Monday, May 31, 2004

Thoughts from the new apartment

This is my first blog entry from the new apartment. The reality of Becca's and my upcoming wedding is hitting me on new levels, especially as more and more things are moved into our apartment. I continue to be amazed at how God is bringing us through this process. My faith is constantly being renewed and strengthened. Part of me is very glad for this, the other part wishes my faith were stronger the whole time.

I found out the best way to make a move go quickly: invite people over the night of move day. We invited a few friends over on Saturday night and had a great time. Jesse and I put together the grill just in time to use it to cook dinner. We are so blessed to have the friends we have and we both love to entertain. Saturday night is just the tip of the iceberg of the times we will have in our new apartment. I can't wait to see what God will do in this space as long as He has us here.

Chris out

Friday, May 28, 2004

Memorial Day story

I was reading Ameliou's blog today and there is a very good story on there from her grandmother about World War II. This story is a good reminder for me that this weekend, and Monday in particular, should be much more than a day off work and the start to summer (though I am really looking forward to the day off). Memorial Day should be a reminder to us of those who have sacrified so much so that "we can freely gather on weekends like these."

I will be moving this weekend and I hope to post some moving pictures next week.

Whatever you do this weekend get out and enjoy the weather and remember those who have gone before us.

tmsaisti out

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Happy move week!

Well better than late than never, here is the next installment in my blog.

This week is move week as I am moving into the new apartment on Saturday. I am really looking forward to moving. I have been able to get rid of a lot of things I no longer need which has been good. It has been interesting through this process to look at notes and books from earlier seasons of my life. Many memories.

I was saddened today to hear of the passing of one of my co-workers wife. He was in New Zealand at the time for some meetings. He was called home early as she was not doing well, but he was not able to get home before she passed this morning at 5am. I could not imagine being in his shoes right now, though I know full well that the God that he and I both serve will comfort and lead him through these days. Please remember Howard in your prayers along with his sons.

Well, that's all for now. Off to a gathering tonight with some friends at one of my friend's new house. It should be fun. Hope to post some pictures from it tomorrow.

Chris out

Friday, May 21, 2004

Lessons from a mask

I was just reading Roger Bennett's blog from yesterday (he posts early in the morning, so most people read his entries the day after he posts them) and I was challenged regarding prejudice. In order for Roger to go out in public, he has to wear a surgical mask because of his weak immune system. He frequently gets stares from people when he enters a room because they are not accustomed to seeing people with a mask in public. He is able to deal with stares and momentary discomfort, however this has caused Roger (and me) to think about people with similar problems that are not able to "take off the mask." There are people with birth defects and injuries that cannot remove their abnormality as Roger is able to.

I cannot say that I feel the same way about this issue as Roger does because I do not share his experience. I, however am challenged in light of his experience to be more sensitive to those around who are perceived as "different."

"Lord help me be more aware of hurting people who endure a lifetime of being different. People who endure the stares everyday and do it with dignity. Help me to respond to them with the same dignity."


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Rainy day un-blahs

Today is a rainy day in Grand Rapids. As I was preparing to come to work I noticed lightning outside my apartment window. I am not accustomed to seeing lighting at 7:30 in the morning so this was definitely an experience for me. Many people get gloomy when it is raining outside, however for some reason I am not feeling that way. I realise that we need the rain. I remember in past years the farmers crops have not been what they could have been because of the lack of rain. Therefore, I am grateful for the rain, though it may present temporary difficulties. (It does make me very excited I am going to the Dominican Republic for my honeymoon in 24 days!)

Becca and I are preparing for wedding #2 of 2004. Bryan and Julie are getting married this Saturday. Becca and I went to the Philippines with Bryan in 2001 and have kept up with him since then. I lived with Bryan for a few months when I first started at RBC in 2001.

One final fun note, my team here at RBC threw Becca and I a wedding shower on Tuesday. I uploaded some of the pictures to my website and one is posted below in this blog entry.

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!


Monday, May 17, 2004

Another missions Sunday

I love when missionaries come to church and speak, however I especially love it when I don't know they are coming. I was in Cleveland this weekend at my parent's church and one of the church's missionaries, Carson Fremont gave the morning and evening messages. Carson and his wife Joyce are missionaries with ABWE. Carson was ordained for the ministry in 1950 and left with ABWE originally in 1952. He has been a missionary a long time.

Missionaries like Carson & Joyce are a dying breed and unfortunately they are not being replaced. I do not have exact numbers in front of me, however I do know that the number of missionaries retiring today does not equal the number of new missionaries going to the field (whether domestic or foreign). However, I am encouraged by the number of missionaries from foreign countries coming to the US and other countries around the world. The evangelisation of the world is a world-wide effort.

I was speaking with a retired missionary at church yesterday and she and I were both very excited about Carson's presentation and the challenge for us to finish the work God has given us to do. We all have a part in God's work. We should start where we are. This is a hard concept for me at times because it is far easier for me to think about what God is doing in Sri Lanka, rather than what he is doing in downtown Grand Rapids (or Brandon, Florida). It is not wrong for us to think about what God is doing around the world, however we can't loose sight of what He is doing here at the same time.

