Happy anniversary Shaun and Angela. A happy memory followed by many more! Time flies when you are having fun!
We were all together for a couple of weeks this last Christmas.
From Madison, Rotorua and the Bay Area we came, ate and played.
How we enjoyed each other!
Grandkids show up from two sides of the Pacific to spend Christmas season together. So Lois and I took them to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And then we got a
We are doing well. Lois is recovering well from her chemo and radiation and is back to work. Our spirits are good. It helps to have grandkids!
As for my work, as a missionary with Latin America Mission (LAM), I continue to serve Latin American leaders as they serve Christ and care for people, in many parts of the world. LAM recently merged with United World Mission (UWM). The new mission is global in scope and, because of the entrance of LAM, the majority of UWM looks at the world from Latin America. Many on the staff are Latin Americans themselves. UWM carries on LAM’s commitment to do what we do with Latin Americans, and to follow their visions for ministry, because we believe that God is using Latin Americans for the good of the world and for the advance of the gospel.
Personally, this merger means a lot more work for me. But it is work that I think that all these years of experiences with the growth the the church in Latin American and the growth of the missions commitment of Latin American evangelicals has prepared me to do. I am on the Integration Team that is working on aligning the two missions. This team is led by two of us, who were strategy advisors to the respective presidents of the two missions. We report to John Bernard, President of the new UWM. My main task is to introduce UWM to the more than 80 partner ministries scattered throughout Latin America with whom LAM had partnership arrangements. This means that over the next year I will make sure that the leaders of these ministries, in most of the countries in Latin America, receive a personal visit from me and Alex Araujo my co-leader in this project, or other representatives of LAM and UWM.
Undoubtedly, in the future, I will have a role for envisioning how this newly united ministry builds on the foundation that was laid in our separate histories. The stories are complementary. That is we each bring something the other needs, and together we are more than 350 missionaries, working in 40 countries. If you count in the partnerships, particularly with Latin Americans, we are in many more than 40 countries, sharing the gospel of God’s blessing to all peoples, and we do it in both words and deeds. We have projects with children at risk, against human trafficking, church planting, leadership development, etc. In all cases, our real specialty is supporting the multiplication of churches, agencies and grass-roots leaders who do these things. More and more the work that gets done is supported locally, which means it is becoming more sustainable.
Thirty-six (36) years ago we were sent as a young childless couple of idealistic missionaries to Brazil. We have learned a lot in these years and count it a privilege to still be involved. We owe a great debt to our friends and supporters for sending us on this journey, and to those who faithfully continue to make it possible. We love to find ways to pay back that debt, especially as we recognize how the increasingly multi-cultural reality of the USA continues to call us to deepen and broaden our understanding of the mission we are called to live out as followers of Christ. We want to do what we can to help new generations think about how they will be faithful to that mission, too.
This last year was one of the most difficult in our lives. Just a year ago , I was flying home from Brazil, from one of the most rewarding trips I had ever taken. The trip combined a creative ministry experiment that was successful, and a very precious and deeply meaningful day with a long time friend. But, when I got home, it was just in time to rush to Southern California where Lois picked me up at the airport and we went to the hospital to say good-bye to her mother who passed away a day later. Today is a year since her passing.
Actually, the difficult year has been about 19 months long. In that time, both Lois’ mom and my own passed away. We are both orphans now.
As if the loss of her Mom was not enough, just a few weeks later, the doctors discovered Lois had cancer. So during this past year we spent a lot of time going to doctors. Lois suffered through treatments that were unimaginably difficult, and she did it with much grace and determination. I did my best to make sure she got all the love and support she needed to get through, including canceling all my travel. We pretty much stayed home. We didn’t send Christmas cards or anything.
Lois’ treatment is over and she is slowly regaining her strength and growing back her hair. Life is moving back towards normal.
Tomorrow will be my first trip away, since I got home from Brazil. I will be gone for 10 days to Sweden, as part of my responsibilities with the MIssion Commission of th World Evangelical Alliance.
A blessed year, too!
A big joy was that our grandson, Logan, was born on my Mom’s birthday, just a few months after her passing. He is a happy boy and is a reminder of the cycle of life and the renewal of generations.
