A cool way to turn 50

I think life should get more exciting, adventurous, purposeful and more as we get older…

Most of our interns fall into the category often referred to as “young adults.”  Lola’s one of 2 over-40 interns we’ve had and she’s a great lady…and as far as I”m concerned, a young adult.  Last week, she became one of 2 “over-50” interns as she spent her birthday helping people in Picayune, MS.

Here she is on her birthday.




Picayune, MS, is the site of the first Katrina response from Convoy of Hope.  The pastor and others in the city are wonderfully hospitable.  As we spent time in the city, we also saw extreme need…Lola is helping.

I love the story in Joshua 14 where Caleb, a man I picture as quite grizzled who’s the kind of guy that would eat beef jerkey for breakfast, tells Joshua what he thinks about his future,

10 “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Lola’s not Caleb’s age…she’s got a long way to go, but I love it when people get stronger, more determined and more adventurous as they age. I want to be that way.

God called her, she stepped out in faith, her church is supporting her dream, and it’ll be fun to see what’s next for her.  Happy Birthday Lola!

Philippines update: typhoon #5?

I just got done chatting on line with the Convoy of Hope director in the Philippines.  I had a the great privilege of working with Raul 2 years.  He’s a great man, husband, father, pastor, and leader and he really cares for his country.  He oversees the feeding of thousands of children and other Convoy of Hope projects across the country, and he oversees the Convoy of Hope disaster response.

Here’s Raul with two of the key staff members.


In the last month, the Philippines has been hit by 4 hurricanes.  In our chat, he informed me that #5 could be coming this weekend.

He says his brother’s home was under water for two days.  His home had knee deep water inside, and chest level water outside.  They have connections and means to take care of themselves in the midst of this hard time…and he’s trying to be the connection people across the Philippines so they can be taken care of the midst of this hard time.

We’ve had staff from our home office deploy to the region to work with him, but after our chat, I just felt like he could use a little extra prayer.  He’s tired, and is working very, very, very hard.

Here’s a shot I took of this beautiful country…an area now preparing to be pounded by their 5th typhoon (hurricane) in a month.


What’s making history?

rushmoreI’m in Rapid City, SD, for the Calibrate Conference, a conference for leaders and volunteers across the state.  It’s my first time here.  Today I saw Mt. Rushmore for the first time. 

Mt. Rushmore

In the gift shop, Nick Clifford was signing his book, Mt. Rushmore Q & A


He “thinks” he’s the last remaining worker from the crew that carved the mountain.  On the back of the book, James Popovich says,

“…to the workers, carving the memorial was ‘just a job.’  (They) did not realize  at the time that their work would become an icon, recognized around the world.” 

Mt. Rushmore don cliffordI wonder what we’re doing that will make history?  I have a hunch my church planting, teaching, coaching, parenting, convoy of hope interning, etc. friends and family are making history and don’t even realize it.

Mark Batterson, our interns, Primal

Last month our interns served at an outreach in the DC area.  While there, they met up with author/pastor/leader/thinker/twitterer, Mark Batterson.  Mark lived here in Springfield for a few years while in college and from what he tells us, enjoys Andy’s Frozen Custard.  Why am I blogging about him?

Two reasons: 

1.  He took an hour out of his schedule to meet with our interns.  They drank coffee and talked about life.  He really poured into them.  Many have mentioned that it’s a highlight of their internship.  Thank you Mark

He also gave us copies of his books In A Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase.  We’ll keep a copy of each in our intern house for the future generations of interns to read around the world.  Thanks for these as well.

2.  He has a new book, Primal, coming out soon.  His publisher is giving away 500 copies to bloggers who agree to review it.  I submitted my name and this blog and would love to give my meticulously and beautifully worded review of the work.  Plus, I’d love a free copy of what I know will be some great reading.


Hence, this post. 

1.  Thanks Mark!
2.  I pray Primal impacts a lot of people.

PS:  Thanks Randy Whitlow for the heads up on this opportunity.





Return to Dani and Lena’s

A year ago in  Moldova I met Dani and Lena. Here’s Dani.

daniI blogged about those days here.  Their father abandoned them  years ago, and at the time, their mother was in another country where she went to find work.  There were a couple of older brothers who didn’t know how to help cleaningthem.  The kids were very cold and hungry when we went by their house.  The hearts of the team were moved and we went by there a couple of times.  Thankfully, the hearts of the people of the local church were moved as well.  The pastor’s son told us, “I didn’t know that poverty like this exists in my village.”  They commited to keeping in touch with them and helping in any way they could.

Since then, I’d heard nothing about the kids, but have prayed often for them.  We even put their photo in a prominent place in the intern area and it’s helped remind us to pray.  We’d hoped that the church was still helping them and that the family was reunited.

