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Jun
29

Hello BK?

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OK, so I said goodbye to Starbucks. Since that time my closest Starbucks closed up shop. No kidding, there is now brown paper taped over the windows. I didn’t expect my departure to have such an immediate impact. In fact, if my occasional purchase was the difference between viable operation and butcher paper, then maybe it needed to close or relocate.

Since my last post, several have inquired about the next move. Perhaps with the move I will be able to spend some time at the local Burger King. I am a fan of their Mocha Joe–good stuff if you like sweetened, ice coffee. I am doubtful, though, that this will be my main hangout as it has patronage of the locals, but is not representative of their food and culture. More on this later….

One interesting, comical event from this week occurred when a friend and I were making a quick run from the house to Home Depot for some more of some important something or other to prep the new place for my family. My new neighbor’s family friend, Francisco, was outside drinking a beer. He apologized for not having more beers to share, but wanted to know if I would like to come over and share his.

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Jun
09

A Tragic Tale

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While on the recent JetSet, we had a missionary / church-planter–T.J.–share some of his story. He has been in France more years than not. While so much of his talk was fascinating to me, there was one slice that grieved me. This is a paraphrased version of that story told in 3rd person.

As the “French” guy, TJ was invited on multiple occasions to be present at Sunday lunch with U.S. families that had finally convinced their French exchange student to go to church for the first time. The best he could understand is that these families wanted him to do a church debrief as he was uniquely qualified to understand and communicate with them from a French vantage point. This scenario played itself out on five different occasions with five different students. When TJ asked the young person how they liked their church experience, the responses were similar. Each thought the music was good. Each thought the preaching time was interesting–but not in a good way. They were surprised at how passive and compliant the audience seemed to be to whatever the preacher was saying. Each of them shared some variation of the following idea: “I felt like I was in a Nazi war rally.”

This is the unique, growing challenge of working in a post-Christian context.

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Feb
15

Enormous Loss

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Just a few weeks ago, all was fine for the [Smith] family. Important things included all of the mundane things such as what’s for dinner and the like. Then the headaches began for Mrs. Smith. And they grew more intense. About a week after they started, she was visibly shaking and had to sit down while with others at worship. The next Tuesday an MRI revealed a tumor behind her ear. On Thursday, she went into surgery. She never woke up. She never was able to hug and bless or be blessed by her husband and 3 young children again on this side of heaven.

Today is the day for Mrs. Smith’s burial. Family and friends are mourning and will continue to do so. Life is forever changed for the family and it will continue to be hard for some time.

This serves as a reminder for me and my family about the brevity of life. May we embrace everyday all of the blessings the Lord grants us.

Upon learning of  Mrs. Smith’s passing, we prayed as a family for the Smith family that are having to deal with the tragic loss. My youngest prayed, “Lord, I pray you have a wonderful time with Mrs. Smith.” I am sure that He is doing so with her now with Him in heaven. May we daily do the same with the loved ones around us here on the earth.

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Dec
18

A Healing

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this post, a missionary in SE Asia shares a small part of the story he is experiencing. Thanks friend!

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While training a [group in country] a young man sitting in the back came to my attention. He was 25 or 26 years old and had quite a story to tell. This young man had been a Buddhist monk until three months earlier. He came to the training to learn more about his new faith. The following is his story.

My family could not afford to feed me so they put me in the monastery when I was very young. It is all I have ever known. One day I was walking down the street, with my bowl, to collect food for the day. Without looking I stepped into the street and right into the path of a car. The car hit me and sent me flying into the middle of the street. When I tried to get up I realized my leg was broken. Some men helped me into a taxi that took me to the Buddhist hospital for monks.

The doctors x-rayed my body and told me it was not good. My leg had been crushed in the accident and it was inoperable; they would have to amputate. They sent me to a room, gave me some pain medicine, and scheduled the surgery for the next morning. I was so worried! I tried to meditate and called on the Buddha for help, but nothing worked. Finally I fell asleep and in my sleep I had a dream. A man dressed in white came to my bed and touched me on the shoulder. He told me not to be afraid; the doctors will not amputate your leg, I am going to heal you. As he walked out of the room, he turned around and said, “My name is Jesus.” The monk had never heard that name before so it had no special significance, but he remembered it. During the night he felt warmth in his leg, by morning he had feeling and when the doctors came to prep him for surgery they found his leg completely healed. The surprised doctors asked what had happened. The monk told them about the man Jesus, but the doctors had never heard that name before either. They told him, “You are healed so return to your monastery.”

Two weeks later the monk was on the street again collecting food for the day. An unknown believer approached him and began to share the gospel with him. As the believer told about God the young monk became confused. “I did not understand what he meant. What is the god?” The believer went on to tell the monk that God had a son whose name was Jesus. When he mentioned this name, Jesus, the monk stopped him. He told the believer his story and said, “This is the one who healed me, please tell me more about him.” When the believer was finished telling him about Jesus the monk replied,” this man healed me, I want to become a follower of Jesus.” He disrobed and left the monkhood, joined himself to the believers and was in my seminar to learn more about the faith he had come to embrace.

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