The Gift of the Magi

Since returning from Cambodia we have been sharing our mission work in 6 different churches between Texas, Oklahoma and Washington. This Saturday I head to Honduras with a team to help drill a water well, perform a Vacation Bible School, and deliver water filters to families.  Thank you so much for your support for our family and mission work. You are a tremendous blessing to us.

I wanted to share a neat story with you.  A friend of mine brought me a roll of money that added up to $42.  He then told me the story behind the money.  He was helping at a youth camp and some of the campers saved back their spending money and gave it to him to use for missions.  They wanted to make a difference in the world.  What a testimony from some kids at youth camp!  I can’t wait to see how the Lord blesses that $42 and uses it to feed and love on kids half way around the world.  Oh, the stories that will be told in Heaven. I took a picture of it, still wrapped in one of their youth camp bracelets.

Happy Thanksgiving from Guatemala

I had the privilege of working with a team in Guatemala the week of Thanksgiving.  I even made it home in time to have turkey with my family! It was a great trip and team. We had a Vacation Bible School in two villages with some Mayan kids and took water filters to families in the area.  We poured concrete and built a block wall at the orphanage and took the kids to the zoo for an outing.  They loved it! We also organized a large carnival at a church in San Lucas to invite the community. That evening for church there were over 300 people present and at least 6 people accepted Christ as their Savior in the service!  We finished off the week by having a special Thanksgiving meal with the children at the orphanage.  They said they wanted to have a meal where we all sit together at a table and pass the food like they see American families doing on television.  The things we take for granted!!  Here are some pictures from the week.  Thank you for your prayers.

More to come

Since making it back from Thailand we have been in 5 churches in 3 different states sharing updates on what the Lord is doing in Asia.  We have also had several new churches invite us to come share this spring for the first time!

We will be in another church this weekend, then on Tuesday I head to Guatemala to help with a team.  I will get home the day before Thanksgiving, which is a reason for thanks already.  Of course, the last time I got back from a trip the day before Thanksgiving, I spent the flight throwing up in the bathroom on the plane.  I don’t fit well in the plane bathrooms to begin with, much less trying to throw up.  However, it is the only time I have ever lost weight over Thanksgiving. LOL!  So, there is always a reason to be grateful.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our mission work!

Home from Houston

We have made it back from Houston helping with the relief effort there. As with most things in life, it is difficult to describe what we saw.  You have to see it for yourself to grasp it all.  On Sunday, we drove a semi around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to different churches picking up supplies that they had donated.  Then, we drove to Houston and arrived around 3 in the morning.  A church in Houston was gracious enough to allow us to sleep in their gym on air mattresses and cook us breakfast and dinner.

We got up early on Monday and took the semi to a relief distribution point. From there we unloaded the supplies, and helped load it into vehicles and trailers that were brought from other points in Houston to retrieve supplies.  We then took loads of supplies to churches and a local middle school for distribution.  While we helped with one delivery a man asked us if we would go with him to visit his daughter’s grave. He had not been to the cemetery since the flood and he wanted to check on it, but he needed someone to go with him for emotional support.  You never know when the Lord will give you the opportunity to minister to someone.  It was very emotional as we prayed with him and visited his daughter’s grave.

The remainder of the trip was spent helping people clean out their homes.  We found a neighborhood where the homeowners were just able to get back into their homes that morning for the first time.  Many of them were overwhelmed, as would I be.  We helped them remove their belongings, then removed the bottom 4 foot of sheetrock,  insulation, and flooring from the homes.  One of the homes we worked in still had some standing water in the house.  Most of the people in the neighborhood did not have flood insurance.  As some of you know, I lost my sense of smell several years ago after a strange infection in the Philippines.  So, while everyone else was gagging over the smell of the raw sewage we were working in, it didn’t bother me at all.  It is times like this that we are reminded to praise the Lord even in the trials because you never know when your disability will become and added ability.

