Monday, June 30, 2008

My Assignment from the Lord

While my colleagues from Liebenzell Mission in Micronesia and from PIBC were celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Gospel's arrival in Palau last week, and doing business with the Lord at the annual PIBC Board meeting there, my assignment from the Lord was to take a break from my studies and deliver a series of messages from God's Word to a small group of pastors in a retreat setting 1/2 hour away from Schooley's Mountain, a place called Liberty Corner. These pastors came from several places in the U.S. Several are relatively new in the ministry, and several are retired missionaries who still pastor churches. Seven messages covered topics like passion, attitude, teamwork, and honoring one another.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The One-Armed Backyard Mechanic

One of our friends from Guam, Dianne Shelton, from Trinidad, but who lives in Guam, came to Schooley’s Mountain for a visit. After staying with us a few days, we drove her three hours west to stay a few weeks with her brother, Adrian, and his wife, Joann, who live close to Lancaster, PA.

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.

A Plan to Root against the Hokies?

Anne and I recently took a trip down south, landing in Winston-Salem and Clemmons, trusting the Lord to introduce us to some more people who would be interested in becoming financial supporters in our ministry, since we need about $700 in new monthly support before we can go back to Guam. We stayed with David and Jill Mayer, and their two girls, Kristen and Anna, whom we’ll introduce and share a little bit about in the future. But while we were there, we got the treat of spending a little time with Josh Ladd, whom the last time we saw, seemed to be a little 12-year old boy. Those of you who know Josh may be as shocked as I was to see that he’s now a 6’2”, 245 lb. offensive center for his high school’s football team, which was in the North Carolina State finals this past year. And he's only 16, and still growing! Josh’s dream is to play for NC State, then get drafted by the NFL. I told Josh that if he made the NC State football team, I would cheer for him and root for the NC State Wolfpack, even when they played against the Va. Tech Hokies. Those of you who know me, know that that’s real dedication and commitment, and maybe even a miracle.


We have been receiving all kinds of friends and visitors lately, which we really enjoy. Some are new friends, and some are friends we’ve known for years, as you’ve read. Another new friend whom we’ve just met is Stephanie Haug, from Germany. She’s here for a few weeks volunteering as a missionary worker at the Retreat Center. She knocked on our door a few days ago, stopping by just to say ‘hi.’ In the course of our conversation, we learned one of the things she was missing by being here in the United States was watching Germany play in the 2008 European Soccer Championships. The very day, the very hour she stopped by, Germany was playing Portugal in a quarter final match. I knew the game was on TV, and told her she could watch it if she liked. WOW! Did she jump for joy! I watched it with her, and I don’t know which I enjoyed more – watching the game or watching her watch the game! The word “Perfect, perfect!” was used quite a bit, especially when the game ended and Germany had won. Needless to say, she has a date to come over to our apartment and watch Germany play Spain in the semi-final match day-after-tomorrow!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Friends

They are probably going to kill me (figuratively, of course), but here are Del and Patty Stancer, long-time friends from Guam. Patty came out to Guam in 1979 as a part of the Campus Crusade ministry and, among other things, met this military guy named Del. In the wedding that followed, Patty actually asked me to "give her away" as her fill-in dad. They normally don't look like this (Del's hair is usually much shorter!), but they also came for a visit.
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.

A New Friend

This is Christina Scheck, from Germany. We had just met her a few minutes ago, but felt like we knew her for much longer. She has two brothers, Heiko and Jens, who came to Micronesia a few years ago as volunteers for our ministry there. When I visited Germany in 2002, Heiko and Jens toured me around their village, Ulm, and we enjoyed great fellowship, even though a German-English dictionary was necessary for much of the time.
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.

The Colors of Spring

Spring came, and it was beautiful around here.
We actually have a peach tree (I think - it looks like a peach tree now) outside the front door to our apartment.
Anne could tell you what these flowers are. All I know is that they look very pretty.
And a cherry tree right outside the Guesthouse.


It's been a little while (OK, a long while!) since I posted an entry. I've just been trying to roll along on my LAST COURSE for my degree!!! Maybe I'll write more about that later. Anyway, I'll review a little bit here. One of the cool things that happened is that our daughter, Amy, visited us here at Schooley's Mountain a few weeks ago. We went into New York City, Philadelphia, visited some of the nearby shops, and thoroughly enjoyed her presence here with us.

One of the things that happened while she was here, Jason, Kristy and Kelsey came for a weekend visit. We can't begin to tell you how great this was. The only one missing was Amy's husband, Matt.

Joe, one of the Retreat Ministries staff, introduced us to the biggest rabbit I've ever seen. It weighed more than 20 lbs! That was more than our granddaughter!

Jason brought along with him Ariel Bautista, one of the members in the youth group of the church I pastored in Guam (10 years ago), who was in the Washington, D.C. area on business. Ariel and his family live on Guam and are among some of our best friends. It was very nice to see how he has grown in the Lord.