Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guatemala Update

Things are going very well here on the missions trip. We had a bit of excitement yesterday with a tremor that was centered in southern Mexico that we felt about 5:00 a.m. and then a pretty strong one (5.4) that was located here in Guatemala.

We've had a great time so far with every aspect of the trip. The visits to the public schools and sharing with the kids has gone well. Yesterday we made about a 25 minute hike up a steep mountain to reach a school with about 185 kids. The director is a Christian and the kids were extremely well behaved--far more so than those the first day. Part of the issue that day was an ongoing teachers' strike here in Guatemala. Things were a bit chaotic there due to some emergency meetings of the teachers.

The afternoon VBS times have also gone well. The first day we had about 85 kids (some 50 of whom came from a nearby daycare). Yesterday I would estimate the number at about the same as we met at the mission of the Horeb Baptist Church.

The training sessions each evening have been well attended with good response and interaction from the participants.

This morning we're slated to deliver some more bags of food to needy families and then we have both a VBS and a visit to an institute with older youth (ages 13-20). We've only had one person of the 11 with a bit of a health problem one day with a touch of Montezuma's Revenge as they say in Mexico. Otherwise, all are well and even she felt good enough last night to lead her training session.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Singing the Doxology Spontaneously

The title says it all. That's what I did yesterday afternoon as I drove away from the local downtown post office after having express mailed the hardcopy; CD's with text, photos, and jacket cover layout; shipping instructions; and a copy of the signed contract for the printing of our church's history to the printer. As I drove to the rehab center to visit my mom who's recovering from a fall that left her with a fractured vertebrae, I couldn't help but praise the Lord for the strength and stamina to wrap up this project that has consumed about the last 10 months or so of my life. If I had begun two or three years back on it as I discovered after the fact was a more appropriate time frame for tackling such an undertaking, I would have done a few things differently--more investigation of secondary source information, more interviews with long-time members, and more of an interpretive approach and less chronicling of the events themselves. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say and I'm determined not to allow those misgivings to rob me of the joy I felt yesterday as I left the post office singing a full-throated rendition of "Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow." I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and the rare sunny afternoon in the pattern of cold, gray days of late further lifted my spirits.

Now it's time to shift focus as I prepare to leave early tomorrow morning with a team of 11 for Totonicapan, Guatemala. We'll be working with two churches in VBS and leadership training events as well as speaking in public schools and distributing bags of food to needy families. Our church gave a generous offering of almost $1450 for this cause during our annual Souper Bowl of Caring on Super Bowl Sunday. I've got a lot of loose ends to tie up today before leaving tomorrow, but I'll do so with a bit of an added spring in my step with the church history project in the rearview mirror.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I had great hopes of being a bit more consistent with my blogging, but life has a habit of continuing on with a mind of its own, ignoring my wishes for a more predictable and tranquil lifestyle. On the home front, my mom who lives with us suffered a broken vertebrae in a fall a couple of weeks ago and spent a week in the hospital before being transferred to a rehab center for strengthening exercises to promote healing and hopefully avoid another fall. This past weekend was spent hosting our third son and three buddies who departed early this morning for a five-month study abroad experience in China. I'm drinking lots of coffee to stay awake as we woke up at 3:00 a.m. to leave the house at 4:00 a.m. for the trip to the airport and a red-eye flight to Newark. The reason for flying east to travel west? A cheaper fare of course.

This afternoon at 1:00 I'll officiate at a funeral service for a friend who passed away suddenly at his home this past Thursday. He was only 48 years old. He faced a lot of challenges in life, with some mental handicaps as well as anxiety and depression. I've known and visited with him (mainly on the phone each week) for the past 5 or 6 years. I also call on his mother regularly in a local care center.

I'm trying to wrap up the history book today and get it sent to the printer before I fly out to Guatemala again this coming Saturday. A group of 11 of us will be spending 8 days there on a mission trip in Totonicapan in the western part of the country, helping two churches there with VBS, leadership training, feeding hungry folks, sharing the gospel, etc.

My plate seems heaped to overflowing with stuff to do before I leave on Saturday, but by God's grace it will get done.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Strategy Planning Meeting Postponed

Well, the weather won this round. I left Lee's Summit shortly after 7:00 this morning heading for Jeff City and had made it past Sedalia (about an hour and 15 minutes or so east) when our executive director called me on my cell to say that several folks had said they couldn't make it because of the weather and the strategy planning meeting was being postponed.

We're going to try and get it rescheduled still for this month so as to be able to present a strategic plan at the annual meeting in March.

I have to admit, the snow is beautiful today. Huge flakes falling steadily. We've gotten around 2" so far I guess.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

BGCM Strategy Planning Continues

Weather permitting (2"-4" of snow is forecast for here in the Kansas City area), the BGCM strategy planning team will be meeting tomorrow at the First Baptist Church in Jefferson City to try and come closer to finalizing a strategic plan to guide the organization for the next 5 years. We hope to be able to make significant progress on it so as to be able to share it with the board members early next month and then with those attending the BGCM's annual meeting at our church (First Baptist of Lee's Summit) on March 26-27.

On a personal note, the church history project is nearing completion. The writing and editing is finished and I'm trying to wrap up the final details--jacket cover design and contents that a friend from church is helping with, selecting some appropriate photos for the final chapter, etc.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Well, Groundhog Day's arrival means another birthday for yours truly. I hit the big 57 today, so the gray hairs that are growing in number around my temples are legitimate I suppose. I've had lots of well-wishers contact me via email or Facebook and I'm grateful to each for their kind expressions and prayers. God has been good to me and I'm grateful to Him for His mercy and grace.