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.