Newsletter #1

We are dropping our newsletter in the mail soon. To save costs we have put it online and hope that everyone who prefers to read such things online enjoys it.

click here for our newsletter in PDF format
or go here

thank you!

in training camp we were told that for some folks making their newsletter was stressful for them because it is something you do together, and because it is informative as well as creative people have differing styles and facts they want to present. My wife and I actually found this process enjoyable and simple, but perhaps that is because we're an email and blogging generation. The struggle with a newsletter is to be informative, and not boring, to be interesting but not noisy. I'm no graphic artist, so please, as you read it, give us feedback.

For those who want to know we used iWorks'06 -Pages on a Mac to put it together.

__was it informative enough?
__did it catch your eye?
__would you scan this and then throw it away or would you feel you could read the whole thing?
__what could we do to improve it?

thanks for your time, email your comments to

thank you


God's Lessons

First a praise:
God your timing is wonderful, your plan is excellent, you answer prayer faithfully and powerfully! Thank you for showing yourself to my family these last few weeks.

I haven’t blogged much recently and the reason is because God’s been talking to my heart and teaching me things through multiple sources. I’ll try to share and be brief.

Missions is not the purpose of the Church.
Worship is.

Missions needs to have a focussed aim on glorifying God. The Church needs to have a strong understanding of what worshipping God is and then do it. As part of the Church I have spent 2 weeks learning the many ways to worship God. (please understand I do not mean singing but the true meaning of worship. These last few weeks we daily found a new way to worship God in action.)

I finally have put my finger on what has been on my heart, and here it is:
the easiest status check I know of one’s committment to worship is to ask yourself this question - “Why do you want to go to heaven?”

Honestly my first response was “because it’ll be paradise.” Not a bad answer but I realized as I contemplated it, that it was a purely selfish answer. (we can debate the good vs. bad of selfishness in another forum). Another answer came to mind “because it’s better than the other place.” Still I find that completely geared towards my own personal comfort.

Psalm 84, a psalm I’ve read nearly daily for a year now, has jsut popped out in yet another way to me:

1What a beautiful home, GOD of the Angel Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,

2Always dreamed of a room in your house,

where I could sing for joy to God

It strikes me that in heaven we’re going to be worshipping God forever. Why would we want to go to heaven if we don’t enjoy worshipping God? Why would we want to spend our eternity worshiping God if we haven’t fallen totally in love with Him, totally in awe of Him, totally filled by His presence?

Because it’ll be nice there? Because we’ll be without sin? Because we won’t have ’stress’?

I’m convinced that my life, my attitude, my inner self that no one else sees needs to be completely committed to denying my sinful self, and making choices that put God on the throne.

It’s hard, and it’ll get harder. I fail at it miserably.

I believe that until I can honestly answer the status question with “because I want to spent eternity worshiping God” that my character here on earth still needs to be worked on.

I can say today, that during my best moments, like I had in the last 2 weeks, that is my answer. But I slip up. I act in ways that do not tell others that God is God, but instead that I am God… or rather that I am the king of my own life.

I do not believe that I can change my heart manually, and so I pray that the spirit of God would influence my heart, and would strengthen me during my weak times.

That’s where I am at. Working with the Spirit to transform my life until every thought and action is one of proper worship instead of self-serving.

Our life, our ministry, and our aim as a family is to worship God through word and action and to diminish our own selves in such a way that when people look at us, they see God's glory reflected. We need your prayers to accomplish this feat, and rest assured we will also be praying for you.


The Kind of People

To give you an idea of the kind of people we're being blessed by:
Last night was our tenth wedding anniversary, and we're at training camp without a car and really no place to go.

There is a little hot tub here, and I realized the last time my wife and I had some quite time to relax and talk was 2 weeks ago, and the last time we were in a hot tub together was before kids.

another training camper offered to watch our kids... we politely declined, but later I took them up on the offer.

well, I called and asked at 8pm. "we wanted to hang out at the hot tub for a few minutes, the kids are asleep could you come stay in our room until we return."
at 8:15 there is a knock on the door.

"sure... I left a jar there, could you bring it back."
sure.. we did....
when we got to the hot tub, the "jar" was a large candle, lit and placed romantically near a nice plant. The effect of the warm wind and the candle on the leaves made it a romantic setting much more than sitting in the dark would have.

How did she get a candle there lit, and then get back to our place in time?
She remembered that another couple had said in class they bring candles wherever they go to feel at home, CALLED them, they ran the candle over and lit it while she walked to our room.

Okay WOW.
all we wanted was a few minutes to ourselves to quietly discuss what God has been doing and relax and celebrate.

What we got was blessed by two friends, and a romantic night together.. which we didn't have to plan or were not expecting.

THAT was awesome.... at the same time a preparation for PNG culture in that everyone knows what you're up to at all times.

