Tuesday, December 25, 2007

a Venezuelan Christmas

This is the first Christmas that our family has ever experienced here in Venezuela. The main festivities are on the night of the 24th instead of the day of the 25th. The tradition is for everyone to wear a new outfit that they have never worn before on Christmas eve. So we got all dressed up and then had supper at midnight. Unfortunately, Marcus didn´t take a nap during the day so he fell asleep at about 10:00 and didn´t want to wake up when it was time for the party.

After the meal we took turns opening our gifts and then went to bed at about 4:00 in the morning!

Here instead of Santa Claus, the kids believe that baby Jesus brings them their Christmas gifts. So, Ovidio, Naty´s brother took some of Gaby, Marcus and Veronica´s gifts and put them in the manger with baby Jesus and they went to get them on Christmas morning. Naty and I slept in until 10:00!

The weather today was spectacular so we washed a lot of clothes and I took Naty´s dad´s bike and did some serious mountain biking. I´ve never gone on hills quite like the mountains here. It was about 80 degrees and beautiful! I was praising God for his creation the whole ride.

pics from venezuela

Monday, December 24, 2007

the rest of the story

Our family is finally all together here in Bocono, Venezuela at Naty´s parents farm. The internet connection here is slower than dail-up so I´ll have to wait to post pictures later. Rosanna and I had a safe trip to the Andes of Venezuela and I thought I´d share some of the journey with you.

My friend Jim took me to the airport in Columbus at about 5:00 on Friday evening thinking that my plane was to leave a little after 7:00. Welcome to holiday travel! The plane never left until a little after 9:00 PM and I arrived in Fort Lauderdale at midnight. Rosanna, Naty´s sister, picked me up there and we went to her place in Miami. Rosanna lives with another family there and I was able to get about 2 1/2 hours of sleep before leaving for Miami International Airport at 4:30 Saturday morning. More long lines! I have never seen an airport so full. We got checked in and had time for a cup of Starbucks before heading to our plane. The 767 plane was totally full as well.

We arried at the airport in Maiquetia, Venezuela (by the coast, north of Caracas) at about 11:00 and after waiting in the immigration line for an hour, passed through customs (a total joke since they don´t even look at what you have in your suitcase!). We were looking for Rosalinda, a friend of Rosanna´s who was supposed to pick us up, but we never found her! (as it turns out, she was there but we somehow missed each other and since her cell phone wasn´t working we had no way to get in touch with her) In the end we decided to take a ¨taxi¨(late 70´s Crown Victoria, in major need of some new shocks with no signage of taxi licensing anywhere) up to Caracas. Our taxista was a really nice Colombian man (angel with skin on) who was patient enough to take us to the bus terminal to buy tickets, wait for us there and then take us to a restaurant to finally meet up with Rosalinda and her eight year old son Moises. I have never seen Caracas so full of traffic like it was this trip. One thing that makes it even crazier is that Chavez has made it very easy for people to buy motorcycles and there are cycles EVERYWHERE! They go in between the cars and drive all over the sidewalks too! It´s LOCO!

The restaurant was nice enough to not only welcome us but our six suitcases/duffle bags as well. After a great meal which included steak, caesar salad, arepas and freshly made white cheese (I love it!) Rosalinda took us to Dayana and Carlos´s (other friends of Rosanna´s) house. I helped Carlos set up his blog and we enjoyed some great Chilean red wine while we hung out there until Rosalinda came back at 8:00 PM to take us to the bus terminal to catch our bus to Bocono.

Words can´t describe the experience at the bus terminal and since we didn´t take any pictures you´ll just have to put up with my very brief description. Let me just say there were lines and people EVERYWHERE! People were bumping into you about once or twice every minute because the place was so full. When we finally got through the line and out to our bus at 9:30 when we were supposed to leave we found all of the passengers just standing around and no one was boarding the bus. Very strange. We soon found out that our bus driver was being detained by the police because he had gotten into an argument with an officer on his arriving trip and the police were going to put him in jail! In protest, none of the bus drivers from the Las Delicias bus line (the bus company we were traveling with) was going to leave the terminal until the police released their driver! So there we were standing outside surrounded by buses, exhaust and people for a little more than an hour! Just as I was telling Rosanna, ¨I think the passengers just might start a protest too.¨People started chanting ¨Queremos viajar!¨(We want to travel!) at the top of their lungs. Fortunately a few minutes later the driver showed up! Thank you Jesus! We were soon on the bus and 11 hours later we were in Bocono where Naty, Gabriela, Marcus and Gustavo (Naty´s dad) picked us up at about 9:30 yesterday morning. It was so great to be able to see them again!

Last night we had a birthday party for Gabriela with lots of little friends that live near the farm here as well as her cousin Veronica who has been able to be here with Gaby and Marcus at the farm for the past week as well.

Today we are just hanging out and getting ready to celebrate Christmas tonight at midnight with a big meal and presents afterwards. It´s a far cry from a white Christmas with rain off and on and temperatures in the upper 70´s, but we are loving it!

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, I´ll be in touch again later in the week.

Friday, December 21, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GABRIELA!

