"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Our small group celebrated Passover together on Friday night. I think with all the kids here, there were about 29 of us. Not all of the kids under 6 or so were up for the Seder, but all ate.


I know all my kids are cute, but there is just something about this age that is soooo cute!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I’ve been thinking about a few things about apologies lately, questions really. Our teacher at bible study brought it up last week, which of course fit in some of what I had been thinking about the day before while preparing for the lesson.
We have come to see apologies as a punishment. Why? For most of us, when we hit our sister on the head, we had to go and apologize. Like it was the worst thing in the world we had to do. Not only did I get a spank, but I HAD to apologize too…
In our Christianize we talk about the apology not being for the other person, it’s for us and our relationship with God. That’s true. And of course we do it because (usually) we want to restore the relationship we had with the other person as well. But what if we don’t? What if there just isn’t a possibility of a relationship anymore? What if the other person (you think?) doesn’t want anything to do with you? What if your old news to them and your apology won’t do anything (to edify) for them? It would be good for you to repent and confess and be right with God, but as to the other person… they’ve moved on. But can you really judge that? Do you bring it up or just keep it between you and God? You know that the other person doesn’t feel their relationship is affected. BUT, they do know you have something against them, they aren’t doing anything about it either. Then that is their own sin to deal with?
How do you know when the time is right, if ever, to do anything? How do you know if it will just make things worse?
How do you know how specific an apology needs to be?
How do you go into an apology NOT expecting something back from the other party? An admission of one of their own faults in the matter for example.
How do you go into an apology without the hidden agenda of wanting to let them know how badly they hurt you (and that may be one of the reasons you did what you did)? Do they need to understand how much they hurt you?
What if you can’t go into any apology with love (for the other person anyway)? Is an apology out of obedience and brokenness to God’s word just as good?
Why are apologies SO HARD? Why do we MAKE them so hard? How can an apology bring up this many questions or scenarios? Should it? Do we just do it to ourselves?
An apology is to bring glory to God. You’ve admitted to yourself, then to God, that what you did was wrong in some way. Why is it so hard to admit it to someone else? PRIDE. You don’t want the other person to think they were right. But you can’t control that. That’s not what it is about.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

some mexico pictures

This is the building we were staying. Looking at it, we were to the right side up on the 6th floor.

One of the swimming areas, inside the hut is the main dining area.

The view out of our window at night, straight ahead.

From the window over to the right.

Out the window to the left.

To the right, more of the Bay area

Down on the beach looking out

The waves were really rolling, more than usual for this time of year, probably due to the earthquake in Chile.

It really reminded us a lot of Africa. Some pretty decent places...

...then really underdeveloped (or rundown) right next door.

(Those last two were from Mismoloya-the big deal area where Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor shot a movie. There is a MOST EXCELLENT restaurant down there that we went to.)

Yes, it is really sad. But this is the jest of about all the pictures we took. We just didn't bring the camera along most of the time.

Friday, March 19, 2010


What am I talking about? It is known as the cow incident.

In August before we left Zambia we were having a lot of problems with cows. They roam freely and can eat pretty much whatever they want from about July until after the rains come. When the only thing green is your garden…well, you can imagine that it is pretty tempting. They had already eaten a 100 or so cabbages along with some other produce. I was rather upset and annoyed. Wood fences will work for only so long (just ask Daniel, who had been at the school). Wood fences are just a temporary solution to a long term problem. I have lived with cattle all my life, I have a pretty good idea how they think. We’d chase the cows out and run them down the road and they would just work their way back through the bush back to the garden.

