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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

All I want for Christmas is a Work Team

We recently sent off our latest work team to return to the States. This team of 12 people from Roberts, Georgia arrived in Santa Cruz in the early morning hours (12:30 AM) on December 29. They came to help work on the district headquarters building where the tutoring center will be meeting. The first day (after a lot of sleep and a very late breakfast) we went downtown to show them a bit of the city and to allow them to begin to spend their money before putting in the first day of work the next day.

Flexibility is always the key word in Bolivia. The next morning, which was supposed to be the first day of work, it was pouring down rain. So much for the work day. But, in the name of flexibility, Niki suggested that they could repair and paint the walls in our little living room (It had needed repainting and fixing for at least two years). So we now have a nice purple room (I did not pick out the color!).

Saturday, the day before New Year's, was another rainy day. So we took the team to a couple of markets to let them get the feel for how most of Bolivia shops. The meat row was not considered a yummy sight. By the middle of the afternoon the rain had stopped so we all headed out to the project site to distribute invitations to a three day children's event that would take place in the Dios Es Amor church. That evening was spent welcoming the New Year with lots of fireworks - all kinds of things that would be illegal in Georgia. It was a fun night.

Sunday morning we all headed to the Dios Es Amor church for worship and dinner. The team shared some testimonies and I was invited to preach. It was a good service and one which helped to underscore the oneness that we have in Christ, regardless of our color or language.

When the last work team was here we had tried to take them out to the sand dunes on Sunday afternoon but were rained out. We planned the same thing for this team. We were not rained out but the bus broke down in the middle of a small river about half way through the park. So, so much for the dunes. We are thinking that we should remove this trip from future team schedules!

When your bus is stuck in the middle of a river what do you do while waiting for the truck to come and pull you out? Play soccer, of course!

Monday began the actual work at the site. Throughout the week the team cut rebar,

bent rebar

and tied rebar.

They also hauled dirt, poles, pulled nails and put up a wall. While all the work was not necesarily glamorous or even fun, the team hung in there through it all.

Monday afternoon we also began the three day children's event. It was a time of music, Bible story and crafts. The team members brought the craft items with them and helped supervise the doing of them. For many of the team members this was the favorite part of the visit. After all, who can resist the smiles and affection offered by about a hundred cute kids each day.

We did give the team one day off to just play. We went by bus about three hours up the river to Las Cuevas, a park with several water falls and swimming holes. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and then swimming and hiking.

For many members of this team this was their first experience outside the US and several went home expressing a new gratitude for what they enjoy that many other people do not have. All, I hope, left with a new vision of the need to reach out beyond the borders of their own communitiy to the world at large.

Thank you very much to the members of the Roberta, Georgia Evangelical Church, for your service and servant heart. Thank you for how you willingly served the brothers and sisters of Santa Cruz and for how you ministered to us as well. Y'all come back now, ya hear!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you had a good and pleasant time celebrating the birth of the Lord and the beginning of the New Year. As we think back about the year that has ended. As we consider the past year we can see how God has been faithful, which also gives us hope for the new year.

We have had a full holiday time with both family and a work team here from Georgia. I will give you a fuller update on the team in a few days.For now I wanted to reprint something that I posted two years ago for the New Year. You probaboy don't remember it and perhaps will find it informative.

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 life. 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.

Have a good beginning of 2012 and may God bless you richly throughout the coming year.