Sunday, October 29, 2006

God is absolutely amazing. I wish I could claim credit for this day, because it was a day perfectly designed for God to use Tara and me to teach our children about perseverance. It's like I designed this and wrote an excellent book around raising my boys, like the one above: But, no, God gets all the glory for creating the perfect day for a lesson in perseverance.

One of the first main sights greeting us as we neared our destination was this. If you look behind the three large ones up close, you will see that the ones further back have lost some of their arms, are rusty, and, what you cannot see, is that none of them are working. The purpose for which these huge windmills were designed, on one of the windiest places in America, is left unfulfilled because none of the machines are still in working order.

This location is almost to South Point on the Big Island. It is the southernmost tip of the United States. It is REMOTE. We saw few cars, a few fisherman, a few houses with some resident goats (click on the funky tree to see them), and no signs of merchandising or anything open to the public for purchase.
We drove past this eerie sight, eerie because it seemed like a place for a horror flick, a display of death. Whomever was in charge of maintaining this excellent producer of electricity for the Big Island failed to persevere in their task.

We were following a wonderful guidebook to our destination. If you ever make it here to see the active volcanoes or to enjoy a step back to a more laid back America, please purchase or borrow this book. It will take you step by step through everything, especially if you are really good at following directions.

That is where I got off track. :) The book described a parking lot, and, we drove down a one lane bumpy road that used to be two lanes but, again, a lack of perseverance and care has resulted in the road becoming difficult for cars that don't have 4WD. And, we found a parking lot. There were many fisherman and other cars there, so I assumed it was the place where we would have to park and begin hiking. You see, we have a little PT Cruiser to use while we are here. It is not made for 4WD roads. And, past the "parking lot" I thought I was at were roads only for 4WD vehicles. We knew we'd need to hike, and the book told us it was about a 2.25 mile hike.

I loaded Regan, my two-year old into a backpack (she's close to 40 pounds) and then Tara, Tanner (7) and Keaton (5) all had to fend for themselves.
What fun!!! We are off on what will be a lengthy hike for my two boys, but what a great time we will all have as a family! Meanwhile, interestingly enough, the video we watched the night previous on our laptop and then again in the car was a Veggie Tales video about... guess....


Isn't it amazing how God knows just what to be preparing you for????!!!!

So, off we go. 2.25 miles one way shouldn't be too bad. We'll rest at our destination and then return the 2.25 miles after a refreshing dip in the ocean.

We hiked for 40 minutes along the ocean front on this southernmost tip of the United States. It looked like this.
And we were having a grand time. The noise of huge crashing waves (there are no breakers on this coastline), the clear blue skies, the occasional sea birds crying, and the steadiness of feet padding along. Unfortunately, after 40 minutes of hiking along so happily, as we topped one hill we were greeted with this sight.

If you click on the picture and look between two of the vehicles you will see a gate. Well, the book tells you about this gate as the marker where the 2.25 miles begins. So, we had been hiking along for 40 minutes, over a mile, to be greeted by the fact that we had at least another 2.25 miles to go. We don't want to go back; we can't. You see, we are headed to a beach that is the only one like it in the world. It has GREEN sand, made from the mineral olivine. The sand is a mixture of lava and olivine, so it has green and black sand particles all throughout it. My wife is such a trooper and has so much determination and perseverance. So, we march on. Regan's forty pound pack is heavy, and I've been suffering from a neck/shoulder injury, but I definitely do not want to stop now. And, amazingly, I watch my five-year old suck it up and take off!

Enough of the build... We finished and were greeted by these incredible views. Please enjoy them because we finished strong to obtain these photos and a little bit of the mystical green sand, even a little in Tara's ears, in the girls' bathing suits, on our feet, etc. :)

The below, if you look closely, shows Tara about to be buried under a huge wave.Still smiling, even though we are getting ready to make the extended journey back...
Looking back after we leave...

AND GOING.... (click to see them off in distance)
Regan had it pretty good. Dad decided to take a break. We were almost there...

After all of this, which we estimated ended up being about 7 miles of hiking in 3.5 hours (we did stop at the beach for a couple of hours for a total of almost 6 hours), we drove the 60 miles back to Kona, treating ourselves along the way with an excellent find of a restaurant. (Oh, i forgot to mention, we didn't plan ahead well and ended up not having lunch at poor kiddoes). The restaurant is the first Mexican restaurant we've found here that actually tasted Mexican (not that we've tried many, but there aren't many around either). It was Senor Billy's located in Captain Cook, Hawaii. Ha. What a name and a place for good Mexican.

