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Monday, June 30, 2008

It takes dough

This whole missions thing takes dough, the kind that's green and flat (is that unleavened?), but Jesus can make loaves of the stuff from nothing.

Here's a break down of nearly all our donation totals for each trip sent directly to our mission accounts. (It doesn't include team raised funds from some trips).

$9,008 - September 2003 to August 2004 Travis' year

$349 - 2005 U-Turn Summer youth camp hosted in Poland (team funded the rest)

$3,380 - 2006 U-Turn Summer youth camp hosted in Germany, spent extra week in Poland

$5,070 - 2007 U-Turn Summer youth camp hosted in France, spent extra week in Poland

$1,085 - February 2008 - Poland (still waiting on full report)

October 2008 - Poland (still fundraising) donations to date: $748 goal $9,000 for team

I just have to say, praise and glory be to Jesus. At times it's been incrediblly stressful (such as the France year, having a shortage of $1,000 in the field sucks, yet He came through). Each year we remain humbled by the generosity and blessings by so many of you. Thanks for serving your father in prayer and giving.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

5 years ago today.

On this day in 2003 Alexis and I began our courtship. In about a week and a half (July 9th) we'll celebrate two years of marriage. God has been amazing through these years, it has been far from smooth. At times it seemed it would end in disaster, but as long as we hung onto what we knew was true of God we slowly began to realize what God believed in each of us, by using each of us to see our human flesh through another's eyes. This picture is from that very day.

Also Emma will be three months old on our anniversary! Time is flying so fast.

Portland Polish community in the news

Was just searching the internet and found an article in the Portland tribune on the Polish community here. I was looking for the hours of the Polish Cafe and found an article dated June 12th, 2008! Some friends of ours and us are going there today, hopefully we'll be able to check out some DVDs from the Polish library right above the cafe.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Polska w Październiku (Poland in October)

I know this doesn't apply to many of you, but for those that may be available!

We would like to have a finalized team of 4 people for our trip in October (we leave on the 4th, arrive on the 5th and leave on the 18th). While we are leaving for 2 weeks it is possible for you to either come late or leave early during our time there. So if it is vacation time/schedule problem we are flexible! Please, don't worry about the money, the sooner we know the full size of our team the sooner we can properly plan fundraising events. We have only had to self-fund a very small portion of our trips, God provides in so many amazing ways.

So what might we be doing, you ask?

Our passions that we would like to bring to the younger generation revolve around small group ministry. We have been using John and Sonja Decker's book "Holy Spirit Empowered Small Groups" in our own home group, and have seen amazing results with our group going and growing deeper in ways that unhide our shame and speak grace into the dark parts of our past and present.

We will be doing Language School as well, so that will take up a chunk of our time in the day time (Mon thru Fri), our friends who come with us will be watching our daughter, but will be available in any tangible way to serve the Polish people (moving, painting, etc) if there is not anything along those lines than they'll be having prayer walks around the city and whoever wants to join them is welcome.

Also we are open to meet with people/couples for coffee or in their homes, simply to encourage them and build relationships. We envision taking 3 or 4 nights a week doing a home/small group intensive based on the book. The rest of our time and focus would be on language, sharing with our team mates Poland, praying, and serving in whatever ways we can, by meeting with people and anything else that may come up. We want to focus on character discipleship.

We hope to visit the Nowy Targ/Zakopane area on the weekend of the 10-12 (Fri-Sat), but the details of this are sketchy at best. We are looking into staying at a hotel, and are also open to the possibility of staying in host homes, but we do not want to be a burden on anyone, so only if there are people who are desiring to host us, otherwise we are fine with staying in a hotel/hostel.

Please respond only if you are truly interested, for this to work for us, we really need 2 more people. Thanks and blessings!

Friday, June 27, 2008

This sums up my last two days...

Yeah, thankfully I didn't do anything like this, just everyone else around me did... I guess that's what happens when you're the IT guy trying to get an entire network back up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How do you herd cats?

People are incredibly hard to motivate. In fact, while we try to fund raise it feels we are trying to herd cats. This little video demonstrates how effective we feel:

So the question becomes; how do we effectively fund raise? Our resources are scarce and we have even less time.

