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.