Oh, and, besides the fact that the entire day was filled with lessons on perseverance, including ol' Larry and Bob chortling in our backseat all the way, these are some of the verses that God keeps hitting me over the head with of late:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3.

I suppose I better take note. I know I want to finish strong, just as my family did today.

Buenos noches!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Earthquake cleanup in Makapala

Here I go again, living vicariously through the amazing work of God in the lives of others and reporting on the miraculous hand of God here at the University of the Nations. I received the below email about 2 minutes ago and immediately felt led by the Lord to share it with you. Please pray for Jonathan Stoner and the Compassion DTS. We were so moved by Jonathan's work that we have supported him in the past and I would challenge all my readers to pray about whether they can support his ministry or the ministry of the Compassion DTS. (He is the one standing in the back in the picture above, second from the right.) I would be glad to facilitate such giving (and yes, we rely solely on the support of others for our ministry, too, but God is plenty big enough to take care of us all). Read more about the Compassion DTS here.

Here is the email I received from Jonathan:

Hello friends and family,

This last weekend our Compassion DTS worked at one of the Ironman Aid Stations on the coastal highway. Our job was to supply Gatorade, Cola, Water and food to the athletes as they rode by on their bikes. The difficult part is that the bikers are all going about 20 miles an hour or more so you have to start running before they reach you and then time the hand off of the food or drink properly so they don't drop it. I'm happy to report that I only had two Gatorade drops of the thousand plus athletes. I was so psyched up about the experience that I didn't stop running the entire 4 hours except for a 15 minute lunch break. My calves suffered and for the next couple of days I could only limp around our Makapala base.

This week the lectures have been focused on the cross and the Lordship of Christ in our lives. The whole school has been experiencing breakthroughs in better understanding God's character and nature but most of all in receiving His abundant love and discovering our identity as sons and daughters of the King. Our corporate times together as a school have been overwhelmingly good in every way. We are still building bridges into the Makapala community and helping our neighbors as they work on their houses, businesses and churches.

Then this morning at breakfast I felt compelled to gather a group together to pray before class. As we prayed the Holy Spirit gave the group Scriptures about sacrificial giving, the one he gave me was 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15: "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: 'He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.' Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

During class I shared this passage with the whole school and many others came forward confirming that God was asking us to give to others even as many of us are praying for the funds for Outreach. The rest of the morning resulted in a spontaneous time of giving clothing, electronics, cash, and other possessions that were hard to part with. God told me to give me my iPod to one of our students who had been praying for one for a long time. He just kept looking at me and smiling incredulously. After we gave what we felt we were supposed to give several people reported back to the group what God had done. A funny thing happened as the students and staff shared, I began laughing and weeping at the same time just overcome as I pictured Jesus smiling and laughing at the cheerful obedience of His kids. It was a morning that I hope never to forget. I am still trusting in the faithfulness of God for room and board for December and the 6-month AIDS Outreach to Uganda. Please keep me and the Compassion DTS in your prayers!

God is laughing,

Jonathan Stoner
University of the Nations
75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #5
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here I am at the University of the Nations working in missions support by helping with some administrative management at the largest YWAM base in the world. The difficult part of that is manifold; for example, (1) it isn't really what I ultimately want to do from a ministry standpoint (but God has confirmed in so many ways that this is where He is putting me for now); (2) it isn't nearly as exciting as telling someone you are headed off to some uncharted island or African nation; and (3) it is hard for people to catch a vision of supporting someone who is in Hawaii doing "legal" things or managing people or projects. So, sometimes I feel like I don't have much to tell people about my work here, at least not something that seems very important.

But, on occasion I do get to see some amazing ministry work being done by others, and I sure love sharing about that. Below is an email from friends of ours, Nick and Jen Greener, who have been in Fiji for the past four weeks doing missions work. I hope it inspires you as it has me. It reminded me of one of the reasons why we are here: to support people doing work just like the Greeners.

Greetings from Lautoka!

We’re getting settled here in Fiji. The people we’ve met have been warm and very welcoming, and YWAM has some great projects that we will be a part of throughout our time here. YWAM has a “drop-in” center for neighborhood kids here in Lautoka that we’ve all been working at—Christian loves it, and they all look forward to “Auntie Jen” helping them with a new craft each day. Nick has been working with a similar program in a squatter settlement built around the dump at the edge of the city, though instead of crafts we have a focus on teaching some basic health and hygiene skills that are so badly needed there. It's hard to describe how miserable the conditions are there-- and even more difficult considering the number of kids that live in and around the dump settlement. We’ve also been able to help with some of the ministries run out of the prison and a home for disabled children (Christian was confused and sad-- he asked to pray for a new little friend he met there "who didn't know how to stomp"). All in all, we have been getting a great amount of experience and exposure to different types of missions work.

