Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You Know You Are a Missionary Kid when...

Our daughters seem to be turning out rather well. Bethany and Rachel are studying at Pensacola Christian College and our twins, Sarah and Kristin, are a big help at our mission church here in Puerto Rico. Missionary kids don't have it easy.

They say you know you are an MK when...

You know what REAL coffee tastes like. Whenever anyone gets sick you say "It must be an ameba." You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?" You speak two languages, but can't spell in either. You flew before you could walk. The U.S. is a foreign country. You have a passport, but no driver's license. You have a time zone map next to your telephone. Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times. You watch nature documentaries, and you think about how good that would be if it were fried. You think in grams, meters, and liters. You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel. National Geographic makes you homesick. You keep dreaming of a green Christmas. The nationals say, "Oh, I knew an American once..." and then ask if you know him or her. You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service. You realize that furlough is not a vacation. You've spoken in dozens of churches, but aren't a pastor. Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have to eat it all to seem polite. You stockpile mangoes. When you sing songs to yourself in a language other than English. When you mother gets excited over finding Doritos at 7-11. When on deputation you have memorized Dad's messages. When after the church service you look for a slide projector to put away. You carry Bibles in two languages to church. You send out birthday invitations in a foreign language. When your five foot tall mother is taller than most of your church members. When you go on furlough your Mom buys everything in the store. When adults want to pay you to teach them English. When the family gathers around the computer to check the E-mail. When all your clothes have been worn by someone else. When you find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone's refrigerator.
When the message on your answering machine is in two languages. When you move into a new house you take a gift to all your neighbors. When your Mom sends you out to sweep the street in front of your house. You consider parasites, dysentery, or tropical diseases to be appropriate dinner conversation. You tell people what certain gestures mean in different parts of the world. You would rather have a Land Rover Defender than a Lexus. When you complain of being too cold in the air-conditioned malls You realize what a small world it is, after all. You never take anything for granted. You know how to pack. All preaching sounds better under a corrugated tin roof. Going to the post office is the highlight of your day.
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

How Hot Is It?

Forget your thermometer, just watch your cat! Ginger does NOT nap where the sun shines in. You know you are in the tropics when you find your cat sleeping white belly up to reflect more light. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How would you like to find this where you do your baptisms? We did! And another one came to watch! Posted by Picasa

Sarah was doing her school work today when she heard a splash, looked out the window and saw a big iguana! It seemed to be hiding from another one that followed right behind it. Tina ran and took these photos. Tina thinks that the one in the water was the female as it was darker and had smaller back spines. It seemed like it was trying to keep away from the greener iguana. I was returning home from teaching at our Bible Institute, so she had to handle the situation by herself. She tried chase the darker one away, but it would not budge. Finally, after the greener one was chased away, the dark one made its move and dived for the underbrush. They like to climb our avocado tree and keep an eye on things. We don't see them often, but it sure made today a bit more exciting!

These two uninvited visitors really make an impression on you when you see those sharp claws and dorsal spines up close!
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Saturday, September 17, 2005


Our Youth Group Helper, Irving, Recovers from the Dengue

Irving (on the left) had a rough week, but is slowly getting his strength back. You can see we are trying to keep him well fed! Posted by Picasa

Friday Night Youth Group Fun

We hold our youth group meetings Friday nights from 7 to around 9:30. The young people of our church enjoy getting together and fellowshipping at church or in the homes of different church members. Last Friday they watched a home video of the Christmas play they did in 2004. They are planning another one this year, and we already have requests from two other churches to do it for them as well! What a great group of young people! Posted by Picasa

Our Youth Group

We started up our youth a few weeks ago, after not doing much with them during the Summer. I am happy to report that there is a lot of excitement and growth. This is their Sunday school class. My assistant Tulio is teaching (wearing tie) and Wilfredo (right of Tulio) is our Adult leader of the group. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Help Needed for an Upgrade

Our work has gone up a couple of notches, but our tools don't always keep up with the work we need them to do. My computer monitor died today, so I had to borrow a monitor our twins use for home schooling. I was going to drive to another town and try and get another monitor, but then Tina and I began to think about it. It is just a few more months before our furlough begins, so the money for a new monitor might be better spent going towards a much needed laptop.

Laptops are more expensive than we can afford, but it looks like the best tool to make good use of our time and to do some of our big jobs right. In Puerto Rico, my ministry involves travel between three towns on a weekly basis, with many opportunities in each location to get some work done that could be best done on a computer. I really could use one here right now, and of course we will need at least one when we travel, visiting churches and making Powerpoint presentations beginning in December of this year. The twins have their homeschool curriculum on computer CDs, so a laptop for each of them would help keep them from falling behind on their school work during our travels. I know it is a lot. But the work is great and the time is short, so we ask those of you who are willing if you would please help us. With your help, we can travel with the tools we need to get the job done, do it well and in a timely manner.

Could you help us with this? I was willing to wait till we got to the States, but the monitor failure puts this questions on our table for an immediate decision. In seminary I used to get my scratch paper from the trash can next to the Xerox machine, and did a lot of my work on that. We are not too proud to use humble means in our ministry. We just want to do it right and redeem the time, as the days remaining demand our best stewardship of time, treasure and talent. Posted by Picasa

Broken Hearts Fixed Here

My Adult Sunday School teacher Miguel Nieves and I went on visitation Wednesday a few hours before lunch. We spoke to a woman who was abandoned by her husband for another woman, and then her adult daughter left her with over $700 in debts. We sat in her home and shared words of help, salvation and comfort from the word of God. We prayed with her. While we were still in her home, she got a phone call and some unexpected relief from her problems. She feels the truth of our words were confirmed by this sign and has promised to come to church. She has a broken heart, but our Lord knows how to fix what ails us, so we are confident that a better life awaits her in Christ and inside the fellowship of a good church.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

All Kinds of Bugs! AWANA and Dengue take a toll!

