Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June Newsletter

Our June newsletter will go out in the mail in the next couple of days. If you are just itching to read it you can download it with the link on the right. It is in the "Newsletter" section and titled "June 2008." Creative titles don't you think?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That's God's job!

As we prepare to move to Costa Rica God has been impressing upon my heart the reality that we will see some difficult situations. People in desperate need of help, so much so that it will be overwhelming. He has been speaking to us and the rest of our team that he is the one who will do the work and that we only need to be obedient to follow his voice. It is not our job to right every wrong, to bring justice to injustice, and to defend the weak and oppressed That's God's job! He chooses to use us to do those things from time to time, but ultimately that is his responsibility. How comforting and reassuring that thought is as we prepare. We find great hope in passages like Psalm 146:

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kings and Commanders

Kings and Commanders is a crazy game that is a mix of capture the flag, dodge ball, and too many other elements to explain. A friend of ours in Connecticut, Jeff Panasci, invented this game and all the necessary equipment (two large rubbermaid bins worth) about a year ago or so. Members of his church, young and old, have been playing it enthusiastically ever since. We (Tracey and I) had the privilege of playing with them a couple of weeks ago while we were in Connecticut visiting Riverbank Christian Worship Center.

We have been connected to this church for a few years as it is a sister church of our church, an SI board member is part of it, we spent a week with them 3 years ago, numerous SI recruiting trips in the area, and we were in the Dominican Republic on a family outreach with several families from it a year and a half ago.

I mention this crazy game as it was indicative of our time with them. While we were only there for a few short days they welcomed and embraced us. We had a the opportunity to share what God is doing in and through us as we prepare to move to Costa Rica in an informal fellowship time and on Sunday morning. We had a great time of fellowship and left encouraged and empowered.

Thank you to Joe and Ruth Mascia (and Jordan and Joel) for hosting us during our time there, to the leadership and mission committee for inviting us to come, and to the entire church for your warm embrace of us. We look forward to staying in relationship with you all and to seeing how God will continue to intertwine our lives.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Caveman to Phantom in under 20 hours

A week and a half ago Tracey and I set out on a journey to Connecticut to visit a church on a support raising trip. As it was a fairly quick trip and 3 time zones away we decided to leave the kids with some friends thinking that would be easier for everyone. What Tracey didn't know about this trip is I had a little trick up my sleeve, as her 29th birthday was a May 25th and we left on May 28th.

On our way to the airport in LA we had a flat tire in Bakersfield. Off course it was about 9pm and there was not a tire place open anywhere. As we were changing it on the side of the highway a man stopped to offer to help and said his friend owned a tire store and he would have him give us a call. Well when he did call he was going to be gracious enough to charge us for his time and millage (from his home to his shop) to see if he had a tire that would work for us. And if he did have a used tire that would fit he would only charge us about $150. So all in all we would pay about $100 in the hopes of him having a tire and another $150 if he had one. Oh, and the conversation was completely in Spanish. Flat tire and working in Spanish, we couldn't have designed better training for moving to Costa Rica if we had tried.

So after declining the $250 used tire we set out towards LA on the "donut" hoping and praying to find a solution as we HAD to catch our 7am flight the next morning from LA to Newark. After driving for about 50 miles or just over an hour on the "donut" we pulled into a Flying J truck stop at about 10:30. As we pulled in Tracey noticed a auto shop with its light on across the street. So after she convinced me we should stop we pulled in and met Caveman.

We asked if he could patch a tire and he mumbled, in true caveman fashion, that he would take a look at it. Turns out his boss actually looked at, as he was on his way out the door to tow someone to LA. On his way out the door he handed us his card and sure enough there in black and white was his name "Caveman." (No joke I kept the card for proof). Well our tire was unpatchable, but they had a used tire out back with good tread on it and for $50 it could be ours. Well that looked like a great deal to us after the last offer we had, so we jumped on it. About 30 minutes later we were on our way again praising God for providing through Caveman.

After a short night of sleep at an airport hotel we arrived at LAX about 5:45am for our 7:00am flight to Newark. Checking in everything showed it was on time, until we got to the gate to discover a 3 hour delay. After talking to 3 different airline reps and calling thier reservations line and having everyone tell us there was nothing they could do for us we resigned ourselves to arriving into Newark at 6:15pm instead of 3:30pm as was scheduled. No big deal, but you forget I had something up my sleeve.

I had decided a couple months ago to take advantage of being in New York without the kids and to surprise Tracey with a Broadway show. You guessed it we had tickets to Phantom of the Opera for the 8pm show that night. Not just any tickets, but front row mezzanine, some of the best in the house. So as we sat waiting for the flight I gave Tracey the envelope with the tickets in it. I said, "I hope we can make it!"

So by the time we landed in Newark, got our bags, and got into our shared ride shuttle it was 6:45pm. Not nearly enough time to get from Newark to Manhattan, check into our hotel, and get to the theater. In taking with our shuttle driver he said he had a stop to make near Times Square where the theater was and that he would just drop us off at the theater. What do we do with our bags? Where will we get dressed?

Fortunately Tracey dressed casual but nice enough to go to the show. I changed shirts in the back of the shuttle and we called it good. At 7:50pm the shuttle dropped us off half a block from the theater and we ran down the sidewalk pulling our bags behind us. We walked into the theater bags in tow, put our bags in the coat check room, and found our seats just in time.

It was indeed an incredible show and watching Tracey enjoy a show on Broadway (a dream of hers) was even better!