Thoughts about Andrey, my job, Ukraine and Christmas

I have been thinking a bit today about this tragic situation involving our former student Andrey in South Africa.  I'm trying to avoid a long dissertation complete with transition sentences so I'll just bullet point some of my thoughts.

  • This is exactly why we feel so passionately about our ministry in Ukraine.  We try to provide education for guys like Andrey so that they are less likely to put themselves into situations like this one.  We try to make connections within our community so that when problems come, we are asked to help - and in this case we were able to do something.  Most importantly, we present the gospel so that when life gets tough - and it does get tough for people in Ukraine - they will have something to fall back on.
  • I have been excited to go back to Ukraine but this further solidifies that desire.  We love being part of the Hope Center team and today made me remember that we are still part of it, even here in Colorado.
  • In this Christmas season where we've seen people die over seasonal sales, it reminds us that life goes on in the rest of the world - completely independently of our doorbuster sales.  Let's take a moment to contemplate what we do with our time and money this holiday season.  I'm not saying not to buy gifts, but perspective is vital.
Ok, that's enough for now.....

What do you guys think?


Update on Andrey

If you haven't read about our efforts to help our IVA graduate Andrey, go here....

With help from some South Africans in my parent's church we were able to figure out who to call in Cape Town to get started.  They suggested a major hospital to start with and a person there (ironically named Andrew - the English equivalent of Andrey) offered to call around the local hospitals looking for someone that matched Andrey's description.  This was a massive blessing and we were told by the aforementioned South Africans that this kind of helpfulness is not very common in their experience.

Back to Andrey....  Andrew the helpful turned him up at a small private hospital and one call to them yielded the phone number for Andrey's room.  Tanya and Andrey's mom both spoke to him but didn't learn very much about what happened.  There are still a lot of questions including what happened to him, how he got to the hospital, why he is in such an exclusive facility and how we get him home.  

As it turns out he does have his passport so that takes care of one major hurdle but now we stuck with a lot of people who don't want to do anything.  The shipping company says that they don't know what happened and whatever transpired isn't their fault or responsibility.  Thus far the Ukrainian government hasn't been very concerned with aiding one of citizens that's in trouble.  The South Africans don't have much to go on (since Andrey can't remember anything) and little reason to pursue the issue - they have plenty of violence issues of their own to handle.  We're still working but in the short term is good to know where he is, that he's being cared for and that he is doing ok, if very dopey on medication.

Urgent prayer request

I have just heard from Tanya that one of our vocational school students from last year is in need of some serious prayer.  Andrey (on the left) had taken a job as a sailor on a ship in South Africa.  He called his mom a few days ago saying he was being mistreated and beaten up.  He then called today and told her that he was in an unknown hospital in Cape Town, didn't know what had happened and didn't know how he got there.  He said he was listed by only a number because he has no identification and only speaks Russian.  His mothor couldn't get back in touch with him after that call.

We are trying to find him at this very moment and trying to figure out how to help him, but we could use prayer.....


Confessions of a serial gift forgetter

...."Black Friday" they call it....
A bit melodramatic but it sums up how I feel about the situation.  There are 2 kinds of people in world; those who like to shop for gifts and those who don't.  I fall on the far extreme of the latter category.  It's not that I don't like to give gifts, I just hate the pressure of trying to intuit the perfect $10 or less item for every person I know.

My perfect Christmas shopping experience is to be at a store with some person on say, January 24th and having that person say, "I really like this shirt"....  and then buying it for them.  This is so unreasonable of me to the point of being ridiculous but I thought that all of you should know that if you don't get a gift from me for Christmas it's because you never told me what you wanted.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Not nearly so creepy

I'm celebrating my newly-fixed camera on the ol' Mac by taking another self portrait.  This time I'm fresh off a hair cut and a beard trim.  I got my hair cut at a place called Kiddy Kutters, which is half cute and a half seriously disturbing.  Either way I look a little more missionary than backwoods today as I sit at Serranos.

It was our goal to show Cam that he had nothing to fear from the barber by having Daddy go first but it turned out to be the free lollipop that convinced him that the strange lady with the "sharps" was ok.

