Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Here are all of the comments that were written on the evaluation sheets at the end of the night:
- What does Jubilee Christmas mean to you and your family?
- " I love it very much. Everyone here is so kind and helpful. These people are truly angels of God!!!!"
- "This is the only Christmas our family will receive this year. We have no income because of losing my job do to injury. Thank you!"
- "It means so much to me! This is my first year attended. I am very grateful I was given this opportunity."
- "It's a blessing and a joy to experience the fellowship with other people who believe in Christ. It's a great thing!"
- "A lot less stress at a very stressful time."
- "This was an awesome experience for us to be a part of!! This took a lot of stress off of us as parents wondering how we were going to be able to buy for our children this year.This has truly been a blessing for us!! Thank you so much!"
- "A Lot"
- "God and being together"
- "My family is everything to me. This was very special. Thank you for the Christmas gifts for my daughter. Merry Christmas." (Translated from Spanish)
- "We are thankful much for all the gifts and attention given to our family." (Translated from Spanish)
- Please list any suggests for improvement in Jubilee Christmas.
- "Nothing for myself, it was all perfect."
- "The people who were a part of this were very friendly and made us feel very welcome and not less than for our needing assistance. They went above and beyond making this a great Christmas for us all!!!"
- "You are a great help in our time of need."
- "Very Good"
- "All is well. Thanks for all are very happy. God bless you." (Translated from Spanish)
- "It was all good" (Translated from Spanish)
Thursday, November 8, 2012
|Kalyn helping Gabriel|
Monday, November 5, 2012
Mondays are usually my "Blah" days. My energy is usually sapped the day after Sunday. I thought it might be helpful to just jot down my thoughts and feelings on Monday mornings so I can just move on with my week. There won't be a lot of editing or beautifying of my Monday blogs, just getting it out there.
Monday So Far
This Monday was off like a shot. At 8am I headed over to the hospital to do a little visiting and pick up the pager since I'm the chaplain on call. I think more of my visit work comes in visiting the hospital staff and encouraging them. The more involved I am in chaplain work, the more I see the fruits of building relationships with staff. Visits to the patients are beneficial too, but the most fruitful of those seem to come when I am called by a patient desiring to see a chaplain. I wish chaplains had the ability to just visit every in their room, but instead we check in at the nurses station and they ask if anyone wants to see a chaplain. The process is respectful of the patient's desire, but I think most in our community would still welcome a smiling face, a warm good morning, and an offer of prayer.
Made a quick jaunt over to the courthouse to drop of a key for the elections tomorrow. Our building is used as a voting site for the city. I am always blessed to see my contact there, but I can never remember her name! I've probably asked it at least 5 times now. I feel horrible for that one. I need to write it down next time.
Had a phone call from an area minister struggling with church politics. I think Christians need now more than ever to learn to "Play Nice" with each other. This man is trying so hard to do the right things. My heart goes out to him.
Fixed the network for the office computer! I couldn't figure out why the wifi wouldn't connect, but had a cat45 cable laying around. That did the trick. Glad to have it usable for church members now.
We've got pew fixers coming today, so the auditorium is going to be a buzz of activity for the next couple of days. I'm looking forward to meeting them.
Yesterday morning before service I could tell I was filled with a little different spirit than usual. I was very passionate about my recent motto, "We Play Nice". Basically I've decided, If we share the "One things" listed in Ephesians 4, I'm going to endeavor to play nice with you no matter if you act like a divisive jerk or not. And if we're not sharing those Christian standards, well I'm gonna play nice anyway, because the Lord made you. None of this means I have to give up my distinctiveness, my Biblical views, or my ability to share them. It just means I'm not going to do what I've seen so many Christians do in the midst of political uncertainty lately. I'm not going to deride, slander, or set my self in opposition to anyone, even a presidential candidate and especially not another Christian. I may oppose a view or idea, but I'm certainly going to give respect. "For our battle is not against flesh and blood...." Paul said in Ephesians.
And what do I do if you don't share those one things with me and you live in such a way that opposes God? I still play nice but I let you know we have a break in our relationship that can only be mended by us seeking and searching God. Playing yatzee together doesn't fix it, but deliberately seeking God together does, even if we still don't agree. Fair enough? Boy, I'm still inspired Monday morning about this stuff, I could just keep writing thoughts.
