Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
A typical scene around the Liebenzell Headquarters property the next morning.
Notice the large branches on the power lines and on the ground. This scene is behind our little apartment. Two and a half days later, nothing's changed. At noon, our power went off. At 2:00 in the afternoon, Anne and I ventured outside to measure what turned out to be 11 1/2 inches of snow - and it was still coming down hard.
Staying warm has been on our minds the most since last Tuesday. So we slept that night under all the blankets we could find, and in as many clothes as we felt comfortable. In the morning, when it's cold outside the blankets, and there's no heat in the house, most people will get up and build a fire in the fireplace. We don't have one! The only way we can stay warm is to throw on a few more clothes. Eventually, we even throw on the winter coat, the stocking cap (called by some a toboggan), gloves, and a scarf. And at some times since then, we've passed the time reading while sitting on a coach under a blanket.
So, there's been a small number of us here on the mountain who have spent time searching for a way down the mountain and a place with the Internet. A way down was found the next day. But it's taken a little while longer to find the Internet. Bill Schuit, our Global Missions Director, just called a few minutes ago with the word, "There's a warm fire in the fireplace and the Internet at Panera Bread at..." then he names the place. It's not too far away. So we jump in the car. wind our way down the mountain, and here we are! We still don't have power, water, or heat, but we have plenty of God's grace to keep us going!
We're planning to move down off the mountain this weekend to Virginia to begin our slow crawl back to Micronesia. Who knows, maybe we'll even have a chance to get a warm shower before we leave!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This is what it looked like around here last week when we went biking along a lazy river just down the mountain where we live. But no more! You'll have to forgive us if we seem overly amazed. As ones who have lived in the tropics of the Pacific for the last 30 years, snow seems so unreal. We still have to get used to it.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here is Matt (left), along with two of his three staff, Bryan graduates Danielle Rebman and Jessica Hundley. Jessica's boyfriend Joel, also a Bryan grad, is at the right.This is the third staff, another Bryan grad, Ben Norquist, with his expecting wife Ariel. Ben and our Amy were classmates several years ago, and met on a mission trip to Spain and Morocco. Ben invited me to speak in one of the classes he teaches, a Worldview class, which compares and contrasts differing worldviews with the biblical worldview. My stories from Micronesia provided a real life context for many of the concepts there were learning. Together, Matt's team is responsible for creating an atmosphere for spiritual formation in the lives of the Bryan students, mainly through chapel programs, student-led ministries (local and international), and student-led small groups with incoming Freshman. They train student leaders to assist other students in growing spiritually. One of the reasons Matt invited me down was to speak in a couple of their chapel services.My theme was "The Power and Beauty of the Gospel" as lived out in the context of my life and ministry in Micronesia. I taught on 2 Timothy 2:15 illustrated with lots of stories about life and ministry in Micronesia. Real-life story lines, especially from the mission field, grab attention and provide the context for memorable application of biblical truths against the backdrop of post-modernism.
The auditorium was filled with 750 students and faculty. The second day was a great challenge for me because I had an enormous headache that kept competing with my concentration and focus. But the Lord proved He was the dominant power. My favorite part of the whole trip was interacting with students and faculty alike afterwards in the dining room as we ate lunch and discussed spiritual issues together.
I can't tell you how blessed and excited I was to see Emily Cook, a 2007 Bryan grad who also came to Micronesia on the 2004 mission trip. A Freshman at the time, Emily shared with me about her spiritual journey since that time of discovering God's goodness. She has since graduated, has spent 6 months in Peru teaching missionary children, and is back in the Dayton community following hard after God's heart and teaching English as a Second Language in a local school. I stayed with Matt and his wife, Melody (and their two sons, Jonathan and Joshua, and as of yet a third child, an unborn daughter!) in their home. My last evening there found me on their back, screened-in porch, amongst 15 or so student ministry leaders. I was asked to share with them a little bit about how they could develop leaders under them to take responsibility for their ministries after they graduate next year, since they are mostly seniors. Again, I cannot possibly communicate with you all the excitement and joy I experienced sharing what I have been learning in the mission field with the Bryan community, and all that I learned from them.
When my time was done, I boarded a plane and headed once again to Winston-Salem and Clemmons, North Carolina. My main purpose was to meet with a fund raising consultant to discuss a plan for private funding for PIBC. Then I met Walter and Teresa Falardeau for lunch at Salem Village. It was Walter's birthday. No age given!
And helped celebrate Anna Mayer's 13th birthday (she's in the green jacket next to me) with her family.
So, here I am with Amy and her husband, Matt, in Sacramento. They also helped me try to raise some financial support. They arranged for me to speak in the church where they work, Matt as a Youth Pastor, and Amy as a young women's discipler. Here we are at a wedding ceremony in Redding that Matt performed. For those of you who are familiar with it, notice the "David Crowder" look.Maybe it's more apparent here. Matt is becoming a good worship leader as well as a youth pastor. His preferred instrument is the bass guitar, but he's also teaching himself to play the guitar. When I was there with them, I got to play the drums. Amy took me around to a few new places. Here we are in Old Sacramento.
