Sunday, December 31, 2006

Small things can be very important

I had a nice surprise this Sunday. We held a birthday party for one of our deacons after the service, and as a result, many “irregular” attendees came to honor him, help with the birthday dinner, or maybe just to have a part in the feast we had. But whatever the reason, it was good to end the year with a church a good bit fuller than usual.

Tina tried out a traditional Puerto Rican garlic-pork recipe and it was sooo good that all the Puerto Rican ladies wanted her recipe! We usually bring home left overs, but not today! They kept coming back for seconds of that dish.

After the meal, we took some food to the home of an elderly man who has been too sick to attend services lately. We prayed with him, his wife and grand-daughter and got lots of hugs.

This week Tina and our college age kids went to the church and finished painting the interior and doing a really good cleaning.

Wednesday we had our prayer meeting in the home of a family that lives up an extremely steep road, which is really saying something here in Puerto Rico. Not ever having ice or snow and being cheap, the government has allowed roads to be built so steep, that it makes those streets in San Francisco look like roads for beginner drivers.

I preached a New Years Eve Sermon on “Gods’ Apgar Score.” A summary follows :

“The Apgar score is a system used in hospitals for rating the condition of a new born. I used this metaphor to teach about how the world evaluated the newly arrived Jesus. And how by judging him, we categorize ourselves. I spoke about the smallness of the baby, and compared it to another small thing. In Zechariah 4:10 a man holds in his hand a small object, a plum bob on a string. It is a very small object, but it is a sign than soon something big is about to begin, a project that will include some destruction and some building up. The holder of the small object will use it to make his judgments, depending on what relationship the object of his attention has with the plumb line. Jesus, though small, makes a line. God views us in relationship to his Son. What side of the line are you on?”

Tonight we are going to watch all eight hours of a DVD series we have based on the book “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens. It is really very good.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Family Reunion Plus

Bethany and Rachel have come home for a 5 week Christmas break from their studies at Pensacola Christian College in Florida. They brought with them two fine young men, Max and Abe Kennedy. They are helping us paint the church, get some chores done and of course, a bit of site-seeing in as well. This is us visiting an Indian village on the south coast.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What goes around, comes around. Mostly good came around this week.

Some good things came around this week. We found out that Evangel Baptist Church in Florida sent us a love offering of more than $1,600! Thanks Evangel! I reached 52 years old Sunday and got some nice presents from Tina and our twins, Sarah and Kristin. Monday I gave final exams and the students in my American History class all got A’s . In World Religion and also in American History, I had our Bible college students make videos and many of them where either very good or very funny.

There are some great things coming up as well. Bethany and Rachel and two boyfriends are coming to our house in Puerto Rico from Dec 16-Jan 18. We are very excited about having the whole family together again and getting to know these young men.

Some not so fun things come around too: I designed an fill in the blank, long answer type of final exam, and now have to grade them all. It takes longer to write a multiple choice test, but the grading is a LOT easier. Maybe next time I will learn.

Our church attendence was going up for a while, but some elderly members got sick and some teens got jobs on Sunday. The teen job situation does not just absent the teen but sometimes the whole family. Most don’t drive, so the parents drive them to work and we end up missing the entire family groups over this situation.

But as a whole, a lot more blessings are coming around. We are trying an experiment with our Wednesday night services to increase attendance. We are having them in a different home every week. Attendance has picked up. My hope is that we can return to the church building Wednesday nights and maintain the increase that have come about through our round-robin type of prayer meetings.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"It's never to late to be who you might have been" Geroge Eliot (1890-1880)

This coming Sunday is my birthday, I will be 52 years old. As a young man I had thought to divide my life into three parts: Preparation (college + basic work experience), Application (work) and Transmission (passing on what I have learned).

In general terms, I have followed this outline and am happy with it. At 52 years old, I would like to have accomplished more. But even so, the Lord has been good to us, and we have been blessed to have seen fruit in our ministry.

I am still church planting and have a Bible College ministry. I have not left the one to do the other. Church planting is our ministry. The Bible college is secondary, but it is not something ‘extra” we are doing that is unrelated to church planting. The Bible college ministry is directly related to our church planting, because it is through our college that we train the men who we will bring in as the future pastors of the churches we plant.

To sustain the college, we have begun work on establishing a Seminary. I have posted my first class online and hope to develop an entire distance learning option for those who cannot attend in person.

Our vision is to have on the island of Puerto Rico everything that the church needs to complete its mission. That included a place where our Bible college graduates can get further training and then come back as professors and help us expand the Bible College, and so provide more men and better trained men for the work of church planting, missions and evangelism.

So, in spite of wishing I had more to show for my 52 years, I am content to have been part of something important and to have seen the Lord bless. I have many reasons to rejoice.

No matter how you look at it, the future looks good when God is in it!