Well one day (it was on my b-day) I took the shot gun out to scare them off. I had bird shot in the gun and I shot over the cows from 30 yards. Did it work? No. Well, about a week and a half later the local villager who owned the cows came to the school when I was in town and said that I had shot one of his cows and it had died (or it had to be put down- not sure, the story seemed to change throughout the day). He said the cow had 2 broken back legs. I found that interesting considering that the cow had been walking around for a week and a half. Later at the BIG meeting they presented me with the evidence….. 4 BBs- yes, I said 4 BBs they found in the cow’s hide. I started to laugh. These 4 BBs from a bird shot round broke both back legs on the cow (two in each leg they told me). Now, I never saw the cow and as far as I know nobody else from the school did either. But I was guilty and the cow had to be paid for. I said fine I’d pay for the cow, which was done. But then there was the matter of restitution for more, I guess it was for pain and suffering. I don’t know. All I know is the cow was paid for three times over by the time it was all said and done. Tembo made out very well that day. He is the local villager that everyone has problems with. His cows eat everyone’s gardens, but he doesn’t care, his cows are being fed. He is also the wealthiest man around, because he has more cows than everyone else. In the midst of the discussion at the BIG meeting I offered to buy all his cows as a resolution to prevent further problems. It must not have been a good idea because everyone got very excited. To me it seemed logical, buying cows is something I have done for many years and I was successful doing it.

Why do I tell you this VERY unflattering story about myself? It was a mistake on my part. As was African culture and custom, I apologized and it was taken care of.

I tell it because there are rumors and lies being told about it and that it is the reason why we had to leave. I have been told by friends that people have come to them and say they heard I have an uncontrollable temper. Considering I was the one there at the time of the shooting, I would have thought someone would have talked to me about the incident and gotten my side of the story. But what seems to have happened is that the exaggerations and lies from some were believed by others because it was a means to an end. And that end-us leaving. It is what certain people wanted and it (I) played right into their hands.

What was interesting is the fact that many of the locals were upset that I was leaving and that this incident was being used as the reason. You see in the African culture, once the meeting has taken place and an agreement was made and payment was given, it is never to be mentioned again. It was done in their eyes as though it had never happened and it was not to be mentioned again or used against someone (me). They saw using it as rude and unchristian. Rueben (one of the village elders) told me, “it is not a big deal; we have at least one of these incidents every year”.
He also wrote in letter to our pastor,
“on the incident of you shooting Mr. Tembo’s cow. Anyway, that sometimes happens even to us the indigenous, where you found cattle or maybe goats stray in someone’s gardens or field destroying crops, sometimes the owners of the garden or field becomes emotional and decides to harm the animals in one way or the others as you did it, but such cases are always resolved amicably by the village leaders and there is nothing sinister to what happened between you and Mr. Tembo. Such things happen in our community. It is a big surprise that this incident has made you to leave our community.”
(I would only add that shooting over them wasn’t done out of emotion, especially not uncontrolled rage. I had planned to shoot over the cows to scare them. It usually works to get them to run away and not come back for quite awhile).

What I found so sad was that the culture permits the cows roaming because it is tradition. They know this tradition hurts the people but it is tradition. And you do not mess with tradition. I guess that philosophy transcends cultures. Maybe I shouldn’t have cared. But I know that the villagers, and yes the students, needed the food to eat. I cared more about feeding them than feeding the cows.

It is clear that many people do not know me very well because if I intended to shoot that cow, I would have dropped it where it stood and would have had the tenderloins on the brai (grill) the same day. The incident does not really bother me, it’s the lies and the fact that people that know better (still) don’t bother to check out the whole story. I can honestly look back on it and laugh. The whole story is just really funny. Is it embarrassing? Yes. Did I have a big metal lapse? Absolutely. Is it something that is going to haunt me? Absolutely NOT. I have moved on and continue to. And the people that want to tell the lies or believe them- well I guess they will have to answer for that. I have now said what I needed to say, so I am done. But if there is ever someone that wants to ask me about it (or anything else for that matter), I have always had an open door policy and I intend to keep it that way. Ask away. We have never shyed from sharing our experiences and what we learned.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Am I really amazed by God/Christ anymore? Does He excite me? Have I “relabeled” His love for me (to something else-His care, His provision, His healing, His peace, etc) so that it doesn’t “feel” like love anymore? When I get a sense of peace, is that not because of His love for me? Paul writes in Ephesians about wanting us to EXPERIENCE the love of Christ. How do you experience? An “experience” is some type of situation or a crisis or an event. Then yes, I have really experienced Christ’s love!!!
But is it now so comfortable, so expected, that is just doesn’t “feel” exciting anymore? I have never been an awe person-like seeing a work of nature and just dwelling and looking and saying, “Awe-that is so awesome! God is so great!” I am more a “that’s really cool”, let’s move on… (maybe because I just don’t like the outdoors??? Hee-hee) Being married to the same man for 14 years, the love we have isn’t so much the lusty feeling it once was (okay maybe it is at times!). It’s a different, more mature love.
How does the “feeling” you have of the love of God change the longer you know it? How do you wait expectedly, as opposed to maybe just expecting it?

