Saturday, September 30, 2006

This young lady is a student here at the University of the Nations from Mongolia. She is carrying her nation's flag during the opening night ceremony. We saw 33 young people carrying 33 different nations' flags representing the 33 nations from which the students hail. Additionally, there are staff members here from even more nations. Opening night to the fall quarter was an amazing night of praise and worship in song and dance, including many native Hawaiian numbers.

Please pray that all the people from all these many cultures will come together as one in Christ as we learn to live together on campus. Because the rooms are not air conditioned, we live with windows open at all times, thus all noises, conversations, etc. (including the jumping of our two year old) are very shared. Praise God for His amazing power to bring together His children for His purposes!!!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

You can read about some exciting happenings in the Island Nation of Fiji here: http://
The above picture shows a "high chief" in Fiji with Mark Anderson and Loren Cunningham of YWAM and two pastors in Fiji. Mark is one of the YWAM leaders involved in another strategic partnership between missions organizations. I will write more about that later.
Check out this link: This is a strategic mission partnership between the IMB, YWAM, Wycliffe, Campus Crusade, and TransWorld Radio. David Hamilton, the U of N Provost, is the liaison for YWAM to One Story, and he is based here in Kona. Dr. Grant Lovejoy and Avery Willis, both with the IMB, are orality experts who are helping drive the partnership as well, and they have been to the U of N multiple times this year. You can read more about it at the attached pdf, which contains the quarterly magazine of the U of N:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


One example of an exciting to ministry tool is the continuing development of 4K. The map below, difficult to see because I've taken a shrunken sample for this post, is an example of what 4K will enable missionaries to do when they are determining their strategic focus.

The International Coordinator of 4K for Youth With a Mission, Dustin Barrington, defines it this way: “4k” is a global information system that uses databases and maps to visually represent where we are, and more importantly, where we are NOT... in our progress toward reaching the entire world with the Gospel. By helping the different parts of the Body of Christ to understand how they relate to one another 4k creates a foundation for global partnership, strategy development and mobilization.
How does "4k" work? “4k” is a tool that uses political boundaries, population and the availability of the gospel to divide the entire world into 4,379 “4k zones.” - Where the gospel is widely available, 4k zones have a limit of 9 million in population.- Where the gospel is partially available, 4k zones have a limit of 6 million in population.- Where the gospel is not available, 4k zones have a limit of 3 million in population. 4k zones use the recognized boundaries that the nations of the world have established for their own administrative levels (e.g. country, states, provinces, regions, etc). By using existing geopolitical boundaries, 4k is able to make huge amounts of ‘public access’ research and statistics easily accessible to Christians in a highly visual and interactive format. There are currently over 200 pieces of statistical and demographic data available for each 4k zone through a cutting edge web-based dynamic map generation tool developed by the 4k team.
“Go into ALL the world” 4k includes the entire world while gently focusing on where the gospel is needed most. 4k visually represents reality in a way that causes us to perceive things that have previously escaped our attention. 4k is a tool that helps us, as the Body of Christ, to work together to fulfill the ‘Great Commission.’ See..See the world in a new way...the way it really is...Pray...Pray therefore to the Lord of the Harvest... to send laborers into His harvest fields...Hear...Hear from God about how to respond... “ here am I, send me…”GO!“ Go into all the world…” “Go and make disciples…” 4kA visual tool… communicating God’s vision… to a visual generation…
For more about 4K go to and The work in progress at the beta site is still "in progress." But it will give you an idea of the work being done and what is to come. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Meet Marie Noelle Kok, a beautiful and godly woman from Cameroon, who is expecting her first baby in October. We met Marie Noelle and Paul, her husband from Canada, when we were first at the University of the Nations in July. Tara attended her baby shower the other evening.
She had this sad revelation at the shower. Never before, at any baby shower she has attended, have the women prayed together for the expectant mother and baby. NOT EVEN ONCE! Please understand that Tara has had three children of her own, each of which occasioned multiple showers. Then, she has attended dozens of others. Moreover, it is likely that almost, if not all, of those showers were thrown for "Christian" moms by "Christian" women.
Has this been your experience? I doubt that it is unique to the places we have lived in Arkansas. Why would this be true? Why wouldn't the focus of a baby shower be asking God's blessing upon the new life and the parents of that child? Why do we let the trappings of our culture, of gifts and cake and "fellowship," distract us from our relationship with Christ? Besides the fact we are commanded to pray without ceasing, what other occasions would this be true of? What would make a "Christian" gathering at a baby shower any different than any other party thrown for someone?
For the men reading this post, ask your wives and others who do attend such matters. Let me know what you find out. Ladies, do you think that Tara's experience is unusual? And, for everyone reading this, let's do all we can to change this. Don't let another opportunity like a Christmas party or a baby shower go by without bringing the focus of the gathering to the place it should be... a focus upon God and His blessing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.\

