1 week until departure

A week from tomorrow I’ll be headed to seattle to fly to Uganda.  I’ll be gone for 3 weeks and will spend a few days in Kenya as well.  The goal of this trip is to tell the stories of some people whose stories need to be told.  There is a team of people there who work tirelessly to care for the poor and help to educate children, who are living a life of devotion to God that I have never seen.  I am very excited about this opportunity and I am heartbroken to leave my family for 3 weeks. 


I still have some stuff I need to get before the trip, so I’m feeling some stress, but it’ll all work out.


Here’s a story from last year’s trip.   Sandra video

yard sale action

Jen and I had a yard sale last weekend to raise money for international children’s network (http://icnchildren.net).   The sale was a total success as we raised over $1700!!  Wow!!  There are several points of note from this weekend.


1.       We only priced 3 key items.  Everything else was left to the buyer’s discretion as a donation.  There were some people who spent hours going through everything, leaving with armloads and donating a pittance.  There were others who were very generous in their donations.  At least 60% of the people I spoke with were completely at a loss for how to respond to a donation.  One guy was so adamant about not knowing what to offer that another customer, I think out of frustration with hearing the conversation drag on, suggested a price.  The man offered $10 less and was on his way.  This leads me to observation #2.

2.       The “fund-raiser” crowd and the “yard-sale” crowd are not one and the same.  I would guess that 6 out of 10 people who regularly go to yard sales, are primarily looking for a bargain.  They don’t care what they’re buying as long as they’re getting a good deal.  I can say this with some authority because this is my m.o. as a yard-sale-er.  I’m rarely looking for any item in particular, usually just anything that is priced lower than it should be.  This attitude doesn’t mix well with the idea of giving money away to others because the goal is not to acquire some item, but simply to pay less than I should.  I think that’s why the man referenced in #1 needed a price name – so he could offer less.  Anyway, that was interesting.

3.       Jen and I believe in the mission of icn and believe that raising money to help their cause is part of how our God has wired us.  This fundraiser is something that we believe God was behind.  The lesson here was that there is no way we should have made $1700 from what we had.  The highest ticket item was a set of antique china that went for $100.  We had a couch that went for $60 and a snowboard for $40.  Everything else was basically odds and ends.  When we finished our first day, we’d made almost $1000, and it didn’t look like we had any less than when we started.  All this to say that while things obviously added up to what they did, we believe that this was sort of a “loaves and fishes” experience in which the resources we had to work with were multiplied.  I can’t prove it.  I can’t guarantee it, but I believe it.


returning to the scene of the crime

on tuesday, ani became the first artist in the family to experiment with ink drawing...on the walls and carpet and bedspread and couch and...

it was a tumultuous day to say the least, but we've come through with mostly faded colors thanks to rubbing alcohol (not to drink, to clean the stains. geez!) the ink on the walls is still crisp because we're gonna have to repaint anyway.

i finally found the camera today and got some pics of her returning to the scene of the crime.
(for a slideshow click here)


being a part of a church is an interesting thing

i was born to a youth pastor and his wife. they moved halfway across the country when i was 3 months old in order to work for a church in fresno, california. they've uprooted themselves on several occasions to pursue what they feel will honor God at that time, all the while being vitally connected to a local church. the vast majority of my childhood memories involve friends from church or church events and yet we lived a life that wasn't isolated from the world around us either.

today, i'm 27 and have a family of my own. we are connected with a local church, which i work for full-time, and we also are connected to the world around us. in our paradigm today this live that we lead is thick with everything from joy to sorrow to confusion to satisfaction. some days i feel like no one has as good a life as i do, and sometimes i feel like our family is an island - disconnected from the world around us as well as the church family that we are a part of. why is this? is it the way of life - the vacillating, oscilloscopic ups and downs that characterize everyone's lives, or is there something unique about the role in which we find ourselves?

there's no doubt that life is full of ups and downs and to rid ourselves of those would be to know a mundane, sullen experience of complete balance, devoid of passion. however, to fill the role of vocational pastor for a local church carries some inherent conundrums. first, our mission is to introduce people to a growing relationship with Christ. whether i work for a church or not, my goal is to share the incredible things He's done with as many people as i can. however, as a paid spokesperson, i feel that my influence there is limited. it's like anything. if i talk to a friend of mine who tells me that Tide will absolutely get my clothes cleaner than any other detergent, i'll probably give it a shot. if i find out that that friend works for Tide, i may assume that he's telling me what he's supposed to as opposed to the truth. (whether that person loves Tide because they work for it or whether they took the job because they love Tide, i don't know, which makes a big difference in my mind, but that can be developed at another time) the point is that people make certain assumptions about me based on my job and while this is probably true about any job, i hate the idea that people might mistake the undying love i have for Jesus for a foregone conclusion or a standard party line.

so the resolution for this continues to elude me. sometimes i think that severing professional ties would do the trick. sometimes i think this has a lot more to do with me than the source of my paycheck.