We leave on October 24th for two weeks on one of the smaller “outer islands” in a village called Teci. There are about 200 people there, good water (when it rains) and we’ve been told that there is a small generator in the village that provides a couple hours of electricity a day to one of the buildings. It should be exciting—and as is the custom there, Nick will be expected to catch dinner for the family each day. We may come back thinner.

One of the main purposes for our time there will be to begin plans for a drinking water system that will allow for consistent potable water for the village (not just during the rainy season). If the plans come together well we may be able to have a YWAM team come in to begin construction within the next few months.

When we leave Teci we will work at the YWAM base in Suva (the capital of Fiji) up until Thanksgiving—then we’ll go back to Kona to determine where our long-term missions work will take place. There are still a number of possibilities as to where we will be for the next couple years. We are very much hoping to be in place and settled at the beginning of the new year though—living in one room as a family has made us appreciate how nice even a small apartment would be!

We'll give you all an update when we get back from Teci-- we'd appreciate your prayers for health, safety, and plenty of fish. We are having a great time, even with all the challenges that this brings. It's been fun to watch our own kids grow here! Ava is crawling, and seems almost ready to walk. Christian is doing great, and we're all healthy after a tough couple weeks when we first got here. We've got mosquito nets, medicine ready in case of scabies (unfortunately very common here), and we've taken our pills to help prevent elephantitis. Christian took the pills for elephantitis, but wants to know if we can somehow get tiger-itis for him. (end of email)

I love it. The way God works through people following His call. The way He works in the lives of those people following His call. How he can have a zillion things going on all at the same time, for His purpose and His plan, and it is all for the best for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. WOW! Isn't God AMAZING? PRAISEWORTHY? THE BESTEST!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Well worth the read: Molly on our favorite alien, Jesus
I am so glad I have Jesus. This past week was a very long one. It is cliche, but , as I have gotten older, most days, weeks and years really have seemed shorter. But, after last Sunday's earthquake (which I have since learned lasted 60 SECONDS (pictures in a couple of posts somewhere below)), a week during which my wife, Tara, was at the Ironman Sports Medicine conference much of the days, the arrival of one of Tara's best friends from Arkansas, Charla Roberts, and the Ironman Triathlon itself, time went by very slowly. Everything with the exception of the Earthquake was wonderful, and, typically such "busy-ness" would make time go by quickly. Instead, the unsettling nature of surviving a 6.7 earthquake made time crawl.

I was thinking about 60 seconds of the world shaking. Imagine being in your car with your children, at least two of which have started crying in anger at one another screaming loudly, and, instead of doing anything, just let them go at it for 60 seconds. While you are at it, turn on the radio loudly and, if you have a DVD player in the car let it go, too. Or, take a dip in your bathtub, pool, or lake and go under and hold your breath for 60 seconds. Or just do it right now. Time yourself and hold your breath for 60 seconds. See how long it takes for your digital clock to go from 7:07 to 7:08.

While Charla has been here I've slept in the bunk beds with the kids. The first night I did it, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought we were having an aftershock or another earthquake. The bed was shaking. Then, I heard my oldest son above me and realized he was just turning over. The trauma after an earthquake makes you think everything is an aftershock. Loud thuds, imagined shakes, beds moving because someone else is moving it, or simply someone shaking a table to get your goat, all of these things can be traumatic.

God teaches us through these things, and as I've written before we definitely see His power, His might, His sovereignty and His grace. This week I also had a time with Him going through some scriptures that some great friends of ours sent our way in a wonderful card of encouragement (Thanks Tommy and Lydia Tedford--I think they may have all been Lydia's handiwork). One of the scriptures was from Hebrews 12. It was so appropriate in light of the Ironman. I just had to share it here, from the NKJV, because I liked its use of the word "chastening":

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus (I love how the NASB says here "fixing our eyes on Jesus"), the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Imagine swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. It would be so much easier if at the end you knew you would get to embrace Jesus in His fullness. The reality is that much of life is just that hard, if not harder, and the other reality is that He is right there embracing you all along!) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:1-11

Oh, the joy thinking of that yield of "the peaceable fruit of righteousness"!!!! We truly can endure this race. Christ endured the race to the cross and crossed the finish line with that groan that echoes throughout all of time: "IT IS FINISHED!"