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

We have been praying for a car for use while we are here at the University of the Nations. We had the use of someone else's car for our first week here and had to return it this evening. So, after doing much asking around, trying to find a way to borrow someone else's car, rent a car, or buy a "junker," we were prepared to try to buy one today as nothing else had panned out. We hoped that we could buy something that wouldn't have mechanical issues and that we could ultimately resell at the end of our stay here in December.

The power of prayer and the medium of blogging is amazing. A young lady in Canada had seen both our blog and the blog of Ben and Angie Wicks, from Seattle, Washington ( Ben and Angie have been here at the U of N since June, in the Crossroads DTS. We met them when we were here in July and have communicated with them ever since. They purchased a car when they arrived and were going to try to resell it now that they are leaving for Fiji on a two-month mission outreach with their two young children, Sam (6) and Katie (4). Recently, she emailed Ben and Angie that we needed a car, because she knew that they were trying to sell theirs. She had no idea that we already knew each other and that God was already moving in our hearts toward sharing the car! But her email also reminded the Wicks to see if we might be able to help them with the car.

Today, just as I was about to go to a used car dealer to buy a car, Ben called me and asked whether Tara and I could use the car in exchange for being the contact person for people who wanted to buy the car. That seemed like a good answer to prayer, because it would provide us a car free of charge for at least a little while until something more permanent could come along. It is a nice 2002 White PT Cruiser. He told me the details of what he was asking and hoping to get for it, but said that he felt like it would be hard to resell it here because of the limited number of people on the island (there are only about 150,000 people on the entire Big Island of Hawaii).

As soon as we got off the phone, God spoke to me directly and gave me an idea, telling me to call Ben right back. So, I did. I told Ben that I wasn't sure if this would be a good idea to him, but that I thought it would be perfect for us if we simply used his car for all three months and then paid to have the car shipped to Seattle, where the Wicks are from, so that they could have the car for sale in the Seattle market. He said he liked the idea, but that he wanted to think and pray about it.

After prayerful consideration, the deal was struck. God provided the Rileys a much nicer car than they felt they could afford (and it even has air conditioning!!) at a price that will be less than anything else than they could have done short of having a car gifted to them. Add to that the fact that yesterday I received a phone call from one of our friends telling me he wanted to send us a check that will be the amount of shipping for the vehicle!!!

Ben gave me the keys to the car at 5 p.m., as they were leaving for Fiji. I gave Dawn Gauslin the keys to her car just an hour later. Tonight we rejoiced in this blessing by taking all five of us on a drive around Kona and finishing with a piece of mud pie right by the ocean.

In addition to the car, Tara today was given sheets, pillows, floor rugs, a fan, books, decorations, and a multitude of other nice gifts by the Wicks and Nick and Jen Greener, another young couple leaving today for Fiji with their two children. We were truly overwhelmed with many blessings of things we really weren't prepared to buy but that will be very useful to our family.