So how do YOU “feel” God’s love?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

anniversary flowers

Here are pictures of the three bouquets Brian created (himself!) for our anniversary in February.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer-to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.’” It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a ‘doormat’ under other people’s feet..." –Oswald Chambers

Maintaining a proper perspective-how do you do that? The day in and day out of life, the mundane…how do you look past that?
Our perspective wants to tell us we failed at what we set out to do three years ago. Some would agree. We were too focused on the day to day, not the big picture. But someone, somewhere needs to be the “details” guy. Visionaries need administrators or they become out of touch with reality. God is all about the details too. That is why He gives us different gifts, abilities and callings. Our perspective is usually not big enough or maybe even focused on the right thing. We were to be focused on the day to day, because someone had to be, that was our calling. But we didn’t have the perspective to see everything going on around us that wasn’t part of the day to day.
We didn’t have the perspective to see what eternal changes were going and are going to be made for listening and responding to the call we were given, the call that some would tell us we “did not really hear God correctly” (from their perspective).

The BIG perspective-that God has this master plan, and it is the salvation of the lost, and we are just these bit players in the peripheral that He brings in and out uses at the appointed times and in the appointed ways. We should be happy to be used, when we are used, how we are used. So hard-looking for a BIG perspective through a microscope.

I have always been a behind the scenes type of person. My giftings are in service and administration, not being the upfront person. Now, we’ve had the opportunity to be the “face” of certain things (our project, missions in the church, a voice of missionary struggles…). Did I enjoy it? Not sure how to answer it.
In a way, yes. I enjoyed the confidence it brought that we didn’t feel we had before. It strengthened our faith as we were encouraged by fellow believers and how God continually provided, just to name a few.

Now, it seems our “face” time was really just the behind-the-scenes/laying-the-groundwork time yet again. Things that no one else may ever know about and certainly groundwork for many things to come.

So I should be happy, right? At least satisfied to have fulfilled my role? Yet, there is a part of me that still desires the encouragement, the gratitude, okay-at least the acknowledgment that we played a part. Maybe a continued acknowledgment. Yet it was in the past, so why do I still want it?

Pride? To build up my shattered self-confidence? Justification? To ease the pain of being wronged? To prove my reality was just that, reality?

I want the hard and very, very painful part of our time and work to be appreciated. There are times it still feels painful in ways seemingly innumerable. The guinea pig that gave their all (hearts, pocketbooks, belief, trust)…and what happens to them when their time is done? We ask them to take their house apart before they leave (so maybe people will ever forget they were there?)…

{And for the record, as much as it may have “felt good” at the time, we did not do anything to the house. We know that would have been poor stewardship of not only our time and resources, but most certainly those of our supporters}

Does it ever get hard for you to pretend we weren’t there?

Humility. I see how hard it is now in a way I haven’t had to before. I see why so many are out there to leave something tangible as their “legacy”, something BIG. And how they can’t stand the thought of someone messing up what their big plans are, even if they are only trying to help.

I was happy being a behind the scenes person before-helping in the kitchen, on the computer, and especially behind Brian. I have always wanted and desired him to have more-more faith, a deeper relationship with Christ, acknowledgment for his hard work…always wanted more for him than myself even.