Gaby turns six today and my only wish is that I could be with her to celebrate. I think we are going to have a party for her on Sunday after our family is all together. I'll put pictures up later.

i'm off

After school today my friend Jim is taking me to the airport and I'll be flying to Miami. I should get there at about 9:30 and will be staying overnight there with Naty's sister Rosanna and then we will both be flying to Caracas, Venezuela at 7:30 on Saturday morning. We should arrive in Caracas at about noon and then catch a bus to Valera later that evening. We will bus through the night to Valera where Naty and her parents will pick us up early Sunday morning. We'll then travel 2 hours by car until we get to Bocono and the Briceno farm. Lord willing!

Please pray with me that all goes well and we can travel safely with no complications over the next two days.

I'll try to get some posts and pictures of our travels on the blog as soon as I can.

Monday, December 17, 2007

more from michael frost

If you regularly read Alan Hirsch's blog The Forgotten Ways then you may have already seen this. His blog is where I first saw these videos of Michael Frost, and if you liked the vids, you'll want to subscribe to Hirsch's blog, It's filled with gobs of stimulating conversation.
This is a wrap-up talk given at the same conference where Frost says that to be missional we need to practice: proximity, presence, powerlessness, and proclamation as Jesus did. I finally had time to watch this yesterday and was challenged. I hope you are too. Enjoy!

fresh from venezuela

Here is the one picture Naty has been able to send me from Venezuela so far. The internet connection is so slow that it took about an hour just to get this one picture!

She said this was on the first day and Gaby and Marcus were in culture shock! It sure looks like they are fascinated!

I'll post more photos when I can.

good pickin'

This weekend I got the new CD from CrossRoads Gospel Grass in the mail.


CrossRoads is a blugrass band from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia that my good friend Lynn Fox is in. The CD not only provided some good listening, but I got out my guitar and tried to play along. I'm not too good at bluegrass pickin' but it was fun to try!

If you click on the logo above you can get to the band's website and hear a few cuts from the CD. You really ought to just go ahead and order the CD from Lynn though becuase the best songs aren't at the web site.


Thanks Lynn for the music, keep up the good work!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

on new turf

There is a reason why Jesus sent out his disciples (Luke 10 & John 17:18) and keeps sending us into the world. That's where the Kingdom is enlarged, not in the church. The church is His already now he needs the church to press into the world and sow the seeds of the kingdom onthe soil of the world where they haven't fallen yet. To do that, we can't stay where we are. If you want to surf, you have to catch the wave and go along with it. (not that I have any experience) In the same way we have to keep moving where God is moving.
We have been praying for this to happen here in Columbus, for God to lead us where He is working. I think we are starting to see it. Here are some stories to share what I mean.
Our house church has been meeting at our house for almost two years now. We've had a great time, we've grown, even divided/multiplied and commissioned one couple to keep planting house churches in their neighborhood. All very good things. Then just in the past two weeks we had a few things happen that seem to be showing us that we need to move on, move out to where God is working.
Luis and Laura are a sweet couple from Ecuador who are friends of Maria's that she invited to come to our house church. They have been coming for about the past three months, to our house. Then a little over a month ago they had a baby and since it is cold, they don't want to take their baby out any more than they have to. So we had church at their house a few weeks ago. Then this past week we asked them if we could just start meeting at their place every week so they wouldn't have to take their newborn out in the frigid weather. They also mentioned that they had some neighbors that might want to come to the meeting. Well when we met on Friday evening, their neighbors not only came but they brought two other families with them! So, our house church practically doubled in size in one night! The one couple came specifically because their 5 month old daughter has a blood infection and they wanted us to pray for her. (Which we gladly did!) Keep praying with us that she is healed completely.
I've been reading about how if we want to start a church planting movement we have to get out on other people's turf and the new disciples will bring others to follow Jesus as well. Now we're seeing it get started.
I also met tonight for a Bible study with two men from Honduras and one from Mexico. Our friend Antonio from Honduras has come to our house church occasionally but it is difficult for him to come on Friday nights because of his work schedule. I asked him if he would like to get together on Saturdays and he could invite his roommates to join us. So that's what we did tonight.
Last Sunday we also met with another family that knew that we did house churches. The mother called us up and explained that they are Catholic but she knows that her family needs more of God. She then asked us if we could come over and talk with them a little bit about what our church is like. We had a great time sharing supper together and are looking forward to getting together with them again when we all get back from Venezuela in January.
One more cool God sighting from this past week and then I need to wrap this up. On Tuesday I had one of my students meet me at the library to work on a writing project that he hadn't finished. When we were getting ready to leave he called his mom to come and get him but she said she couldn't because his older brother was having a seizure! I told him that it was no big deal for me just to take him home. As we got closer to their apartment, I felt like God was telling me that I needed to go inside and pray for his brother. So, I asked my student if it would be OK if I went in to pray and he said it would be. When we got inside his brother was laid out on the floor and wasn't moving. The seizure was over, but he didn't have the strength to even move. I then asked his mother if I could pray for him and she said that would be great. So we knelt on the floor and put our hands on him and prayed for him. After praying he started to move a little but still didn't get up. I went home and kept praying, wondering what would happen.
On Friday after school I went back to their house to help my student out with his computer. His They told me that after I left his brother was able to get up and eat something and then they helped him go upstairs to his bedroom, something that he has never been able to do after one of his seizures. He usually just sleeps on the floor where he is. Their mother told me she was very grateful for the prayers because they worked! Praise God! If he hadn't prompted me to go and pray, I really don't know if I would have done it.
So what do all of these things have in common? They happened on new turf. God's Kingdom comes when we obey and live the gospel in the world and don't just talk about it in the church.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

