Friday, October 29, 2010

"Lift up Your Eyes and Look at the Fields"

We spent a delightful week at the Exeter Bible Church World Missions Conference. The theme, taken from John 4:35, "Lift up your eyes and look at the fields," challenged all of us to join in the task of sharing the gospel with all the nations.
Our family shared the ministry of PIU in Guam through pictures and stories in the classes of Berks Christian School by day.

Joel and Amelia helped with the Power Point presentations. Marisol had the idea of using the seven days of creations and pictures from Guam for our time with the elementary school students.

The first grade class sang a creation song for us.

For the elementary chapel we showed the ministry in Guam through the eyes of Joel and Amelia as missionary kids.

They sang a lovely rendition of "The Guam Hymn."

We attended the secondary chapel complete with a visit from Aaron the High Priest.

Afterwards we couldn't resist asking for a picture with him. How often does an opportunity like that present itself?

Every day we enjoyed lunch with the EBC pastoral staff and the other missionaries.
It was a delight to get to know Julie and Dave, missionaries in Asia.

On Wednesday Marisol and Amelia participated in the Ladies Tea. . .

. . .and Joel helped me with two class presentations. It was a joy to see our kids help with various tasks during the week.

Steve and Sharon, former New Tribes missionaries in Venezuela until President Hugo Chavez expelled all tribal missionaries, coordinate their mission's Wayumi program, which is an exciting, interactive introduction to tribal work, in Jersey Shore, PA. For more information, go to

We ate a delicious lunch at the Cracker Barrel. The kids enjoyed the mini rocking chairs outside.
The church treated us to a wonderful production of Joseph at Sight and Sound. We rode in the van with Joel and Laura, the youth pastor and his wife and parents of six-month-old triplets!

Grandma and Grandpa were present for all of the meetings. We tried to sit with them, whenever possible.
Of course, we needed to pose with the Guam flag, and we used the ever-present peace sign from Asia.

Stacey, one of the missions committee members and my friend since childhood, certainly endeared herself to Marisol, Joel and Amelia. It was a blessing to have time to spend with her. Thanks for the chocolate chip cookie. You are the best!
Annabel and her husband work in Europe, reaching out to men and women from the Middle East.
We spent much time with our friend Marcia. She runs an organization called Christian Answers for the New Age, including a website with a treasure trove of articles and other information. Check it out at I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Joel and Amelia loved having time on the school playground. Notice the matching outfits courtesy of our friend Juliet in Guam.
It was a wonderful week. Many thanks to Exeter Bible Church, especially the Missions Committee, for such a blessing.

Fall Fun

Pepe the Clown made a special appearance at the Fall Fun Day at Heritage Baptist Church at Clarks Summit, PA. He took a hayride with Joel and Amelia and helped with the bean bag toss. Joel and Amelia enjoyed the carnival rides.

Friendly Oscar

The resident dog at Missionary Retreat Fellowship is a pug named Oscar. Only this Oscar is not a grouch and loves children. Joel and Amelia love to throw acorns for him to fetch. Fun to watch.

Reading Comes to the Poconos

We had a wonderful time with the pastor from our church in Reading, Tony, and his family on Monday. Of course, Joel and Amelia enjoyed having friends to play with and it felt like "old times" to have friends from Reading here. Thanks to Tony, Jessica, Lisette, Cristina and Jared. Hopefully Manny can come next time. Notice the bare trees. The cold weather outside reminds us that winter is on the way!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Visit from Ecuador

Yesterday our boss Bill brought a very special guest to our house. Edgar Luz, the Liebenzell field leader in Ecuador, came to the USA to visit churches who have sent missions teams to Ecuador in the past. It was great to visit with him and to hear his vision for the team's work. We also discussed our future work there. It certainly gives us something to hold on to and to look forward to during this year of home ministry assignment in PA. It would have been nice to have Ede's family here, too. We will see them next year.

We sat down for the picture so that he was not towering over all of us. Thanks for the great visit, Bill and Edgar.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Remembering My Friend Steve

A couple weeks ago my mom called me with some very sad news. My friend, Steve Johnson, died when the modified bicycle he was driving collided with a local ambulance. It is hard for me to describe the empty feeling that overcame me at that moment. I met Steve in the early 1990s when both of us were working at the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Glenside, Reading, and his zest for life and love for people made a deep impression on me. He always sported an infectious smile.
Over ten years ago Steve had a bike accident in which he lost the use of his legs. I remember how upbeat he was when I visited him in the hospital in Allentown. He certainly didn't complain about his circumstances. When I decided to go to Ecuador as a missionary in 2001 Steve and his wife Kate invited me to their house to find out more about my plans.
Since then he and his family have been good friends and supporters. Especially this summer during our difficult transition back to life in the States they invited us to their house on a few occasions and encouraged us. Our children have become good friends with their two daughters. A few weeks ago at the First Presbyterian Church (Reading) picnic, where our family participated in the children's program, I asked him for a picture. He seemed very excited to have a picture with Pepe the Clown. I'm not exactly what prompted me to take the picture, but I'm glad that I did. Although I miss him very much, I find comfort in knowing that he is running (knowing Steve, he's certainly NOT walking) through heaven. He is living the eternal life that is the living hope for all of us children of God.
Please keep Steve's wife Kate and his daughters in your prayers during this time.

Fall Fun

We are enjoying our new place. This fall Joel and Amelia like to play in the leaves and at the playground. Other than the shock of the cold after being in Guam for four years, we are doing well. There are hard days, when we shed a few nostalgic tears, but we thank God for what He is teaching us and preparing us to do when we return to Ecuador next year. We will try to post more pictures soon, as long as I don't forget how to operate our new computer. I'm trying to be diligent to learn. I'm not a technical type of person. I'm not good at it, nor do I particularly enjoy it.