Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bet You Thought I'd Never Return

And you thought I never would. Write a blog, I mean. Well, John is forcing me (my brother.) He is having to write me e-mails every now and again because it's been so long since I've written. It's good when people are interested. To relieve him of the burden, I decided to write what comes to mind of the last three months. (Sorry, nothing comes to mind.)

Actually, we've had a few adventures. The move to Tennessee was memorable. Three of us drove a large Budget Rent a Truck dragging a our car behind. Winter caused no problem, but then when we got to the biggest hill on the journey, the stress of it colored our next few days.

It was night, about 50 miles from Chattanooga. The hill was long, curvy and for safety's sake had two escape ramps where trucks in trouble could get off. As soon as we started down the hill, the truck automatically downshifted to the Jake brake. The problem with that was that the hill was too steep and the momentum over-reved the engine. My Lover was yelling over the noise, "Slow down, slow down." The problem was, when I put on the brakes the truck started to shake like mad. So I'd let it go a little faster because it was easier to control. My wife thought I'd kill us all because the visibility was horrible. We made it and I can prove it. Our marriage is still intact.

From Tennessee, we went to GYC, Generation, Youth, Christ. I've been to several GYC's in the past and usually found the messages to be heavy on the shape up or ship out side. A little shy of the winsome Gospel. This last GYC was definitely an about face. Every sermon was Cross Centered and Gospel oriented. I loved it.

We did have a meeting with the GYC leaders about how to bridge the gap between ASI and GYC. Young people start leaving GYC when they reach 28 years of age or so, and ASI is not picking them up. What to do? The problem isn't solved and I don't think it will have an easy fix. ASI is too much a niche institution. It isn't meant to accommodate anyone and everyone, and we are reticent to make changes that would water down who we've been. There is much discussion going on lately among ASI leaders and young people. (Something to pray about.)


On to Hawaii. Oh Hawaii, how enticing and provocative. Two weeks in Paradise. Thank you EVI board--Leasa especially.

We spent two nights on Oahu. There we walked the beach, beautiful; visited Pearl Harbor, and spent ten hours in a Cultural Center. That was a lot of fun. The Cultural Center is owned by the Mormons, next to the Brigham Young University. For ten hours we attended cultural displays from the Pacific islands. Ate at a huge luau where they cooked a pig in a pit in the ground for 12 hours. Not to worry, there was plenty to eat apart from hogs. Lots of grass skirt dancing and singing in the theme park. Well worth the expense.


We spent the rest of our vacation on Maui. Interestingly, we found friends from Michigan there, Steve and Carrie Klaus. We spent most of our time touring the island with them. It was a blast. I think food was the main topic of discussion. I should have gained ten pounds, but didn't. Whale watching was the highlight of that adventure. We saw tons of whales (literally, 80-90 tons each). They breached, they flapped their tails, the competed for the right to mate. In short, they put on a show for us as if they were being paid. With the Klaus' we drove all the coasts of the Island. Beautiful scenery at every turn. Thank you again for making it possible.


I came home for a couple or three days then went off to California for an ASI Winter board meeting. For all my complaining about boards, I actually enjoyed the experience again. We were able to award 1,400,000 dollars to 40 mission projects. (Disappointing about 60. That is always the downside.) I did  manage to preach a sermon that continues to resonate with my heart. Did you know the power that resides in the cross? As Adventist, and especially ASI Adventist, we are extremely active missionaries. But sometimes we forget that being active is of little use if all our work is not powered by the influence radiating from Calvary.


I flew straight from California to Chile. Beautiful country. Hot during the day, cold at night. The people are wonderfully hospitable and happy. Los Aromos, our new little missionary project in Chile, hosted an OCI regional convention. Folks came from Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Several of the people were doctors determined to start a Lifestyle Center in their respective countries. Many of them I met at EVI. Eden Valley has the privilege of hosting many in the medical field who want to know how we treat cancer using natural remedies. It was like meeting old friends from days gone by.

Because it took me two days and two nights to get to my Chilean destination, and because I nearly froze to death the first few mornings in Chile (I thought it was summer there. Well, it is summer there, but they are very close to Antarctica and I didn't dress appropriately) I caught a cold. The Lord is good. I managed to situation the best I could, and then the Los Aromos staff took me (with others) to a hot springs in the Andies. The water was charcoal grey and stunk like rotten eggs (sulfur.) No matter I soaked for nearly three hours, coming out every half hour for an icy shower. It made a world of difference. Next time I get a cold, I know where I'm going.


