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, August 30, 2010

I Will Make You Fishers of Women

The Santa Cruz district women are planning a very special outreach - offering crafting and cooking classes to ladies in the neighborhood of one of our churches. The goal is to not only offer a life skill and a possible way to increase their income, but also to provide a bridge between the church and the neighborhood and a way to introduce these ladies to Jesus. When I first heard their idea I thought this is really a great idea. When they told me that one of the things they wanted to offer was painting on cloth (table cloths etc.) I immediately thought of a friend of ours who does a very unique form of cloth painting and wondered if she would be willing to give a class to a group of our women who are involved in planning the classes. She was willing so we arranged a date to meet her at her workshop (she works in an orphanage - her paintings help provide money to feed the kids in the home).

On the appointed day, three women plus me (Niki was supposed to go also but something came up and she was unable to go) went for our painting lesson.

Since we were just learning the trade, so to speak, our friend had picked out a simple pattern for painting on the cloth - fish illustrating Jesus' call to make us fishers of men. The first step was to draw the fish with paint.

While waiting for the fish to dry, we toured the orphanage and ate lunch with the kids. After lunch the fish then had to be painted.

By then the kids from the home were back and three of the girls were helping with the painting.

The next step was to fill in the water around the fish.

After a short wait to let everything dry, the canvas had to be washed.


Split into appropriate lengths.

The final product - beautiful hand painted scarves.

Now the ladies hope to use this new skill to teach others. The ladies will be inaugurating their Academy of Crafting and Cooking on September 11. Please pray for this outreach that it will result in catching many "fish" for Jesus.

THE Birthday Party of the Year

This year was Niki's 55th birthday. Born in 1955 it was kind of fun to turn the same number of years as the year of the century in which she was born. So I had to throw a surprise party for her. I invited a family to come and share our supper and also invited a good group of friends to come for dessert afterwards. The questions was, could I keep it secret? The answer - YES. She had no clue. It was great to celebrate. I thank God for Niki, for her love for me, her love for God and her faith. Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Just a short post this week about two exciting happenings. A week ago Sunday evening I was invited to speak at the Lineage of God church. During the service I happened to glance over and see Rubén. At least I thought that it was him. I hadn't seen him for a long time. He had, a good number of years ago, served for a time as pastor at one of the district churches. But something happened. I never know what, and he returned to the world. His wife, however, kept faithfully attending the church and serving the Lord, bringing the children with her. After the service, Rubén came over to me. Following a bit of small talk I asked him if he was attending church. Yes, he told me. He was back. He told me that he had been a stumbling block for his wife and kids and that he had hurt them a lot. But now he was back. I was so happy to hear that. Who says that God doesn't do miracles any more.

Last night I was invited to speak at the Rivers of Living Water church. I arrived late, partly by design (to miss some of the loud music) and partly because I was wrong about the starting time. The pastor came over to me during a song and whispered in my ear. Did you see Sister Francesca? I hadn't but I was glad to see her. She, along with her whole family, was instrumental in the founding of the church. She and her husband donated the land that the church sits on. They were active members in planing a second congregation. But then things happened and little by little they succumbed to pressure and returned to the world. She has since had a stoke and her speech is impaired and has to walk with a cane. But she has come back to the church and to the Lord. Join with me in thanking God for these two who have returned and in praying especially for the family of Francesca that they two will find their way back home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All I Want For Christmas Is My Car To Work - Again

Yet another chapter in the all too familiar story by now of the missionary and his car. I went out to Jorochito (a small town about 45 minutes or so from Santa Cruz) the other day to a hospital to check about someone we are trying to help. The car ran great on the way out. But on the way back it was another story. It decided that it didn't like hills and so would die trying to climb. The first three or four times I was able to get the car going. But the last time it would not go. What to do? Call the mechanic. But my cell phone was not working. My company (of course) has no service there (another reason why I am so happy to be their customer). Anyway, I started out on foot to find a phone. But I found a mechanic instead. I explained my situation to him and asked if he could help me. So he came but couldn't get it going either. At least my car was not going to do one of those the-fever-goes-away-as-soon-as-the-doctor-enters-the-examining-room to make me look stupid. I asked him if he had a phone and could I please borrow it. Yes, but he had no credit. I would need to buy credit. Fine. So we went to a small store that was nearby and bought credit. I called my mechanic asking him to send a tow truck. I didn't know what else to do. But he talked to the kind mechanic that had the phone and suggested some things to try. But we would have to tow the car to his garage (actually his patio). He went to get a rope and we returned to my vehicle. For a good two hours the mechanic worked on it. Finally he won the battle and my reluctant vehicle chugged into action again. I was just beginning to wonder if I would need to leave the car for the week end when the breakthrough came. When I asked the mechanic how much I owed him, he looked at me and finally said "30 bolivianos" (about $4.25). I responded "30 bolivianos? That's all?" His response "Is it too much?"  "No", I replied, "it's not enough." So I gave him a good tip and off I went, hoping that I would indeed make it home, and thanking the Lord for the roadside mechanic who was able to get me going. However, he only gave me a temporary fix. I am supposed to take it back to my mechanic tomorrow morning to try and get the problem solved for good.. Maybe I can do some Christmas shopping along the way . . .