multiplication or bust

I've been thinking and praying about multiplication of our house church for the past month or so and I think I need to spill a little bit of my thinking out here to see if anyone has any ideas for me.
I re-read Neil Cole's Organic Church book again a few weeks ago and have started into The Forgotten Ways again. My thoughts were also solidified by this post on Guy Muse's blog.
I love our house church, but we aren't looking outward enough yet and since Naty and I are the leaders I think that is our fault. We need to set the example and be reaching out so that others in our group can see what we're doing and do more of it too. There is an old adage "you can't lead someone somewhere you haven't been yourself" and I think there is probably some truth to it.
In the past few weeks we have had some doors open to share with others who are not Jesus followers yet and they have opened their doors for us to come in and share Jesus with them. For now it has just been sporadic but hopefully in the future it can mean the reproduction of churches in their homes.
I've realized that to be church planters you've got to get away from Christians. Most modern Christians have bought into a very egocentric gospel, now that is an oxymoron if there ever was one, but that is what they believe. They want the gospel and church for what they can get out of it. How good it makes them feel. How do you get people to stop looking out for themselves and start looking at others? I think Paul said "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil. 2:4) Our consumerist materialism has us trapped into looking out for "Numero uno". (I am so sick of that Verizon Wireless commercial!) But this mindset has trapped the church as well!
So, God help us! We are thankful for the new people that we are meeting and we want to keep sowing seed into their lives in the next weeks and months. We have already commissioned Aram and Debbi from our group to start new house churches in their neighborhood. Who knows, but maybe we will soon need to send ourselves out to plant new house churches as well. Whatever the case may be it's multiply or die baby! It's true for humans and it's true for churches.

a few saturdays ago

Here is a fun video from a few weeks ago that I forgot to post sooner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

worth watching

This is a video of Michael Frost breaking down what Missional Church is. He's one of my favorite authors and this presentation says almost everything that church needs to be in order to see the Kingdom come. Make the time to watch it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

latest happenings

This past weekend was a lot of fun here at home. We had church Friday night,worked around the house Saturday and had a CNM prayer night Saturday night. Read, rested and had fun Sunday. On Monday morning I had the surprise that my school was closed for the day so I got to stay home and played guitar a lot with Marcus.We prayed with other CNMers for Aram and Debbi on Monday evening, we are part of their MST as they prepare to go to Kenya. Then tonight (Tuesday) we had impromptu church with Luis, Juan and Antonio.We started out with soup, arepas and talking about Latin American politics and then the topic changed to Jesus' parable about the boss who paid his workers all the same wages even though they worked different amounts of time. Great discussion. We then all prayed for each other before our friends departed. Now that is what I call real live church. No program, just Jesus and his people.

Friday, November 30, 2007

done

I am finally finished with fall quarter at OSU which is the reason for my leave of abscense from the blogging world. My class was about multicultural education and was very interesting and formative, but the formation came at the price of a lot of work to do. last night as I was writing up my last assignment I felt like I just couldn't write any more! It's almost as if my brain got to empty and was just running on fumes for the end of it!
In other news... we are looking forward to the Christmas season in a new way this year. For the first time since Naty and I got married we are going to be spending Christmas and New Year in Venezuela with her family! Naty, Gabriela and Marcus will be there from December 10 to January 9 and I will be going fromm December 22 to January 5.
Lunch is over, time to get to work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

happy birthday MARCUS!

I have been way too busy with my classes at OSU to keep blogging as much as I would like to, but I have to make a post to congratulate Marcus on turning FOUR years old yesterday. Naty prepared a great party for him with a lot of his little friends and their parents. We all had a great time and Gaby and Marcus had fun dressing up as little Amish children, which is what Marcus wanted the theme to be. Naty even made a whoopie pie cake for the celebration we also made hot dogs and s'mores outside, it was a great day!






Thursday, October 4, 2007

i'm in!

I realized that I never mentioned here that I now have a new role in life. I'm now officially a graduate student at THE Ohio State University. Notice the "THE" I'm not sure why, but for some reason that's the name of the school. I guess they want to be sure that you know there's only one. Anyway, I am very excited about the opportunity that I have to continue my education (as if I wasn't learning anything before). It is a lot of fun to be stretching my brain in new ways and then taking some of the ideas that I'm learning and putting them into practice with my seventh and eighth graders.
It has also been a great experience for me to study at a public university. After all of my learning in private Christian institutions it's been an enlightening experience studying with others who come from very different backgrounds than me. It's interesting though that as I am exposed to numerous new thoughts and ideas I'm also connecting more with my own background and values in a way that I never have before. I'm looking forward to all that is ahead.

