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, January 21, 2013


Yes, it is finally true. I am a grandpa. While I do not intend to sue this whole post to bore you with details about my new grandson, I must begin by giving thanks to God for the beautiful and healthy new grandson. Samuel Paul Otto Elliott was born on January 17 in Marion, Indiana. After a bit of a rough start with breathing, everything is fine and both mom and baby are at home. Sorry, I don't have a picture to include or I would. There are a few posted on Facebook but only of him with the oxygen tube up his nose. We did get to Skype awhile on Saturday night and see what a great kid he is. Enough said. (I once suggested that all grandparents should make a pact to not post pictures of, nor talk about, their grandchildren on FaceBook. But I guess that went over like a lead balloon. I guess that is ok. Every child needs someone in their life who considers them the best in the world.) Enough!!

About a week ago Santa Cruz sponsored the annual regional seminar for the Santa Cruz and Cochabamba districts. There was a good attendance, good weather and good food. The presentations were well received.

There were also classes for Sunday School teachers on lesson preparation.

The main sessions dealt with aspects of holiness of heart and holy living.

I thank God that he is continuing to move in our district but long to see a real revival among our congregations. They face a number of challenges but God is able to help them overcome all of them as they fully rely on him.

We are continuing to prepare for deputation. One of the biggest challenges is a good prayer card picture. Below are some of the rejects. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Ch'airo Christmas

This is the first post for 2013. WOW! Where does the time go? This year will bring some major changes into our lives, some of which we already know about and others that will come along unexpectedly. But in every case, God knows how to lead us along good paths. So 2013, here we come!

I wanted to give you a summary of this year's Christmas events. This post will be more of a personal nature than ministry focused but I hope you'll stay with me.

Christmas was, of course, the major event of the Christmas season. The Saturday before Christmas I hosted (with help from Niki and the Canny's) a party for the Bible Institute students here in Santa Cruz. I spent the week before trying my hand at some different Christmas goodies. While there were not as many attending as I hoped, we had a good time visiting together, playing some games, eating and reading and thinking about the Christmas story. We ended with a time of Christmas carols (in Spanish, of course). I have been encouraged about the number of students that studied this past year and look forward to all that God will do this year. There will be major changes in the program. More on that, perhaps, in another post.

This was our first Christmas without at least one of the kids from the States being with us but our house was full nonetheless. The Wolheter family from Cochabamba came and spent almost two weeks with us. That meant lots of games, laughter and noise. (Jenny still laughs when she remembers how she used to think that our kids were noisy!). Christmas Eve we all attended the Christmas Eve service at the Trinity International Church. It was good to sing carols and hear Scripture readings in English. Our son Mark, with Bryan Canny, sang for the first time in public. He did a really good job and it was a huge step for him. I thank the Lord how Mark surprises me in different ways that show his growth in grace and faith.

Following the service our family headed over to the Talita Kumi children's home. We had been invited to attend their service and share in a traditional Bolivian meal for Buena Noche. The kids had a short program with music and drama followed by a good meal of chicken, beef and pork with rice, potatoes and salads. Then there were presents for all the children in the home. The evening closed with a fireworks show.

We did not stay for the fireworks but went home after the dinner to have a quiet gift opening with the three of us. That night as we settled into bed, the fireworks began. It is traditional in Santa Cruz to set off fireworks at midnight on Christmas Eve. For a short time the Silent Night becomes a very loud night.

Christmas Day was a quiet day with friends and lots of food.

The following Saturday was another party, this time for the volunteers from the tutoring center. I enjoyed being a guest at the party and not the host. Molly and Bryan were the hosts and did a very nice job. The party included games, food and a time of prayer for the kids who attended the center this past year.

New Year's Eve we did the usual and stayed up to see the new year in. We also enjoyed the fireworks administered by James and Bryan. Another tradition, fireworks on New Year's Eve. Except for the ones that threatened the onlookers the display was fun and the kids especially enjoyed it.

One event that added a bit of extra excitement for us was the announcement from Heather (our oldest daughter) that her novel had been published on Amazon for Kindle. It is now also available in paperback. Called "The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter", it is a Christian romance novel written in the style of, and set in Victorian England. Here is a link that will take you to the page on Amazon. She writes under the name of Heather Diane. 

I mentioned that changes were coming this year. First and most importantly, we are going to be GRANDPARENTS. Our son Daniel and his wife Naomi are expecting their first child (a boy) somewhere around January 30. I say around because I know enough to know that the doctor may set a date but the kid will come when he wants to. If you are already a grandparent then you understand. If not you probably won't understand the excitement and feeling that comes with this. It is really different from anything else I have experienced. I thank the Lord and am eagerly awaiting the birth of the little guy.

The second change is that it is our time to return to the US for deputation ministries. April 16 we leave Bolivia to fly to Indiana. The first order of business will be to meet the grandson and then onto other things like finding a place to stay and buying a car. We are planning at this point to headquarter near Marion, Indiana. We plan to be in the midwest June through December, with a foray into Montana sometime. Then we will be in Oregon and Washington January - April. After that we hope to make it to Pennsylvania as well. If you would like to have us at your church please ask your pastor to contact us as soon as possible and we will schedule a time. Also, if you would like to host a home meeting with us let us know as well and we will happily set that up. Our email is gordon@ecmissions.org. We really would appreciate your prayers. One of the changes in the mission is that each missionary is now responsible for most of his own scheduling. In the past the mission did most of it and we filled in the holes but now we are doing most of it ourselves. I am trusting that God will help me with this so that we can have an affective schedule.

This turned out to be longer than I anticipated. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I wish for each one a Happy New Year filled with all the best that God has for you.