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.