Here are a few Thanksgiving verses I used in a service last week:

Joel 2:25 I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

Habakkuk 3 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Visitation makes a difference!

Whether you call it "Organized Obedience", "Shameless Sharing" or just plain "Visitation," it makes more than a world of difference when you go out and do it!

On Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and Saturday afternoon we have what we call "Visitation." I ask our church members to give us the names of their friends so that we might visit them sometime during the week. During these visits we share the word of God, pray, invite them to church, and help them with problems.

Tuesday night we visited the home of Jackie, a working/studying mother of four young children. Jackie is studying in a trade school to get a license to be an air-conditioner repair person. About two weeks ago I gave her some gospel tracts and spoke to her briefly. But last night my visitation partner Luis and I had the privilege of entering her home and speaking with her for about an hour and a half.

When I entered her home, I was introduced to her middle-aged sister, Diliris, who had stopped by for a visit. Diliris listened intently while I spoke and then said that she would like to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior! Jackie, we discovered, had in the past made such a decision, but had drifted away from the Lord. Now she wanted to come back. We prayed with both sisters, one returning to the Lord and the other coming to Him for the first time!

Visitation is exciting! Today I spoke to a young woman who runs a tavern, but listened well to what we shared. Her name is Naida. Another visit we made was to the home of the son of a church member who has become estranged from his father because of old unresolved grudges. Every week there is something new.

It is often hard, always a bit scary, but also very exciting. When you get to see the power of God take a life and transform it, what could be better than that? We have learned by personal experience that Romans 1:16 is true: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth"

Someone told me, You don't need to defend a lion, just let him out of the cage. Visitation is like, when we open the word of God and share it, it is like releasing a tremendous power. It is amazing what that power can do. What a privilege to be present when that power is manifested, the moment a human soul is reconciled with its creator and a life is transformed! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

You Have to be Ready for Anything

It is quite a thrill to preach to about 100 people you don't know, in a funeral of someone you have never met and in a language that is not native to you, and all without any time for preparation!

Wednesday I went to a funeral of the Father-in-law of a former church member. I didn't know the man at all. I just went to show my support for the family. They had a Pentecostal woman preacher preaching the funeral sermon, so I thought I was just going to express my condolences and then leave a bit later. But someone told her I was a pastor and she called me up front and invited me to preach!

God was kind to me and it went well. At least they were all smiling at the end, and that is a good sign.

The next morning I was lying on the floor of the church fixing a toilet. I said to Tina, "Last night I preached to a hundred people, and now I am lying on the floor fixing a toilet!" Tina said, "I guess that means you are a real pastor!" I hope so!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I never preached in a church with its own ALLIGATOR before!

I will be preaching this week at a missions conference in the pretty new building of Evangel Baptist Church in Bradenton (Close to Tampa), Florida. Pastor Brent Hockema pointed out the pond on the church property and told me about the alligator that lives there. He called the animal control people, but apparently they do not respond unless there has been an at least one ‘incident.” Yikes! I hope it’s not me!

Please pray for the churches of Florida, that they may become equipped to minister to the large Puerto Rican immigration to this area that is now underway. It is our hope that our ministry at the source of immigration and theirs at the receiving end, might compliment one another and thus become more effective in reaching the Hispanic community for Christ.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It is amazing what God can do with what we put in His hands

The picture above tells the story of how a boy gave Jesus just five loaves of bread and two fish and how that Christ took that small offering and multiplied it to feed thousands. As a missionary, we play the part of the disciples in this story, by distributing the offerings of others among those who are in need. And like the disciples in the gospel account, we are amazed to see how Christ multiplies that which is placed in His hands.

But it all starts with an offering, albeit a small one.

We missionaries ask for such offerings during our visits in the Sates, a process sometimes called Deputation.

I came across this definition of Deputation. After reading it, I am amazed that we ever got to the field at all!

Deputation is an unknown period of time for calling, writing and visiting an unknown number of pastors you do not know, driving on unfamiliar roads in unbelievable conditions at unearthly hours, staying with people you have never met, and eating food you do not recognize, in order to convince unfamiliar churches to support a missionary they do not know, to go to a field where he has not been, to do a work he has not done in a language he does not know, with funds he does not have. (Contributed by Ed Woods)

Wow! God is Good.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Missions Week

Our kitten (below) thinks the world revolves around her. But the world belongs to those who are meek enough to put God's agenda first. I am happy to say that we are training a good number of Bible College students who fit into the better category. Here is a group of our students getting ready for a missions banquette. From students like these will come the missionaries of the future. These students are preparing for a future that includes important ministries such as church planting, Christian education and missions. Since the world will be inherited by the meek, I feel that these students will be greatly rewarded for the sacrifices they have made by making the Kingdom of God their first priority. Posted by Picasa

Know anybody like this?
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't just get mad, get fighting mad!