New Ukraine Summer Camps link

Check out the ever-present link at the top of the right-hand column.  I now have a specific page on the Global Action website dedicated to my little project.  If you click the link it will give you to option of giving in a single gift or a recurring monthly donation, but only to summer camps for Ukrainian orphans (to alleviate confusion).  Check it out and tell all your friends.


Gas price reminder

I discussed in an earlier post that people seem to only remember the times when gas prices are skyrocketing and in the interests of fairness I decided to point out equally impressive cost decreases.  In this post from October 17th I mention that fuel has dropped from nearly $4/gallon to the staggeringly low level of $3.20 or so and promised to give updates if the continued.  

Today at the corner of Academy and Briargate - a traditionally expensive station - unleaded was at $1.47.  That's more than a 50% price cut from 2 months ago.  I just thought you might like to hear some good news on this lovely Tuesday morning.

My first whitetail

I now have pictures of my first whitetail deer (3rd deer overall) but unfortunately we don't have any of those pretty naturey types of pictures.  I took this deer in the southwest corner of Nebraska (along with Marshall's first whitetail) and I'm as pleased as can be with this animal.  It looks like it would be a 10-12 point buck were it not for the 5 busted tines on its heavily-abused rack.  Marshall's buck was big and also had a broken rack... an entire side.  Big Mike (Tim and Mikey's dad - he's like the Godfather of my hunting education) says that he thinks it's from a high buck/doe ratio which causes more fighting for mates.

We were in a hurry to get it into the truck and us out of town (if town is really the right term for where we were) so this is shot of it on the floor of Timmy's garage.

If you are anti-hunting or aren't particularly comfortable with a little blood (the same blood that comes out of the meat in your hamburgers and ham sandwiches) you may not want to scroll down.  It's not gruesome - just a small smear on the floor underneath him....

I also want to mention that my buddy Timmy is a great man.  Hunting is his passion and yet season after season he sacrificially gives me the best spots and all the opportunities to take an animal that I'd be proud of.  He helps us know where to hunt and even gives us access to areas he has personal permission to hunt.  He knew that this buck was in that river bottom, set up the situation that would give us a shot and then let me take the most likely shooting spot to take him.

He, Mikey and Big Mike have taught me nearly everything I know about hunting and have consistently loaned/given me the equipment that I needed but didn't own yet.  I deeply appreciate their generosity.  Thanks boys, I owe you.


Missionary or backwoods lunatic?

I just got back from a weekend of hunting in the ecological paradise known as Nebraska.  Though I did get my first whitetail, since I don't actually have a picture of that deer to post yet, I will save the update for tomorrow.

What is important at the moment is that last night when I returned, Sarah commented that my ever-present 'missionary beard' seemed to evolved into more of a 'redneck hunter/ backwoods lunatic beard'.  What do you guys think?  Have I crossed a line of sanity? 
It may be hard (since this shot was taken in my office... in front of my fake tree), but try to imagine running into this face in rural Kentucky or a Colorado mountain town.

Just in time... KOR Kast reminder

I just got this posted in time to remind all of you to hit up the KOR Kast on Castle Rock Radio today at 1pm MST.  Go to the KOR site and subscribe to the show updates and what's going with with Ryan's ministry.


All the KOR, different day

I just caught this note on the KOR Kast site...

Hey Everyone,
This Sunday Nov. 23 at 2:00 pm PST

We’re pre-recording some shows to air while I’m away for Thanksgiving and while I recoup from having eye surgery (removing scar tissue). Instead of recording off air we decided to let you all listen and watch live while we record. You can watch and listen (click on the photo where it says “Listen Live”), call in (888-321-RADIO), email (shout@korkast.com) and send in Instant Messages (screen name “KORKAST”). Hope to see you there and tell your friends.

Don’t forget that when you watch online you can send us messages in the viewing screen!!

See you on Sunday Nov. 23rd at 2:00 PM PST

I don't know why I was surprised by it... especially since I expect to be with Ryan and Marshall on Sunday when they go into the studio - on our way back from hunting whitetails in Nebraska.  I guess I just didn't know they were going live with it.  Anyway, check the boys out live on Sunday (SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!).


