Monday, November 28, 2011

THIS BLOG IS MOVING!



So, the blog is moving, but you can still acces it, just off of our website!



I want to encourage you to bookmark a NEW Soulpastor Blog at either www.soulsanctuary.ca/blog or www.soulsanctuary.ca/soul-pastor




Thanks



Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Special Night

I would like to remind you that the annual Empowering Families Dinner is on Friday, December 2, 2011. This year's guest speaker is world renowned social justice advocate Dr. Tony Campolo.
For $25, you will enjoy a great meal, hear inspiring stories of how local families are being empowered to break free from the cycle of poverty, and hear Dr. Tony Campolo share a passionate message that is sure to inspire you. It is going to be a fantastic evening!

The ticket deadline is tomorrow, Friday, November 25th.

Tickets are available online at www.northendfamilycentre.org

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review



I enjoy reading a good biography, I even like watching them on A&E even more. So, I got an offer to review what thought was the Ed Thomas story…I was strangely thinking Wendy’s!!! DUH! That is DAVE THOMAS….however I saw the cover of the book The Sacred Acre and I immediately thought of “Friday Night Lights.” I was wrong, again.

Prior to reading The Sacred Acre, I’d never heard of Ed Thomas or the town where he coached football for 37 years. I am Canadian! And our high school and college football is not as greatly embraced as it is in the US. That said....Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans would enjoy this read! ANYWAY, I learnt that Thomas was a man who deeply cared for his community and the students he taught over his career. He was a man who loved his wife and family, he wasn’t a perfect husband or dad but he was a man of great integrity who understood the meaning of hard work and discipline.

The first chapters touch on the longtime coach’s personality, especially his obsession with maintaining the football field at Aplington-Parkersburg High School. Eventually the author takes the reader inside that awful day when a tornado devastated the town and then through the rebuilding process and you pick up on the dedication of the town’s leaders, from adults to the scores of teenagers who worked, in the unrelenting summer months of 2008, to rebuild. The key in this story though was Ed’s push to make the football field ready for late August, three months after the tornado rolled through.

Yet where this story gained national attention was amid the tragedy of the murder of Ed Thomas in the weight room at the high school on June 24, 2009 at the hands of a former mentally ill student. The book does not shy away from the tragic events of that day and the reader goes inside the fear, the tension and, ultimately, the tragedy of the loss of a husband and father.


The result is a book that highlights Thomas’ character more than his just his accomplishments, but more importantly the full story of the family’s and the community’s journey of faith and forgiveness. A great read and a special SHOUT OUT to The DeMoss Group who graciously provided me the copy! Sorry the review is late!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A way you can help!



Most of us have a car and that car needs gas. Here is a simple way that anyone and everyone can help contribute to our fund raising efforts to buy our piece of land. When you need to fill up go to Red Rivier Co-op and put it on our number 0343680


Don't make the mistake of doing nothing because you can only do a little! Do what you can!


Thank You

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Building Update:





I will be doing a flurry of blogposts as things are moving here at Soul Sanctuary fairly fast.

As you or may not know, we have an offer to purchase in the works for a facility and almost 5 acres of land.


Here is the plan: Very simply we need to raise as much cash as possible so that our mortgage is small. Simple enough! The beauty of it is that we have until Dec 30 to do so. That means that all of us can determine what we can give between now and the end of the year to the building fund. I need to remind all of you not to move your giving from general to building and think you are making a difference…you’re not. Continue to give as you have been doing, but also make a special attempt to give over and above to the building fund. We are not building a new facility to make us look good – we are building it to glorify God – to bring glory to Him through it. It will be put in place to minister to the people of our area. It will be a facility that will be in use the majority of the week, rather than sitting empty the majority of the week.


2 Corinthians 9:7 is a scripture that is written on our joy basket and want to bring it to our attention today. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


This verse is one reason why we do not "TAKE" an offering at Soul. Please note what it says: Everyone should give. Everyone should decide how much – from his heart. Everyone should give out of desire and love for God and His work – not feeling obligation or necessity. Everyone should offer it with joy. So your faith@home home work is determine what number you will be able to give by Dec 30th when our Building fund committee contacts you!

Secondly, be prepared to ask for a financial commitment or pledge regarding your giving for the next year so that we have a solid budget.

Third, we will be presenting an opportunity for small businesses to be challenged in that there is an anonymous contributor who is willing to match contributions from other businesses before Dec 30th. There is a potential for us to raise over $500,000 alone in this challenge. More info will be coming on this meeting.

So, raising hard cash before the end of the year is critical. Secondly, we will have investment opportunities in the form of a document called a "Mortgage Certificate." We will explains how this works in more detail with a special meeting, so stay tuned.

Finally, there are those of you who are specialists in then building trades and we are looking for your input and involvement when our building committee gets off the ground. However, before we bring in architects and engineers we need to raise the money. There it is in a nutshell!


Needless to say, we are trying to get all our ducks in a row so that we can close the deal by December 30th. What we are looking for simply is cash donations. If you are able to contribute financially to our building fund it would be greatfully appreciated! You can do so on line by clicking Here



Monday, September 26, 2011

What's with the red wrist band?



As I said last week I see the Church as an nemergency room. Think about it, when you go to emergency, you check in and are given a wrist band to identify you. Then you are seen by a nurse and later the doctor comes in. The doctor hears your request, your complaint, he listens to you vent, He hears your whatever and then hopefully you allow the doctor to diagnose your life. What takes places is the most critical and sometimes the most painful. He begins to probe and poke and pull and peels back the layers and he begins to expose the wound and tells you what is wrong and what needs to change and what you need to do differently so that you can experience life fully.

I presume that all of us have issues. The interesting thing is that only you know what that issue or issues are. The church is supposed to be a place where spiritually sick people come to get well.

This last Sunday we issued red wrist bands to all who walked into Soul and encourage people to keep it on as a reminder of what the doctor (GOD) is going to do in thier life. It is a reminder for prayer, for discussion, to the fact that you are being real with GOD, real with each other and most importantly real with yourself.


The perscriptions that were issued yesterday were:

1. Taking responsibilty of where your relationship is with GOD.

2. Identify the barriers that are keeping you from GOD.

3. Establish time with Him. Read the scriptures, pray, get in a life group, serve and be prepared for worship.


Sounds so basic...........


Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Letter from overseas!


(I occasionally get letters from my friends in Indonesia. Here is one that I would like to share with all of you who have taken time and effort to support what we do in Indonesia.)

Hi, Pastor Gerry!

It's me, (name omitted for personal reasons) from Indonesia, the girl who receives HSM Scholarship.

How are you??

btw, i cant find you on facebook. please email me the link.

i read your blog a few times. i've read the golf tournament announcement too.

i feel very flattered.

i feel like i can't thank you enough for the differences you have done in my life.

the thought of studying in my current university was almost impossible back then.

we are starting a new semester now.

actually, my gpa declined a bit last semester.

i was very disappointed.

i've accepted and learned my mistake and now i'm struggling very hard to get more A's.

i'm trying to change my habits. i'm now living a more organized life. i tidy my room and list my schedules. i also do the homework far before the deadline, something i didnt do before. procrastination has always been an issue for me, to be honest.

the university has been kind enough because they transferred the rest of the scholarship into my account, so that the scholarship can be further used for my life expenses.

i can subscribe for an internet connection in my room now. hopefully it can be helpful towards my study and social life. :)

i met a new professor in my class whom i like very much. she just graduated with masters degree from one of the university in south korea.

she gives unusual lectures difficult tasks, but she inspired me a lot.

she told us how she could get a scholarship from south korea.

i want to be like her. so i must study more seriously from now on and practice my english more.

i like your blog. i can learn english by reading your blogs and translate some difficult phrases using translate.google.com. lol

you have a modern thinking as a christian, and that's very interesting because in most christian websites, i find boring conservative texts that i've heard or seen many many times.

keep on writing, sir!

you never know how much it can help others :D

anyway, if you have time, i would like to hear from you about your church and your kids.

maybe i can suggest your church activities to be applied in my church.

hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Schooling...

