Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Light in the Darkness (A Midnight Video Blog)


For the past two years I'd been noticing the headlamp of my friend, Justin Herman, and Kellie had one wrapped for me on Christmas morning (because she is awesome). It's been hanging on my headboard (along with my machete) just in case something might go bump in the night. 

However... tonight I've dusted off my amateur photographer skills (a la The Blair Witch Project [sorry millennials, you might not get that reference]), donned my stylish headlamp, and produced a midnight adventure, complete with meaningful content and a dash of eternal perspective.

It's only a few short minutes... and... oh, what was that noise?



Congratulations, if you've watched video one, you've leveled up and now may proceed to the final video.

Warning: 
Watching Vid 2 without reviewing Vid 1 is not advised.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:1-5

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bienvenidos a Journey (150 Tacos Celebration & a Love Story)



Everything began with a story:

"When I was 17 years old, I was hanging out with my closest buddies, David and Kevin. The conversation turned to one of our favorite topics… girls. Usually, we’d talk about the girls that David liked, because girls usually told Kevin “no thank you,” and I’d never dated anyone. But on this particular day… the conversation shifted.

My two friends suddenly had a question that I could not avoid, “So Chad, why haven’t you asked anyone out?” No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get them to change the subject. Finally, David threw down the challenge… “You’ve been interested in Bekah’s friend, so why don’t you ask her out?” I said, “Yeah… she’s nice.”

Suddenly, to my shock… David picked up the phone, and held it out to me as he dialed the number and said, “So do it. Ask her out.”

I took the phone as I heard the steady pulse of the call. My mouth went dry and my arms felt weak. There was no turning back now.

Well… I thought… maybe no-one would answer. 

“Hello.” A voice answered. It wasn’t her. Maybe she wasn’t there. Maybe I could avoid this humiliation. There really was no chance she’d say yes.

Her Mom handed her the phone and she said, “Hello?”

“Hi, this is Chad from church. Um… I really like seeing you at your high school play last week and I’m just wondering if you might want to do something Friday night? Maybe dinner and a movie?

[Oh… my… goodness… I’ve said it. They’ve heard me… she’s going to say “No” and they’re going to laugh for a really long time… maybe forever]

The phone was silent as she paused….

“Well… sure. What time will you pick me up?”

[Ohmygoshshejustsaidyes… I don’t have a clue how this works. I’ve never ever asked out a girl…]

“Ah… how about 5 or 6?”

“Sure, 5:00 sounds good, I’ll check movie times.”

I hung up the phone and looked at my two friends who sat beside me in shock with their mouths open and big-eyed. “She said yes?”

The girl that I’d called was probably the biggest catch of our entire circle… and she said yes to me (She had turned David down more than once). 

Suddenly my chest got bigger and I’m certain I grew at least an inch taller as I just said looked at them and said, “Sure, she said yes.”

That day that I sat in the living room of my friend David’s house. When my friends were in shock that the girl said yes… I was really celebrating with an audience of one. The girl.

She and I went out that Friday night and we saw a movie, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It was magical. It was all that… I took her home and dropped her off… without even a kiss. I think we had a quick hug. I was terrified.


And I went home and wrote in my journal… I love her. I’m going to marry this girl. 

On May the 17th, 2017, Disney is re-releasing Beauty and the Beast. Now, you know that at Journey Church, our motto is “Live Big.” And so, I’m going to do something really big… I’m going to reconnect with that girl, and we’re going to repeat that date back on November 22, 1991.


Because that girl and I just celebrated 21 years of marriage.

Yes! That’s right… that girl, Kellie married me. And now we celebrate together as we recognize the real audience of ONE... God.

The story had ended, interlaced with bits of Joshua and the tribes of Israel celebrating their arrival into the promised land. It's important to celebrate what God has done, is doing, and will do. It's important to establish moments in our life that we can remember. 

Journey Church celebrated a significant event today as we held our first ever, Welcome to Journey class... in Spanish. Pastor of Next Steps, Otto Lopez presented the essentials of Journey to eight new families that now call Journey their home church!





And everyone enjoyed 150 tacos from Taco Bell. Honestly though, nobody enjoyed them as much as me. Yo quiero Taco Bell.