When I returned to Moldova, we wondered the latest.  We stopped by and connected with their mother.  The members of the church new them well and shared the latest:

  • The mother returned shortly after we left last fall.  She’d been gone for many months, and came back home before winter.
  • There are two older sisters we don’t know…nor does the church.  We learnd they’re in a desperate place and need help. 
  • The mother has been working hard, but can’t make ends meet.  The day we connected with her, she was in the danilena04corn fields working hard…we heard that for about 12 hours work, she’d make about $10.  Dani was with her as she worked in the field. 
  • The church had regular contact with the family…sharing food with them, asking if they needed help with things and more.  The mother accepted some help but not other help.

The team wanted to help.  We didn’t want to do anything that would cause the family to expect the church to do everything for them, but we wanted to share the love of Jesus.  We spent a day in their home cleaning, painting, cleaning, scrubbing, and more.  The church members pitched in as much as we did…maybe more.  The mother worked harder than anyone…and Lena pitched in too.


danilenaa03The family loved it.  You could tell it meant a lot.  We also had fun playing with the kids, getting to know the mother better and more…

The next day we returned to take a family photo.

danilena01They loved it.  We also shared a few things with the family and had some great prayer with them.  Since then, they’ve been to the church, connected more with people from the church and see a glimpse of hope in their lives.  The team is still in Moldova and keeping in touch with them.  I look forward to what’s ahead.

Poverty looks different in so many places…and it’s too widespread.  While we’re always trying to help “the masses” I love connecting with kids like Dani and Lena and their mother (w/local churches) and learning more about individual stories.  And helping.

My prayer is that in this hard time, their mother (and the family) will see hope, hear His voice, and turn to Him.  Hosea 2:14, “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”




Cody was on Jay Leno

Cody and DLSo it wasn’t exactly a sit-down interview…but he was on Jay Leno’s show.  The fall ’09 intern team served at an outreach in Hagerstown, MD, then spent a couple of days in DC prior to heading out to Moldova.  While there, D.L. Hughley did a Jaywalking-style man on the street interview with our very own Cody.  He’s a great guy who’s been focusing on helping people like those at the camp he helped run near Canada during the summer of ’09.  He’s  now in Moldova helping people and still not learning anything about anyone’s healthcare plan.

He laughed about all of this.  We love Cody.

Here’s the link:

Nomad: The Great Reverse (reality series)

nomaddvdI loved my time with OneHope (was called Book of Hope International back then) leading interns and teams.  A few years ago on a trip to Ghana, a film crew from fearless films joined us to get about 100 hours of footage.  We wondered if it would ever be released…it’s been released and is now available on INO Records and is in stores. 

 “Nomad: The Great Reverse” is episode 2 of the Nomad series.  The first episode followed Sara Groves on her trip to Rwanda.  Anyways…Chip, Troy and co. did a great job editing the video and capturing the spirit of our time in Ghana.

It was fun reliving the trip.  It’s been great keeping in touch with the team since then…weddings, hard times, moves, new opportunities, babies and more.  Great team.  Great video.

Pupusas…lots and lots of pupusas

Both Jorel and Chad ate 10 pupusas on Easter.  Crazy.

Pupusas are to El Salvador what hamburgers are to the USA or Fish & Chips is to the U.K. or Cuy (pictured below) is to Peru…well not exactly that, but close enough.



We had fun making them on Easter evening at Pastor Fabricio’s house.  Great day.  They’re made of rice or flour and are then stuffed with cheese, beans, loroco (a plant) or even fried pork…chicharon.  You can read more on wikipedia…the best source for news 🙂

Here are a few photos of the team, with a nice video for your viewing pleasure.karen making pupusas

chad's pupusasdesnat pupusas


Good timing…

On our Plan B trip to El Salvador, our first place of ministry was a small village about 30 minutes from San Salvador.  There, we worked with a local pastor who was preparing to start a church at our place of ministry.  The church started Easter Sunday.


They’ve been working in the area, but without our Plan B, they wouldn’t have been there that day.

While there, we shared food, shoes with those who needed them, and toys for the kids.  Jorel and Bethany also shared about hope and life and a future with Jesus.  After we shared with the people, a woman came to Bethany with the news that when she arrived, she had planned to kill herself in the very near future.  She decided not to that day.  Bethany prayed with her. Hope.

I don’t know the woman’s struggles…I know there’s extreme poverty, violence, drug use, gangs, and more where she pile o' foodlives.  I know that many men have abandoned their families and woman are left with little or nothing.  I don’t know her struggles, but I know they must have been big. Now? Hope.Bethany with a friend

We made sure she met people from the soon to start church.  She said she’d go…and it’s in her village.  I’ll be back soon and will check to see if she made it. The woman in the photo isn’t the one of whom I write…it didn’t seem right to take her photo.  However, this woman’s life changed that day too.

Here’s Bethany sharing the story from her perspective…