Saturday, November 10, 2007

Missions Reflections . . .

Have you ever gone on a missions trip?

What were those experiences like to you?

What do you like the most about the countries you've gone to?

About traveling to new cultures and places?

About their stories, language, music, art?

What do you think of when you go to these places then you come home?

When you have a quiet moment to reflect, what does just the wash of these experiences over you seem like?

Do you ever have surreal moments when you are in a country - a village - or a marketplace and you feel suddenly connected to a part of yourself that you didn't know before?

Monday, October 22, 2007

October Events

This month of October the "September" newsletter finally got published! (If you are not on the mailing list and want to see it, click on the website link on this page "Carpenter's Cross Ministries". It should be there soon.)

Also the editing just got finished for the first audio kid's podcast from Sue and Larry. Larry is Carolyn's worm puppet that helps (?) Sue teach the kids "Words of Wisdom" from the Bible with lots of humor! Parents will be able to get a free download each week of a scripture memory verse skit with Sue and Larry. They can then use them as a fun learning tool for their kids and utilize the podcasts as an added resource for family devotions. Before Carolyn left, we recorded 10 episodes. I will keep you posted with info for downloading these podcasts.

September Visitors

OK, all those of you who been waiting for updates…
In September my sister DeAnn (Levi jacket) and her husband John came to Seattle to celebrate her birthday and have a mini vacation. John was then flying back to Boise, and DeAnn staying to help me with the Onecho Family Camp in Eastern Washington mid September. While they were here, Rosemary, from Carolyn's church CityLife in Melbourne, flew in for a quick visit (pictured above multi-tasking a call to her office in Australia during a tour of the locks).

Carolyn and I are under the covering of the Missions Department in Carolyn’s home church when they send us at different times of the year to work with nationals in designated target countries under the category of "Intergenerational Missionaries". In January we will be heading to Thailand, then to Cambodia in February. Rosemary is the person to whom we report.

Among Rosemary's many responsibilities in Missions, is pastoral oversight for us. I have been teasing her for the past two years that she had visited all the other missionaries under her care except me. “How will you know the challenges I face in the location where I’m based (Seattle) unless you come for a visit?”

So, two years down the track, braving “Orange Security” alerts, she added a side stop to Seattle returning from her China trip and emailed me she was coming! China – Seattle! So close! Well now I feel like I’m officially looked after! (And she knows how to pray with knowledge! :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Spirit of a Goose

At the camp we did in a large tent on top of Miracle Mountain in Grangeville, our last session was about the "Spirit of a Goose". The term "silly goose" in our culture is definitely not complementary. No one wants to be called a silly goose! But God has some lessons He wants us to learn from the goose - for instance the "V" shape of their flight formation. By locking just to the back and side of the lead goose, the second geese behind can get extra lift. The third geese in line get even more lift, and so on. This results in geese being able to fly 40% faster and 70% farther as a group than they can as individuals. Backing the leader helps Vision to be accomplished!

The second thing we learn is that this formation, although more efficient, really puts a strain on the lead goose. That's why they rotate the formation, as the lead goose tires the next one behind takes over. This way they don't kill their leader! What a great idea. The entire flock knows the load can't be completely on one to reach their goal. It's a team effort. Ability is less important that availability.

The third thing we learn from the geese is that if one is injured, two others will always fall out of formation with it. They will remain with the injured one until it recovers or dies. Then they will rejoin the next migration. God wants us to support those weaker in the flock - those injured spiritually, physically, emotionally.

The last lesson we can learn from the geese is about the sound they make. Almost everyone has heard geese flying overhead long before you see them, the familar "HONK, HONK" in the skies.

I asked one of the children what they thought the HONK meant. A boy quickly replied, "Get out of the way!"

They were surprised to learn that scientists have discovered the HONK really is a sound of encouragement geese give to each other as they fly. So if you could translate each HONK it might sound something like this, "Honk (You can do it!), Honk (We are almost there!), Honk (You are flying great!). All the way they are building each other up!

