Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Gift

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Spent Christmas Day with Becca's parents and met my parents and sister in Ann Arbor yesterday. Did check out the University of Michigan while we were in town.
I would be remiced if I did not mention one of the gifts I received on Christmas. Here is a link so you can see what they look like. Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Pistol Packin' Mama

This is a true account recorded in Police Log of Sarasota, Florida. An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and upon returning to her car found 4 males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags, drew her handgun, and proceeded to scream at the top of her voice, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of my car!"

The four men didn't want for a second invitation. They got out and run like mad. The lady somewhat shaken then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried and then it dawned on her why.

For the same reason she did not understand why there was a football, a frisbee and two 12 packs in the front seat. A few minutes later, she found her own car parked 4 or 5 spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into the car and drove to the police station to report her mistake.

The sergeant to whom she told the story couldn't stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter where the 4 pale men were reporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than 5 feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun. No charged were filed.

Moral of the story: If you're having a senior moment, make sure it's memorable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This Year In Pictures

I just looked at the year in pictures 2005 on MSNBC's website. These pictures are amazing. Make sure to look at both Editor's choice and reader's choice. You can cast your ballot for the pictures you like too.

Twas the Blog Before Christmas

'Twas the blog before Christmas, when all through the house
No blogger was stirring, no hand moved the mouse.
The postings were stacked by the tag cloud with care,
In hopes that more readers soon would be there;

The users were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of updates danced in their heads;
And me with my podcast, downloaded like that,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out from my laptop there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the portal I flew like a flash,
Tore open the reader and refreshed the cache.

The enclosure attached soon gave me to know
That new entries were here, more news I should know.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a raft of new updates, eight headlines so clear,

With a quick Wiki update, who could it be?
Our investor, of course, a leading VC.
More rapid than eagles his portfolio came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Blogspot! Now Feedster! now, Movable Type!
On, FeedBurner, FeedBlitz! (On Marketing Hype!)
To the top of the feed! To the top of them all!
Now blog away! blog away! blog away all!"

As valuations that before the wild bubble do fly,
When they meet with a fund, mount up to the sky,
So up to the top of the investments they flew,
With RSS data, and named it Web 2.

And then, with a twinkling, I read in my news
Each notable posting, contrary views.
As I drew back my hand, and was turning around,
Down to my trackback he came with a bound.

His comments were brief, what was ado?
Were adwords OK? Did users click through?
A bundle of mashups he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Our AJAX - how it twinkled! Our tagging - how merry!
We socially networked to his brand new BlackBerry!
Our RSS valid, we were well syndicated,
We subscribed to the feeds that we loved (and we hated);

The stump of our web site held tight in our teeth,
The hyperbole encircled his head like a wreath;
We tagged Technorati, we blogged with the best,
On Feedster we surged and made the A-list.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And marked us on Frappr, and Flickr he searched.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Updated his blog, up our OPML rose;

He sprang to his feed, gave his investments a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

2005 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

Google has released their 2005 Year-End Zeitgeist. To quote the site:
It turns out that looking at the aggregation of billions of search queries people type into Google reveals something about our curiosity, our thirst for news, and perhaps even our desires. Considering all that has occurred in 2005, we thought it would be interesting to study just a few of the significant events, and names that make this a memorable year. (We’ll leave it to the historians to determine which ones are lasting and which ephemeral.) We hope you enjoy this selective view of our collective year.
So here's a link to their findings on the top 10 searches on google.com, news.google.com, and froogle. Interesting stuff.

Snow Globe

Just saw this on Topher's blog and wanted to share it with you all. Thanks to Topher for putting it on your blog.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fun times...

Hope everyone had a splendid weekend. At 4am on Friday morning Becca and I were at St Mary's Hospital ER with me in much pain. As it turned out, I have/had a kidney stone. Bill and Deb became my new friends when they brought the pain medication. I took the day off Friday and did a lot of sleeping thanks to the pain meds.
I returned to work today hopeful that the stone has broken up and I am over another kidney stone (for those of you keeping track, this stone was number two for me). I have not taken any pain meds since Friday so I think I'm over it but we'll have to see.
Anyone has any fun kidney stone stories to share?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lunch at Bennigan's

Yesterday my team at work went out to lunch at Bennigan's. We had a wonderful time and good food. At the end of the meal after everyone had paid, everyone was given an envelope. Inside the envelope could be a certificate entitling me to one of the following: a 42" HD Plasma TV, iPod nano 4GB, free appetizer or free dessert. Our waiter told us that we would definitely receive one of the last two. We cannot open this envelope until January 2006 and we must open the envelope in the presence of a manager at Bennigan's.
My team was planning on all of us bringing our envelopes in January and sharing free appetizers, but I just noticed that you can only open one envelope per party. Marketing ploy! (Though an iPod nano 4GB would certainly be nice.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I am of the opinion that if someone or something helps me out, then I must give credit where credit is due. I have noticed hits on my site going up since I became a member of grbloggers.com . This is a group of people who live in Grand Rapids, Michigan who have blogs. If you live in Grand Rapids and have a blog, go to grbloggers.com and sign up. All you need to do is put some code in the HTML of your blog so that visitors to your site can be directed to other grbloggers.com sites or the main site itself.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

So has anyone seen this movie yet? I think Becca and I are going to see to this tonight but I wanted to get your opinions on the movie. Comment below...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why am I so tired?

A member in my small group just sent this to me and it was too funny not to post on my blog. Enjoy!
For a couple years I've been blaming it on lack of sleep, not enough
sunshine, the kids, too much pressure from my job, low blood
pressure or anything else I could think of.

But now I found out the real reason.

I'm tired because I'm overworked.

Here's why:

The population of this country is 273 million.

140 million are retired.

That leaves 133 million to do the work.

There are 85 million in school.

Which leaves 48 million to do the work.

Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government.

Leaving 19 million to do the work.

2.8 million are in the armed forces preoccupied with finding Osama BinLaden.

Which leaves 16.2 million to do the work.

Take from the total the 14,800,000 people! Who work for STATE and CITY GOVERNMENTS.

And that leaves 1.4 million to do the work.

At any given time there are 188,000 people in hospitals.

Leaving 1,212,000 to do the work.

Now, there are 1,211,998 people in prisons.

That leaves just 2 people to do the work.

You and me.

And there you are sitting on your butt, at your computer, reading jokes.

Nice, real nice.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Office

Well we are in our new offices. I am very glad that I threw away so many things before we moved because now I have work surfaces that are completely clear and clean. Very nice! There are a few boxes of things that will be shipped to Brazil soon. When those boxes are gone I will have more space and that will be nice.
My new office is a 10x10 whereas my old office was an 8x10. I did not request a bigger office, but because of the way the room is setup here, they had to give me a 10x10. I'm not complaining at all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Greetings from Singapore

Here at work they are rebuilding my team's offices so today our computers have been moved into the Singapore room so we can work while they build our offices. It is definitely different to be working so close to my other co-workers (though they have been away from their computers for a lot of the morning so far) but at least we can be productive. Fortunately, I have a lot of podcasts to listen to so the day won't be too bad. Thank God it's Friday! Enjoy the weekend. Hopefully I write an entry on Monday from my new office.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving adventures

Sorry for the silence everyone. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving (for those of my readers who are in the US). We went to see my parents in Cleveland and returned last night. It was a good visit and a relaxing weekend away for Becca and I. The ride down to Cleveland was quite interesting. The drive normallly takes about 4.5 hours, but this time it took over 6 hours. On the way we stopped in Brighton for dinner (Panera for dinner was a wonderful thing!) and we never thought we would get there. We were driving around 10mph from Lansing to Brighton. For those are you in Michigan, you can understand how annoying that might be. For those of you from around Michigan, please consult Google Maps. Fortunately, the drive back from Cleveland to Grand Rapids was uneventful. A bit of rain on the way but I will certainly take rain over mass snow anyday of the week.

