Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Is on the Way

Dear Life Church Family,
I know that many of you read my blog but I also know that several are not on facebook and do not see when it is posted so I wanted to give you an update about where I am heading, what I will be doing and my needs for the coming year.
I will be leaving for Guatemala again on Jan 18 to begin work immediately. We will be hosting about 14 groups and working with 2 others this year. We have approximately 28 weeks of work on the schedule as of now and there are sure to be a few changes and additions as the year progresses. I will be returning home in late March most likely for about 3 weeks and then returning for 6 to 8 more months.
We will be doing much the same work as last year. We will continue with house and stove construction. We still have work to complete on both schools and the Church in Membrillal. We will continue to work on the Food Machine in Zapote. We will also work with medical teams as well in both villages. Our desire is to find projects that will help people become self sufficient and allow us to proclaim the Gospel to them.

We never know what a year will bring and there are always lots of surprises but we are looking forward with eager anticipation.
As for me, I am behind on my fundraising. I need to raise about $3,000 by Jan 11 before I leave to cover some expenses. I have received about $1,000 so far and half of that has gone to my initial airfare. I will also need to buy a roundtrip ticket in March before I return.  I have set a goal of $12,000 this year for my personal expenses. I set the amount at that because that is the amount needed for a resident visa. Though I love to come back here, it would be more convenient to do in my timing rather than the Guatemalan governments. I also am looking to raise $5,000 extra for a car. It would probably cost around $8,000 for a reliable vehicle and I figure that there should be about $3,000 that I could spare from the $12,000 because I do not have rent yet. This is the best year to buy a car because next year I will have the extra expenses of rent and utilities.
I am asking you to consider partnering with me in this ministry this year. In order to raise the needed funds, I am looking for 20 monthly individual supporters and 3 or 4 monthly supporting Churches. I also want you to consider Jean, Lauren and Annie and the work they too will be doing in Guatemala. If God leads you to support them instead, that is great. Mostly I want to ask you to pray for us and get involved.

 Thank You.

If you would like to help with my expenses you can mail checks to  
Life Church Morris
C/O San Lucas Mission    
P.O. Box 679                      
Morris, IL 60450

            For Lauren and Jean              
C/O Santiago Mission
For Annie                            
C/O Esther House

Monday, December 21, 2015

Always remain flexible

This week I started making preparations for my return to Guatemala. We have been anticipating a very busy year and so it was with excitement that I started looking for my tickets. I found a fairly good deal on United and bought them. I was not excited about the outbound flight time but I was very excited to get back to work. I am enjoying being home and seeing everyone but feel like it is time to be working again. I miss everyone here when I am gone but feel unproductive when I am here, even when I am working on things.

I bought my tickets and sent the information on to people in Guatemala so they would know my plans and about 30 minutes later I got our new schedule. In the last two days it has changed substantially. I will only have about a week in the States in May if I keep my current itinerary but I could come back a month earlier and have almost a month. There is now a group coming earlier in January and they will be there 4 days before me. I will not be changing that date because they are small and will get by without me.

You might be asking why I am sharing these things. I just want to let you all know that plans change. We like to get locked into something and force it to work on our timetable and God laughs at our stubbornness. We cannot see tomorrow but we plan like we have everything figured out. We are being blessed with more teams coming to us than ever. More work will be accomplished than we expected but we have to be flexible for it all to work out. We cannot predict what God wants to do in or through us. We can only remain pliable in His hands and receive the blessings that He pours into us as they come.

It is Christmastime and most will be spending time with family and friends. God wants to bless us with their presence in this season but many of us stress out because things do not go like we plan. We want to control how our days and our interactions go. We miss out on those blessings because we are not flexible. I want to challenge you this season to be flexible this season. Give the people around you the freedom to just live in relationship. Don't try and direct or control your relationships and your time together. Let God just bless you with presence this season. Thank Him for what He brings you and allows you to experience with your friends and family this Christmas. Determine in your heart to just enjoy Him, them and the holiday and not to let the things that come up or the plans that  change distract you from the blessings He is giving you this year.

