Thursday, November 30, 2006

Coming Home

I'm sitting in our favorite hotel/hostel in Alajuela near San Jose and the airport and I think it's hitting me. I have been so busy trying to set up meetings with donors and potential supporters that i have not has time to really think about it. I am getting more excited then ever. A Christmas party with all me guys and their wives, Christmas with our combined family, and 17 different appointments with family and friends gets me excited.

Last night I finalized our travel plans. We will be in Fresno from the night of the 1st through the morning of the 11th. Then we will fly to San Diego to see the Doigs then return to Sacramento area for the 13th through the 18th. We will fly back to Costa Rica on the 19th at 12:35 am.

I can’t wait to see everyone and hear what is happening at home. If there is anyone that would like to meet with us that we have not reached yet. Please let us know asap. We have plenty of time still. I want to see as many of our supporters as possible.

Sharing the Experience,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Battle - Pride vs Humility

God rocked me this morning as I was reading the Bible. Those of you, who know me well, know that I am not one who exemplifies humility. I would confess that I struggle with pride most of all.

I read 1 Pet. 5 this morning. Versus 6-10 say:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Put all these verses together and this is how it hit me. I want to be strong, firm and steadfast. But do those are not the qualities that I think of when I think of humility. More often I think these qualities sound like someone ready to go to battle for his beliefs like Maximus from Gladiator or William Wallace. But as I read the text I saw something that I have not trusted God for. True Strength comes from the Lord and that must start with Humility. What is humility? Through this verse I see it as “Realizing that we don’t have it all together, which causes anxiety, and then submitting it to God.” When I don’t submit myself – any piece of myself – to God, it inevitably causes me to worry as I try, in my pride, to handle it all. I essentially say, “I can do it God; I don’t need your help.”

If we are self controlled and alert we will be able to see the Devil use this simple battle between Humility and Pride to trap us, paralyze us and cause us to stumble. I many times have I been devoured by my pride - torn apart by the teeth of “needed appreciation” and claws of “recognition”!

After struggling, God will restore us and make us strong firm and steadfast. It’s not about my efforts to look like I have it all together and have all the answers.

I think as Christians we need to work on this – I definitely do. I know very few people that seem to be closer to having this down. I think of Josh Hawley, Rob Maxey, Jim Franz, Nick Torstensen. If you talk to any of these men, they will tell you otherwise – I think that is a prerequisite.

OK, Can I really get honest with you? This passage specifically hit me pertaining to fundraising. I worry about it because I have little control over it. God is going to fund HIS ministry. This is not MY ministry and I am not asking people to give to ME. I asking people to give to what God is doing in Costa Rica. So, following the above model, I hold on to this “job” of fundraising, not submitting it to God because “I can do it!” This eventually gives me anxiety like I’ve never experienced before causing me to be paralyzed and even take it out on those closest to me. I fear that Friends will think I don’t value their friendship – only their wallet. I fear that people won’t understand what I am doing here – that this is just one big vacation. I fear that I am not working enough and people will think that I am wasting their money. Can anyone relate to this at all or something similar?

So, I submit. I submit all of this fundraising, all of me and all of my relationships. God brings people to himself, funds his ministry, and puts it on people’s heart to give – this is not my Job.

A little venting maybe but I feel a 50lbs weight off my shoulders.

Sharing the Experience,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Question the Mission

I have a Question that is more a research question than anything. There are no wrong answers.

What does a successful missions operation look like?

If we could somehow measure the success of ministry or impact on the mission field at home and abroad what are some factors to look at that measures success? If I wanted to find the Missions operations that were making the most impact, how would I measure it one from another. What makes one missions operation more successful than another? Is it wrong that I ask this question?

Sharing the experience,

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Walk on the Wild Side

O.K. So you’ll want to read this one. There is no devotional, no ministry update this time, this entry is the tale of how Phil and I escaped the claws of a three foot long iguana ( ok, so actually it is the story of trying to get the three foot long iguana to kindly leave our house, but I am telling you it was scary! And it does have claws ).