Are you tired of Nigerian Generals offering you millions of dollars, if you will just give them your bank numbers so they can transfer it INTO your account?

Well, don't get mad, get even! Forward all such mail to a special FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION SCAM REGISTRY at The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive email.

So do everybody a favor and don't just get mad, get fighting mad and forward those emails to somebody who can do something about it!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Twenty and the One

A well-worn one-dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty-dollar bill arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.

The twenty-dollar bill reminisced about its travels all over the country "I've had a pretty good life," the twenty proclaimed. "Why I've been to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York, performances on Broadway, and even a cruise to the Caribbean."

"Wow!" said the one-dollar bill. "You've really had an exciting life!"

"So tell me," says the twenty, "where have you been throughout your lifetime?"

The one dollar bill replies, "Oh, I've been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church..."

The twenty-dollar bill interrupts, "What's a church?"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The World is Full of Surprises

I was teaching at the College Monday and got interrupted by another missionary. He said, “My child has a fever and my wife cannot chaperone the students on their semester outing. Could Tina take her place?”

I called Tina and she said, “Sure, Anything to help.” So I stayed home the next day and she got to go sailing on a catamaran off the north coast of Puerto Rico!

No one deserves a break more than her. She is always working so hard. So it was a good surprise she got a nice field trip out of doing another missionary a favor.

That is the great thing about putting God first, He always gets around to blessing us when we get around to doing it.

Getting a Heart Lift

Our workload and ministry is growing, but I am not getting any younger. I have thought a lot about making my time count and maintaining a good attitude through the process. After all, what good is more time if you make yourself and everyone miserable in the process?

I think we have found ways to work more efficiently. We also have found a few ways to relax and keep our attitudes upbeat. Tina and I both enjoy music. I play the guitar and wood flute. Tina plays the piano, clarinet and saxophone. When I bring Bible College kids to our home on the weekends, we all gather in the living room and sing together Saturday night. We do it to prepare for our Sunday morning service and to make sure we know the hymns. But after we finish , someone always has a favorite, and before you know it, we have spent another hour just singing for the fun of it. Making melody in our hearts is really better than any medicine. I find that, after a good time singing and having some good fellowship, our batteries are recharged for the work ahead.

PS. Here is a new song that might bring a smile to your face.

Senior version of "Jesus Loves Me"

Jesus loves me, this I know, Though my hair is white as snow.
Though my sight is growing dim, Still He bids me trust in Him.


Though my steps are oh, so slow, With my hand in His I'll go.
On through life, let come what may, He'll be there to lead the way.
Though I am no longer young, I have much which He's begun.
Let me serve Christ with a smile, Go with others the extra mile.
When the nights are dark and long, In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear, "Have no fear, for I am near."
When my work on earth is done, And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above, Then I'll understand His love.
I love Jesus, does He know? Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say, That I love Him every day.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Busy but Cooler

Last week seemed especially busy. Besides our regular schedule, we had a BBQ for the youth group, I preached in a chapel service at the college, we held a church service in a private home and I was asked by a fellow missionary to fill in for him for a Sunday PM Service.

I can tell when I am really busy by one sure sign. It involves the Doctoral program in Apologetics I am doing through a distance learning program. The sign I am to busy happens when I finally get a few moments to myself and then I think: “Oh boy! Now I have a chance to work on my term paper!” Now, how can that be right, when the most dreaded assignments from my college days seem like a fun activity now that I am in the ministry? Well at least, being busy seems to improve my attitude about that.

Besides all these preaching opportunities, we also finished the project of sanding and painting the refrigerator. My visitation partner Luis and I moved it into the church after Tuesday Night visitation. Hooray! Now we can have a better Fellowship Time after church Sunday. Ice makes a big difference in the tropics! At the end of a busy week, a little thing like an ice cube can make a big difference.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How to Pray Effectively for Your Missionaries

The following story gives a clue on how to pray effectively for your missionaries:
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby. "Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.

"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."

"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor."

The repairman could contain himself no longer.

"Hey, fellas," he interrupted. "The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
If you want to pray effectively for us, come and hang out with us for a while! On the front lines, prayer has a certain clarity and focus that it lacks elsewhere. Please keep praying! It can get scary at times on the mission field, but we are hanging in there!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain" John 15:16

I was in two places at once yesterday and it sure felt good. I got a lot done.

After church Sunday, I prepared for my class in World Religions. I decided to post my lecture notes on the internet. I created a web site ( that I named “Caribbean Baptist Distance Learning Center” and set up my class for online learning using a program called “Moodle.”

When my students came Monday, I asked them to log in and read my lectures on-line. This allowed me to teach them from the internet and at the same time, take some of them aside individually. The students I took aside received personal instruction on improving schoolwork and study habits. It made our two hour class a lot more productive and allowed me to get home earlier.