Please pray for the Greeners and the Wicks as they travel to Fiji over the next 24 hours. Please pray that their families will not eat or drink anything that will be harmful to their bodies over the next 2 months and that God will protect them from all disease. Pray that they will bear joyfully the gospel of Christ every where they go, demonstrating God's love to the people of Fiji. Pray also that the Greeners and the Wicks will know where the Lord is leading them after their outreach to Fiji. The Wicks feel led to work with college students, but they have no idea what that might mean. The Greeners desire to go overseas to staff a YWAM base, but they don't know where God is leading them. There are probably 20-25 others with them; pray for the entire team. And praise God for His faithfulness to us. He is truly AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Some of you may be reading my blog for the first time. Please allow me this first paragraph to catch you up to speed on our family's lives. We recently left our careers as an attorney and an occupational therapist to enter the mission field with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) As a result, we are now in Kona, Hawaii, at the University of the Nations,, serving as operational support for the University campus through the end of this year. If you read more of my posts below you will see some of the amazing things God has done in our lives as He has taken us on this journey. This is actually our second time to the U of N, as we first came to learn about YWAM during the month of July 2006.
Also, you can go to our website, at, and see our mission, newsletters (,com_docman/Itemid,36/task,cat_view/gid,18/) and other information about us. This post, however, is dedicated to explaining who was one of the key people God used to help us find God's way for our lives. That person was none other than Wade Burleson, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma. Although some may criticize Wade or wonder about his commitment to missions and evangelism, I can attest to the mighty ways in which God uses men like Wade based on my personal experience. Not only have I seen him witness to a waiter in a restaurant at the drop of a hat, I also know he is committed to helping young men and women like my wife and me succeed as we transition into the mission field.
Along my journey over the past 6-9 months I have twice asked Wade for specific counsel. He has become somewhat of a mentor to me after first meeting him while I was serving on a pastor search team. He struck me as being a man of God's word, of strong conviction and leadership skills, and of great and passionate grace. I've been blessed to visit his church and his home, as well as to spend many hours listening to his sermons via the intranet.
The first time I sought his counsel was simply an email message in passing. I knew he was very busy with the Southern Baptist Convention approaching and all that was being said in the blog world. I hated to bother him. So, several months ago I sent him an email that said little more than, if you were going to consider going into the mission field, what organizations would you recommend? His brief email response named three organizations, the first of which was YWAM. It struck an odd but good chord within me as I had known a couple of families who had ventured out with YWAM and who recommended it highly. At that point, I didn't even know if I was really being called to missions, seminary, or just a different job than the one I was working as an attorney.
Fast forward to August 4, 2006, the last Friday I was set to be in Hawaii this summer, and the Friday upon which I was called by Loren Cunningham, the Founder of YWAM, at 6:45 a.m. to consider some special projects for him. We (Tara and me) were overwhelmed by the request and had already planned to do something completely different. We simply wanted to return to NW Arkansas, take 3 months to build support, and then go to a discipleship training school within YWAM to learn how to become missionaries. We had no grandiose plans or desire to take on any new responsibilities. We were already overwhelmed with the changes we were making and did not believe we had the strength to do anything else. In essence, we said "no." But, at Loren's request, we committed to consider the request in prayer and specifically knew that if God truly wanted us to take on this new request that we would need a very clear answer from Him.
On that Friday, I emailed a dozen or so men who are close friends and counselors. Wade was one of those men. My family then took the weekend to see the Big Island of Hawaii for the first time by renting a car for the weekend (we had been on foot at the YWAM base prior to that time). During that weekend of fun and relaxation we didn't talk much about it, but we prayed. I had also requested in my email that my counselors would pray and seek God's word for us.