We wrapped up with a question and answer session and an introduction of the Shepherd family. Afterwards conversations continued for another hour. The event was a success! Praise to God.


The day ended with tear down and everything snuggly buttoned up in the Journey office. I give thanks to God and this reminder that we are commanded to celebrate the actions of God in our lives. 

For the curious, below is a link to a live recording of our worship together, and the full message of Celebrations, adapted from the sermon series, If... Then from Journey Church West Chester.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Not Here to Water the Cowardly & the Faithless

How many people would attend a church where the pastor stood up and said, "If you want to follow God, get up and let's walk out that door. You might not ever again see your family, you might lose your children, and it could be that when you walk out that door, someone is waiting to kill me and you with me?" 

As a child I used to run scenarios through my head like that in church. I'd imagine a gunman walking in and opening fire down the center aisle. I'd picture myself jumping off the balcony rail and slamming his head into the concrete. I never wanted to be someone who cowered in fear. You may question the theology of attacking the attacker, but let's not go down that rabbit hole. 

My point is that Jesus was that preacher who said ridiculous things to the people that came to hear him. He told them that if they really wanted to follow him, well... then they had to be willing to lose everything else. 

We don't preach these things in the modern church. We preach that we protect our families at all costs. We preach that we need to pay off our bills, be responsible for the future, and certainly we should never offend anyone. 

And then there's Jesus. He spoke in parables that few understood, and when he had their attention, he told them that most of them gathered were like seeds thrown on rocks and thorns that weren't worth the water he could throw on them. He told them that many of them were more worthless than spoiled salt that was so bad... it could spoil fertilizer. 

Yeah, Jesus told his gathering that most of them were more worthless than poop. At least poop could be used to grow something (Mt 5:34-35).

Our little congregation is growing and families are coming, but I am reminded today after listening to a sermon by Francis Chan that what I preach can never be about the number of those in attendance. 

God did not call me to plant a church in Guatemala to water the cowardly or the faithless (Rv 21:7-8), but He called me here to boldly walk life beside those who are seeds planted in good soil, salt that enhances food, and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in spite of the risks (Acts 4:29).

Jesus really made it clear. If we are to follow him, then we need to do it completely. His Father is a jealous God (Ex 20:4-6), we simply do not get to place ANYTHING before Him in importance. 

And so... to those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, or "Christians," it either means everything to us, or we're just wasting our time. We've got to be willing to give what we have to help those in need. Not through a government, or a tax, but out of desperation when we see it. 

Most of us won't have that chance to jump from a balcony to take down the bad guy... but every single man or woman that professes to follow Jesus must be willing to lay down his or her life in the same way when we see someone in need. We either see it or we don't. We either hear the words of Jesus, or we don't. We either live it... or we do not.

There's just no space here for the cowardly and the faithless.

Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” -Rv 21:7-8 NRSV

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

These Boots are Made for Walkin'.

My mother once told me a story about how she participated in a talent show when she was in high school, singing These Boots are Made for Walking, sang by Nancy Sinatra. It must have been quite the daring number for a conservative household in suburbia southwestern Ohio. 

Today I did something that I've wanted to do for nearly three years. I travelled to Pastores to purchase a pair of hand-made boots. Our intern, Sophie had ordered a pair of custom boots and my wife, Kellie was making the drive so that she could pick them up. I was just along for the ride.

video

But how could I resist as I sat among all those boots while Sophie completed her purchase and Kellie was fitted for her own pair? Things like this are a difficult for us... we always want to be good stewards of our money. But, the truth is that these boots can be purchased for less than a pair of athletic shoes at the average American strip mall.

I was sock-less and desperate, as was Kellie, and so we accepted our intern's offer to borrow her socks... to her amusement. 


And I'm so thankful that I did... the 6th pair of boots that I tried on were a perfect fit. I had $50 in my pocket from a consultant job I'd taken at a local business, and would you know... the price of the boots were exactly that. 

These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. Of course, they aren't going to walk all over anybody... but they'll certainly carry the mission through this nation. We've got some amazing conversations going on.