When I finished sharing, we had to leave the session early to drive to the next camp and set up that night. One of the leaders told the children we were leaving early and they came and prayed for us. Before we left the leader said, "Sue and Carolyn are going to drive for 7 hrs to get to their next camp" and from the back of the tent we heard someone go "HONK!" Then the leader said they are doing the kid's sessions for a family camp with 3hrs in the morning and 3hrs in the evening. From different parts of the group I heard "Honk, Honk, Honk". Then as we got in our car the honking started to get louder and as we drove on the dusty unmade road down the mountain we heard in the distance..."HONK... Honk... honk...

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Hope Family Camp

The Kids At New Hope Family Camp really enjoyed singing "You're There" and worshipping the Lord.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kids Camps

We've just completed two camps, very similar in nature. The first "Mountain Kids Camp" was in Idaho City, Idaho. About 38 kids were at that camp - each with their own special needs. It was a day camp with morning and afternoon sessions and activities. The children left each night at 5 p.m. and returned the following morning for the next day's adventure. On the last day when we gave them an opportunity to share, many remarked how much they liked the way everyone got along and cared for each other.

The second camp was the "Royal Family Kids Camp" with 43 kids in McCall, Idaho. Though the children come with a variety of behavioral problems, medications and emotional hurts it was a week of incredible PEACE. The kids felt it and the staff remarked the same. This picture is the cast that performed each day a skit called "The Pirates of Payette" along with the camp directors Tom and Margaret Turco. Captain Smiley converts all the pirates with the "TREASURE" of God's Word in the end. Then they trade the" Jolley Roger" for a Smiley Face Flag and the Joy of Jesus!

These camps give a week of happy memories to traumatized kids, kids in the social care system, whose "monsters" are real. The photo book they go home with reminds them of their first fish, the craft project they made, swimming at the lake, the treasure hunt, etc. Everyone's birthday is celebrated mid week and they even had a special July 4th presentation. These kids literally count the sleeps until the next years camp. We are just privileged to be a small part of showing the love of God to them.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grace for the Moment

I am back in Seattle. It's catch up time. The result of travel...overseas for three months, off to speak at a Women's Retreat in Washington and then a 9hr drive to be with family in Boise Idaho for two weeks. I was now preparing for summer ministry. Suddenly I saw the Max Lucado flip calendar in my living room and wondered what the message was for the 26th of May - the day I lost my cousin. It was now June 1st but the calendar was still set to May 2nd, the day I flew back from Australia to the U.S.
This is what May 26th said:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed." Psalm 34:18
"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us." Romans 15:4

These are not just Sunday school stories. Not romantic fables...
They are historical moments in which a real God met real pain so we could answer the question, "Where is God when I hurt?"... The God who spoke still speaks... The God who came still comes. He comes into our world. He comes into your world. He comes to do what you can't. Max Lucado

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Jeanette Remembered

The weekend after Mother's Day, my cousin Jeanette passed away. She was like a big sister to me. Our families vacationed each summer together growing up. She was a vibrant bubble of joy and her laugh still echos in our hearts. I remember one winter when the youth group went tubing in the mountains (climbing up a long hill and sliding down). We didn't have enough truck inner tubes for everyone to use so we took turns. I was all bundled up in a snowmobile jumpsuit. It was the slickness of the jumpsuit that gave me the idea that maybe the suit was slick enough to slide downhill without a tube. I told Jeanette "Why don't I lay down and you can ride me down the hill?" She asked if I was sure she wouldn't be too heavy and I assured her it would be fine. I layed on my back and she sat on my stomach. We pushed off and started to slide quickly downhill. It was working great! However I forgot one thing - moguls, or as non-skiers know them, bumps. The first one we hit and flew up in the air and slammed down still picking up speed. We were screaming laughing as we hurled down the mountain bump after bump. That was Jeanette - game for anything and laughing all the way.

When Jeanette was a teen, she asked a visiting pastor from Australia if he knew another teen she could write to as a penpal. That simple request led to a bridge between two nations, one which ultimately resulted in the present founding of 5 camps for kids in foster care (Southern Cross Kids Camps) in Australia with more to come. It seems quite a fitting legacy. Her life was a simple one of loving and caring for those in need around her. I don't think she realized the ever increasing ripple effect of her small acts of kindness done in obscurity. I'm glad she does now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Story of Three Coats

This is about three coats. When I think of coats I think of Joseph. His father loved him and gave him a special coat – a garment that was so ornate you could see Joseph coming from a distance.