I have heard it said that "the net imitates life." So, with that in mind, I feel the need to share with you something that has been on my heart for quite some time. I have the need to address some issues that present themselves on the web in the form of social media. Now, I am a big social media fan; I blog (duh), FACEBOOK, and I even Tweet...I also have a Google+ account and my world of tech is getting full. However, what I have understood is that the social conventions we apply to real life cross over to the web, especially on sites like FACEBOOK and Twitter and blogs.

Just think, you are sitting behind a screen with nobody looking over your shoulder as you read this. You can be tempted to waive any common courtesy and personal discretion because you think you are anonymous. I find it interesting that people feel protected behind avatars and aliases, privacy controls and the alleged small viewership of their online affairs, but the fact is that we really don't know who reads about us, has researched us or saved online mementos of us to their mental or computer hard drives. I have to admit that managing our online reputation and online relationships require a level of self consciousness and some tact. There is no "net police" to ensure we deliver our social graces, but that is why we need to be reminded of "netiquette" or "Web Etiquette." The gauging questions for all online activities should be: "would I do this in a face to face relationship and is the essence of the conversation fit for everyone to see?"

I have said it before and I will say it again, "I think that people self disclose too much on FACEBOOK and social media in general." What I have found in the lives of people (maybe even you) is that many people have started to avoid difficult conversations by simply sending an email, an update or a tweet. Generally speaking, sensitive conversations should occur face to face. If you are a believer that Matthew 18:15 is a verse that you MUST live by. Let me refresh this for you! "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." This is where many believers #fail...actually #epicfail! Instead of setting time aside to meet with people face to face we throw our 'stuff" out on the web with no discretion (to which I would say that many people are cowards!) #justsaying

Listen, face to face conversation limit the possibility of misunderstandings and allow for the nuances of facial expression and inflection. It's personal and it is biblical. If the individual or individuals are open to having a face to face meeting, a third space such as a coffee shop will diminish feelings of awkwardness. Phone conversations are second best, but still a good alternative.

Publicizing a private conversation on a wall post, in case it isn't obvious, is open to all to see. FACEBOOK wall posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings). So, I come back to my original point that private matters should be handled privately and if at all possible, face to face.

Think about it, you're leaving your digital signature on the Internet right now...ON MY BLOG. I have your IP address, I know when you come in and go out; I know what page you have come in on and what page you left; I know how long you have been on this blog and I know when you come back; I know if you commented or not, even if you think you are anonymous. I know! (but actually I don't care) With all that in mind, think about the consequences of our engagement on any social site. Racial slurs, criticisms without warrant and blatant abuse! These don't fly in real life, and they really have no place in the social media simply because you feel that you are anonymous on these sites.

We need to consider how our comments would be perceived before we actually post them and think about logic above emotion at all times. Above all, think about maintaining a certain level of professionalism since people can use whatever you make "permanent" on these sites against you. Before you hit "post" realize that this will be a permanent reflection of your identity and that it may never be erased. It may even be used against you. This even applies to those who play FACEBOOK games during office hours. I have heard it said "My boss is not one of my friends." That may be true but our world has been made so small because of social media that you have no idea who is connect to who and how. I am amazed how many people have lost their jobs because of a momentary lapse of judgment and posted or played a mindless game on FACEBOOK during office hours.

Try not to carry out private conversation with another person on a FACEBOOK wall or Twitter. Those excluded from the conversation are left to read through the back and forth dialogue as either unwilling or overly interested bystanders (Creepers). By skimming through someone's wall post, you can easily find out where people are working, who they are seeing, where they have traveled and where they currently reside. There are available privacy setting for restricting who views your wall....then use them, not just to protect your own privacy but also the privacy of others, but then there are ways to get around that as well...many of your friends have their settings wide open!

Remember that social media communities are real relationships, real conversations, and as such they should be treated like they are real. It is not about me, myself and I mentality. It is about the collective, the community and the common good. Every post we write needs to be purposeful, on topic and well thought out, otherwise you are wasting people's time on screening and filtering. We have all seen trivial posting on FACEBOOK, Twitter and some blogs, about the banal daily activities that people engage in. If you are a movie star, being followed by a fan-struck populace, maybe they all want to know when you brush your teeth, but for everyday people, this is just overcrowding the web with information clutter. If you must share your daily travails with intimate friends, then create a private group of those closest to you, or use the social network's email service to connect directly to them and them alone.

On another note, I am convinced that many people abuse application invites and consistently invite friends to participate in "vampire, mafia or farm"games that most don't really care about. We call this SPAM! A word to the wise, if your friends are interested they will likely join without your encouragement. If they don't accept the first time, then don't send the group request again! Ask people to join via an email, wall post or direct message...

There is no place for narcissism in social media. Another SPAMMY thing to do is to use your social network for self-promos (ie: daily status updates on your next sales event- or whatever). If that is the only reason you use social media, you will find that people will lose interest in what you are doing. If you, however, "salt and pepper" your account with other interesting tidbits and correspondence then people are more apt to follow you! BTW people get tired quickly of posts that are always negative and how hard your life is... #justsaying Try being positive and #lookonthebrightside of life. Also, posting on how a business is rude or money robbing, maybe one that represents "unwashed vermin" reflects a lack of professionalism and integrity on you as well.

I share these with you because I am concerned that many folks, especially believers are defaulting to hiding behind a screen and not interacting with people the way that GOD intended.

Thoughts?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Morning Mind Dump

Encountering GOD and his healing work in our lives is a process, it takes time. However, many people still carry and hide their pain and have not properly address the deep emotional and spiritual wounds in their lives and they haven’t shared those wounds with those who are the closest to them.

So, I ask what are you carrying today? What is your pain? What is so deeply embedded in your heart that hinders you from moving forward in your life with the relationship closest to you?

Lately there have been some high profile weddings in the media, so this got me thinking…

Why do relationships break down? Selfishness We are ALL selfish people! AND…when we view our relationships as an opportunity to get all of our needs met rather than as an opportunity to serve someone it will always go bad.

When we date, we usually make extreme sacrifices for one another…but for some reason people think when marriage happens the sacrifice stops, when in actuality it needs to increase. I’ve NEVER seen a marriage go bad when both of the people in the marriage were focused on sacrificing themselves for the purpose of serving the other person. What is it that you need to give up for your marriage to go to the next level?

Marriage seems hard…because…it is hard!!! AND…many marriages fall apart because things are not easy…and rather through fighting FOR the marriage couples allow the stress to cause them to fight IN their marriage.

If there is stress in your marriage…you are normal, especially when you add the pressures of schedules, expectations, kids, job, finances and day to day life. Too many couples allow stress to separate them when it should actually solidify them and bring them together.

If your marriage needs help…ASK!!! If I’m sick and simply deny it and refuse to go to the doctor…what was a small issue can wind up turning into an issue that could kill me. If there is a problem in your marriage THE BEST thing you can do is confess the issue and ask for help! Doing so doesn’t mean you are weak…it means you are godly!!! (James 5:16)

Many marriages have been destroyed because pride dominated the couple…and a simple issue that is easily correctable with the godly wisdom of others is allowed to go unattended…and it always destroys. Marriage CAN work…and it DOES work when we are determined to do it God’s way.

Thoughts?

Monday, August 08, 2011

You Can Make a Difference!


The Soul Sanctuary Golf Tournament was established to raise funds and open doors of opportunity by providing funding for shelter and education to less fortunate children on the island of Java, Indonesia. Soul Sanctuary accomplishes these objectives by working together with our partner, All Hands Held which was established solely for the above mentioned goals. All Hands Held is in the memory of two amazing young women who lost their lives in a flash flood (January 22/2003) on the island of Java, Indonesia.

These two women were each volunteering for one year period to work with and help the children of Indonesia. Their names are Alana Fife and Hannah Showaker, and their example of selflessness and commitment to these children is the standard by which we measure our success.

All Hands Held was created by far too many people's efforts to mention them all here and has partnered with Soul Sanctuary from the time the Church was established. The foundation has grown each of it's seven years of existence, by building on small successes and having a strong and committed foundation of people (100% volunteers).

All Hands Held has several well established programs which are described as follows...

- The Satya Wacana University Scholarship program. The goal of this program is to provide a total of 21 full four year Scholarships (one for each year of Alana Fife's life) to deserving students who otherwise would be unable to have the opportunity for a post secondary education. Currently there are three young adults enrolled, one in the faculty of law, one in the school of music, and one in computer programming and one pending.