In the meantime, my dear wife stayed home and worked at managing 120 apartments for OCI. True to her nature, she worked from 8 AM to midnight on most nights. That's kind of flattering, don't you think? If I'm not home, may as well work. Not very temperate though. In any case, she is working too much and I need to figure out how to curb that tendency. She'll burn out too soon at this rate.


Julie, Angie and Janet (Julie in charge) have been asked to do the children's programs for Pathway 2 Health in San Antonio, TX in April. This is a precursor to the General Conference coming this summer. As far as I know, 1500 volunteers (600 medical professionals) are descending on San Antonio to do free medical work for at least 6,000 of the more unfortunates of that city. Ted Wilson Mark Finley and others, including me will be speaking to the volunteers in the evenings. This same program on a smaller scale will be happening in Spokane in July, I think.


Somewhere in the middle of all of that I did a series of meetings for EASEA at Harbert Hills. EASEA is an accreditation institution organized to help Supporting Ministries with education needs. In ten minutes I have an Executive Committee meeting with ASI. Sorry, got to go.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

As It Stands

When I was in Hungary, I could write a blog every day. And why Not? Everything was new and interesting. At home, well, same old, same old.

I'm preaching and teaching a lot. Sometimes 15 talks per week. In less than a month, I'll be done as far as  everyday duties at Eden Valley are concerned. Janet and I will be moving to Collegedale, TN mid December, where I will pick up the OCI Executive Vice-president's responsibilities. Steven Grabiner, the President of OCI, sent me a list of 12 points outlining my new job description. It's an exciting challenge. Three of the nine points are so not me, but then again, how does a person stretch unless he is challenged?

Janet is asked to manage four apartment blocks (120 apartments) for OCI. Now that's a challenge! It will be interesting to see how that works for her and for OCI. (She awaits her job description.)

I am still ASI President until August 2015 and there is plenty to do there, as well. I will be speaking again at the next ASI National Convention in Spokane, WA. I imagine this will be my last time ever. Too much of a good thing can be nauseating, so what do you do with too much of a thing like me?

Jason has more than 6,000 of 10,000 avocado trees planted. He is well on his way to reaching his goal. We hope to see the whole family in America next summer for a family reunion in Wenatchee. Someone has already given us $3,000 toward their travel.

A search committee was organized to find someone to replace me at EVI. Five or six names have been vetted, but none are able to come. Actually, the very first name is backtracking and showing some real interest. We will be visiting with he and his wife this weekend at EVI. Something to pray about.

In harmony with my wife's modus operandi, the house is all packed ready to move. She is really organized or showing deep signs of restlessness.

Oh, and someone had the grand idea of sending Janet and I to Hawaii in January for two weeks. That same someone is raising money to pay for the vacation. I feel bad see we are so unworthy, but then again, we'll do our best to absorb all the blessings that present themselves. Wish you could come along.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I was blind for an hour on Friday. I mean I couldn’t detect the slightest hint of light in any direction. It was an amazing experience. Young Andras and his bride of one year, took me to a Braille exhibition in Budapest. We hooked up with five strangers and they, the exhibition curators, opened a door, which led to total darkness, as dark as I ever saw it 4,000 feet underground. Once inside, the eight of us had to make our way through a kitchen, a living room, down a sidewalk, and across a street, over a bridge into a forest and finally into a restaurant. (All simulated inside of a building, and all rather crowded and trying to be careful what we touched.)

You may think you have an idea what it feels like to be blind, but I found it to be far more intense than I thought. It is really hard, frustrating, and dangerous. They made a point to tell us a couple of times not to bend over because there were some short cement statues in the forest part. Near the statues, someone said we were right by the statues. I was feeling around and couldn’t find anything. I thought maybe the statues were really short so I bend over to feel at a lower level. Wouldn’t you know it; I found a statue with my face. Someday, I’ll listen to instructions.

The last three meetings were very well attended. As a matter of fact, the small church was full. Some people were disappointed that there were not more people, but at the same time, I felt there were some very good, very interested, very intelligent people showing a real desire to be led of God. I was not in the least disappointed.

