Communicating in 2009…crazy

So last night, while playing checkers and watching Little House on the Prarie (there are never any episodes surrounding Carrie…I’ve always wondered why), I sent a text to my twitter account, which automatically updates my facebook status, “I hear Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s are coming to Springfield.” Literally, this was true…I did in fact hear that.

Some people replied with joy and praises.
Some with skepticism.
Some with other comments.
Nate even claimed to have helped start the rumor. I’m pretty sure he’s telling the truth too…love that guy.

Then, a guy from P.F. Chang’s office contacts me today via twitter and is checking out the rumor. I haven’t yet heard for sure either way (but I’m thinking it’s not true…but I do enjoy Kung Pao Chicken).

In the olden days (like 2-3 years ago) it would’ve taken either waiting on hold for a long time or sending a letter/email with little chance of response. Now, you don’t even have to hunt something down, they’re trolling the web for references to them about which they can respond.

Anyways…a few thoughts. I’ll share the response I get from the P.F. Chang folk…

More wall photos…

When I was at Book of Hope, I remember working with Leah to try and go back and get photos of all of the former interns…never got it done. Too many to track down. When I came to Convoy of Hope to work towards starting this intern program, I thought it would be fun to start from day 1.

So…in the back of the intern training area we have a wall full of photos. We started two years ago with just one…Josh…

He was the lone team member that went with the field guy, Sean Kelly. We added his photo the first day of the 2nd term. Then, on the first full day of the 3rd term, we added 8 photos from our summer team. It continued. Today was the first day of the 6th term. We added 12 photos from the fall team from last year. There are now 57 photos on the wall.

I’ve always been a nostalgic guy, as a shelf in my room from growing up would prove, but the wall helps me remember to pray for those people, to see what’s up with them and their lives and to even check in on occassion. Of course, facebook helps with that too…(it turns out Noah was indeed having fun with his status change to “married).

Anyways, it was fun hanging the photos (actually Jorel did). We’ll hang more on June 19…

I look forward to seeing the wall a decade from now with knowlege of where some of those people have gone…great days are not only behind but ahead for them…


Detained at the inauguration…reminiscing

We now have a new President. What a historic day. I’m reminiscing…in both ’01 and again in ’05 just for fun I went to the inaugurations. Not boring.

In ’05, on the day before the ceremony, snow was falling in DC. Crews were setting up for the big event, and there were fences, chairs, platforms, giant tv screens, etc. everywhere.

We were on one side of the capital hoping to get to one of the Smithsonian museums. We were given directions that included the instruction to “follow the fence.” We did. The problem is that it was snowing, it was early (not a lot of people were out yet), and a large opening was created in the fence for some large machinery. We followed the fence…through the unintended opening and on the wrong side of the fence and couldn’t get out.

Oops. We asked a worker how to get out and he got a scary look on his face. Police were summoned. They asked a lot of questions. They walked with us to a warmer area and asked a lot more questions. They called in our license numbers/etc. They asked, “Do you realize that there’s a large scale event that will be held here tomorrow and the security is tight?” We did indeed realize this.

Anyways…I could be on a watch list somewhere. We were detained (a dramatic word) for about 30 minutes or so total. They let us go. That’s my inauguration story…

Dear Mr. President

The other day, I wrote an email to President Bush. The crazy thing is, he’ll actually get it. Will he read it? Who knows… Karl Rove had a deal set up where if you emailed his assistant, they would print it out, and hand deliver it to the former President. They’re going to give it to him sometime today. That email is between him and me, but I wanted to share some thoughts I’d share with President Obama if we could sit down for coffee or something…

  • Congrats…
  • I will pray for you…for wisdom, wise counsel, supernatural insights, and that you’ll walk in integrity. (The same types of things I prayed for Bush.)
  • We’re at a very exciting season in our country, and you have the respect and love of a vast majority of Americans. I join them in my hopes for a stronger, more respected, America.
  • I’m excited to see the impact you’ll have internationally. I look forward to seeing open doors, a deepending respect for America, and new opportunities for people from the USA to help others abroad.
  • Remember the poor! Please reach out to the fatherless and the widow…with respect, new opportunities and a belief that with resources in their community, they can escape poverty.
  • Thank you for your service to our country. I’m sure these will be a very exciting four years, but I know they’ll come at a sacrifice to your family and your personal freedom. Thanks for being willing to make this sacrifice for our country.
  • I’m gonna be praying for you!

Those are some of the thoughts I’d share over coffee with President Obama if given the chance.

And today…what a special day for our country, regardless of political persuasion. God bless America and God bless President Obama.

Lost…we watch it now

We’ve been watching Lost. Never saw an episode (except for one that was playing in an airport one time, but that doesn’t count.) Last fall, we watched one. Then another. Then another. Yep…we’re in the middle of season 4. We won’t be ready for the season premiere Wednesday night, but I suppose that’s ok. We’ll DVR it and then watch it when we’re ready.

Until Lost, The Office was the only show we followed. It’s a good show. Well written. I see the draw.

I fly a lot. I usually don’t get too scared (although that flight where I touched down in a storm and then we took back off again due to “wind shear” did spook me a bit), but I do wonder who’s around me. For me, the stories of each of the people are the most meaningful elements of the show. Everyone has a story…and Lost does a good job of telling them.