1) I must complete the work God has given me to do.
2) I can't forget about the work here in the US while I think about the work around the world.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

different is good

What do you think of the new format?

As a result of Blooger's association with Google, many new blog templates are available to be used. I heard Ameliou might be changing too, but since I wanted to beat her, I jumped on the opportunity today to change. (For more detailed information on my view toward change, please check out this site.)

Well the week is almost over and this one has crawled along at times. I'm headed to Cleveland this weekend. My younger sister is turning 21 on Sunday. WOW I am feeling old! I will be sure to take pictures this weekend and put them on the blog next week.

God has been continuing to bless me with opportunities to be silent before Him this week as I reflect on the video from last Friday night's small group (see blog entry below). Being silent before God is very difficult for me. It is sometimes difficult to quiet my mind with many things going on. However, God continues to bless me as I am silent before Him and listen for His voice.


Sunday, May 09, 2004

thoughts from yesterday's sermon and small group

God accepts us just as we are, however He does not want to leave us that way.

That is the "sound bite" from the sermon yesterday. Becca and I went to Faith Reformed Church in Zeeland. This is the church where we will be married in 32 days. I have really grown to love this church and its people.

I have known that God accepts us as we are, however I have never heard it said quite this way about His desires to transform our lives. It can be so easy for me to try and thwart the Lord's work by shutting Him out. I believe He allows me to do this at times. I feel like I am in control, however in reality I'm not. This is a difficult lesson to learn, but nonetheless an important lesson.

One other thought from small group on Friday night. Our small group is relatively new, but a real blessing to me when we get together. We are studying a video series put together by Nooma, a video production company part of Mars Hill Bible Church.

The video we watched on Friday night was called Noise. The message from the video related to the noise in our lives and how it can prevent us from hearing God's voice. I know in my life of late I have wanted to hear God's voice on a lot of issues but at times it seems like I'm not hearing from him (or not hearing when I want to hear from him). I think in some cases God is trying to teach me patience, however I believe it is possible that in other cases I am not being silent before Him and allowing Him to speak into myself. This relates to the control issue I wrote about earlier.

Am I staying busy, thus avoiding God's voice so I can stay in control of my life? Why do I feel I am in more control of my life during these times when in reality I am never in control of my life?

What do you think?


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Wonderful, beautiful day in Grand Rapids

I love summer-like weather. For me, it just doesn't get any better than sitting on my porch in a t-shirt & shorts, drinking a Mountain Dew while surfing the Internet (wirelessly of course). And of course, as I am typing this blog entry I am doing just that. I hope there are many more days like today this year.

Today marks the 23 day mark until I move into our new apartment. I went through the storage area with this mindset: If something has not been used in the two years I have lived here, it really needs to be thrown away. Consequently, I have quite a few boxes full of trash. (Becca will be so glad to read this I am sure.)

Tonight is the series finale of Friends. For all of you who are saying, I'm not watching that dumb show, please give it up and watch the show. I am not an avid Friends fan and I am most definitely watching it. I hope to find a Friends blog to post my thoughts in as well.

You will notice a new link on the right side of your screen. Roger Bennett is the piano player and tenor in Legacy Five. He has recently gone through a bone marrow transplant at the M.D. Anderson hospital in Houston, TX. He has a blog where he recounts his journey and what God is teaching Him through the process. I have been very blessed and encouraged by these entries so I thought I'd pass along the link to you.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Woo's all done

I have just completed all the reservations for the honeymoon and I must say I am glad to be done. I also must say this is going to be one nice honeymoon. Now if anyone of you thinks that I am going to post, on the internet no less exactly where will be staying you must be crazy. However, I will tell you that we are going to the Dominican Republic. The lack of blog posting of late has been because of my work on this project. One project done, a few more to go.

We are off to Ma and Dino's tonight. I always like going to visit them. I will be showing them pictures from all of my trips last year and this year so far.


Monday, May 03, 2004

Wonderful missionary Sunday

My church invited a missionary couple, Joe & Ursula Morell to come and speak yesterday. They are missionary appointees with Biblical Ministries Worldwide to Sweden. They are a wonderful couple and I am so glad to have met them. I think the thing that impresses me the most about them is they are real people. Sometimes missionaries (and other Christian workers) desire to put their best face forward in order to impress the people they are with. This is not the case with the Morell's. Not that they are bad people, but you knew they were being themselves.

They are pretty far along in the pre-field ministry process and hope to be on the field in August. I am very excited to have met them and look forward to hearing about their ministry in the weeks and years to come.

However, this is what we planned for yesterday. In addition to what we planned, God planned...

Another missionary couple with United Indian Mission stopped by our church yesterday. I do not remember their last name but their first names are Wolfgang and Kelly. They are also missionary appointees headed to Mexico. They plan to do Missionary Aviation work when they arrive on the field.

The missions committee members and myself are still basking in the glow of a wonderful missions Sunday. I am so glad to have people around me at church that love missions and missionaries as much as I do. I am also glad to be marrying someone who shared my love for missions and the world.