What I especially like about setting up an online learning center is that after the class is over, the material is still accessible online. This makes it available for future classes, and for students who cannot attend classes on campus.

It may be a bit morbid, but I thought, “If I die, who will teach them?” I doubt if anyone will do anything with my old scribbled notes in the file cabinet. But if my classes are online and accessible from around the world, they can continue training others even after I am no longer around to teach in person.

I feel good about publishing the fruits my study time labors. Now what has been a blessing to me is in a form where it may yet be a blessing to others. It could also be the first step in establishing an entire online Bible College. Now that is exciting!

Jesus commanded: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I hope by publishing the fruits of our labors in this form, we may be obeying our Lord.

Is good enough, good enough?

Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Martha complained Mary was not helping in the kitchen, but Jesus said Mary had chosen to listen to his words, and said that she had chosen the better thing. Martha was doing good, but her good was not good enough. There was something better she should have been doing.

I need to remember this. It is fun to learn technology, but it is the content of the teaching, not the background technology that should receive the lions share of our attention.

I hope you will put aside something less important today to pray for your missionaries. In your business, it may be helpful to ask, "What is that better thing that Jesus wants from me? "

Here is a cute poem I ran across that echoes this teaching:

Dust if you Must

Dust if you must.
But wouldn't it be better to paint a picture,
or write a letter, bake a cake, or plant a seed.
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must.
But there's not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must.
But the world's out there
with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
a flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come 'round again.

Dust if you must.
But bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
you, yourself, will make more dust!
(Author Unknown)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Trumpet Day: A small shell gets a big reaction

Find out what God would have you do,
And do that little well;
For what is great and what is small
The Lord alone can tell. -Anon.

We had a good service today. I preached on the Feast of Trumpets (The Jewish New Year) and how the trumpet was a symbol of Liberty, Authority and Unity. I then used a large conch shell and blew it. Everyone sure was awake after that! Later, I did it again when a little girl was close by and she ran crying into the arms of her mother. Everyone laughed at her tears and my red face. At least she knew where to run with her fears. I hope you, my friend, will not fear the sound of the last trumpet. But if you do, I hope you will know where to turn for comfort. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

no small fish

There are no small fish on our mission field. Read the entry below to see why. Posted by Picasa

Did you ever feel like you would like to help a missionary but you feel like you have nothing to offer?

Think again.

There is something you can do to make a difference on the mission field right now.

You may say, "But what can I do? I have little or no Spanish and lack the training necessary to be of much use?" Don't you believe it! Perhaps you do not think you can help because you are looking at the top rung of service on the mission field. If you are willing to lower your eyes a bit, you will see that there are other places where you can serve.

Like what?

Can you drive? If you can drive and have a servants heart, it is something you could do to help in a small, but real way. You could pick up people for church, drive students from the college to the church or even drive a missionary around, allowing him to get a few more moments for study, prayer or rest. Do you have computer, art or internet skills? There are data bases to create, entries to enter, documents to design, and web pages to publish. Good at business or marketing? Everything from bookkeeping to promoting a Bible College needs to be done. Can you walk, carry a Bible and smile at the same time? Then you can go with me on door-to door visitation. If I had more people to visit with me, I could get more done.

I hope you get it. Come as a partner, servant or slave. If you are willing to lower your gaze you will eventually find a rung on the missionary ladder that you can occupy. And from this lower place you change the world for Christ.
The following story shows that there is a place where even the smallest among God's creatures can do something that will make a world of difference.
Fish to guard water

Monday 18 September 2006, 22:31 Makka Time, 19:31 GMT

A common type of US fish is being enlisted in the fight against terrorism as a guard for US cities' drinking water.

San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills - also known as sunfish or bream - as a sort of canary in a coal mine to safeguard their water. Small numbers of the fish are kept in tanks constantly replenished with water from the municipal supply. Sensors in each tank work around the clock to register changes in the breathing, heartbeat and swimming patterns of the bluegills that occur in the presence of toxins.

The Intelligent Aquatic BioMonitoring System, as its known, was originally developed for the army and starts at around $45,000.

"Nature's given us pretty much the most powerful and reliable early warning centre out there," said Bill Lawler, co-founder of Intelligent Automation Corporation, a Southern California company that makes and sells the bluegill monitoring system. "There's no known manmade sensor that can do the same job as the bluegill."

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Funeral Shakeup: Three Greetings and One Farewell

Last Saturday we prepared our home for a big youth group barbeque. Three of my students from the college ( Mario, Cynthia and Zuley) were setting up, preparing devotionals, music and activities, when I got the phone call.