Have a great night!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The West Wing - Season 5 - available December 6th

My friend Jason Holzhausen just told me that Season 5 will be available soon and I had to share the great news with all of you. Thanks to Jason.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dr Rex M Rogers - pretty in pink

For all my Cornerstone University friends - again I'm stealing from Ryan's site, but I feel I must do my part to ensure that as many people as possible see this picture.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Frappr - add to my map!

I have joined the ranks of over 900,000 people my creating a map on Frappr. Check out the map and add yourself to it.

Also, created one showing the offices for the ministry I work for.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Happy Birthday!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Psalm 23 for the work place

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want. He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me. He gently reminds me to pray and do all things without murmuring and complaining. He reminds me that HE is my source (and not my job). He restores my sanity everyday and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all that I do. Even though I face an absurd amount of emails, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping coworkers, discriminating supervisors and an aging body that doesn't cooperate every morning (maybe not for all of you :) ). I still will not stop... for His is with me! His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through. He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me. He claims me as His own, even when the company is cutting back and may let me go. His faithfulness and love are better than any bonus check. His retirement plan beats every 401k there is! When it's all said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer and for that, I bless His name!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So many meetings....

This week is one of those weeks where good things are happening, but I will be glad when it is over. Sunday night I had a strategic planning meeting at church. Last night I had another strategic planning meeting. Tonight I have an Elder board meeting. Tomorrow night I hope to spend some time with Becca since I will be away Thursday night on a men's retreat. I'm coming back early from the retreat on Friday so that I can have a worship practice on Saturday and small group on Saturday night. Whew...let me catch my breath now.

On another note, my friend Debby Li has changed servers for her website so please check out her blog at the new location. The link to her site (My Thoughts...My Say) has been updated in the links on the left of my blog.

Have a great Tuesday!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sorry for the silence...

Sorry for the silence. I know it has been deafening :)
Life has been very busy for Becca and I. I hope we have opportunities to slow down soon and spend time together. On more than one night recently we both have had meetings at different places. Tonight we are both home so that is good.
I had so much fun at church this past Sunday morning. I was part of a praise team who lead worship. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun during a worship service. The music we did wasn't that complicated but I felt a very deep presence of the Spirit in our midst. I have received a lot of good feedback on the service. I know that God put this service together and I am just glad to have had a part in it. I am hoping to bring this group back for a worship service I'm planning on the 6th of November.
An interesting story for you all: Last Saturday we had blood drawn as we are starting life insurance policies. The nurse came to our condo on Saturday morning. We had to fast 12 hours prior. It was so hard to not make coffee first thing in the morning. We had to show the nurse our driver's licenses. After the nurse was done with Becca's license it was just sitting on table so I opened her wallet to put it away. Just doing something nice for my wife, right? Becca had already bought my present for our birthday and the receipt for the present was in the wallet. I saw what she bought me. I felt so bad because I was just wanting to do something nice and it backfired. :( :( :( My self-inflicted punishment is waiting until our birthday (9 November) to receive the gift.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Interesting story...

The following was written by a girl's aunt who niece (the girl) passed away very suddenly last week after being hit by a car. What a wonderful story!

A Princess Story
By Aunt Linda

This was the day! The castle was prepared for the arrival of the princess. The King had prepared for this moment. The seamstress had finished the royal gown. The necessary funds were arranged. The choirs were assembled. The princes and princesses of the land, young and old, from all of the ages, were gathered at the gate to welcome her home with great love and joy. The King, with his glorious smile, was ready to receive her into his open arms.

Many of the royal court who surrounded the princess, serving the King in a foreign land in which they abode, would soon hear of the princess's departure. They would be left to continue the work he had given them to do bringing those lost in the foreign land to the royalty he had planned for them.

This foreign land was not the princess's home. She had once been lost in the land and then one glorious day, she had found the King. (The King had always known where she was and sought for her to come near. She answered his call for her.) The King drew her near his heart.

Now this foreign land was a place where the princess was left, temporarily, to complete the assignment given by the King. She had faithfully completed her task. It was finished. The joy she possessed through knowing the King would now be proclaimed throughout the foreign land to offer hope and refuge in the King's palace.

It would be hard for the tenants of this princess to see her off. She would be sorely missed, for she was truly a lovely princess with a golden heart who showered her courts with the blessings of encouragement, enthusiasm and generosity. But it was time; time for her to meet her King. He orchestrated the moment with perfect precision to bring his precious child home. He had made the way clear. It was time.

The King offers all of those in the foreign land a home in his kingdom; not only a home, but a place in his family as his child! They, too, can become a prince or princess of the King! His kingdom was made for them. He only asks them to choose. Once they believe in His Way, trusting fully in his provision, their gifts will be bestowed upon them for service in his courts. They will remain in the foreign land for the days he has determined, and on his determined, glorious day, he will gather his royalty to his side.

Remember this princess. Follow her example. Be faithful to the King. His love and the life he gives are everlasting.

The princess lives happily ever after, today and always.


Prayer Request

Please be in prayer for my friend Debby Li. She found out that her uncle passed away over the weekend. We praise the Lord that he is now in Heaven, but his passing is difficult for Debby as she is away from her family and relatives in Singapore.

Monday, October 10, 2005

"I didn't know Smitty was at our church this morning?"

This is what one lady from our church said to me after the service yesterday morning. I wrote in my previous entry that I was not able to share the video of Healing Rain with my church so I shared the link with you all. About an hour after making that post, a friend called me and said I have the video you wanted. How exciting!!! I brought it to church and with some help was able to show it on the screen as I sang the song. I was excited this worked out and was glad it blessed many people.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Healing Rain

I am singing the song Healing Rain tomorrow in church. I so wanted to have the video playing on the screen as I sing the song but I don't think that will be possible. I found a site this morning where you can watch the video but only while streaming from the Net. At least I can share it with all of you. (NOTE: You must have Windows Media Player to watch the video using this link. Sorry, can't find a Real Player version.)
Hope you enjoy the video. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Nature of Degeneration

I have been reading My Utmost For His Highest during my quiet time lately. I have been struck by the clear, convicting messages from the devotionals and I wanted to share the one for today.

The Nature of Degeneration

The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man's sin, but that the nature of sin, namely, my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race through one man. But it also says that another Man took upon Himself the sin of the human race and put it away - an infinitely more profound revelation. The nature of sin is not immortality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realisation which leads us to say, "I am my own God." This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality, but it always has a common basis - my claim to my right to myself. When our Lord faced either people with all the forces of evil in them, or people who were clean-living, moral, and upright, He paid no attention to the moral degradation or one, nor any attention to the moral attainment of the other. He looked at something we do not see, namely, the nature of man.

Sin is something I am born with and cannot touch - only God touches sin through redemption. It is through the Cross of Christ that God redeemed the entire human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a person responsible for having the heredity of sin, and does not condemn anyone because of it. Condemnation comes when I realise that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so. From that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. "This is the condemnation [and the critical moment], that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness right than light because their deeds were evil."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Taking the day off

In honor of my Aussie friends, in lieu of Labour Day, I will take the
day off from blogging :)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Barn Jamboree

Last night Becca, Roy and I went to my church's annual Barn Jamboree. This is my annual experience with country music and dancing. We had a wonderful turn out and a great time. This event always brings new people to our church. There is a couple who came to this event last year who since have become very involved in our church. I hope the same is true this year.

It is always interesting to see people, who like myself, do not dance well have to dance to music for hours on end. I think the most important thing to events like this is the caller. His job is to guide our dancing, but also make the nervous ones feel more comfortable. We have had the same caller for the three years we have had this event and it is obvious to me that he is talented. Last night I noticed on more than one occasion that he was almost subconsiously giving the calls while drinking coffee or looking for another record. Speaking of records, I can't tell you the last time I saw records or a record player. The caller uses records and record player. I suppose he is used to this format.

Anyone have any fun barn dancing stories to share?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Conference Fun!