Conversations about: training up Guatemalan pastors to plant churches in the city, conversations about stepping further outside of our safe zone to carry the gospel, conversations about how the Ministerios Iglesia de Dios Guatemala (Ministry of the Church of God in Guatemala) is exploding throughout Central America, and how God is blessing Journey Church Guatemala with new families.

Our family is taking a breath right now. June brings to us the summer schedule that will bless us with friends, teams, and our student program Emmaus. It also means that we'll go from June 11 to July 31 without a day off.

Oh yes... these boots are made for walkin'.

Let's go.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
-Isaiah 52:8; see also Romans 10:15




Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crossing Cultural Boundaries - Journey Church is Home at Christian American School



There was something unquantifiable about meeting in the new place. I noticed it as I heard 100 plus voices around me singing and filling the air with praise. Our gathering felt somehow more intimate, and I joined the chorus with a sense of deep partnership with the people around me.


As I looked around the room, we were the perfect mix of the people of San Cristobal. We were mothers, fathers, children, neighbors, and friends. Differences in language, race, and culture disappeared as the worship of our Father united us as one. 


Journey volunteers were in place, prepared, and in action. Pastor of Next Steps, Otto Lopez provided simultaneous translation from behind the scenes as ten new Spanish speaking families listened to the Journey Essentials: Invest & Invite, Get Connected, Feed Yourself, Give Generously, and Serve Big. 


New t-shirts shouted our motto, "Live Big," because we are called to live expansive, abundant lives, in pursuit of God. First time guests were given one to take home and wear as they spread the news of Journey.

Intersections, our children's environment expanded into two groups, introducing "Kidmo," a learning experience for elementary aged children using music, videos, and an interactive curriculum.


The "littles" also learned with music and activities, while also giving mom and dad a break in the auditorium. Each week includes a lesson, and something small to take home so that the lesson will be remembered.


The staff of Catalyst Resources International teamed up with Journey to co-sponsor grilled cheeseburgers for everyone, complete with cold Coca-Cola!


At the end of the day, we feel exceedingly grateful. The day exceeded my every expectation: volunteers, first time guests, our core group showing up strong, powerful worship, and a feeling of togetherness that united us all beyond our differences... the Holy Spirit. 

We gathered together, and true to His promises, He showed up Big. The generosity of God's people was on display from the school that has opened its doors to our unique congregation, to Journey peeps that offered to pay for additional fans to cool the hot summer air.

I give thanks to God for this sweet affirmation and reminder... that when we step out obediently in faith, He is waiting to meet us and to lead us beyond. 

"Inspiring others to live big, connecting people to Christ and the Church."

Full video of today's gathering:
Series: If... Then
Topic: Heritage



To learn more about Journey Church Guatemala, follow us on Facebook, 
or check us out at guatejourney.org




To learn more about Christian American School, to enroll your student, or
if you are interested in joining their teaching staff, follow them on Facebook,
or check them out at christianamericanschool.edu.gt

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Failure to Clothe a Naked Woman

She walked along the side of the boulevard, bare-breasted and naked, stretching a cloth over what was left of her dignity with trembling hands. Uncharacteristic of a Guatemalan woman, her hair was short, like it had been quickly cut off with a knife. She just looked stripped in every way possible. 

I'll never forget the expression of her face, it was somehow both devastated and vacant. She was a stunned and vulnerable victim wandering fully exposed in the street. 

I drove past her in shock as one of hundreds if not thousands of cars that passed her by. I had plenty of good reasons to leave her at the side of the road: I was alone and she was a naked woman, she might be dangerous, she might make an allegation against me, she might act inappropriately in the car, or people might think me involved in some sort of scandal.

I passed her by on the side of the road like the Pharisee passing by the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho who was beaten, stripped, and left naked. I'd heard this story my entire life, always thinking, "I wouldn't have passed him by."

I pictured myself looking Jesus in the eye as I heard him say, "I was naked and you did not clothe me." This woman was the one in need of help, and I had passed by her, more concerned of my own safety than of her well being. 

I was devastated. My heart nearly erupted as I felt like I needed to vomit. The simple truth hit me with a sickening realization: I could not continue to call myself a follower of Christ if I abandoned this women in this situation.