- The Hannah Showaker Memorial Bursary Program. This program currently provides for two bursaries of $1000 USD (at Satya Wacana University) per year and is awarded to gifted students who are unable to continue their education due to the lack of financial resources. Currently one of these students has a 4.0 average and is already accepted into the Satya Wacana University Scholarship program for next year.

- The Satya Wacana Computer Program. Each year computers are purchased and loaned to students in the two above programs to give them the tools they need to succeed.

- The Wisma Kasih (orphanage) Educational Sponsorship Program. Each year All Hands Held will pay the tuition, transportation and lunch for up to 65 students at the orphanage. In Indonesia families have to pay a monthly tuition for elementary, and Jr and Sr High school or the children do not attend.

- In the past we have donated up to $15,000 USD to the Wisma Kasih building fund. The new orphanage opened up in January 2007 and the facility is beautiful. This year we had two members from Soul Sanctuary go and inspect the premises and they have come back with glowing reports in regards to the conditions and management of the facility. The building was partially funded by an All Hands Held/ Soul Sanctuary joint effort.

- The Wisma Kasih Library and computer learning centre. This new library opened in May 2008 and is a resource to enable the children of the orphanage to grow and succeed. The computer centre has 4 new computers complete with high speed internet.

We are asking YOU to get involved in any or all of the following ways:

1. You can SPONSOR a hole $100 $300 $500

2. Contribute a merchandise prize for the tournament, which will be recognized at the dinner.

3. You can enter your own foursome/couple/single and join us for a relaxing, fun and enjoyable day to show your support. Entry fees are $100 per person which includes a charitable donation receipt and a fantastic supper.

4. DON'T Like golf? FANTASTIC....come for the dinner and be a part of the bidding! There is room for all! Bring a friend and come and make a difference!

Further inquires can be made by contacting tournament organizers at soulgolf@gmail.com. More information can be found at the Soul Golf Tournament website at http://soulgolf.pbwiki.com

Most people have no just how far their donation to this cause goes. You are literally changing lives!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reflections of a Summer

So I am sitting in a church service and I hear a number of clichés and of course it really got me thinking. Cliches like “Welcome to the House of the LORD!” or “This is GOD’S house and we are to give Him our best.” Now, this really got me thinking (actually, it got me going). If by chance, a church building is REALLY GOD’s house…what would we really do there? Would were not first take off our shoes (as good Canadians do) before we enter His house? Would we not wear dirty clothes! We would not wear shorts! Would we not take a bath before we came, even in 100 degree weather? Would we take our own coffee or would we expect Him to be a good host and serve us coffee or tea or cold drink? Would we eat crackers in His house? What does GOD’S house really look like? Why do we really call it GOD’S house? Is He waving good bye to us when we leave? Does He sleep in his house? What is GOD’S house to us? Is it just a building for a meeting place? If so, why do we still call it His house? Is GOD’S house really a holy place, a place that is set apart? Can I say “welcome to GOD”S house on a Sunday morning at the theatres? When does it shift from being GOD’S house to a theatre? Now, is the building really His house or is it outside on the beach? On the golf course? Under the stars? In the cosmos, what about my living room? Can that be GOD’S House? I am baffled!

You see, I live in a subculture of Evangelicalism that uses a bunch of bad clichés and prooftexts when trying to preach a sermon. I hear terms like “GOD’S house” “Hallelujahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” “Praaaaise the Looord” and my personal; favorite “Come on…Come on.” (Where are we going?) By prooftexting I mean how one takes a single verse and twists it to make his/her point, never mind what the Bible really says about the totality of a single topic.

And then there are all these memories my friend brought up from ages ago at teen camp. For those of you who grew up in church, do you remember that youth camp experience where by Thursday night they had us burning our “secular” cassette tapes and albums? For the record, I am still in favor of burning country music. Let’s get back to the point. And you always had this hyper-spiritual teen who would stand up and say “I burned my AC?DC tape and it hissed. I think a demon came out of it when I burned it.” (Uh No. It’s plastic. That’s what happens when you burn plastic.” And then if we’re all honest, we went back six months later and bought the same tape again anyway.

I keep thinking that I live in a subculture that is unique. I must confess that I live in a “holiness culture.” Now in a holiness culture one adapts to the behavior patterns and character of Christians around them. It is these patterns and character expectations that make a person more or less holy, or it is a set of unwritten expectations that are place on a person before they even join the group. So, in a holiness culture I am perceived as holy by what I do and don’t do. Holy people don’t smoke, drink alcohol, cuss, or dance. “Holy” people dress in their best for Sunday church and go to every meeting that is happening at the church. And to be honest the list can go on…but for time sake I will end it here, I think you get the point.

You see there are things that I really HATE about this culture in which I live, and there are also things that I love. I do hate the clichés and the prooftexting, I hate the catch phrases and I hate it that church ends when the sermon is over. I really hate some of the pettiness that I see and as I sit and write this: This is exactly what Jesus speaks out against in the book of Luke. He talks about hypocrisy and I have to admit that the very thing I hate about the sub culture in I find myself in, is the very thing that is in me.

But, as I write this I do love the fact that I believe in a GOD who does fill His people with His Spirit and that one experiences the presence of GOD in a rich and dynamic way that moves people beyond all realm of experience! I have to admit that there is something about being in the presence of GOD’s Spirit and it being so tangibly thick! Then I am struck dumb as I watch young people, my kids included worshipping GOD with their hands raised, eyes closed and mouths pouring out praises to HIM! Teens, lost in the presence of GOD…..speechless. This is not forced, not commanded, not clichéd, just simple honest worship.

So the thought that I am left with at the end of this post is that God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God. Just a summer reflection!

Thoughts?


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Troubling Words!

At Soul Sanctuary we are walking through the book of Luke and we have come across a passage in Chapter 13:22-30. As you read this what are your thoughts and reflections of what Jesus is saying?

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”



Thoughts?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This Weekend Canada Day!

Call all Canadians! have a great and safe long weekend. If you are not at the lake or in the states or have started your summer holidays, be sure to be at Soul Sanctuary this Sunday at 9:59 am as we will introduce our new Youth and Young Adult Pastor: Joe Kendrick!
Have a good one all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I have been thinking....

I am awlays drawn to articles about pastors and people's take on them...why? Because I am one.
So, I stumbled on an article that I would like to share with you all and it is entitled: 5 Types of Pastors:

The Catalytic Pastor:
The catalytic pastor is wired to stir things up. They’re gifted in the prophetic and tend to be charismatic leaders. These pastors have lots of energy and are focused on the mission of the church … that is, reaching the community for Jesus Christ. In the “right” church, they’ll grow it without a doubt. In the “wrong” church, they’ll create conflict, they’ll be frustrated, and they’ll either burn out or they’ll move on … assuming they’re not fired first. Catalytic pastors are ideal church planters but often lack the finesse and patience for church transformations (except in those VERY rare churches that are truly willing to do anything to reach the community for Jesus).

The Cultivating Pastor:
The cultivating pastor is wired to break up hard ground, plant seeds, nurture the fields, and are both willing and able to bring in a harvest. They’re gifted in big-picture understanding, systems analysis, and systems manipulation (in a good way). Because of their systems understanding and their patience, they are able to cultivate change and transformation over time. However, they’re tenacious and are used to getting their way in the long run … because they know how to deal with obstacles that get in their way. Cultivating pastors are well suited for church transformations in churches that can afford to effect gentle change that takes significant time … as many as seven to ten years.

The Conflict-Quelling Pastor:
The Conflict-Quelling pastor is exactly the type that the name implies … they’re the guys and gals who are natural or skilled peacemakers, mediators, and/or conflict managers. These pastors are wired differently than any of the other pastoral types. They’re not catalytic and they’re distinctive from chaplains. Instead, these folks can walk into a congregation and in short order assess the situation and instinctively seem to know who the major players are. They are affable and able to build bridges. They tend to be quiet and reflective … when they speak, they do so with conviction, wisdom, and certainty. Conflict-Quelling pastors make excellent interim pastors and/or troubled-church pastors.

