Who am I?

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Monrovia, Liberia
I live in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa with my wife and youngest son. We are recently arrived in Liberia where we are serving as missionaries with Evangelical Church Missions working under the Liberia Evangelical Mission. For most of the last thirty years we have served under ECM in Bolivia, South America. We are the happy parents of four children and the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas Musings

Now that Christmas has come and gone and we are awaiting the New Year I thought I would just include a number of thoughts for your enjoyment:

Holiday songs you have probably never sung:

I'm Glad I Had A Hot Christmas (Tune: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas)

I'm glad I had a hot Christmas
Without the cold and dreary snow
Where children are coughing
And not ever stopping
Because they've played out in the cold.
I'm glad I had a hot Christmas
And should you like to have one, dear,
Leave behind the cold that's so drear
And come and visit us next year.

What Do You Do With A Broken Toyota? (Tune: What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor?)

What do you do with a broken Toyota?
What do you do with a broken Toyota?
What do you do with a broken Toyota?
Call the mechanic in the morning.

High, high up the bill rises,
High, high up the bill rises,
High, high up the bill rises,
Pay the mechanic in the morning.

Radiator leaks, getting hot all over (3x)
Call the mechanic in the morning.


Fuel pump broke, so the motor won't go on (3x)
Call the mechanic in the morning.


A/C quit, only makes it hotter (3x)
Call the mechanic in the morning.


(Other verses maybe added by simply substituting whatever car part in the lines.)

Trivia question: Which Christmas Carol is the "Bolivian Carol" - Angels We Have Heard On High, Angels From The Realms Of Glory, or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing?

Answer: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Second verse, Late in time, behold him come!

What are your New Year traditions? Here are a few Bolivian customs:

Want to travel next year? Take a walk around the block at midnight with an empty suitcase in your hand. Eating 12 grapes right at midnight will bring you good luck for the next 12 months. Counting some bills from your wallet as the new year strikes will bring you wealth. It is also lucky to be showering as the new year begins. And finally, pay attention to the color of your underwear. Red will bring love and passion into your live. Yellow is for happiness and money. Green will bring prosperity. If you want more friends wear pink. White will give you hope. Want a new wardrobe for the coming year? Wear your underwear backwards New Year's Eve or wear new clothes to the party. While all this will happen if you buy the underwear you are wearing, the results will be even greater if the underwear you are wearing was given to you as a gift.

On a more serious note, I hope you all had a blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus and the fact that God became man for our salvation. Have a great New Year as you follow him into 2010.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, These are a few of my favorite things . . ."

No offense meant to Julie Andrews, Rogers and Hammerstein or María van Trapp, but wild geese that fly may be one of their favorite things but I find nothing favorable about wild goose chases myself. Today, for instance. I had a fairly defined list of what I needed to do, in order.

1. Go to the seamstress and turn in torn pants while picking up repaired skirt. Maybe can fix pants while waiting.
2. Take car to mechanic (again) because air conditioning still not working after paying for repair.
3. Go to print shop to pick up evangelism booklets that are ready as of almost a week ago.
4. Take electric drill to repair shop.
5. Buy peanut butter.
6. Go to lawyer's office and pick up tax certificate.

Here's how the morning went.

1. Leave torn pants but don't pick up skirt because skirt not done yet. Come back tomorrow.
2. Air conditioning working today so no use to go to mechanic. Try again tomorrow.
3. After paying don't pick up booklets because they are not ready yet. Come back tomorrow.
4. Don't leave drill at repair shop as they no longer do the work there. Take to other location tomorrow.
5. Buy peanut butter. (Some small things go right once in a while.)
6. Lawyer's phone rings busy but no one in office. Go back tomorrow.

So you get the picture. One out of six ain't bad. Some days it might not even be that good.

I usually am not one to wax poetic about such matters. Nor am I prone to find deep spiritual truths in all of life's petty problems but one thought came to me (surprise) as I was coming home from my wild goose chase. Isn't it good that God goes on wild goose chases? Maybe I should say sheep chases.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Merry Christmas.

ps: I cannot figure out how to put captions on my pictures so here is the caption for the photo attached with this article. "I don't have a picture of wild geese or sheep so this cow outside our church will have to do."

The Rest of the Story:

So I went back this afternoon to try to get the drill turned in to the repair shop. All well and good. But on the way home the car died again. Fortunately it was only a couple of blocks from the mechanic. The diagnosis: fuel pump.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cookies Anyone?

As every good Christian knows, an important part of Christmas is Christmas cookies. At least in our house. And we think that is one tradition worth sharing so on Saturday we invited the wives of our Santa Cruz pastors to our house to make Christmas cookies. Niki and Lisa Hoffman had prepared the dough ahead of time so it was ready to be rolled, cut, baked, decorated and eaten. I, being a male, was not invited to the party but I managed to crash it every little bit to take pictures and hassle the ladies a bit. (They love it.) However, no one offered me a cookie!

These ladies are a special group of women who love the Lord and love their husbands and stand by them in the pressures of ministry. We thank God for them and pray for his blessing to be especially felt by them during this special season of the year as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Niki had prepared plenty of dough not knowing for sure how many ladies would come. so we have some extra for lots of cookies to share. So, if you're in our neighborhood, stop by for a cookie, a conversation and have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big Bird Goes To Graduation

This last weekend (November 26-29) was the national congress of the Bolivian Evangelical Holiness Church, our denomination here in Bolivia. As usual, the missionaries were there to be a presence. The congress is when the business of the church is taken care of and church officers are elected. Also it includes an ordination service and the Bible School graduation.

James, Kevin and I arrived late at the graduation and so the first half of the event was over. They were getting ready to begin the actual graduation ceremony. Now Kevin was sort of dressed up as he was escorting one of the graduates down the isle. But James and I were far from our Sunday best. It was cold (all this took place in the Alto of La Paz) and since I am a cruzeño (Santa Cruz person) I was cold. I had on an old heavy coat and jeans. Under the coat I had a bright yellow and black fleece. Under that I had my shirt. Well, we were standing in the back when I heard, will Pastor Gordon please come to the platform. I thought, Oh no! I'm not in the program and I'm not dressed for this occasion. The people on the platform were all dressed in lovely suits. So there I sat on the platform looking more like Big Bird than a missionary.

Now Bolivian custom is to invite different people to hand the diplomas to the graduates. So, after a while when it was time to hand them out both Kevin and James were invited to join me on the platform. Now, as I said, Kevin didn't look too bad, but James wasn't much of an improvement over me. He had on jeans, tennis shoes and a Nike windbreaker. We were quite the contrast to the rest of the men. And then it seemed to me that I was invited to hand out more than my fair share of diplomas and have my picture taken with each graduate that I handed a diploma to. (Unfortunately I do not have a picture to show you.) Those poor graduates will forever be stuck with a graduation picture of them with Big Bird.

Now, you might ask, did I learn anything from this experience? Nope, except stay away from Bible Institute graduations.