Monday, October 1, 2007

a busy weekend

We had a very busy weekend, full of celebrations. We left for Goshen, IN on Friday afternoon to go to John and Angie Miller Scroggins' wedding and returned Saturday evening to go to a birthday party for Uriel, a neighbor boy. That night, our dear friends Aram and Debbi DiGenarro gave birth to their second child, a son.
Then on Sunday we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant with our friend Antonio. Here's the weekend in picture.







Muchisimas gracias a Papapa y Mamama Briceno por los lindos polos del "Hospedaje El Retiro". Es un lugar espectacular y lo recomendamos a toda persona que vea esta pagina!

Monday, September 17, 2007

we have a dream

My head has been spinning the past few months about possibly starting a business here on the West side. My thoughts come with much fear and trembling because this isn't exactly the most up and coming part of Columbus, but more like the down and going part. But none the less, we as a family are convinced that God has us here for a reason and he has called us to be his ministers here in Lincoln Village. Not Venezuela. Not Iraq. Not China. Not Sudan. But Lincoln Village.
We were thinking of starting a business in Venezuela as a way to be self-supported missionaries there but God had other plans and decided to keep us here in Columbus. So my question to Him is, "does He want us to start a business to be self-supported missionaries here?" and "What business?"
I've had two ideas over the past two or three weeks one, a for profit small bakery and coffee shop and the other, a non-profit community center. For both we would look into government grants or loans to get started. The small business would be just that, small and personal. While the non-profit would offer a combination of services that we could offer to the community probably with the help of area churches.
Both of these ideas would be directed toward connecting with and caring for the Hispanic community here in the area. We would also have the ultimate goal of being an incarnate example of Jesus in the business that we are running.
Right now, it is a dream (Naty literally was dreaming about it all last night) and we are praying and knocking on doors to see which ones He opens. The picture below shows a building about a block away from our house that is currently for sale and that I took a look at last evening. It isn't the most attractive of places but would be more than adequate to start a small coffee shop and bakery. And who knows we could probably even do a small food bank and free store there too! Although we've thought more about having a space for other Latino craftsmen and women to sell their services and wares.
For now Naty and I have made a decision to keep praying and seeking God. We know that if He wants us to join Him in a business venture He'll open the way. We want to join him in the expansion of His Kingdom and not just establish our own little enterprise.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

last winter


This is an old video but I wanted to try You Tube out. Enjoy the snow, it won't be long until it's here again!

our latest pictures

End of the summer

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

a most amazing woman

Naty never ceases to amaze me with all that she can do in a day. Aside from being a great mom and taking care of everything around the house she still spends so much time reaching out and loving people in our community. A week ago a dear sister from our house church had surgery and Naty has been sure that she and her husband have been well taken care of with hospital visits and home-cooked meals. They were both expressing their gratitude to me this evening about letting her go to be able to help. Shoot, that's the least I can do! Naty has such a caring, loving, Jesus-filled heart that she can't help but serve people in need.
There isn't a week goes by when she hasn't been to the doctor's office with someone or has at least had two or three women over for coffee and conversation or even a full meal. It blesses me to see all the ways that God has blessed her with opportunities to share and given her even more passion and love for people. You are truly amazing Honeycita!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"but i would RIDE 500 miles and I would RIDE 500 more"

OK, so that's not quite what the song says, but it's what I've done so far this year on my bike. I took a ride with Gaby on Sunday and got to over 500 miles for the year so far. Of course the 220 mile Ride of Missions helped out, but I've kept riding ever since. I've started riding my bike to work every day but Wednesday, so that gives me a little over 18 miles round-trip each day. At that rate, it won't be long until I get to 1,000 miles and more! I love the exercise and reflection time and highly recommend biking to anyone who can ride on two wheels.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

response to missionary or impostor quote

You may want to read The Best Pizza Ever post first.


Dion,
I read your blog yesterday and understand your concern and angst overbeing a missionary versus an impostor.
First, because Tom Beachy quotes Charles Spurgeon, was the quote usedin the context Spurgeon meant?...The Apostle Paul said," I have becomeall things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 1COR9:22.We refer to his journeys as missionary journeys...being an impostorwould mean we are spreading a false doctrine in our witnessing orliving a lie by embracing sin.
Flexibility in ministry (witness) does not make one an impostor or amissionary. Being all things does not imply we embrace sin to reachthe lost. Rather, we understand the viewpoint from which that lostsoul comes from and through the power of the Holy Spirit we witness inthe "language" or "speak" they understand.
Yesterday, you were a construction worker and used "constructionspeak" and knowing the "Lingo" you could explain our faith in easy tounderstand terms that might help the construction worker grasp themeaning of being born again- transformed by Jesus' love andforgiveness. Today you are a teacher, and using "teacher speak" cannow witness the gospel of Christ to teachers.
John the Baptist was referred to: "The same came for a witness, tobear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. Hewas not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." JOHN1:7 John was called to be a witness, Jesus called us to be witnesses. So long as you witness the Truth and the Light, whether they labelyou as a witness, apostle, believer, or missionary you can never be animpostor.
Gods Blessings
Barry


Great points Barry, feel free to add them to the blog. I haven't really had any discussions on the blog yet, just one sided posting. Don't be afraid to break the silence on the other side.

