Saturday, July 18, 2009

Working with what we have...

Visiting people on an island suggests the idea and usefulness of a boat. But our island is so big (35 x 113 miles: Population 4 Million) that there is enough for us to do without visiting the more inaccessible places by boat.

We use what we have, but could use better equipment to extend our ministry.

We are happy, for example, to work with 3x5 cards and rubberbands. But being supplied with some better technology, such as an Iphone account and phone, wouldn't hurt either

The better equipped we are, the better we can serve. It can be fun being creative, but there is a lot to said for doing a quality job with the right kind of tools.

Is one more bite of ice cream really worth all this?

I just got some lab results back from my physical exam. For the most part, they look pretty good. The doctor said the EKG was perfect, BUT the blood sugar test result suggests I may be heading for the "pre-diabetic" zone, if I don't make some changes.

I like change and challenges, but...I also like those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as well. I guess I will have to develop some new habits. We have already begun making some new patterns. Tina and I are walking more and plan to add more walks to our schedules every week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prov 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear...

I had some great news and some potentially bad news today.

The great news:

1. I spoke with a 16 year old young man named Peter today for about an hour in his home. He shared some of his problems and I shared some of my life experience and we read together what the Bible said about it all.

After reading a number of scriptures, Peter asked to accept Christ as his Savior. We prayed and he did! Peter then said he would be in church Sunday and offered to help as needed in our church.

2. There is an unemployed college age young lady named Michelle in our church that needs some financial help. I needed help advertising our upcoming VBS. I thought, well, maybe we can help each other. She came by the church today with her mother and I offered her the job of passing out advertisements 3 hours a day for the VBS.

She said "Yes."

When I left town a few hours later, I saw her and her boyfriend going door to door passing out the pamphlets. It encouraged me to see them helping us by "walking the walk" and not just "talking the talk."

The Bad news.

Peter's mother came home just after I prayed with him and told me that she had a bad day at work. She works with the Health dept and said there was a Swine Flue panic in town today. She said 300 people came in all at once for help, shots or information. Apparently, a women who works at a local restaurant might have got it, so all the town was in an uproar. Two people just died of this recently here, so they were pretty exited about it.

I was suddenly afraid how this might affect us. I thought, "Well maybe this will hurt our VBS." But then I remembered that God has asked us to sow and to serve, it is His job to grant the increase. Some other scripture came to mind: Prov 3:25 "Be not afraid of sudden fear..."

So...should we rejoice or worry? I think we should do the following:

We will visit and enable others to visit. We will prepare as well as we can. We also will come with paint, sandpaper and brushes. If the kids come, we will have a great VBS. If they don't, well, we already have seen results in our visitation and will get out those paint cans and make something happen for the good of the church one way or another.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I would love to come & help...exept for the heat and humidity.

We get a lot of questions about the heat and humidity. Here is a little Q&A on this popular topic.

Q: Is it hard to work in the tropical heat and humidity of the Caribbean?

A. Well, living in the heat of the tropics in a concrete house can really sap your energy. But we have found ways to get the job done, regardless.

Q: Why not just use air-conditioning?

A: I wish we could. But in Puerto Rico, all the electricity comes from gas fed turbine generators, and is VERY expensive. One small room air conditioner all the time can raise the electric bill $200 a month. At our current support level, the cost of cooling the house is just too much

Q: How do you cope with the heat then?

A: We do have some strategies to keep tolerably cool. We have lots of fans and two small air conditioners for the bedrooms. When the heat and humidity get really unbearable, Tina goes into the smallest bedroom, sets the air conditioner to about 78, puts the Algebra books on the bed and homeschools Sarah and Krisitn in there.

We drink a lot of ice filled drinks. I mix diet Sprite and grapefruit juice or get some Crystal Lite Ice Tea mixes. Peach Tea and Green Tea/Mango are my favorites.

Some days it is too hot to study at home, so we might go to the food court of a mall for a break in the heat of the afternoon and study or do things there.

Keeping things dry is a challenge. Many things, like flour or pancake mix go into the frig so the heat and moisture won't hatch out weevils.

Q: Is it always so hot?

A: No, usually it is plenty warm here, but there are a few month where we begin thinking of the beach or some games involving water. When it gets REALLY hot, games like this begin sounding like a good idea.

Here is a game I learned from our camp councilors:

Water Balloon Relay:

Fill a kiddie pool with water and different color water balloons. Put an empy can under a plastic chair with slats in it.

1. Bob for a water balloon.
2. Run to a chair.
3. Sit on water balloon
4. Run back and tag a team member
4. Continue until one team fills the can and wins the relay.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sweet Fellowship for a Sweet 4th of July

We are hosting a BBQ for the 4th of July for a few fellow church planters and some Puerto Rican pastors.

We do something like this once a month to encourage new pastors. But I think we get as much or more out of it than they do. When things get discouraging in a new work, there is nothing like hearing good reports regarding a church that was planted from a pastor whom we helped succeed.

But meetings like this also mean cleaning the bbq grill, spring cleaning the house, painting, decorating and yard work. Between visitation, VBS and fellowship preparations, we are getting quite a workout. I guess I shouldn't complain. At least being active in the ministry saves us the cost of a Gym membership!