One of the cool things that Amy did for me while I was in California was take me to my first ever professional sports event - an Oakland Raiders football game.
I had told her that one thing I'd like to do before I die was go to an NFL game. It didn't matter which one. Well, the Oakland Raiders were playing a pre-season game with the Arizona Cardinals that weekend, so we went. It was great!
I know it doesn't mean anything in light of eternity, but the fact that my daughter and I got to do something like this was priceless. As you can see, I'm also speechless!
One of the things I've been doing to is leading devotions for the staff here every week (when I've been here) which includes worship (here with my 12-string guitar) and a short Bible study. Depending on what's going on here, there may be anywhere from 6 or 8 staff to as many as 12 or 15.Sometimes we host staff, visitors and volunteers in our little apartment for a meal and some fellowship. Here is Timo, Anika and baby Sylvie, from Germany, who took a three month vacation from their jobs in Germany to come and volunteer here in the U.S. at the Liebenzell Mission headquarters.
A couple of times, one of our missionary staff in Micronesia who was on furlough in the States would come by the Mission headquarters and see us. Here Anne and I are pictured with Schooley's Mountain regulars Mike and Jane Galley as we have a nice lunch with one such Liebenzeller, as we are called. Rob Watt is the coordinator of our PIBC Teaching Facility on the island of Palau. He came by for a day, and we had a refreshing time of fellowship. Another Liebenzeller, Melissa Heck, was also in the States this summer. She is our PIBC Dean of Women at our Guam campus. She also came by to see us a couple of times actually, but alas! the picture we took turneth not out!
We have taken several "support raising" trips down south, mainly to North Carolina. We have become very close to two different families in Clemmons, and friends with many, many others. These two families have hosted desserts and introduced Anne and I to may of their friends to try and help us raise more support. Teresa and Walter Falardeau and their family have been a haven of friendship, dependability and fellowship for us. We had a picnic in the nearby town of Lewisville this summer and watched one of their daughters in an outdoor production of Oklahoma!
David and Jill Mayer, with daughters Anna and Christen, have hosted us the last several times we've visited. Their family has also been a haven of fellowship, support and friendship, all contained in a fun-filled family environment. Here the Mayers are pictured inside the unfinished new house they are building, and they let me help sometimes!
OK, so what's this? This a picture of the broken ankle of one of our new missionaries who lives in North Carolina and is currently raising her financial support to come to Guam to work at PIBC. Her name is Stephanie Cooper. I've stopped by several times this summer to train her in raising support, and encourage her when "things broke down!"
And of course you can't forget about family. Every time I go south, I visit with the Talatos, this time to help celebrate Krystal's birthday.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
After delivering her, intending to only stay a couple of hours, Anne and I got back in the car and started driving away. Five miles down the road, we could hear something was terribly wrong with the car we were driving, that Toyota RAV4 you’ve seen in previous pictures. To make a long story short, it turned out to be a broken water pump.
But the Lord brought together all the elements of a rather entertaining drama that was to last for the next eight hours. We were in the middle of Amish country surrounded by buggies and plenty of farms, it was late Saturday afternoon, but the Lord provided us with an open auto parts store, a one armed backyard mechanic named Horace, a rainless, cool summer night in Horace’s backyard to get the car worked on, plenty of wood blocks to jack the car up, and another helper named Billy.
Thanks to Adrian, who provided transportation carting me all around the country-side looking for parts, and a place to stay in his house for the night since we weren’t going to be going anywhere for a while. Adrian and I used our four arms to hold the flashlights while Horace and Billy provided the brains and the muscles in their collective three arms to do the work, dismantling half the engine just to get to the water pump, unbolting the engine from the car’s frame so they could alternately raise and lower it to get at the bolts in the tight places holding the broken water pump.
As they confronted the monster-stuck, hard-to-get-at bolts, Adrian and I prayed. Actually, we fasted and prayed (we didn’t have dinner). We prayed for each bolt to come loose, and rejoiced when each one finally did. It was all extremely interesting as I watched Horace and Billy creatively confront jam after jam with backyard ingenuity, at one point even using a 6-foot long 2 X 4, a 4 foot length of metal chain, and a magnet.
When they finally got at the broken water pump, it was time for Adrian and me to pray for Horace and Billy to find the right place for each unloosed bolt, because there were an awful lot of them lying on the ground. The engine would alternately be raised and lowered again and again as each bolt was prayed into place. At midnight, the work was finally done, we could all go to sleep, and give thanks to the Lord for letting it all happen so close to friends like Adrian, Joann, Horace and Billy.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
One of their daughters, Carmen, is working as a missionary midwife in Davao City in the Philippines. She's a little younger than our daughter Amy, but she sent me this picture of herself "in action" helping this young Filipina mother-to-be get ready to deliver her baby. Carmen and I often chat online via Skype. She's a young woman filled with faith, working for the Lord in a land and culture quite different from her own. She bears strong testimony to the faith of her parents.
Christina, or Ina, as she likes to be called, was also in the States volunteering to do ministry in a local church about three hours drive away. Even though we only spent little time together, our bond in the Spirit was instant.
We actually have a peach tree (I think - it looks like a peach tree now) outside the front door to our apartment.