The second coat he received was from Potiphar as a slave. We know this only because when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of adultery, her supposed proof was the coat she tore from him as he fled the room.

Pharaoh himself gave Joseph’s third coat to him after Joseph told him the interpretation to the dreams.

The first coat represented a person’s natural family foundation. Like Joseph, it can be a reminder of both blessings and hurts. But this coat has to be laid down to move to the next season of life. Laying down this coat moves us beyond focus on self. It is letting go of what we were in the eyes of family and friends to be where we are in the present to minister to others.

The second coat was his move into service. This coat will teach you humility and faithfulness. It can be a challenging experience, but also a joyful and fulfilling one.
Many times this period is what defines us. We can begin to believe that who we are is based on what we do. (If we have failed to lay down the first coat, this one will never quite fit. We will struggle with issues relating to the past which are now conflicting with the present. Joseph could never have successfully served Potiphar if he carried the old cloak of hatred toward his brothers, anger at going from an honored position to a position of servitude.)

Once again God will call us to lay this second coat down. You will be challenged to look at who you are without your ministry, your vocation, your calling. You will feel more vulnerable than you have ever felt in your life.

God wants us to lay down each coat as it’s season finishes – so that He can bring us to His ultimate purpose: to bringing healing to the nations and lead others to see the heart of God.

When Joseph faced his brothers he looked into their eyes and saw their fear. His reassurance to them is simply stated in Gen 45:8. “You did not send me here. God sent me.” Why wasn’t he filled with hatred and revenge? Laying down each coat from his heart helped him to see God’s plan.

There is another story of three coats.

The first was swaddling clothes wrapped on a baby in a manger, beginning the foundation of a human family for the son of the living God.
The second coat was a seamless robe that marked a three-year ministry of service to others. It represented a special position of power and honor. They saw the value of the position but missed the treasure of the person. When Christ laid down this coat, he faced the challenge of acknowledging the heart doesn’t naturally move in the direction of the heart of God – it takes an act of our will. “Nevertheless, not MY will but thine be done.”

The last coat given to Christ is described in Zachariah 3. The name Joshua is Jesus in the Greek. Here in its entirety is the passage:

"Then the angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua (Jesus) the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel's right hand, accusing Joshua of many things. And the Lord said to Satan, 'I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem - I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.' Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood as he stood before the Angel of the Lord. Then the Angel said to the others standing there, 'Remove his filthy clothing.' And turning to Joshua he said, 'See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.' Then I (Zechariah) said, "Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?" So they gave him one. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Joshua and said, 'The Lord of Hosts declares: If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will
put you in charge of my Temple, to keep it holy; and I will let you walk in and out of my presence with these angels. Listen to me, O Joshua the High Priest, and all you other priests, you are illustrations of the good things to come. Don't you see" -
Joshua represents my servant The Branch whom I will send. He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside, and I will engrave this inscription on it seven times: I WILL REMOVE THE SINS OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY. And after that, the Lord of Hosts declares, you will live in peace and prosperity and each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors." (TLB).

This was Jesus’ third coat. The third coat which brought healing to the nations and continues to show others the very heart of God.

Where are you? Are you hanging onto a coat God is asking you to lay down? Are you trying to layer coats to avoid releasing a past season of your life? Do you define yourself by what you do or who God says you are? Are you willing to trust Him to bring you to a place where He can use you to bring healing to the nations and lead others to see the heart of God?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Speaking of Hands

This photo is my illustration of Psalm 139:10. God says he has us in His right Hand! Just a few verses above that He states that He hems us in behind- and before- and lays His hand upon us. Pretty good positioning!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ads and Air Dryers

Sue writes:

LCD screen & speaker built into the toilet hand dryers with advertising. - Only in Australia!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Day With the Queen

The “White Queen” stands guard over the Airy’s Inlet.