Sunday afternoon - busy! One of the best things accomplished was budget requests for 2013. I was pleased to be able to request more in the missions area. I was also encouraged by seeing good people from our congregation working together to ensure God's money is used wisely.
Sunday night - Grandparents. I'm a firm believer that families can have a great holiday season together, but it takes everyone fulfilling their roles. Grandparents in the Bible were so much more than "Spoil em and send em home" type of people. They shared faith and Godly influence. It wasn't just something that came about by happenstance, it was their job! I think we forget that today. If grandparents will limit the spoiling of kids and put effort into sharing that precious faith, oh, the holidays will be even better. More on parents roles next week.
After services was great, lotsof people talking. Did hear of two heartbreaking stories that I can't do anything about. The good news? I have a big God who can. I carried Ethan home asleep in my arms. I still love those moments. Gabriel and I made paper airplanes.
This day was just a blurr! Ashley was glorifying God speaking in TN at a ladies retreat, I was Mr. Mom and Minister at the same time. We showed up at 8:15am at the Derek Arvin 5k "A race for the Son." God blessed me to meet and pray with volunteers at 8:30am, Gabriel ran a 1 miler at 9am, then we prayed with all the race participants at 10am. It was such a blessing and I was so proud of my little man for learning to persevere on his run. There's going to be a lot of spiritual teachable moments coming from this one.
Then a family birthday party near Danville, Illinois at 11am. Made balloon animals, caught up with cousins, met some nice people. Then back here for a meeting with a lot of men and their spouses in our area to encourage them on their spiritual walk. So thankful for the Page family for their time watching the boys. Then home at 9:30pm, bed for the boys, and decompress time with my wife.
A really blessed but encouraging day.
By the way, Monster Energy drinks really do a number on me!
Just had someone stop in the church building. Gotta go. That was my Saturday to Monday morning. With that outta my system, I'm ready to get on with this day! Thanks God for a blessed Monday!
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
For a lot of chaplains, the nature of these calls just seems to roll off them like water off a duck's back. Maybe they are in a more mature position of faith than I am. Maybe they are more seasoned veterans than I am. Whatever the reason, I feel discouraged that most of my volunteer chaplain work depresses me. Why does it depress me? I do everything to the best of my ability following all the literature that I have on pastoral care, so why do I still feel depressed? I don't have a firm answer. Maybe I still internalize too much of my environment and events. Maybe I spend too much time talking with family members and building a relationship. Maybe I'm simply doing it wrong. Maybe I'm just weak in my maturity. I'm not sure the reason, but after days like these, my mood is sullen and depressed. It's a real hard mood to climb out of. "They" say that writing your thoughts and feelings helps, so here I am.
As depressed as my mood gets, I did notice something strange today just as the finality of things was approaching. My faith was increasing. Gone are the wonderings of God's existence. Gone are the pleas for God to let me feel His presence. Gone are the agnostic moments. They are replaced in that time with a full surety that the God Almighty, Maker of the heavens and the earth, is right there in our midst. I knew God was there today, I could feel Him in the room.
Have you ever noticed what happens to families and even strangers when someone's life is coming to an end? How much does your family fight, argue, and disagree? Yet in moments like today, there is no division between family members, only unity. There is no jockying for position, but only support in lifting others up. There is no malicious accusations, but only forgiveness, goodness, mercy, and kindness. It's not just present among family members, but among ministers too. When another minister, preacher, or pastor walks up to support the family, there is no sense of competitiveness. There is no worry over what church they preach at or what their position is on worship styles. You are simply grateful that another believer in Christ is there. You are happy to have them support the family, support you, and for them to receive your own support. Mercy, Goodness, Gentleness, and Kindness abound among all who are present in those times. Unity is achieved, if only for a little while, and my faith increases.
Be sure to be kind to someone today. Be merciful to someone you might be at odds with. Spend a moment blessing someone else with unity in Spirit. May you dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I feel better already. Thank the Lord for Brussels sprouts and all those other tough moments in life.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
“Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10a
Friday, September 21, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I'm at Cafe El Gringo now, drinking a "sombra" (fruit smoothie). Libby says the brownie here is to die for and that I have to have one before we leave.
