Meet the team…they’re a good team

It’s been a great week. Just over a week ago, our spring ’09 team arrived. The team will soon serve in Galveston, TX; Haiti, they’ll be in the Dominican Republic and then serve another country in the region, returning to Atlanta for a Convoy of Hope outreach. It’ll be a full 2 1/2 months. This is a great team.

Let me introduce them…(left to right)

Natalie is from the Seattle area. As a Bible Quizzer she memorized much of the New Testamant. She just graduated from Evangel with a teaching degree.

Deserai is from Sioux City, IA. She also was at James River’s Master’s Commission a few years ago. Her cousin (er, her mom’s cousin) is Rick Ryan from our Convoy of Hope staff.

Bethany is a Missionary Associate who will work with Karen to lead the team. She’s been on the Convoy team for 1 1/2 years.

The bear isn’t real or on the team.

Jorel grew up as a missionary kid and will head to seminary after the term. He graduated from Bethany College.

Karen was on the fall team and is helping to lead this team. She’s an RN with a Master’s in teaching.

We have a great team…just wanted to introduce them to you. Here are 4/5 of them on the couch.



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…


What would you want?

So I’m on the road again, meeting up with the team soon in Armenia. I’m looking forward to blogging more about that…

I told the team when I last saw them to let me know what they wanted, and I’d try and bring it to them when I meet up with them later this week.

Here’s the list of what they requested:

  • Dove Dark Chocolate Promises
  • Tazo Green Tea
  • Burts Bees Chapstick (the regular kind, either comes in a tin or a tube)
  • Dove Milk Chocolate Promises (in the bag)
  • Excedrin Migrain
  • Diet Mountain Dew
  • A coat left in the boys room in the intern house
  • Reduced Fat Skippy Peanut Butter
  • Guitar Strings (I guess Chad needs more strings)

  • Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Some of those things are for individuals, and some are for the whole team. Don’t tell them (or do they read this? we’ll see…) but I also brought some pumpkin pie filling and stove top stuffing…they’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in this part of the world, gotta have some taste of home.

If you were in a place like Moldova or something for a month, what would you want from home?

Some thoughts on Moldova


We’ve been in Moldova over a week now. I’ve heard that the best time to document some differences you see is at the beginning when they’re still abnormal. Things are quickly becoming normal, but here are a few fun things from Moldova.

Virtually all people in the villages and even many in the cities use wells with buckets for their water. They’re quaint, decorated wells, often near an Orthodox cross or small building which they build to help bless their water and land.

There are many horses/wagons in the villages, and again even some in the cities. People can use the horses in more locations than the land, and they’re better on snowy roads. Most don’t need to travel very far and a horse will get them there just fine. Also, the wagons can be filled with vegetables, wheat, corn, etc. to bring in from the fields.



People bring their cows home about 6:30 p.m. If you’re driving then, you’ll have to slow down for the cows. If you’re talking with someone, they’ll need to leave to go bring them in.

The fruits/vegetables are very, very good and very, very big here. The soil and climate are great for growing things. Virtually everyone has a garden where they get much (most?) of their food. Many have beehives, lambs for cheese, cows for milk/cheese, chickens for eggs, etc.

The people we’ve met have been very hospitable. They’ve prepared amazing food, have welcomed us in their churches and even homes, and they’ve gone out of their way to show us kindness. It’s been fun getting to know them.

Here’s a video of some random moments…


It’s starting…

They’re a wonderful and hard working team. Our fall ’08 interns will serve in the areas affected by Ike, Moldova and Armenia.

As part of our training, we stopped by Project Rescue, an organization that helps those affected by human trafficking. Here we are with David and Beth Grant. The team will plant a garden and do more to help a Home of Hope (through Project Rescue) in Moldova.

We had dinner Thursday night with a young lady from Armenia…perhaps the only one in Springfield. Fun conversation.

I look forward to sharing more about this great team of 13.

