.

Anyway, we've been working hard to get into the house. We've given up on finishing and are hoping at this point to make it livable. One of the last big items we've been struggling to complete is our septic system. Last Tuesday we finally found a backhoe to come out and dig the pit. The next day I drove to all three hardware stores trying to find the right type of rock to put in the drainfield. Non of the stores had anything. I finally tracked down a trucking company and was able to have a load delivered. Now, our house is on the other side of a very steep hill that basically requires a four wheel drive just to climb. Because of this, the truck had to drop the rocks at the bottom of the hill which meant that we had to haul around 12 cubic meters of boulders over the hill, one truck-load at a time in our pick-up. We spent three days working on this and still aren't done. The day after the back-hoe dug the hole, the sides caved in. We worked on that all day the following day and got it opened back up again only to have another day and a half of torrential downpours fill the hole with water and mud. Yesterday, we started over again. It is incredibly difficult to get anything completed here.

Thankfully, things are going well with the skatepark and with our church. We had our monthly cookout on Friday night and there were quite a few youth that showed up in spite of the rain. At one point, the winds and rain were so hard that the movie screen blew down and we were all huddled against the office door trying to keep dry. At least the food was good. Church continues to go well as we work our way through Romans. Tonight we'll be watching a movie about the events that took place in Rwanda several years back called "Beyond the Gates" Two weeks ago we studied in Romans Chapter 5 and took some time to specifically talk about Paul's words regarding sin and grace. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Tonight, we'll talk some about the existence of true evil while we watch the evidence of God's grace in the midst of horrific events. It is a great movie and truly illustrates this point.

Next week, more work trying to get moved in. We could really use some prayer in this as our next door neighbor continues to make threats towards me (which is another stressor that I don't need at the moment). Thanks for following along with us.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I don't get homesick too often. I moved out of our family's house at the age of 17 when I went away to college and within six years I had lived in Tennessee, California, Hawaii and Arizona. I'm used to being away from friends and family (although that doesn't mean I don't miss them). However, every now and then a wave of nostalgia hits and I find myself wishing I was somewhere else. It happened around Christmas time when we got hit with the terrible rain and flooding...we wished we could be with family for Christmas. Today of all days it hit while I was driving in to prepare for church.

Today is Superbowl Sunday. I am not a big football fan and haven't really followed it much at all since I started surfing about 25 years ago. Yet, here I was, driving by the beach, wishing we were heading over to some friends' house to hang out, eat some junk food and watch the Superbowl. Obviously, it's not about the's about the people. People that were a big part of our lives that we don't get to see any more. Every now and then we are reminded that there are sacrifices to doing what we do...big ones (like being away from friends and family or not having reliable running water for over six months...) and small ones (like laughing at the half-time commercials with people with whom you share a sense of humor). It has been over a year since our last visit to the States and we don't anticipate being able to come home until late July. It isn't as long as my parents spent in East Africa without a trip home, but it is a long time.

Tonight, we start the second half of Romans Chapter 5. Important stuff. Important concepts for us all to understand. We're born into a world filled with and infected by the disease we call sin. Just like smallpox was introduced to the Americas by one infected sailor (with terrible repercussions for everyone else in the "new world"), sin was introduced into the world by one man...Adam. Thank God that there's a cure for sin (unlike smallpox at the time). Thank God that life and reconciliation came through the one man Jesus Christ. Yeah, I'd love to be kicking back watching the Superbowl (for real) but this is a good thing too. Pray that this reality is grasped by those in attendance tonight... because understanding this; really, truly understanding it makes all the difference in the world not only in the long term but in how we live our lives on a day to day basis. The reality of God's grace and forgiveness is just a little bit more important than my desire to sit on a real couch and eat chips and drink a Coke.

I received this quote a couple of days ago. It really made my day. I hope you enjoy it too because it applies to everyone that is serving God anywhere at any time and in any way.

John 6:53-71
Just the other day someone said of a friend, "This man is destined for a great ministry," by which he meant he was headed for the big time - a high profile church with a big budget.
It made me wonder: Why do we think that God's call is necessarily upwardly mobile? Why wouldn't He send His best workers to labor for a lifetime in some small place? Aren't there people in obscure places who need to be evangelized and taught? God is not willing that any perish.
Jesus cared about the individual as well as the masses. He taught large crowds if they appeared, but it never bothered Him that His audience grew smaller every day. Many left Him. In John 6:66 it is written that, "at this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him", a fickle attrition that would have thrown most of us into high panic. Yet Jesus pressed on with those the Father gave Him.
We live in a culture where bigger is better, where size is the measure of success. It takes a strong person to resist that trend, especially if he or she is laboring in a small place.
But size is nothing: substance is everything. Whether you're pastoring a small church or leading a small Bible study or Sunday school class, serve them with all your heart. Pray, love, teach by word and example. Your little place is not a steppingstone to greatness. It IS greatness." David Roper

Making disciples in a small, obscure place. Sebas baptizing Anastasia two Sundays ago.