I pulled into the shopping center where I had ordered my new business cards, "Rev Chad P. Shepherd." What a hypocrite. Oh sure... it would be scandalous for me to pick up a naked woman... and yet, I realized that Jesus' love was exactly that, scandalous. He crossed all boundaries: socio-economic, racial, religious, and gender in order to reconcile the hurting.

I reached out to my brothers here in Guatemala via a WhatsApp Group:


So... there is a lady walking up the boulevard near lower Paiz... barefoot and naked. Traffic is slowing but mostly ignoring her. 
Not sure what to do here. 
She looked deeply troubled.

I also sent a quick message to Kellie, my wife, informing her of my dilemma. Surely the advice of many would be, "call the police." But... we are missionaries here in this country. We said that we came here to serve. Suddenly I felt convicted that this moment was one of those do or die moments. I am either authentic in what I profess, or I am a charlatan that doesn't even know my Jesus.

I was revolted, not by her condition, but by the thought that many missionaries and Christians had to be driving past her as the local schools dismissed. We all live behind safe walls, locked doors, and drive by in comfortable vehicles. I could not abide the stench of my own hypocrisy.

One of the guys responded to the WhatsApp chat, saying it was sad. 


I responded: "Ah man... ripped my heart out."
Another of my friends, "Pick her up if you need to."
The first friend, "Do you have a blanket in your car?"
 Me, "She can have my suit coat."

It was decided. The devil be damned, I am sent to this place to be salt and light. I do not want to live with the knowledge that I drove past someone in need because I was concerned for my own safety or reputation. Surely, a loss of my reputation was a price that I would willingly pay to extend the reconciliation to someone who was hurting... after all, Jesus sacrificed His for me. 

I want to live a life, to leave a legacy for my children that tells them that our following of Jesus is worth more than anything and everything else. Reverend? No, just another person in need of God. 

I messaged my friends and I messaged my wife, "I'm going back for her." 

In that moment... I didn't have any answers. I didn't know if she'd be violent, thankful, or maybe even unable to even get in my car. All I knew is that I had to go back for her, because my savior has done it for me. I could take her back to our mission where as missionaries we could clothe, comfort, feed, and show love for her.

While I was threading through traffic, weaving in and out of lanes back down the opposite side of the boulevard, I emptied out my coat pockets. Ironically I had just bought this jacket, and I really liked it... well, this moment must be why I have it. 

I made the returno (u-turn) and searched up the boulevard... the woman was no-where to be seen. 

What happened to her, I don't know. It grips my heart with fear. Was she rescued? Was she taken advantage of? Is she alive? 

I had a moment, a split-decision to do something right, and I allowed the shock of the moment, and my sense of self-preservation to rob me of a chance to reach out like Christ. 

I'm not one to second guess myself, or to beat myself up, but I can tell you that tonight I have to ask forgiveness of my God. It simply isn't enough to think correctly after the fact. I imagine the Pharisee who passed by the man on the road, later in the safety of the Synagogue might have had some regret in the corner of his mind... but that isn't enough.

I don't know where that woman is tonight, whether she found relief in someone who had the courage to show real compassion, or if she was picked up by someone who took advantage of her broken and vulnerable state. Somehow it's just not enough to simply pray for her. 

I ask God forgiveness, I accept His grace: to run towards Him, and to hold her in His arms as well. And I know beyond doubt that should this situation happen again, you'll find this preacher racing down the highway with a naked woman in his car. 

I've learned something today... my ego, my pride, my ambition, my success or failure in the eyes of others, simply is worthless when compared to whether or not I am giving to others the grace, forgiveness, and restoration that my God has extended to me. 

Wherever you go, be Christ. We must be salt and light. If we don't do life differently than those who don't know Him, then what really is the point?

  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:2

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Walking on Broken Shoes (for such a time as this)

Broken shoes carry those who do good. Worn shoes bring comfort to the wearer. There is a fine line between broken and worn. Likewise, there is a line that divides comfort and devotion. There is loss in brokenness. Even so, the journey is worth the pain.
My shoes... worn but not yet broken.
As followers of Jesus Christ we must be more than a comfortable, worn shoe. We must take on the brokenness of devotion and take on the risk of bleeding feet. We are called to be change elements for the Kingdom, salt and light. We don't have the option of hanging up our comfortable shoes when the terrain gets rocky, hot, or putrid. 

