Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Pastor, A Rabbi, & Aspiring Rocket Scientists

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us
are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
Henry David Thoreau

A Pastor and a Rabbi walk into a classroom... yes, that's how my day began, and I was the Pastor. I joked with a friend from Guatemala today, "My geography has changed, but my life is still weird."

Meanwhile, in another classroom across metropolis, my wife, Kellie was teaching a class of rocket scientists. They were logged into the NASA simulator entering their algorithms and scribbling their mathematical proofs onto lined paper as their crafts crashed, and crashed again.

Two true scenarios, both reflective of the way we tackle life, you say, "Yes" to opportunity and see where it takes you. Somewhere between the serendipity of converged timelines and humble steps is the providence of God.

As Kellie and I continue to wait on the LORD for our next steps, substitute teaching is a way that we can stay sharp and still do a little good in the waiting. Kellie is a pro, and I'm more of a hack, but I'm also pretty versatile.

It was good for me to step into a new unknown, I felt like a red-shirt from Star Trek taking dust blown steps on a frontier planet. Even so, there was a certain confidence that came as I recognized the similarities of days spent in Guatemala at Christian American School (shout out, love you guys), and I am thankful for this time of walking down corridors.

Kellie had the East covered and I held the West, as together we served a community and engaged a few of their youth. A Pastor and a Rabbi entered a classroom and shook hands. There is more in this world that binds us together than should ever be allowed to tear us apart. 

For God has not given us
a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ten Thousand Miles Since Guatemala

"Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance. They make the latitudes and longitudes."
Henry David Thoreau

Late last week I rolled past 10,000 miles driven since leaving Guatemala on August 1, ninety days ago. If you do some quick math, that is an average of over 100 miles a day since the day I said goodbye our mission there. I've not stopped moving since kilometer one.

These past months are like an old motion picture reel that flashes images of everyone I know and everyplace I've ever been as we've engaged this faith journey to find our next faithful steps. We've admittedly gone where few would dare and many would identify as foolish.

Twice now we've traded away everything for a promise. More than that I suppose, if you consider the two international adoptions. Each of those involved leveraging every resource. 

I've covered some ground. I've made incredible friends that are closer than I knew possible (#BurningHearts), and I've found family that I miss from across the expanse. So many have forever shaped who I am. My heart misses you.

It has been easy to question my worth these past several months. It is so reckless to be a 42 year old who is intentionally homeless and unemployed. And so radical to claim that I'm following the command of God. People want to know, "What is the real reason that you are here?"

It's this odd place that I find myself in. When I confirm that the story is only what I've said it is, that we are in this place of waiting because God commanded it, people believe that I'm hiding a real reason. Maybe you've heard some of the rumors? They're quite entertaining, albeit a bit painful. 

Well... I've covered some miles. I've gained some experiences. I've gained some perspective. As Taylor Swift would say, "The haters gonna hate, hate, hate," and that's ok with me. Folks like a good story anyway. I suppose that I'm not above being the target of a good tale. Fire away. 

Meanwhile, in Trenton Ohio I'm just here waiting on the Lord. 

He has been faithful. He is meeting our needs. He is directing our paths. We do not worry. He is our Lord no matter what the outcome. I praise Him for each word I've written, and each step we've taken in these last four months. 

Ten thousand miles so far, and I give thanks for each one.

Images from our excursion to 
Pleasant Prairie Church in Santanta, Kansas
"Faith Promise Weekend"

Gateway to the West, St. Louis Missouri

Kellie and Sterling (age 5). Caleb & Aleksandra stayed behind
to attend Ohio Youth Convention of the Church of God.

Sterling had no fear at the top of the Arch.

A snapshot from the top using my Samsung Note 4

Close up of the Northern leg.

A day later, our first sign that we'd been driving the right direction!

Honoring one of our mentors and inspirations, Roma Lee Courvoisier

They took me pheasant hunting.
Those boots are from Guatemala!

Kellie tells of our life in Guatemala at a luncheon

Sterling could not be contained.

We found that we had dear friends in Kansas. 

Children donate to Faith Promise, the funding mechanism for Church of God Missions. It all began right here in the 1960s under pastor Frank Courvoisier.
We are so thankful to have set feet on this ground.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Half Past Midnight

It wasn't that long ago when I balanced on that rock on St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado. Some might make a sort of judgmental claim of my crane pose. I have to tell you that I have no time for your commentary. My savior is Jesus Christ, and I find peace in this stance. While I hold it, I breath out worries and I breath in his peace. 

Right now I type these words at half past midnight in Trenton, Ohio. I feel like that I should give a slight nod to this moment of waiting. In our culture we seem to demand progress, and yet I am here to tell you that there is value in the waiting. In this moment I have nothing new to tell you. 

No epic news is ready for communication. I lay in bed in the house of Joe and Sharon Johnson wearing a Batman onesie. There is a picture of me with my children, along with my wife who was wearing a Wonder-Woman shirt (and rocking it), but she doesn't want to share it. I've worn this onesie every night since that night. It is quite warm and comfie. I am thankful that it doesn't have those plastic feet of childhood that were so hot.

Those of you who are bold have asked, "So do you have a job yet?" Or, "Do you have a church yet?" Or, "Do you have an income source yet?" I appreciate your questions and I am thankful that you care enough to ask. I answer your questions, "No." Well, sort of. I mean, we're not bums and so we want to contribute to society and so Kellie is serving as a Substitute Teacher and I'm completing the process to do the same.

Caleb is rocking his dual credit classes and gaining college credit as a Junior, Aleksandra is nailing straight "A's" in her online courses, Sterling is screeching through her homeschool kindergarten, and I am here finishing my master's degree and sorting through the options of our future. 

Our next move is unknown and we're ok with that. Sure we've had some obstacles and some unexpected expenses. But I can tell you that God has provided each dollar. We're beyond our budget and yet we're not yet starving. We thank God for our parents and for partners that still stand beside us. 

We believe that we have been prepared for this moment. The big announcement is yet to come. I don't know if it happens this week, in a month, or in the next calendar year. I simply know that God holds it and that is enough for me.

It may be half past midnight, but we serve the God of the morning. When the Sun rises, you'll find us here.