Our deacon Luis, who was caring for his mother-in-law in his home, called to say that she died that morning and the funeral service was to be held that same day. I was to preach! To complicate matters even more, the interment was to be Sunday at noon and over half of our church was going to go to it.

This meant no song leader and no adult Sunday school teacher and no youth activity and no Saturday afternoon visitation. It also meant that I would need to spend Saturday preparing a quick sermon to preach at a funeral instead of a sermon for our church Sunday.

What to do? Should I cancel Sunday services for the interment? Or preach at the funeral Saturday, open the church Sunday and do the best we could? I decided to continue with our regular Sunday schedule, even though the church would be sparsely attended. I felt bad that someone new might come to church Sunday and find the doors closed.

I sure am glad we opened those doors! We had three new visitors I had never met before walk in! That is a rare occurrence around our small town. We usually know the people who come, and they come as a result of our visitation. Well, I led the singing myself, had Mario give his prepared youth devotional as the Adult Sunday School lesson and our other deacon Wilfredo preached in my place. It actually was a great service.

And at the funeral we got to present the gospel to about 50 new people all at once. The service went well. We got a lot of amens, smiles and friendly responses from the assembled friends and relatives of our deceased church member, hermana Lucina.

The door of her casket was closed, but the door of the church was opened. Praise the Lord that there remains an open door for all who desire a better life.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Free Stuff that Makes You Smarter

I am always on the lookout for things to improve our Bible College and get our Seminary off to a good start. It is a great feeling when all that looking finally pays off.

I came across some free college level material. Even better, it is in the form of FREE AUDIO LECTURES. They are donated by various colleges on a wide range of subjects and are available free of charge through Yahoo ( and also at I-Tunes in the educational podcast section of their online store.

We want to have a “Distance Learning” capability for working men who cannot attend day classes and for potential students who cannot get Visas to attend our Puerto Rico Baptist College. We also get English speaking students who do not speak Spanish well enough to take our regular classes and then we must make special arraignments for them until they get their language up to speed. The discovery of low cost materials we can use as part of an independent study program is a great find. Besides, it is fun to burn them onto CDs and listen to free stuff that makes you smarter during those long rush hour commutes.

If you find any resources that we could use, let us know. We need your help and input! We also invite you to become part of our future online, distance-learning-capable seminary. We hope to hear from you soon, as a supporter, prayer partner or student!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spanish can be fun.

Spanish can be fun. These sayings or "Dichos" are explained in the post below this one. Posted by Picasa

Spanish Proverbs

"Dichos" are the wise sayings of the Spanish speaking people. Just learning Spanish is not enough, you must also have a good understanding of these sayings because everyone throws them into their conversations. Here is my collection tod date:

A cada puerco le llega su Noche Buena. To every pig comes his Christmas Eve. No matter how fat and well off you are, someday you will pay for it all. Those who seem to have it best, will come off the worst.

A donde el corazon se inclina, el pie camina.
Where the heart inclines, the foot walks. You can tell what a person loves by where he goes.

A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando.
Praying to God and hitting with the hammer. Covering all the bases. Doing everything necessary to ensure success.

A juventud ociosa, vejez trabajosa.
To leisurely youth, laborious old age. If you are lazy now, you will have to work harder later.

A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda.
Who rises early, God helps. God helps those who get started early.

Acabándose el dinero, se termina la amistad.
The money running out, the friendship ends. Describes those who are your "friends" only as long as you have money.

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.
Shrimp that sleeps, the current carries it away. If you don't stay alert to and act on opportunities, you will miss them.

Como el apóstol 13, come y desaparece.
Like the apostle 13, eats and leaves. Describes guests who come only for the food, or people who stay only for the part of the event that benefits them.

Con virtud y bondad se adquiere autoridad.
With virtue and goodness authority is acquired. People will be more likely to do what you say if they perceive you as being virtuous and kind.

Consejo es, de sabios
perdonar injurias, y olvidar agravios.

The council of the wise is to pardon injury and forget grievances.

De dinero y bondad, siempre la mitad.
Of money and goodness, always in the middle. Your interests are better served by being motivated equally by goodness and money, rather than being motivated completely by one or the other. (I'm not sure this is the intended meaning, but it is what I get out of it.)

De tal palo, tal astilla.
From such a stick, such a splinter. The way a child behaves is a reflection of the way his or her parents behave.

Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho.
From the word to the deed, there is a great distance. It is one thing to say something will be done, and quite a different thing to get it done.

Despacio voy, porque de prisa estoy.
Slowly I go because I am in a hurry. Proceeding methodically often gets faster results than rushing.

Donde hay gana, hay maña.
Where there is the desire there is the ability. If you really want to do something, you can find a way to do it.

El diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo.
The Devil knows more because he is old than because he is the Devil. Wisdom and knowledge increase with increasing age. (i.e., The Devil owes his knowledge more to his age than to any supernatural powers.)

