Will you take her?

s7300023.jpgAs we soon will be leaving for Ukraine, we have come to one of the saddest moments of our journey – saying goodbye to a loved one – our precious dog, Ginger.

The problem is that Ginger does not have a new home yet…and she needs one soon. Read on and see if you’re willing to take her to love and cherish.

Ginger is a 2 1/2 year old Lhasa Apso. She’s a loving, active dog who loves to play fetch and tug-of-war. But, she will also curl up in your lap and snuggle. She’s a smart dog, knowing how to sit, roll over, and “speak”. She will jump at the chance to go for a walk or a ride in the car. When instructed to go to bed, she will go to her room and curl up on her pillow bed. Many times, we catch her following us around and staring at us with a big “I love you” expression.

She will need extra attention, however, because she has seen some rough times in her short life. She has ear infections quite frequently because she is a floppy-eared dog – but if treated properly, they clear up quickly. She also contracted mange, and we have aggressively been treating her and have seen great improvements – most of her hair has grown back and she no longer incessantly chews herself. She does still scratch a bit, but it could be normal dog scratching…she needs to be monitored.

everyone-needs-a-dogchair.jpgUpon first meeting strangers, she’s a bit jumpy and will bark and growl. But once she gets to know you she becomes so lovable and comfortable with you…exhibiting all the wonderful traits I listed above. We have 3 nieces and 1 nephew ages 2 – 8, and Ginger is WONDERFUL with all of them and never shows aggression toward them. Sometimes she gets too playful, but a simple “no more” or “no” will calm her down.

If you are interested in adopting our Ginger from us or want more info on her, please contact us…she is absolutely free to a good, loving home.

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serving country and county

My older brother, Michael, was the subject of a recent news article.   

We’re all proud of Michael for his service in defending our nation, fighting for other people’s freedom, and serving as a police officer. 

You can read the article HERE.

I’m not at my own computer, so I can’t add his picture.  But look for it soon.

Mexico Trip

Imagine, for a moment, a small 2 room shack; each room only measures 10′ x 10′. One room serves as kitchen, dining room, and family room; the other a bedroom, complete with only a full size bed and mats on the ground. There is no electricity or indoor plumbing. There is no carpet, linoleum, or wood flooring – only packed dirt. Clean water is kept in large cistern outside the house, which is refilled when they can afford it. There are no radios, TVs, computers.

oh yeah, and there are nine people living in this house.

This is the situation i found in Reynosa; the home of a local pastor. Yet, the family smiled, laughed, and showed true hospitality. They have so much less than we do here in America, yet they truly seemed to have more gratitude and contentment. They live a life where they depend 100% on the Lord to provide their basic needs.

They did not ask for help, yet we felt led to bless Pastor Victor and his family. We saw the cramped living conditions and wanted to give them extra room. The result: a simple one-room wooden house with a loft. They’re inexpensive (only about $2500), quick (3-days to build), and simple (nothing extravagant), but they are a huge blessing to families who currently live in makeshift homes built by random pieces of scrap wood, metal, and tarps.

Unfortunately, we were not able to get started on Tuesday, so I was only there for the first 2 days of construction and, thus, not able to see the final product. However, I was able to stay through most of it except the final touches of trimwork and the loft.

Eventually, Pastor Victor and his family are going to move their current home piece-by-piece and rebuild it behind the one we made because they “want the prettier house to be seen”. Amazing… what we in America would find to be inadequate, they find to be a perfect gift from God.

I have made a slide presentation of pictures from the trip. Other than Pastor Victor’s house, you will also see other houses from the same “colonia” – a colony. Usually these colonies settle on a piece of land and begin building on it, eventually creating a colonia. This colonia is right near the U.S./Mexico border; probably started from migrants who came north to try and get into America. You will also see pictures of our building process. As soon as one of my fellow missionaries sends me a picture of the completed house I will post it here for your. You can view the slideshow by clicking on “Mexico 2008” under the heading “Photos” on the left side of our blog; or you can click HERE.

Thank you for all your prayers while I was on this trip. Many of you, i’m sure, were aware that there was gunfighting and riots in Reynosa the week I was there. At first we weren’t sure if it would hinder our ministry, but by God’s grace, we were okay and unaffected.

Please pray – riots

There have been riots between drug cartel and Mexico Federal agents the last 2 days in Reynosa. We feel we will be safe as we will be in another area. But please pray for our safety and God’s wisdom and guidance.

Last minute trip

The directors of our mission organization asked Josh and I to join them this week in Mexico for some ministry.  Unfortunately Josh has to work and can’t get away.  However, my ministry job at the Friendship House has been 100% supportive of our mission work and has allowed me a few days off to go.

