Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One Delicious Day!

Today was a fun day of cultural learning and enjoying our diverse Westside community. After school Marcus and I went with two of my colleagues from school to the Hadhwanag Cafe and Masjid Attaqwa Community Center at the Quran Complex on Sullivant Avenue. I have driven by this place so many times, but never visited until today. My Somali co-worker invited us to some chai latte and sambusa, a meat-filled pastry that is a lot like an empanada. It was delicious!


There were two TVs in the cafe, one showing news from Africa in Somali. The other, showing English Premier League Football. Interesting combination!

After the delicious snack, we had a tour of the complex. We visited the community center, met the director and saw where the community meets for prayers five times a day. We also checked out the mini mall and grocery store in the same building. I loved the sense of community and friendliness of everyone we met. Here's a picture Marcus with some of the beautiful fabrics in one of the shops.


Then, after coming home for supper, we headed out again to drop off the recycling and go to the library. As we drove by the Food India restaurant I noticed that there weren't any customers there at the time. What a shame for such a delicious restaurant!


As soon as we saw the sign I had a craving for their chocolate dosa. I asked Gaby and Marcus if they were hungry for a chocolate dosa and they of course said, "YES!" So we gave in to the craving...


Delicious! Gaby and I each got a latte to drink and Marcus tried their Mango Lassi, another success!

As I get ready for bed, I thank God for all of these businesses and consider it a privilege to interact with people from so many diverse cultures all right here within a mile or two of our house. Naty recently ate at a new Thai restaurant in on Georgesville Road. I look forward to giving it a taste sometime soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

Naty made some great picture presentations to show what our Easter was like this year. We started out with our Columbus Network of Microchurches family in Old Town East:



Then in the afternoon we got together with our Luz Viviente family in Westgate Park:



After we got too cold at the park we went to Sabina's house to have our Bible study and prayer.

We missed having Easter with our family in Pennsylvania this year, but we certainly enjoyed it with our Ohio family!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Latest

It's finally gotten cold here. We're coping by drinking much tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The past tow weeks have been pretty fun and thankfully healthy. It is so great to have the whole fa,ily healthy again and not hear so much coughing and nose-blowing.
Last weekend we had a great time connecting with several families. We met a new family that is related to Leno and Jaque in our house church last Friday night. We went with Leno and Jaque and had a discovery Bible study at their house and they are very interested in doing it again. We told Leno and Jaque that they are going to have to keep it going. It it happens, that will mean that they will be leading two new Bible study groups. It was such a blessing listening to them tell about how God is changing their lives and invite their "cousins" to trust God more.
Saturday we had supper with a Venezuelan family that is also just starting to walk with Jesus. They are a part of a different church, and we are encouraging them to keep connected there, but have also been able to encourage them in how to read the Bible for themselves. Again, God is amazing in the changes that he is bringing to their lives.
Sunday with our house church, we had a new family there as well. It was Sabina's cousin and she was able to unload some of the stress and unforgiveness in her heart and Sabina and her children prayed for her. Again, something that a year ago we never would have believed possible.
On Monday Gaby and Marcus participated in a MLK children's choir and loved it! Marcus even got his picture in the paper. If you click on this link and then view the slideshow, you will see him. Gaby was singing too, along with Sabina's daughter Emily too, but they were off on the sides, so they didn't get in the picture.
For this weekend, we have our annual Columbus Network of Microchurches (CNM) winter retreat. We aren't sure if many people from our church will be joining us since sometimes people in our Spanish group aren't quite as committed to the English groups. However, we ask you to pray for those who do go that it would be a refreshing time. We also ask that you pray that the retreat be a catalyst to our church to press on and keep working to see the Kingdon come more in our city.
Naty has started doing more with her Mary Kay business and we would appreciate your prayers for it to take off more. She is very good at her classes that she gives, but needs more people who will join her team.
School is a bit busy for me right now with report cards due and district writing assessments to do and state English tests right around the corner in February.
Next Sunday it looks like we will be sharing more about LAMP at Hicksville Mennonite Church and spending the day with Dan and Lynelle Delagrange and their family. They are former missionaries to Ecuador and we are interested in learning more about what they did when they were there.
Well, there is a brief update of what we are up to these days. What's going on in your neck of the woods? Are there ways we can be praying for you?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Africa 2011

Mid October Naty had an amazing trip to Tanzania and Kenya:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

prayer nights

I've been hearing, reading, thinking and even praying about the importance of prayer for disciple making to be effective. We long to see more house churches in Columbus, but what are we doing about it? We've talked a lot about how important it is to pray. But what have we done about it? Starting last Friday we had a Praise and Prayer night at our house and we are planning to keep doing it every Friday for the next several months.