I agree with what you said it is just that sometimes I get frustrated with myself that I am not more of a missionary in every action of my daily routine. That is why I said that I sometimes think I may be an impostor. It is not intentional, just my being lazy to not proactively be light to those around me.
However I have also found that in those moments I am light anyway. Light is always inherently light, it never changes. I just seem to loose sight of that sometimes.

Many blessings to you and Elizabeth. May God prosper your business for his Glory.

Dion

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

discipleship

This post on Alan Hirsch's blog was so good I thought I'd put an excerpt here. If interested click here for the whole hit at his The Forgotton Ways blog. The entry is entitled "Obsessed with Disciple-Making"

"For the follower of Jesus discipleship is not the first step towards a promising career. It is in itself the fulfillment of his/her destiny. We never move from being a disciple on-the-way. And yet it seems as if we find little place for radical discipleship in our life together as believers. At best we tend to think of it as something we do with young converts. The dilemma we face today in regards to this issue is that while we have an historical language of discipleship, our actual practice of discipleship is far from consistent, and as a result this mismatch tends to obscure the centrality of the problem. I think it is fair to say that in the Western church, we have by and large, lost the art of disciple-making. This is so partly because we have reduced it to the intellectual assimilation of ideas, partly because of the abiding impact of cultural Christianity embedded in the Christendom understanding of church, and partly because of the phenomenon of consumerism in our own day mitigates against a true following of Jesus.
For the above reasons it seems to me that we have lowered the bar for participation in Christian community to the lowest common denominator. However, when we look into this element of mDNA as it appears in the phenomenal movements, we discover how counterintuitive their emphases really are—they seem to flatly contradict so many of our own church growth practices. For instance: far from being ‘seeker-friendly,’ by 170AD the underground Christian movement had developed what they called the catechisms. These were not merely the doctrinal confessions they later became, they involved rigorous personal examinations that required the catechumen to demonstrate why he/she was worthy of entry into the confessing community. Not only could the proposed convert lose his/her life because of the persecution of the time, but they had to prove why they believed they should be allowed to become part of the Christian community in the first place! Many were turned away because they were found unworthy. This is clean contrary to the ‘seeker sensitive’ practice so prevalent in our day. And it was this element of vigorous discipleship that characterized the early Christian movement that was blighted by the deluge of worldliness that flooded the post Constantinian church when the bar was lowered on membership and the culture was ‘Christianized.’"

Have I made discipleship the priority it ought to be?

Gaby got it

Just yesterday Naty and Gaby were having a conversation about some friends of ours that are missionaries in Thailand and Gaby said, "I got it mom, God doesn't need us to be missionaries in Venezuela because there are a lot of people who need to know Jesus right here in Columbus."
She starts school tomorrow and we are very excited for her!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the best pizza ever

Naty is without a doubt, the best cook in the world so that would of course mean that her pizza is the best too. (my mom's runs crust to crust with it too, after all Naty uses her recipe!) Today Naty made some homemade spaghetti sauce and salsa thanks to lots of free tomatoes from Dave and Teresa Troyer.


After the sauce came the pizza



changes

I've realized that I usually journal more at transition points in my life and after a lot reflection today over the past few months I guess I'll do a blog entry instead of a journal entry this time.
I finished an update letter and need to get it reformatted and sent out, so that led to reflecting over the past 3 months as I wrote. Then I wrote our 2007 activity report for the mission board at Locust Grove, our church in Belleville. So that helped me think about the past year and all that we've done. On top of that tomorrow is my first teacher workday to get ready for the new school year so I'll have another change starting at 8:40 AM tomorrow. Yesterday I was a construction worker and tomorrow I'll be a teacher again. Today I had the day off to just be a husband and a dad. I was planning to take a bike ride with my neighbor this morning but thanks to lots of rain, we couldn't do the ride, so I just stayed home all day.
At conference in Goshen, IN I heard a quote that has been bouncing in my head ever since. Tom Beachy quoted Charles Spurgeon at the beginning of Conference saying, "Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor." Challenging words. I think I've been both sometimes. It's been an interesting question for me to ask, "Am I a missionary or an impostor?"
Our change is that we are no longer missionary interns with RMM, our assignment ended at the end of June when we decided that we are no longer going to Venezuela. So does that mean that we are now missionaries since we aren't interns? (and I think we passed the class even though I haven't gotten a grade card yet) But we aren't doing anything different now from when we were interns, so I guess we were missionaries all along! But now we don't have a budget or any reimbursement for our ministry either. That is going to be interesting! Doing the same thing, making less and trusting God.
There are also times when I think I might just be an impostor too. I act like a Christian but I act like everyone else around me too, not doing anything special, not winning others to Jesus, which is what a missionary does. I also think that when one is a missionary one is an impostor in the world as well. Missionary and impostor at the same time.
As I start teaching school again tomorrow, how can I be a missionary and not an impostor, neither a Christian impostor nor an impostor of the world? How can I be authentic in both realms, the spiritual and secular at the same time?
I am excited about only working in one middle school instead of two, so at least I won't be an impostor in that way, I will actually be a full fledged member of the faculty at Pleasant View Middle School and won't have to balance working in two schools. My hope is that I can also authentically be Jesus at PV as well.
The other change we have starting tomorrow is being the parents of a daughter at Stiles Elementary School. Gaby wants to tell her whole class about Jesus and she has decided that she wants to do it all at the same time because that would be most efficient! How will we be missionaries as parents at Stiles and not impostors?
How are we missionaries in Lincoln Village?
Are we really missionaries?