El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma.
The poor writer places the blame on the pen. People naturally blame their problems on something or someone else, rather than accept any responsibility themselves.

El mejor espejo es el ojo del amigo
-The best mirror is the watchful eye of a friend. Hopefully your friends are honest, but not too brutal! They keep you in check and when you find a good one you've got to keep them for the long run.

El que no monta no cae
"He who doesn’t mount (ride) does not fall." The only way not to have an accident is to do nothing.This Spanish proverb explains that many things have to be learned for yourself, even if it's the hard way.

El que da primero, da dos veces.
He who strikes first strikes twice. Whoever is first has an advantage over all who come after.

El que mucho habla, mucho yerra.
Who much speaks, much errs. The more you talk, the more you will make mistakes.

El que por su gusto corre, nunca se cansa.
Who for his pleasure runs, never tires. When you do something for pleasure, it is not tiring.

El que quiere baile, que pague músico.
Who wants dance, should pay musician. The one who wants something done should be the one who takes the responsibility for making it happen.

El que quita la ocasión, evita el ladrón.
Who takes away the opportunity, avoids the robber. If you take precautions, you will avoid problems.

El sapo, a la sapa, tienela por guapa
The He toad sees the She toad as beautifulThis sayings is used like "beauty is in the eye of the beholder

En boca del mentiroso, lo cierto se hace dudoso.
In the mouth of a liar, what is certain becomes doubtful. Once someone has been caught lying, it is hard to believe anything else that person says.

Gato escaldo del agua fría huye.
A scalded cat from cold water runs. People often draw the overly broad lessons from their experiences. (i.e., The cat should have learned only to avoid hot water.)

Hazme las cuentas claras, y el chocolate espeso.
Make for me the accounts clear and the chocolate thick. Whatever else might be confusing, the books had better be straightforward. A similar saying is "Las cuentas claras hacen buenos amigos." (Clear accounting makes good friends.)

Honra y dinero se ganan despacio y se pierden ligero.
Reputation and money are earned slowly and lost quickly. Reputation and money are hard earn and easy to lose.

La mejor palabra es la que no se dice.
The best word is the one that is not said. Sometimes, refraining from speaking is better than anything you could say.

La palabra es plata, el silencio oro.
The word is silver, silence gold. Silence is more valuable than words.

Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se pierde.
What well is learned never is lost. If you learn something well, you will never forget it.

Más vale poco y bueno que mucho y malo.
It is worth more little and good than much and bad. More is not always better. It is better to have less and happiness than more and misery.

Mejor solo que mal acompañado.
Better alone than poorly accompanied. It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.

Nadie es profeta en su propia tierra.
No one is a prophet in his own land. People place a higher value on exotic things and exotic people than on familiar ones. To quote Baltasar Gracián: "Everything foreign is held in esteem, whether it came from afar, or because people see it only after it is well formed and has reached perfection. Some people were scorned in their own little corner but achieved worldly eminence. They are honored by their own people because they look at them from a distance and by foreigners because they came from afar."

No es más rico el que más tiene, sino el que menos necesita.
He is not richer who the most has, but who the least needs. Someone who is satisfied with a small amount is richer than someone who is always craving more.

No hay atajo sin trabajo.
There is no shortcut without work. It takes work to avoid doing work.

No hay curva mala pasándola despacio.
There is no bad curve, passing it slowly. You can avoid mishaps by proceeding with caution.

No tengas como vano el consejo del anciano.
Do not consider useless the advice of an old person. Do not ignore the advice of someone who speaks from experience.

Perro que no camina, no encuentra hueso.
Dog who doesn't walk, doesn't find a bone. If you want something, you need to make efforts to get it.

Poco a poco se anda lejos.
Little by little one goes far. Frequent, small steps can accomplish the same result as (or better results than) a one-time Herculean effort.

Por el árbol se conoce el fruto.
By the tree the fruit is known. Children are very much like their parents.

Querer es poder.
To want to is to be able to. If you really want to do something, you will be able to do it.

Quien con el lobo se junta a aullar aprende.
Who with the wolf associates, to howl learns. A person can be judged by the company he or she keeps (i.e., by the people he or she hangs out with).

Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas.
If you want the dog, accept the fleas. If you wanted something, don't complain about it once you get it.

Una buena acción es la mejor oración.
A good deed is the best prayer. One's faith is best expressed by one's actions.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

College Age, a Funny Age

Cynthia, a 20-something Peruvian girl, was having an argument with a college guy when I happened to walk by. She said, “Pastor Prelgovisk, Can you tell us who is more mature, college age men or women?” I started to say, “Well, some authorities say women, ...” She brightened up, smiled, spun around to face the young man, stuck out her tongue and said, “Ha! Nyah, Nyah, I told you so!”

