Monthly Archives: July 2014

Nicaragua… Who Knew?

Nicaragua Day3 - 183Last week I was in Nicaragua with some friends, old and new, on a mission trip and an adventure!

I went with a group from Grace Community Church, Fort Smith, AR, on a mission to La Flor Village, Nicaragua, July 14-21, under the leadership of Ken Duncan, and in cooperation with El Porvenir, an NGO with a 20+ year history of helping the poor villages of Nicaragua with clean water and health related issues. Our task was finishing the job of installing efficient wood cooking stoves with chimneys in 17 village homes, as well as sharing love, hugs, our faith, and our lives with the children and people of the village. It was a great week, and a joy to get to know all who served the people of La Flor Village and the King.Nicaragua Day 5 - 208

Click here for some photos of our mission.

While there is no way to see the whole world or volunteer for every opportunity that comes along, I do pray you are asking the Lord to guide you in ways you can be involved in people’s lives, discipling and serving others. He will lead you if it’s your heart’s desire and you ask. You’ll find yourself enjoying the relationships that follow and storing up treasure in heaven, real treasure for a real eternity. The Bible teaches us, and Jesus taught us by rising from the dead that people are eternal, and not the stuff we spend much time and energy accumulating.

Nicaragua Day3 - 286 Nicaragua Day 5 - 229This was the group’s second time in the village. And there’s a chance we might be returning next year. A pastor of a thirty member congregation asked us to come back and help them build a church building on land they own. They are presently meeting in his home and others that are scarcely large enough to hold that many folks. Let me know if you’re interested in helping and going next year!

Nicaragua Day 4 - 067I learned Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and also the poorest due to nearly two centuries of dictatorships, civil wars and natural calamities. The average income per person is $1,028 (2% of USA). They are about 6 million people with 60% living in urban communities making it the most sparsely populated country in Central America. 75% of the population is less than 30 years old, and 35% is less than 15 years old, making it a very youth filled nation. They have a  Pacific and Atlantic coast with mountains in the middle, the highest being 7300′, and there are  eight active volcanoes! It’s very U.S. friendly these days with businesses and tourists beginning to pour in. And if you haven’t heard, the Chinese are about to start building a canal across the country much larger than the current Panama Canal. That will be a game changer hopefully of benefit for them, and certainly the world economy. The most important thing I came away saying about the country is that the people are warm and friendly, engaging and precious.

Nicaragua Day 4 - 156Spiritually speaking, possibly due to the poverty and suffering, many have and are turning to Christ. Operation World reports, “Evangelical growth is high and sustained amid the upheaval. Evangelicals grew from 2.2% in 1960 to 29.8% in 2010. This is more than a 40-fold numeric increase in 50 years, with no sign of such growth abating.” Who knew? I don’t think I saw that on CNN, did you?

Nicaragua Day 4 - 282Indeed, while people talk politics, war, corruption, and how to humanly solve the world’s problems, it seemed to our little troop that the Lord is quietly, consistently sending people to help the poor and needy, the downcast and afflicted, to help lift people up. That’s always been His Way and His Heart. The experience was a joy for us!




While It Is Day

Sharing Thai Experiences on the Patio with Friends

Sharing Thai Experiences on the Patio with Friends

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”― John Wesley

“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4)  Jesus

The quote and verse came to me as I was considering the work of two special friends and their young family who spent the last two years in Thailand, from where they have just returned for some needed rest, refreshment and recharging. They are soon headed back!IMG_7674

Alex, Brook, and their three children visited our church last Sunday to share with our community what they experienced in Thailand and what they sense the Lord is doing there. It was a great time as they shared openly from their hearts, something any listener appreciates.

IMG_7585They returned to our city and our patio three days later to share more of their experiences with 25 friends invited for that purpose. Challenging, courageous, inspiring, thought provoking, and beautiful is how I would summarize their story.

IMG_7594IMG_7555There isn’t time or space to recreate it here, and I couldn’t anyway, but it serves as a reminder to be about the King’s business, in your realm, wherever He’s planted you.

And it’s a chance for me to introduce you to friends Alex and Brook. If you’re looking for a place to sow into the kingdom of God some prayers, money, friendship, communication?  Their lives are good soil. They’re heading back to Thailand for the next chapter of adventure to make disciples of Jesus, and to serve His people there soon. Here’s a link to their webpage if you wish can learn more or contribute.