Also, the mission I work for, Latin America Mission, has been going through a deep struggle financially for the last several years. During the last 3 or 4 months of Lois’ treatment, when I had to just watch from the sidelines, things were looking rather grim, and God brought along another mission agency that knows and appreciates LAM’s legacy. More importantly, United World Mission (UWM) wants to develop it and grow it. In the last few weeks the Boards of the two organizations have agreed to bringing LAM into the UWM organization (they like to say UWM “family”, which says a lot). The integration of the two will get started in the last three months of 2013 and into 2014. I am very grateful for this.
Finally, our daughter, Emily, who lives in New Zealand is expecting a baby any day now. We have plans to go visit her once the baby is born.
- The people that she prayed for.
- The people she taught the Bible = At Bible Study fellowship.
- The people with whom she argued.
- The people for whom she made things.
- The people she introduced to each other.
2. Mom created beauty.
- That beauty did not come without a price: Dumptser diving! You may hear about the indignity of it from my sisters or me, but the fact was that so much of the beauty she was able to create was made with things that other people threw away. How did she do that.
- It wasn’t just things. It was experiences. She was good at creating special and memorable experiences.
- Picnics on the lawn.
- Party themes.
- Her Christmas cards weren’t cards. They were an experience!
- Creative gifts
- As a mom, she took us many places — museums, parks, friends.
- She presided over well-planned, fun birthday parties. Pin the tail on the donkey, spaceship cakes, etc.
- She made us a part of her ministry to High School and college kids. They were always in our home. They were our friends, too.
- She let me, as a 16 year old, go to boarding school in Guatemala, a country that was moving into what would become a brutal civil war.
- She was an incredible grandmother, creating memories, and providing a place where our kids could come, from Brazil or Guatemala and find a place that was familiar and safe.
I am an orphan! That’s kind of a tough thought to incorporate into my being, especially within a month of turning 60. It’s like life is already getting short. Just when it was getting fun.
I am an orphan because on February 27 my Mom joined my Dad in death. Having followed Jesus as His disciples, they passed on to us the hope that they would also follow Jesus in his resurrection. But we are sad they are gone, devastated by the way bodies wear out and finally quit on us. Beyond just looking forward to eventual resurrection, we also want to live like they did. I cannot believe all the stories of how my mom inspired people to live close to God, to be creative, and to enjoy life. Even better are the stories of how she loved and prayed for people around her, all the time, and with great effect. I think I am only now becoming aware of the extent of the impact of her prayers. Her life goes on because in the lives of the rest of us, in life, her prayers and actions were a constant in our lives. That’s why I like this picture of her with Parker and Angela.
The birth of Jesus is about promises God kept.
Emily met Erlo Jones when they were both teaching English in Korea, and they got married this last April in Koh Samui, Thailand.
Erlo is a Kiwi (a New Zealand citizen, born in South Africa), and they both found jobs here in New Zealand. Our first few days here with them have been a wonderful time for us to learn about their lives, and to discover some of the beauty of this lovely country. We will spend Christmas with them, and with Erlo’s parents in Rotorua.
Before we left, we celebrated Christmas with our daughter Angela, son-in-law Shaun and little Parker. They live close by in San Jose, California and we enjoy visiting them regularly and getting grandparent time with Parker.
We will miss spending Christmas with Marian, this year. She will be coming to California from Madison, WI, where she is working on her dissertation, but we will only catch one day with her. She leaves just one day after we get home.
But we did have a great time with her at Thanksgiving. Some friends loaned us their cabin in Arnold, CA, for us to spend a week with the family. Lois’ mom, Eleanore Holderman, joined us for the whole week.
Tim’s mom, Pat Halls, continues living at Plymouth Village in Redlands, CA. He gets down to visit her every month or so. Just before we left for New Zealand he went there to deliver a gift that Lois made, and that made her very happy!
One more very important thing. We celebrated 35 years of marriage this last summer, with a visit to Montana. In addition to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, we visited four universities in Montana.
We are grateful for God’s incredible and abundant generosity and mercy toward us.
And we are grateful to all of you who are part of our lives and for your prayers and support.
So, I started blogging again in October, and now it is December, and no posts!
Well, it’s not like I have been sitting around on my hands during November and December. I will try to put some things up here for you to see: about COMHINA, WEA Missions Commission in Germany, Perspectives Class at Trinity Pres in Santa Ana, Thanksgiving with the Family, working on my research project, and now, Christmas and our family.