This is a very last minute trip (finalized today, Sunday).  I will be leaving tomorrow Jan. 7 at 3:30 and will return late Thursday night.

One of our SOS missionary’s ministry is to build homes in poverty-ridden areas for families who have practically nothing, especially a stable shelter to call home.  So, starting Tuesday, I’ll be donning on my work gloves, wielding a hammer, and constructing a house!  All the while, showing and sharing the Love of Christ.

I will try to post updates while I’m there.  If not, I will definitely post once I come back.

Please pray for:

  • safe travels (in the states, through the Mexico border, and in Reynosa)
  • safety at the job site
  • a chance to share Christ!

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

2008 “Resolution”

road tripNew Year’s Resolutions don’t work because people expect immediate perfection. Then, the first moment they slip, they throw their hands in the air & say, “Well, I just blew it!”, abandoning their cause and continuing back into old habits.

One synonym of “resolution” is determination. Resolutions are about determination to change, not perfection – and the only way to succeed is to understand that change is a progress…a journey with bumps in the road, set-backs, and slip-ups. In fact, resolutions are much like the journey of a road trip. We have a goal in mind – a final destination. We’ve planned out our route, gathered all the materials needed for our journey, and pumped ourselves up for a fabulous trip. The ride starts out smooth – no traffic, the car’s full of gas, our favorite tunes blare through the speakers. The weather’s nice and so are other drivers, who graciously let you pass by, waving hello as you speed ahead.

Then, about halfway into the journey, it happens. The wind blows a little stronger, the clouds darken, and little drifts of snow begin to fall on the windshield. By the time you reach Flagstaff, the snow flurries have turned into a full-blown blizzard. This sudden change in weather forces an early stop. Hopefully, it will be clear by morning. But upon waking, you see that the snow fell all night long and now piles half way up your car tires, trapping you in. You never expected this…mainly because you forgot to check the weather ahead of time, therefore you didn’t plan for it. You have no heavy jacket…only t-shirts and a light wind coat (which is all that is required for your sunny stay in San Francisco). The car is not equipped with tire chains, or ice scapers. Do you give up and head back home? Do you just throw your hands up and say, “Well, I blew it – no vacation for us!” NO! Because you’re DETERMINED to make it to your destination, you problem solve…such as using the hotel room’s plastic flyer stand as an ice scraper!  (true story by the way)

The trip wasn’t perfection. You forgot to plan accordingly and problems arose (some in your control, some not). Either way, you persevered! You didn’t make it to your destination at the anticipated time, but you still made it.

One of the problems that I’ve had is that I give up too early. I’ve been that person I described above who throws their hands up quickly. So this year, my resolution is slightly different. Instead of making specific resolutions like “lose weight” or “quit procrastinating”, I’ve resolved to be more disciplinedin all area of my life: health, relationships, Bible intake, prayer, meditation, work.

I started thinking about this last Sunday when our Pastor read 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 :

marathonI do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

I pictured the Christian life as a race, and myself as an athlete, then asked myself…Am I running is such a way as to get the prize? If I was to compete, would I win?”

Honestly, I’m not doing bad…I’m now pursuing His will more than I have in a long while. I know that God is pleased with me…but I know I could be doing more….Training more for His work and what He has planned for me. I’m not as disciplined in my life as an athlete is disciplined for his race. If I was…WOW…imagine the things God could do in and through me! Everything would change…gradually. The more I discipline myself daily to seek the Lord and His ways, the more I will see God work.

2007 Reflections

M.C. Escher's Before I move on to this coming year, I like to look back on the past year and reflect (scrutinize). What did I accomplish (rather, what did I allow God to accomplish in & through me)? Where did I fail? What could I improve on? Although my actual analysis what a bit more in depth, here’s a snapshot.

First the positives:

*Paid off all credit card debt – What a burden lifted off – you should really try it…

*Sold our car, got out of our apartment, and almost freed ourselves of all binding contracts that would delay our move to Ukraine.

*Reconnected with an old friend, which has turned into a beautiful new friendship. Made new friendships that I believe will be long-lasting. Mainly my small group; who I enjoy seeing each week to study the Word and encourage each other. Thanks for praying for us.

*Experienced God working in the lives of people in 3 nations – Bahamas, Mexico, and here at home.

*Found truth in God’s Word about who I am, and discovering His true joy and freedom when I fully let go and trust in Him.

*Saw God’s continual faithfulness.

      Where I need to improve:

      Really, in the area of things to be improved upon, one word can sum it all up: DISCIPLINE.

      • In exercising, diet, and health
      • Bible study and prayer
      • Work
      • relationship building

      I’ve got more to say on the discipline issue – I’ll save it for another blog coming to you soon!

      Until then, what are some areas in your life (positive or negative) that you think of when reflecting on this past year?