The moral of the story: Better a quiet victory than a premature celebration!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Welcome Back! Posted by Picasa

Comforted in Confusion

A family who used to come regularly to church seems to have drifted away recently. I went to visit them the other week. The lights were on in their home but no one answered the door. I felt sad and said to my Deacon Luis Lopez, “Do we have leprosy or something?” These people were good friends and I felt bad that they might be avoiding us for some unknown reason.

Then the week after that I was going to visit them again, but I did yard work that day and just before I was going to shower, the water in our town was shut off! Luis told me, “Pastor we can visit later, if they didn’t let you in before, it will be worse if you smell bad!” Well, you can tell Luis and I are friends, but we did cancel visitation that day.

This Sunday I was preaching and in walked the entire family of four and they brought a friend with them! I stopped my sermon for a moment and said, “I am so glad you all came today.” I still don’t know why they were out for a few weeks, but decided just to show them I was happy to see them and asked if we were still friends. Their smiles and assurances comforted me in my confusion.

I may not understand why people do the things they do, but I am happy that at the end of the day, some wandering sheep have found their way back home.
Pastor Steve Prelgovisk

(The following devotional was a blessing to me today)
“Between Sundays”

Most Christians are not engaged in professional ministry. They don’t preach or sing or work for an evangelistic agency. Their time between Sundays is spent doing jobs that don’t seem to have value for the spread of the gospel. Therefore, some believers may view themselves as second-class disciples.

That may have been the way some members of the church in Colosse regarded themselves. Paul addressed an erroneous viewpoint of secular work when he wrote, “Obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, . . . in sincerity of heart, fearing God” (Col. 3:22).

You see, if God’s purposes in this world are to be fulfilled, we need a structured society with all its indispensable activities. The people we work for are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether they know it or not, our employers are carrying out God’s good purposes. As long as the assigned task is not sinful or unethical, when we serve those who rule over us we are serving the Lord.

So let’s view our daily work—whatever it is—as an extension of God’s work in the world. As we do so, we’ll find there is no better place to spread the good news of salvation than right where God has placed us. —

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee! —Herbert

For the Christian, work is ministry.

Vernon C. Grounds September 3, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Parents Prayer Alert: Nasty Ernesto May Visit

A very bad looking storm skirted us to the south and we are grateful. BUT it appears headed right for where our daughters are attending school, Pensacola, Florida.

We used to worry and pray about hurricanes after they passed us by. Now we follow them for a week afterwards to make sure our daughters get the prayer coverage they need. We invite you to say a prayer for their safety.

Friday, August 25, 2006

How to Make a Rain Sandwich

Hurricane Debbie is above our island and soon-to-be hurricane Ernesto is passing just below us.
(Keep an eye on Ernesto, looks like it could get big and nasty).

We probably won't go on door to door visitation with our college students tomorrow because of the tropical storms. Not much wind, but they pull a tremendous amount of rain over us as they pass by.

We have lots of project though to keep us busy, like sanding the old refrigerator, and refinishing the last two pews we bought to match the eight we have finished and are in the church. We may declare it music day and practice a couple of specials for Sunday as well. All that stuff you save for a rainy day is what is on the schedule for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Good News for Tina

Tina responded well to the physical therapy for her Carpal Tunnel pain. The Doctor says she doesn’t need the surgery and can stop the bi-weekly therapy sessions.

She will go back in a month and abide by some guidelines, but nothing drastic.

He did suggest some light weight lifting to strengthen her back and shoulders, so we started that today with a dumbbell set Tina got for me last Father’s day.

When she bought it, she didn’t have any idea she would be using it herself!

(Book cover courtesy of:

A Bus and a Refrigerator

Our old church shuttle bus needed a carburetor we could not find on the island, but we found a new missionary, Tim Schmitt, here who knows how to rebuild them.

Our town has very narrow streets and the shuttle bus was impractical here anyway, so we decided to let him have it as a missionary gift to his work. The bus was given to us and only has cost us about $400 so far, mostly in permits and registration. Pastor Tim suggested that his church was likely to cover that cost for us.

I would rather see that bus being used for the Lord than sitting around here, so putting it into the hands of a specially gifted-mechanic missionary seemed the right thing to do.

The rusty old refrigerator at the church broke down last week. We decided to give our own refrigerator to the church and get ourselves a replacement for it. Saturday we hope to sand and repaint the fridge we are donating so the church will have a nice looking appliance in the kitchen. Here in the humid tropics they rust quickly, so a little elbow grease is what we will be applying to it before we move it in.

Here is an article I came across on spending and being spent for God:

I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. - 2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV

It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns—

What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.

All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God.

But the apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Paul focused his life on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint; that is, not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.