The Chaplain Pastor:
The Chaplain pastor is wired for peace, harmony, and pastoral care. This is the type of pastor that has been produced by seminaries for several decades, though a few … a very few … seminaries are retooling. Chaplain pastors eschew change and value status quo. They don’t want to stir the waters; rather, they want to bring healing to hurting souls.They are excellent listeners and tend to be good networkers within the community, primarily so they can extend their ministry, but also so they can refer those in need to oasis’ of help. Chaplain pastors don’t grow churches. In fact, a Chaplain pastor will hasten a congregation’s demise because they tend to focus on those within the congregation rather than in bringing new converts to Jesus Christ. Churches that have very little hope of transformation and church growth do well with Chaplain pastors who serve as hospice care.

The Catatonic Pastor:
This type of pastor is, frankly, either lazy or sick. There are far too many of these pastors. They take refuge in their offices ostensibly to do sermon preparation, create brochures, sum up numbers, and so on, but ultimately they’re spinning their wheels and accomplishing very little. They may or may not do the hospital visitation, but they seldom miss an opportunity to have a meal with one of the inside buddies. Catatonic pastors tend to be well liked by the power holders in the church, because the Catatonic pastor is easily manipulated and seldom, if ever, makes waves … except when they need to accomplish something and fail to meet even the lowest of expectations. Indeed, Catatonic pastors may remain as the senior pastor of a church for many years because they know how to schmooze their way into grace. Churches that hate change often end up with excellent examples of Catatonic pastors. Catatonic pastors may spend a lot of time “at work” but any congregation that sets performance goals for their Catatonic pastor will quickly discover that time in the office does not guarantee results. Of course, Catatonic pastors do not grow churches, are poor chaplains - even poor hospice chaplains, and they pretty much destroy wherever they root … and they’re more like crabgrass or bamboo that, once established, is almost impossible to eradicate.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

CHECK THIS OUT

Saturday June 11th at 3:00 Brian Head Welsh is making an appearance at Quest Musique at 1308 Portage Ave. Brian is one of the founders of the band Korn and has written the book above telling his life story and his journey towards a faith in Christ. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Been reading and thinking and found this...

So our city is a buzz with the arrival of a NHL team. That is exciting, but in this whole process I always find myself being challenged on many levels. I stumbled across this post by Pastor Perry Noble and I thought I would share it with you...

21 Questions Leaders MUST Wrestle With!

God BLEW my mind while reading the book of James the other morning…and I’ve listed some leadership questions that EVERY leader/potential leader needs to think about/pray through.
#1 – Do I understand who I am?
James 1:1 – notice James didn’t identify himself as the brother of Jesus…but rather His servant! WOW!

#2 – Do I understand that ministry IS NOT easy? James 1:2-4 (when the writer BEGINS with these verses that’s a big time sign!)

#3 – Do I understand that I should spend more time on my face before God rather than worshipping the FACEBOOK God when seeking direction? James 1:5

#4 – Do you think that James is trying to get a point across…it’s not going to be easy…but we are called to be “in it to win it!” James 1:12

#5 – Do I understand it’s not IF I am tempted, but when…and IF I give into it then something WILL die? James 1:13-15

#6 – Do I understand that I am NOT THAT GOOD…that everything is a gift? James 1:16-18

#7 – HOW many bad decisions, arguments and misunderstandings could be avoided if we all simply memorized and applied James 1:19-20? (Also see James 1:26)

#8 – Do I understand I am not called just to preach the Word…but live it? James 1:22

#9 – Do I understand that showing favoritism WILL be a temptation…but I must always war against it? James 2:1-4

#10 – Do I understand that I am called to live and lead by faith…and if I am not taking steps of faith in my life and ministry then my faith is DEAD? James 2:14-26

#11 – Do I understand the weight of James 3:1? WOW!!!

#12 – Do I fully understand that when I become envious and selfish then that is simply the beginning of the end? James 3:13-18

#13 – Do I have the proper motives in regards to leading this ministry? James 4:1-3

#14 – Am I being opposed by God or is He offering me grace? James 4:6

#15 – Am I using my platform (whether it is speaking or the internet) to falsely attack, accuse and twist people’s words around? James 4:11-12

#16 – Do I understand my days are numbered, that I’ve got one shot at this life and I need to do all that I can to honor the One who called me? James 4:13-17

#17 – Do I understand that there are seasons of growth and seasons of preparation…and in those seasons of preparation I should not become impatient, but rather wait on God? James 5:7-8

#18 – Do I understand that integrity HAS to be a priority in my life and ministry? James 5:12

#19 – Do I understand that I cannot do this alone, that I need accountability in my life? James 5:16

#20 – Do I fully comprehend James 5:17-18…that Elijah was just like one of us? He literally called fire down from heaven! He prayed for rain…and it rained! I want THAT kind of faith!

#21 – Do I understand that ministry is messy…that I am called and expected to have tough conversations with the person that the Lord places on my heart, but in doing so the potential is unlimited? James 5:19-20

Do I understand.................................................................

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A New Review!


So, I occasionally get free books! Pretty cool! But one of the stipulations is that I write a review of the book and post it. So here is my review of Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado.
Now, I have to be honest, I tried reading this book, but I had a hard time getting into it. Now, that can be due to a number of reasons, one being just unable to concentrate! So, I had this book in my hands for a while...and then one day, as I was at my travel companion's place to plan for Indonesia, he mentioned that he liked reading Lucado. So, I said....do I have a book for you!

So, Mark has submitted the review below!


Its about making an impact in peoples lives. Your correct, its all about what we are trying to do in Indonesia. However, its a reminder of something larger than ourselves; its unity in the faith, focusing on what we have in common in Christ for the greater good of humanity. Remember the 120 churches, the 52-54 denominations in Salitaga? If the Holy Spirit can soften the hearts of God's people in this one city and unite them; could you imagine the impact? The book for me was a reminder and a challenge to what we should be about. Unity in Christ and doing good and looking after widows and orphans. We hope that what we do lives on. This is only possible to the extent we take seriously our faith. What does God expect of us and want to do through us? Faith and Action.

Mark S

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The final chapter

So here we are in Vancouver. We went from Jakarta to Singapore then to Hong Kong and the 12 hours to Vancouver. After taking an hour to get through customs we came to our gate here and now our flight is delayed. Go figure! This is the first time we are significantly delayed. Welcome to Canada!

Anyway, I have uploaded some pictures on my FaceBook from our travels. I have had about 2 hours of sleep since we left! Must stay awake... Must awake stay.....stay must awake.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The following took place from 4:00 pm until who knows when

When we arrived at the airport, the man behind the orphanage had a driver waiting for us. I have to admit, I have never seen my name held high at an airport, not even from my own family. The funny thing was that there were two signs with my name. The driver and a driver from the hotel that we were staying at. I be big shot! Or sorry, Mark be big shot too! I graciously thanked the hotel driver and went with the one that was provided for us.

The hotel in Jakarta was beautiful...we went for a swim and a sauna then off for dinner. Yes it was time to eat. We want just something light, like a soup and salad. So we ordered a prawn Tom Yum soup, which is a spicy soup. And to cool our taste buds we ordered a Thai seafood salad. Ok, then you think Thai, maybe you are thinking ginger, sweet, a little garlic.....ummmm not this salad. I couldn't figure out why Mark needed water so bad. He thought that he had a pepper from the soup, which he did, that was giving him the heat. Nope! It was the salad. This salad was HOT, I mean it was so HOT that I had to use the soup to cool my mouth. We are still laughing about it.

We had to be up by 2:45 am to leave for the airport at 3:00am. We got a couple of hours of rest and now we are in the airport in Jakarta, waiting for our flight to leave for Hong Kong in one hour. When the driver took our luggage from the hotel, I told mark to sit in the front, he was so tired that he went to the "drivers side" to get in. Here in Indonesia the wheel is on the right and they drive on the opposite side that we do. Needless to say the driver had a good laugh as well.