One homeowner we helped was Vietnamese and we developed an instant bond when I said hello to him in Vietnamese and we talked about our trips to Vietnam as a family.  Again, you never know when the Lord will use your experiences for His glory and to open doors.  This man was worn out and distraught over his loss, but we were able to encourage him in the Lord and pray with him.  It is so hard to see so many people hurting.  As we left Houston, we are aware of Irma heading toward Florida and many of my friends there will be affected.  Please continue to pray for those on the Gulf Coast to recover and for safety for our friends and fellow citizens in Florida and the East Coast.

Thank you to all who have donated towards the recovery effort!  Your donations are a great blessing and encouragement to many.  Here are some pictures from my trip.  You may notice a letter C sprayed on houses. They put that on the homes during the evacuation to know which homes had been cleared.

MANNA feeding Manna

There are times on the mission field where we are confronted with the most amazing stories.  Such is the case with Manna.  Not our organization, but the girl.  Over a decade ago, we started a feeding center in an area of Metro Manila called El Dorado.  Some of the first children in the center found out their parents were going to have a baby.  So, they asked them if their soon-to-be sister could be named Manna after the feeding program that has had such an impact on their family.

Today, we get to feed their sister Manna at the same center they started in.  She is now 9 years old.  These stories don’t happy overnight.  But, when they do, they really touch your heart.  Here is a video of MANNA feeding Manna.

Field Day

Field Day is always the funnest, and saddest day on our trip to Mae Sot.  We put the kids into 5 teams and have contests between the teams, culminating in a winner take all tug-of-war.  The kids love it, along with the ice cream party afterward.  This year was no exception. It was a great way to spend our last day with the kids.  The sad part is, we eventually have to say goodbye.  But, we will see them again.

Spring…Ready Break

2016 has started off very well.  Thank you for your support.  My Bradford Pear tree in the front yard is already blooming and it looks like spring is already upon us.  As spring begins to break, the sprint is about to begin.

In one week from now I will be traveling to Florida and we will be presenting in 8 churches in 5 states.  As soon as we finish the last church, we will head to Asia for nearly 7 weeks to help lead teams.   Then, come back a week to repack and take a team to Nicaragua.

My daughter was asking why we visit so many churches.  I told her it is because we need to raise support for places like Vietnam, Thailand and North Korea to help sustain our feeding programs and orphanages.  Otherwise we cannot buy the food that we need to feed the kids.

She looked at me and said, “I have $30 in my room if you need it.”  Wow!  The heart of a child.  It blows me away, and humbles me all the time.

Thank you for supporting our family. It is an honor to walk with you in this endeavor the Lord has placed before us.

God’s Provision

It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides for our every need.  This week I had a Pastor’s Fellowship that I attended.  I knew someone in the town and sent them an email about staying with them.  However, I never heard back from them.  Unfortunately, all I had was an email address and not a phone number.  I drove to the fellowship on Monday and figured if I didn’t hear anything by the time we concluded Monday night, I would venture into nearby towns to look for a hotel room.  I wasn’t quite sure how it would all work out, but I knew I needed to go.

Well, after the meeting was over a pastor that I have been on a trip with in the past came up to me and asked if I had any place to stay.  The only person that knew about my lack of a place to stay was my wife, who was 3 hours away.  I said it was a funny story, but no I did not have a place to stay yet.  He then proceeded to tell me to follow him and he would buy me dinner and get me a hotel room. It is amazing that God had put that on his heart without him even knowing.  What a tremendous blessing.

It is in times like this that really illustrate how the Lord uses the body to serve others and work together.  I’m grateful for each of you.

Shoe Unto Others

We got to unload 6,000 pairs of shoes to go around the world!  What does 6,000 pairs of shoes look like, well, the picture above is only half of them.  We use these shoes to take to our projects on trips.  Our trip participants get people to sponsor the shoes and help them go on the trip and put them on a child.  It is really amazing to watch the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child.