Sunday, February 26, 2006

Invisible Children

Tomorrow night we will be helping to sponsor the movie "Invisible Children" on our campus. It is a documentary created by three UCSD college students, and tells the story of children in Northern Uganda. These children are being kidnapped from their homes, horribly abused, and forced to serve in the Rebel Army. They are being brainwashed and taught to be killing machines.

We need to do everything we can to intervene on behalf of these children. This is an international crisis. There are multiple ways that you can get involved.
  1. Go to their website,, and learn all you can about the plight of these kids.
  2. Show the movie in your area. Get the word out to as many people as you know.
  3. Buy bracelets, made by some of the kids in Uganda. All the proceeds go to help them with school fees, boarding school, and a better life.
  4. Give--both your money and your time.
  5. Participate in the Global Night Commute on April 29th. Every night, thousands of kids in Uganda leave their homes and walk miles into town just to sleep. We will be doing the same on April 29th, in cities all across America. There is hope that this will be the most widespread show of support for African children to have ever taken place in America.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Home Alone

Last night Joshua's grade had a sleepover at the Science Museum, and Doug went with them. Anna also had a slumber party, so that left me home alone.

While I do occasionally enjoy having time to myself, I don't sleep well at night when I am alone. It goes back to my childhood, and growing up in the middle of a dangerous civil war.

I have vivid memories of laying exhausted in my bed night after night, listening deep into the stillness. The darkness was terrifying to me. I expected one night to wake up to the sound of crashing glass, as terrorists came to torture and kill my family.

Thankfully, God protected us through those years, although we lost several close friends. But I still have vivid nightmares and don't really like nightime much.

Last night, as I lay listening once again for unfamiliar sounds in the dark, I tried to calm my mind with the gamet of memory verses that have sustained me through the years. "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone make me dwell in safety."--Psalm 4:8, "I will never leave you or forsake you."--Hebrews 13:5, "From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy."--Psalm 61:2-3.

But as I recited those verses, I realized, too, that they do not guarantee us physically safety and protection. In fact, the Bible is clear in stating that if we choose to live godly lives, we WILL be persecuted in one way or another.

That got me thinking and praying for my brothers and sisters around the world, who are being physically persecuted and killed. They are facing horrific circumstances that I can hardly even imagine. I'm sure they also experience dread and fear. But their terror becomes reality. I cannot comprehend what it must be like to have to look evil in the face and endure it. My heart just began to break for them.

I know at some level, that God must give them a supernatural peace for that moment in time. That is the hope I cling to. Although my flesh desperately cringes at the thought of persecution, on a spiritual level I understand that it is something all of us must be willing to embrace if God chooses to allow that in our lives.

But I also know that it will all be over soon, and there will be no more suffering, dying, evil and terror in eternity. Looking back on it, this time on earth will seem as nothing. We will be able to live in peace and security without ever having to face the fear and dread again.

In the meantime, though, we need to be praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters. God does not take their sacrifice lightly. Psalm 116:15 tells us "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones." It breaks His heart, just as it breaks the hearts of those who love them.

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."--Hebrews 13:3. Let's love our persecuted siblings as we love ourselves, with the same fervor, and concern, and prayerfulness.

For the latest Persecution and Prayer alerts, you can go to

Friday, February 24, 2006

Falls Creek Memories Anyone????

Falls Creek Tabernacle, 1984 (back in Jeff and Doug's time)
Both Jason and Jeff brought up some beautiful memories of Falls Creek past. So I wanted to post them here on the main site.
Jason's Memories:
My greatest prank was pouring caster oil in the cool-aid one night at dinner. Turns out it worked on someone, my best friend. I was bragging to him about it and he told me that he spend the rest of that day on the toilet! Boy, was he mad at me.In order to get me back, he put Icy Hot on my deodorant. I took a shower that next day, put on the deoderant, and headed to the tabernacle. Just as i stepped into the tabernacle, the fire hit my pits. i thought i was going to die it hurt so much.
Jeff's Memories:
I can feel a Falls Creek memory from miles away. It called to me across cyberspace.
Doug, our other buddies, and I went to Falls Creek every year, sometimes twice. Doug was the best one about asking serious questions about the Bible when everyone else was just being silly. He asked our college counselor, Greg Sills, about Romans 5:7-8, and I remember learning alot in the discussion that followed.
For everyone's information, so you'll know the truth to which Kiki is referring: Kiki's husband Doug, now the illustrious MSC campus missionary, just a few short years ago could be seen running down the middle of the dorm all shampooed up from head to toe, with his hair foamed into two horns, and with a bar of soap in one hand running the middle leg of a shower relay.
When he passed the soap to me and I ran my lap down between the bunks and back, our counselor made as if he was going to stick the plunger on my face. I swerved, slipped on the wet floor as I entered the bathroom, and went down hard.
I found myself spinning on my back across the floor toward the fire escape (2nd floor). Doug and Chris caught my arms as I was about halfway out the open fire escape door, feet first. So there I was, all covered in shampoo (and nothing else) hanging out the fire escape, with Chris and Doug, also covered in shampoo (and nothing else) holding my arms.
We were all laughing so hard, and we were all so slippery that they almost dropped me before finally pulling me back in. So, Doug kinda saved my life, I guess, at Falls Creek.
He also almost killed me several times when he came up the middle with that huge stiff-arm, knocked me down, and stepped on my face on the way to the end zone. So I guess we're even? Doug and I had many great times growing up, and I'm very thankful for all the good memories, especially from Falls Creek.
Aren't those great? Send me some more Falls Creek memories (or memories from other camps) and I'll gladly post them.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Seeing people from the inside out

