Saturday, March 7, 2015

Gone but Not Forgotten

Welcome! If you are visiting this blog for the first time, I would like to give you an introduction and suggest how you can get the most out of viewing this blog.

When: February 2015.
Who: A family of four join on mission trip
Why: To take images and video of ASAP projects
Where: Thailand, Cambodia and one other country in that region.

First, I suggest you read this blog in the order it was created. Click here to read the introduction post. Then I would suggest you view the tags that are of interest to you, for example: missions, life, fruit.

And second, I hope that you find an interest in missions and that it is strengthened by reading this blog. The closer you draw your heart to helping someone else, the closer your heart will be to God.


As of today, we have been back home for a week and a few days.  Our circadian rhythms are for the most part back on track, and life is settling down again to a pre-trip condition. I find myself thinking of the peoples we left back in their home countries, and wanting to keep the fire of missions alive in my heart.

We had some reverse culture shock:

1) Back home we are again part of the majority culture. Here we do not have locals taking pictures of us or with us. No longer is all the surrounding unknown languages. Being an outsider is an interesting feeling. It makes me want to include the foreigner in our midst. When people included me, (tried to talk with me, or corrected my pronunciation) I felt a bond with them. I want to be sensitive to and inclusive of others.

2) The very first experience we had back on American soil was getting off the plane. Within a jet bridge, a group of wheel chair porters were loudly arguing and jostling for position. It seemed a jolting, "welcome back to American values." We never heard arguing, complaining or anything other than a smile from the service staff in any capacity in Asia. Within a few more steps there were US immigration officers who were dealing with foreigners (perhaps with passport issues?) in a very harsh manner. I am thankful that we did not have to face such from any of the many officers from these other countries that we visited. Kindness is a blessing.

3) Coming to a water faucet, the first thought was similar to the past four weeks: watch out - that was not boiled! We are learning again to fall into normal routines that include trusting water from the tap and public places. Let us not take health security for granted here in America. We need to value clean water here and promote clean water in the rest of the world.

4) I rode to church on smooth roads in our enclosed van this morning. On our trip overseas I rode on a wooden bench in the back of a pickup or tuk tuk. The road? Rough, bumpy, holes large enough to swallow a van. Transportation is an area where there are large differences between here and there. The density of people there makes a big difference in traffic.

5) Food in SE Asia centers on rice. Morning, noon and night (if there is money for multiple meals in a day.) I enjoy rice, but I also value beans, and wish I could find a way to encourage bean growing and consumption across SE Asia. I have enjoyed bread since being home.

We enjoy being home and miss the new friends and families back in Asia. One clear take away for us that the Gospel has not gone to all the world. It will take personal effort to do so. SE Asia, we will be back, Lord willing.

Would you please continue praying for a spark? If you slow down, just read back over this blog, and renew the flame once more. Pray, pray, pray, and then act.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I found it fascinating to visit with church planters, pastors and missionaries in the field.

I think it therapeutic to talk through failures and victories. Not everything in the mission field is glorious. There are huge obstacles in adapting to a new way of life and a new culture. There are real advantages to building up a team of national workers. But the work has to start with a spark. It will take a missionary to first reach them. The Gospel commission says "Go".

Last night we were visiting with a missionary in Thailand. She made a comment that I had not really thought of before:

"God not only calls us because of our strengths, but also because of our weaknesses." She explained that ability and God's calling are important for a missionary but also that the power of the Gospel is demonstrated by a missionary leaning on God to strengthen their weakness.

The Gospel is not only a set of doctrines and intellectual teachings. The Gospel has to be lived. We have to experience God being real in our lives. A real God that answers prayer. A real God that heals illness. A real God that solves the humanly unsolvable. This daily relationship-- this in filling with God's abiding presence, is what is the power of God unto Salvation.

As I thought about it, this need is not only in SE Asia. This is our need everywhere. This showing that God is real in our lives is what our young people in America need to see and then experience for themselves. We don't need more fun to hold the youth in Christianity. We need God to be real. They need God to make a difference in their life and through them in the lives of others.

So perhaps we need Spirit filled Christians everywhere. Then God will be ready to do something miraculous and will finish the work.

How can God be real to you today? How can you say yes to each prompting of His Spirit, "Yes Lord- I am ready for service or sacrifice."

I am thinking of the image of an Ox standing between an alter and a plow. The inscription reads "Ready for either!"

May this be the prayer of our hearts. And let there be a spark.

Return Home

For those of you interested in updates on our return, I will put notes into this post. We have traveled today to Bangkok, and are now in the mission guest room. Tomorrow we are up early for 6:30 breakfast, and then repack everything for the trip home. At 9:15 we will get two taxi's to take us to the airport, and then the flight saga home begins.

Daniel really wants to bring a few coconuts home that the boys harvested. I would be really fun to open them up to our group of family and friends back home. I doubt we will get them through customs, and likely should not try as we would have to declare them when entering the USA, and I don't want any problems. So I mention it to let you know we are thinking of you all.


Update: At gate ready to board from BKK to HKG, flight CX750.

Update: Landed HGK. Next to ORD flight CX808. Take off at 7:05 pm. Landing 7:35pm. It will be the longest 30 mins of my life. ;)

Update: We have landed in America! PTL for His mercies and protection over this past month.