I loved how the announcer of the Ironman would announce each finisher calling them a winner. Even better was when his voice rang out across the crowd with this: "[insert name], you are an Ironman!!" I so longed to hear him say "Bryan Riley, you are an Ironman!" It helped me realize how wonderful that day will be when He says "Well done, good and faithful servant!" I can so understand, even better now, because of listening to the Ironman announcer, how incredible that day will be. I pray you will fix your eyes on Jesus, fully realize the joy set before you, and with that fixation and joy, run on and finish strong. Let now anything distract you and make you a doubleminded person.


He is enough.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Wow. What a day!!! We have had a lot of fun. We ended up preparing for the runners from 11 until about 2, when the first place runner finally made it after more than 7 hours of swimming, biking and running. We handed out water, gatorade, ice, sponges, Power Gel, oranges, bananas, and yelling our voices out until almost 4 p.m. here. It's 5:30 here now, and we are letting our kids rest a little while doing some mundane things like laundry before we head back out to watch more racing at the finish line. Also, Tara's best friend from Fayetteville, Arkansas, is flying in tonight and we will be picking her up.

Is that the first runner???

No, just me horsing around before the first runners arrived.

The real Ironman is below. Unfortunately, we missed his face in this picture because he missed the drink and, as you might imagine, had a few choice words for the young man holding the drink. What was fun for Tanner, our seven-year old, is that he stood at the beginning of the aid station handing our sponges (as did Keaton, our five-year old), and This Ironman took two sponges from Tanner!

Runner # 2 goes briskly by -->
The Ironman In third at our station.

The woman in first at our station.

The next two are fun shots shortly later. We are probably still in the top ten finishers here. You can see that both boys just handed out sponges, with water dripping down in one, and in the other you see the pure joy Tanner is experiencing at helping these runners finish strong.

Click on this one and see the ice raining down.

What a day!

It is amazing how nothing seems to stop the human heart. Just 6 days after a huge earthquake shook up the Big Island, the World Championship Ironman Triathlon got off to a smooth start by the pier in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Almost 1800 athletes began there 140.6 mile adventure in the ocean with a 2.4 mile swim.

After that daunting task alone, they hop on their bikes, still salty and wet, to begin the 112 mile bike from Kona to Hawi and back.

None of that is enough for these athletes.

After all of that they begin running. Not just a little run - they take off for a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

We woke the kids at 5:45 a.m. so that we could walk down to the starting line and see the racers off. We watched the swim begin and then went up for a pancake breakfast that was being done by a local youth group and church for their mission trips. As we walked back home we watched the cyclists in their first few miles. We will be leaving shortly to volunteer at the aid station located at the 13 mile marker of the marathon. We will be there from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m., and we will see the very first athletes (all the winners) there during those times, because only the fastest will make it there before 3. We will be cutting up fruit and preparing the aid station for the athletes so that they can grab and go as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sunday, October 15th, I was sitting at my computer working on this post when the earthquake shook us to our core. The electricity went out and thus my laptop lost my work. If the ground shakes again as I write it this time, I will have something to think about...

The image to the right comes from a prayer booklet that I wrote about on Friday, October 13th. Paul and Susi Childers are YWAM missionaries with an incredible ministry to be "Voices for the Voiceless." Paul is from New Zealand and Susi is from Germany. The prayer booklet hits 30 tough issues of gender injustice. On Sunday, I was praying through this issue: AIDS.

All too often I have thought of AIDS as someone else's problem or thought of it as not something we have to worry about. I had little compassion for the suffering it was causing. I have had to question myself about whether my attitude about AIDS developed because of a judgmental spirit against homosexuals and the association of AIDS with homosexual behavior. Regardless of the cause of AIDS, however, men, women, and children are afflicted with this disease, and each of them were created in His image. We are commanded to love not just those who think or act like us, but all humanity, and to be the hands and feet of Christ to them.

Did you know that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since 1981? That's a million per year. Looking at World Book, WWII was the war that killed more than any other, and it involved an estimated 17 million military deaths. Did you know that Africa has 12 million orphans who are orphans because of AIDS? Did you know that 43% of those infected with HIV are women?

We must be praying about this. We must have compassion on these people. There was a song Steve Camp wrote that always brought me to my knees because it asked a question that I never heard anyone ask in my "Christian" circles; frankly, I'm not sure any cared to think of such a thing. He asked whether I had tasted the tears of those who were afflicted with AIDS.

