Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stoves are great...

Stoves are great, when you have one that works.

The whole Easter weekend was nutty. Thursday - Sunday were jam packed with services and church stuff. On the morning of Good Friday I had a phone call from some folks in my church. Turns out that for the past several days their oven had stopped working. The stove top worked, but they could not cook anything in the oven. They were wondering if I know of an agency that could help them out with this. Here's where the story gets good!

Last summer I went golfing with a guy from our congregation. In the midst of our round of golf he got a call from someone needing an appliance. With little effort he was able to commit to the person on the other end of the line and the deal was done.

So Good Friday morning I call him and ask if he can get his hands on a stove. He said he was on his way out of town and trying to run some errands. He then shared, "I'll see what I can do." Within 30 minutes he called me back with a stove in his vehicle and he was heading into North Branch to make a couple stops. Less than 30 minutes later he calls me and said he was waiting downtown if I'd like to meet him and drop off the stove. Would I...?!

From the time I received the call to the time we dropped it off, it must have been about 90 minutes.

It was so fun to squeeze that in prior to the Good Friday Service I helped lead with a couple other community churches. I'm putting the Stove on the list, right after Jesus' Resurrection, as a favorite Easter Moment of 2008.

Hope your Easter was grand wherever you were.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Returning Home

Saturday afternoon I, and 5 others, returned home from our short term Mission Trip to Antigua. All told I was away from home 9 days. It was a new experience to be away for that period of time. It was also a new experience to travel and minister like that without my wife being with me.

The ministry opportunities on the small island of Antigua are on a grand scale. For the tourist, the island is a tropical get away. For the national people the island is home and is home to many needs. Because we traveled there for ministry we definitely saw a side of the island that few tourists would see. For instance, the church we served, Grays Farm Holiness Church, has housed a preschool in its lower level for the past two years. During that time there has never been running water and functional bathrooms. It's exciting to share that that has now changed. A guy on our team spent 3 days working to get the plumbing functional and the bathrooms operational! So cool. Those of us who are not inclined to digging in toilets and drains spent out time giving a cosmetic facelift to the exterior of the church building. We were like flies as we painted the building. We were everywhere. It was great to see progress on a daily basis.

I found great joy in the several occasions when we were away from the church property and people recognized us. (Who wouldn't recognize a bunch of very white people in the midst of a predominately black population!) Seriously though, we were recognized not so much for our skin color but for the work we were doing. People would say, "You are the group working at the church." Or, "Aren't you the people helping Grays Farm?" It was cool.

We still have a group of people in Antigua for the remainder of this week. They are continuing to minister at the church and the surrounding community. You can pray for them. Check out their ongoing ministry here.

Enjoy the few pix I've added below.

the painting crew
doing my part
the minister at Grays Farm, Brother Michael
with the kids in the preschool

finding shells to bring home (we worked hard and played a bit too)