So, we get though security at the airport...without a hitch....so I thought until at the check in counter, guess who gets pulled aside? Guess whose suitcase they wanted to go through? I figured that the guy lurking around us was up to something but I thought that Mark was the target....he is so much prettier than I am. But nooooooooo, he wanted to go through my bag....go ahead buddy, nothing but wet clothes! So, now we are in Starbucks and waiting to depart. I believe our total airtime is around 21 hours today and we plan to be home at around 11 pm! Wednesday...and it is Wednesday here in Jakarta....truly that day when the sun stood still. See you all soon,

The following took place from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm

We met our contact and proceeded to a Bible store to buy 65 Bibles for the kids at the orphanage upon the pastors request. The store was a little surprised at the amount of Bibles needed.....I laugh!...Ha Ha! Anyway, one of the board members from the church that we were at on Sunday wanted to bless us with Batik shirts and we had to go to a special mall to pick them up. After walking around for a bit, 3 teen girls asked if they could interview me for an English project at school. Both Mark and I took some time with the girls as they were learning English. They did a great job in the interview and later in the day I received an email from one who is also a Christian. I think I need to connect some of our youth to these kids.

It was about 12:30 pm and our hosts wanted us to do lunch, but we gratefully declined...yes your read correctly...I declined lunch. Only because we were still full from breakfast. They wanted to treat us for pizza, because it was "Crazy Tuesday" which meant it was two for one. Since we were not able to get out to the orphanage, Mark had the brainstorm to deliver pizza's to the kids....so we did!

Then we were off to the airport. I must admit both Mark and I were pretty somber leaving Solo to Jakarta. But it is all good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The following took place from 8:00 am until 9:00 am

We had a meeting with the head of the orphanage, although we were getting worried when he was not on time. We actually thought that he might not show....but he did. We had a great meeting and came to understand more about the orphanage and had more questions answered. We finished the meeting with a positive plan to implement for the children. At the end of the meeting Soul Sanctuary was presented with a hand carved "picture" of the Lord's Supper. It is carved from one piece of wood and it is absolutely beautiful. Now we just have to get it home without it being crushed.

Now we eat! Did I say that? Sushi and Dim Sum and fruit and an omlette yum!

The following took place at 5 am.

I woke up! Really? 5 am and I am wide awake!

The Following took place between 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

We made it back to our hotel and freshened up for dinner with our host and his family as our guests as well as our interpreter and his wife. It was a buffet and did I mention that the food was fantastic...squid, shrimp, duck, seafood galore and the list goes on and you would think that the buffet we ate as was $50 per person at the very least...not even close. All I can say is that you need to come to Indonesia to experience the food...and play with the kids. Our host and his family are amazing, never mind our interpreter...who by the way is blind.

After dinner Mark and I have been sitting and talking, processing and planning...and of course blogging....I'll let you tomorrow how things pan out, but as per usual I will probably be up in about four hours...creeping facebook.

I forgot to add that Mark's wife, Rhonda, doesn't believe my take on this whole adventure! So, she asks Mark what really happened!!?/ Rhonda, IT IS how you read it! :) Later all..it is 11:00 pm and I will be up in about 4 hours....ughhhhh! I wish I could sleep. But after playing basketball, badminton (my butt hurts) and soccer...maybe, just maybe I will get 4 and a half hours of sleep!

The following took place between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm

I promised the kids I would take them to my Facebook page and when we went to the computer lab, the internet was not working. As a matter of fact they have had a problem with it for some time...so Mark and I made a commitment to make sure that it would be fixed shortly!

It was then time to start the worship time with the kids. They used the amp and mics and the pastor jumped in using his bass. It was a difficult time as they knew and both Mark and I knew that we were leaving. They sang, asked us to share before we left and then they shared with us as well. I cant speak for Mark, but I believe that we shared the same feeling of genuine love and compassion for these kids. When the music was over, we were surrounded and the tears began to flow on both sides. It was very difficult to drive away with them all standing under the roof waving goodbye. But it is not over....

We found out that they need guitar strings and Bibles with the Old and New Testaments...and plastic chairs...so guess what we are planning to do tomorrow? Tomorrow morning we have a meeting with the man who is the head of the orphanage at the hotel that we are in. At around 10:30 we are back to that music/sports store and we are going to pick up some strings...maybe a volleyball or two and then we are going to get Bibles for all the kids and then we are going to buy a bunch of plastic chairs! Our hope is that we will have the time to deliver the Bibles personally...even if we are there for only a few minutes. We have to be at the airport at 1:30 as our flight leaves at 3 to Jakarta.

The following took place from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

So, we pulled up to the orphanage and saw the basketball net to the side of the parking lot and all the boxes still in the office. The only thing that was opened was the amp. Well, I came ready to play! I was dressed to sweat and sweat I did. The first thing we did was got the basketball net out and filled the base with water and then passed out the four balls.... IT WAS MAYHEM. The joy and the laughter was a sight to behold. The next thing was that the boys, with the help of our host, began to set up the badminton net in the middle of the parking square. They had to dig holes without shovels...that was a sight as well. Eventually, we got it up and running and I found out my host was a badminton player. Actually, it was his idea that we buy the kids a badminton set...a great idea at that.

So, after having shooting practice, I arranged a 5 on 5 scrimmage with the boys. What a blast...I am not sure how long that went on, but when that was over I went to play our host and the pastor of the orphanage a game of badminton. My teammate and I got our clocks cleaned, but that was great fun. So, by this time it was extremely PANAS...that means hot. The heat and humidity was easily close to 100 degrees. All during this time I had Mark working. You see, I am the boss....I get to play with the kids and Mark get to work with the pastor and staff. As Mark says, he is just the "sheepole." You ask him about that one.

Mark worked had asking questions and gathering data for us, but it was time to play soccer. So, waiting for Mark to finish gave me a moment to cool off and drink 2 litters of water in less than a minute. It was during this time that we handed out all the clean canteens that we brought with us. I told all the boys that they had to fill them up with water and we would take them to the soccer pitch. Sure enough they did. We had enough canteens for everyone, and yet it was interesting because the girls didn't realize that they canteen were for them as well. They stood by politely until I clued in as to what was going on and then I made sure that they all took one as well.

Mark FINALLY finished working...man alive it was about time and we were going to play soccer. But Mark decided to stay back at the orphanage to play with the kids who were not going to play. So, the boys and went to walk about 15 min to the pitch along the way we witnessed a motorcycle accident. Their motor cycles are our scooters, but it was an amazing crash none the less. Both riders walked away with minimal damage, but it was scary. As we walked through the area, every eye was on the foreigner. People would come out of their homes to watch me walk with the boys and some even got on their scooters to see where we were going. So, here is this huge Londo Gamuk (Fat white guy) walking with all these boys, and what a sight it was. I am wearing my glasses, my New Hope golf shirt, shorts and my Jamaica head band. as one of the kids at the orphanage said: "I looked like a robber."

We finally made it to the pitch and played a group of Javaneese kids. What a bunch of fun! The most interesting thing was that this was a dirt pitch, but it was also used as road for cars and scooters. Now, add a Londo Gamuk standing in the goal at one end...and it was a sight to see cars and scooters slow down and take a double look. The game was 1 - 1 when we had to call it due to rain and the kids had to be back for 5:30. We started walking back when the clouds opened up and the rain came down....I WAS SOAKED. By the time we made it back everyone was under the roof waiting for us and there was a thunderous roar from the kids as they saw me like a wet rat. I had the opportunity to take a traditional Indonesian shower and freshen up...the orphanage does not have our style of showers, you have a ladle and a tub of water from which to draw from and you pour....

Our interpreter was with me and he was soaked as well. I had brough an extra shirt with me, justin case....it was the Youth Jamaica Team shirt that they gave me. I presented to our interpreter to put on and he did....We are not sure if we got a picture but you have to imagine this little man with my shirt on him, it went down to his knees. It was great, and he was grateful! And I told him what the shirt was about and how it was from and that meant the world to him. He wore it to dinner tonight, underneath his coat! :)

The following took place from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm.

We started our day by visiting a local Christian radio station that broadcasts all types of Christian influenced programing from music to Pentecostal preaching. It was the station on the radio in the van that we were in all the time. On my last visit to Indonesia I was interviewed on that station, so it was interesting to see just how far they developed the station. The outreach from the station is amazing and not something we in the west would expect from a country like Indonesia.

After our visit at the orphanage, both mark and realized that the kids were missing something. Some serious toys! Yes, I said it, toys. So we were on a mission to find a sporting goods store and we did! Not only was it a sporting goods store but also a music store (Sam would be impressed). Sporting goods on one side and music on the other. The owner is Christian and because our host has dealt with him before he gave us a discount on all that we purchased.