Oswald Chambers (

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Important Than Buildings

We love our students! We do not seek students to build our Bible College, but have as our goal to build students up through the ministry of our school. But when there are more than we have room for, should we turn them away? I hope it will not ever come to that. A piece of land and room to build may be what it takes to house and train all these the Lord has entrusted to our care.

We are encouraged that such high quality young people have dedicated themselves to work in the church and Christian schools and that they have come here to Puerto Rico Baptist College to go out well equipped for the task. May their tribe increase and may we have the facilities to cope with the increase!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good Problems, but Better Solutions Needed!

Our college started this week and I taught my first groups of students Monday. There is good new and bad news.

The good news: Hurray, all our foreign students got visas and can attend!

The bad: But we didn’t think they all would get them and now our dormitories are packed out with college kids! I was going to spend one night a week at the college in the guest room, but now we had to convert it into a dorm room.

What to do? The first thing that I like to point out is that this is a GOOD PROBLEM. But it does need a solution. Tina and I will be taking in three college kids for the week-ends to help out at church. Other pastors are doing the same, so the kids do get some break from crowded dorm rooms. But what we really need is a new campus!

Last week Tina and I went looking for a solution and found a great situation. A local University contract employee has a site for sale that (miracle of miracles) is already being used as a college dormitory for 75 students and has all the government permits for such use. It has 3 buildings, a large lot to build on and a parking lot along with 11 bathrooms and 9 kitchens. All we need is the money and we can move in. They are asking $825,000 for it. Most commercial real estate is available for a 20% down, so about $160,000 would move us in.

I know it is a lot of money. But it really is a great opportunity. The Apostle Paul said: Phil. 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We know about suffering need. But we are instructed to know how to handle both need and abundance. A plan must be made when the work abounds, a plan based on not what we can do in our own strength but based on what God is capable of providing.

Consider, please, if God might be moving you to be part of the solution to this need. Smaller needs we do have, ranging from the price of a postage stamp to the investment needed for a new campus. Let us know if you can help. There is a way, a place and a need for you to make a difference.

Slide Show of the Property:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Busy Quiet

Some days are exciting on the mission field and full of activity. Other days, fewer than I would like, are set aside for needed study and preparation. Today I must review a 1080 page book on American History written in Spanish and develop lesson plans and a reading schedule for my students. Classes start next week.

Tina is going into physical therapy to try and aleviate her carpal tunnel problem without surgery. We thought she might have it in both hands. But the doctor says it is just in one hand and in that hand it is moderate. It is a borderline case that might benifit from exercise, so we are trying that first. What concerned us was that one of her hand muscles was seen to have atrophied a small amount. Please pray with us for her helping hands to get the help they need.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Measure of Peace Needed

Our landlord's wife came over yesterday with a real estate person and a tape measure. We ran around and straightened up the place and then they proceeded to take the measurements. It turns out that our landlord and his wife are getting a divorce. They were measuring our home to get an estimation of its worth so that it could be included among the assets to be divided.

Needless to say we had a lot to think about after they left. Will they sell the house and make it necessary for us to move? Should we start looking around for a new place? I think we ought to stay here until the last minute because it is a nice house, in a good place, and at a low rent for the area. But at the same time, it does make us a bit nervous and we are paying more attention to For Sale and For Rent signs than before.

We could buy the place ourselves, but it is a wooden home and banks in Puerto Rico only loan money on cement structures. $75,000 is what we would need to stay put here. We were looking for a new site for our church in the long run. Maybe this is the push we need to scout around more seriously for some church property that could also be used as a parsonage. That way our rent/payments could be used to advance the work here.

In any case, we wish to be good stewards of the funds entrusted us, so for the present we are staying put. With your prayers, it is possible that our measure of peace could extend past what the measuring tape of a realtor can measure!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hurricane Chris Close

Hurricane Chris is close enough that a lot of people want to stay close to home today and tomorrow just in case it jogs over a bit and gets us. It is expected to just give us lots of rain and 25 mph winds from its skirts as it passes by tonight. It may reach the Florida key area by Monday.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Everyone Needs a Lift Once in a While

One of our young adults lost his job because his car broke down. The church is giving him some funds to get it fixed. We want our members employed! Besides, it was a good testimony to his unchurched mother and sister when we visited him in his home. Some more folks came today as a result of visitation. We are encouraged and are happy to be an encouragement to our people.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What to do with 30 lbs of Ripe Bananas?

We had a lot of bananas ripen at once and had to do something with them all.

Tina made:

Banana cream Pie
Banana Bread
Banana Cake
Bananas with Peanut Butter and Honey on toast
Frozen, Chocolate Covered, Walnut sprinkled Banana popsicles!


At church we had a few more last Sunday as the result of visitation. We are encouraged to see more come and those who do attend mature in the fruits of the Spirit.