It was a typical morning, I went downstairs to make coffee and then looked out our kitchen door that leads to our patio and our front yard. I see Jose our dog bouncing in the grass; Jose does not bounce…ever. Then I see this iguana on two feet running for dear life as Jose manages to tackle it to the ground, once, then twice, then chasing it he tackles it for the third time. Now the iguana is ticked and I see it stand up, face the kitchen door, and bolt as fast as it can straight towards me with Jose playing “pin the lizard” close behind. I realize in that moment that the iguana is still heading towards the kitchen and is actually faster than anything I have seen ( he is outrunning my dog), and that is when it hits me that it doesn’t know to stay out side. It has now crossed into the patio area of our house and is still heading towards the kitchen. I scream, slam the door shut and then realize I am trapped because you have to walk through the patio to get upstairs or anywhere else besides the kitchen. I can hear the iguana running on the tile in the patio knocking over buckets and my pots and some papers. I opened the door and see Jose who is too big to fit through the half opened gate leading into the patio, and the iguana running on hind legs is circles taunting him. I slam the door again because it is bigger than I am comfortable with and Phil is not home and I am stuck in my kitchen. Then I hear silence and I decide I cannot stay in the kitchen all day so I boldly enter the patio area, check the upstairs door, it is shut, good. I check the downstairs bathroom door, also closed, great. Then I see our closet door wide open and I know from the fact that Jose’s nose is so far smashed up into our gate that the iguana did not go out there, but he is in our closet. Jose is going nuts, and I am going upstairs. I will tell Phil about the iguana when he gets home.
The next morning, I have told Phil my story but it is early and I am not awake yet and I really need some coffee so I go downstairs, pat Jose on the head, notice his food bowl is empty and head to the closet to fill it up. At this point I am thinking dark roast, not iguana. I opened the closet door, scoop up the dog food and lift my head to see my friend on two legs about two inches from my face. Needless to say, Jose can go with out food a little longer, I scream, run to the kitchen, slam the door and I am back in my official hiding spot from big scary lizards.
Phil comes downstairs and we formulate a plan… Plan “Extract the scary closet beast”.
Phil grabs a broom, and a big stick. That is what we have, two big sticks. This thing is huge and is not happy with us or Jose who tried to kill him the day before and I am sure that two sticks is what we will need to kill it or defend ourselves properly. I am sure. Phil tells me to grab the camera, because this would make an awesome blog entry; see we are always thinking of our families and friends back home. So I have the camera and a big stick, Phil has the flash light and the broom and I am petrified. Phil hasn’t seen it yet, he doesn’t know. Phil sees it, drops the broom, and is now a believer in my “there is a scary thing in our closet” story. The iguana has now gone to the very back of our closet, which is all the way under our stairs and even Jose can not get there. I am banging on our stairs to frighten in out, Phil is throwing pieces of chicken back in the end of the closet so Jose will go back there are get it out, and we are laughing so hard because neither one of us really knows what it will do once it sees Jose. Phil the whole time is screaming "Get the camera ready!"
At that moment we hear Jose screech so loud and Phil sees the iguana running around our closet. Phil and I jet to the kitchen door and then everything goes silent. Jose comes out and I am feeling like a jerk because he almost died or something and then Phil sees the iguana with a flash light, sees that it is hurt or dying and decides to put it in a box and dump it outside. The iguana goes in the box, barely moving, we dump it on the grass and then Jose starts sniffing and poking at it. Jose is ticked because the iguana got his foot and the iguana is lying there dead. Or was he? As Phil and I are taking pictures, the iguana grabs on to Jose’s nose with its jaws and Jose is flinging it back and forth trying to get it off. Phil and I were watching this thing whipping through the air, with Jose freaking out and then landing on the grass by our car. Jose comes inside, he is done, and his nose is bleeding, and again I am a jerk for not protecting my dog. The iguana sat there for probably a good hour staring at the house, not moving, knowing he didn’t have too. He had beaten us, beaten our dog, and he would sit there as long as he wanted to. I finally saw him run up the mountain. He was not dead. He was proud.
On that note Phil and I headed to Cahuita because we haven’t been there in about three weeks and just as we begin to relax on our blanket we stair up at the tree and see 7 to 8 white faced monkeys hanging directly above us. It was the day for the beasts I am telling you. Phil and I felt better that at least these ones were in trees, but we left I think 20 minutes after that. The iguana had left us a little animal shy. That is the end of our day, enjoy the pictures, I could have died taking them.