I like it when leaders are real and obviously care

I’ve read books about leadership, worked with an amazing array of leaders over the years, and have heard stories of leadership (good and bad) from friends. If there’s a quality, outside of integrity, that impresses me the most about leaders, it’s when it’s clear to all that they’re real people and they care.

This week our interns have met leaders like that. Hal Donaldson (Convoy of Hope’s founder/CEO, etc.) is as sincere and gentle of a man as I’ve ever met. He cares. He shows interest. He’s real, and everyone who knows him, knows that.

Then tonight, we had dinner together and John Bueno and his family joined us. John Bueno is the Director of the Assemblies of God World Missions. He also started Latin America Child Care in El Salvador where he served for 28 years (and continues to serve in many ways). He hung out with the team for a few hours eating dinner, telling stories, asking questions, spending time, showing interest and more. I like that. The team will spend the next 4 weeks working in the schools he started decades ago. Then, they’re off to Nicaragua.

He then sat down and reminisced with the group.

It was normal. It was good.

Here’s the group photo. His son Ron, and daughter-in-law (Bob’s wife) joined us as well…as did numerous grandchildren. Fun times, good conversation, interesting talk.

The team is wonderful. We leave tomorrow for Kansas City and they’ll fly to El Salvador early Tuesday. I’ll join them soon.

Full week and a great team

These days have been very, very full, but wonderful. The team heads out Monday and I’ll join them soon after. We’ll be at a team building rope’s course tomorrow. Will blog about that day too. When I get a minute I’ll actually blog a bit more about what’s going on. Good week.

One note…we had a great time hearing from, learning from and receiving inspiration from Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolates. Good stuff.



Things are happening. Here’s a shot of the charts on my wall that have the names of our incoming interns…over 40 names on those charts.

I thought I’d post an article just written about the program. It’s on It’s a reprint (with permission) of an article written by Dan Van Veen of A/G News.
Last spring, Convoy of Hope launched its internship program in oneof its efforts to create an “army of compassion” – people willing togive of themselves for the betterment of others. This initiative isin partnership with MAPS and Assemblies of God World Missions.
Thus far, interns have traveled to Uganda, El Salvador and parts ofAsia. In Uganda they helped with the repatriotizing effort. In ElSalvador they built water purification units and assisted with theNurturing Hope children’s feeding program. In Asia, they helpedlaunch ongoing feeding sites, built water filtration units and more.
This summer the Convoy of Hope Internship Program will see at least27 people traveling to Central America. Internship Director MattWilkie says the team will be meeting a host of physical needs andministering to spiritual needs as well. Wilkie says 14 additionalpeople have already registered for future sessions.
“It’s exciting to see the momentum for this kind of ministry build,”Wilkie says, who places interns through a week or more of intensetraining at Convoy of Hope’s national headquarters in Springfield,Missouri, prior to heading for the field. “In this world where we’rewitnessing massive food crises and people dying for a lack of cleanwater, this ministry is continuing to make a difference in the livesof people, physically and spiritually.”
Wilkie says that most of the Convoy of Hope interns are young people(16 and up), but he’s had an intern as old as 63. “We need peoplewith a deep passion to help others combined with the physicalendurance needed to minister in locations that offer few if anyluxuries,” he explains.
One of the reasons Wilkie believes the popularity of the internshipis growing is the Holy Spirit speaking into hearts and lives. “Ibelieve that God’s will can often be found at the crossroads of thedeep need of mankind and the deep needs of this world. We have ageneration of young people who are seeking ways to expresscompassion and make a real difference – these internships meet thatneed.”
Individuals participating in the internships refer to the experienceas “life-changing.” However, much like missionaries raise their ownsupport, interns must raise the funds to participate in these worldcompassion travels.
“It is a sacrifice,” Wilkie says. “But when something is a God-givenpassion in your life, God has the means to make it happen.”
According to Wilkie, this summer’s trip will be held from June 23through August 4. This fall, September 4 through December 11,interns will travel for an extended period to Southern Europe forministry.
To learn more about the Convoy of Hope internship program, includingfees and registration forms, visit
–Dan Van Veen