To celebrate, Andras, Gabriela and I went to a mineral bath on Saturday night. That was the grand finale. The church people gave me two books, one on Budapest, and one on the history of Hungary. Mrs. Ambrus gave me an oral history of her beloved Hungary. I am extremely interested in things like that. Can’t wait to read the books.

Flew home on Sunday, arrived at the house at 11 PM. Awake at 3:00 AM, spent an hour and fifteen minutes in prayer and reading, exercised for half an hour, swept my exercise room, cleaned the fridge, made breakfast for my wife and I, and spent the rest of the day catching up. All is well.

Just a thought: Physical blindness is devastating, but spiritual blindness is worse because the spiritually blind don’t know their condition. What they think they see is their reality. But carnal reality is colored by a world steeped in deception, and we are cursed with deceptive hearts. Jeremiah 17:9. Our only hope is to be so prayerfully dependent on God that He can fulfill His promise to guide us through life. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with mine eye upon you.” Psalms 32:8. Ask God to guide you with the idea that you will follow His lead. What do you say?

So says the Preacher to his tribe.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Terrorism on Canadian Soil

I was crowned, last night at 8:30 PM. After I addressed a little bigger group than the night before, I went to the dentist and my right eyetooth was cemented in. Excellent job. There is no way anyone can tell that my tooth has a cap on it. I intended to pay with my credit card, but my host dropped cash on the receptionist’s desk. I thought they had talked this over and the dentist preferred cash to a credit card, so I didn’t protest the move. Come to find out that my host decided to pay and announced, when I tried to reassure her that I would pay her back, that it was a gift.

I’m not very good at graciously accepting gifts. I suppose it is pride, but I really didn’t want my friends to think that my sequestering a dentist in their area was calculated to get a handout. Frankly, I would have wanted to pay for my own teeth, but what can I say. She insisted and all I could do was thank her, and truly, I am grateful.

Today, four of us went for lunch at a new lifestyle center on the western end of Budapest. An Adventist couple is leasing this beautiful chateau for a year at a high cost, and they hope to open their LSC in two weeks. We had a great time, the food was good; we answered many questions and made tons of suggestions. I had to tell the driving force behind this project (the lady) that a miracle is her only hope of success. She took copious notes and is noticeably excited about her new venture, but she’s going to need everybody’s help and God’s special blessing to pull this off. She has no experience; her prospects of filling her ten beds twice monthly are not so good seeing she has no reputation or recognition. It’s a personal business, which means she will be paying wages to cook, therapists, doctors etc. Plus, she invested her own money to get the thing started and hopes to recover it. If she succeeds, it will be at the cost of her health I fear. She’ll need to work night and day to make it happen.

I’m praying for Uncle Nelson. Poor guy, he’s had a streak of bad circumstances lately that do not bode well. I fear for his life. I am praying for him.

Terrorism on Canadian soil: Unusual, tragic for sure for the victims and their families, unnerving in the short term, but it isn’t exactly our 9/11. When contrasted with the Ebola Crisis in Liberia and neighboring countries, and the Islamic State Caliphate, the Russian incursion onto Ukrainian territories, Boko Haram’s slaughtering of thousands in Nigeria, etc. etc., I wouldn’t think it time to panic.

Fear is for those who have no God. The Bible is reported to have 365 verses that say “Fear not” or “Be Not Afraid”--one for every day of the year. I wish I could have a direct telepathic connection to every heart within the circle of my influence. I would like to transfer what faith I have. (Is it arrogant to think I have a cultivated measure of faith beyond what most have?) I hope not. Everyday, I’m torn between being too soft on people I know to be in spiritual trouble and the fear of pushing too hard. One of these days, it will be like the house is on fire and we will of necessity have to sound the alarm. Has the time come yet? I don’t know. How will I know?

So struggles the Preacher for his tribe and a host of others.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The title for last night’s message was, “Contemptible Religion.” Much of religion today is contemptible, especially Pharisaic religion. The point being: We are saved by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone. Once God’s love at the cross is understood, the sinner becomes so grateful that obedience becomes a delight and sacrifice turns out to be pleasurable. But self-generated obedience, mechanical, legalistic obedience leaves its bearer despicable. “He (Jesus) spoke a parable onto them that trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. In other words, they became despicable. (Luke 18:9)

It is as if, the mechanical religionist envies anyone who will not adopt the standards they have set for themselves. They therefore, cajole, entice, coerce, force or use anything in their power to make others suffer what they are suffering. (By the way, to try to meet the standard of the law in one’s own strength is terribly painful.) It made the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal son angry. It caused Cain to kill Abel, and the Pharisees couldn’t wait to be rid of Jesus.