There are no words

I'm not really sure how to describe this one...

I read this on Slick's blog yesterday but waited till today to post about it (I have a general rule about not posting more than 2 times/day).  You'll just have to read it yourself:

Catsup...A Government Conspiracy

A few Saturdays ago, Stacey and I swung by the Wendy’s drive through to pick up some lunch. I was in a very contemplative and philosophical state that day, so I was pondering many of life’s biggest questions. As we sat in line, I turned to Stacey and asked her about the one in particular that had been weighing heavy on my mind:

Whatever happened to catsup?

Seriously, haven’t you ever wondered what happened to catsup and why everything now is called ketchup? What was so bad about catsup? Why did it disappear from the shelves? Did ketchup go better with Haterade? As far as I can remember, catsup and ketchup looked the same and tasted the same. Obviously, there had to be answers out there and someone had a lot of explaining to do.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a whole lot of information out there on this topic. Seems to me that there has been a lot of covering up by the “ketchupers” and of course, it involves the federal government. Just like Area 51, the JFK assassination, and many other examples, the fate of catsup seems to be part of a huge government conspiracy.

It all started shortly after World War 2. As America entered the 1950's, it appeared as if only 3 major brands remained to steal the spotlight...Heinz Ketchup, Del Monte Catsup, and Hunts, who could not decide on a spelling and bottled under the names Hunts Catsup (east of the Mississippi), Hunts Ketchup (west of the Mississippi), and Hunts Tomato Cornchops (in Iowa only). At some point in the 1980s, the federal government stepped in and ketchup was declared a vegetable on the government's standards for school lunch menus. Suddenly catsup, because of its spelling, was not on the approved list. Heartbroken “catsupers” could see the end in sight. It wasn't long afterwards that Del Monte changed the product's name to Del Monte ketchup and Hunt’s remedied its schizophrenic position on the subject.

So then the question then becomes, why did the federal government feel the need to step in and end this ongoing debate? And why did they have to bring children into this mess? Proposing that the “ketchupers” had better lobbyists is too easy of an answer, as is the failure of Hunts to “earmark” their right to call it Hunts Tomato Cornchops. There is a better explanation. From my extensive research, I believe that ketchup was responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall, and hence, the end of the Cold War and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and communism. Top secret U.S. government documents reveal that in the 1980s, the Heinz company still had strong ties to its founder’s home country, Germany. Billions and billions of dollars worth of tomatoes and ingredients that went into making Heinz ketchup were actually manufactured in East Germany and were being smuggled into the United States by the U.S. military. Many people don’t realize this, but the U.S. government used U.S. military aircraft and warships as commercial shipping vessels during this time. In the end, our ketchup habit was supporting communist East Germany with cold hard cash. At first, the U.S. threatened to call the product catsup, thereby dooming East Germany’s economy to utter ruin. However, this would have also exposed the huge cover-up operation between the United States and East Germany. In an attempt to pacify the East Germans and avoid a huge ketchup scandal, the U.S. government negotiated the agreement to name the condiment ketchup on school lunches as fair trade to bringing down the Berlin Wall. The East Germans accepted the overthrow of their government for the economic right to now legally supply us with their yummy ingredients while the U.S. government avoided certain disaster and the exposing of their continued backing of East German communism to support our eating habits.

Hence, ketchup.

Iowa Tomato Cornchops!  Hahaha, I love it.  You get Line of the Day


KOR Kast is up

The KOR Kast from 48 hours ago just hit iTunes today.  Do not delay in subscribing and downloading this latest episode with Andy Braner of Kanakuk Colorado.

As a side note, while following the live stream of Monday's show (on Castle Rock Radio), I was blessed with the quote of the week...

Someone on the chat forum that is part of the live video feed (if you haven't done this you're missing out on the fun) made a comment that was something like, "Marshall, how did you get to be so cool?  You're like a mountain Ed McMahon!!"  I presume this was intended as a compliment....


Hold your breath

Sarah forwarded this to me in an email so I'm guessing that many of you that are in regular email contact have already seen it.  I debated posting since this site is ostensibly missions related, but I finally decided to do it since it's humor at the expense of an innocent child... wait, I don't think I phrased that right.  Honestly, it's just funny and I think most parents will nod knowingly when they see it.