Week End Evangelism

This Sunday was a district junta (meeting) for Santa Cruz. These juntas take place every three months and are a time when all the district churches come together for a worship service on Sunday morning. But in order to lead up to the junta, each church is encouraged to have three days of evangelistic efforts. Each church is then to report at the junta about its activities and any new converts gained. While not every church participated in the outreach events, several did and there were encouraging reports. Heavenly Zion, the church where I attend on Sunday mornings, reported seven conversions. They went door to door one morning presenting the gospel, showed a film on Friday night at a nearby soccer field, and handed out tracts at the same place on Saturday afternoon.

The goal posts doubled at the support for the movie screen.

Rivers of Living Water Church held a children's campaign and reported 35 children responding to the invitation to know Jesus.

Pastor Fimo Ramos reporting on the children's campaign.

The Linage of God church did not report any conversions but there was a new person who came to the evening service that Sunday. So I am thankful for the outreach and the results that there are. As always, the big question is how to incorporate these new people into the church and help them become well established so that they are not simply a decision statistic for the church.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome Guerreros to Bolivia

We had the great pleasure of welcoming JJ and Randi Guerrero and their three kids to Bolivia this past week. After more than two years of planning and preparing, they have arrived. They will be living in Cochabamba and eventually focusing on ministry in North Potosí.

Niki, Mark and I went to Cochabamba for the weekend to spend time with the Guerreros and the Wolheters. The Wolheters had their own special challenge, they had been ordered out of their house by the landlord. That meant a very rapid move to another house, the one that was designated for the Guerreros. Niki helped Jenny get her kitchen put together and up and running. I helped out with the store room.

Please pray for the Guerreros to find a house, to get visas and for their three kids as they started school today at Carachipampa Christian School. Thanks.

We have the greatest bunch of MKs in the world!

All I Want For Christmas Is My Car To Work - follow up

Just a quick update. I have my car back, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. The steering problem was minor but now it doesn't like to start. Hmm. Back to the mechanic we go, if I can get it started, that is.

Monday, August 2, 2010

All I Want For Christmas Is My Car To Work

This has been kind of a slow news week so I thought I might reflect on the issues of vehicles and mechanics. A reliable vehicle is pretty much a necessity for the kinds of activities that we do here in Bolivia. The knowledge of how to keep a vehicle reliable is also very important. In our first years here in Bolivia, there was always somebody else in the mission who understood the mechanics of our vehicles - Mark Frink, Duane Erickson and Gary Healy, to be exact. It was fairly simple in those days. If I had car trouble I would tell one of them and they would take care of the problem. And always were glad to do it. But these days we seem to be short on in house mechanics. Bluntly put, none of us who are here know much about motors and vehicles which puts us at a definite disadvantage when it comes to buying, selling and repairing our cars.It puts us at the mercy of our mechanics. Nos that is not necesarily a bad thing, but not always a good thing either. A case in point:

We have a 2000 green Toyota Land Cruiser. Normally Land Cruisers are the best vehicle for here for our type of travel. But this one has been an exception and has needed a lot of repair. Last December after Christmas I noticed one day that there was a problem with the steering. I knew that the click, click, click that I was hearing was not right. So, not knowing what else to do, I took it to my mechanic. After he checked things out he informed me that it was the power steering gear box. But where to get one that would work. Five months and five parts later, he still had not been able to find a part that worked. By now it was May and we were heading to the States for General Conference. I will b ring back the part, I told him. Which I did. Now it is August. The car still sits at the mechanic's. He told me the other day he didn't think the new part was working. Soooo . . .what do I do? My plan is to take my car and try another mechanic, but will he have any better success? I don't know. In the meantime I have to take the other vehicle in. It too is showing signs of a problem with the steering. Let's see, at a modest estimate of, say, four months to fix it, I might have it back by Christmas. Oh well, at least I am not broken down on a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour while going the wrong direction or being attacked by a snake while drowning. So, Merry Christmas and God bless us, one and all.