There are good and bad ways to lose students. We lost one in a good way last night. I found out that one of my night school students is being promoted to be in charge of AWANA International (a ministry reaching children) in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Latin America, so he won't be able to attend our Monday night classes. He is off to the States for some advanced training and raising support for his new mission. I am happy for him for many reasons: he is a quality student, others have recognized his gifts and because he will be putting them to good use where they are greatly needed.

We lost some in a bad way too. It is sad when students catch a tropical disease and become too weak to study. Dengue seems to be making in-roads all around us. Besides Irving, who helps in church planting in Comerio, two other of our students have got it. My Monday night Greek class in Ponce (2 1/2 hours south of San Juan) started with six students. I lost one to AWANA, but two fell sick with the Dengue fever. They survived it, but were too weak to begin classes and fell too far behind. One of them, Victor, is a man we are training to pastor a church in this area. He is trying to catch up and I am giving him a way to do it, so he can get his Institute degree in a timely fashion.

Church planting and discipleship are full of surprises! One day it is the Dengue and the other AWANA! You just never know! But SOMEONE does, and as long as HE is in charge, that is good enough for me!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dengue Fever!

Irving, a college student who helps us at church and spends weekends in our home, came down with the Dengue Fever Monday. Then his roommate caught it. There is a mini epidemic and over 200 people have caught it here in Puerto Rico.

Tina and I both have had it a few years ago, but there is no immunity to the Dengue. Sometimes I don't mind being a little sick as I can take a break, catch up on my reading, etc. But I have had the Dengue and would rather not do that again. You get a fever and a bad headache for a couple of days. Then it seems to go away for a day or two. Then, surprise!, the soles of your feet and palms of your hands itch like crazy. To cap it off, the fever comes back for another round that lasts one or two days more. It thins your blood and dehydrates you to, so you can't take aspirin with it. All this is bad, but afterwards you feel as weak as a baby. That is the worst part for me. It leaves you without any strength , or even desire to do anything, even read. It takes about a month to get your "get up and go" back from wherever it went.

Please pray for Irving. He is far from home (Barcelona, Spain) so we are trying to take extra good care of him. Irving and his roommate Gabriel (from Madrid, Spain) are quarantined to their dorm. Contact is discouraged between them and other students to inhibit the spread of the Dengue. Poor guys! Irving is a great help with our youth. The teens really respond well to his ministry and he will be missed during the weeks he is incapacitated by this tropical disease.
A summary of the Dengue from a medical site:

How is dengue fever transmitted? Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. The mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a local, urban mosquito, that likes to bite people during daytime, especially two hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. It has white stripes on some of its legs.

Symptoms of dengue fever include:

Seldom Fatal (Yikes!), High fever for three to five days. Severe headache. Muscle and joint pain. Eye pain. Nausea and vomiting. Skin rash. In severe cases, the patient may present with bleeding and shock, and can die from the disease.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Coming to visit!

We are coming to the States for a short visit and will need your help. We will, Lord willing, arrive in December 2005 and visit Churches and family till May 2006. We are at 89% of our support and need to raise what is lacking so that we may continue working in this fruitful mission field.

We will need:

  • Airfare for the four of us to fly from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles, CA
  • Funds to allow our daughters Bethany and Rachel to fly from Florida to meet us there
  • The use of a van or the resources to buy one
  • Funds for the extra expenses of travel
  • The fare for our return flight to Puerto Rico in May
  • To present our work, keep in touch by email and do home schooling, we will need at least one laptop with DVD drive, preferably more, so the twins can do a computer based homeschool curriculum while we are traveling.
  • I have taken the trouble to get a FCC Tech plus Ham radio license, and would like a mobile radio in the car for emergency purposes (I am afraid of getting stuck in the snow in between Montana and North Dakota! Twelve years in the tropics has thinned our blood a bit!). The FCC has assigned me this call sign: KA7URH

Sounds like a lot? Well, it is. But a "A LOT" also describes the work we our doing, the results we are having and the resources needed to keep it going. We are happy to extend and stretch ourselves in the Lord's service. Please lend us a hand so we can keep at this great work.
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Better Bread!

Door to door visitation is a great way to keep life interesting. Yesterday I visited a new family that lives next to the church. Their six year old son came to church Wednesday to be with his friend, Jorge. Jorge comes to take guitar lessons that I give free to anyone who will come 30 min early and then stay for prayer meeting. Well, as soon as I came to the door, I was greeted by big smiles and much enthusiasm. Ismael, the father, said: "I have been wanting to go to your church for the longest time, but just haven't got around to it yet!" Ismael makes whole wheat diet bread in a factory in Puerto Rico. I told Ismael about Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, which means "House of Bread" and how he is the "Bread of Life." Ismael works long hours as a baker, so we touched also Isa. 40 about God renewing our failing strength and Matt 11, about the easy yoke and the rest for our souls that Jesus can provide. Ismael and his wife were friendly and gave me a cup of coffee and a free loaf of bread to take home to Tina. I got a free loaf of low fat wheat bread, but I left a better kind of bread behind for Ismael and his family. Please pray that our visitation will bear more fruit. We had six new kids in Sunday School today from our visitation, but would like to see some more adults and more complete families come. Posted by Picasa