Apparently, this picture was turned in by a kid for a class project....

... and the punch-line is that the mommy in question works at Home Depot and the object in her hands is a SHOVEL she's trying to sell.  Good stuff - you gotta love kids and their ability to embarrass.  

It's for that reason that I'm posting as many embarrassing photos of Campbell as I can now to get a head start on that little competition.


The great American novel

On Saturday I was feeling a little sick and tired.  I didn't want to do anything useful and really wanted to just read.  Lucky for me, my buddy Jason just finished his first novel and was looking for someone to give it a preliminary read as he tries to get it published.  I jumped on it.

This novel, titled "The Awakened" has been 10 years in the making and weighs in at 340ish 8.5x11 pages of  single spaced, 10 pt font.  A massive undertaking for a first book.  I warned J that it might take me a few weeks to make it through, doing the kind of analysis that I expected a first manuscript would need.

I cracked the cover and was expecting to go through page by page looking for typos, grammatical mistakes and general plot line issues.  I was also planning to compare it to other books that I'd read.... I figure if these guys could do it, so could Jason.

The further I got into it, the more I began to compare it to my favorite novels that are in similar genres.  If you want to know how I've liked it, let me put it this way.....

I've had it in-hand for 48 hours and I only have about 20 pages to go.  I could not put it down.  Sometimes I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot that I was supposed to be 'editing' as I went.  Other than a couple of very minor suggestions, I have found it to be fantastic already.

Remember this name: "The Awakened" by Jason Tesar.  

I think so highly of this novel that I am hoping that Jason will sign the copy that I've read and let me keep it as memorabilia.  It is really that good.

KOR Kast today!!!

I'm going to do this every Monday morning to make sure no one forgets about the KOR Kast at 1pm MST.  Today's guest:  Andy Braner of Kanakuk Colorado.

Go to Castle Rock Radio and stop by the KOR Kast site.


Awesome webbiness @ A Risk a Day

Some of you may have already heard me talking about this new side project a few of us GA people have been doing for the past month-ish, but this is the official info post regarding the idea.  This is as short an explanation as I can give so please take minute to read.....

Global Action's vision statement is "challenging people to become risk-takers for God."  It's intentionally vague and broad so that we have a mandate to jump on any opportunity that Lord lays in our path - flexibility is part of our organizational culture.

With that in mind, my co-workers Ryan, Vikki and I have created a website that takes this vision and applies to people's everyday lives.  It's called "A Risk a Day" and its concept is fairly self-explanatory; each day we challenge people to take a specific intentional risk for the Kingdom of God.  We will have a site that can be visited or one can subscribe for the daily email.

The risks are easy, generally free and ranging from 'green' to mega-church in their appeal.  Here are some samples of the types of risks we'll send:

  • write a letter or email of encouragement to your pastor
  • forego your regular coffee today and use or donate that money to a better cause
  • contact the manager of your retirement funds (or other funds with which you're associated) and ensure that you are not invested in funds that promote or ignore human rights abuses
  • contact a missions agency and learn more about a short-term trip
  • buy an umbrella or rain poncho and keep it in your car until you can give it to someone who needs it
The risks transcend denomination, organization and location to help create an intentional daily mindset of taking minor risks for God.  Though it's based on our mission statement, it's not about Global Action.  It's about purposefully rising above our daily drudgery to make a difference to someone everyday.

If you miss a day, no big deal.... its about giving people the chance to be reminded daily to think outside themselves.

Ideally the site will become a network of people sharing how they did with their risk that day and then suggesting future daily risks.... a true community.

What do you guys think?

Either way, keep an eye out for a post letting you know when the site (we already have a domain name purchased) goes live in the next month or so....


