International Ministries


November 23, 2010 Journal
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Exuberant joy.  That's what says the word 'whoopee' expresses.  That's what we have felt in a special way this week.  Despite too many unfinished projects... plenty of things to be concerned about... and too many late nights and early mornings in recent days... this week each day has begun with a surge of energy and enthusiasm:  whoopee!     

Cathy, my wife, says she could always tell when her Dad had an early morning fishing trip coming up the next day:  he couldn't help but whistle as his went about his evening chores.  Just the thought of getting out in the boat put a spring in his step.  Like father, like daughter... and son-in-law!  Cathy isn't much of a whistler, but we were both bouncing around like a couple of kids at five o'clock Wednesday morning.  That's the day we joined millions of other Americans on the nation's highways... for a trip to see kids and grandkids for Thanksgiving--whoopee!

This weekend has been an exclamation point in the experience of thankfulness I have been having lately.  In the last couple of weeks I have both completed another year of life and completed the ministry trips scheduled for 2010.  Both of these things have caused me to stop and give thanks to God.  As I received expressions of encouragement and love, it rekindled my awareness of--and gratitude for--the incredible gift of friendship.  Thank you, Lord, for enriching my life with the gift of relationships with such wonderful people over these many years!!

I also found myself filled with gratitude as I thought over the ministry opportunities of this past year:  the chance to encourage pastors and seminarians who work in the very special situation created by the Mexico-U.S. border; time with longtime friends and colleagues in El Salvador--including the sight of former students exercising leadership in the churches; multinational, multiethnic, interdenominational teaching and learning opportunities in Thailand and Kenya; seeking the Lord's wisdom with theological educators in the Czech Republic; exploring Scripture and conflict transformation in Burma; helping pastors and congregational leaders develop their own unique way of expressing the gospel in Vietnam; teaching and preaching in the U.S., southern Mexico and Nicaragua.  I am grateful to God for the chance to catch a glimpse of--and play a small role in--what God is doing in such varied contexts around the world!

I am also grateful for your company on this journey!  Your prayers and financial support have helped to make all of this possible.  By the grace of God, your investment in this ministry has made a difference in the lives of many people throughout our world--Thank You!!

And now, in the early morning, I hear the sound of little CJ (just turned 3) stirring, signaling the start of another day with kids and grandkids--whoopee!!