We're taking Sunday as sort of a Sabbath today. We've pushed hard for many days now and we're starting to feel it. So far we've completed 4 houses by ourselves. Our Mitchell/Washington Crew can really knock out a house! For those of you in Washington, you would not believe what Drew, Elmer, and Steven can do when they set their minds to it. Add B.A. from Mitchell and you've got 4 large men who dwarf all the Hondurans. Those 4 guys have been working their tales off and garnering a lot of respect from many different peoples.
Don't let my comments fool you, the ladies in our group are no slouches either! Midge sure can sharpen a chainsaw. Laura Barlow is a beast at anything she does. Jalayna and Libby's biceps have grown 4 inches from pounding who knows how many nails. Teresa is a marvel with the kids and is a great nurse for us on the trip. While we've had no major injuries, we've had some blisters, smashed fingers, scrapes and the like that have made us grateful for Teresa.
Something exciting that we experienced was the spending of two days and nights in Guajire. Mitchell COC has been working hard over the years to develop relationships in this little village. It's hard to describe Guajire. Ox carts, huts, and a plethora of mosquitoes were some of the distinguishing characteristics. We stayed the night in the church buildings and classrooms. Before you begin equating this to the 5 star church buildings that we worship in today, let me tell you that the Mitchell group built this box building a year ago. We locked ourselves in and between the roosters crowing and dogs barking our group of about 25 people put in a few zzz's. Allen and I were blessed to sleep at the door of the girls cabin since we don't snore. What was also interesting is that the closest porcelain to the church building was about 5 minutes walk away, which really made the trip exciting for the girls. Oh yeah, there wasn't running water or electricity in this area so I gained a lot of respect for the ladies who toughed that one out. We were the first missions group to ever "camp out" with the locals. As we were staring at the estrayas (stars) and the shooting stars at night, we felt very connected to you at home, knowing that you were possibly looking out at the very same stars as us.
Today is definitely a mixed emotion day. Our compadres from Baton Rouge left us this morning, which has left a void that's tough to fill. They are one exciting and fun youth group that we look forward to connecting to back in the States.
Church service with the Hondurans was a challenge as it was all in Spanish! I think even Allen Burris may have dozed off a little bit. Is it worse when a preacher falls asleep during a sermon? The Ojohana Church of Christ was very grateful for our presence and there was a lot of gratitude and welcoming attitude displayed. Ricardo preached his sermon today on the nature of the heart when giving coming primarily out of 1 Corinthians 16. It was a lot of fun to have so much in common with people whose lifestyles, language, and traditions are so different from ours! Yet we've found that the bonds of Christian love stretch well beyond these boundaries.
I thank you so much for reading this and praying for us. We ask that you continue to pray for us. We've still got 1 more house to go and a lot of other good work to do. Please pray for our safety and for openness in the people so that we can share about Christ in words as well as in action. Everyone here says "Hi." We look forward to our time with all of you soon.
Dios le beningdad (God bless you),
If you'd like to catch up more on what's been going on, please see Allen Burris's blog at
I would like to upload so many more photos, but it takes so long. I want to put up more of the Mitchell group as well. I'll work on more for tomorrow!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
We had a successful day today as we finished off all the three houses we started yesterday. Families were so grateful and praising the name of God! (In Spanish of course!).
We're learning a lot of Spanish here being immersed in the culture. Believe it or not, Steven and Elmer have started speaking simple phrases to me in Spanish rather than English. (Muy Bueno) It's been so fun!
Every day we have had a different fruit of the spirit to focus on. We begin thinking about it during the day and wrap every evening devotional up with a thought on it. Today was focusing on and increasing the "Goodness" in our lives and in the lives in the Hondurans.
To catch you up on things we've done, We've visited the city in the dump, a children's home for the blind, a children's home for the homeless, some really rural communities, and some in the middle of the city (Ask Steven, Drew, and Elmer about the drive to that one!) We've built 4 houses since being here. Not much of a break, but it's been great! I'm going to include a few pictures for you now from Day 2 and Day 3 of our trip.
Ok, I take that back, I can't put up any pictures where I am, I spent all 18 minutes trying to upload one picture! I'll try hard to get some time in the city where the internet is stronger soon. We love you all and miss you! See you soon!
Dios Le Benigdad!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Things are so different here some in good ways, some in bad. From driving, dress styles, and food it is so very different. And yet some things are the same as well. A smile, and hand shake, and a hug can still convey so much needed communication that we are still very effective in our mission.
