Sylvia and my grandmother (and Convoy of Hope)

From 1941-45 my grandparents were missionaries in El Salvador. They first served in Santa Ana where they pastored Templo Betel, and then pioneered the Assemblies of God work in San Salvador, the capital.

Grandpa is with Jesus, but Grandma is a strong 87-year-old. Though she hasn’t been to El Salvador in years, she’s been sponsoring Sylvia, an Latin American Child Care student in Santa Ana, a city in which she lived 67 years ago.

The team and I met up with Sylvia. She and her family invited us to her home where she showed us some photos my grandmother sent, some letters she wrote, and shared her amazing personality. To say that she’s thankful for Grandma’s sponsorship is an understatement. Here are her words of thanks.

A few weeks ago, I returned to El Salvador with the team from Oregon. We met up with Sylvia again…wow. We met her father for the first time.

Two things stand out from that night:

1. It was her father’s 45th birthday. We’d asked Sylvia about her favorite restaurant (Pizza Hut). As we ate there with her family, he let me know two things that humbled me, it was his first food of the day, and it was the first time he’d ever eaten out to celebrate his birthday. Wow. We were honored to join him on his special day.

2. I asked about her little brother, Walter. He’s a fun and energetic 9-year-old. In speaking with the familiy and then the school director, I learned that Walter stopped attending school after 1st grade because the family didn’t have money for school supplies, the uniform, or small school fees. A team member decided this should change…Walter will be back in school when the next term begins in January.

Our Convoy of Hope teams have worked in Sylvia’s schools and dozens like them this summer. These are the types of students and families with whom we’ve been working. We loved getting to know Sylvia and her family, learning more about El Salvador and opportunity in this country.

Hoping to get water to the Yezide Kurds

Yezide Kurds are scattered around the northern mountains of Armenia and other places. In this village, where missionary Nick Puccini has made some great connections, they struggle to find clean water.
We’re strategizing the best response of not only getting them water but helping them filter it, which would help keep them well, etc. This is their only consistent water source, and it’s over 1 km from the village.

 

The area was absolutely beautiful, looking more like Ireland than what I pictured Armenia looking like…at least before it starts snowing here again. It’s hard to imagine we’re only 450 miles from Baghdad.
Here, you see Nick explaining a bit of the situation. I’ll let you know what role our interns will be able to play in helping these great people.

Some sweet kids who love the world

April and I were in Hammond, IN, over the weekend. We shared in a youth conference at the church…it was fun. On Sunday, (in between a skype conversation with a church in K.C…more on that tomorrow) we shared for a few moments in the Kid’s Church that my sister leads.

The kids, over the last month or so, have been collecting hygiene items for hygiene kits that will be sent around the world to disaster areas through Convoy of Hope. There’s a chance the items they collected will help people in Myanmar, or earthquake victims or somewhere else. True, it won’t change the entire situation, but neither will billions of dollars from the U.N. or U.S. or whatever. Everyone needs to do their part and these kids are doing theirs.
They pray too. We loved their prayers as they surrounded us.
It was a fun day. It was a long drive home. We’re tired, but loved our time there.
Here, April and I (and my sister Debbie) are with kids from the 2nd service and the hygiene kits.

Thanks kids!!!

What would I do if we were starving?

When I’m not traveling, I come home each night to a beautiful wife and a little girl. We’ll have a nice meal (April can sure cook) and spend some time together as a family. What if there was no food. What would I do?
Over the last few years and especially the last few weeks, the world has seen a food emergency like many have never seen before. The price of rice went up 10% last week, and in some parts of the world, they expect the price to rise 250% between now and June. In other parts of the world, crops needed to sustain families for the future have been washed away and the markets are either significantly understocked or overpriced.
If I came home and had no food for my family what would I do? If I had no food for my family for days or weeks or months, what would I do?
Would I steal from others in need?
Would I steal from those who had plenty?
Would I beg?
Would I rummage through trash to find scraps?
Would I go to the media?
Would I go to friends/family and ask for help?
If I found food, would I hord it?
If a food truck came, would I try to be first in line?
Would I go to church and ask for help?
What would conversations with my wife be like? Instead of making plans for the weekend, would I resort to offering excuses about not being able to find food that day?
Would I feel ashamed?
Would I be depressed?
Would I feel like a man?
Would I be suicidal?
I don’t know answers to many of those questions. Some answers I do know…
I think I would go to family/friends and ask for help.
I think I would go to the church for help.
I think I would be ashamed.
I’d like to think I wouldn’t steal or be suicidal or anything, but if someone was hording and I knew they had plenty and my family was starving it would be tough to keep that integrity.
It would be tough, if we were starving, to not try to rush the food truck.
What would I do? I honestly don’t know.
People who love Jesus, love their families, are proud of their hard work, and walk in integrity are asking themselves the same questions right now. Right now children are asking fathers if they found food that day. Wives are speaking with husbands about solutions for survival. Some have asked families and friends for help, some have asked the church for help. All are in need, many of them facing needs like never before.
If it were you, what would you do?

The Dominican Republic was wonderful

On my first international adventure with Convoy of Hope, I worked with Doug Corbett to lead a team to the Dominican Republic.  Wonderful time.  I thought I’d add a photo or two for your viewing pleasure…

 

I had fun with Emmanuel, and was able to pass on some shoes from Convoy of Hope.  He loved these…

web (125)

 

Handing out food overseas was fun…

 

2007

 

We even did some Book of Hope distribution in a school…like the old days…

2007

 

Families responded well…

web (121)

 

It was fun.  I look forward to next time.