Friday, June 24, 2011

VBS, Haiti, Malawi, and places to be

It has been a week of VBS outreach in our local community; about 150 children have signed up and participated in our 100 degree weather, choosing the comfort of air conditioning, kid's tunes, creative crafts, outdoor games, and an emphasis on knowing Jesus, the "rock of all ages" (I'm the one buried beneath the avaanche of45-50 4-6 graders).

While that's been going on here, we have been actively-involved in prayer for "our own" Luke and Becka Voight, missionaries leaving for hot Malawi to work with children and youth. Lyzee, their eigthteen month-old daughter,has been sick this week and they board a plane for an twenty-two hour trip on Monday--we are praying for them!

On Tuesday, I met for prayer with Mike, Ron, Jeff, Curt, Jason, Jeff and Mark--six dedicated young men from Grace--leaving for a week of work in 100 degree weather in Haiti. They will join our faithful pastor-friend there, Gilbert Jules, in helping to construct a roof over a school-church setting for 400-500 adults and chidlren, in a small town near Port au Prince. It is hot, wet and another outbreak of cholera has erupted recently, but they go with our blessing and with excitement about providing a place for the Hatians to be taught and to worship God!

Pastor Mark, Logan and Tom left yesterday on a fifteen hour flight for India where they will be teaching in a Bible Seminary for a week. (By the way, it is supposed to be over a 100 degrees there as well!) John Frances has heped with the construction and development of over 100 churches in the northern area of India and oversees the seminary. He is a true man of God. A student at the seminary, Solomon George, was killed last week in a tragic train accident, leaving a wife and two daughters behind. He was in training to pastor one of the churches we helped construct in India and so we are grieving for his family and praying for the onoging ministry there.

These are all hot spots--VBS, Malawi, Haiti, spots where the gospel is being preached and received with gladness. What a joy it is to serve God in the comfort of air conditioning... or not!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

110 degrees and VBS

We've had a very cool spring and late-arriving summer...but it arrived with a vengeance--this week, blasting us with 100 plus degree weather...just in time for VBS!

My wife and I volunteeered to teach 4-6 graders and last Friday we were told to prepare for 15--Sunday evening for 31--Monday morning for 38--and by 2:00 p.m. yesterday (opening Monday) we had 46!!!

Dressed in blue jeans, wool socks, boots, handkerchief, long sleeved shirt, suspenders and a cowboy hat--borrowed froma friend--I tried to act the part of an 1850's miner searching for treasure. I lost about 3-4 pounds sweating from the excitement of it all, and was exhausted when I got home last night. was terrific! What a privilege to stand in front of forty-six 4-6 graders and identify for them certain true claims about Jesus--(1) Only Jesus is perfect (2) Only Jesus is God (3) Only Jesus can completely forgive sins (4) Only Jesus is the way to heaven. As we taught the children, these are rock-solid claims about Jesus that become a foundation for our faith. Of course, in recounting the search for gold nuggets in the California Gold Rush, we wanted the children to see greatest treasure to be discovered, is Jesus, our rock!

110 degrees and VBS...a marriage made in heaven! The church really was a "cool" place to be! Just ask the kids!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ode to the ocean and grandchildren (not necessarily in that order)

I've returned from eight days at Pismo Beach, camped right near the ocean with all of its attendant morning fog and moisture. The sun peaked its head out for a short greeting most days--one day it was unsually bright and clear for eight hours!--enough to remind me why I love the ocean.

Though Pismo Beach is a typical beach town, Psimo Coastal Village where we camped with our rv is an incredible rv resort. Everything you need is at your fingertips--a store, an equipment rental center, a restaurant, a heated swimming pool, walking trails, easy access to the beach, etc. Though the camp sites are small, it is inordinately clean and more than tolerable because of the sound of the waves pounding the beach just over a nearby grassy berm.

The focal point of the trip was the graduation of our oldest granddaughter, Sage, from junior high school. It truly was the highlight of our week, though camping with grandkids was a close second. Sage was honored by her teachers for her excellent character; as they lauded her contribution as a student to the encouragement of other students, tears marked the faces of both grandma and grandpa, as well as her appropriately-proud dad who was sitting close by us.

Father's Day is Sunday. Congratulations to Tim, Chad, Jeff and TJ--my sons--who are all great dads. A critical part of their performance as dads is their unrelenting commitment to raising their chidlren in a Christian home with a solid biblical foundation. That, coupled with their unconditional love and faithful discipline, make me proud of not only them, but the product they are producing--our eleven wonderful grandchildren. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 describes how "impressing" our chidlren with the principles of God's Word in our daily life is a high priority for dads...and moms.

And, just as an postscript...thanks, dad (now gone for twenty-three years)--for being a faithful father to me. He loved the ocean, too!