Hopefully, there aren’t such a high percentage of fugitives, criminals, etc. on my flights, but you never know. I have enjoyed traveling with some interesting people. Some of them about whom I know:

  • Terrorists being flown from S. America to the U.S. Two of them. The flight attendant told me about how they got on in hoods while handcuffed before anyone else. She said there were numerous armed marshalls surrounding them. She even told me where they were sitting. She could probably lose her job over that, but I thought it was interesting. I don’t think she was lying.
  • I sat next to Bill O’Reilly’s radio boss one time. In fact, it was 4 years ago tomorrow (on my way home from the inaguration). It’s my favorite flight conversation.
  • The lady I blogged about who spoke no English…or French…or any other major language (the flight attendant drew a chicken and a cow to get her choice at meal time. She’s from the middle of the bush in Mali, Africa.
  • A well traveled, lovely Christian woman (like my aunt’s age) named Amelie. W e still keep in touch on occasion.
  • A Seattle protester type lesbian. She was very kind, but I’m pretty sure she’s done a lot of protesting… I think she probably (unverified) threw stones during the WTO meetings in Seattle a few years ago. We had a fascinating conversation on much of the flight. She respected what I do and who I am, and I really enjoyed conversing with her. Quite informed and intelligent.
  • A TV producer from New Mexico. We had an amazing conversation. I told him I work with a Christian Disaster Relief organization, but when I mentioned the word “missionary” toward the end of the flight, it kind of spooked him (I think it’s because he used lots of bad words…but they really didn’t bother me…I really enjoyed our conversation). We’ve kept in touch some since then.
  • Some guy I didn’t recognize, but he was in first class (saw him as I was departing), wore boots to his knees, a big fluffy fur coat, lots and lots and lots of bling, sunglasses and had his shirt unbuttoned nearly towards his naval. The japanese tourists were getting photos with him…not sure who he was though…
  • Lots and lots and lots of other really cool people.

If I ever get stranded, these are some of the types with whom I’ll battle the “Others.”

Like I said, everyone has their story…and when I’m not ready for a nap, and when they’re not ready for a nap, I enjoy hearing the stories of the people around me. May God use me in those conversations to reflect Him well…

As a random bonus…in airports I’ve run into people like Karl Rove, Johnny Knoxville (does some show called Jackxxx), Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report, and a really nice Christian singer named Al Denson. My friends Steve and Melissa met President (still elect) Obama…that would’ve really been cool. And I’m a bit of a nerd for recognizing Matt Drudge…I know.




Convoy of Hope was shut down last week…but I was at the World Missions Summit 2. I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. It was incredible. I twittered, “it smells like missions here”. It did. Not sure what that meant, but it was a very cool week.

But I don’t think I slept much. A little…but not much. Five guys in a room with two double beds wasn’t too comfortable. I did bring an air mattress, but…

I’ve mentioned to teams that God is pretty smart. On his top 10 list, He included the obvious…don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t take My Name in vain. Most people who want to follow Christ do pretty well in most of those areas. But He included another…Honor the Sabbath.

I won’t do a long exegesis on this commandment, but I will say that He wants us to take some down time every now and then. I’m not always good at that. Honestly, I can be very good at it sometimes though. I have been the last day or two. I think resting can honor God. I like Hebrews 6 that speaks of entering “that rest.” Here…I think it means more than just physical rest. It alludes to the kind of rest that we can have in our minds and hearts when we know we’re living right. That’s a pretty cool rest…

So…the idea of just being and not necessarily doing is a pretty holy thing. It brings honor to God. We were in church this morning, but I’ve been vegging for about 3 hours. It’s felt great.

Taking a sabbath…so important He wrote it in stone. Busy doesn’t equal holy. I’m going to post this and shut down the computer and get some more rest…

Starting early on my New Year’s resolution…

So…you saw my on-line New Year’s resolution…it’s to blog more. As I said, I wanted to be a bit more thoughtful (but not always long like this…wanna still be random at times too). This will perhaps approach that goal…

I head on Monday to the World Missions Summit in Cincinnati, OH. (BTW: I keep not spelling Cinicinnati correctly.) I’m excited. There will be many Convoy of Hopers there, but also some Book of Hope friends from the olden days. I’m even going to try and reconnect with some old roommates (Jason…Steve?) from those years for some Settlers of Catan (and prayer for the nations). Should be fun.

Our Convoy of Hope theme is “See it, sense it, live it.” I’ve been on a lot of missions trips. On most, people will say something like, “Man…I’ve never seen this type of poverty before…we have so much.” They’re seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting and feeling a need. I want to get beyond that. I pray they do too.
I want to really sense in my heart what God wants to do about it. I’m pretty sure He doesn’t hope we’ll pity those in need. There must be something more, but what is it? I think that answer depends on what God wants from us…our time, our money, our prayers, our minds, our words. What do I sense He wants from me? I suppose that’s a question I hope all on those trips ask. Then…I want to move to the actually doing something stage. I wanna live it. I want the people on those trips to live it too…not just in whatever country/city they serve but at home too. Life is a missions trip, you know.

Here’s a video. Our latest.


My New Year’s resolution for 2009, as far as my on-line presence goes:

1. Blog more. Like every day or two. I have a lot of thoughts, but usually end up delaying blog entries to where they end up being updates rather than thoughts. My goal is to move toward more thoughts, shared much more often in 2009.

That’s about it for now. More thoughts to come…


If you know Geneva Johnson, please visit her blog…

I echo the words of my friend Rob Cunningham who suggested two days ago that those who know Geneva Johnson should read her blog. It’s found at

We attended Evangel together and she and my sister taught 3rd grade at Weller Elementary together in the late 90s. Never knew her well, but always really respected her and appreciated her.