So this is how it started. We were looking for a portable basketball backboard, actually two and we found 2. So, we added 4 basketballs, a badminton set (net, rackets and birdies) and new ping pong paddles. Last night they were having problems with their micas and amps so we also bought two new mics and a new amp. Of course we tested the system before we bought it. We were worried as to how we were going to get everything in our van. BTW vans are a little smaller here! Then we find out that they were going to deliver all the material for us. So, we did not tell the orphanage that the gifts were coming! I would have loved to see their expression when the truck pulled up.

After all that we went for a quick bit to eat and then off to the orphanage!

The following took place from 6:00 am to 10:00 am

Well, we probably woke up before 6 am, but I will say 6 for the blog. After just the morning easy and then going down for breakfast, we made our way outside to the pool to wait for our ride...this was about at 9 am. Yes, RIGHT! Suffering for Jesus poolside! So, when I got down there, Mark was topless, no seriously he was... and soon I was too. We sat for about 30 mins in the sun...and we both got burnt. 30 mins at 9:30 am... that is hot!

At 10 am our ride came to pick us up.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The following took place between 10:00 pm and 10:15 pm.

I have been working on the blog and I had the opportunity to greet Soul Sanctuary! I am praying that God will speak through out Youth Missions team as they share about their experience in Jamaica Mon! We are up for breakfast when I get up! Our ride picks us up tomorrow at 10:00.....and then a new adventure begins before we arrive at the orphanage again...and we are planning huge soccer game.

The following took place 1:30 pm until 7:00 pm

We drove down some roads that reminded us of Winnipeg's pot hole situation. Naw, Winnipeg is worse. And we pulled up to the orphanage that we sponsor. No sooner that when we got out of the van than we were swarmed by mainly girls grabbing our hands, holding our arms, smiling and so appreciative that we came to see them. I was moved to tears and this was only the first of many throughout the day.

We passed out the blue wristband to everyone reminding them that this was a gift from our kids to them! we have some great pictures of that. We had suckers, some frisbees and a couple of little foam footballs and of course, soccer balls. All of these were such a hit with the kids, the youngest being in grade 7. We played soccer and passed the frisbees and tossed the footballs for a while, then the kids sang us a song! INCREDIBLE!

Mark and I had a tour of the place and then we had lunch....more food! After that we just hung out with the kids asking questions and answering their questions. But when the girls found out I had four boys! Look out!

We took the boys for a walk around the area and saw the town, then it was the girls turn. Our interpreter was getting really tired as he kept trying to keep up in the sun and the heat! WE HAD A BLAST!

At 5:30 we went into the meeting area and had a time of worship and prayer and testimony with the kids. WAS THIS EVER MOVING. Not only could these kids sing, but they also could worship. The tears that were shed by the kids, shook me to the core. We heard a testimony from one of the boys and the presence of God was so strong during our time together I cannot wait to show the video to Soul.

At 7 our ride came to take us back to the hotel and now both Mark and I are in a place of reflection. Praying for Soul Sanctuary this evening!

Any questions? Feel free to ask! .

The following took place from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

LUNCH! Need I say more? The Indonesian hospitality is absolutely incredible and the variety of food is to die for. Today we went to a traditional Javaneese establishment and again FANTASTIC and they had quail eggs, of which I indulged. Not to mention all sorts of meat and I had a dish simular to spinach, but it was papaya leaf (With red chili peppers) DID I SAY FANTASTIC?

We also had the opportunity to talk with the evangelist and ask very direct questions about how ministry is done in Indonesia. we were enlightened and encouraged that God is at work in this country in such a way that is NOT reported in main stream media. We were blessed beyond belief and encouraged. All I can say is what out, next Sunday is Easter! Be ready!

The following took place from 6:30 am to 9:30 am.

Yes, you read it right, a 3 hour service. This would make the most passive of Mennonites rebel in Canada, BUT WAIT! We are in a Mennonite church, but it is in Indonesia. From the onset of the very first song you sensed the very real presence of GOD. They sang, and sang and sang with gusto. Some of the choruses we knew, some of the hymns we knew but for the more part, we worshipped along, not knowing the language. They had a special pastor today, and no it is not me. It was an evangelist! And when I say evangelist, this brother was Pentecostal to the core. (Mark thought he was in heaven) .

The pastor is known for a healing ministry here in Indonesia and Pentecost came to a Mennonite church today. As the pastor preached, he was funny, captivating, dynamic and direct. At one point he showed a video of people being healed in his church and I hope to receive that video so that I can share it with Soul. He also used another video to illustrate a point...this guy was good!

But the climax of the morning was when he gave the altar call to come and receive healing. I HAVE NEVER SEEN people rush to the front of the church like I did today. I mean RUSH! This church had never had a service like this before and it was evident that they wanted a tangible experience from GOD. There were two altar calls and it was like an old time camp meeting with people being prayed for, moved by the Holy Spirit and some falling under the power of the Holy Spirit.

I had the opportunity to lay hands on one man and he broken down in such a manner that it moved me to tears. The presence of God was so rich this morning, that we left speechless and uplifted.

The following took place from 5:30 am to 6:30 am

Mark got up a little earlier than me because he wanted breakfast and went down for a little bit before our ride was to pick us up at 6:00 am for church. My breakfast was St. Arbucks VIA. mmmmmm Anyway, at 6 we left the hotel and had to cross the main street, and to our surprise the entire main street was closed to vechiles and open only to pedestrians. It was Wellington Cres at a whole new level. There must have been thousands of people out for a Sunday morning walk. I am talking 6:00 am and the road was closed to major traffic until 9 or 10 am. After the initial shock of watching Indonesian participaction...we were off to church.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The following took place from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Supper! Why is it I am always writing about food? Because it is so good out here! We were taken for dinner to a local restaurant and as we walked in we were greeted with a few familiar faces. There were a number of the students who are a part of our scholarship program, that we met earlier in the week as well as a graduate. Not to mention their families showed up as well. Not too mention that a number of people from the local church showed up. Mark and I estimate that there were about 60 people there tonight. We talked and laughed and I heard from parents just how much they appreciated how your gifts have contributed to the well being of their children and ultimately their families.
Tonight is touching as you genuinely feel the appreciattion for all that YOU have done!

I had the opportunity to phone John E while he was at hockey and he talked with our interpreter who was THRILLED to talk to someone in Canada. Our interpreter has a radio show in which he uses to teach people English. After numerous pictures we have finally made our way back to the hotel only to be up and ready by 6 am for church. Hopefully that should not be a problem for us since we don't sleep through the night. Mark is worried about getting breakfast before church, but I know we will be doing breakfast after church. FOOD! I wonder if Mark's wife is aware as to how much this guy eats?

Until we eat, I mean meet, again!

The Following takes place from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Mark and I went exploring around the hotel to see what there is and to familiarize ourself with the area. Needless to say, we found the pool! Yes, because it is so hot and humid we went for a quick dip. We made our way back to the hotel and now we are off to walk around the area and explore. At 6:00 we have Dinner! YEAH! We will be having dinner with a number of students who have had their education sponsored over the last 8 years. Promising to be a good time, but now we are off exploring the neighborhood!

The following takes place from 11:30 am 1:30

LUNCH! But before that we went to the office of Pak Paulus and he began to show us what he now des for the MDS. Mennonite Diakonos Service. He administers relief for various areas around Indonesia. He has helped out after the tsunami hit Indonesia, earthquakes and flash floods and the list goes on. He is an arm of the MCC and he also works for conflict resolution between Islam and Christianity. Pak Paulus presented me with a plaque as well a hand carved bust of......wait for it.......wait for it......wait for it..... ahhh you will have to wait until I get home.

Enough said! We had lunch with Pak Paulus and his family, the pastor of the local church that we will be attending tomorrow and Susilannie.
We were informed that tomorrow there is a special speaker with a healing ministry! NO IT IS NOT ME! But I am sure that it will be a great service. BTW it starts at 6:30 am!

We have now checked into our hotel.