What an amazing week! I can't believe today is Thursday and the majority of my co-workers go home tomorrow. It has been an amazing time to fellowship with them and get to know my co-workers better. Tonight there is a special banquet dinner prepared and we will be giving gifts from Discovery House Publishers and Walk In the Word. Tomorrow morning I will leave at 7am driving some of my co-workers back to Grand Rapids and taking many people to the airport.

Last night I was sad about the end of the week coming but I am doing much better now. I am looking forward to going home, seeing my wife and returning to "normal" life. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns for our conference.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Are you a horse or an alcoholic?

This morning Albert Lee challenged us as we look toward the future of our ministry. He asked are you a horse or an alcoholic? Both have the same problem, thirst. The difference between the two is their response to the need. Albert related this to us in examining how we respond to the needs for our materials around the world. We also must examine if the people are going to really use our materials or if they are just taking something that is available for free.

I am very excited about all that God has been teaching me during this conference and can't wait to see and experience what He has for the rest of this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Conference update

It is so exciting for me to interact with my co-workers from around the world during this International conference. In the mornings we have a time of worship including country reports and teaching time from the Bible. Yesterday David Roper spoke and today Alice Matthews encouraged us from the Word that our God is a God of hope. During the afternoon we have various types of business sessions including Graphics, Bible Conferences, Information Systems and Member Services. This morning we had a session with some of the writers of the Our Daily Bread. This afternoon we have reports from the Church Ministries, Outreach and Information Systems departments. I was particularly impacted by the Outreach department report. I think there is a great potential for impact here in the Americas region as we expand our Outreach.
More tomorrow...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pre-Conference update

AHHHH crazy but very fun times here at RBC. Today our guest count rises to 25. The 1st day of Executive Leadership Team meetings has started and meetings are going well so far. I met Kevin from the UK today. He handles the finances for our offices in the UK region. He comes to us with many years of experience in inventory management as well as accounting and finance. I am excited to meet co-workers like Kevin whom I have only known as a name in an email. Each day at the office reminds me there are so many details to be cared for and at the same time we cannot handle them in our own strength. All of us, all around the world are dependent upon God everyday for the tasks He has given us to do. There is a great mission to fulfill and God has entrusted this task to us. May He alone give us the wisdom needed for this needful task!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Keep praying for us

As of tonight we will have 18 guests in Grand Rapids for the International Conference. By next Monday we will have 88! On the one hand I am very excited about these days of meetings and fellowship here in Grand Rapids. On the other hand, I realise that we are dependent upon God for every facet of this conference. Please pray for us that God would direct our steps, guide our thoughts and attitudes, and glorify Himself through this conference.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The month long mission conference has started

Guests for our International Conference have started to arrive. 6 guests arrived on Tuesday night with 3 more arriving last night. It is so exciting for me to see people whom I have met before as well as meet people for the first time who I only knew as a name on an email. One thing that impacts me a lot with my Asian friends is their work ethic. Once they arrive they start working right away. After our chapel service yesterday the RBC staff normally leaves and the Building & Grounds team starts to clear the chairs. Some of the International team there instinctively saw chairs that needed to be put away and chipped into help. I am very impressed and blessed to work with these servants of the Lord.
Hopefully I can post some pictures of my friends later on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Car, friends, and a conference

Well my car is back in Grand Rapids are all fixed. My dad's client fixed the brakes on all four wheels, replaced two tires and did an oil change all for the bargain price of...FREE!!! Free is much lower than $377 don't ya think.
My friend Debby Li has arrived in the US to continue her education. Check out her blog and welcome her to the US!
In a couple of weeks many of my co-workers from all the world will be here in Grand Rapids. I am very excited as the International Conference comes closer. My co-workers will start arriving on 30 August and all will be here by 12 September. The conference will take place over two weeks, one week in Grand Rapids and the second week at Gull Lake Bible Conference. I will share more about this conference as we get closer. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures from the conference here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Car Repair update

Well let me update you on what happened today with my car repairs. My mother-in-law recommended another car repair company rather than my dealership as sometimes they can have more reasonable prices. I went to the car repair company first thing this morning and they gave me an estimate after looking at the car. The estimate they gave me was $100 more than what the dealership told me over the phone. I gave my dad the estimate info and he checked with a car repair station near their home. This company has serviced my family's cars for years and we trust them a lot. They also are one of my dad's clients for his accounting business. They are able to do the brake job for around $200 which is almost $200 less than the estimate I received today. So...Sunday night my dad and I are meeting half way to trade cars. I will use their mini-van for the day on Monday. Hopefully, Monday night we will again meet half way to trade back cars after my car's brakes have been repaired. Are you confused yet? :)
Amidst all of this, my dad will be getting some carpet for our condo from his carpet business (he is partial owner, does not do the installing work but helps with accounting) and a futon for our basement. Many changes ahead. Hopefully I can post some pictures of the new carpet and futon once they are at our home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brake Work

Tomorrow I will have another exhilarating experience in the wonderful world of car repair (can you sense the sarcasm yet). During the past few days I have noticed a squeaking sound in my car when I first start driving. This sound is normally stopped by applying the brake. Last night as Becca and I were going to church, we noticed the sound continued longer than normal. My wife encouraged me to call the dealership today to find out what is wrong. As I described the problem to the service writer on the phone I learned something new about Saturns. There is a safety measure installed on the brake pads that cause a squeaking sound before the pad is destroyed and rotor damage happens. I am certainly glad the squeaking caused me to call the dealership, though I'm not sure I will be excited when I see the bill when all is said and done. I can't complain too much because my car is paid off and does not require too much service outside of regular maintenance. I am hoping this car will last me for a few more years. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Thailand report to our church

The following is an email sent by one of the trip leaders to a missionary friend describing our report on Sunday morning. Praise the Lord for what He continues to do in hearts and lives as a result of this trip to Thailand!

Absolutely, positively, humanly unfathomable.  Our church has not
experienced 90 minutes like that since, since we shipped 50 guys
out to a Promise Keepers Convention in '96.

The sermon interspersed between 17 - 2 minute testimonies, was
titled "when cultures collide, spirits connect."  We had slides and
movie clips running in the background behind each person.  By
"coincidence" we even had Laura Percy home from Thailand participate
in the service, as well.  Phil, who preached and moderated, did
impromptu interviews following some of the testimonies.  After
watching video clips of the jungle service we sang the same songs
with the GLCC congregation.  We had a cool "Creative Memories"
display table in the lobby with stuff we got from the village and
the cities, pictures.  The edited DVD played in a loop on the
display table, as well.

We, I sat all the kids down, along with the lighting guy, the
sound guy, the PowerPoint guy, the musicians and told them absolutely
nothing we did with all the technical production, no matter how
cool, mattered one bit, zero, nodda, if the kids were going to read
hand written scripts for their testimonies.  There would be NO
travel log this morning.  If the testimonies were not delivered
from the heart we might as well go home.  The content of the
testimonies had to be paramount and central.  I explained that
my dozens of hours of work on the multimedia is only there to
enhance the Spirit's message being delivered through them.  They
were given full authority to let it fly, say things that preachers
cannot.  AND THEY DID.  Hair got blown back all the way to the
sound booth.  The kids even ditched the offering in lue of plates
at the exits.  When we let the kids decide that, they knew we were
serious that the order of service was up to them.  They set up
the stage with living room furniture and end tables.  They had
a fireside, big screen chat.

I sat behind my son on a stool.  He caught me snorting my tears
of exhuberence a couple of times during the service.  Ben snapped
me out of it with a subtle yet firm, "Hey, Carl, Carl, what's up,
how ya doin'?"

I am converting the service video tapes into a single DVD.  It is
amazing how it is impossible for a nonchristian video camera to
capture the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The video tape just
does not cut it.  It provides a taste at best.  I will mail a
full trip movie DVD, (already complete), and a DVD of the service.
Hopefully you will see how your investiment paid off in eternal

One of the kids who surrounded himself with the wall of Jericho
spoke Sunday.  Somewhere in Thailand is left a crumbled wall.
He did not mention it, but he has been out of communication with
his unforgiving grandfather since he was 8 or 10 years old.
The service was not even done and he was off the stage, in the
car and on his way to Grandpa's house.  (Grandpa visited our
church for this service but left during closing comments).
Jeremy spent quite some time with Grandpa and applogized for
not following lawn mowing instructions 8 years ago.  One thing
Jeremy learned in Thailand is that in missions there is no
instant response.  "Christianity is a relationship, not a
lifestyle."  Relationships take time.  Jeremy was satisfied
with simply opening this lines of communication with Grandpa.