Please keep praying for SE Asia. A spark is what we pray for, Lord.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Difference

As we sat on the beach this morning watching the sun rise, with fishing boats anchored just off shore, my mind went to the story of catching fish in John 21:2-13.

The disciples had been working all night to catch fish, but they had nothing to show for their efforts. Their nets were empty.

Just like the the vast ocean of humanity here in SE Asia where so few know of Jesus.

Jesus asks his disciples, Do you have any fish? And they answer, None! Then Jesus says, Cast your net on the other side of the boat.

They obey Jesus' command and everything changes. Once where the waters were dead calm, now the waters surface boils with moving fish.

Somehow the most unpromising fishery becomes the most fertile ever known, and it happened in an instant. Their nets fill with fish of every type, and these are described as large fish. The Bible is very specific with the number: 153. One commenter I read years ago claimed there were 153 different species of fish in the region. I don't know if that commenter was accurate, but I look forward to converts from every kindred, tribe and people. We know that the catch was so great that under normal conditions the net would have broken. Another miracle: the nets hold. Not one of those precious examples of God's miraculous blessing was lost.

This is the kind of miracle we need in SE Asia. This must be the blessing we pray for in this land. 

Somehow Jesus will open the door to reach many here. But Jssus needs fishermen in the boat who have been working on the task before He gives this special blessing. We need to be on the ground in SE Asia, ready and working with the best tools that we know today.

How sad it would be if Angels had to finish the work without us! Will you be a fisher for God? Will you spread the net of the Gospel and pray for a time when God will work a miracle and everyone will be able to hear the good news? There is a great harvest coming. It is coming. It is even coming to SE Asia.

A ship is safest in the harbor, but that is not why the ship was made. We were not made to live unto ourselves. We were not made to amass wealth and goods while the rest of the world starves for the knowledge of God.

What can you do: Today? This week? This Month? This year? We must be ready when when the time is right.

Pray with us for a spark!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three Things Needed

As this month long mission trip draws to a close, I am in awe of the challenge of lighting a match in a dark place. This land (SE Asia) is vast in scope and it is heavily populated. The penetration of the Gospel to this point has been limited (usually less than 1% of the population). The task before us immense.

But I did not come to this land to see the magnitude of the task and then run back home to forget of the challenges here. No challenge is too great for God. He can empower us to overcome the obstacles on every side.

My theme for this trip / blog has been "a match in a dark place". It takes three things for fire to thrive: fuel, oxygen and a spark.

As I have talked with church leaders in the field here, they suggest three factors that have proven effective in spreading the Gospel in the past:

1) Christian education
2) Medical missionary work
3) Church planters / Bible work

One day we drove across a vast land here, and a pastor traveling with us said, do you realize that for the last 4 hours of our travel, there is not a single Christian church? Not. One. Church.

No groups of people learning about Jesus. No Bibles. No hymns. No young people with clean faces learning to love Jesus in a Christian school. Nothing. For hour after hour after hour after hour of driving at hiway speeds.

At every house there is a spirit house with offerings to idols. On every high place of the land a golden spire rises to the sun. Along every road walks the saffron robed monks. In every village a large Buddhist temple is prominent and lavishly adorned. Idols are literally everywhere, and people are bowing and praying to them. Spirit manifestations are real here. We have felt them here. This is Satans territory, but we need a match!

I have a dream. I dream of a Christian school in every city, town and village across this great land.

I have a dream. I dream of a medical missionary worker who gives God the credit for the miraculous healing that takes place under the inspiration of God in working with the sick that are everywhere here.

I have a dream. I dream of a Bible worker / church planter in every village. 

I don't think everyone in Asia will convert to Christianity. But the Gospel commission demands they have the option of knowing of and perhaps choosing Christ. Presently generations are born, live hard lives of hunger, toil and disease, and die never knowing the name of Jssus.

Now our task is to pray, promote, educate, invest and serve that these three elements might spread. May it spread like wildfire.

Pray with us for a spark.

Monday, February 23, 2015


We have always enjoyed bananas, but it has been very nice to walk down the street and see entire stalks of bananas for sale.

There are long yellow, long green and short yellow bananas. I liked them all, and all were quite a bit sweeter and with firmer flesh than the bananas we can get back home. I think it is a characteristic of these new varieties, and that this fruit has been picked tree ripened.

It was nice to enjoy a new set of flavors and tastes from an old friend: the banana.

Pray with us for a spark.

Weddings are Beautiful

Wedding complete. We think the footage we took is good.

I wore a longee for the service! Pictures shared privately for anyone who posts or sends a note wanting to see it. Those from our home church, I can wear it if we give a mission talk ;)

Off now to the capitol city, Rush rush.

More later. Pray for our travel.

Update: Safely in the capitol city again. As with the ride out, it was at times a hair raising experience. We almost ran into some cattle charging across the road. Another time we almost ran into a dark concrete barricade (as we drove in the dark) which had no reflective painting or warning lights. The large van was going full speed and we narrowly missed the barricade across our lane. No one else was around that area, no other cars. I hope others do not have trouble at that place like we did.

We were briefly halted at several police/military check points, but were then waved on through. This leg of our travels was definitely the most dangerous. Thank the Lord we are all safe and sound.

Pray with us for a spark.