Saturday, November 20, 2010

One step closer to Kenya...

Lori and I are moving our storage trailer to Indiana this weekend, for it to be accessible to us in our missionary travel out of Anderson, Indiana.  What a challenge it has been for us to pack everything we want to store and everything we believe we will be taking to Kenya in the trailer.  While keeping out what we will need for the next month in Cedar Rapids and for the training in Colorado in January.
We are scheduled to be at Missionary Training International near Palmer Lake, Colorado beginning January 3rd for five weeks of specialized training.

We will have many meetings at Church of God Ministries Global Missions in this coming week.  At the last accounting we still needed about 9% to be pledged toward our budget to be fully funded and we are praying that comes in within the next month.  Lori and I will be continuing in our current jobs through December and plan to move on to Global Missions funding in January Lord willing.

Last weekend we traveled to Baraboo, Wisconsin were I was born while my father pastored the church there.  We have several missions partners here who keep us in their prayers.  We had a wonderful time connecting with Pastor Bacon and the congregation, some of whom have known me all my life.

So the days are numbered for my school bus driving and I hope I they will end before bad weather hits Iowa.  I hear our son Aaron and his wife Holly will be visiting here just after Christmas.  Yeah!

Please remember in your prayers our son Adam who has been deployed to Afghanistan, and his wife Michelle, daughter Kaylee and son Joel.  We are proud of his service to our country.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The wheels on my bus are still going round and round... But the "Check Engine" light came on...Mechanics are playing "Rock-Paper-Scissor" for who fixes it...ah the one who lost is now cussing...Maybe I should be concerned?  I have a longer trip on Monday morning to Dubuque.

This weekend is pack the suitcases and actually see want fits in and what may need to be shipped.
We plan to move our storage trailer to my brother's place over Thanksgiving week and from then on be living out of suitcases until we finally leave for Africa.

Yes our time to go to Africa is getting closer!  Our fund raising at the end of this week went over the 90% mark if I have figured correctly.  And there is an great effort to get this to 100% in the next two weeks to be able to start our training at MTI the end of November.  We really would not like to push it back into January, but that is in the Lord's control.  We have about $6000 of on going support needing to be pledged.

Thanks to all who keep us in your prayers!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The first week of October was beautiful in Cedar Rapids and we truly are enjoying this weather.  God paints a wonderful masterpiece before the winter cold and snow arrives... and we don't mind missing that snow part.

We are in our last portion of fundraising and several new supporters have partnered with us!
We hope to be fully funded in the next two weeks so that notices of ending employment and plans to attend the Mission Training International in November for "PILAT" and December for "SPLICE" can be made; and finally to arrive in Kenya around Christmas.

We will be in Kirksville, MO next weekend sharing on missions, and after that our schedule is "open".
This weekend I will be filling the pulpit at a the Prairieview Church in Norway, Iowa.
Lori continues to be busy at the doctor's office and it is flu shot season... yes she got me with one...
I'm staying busy with school bus driving plus phone and email contacts to potential partners in missions.

We are getting more excited as we move closer to our time of departure for Kenya, and then almost overwhelmed by the list of details needing to be done... we appreciate your prayers!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Special Blessings to Ruth Cooke who has been serving at the Kima International School of Theology in Kenya.  She is currently returning to the USA to obtain medical treatment and our prayers are with her.
Now that leaves KIST without a nurse until Lori and I can get there, so the we pray the remaining funding that is needed will be pledged in this month of October!

We have over 75% of the Living Link budget pledged and we are praying for partners to step up and finish this fund raising process.  If my figures are correct we still need about $8000 per year for the three years we plan to serve at KIST.  (That is about 12 pledges at $700 per share, or 23 pledges at a dollar a day, or 8 pledges at $1000 per year - P.S. one time pledges can be divided over the three years.)
We are truly blessed by those who have chosen to be our support partners!

Adam our oldest son is in the final stages of training for deployment and we request prayers for him and the family he will leave in Cedar Rapids.

Our granddaughter Kaylee watches as her daddy is sent off on deployment and Joel wants to hang on to dad too.  Michelle will have her hands full while he is gone, but she has a good support system thankfully.
We have been blessed to be so near to them and able to help in this time.
Speaking of time, I need to be on my way to get the school children home on the bus I drive.