We want to see the Kingdom come, but what are we doing to bring it? We have decided prayer is where we need to start so if you want to join us we will be praying every Friday evening at our house starting at 7 PM.

Yesterday we read Acts 16 and how Paul and Silas' praise and prayer got them out of a jail in Philippi. Then we did some graffiti prayers. Everyone drew a sketch of what they wanted to pray for then we went around the table and each of us shared and the next person prayed for our requests. It was truly a beautiful and memorable time because even the children where highly engaged and offered up prayers for all that was on our hearts. I know God is going to start doing some more interesting things through us and our church.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

La Cosecha Está Lista

Casi siempre escribo en inglés, pero pensé escribir este mes en Español para mis amigos que acabo de conocer la semana pasada en Nicaragua durante el congreso de AMCLA.

Desde el inicio del proceso de preparación para dicha conferencia he estado contemplando la cosecha como la presenta Jesús en el Evangelio de Lucas capítulo 10. Él dijo que la cosecha es abundante pero son pocos los obreros, por eso tenemos que implorarle a Dios que mande mas obreros. Esto fue la razón que fuimos a Nicaragua a pedirle a Dios y a pedirles a la gente allá, que manden más obreros.

Llegamos de regreso de Nicaragua el martes por la noche a las 10:00 y a las 7:30 de la mañana el miércoles fui a trabajar mi primer día en la escuela por este año. Por la tarde, cuando llegué de la escuela, me puse a trabajar en el jardín después de una semana sin trabajar allí. Le invité a mi hijo para que me acompañara a trabajar en la cosecha, porque había mucho que recoger, pero por alguna razón, él no quiso ayudarme. Me pareció extraño porque casi siempre, él es el primero en cosechar lo que hay en el jardín. Pero, por otro lado la experiencia de cosechar solo me dio mas tiempo para contemplar porque Jesús había dicho que tenemos que llamarle la atención a Dios para que mande más obreros. Esa tarde aprendí que COSECHAR TOMA TIEMPO. Cosechando con dos o tres es mucho más rápido y eficiente que con uno solo. Yo tenía en mente también podar la grama o hacer otra cosa antes que anochciera, pero no pude porque pasé todo el tiempo cosechando.

Me puse a contemplar: Si yo tenía ganas de terminar la cosecha y ponerme a hacer otra cosa, ¿Cuánto más anhelaría el Hijo de Dios estar ya con su novia disfrutando la celebración de su boda y el comienzo de los nuevos cielos y la nueva tierra? Pero, la cosecha no se ha terminado todavía. No se ha recogido por completo, porque no hay suficientes obreros! Hay pocos, pero les está costando mucho tiempo. Sería mucho mas rápido con más obreros.

También aprendí COSECHAR NO ES DIFÍCIL. Mi hijo Marcos, de la edad de 7 años, es muy buen cosechador. Es jóven, no tiene mucha experiencia, pero sabe cosechar y lo puede hacer muy bien (cuando obedece y lo hace). Si la fruta está madura, es fácil de reconocerla y no toma nada de fuerza recogerla. Con razón se dice, "Cae de la mata." Miren las fotos que están a continuación y verán como es de facíl reconocer la fruta que está lista.

¿Se dan cuenta de como es de fácil encontrar la fruta que está lista? Allí está, solo tienes que agarrarla y cosecharla.

Una cosecha espiritual no es muy diferente. Claro, primero hay que recoger las piedras, arar la tierra, sembrar, esperar que nazca la planta, cultivarla y esperar que la fruta madure. Seis pasos MUY importantes antes del cosechar. Pero, cuando es tiempo de cosechar ¡hasta los niños pueden hacerlo! No sólo eso, pero van a disfrutarlo y tener éxito. Jesús dijo, "La cosecha está lista." Quiere decir que tenemos que buscar la fruta madura y ponernos a cosechar, YA! Hasta niños espirituales lo podrán hacer. ¡No hay porque esperar! No me van a engañar con la excusa que los discípulos de Jesús y los 72 seguidores de Él eran expertos en cosecha. Nunca lo habían hecho antes y ¡BUM! Jesús los manda a cosechar, y lo hicieron muy bien. ¡Tanto que se asombraron de los resultados! ¿No sería igual para nosotros? Pero tenemos que obedecer y hacerlo.