"This is GREAT! But you know now everyone knows where we are..." --me
"yeah but if they know, they'll stay away!" --my bride.

we chuckled and had a very nice, impromptu, but wonderful evening celebrating ten years, and celebrating the fact that God is going to make the next ten years a completely different and wonderful time for us as a family.

night time answers

Tonight after dinner, we were heading back to our apartment, which is about half a city block away.
My wife stayed behind to read an email, and as we walked Sydney said "oh I forgot my backpack."
she said "I'll catch up."
of course I waited and when she finally came out, she had her backup, my wife's backpack, and my wife's coat.
I saw her trying to make her way towards me with this heavy load and went to help her.
She politely insisted on taking her mom's pack and jacket.
"it's heavy!" she said.
"I know, I want to carry it." I grabbed it but she wouldn't let go. In fact I got it from her and during that time she reconfigured her own pack to take both the pack and the jacket.

"Don't let it touch the ground or drag, we don't want it getting worn out or holes in it." I said.
"I won't, I figured out how to take it."

after she cleared the entire path I asked her.
"Sydney, why do you want to carry that backpack so badly?"
"because it's mommy's and I wanted to carry her load for her so she could walk here more easily."

I started to tear up as I let my daughter trudge on difficultly ahead.

All this time I've been thinking about how we can lighten our kids' loads in this missions transition and I never paused to think about it the other way around. Of course as a parent you don't willingly burden your child, but God has used them repeatedly as encouragements to us and for some reason today of all days, my daughter wanted to lighten my wife's load.

Today was a particularly tough day for my wife. At dinner time we prayed together "God please encourage my wife today, please lighten her load a little bit today." And God answered that prayer in the form of my daughter.

Seizing the moment to make a parallel I said to my daughter at the door:
"sheesh, that's heavy, I'm glad we're home and it's bed time" she said.
"You know kiddo, it's hard work to take one someone's burden, but even if you can jsut lighten their load for a short while, it could be enough to encourage them and make them happy. I'll bet you made mommy happy."

She thought about that....
not without humor though.. when mommy got home not knowing what had transpired, my daughter hopped up on mommy's lap and said with pride.
"mommy I carried your backpack and coat all the way home!"
"you did!? thank you."
"maybe you might want to give me a penny for that."

so I took out a penny and said,
"kiddo, I'll pay you a penny. What you did was a very nice thing for mommy as a favor, but if you accept this penny then it's a chore you did for money. Do you want the penny or do you want it to be a job you did for pay?"
she thought for not even a second:
"I want it to be a favor for mommy."

so I gave her the penny and said, "then it's a favor for mommy, and I'm giving you this penny because I love you."
then Calvin put his hand out, "do you love me too daddy?"
I said "yes."
he said, "then please give me two pennies, one because you love me and two because I won the race."

I laughed... before I had noticed my daughter carrying the backpack, I challenged my son to a race home, which I lost since I got wrapped up in a more important dialogue with my daughter.

I have to laugh.
Not only did God lighten my wife's load through the kindness of my daughter, He lightened my load through the comedy of my son.


ten years

today is the last full day of training.
tomorrow is the "goodbyes" and "packing" phase of the trip.

We'll be staying in Orlando to see friends, speak to some youth, and generally relax.

It seems odd, but after two weeks of fully concentrating on ourselves, equipping ourselves, submitting ourselves to God, and filling our brains... the idea of seeing other folks and hearing about their ministries and what is exciting about their lives is very exciting to us.

We are very passionate about what we're doing, but we're also excited about what YOU are doing, so please drop us a line, we'd love to pray for you.

my wife and I have been married ten years today.
Groundhog Day

excitement ensues... about the ten years not so much about the groundhog.

Prayer Requests:
-Refreshing time with friends for the next 4 days
-Health for the family as we visit and fly
-Safety in flying (although honestly we feel like we're in the safest place in the world, smack dab in the center of God's will. Would the plane truly crash while before we got to PNG? Well God is sovereign and so anything can happen.... perhaps pray as well that we can be a blessing to people while on the plane - IE kids well behaved, perhaps conversations and such)

on the plane ride over Sydney spoke for 3 hours with the lady sitting next to her about how she was going to PNG to "make bibles".

you know there is SO much to having "faith like a child"... in acclimating to new cultures, making new friends, and understanding new ideas.

Thank you, and we love you.
We are praying for you, and want to know how to pray more specifically for you


history lesson weds

we heard a man speaking today who had been a missionary since 1942. He spoke on prayer and the miracles he's seen from answers to it
but he also spoke about a people who's language he worked with. They can speak, but they communicate in whistles as well. Their language has vowels, consonants and pitch relative to the words around it. The whistles were the tones that were reached when speaking, so in speaking the language the tones heard, are replicated in the whistles.
It was VERY cool to hear, and a fascinating aspect of the language, having a pitch.

Yesterday we learned of a language that has no past tense. Only present and future.

on dating this man referred to looking for a wife as "prospecting" he "struck gold" when he found her.

what a great thing to spend time in the presence of a man who has spent his life in service of God.
It was inspiring at times, humorous at others, but sincere and genuine the entire time.

I look at men like this, men who in their old age are still glorifying God, founders of Biola and missionary organizations, and I think "I would love to finish well for God like that, if I reach that age."

I see a common element of dedication to reading Scripture, prayer and fasting, and actions of service in these men and it is my model to which I strive.

Is it okay to be impatient to become the man you want to be for God? It sure is a daily process of self-denial and hard discipline.
Discipline to pray, to read, to memorize, to deny flesh. a daily thing.... something that can't be put off, because otherwise you end up with years full of wasted days.