Friday, September 17, 2010

As Lori and I make plans to begin serving at the Kima International School of Theology it is becoming apparent that we need to be there by November for Lori to take over the nursing responsibilities.  The current nurse Ruth will need to be returning to the USA at that time, leaving the clinic without services for students and staff.  
We need the final 25% of our funding to be pledged in the next month.  Please pray with us, for individuals and churches to partner with us  financially in this mission to provide eastern Africa with quality Christian Leaders.

Leadership Development for the churches in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania is vitally important as the statistics show the largest population groups of these countries to be under age 25.  If the current population trend in Kenya continues it will have the greatest population in Africa within ten years.  That is an amazing opportunity for KIST to directly influence these African cultures through providing quality christian leaders.  As an Instructor at KIST, I can have a direct involvement in this transformation process currently happening in Africa.  Lori and I are getting anxious to be there!

We are thankful for our current employment.  Lori works as an office nurse for Dr Lottes and I am a school bus driver for the Cedar Rapids Community Schools.  We continue to worship and participate with the Ellis Park Church of God.  The "5th Street Ministry" continues ministry to those effected by the massive flooding two years ago.

In addition Lori and I are completing the landscaping around a home of a handicap couple in this neighborhood that has just been restored.

Have you noticed that there never seems to be enough time?  So I better get this posted and be on my way to get the wheels of my school bus to go around.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend is upon us and for many that means R&R, but for us it means completing all those jobs that have accumulated over the summer.  With all the travel involved in the fund raising process things were often done just enough to get by and now need to be finished.

Speaking of finished! we really need to have our funds completely pledged for our mission to Kenya to commence by the end of the year.  This pursuit requires most of the time we have in-between our current employment responsibilities.  Our desire is to be involved in the leadership development of Africans that will transform their culture.  Statistics are showing that the country of Kenya will have the greatest population in Africa in 15 years.  What an opportunity Kima International School of Theology has to provide truth and hope towards Kenya's future, and it could stabilize the entire region.

Lori had a wonderful weekend sharing in Kittanning, PA and being with Rebecca, the former nurse at KIST, that is moving to care for her family here in the USA.  We request prayer for Rebecca to find employment soon! as she ends her Global Missions responsibilities.  Also the nurse Ruth, currently filling in at KIST through this next term, has injured her back and needs God's healing touch so that she can cover the nursing responsibilities.  Ruth plans to be leaving KIST in November when we hope to be able to get there.  We currently have no speaking opportunities on our schedule which is a concern for us.  We are trusting God to provide and trying to be faithful not to miss opportunities to serve and speak for Him.

The housing that has been provided for us has a couple of resident cats.  This one named Charlie was determine to be my writing assistant; and Lori wonders why my hand writing looks like "cat scratching"?  We have been blessed by God's provision and pray for partners to come along side us to support the opportunity to provide East Africa with leaders who have faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mom's with tears in their eyes watch their 5 year old AK students bounce up into my bus on my first load to school.  Then for the next load, the upper class HS students come dragging out all bleary eyed and as they get on the bus is that a "happy dance" I see the mom's doing?  Well my 1999 bus has one more "problem" today, the turn signal lever came off in my hand two turns from the school where I drop my final load of the morning; and the other drivers thought I was nuts making hand signals out the drivers window as I got it back to the transportation center.  I have a 2006 bus for my afternoon route that is a wheel chair lift bus, which is thankfully not needed at this moment for the wheel chair students I pick up have improved to be able to "walk" on to the bus with assistance.

Lori and I have been keeping busy assisting those who are still working at recovery from the flood that covered about 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids two years ago.  This week we have been working on landscaping at home of a handicap couple who have just got back into their refurbished home.  Many neighboring homes that were not able to be repaired have been torn down.  The whole "time-check" area is still in need of rehabilitation and some of it will not return to housing (a "green-space" will be created).  The Ellis Park Church of God continues to provide a "tail-gate" meal ministry every Sunday noon in this area, as it has for the last two years.  Serving 30-40 each Sunday with a touch of Jesus' love in this need filled area of Cedar Rapids.  People trapped in drugs, alcohol, sexual ... addictions are served with kindness and the message of hope.