Friday, August 17, 2007

starting to get it

One thing that God really confirmed to me when He asked us to give up on moving to Venezuela was that he was going to use us to bless Latin America more by not living there than He could if we lived there. Our good friend and mentor Dave Sharp informed us that Latin America is just a start, God wants us to bless ALL NATIONS.
It's starting. Last night we had a Mission Support Team meeting for Aram and Debbi DiGennaro our co-workers in house church planting that are going to me going to Kenya to serve as country reps for Eastern Mennonite Missions.
Tonight we got together with Gordon, Betsie, Elizabeth, Susanna and Samuel Wenger who are leaving in two weeks to go back to southern Peru where they are sharing Jesus with the Quechua people in the mountains.
Tomorrow we are going to be helping with a Honduran and Mexican wedding here on the Westside.
There's four nations in three days. Bring it on God keep leading us toward blessing others.

Here is the happy couple



Naty busy working as the reception coordinator

Thursday, August 16, 2007

over a month later

Here are some of the latest pics of the little Peacheys. The big Peachey in the pictures is my cousin Rich who paid us a visit at the end of July. Enjoy!







Tuesday, July 10, 2007

you can't take the country out of the boy

We've had a very fun and busy July so far. Here are just a few pics of what's been going on with us during the past 2 weeks.

On the 3rd of July we went to downtown Columbus with some of the people from our house church (and about 300,000 others) for "Red, White and Boom" the annual fireworks show. I waited in line for over an hour to get a funnel cake! After that, it even tasted better than the ones you can get at the sale barn in Belleville!

On the 4th July we made a little garden in the back yard. OK so it isn't a farm, but it's about the best we can do. Gaby and Marcus would like to get a horse and a cow but, we don't quite have enough pasture space for that.
This garden is our little experiment to be sure that coffee doesn't dig it up. If she lets alone then we are going to make a bigger garden next year.


Here's coffee, staying away from the garden! We also put up a hammock the other day adding a piece of Costa Rica to our back yard.


Who's that monkey?
Marcus took this picture, not bad eh?

Yesterday we had this racoon visit the tree behind our house! It slept there all day and then finally went away at night. So I guess we can't get away from the country either!
We're all lovin' the summer, and hope you are too!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

what's worship?

OK so I've resisted any deep thinking on this blog for quite some time so I think I'm due to just write down some of my thoughts for a change.
Today we had our "big church" as our whole house church network met at a metro park just west of Columbus. I realized during the worship time that singing modern worship songs doesn't necessarily lead me into worship anymore as much as it used to. I fould myself worshiping in many other ways as well. Contemplating all of the life around me in the trees, the bugs and the people. To be honest, the one thing that showed me that God is still alive and well more than any of the songs was watching a mother play catch with her son at the picnic pavilion next to ours. OK, so you think I was just daydreaming, but I found it interesting that in my class at OSU this past week we were required to read an article from an educational journal that talked about how the breech between adults and youth in our culture is increasingly wider and I had just been talking about that with two of my churchmates right before the worship time started. So seeing mom and son play catch was a reminder that there are still others out there that value their relationships even if the general trend in our culture is heading the other direction. So, I saw God this morning in a very ordinary way. He is alive!
I just read a bit of Alan Hirsch's blog entry entitled 'beyond the sacred and secular' and it really clicked with me. You may want to give it a look if the thought of God being alive in a game of catch resonates with you. As I've walked along this journey of following Jesus, I've found God in so many places and times that I least expect. I'm realizing that he is more alive than I ever gave him credit for!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

core practices

At the beginning of June Naty and I had a very refreshing week of spiritual renewal and growth as we participated in RMM's new missionary and intern orientation. During that time, we learned about RMM's "Core Values" and we decided that we would like to make our own for our family so through some prayer and copying some of RMM's this is what we came up with. One slight change is that we decided that instead of calling them "core values" we wanted to call them "core practices" thinking that what we believe is demonstrated by what we do, so we want to be sure that we are doing these things.
  1. We will love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves.
  2. We will prioritize our marriage and family as first ministries and strive to minister as a family as much as possible.
  3. We will study the scriptures, pray and fast regularly
  4. We will make reproducing disciples
  5. We will walk by faith.

These seem like big tasks but we want to be held accountable to actually doing them so I guess that is why I'm making this post. If we are not accomplishing this things, then please let us know and guide us toward doing them. Thank you.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

resumen = summary

OK, it's pretty much impossible to summarize one month of our lives in one blog entry so I'm not even going to try! Here are some of the most recent highlights and as they say in Spanish, "lo que se quedo, se quedo!"

If you haven't heard by some other way yet, we have decided not to move to Venezuela after all. Our house didn't sell and we really feel that God is not done with us here in Columbus, so here we are!

