Who am I?

My photo
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.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad

It seems hard to believe that Christmas day is tomorrow. This month has been filled with activities, both church and family activities. We started out the circuit of parties by hosting a gathering for the Bible Institute students and teachers. There were about 25 who came. It was a fun afternoon with a couple of games, lots of food, singing and sharing a bit of Scripture. I tried my hand at making a variety of Christmas cookies to serve to the students. As I informed them, in a gringo party the Christmas cookies are the most important ingredient.

The next party was the ladies' Bible study that Niki helps organize. I cannot give you a report on that part because Mark and I were banished to the back of the house. However, judging from the level of noise it too was a success.

Then a couple of days later Niki hosted the annual Elliott Open House for the teachers and staff of the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center. That is the spread that puts the other parties to shame. Too bad you could not be here - there was plenty to go around.

Squeezed into the parties were a church anniversary and the final district junta of the year.

Next week our work team from Roberta, Georgia arrives to help work on the district headquarters/tutoring center building. We are looking forward to getting to know the team members and to work together.

This morning Niki has been busy in the kitchen. Fresh lefsa for breakfast, pies baked for supper. What more could a guy ask for?

Oh yes. To help make the celebration complete, both our daughters are here visiting. So we are almost all together. (Daniel and Naomi are are her parents' home in Wisconsin).

In my Bible reading this morning I read the account of the plagues on Egypt and the beginning of passover. It seemed an appropriate text for this day. Just as Moses was sent to rescue the Israelis from Egypt so Jesus was sent to rescue us from our sin. Thank God for Christmas without which there would be no Easter. So have a Merry Christmas and, however you celebrate, keep in mind that God sent a Savior for you and for me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thankful For . . .

Now that Thanksgiving has gone I would like to reflect on some of the items for which I am thankful here in Bolivia.

First, I am thankful for our great coworkers. We were able to all be together on Thanksgiving in the home of JJ and Randi Guerrero in Cochabamba. Besides enjoying a fantastic meal, complete with turkey (a treat in Bolivia) and the all the stuff (stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin, peanut butter, ,pecan, apple pies, Snicker salad and other good stuff) there was the joy of just being together. I was wondering when the four of our families would all be together again as Wolheter's were leaving on deputation in just a few days and the rest of us will eventually follow suit. We don't always see eye to eye with your coworkers. Sometimes we have different ways of doing things but I thank God for the team here in Bolivia that he has put together. We will miss the Wolheter's while they are in the States but trust that God will quickly bring them home.

Pie, anyone?
 Friday after Thanksgiving JJ, Bryan and I drove up to La Paz for the national church's annual congress session. The congress is usually marked by long sessions, fiery debate marathon elections and celebrations of achievement. This year's celebrations included graduation from the Tiahuanacu center of the Program for Forming Pastors in Service. It was great to see these active pastors finally able to finish their education and be recognized for this achievement. There was also an ordination service and a recognition of a couple of other pastors for significant achievement. A new church president was elected along with other new officers. I was invited to preach during the Sunday morning closing session. These kinds of events always remind me how blessed I am to be in Bolivia working with these group of pastors and people who love God. I am thankful that God has seen fit to call us to Bolivia to work and minister is a small way in the church here.

Bryan with new graduate.
New church president, Felix Callisaya and his wife.


Monday Bryan and I drove a car down from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz over "the old road". "The new road" was blocked by a group of protesters about 120 km or so out of Santa Cruz making it impassable. So we headed out over "the old road" to come home. After failing to find our way out of Cochabamba in good timing (we had great directions but there are very few street signs in Cochabamba identifying which street goes with what name) we finally were heading down the highway to Santa Cruz when everything came to a screeching halt. There was also a blockade at that end of the highway. So after inquiring a bit I was given an alternative route. So we headed off "the old road" for an unknown raod that was to take us back to "the old road." Anyway, to make a long story short, Bryan and I had the chance to see a lot of country that we would not otherwise have seen. And while "the old road" is not as bad as many make it out to be (I have driven much worse roads in Bolivia) it did remind me of how thankful I am of God's protection here as we travel.

"The old road."

So I say thank you to God for coworkers (both gringo and Bolivian), for the privilege of being in Bolivia and for God's safety each day.