2007 Recording "Drew and the Nature of Man"
Rena Silva recently 'ranted' on facebook about Americans and their dogs. It made me think of a recording I did when our oldest son was 5.
A Thank You Update for March 25, 2011
At the end of 2010 I received the letter that the president of our sending agency sent to all the donors because we also support some missionaries at WorldVenture. I felt a little bit of a connection with my supporters as I read the letter because I knew they were reading the same letter. I decided, then and there, to write a letter on the same subjects but personalized for my supporters like only I could. Here it is: Dear Supporters, As the wavering economy and the turmoil in the world tests our faith in God's goodness we are filled with joy and praises for our Father in heaven because you continue to graciously involve yourselves in supporting your brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer here in Mali, and you support the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ to the tribes and languages who do not worship Him in truth. Your confidence in God is evidenced in your giving, and we are honored that you have commissioned us and sent us on your behalf. We endeavor to continue to earn your trust by the pursuit of simple obedience to the Word of God. That is the best way to glorify God and to rescue people from the gates of hell to bring them into the kingdom of light. Then the letter said 'with cash in short supply,' and he went on to talk about planning services and charitable gift annuities which I know nothing about. So I'll just say… With cash in short supply remember the Macedonians of 2 Corinthians 8 and give sacrificially with joy in your hearts. We plan to serve the Body of Christ like white blood cells bringing the best resources of the healthy parts to the aid and healing of the ailing parts. I want to use my story-telling abilities to show you about life here, and, God-willing, we'll find solutions together to help the Body of Christ and to be the church in the world. Praise God and grace be with you.
Scattered thoughts at the beginning of our time in Mali
This podcast was done almost as a stream of consciousness recording. So I know it might be confusing. But listen anyway, this is the beginning. We are trying to lay a foundation, and slowly but surely each of these scattered seeds will grow and bear fruit.
Living in the Land of Harley Joy
Looking up from her peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, Harley said, "Dad... I can run and kick my butt." It made me happy because I could tell she was recovering from the fever she had been having for the last 24 hours. Harley is like a slow-blooming flower. You have to have a lot of patience to get a look inside her beautiful exterior. Recently, I got a peek at what is going on inside. As you know, Harley has traveled a lot in the last couple of years (which is all of her life as far as she remembers). Her life is spread wide across three continents, and recently she has made some attempts to explain this to me. At four years old, Harley doesn't really understand geography and distances. So when she says something about going to Lulu and Pappy's house she inevitably says something that gives away the fact that she doesn't technically understand what she is talking about. Then people grill her with questions like, "How are you going to get there? Can you walk? Will it take a long time?" Annoyed by these distracting questions, Harley has divided her world into what she calls 'lands'. I think it is a wonderful way to let people know that she is not talking about the technical details of location; instead, she wants to tell you about the different parts of her life. For example, while staying at a friends house about 10 kilometers from our apartment in France she said to me, "I have another house that is not in this land, and I have a house that is in this land." I think most any missionary kid would tell you that they see 'places' in a completely different way than people who grew up in the same country. When Harley was telling me that she lived in two different 'lands', she was telling me that there are two different parts of who she is, both very real and both very present to her. Then when she told me that she has two houses in this 'land' she was specifying two location in this part of her life. For the last fifteen years I have watched Heidi do the same kind of thing. Someone will ask her where she is from, and she will pause… and say, "My parents live in Michigan." The pause is used to think about two essential question: Is this person really interested in who I am? and Do I want to be vulnerable to this person? A missionary kid has to ask these questions before telling someone where they are from because if they tell you the whole story about where they are from, to them, it doesn't feel like they are telling you about geographic locations. They are telling you about a deep, foundational part of who they are. If Heidi answers, "Michigan," people automatically think (She is American, mid-west, Detroit, cold winters). They know something about her… and she fits. If she says, "I was born in Zaire. We lived in Cameroon until I was 8, then we moved to Mali, but I did high school in Cote d'Ivoire." She is essentially informing them that they don't know anything about her. She risks pushing the other person away. To continue the conversation the other person has to be willing to vulnerably admit how little they know and ask thoughtful questions. In my experience, that conversation that will take about five years before you really begin to understand a missionary kid. For things to go well, two people have to really be willing to put themselves on the line, and that is rarely the case when someone asks, "Where are you from?" What about me? Am I really any different? Philipians 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven. But so often I am caught off guard. An opportunity to say something about the unbelievable privilege of being adopted as a son of God presents itself and I am not willing to be vulnerable enough to tell people who I really am. Small talk comes so easily. So today, let us resolve, by the grace of God to live and talk like who we really are, children of God with a home in Heaven. And Paul tells us in Philippians 4 w