I wanted to let you know that I will be leaving on Jan 18th and it looks like I will be returning for a few weeks at the end of March through the middle of April. I am still in need of financial support. I have talked to many people but nothing is sure as of yet. I need to raise $12,000 for living expenses and am praying for a $5,000 to $8,000 more for transportation. I have been limited by the lack of a vehicle for the last 3 years and I I am spending more time there it is becoming a major inconvenience. Please pray about partnering with me in the coming year. If you have questions about the work that we are doing or my role in it please feel free to message or call me. My # is 779-227-3812 or my e-mail is

You can mail support to
Life Church Morris
P.O. Box 679
C/O San Lucas Mission
Morris, IL 60450

Thank you all and Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Learning humility

I do not know about you but I am horrible when it comes to admitting need. I can tell you about the work that is being done or about the kids and families that we work with but when it comes to stating a need, I lock up. I remember when the doctor diagnosed my cancer 5 years ago, I did not want to tell my family. I did not want to admit that there was something in my life that was beyond my control. I knew that God was big enough to lead me through it but I denied the rightful place of believers to walk out the journey with me.

In missions I often find myself in  similar situation. I love the work that I do and know that God has called me to it. I do not doubt He is the one that initiated the work and opened the doors for me to be part of it. I even know that He is responsible for meeting my physical needs when I am doing the work He calls me to. Where I struggle is in admitting that it is not just my work. He has called and is calling people to partner in this work to advance His kingdom. I struggle to admit that I need them in order to do what I am called to do and that they need me to do it because God has put this work on their hearts. He has called us to partner together for His kingdom.

When I look around, I see a lot of missionaries doing great work. They are sharing the Gospel and meeting the needs of others and doing it with a servant's heart. They love the people that they serve and do it in order for the Glory of Jesus to be seen in the earth. I hope that I too am reflecting Jesus this way in my work. They have so many needs and I feel like my asking somehow cuts into their support and many of them are friends. I would not want to hinder them by telling my needs. I should just have enough faith to let God provide.

That sounds altruistic but really I am beginning to see that it is a form of spiritual pride. The Bible tells us to bear one another's burdens. To want to help others without being open and vulnerable about my life is a form of holding myself in spiritual superiority. In reality, it is pride and fear. How can I lead if I have unmet needs? How can people see God working through me if I need something other than Him? Put on the mask of strength and do not let people see inside. You and God will get through this.

The reality is that God sets us in a body. He does not call us to independence or even to depend solely on Him. While He is our primary source, He calls us to live in a body and for each of us to supply, support and strengthen the parts of the body around us. He could provide every need without the body but then we would not develop the healthy interdependence that He desires us to have. We would not have unity if we are all off doing our own thing without relationships with one another. He designed us to live in community and to learn to lean on one another. I do not have everything that I need to do the work that I am called to and neither do you. We all were created to work together as a living and dynamic organism to accomplish the purpose of evangelism, discipleship and serving the world.

With this in mind I wanted to share a little bit about my upcoming year. I will again be in Guatemala working in the communities of Zapote and Membrillal. We will be working with about 13 teams over 20 weeks doing construction, medical clinics and food production. We are serving these communities with the Gospel and with physical help as well with the dual goals of community independence and a thriving Church in the community. These things are already taking place and growing. Zapote has 200 students in the school and about 270 people in the Church. Membrillal is just beginning to see the Church take off and the school will have about 110 students next year.

As for me, I am committed to this work and know that God has called me to be there. For next year I will have several expenses. The government of  Guatemala requires me to have $12,000 of verifiable support to begin the process of applying for residence and so that is my baseline. It would provide for things like Spanish classes, daily living expenses and a few occasional luxuries like a weekend away from the work. It would also pay for my airfare to the States twice a year. Beyond that, I would like to raise $5,000 to $7,000 this year in order to buy some form of transportation. I considered a motorcycle because of affordability but there are to many limitations. Something with 4 wheels is much more suited to all of the things that I need it for.

I do not want to sound ungrateful for all of the past giving because I am not and I do not want anybody to give unless God is directing them to. I know many others that are serving also and want you only to give where God is directing you. I do want to ask you all to pray though and support fully the one or the few that God is calling you to support. In missions. we are happy to go and do the work that we are called to but we need the body to support that work for it to continue. Let God lead you but please support the missions that He calls you to.

If you are called to support me, you can mail your support to
Life Church Morris
C/O San Lucas Missions
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450

or if you feel led to support Jean and Lauren as they prepare to go you can mail support to the same address but C/O Santiago Missions.

Thank you all for your friendship, support and prayers.