Praying for Dustin…and a random dusty video

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I met Dustin years ago when with my friend Richard Ross in the boot heel of Missouri.  Dustin’s friends know him as someone who is funny, energetic, loves people, has traveled the world helping people, and is fun to be around. He was approved to be a part of our fall 2010 Convoy of Hope intern team.

Tragically, his car accident and the massive injuries he sustained changed his life and his plans. The wreck was in June, and he’s still in the hospital. You can keep up with his journey on the Facebook page dedicated to his journey.

Here he is standing front and center with Richard behind him and some great friends of his surrounding him.

In Kenya, our intern team prays for Dustin just about every day. As a random connection, we drove on a very, very, very “dusty” road and thought of him. Here’s that video:

Clinging to Jesus’ feet

This Haiti situation reminds me of a challenging talk a team and I had with Pastor Paul. He’s a Liberian man who fled his country during Liberia’s civil war about a decade ago. He too knows the stench of death, hunger, sickness, losing his home and what it’s like to feel lost. We met at the Buduburam Refugee Camp near Accra, Ghana.

clingDesperation. At the time, 40,000 were struggling to get food, clean water, clothing, an education, and peace in their lives.

I asked Pastor Paul how I could pray for him. His response (as I recall):

 

 

“In this camp there is desperation. We’ve fled our homes and our people and come to this new place. Some people pray that we’ll be able to return to our homes and what is familiar. They pray for an abundance of clean water and jobs and money and cars and good food and freedom. I don’t pray for such things.”

His next words will stay with me forever…

Here in this camp, there is revival. The people here know that the only way to have peace is to cling to the feet of Jesus. We are doing that and we are free and we are at peace. Don’t pray that we’ll have things and what is familiar, pray that when Godcling (2) answers those prayers of others and provides materially beyond what we have now, that we will still cling to his feet. Even when we have all of those things, we must never forget that the only way to have true peace is Jesus.” 

I pray that in the midst of Haiti’s desperation, hopelessness, fear, and terror, that people will cling to the feet of Jesus. I pray that He will make Himself known in ways that they’ve never experienced and that they’ll realize that there is hope in Him. I pray that in the midst of chaos and the storm, they’ll find peace in Him. I pray they’ll cling to His feet…and that we’ll all cling to His feet, because we need Him just as badly.hisfeet1

 

In the midst of Haiti’s despair, please consider a donation to Convoy of Hope. People from Convoy of Hope are on the ground and responding.

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.

Could the water crisis be worse than the economic crisis?

…that’s the conclusion in this article out of London.  Our Convoy of Hope interns are currently in Haiti where they’re seeing the water crisis up close.  I’ve read that today over 1.2 billion people lack access to a purified water source.  Populations are growing and the crisis is gaining momentum as clean water sources can’t keep up with the demand.

Getting water from wells, rivers and ponds is quite normal in many places around the world.  Here are some children whom we met in Ghana.

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 As we know, people can’t live without water.  However, there are living people who don’t have access to a purified source so their life is full of disease, diarrhea, parasites and more.  Life could be so much fuller if only they had clean water.

 Too many times the water is dirty.  In all likelihood, this little guys legs are hurt because there is arsenic in his water.  Arsenic problems go away when a nail is put in whatever holds his water…just a nail and he wouldn’t have to deal with this…

 

 

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Our interns are working hard to help.  Here’s Josh with some guys in Uganda where they built water filters that could clean the water of up to 98% of the contaminents.

 

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There are solutions…and none of them are easy.  I pray the article is proven wrong…and that the water crisis is overcome by God’s people working to help “the least of these.”  Kudos too to our interns and others around the world who are helping.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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Doug Corbett is a good man…and he’s on his way back…

Doug Corbett’s office is across the hall from mine at Convoy of Hope…but our relationship goes back a lot further. I remember in the mid-late 80s when he and his family went on the mission field to Sierre Leonne. Their family was one of about 3 or 4 that I thought of when I thought of missionaries.
I remember when he got cancer for the first time about 20 years ago. I remember when he had his bone marrow transplant and came to church wearing a mask…the pastor welcomed him back and told us not to get too close to him. We cheered and we prayed.
I worked with him in the Dominican Republic last spring where I would help bandage his head. Radiation treatments from 17 years ago were killing the bone in his skull. The Dr.’s didn’t tell him about the possibility, because they didn’t figure he would live long enough for this side effect to actually effect. He was in a lot of pain.
I’ve never heard him (or heard of him) complain. Just smiles, and thanks for faith.
God’s done a lot of miracles in his life…he’s gotten to see meet his grandchildren. He’s working with an organization he loves (Convoy of Hope), he’s traveled the world and helped A LOT of people.
Check out this video from his digital camera after tragic flooding in Burundi…one of the poorest countries on the world…

 

Then, he had to have surgery on the skull. Crazy surgery. I won’t get detailed here. If you know Doug, you’ve likely heard all about it. He was sedated for 12 days, had numerous complications, and was in intensive care for a long time. His wife and familiy took really good care of him, and we all prayed and prayed and prayed. You can visit his hospital care page to see details.

He came to work yesterday. Not to work, but to celebrate his life, and his future. The entire staff gathered around the front door…and pretty much everybody cried tears of joy. We love Doug…and it was good to have him back if only for a visit.

 

He’ll be back for good soon…and will no doubt continue with his corny jokes and forwarding of emails he finds funny. That will be fun. Love ya Doug.

Here are photos of Doug and Bev, Doug at his office, and Doug and Convoy of Hope’s founder Hal Donaldson.

An overview of our interns in 2007

I’m not living in yesterday, but wanted to share a quick overview of our interns in 2007…

 

Convoy of Hope JoshWe launched with two interns this spring. After one went home with a pre-existing sickness, we finished with one. Josh is a great man and I was proud to see him pave the way. He and the field guy, Sean, worked hard in the Gulf doing Katrina relief and then in Uganda helping refugees.

Our summer team grew to eight and they worked very hard in El Salvador doing outreach and building bio-sand water filters at schools across the country. The team also worked in Indianapolis, IN at an outreach that helped 4,500 people.

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P1090107And finally, our fall team of nine is in the midst of incredible ministry. They worked in Charleston, SC, and the Philippines (I just returned), doing outreach and helping meet physical needs with feeding programs, school kits, and more. They returned late last year from N. Asia where they helped rehab a school and a community center, also connecting with local students who are learning English.