Did I want it for God though? I gave/give God all the props, because it was ONLY by HIS doing, but maybe there became a part of me that wanted, still wants a part for Brian (and me) too…

Reputation. It’s about reputation and having to surrender your reputation for God. On the long eight hour drive to Victoria Falls we listened to some recordings by Otto Keating who was a very remote missionary. That was one of the things I clearly remember him talking about and we discussed at length. Our reputation was about obeying the “call to obedience,” and it was on this project. Especially in our own church and family, and even for the project’s supporting family, who really did become our family. And it is not going to be what we were led to believe, and what we led many others to believe. We had our own expectations and desires tagged on to it as well.

No one can ever compare their own experiences to anyone else’s. So why do we try? Why do we still want justification? Why does it still bother us when we hear the peaches and cream only? How do you forget what the reality behind the scenes is and just be happy that the claim to “all is well” is being rung? How do you forget the questions that are still unanswered? Will it ever stop bothering us that our friends are being misled? Should it still? Continually you just have to give it to God and say it’s not mine anymore. But so, so hard to not snatch it back when you hear something that triggers you back to the reality YOU knew...
Considering our investment, financially and otherwise, do we have a “right”, a “responsibility” to be sure our gifts (our time, our finances, our service) to the Lord (they are never really to any one group or church or other non-profit) are used wisely? Responsibly? Or do we just say it is all God’s in the first place... I’d like to add “and He will use it as He sees fit”, but I don't personally believer that He’s being allowed to, that the stewardship just isn’t there. What is your responsibility in it? Do you have any? Some day we will all have to answer to God, and I know He is gonna be a heckuva lot tougher than I would or could ever be. I want to be sure that I can stand with my conscience clean.

But God still CAN and WILL accomplish His purposes. Can we ever really stop God from accomplishing what He has for us-the good He has for us? (And believe me-I don’t mean good, like, happy-happy good-good. I mean like, our ETERNAL good) We are being pulled in and out of His BIG will for the salvation of souls across the world, sometimes in this way, sometimes in that. God is WAY BIGGER than any one man (or woman). Who are we to somehow think our mark on the world is more important than anyone else’s? That we need to leave a legacy at all? If it’s all about God’s glory, what good are the big numbers, the big accomplishments to me? Why are you or I keeping track? When it comes to souls, one is just as important to God as 600 or a 1000 or...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

“One of the major differences in worldview between rural Africans and westerners is the focus of life. In the west, an emphasis is most often placed on outputs and products. Whereas in Africa, the focus is firmly on process – it is not so much where you end up but how you got there that really matters.”

I took this from a friend’s blog who is now back in Zambia. They served as missionaries there with the International Mission Board some years ago. I met her initially on a Liberian adoption group. When she heard we were going to Zambia she contacted me. She helped answer lots of questions for us and I enjoyed reading her many stories. She also connected us with the TOTALLY AWESOME :-) Rodgers Tribe who went well out of their way to help and encourage us.

Now Blu and Darbi are back in Zambia doing construction on a school and orphanage near Mapanza they have started (this is the same area where they served part of their term I think). They are living in Choma for the next 1 ½ years during building. It’s neat to read some of the day to day stuff she writes, and just remember and wish… This is her blog and this is their orphanage site. They are seeing God do some amazing things when it comes to timing and processes (like only taking a few short months to get all their tax numbers!). Proving once again, that when God is behind it, He WILL make a way! Well that and, it’s not always WHAT you know but WHO you know (and what they THINK of you)!