After church 60 members of the Vision team and their families
came to the cottage on the lake for the afternoon.  What a
gala fest.  (Last of the folks left at 9 - 10 pm)  Folks did
not want the day to end.  We basked in the the spirit and in the

SOOOOO, in answer to your question, "How Did It Go,"  I guess
it went OK.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The political candidate to vote for this year!

New blog

Our friends Jared and Susan Benthem are headed to Honduras on 22 August. They will be teachers at International School for the coming school year. They have started a blog and there is a link to it on the left side of mine. Please check out their blog and pray for them as they prepare to move.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ministry attitudes

Sorry for the silence friends. I hope people are still going to my blog because I haven't received emails screaming at me for posts. If you have not been to Kedron's blog lately, you really should go. In particular, I have been challenged by his current post called Ball Kicking. This post challenges me in my attitude when doing ministry. I heard Bill Gaither say at a concert once that Christians are the only people who shoot their wounded. Sometimes in the name of ministry, or advancing the cause of Christ, we can do things that actually hurt those who are on our team.
I think an anonymous comment on Ked's blog put's it well:
Bottom line, it's safest for all of us to remember when kicking balls down the ministry that it's just not about us in the least, and that humility and love are the skills we need to hone most of all. Because it is sad to watch teammates injured by the arrows of the righteous.
Our International Director puts it this way:
Leadership is only our responsibilities.
Servanthood is truly our position.
Child of God is definitely our status.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bedroom painting

I am very pleased to say that we are painting our bedroom today. To this point we actually have been sleeping in the spare bedroom of our condo. The pressure on us is two-fold: 1) We are hosting someone for work during the International Conference in September, and 2) The temperature drops at least 10 degrees when you leave the spare room. For these and other reasons, we very much want to move into our bedroom and leave the spare bedroom days behind.
At this point the room is basically painted. We just need to come back and care for some details and it will be done. Once we put up window treatments we will be able to move in. We are very much looking forward to that!
Hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Thailand thoughts

This picture is a collage of the Sunday Morning Christian celebration service and a couple other winners.

Much of the last day in Thailand was spent briefing the Vision Team Members how to answer the question, "So, how was your trip to Thailand?" Dave warned the kids that folks back in the States would have absolutely nothing to relate to when attempting to understand what the team had experienced. Dave prepared the kids to expect very short attention spans on the part of those listening to Vision Team adventures. There is just no way for folks to imagine what is being conveyed.

As a team leader the best way to sum up the entire Thailand experience was verbalized in a testimony given by Clark Perry at the Karen jungle village Christian church service. In paraphrase Clark expressed; "I didn't know what I expected when I came [to your village]. But what I found were 'on fire' Christians who knew more scripture than us, understood the meaning of the scripture better and understand what freedom in Christ is better than us. It puts us to shame." When the service concluded the village pastor did not pray for his poor small church, but he prayed that the Vision Team would gain in understanding and grace in their life in Christ. In salutation he looked forward to heaven where we would all have
no language barriers, just sweet fellowship.

Dave explained that the prison of animal sacrifice, spirit worship, and Buddhism gives the Thais a formula to follow to get to heaven or at least to an elevated level of reincarnation. If a white person offers the plan of Christian salvation to a Thai they will quickly accept it then ask for the new formula of works to follow to heaven. That is why missionaries spend 3 years laying out the gospel chronologically so that the Thais understand unequivocally that Christianity is a relationship, not merely a lifestyle. When a Thai grasps the gravity of the message, the freedom from works to get to heaven, they cannot clean up their homes quick enough, they cannot memorize scripture fast enough, they cannot walk 12 miles through the jungle to the the next village with the Good News soon enough. They cannot contain themselves with their new found freedom in Christ.

What so gripped the Vision Team was the fact that since the Thais from the Karen village had never been to "Church" they were totally and absolutely unencumbered by having to conform to a "Christian Lifestyle" immediately following a verbal decision for Christ. Bottom line, all the Vision Team saw was the freedom of Christ living through the Karen village people. There were no human rules or traditions tacked on, just a fresh, exciting new life in Christ.

Even though the teens had heard this 'sermon' dozens of times it came to life when they saw and experienced it through the lives of those in the village. "I get it. I finally get it."

This understanding of who we are in Christ may have been made possible for some of the team ONLY by being placed in this environment after such a great investment of money, time, effort and prayer.

Thank you to all who supported this effort that so revolutionized the lives and understanding of all fifteen Vision Team members.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Long time, no posting

Sorry for the silence on here. It has been a good week at work and we are headed to Cleveland for the weekend. My friend is getting married in September. Since I can't go to his wedding, I am going to his shower with Becca on Sunday. Actually Becca will be going to the shower. Mark and I will hang out while the ladies exchange gifts. Looking forward to a good time with my family and will be singing at my parent's church on Sunday.
Let me leave you with one thought from today's Our Daily Bread that challenged me. The Scripture reading for today was Matthew 6:25-34.
Look at it this way: Whether or not you live only for money, you'll ultimately leave it or it will leave you. But if you focus your life on God and doing His will, all these other things will be provided.
Does your concern for making money and keeping it overshadow your concern for doing God's will? If so, stop and look at the birds.

Friday, July 01, 2005


The curriculum the Vision Team experienced in Thailand is a modification of the Summit Program. A portion of that program involves cultural studies. Without understanding the culture it is impossible to relate to the people. Buddhism is the driving force in Thailand so David spent much time in preparation of materials in the study of that cult. Dave was amazed at the parallels between Buddhist practices and Old Testament Jewish traditions.

At the top of the mountain, overlooking Chiang Mai, at the premiere Buddhist temple, Dave asked the team, "Why was Satan banished from Heaven? Because he wanted to be equal with God." Instead Satan created a counterfeit cult setting himself up as the head. No place is there a better counterfeit to the Israelites temple than the Buddhist temple, with its encompassing wall, overlays of gold, the holy of holies, the offering of three incense sticks, the list goes on and on.

Below is a picture of the 300 steps leading up to the temple and the gold steeple at its peak, center between the walls.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thailand - A Land Of Contrasts

Thailand was a land of many contrasts. The picture below parallels the open sewers of Bangkok with a Karen mountainside tribal garden.

In Bangkok some of the team were nauseated by the smells and even some of the sights. Teeming populations live along these sewers, drying their laundry in the methane filled air. Children swim with crocodiles in the same streams and rivers underneath their homes. In the Karen mountain village hard work and simple living accompany the tranquil setting on the attached photo.

Even though each of these sets of folks live in very different environments they are still bound to the same prison of animal sacrifice, spirit worship and Buddhism. Some work the entire year to pay for the animals required in fear, with no assurance that their efforts are recognized.

The vision team was able to see these prisons, but they could also clearly see the the sanitary, almost invisible prison that we as Americans have allowed ourselves to construct. As the teens lived in the homes of Karen village Christians they could see that what is important is their life in Christ and teaching others how to be free from their prisons. Material things of life have no value.

A completely different set of priorities.

Even two weeks later the teens are still making sense of it all. Somehow Nintendo is less important now.