School out for me now, so I am working M, W, and F for Howard Troyer doing remodeling and am enjoying it. T and TH I'm taking a class at Ohio State called "Trends and Issues in Language, Literacy and Culture" very interesting!

Naty is now a U.S. citizen, so that is the biggest thing that has happened for her lately. She has also felt more like she is at home since we have decided that we are staying here and not planning on leaving any time soon.

Gaby and Marcus are enjoying the summer with lots of water and popcycles! Gaby is now registered for school at Stiles Elementary School, which is just a half a block from our house, so she is very excited about that. She start kindergarten in late August.

Since the last time I wrote we spent our weekends camping, in PA, camping again and now at home for the weekend. Our neighbor B.J. told me today that I must be bored because we aren't going away somewhere this weekend! Actually it has been a very fun day just being at home and enjoying our family.

Here are a few pictures from the past week: On Monday night we had a birthday party for Soraya, the woman on the far left in the back, she and her family are from Colombia. The other couple on the couch is from Costa Rica.

We signed up with "Mennonite Your Way" to host people at our house and had our first guests Wednesday night. This young family (originally from Japan) is on their way from Harrisonburg, VA to San Diego, CA! He just finished seminary at EMS and they are going to be pastoring a Japanese church in CA.

This afternoon we went to the Home Depot behind our house and Naty got some flowers there. Our neighbor Lori made this bench a long time ago and was going to throw it away, but Naty said she would like to have it, so here is what it looks like now in front of our house.


For supper tonight we cooked hot dogs over a fire in our fire ring in the backyard (just like camping but without the camp!) and had some arroz con leche and strawberries for desert. Can you tell the kids enjoyed it?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

7 years and counting



Naty and I are celebrating our 7th anniversary. It's hard to believe its been that long already! These years truly have been the best years of our lives and we are looking forward to many more together. To celebrate, we had a babysitter for the night and went to Culture Fest by the river in Columbus. After that we spent the night out in Rosedale and enjoyed sleeping in for the first time in a long, long time. Thanks Mim for keeping the kids! It was so nice to be in the country and not hear the constant hum of vehicles on 270 for at least one night and morning.
The past few weeks have been very full with lots of cookouts and times to share with new and old friends. I love spring and summer!


Friday night our house church celebrated Jim Conley's birthday with a surprise party. It was a great time together. We had "la pollada" otherwise known as Peruvian chicken, along with other culinary delights followed be Jim singing some of his songs for us and a sharing and prayer time. Happy birthday Jim!

The past two weekends have been beautiful so we have been able be outside doing all kinds of fun stuff. Last Saturday Gaby and Marcus helped me with mowing grass and changing oil in Aubrey (our mini-van) and washing Tabitha. We are trying to sell Tabitha, so if you want her, she can be yours! We also got a bird feeder to hang up out back and Gaby and Marcus had fun helping me with that. Tonight I saw a goldfinch at the feeder for the first time. Of course, by the time I got my binoculars for a closer look Gaby had run outside and scared it off!

Yesterday, Naty went to a women's retreat/seminar at a local church, so I had another fun day with Gaby and Marcus. They really are great to work with. We mowed grass at our house and at B.J.'s (a neighbor) and then we cleaned out the shed out back. We have a bunch of empty boxes we are saving to pack out stuff in to go to Venezuela and they were taking up a lot of space so we moved them up in the attic. Gaby and Marcus went up in the attic with me and we had fun telling stories about horses and unicorns in the dark.

After that we went out for lunch at Chick-fil-A so they could play in the playland there. After that we went to the flea market here on the Westside where I got Gaby and Marcus their soccer uniforms. They are from a Mexican professional team called "America". I found out from one of my ESL students that they are in the playoffs so I guess it's a good team!

As far as Venezuela is concerned we are still waiting for the house to sell. If it sells by June 30, we will go this year, if it doesn't, we'll wait to see what God has in store for us here. God wants us to do.
The last pic is from this afternoonwith the kids a d Roger, a neighbor who gives Gaby and Marcus all kids of interesting toys and/or videos that he finds at yard sales.

Friday, May 4, 2007

waiting

We still have not had any prospective buyers look at our house yet since we put it on the market in March. However, we are planning to have an open house this Sunday from 1-4 PM, so that may draw in some buyers. In the mean time we are just waiting to see how God moves. We have felt very certain that if we are supposed to go to Venezuela this year, God will sell our house for us. As of now, it hasn't sold, but we are not giving up on it yet. We've decided though, that if it doesn't sell by June 30th, then we are just going to stay where we are.
As we are waiting it is amazing how many ways God has shown us that He is already using us in great ways here in Columbus. It seems like we are finally starting to see growth in the lives of several people that we have been relating to over the past few years. He is faithful!
We are also trying to look at other options that may be available for us to do if we are not able to go to Venezuela in August as we had planned. Basically, the past few weeks have been times of giving everything to God and asking for Him to lead us to what He wants, not just what we want. It has been very difficult for me to surrender all of our goals and dreams to Him and "not be anxious about anything" but He has also given us peace to get through these days. God has brought us to where now we know that if we stay or if we go, He is the one who is leading us in the path He wants.
I have to think of the line in the song "Jesus All For Jesus" - All of my ambitions hopes and plans, I surrender these into your hands... for it's only in your will that I am free.
With all of these stressors, we have felt free, so we must be in His will.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