We continue seeking to finish our fund raising process that has taken longer than expected.  We have less than 40% of our funding needing to be pledged (about $25,000) for each of the three years we plan to be in Kenya.  The costs for us to be in Kenya are equal to want would be needed in the USA, but then you must add the cost of international travel and specialized training.  We will need to learn the language of Swahili ... Jambo!  Lori flies to Kittanning,  PA tomorrow for a Faith Promise missions weekend.  She will meet up with Rebecca the former nurse at KIST there for her last "official" missionary presentation for Global Missions.  We have been praying for a job near Rebecca's VA home to open for her as she leaves the mission field ("for a while") to care for family needs.

And if you think that leaves me with nothing to do this weekend, you have not seen my "Honey Do" list... and further "down-sizing" is needed to be ready to go to Kenya.  Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and support.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Summer has flown by and it is now mid-August. The US Census has Lori and I officially listed as "homeless"!? I'm not sure how to justify that to reality... We have been blessed to have a "bed and roof" over our heads... I guess the bed may have been a air mattress on the ground, sagging cot in camp dorm, futon in a cabin, or the beloved Serta perfect sleeper. Oh you need to know that we have traveled over 6000 miles this Summer. After the family reunion in Wyoming, we have traveled to Rockford, IL and the Northern Missouri Camp Meeting, then on to the Nebraska State Camp Meeting and the St. Louis Michigan Camp Meeting. We only suffered one minor accident when the Envoy was hit in the rear in Cedar Rapids, which is now repaired. Lori will continue our missionary travels heading to Kittanning, PA the last weekend in August. We are hoping to soon be on the way to Kenya.

We are continually asked WHEN are you going to get there? Well the answer is "God only knows"... it depends upon when we become "fully funded"... Global Missions requires that we have 100% of our support for the next three years pledged and currently we have 60% pledged. We praise the Lord that ALL of our Start-Up Fund has been given, so we are financially ready to leave as soon as the pledges reach 100%. (We need 35 pledges at $700 per year - of course any amount will move us closer to being in Kenya) We need to be in Kenya by year's end to take up the positions at Kima International School of Theology now being covered until November.

We had to say good-bye to Adam being deployed to Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard. Michelle, Kaylee and Joel need our prayers and support while he is gone. Andrew is still on the injured list pending deployment with the Wisconsin Army Reserve. His knee injured in training will be checked at the University of Iowa Hospital next week. He, Kiana and Austyn continue to also be in our prayers. Aaron with the Florida National Guard is currently not in the deployment process, which I'm sure Holly is thankful for, as well as her new teaching job.

We have been blessed to be "house sitting" which now has the possibility to be extended through November, at which time we hope to be on our way to Kenya. Lori continues to be an office nurse for Dr. Lottes and I am back to driving a school bus next week. Tomorrow I have to report for my "route and rig" assignment. Could I possibly have one of the new 2011 busses? Well since I'm low on the seniority list it will likely be a 1993 model I have had before. I have also been trying to get the route that Kaylee rides to Arthur on for Kindergarten. Yes our granddaughter starts Kindergarten next week! Where does the time go?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lori and I have been given the opportunity to extend our "house sitting" stay until September at which time we hope to be nearing completion of our fund raising phase and on to the needed education period before being in Kenya. We crossed over the 50% mark in Living Link pledges and nearing the completion of the Start-up funding, so we hope the Summer will provide us the opportunities needed to be fully funded.
My employment driving bus for the Cedar Rapids School system ends in 12 days and it is possible that I could pick up a few hours during the Summer, but further employment is being sought. Lori's nursing position will remain until we leave.

The next few weeks will find us traveling to Indiana for my nephew's graduation, Lori flying to Selma, NC to link up with Rebecca Pierce in a missions convention, then we travel to Marion, SD for their Faith Promise convention, next the North American Convention in Anderson, IN and 4th of July weekend we will be in the mountains of Wyoming with Lori's family. So the rest of May and June will fly by quickly for us. So I will be job hunting for July and August with the opportunity to return to driving school bus in September if needed.