Monday, June 27, 2005

We're home

Sorry for the delay in this posting. We arrived back in Grand Rapids last Thursday afternoon around 4pm. There were no problems on any of the flights coming back from Thailand. The trip was a wonderful experience and I look forward to sharing more about it on here in the days and weeks to come. Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Back in Bangkok

We are back in Bangkok awaiting our flight out 1am local time on Thursday morning. Our thanks to everyone who has prayed for us during our time here. God has worked in hearts and lives and I don't think we'll be the same for having been here. We took an overnight train last night from Chiangmai to Bangkok. No problems on the train and I think everyone slept well.
We arrive back in Grand Rapids late in the afternoon on the 23rd. Please pray for us as we travel home, particularly the long plane ride from Seoul to Chicago.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Thailand Trip Update

Things continue to go well here in Thailand. We just returned from being in the village for the weekend. We left on Friday afternoon and returned this afternoon (Sunday). Tonight we are headed out to dinner and tomorrow we do the Buddhism package. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us that we would be open to everything God has to teach us while we're here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

We're in Chiang Mai

We arrived early this afternoon in Chiang Mai. We took the overnight train from Bangkok and let's just say that was an adventure. Tonight we went to a traditional Thai dinner. Tomorrow we head to a village for the weekend.
Things continue to go well for us. Please pray for us as we adjust to the heat and that we would have teachable spirits.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

We're in Bangkok

We arrived in Bangkok earlier this morning around 1am local time. We spent the night at a guesthouse and plan to see the sights in Bangkok today. Thanks for your prayers for our team. All is going well.

We're in Korea

We have arrived in Seoul, South Korea. The flight from Chicago was certainly long but uneventful. We are here for about 3 hours and then we fly to Bangkok. Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for us.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Off to Thailand

Well today is the day we leave for Thailand. The trip that has been a year in the making is now hear. Our ride to the airport should be here shortly. Please pray for us as we go. My prayer is that nothing would distract us from what God wants to teach while we're there. I hope to post some updates on either this blog or the trip blog while we're there so keep checking both of them.
Talk to you all later.
Robertson out

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Personality Assessments

Today Pfitz put a link in his blog entry to an online, free personality assessment. It is not the Myers-Briggs test but it is close and quite accurate. I am an ISTJ meaning I am systematic, thoroguh, cautious, serious, applying past experience, logical, analytical and skeptical of new ideas that don't seem to have immediate and practical application. Pretty accurate test for only taking 5 minutes.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Last night Becca and I rented Hotel Rwanda. Needless to say this is a very well done movie and I encourage all of you to view it. The movie recounts a modern genocide that has taken place in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The following is a portion of the story from the movie's website.
Over the course of 100 days, almost one million people were killed in Rwanda.  The streets of the capital city of Kigali ran red with rivers of blood, but no one came to help.  There was no international intervention in Rwanda, no expeditionary forces, no coalition of the willing.  There was no international aid for Rwanda.  Rwanda's Hutu extremists slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors and any moderate Hutus who stood in their way, and the world left them to it. "Ten years on, politicians from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Rwanda to ask for forgiveness from the survivors, and once more the same politicians promise `never again,'" says director Terry George.  "But it's happening yet again in Sudan, or the Congo, or some Godforsaken place where life is worth less than dirt.  Places where men and women like Paul and Tatiana shame us all by their decency and bravery."
This is indeed a very powerful movie and I hope it receives the recognition it deserves. Check it out!


What God Has Joined Together

A professor of Hope College has recently written a book called What God Has Joined Together. This book unfortunately makes a case that Scripture supports homosexual marriage. I have not yet read the book and am not sure if I want to purchase it. Part of me wants to read it so I can learn more about the author's argument. However, another part of me does not want to support the author financially by purchasing this book. We'll have to see.
Here is an excerpt from an editorial review on this book from an amazon.com:
Coauthors Myers (who serves on the board of the National Marriage Project) and Scanzoni (of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus) "take marriage... [and] our Christian faith seriously." Bringing together those two commitments to build a Christian case for gay marriage, they begin by arguing that marriage is good for society: marriage correlates to longevity; boys raised by married parents are less likely to commit crimes; married moms are less prone to depression than single moms and so forth. Why, the authors ask, should these good things be reserved for heterosexuals? They then consider what Scripture has to say about sexual orientation, rehearsing the by now familiar arguments that Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality, and though the Bible does talk occasionally about homosexual sex, it does not deal with "loving committed homosexual relationships." Myers and Scanzoni's tone is calm, respectful and balanced. For example, though they present some of the latest scientific evidence about the causes of sexual orientation (including a chart of "mental rotation scores by sexual orientation"!), they also freely admit that scientific studies on this issue are still in the early stages, and that even conclusive scientific information "cannot... resolve values questions." With its traditional defense of marriage and its progressive embrace of same-sex relationships, this book cannot be pigeonholed, and that in itself is refreshing.
I think we need to be worried as a society with books like this coming out, especially if they receive a lot of popularity. As Christians we know what the Scripture says and at the same time we must respond to books like this, as well as those who struggle with homosexuality, with the same love that God has shown to us.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Hit Me Baby 1 More Time

Well we finally went shopping last night. The disadvantage to moving is that you don't want to have too many groceries in the house because that means you will have to move more. At this point we are moved, however we are leaving for Thailand on the 13th so we don't want to have too much at this point either.
Last night Becca and I watched an interesting show on TV. The show is called H1t me baby one more time. The show is kind of like American Idol though different. Participants on the show are artists and groups who were big back in the 80's. They are invited on to sing one of their songs that made it big and then their version of a popular song right now. One of the groups last night was called A Flock of Seagulls and let me just say it was incredibly wrong when they sang Enrique Iglesias "Hero." I think Becca and I are still in recovery over that one. For all you American Idol fans, this show may tie you over until the next season. It is on at 9pm on NBC on Thursdays.
Robertson out

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ace is the place...

This is the first time I am posting to my blog by email so we'll have to see how this turns out. Last night my in-laws came over along with my sister in law and a friend of theirs. The purposes of the evening were to 1) Install the gas dryer and 2) Plant some flowers and other plants. My mother-in-law is definitely the one with the green thumb in the family so when it comes to flowers and plants, she is in charge. Dad and I took to the task of getting the gas dryer working. The copper pipe was already there so we needed to connect it to the dryer and we're done. Simple, right!
This is where Ace comes into the picture. I made 4 trips to Ace last night. First trip to get cabling and plug adapters. Second trip to get an adapter for the dryer cable. Third trip to get a different adapter. Fourth trip to get the correct adapter and a major appliance extension cord. Let's just say the people at Ace know me well and are very helpful for those of us who are not home improvement experts.
Robertson out

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fun weekend

Hope you had a fun Memorial Day weekend! We went to Cleveland to see my parents. On Saturday we went to Put-In-Bay. Saturday was the first day people came over for the summer and I was amazed how many drunk people were on the island. Sunday we went to my parent's church. The church is sending some of their youth on a mission trip to Florida in June and they had a fundraiser lunch after church. It was nice to attend a fundraising event without having to work at it; simply come and enjoy! That night we saw my Mark and his fiancé Marjie. We can't go to their wedding in September so it was nice to spend time with them for a bit. We came back to Grand Rapids last night. Fun times!

We are getting more and more settled in the condo. The washer and dryer were delivered today. Since was purchased a gas dryer, the company has to come back on Thursday to install it as the people who deliver can't install gas dryers.

That's about all for now. How are you doing?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We have moved...

Well the big move day has come and gone. Becca and I are now living in the condo. As I have said before, the process of moving makes me not want to move. Hopefully, the lesson learned during this weekend will stick and thus prevent us from moving again soon. We'll see how this works out...

I would say about 90% of our things are moved into the condo. At this point, we have to go back to the apartment to clean and paint some of the walls back. Our lease ends on May 31st so we have some time before everything has to be done. Fortunately, Becca already started painting so we don't have too much of that left to do.

Even though moving is a lot of work, as is owning your own home, I think I am going to enjoy life as a home owner. It was exciting to be able to put some things into the storage area in the basement so they are out of the way. It is also nice to have a separate living and family room. We decided to put the TV downstairs. I am glad we made this decision so we don't watch so much TV (though since we won't have cable here at the condo, the TV viewing will decrease anyway).

It has been nice to meet a couple of our neighbors since we moved in yesterday. I am hoping we will be able to meet many more in the days and weeks to come. The condo association appears to be a great neighborhood with many nice families. I am not 100% sure why God has lead us here (though I really like our condo) so it will be interesting to see how God uses us in our neighborhood.