I remember Anna's first Easter Egg hunt as a toddler. She saw the bright, plastic eggs strewn all over the lawn and lit up with excitement. But she was so taken with the pretty colored eggs (which also made delightful shaking noises) that she failed to realize they had treasures inside of them.

I was thinking about that concept yesterday, as I was watching the variety of students walk past the hot chocolate table. They came in tall, short, dark, light, beautifully dressed, plainly dressed, and just a plethora of shapes and sizes.

But if we were to open up all the shells, the mortal bodies that we're all encased in, you would see a bunch of souls walking around. And that's the part that really counts, because it lasts for an eternity, while our bodies are only temporary.

So really, what is on the inside is who we really are, even though society tends to define us by our outsides.

Chris Massa was standing at the table with me, and he shared a cool story related to this idea. He was in an "Every Man's Battle" study back at Westchester University. One night they were discussing what attracts them to a girl, and most of the guys in the room were saying that the first thing is how she looks.

Then Brandon spoke up. "I look for her voice. If there is warmth in it, if she is friendly, if she listens well. Really, just if whe seems like a nice person." The other guys in the room got totally silent. You see, Brandon was blind, so the concept of how a girl looked was totally irrelevant to him. Brandon had the amazing gift of seeing people from the inside out.

1 Sam. 16:7 says " looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Lord, I pray that you would give me eyes like yours, to see people from the inside out. Let me value what really counts in the people around me. Let me see them as eternal beings living temporarily in a physical state, and not physical beings who also have a spiritual dimension. Give us an eternal perspective, and an eternal passion, and an eternal love for those around us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Life Lessons from Joshua

Joshua made this picture at the retreat.

We were having a time of response/journaling, and the worship art tables were available.

He drew this and gave it to Doug.

Doug asked why he had chosen this verse, and he said, "I was just thinking about Genesis and creation, and being outside. I had been reading this verse, and was looking at everyone in the room."

"It made me think about how He made us, and said that how He made us was good. I was also thinking about how silly it is that people can believe that we came from some nuclear explosion or whatever."

So I asked him what he meant by saying how God made us was good.

"Well, it's kind of like a car," Joshua said. "If it's really fast, then it usually doesn't have good handling. If it has good handling, then it's usually not as fast. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. One is not better than the other. They are just different."

"Like I'm medium in smartness, really funny, and good at making friends. I like games and being with my family. Those are the things that make me special. God made me that way on purpose because He has a plan for my life, and He needed a Joshua just like me to fit it."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Friends from back at the Ranch!!!

All together now~ O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-klahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain......."

Ryan and Clay, thanks for the picture!!! Kinda makes me homesick!!!!! (Jason, does this bring back memories of your pre-New Orleans days??)

Boomer Sooner, everyone!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

4 Things tag

My friend, Marty Duren, tagged me.

4 Jobs I Have Had In My Life:

Student Recruiter--my Senior year at Ouachita I was a recruiter, going to college fairs and speaking to high school students about higher education.

Air Traffic Control Trainee--I was selected for and went through the ATC program at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Institute, but quickly discovered I was directionally challenged. Which did not bode well for the future of airline passengers in the Fort Worth area (which was my assigned region.) So I opted out of that career.

3 Year-Old Preschool Teacher--I taught in the Weekday Care Center at First Baptist Edmond. I loved my kids, and still think teaching preschoolers is fun. Except for potty training!!!!

Houseparent--Doug and I were houseparents for 8 boys at Goodland Presbyterian Boys Home. We did that until 3 weeks before Anna was born. We have stayed in touch with some of our boys, and still have a heart for children's home ministry.

4 Goals I Set For This Year

Journaling--I tend to be sporadic in my prayer/quiet time journaling. I am faithful in reading/praying, but I hate having to write things out. (I have been spoiled by technology, and would rather type.) I want to do a better job of keeping a spiritual journal.

Scrapbooking--I made it through each child's first birthday, and then just accumulated a huge box of pictures and scrapbook materials.

Run in the Pittsburgh Great Race--I have planned to do it the past two years, but got sick the first year, and too busy the second. It's only 10K, so there's really no excuse.

Nail down my beliefs--the past few months I realized that I don't know Biblically where a lot of my beliefs came from. Much of what I think is my doctrine is simply what was passed down to me. So I want to be able to defend each of my positions, based on what see in the Word, not on tradition or history.

4 Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

To be honest, I really hate having to watch anything more than once.