LotD - Jason Tesar

"It spans from the beginning of time through the end of the world.... it's pretty ambitious."
- Jason in classic understatement trying to describe his just-completed fictional book project this morning


News from the Hope Center - November edition (updated)

Here is the latest incantation of the almost monthly "News from Hope Center" updates that Andrey sends out from Kerch, complete with some pictures for your reading enjoyment (I have added a few stories that will be in the final newsletter and corrected a few inaccuracies):  

Last week we were excited to host a reunion of former IVA (International Vocational School) students at the Hope Center which was attended by graduates from our first class in 2005.  They came together to have tea, play games, reminisce, look at pictures from their time at Hope Center and watch a movie together.  We were glad to hear about the progress that these students have made since we last saw them.  Here are some of the success stories from our IVA programs over the past years.

Sveta (2005 graduate)

Sveta grew up in a home with no father, an alcoholic mother and she ran away at only 14 years old.  Her mother went to jail for several years and she lived with friends for several years.  When Sveta was 16 she entered the IVA program in an effort to improve her difficult life.  In our program she studied computer skills and economics but she also received the saving knowledge of Christ.  Today Sveta is married and has a young daughter.  She and her mother now both attend a local church.  She says that the most important thing that she learned at IVA was that she is loved by God and she wants to extend that love and provide the best for her child.

Roman (2007 graduate)

Roman came to us as a young man without many prospects but interested in the opportunity to earn a driver’s license through our technical training.  He also received instruction in drafting, woodworking, welding, economics, English, computers and Bible lessons.

Today Roman works for the city medical department in Kerch where they have made good use of the skills he learned at Hope Center.  He drives a burley 4-wheel drive to transport necessary medical materials and personnel between hospitals and to the homes of those in need.

Artur (2007 graduate)

Artur studied along side Roman and also took full advantage of the opportunity to learn a variety of skills.  After graduation he stayed at Hope Center through the summer as a volunteer, cleaning the grounds and helping with camp activities.  His attitude, sense of humor and improving English skills made him a popular character with both local staff and internationals.  In the fall of 2007 he went to Moscow for work and did very well.  When he returned at the beginning of last summer he was brimming with confidence, ready to take on any challenge.  He worked at Hope Center again in 2008, this time as security.

Today he is the personal driver for a local businessman and is a frequent visitor to the camp that gave him the opportunity and knowledge which he is using to succeed.

Roman (2008 graduate)

Roman is only 6 months out of our most recent IVA program but already he has taken advantage of the education he acquired at the Hope Center.  We were always impressed by the Roman’s intelligence and work ethic and knew that he would be able to use his new-found skills well.  He quickly received a job with bread company which is owned by the city of Kerch.  When he got the job, he was pleasantly surprised at the good wages that his skills garnered.  He is now responsible for delivering bread to hospitals, businesses and maybe sometimes even to us at camp.  He and his girlfriend Yula (also an IVA graduate) visit frequently to keep us updated and for friendly conversation.

Dima (2007 graduate)

Dima is from a village just north of Kerch.  He came to IVA as a means to escape his troubled childhood and self-destructive lifestyle.  He took to driving quickly and after his IVA graduation was hired on full-time at the Hope Center.  He worked with us for 18 months helping with facilities, programs and in the kitchen.  This fall he accepted a job offer from an tool and appliance store in downtown Kerch.  He is using his driving skills now in delivering large items to customers all over the Kerch area.

Vlad (2008 graduate)

Vlad is from the city of Armyansk in northern Crimea.  When he arrived at the Hope Center he instantly became a leader within the class.  His English skills, age and maturity made him an integral part of camp life.  After graduation he returned home to work with his step-father’s construction business temporarily but soon found a promising position as a truck driver.  He now works with his city’s electrical department driving the lift truck used for power line repair.

If you are inspired by these stories of our ministry in Ukraine, please consider donating to another of our programs - Christian children's camps - by the link on the top of the sidebar at right.

I love the 80's....

I guess this is the current most popular video on YouTube and I almost didn't watch it for that reason.  If you are familiar with the A-ha video for "Take On Me" from the 80's, you will enjoy this... if you aren't, you probably won't even find it chuckle-worthy.


Campbell update

Now that we're back in the US for a bit it only seems logical to take care of all those medical check-ups that we've been avoiding for a while.  This is particularly important for Campbell who's not even close to the same child that he was when we left last year.  Sarah took him down for his 2.5 year check up and we were very pleased with the news...