Have you? Or are AIDS victims the modern day lepers? Better yet, are homosexuals and other such "sinners" lepers to most Christians? Have you ever ministered to "such as these." Pray that God would intervene against this epidemic and that a cure would be found. Pray that people, including people like you, would be called upon to teach biblical truths to show that there is a very easy way to avoid contracting the disease, at least sexually. And look for other ways to minister to the broken hearted, not just those afflicted with AIDS, but with any social issue that you may have avoided in the past.

We take so many things for granted, particularly in the United States. With our move to Kona, we moved into a "home" that is less than 1/5th of the size of our home in Arkansas. That means, since we have a five-member family, we now live in less space together than we each individually had before. This sounds drastic, but we still have more than we need, and it is more a comment on how excessive our place in Arkansas is.

In the aftermath of recovering emotionally from the earthquake Sunday, we suddenly realized how thankful we were that we didn't have TVs, china, glass frames on the walls, glassware, etc., because all that fell to the ground was unbreakable and of little value.

Our 600 square feet still has running water, beds (one for each of us!), sheets, a roof that doesn't leak, electricity, a bathroom (with a tub and shower! some of the places don't have tubs), a refrigerator, a microwave, and the love of God and of a family.

I say all this to laugh at the fact that we were inconvenienced last night and this morning. The rooms beneath us had a plumbing issue. As a result, we had to discontinue use of our bathroom. Understand, all this means is that we have to walk across a courtyard to some public restrooms (public to the U of N) no more than probably 100 feet at the most. But, at the same time, when you wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning needing to go to the bathroom, this means taking the time to put on some semblance of respectable clothing in the event someone else is in that public place at that time and making that short walk. You might even glance at your now longer hair, which has likely had a party overnight, grab a hat, shake out the mental cobwebs, etc. In the big picture it is nothing, and, the public bathrooms are still clean, with running water and electricity.

It reminded me, though, of how we take things for granted. How spoiled we are. An hour south of here, on the island, there is a community called Ocean View. The community has about 500 Marshallese living there. They live in huts/homes they have built from scrap and they do not have running water. Yes, this is in the U.S. But, they were displaced from their native Island and live in third world conditions here. It is a vivid reminder of how much we have and how much we can give as well. The base recently took a team there and are building water tanks for the people there so that they can have their own source of water, rather than trying to pay the $150 it takes to get a few thousand gallons of water shipped in.

God really is amazing and so gracious to us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tara is amazing, as so many of you know. I am seeing more of it every day here. I wanted to share with you the above picture of what she will be doing over the next few weeks. She will be doing three one-hour presentations of her trade to the schools here on campus and then a three-hour presentation to public and private school educators from all over the island on November 18th, which is what the above picture is all about. Pray for her and rejoice with me that God graced me with a "wife of noble character."

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Saharawi people are one of the least reached people groups as determined by the Joshua Project ( Originally, the Saharawi were desert nomads who traveled by camel. Today, they can be found in the desert in southern Morocco, in the Western Sahara region, in the North of Mauritania, in Algerian refugee camps, and in the Canary Islands. A sub-group of the Moors, they are of mixed Berber, Arab, and black African descent. Some Saharawi are herdsmen, others are traders, and still others are warriors. However, all speak an Arabic dialect called Hassaniya and Spanish. In addition, their religion, way of life, and dress are Arabic in flavor and style.
They are Islamic in belief, but have more openness to other beliefs than many Islamic adherents. It is unknown how many, if any, evangelical Christians there are among the Saharawi. They live in a culture of war as there is a longstanding conflict between Morocco and the Saharawi people.
The map below will show you the area of Africa where most of the Saharawi live.

Now, why am I writing about the Saharawi? Well, one of the professors here at the University of the Nations, Robert Evans (not the Bob Evans of restaurant fame) has been asked to attend a conference of Saharawi Imams in Algeria. Imam means leader, and the religious Imams are the religious leaders of an Islamic people. Please understand the significance of this. Robert has been asked as a Christian Bible teacher (he teaches Greek and Hebrew here) to come and present the story of the Book (then entire OT and NT) as seen through a Christian's eyes, with Christ as the focus. They want to hear from a Christian about the God of their "Father, Abraham." Robert also speaks Spanish.