On another front, 22 days from today Becca and I will be leaving for Thailand with the Vision Trip team from our church. We had a good weekend last weekend in Newberry, Michigan getting to know the team members better and seeing the team member interact with each other. We remain excited to see how God will use this trip in the lives of the teens, as well as ourselves. As I have said from the very beginning, I cannot help but be excited about what will happen when 12 teens and 3 leaders go to Thailand, learn about missions and cultures. When they return, I can't help but think they are going to want to do something. I have no idea what that will be, but I can't help but be excited about it.

Well, that's about all for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Satan is at work

This posting may be seen as controversial, however I feel the need to post this information and I pray God will use it for His purposes and for His glory.

I have been thinking a lot about the work of Satan lately. I think it is easy for me to forget about this in my daily life.

I Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV)

It is easy sometimes to overlook difficult times in life and not see things as instruments of the Devil for his purposes.

Romans 6:13 says, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (NIV)

Satan's schemes and activities can make us discouraged. As I think about somethings going on in life right now it is easy to become discouraged. The more I think about these things I realise in the grander scheme of life and God's work they really just do not matter. Let me give you an example so you can understand better. On the mission trip my wife and I are leading along with one leader, there have been many discussions this week about what can be worn while we are in Thailand. Of what eternal significance is there to what we wear while we are in Thailand. How easy it is sometimes for Satan to distract us from the really important to the temporal, unimportant things. I have purposed to trust God to lead me into matters which are of eternal importance and leave the rest for God to handle. He is in control anyway. I need to surrender control to Him.

The challenge I receive today is to not be naïve to the fact that Satan is at work and his desire to use whomever and whatever to achieve his objectives. I need to continually bathe the work of God in prayer that God's workers may be protected from the enemy's attacks.

Addendum: Today I was to submit the quarterly Discovery Series booklet for the October-November-December Spanish & Portuguese offer. My boss informed me of a change in this booklet due to the great popularity of The DaVinci Code in Latin America. We will now be offering our Discovery Series booklet called The DaVinci Code: Separating Fact From Fiction. RBC Ministries has created a website with information about this book. Feel free to check it out. Also, let this serve as another reminder of Satan's work in this age.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thailand Blog

As we prepare to go to Thailand I have been reading a lot about Thailand on the Internet. There is a link to this blog on the left hand side of this page. The guy who writes this blog is an expat from the UK. A lot of cultural information about Thailand on this page.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Change is good

I was inspired by the new layout on Amelia's blog to make some changes on mine. I am not as graphically inclined as Amelia or Ked so I borrowed this new layout from someone. I hope you like it.

I finally have some pictures of the inside of our condo on the internet. Click on the link to the left or here.

Becca and I plan to continue with our home improvements tonight with more wallpaper removal. She has also started painting our apartment back to white. There is much to be done, but fortunately we have until the 31st to be completely out of the apartment.

Becca posted on her blog last night so be sure to check it out.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ah the joys of owning a home

For an update on the joys of owning a home, I refer you to a post on Amelia's blog where Becca and I have made comments. Hopefully there will be more comments forthcoming.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Where's the pink????

One of my fellow bloggers has been talking about something pink for months but we have yet to see it. Please take this opportunity to blog a comment on her blog to ask about the pink. Hopefully if there is enough response, we'll learn what the pink is :)

Picture of our condo

Here is the long awaited first picture of our condo. I hope to post a link to more pictures later but here's one for now.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's closing day

Closing day has arrived. We meet at the title agency this afternoon at 1pm. I am excited that we will have a home, but there is so much else going on right now it is hard to be excited. I am glad we will have a month to move out of the apartment and into the condo. We want to paint the condo and also need to paint back the apartment before we move. These things will take some serious time. Our lease is up on 31 May so we will probably be completely moved in the condo by then.

Please keep praying for us and thank you for all your encouragement.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Change: It is good

Have you ever noticed how Satan can take a good thing and twist it for bad? I'm sure everyone can give examples of this. I'm also sure this is not a new concept to most of you. In life right now there is much change on the horizon. The changes are good and they will help those effected by them, however change at the same time is difficult. An example of a change is my friend candidating at a local church to be their senior pastor. He and his family presently attend the church where Becca and I attend. If my friend is accepted at this church (which is quite likely) they will be changing churches. Though we will still see them, things will be different.

A prayer I am praying for myself is that I would not allow these changes to make me discouraged. I need to trust that God is in control and that He does all things well.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Good condo news

The report for the condo appraisal and inspection was received today. The report calls for no repairs to the condo. The inspector did request a copy of an inspection that had already been done. He should receive that report tomorrow. Our mortage broker is moving "full tilt" on our condo right now and is hoping to close by next Thursday, 28 April.

Thanks for all your encouragement. Please keep praying as we look forward to next Thursday.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Condo update

I am sorry for the delay in updating everyone on the condo. We found out the final inspection & appraisal was not done until yesterday. We are hoping to receive the report on Monday. We still hope to close before the end of the month but this will be determined by how much we have to do from the inspection report.

Thanks for all your prayers and support in this. We really appreciate it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Another wrinkle

After the inspection we found that we need to apply to the condo association before we close on the condo. I sent the application to the condo association this morning. Please pray that we are accepted so we can continue with the process of purchasing the condo without delay.

Thank you for all your support during this process. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Inspections went well...

Thanks to all of you who have asked about how the inspections went yesterday. The inspections went well. Some very minor things were found however we went ahead and requested the final inspection & appraisal of the condo. If the final inspector does find anything, we will have opportunity to fix those things and the inspector who did the preliminary inspection will sign off that those things are cared for. The final inspection & appraisal was ordered today and should happen over the next few days.

Thank you for praying and remembering us in this process. I will let you know more when we here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


One of my co-workers in Singapore just returned from photo shoots in India and Sri Lanka. He has posted many pictures from his trips on his website and I wanted to share them with you.

For some reason I cannot program HTML today, there is something wrong with Blogger's interface so I will paste the links below. (You'll need to copy and paste them into your browser.) Please check out the pictures and let Alex know if you like them. I think they are great.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Condo Inspection

The first inspection on the condo will be tomorrow afternoon. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Please be praying tomorrow that the inspection would go well so we can proceed with purchasing the condo.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Progress on getting a home...

Becca and I looked at a condo on Friday afternoon. The condo is a 2 story, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom with finished basement. The more I think about condos, the more I think it is a good option for us. Purchasing a condo is a good next step after rental living. You still have some of the responsibilities of owning a home, however you do not have all of them at once. The association still cares for the lawn, snow removal and the exterior of the home. We are responsible for the interior. This is a good balance and next step for us.

We made an offer on this condo on Friday and our offer was ACCEPTED!! We are excited. The next step is the pre-inspection. Due to the type of mortgage we will be receiving, there are higher standards on the inspection. Therefore, our realtor will have his inspector go through the condo and make sure everything is okay. The inspector is very thorough. (When he inspected the other home we were interested in, we received a report that was about 2 inches thick.) If our realtor's inspector does not find any problems then we will schedule the final inspection. I would think appraisals and other closing activities would proceed after the final inspection is complete.

So this is where we are right now. Thank you for asking us how things are going and for praying for us. Please keep praying.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Home saga update

Yesterday Becca did some more searching and found 6 more homes. We went through one of the six today. This home is a condo. We found from the seller's realtor that an offer on this home was imminent so we put in an offer of our own. We will find out by tomorrow night at 5pm if our offer was accepted. We both really like this home and hope our offer is accepted. Please pray about this. We'll let you know tomorrow night what happens.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The home saga continues...

Last night Becca and I drove around Grand Rapids again looking at home we found online that we liked, at least on paper. We came home a little discouraged because we really did not like any of them enough to walk through. We weren't sure what to do. I thought, well let's make an appointment at an apartment complex and move in that direction.

Well today at work Becca did more searching on the internet and we found 6 more homes to walk through. I am thankful because though there are advantages to being in an apartment, I think it's time for us to get a house. We'll see...

