Meeting the team: Andy

I get to meet some really, really good people. People like Andy. He and the rest of the Convoy of Hope Intern team members challenge me, encourage me, and help me keep life in perspective.

Here, he shares 2 minutes of his incredible life story. I’ll post about other team members in the future.

What gives you perspective?

Samantha, Brittany and 100+ more…

Brittany with baby in El Salvador

When Amber asked if I’d write about some of our former Convoy of Hope interns for OnCourse Magazine, I got excited. The team members (past and present) make up an enormous part of my life…I love that God’s given me the opportunity to work with them.

Samantha & Brittany

Samantha was on our team to Bangladesh/Nepal/Mobile, AL, last year and is now in school. She’s preparing for full time work as a teacher in Tanzania. Brittany was on our Summer ’08 team to Nicaragua and El Salvador, and has done a ton of other international trips. She’s now working working with one of Convoy of Hope’s partners in Dallas, Buckner International…she helps provide shoes to kids around the world.

Samantha Shryack

Proud of each of them.

It’s fun filling out reference forms (got to fill out 3 this week…) and seeing where God takes our former interns…who we see as still a part of the family.


The latest? Here’s Andy…he just got hired with the development office of the Eastern Mennonite Missions in Pennsylvania. They’re lucky to have this guy….

The upcoming generation will do well…

I’m quite sure that the next generation of those who will serve and lead internationally will do so with passion and focus and a huge love for Jesus and people.

Do you agree?


How we’re helping in Nepal

trainingI asked the men if they’d ever been the victim of a natural disaster; over 80% raised their hands…the story:

After learning about the people and the common belief systems across Nepal, we drove west (and that was a long & crazy drive) to help the people of this country we love…

Nepal is a very poor country. In fact, approximately 60% of the country’s 28 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Poverty. Malnutrition. Disaster. For many, despair. 

It’s geographically the highest country in the world with nearly 100 mountain peaks over 23,000 feet in elevation. They’re proud of Mt. Everest which we saw from a flight. The mountainous conditions lead to many things such as homes built on the sides of hills and the highest per capita number of rivers (think melting mountain snow) in the world. Homes on hills + rivers = flooding and mudslides.everest

We smiled as 24 godly men from 24 churches in 24 villages across the western part of Nepal gathered for the Convoy of Hope/Nepali Red Cross Disaster Preparedness training. One man rode 12 hours to be a part of the week. At least 80% said their villages and homes were affected by at least one recent natural disaster. For most, it was flooding and mudslides. For others, their village was transformed by drought, fires or other

When I asked what they did to help their community in the midst of past disasters, they said they didn’t know how other than to get animals and food to safety.

 They now know they’re responders, not simply victims. They’re part of the solution. 

During this disaster preparedness training, many things like this were emphasized:

Preparing their family for disastersteamup

Preparing the people of their churches and villages for disaster

Assessing damage and resources when a disasters occur

Serving as resource people for the Red Cross and other organizations when disasters occur

Mobilizing to help across the country and region when disasters occur

Training others with the information they’re receiving


They’re excited about this week of training.makunda


When the training is done, the men will work with our team to distribute food, blankets, clothing and other supplies to a village hit hard by flooding last fall. They’ll put their training to good use…


Please keep these great guys and this beautiful country in prayer.


Tomorrow, the tribe of slaves no more…

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!

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


Not quite the first day of school, but…

On my first day of kindergarten, Mom walked with me much of the way to school…and then as she stopped just short of the destination, she took a photo of me walking the rest of the way by myself (carrying a gift wrapped fancy hanky for Mrs. Harper). I’m pretty sure she cried.
Perhaps it’s hyperbole to compare the two events, but this morning I watched the spring ’09 intern team head to Galveston, Tx. They’re on the road now…sans fancy hankies. They’ve worked hard during our training time, gotten to know each other, discussed a ton of issues related to missions and compassion work in our country and around the world, learned about water filters, relief/development, AIDS, appropriate technologies and more…and now they’re off to help. Here’s my view from the Convoy of Hope porch.

They’ll be in Galveston then the Caribbean, then Georgia (the Atlanta one, not the Tbilisi one like last time).
I’ll join them in Dallas next week before they head out internationally.

Here’s the last photo before they headed out. Most slept little last night as they packed and cleaned, but they’re likely asleep now (except for Karen, the driver).

Please keep them in prayer as they’ll be gutting homes in Galveston, Tx, while working with local churches to help those in the community. It’s still a devasted area.