Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bethany's Doings

Bethany has learned how to color. Unfortunately, she hasn’t learned on what to color on. We give her a piece of paper and she thinks that walls and furniture are OK to draw on. (That is marker and it is not coming off the wall - it will have to be painted - one of 4 places.)She has also learned that she can take her clothes totally off and take her clothes out of her dresser when she gets mad. She will go to her bedroom by herself when she is mad, close the door and proceed to take out all of her clothes. She has done this at least three times now. She also wants to help Jody with her scrap booking. She also wants to help straighten out all the rubber bands in the drawer. She has no fear of heights as evidenced by climbing up the bars of the windows and climbing onto the air hockey table. She picked up a frog and brought it to Jody and she has pointed out and picked up bugs off of the wall. She is, however, afraid of the vacuum cleaner. She is a mess, but we would not trade her for the world. I guess all parents think that their children are the cutest, but I think Bethany is in the running!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

(This is a picture of my first fish and there in the other picture is Autotuner1 and Inca_runner6.)

A happy Father’s Day to the fathers. This blog has opened up a conversation that I have not been apart of for many years. If you have taken time to read the posted comments you will find that 2 of my brothers have dominated the comment section. Their initial comment may be about my blog, but then they get off on a ‘conversation’ of their own bringing up anything from our growing up to serve as ammunition. I am sure that I have thought about this before, but when thinking about my brothers and sister, I still think we are those 5 children and teenagers going on vacation, loading up in a station wagon, pulling a tent camper, driving through the night just waiting for dad to find the perfect camping spot. It always appeared that dad could find the ‘post card’ camping spots. I remember one place we pulled off the road, down an embankment, and camped right beside a picturesque running stream. I remember this place because this is where I caught my first fish – it was about a 9 inch Rainbow Trout. There was another place in Wyoming that we were camping and my brother Doug and I went hiking up the mountain. We got above the road and we started throwing good-sized rocks down on the road. Upon impact, they would ‘explode.’ I don’t know why, but the highway police frowned upon that activity. They ‘apprehended’ us and took us back to our parents – now having a record on file in the state of Wyoming. I wonder if there is a statue of limitations or we still have a record.

It has been about 3 years since my dad died. Even though the last years of our lives were not spent together, there was still a closeness and connection whenever we talked or saw each other. Spending the last couple years of his life in bed, he was either playing Nintendo or watching sports. I would call and get his take on the upcoming football season or what was happening in hockey. He always kept up with the Canadian Football League. I would have loved to have called him this morning and ask him about the hockey game last night. The Edmonton Oilers won game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs to force game 7. Not being able to watch it over here, I would have loved to hear what he would have said. Some of my best memories with dad was when I was growing up playing hockey. I always liked it when dad would lace up and tie my skates – he always got them so tight. After the hockey games, we’d get into his big oil company ‘testing’ truck. He would leave the engine idling with the heater on – it felt so good to get into the warm truck. It always smelled like petroleum.
I quickly learned that whenever we as a family would go to the store or the mall that it was best to stay around dad. Dad loved ice cream. If there was a place to buy ice cream, we’d end up there. As I start to think about it, we did a lot of things and went a lot of places. We traveled to both Disneyland and Disneyworld. I think we visited every theme park that we came into contact with. Dad liked rollercoasters. I remember riding my first roller coaster with Dad – it was in California. Several times we traveled from Canada down to Los Angeles to see family and friends. We were at Disneyland on July 4th, 1976. Those were some fireworks. On our way home, we would travel back home up through Oregon and Washington State stopping and picking fruit at the orchards.
I guess as time passes, the good memories get better and the bad ones fade. It seems the older I get, the better my childhood and life gets. God is good and He has blessed me incredibly. Thank you, God, for my father. Happy Father’s Day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Josiah’s Soccer

One of the benefits of Josiah’s school is all the activities that he is involved with. In the year and a half that he has attended, he has played field hockey, cricket, soccer, swimming, and is taking piano lessons. He did play tennis for a little while, but we would have to pay for lessons if you wanted to continue. He came home saying that golf lessons were being offered twice a week from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. We had to turn him down. He already stays after school for these activities 4 out of the 5 school day.
These pictures are from his soccer game today. They played another area school and lost the match 2-0. He did a great job and is becoming quite the athlete. He had an unofficial race with Andy (running home from church) and he won. He likes being faster than Andy. I knew it would just be a matter of time.
Josiah continues to enjoy school and to be with his friends. He’s had some friends over to the house the last 2 Friday’s after school. He is still a very low maintenance child. It’s hard to believe that he is in the third grade. I think my favorite quote about him – it relates to his loving personality – is when Caleb was just a baby and Jody said, “Josiah! Don’t lick the baby!”