We apologize for not being able to communicate with you more. We have a lack of internet connection at our compound and in most of the places we work. Right now I'm sitting in a PopEye's Chicken restaurant sending you this message!
Day 1, Airport day.
This day was great as we bonded together more with friends from Mitchell and met our accompanying group from Baton Rouge Lousiana. The airplane landing was something else! We cheered for our pilot when it was all said and done!
Day 2, First workday.
Did you know that running, working, and playing at a high altitude is tough? I ran 3 miles at 6:30am and thought I wasn't gonna make it! If you guys didn't know we're way up in the mountains. About the same height as the top of the Smokeys in Tennessee. Amazing part of the day? We built a 3 bedroom has for a family of 6 in about 4.5 hours! It was 18x18 feet, so the whole thing was smaller than some of our bedrooms in America. During the build we took time to make balloon animals, color, and sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish with the locals. While very difficult and taxing, it was wonderful!
Day 3, Dump Day
We visited the Dump today, or rather the city in the Dump. In a few minutes we're heading to the school of the blind. I'll have to write more later because I'm almost out of time, but wow, what a shocker. I have never heard of the poorest in America living and surviving like these people do. There's a whole city in the dump itself.
We're all doing well, and we feel very confident that God is using us to share and spread good things. I will share more later in the week when I have a little more time with the internet!
One phrase for you to learn,
"Dios le benigdad!" means "God bless you!"
Oh, for more pictures, go look at Allen Burris's blog at:
Dios Le Benigdad!
Sunday, July 8, 2012
The view was tremendous as we flew into our Texas airport. We've landed safely in Houston.
But before we left Indiana we ran into some stragglers!
Now, after a great meal at Ruby's Diner we're waiting out the tail end of our layover together.
We just met up with our "quince" Casey Marshall! She came in on a different flight. Our group is complete!
Oh, and by the way, check out the new hat styles in Houston!
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
Thanks to our God who, through our church family especially, has given us so much support!
To see more about what we're doing, join the MCOC Honduras Facebook page here:
Our TeamWe're being led by our fearless leader, elder, and friend, Drew Myers. I believe this is Drew's third trip to Honduras. He brings a wealth of experience, wisdom, and handy talent to this crew.
Christopher Wiles has been overseas on missions going through Russia, England, and Germany. This is his first trip to a Central American country.
While for many this is not their first trip out of the country, but is a first mission trip abroad. We've got several who bring a variety of skills, talents, and experiences to the group. The rest of our servants from our church family include:
and Tyler Seibert.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Preface Story: On Friday morning, two teenage boys from our local high school died in a tragic car accident. Both loved by the community. One of the boys was worried before he died that so many of his friends didn't know Christ. So his mom asked last night if our area could locate and donate enough Bibles to give to the expected 500-1000 teens that will come to the visitation on Monday at noon. They would like the Bible to have Derek's (the faithful Christian kid who died) favorite Bible verse highlighted in it before given out to the kids. Here's the link to the story.
Here's the kicker, how do we get that many Bibles located over a weekend and up here in Indiana? Where do we get that kind of money?
Just tonight, I located over 500 New Testaments that I can get for FREE, that's right, FREE! The only problem is, they are in Florence, Alabama at Heritage Christian University. They are in storage. Do you remember the Challenge Youth Conference Bible from 2 years ago? The navy blue one that has the plan of salvation in the front? Yup, there are about 500 sitting in storage, and Larry Davenport, head honcho at CYC will give them to me if I will just come get them.
So if I leave church tomorrow morning after I preach and drive 7 hours to pick them up, then 7 hours to get back, that puts me back somewhere around 2 am on Monday morning. Then the groups here couldn't start highlighting verses till after they wake up.
Here's where someone down there might be able to help me. What if a couple of you guys, took off on a road trip and drove to Florence Alabama and picked them up for me. They will all fit in the back seat of a car. Then bring them back to Franklin TN. You could be back to Franklin around the time I arrive there. Then I would pay for your gas, buy you a quick meal, and then I could be home by 9 or 10 pm, enough time for us to start on them the night before the funeral visitation.
And what do you have? 500 Bibles that would retail for $4000, being given out for free to teenagers who are hurting and seeking answers here in Washington Indiana.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas or if I'm just absolutely nuts.
Call Me if you're game or you have an idea: 615-668-6343.
Love you guys!