Here's a link to my #1 draft pick at this point.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I was at my in-laws today for lunch and I realised my family is in 3 states today. My mom is in Cleveland, Becca & I are here in Grand Rapids while my dad and sister are at my grandmother's in West Virginia. Yeah for free nights and weekends. I called my dad and sister earlier. I'll call mom later on when we are home.

I'm enjoying the opportunity to relax and enjoy Resurrection Sunday. We had an incredible service today at church. I am so excited to see the way the Lord brought the service together. I was concerned as I did not know what we were doing on Thursday but God brought things together.

I must include the picture below of my buddy Christopher. I took this picture when he was with me and his dad Jesse looking at a house.

Enjoy the rest of your Easter Sunday!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Good Friday

I was just reading Scott Pfitzinger's blog. Scott used to work at Cornerstone University where I went to university and worked for a period of time. Scott has since moved to Butler University in Indiana but has a very interesting blog.

Here is a link to his Good Friday entry. I agree with Scott's thoughts and I hope to remember more than just during Passion Week.

This is what Easter is all about

Thursday, March 24, 2005

House update

DO INDEED BE A GOD!!!! Okay maybe that was a bit dramatic but I am super glad I can post from work again. For a while, the site where I go on Blogger was blocked. Can't imagine why :-D

Anything I need to give you all an update about the house. Thank you all for your many comments, prayers and support. After the inspection on Tuesday we did decide to remove our offer from the house (which actually just reminded me that I need to send the release of purchase agreement to my realtor...oh my what a morning it has been so far). At this point we are not sure if we want to rent for another year or keep looking. Either way we are taking the weekend off and will continue on Monday.

Thank you again for all your comments, prayers and encouragement. We appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pictures Of A Home...

I have finally posted pictures of a home we have been looking at. Inspections are happening today and we plan to close (baring delays) on April 15th. Check out the link to the right or click here. Please let us know what you think.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


We looked at 5 homes today with our realtor. Actually, we only looked at 4 because we were not able to get into the home. I think the Lord shut the door to us on this home :)

I am learning that I need to have the mindset that we need to do somethings to the home we buy in order to get the price we need. This is difficult for me because I'd prefer to just move in, but I'm learning that us doing some improvements is not a bad thing. If a home needs some work, this gives us an opportunity to make it our own. The projects we would need to do are not that complicated. We are not talking about demolition and re-building from the studs. All of the walls would need to be painted. The hard wood floors need to be sanded and re-finished (the whole home is hard wood floors). The more I think about this home the more it is growing on me.

I would be curious to get your thoughts on projects like these.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


We had a very refreshing meeting today with a home mortgage broker. She is a co-worker of a friend of mine. Over the weekend I realized I wanted to try and find another mortgage broker. The broker we have been using is a good guy and knows mortgages, however I have become less and less comfortable with him. I think buying a home is a significant purchase and therefore the parties on your team need to be on your team and they need to be people you are comfortable working with. The lady we spoke with today immediately put us at ease and communicated (in a calm manner) that she really knew mortgages. She communicated complicated mortgage language in a manner that we understood and felt comfortable with. We will be meeting with another mortgage broker tomorrow after which I hope we will be able to choose a broker and get pre-approved.

I am looking to us buying a home and for the process of buying a home to be over.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

House hunting

Wow! Two posts in one week. I am posting more efficiently for a change.

House hunting is draining, I don't care what anyone says. On Thursday we looked at 5 homes in Grand Rapids. We fell in love with one home and put an offer for it on Friday morning. A couple of hours later we withdrew this offer because we were not 100% comfortable with the home. There is an expression "God protects fools and Irishmen." I am not saying we are fools, but I am saying God was protecting us. We found out in the end the home was re-done by a non-profit organisation to be sold to low income families. We could not have purchased this home anyway.

So...last night we drove by 24 different homes in Grand Rapids. We narrowed down this list to 8 homes we want to see. My theory is, if we want to move into a home on 28 May when our current lease is up then we need to get going. Hopefully I will have some pictures to share with everyone next week when we have looked at these 8 homes. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

New book...finally

I finally finished Light Force by Brother Andrew. I started reading that book in October. I guess I am becoming a slow reader. Last night I started a book called His Needs, Her Needs. I think this is the kind of book all married people should read. It teaches you about the needs of your spouse which is something good for me to read, especially during the early days of married life.

Outside of reading material life is busy with Thailand trip preparations and looking for a house. We are looking at 5 houses tomorrow night with our realtor. I hope to post pictures so you all can give us your thoughts.

Have a good night!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Change: I guess I don't like it after all

Hello friends. If the events of today are any indicator I am not a fan of change. I had lunch with a friend of mine. He mentioned an employment interview he will be having tomorrow. If he gets this job and accepts it, he will have to change churches and we will no longer attend the same church. I am interested to note how wrapped up I am in this situation even as the possibility of him receiving the job is still a possibility. I thought I liked change, on my terms. Now I am thinking I just don't like change. We'll have to see. Please pray that God's will would be done in this situation.

Last night Becca and I met with a guy from our church to discuss mortgages. We found out how much we pre-qualified for and now are starting the search for a home in which we are interested. We also know a realtor from our church who will be helping us find a home in the area we are looking for, for the price we want, with the features we want/need. Becca and I completed a survey earlier tonight which helps us determine what we want in a house and what we need in a house. There is an important distinction between want and need and learning about this distinction is an interesting experience. We hope to move into the house when our lease is up on 28 May so we have a lot of work ahead of us.

As I think about the upcoming months I get tired. I am looking forward to the things ahead of us, but there is a lot ahead of us. In addition to looking for a house and moving in, we are working on the mission trip to Thailand, youth ministry at church, with our jobs. I know we are all busy but I just wanted to update you all on this.

We are headed to Cleveland this weekend to visit my parents and my aunt Leslie. Becca has not met her yet so I am looking forward to seeing her again and introducing Becca to her.

That's all for now I think. Have a good night!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy weekend!

Happy weekend friends! I don't know where this week went but it is over and the weekend is here. Tomorrow we are having a special worship service at church where we will be showing some different methods you can use during worship. I am excited to see how this will go. I was at church earlier preparing a piano solo I will be playing.

I stopped at Jesse & Rhonda's house and it looks better each time I come over. Jesse is pretty much done sanding the dry wall and will start priming the walls next week. We found out today that Habitat For Humanity sells building materials and other things for homes so he is going to check out their doors, carpet and other things. I am excited about this because I am sure Habitat sells these things at a good price.

We are in the midst of the Thailand trip preparations. We have a meeting with the team tomorrow to take the team picture, finalise support letters and schedule the next meeting. A local government rep is willing to come church to accept our passport applications. I thought this was really cool as this is something we need to get done soon. I believe God is going to teach all of us a lot as we prepare for this trip, while we are there and when we come home. I am amazed at what I have learned so far. I will admit working with youth is not my forte but God is giving me more and more confidence which I am glad about.

Once again, my hair is not all brown. We went to Paula's on Thursday night and she put light brown highlights in my hair. At first I thought they looked really orange but I am getting used to them. I will try to put a picture on here soon so you can see them.

I think that is about all for now. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sad times

I think it is really sad how wrapped up I am in the fact that I am loosing my laptop at work. I knew this day was going to come as I do not need anymore as I am not traveling anymore for work. This morning one of the Help Desk staff told me I would be getting a new computer (which is exciting) but it would be a desktop and not a laptop. Oh well, I guess life goes on and there is more to life than laptops :)

It is scary that this is the biggest news for me right now so I'm going to Zeeland now to play Help Desk for the doctor.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sanding dry wall

I had another interesting experience today helping Jesse and Rhonda at their house in Moline.

Earlier this week, a contractor friend of Jesse's sent his dry wall subcontractor with one of his crews put up the dry wall for the whole house. This contractor paid one of his crews to install and mud the dry wall. This contractor does not know Jesse very well at all. I am so excited that the dry wall is done. Before you can paint, the mud on the dry wall must be sanded down so that is what Becca and I helped Jesse with today. This is not the cleanest experience however it is not that hard. I am glad to be able to help out though I do not have a lot of technical knowledge about working on houses.

