Operation Guatemala/El Salvador

I’ll be leaving with a group of 50 people for the countries of Guatemala and El Salvador this Saturday. This group of high school students and adults has been training for ministry since January, and I can’t wait to see how God uses them, and how the people of Central America impact my students.

I am going to look for a couple of Internet Cafe’s while in Central America to update this Blog with information about the trip while we are there. That will not happen until we get out of the rainforest region of Campur, as there is no Internet service available in that region.

Here is our itinerary for the week:

June 25 – Arrive in Guatemala City/Depart for Coban, Guatemala
June 26 – Campur, Guatemala
June 27 – Campur, Guatemala
June 28 – Campur, Guatemala
June 29 – Campur, Guatemala
June 30 – Sonsonate, El Salvador
July 1 – Sonsonate, El Salvador
July 2 – Sonsonate, El Salvador
July 3 – Jutiapa, Guatemala
July 4 – Jutiapa, Guatemala
July 5 – Jutiapa, Guatemala
July 6 – Santiago, Atitlan, Guatemala (R & R)
July 7 – Santiago
July 8 – Guatemala City
July 9 – Depart Guatemala

To a group that he couldn’t wait to minister to, the Apostle Paul said,

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Romans 1:11, 12
I believe Paul’s words will happen. We covet your prayers as we go. Please pray for team unity, health, strength to keep focused, and for the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts we will minister to, and our own hearts as we are ministered to.

Free Raisins In My Office from 1:00-3:00 Only

Have you ever noticed that some people will do anything for something that is free?

Today, Caribou Coffee is offering free Coolers from 1-3 p.m. only. I’m told that the lines are huge. People will wait in line for 30-45 minutes just to get a free coffee drink. I wonder how many people would rush to my office if I were to send out a mass e-mail that said, “Free Raisins In My Office from 1-3 p.m. only.” Probably not many, but I’m sure I’d get at least ten.

Oh, that people would rush to experience the free gift that God gives.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Little Scribbles on Folded Paper

Sunday was Father’s Day. And, what a special day it was. My family made sure that Dad felt loved. From the time I woke up in the morning, until my head hit the pillow at night, I was showered with affection. Each of my children took turns displaying their love for me. From the scavenger hunt to find my gifts that my daughter Breanna sent me on, to the cards my children made for me, to the Somolian restaurant we went to for lunch, to the the hours spent fishing at Bryant Lake, my day was indeed special.

I think the thing I’ll remember forever about this Father’s Day though are little scribbles on folded paper. My four-year-old, Zach, was so excited about Father’s Day this year. From the time Mother’s Day ended, Zach has been asking about Father’s Day. When he found out it was only a week away, last Sunday, he began to work feverishly on cards. Not just one card, mind you, but many. He began placing the cards on the futon that is kept at the end of Cyndi’s and my bed on Sunday. By Monday, there were three cards. By Father’s Day, I opened at least a dozen cards. Every one of the cards were in an envelope. The papers were tattered and torn. The pictures were just scribbles really. But, his eyes. I’ll never forget those eyes. They looked up at me with such expectation. “Do you like it Daddy?”

“Yeah, buddy. I love it.”

When I told him that he used my favorite colors, he ran promptly to his room, drew another picture, making sure to use yellow, green, and blue.

Geoff Bohleen, Wooddale’s Outreach Pastor had preached a sermon earlier in the day about dads. His sermon talked about the importance of children having their Father’s approval. Zach’s eyes were a visible reminder to me of just how important that is.

Aren’t you glad that you’ve got God’s approval? Even if you’ve lived a less than perfect life, God loves you and desires you. The story of the Prodigal Son is really God’s story about us. We’re all prodigals in one way or another. Do you remember the story? One of two sons says that he wants what’s coming to him, his inheritance, now. When he gets it, he squanders it on wild living. After losing all that he has, and coming to his senses, the boy decides it would be better to return home and be a servant to his Father, than to live how he is living. So, he starts for home.

Read how Luke’s Gospel describes the scene when the son returns home:

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. . .But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Luke 15:20-24, 32
God, thanks for being our Father. And, thanks for loving your prodigal sons and daughters.