Saturday, October 24, 2009

Unexpected Fireworks: An Unplanned Revival, a Fire and an Explosions

Unexpected Fireworks: An Unplanned Revival, a Fire and some Explosions

The week started one of the highest points we have EVER had. It ended with a BANG. Literally!

The Unplanned Revival:

I invited a man I led to the Lord eight years ago, (and baptized, and helped through an Alcohol rehab program, discipled, participated in his wedding, and trained to help in church services, etc) to preach Sunday.

The word got out and many of his friends and relatives came to hear his “debut” as a preacher. Our regular attendance has been in the mid-twenties lately, but shot up to forty for this special day. Well, it was great, more than great. He (Miguel) told of how he lived before, how he met Christ and the difference it made in his life. There were a lot of tears.

He ended by saying, “I will now wait here for the next few moments for anyone who wants to make a decision like I did.” We waited for about two minutes in silence. THREE adults came forward, asking how to be saved! About six more came for prayer. One of the adults was the boyfriend of Miguel’s sister.

What a day! I had them sit in the front pew, opened a bible and showed them all how to accept Christ as their Savior AND THEY DID! After our prayers, we hugged (Puerto Rican style). Tears were running down their cheeks. Our church people were defiantly REVIVED. The drive home from church Sunday was filled with animated discussions and praising God for what happened.

The BEST PART of the whole day was that someone I led to the Lord and trained actually preached and won others to the Lord. And did it in our own church! Wohoo! Opps, I mean, “Amen!”

I was up late Thursday night, getting paperwork in order for a house we are trying to buy. I heard and felt a violent BOOM. I thought it was thunder. But it went off about six times and was so violent it felt like someone was shaking your body.

Tina came running out of the bedroom, “That can’t be thunder! What’s going on!”

We put on the radio, fired up the Internet and looked out the windows. We could see towers of flame and thick smoke. It looked like Mt Saint Helens going off. Everybody was calling everybody and guessing about terrorists, meteors, etc.

We got on Google maps and saw a gulf oil refinery tank farm about where the flames were coming from. Sure enough, that’s where it happened. About seven giant oil refinery tanks exploded in a chain reaction. Someone just told me it's up to seventeen now.

Last night five neighborhoods around our Christian school were evacuated for fear the toxic cloud might shift that way sometime today. They are letting it burn itself out. The fire is currently spewing out great cloud of smoke and will likely keep it up for two or three days more.

We are safe right now. But it is hard to plan or even sleep when a change in the wind direction might mean a mass evacuation. We are OK here for the time being, but we have to ready to leave on a seconds notice.

Please pray for us! We like the FIRST kind of fireworks , but the other kind, not so much!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Explosions, Fire & Smoke

Big bangs shattered windows. Pillars of fire and smoke last night came from giant gas tanks ( the kind bigger than houses) at a Gulf oil refinery exploding. Eleven tanks are in flames. There are 40 tanks in that tank farm, some with jet fuel, others supply the islands electrical system. They are just going to let it burn itself out.

Our school is canceled for today. Stay home kids. Everyone here is safe, we hope you are.

We might have to mass evacuate our neighborhood. The pillars of smoke from the oil refinery fire may descend to ground level during the cool of the night. We may just grab some blankets and food and head to the mountain to avoid the toxic smoke.

11:59PM Fri

Some of my students a few miles north of here were just evacuated to a hotel. We are waiting to see if the police come to our neighborhood. I am canceling visitation tomorrow, as everyone is uncertain about which roads are open, etc. We will try to keep the family together in one spot in case we have to move suddenly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A better home for us...

The house we are trying to get is NOT the auction home we mentioned earlier. We found a better house.

We decided not to go for the auction house because it was too expensive and had some major possible problems (leaky roof, electrical and plumbing etc.) After looking at a few other houses we found one that is a lot nicer and at a better price.

It's a cute white house with a bright blue awning on the porch. The new house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, great floors, four air conditioning units, ceiling fans, tons of windows for ventilation and natural lighting. It comes with a stainless steel fridge and washing machine. It has a nice landscaped yard with a small above ground pool and fruit trees. The house has been well maintained and has no repairs to make.

The location is ideal. It is on a quiet dead end street and it's a four minute walk from Tina’s work as a cook at the Bible College. The students can come over without us having to go get them in our car also.

It has some unusual extras. The owners are leaving behind a full house generator for when the electricity goes out (regularly), a solar water heater and a cistern. The large carport comes with a surprising feature. It has an outdoor theater projector installed and a 6x4 ft. screen near the back wall, perfect for college classes, church fellowships or just having your own semi-outdoor theater.

The only drawback is the small but very cute kitchen. But Tina says she does 90% of her cooking at the Bible College anyway. We only eat breakfast at home.

The price started at $166,000 a year ago and the buyer agreed to sell it to us for $152,000. We're hoping for a good interest rate from the bank. Our credit score is great. But the question is the down payment and closing costs. The more we put down, the less our monthly payments will be and it will make it easier to qualify for the better interest rate.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Help us get a house! Strategic Giving

We found a very nice home at a good price and are hoping to buy it. We just met the owners and of the house and their real estate agent. It is a lovely home and only a FOUR minute walk from our Bible College.

If you ever thought of helping us financially, now would be a very good time. Gifts received or money lent to us in the next few weeks would lower our monthly payments, and maybe even free us from paying mortgage insurance.

Please consider helping out a little (or a lot) extra right now. An extra gift this month could mean 30 years of saving every month.

Monday, October 12, 2009


This story reminds me of the sacrifices made by Military families:

Four-year old Paige didn't want to say goodbye to her daddy before he was shipped off to Iraq. Paige said later, "I didn't want to let go of him."

No one had the heart to pull her away.The commanding officer allowed Paige to say goodbye as her dad prepared to ship off from Fort Dix.

It is a touching story. Families go through this kind of pain because their loved ones go to war.

We Christians are in a great conflict also. We serve a different Commander-in-Chief, but the sacrifices are just as real. Please do not forget your missionaries, as we too have had to leave country and family behind to do our part.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Prayer Alert! Bargain House Opportunity!

House Auction

Last week Tina saw a public auction notice on this house two doors down from the house we are renting here in Bayamon. It has been empty for at least a year and a half after being repossessed by the bank. They tried to sell it for $178,000, then lowered it to $160,000 but still couldn't sell it. Now it's up for auction.

Tina has had her eye on this place ever since we moved here a year and a half ago, but it was always out of our price range. Is this auction an opportunity for us to get into home ownership? Or could it be a house that falls apart and costs you a fortune in repairs, like in the movies?

On the positive side, the house is huge for Puerto Rico (2,311 sq. ft.). It's really a house with two apartments in the back so it has five bedrooms and four bathrooms (3/2 in the main house, 2/1 in one apartment and 1/1 in the other). The two bedroom apartment is bigger than the house we are living in now! We could even rent out rooms to some of our college students or teachers.

We had no problem getting pre-approved for the home loan. What we need now is the $10,000 for the down payment. PLEASE PRAY that the Lord will show us if this is the right path for us and that the funds needed for the down payment will be provided.

The auction will be November 7th.