We're now at my in-laws in Zeeland. I really needed to shower at doing the work out Jesse's. I just need to be clean. You may feel free to call me a preppy person, I just don't care.

We are continuing to work on the Thailand trip in June. Everyone is working on their letters. We are having a meeting this coming Wednesday night and I hope we can get the letters in the mail soon.

Well that's all for now...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

What's going on in Chris' world

How's everyone doing? It has been an interesting week. This week was budget week. Anita, Grace and Albert were in the office to prepare the budget and submit it to Finance. I am very pleased to say the budget has been submitted and I still have a job! :) (We were not planning to cut jobs at all. We did have to cut some special projects and find creative ways to do some things.) It was good to see Anita again since she moved to Brazil back in August. She and I communicate a lot through email for work but seeing each other in person is better.

I have a theory about change: People who do not like change need change a lot so they can become used to it. Becca and I moved the furniture around in our bedroom. To me it was not a big deal but I think it is good to change things up every once in a while. Also, because we moved the furniture we were able to clean some areas that are not normally cleaned. I thought this was good because if we never moved the furniture before we move out we would have a lot of cleaning to do in May.

On Monday of this week I put the deposit down on the airfare for the mission trip to Thailand this June. At this point the teens are working on their support letters and applying for passports. I think this experience is going to be a stretching experience for the teens, especially those who have not been on a missions trip before and/or have never left the US. I have to remind myself a lot that this is a big experience for a lot of the teens though it may seem like just another missions trip for Becca and I.

That's all I can think of for now. Make sure to visit Amelia, Ked, Becca, and Debby's blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

New blog

I have created a blog for the missions trip Becca and I are leading this summer. Check out the new link in the links on the right or click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

What a week

It has been an interesting work. God is doing something though I am not completely sure what it is. The lack of knowing can be annoying at times but I have to remember that God is in control and that is better than me being in control all the time.

Nothing too exciting to report from Grand Rapids. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Ilana Marie Rhodes

Ked and Amelia's baby girl is here! She was born on Friday. Check out Amelia's blog for pictures of Ilana.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Debby's back...again

Debby's blog is back up again. We both hope it will stay up this time. I love the picture and the fun new design. Check it out!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Banished from home...

Debby's blog is having difficulty right now as Debby is changing servers where her web site is hosted. I will let you all know when her site is live again.

I also want to take this opportunity to show you Will's website. This kid is not even a week old and he has a website. I am an adopted uncle who spoils my nephew's rotten. It is not much right now, but I will :) add to it as time goes along.

I write this blog entry from Panera Bread. Tonight my wife is having a Junior High girls sleep over so I have been banished from my apartment. I will be spending the night with my in-laws but I could not pass up an opportunity to spend some time at my 2nd home. My wife will not be at all surprised that I was here.

I was very excited to receive a phone call from a friend named Rob who was wanting information on flights to and from the Philippines. I think being a travel agent could be a very fun job. I have been playing travel agent a lot lately as I have been trying to find airfare for our missions trip to Thailand this coming June. I have used a travel agent in Oregon in the past and again their fares are turning up better than some local people. I am really looking forward to this trip as we will have opportunity to see a new country and new people but also to learn more about the real life of a missionary. Missions has been close to my heart for quite a while and I am anxious to see how the Lord uses this trip in my life and in the lives of those coming along.

Well, tmsaisti...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Debby's back

Some of you may have noticed that Paradise Of the Blog has been down for a while. Well, the site is back up now with a new design. Check it out and welcome Debby back to the blog world!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The baby's here!

Jesse and Rhonda had their baby last night. William Jesse was born at 11:22pm weighing in at 8 lbs, 6.2 ounces at 19" long. Becca and I went to the hospital this afternoon to visit Rhonda and meet William. He is the cutest baby. Of course we took pictures. See picture below and links in this post.

Chris and Will Becca and Will

Update from Noel about Sri Lanka

Here is an update I received from my co-worker Noel about the situation in Sri Lanka. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters there.

Noel's Update

Saturday, January 01, 2005

News from Sri Lanka

This is an email I received from a co-worker in Sri Lanka. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and other countries affected by the tsunami.

Dear All,

The reality of the magnitude of destruction caused by the killer waves that hit Sri Lanka and other nations in the Indian Ocean are now being brought to light and it is far worse than one could ever imagine.

I watched with horror as TV images showed a group of Sri Lankan soldiers (who had no other choice and so this is not about them but the sad task they had to perform) with gloves and masks across their faces, pull out bloated, naked bodies out of some muddy areas. Some others had to be wrenched out of places where they were stuck with long pieces of wood. The bodies were unceremoniously dragged and lined up on higher ground. Since it is now a few days since they died, the bodies are decomposing. Hence, they were then taken and buried in a mass grave. Hopefully they were properly fingerprinted and photographed in order that they could be identified.

Unfortunately, there are still some areas and some people are still out of reach and are not receiving anything. This was reported to me by a colleague who I sent with the Methodist Church to the Eastern province with a truck full of relief supplies. Unfortunately, the distribution is also hampered in some areas because the landmines in this formerly war ravaged area have now been dislodged making the entire place a different sort of death trap.

On a worse scale are isolated stories of looting of broken houses by local thugs. A couple of my daughter's colleagues were horrified when some local government officials diverted the truck of relief supplies to an area unaffected by the tsunami. (More such incidents were reported in the local media later). They were powerless. Then in some areas people not affected are joining those affected and collecting relief supplies (understand able to some degree as they too are poor).

Yet in the midst of the calamity and human evil, it was also heart-warming to see the efforts of so many Sri Lankans. People from all walks of life were sending essentials to those affected. People were lining up along the roadside with their parcels of food and handing them over to the many trucks that were on their way to the affected areas. One seven year old girl brought her entire little piggy-bank of USD 21 and gave it all for relief. "Please give this to some other child to get something she likes"she said as she handed it over. And an old lady, a pensioner in her eighties gave USD 2 saying, "Please buy something for someone to eat" Young and old alike are helping. The response is overwhelming.

Moreover, all of the help that is being given is not necessarily financial. Many are going and cleaning up Children's Homes, Homes for Elders, the homes of friends and even those of strangers. Others are riding with trucks to deliver food, packing food and so on. It is taking every form of help imaginable to meet the needs of those who have been affected.

But the psychological damage is not even being addressed. Many are traumatized and still walk around in a daze. we do not have people who are trained in helping these people. Often the friends they turn too are in equal need of emotional help. One young woman was miraculously saved when she was thrown out of the train (some of you may have seen the over turned carriages on TV) but right now is unable to speak from the shock. Some of my friends were trying to help her - I pray they will be successful.

Then there are the inevitable questions and many have called and asked for help in trying to understand this tragedy in particular and tragedy as a whole. Many Christians too are bewildered and some are even questioning their beliefs. Some like Job may trust in the goodness of a sovereign God who permits calamities while others may begin to doubt.

We are offering to our readers and some churches, the booklet, "Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering." We have it in Sinhalese (for some reason we decided to print this title in November ahead of schedule). We will do an urgent print in English and if possible translate and print it in Tamil as well. We are trying to do the same with another book, "When Tragedy Strikes". We hope that our Christian brothers and sisters may be enlightened by the reading of these books and be better informed so that they could to help explain some of the more difficult issues to those who are confused.

Last night, our neighborhood in Mount Lavinia was like a ghost town. The last night of a year is filled with the usual parties, dances, fireworks and celebrations. Yet, everyone was muted and not even wishing each other a Happy New Year...it will take some time for the shock of a disaster of this magnitude to wear off. A death toll of more than 40,000 as of now with some entire families being wiped out is definitely not easy to handle especially when everyone seems to know someone who has perished. And so ALL are affected in some way or another.

In HIS firm and loving GRIP