On Monday, August 7th, I then began calling some of those who were praying for us. I called Wade right in the middle of a marriage counseling session, so he then called me back later. Our discussion was incredible. He didn't overspiritualize things and ask me questions like "have you prayed," or "what verses of scripture have you looked at." Instead, he immediately went to the bottom line and asked how would God provide financially for such a venture (because all positions in YWAM are support based only and not paid any compensation), and what my wife, Tara, felt.
Both of those practical concerns basically advised against making such a move from our plans. I was, frankly, relieved, because at that point was much more comfortable with our plan. We also discussed other aspects of the "job" such as "fit" with my strengths, etc. In sum, I was thinking that I had been given great advice and that such advice fit well with what I was already thinking, which was to continue on with our plan and not take on this new opportunity Loren Cunningham had presented us. (So, of course, it sounded like great advice (smile)). Moreover, Wade noted that God was interested in my heart, and that unless I heard a clear word from God to take a particular path, so long as my heart was in the right place, the place of obeying and following Him no matter the call, then I couldn't make a "wrong" choice.
There is always a "but." So.... BUT, then we prayed together. After we prayed, Wade asked me a question that I thought was odd. I assumed he must have gone back to discussing the financial realities of returning to Hawaii, if I were to undertake Loren's opportunity. He asked what it had cost my family of 5 to get to Hawaii. I was thinking to myself, I'm not sure it really matters now, because I'm pretty much not thinking at all of returning. But, I told him that our tickets were almost $800 per person.
He then brought me to a burst of uncontrollable tears with this statement: "Bryan, I really don't think it matters at all which choice you make, and I won't be concerned at all about either choice, but, if you do decide to return to Hawaii to work with Loren, know that I've got your family's plane tickets."
You see, at this point, we had not asked anyone for a dime. I wasn't asking people for money. I simply wanted to get back home, be able to explain what our mission and plans were, and then start raising support. We had undertaken all the expenses for making this transition and exploratory venture in July, and we really hadn't fully committed yet in a way that seemed fair to ask people for support. Meanwhile, I'm praying that God would give us a clear sign that He was calling us. And, here I am, talking to Wade Burleson, a man whom I knew through a pastor search team process, but not in any way where we had been in ministry together, and suddenly am being offered a gift of several thousand dollars. The fear that overtook my comfort was overwhelming to the point of a multitude of tears running down my face. I felt as though God must have spoken audibly through Wade at that moment.
Then the fear of telling my wife hit me. You see, earlier that day she had told me that this still wasn't even on her radar screen and I had agreed. So, I simply cried. Poor Wade, who was still on the other end of the phone, as I tried to blubber my way to good bye.
I'll never forget walking in to tell Tara and her looking at me and saying: "What is wrong with you?" It makes me laugh even now, because it wasn't with that concerned look on her face she said it. She knew I had been talking to some of the people I had emailed, so to the extent she was concerned it was more about whether I was actually considering taking Loren up on his offer, not about any reason I might be crying.
Then, one by one, nearly all of the other men I called felt that God was moving us toward returning to Hawaii. And, through the nudges of the Holy Spirit (and I think for the first time in our marriage without me trying to persuade), Tara saw that it was a part of the plan for us, too. And, so, we returned just 6 days ago to the University of the Nations and have been so blessed throughout this journey of faith and obedience.
Thank you to all of the men who prayed for and counseled me throughout this process. You blessed my family tremendously. Thank you to Alan Cross, Kevin McCollum, Kevin Bussey, Mike Roberts, Robby Bader, Rob Husong, David Roth, David Price, Bill Barley, Bryan McKinney, James Cooper, John Ray, David Spruell, Wade Burleson, Paul Burleson, Kevin Sanders, HD McCarty, Jim Hightower, Jim Nizza, Andy Huddleston, Steve Pulliam, and Jody Farrell. Okay, that was more than a dozen, but praise the Lord there is success with many advisers! (Proverbs 15:22).
This post's picture is taken at the entry way to the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. The U of N is absolutely an amazing place. Please allow me to explain.

