Thursday, September 20, 2007

Latest surplus picture

I got this tankers(?) helmet while out near Ft. Lewis in Washington St. The first day I saw it the lady working the shop (an asian) blurted out: "You believe Jesus Christ?". We were 'shocked' at first because we were wondering how she knew we were all Christians. Then we were encouraged because we thought we had been acting in a way that might lead her to think that way. After answering in the affirmative, she said, "I give you good discount". Well, that was really cool and we ended up buying some sweet merchandise. I, however, let the hat go. I ended up going back the next day to pick up some inert gernades for souveniers for my two oldest sons and also ended up with the hat.

Oh, by the way, after telling this story to some of the soldiers and acting pleased that she had recognized that we were Christians... they told us that she says that to everyone. Hmmpfph.

This picture was taking as me and Pete were headed to Lowe's. I wore it the entire time we were driving around in rush hour traffic. I got some pretty good looks and a couple people to laugh...which made my day.
And I wasn't even jacked on java.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back home:

Monday cup of java into the day...and all is well. I am attempting to recover from slight jet lag. There is only 3 hours difference between Northeast Indiana and Seattle, WA, but sometimes that can make a huge impact.

I apologize to all who checked this blog and expected to see something on Thursday and Friday of last week. I ended up with one of my infamous migraines while on this missions trip to Ft. Lewis - and frankly could not get online to get pics or text posted to this blog. I know you understand.

We arrived back home in South Bend a little after 11pm on Saturday night. I ended up falling into bed on Sunday morning around 2am. (This of course made for a long day on Sunday - with all the regular responsibilities and the reports from WA, etc) I also had planned a SNAC activity for our teens after the evening service - and then went from that into the tailend of a board meeting. Nothing like packing it all in on one day - especially the first day back from the West coast.

This trip was very rewarding. It was great to get the work done out at the Christian Fellowship House in Tillicum, WA - and see the soldiers enthusiasm for our efforts. It was even more rewarding to minister to these incredibly strong - and young - military personnel. These men and women prepare to fight physical battles across the world, and remain - as the rest of us - entrenched in spiritual warfare as well. I pray that our little conversations...those that ran deep quickly...made an impact and encouraged them to keep on going for Christ. I will never look at the news the same, nor will I ever think of the military without thinking of the fine soldiers I met while visiting Ft. Lewis. They truly are heroes.

It is good to be back home and jumping back into my ministry here with both feet. I am energized to be faithful in serving my Commander, Jesus Christ. While in Seattle I read a verse in Psalm 37 which included these two words: ...cultivate faithfulness... That is my desire for my life: to cultivate faithfulness in every aspect of it.

While I go to meditate even more on how these words will impact my life, I will once again stop by the java fountain and refill. I've been drinking from my Starbucks mug that I purchased while in WA... good stuff.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


As I wrap up this day - (I know that it is already "tomorrow" in Indiana) - I am amazed at how much we are able to get done. Before breakfast the drywall was being hung and the last little bits of wiring were taken care of. Immediately after breakfast the ladies went with Susan Hand on to the post and attended a ladies bible study. They saw one of the many, many memorial services being prepared for 3 soldiers of the 364th Engineering Regiment who were victims of a homicide / suicide attack on a bridge. We were also able to take a break at lunch and go visit the Peugeot Sound just minutes away from the Christian Fellowship House. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and the interaction of Ron and Susan during lunch. After lunch we had to stop by a Starbucks to get coffee - after all, it all started here! We then got back to the house and continued our work: trimming trees, hanging doors, mudding drywall, cleaning, sorting and a host of other things. At dinner there were again a number of soldiers in attendance and we spent the rest of the night fellowshipping with them and getting to know them better. (We also celebrated Marv Noser's 60th birthday!!!) It is now well after 10pm local time... and we are slowly but surely falling into bed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Random Pics...