With that comes the mark of Cain—the mark of the Beast. Forcing another’s conscience is anti-Christ in nature. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Cor. 3:17. (Sorry, I went to sermonizing.)

Attendance was light, last night. My little interpreter, Ursela, felt bad for me, but I didn’t feel bad. First of all, I expected it. Weeknight meetings are harder to attend than weekend meetings. Secondly, I’ve pretty well settled in my mind that I am on God’s assignment, and I work with what I’m given. Appearances are deceiving.

It rained all night and the weather turned cold.

This morning Alona took me to see the hero’s square in downtown Budapest. We then went to a museum. All was pleasant. The excitement started when I got home. No one was home and they have a burglar alarm in their home, which I was to de-activate before the police are alerted. Well, I was too slow in my de-activating and the alarm went off. Do you think I could get the stupid thing to shut up? No way. About fifteen minutes later (after I prayed), grandma showed up and pushed the right buttons. Half an hour later, Andras showed up because the police called him to say his house was being burglarized. What can I say? Sorry, sorry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Funny Thing (Not so Funny)

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the meeting, last night. (A classic way to start a blog in the 50’s.) Here is what happened: I spent an hour or so preparing for a question and answer session on How to Start a Supporting Ministry, and What is ASI, OCI, with a little history and respective purposes.

Shortly after we left home (half hour trip to meeting hall), Andras’ asked, “How do you intend to start the meeting tonight?”

“Oh,” I said, “I’ll start with a little history, and move on to our purpose for being. Then I’ll do Q and A.”

“Oh no,” he said, “That isn’t what the meeting is about.”


“No, it’s about health reform,” he reminded me, “and how to do a lifestyle center.”

“But we’ve already spent an hour on that topic with the people.” (I wasn’t reminded, seeing I never received that message before, I think.)

So the conversation went . . . and left me with, “What am I to say more?” Fortunately, I figured the Lord would understand an honest misunderstanding and He would hear my frantic cry for wisdom. (He always does.) I remained amazingly calm. The blessing of being super phlegmatic.

Two SDA Conference officials attended, and a couple who started a lifestyle center in the western side of Budapest, besides some regulars. I got up and talked for five or ten minutes on my approach to teaching health principles to the un-initiated. Then I opened it up to questions. We were at least a full hour on questions. Afterward, the couple with the LSC invited me to have supper on Thursday with them. I already had an appointment with Andras’ junior to see the town, but everyone thought this was more important. The Lord didn’t let me down. He always hears my prayers.

Tonight, if all goes as planned, I should receive my crown. (Not what you think . . . eye tooth crown.) I saved $700 by having it done here rather than in Loveland.

I am about halfway through reading 1888 Materials by E. G. White. (1800 plus pages.) I read this set of four books 30 years ago, but I am getting a far different picture than what I got the first time. I guess I know much more of the history, the temperament of the various actors, and the drama playing out over God’s move to send a “Most Precious Message” through A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. The battle between the forces of evil and good was intense and gut wrenching, especially for Mrs. White.

What gets me is that nothing’s changed, except that 127 years of water has gone under the bridge, and countless billions have been swept into eternity.
What to do? I’d like to believe that my life harmonizes with God’s will, but my reading proves that I am as lukewarm as anyone has ever been. The intensity of feeling, the love for souls, the sacrificial impulses, the agonizing in prayer that I should experience is not as it would be would I be filled with God’s Spirit. Knowing it doesn’t help a whole lot either, except that I do know to pray about it. Most people haven’t a clue.

I can’t imagine what will have to happen to shake me awake to become truly active in more than these feeble efforts in which I am involved. Nevertheless, I believe that “The work Christ has begun in me, He will finish.” Philippians 1:6. Always, at this point, my conscience says, “Remember Jacob! He was about your age when he finally got fed up with his carnal nature.” For boyhood, he fought for everything he ever wanted and more or less got his way, but always in his own strength, and never did he overcome his tendency to cheat his way to the top. Finally, by the brook Jabbok, while wrestling with an Angel (which he later identified as Christ), he saw his opportunity. Crippled and exhausted and great pain, yet he laid hold on Christ by the promises he had made and wouldn’t let Him go until He (Christ) fulfilled His promise of a new heart to him. That is my answer. (Check out EW 269 The Shaking.)