no, we didn't fall off the face of the earth

You may have thought that though by how long it has taken to get this post up. I'm sorry, but I have neither read or written on anyone's blog for almost 3 weeks now. I've started getting up earlier in the morning so, that means going to bed earlier too, so my normal time for blogging (11:00-12:00 at night) is now sleep time.
We have had an incredibly busy and exciting past three weeks and I believe these past two nights in a row without going anywhere or having someone over for a meal is a new record for the month of April. We have always been faithful in having our "Family Night" every week, but the rest of our weeknights and weekends have been full. That's the joy of loving people, you can never get enough of them!
To be honest, I have been thinking a lot lately about what it must be like to have a normal life. I mean it is actually nice to be able to sit at home and have nothing to do but write E-mail, chat with friends and keep one's blog updated, but we would miss out on so much. Thanks to my not blogging I was able to dedicate a lot of time to a lot of wonderful people, the most important being Naty, Gabriela and Marcus. I think it was worth it.
I have also been wondering lately what it would be like to just have a job that I planned on being at until I retired. My school district has an opening for a better position at one of my schools and my principals are pretty much begging to give me the job, but I decided not to interview for it. Partly because we are planning to be in Venezuela after August but mostly because if, for some reason we aren't, I really enjoy the job that I already have. I would also rather dedicate the time that it would take for me to fulfill my new responsibilities of a new job, to being with my family instead. So, I am giving up the chance to make more money and have a better position to be able to have more time and lower pay. I sometimes think that I have to be wierd! But, honestly, isn't that what Jesus would do? It has just been a really wierd thing to actually do in real life.
Another thing that has really been consuming our thoughts and activities lately is the "what if..." question. What if we can't go to Venezuela in August as we have been planning? Naty and I have both felt very strongly that when it is time for us to go we will be able to sell our house and we will also have raised 100% of the money that we need for our two year term with RMM there. We have not had a single showing of our house yet and it has been on the market for about a month. So, what if God decides that He doesn't want our house to sell? (After all, it isn't really ours to begin with, it's His) Maybe He'll want us to stay here in Columbus longer than we've expected. One early morning as I was praying and journaling about this whole moving situation, I really felt like God as asking us to "Live our lives like we are staying here, but plan like we are going to Venezuela". Basically to not get too wrapped up in the going that we forget about life right now.
After that revelation about a week or so ago, I have tried to be sure that I am actually carpe dieming (seizing the day) and not getting so wrapped up in the future that I forget to focus on the here and now. But, as I've started to focus on "living like we are staying" it has become a problem to not "plan like we're staying" too. Honestly it has been difficult to trust that our house is going to sell and give up on planning to stay. Again, logically, it seems like we need to make plans for both options, either going or staying, and that has made it even more of a challenge to trust that we are going so we have no need to plan to stay!
If that was all too confusing, now you know a little how we feel!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

spring break!

It has been too long since I did an update to our blog and I really have no excuse to put it off any longer. I had my spring break from school this past week and you'd think that I could have added to the blog before Saturday, but I guess this wasn't my first priority.
Here's a quick run through of our week and some pics to go with it. Rosanna, Naty's sister arrived at the Columbus Airport on Monday morning at 11:00. We went with her to Children's Hospital to visit Christopher, the son of some of our friends who had a bad case of croup. Also, on Monday afternoon and Tuesday during the day I mowed 4 different yards, including ours. While I was mowing, Gaby and Rosy were having fun pretending to be Elizabeth and Mary with their respective babies, John and Jesus.
Then Monday evening Naty and I had a date at Applebee's to watch Ohio State loose. Shucks! Although Penn State remains my first love in college sports, I was hoping that the local Buckeyes would be able to beat Florida sometime! We also used the time to talk about goals that we have for the rest of 2007, now that it is 1/4 over already! We talked about what we hope to accomplish in Columbus before we leave as well as what we hope we have achieved in Venezuela before 2008 comes around.

On Tuesday after mowing grass I went on a date with Gaby to Graeters for ice cream. We had a lot of fun together. Here are father and daughter before our big date...

On Wednesday morning we set off from Columbus, OH to Belleville, PA to visit with friends and family in the town where I grew up and where Naty and I met nine years ago.
On Thursday we just relaxed most of the day and then in the evening we got together with the Yoders, Naty and Rosy's host family, and Naty made Shawn's favorite meal... arepas! Here is a pic of the whole Yoder crew.

Friday meant more relaxing, being with family and of course more eating! That evening we all went with the Peachey family to the Bread of Life Restaurant for a great supper thanks to Dad and Mom Peachey. Thank You Very Much!

This morning (Saturday) we went out to eat again (do you see a pattern here) at Miller's Diner for breakfast. We got together with my cousin Rich as well as our friends Michael and Maria Yoder and their two children Natalie and Paul. We hadn't been together with the Yoders in more than 2 years so it was great to catch up with them. It was great to see you again Rich, but your appearances are a bit more frequent!