IMG_7559 IMG_7566 IMG_7562 IMG_7573 IMG_7576Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)

“… give to charity; make yourselves … an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” (Luke 12:33)


Celebrate Freedom Where You Find It!

Alma HS ROTC Presents the Colors

Alma HS ROTC Presents the Colors at Oaks Manor Celebration of Freedom

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

There are forces at play in our world, our country, and our lives that seek our harm. They seek to enslave us and take away the God-given gift which is to live free; free from tyranny, free from fear, free from self. That freedom is found spiritually and historically in Christ, and the Cross.

SONY DSCChrist and the Cross is the well-docmented foundation of these United States of America, and Christ living in our fore fathers that made our nation great and the envy of the modern world, bringing God’s blessings which in turn have been extended to the world.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

SONY DSCBut of these blessings, wealth and possessions are not the greatest. Consider “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!” Especially today consider “liberty.”

Consider with me also personal liberty. Freedom from self and freedom from sin (an ancient archery term which means “missing the mark”). That’s the real issue since the beginning of time. That’s why Christ came, to make a way through forgiveness, and by giving us the power to live a life from above while journeying here.

LTC Tom Smith brings some challenging and heart stirring words.

LTC Tom Smith brings some challenging and heart stirring words.

So the major price for our liberty has been paid for us, and given as a costly gift from above and from our forefathers. But still, as in all times and all places we have our part to play. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Oaks Manor Conference and Retreat Center has been assisting Christ followers in that quest for 10 years now, and has a bright future for doing so for many years to come. Last Sunday evening they invited the public to a gathering to celebrate the freedom of and in our country.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

They exist to provide a peaceful, beautiful place for Christians to come aside and rest for awhile, to get out of the rush of our culture to read, study, mediate, relax, rest — refresh themselves spiritually and physically. It’s a great service and greatly needed. I encourage you to give them a look and take advantages of their services as often as you can and “come aside.” We all need this kind of retreat. Even our Lord did. And His disciples.

SONY DSCBlessings in Christ! Celebrate!!

Photos of the Oaks Manor Celebration!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)

Hope Kids at Jim’s Cabin

SONY DSCGod’s heart is certainly for the children. He showed us that in His Word, and Jesus was clear about it as He walked the earth. “ Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)  “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)   “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,Is God in His holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5)

SONY DSCLet me tell you about Hope Kids. I can only hope and pray God is doing things like this all around the country. Pray and ask Him to allow you to be a part! “This came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”” (Mark 12:11)

I’ll give you the short version here. You’ll be seeing and hearing more about it in the days to come. A few dedicated people from two area churches have been ministering to at risk kids in local apartment complexes. They have gotten to know the kids, their families, and their homes by visiting them where they live, gaining their trust. They also carry them in vans weekly to one of the churches where they worship, play, and are taught Bible stories.

SONY DSCLast year a summer camp was organized for these children based on the Matthew Eighteen Camp model where many of us have served in years past. Due perhaps to the ongoing relationships established, this camp has a different flavor and has been wildly successful exceeding our expectations.

Several children came to know the Lord and were baptized. Remarkably since camp last  year twenty children have come to know the Lord and asked to be baptized. 🙂

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCNow we come to last weekend and Jim’s cabin, where the kids were invited for a meal, fishing, canoeing, and fun; but for the primary purpose of baptizing those who had made decisions for Christ, been counseled, and asked to be baptized. It was a joyous event for all involved as the photos depict.

The weather was perfect, partly overcast and cool, with some exciting thunder and lightning in the distance as nineteen kids and one adult were baptized in the lake in front of Jim’s cabin. Oh by the way, Jim is the name of the black lab who is a Hope Kid’s favorite at every event.

SONY DSCThe second annual Hope Kids Camp is coming up July 23 through July 26 this year. If you are interested in volunteering or helping in anyway, email me and I’ll get you in touch with the camp organizers. You’ll be blessed and a blessing.


Camp Hope 2013 Story

Jim’s Cabin Baptism Photos 2014          Baptism Video!

Tell your sons about it, and let your sons tell their sons, and their sons the next generation.” (Joel 1:3)