First, there are hundreds of people here year round all seeking to know God better and to learn how to make Him known more. Every quarter, like what is happening this week, hundreds leave campus to go on outreaches and hundreds of new students show up to prepare for other outreaches. I know people who are leaving this week to go to Fiji, the Solomon Islands (where there is no electricity or running water), Guatemala, France, Japan, and I am sure there are other locations of which I am unaware.

Because some are leaving this week, we were blessed to move on campus at the same time. We did not know what all that would entail. Our room is beautiful. It is designed for air flow from the ocean and the mountains behind us and looks something like you might see on the side of a Colorado mountain. We have a small loft and plenty of space for the five of us. It is probably 600 or more square feet. What we didn't know is that all that is provided in the rooms are beds and chest of drawers. But, here's what happens when Christians live Christ-like and in community. Today a guy shows up in a truck with a refrigerator and a sofa in the back of his truck. What does he charge for supplying it, bringing it, and helping me move it into our place? Nothing. Just a thank you and a smile. He's been here before. He told us that his home and his truck were gifts from God and he simply wants to pass all he can on to others.

In addition, there is this incredible little place on campus called the "Boutique." It's not a hair salon or anything like that. Instead, it is a place where people in the community of the University of the Nations leave anything they no longer need behind. If there is something in there you need, you can simply take it, for FREE. So, we ventured in today and found towels, dishes, linens, shoes, uniforms for Keaton and Regan (at their preschool they wear uniforms), insect repellant, and so on and so on. I seem to recall that the early churches did similar things. And, please, understand that this isn't junk. There are perfectly good computer printers, coffee makers, clothing, etc. in the boutique. People simply leave anything behind they can't take with them on outreaches or back to the mainland or they leave such things behind simply as a gift for someone in more need than they are.

The U of N truly is a remarkable place. Not only are thousands of men, women, and children being trained to share the gospel of Christ, they are also living it out here, sharing with those in need all that they are and have. I'm looking out on the campus from our new home. All is quiet. It's about 9:45 p.m. Hawaiian time. My kids have finally knocked off and all I hear are the sounds of our box fans increasing our air flow for comfort. We have a beautiful "new" used refrigerator (seriously, the man who gave it to us completely cleaned it up and even repainted it--it looks new) in which we can put milk and ice cream and other "necessities" (smile). We do have some annoying lights right outside our bedside windows, but otherwise we are incredibly blessed.

We are still praying for a vehicle and now hope to obtain a few rugs, a few more towels and sheets, and other odds and ends to make our new home a little more "homey." Thank you for all of your prayers and love from afar. Know that in this neck of the woods people are genuinely trying to follow the example of Christ, sharing all that they are and have with other brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a lot to learn...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Wow. We made it. At this point it feels like barely. We are tired. We arrived at our apartment in Kona at about 6:00 p.m. Hawaiian time, which would be 11:00 p.m. in Arkansas (CST). We got up about 4:00 a.m. CST and left our house in Arkansas at 5:00 a.m. to begin the trek across the U.S. and halfway across the Pacific Ocean with our three children, a stroller, two car seats, 9 carryons and 10 checked bags.

Praise God for the hospitality of Dawn Gauslin here in Kona. She greeted us with a big smile, hugs, and a 15-passenger van. We loaded all of the above into that and drove the 7 miles to the place we will be staying for the first 10 days here. She helped us unload everything and had our apartment ready with food, drink, flowers, candy and a card.

She then took me to go get her car and left us with the keys. We have a car to use for the first few days to help us find something more permanent.

God was also very hospitable to us because after we had gotten all settled in a beautiful, refreshing rain began falling that fell throughout the night. It was much more hospitable than the greeting we received from our downstairs neighbor. She didn't come to ask us how we were or anything about being new... she just let us know we were being too noisy. :) oops. What was scary about that was that we were so tired I didn't think we had any children bouncing off the walls, but perhaps we did.

The apartment is clean and bright. It is a little bigger than our last place but still mostly a studio feel. It has the big beautiful sliding shades to separate off a single bedroom from the pull out couch. It isn't air conditioned but the night breeze keeps things fairly temperate. The place is about 1/3 of a mile from campus, down the hill.

Friday we met with Loren to learn a little bit more about our next three months. I met one of the people I will be working with with regard to some of the accounting aspects of operations. it sounds like it is the hope that we can have a team of people who will focus on various aspects of operations, including finance, policy, strategy, etc.

After that meeting we visited the preschool where Keaton and Regan will attend. We are excited as Loren's daughter, Karen, will be Regan's teacher. The preschool is topnotch and is rated the highest on the island. This is an area of prayer as there are costs associated with their attendance and we could use some support in this area of our budget. We are also hopeful that some of Tara's work with the school will help as well. Tara got a little teary eyed anticipating their move to SCHOOL as neither Keaton nor Regan have ever attended school or even been hardly to mother's day out! She is excited for them, though, and looks forward to working with me and others on campus to support the exciting ministry of the University.