The damage we receive is always worth the effort if we allow our broken feet to carry the influence of the One whose image is emblazoned on us... as souls that are filled with His breath of life. We are placed on this earth for such a time as this, and we don't have the luxury of hanging up our cleats and claiming innocence of the state of the world.

As citizens of nations, we already have responsibility of the state of society. We are here to shine light into dark places. If darknesses has advanced, it is only because we have been unwilling to shine the light. Surely this failure does not allow us now to claim a pious innocence. Citizens of the United States will be faced with only two real choices in the coming election, and we must fall on our faces in repentance and prayer for the wisdom to make the better of the two choices.

As citizens of the Kingdom of God, it's time for us to walk on our broken shoes. The path may leave us bleeding, but our steps have brought us here. We must pray, speak, and act... spreading salt and light into any and all administrations. We would be foolish to be silent and throw away our influence when it is needed most. 

I would rather have humble, repentant, God-fearing followers of Christ making choices that will influence a nation, than see them collectively refuse to participate while the Godless race us to oblivion. We don't get to take our toys and run home. This isn't about making the better choice of what so many are terming, "two evils." No, it is about walking as faithful followers of Christ who are wearing broken shoes, becoming blessed again as we spread good news.

When Kellie and I were in Russia adopting Aleksandra, we had a young woman with us named Anastasia who served as our agent, guide, and interpreter. She lived outside of the city and commuted by bus. Her days began in darkness, and her shoes slipped off of her feet only after the sun had set again.

Early one morning as she stepped off of the bus, her right heel snapped clean off the shoe. She was working with a broken shoe. She explained that it was her only pair, and new shoes would cost more than a month's pay. We went with her to a cobbler who quickly made a repair, restoring the broken shoe.

Yesterday Kellie and I were in the Immigration office of Guatemala, awaiting an interview, the final step to change our status to Residents. We were given instructions from our attorney to await the arrival of his paralegal before going in to our appointment. We would need his guidance and influence. As the clock crawled to the appointed time in that crowded, hot building filled with anxious people like ourselves, he did not appear. 

My shirt was soaked beneath my jacket as we faced the thought of handling the appointment alone. Right as we approached the desk... Edwin appeared. Everything would be ok. As he led us into the small office... I noticed his shoes. The heels were worn off, and the soles had split. The tops of the shoes were brightly shined and the leather was beautiful, but underneath it was clear that he was paying a price for each faithful step.

I thank God for men like Edwin and women like Anastasia who are devoted with broken shoes. They inspire me and make me want to live a worthy life.

Other parts of the world have understood the price of doing good in less than perfect environments as long as time. The United States is opening its eyes to this reality. I believe that the US Constitution is a sacred document, and that as a citizen of the United States, I have a sacred duty. 

Our government is a system of checks and balances, and in order for it to avoid slipping into tyranny, each part of that system must be maintained. If the those who fear God abandon, or forfeit their duty to vote, then they consent and approve for the Godless to steer a nation. 

We cannot avoid culpability. We are here for such a time as this. We must lace up our shoes, and abandon comfort for brokenness. May God have mercy on us and bless our feet as we carry His good news. 

I think our shoes will be broken no matter what, so let's make the brokenness count. Let's take the next six months and pray about it. Rather than wash our hands, let's fall on our faces. God is able. He is sovereign. He rules over the nations.

Don't let the enemy steal your influence. 
Vote.
Participate.
Be light in places of darkness.
Walk on broken shoes.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hearts Open Wide (the Team House)



In my office hangs three pictures of the Endurance, the ship that Ernest Shackleton sailed in his attempt to cross the Antarctic. I've read multiple accounts of his expedition, and his tale of leadership and heroism exemplifies what a band of brothers can accomplish.

So often in my life, I feel as if I am surrounded by insurmountable challenges. There are days when getting out of bed feels futile. 

"MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.


- SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"

 According to the lore that surrounds Shackleton, this was the advert that he placed for recruitment. I read it and I feel hopeful because it reminds me that hazardous journeys are those which yield honor. Ultimately, I'd rather fail at something worthwhile than be successful at doing nothing.