Otra lección: SI NO COSECHAMOS A TIEMPO, LA FRUTA NO ES TAN BUENA. Fíjense como está de grande el calabazín de atrás en comparación con el de enfrente...



El pequeño enfrente es un calabazín normal y el otro creció así de grande porque estábamos en Nicaragua y no hubo nadie que lo cosechara. No es que se ha podrido, pero ahora va a tener semillas muy grandes adentro y no va a ser tan saboroso al cocinarlo. Su tiempo perfecto para la cosecha ya había pasado. Eso pasa en la vida también. Hay personas que pierden su momento mas oportuno para ser cosechados para Dios y luego se engordan de otras ideas, religiones y filosofías. Después, cuando son cosechados, no son tan efectivos para El Reino gracias a todos los requisitos adicionales que añaden a la vida en Cristo. Tienen su utilidad, pero no tanto como si se hubiesen cosechado en otra época de su crecimiento espiritual.

No obstante, no podemos olvidar LA COSECHA ES LO MAS RICO QUE HAY EN LA VIDA!!!! Miren estos tomates y vainitas. ¿No se ven deliciosos? Me tomó tiempo, pero ahora, tendremos algo rico para comer. Apenas en esta semana, mi esposa tuvo la experiencia de explicarle a dos mujeres en su unidad de Mary Kay el plan de Dios para la salvación. ¡Pregúntame si ella no estaba feliz! Tanto ella como sus amigas estaban celebrando la buenas nuevas de lo que significa vivir en relación restaurada con el Creador! ¿Habrá algo más rico que eso?


OBEDECE Y DISFRUTARÁS...
Sabemos que Dios nos ha llamado a tabajar con AMCLA y ayudar a los pueblos Latinos no sólo llegar a conocer a Dios, sino también llevar las buenas nuevas a las naciones. El viaje a Nicaragua tomó su tiempo, tuvo sus sacrificios, (como dejar a nuestos hijos por una semana) pero también fue un gozo! Disfrutamos y reímos mucho con amigos conocidos y amigos nuevos que estamos conociendo. Pinoleros, Ticos, Ecuatorianos y hasta un Catracho! Aún en el viaje al aeropuerto esperando en un semáforo, conseguimos un vendedor ambulante ofreciendo mamones. ¡Creo que no había visto a Naty tan contenta con una fruta en mucho tiempo! Junto con nuestro amigo Joe, comimos todos los mamones antes de llegar al punto de seguridad en el aeropuerto.

¡La cosecha mis panas, es RICA y VALE LE PENA!



Thursday, July 7, 2011

1,000 miles!

Tuesday I passed 1,000 miles on my bike for the year so far!

This summer one of my goals is to participate in the Ride For Missions in support of Rosedale Mennonite Missions. The ride now includes 58 riders and 10 support people. We will be riding from Columbus, OH to Frostburg, MD the site of the 2011 Annual Conference for Conservative Mennonite Conference. I have been training a lot for the ride because I hope to enjoy it and not be in pain for the five days that will take us 400 miles to our destination. When I did the ride in 2007 I didn't train much. We only rode 220 miles in three days and pain is what I remember from the experience. I'm not letting that happen again!

I've learned a lot about discipline, exercise and biking over the past 5 months since I began training. There is an African proverb that says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." I've experienced the truth of that proverb because if it wasn't for the group of 4 or 5 other guys that I ride with regularly, I know I wouldn't have gotten this far. We encourage and inspire each other to press on and go a little farther and faster even when we feel like we are already dead! Distance takes team.

Here is a picture that my friend Ulises took on Monday when we were doing a 60 mile ride. We went from Shiloh Mennonite Church near Plain City to Urbana and back, taking on some nice hills southwest of Mechanicsburg. I had the chore of reading the map and am in front and our friend Robert is behind me.



Wednesday morning I rode with my friends Quimi and Ulises on a loop just west of Hilliard. The beauty of the fog over low places was inspiring.

Then Wednesday night I went with my friend Leno and we took Bryan, Marcus, Dalia and Gaby on the Olentangy Bike Trail that winds through Columbus following the river. I'm excited to see that Gaby and Marcus like biking too and want to keep doing it. They rode almost 9 miles and loved it!