Our "house sitting" arrangement has us caring for the yard work and Three CATS. There is shy pompous Pyewacket and obnoxious attention demanding Icabod and inspector Charlie who is into everything but has the best purr of them all. If there is any doubts, they believe that they rule the house and they sometimes loudly complain when we insist that we are in charge. We really have been blessed to have the use of this home while to owner needs to be away. We know the Lord supplies our needs so we will see what's happens beyond September.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We are on the move this week... we have been given the opportunity to "house sit" for the next 8 weeks before we attend the North American convention in Anderson. God provides "just on time" as we needed to leave the missionary housing we have been in on April 30th. We truly thank the Faith Bible Church for allowing us to utilize this house for the last 10 months, and fully understand their ministry need of it. Now if we are to remain in Cedar Rapids we will be needing housing here in July. Our desire is to be in Kenya Africa, but we are needing to be fully funded before moving there. In our fund raising process our Start-up fund is progressing well, however pledges to our Living Link on going support have been slow. We really need to be over 50% in this fund by the end of May, so we appreciate your prayers in this.

We had the wonderful opportunity to be at the First Church of God in Hutchinson, KS to share in their Faith Promise. We enjoy getting to know those who will be partnering with us in the Mission of serving at the Kima International School of Thelogy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Chili Fundraiser last Saturday raised $1526!! Some liked the chili "Hot and Spicy" and others liked it "Wimpy" but all agreed it was a great day for chili, and Thanks to all who helped!

This next week is spring break for Cedar Rapids schools, so I have a week of working on storage packing and moving preparations. We need to find new housing for May and beyond? until we obtain fully funding for our African Mission. Progress is being made, yet the Living Link pledged support is coming slow. We are ready to go! My bus driving ends the first week of June... not sure what can be found for employment then?

We have begun plans to be at the North American Convention in Anderson in June, and it would be great to be fully funded by then... it could happen! We would like to plan the Summer, but there are so many unknowns... The Lord has it in His hands, wish He would let me in on the plans.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We had a wonderful time in Portland during the Warner Pacific College Alumni Weekend and the weather was sunny and warm. We shared the stories that made WPC special to our lives and celebrated with those being honored for their service to the church. The campus has seen some wonderful improvements over the last 25 years since we were last there. We cheered on the Knights basketball teams to 3 out of 4 wins (time for "free-throw" practice! after the one they lost). Reminisced with Richard Craghead one of the key professors directing my studies at WPC years ago. We met several other professors, area pastors and retired alumni that touched our lives in some way. Staying over the weekend we were able to worship with the Lynchwood Church of God and specially thank them for their investment in our lives as WPC college students. It was truly a blessing having Pastor John Kuykendall pray a blessing over us as ones sent out from that congregation. We met several we had worked with in our internship and was privileged to see Norma Webber, whose husband was the pastor we served under developing the leadership in us that would help us serve the church over the 26 years since. We had worked with the Davidson boys and now were privileged to hear some of their girls sing and they have wonderful voices. A couple of other youth we had worked with Brad and Cindy invited us to a Thai lunch with their family. We even met Kathy from my home church in Willmar, Minnesota, who I had not seen for almost 30 years. We were so blessed renewing contacts with so many at the church there. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to meet with Mt. Scott Church of God missions team and hear the report of one who had served in Uganda from there. With many other contacts made we returned to Iowa's snowy landscape to get on with the work we currently have.

This coming Saturday, the Ellis Park Church of God is hosting a "Chili Fund Raiser" to raise support for our mission to Africa. Several of the local "chili specialist" will be providing their special recipe chili for the event running noon to 4 pm with a silent auction.

This month is very important in our fund raising as the nurse that Lori will be replacing, Rebecca Pierce, will be leaving KIST the end of this month and we need to get there as soon as possible. The home we have been privileged to live in will be needed in May, so we will be needing new housing then as well. My bus driving job ends in early June with the end of school, so we are hoping to be close to full funding then.

In just a few weeks we will be heading to Orlando, Florida to celebrate the wedding of our middle son, Aaron to Holly his college sweetheart. The April 3rd wedding in Florida sounds so good after a long cold and snowy winter in Iowa. It will be great traveling with our oldest son Adam and his family.

Well it's time for me to prepare for the "wheels on the bus to go round and round" and yes the kids I drive go "up and down" plus other directions... Wonder what the school fed them for lunch today?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Traveling time is near for us. We are going to Portland, OR on Thursday to attend the Warner Pacific College Alumni Weekend. There we hope to connect with individuals and church that may become partners with us in missions to Kima International School of Theology in Kenya. It has been over 25 years since we have last been at WPC so we are excited to see all the developments we have heard about over the years. We hope to renew friendship and develop new ones in this time and get to cheer for the WPC Knights Basketball team again.