Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I am trying to live appositely opposite...

I have been teaching on the Sermon on the mount recently.   Jesus threaded the use of contrast into every point of that sermon. 

Here is how you should live...opposite of how we typically live.

You have heard it said...but I tell you...

I tell you the truth..(as opposed to the lies we have believed).

Here's is the point.  Christ followers need to question our beliefs/morals/values/behaviors/attitudes, and then employ biblically apposite (appropriate and relevant) and typically opposite (to how we normally live) beliefs/morals/values/behaviors/attitudes. 

Are you living appositely and oppositely?

I am humbled...

Rob

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My wife is my hero...

Naku Penda Becky...

Becky worked 14 hours yesterday. Wow, what a day! As you can imagine, she got home yesterday exhausted. Why did she do that? So that she didn't have to work on Wednesday, freeing herself up to go with me and the kiddos to our church's fall festival.

Here are some other reasons I love her...

She selflessly does way more than I when it comes to work around the house. Now, you might say that is because I work full time outside the home, and she works part-time. Well, true, but that really doesn't embrace the realities. She really does more than I. Every moment she is caring for the kids, working, cleaning, packing their "bags" for the next trip to church, to the sitters, to an event, shopping, laundry, "playing" with the kids, etc etc.

She cooks all the time (by the way, she is an amazing cook). Last night she didn't cook, and I realized the depth of appreciation I have for her. I threw some frozen things in the oven when I got home. 45 minutes later (hungry and whining), I had the kids up in their chairs eating, only to realize that I barely had enough food. I won't tell you what I did to try and compensate, but it was bachelor-like.

She shops till she drops. Unless you have been there, with kids the same age as ours, you may not understand the issues. 2 kids, neither walking on their own in the grocery store, is a handful. What do you do with both of them while you are trying to shop. I haven't been tempted to try it myself. She is a trooper.

She spent 5 unexpected days by herself with the kids (drew sick) during my recent trip to NJ. I will be leaving them for a week in Haiti on Friday. A week later, I will spend 3 days away from them again for another event.

She spends time with the Lord everyday. There is no telling of the impact that this has on the children and I.

Well, I won't bore you with the rest of the list of things she does and reasons I love her. But suffice it to say, I love her for all of them.

Love you honey...

Rob

p.s. - Unrelated, but here are 2 pics taken at a recent Sunday School Class event...

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Friday of Fiduciary Function...

Today, I will be working on the Haiti bookkeeping system, and talking over the phone with Guatemala about their bookkeeping system.

The love of money is indeed the root of all evil.  So is the administration of it!

I have been working directly with our fields to help them develop and redevelop their bookkeeping systems. 

Both fields have an elaborate bookkeeping system to handle their unique income and expense issues.  You know, dealing with our checkbooks on this side of ocean is one thing, but imagine dealing with exchange rates, inconsistent foreign banking regulations and international transfer delays in the midst of it.  US Dollars, Haitian Gourds and Guatemalan Quetzales muck up the system.  On top of everything, our finance software doesn't make this real easy as it is naturally very dollar centric!  To make matters worse, we are missionaries who want to tell people about Jesus, who have no  accounting training, yet the bookkeeping must get done. 

Plug:  Missions needs skilled and educated people to help.  The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are...all in the marketplace.

Slow wire transfers, electronic deposits, credit cards, reimbursements, missionary vs. field vs. personal accounts, waiting for checks drawn on US banks, advances, lack of money, waiting for promised but delayed donations, international payroll, field "IRS" regulations, etc...  Ugh

Pray for them as they work to bring clarity to complex issues.

Pray for me as I am a resource to them.  Pray that I would be able to wisely instruct, discern their unique issues, plan, implement and facilitate viable systems.

Rob

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maybe you will learn something about me...

You'll have to click on this to read it most likely, but check it out...too funny...

I am addicted to....

  • Jesus (I am a collaboratively proclaimed/declared Christ follower)
  • Becky (sweety, you mean everything to me!  Lately it has been hard to connect much due to kids, traveling, work, etc.  But the reality is, there is no one on earth I would rather hang out with.)
  • Drew and Tessa (They are just so darn cute!)
  • The Internet/email/blogging (shocking, huh?)
  • Photography (More Recently, don't really know why, but I am having trouble controlling my desire to pick up the camera)
  • Coffee (mmm, recently hazelnut dunkin donuts brewed at home.  Their slogan is, American Runs on Dunkin.  Let's be honest, America Sits on Dunkin)
  • Creating a Paperless Society (pens are only useful for stirring my coffee)
  • Free Stuff (maybe I should just say google)
  • Leading (Lord, use me!)
  • People (yes, sometimes they are very difficult, but every ounce of who I am loves fellowshipping with people.)
  • Self (sadly)
  • Cubs (it is sad, I still visit their web site daily)

So what are you addicted to that maybe I didn't already know about?

Rob

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ever feel like this picture looks?

This pictures emotes.  How does it make you feel?

Kennedy Park, Somers Point, NJ

Rob

Monday, October 22, 2007

NJ Smells...

New Jersey...I can't get over the smells...they are oh so good...

I can't get over the emotion that wells up inside of me when I inhale in NJ.  It is hard to describe...

You should have seen me with my head out the window, neck extended as far as humanly possible, sort of like a dog as I was driving around.

So what smells?

The bay.  Most visitors will tell you it is a foul odor.  Me?  I love it!  It reminds me of home.  Nothing like the bay at low tide.

Dirt.  Yeah, I can't really describe it.  Dirt is everywhere, right?  Well, I guess NJ dirt is different.  The minute I step off the plane, there is the smell.  I love it.  I feel at home.

Pine Trees.  In certainly places, where the pine trees are blowing in the wind, the smell is intoxicating.  By the way, I love that sound too.  The pine smell is so natural.  Not like a pine candle, or a bag of potpourri.  It is real...it is good.

I like NJ.  I miss it.  But I am sure glad to be going home...

Rob

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Promises

This morning, shortly after I got up, I loaded the kids in the car for a quick trip to Dunkin' Donuts for a Saturday treat.  The ground was wet and water was  dripping off the roof,  making it apparent to me that it had rained not that long ago.  Just around the corner, I looked up to see a full rainbow in the sky.  I had to pull over to get a better look and to make sure Drew could see it.  He was so excited.  I said, "Drew, who gave us that rainbow?"  Drew replied, "Jesus!  Jesus is God!"  I have seen more rainbows over the past 2 years living in SW Florida, than I have in my whole life.  And they never cease to amaze me.  The balance of sun and rain has to be perfect and we seem to live in an area where those conditions abound.  Every time I see a rainbow I am reminded of the promises of God.  And there are so many! 

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my Dad's death-- the day he met his Savior face to face.  It's hard to believe it's been a year already without him here with us.  I miss him terribly.  So many things remind me of him, but the times when I think of him the most  are in church.  My Dad was a wonderful vocalist and chose the songs he would sing carefully, so as to convey the message of Christ in a way that was meaningful.  The hardest Sundays this past year were those days we sang worship songs that talked about when we get to heaven or the praises we'll sing forever when we are in the presence of our Savior.  I couldn't help but picture my Dad, all the time, forever praising the Lord.  There were a few Sundays where either the choir or a soloist sang a song that my Dad had sang.  I don't think I heard the voices of the people who sang-- all I could hear was my Dad's rich voice.

How did I  make it thru this past year without my Dad?  I put my confidence, my faith, my trust, and my hope in the promises of God.  First and foremost, in the promise that Jesus is my Savior. That the blood He shed,  saved me once and for all and that my future after this life is an eternity in heaven with Him.  I have placed my confidence in this promise, because He promised it to my Dad as well.  I know exactly where my Dad is and I know that one day I will join him there.  Thru this past year the Lord has been my comfort, my peace, my strength, my refuge.  All these things, and more, He has promised to those who love Him and call Him Savior.

I'm not saying that this past year has been easy, because I loved my Dad with all my heart.  It's hard to think about all that my family will miss not having him here as a part of our lives.  But I am not without hope!  Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 

So Dad, keep singing with all your might.  It's how I'm always going to picture you.  I can't wait to stand next to you in heaven and hear your voice in my ear as we sing forever praises to the Lord.

Becky

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Change in Plans...

Warning, graphic content follows...

So we were on our way to the airport, and Drew started crying and complaining that his belly hurt. I have been having the same symptoms plus others (which I won't tell you about in detail) for the last few days. So, reluctantly mentioned that maybe she shouldn't go? Why would she jump so fast to that suggestion, well, let me remind you about 2 previous support trips...
Fall of 2005. We took a trip to Chicagoland to visit with supporters. Drew got violently ill (diarrhea like I have never seen all over someone's floor), and so did 19 of the 20 people we met with at a gathering. We felt so embarrassed and responsible, because the few days after we left, we kept hearing of all these people that we had gotten sick. I was also sick, and couldn't read scripture in the morning service due to nausea. I just couldn't do it.

Fall of 2006. We took another trip to Chicagoland, and the entire time I was sick and had to lay low. How could that be, both trips to see the same people and I was sick. If my memory serves be correctly, I believe we fulfilled all of our duties and appointments, but it was rough! Remember the Fall 2005 experience, I don't know why anyone even met with us!
So back to today. Even though we have had these experiences, I just couldn't bring myself to say that Becky and the kids should stay home. We could do it, right? Wrong... Becky took Drew to the bathroom (he is almost potty trained). We assumed he was going to have diarrhea). He was really out of it, a little scared of the automatic flushing toilets, and just plain overwhelmed. Nothing happened. I was parking the car at the time. When I got back, he was sobbing with belly pains. It was my turn to try and take him. I kept thinking, we can make this trip if he would just "get it out of his system".

Well, he got it out of his system alright. Half way to the bathroom, he proceeded to throw-up all over himself and me. What a sight that must have been to the other fliers. I got the bathroom as quickly as possible, and let him continue. How sad. I took his shirt and my shirt off and threw them away (it was my favorite shirt! I am sure you feel sorry for me.) I didn't want to throw them away, but what could I do, they were not somewhat soiled, but they were incredibly saturated and even more smelly.

So, the decision was made. Becky and kiddos were staying home. I hate to do this trip without her, especially since we are going to visit with her home church, but what else could we do?
My poor shirt...oops, I mean, my poor Drew boy...

I love you Becky, and will see you on Monday!

Rob

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Support Trip...

Today, we are off for a support trip to Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne, NJ.  They will keep us both busy with speaking engagements and sharing.  I will be preaching at both Sunday morning worship services.  Be praying for us...

Rob

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moving forward...

Yesterday at RMI, we had the opportunity to meet with Dale Janzen.  He is not only a design and marketing expert, but he is an "alumnus" of multiple trips to Haiti to visit his sister church through RMI.  When it comes to RMI, he just gets it.

We recently had the RMI logo redone by Rich Cerrina.  He did a great job.  Thanks Rich.  Now, it is time to take the next step.

Dale is co-founder of the degaje group, a design/marketing group based in the North West suburbs of Chicago (Bartlett). 

He flew down for a few days to chat and collaborate.  We talked at great length about the development of a whole scheme to communicate/promote RMI.  We talked about brochures, displays (see below), video, web, etc.  Pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to communicating RMI.  He is obviously very talented, experienced and aware of the issues.  Very cool. Very exciting indeed.

Display?  You know, one of those things that orgs use to put on a table to sort of draw you in?  There are all kinds of designs.  We need a redo!  Our's doesn't exactly "draw you in".  Not that long ago, I went to a missions conference at a college and got out my "display".  I sort of already knew it didn't really cut it, but it is all we had.  I didn't realize what I was up against!  A few tables down from me was a "display", that included a 50" flat widescreen TV, running this very cool/edgy/hip video that certainly drew people in and drew people away from all the other sub-par displays.  Now I am not saying we need to be wacky crazy edgy, but I am saying we can do better.  We may not have a plasma, but we sure can provide a reputable presentation.

I can't wait.

Rob

Moving forward...

Yesterday at RMI, we had the opportunity to meet with Dale Janzen.  He is not only a design and marketing expert, but he is an "alumnus" of multiple trips to Haiti to visit his sister church through RMI.  When it comes to RMI, he just gets it.

We recently had the RMI logo redone by Rich Cerrina.  He did a great job.  Thanks Rich.  Now, it is time to take the next step.

Dale is c0-founder of the degaje group, a design/marketing group based in the North West suburbs of Chicago (Bartlett). 

He flew down for a few days to chat and collaborate.  We talked at great length about the development of a whole scheme to communicate/promote RMI.  We talked about brochures, displays (see below), video, web, etc.  Pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to communicating RMI.  He is obviously very talented, experienced and aware of the issues.  Very cool. Very exciting indeed.

Display?  You know, one of those things that orgs use to put on a table to sort of draw you in?  There are all kinds of designs.  We need a redo!  Ours doesn't exactly "draw you in".  Not that long ago, I went to a missions conference at a college and got out my "display".  I sort of already knew it didn't really cut it, but it is all we had.  I didn't realize what I was up against!  A few tables down from me was a "display", that included a 50" plasma widescreen TV, running this very cool/edgy/hip video that certainly drew people in.  Now I am not saying we need to be wacky crazy edgy, but I am saying we can do better.  We may not have a plasma, but we sure can provide a reputable presentation.

I can't wait.

Rob

Saturday, October 13, 2007

While Dad wasn't watching...

Becky worked 10 hours yesterday (Saturday).  The above was while I wasn't watching.  These pics below are just a few moments that I caught while I was watching...

Rob

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Missionary Milieu, Baradere visit, wow...

This is an email we received from Gary McLaughlin, one of our missionaries in Haiti...  Thought you might like to hear a first=hand account of traveling in Haiti.  A team from Creekside Community Church was with Gary through all of this.  

Good Morning,

Just a quick note to let you know that we were out of Baradères and now at the retreat center. It was a bit of a struggle but we made it with the help of God. It started raining sometime in the night and was raining hard from at least 3 am on. We left at 8:20 am with water about 1 to 2 feet on the road coming out of Baradères. It was still raining hard too. I wanted to get going before it was too high. We had to cross 2 high rivers that were running fast and hard but not too wide. We had to move large rocks from the road and build a wall on the downhill side of the road so we could get around bigger rocks that were too big to move. Wow Baby!! That was interesting. We prayed that God would help us to get past this spot before we started building. It took about 3 hours to get that situation taken care of but we all worked together to make it happen. There was singing, dancing and praises to God after we got all the vehicles through. I was told by the RMI staff that it was the first time we ever had to do what we did that morning. After the slide area and the road work we had a large truck on it's side but there was enough room on the side to get by with no problem. Praise God! We stopped by Bon Fin to drop off some things there and to pick up Jenn's new puppy. We heard that we had the road washed away at the bottom of the mountain where the dry (normally) river is with the market. We were told it was not a good situation and if we couldn't pass it we could come back and spend the night there. We decided to go take a look and if we could fix it we would. When we got there a ramp of dirt and road had already been made and so we crossed with no big problem. Just the normal yelling on the behalf of the Haitians that built the ramp. I think they wanted money to cross on their ramp. I let Jules handle that and got back in my truck and we all drove across. So, I just want to give you some information at this time to let you know we are in good shape here. It was a good trip. I think everything went pretty good. The weather here at the retreat center now is much better. The sun is out this morning and the day is looking good. Pray that the rains stop for a little while. Its been raining so hard.

Love You All,

In Christ,

Gary

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another very cool freebie...

Maybe you are a long time user, I don't know, but I just came across a very nifty screensaver that I think most of you will love...

Google Screensaver....

Display photos from your PC and photo sharing sites

Stay connected to friends and family with photo feeds

Watch cinematic slideshows with the new Pan & Zoom transition

Flip through photos with easy on-screen controls

So this is what I have done.  If you have been to my house, you know that we have our computer in our living room, granting us the opportunity to use our monitor as a revolving digital picture frame.  This is not earth shattering.  But, along comes google screensaver.  You can display photos from anywhere, including rss feeds!  So, right now, I am displaying photos from my favorite photo feeds, my bro in Nebraska, one our our missionaries in Guatemala, as well as my albums online.  The screensaver pulls from the latest feeds and constantly displays an assortment of their most recently posted pics.  This way I have a constant pictorial feed of my family and friends lives.  Now, this does require access to feeds, I have not found rss feeds for snapfish albums (argh).   But many of the online photo sharing sites (flickr, Photobucket, kodak Gallery) are providing feeds.  So far, I am only running feeds from my favorite online picture host, picasa web albums.

Very cool.

Rob

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Where have we been?

We haven't posted in several days.  Very unlike us.  Why not?

Apparently I need to install airbags in my computers...our home computer crashed.  My office laptop twice, and now our home desktop.  When it rains it pours (Hezekiah 1:1).  It severely crashed.  Due to a corrupt data file in the file system, we had to start over from scratch (reformatted the hard drive).  I was able to save all of our data by slaving the drive on another computer system and then backing it up.  Can you imagine if we lost all of our photos and videos?  Oh my...  You can bet everything has not been backed up to DVD's.

Another reason is we have been spending more time on Facebook recently.  I am giving her a run for her money, but Becky is addicted...

Another reason is that we have had visitors!  Enrique, Chrissie and Marissa Coreano, missionaries in Guatemala with RMI staying at our home for 3 nights while having meetings with RMI.  We had a great time.  Here are 2 pictures from their visit...

Rob

Monday, October 1, 2007

An Opportunity you can't refuse...

...well, ok, I guess you can, but we ask that you don't!

We need financial team members.  Simply put.

We continue to be under supported, and need to continue to raise more monthly pledges.  When was the last time you heard a missionary say, "wow, we just just don't need your financial support"?  Probably never, but heh, it is the reality that we face.  Would you consider joining our team, supporting us $50/$75/$100 a month?  Get involved in supporting foreign missions!

We serve with RMI, and we do so as missionaries who are completely dependent on the monthly donations from the body.  Here is how it works.  You pledge to give on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually), and then you donate via check, your online banking, or RMI's automatic donation system.  (as opposed to monthly giving, you can also choose to give a special gift.)  Your donations are tax deductible (win win, right?).  So how do you get started?  You can join us by emailing us so we can explain in greater detail or you can join us by setting up automatic contributions on the RMI website.

Pray for us.  Join us.

Rob

Why is it that conservatives don't care about the environment?

Come on people, it is God's creation.  We should be the chief proponents of cleaning up our act.  Have you looked around lately to see how incredibly stunning creation is?  Take a moment and breath it in.  Enjoy it.  Now vote for it.

Rob