4 Places I Have Lived

Gweru, Zimbabwe

Johannesburg, South Africa

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

4 TV Shows I Love to Watch

I don't watch a lot of TV, aside from a good football game or occasional NASCAR race. But if I had to choose something, it would be:

Extreme Makeover (Home Edition)-- I was a feature editor for our college paper, and still enjoy a good "human interest" story.

King of Queens--I relate so much to Doug and Carrie's relationship. Keeps me laughing.

Alias--I would love to kick butt like Sydney Bristow.

Lost--I've only been able to watch a few episodes. But it is intense, and actually has a plot and story line.

4 Places I've Been on Vacation

Lucerne, Switzerland

Fothergill Island, Kariba (Zimbabwe)

Jerusalem, Israel

Cancun, Mexico

4 Websites I Visit Daily

MSN News


My friend's blogs

4 of My Favorite Foods

General Tso's Chicken

Roast beef with rice and gravy

Chicken Alfredo

Fresh, hot, homemade rolls

4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

Southfork, Colorado

Curled up with a blanket while watching a good movie at my parent's house in Arkansas

Playing games and really laughing with my friends

Hiking in the mountains with the warm sun on my face, a gentle breeze blowing, and no sound except a gentle brook and the chattering of birds in the trees.

So Now I'm Going to Tag......

Corley Madden

James Touchton

Rick Thompson

Tim Sweatman

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Falling Up

Thursday night at FUEL we looked at Isaiah 40:28-31. It has been a tough semester for all of us, and I knew the students were tired.

We were studying the attributes of eagles, and looking at what it means to "rise on wings like eagles."

Adam, who has only been a Christian for about 4 1/2 months, had this amazing insight. He said, "It's like falling UP." He went on to explain that an eagle does not use his own energy to soar, but finds "thermals", or hot pockets of air that carry him up so that he can glide. He simply spreads his wings and allows them to carry him along.

Interestingly enough, in a storm the thermals will carry the eagle above the clouds, where he glides effortlessly above the raging activity below.

I love that expression--falling up. When I grow tired and weary, I need to remember to fall up and allow my Heavenly Father to get me through the storm.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More Superbowl pics

Steeler girls: Kiki, Sami, Corley, Anna A., Anna C., Megan and Cristina

The guys solution to the noisy fire alarm was to stifle it with Terrible Towels

The fireman seemed a little disappointed that we didn't have any beer, but hung out with us for a little bit anyway.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


This is so incredibly fun!!!!! There's nothing like a city-wide celebration to get you out of your blue funk.

We were at a friend's house tonight watching the Superbowl. The fire alarm in her apartment building went off right at the beginning of the game. Everyone poked their heads out to see what was going on, but nobody was willing to leave their TVs.

The firemen arrived, and one of them came down to see how the game was going. He hung out with us for a few minutes. I'll post a picture of him with the kids tomorrow, as soon as Corley sends it to me. (It was on her camera, and she is in the middle of Oakland at the moment, probably swinging a Terrible Towel around her head, hugging total strangers and screaming her lungs out!!!)

When the game was over, random people began coming to the door. Everyone just opened up their apartment doors. We were all dancing, jumping around, screaming, waving towels and going crazy.

It looks like rush hour in the streets right now, even though it is snowing pretty hard. The roads are kind of slick, but people are still out honking and screaming and getting reeeeeeeaaaaaalllllly drunk.

We heard on the radio that a local sporting goods store is open, and t-shirts are going like hotcakes. The lights were also on at the stadium, and people were streaming in. Looks like there is going to be an all-night party in Pittsburgh.


If you want to be able to play all the fun songs and celebrate with us, a great website to go to is

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fishing Lessons

This is a great excerpt from a book Joe just sent me. It is Paul Hattaway's "Back to Jerusalem." The book is especially meaningful to me, because in December I was able to participate in a conference call with one of the leaders of the "Back to Jerusalem" movement. God is doing amazing things in China!!! Keep praying!!!

"Many pastors fill their pulpits with fishing stories, and their congregation admires the fishing nets that hand on the wall of the church for display. The nets have been thoroughly cleaned. No effort has been spared to keep al dirt and impurity out of the church. The nets have been bleached so white that nobody would ever guess they had once been used for fishing! The strings are carefully arranged so that each square has the same size and shape. After all, 'God is a God of order.' The pastors love to boast about their nets, and even invite Christians from other churches to come and admire their nets with them."
"Every few years 'over-zealous' young believers come in and suggest that they should take the nets down from the wall and take them out on the lake to catch fish. The 'mature' members of the congregation explain that God is catching many fish throughout the world, and all is well. Their job is to live holy, peaceful lives and not be presumptuous. The new believers are assured that once they have followed the Lord for a few more years, they will mature and become just like the others. For now, they had best remain quiet in the pew and stop speaking out of turn."
"Week after week, year after year, Satan lulls individual believers, churches and whole denominations to sleep with his lies. The bleach that has removed all the stains and dirt from the nets also effectively disinfects the Christians until they will never consider becoming fishermen again."
("Back to Jerusalem", by Paul Hattaway, pp. 132-3)