Today we spent time on a beach. A much needed respite. Look up Hapuna. It is one of the world's prettiest beaches. It is 30 minutes north of where we are.

We can't connect to the internet at our apartment, but we can here on campus. I am in the campus library taking a little break before dinner to write this. I feel very out of touch. I did see in an email from Tara's parents that the Hogs beat Vandy. I'd forgotten about the game altogether. Amazing. Not that the Hogs won, but that I'd forget about football. :)

We will move on campus in about a week. Please keep praying for us. We are glad to be here because we know God brought us, but we are beaten up. He's blessed us with many little things even since being here, but we are reminded often how much we must desperately cling to Him.

We love you. Please email us with your prayer requests, happenings, news, and needs. Or call. We definitely need your prayer support and the support of hearing from you. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is what it feels like right now. We are tired, beaten, broken, exhausted, BUT we have hope and can fold our hands in prayer because we know the One who will sustain us and who has called us. He gives us everything we need for life and godliness. He is our refuge; He is our strength. He is our help in times of trouble. We aren't, but He is. We cannot, but He can.

So as we continue packing (it's now 10:42 p.m.) to prepare for our 7:00 a.m. flight tomorrow morning (which will involve 15 hours in planes and airports to get to Kona), and as we try to get our minds wrapped around what we need for a three month jaunt, we ask that you, as you feel the same way, fold your hands in prayer. We aren't the only ones here, reading this, who feel broken and beaten, run over by the proverbial Mack truck. And, being able to acknowledge that we are weak and turn to the One who can pick us back up and give us hope and renew our strength, will enable us to soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Praise our heavenly Father together with us! And, as you experience His healing power, please pray that we will continue to fold our hands in prayer and praise to Him throughout our journey. We are completely unable to do this, but He graciously plans to use us to assist hundreds, perhaps thousands, in their desire to obey the Great Commission as we work together at the University of the Nations (, a YWAM ( campus.

We sure would love to have many join us! "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today was one of those days where all Tara and I could do was cling to God's promises like the one found in James 1:2-5: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

I am so thankful that God is in control. I am so grateful that He has the plans. I can stop and say thanks even though the enemy is using so many things to try to make me believe that God is powerless to save me. On days like this I fully realize that if I were to live based on what makes sense to me, I am not sure I'd be alive. It is in this humbling realization that God shows me that in spite of all the fiery darts of the enemy, an enemy who is a roaring lion seeking to devour us, I can delight in Him, take refuge in Him, and truly taste and see that the Lord is good. I can remember His grace and that in spite of my human heart know that He who began a good work in me will see it through to completion.

For any who might be reading this, what practical things do you do or steps do you take when you are in a bleak moment? When it seems like God is far away or you aren't sure you can hear His voice? How does He comfort you and bring you back to "pure joy"?

As you think about your answer, take to heart these verses: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer." 2 Corinthians 1:3-6

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just a quick update to say that we are being blessed daily with additional funds for our ministry. Thank you, God! This verse spoke volumes to me this morning from Psalm 68:19-20. "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death."

Oh, and for all who struggle in their calling, remember these words from Isaiah 48:17. "This is what the LORD says-- your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." These are words of encouragement to simply rest in Him and His purpose for you. Trust Him and follow in faith.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Get this... The above picture is not us in hawaii. It was taken in January of 2006, well before we heeded God's call to the mission field. It hails from the days when I really didn't live in the reality of the fact I needed God desperately; instead, this is from a cruise we all took, with my wife's parents and sister's family, in honor of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. This is from the days when I could just write a check or use a credit card and pay for such things and not ask God about it.

Now, I'm in a different place. We can't just write a check. We need your prayers. We need your emotional support. We need your financial support. We need Him. We are leaving Arkansas in 8 days. Here are our prayer needs: (1) We don't have a place to live yet in Hawaii. We arrive by jet on September 14th, but we aren't sure of where we will lay our five heads that first evening; (2) We don't have a vehicle to get us from place to place there; (3) At this time, in about week 3 of support raising, we are at about 33% of needed funds; (4) That we would continue to trust God and not get anxious in spite of numers 1-3 above.