Here is probably the most poignant moment of the week so far. Hannah De Roo (the young lady on the right) shares with the group how she lost her husband in Iraq a year ago. She spoke of the difficulties before he deployed for his second tour in Iraq - as she battled making Christ her treasure above all else. Just two months into his second deployment, he died. He was the first casualty of 3rd Brigade, stationed here at Ft. Lewis. His brigade will be coming home from deployment this next week. Hannah has a unique ministry to other widows on the post. She is raising their young son - he'll be 2 years old in December.
A couple pictures from our Bible study with the soldiers. There were approximately 25-30 people in attendance: 11 from CBC, the rest were soldiers - some freshly returned from Iraq, others preparing to deploy within the next few months.These are random pics of the work being done on the storage facility at the Christian Fellowship House. Total wiring of the facility, insulation, sub-siding the outside, framing of a double-door and some misc things are a few of the things that already have been accomplished. The team is eagerly anticipating finishing this major project ahead of time...the Lord willing.

Please keep us in prayer as we try to encourage Ron & Susan Hand, the troops we interact with and complete the tasks that are set before us. You have a vital part of this ministry through prayer. We have many stories to tell as we think about returning - of how the Lord is working through us and others to draw us closer to Himself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Starting the work...

Here is the work team from CBC preparing to head to South Bend Regional Airport:
(from left to right)
Toby P. (driver only), David D., Marv N., Joe B., Carol N., Jason S., Sherrie M., Pete B., Bob M., Pastor Mark, Julie P. and Rick S.

This picture was taken at 4:00 a.m - just before the team loaded into 3 mini-vans heading north; first to South Bend and then flying to Detroit.

On this 167 mile flight aboard a CRJ jet, the team noticed that Congressman Joe Donnelly also was aboard the flight. At this time we are unsure if he noticed us.
We decided to rate our air travel using the "mint" method. Let me explain: there are a couple of team members who do not like to fly, and rely on mints to keep their stomach settled. The flight from South Bend Regional to Detroit Metro was only a "one mint" flight - meaning that it was a very smooth flight.
We left Detroit Metro after a two hour lay-over and headed westward for Seattle's airport: SEATAC. This was to be a 4 hour and 48 minute flight. We only experienced minor turbulence - thus causing it to be related a "2-3 mint" flight. While most of the flight the ground was obscurred by clouds, as we approached Minnesota the clouds began to break, and from 36,000 feet we saw the patchwork of God's creation. Even more exciting was seeing the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide and as we approached Washington state: Mt. Ranier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood. These majestic mountains, especially Mt. Ranier, jutted up through the clouds and were visible for miles and miles. We were in awe (as flatlanders) of the beauty of God's handiwork. Arrival, baggage claim and locating our missionary Ron Hand were all done easily - and a tribute to the power of prayer.
This is the storage facility behind the Christian Fellowship House that we are working on. On the left side of the building (the back side) is where we are doing most of the work. Visible is the insulation that eventually will be installed, as well lumber, tools and other misc. items.
The team was also able to visit Ft. Lewis and our missionary Ron Hand was able to take us on a tour where he interacts on a daily basis with our nation's troops. He has such a valuable ministry and his heart for these men and women was really evident as we drove with him from location to location on this massive installation. He and Susan have a wonderful home that is used regularly by the troops here. I hope to post some pictures from our interaction with these men and women, as we plan on having a Bible study tonight (Tuesday).
On this day of remembrance of one of nation's greatest tragedies, we are so very thankful for those who daily risk their lives that we might live in freedom. God bless our troops!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Go West young man!

On Monday morning, (9/10/07), in Leesburg, IN, a group will be assembling in the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church. In the pre-dawn hours they will gather into three mini-vans and head north to a local airport. They will then begin a half-day trip west and arrive in Seattle, WA to begin their mission of encouragement to our missionaries Ron & Susan Hand.

Ron and Susan have a special ministry to our military forces located at Ft. Lewis, WA. They run a "hospitality house" and provide various means of encouragement to our troops as they prepare to ship out, while spouses are deployed and when they return from deployment. Our mission will be to do some construction work to aid the Hands in their storage space, but also to encourage them and the soldiers we meet.

We are very excited about this ministry opportunity! I intend to post updates as time and internet connections allow of our work and ministry while we are there near Ft. Lewis. Check back daily for these updates. As you do - will you pray for our team, the Hands and especially our troops? Thank you and God bless!