First, we were glad to hear that his reluctance to join me in this activity...
... is actually a sign of maturity not developmental delay.  I just assumed cheering for a coal train was a natural part of a boy's up-bringing.  I guess that's why I'm not a pediatrician.

Also, as I've always claimed, he has a huge head.  I mean, look at it compared to the poor little town of Palmer Lake... it's like 6 times the size!  That can't be normal.

No, seriously....
Cam is only in the 74th percentile in weight and head circumference (genetic traits that Sarry hopes continue for all our kids).  But he's in the 98th percentile for height which I think is evidenced by the fact that he comes up to Sarah's shoulder.  Ok, that's not true either, but he is really tall... almost twice as tall as the highest building in Palmer Lake.  Sorry, I can't help myself.

KOR Kast today!!!

Everyone remember to tune into the KOR Kast today at 1pm MST.  You can watch streaming video or just listen via the links on the Castle Rock radio homepage.


Hope Center video

I really want you to take the time to watch this video.  The Coach and I worked pretty hard to make this as polished than possible.  At well over 7 minutes it's a little long but I promise that by the end you will have a small glimpse of what it's like to spend 10 days with the kids at HopeCenter.


Friday relief

I'm almost positive that Marshall's already thrown this one out there but I'll give it to you again for those who are bored on a Friday afternoon...

I've turned a few of you reader on to the Stuff Christians Like site and now I'm continuing that tradition.  Lark News is a site that is best described and a poor-man's version of The Onion, the  famous/infamous spoof, but for the Christian community.  It's got some cheese, but it's also got some great stuff.  Some of my favorites I've seen today include headlines like:
  • "Christian radio found to be on continuous loop for past 20 years"
  • "Denominations reach non-compete agreement"
  • "Youth pastor drops F-bomb at board meeting"

Along with ads like
  • Bono Fatigue:  It could happen to U2 (a support group for Christians who love Bono too much)
  • Nursary FastPass (like a pass you would use for a toll road, but for nursery)

Also, after a tepid response to my "no-negatives" post ratings I've decided to change them to a more standard set of options.  Unfortunately there seems to be a limit to how many options the feature will allow me.  I'd still like to see some of those boxes checked please.


Post ratings

If you use Blogger and don't read the Blogger Buzz blog (you can find it on the Dashboard page) you are missing out on the the new features that this format is always coming out with.  My favorite new one is a blog rating feature that allows people to give you feedback on how they like each post.  I'm interested to see if I can get a better feel for which topics are most popular.

I've added it to the end of my posts, though I honestly have no idea how it works yet so please give me a rating so I can test it.

PS, is it so obvious that you can set your own response options?

PPS, be careful how you use those little check boxes... apparently you can vote multiple times and can't change your response.

Thursday 13: Topics that don't involve the election

It's been so long since I've done a Thursday 13, I can barely remember how to count backwards from the number.  As a review for the newbies, this is just a format where you pick a topic and throw out a list of 13 (generally items that can't be posts on their own) and encourage commenters to add their 2 cents.  

In the past day or so, I've come across some extremely well written pieces regarding the election, it's aftermath and historical implications.  Fortunately that means that I am not obligated to do any of that.  Here are my top 13 topics of discussion which have nothing to do with the election:

13.  Since we're now past Halloween, we can start seeing and complaining about the presence of Christmas lights.

12.  In that same vein, this year commemorates two decades of trying to avoid the mall during the holidays.  It's a big anniversary.

11.  I've found a new blog I really like:  Jason at Meno - very thoughtful but easy to read and less long-winded than mine.

10.  Can Liverpool maintain their winning ways and give me good trophy in my first half-decade as a fan?

9.  Only 4 more days until the next KOR Kast.  Who's gonna be listening with me?

8.  Because she asked for it, I bought Sarah an iPod shuffle for her birthday.  It sounds nice but it was as an alternative to the iPod nano that I bought her as a gift previously.... which I monopolize constantly to listen to soccer podcasts.  I'm a bad husband.

7.  I have decided to spend less time at the office because, as Marshall put it, "I'm supposed to be sharing the organization with people and everyone at the office already knows."  My calls are forwarded to Panera...