To all my blogging friends, please pray earnestly!!!! Please consider whether you can support us. Please tell others about our journey. If you dont' know much about YWAM, please know it is the largest interdenominational missions organization in the world and the University of the Nations, where I will be providing leadership, turns about 1500 or more missionaries every year to places all over the globe! If you have questions about all the things God has been doing, please let me know and I'd love to tell you more. Also, just look back at some of the things I've written in the past month or so. And, feel free to visit, our family's ministry website. Pray that we rest in His arms and not in our strength!! Thank you!!! Grace and Peace to You!!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Life of Riley
Our first newsletter, aptly entitled "The Life of Riley" can be found in Adobe here:
Please give it a looksee. We are so grateful that He will provide all our needs. It is strange to step out without having a salary for the first time in my life, not knowing where the money will come from, but it is good to know that it is in His hands.
"My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body." Proverbs 4:20-22.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


It's 6:00 on Sunday evening and we have a free night...the first one in a while. I'm cooking sausage and pancakes on my famous griddle while typing this story. and, Ok, I will confess, I have been reading Blue Like Jazz. If you haven't read it, do.

So, last Friday I had three appointments lined up, none of them support raising, and then I had a possible lunch set up, again, not a support raising meeting. The first, a meeting with an insurance agent, was set up for 7:30 a.m. I arrived bright and early at his office, but he wasn't there. He had forgotten. We finally were able to get together at 8. Not a big deal, really, but as a result the other meetings I had scheduled at 9 and 10 all had to be pushed back 30 minutes.

About 10, while still at my 9:00 meeting, the 10 o'clock called to see if we should reschedule altogether. I told him that we could still meet at 10:30 if that would be okay. He was fine with that but wanted to change our location. So, we did.

Meanwhile, while I was still wrapping up the original 9:00 meeting, my 10 o'clock was sitting outside a coffee bar sipping a latte of some sort. A fellow church member sees his car, on his way home from work, and stops to chat.

I finally make it there about 10:30 and see that the guy I was meeting is there talking to this person I don't know (yet). In addition, understand that my 10 o'clock meeting is with a guy I haven't seen in 25 years and who also is in full-time ministry/missions. He raises support for his ministry, too.

As I walk up, this other "mystery man" introduces himself ("Mike") and then takes a seat at a nearby table to allow Bill, who is now William, and I to talk. And talk we do. Bill, now William, is one of those guys who just has an almost European flair to him, even though he has been in Arkansas (plus a few countries) for most of his life. If I remember correctly he actually is related to none other than Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and also is an accomplished writer himself.

While Euro Bill and I talk, the Holy Spirit is working on the silent Mike. He is a young man, trying to build a business, who has had some difficult times. He drove up in a well loved, dented up vehicle.

Have you ever seen someone who is struggling with doing what he knows in his heart God has spoken to him to do? I mean, just this morning, I was struggling with the fact that i knew God was telling me to go down and pray at the altar during the offering time. I kept thinking, "oh, people will think I am seeking attention," and "I can just bow in my heart right here; it's just a personal thing." But, thankfully, the next words of the song were something about on bended knee, so I managed to push my reluctant body and heart up to the altar to pray.

Mike was battling that same battle. He was fidgety and nervous as he approached us and shared the following. I don't know what all had gone through his head while Bill and I talked for the 20 or so minutes he had been sitting nearby, thumbing through a phone book. Mike shared, "God knows I really struggle with trusting him and especially with money, but I just know I have to give you some." He looked almost like my 5 year old when he has to go potty. :) Bill immediately handed him my newsletter that I had just shown Bill and said, "here's your guy."

The next thing I know Mike is running off to an ATM and bringing me back $80. Why did this happen? How does God work? I don't know, but I am amazed by it. My whole day gets moved back 30 minutes and the location of my final appointment changes at the last minute. As a result, random $80 guy, Mike, shows up just to bless my family with $80. God knew just what both Mike and I needed. I needed manna and Mike needed to obey. And I am so thankful to the Father that his two children, Mike and me, decided to obey on that day.

Now, may I be faithful with what he has entrusted to me.

Have a happy Labor Day.