I received a multi-media text message from Sue with her latest update. In the most recent message Sue writes:
Two hours South of Melbourne is Airy’s Inlet. We are taking a three day break before the next Ministry Marathon, which begins next week before the schools break for their next holiday. -Sue

We hope that Sue and Carolyn get some much needed rest. I was reading Carolyn's blog and her March 17th Post speaks of their support for the Children in Crisis in Cambodia organization. They are selling woven cotton bracelets which come complete with photo card and brief history of kids being helped through this program. Each bracelet sells for $1 USA or $2 Australian. We will be providing a way to support this effort on their web site in the very near future. In the mean time, be sure to let them know if you want to purchase a bracelet or help in any way. You can email them at

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Prayers for Cambodia

I received a text from Sue today, updating us on the work Carolyn and she are doing. Sue and Carolyn worked in an outreach to 250 Cambodian Street kids today. They prayed with the children for sponsors who can contribute towards a total budget of $11,000. This money would feed these children both spiritually and physically for a year.

We join Sue and Carolyn in praying that God would provide for these children and make himself know to them.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chestnut Hill Inn – Australia

As Sue wrote in her last post, she’s traveled to Australia to begin her missionary work there. Sue’s first text message has just come in and in it she writes,

Friends Graeme & Angela Jones surprised us with a weekend get away at the Chestnut Hill Inn. Pictured are their famous Chestnut Pancakes.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Opportunity of Today

Wrap your mind around this, I’m sitting in my living room working on my computer in Federal Way – out my sliding glass doors my little garden has 4” of snow (refer to Seattle Christmas blog entry), icy roads, school closures and Monday I fly out to Melbourne, Australia (presently upper 90’s F!!!). I’m only there a few days and head to Cambodia (sweat capital of Asia). Life is never boring.

I remember one autumn day a few years back, I was camping on a mountain ridge with my dad. We were deer hunting and it was soooooo cold! At sunrise we got up to a skiff of snow on the ground and huddled around a fire eating breakfast before heading out. I remember thinking “This time next week I’ll be speaking to kids at a campground on an extinct volcano in Hawaii and it’ll be in the 80’s.” Weird, huh?

It’s funny looking at the future thru the eyes of the present. Sometimes I can look at a child and see them as an adult. And I think, “Those same mannerisms, moods, likes and dislikes are all there now that you can see as an adult.” The only difference is people will notice them then. For the present, most adults will miss the little person standing in front of them. They don’t think “This is the bank teller I’ll be dealing with, the doctor I’ll be consulting, the teacher, the accountant, the manager, the homeless person, the drug addict, the criminal I’ll hear about on the news.” One thing about looking at the future thru the eyes of the present, it gives you a heightened appreciation of the precious opportunity of “now”! What are you doing with today’s opportunity?

Ponder: In Chinese the characters for “crises” are “”danger” + “opportunity”

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ready For The New Year?

NEW BEGINNINGS! Ready - Set - Go...
1. Anyone Can Start Over
Acts 10:15 Peter gets reprogramed from religious tradition. God's plan is for whoever He chooses. You may be shocked at who God chooses / Others may be shocked that He chooses you!

2. It's Never Too Late
Acts Ch 8&9 There is something about what you've been through God will use. There are no lost experiences with God - He invented recycle. God allowed Paul to super charge the persecution against the church, then brought him into Christianity and Paul found himself skiing in front of the avalanche he himself started! The persecution scattered the Church (Acts Ch 11). Sending believers to Phoenicia / Cyrus / Antioch. Greeks were saved in great numbers. What super Apostle did that? Barnabus? Not yet there! Paul? No, Barnabus brought him later. Who did this mighty miracle? Just "some of them". You know, like you. You're part of the "some of them". Are you important? Well, because of the actions of "some of them" Antioch was where we were first termed "Christians".

3. No Limits
God doesn't put limits on your life or potential.
Acts 10:34 God accepts people from every nation.
Acts 10:44-46 Even the believers were astonished that not only were Gentiles accepted, but they were given the same supernatural power (Holy Spirit Baptism) as the Jews!

Since God has no limits to what He has for your life...
For the New Year - stop limiting God's access to every area of your life.

Christmas Encore in Seattle!

Backyard surprise - 6 inches of snow and my boots are in Boise!