6.  I decided to upgrade the RAM on my little MacBook...  increasing it 3X.  You know your computer needs a little help when it takes a while to CLOSE a program.

5.  Global Action has a new website.  Same address, new look and feel.  I like it.

4.  It's getting close to hunting season and as a carnivore, that makes my mouth water.  Yummy venison.

3.  For the first time in my life (that I can recall) I am going some place warm in the middle of winter.  Phoenix and Tucson in December should be just what the doctor ordered, even if only for 3 days.

Back to the holiday theme: with the economy being what it is (uh oh, I'm getting dangerously close to politics) let's think about how we are going to do better with our Christmas purchases.  Maybe foregoing gifts and...

2. ...giving the gift of water with Advent Conspiracy or... 

Anyone else have something?


LotD - Jonah Goldberg

"Sometimes I wonder if he was a taste-tester at a red paint chip factory."

-Jonah Goldberg



One down, two to go..

On Facebook today I wrote that today could be a trifecta of loserness.  Obviously the election is on and my guy is trailing.  Second, Liverpool was playing Atletico Madrid (Tammi's team in Europe).  Lastly, I have been losing a lot at Scramble, a Boggle-like game that they have on Facebook.

Just now, in the 95th minute, Steven Gerrard stuck in a penalty shot for the Reds to tie AM.  While it's not a win, with the pleasant surprise of Chelsea (the team supported by the most fervent Obamaton I know of) losing to a pathetic Roma side, it feels like a victory.

One down, two to go.  Come on big John!

Election Day...

...the highlight of every "refresh button's" career.

Kids to Camp funding update

Directly to the right has been a link for donating to our ministry in Ukraine by sponsoring an orphan to come to our camps next summer.... and get their nails painted by me....

I have been working since we returned unexpectedly in September to raise support for these kids (you can read about the whole story from here).  A lot of you have been involved in that effort and I thank you.  I figured you've all been seeing that funding link for weeks so I owe you an update.  

We've been to a variety of homes, churches and meetings and have been blessed by those who we've met (or already knew).  Our goal was to fund 400 children for next summer at a cost of $230/ child.  To that end, I estimate we have actually raised enough for somewhere between 30 and 45 children.  The variance exists as the difference between actual cash in hand and solid commitments that I have received.

While this is a great start after only a month of talking to people, it is far short of the pace we need to be at in order to achieve full funding by the time we leave in January.  I am not holding this burden on my own shoulders and have been amazed at how most of the funding has come not from my efforts but from the Lord placing interesting and faithful people in my path.  I pray that I will continue to trust in His plan and timing as we get closer to our time of departure.

If you have thought about giving to our ministry in Ukraine but haven't acted, I would encourage you to follow the link at right and do so today.

Thanks and God bless.


KOR Kast Walk of Shame... Sorry Ryan

I am much ashamed for having forgotten such an important date...

Today at 1pm MST the first episode of Ryan Dobson's KOR Kast Radio went live on Castle Rock internet radio.  I tuned in 15 minutes late but still got to hear (and SEE) Marshall, Ryan and Jeff Baldwin from Worldview Academy.  It's still being podcasted (like the episode that I was on!!!) so you can catch it delayed from iTunes but now it is a one-hour weekly show.

Not only can you listen live (a somewhat dangerous proposition for Marshall) but you can also watch them with streaming video and interact via phone, IM, text message and a slick live forum - which Ryan and Marshall read real-time.  I was in on it today and it was a blast.

Serious, you need to hear/see this show next week.  I'm scheduling a post to drop next Monday morning to remind us all to listen to the boys.  See you there.


Liverpool update

Liverpool (my team) played Tottenham (Slick's team) today......

Liverpool (my team) was at the top of the table this morning.......

Tottenham (Slick's team) was at the bottom of the table this morning......

Slick is my source for international football viewing.....

Tottenham (Slick's team) beat Liverpool (my team) on an own goal, some luck and a last-second goal......

I watched Slick run around his basement celebrating a crucial Tottenham (Slick's team) victory......

I don't really want to talk about it.....