To see more of his school, go to .

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thank You Southern Baptists

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--It’s a new record that’s reaffirming an old commitment. $137,939,677.59 -- that’s what Southern Baptists gave to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in 2005, making it the single most successful year in the offering’s history. The $137.9 million marks a 3.03 percent increase over 2004’s $133.9 million Lottie Moon offering, not to mention a 1.28 percent gain over the old record set in 2003 -– $136.2 million. More than 5,100 International Mission Board missionaries depend on the annual offering, of which every penny is used to support their work sharing the Gospel around the world.
"This historic level of giving will enable us to send an increasing number of God-called missionary candidates moving toward appointment," IMB President Jerry Rankin said. "It will enable us to push forward in fulfilling the vision of bringing all peoples to saving faith in Jesus Christ. At a time of economic uncertainty, and a year in which massive amounts of funding have been directed toward hurricane relief and recovery, it is gratifying to see God prove His faithfulness through Southern Baptists."
Clyde Meador, IMB executive vice president, echoed Rankin’s sentiments and acknowledged the critical role of the Woman’s Missionary Union in the offering’s success. "The IMB wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the faithful support of our state and national Woman’s Missionary Union partners," Meador said. "Long ago, WMU laid the foundation for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering because they understood the eternal significance of sharing Christ with a lost world. "Today, they remain committed to international missions as they promote the Lottie Moon offering on a grassroots level to more than 42,000 Southern Baptist churches."
"We are grateful that Southern Baptists continue to give sacrificially to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering as evidenced in the record offering totals for 2005," said Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of national WMU. "In partnership with state WMU offices, WMU leaders in churches and the International Mission Board, it is a joy to see our churches embrace the Great Commission."
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., took the No. 1 spot on the list of 2005’s top 100 giving churches, adding $656,951.44 to the Lottie Moon offering. Among the top 100 churches, Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C., gave the most per capita. With 827 members, the church contributed an average of $243.74 per member, totaling more than $201,000 –- a record high of its own. Allan Blume, Mount Vernon senior pastor, said he isn’t surprised by his congregation’s missions-motivated giving. The church has sent more than a dozen missionaries overseas through the IMB during the past decade, in addition to taking part in numerous short-term, volunteer mission trips. "This is really not out of the ordinary," Blume said. "Without a doubt I would say there is more than a heart for missions among the people of Mount Vernon –- there is a passion for missions. And that passion is driven by the biblical values of the Great Commission and the urgency of sharing Christ with people of every tongue, tribe and nation."
Billy Hoffman, IMB director of development, said giving is a fundamental way for churches to encourage their congregations’ active involvement in missions. "We must never forget the vital role we all have in sending missionaries to unreached people," Hoffman said. "Every level of giving through Southern Baptist churches to send short-term and career personnel represents a ‘mutual fund’ investment in God’s kingdom enterprise that will surely yield eternal benefits."
While $137.9 million is an impressive figure, Rankin believes the numbers that matter most reflect changed lives. It’s important to remember that Lottie Moon isn’t about money, he said, but about the world’s 3.7 billion people with little or no access to the Gospel. "Southern Baptists are impacting the world in tremendous ways," Rankin said. "In 2005, your giving has resulted in 137 newly engaged people groups. You have directly supported thousands of missionaries as they and our overseas partners baptized more than 459,000 new believers and started some 17,000 new churches. "What a privilege it has been to serve you and your church as we take the good news of Jesus Christ to peoples who have never had access to the Gospel. God has truly blessed our joint efforts."
The record-breaking offering put to rest reports in the secular press over so-called "donor fatigue," which many feared would limit Lottie Moon funding. In fact, the opposite has proven to be true for Southern Baptists, said David Steverson, the IMB’s vice president of finance. "Just six short months ago, almost every major newspaper was running articles about how Americans were experiencing a new phenomena they were referring to as ‘donor fatigue,’" Steverson said. "People had given to tsunami relief, Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief, and earthquake relief. Southern Baptists led the charge in supporting all of these causes in a tremendous way. "Now, unlike many other organizations, Southern Baptists have shown with this record Lottie Moon Christmas Offering where their hearts and their checkbooks really are –- in missions! They are being on mission with God to see that all the peoples of the world have an opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ. We are grateful to God for Southern Baptists and their generous spirit in supporting missions around the world." Donor fatigue wasn’t the only concern for the Lottie Moon offering in 2005. Rankin noted Southern Baptists also had to look past a series of distractions. "A great deal of attention has been focused on the IMB over the last year -– controversial policies and dissension within the board of trustees –- but Southern Baptists have looked beyond these issues to realize we are about sending and supporting missionaries to reach a lost world," Rankin said. "Nothing reflects the heart of Southern Baptist churches for our mission task as giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering."
The significance of the new Lottie Moon landmark gift is put into perspective when compared to the offering’s humble past. The first Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was taken in 1888 and collected $3,315.26 –- enough to send three Baptist missionaries to China. By today’s standards, however, that amount is only enough to support a missionary for one month. To date, $2.6 billion has been given over the offering’s 117-year history. As for its future, Rankin believes the record offering in 2005 is evidence of genuine progress toward completing the Great Commission, though much work remains to be done.
"Our goal last year was $150 million and it’s going to be again in 2006," Rankin said. "But that’s not some magic number –- it’s simply a measure of our momentum. Yes, meeting the $150 million mark will allow us to move more candidates through the appointment process and take the Gospel to new unreached people groups. But in reality, it’s going to take a lot more to reach every corner of this lost world for Christ. To do that, the Lord must teach us the true meaning of sacrifice.
"Thank you for your faithful giving. Truly it will touch many lives as we strive to accomplish the goal of all peoples knowing Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

To learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions,

Friday, June 02, 2006

June Update

This picture was taken on Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago. It is hard to believe that there will be another little girl in the photo next year. Jody had an appointment and the doctor did a scan and it looks like another little girl. It’s hard to imagine what the house will be like with some more little feet running around. The Lord has truly blessed our family. In the almost 2 ½ years here in Africa, none of us has been seriously sick with even a cold or flu. I did not ever imagine that I would be the father of 5 children. Jody and I realized that for 10 years we had house of full of boys. There will be a time after Caleb leaves the house, at 25, that I will be a minority with 3 girls in the house. The Lord is faithful.

It seems like a long time since we have talked. To be honest, there is not a whole lot to talk about. For the last 2 months, I have not been involved in a lot of activity. With Jody having morning sickness all day long, an Easter stay in the hospital, being involved with the volunteers with AMTM, and having a strained back, my activities have been very limited. For about 7 weeks, Jody could not step foot into the kitchen, however, she needed to eat every 2 hours. That meant that I could not leave for any extended amount of time, and I had to find something for her to eat. She really wasn’t hungry, didn’t really want to eat, and she could not tell me what she wanted. Try and figure that one out! I am still perplexed. It also meant that Bethany was under my supervision. Jody was able to do some things, but she was very limited in her activities. After AMTM, we enjoyed Jody’s parents at our house for a couple of days. I spent 4 nights on the couch. This did something to my back and I am just now getting comfortable with sitting on a chair.I have preached a couple of times in those weeks and am in the planning stages now of some conferences and seminars in the next couple of months. We are still working in Unit 15 (a subdivision of over 1000 homes) on trying to find a house to start a Bible study. Several meetings have been planned, but have been cancelled. I am working with Ben Poo of United Baptist in getting a building built. They asked me to be on the building committee. I reluctantly agreed saying that I really did not know anything much about building a building. I am preaching the next 2 Sundays at Mmabatho Baptist Church. I continue to meet with Calvary Baptist Church working through Purpose Driven material. They really want to find out who they are and what God wants them to do and be about.

Well, hello! I want to say first of all that I am so thankful for all the prayers that have been offered up on my behalf by all of you. I definitely felt them! I’m feeling much better these days, and am actually excited about having another girl. I can’t believe I’m going to have two daughters. After having three boys (who I love dearly), I begged God for the one I have! I never dreamed He would give me another!
The work in the village is still going strong. We meet on Friday mornings to do our Bible stories. They have to sing some too. It’s just not a “church” meeting without a few songs! Lorato and I were asked last week to visit a sick family member of one of our ladies. We found out later that the family had been trying to find us for three weeks! The woman who is sick has just had a baby a couple of months ago. When we walked into the house, I felt like I was looking at Ricki all over again. It was very sad. This woman wanted us to pray for her. Lorato told her we could not just pray for her, but that we also had to share with her what we have. We shared the gospel with her, and she said she received. I pray that her decision was genuine. Only God and she can know that. Please pray for her and her family. We went back last Sunday, and shared the gospel with the woman’s mother, sister, aunt, and cousin. They all prayed the sinner’s prayer before we left. Discipleship is such a key issue. These people honestly don’t know what the Bible says about so many things. The Bible stories that we tell are such a basic discipleship, but we have to start somewhere! Please continue to pray for us as we go, and pray for the Moshawane (mo-shah-wah-nay) village. We love you!

-- Blessings --