About 24 hours of traveling and we are in Sierra Leone, West Africa. I was really worried about my Parkinson’s acting up on the airplane, but everything was fine. Slept a lot on the plane, read a lot, watched some cool movies, memorized a bunch of Bible verses, and chatted with Brad. I feel good and rested and ready to drive around the next couple of days visiting the churches and schools and pastors that we have started and then on Monday start the teaching that will go for 5 days for 8 hours each day at the Bible Institute that we have started. I am excited about this ministry and the difference it is going to make in the quality of the churches and the number of churches we can start in the days ahead. I had a cold shower and have a fan blowing on me so I should sleep good.,my favorite thing to do over here is eat pineapple because it is so unbelievably tasty. I have already demolished a bunch of it. I usually get cancer sores in my mouth from eating so much. They have wifi here where we are staying so I should be able to blog every day about my adventures here.
In the last couple of years I have become a master at the art of “the short nap”. I scatter them systematically throughout the day. My naps are rarely more than 10 minutes, but they are incredibly reviving. It is kinda funny, a few years ago if somebody told me that they took Half a dozen 10 minute naps a day I would have considered them a wimp or lazy. Now I consider myself wise. As I have discovered the power of frequent little naps I have also discovered the power of frequent times with God scattered throughout the day. Five minutes working on a Bible verse, and then a couple hours later a couple of minutes on my knees in prayer about a situation coming up in a few minutes, then quickly reading a chapter of the Bible, and then repeating the short little times of devotional times with God.
my Dad died of liver cancer 25 years ago, but it is amazing how much I think about him all through the course of every day. I am always remembering conversations, and statements, and even lectures and scoldings. It doesn’t seem like 25 years ago that we were putting in hay and plowing and milking cows. My fondest memories of my Dad was after I had left the farm and started pastoring. He would stop and pick me up and we would drive down to Myrtle Creek, Oregon and drive out of town about 15 miles to a gold claim that he had. For about 5 days between Sunday’s when I had to be back to preach we would camp and run a gasoline dredge all day sucking up gravel and sand off the bottom of the little creek our claim was on. After several hours of that back breaking work we would empty the material in the riffles of the sleuth box into a five gallon bucket. When the bucket was full we would pan the contents of the bucket for hours usually filling up,a small pill bottle with gold dust. For that five day period it was just Dad and I camping, eating, and mining and talking. I hope that I have had a lot of positive influence in the lives of our 8 kids.
have you ever done something really dumb? Then when you discovered what you did you laugh out loud because the mistake is so rediculous. I bought a Mustang II Independent Front Suspension Kit for my 1949 Ford F-1 pickup along with rack and pinion steering. This is going to make it ride like a modern car!! I was following the installation instructions carefully. I even watched several You Tube videos that explained how to install the kit perfectly. The front cross member that everything bolts to gets a notch cut in the top so it fits around the frame of the pickup and then welded to it. I measured 4 times carefully to make sure to get the notch in the right place. I put the cutoff wheel on my grinder and carefully cut out the notch. I then slid the crossmember under my pickup to put it in place, and then realized that I had cut out the wrong side of the notch!! I couldn’t believe I had done such a dumb thing, and then I just busted laughing. Oh well, I have a friend who will weld the piece I cut off back on, and I can start over.
one of our goals when we raised our kids is that they would grow up to be tough. Part of the challenge of having a goal like that is you have to define what that means so you know how to make it happen and you can measure progress towards the goal. One part of the description of a tough person is that they don’t whine and complain when trials came into their life. Another aspect of being tough is that they wouldn’t simply endure hard times , but that they would conquer them. That means they would solve problems and fix things, that they would be pro-active. When a trial comes into the life of a tough person they are motivated to do something so that it doesn’t happen again. Toughness starts with how we habitually think about events and citcumstances that’s come into our life. “Why me”, “Oh no, not again”, and any number of similar thoughts will make us a wimp. Tough people enjoy life because tough times are a challenge, a contest that they are determined to win.
tomorrow and Saturday is the JBC Father/Daughter camp out, but in my case the Grandpa/granddaughter camp out. I am taking two granddaughters and we are going to fish and hang out with all the others that are going to be there and eat great food and sleep in a tent. I enjoy my grand children very much. Their parents my kids have done a good job raising them and training them so that they have good manners, talk to adults with honor and respect, are kind and nice to each other, and basically very enjoyable to be around. I guess I sound like a proud grandpa bragging on his grandkids, yep, I think I am. I would like to take part of the credit in that Patty and I pray a lot for our children and their families. In my own private prayer time each day I cover them all and plead with God to protect them from evil and to guide them into His perfect will.
One week from today I am leaving for Sirra Leone, West Africa. Jefferson Baptist Church Missions has started a Bible College/Seminary there to train the existing pastors of the churches we have started and new pastors so we can start new churches. I will be teaching there for 5 days, 8 hours each day. For 3 days before I will travel around the country and visit the churches we have started over the last 14 years. We began our ministry right after the prolonged war of approximately 20 years for control of diamonds ended in 2002. Since then I have traveled over there over 20 times to help start churches, teach pastors, build schools, help with medical clinics, and other projects. At one point shortly after we started there I was so taken with the need there that I was thinking about staying for six months, living in one of the mud huts, and starting at least a dozen new churches. I decided that I probably would die if I did that which wouldn’t be a good thing for my family or JBC. This trip is probably my last one. The 21 hours flying time, the heat, the humidity, really aggravates my Parkinson’s for some reason so I am going to give up this ministry to younger people. This afternoon I was looking at several DVD’s of pictures from previous trips and I got so melancholy thinking about this being my last trip. This ministry has been a huge investment of my life and has been tremendously rewarding and fulfilling for me. I am so thankful to the Lord for opening this door, but life is all about moving into a new chapter and it is time I do that.