The Following takes place from 10:30 am to 11:30 am

We are in Solo and arrived safely at our hosts house. Pak Paulus is our connection here in Solo and we were by him and our old (from 8 years ago) interpreter Freddy! We promptly went to the elementary school where we raised the funds to have a state of the art English computer lab installed. I was impressed. I asked that the teacher pull in a few students to show me how it works and it was amazing to see how excited the kids got when they could participate. Without question, this has been one of the biggest and best investments that we have made. The room is dedicated to the memory of Alana Fife and I had the opportunity to see the plaque that they made in her memory.
I must admit, there has been a tug at my heart as I remembered Alanna. I believe that she would be proud to see this done for the children of Indonesia.

The following took place from 8 am to 10:30 am

Our driver picked us up at the airport and he was told her to go in Solo. So, there is Mark and I with no interpreter, with a driver who is taking us to Solo. Unfortunately, our driver got lost! He found the city of Solo but he could not find our destination! I do not know how many times he stopped to ask for directions but it was many! Eventually, after many calls, stops and texts, he found our destination!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The following takes place between 5:30 am to 8:00 am

A Better sleep than the night before but still a little off. We are up and packed eating breakfast and ready to go on this hot and sunny day. Our visit here has been more than successful with the university. We are excited about going to Solo and seeing the kids. We have had great discussion as to how we as a community can really make a difference in Indonesia. Please keep us in prayer for the next few days as we will be able to meet with all the leaders of the orphanage.

The Following took place ALL DAY FRIDAY

Both Mark and myself had our worst night sleep last night. We were both up at various times, it was really crazy. I think that we both were wide awake by 5:00 am local time. It was a rough start to the day, then breakfast came. I keep hoping for the quail eggs, but I missed out the first time. Either way, the food is always good! Especially if you like rice with every meal.

After breakfast Mark and I began to work on a Memo Of Understanding that we will have with the university regarding our scholarships and bursaries. Currently we give out 4 complete scholarships and two bursaries of $1000 each in remembrance of Alana FIfe and Hanna Showwalker. We are very happy with our meeting with the university and the students that we sponsor.

At 10 am, our new friend (a prof) from the university picked us up and took us to a local mennonite church. Yes, you read correctly! They are all over! We had the opportunity to sit and talk with the pastor and ask questions as to how they do ministry in a Muslim nation. We moved from that church to another where the pastor was a woman! I say that because I thought that it was so cool. She mentioned that she had the respect of the people in that culture, even though she was a woman pastor. Makes me think a lot about how many of us in the west look at women in leadership!

We found that the pastors issues were simular to what we face in the west. The most interesting one is the "worship wars" that they have been facing in the last few years. The churches are finding that the youth want a more contemporary style and the older want to maintain the traditional. So, like the west....traditional service is the first one in the morning, followed by the contemporary a few hours later. Get this...the first service starts at 6:00 am!

Following our time with the pastors we went for a traditional Javaneese lunch! Get this....ribs, whole coconut to drink, rice and hot sauce!
Why must I always write about the food? BECAUSE IT IS FANTASTIC!

We were then dropped off at our hotel and had time to explore! I was in Salatiga about 8 years ago and I found the market that I visited way back then. Mark and I walked up and down the street, the side streets and the stalls. It was fantastic seeing all the sights and noticing all the unique smells! Live food, almost dead food, cooked food and uncooked food...oh if only my stomach would let me partake. I took him to a western shopping mall as he had a craving for some salt and vinegar chips. We did not find that but I did find some Lays Seaweed flavor! Mark found a Pringles Sour Cream and Onion rip off that he eventually gave away to a child on the side of the street.

As in any culture there is the extremely rich and the extremely poor. Your heart cannot be helped but moved when you see the poor begging in the streets. Needless to say, Mark and I were the only white guys for miles and we sure did attract a lot attention...especially this big Londo Gamuk! (Fat white guy)

So, we are walking down the main street and then we hear our names being called out! It was Lilik, one of our hosts. He was on the way to our hotel to connect with us and we had no idea that he was coming. What was funny was that he spotted us in the middle of a busy street...only 6'4 tall white guy I guess.

We are back at our hotel...showered up, even though it is the rainy season and we got rained on a few times. We have ordered dinner (FOOD) and now we wait. Tomorrow, our ride will pick us up at 8 and then we are on our way to Solo to meet with Pak Paulus and then off to a school, then the orphanage. Until we meet again. Hey, any questions?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The following took place before 2 am. I just can't sleep!

After breakfast, we arrived at the university and spent time with our contact on the campus. She then introduced us to the students that sponsor we meet two young ladder who were given the 1000 sponsorships and not only doe one of them have a 4,0 GPA they would great individuals.


Then we meet with the remaining four full scholarship student. There are two boys and two grips, one just graduated and her position is available. The studies internet tec. Music major, and a law assistant.

After a great lunch with our host we then meet with some profs and a number of students and we had a question and answer responding, it was a great way to find out what is happening in other cultures and that in many cases we share the same concerns,

That was a long day, with much accomplished, but I cannot sleep...so I took a little something that my doctor gave me that should knock me out for four hours. Gotta go, tomorrow we meet with local churches around Saltiga.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The following took place at 4 am.

The following takes place on Thursday  between 4:00am and 5:00 am 

Last night after our visit with Dan and Jeanne, Mark and I walked back to out guest house. It was a great walk, it is also still the rainy season so everything is green and a tad bit slippery. Back at out guest house we had supper, good conversation and went to bed.
  Around four clock this morning a voice called my name. I thought I was dreaming, I had those effects from malaria pills before. But no, I heard it again, but now it was a different voice. "Heeeeeeey Gerrrrrry.....heyyyyyyyyy Gerrryyyyyyyyyy."and then it was a different voice saying the same thing.  I woke and looked at my clock and it was four am, who in the world wanted to talk to me? As it turned out it was the Muslim call to prayer. Well I am up now and my name is not Samuel! But I thought that since I was up I too should pray, so I did. 
I prayed for our trip and that our meeting the university today and tomorrow would be productive, I prayed that the people we need to meet with at the orphanage would show up and we can accomplish much.  I prayed for my wife Sharon and for each one of my boys that God would be with them during school and work and that they would have a special blessing on their lives. I prayed for my mom and my fatherinlaw and my extended family. The Hintz and Studensky family and not too mention my two brothers families. 

I prayed for the Steering Committee and thier families, each child by name. I also prayed for the staff at Soul and I will specifically give Joanne Ritchie a shout out!  

Then I prayed for the Soul family and numerous people came to mind and I will just mention names...and they know the rest! There was Luanne, Kaily, Mike T, Mike and Esther, Misty, Tye and Nancy, Kenny and Paula, Nic, John and Dan, Brad W. Paul K. Penny and Ernie K, Tug, Jayce P and her family, I prayed for the Dewberry's, Duane and Odette, Cam k, Amanda H, Seth, Conrad, Heather, Stan and Joan, Lana and Alero, Mike B and Capt Armature, Darryl F, Marita W and family, Kristen N and her family, William, Paula P, Raelynn R, Kristy L, Awln and his family especially those overseas, Jan and Ernie, Brad and Janet, Horst and Heidi, Angela and Ian, Colemans, Rebecca D, Jaret E, Gillies V, Tannis an Ron and Ryan and Rev.  The list goes on...but I must end.  See you later! 

The following took place at 4 am.

The following takes place on Thursday  between 4:00am and 5:00 am 

Last night after our visit with Dan and Jeanne, Mark and I walked back to out guest house. It was a great walk, it is also still the rainy season so everything is green and a tad bit slippery. Back at out guest house we had supper, good conversation and went to bed.
  Around four clock this morning a voice called my name. I thought I was dreaming, I had those effects from malaria pills before. But no, I heard it again, but now it was a different voice. "Heeeeeeey Gerrrrrry.....heyyyyyyyyy Gerrryyyyyyyyyy."and then it was a different voice saying the same thing.  I woke and looked at my clock and it was four am, who in the world wanted to talk to me? As it turned out it was the Muslim call to prayer. Well I am up now and my name is not Samuel! But I thought that since I was up I too should pray, so I did. 
I prayed for our trip and that our meeting the university today and tomorrow would be productive, I prayed that the people we need to meet with at the orphanage would show up and we can accomplish much.  I prayed for my wife Sharon and for each one of my boys that God would be with them during school and work and that they would have a special blessing on their lives. I prayed for my mom and my fatherinlaw and my extended family. The Hintz and Studensky family and not too mention my two brothers families. 