Friday, March 12, 2010

back home

Things went pretty well when we were gone. There are always things that seem to happen when you’re gone that just don’t happen when your home. Like the water pipe froze up in the pump house, which has not happened all winter. Henry had a tough week; he cut a molar or 2. Cybil and Mariah took turns sleeping with him. Except the one night Henry cried for an hr or 2. Kari (Kelly’s sister) went in to check on them and Henry was lying on top of Cybil screaming and Cybil was sound to sleep. I don’t even know how that is possible but she was. So everyone was a little tired when we returned.
I received a call back on a job I interviewed from over a month ago. But what they are offering is not all that appealing. A lot of hours and responsibility for not all that much pay. I was a tad disappointed when they told me what they were offering. It held no appeal for me and when I told Kelly she felt the same, so I plan to keep looking. I went out to the local ag show to talk to people and get my name out there. I am thinking about putting out a mailer to area farmers that might be looking for help coming up this spring. I still have my part time job that pays well and if I can keep doing that in conjunction with something else, I think we would do fine. Maybe the vacation did help to become a little more focused. I guess we will see where it goes.
In the mean time I keep praying about life, for others and what they are going through, for my family. The kids still at times struggle with things and Kelly still has some things to work through. I have been praying for her a lot. God has given me a very strong desire/an urgency to pray for her for the last couple of months. I don’t completely understand, I just know there are things going on. Some I can see, some I cannot. I know God is at work and it can be hard to watch at times. We often do not talk about the fact that a lot of times when the Spirit is at work it is painful. For the one the Spirit is working on and for the ones that are the closest to the person watching. It is the refiner’s fire purifying, perfecting HIS work

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Was this a spiritual retreat? No, not in the sense most people would think of a spiritual retreat. I thought it might be a little but I could see that it was not going to be that. Kelly and I had some very good conversations about things (past, present, and future).

The past: it feels like a dream, like it didn’t really happen (Africa). There are still some deep wounds with what happened and I am not as far past some of the hurt as I would like to think I am. I have lost a big part of my ability to trust. I really don’t know how that is going to affect me in the future. It is not that I cannot/won’t trust anyone. It is the people that speak “Christianize” really well that I don’t trust.

The present: God continues to provide and bless us. I sometimes even feel guilty about that, I shouldn’t. It comes from my own pride. Thinking I need/should be the one providing, not God. He continues to remind me that I am His son and a good Father takes care of His kids. Like this vacation- I really wanted some answers and it struck me the second night: God just wanted me to enjoy myself and my wife, no pressures. And I/we did that. I know I feel different, lighter somehow. Even though I think I put on a few pounds! That may all change when we get back, I don’t know. Kelly and I really threw off the worries and responsibilities and took a break from life. And by the end of the week we felt ready to come home.

The Future: the only thing on that front is that I’m going to talk to some people about possibilities. I want to exhaust all possibilities here before I start looking elsewhere, in this country or another.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As Kelly and I walked on the beach we both felt a surrealness of life. We were both thinking the same thing, that Africa feels like a dream, an old dream. Not a bad dream just a dream.
And now as I sit here on this beach trying to look to the future, what do I see? Mountains in the mist, waves crashing on the sand and rocks. I see beauty and I am in the midst of it, but for what purpose? I am impatient, frustrated with God, desiring progress that I can see. I want Kelly to enjoy this vacation, to relax. We should think about the future but we don’t want to. Because nothing is clear.

(While we were gone the kids messed up the computer and some files so we lost some things we had written. Oh well, it’s only words, but still—it STINKS! There were some good thoughts we had begun developing. Of course before we left I thought, I should do a save to the hard drive…but I didn’t. Shoot!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This picture is kinda blurry, but is the only one we had done together!
This was our last night in Mexico.

Monday, March 8, 2010

we're back!!

Just a VERY quick note to say WE ARE BACK!! We had a wonderful time. Brian wrote a few posts while we were down there and will look to get them posted soon, but most of the details we just can't publish (wink, wink!).
We at least got to go through our vacation thinking that our renters would move out peaceably while we were gone, but alas, that wasn't so. We are still dealing with a few last minute nasty issues that came up when we moved them out of the house over the weekend. So keep praying for that resolution.
The new renters are in and starting to get settled. We also have a showing on our house this evening (I know! What timing!). They have been really patient as they wanted to look at it last week a few times, but we of course weren't here.
Brian also got some info on a possible second interview for a job. Neither of us is overly impressed by its possibilities, so we have until Thursday to decide if we want to take the next step. Prayers for discernment on that would be great too.
So, anyway, that's it for now!