Here's our list of ideas:

  • Doing a Polish dinner/dessert fundraiser night (people come expecting to donate and hear what we are doing, in person, and relationally based) - requires money to make money and time consuming.
  • Making a video of Alexis and I on what we do in Poland, that we upload to all of our different social web places. - free, except time consuming.
  • Send out support letters in the snail mail (electronic ones just don't seem to be doing the job) - medium amount of time and money.

We may have to do a combination of all of those. Our goal right now is get our airfare paid, it keeps going up, and we can't have more of that!

Gotta pray, gotta ask, gotta receive.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

There's going to be a loud explosion.

In a number of places I have a few ideas... now I'm hoping they are explosive, but they just might thud, but that's okay. Taking risks always leads to growth when you're living in the Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If only trains worked in America

I love trains, I would love to see high speed, competitively priced trains in America... but we would need so much investment to make it work, and even then Air travel is much more efficient for a nation the size of ours. Now if we all agreed to sell every straight path between all our major cities, and somehow paid for all of this, than it might work... here's an interesting article.

Voice from the past

Every once and a while I browse my archives, sometimes I'm embarrassed by what I have written, and I'm tempted to change old posts, but I never have. Other times I'm in awe of the stuff I've written, and think to myself "what happened"? Then there are some entries that I think, "why on earth did I ever write that"?

But alas, for whatever reason (maybe possession?) I felt the need to write those things and so they will forever (unless Google dies) be here, for whoever to see. These words are me, my past, my present, and my future. The voice of my past, does not define who I am today, nor does it define my future, but it does show the fingerprints of God on my life. Every blessing he poors out I will turn to praise, and no matter what I have, or what I don't have, I will say blessed be his name.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

When God speaks... courage is needed.

This morning at church God spoke to me about some pretty crazy things. Asking for sacrifices in mine and Alexis' life that just would never make sense on paper. Could certainly use some prayer on these ones. It all fits into our calling, doesn't change who we are, nor does it look that different on the surface, just requires us to communicate more of our hearts.

Stay tuned, courage is needed because sacrificing hurts.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

You want me to what what?

Life (or God, haven't figure out which yet) seems to keep putting me in the midst of inter-relational unrest lately. For the most part this doesn't freak me out, but when it happens at work, at home, at church, and amongst friends, than I get a bit fatigued.

It is in these times that I must remind myself and live by God's prompting that true love is a love that loves through these things. A love that corrects, a love that remains faithful to God's character, a love that is humble, and a love that has no end. Will everyone accept correction, no, but it is still my responsibility to speak what God puts on my heart, but it is not my responsibility for someone to correct themselves. I will speak truth in love with grace.

I will not continue to throw pearls to the swine, I will not continue to invest in those that can't accept the loving truth, but I will plant the truth when the soil is fertile. Even when I am fatigued from the energy of it, for relationships are the fabric of life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Learning Polish

Alexis and I are trying to teach ourselves Polish, and we can tell you it isn't always easy. There are times where we play an audio track over and over trying to figure something out, and other times where we can't even figure out the directions in our text books.

There are so many things that are different in Polish from English, such as 7 cases... who can tell me what the heck a case is? I only know because of learning Polish... So good luck.

Thankfully I have found some software for our Windows mobile phones, one is a talking dictionary/translator, another one is a flash card program. These are good for the beginning steps, but as time goes, we'll need lots of Patience.

Can't wait for our trip in October where we'll take intensive lessons for two weeks while in Kraków. Hopefully we'll start some tutoring lessons here in Portland too, just gotta find room in the budget.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I can only imagine it.
Walking up the hill.
Talking as friends do.

And then a great radiance began.
At first the warmth.
Then being in awe.

It becomes glorious.
To be one of the three.
To stand in the awesome splendor.

To see the radiance of our Lord Almighty.
In my heart it is there, the glory, the light.
In my spirit I am one of the three.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Pastor Factor

James 3:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

How many of us have been wounded by a pastor? How many of us have witnessed a pastor fail? There is a lot to say about the calling of pastorship. Yet because of our human tendency for shaming and measuring people by their behavior (which is simply being religious instead of relational) rather than their character we become easily jaded and cynical towards leaders in the church. It is true that pastors/teachers in the Church "should" live above reproach, yet, no where do we see that there are two levels of Christians, the ministers verses the followers... we are all on the same playing field and we need to be aware of people's internal character, firstly with our own.

Then the world will know us for our love, loving a person in spite of their behavior is what our Christ did for us.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not centered.