I prayed for the Steering Committee and thier families, each child by name. I also prayed for the staff at Soul and I will specifically give Joanne Ritchie a shout out!  

Then I prayed for the Soul family and numerous people came to mind and I will just mention names...and they know the rest! There was Luanne, Kaily, Mike T, Mike and Esther, Misty, Tye and Nancy, Kenny and Paula, Nic, John and Dan, Brad W. Paul K. Penny and Ernie K, Tug, Jayce P and her family, I prayed for the Dewberry's, Duane and Odette, Cam k, Amanda H, Seth, Conrad, Heather, Stan and Joan, Lana and Alero, Mike B and Capt Armature, Darryl F, Marita W and family, Kristen N and her family, William, Paula P, Raelynn R, Kristy L, Awln and his family especially those overseas, Jan and Ernie, Brad and Janet, Horst and Heidi, Angela and Ian, Colemans, Rebecca D, Jaret E, Gillies V, Tannis an Ron and Ryan and Rev.  The list goes on...but I must end.  See you later! 

The following took place at 4 am.

The following takes place on Thursday  between 4:00am and 5:00 am 

Last night after our visit with Dan and Jeanne, Mark and I walked back to out guest house. It was a great walk, it is also still the rainy season so everything is green and a tad bit slippery. Back at out guest house we had supper, good conversation and went to bed.
  Around four clock this morning a voice called my name. I thought I was dreaming, I had those effects from malaria pills before. But no, I heard it again, but now it was a different voice. "Heeeeeeey Gerrrrrry.....heyyyyyyyyy Gerrryyyyyyyyyy."and then it was a different voice saying the same thing.  I woke and looked at my clock and it was four am, who in the world wanted to talk to me? As it turned out it was the Muslim call to prayer. Well I am up now and my name is not Samuel! But I thought that since I was up I too should pray, so I did. 
I prayed for our trip and that our meeting the university today and tomorrow would be productive, I prayed that the people we need to meet with at the orphanage would show up and we can accomplish much.  I prayed for my wife Sharon and for each one of my boys that God would be with them during school and work and that they would have a special blessing on their lives. I prayed for my mom and my fatherinlaw and my extended family. The Hintz and Studensky family and not too mention my two brothers families. 

I prayed for the Steering Committee and thier families, each child by name. I also prayed for the staff at Soul and I will specifically give Joanne Ritchie a shout out!  

Then I prayed for the Soul family and numerous people came to mind and I will just mention names...and they know the rest! There was Luanne, Kaily, Mike T, Mike and Esther, Misty, Tye and Nancy, Kenny and Paula, Nic, John and Dan, Brad W. Paul K. Penny and Ernie K, Tug, Jayce P and her family, I prayed for the Dewberry's, Duane and Odette, Cam k, Amanda H, Seth, Conrad, Heather, Stan and Joan, Lana and Alero, Mike B and Capt Armature, Darryl F, Marita W and family, Kristen N and her family, William, Paula P, Raelynn R, Kristy L, Awln and his family especially those overseas, Jan and Ernie, Brad and Janet, Horst and Heidi, Angela and Ian, Colemans, Rebecca D, Jaret E, Gillies V, Tannis an Ron and Ryan and Rev.  The list goes on...but I must end.  See you later! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The follow takes place after 8:00 am

So, we had a great sleep... although Mark, the guy WITH the ear plugs....SNORES!
The staff brought up an interesting breakfast...with fruit and cake and some sort of rice cereal.
Mark and I got dressed and went out to explore. We made our way to the MCC office, but got lost in the process. OF course, we are unique folk and I was making friends with some school kids in a local park. We have finally found the MMC office and we are talking with Cathy (on sabbatical for the states) and she is here working with the university that we are connecting with. WE ARE GLEANING information from her and it is absolutely fantastic! Time well spent.
We plan to do lunch with Dan and Jeanne and we will see what happens!

We are rested and ready to go!

The following takes place after 5:00 pm

We are now on Semarang time. (12 hours different from Winnipeg)
We are finally here and Dan and Jeanne, along with Lilik met us at the airport and from there we got reacquainted and proceeded to pick up another couple who works for MCC. We then went to our place where we were staying. Originally we were to stay with Dan and Jeanne, but the have company that has a little baby, so we are in a "guest house." This is like a motel, very nice and clean!

So, it was time to eat and they ask Mark and I what we wanted, and we said...."WHATEVER"
So they took us to a restaurant that only served chicken. Yp, Just chicken and rice! YUMMY! Is was finger licken good chicken.....with hot sauce on the rice... Oh yeah...I need to mention just how too funny this is. THE VEGGIE ate the chicken. Oh YES! Payback is a monster. So, I asked Mark, "How was the chicken?" He said; "It tastes like chicken." :P

Back to the Guest House, it was 8:30 pm here and we are full, but tired and it is time for a shower and some sleep!

Until the morning!

The following takes place at 12:30 pm.

We have landed, bought our visa and waited forever for our baggage. On the way out of immigration Mark got pulled aside and asked to open his bag that will filled with soccer balls and water bottles. Mark is now in jail and charged is smuggling.



Just kidding! They did stop him and question him, but he said they were for the children and they let him go. We were able to make our way to domestic departures very easily. Went through about 3 security checks to finally get to our gate....but on the way we grabbed a STARBUCKS...blended mango and raspberry juice!

Now, we wait as it is 2:21 am Tuesday (Winnipeg time) or 1:51 pm Jakarta time. Our flight leaves at 2:50 pm then we have a drive ahead of us!

The follow takes place at 10:30 am

So guess what I got for a meal on the plane? Yes you are right! ANOTHER VEGGIE DISH! Come On! And this one is still not as good as the last one. I am afraid that it is going down hill pretty quick!

The follow takes place from I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE!

9:15 am Hong Kong time and it is 8:15 pm at home. So far so as we are on a Boeing 777 going to Jakarta! We are still waiting to see what will await us in the Big J. We will have to buy our visas, get our luggage and clear immigration and then find our domestic flight to Semarang. I am having to tell myself that this is morning.....morning.....morning....

Monday, April 11, 2011

The following took place from 8:00 am to 8:30 am Hong Kong Time

We landed safely ! DUH! They had a video camera mounted under the plane so you can watch the landing from your seat! That was cool! Mark and I have found our gate to Jarkarta....a STARBUCKS! and free internet access! Hence I am here. I hope to post sometime later today or the next. We land in Jakarta then we will connect to Semarang and from there drive to Salatiga. We have been in the air for 16 hours and more to go. Slater!

The Following took place at 5:30 am Hong Kong Time

Nothing! I have tried to read, but my brain is fried and I cannot think clearly. Tried to play Angry Birds but only got angry. LISTEN FOLKS....you cannot yell at a screen when people are trying to sleep! So, I had a rage quit! (For all you gamers out there) Can't really sleep, I feel tired...oh well I will Listen to some Dan Mangan...maybe that will work! No, I am not a folkie, just eclectric. See you when we land in China! Which will be in about 1 hour and 15 mins. As I write this it is 4:51 pm Winnipeg time.

The Following took place between 4:00 and 5:00 am Hong Kong time

The plane seems small although it is a 777. .. wait I am 6'4 and 245 lbs of twisted steel.........Just aboout anything I sit in is small. So, at this point I am thinking about my wife and my boys whom I miss, and I am reminded of them all as I listen to my IPad, and I am reminded of each boy from the different bands I listen to. Earlier, I noticed on my eticket that Mark requested vegitarian meals... (YUCK)! Hey, really I am cool with that. I knew he was a veggie and I was planning on getting him some help when we got back home. BUT, I never expected Cathay Pacific to think that I was a veggi as well and to my surprise they delievered my another meal...a veggie meal! I feel like a rabbit! Anyway, it was curry potatos and chick peas...but it was missing the goat! I LOVE GOAT! . I twas very good and Sue Evans would be thrilled that I ate it ALL UP! I did tell Mark, that if I don't get meat by the end of this trip I am taking a bite out of his arm!