Even so, I've come to realize that navigating uncertain waters is impossible alone. I thank God that He has surrounded me with men who can create reality from vision. 

The way my life works is that God compels me to do things before I posses the resources to make them happen. He requires me to be obedient and to trust that somehow He'll make it work along the way. If you know me, you've seen this happen.

This year I've known that two things need to happen, and I've committed to both: Journey Church needs an associate pastor that is Guatemalan and bilingual, and our family has agreed to host 10 college students at once this summer as we direct Emmaus (10 students, 5 weeks, 4 countries).

The problem with these two goals is that the church lacks the funding to pay an associate, and I do not have space to house my family of 5 and 10 college students. But... it is the calling I hear from God, and so we commit to doing both.

My favorite word is "convergence," because this is how God works in our life. In a single conversation with the director of Catalyst Resources International, it became clear that God had already provided the solution. I felt like Joshua when he commanded the people to "SHOUT" because God had already delivered them the city.

When our hands are empty, they are ready to receive what God is able to give. When our hearts are wide open, they are ready to be filled with the blessings that fulfill the purpose of God. Of course, these things happen on His time-table.

Otto Lopez has been a volunteer at Journey since the very first Sunday we met on the campus of the Christian Academy. My family was there, wondering if anyone would actually show up, when Otto walked in, said he found us on social media, and would like to help. He helped us set up chairs that day, and he has been at my side ever since.

Otto has helped coordinate our translation team, our media team, participated in small groups, and coached me how to relate to the Guatemalan culture as we have built a church that is both interesting and welcoming. Recently Otto began a seminary degree at SETECA in Antigua. He is studying to be a pastor.

Meanwhile, CRI continues to expand and demand has risen for teams from the US to have a place to stay with us. CRI also has been using Otto for translation and support. 

To my shock, I watched God's plan unfold as CRI proposed that: Journey Church hire Otto as our Pastor of Next Steps, that Otto also take on projects with CRI for pay, and that a new design concept be used to construct a small team house on our property that could be used for Emmaus.

Otto would move into the house and manage it. There was even funding already available. 

The new design could be an answer for families in the villages that own property that will not suit a traditional style home due to unstable terrain or slope. Using an elevated design that is frequently seen in US coastal construction, concrete pillars would be poured to support a raised floor. From that foundation, building techniques perfected by CRI in the villages would be used to build a two bedroom house, complete with a full kitchen, bath, and common area. 

The design would be further enhanced by adding sheetrock, an improved roof and ceiling, electricity, and WiFi.

Otto and I working together at a CRI sponsored event
 this past spring, "Q Commons."
We agreed on a design found on the internet, and broke ground within a week. Otto now is our Pastor of Next Steps and he is living inside of our house while the crew builds his new team house. 

We have gone from broke, under-resourced, and short on space... to a fully staffed church, and a managed property. What seemed impossible to me, was possible with God. 

Rebar enforced and concert filled posts to level the floor.

Local constructed concrete and rebar lock system for a block floor.

Material used for the skeleton of the floor.

Blocks in place, nearly ready for concrete pour.

All concrete is mixed by hand: 60 wheelbarrows of sand, 45 of rock, 30 bags of cement.

One-third of the materials ready for shovel mix.

Ramp ready for wheelbarrow pours

Concrete poured and kept wet for a two-day slow dry.

View from the back corner, possible future tool shed underneath.
The frame begins this week after the guys have had a very much needed long-weekend off. I am blown away by their exhaustive and self-sacrificing gift of energy and sweat. I am thankful for CRI that provides material and pays their wages, extending the reach of our mission to their families. They have all become now... our family.

My heart is overwhelmed and I am humbled... my only part in this story... is just a willingness to say, "Yes" to the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit, and to have the faith to hold out an empty hand, and see His faithfulness to supply the perfect solutions, with our hearts wide open.

So, whatever challenges you are facing right now, I wish you endurance like Shackleton, the imagination of God who turns impossible to possible, and hope in God so that your labors and painful days build towards a meaningful future.

1 Timothy 4:10
That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

Luke 18:27
Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God."

To learn more about Ernest Shackleton & the Endurance

For information about EMMAUS, Catalyst Resources International, & the Shepherd family