Ever have those days where you feel like you feel as if your different parts are scattered around town? Today is that day for me. I'm everywhere except here. I think it's a Monday thing.

In other thoughts, being jaded and cynical, the death of fellowship?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lack of funds can feel like lack of call...

Alexis and I have been on a fundraising break for a bit, it can be exhausting to always be in fundraising mode. Starting this summer I plan on putting away a bit each month into our missions funds from our own income, but so far we have simply been unable to do that and have depended on donations for 100% of our fundraising.

Then there are times where I feel we need to have faith that God will provide, because he always has. Many times the opposite is also true, Where I think the lack of donations means we're just not suppose to go. But that does not sit well in our hearts at all. So, I contend as James instructs us to have faith in God without wavering.

Currently, for our October trip, we have $640 of the $4550 (includes language school) that Alexis and I need. Our teammates need $1500 each. If we received just $40 from 100 people, Alexis and I would be done!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The reality beyond...

While this blog has primarily been a personal one and focused on my call to Poland, there is a reality beyond that. I have friends who are missionaries in Turkey, and they live in the capitol city where Christian churches are having more difficulties, even though Turkey aspires to join the European Union.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

bing, ding, buzz, ring...

Caller tunes, ring tones, jingles, earworms...

And oh yeah, beeps.

Sometimes I think my auditory circuits could explode. So I finally dived into the twitter thing, still trying to figure out what the heck the point is, but I think I might get into it... maybe. Right now I guess something is broken so my Facebook status and twitter aren't talking, which was one of the reasons I even tried out another social app... But I did find a nifty app for my windows mobile phone so I can "tweet" from my today screen easily. Hmmm maybe there is a windows vista tweet gadget... off to look. I found one, neato. And goodnight.

Just checking...

So my wife sent me this picture. I guess the Gresham fire department needed to see if their ladder would reach our roof and how. One would think that during the permit and planning phase of our townhouse neighborhood this would have been addressed. ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I miss Europe!

Gosh I miss Europe so much. There are times where I browse old photos of our trips to Europe... yes I know, some people don't ever get the opportunity to see Europe. Sometimes I seem to live life from trip to trip, with the in between times simply being the means to the end. Then there are times like today, where I avoid looking at the pictures (particularly hard on Facebook, as a number of my European friends post pictures or have profile pictures in Europe) because I get a heartache.

And so I digress, submit myself to what I'm called to do here and now, lean in on what the Lord has for me in the moment and pray for those in Europe. I'm beginning to feel like a foreigner here... and yet, I feel very American there...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Loathing work...

On most weekday mornings I loath the thought of going to work. It isn't that I hate my job, in fact, my job is pretty cool, my co-workers are great, and most of the work itself is pretty good as well. However, for some reason I just hate the thought of going to work. A lot of it is the fact that I do not find any kind of fulfilment in my work, servers are not the most social entities. There are relational perks, but I must work hard at seeking out those opportunities. As a follower of Christ I find it very difficult to find Christ's purpose in my line of work. Nonetheless though, He has shown me favor amongst the powers that be, in pay, and in fringe benefits.

However, the loathing continues, but I do praise Him anyway that I have a job, that it provides for my family, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel coming my way. Maybe this is why I've been so interested in the theory of Star trek economy (a society without money)... yeah can't wait for the new Jerusalem!

Sunday, June 08, 2008



Hearing God

In the past few weeks I've had a number of people ask me about hearing from God. Or, more specifically, hearing God's voice.

Since it is nearly 1am, I'm not going to elborate to much on this, but I do have a few thoughts.

First I think many of us try far to hard. I actually think a lot of us have probably heard His voice clear and strong, but we either thought it was our own, or too afraid to obey it in faith.

For me, his voice is always the gut feeling, not the fleshly desire, but the inner thoughts that guide me in decisions, letting me know if something is right or wrong. I've learned to tune into this voice more and more over the years, and without doubt, I know it is His voice.

It has taken nearly a decade to come to this point, and I still fail miserably in actully giving time to listen to His voice. But growing up I always had an inner sense of right and wrong, and I believe it was the Holy Spirit, but since I didn't have the relationship with Jesus as I do now I simply thought it was my "conscience".

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Major design changes...

Pardon the dust around here, I've finally gone and taken the leap into redesigning this blog... right now it's just simple. I want to keep it that way, but I also want it to be fresh, be me, and be more defined. Stay tuned.