I need to get serious about this! What about you?

So says the Preacher to his Tribe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everyday Tidbits

Still in Hungary: Yesterday, Sabbath, I spoke three times to a packed church. Obviously, the people are more compelled to come on Sabbath than on weeknights, still I am blessed with the interest that is shown every day.

Instead of Sabbath School, I was asked to tell about Eden Valley, especially the Lifestyle Center. I spoke for twenty minutes and opened it up for questions. They had no lack of queries, for forty minutes. Half a dozen of them had relatives that need to come to EVI, and they wanted to know how they could do that. I told them that it was relatively simple: All they needed to do was raise enough money for the airfare and the sessions and they could come. I don’t think that is what they wanted to hear. These people are relatively poor. I did suggest an alternative in Hergelia, Romania. (Actually, Szilard, my host, suggested it. His wife jokingly told me it would be wise not to hire him as my marketing agent.)

I spoke on “The Power of Suggestion” at the eleven o’clock service. After the service I went with Alona??, Szilard’s mother-in-law, to escort a Bible interest home. With that I got to see the heart of Budapest and the Danube. The lady we drove home was full of questions relating to health, the Bible and whether I was ever served pork by an African tribe. She tried to ascertain whether I would insult someone by not accepting what they served. (She has a big hang-up over pork, and her family is pressuring her with the idea that we are a cult and hold to foolish ideas.) The Lord gave me wisdom to deal with the situation. Now, I will get to meet with this lady and some relative on Thursday. I can’t wait!

I’m always amazed that the Lord never allows me to be so cornered that I am stumped. I do pray a lot about these things.

Today, Sunday, I did the Sabbath dishes, the breakfast dishes and the lunch dishes. (A guy has to occupy himself with something to do, doesn’t he?) I picked all the grapes (concords) in the arbor, and then Szilard and I made juice.  Afterward, we went to the church for another lecture. Today, was the last day for a small display of Ancient Bibles at the church. Afterward, they had a reception for those who came and for the curators. When I came in, I was forced (minor exaggeration) to eat three pieces of cake. I did my best to hide what great sacrifice it was.

The sermon was well rec’d again. New people almost every night. I stressed and illustrated how unreasonable it is to think we can be saved by anything we do. One lady, bless her soul, said she could listen to me all night. That is encouraging, but I think all she’d hear “all night” is snoring. The people really are very gracious. Several old ladies, (somehow that doesn’t sound right), let me try again. Several really mature women lined up to talk to Alona, Szilard’s mother-in-law, telling her what they will bring for potluck next week. The idea it seems is that they want me to try their specialty on me. I’d better not eat breakfast that day. I think the impetus came when two sweet “mature women” came with their best this week. It is probably the best lentil-whatever that I ever have tasted, and the other lady’s Hungarian Gulash?? was out of this world. I think I expressed it too heartily and now . . . the race is on.

There are a handful of non-SDAs coming to the meetings, and they seem to be sticking to it. One tall, attractive, 35 year old lady who just went thru’ a divorce, quit her job and started a photography business says she came because she is searching. Eniko is befriending her, and she seems to be soaking it all in. She sent Eniko, Szilard’s wife, an email this morning expressing how thrilled she is because I called her by name. Her name is Anita. It’s about the only name that makes sense around here.

Another: A 50 year-old single man, very good looking and athletic French teacher is looking for a wife. Nearly every day, he tells me he’s figured out what his problem is: Last night he said, he’s had two God’s, 1. The true God, and 2. an unreachable goddess, and he’s figured out that the issue is with himself—too high expectations. My theory is that men are really hard to marry after the age of 30. They know what they want, but she doesn’t exist in this world of sin.

Two ladies of high society walked into the meeting last night. I though, “Oh oh, they walked into the wrong meeting. This should be interesting.” I was sure they’d eventually walk out, but no, they stayed till the end and Eniko’s brother made sure they didn’t get away before he had a talk with them. I even saw him kiss on of them on both cheeks. Maybe he invited them.