This is taking place November 11-13 in Algeria. Here's the deal. All missions here in YWAM are individually supported and support raised. Robert not only is having to raise the money to go to Algeria, but he also has to raise money to provide a substitute Greek teacher while he is gone. A substitute (who also is a missionary) has already agreed to come, but Robert needs money or frequent flier miles to buy a plane ticket for the substitute and money for his trip, as well. I am asking you to consider sending support for this incredible opportunity! I am trying to help him find his way there for this amazing opportunity.

Can you imagine?? A Christian teaching the Bible to 150 "priests/pastors" of the Islamic faith in a people group considered to be one of the least reached people groups in the world? In addition, this is a people group burdened with war and political unrest, ripe for finding the one true Mediator and Reconciliation that Jesus Christ alone can bring!

If you would like to give to this cause, buying a plane ticket, buying part of a plane ticket or any such gift, please contact me and I will provide details as to how you can do so.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I had just hung up the phone with my wife, Tara, when the Earthquake hit. I had been trying to type in a post about the plight of AIDS and how we should be much more passionate and compassionate about our response to it. I will take that back up again later.

Being from Arkansas and never feeling anything like that, I really don't know what to say about it. Each second the ground shook seemed to last much longer than a second. I didn't notice that things were falling to the floor off of shelves and desks, because all i could think was, are my kids ok, "Get on the floor," is a volcano about to erupt, "Get down, get on the floor," be calm for the kids, when will it stop shaking, it is still shaking, this is for real, why did I hang up the phone with Tara, what do you do when there's no where to go?

Of course, all the circuits were busy so I couldn't get back on the phone with Tara. My kids were pretty good, although Tanner was talking a lot. Which, if you know Tanner, means that he was talking nonstop. Then, you begin to notice that things have moved, like a huge refrigerator, which moved a foot away from the wall. You walk into the bathroom and see all the soap and shampoo bottles in the middle of the tub knocked over. You see that next door your neighbors chest of drawers, which were stacked two high, had fallen over. You hear one of your student neighbors fell out of bed.

Then, as you are collecting yourself, an aftershock hits. Although lasting only a second, it's a reminder that it is all for real. You really were shaken to your core for several seconds just 7 minutes before, but those seven minutes seemed to have lasted 7 hours while your stomach is feeling queasy and it isn't because you need to eat. Probably after an hour of real time you then notice there are hairline cracks in the dry wall throughout the room.

No, we haven't seen any buildings down and we haven't been anywhere to see any road cracks or landslides (there were some!!). But, it still seems crazy that the entire "Earth move[d] under our feet." We are all okay, although now, even 9 hours later, I still have some anxiety. Just ten minutes ago an aftershock hit hard enough to be felt and your heart skips a beat. The below is nothing exciting... no collapsed ceiling, and it can't capture the feeling of the quake, but it is a small reminder of what happened at 7:07 a.m. this morning in Kona!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Every Thursday night at the U of N we have a worship celebration, complete with teaching. Last night Paul and Susi Childers spoke about their ministry to be voices for the voiceless. Our hearts were touched by God's Spirit as they spoke of the horrors faced by women and children around the world.

Because of their work as missionaries they have learned of many travesties and injustices around the globe and God led them to produce a prayer booklet as well as other media to help raise the consciousness of the Church about these issues. The prayer booklet starts with a forward from Loren Cunningham, a part of which says:

"A few years ago, I was asked the question, “What will be the greatest global challenge as we enter the 21st Century?” You may think of war, terrorism, famine, AIDS and a number of other colossal needs, which all surely qualify. But among the most serious issues is gender injustice – the abuse and suppression of women. Why? Because it is the biggest, most far reaching, and most hidden.The Church needs to take a stand, the Church needs to raise its voice, the Church needs to pray and act, because God’s heart breaks over gender injustice.”

The Childers write further: The global abuse and suppression of women must stop. We must pray and act! The booklet is a tool that will enable you to begin to engage in helping solve this colossal challenge that the world faces in the 21st century. Our goal is to mobilize 100,000 people to pray for 5 minutes each day for 30 days for these issues. If successful we will have raised 28.5 years worth of prayer! In addition this book will enable you to hit the streets and become a voice for the voiceless.

I began praying this morning with Day 1 of the Booklet. It was on child prostitution.

Can you imagine being so poor and being unable to feed your family so that you consider selling your daughters into prostitution to raise money? Not only do you then have one less mouth to feed, but you also are given money to help with the remaining family members. There are many communities where such a choice is faced often.
To learn more about this incredible ministry, to order booklets, and to send donations to this please click here: