Sunday, July 31, 2011

This P.S. Changed My Life.

As I type these lines I am sitting at a coffee shop window with a view of my alma mater Oral Roberts University.  Seeing ORU for the first time in almost fifteen years puts me in a reflective mood. Read on . . .

Camp Sonshine has changed my life. I met my wife there, I did my first children's ministry there. Chris and I still work there (at Camp Sonshine Philippines), and so do our children.

I almost did not go.

In the Summer of 1991 I was planning to go on a missions trip to France.  ORU Summer Missions organizes trips each year, and I was on the France team. I spent the entire year raising funds, meeting with my team members, and learning French (actually took two semesters).

But I did not make it to France.

I was not able to raise the funds. Eventually I got THE LETTER from the Summer Missions department. I got it in early April. You know the letter, "The Hook"--basically telling me "since you did not raise enough funds for this trip, you will not be going to France with the rest of your team."

I read those lines and was very disappointed, but I sort of already saw this coming, because I got such a paltry response from my fund raising efforts.

"The Hook" letter concluded with this post script:

"P.S. There is a ministry in Silver Spring, Maryland called Camp Sonshine run by Oral Roberts University alumni, David Black. They are looking for Summer staff to work at their camp. You can contact them at 301-989-CAMP."

Well since my summer was suddenly wide open, I called them, and the rest is history. That little P.S. changed my life dramatically, it was instrumental in ordering my steps, and was a major force directing me to were I am today.

I can only imagine how different my life would have been if I had actually raised the funds and gone to France. I can only imagine how different my life would have been if "the hook" letter didn't have that postscript about Camp Sonshine.

Christ does not deal in "I wonders" or "imagine ifs." He deals in purpose and destiny. France was not my destiny. I still have yet to travel to Europe. Camp Sonshine was (and still is) my destiny. I know that right now I am living my purpose. I am fulfilling my destiny.

"The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way."
Psalm 37:23 NASB

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Five, Five, Five, Five, Five!!!

Daniel is five years old! It is hard to believe that this day was so long ago. He is our only child born overseas in the Philippines. The story of his birth is an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness.

Just a few minutes old.

He's one! His first birthday.

Second birthday, at the playground at the Sonshine Center.

Third birthday, opening his huge present, a bike!

Fourth birthday.

Fifth birthday at Chuck E. Cheese, earlier today.

If you are fortunate to know this amazing kid, then I know you are celebrating his birth with us.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

For All You Detail Oriented Readers . . .

Time to hit the road. We leave for the States in just four days. Our itineraries:

Tuesday July 12
Iloilo to Manila
Cebu Pacific flight #5J 454 departing 10:20a arriving 11:30a

Because our international flights leave so early in the morning, we will be spending the night in Manila.

Wednesday July 13, the long haul

Our family is not flying together. Chris is flying almost free using her frequent flyer miles. She and Gabriella will have this flight plan:

Manila to Hong Kong
Cebu Pacific flight #5J 110 departing 7:55a arriving 9:55a

Hong Kong to Toronto
Air Canada flight #16 departing 3:10p arriving 6:05p, this flight will last 14 hours and 55 minutes! This flight is in the top 20 of the longest flights in current operation.

Fortunately for Chris and Gabriella, Air Canada is an amazing carrier. They fly brand new Boeing 777s. Their in-flight entertainment is first rate, even in coach. Widescreen TVs at your seat with all movies and TV shows on demand.

Toronto to Baltimore-Washington International
Air Canada flight #7936 departing 8:50p arriving 10:27p

Dave, Eric, Faith, and Danny:
Manila to Nagoya, Japan
Delta flight #630 departing 6:35a arriving 11:30a

Unfortunately Delta used to be Northwest (Northworst). They fly old Boeing 747s dating from the early 80s. Also the in-flight entertainment is either what you bring to read, or what you might get to watch over someone's head on the drop down screens found in the cabin.

Nagoya to Detroit
Delta flight #630 departing 1:15p arriving 12:20p, this flight will last 12 hours and 5 minutes.

Detroit to Baltimore-Washington International
Delta flight #1637 departing 4:02p arriving 5:45p.

Because of the International Date line, we leave the Philippines and arrive in Baltimore and the same calendar day.

Please pray for traveling mercies, and also grace and strength for Chris and Gabriella as they are traveling on their own. We look forward to seeing our Stateside friends and family soon.