Friday, July 28, 2006

A Real Shower

Last night a few of us had the opportunity to stay with an American family working on a teaching farm on the island of Sumatra. It was wonderful to sleep in a bed and have a warm shower. It has been interesting to learn of the different farming techniques used here and to see the other things being accomplished through this project.

Needless to say, as the time draws nigh, we are growing more and more excited about being at home, but we are really enjoying our time here. Continue to pray for us, we leave for home on Monday about noon (that's around 12 am for all of you at home).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Panas sekali

That means very hot. Today was really the first day that the heat got to us. The heat level has exceded South Carolina finally, but it was still a great day. We did some more clean up and Angela and the other girls visited with a family and prayed for one of the children who has sores of some kind in his mouth. The family was encouraged and our women were excited to establish relationships that can carry over beyond this trip.

Today was the last day for Angela and I here in the earthquake region. Tomorrow she and I will leave with three other members from our team to visit an agricultural project on a different island. I am hoping to see a monkey while we are there, if I do, we'll be sure to have plenty of pictures. Maybe we could even get one home to play with Rowdy (that's our dog for those of you who do not know him).

We only have three full days left here and part of two of those days will be spent in travel. We are excited to get back home, but are sad to leave our friends here and the people who have touched our hearts. There is such a need here. We are humbled and thankful to have been able to help in anyway possible, with physical and spiritual needs. Please continue to pray that our work here will not stop when we leave, but that fruits of our labor will be seen for years to come as the soil we have tilled is planted and springs forth fruit in accord with the will of God.

Have a great weekend if we do not get to post before it ends. Someone remind our parents that we need a ride on Tuesday, and Angela wants Rowdy to be waiting at the airport (she has him a bit spoiled, she says he is merely over-loved).

Anyone up for the Beacon on Wednesday? (we had curry brains on our table tonight..mmmm)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Not Much To Say

We are at a loss for words today, just wanted to let everyone know we are great. We love you all...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


We're not sure what it is about this culture, but we get tired so early. It could be the fact that we are up so early. I haven't slept past 6:00 am yet, most mornings we are up by 5 or 5:30. It's insane. Needless to say, by the time we post these blogs, we struggle to keep our eyes open and then walk back to our bedrooms (it's more like a bunkhouse, guys on one side, girls on the other).

Today, however, I just want to brag a bit on our team. We are surrounded by some wonderful people who are truly passionate about their cause here. We feel tremendously blessed to spend this time with them. I truly wish that each of you reading this would have the opportunity to meet and spend time with our entire team. Words really just do not do them justice.

There really isn't any news from today, just continued to move rocks and spend time with the people here. We are confident that we are tilling the ground and leaving fertile soil in our wake. There is a process involved in this kind of work, and we anticipate results not only now, but far into the future. Please pray for those future endeavors.


We're not sure what it is about this culture, but we get tired so early. It could be the fact that we are up so early. I haven't slept past 6:00 am yet, most mornings we are up by 5 or 5:30. It's insane. Needless to say, by the time we post these blogs, we struggle to keep our eyes open and then walk back to our bedrooms (it's more like a bunkhouse, guys on one side, girls on the other).

Today, however, I just want to brag a bit on our team. We are surrounded by some wonderful people who are truly passionate about their cause here. We feel tremendously blessed to spend this time with them. I truly wish that each of you reading this would have the opportunity to meet and spend time with our entire team. Words really just do not do them justice.

There really isn't any news from today, just continued to move rocks and spend time with the people here. We are confident that we are tilling the ground and leaving fertile soil in our wake. There is a process involved in this kind of work, and we anticipate results not only now, but far into the future. Please pray for those future endeavors.

Monday, July 24, 2006

So Much Debris...

We continue to work to clean up debris in the villages from the earthquake. Some of the villages here have been nearly totally destroyed. However, it is exciting to help others rebuild their lives and to show hope in the midst of despair. The most exciting aspect is knowing that we are interacting with people of different faiths and giving them a positive view of Christianity.

Please continue to pray that those whom we encounter will see Christ in us. The perception of Christianity here is not great, but with each brick we remove and floor we sweep and vegetable we chop (the girls have helped in some of the cooking) we are removing barriers and giving people of other faiths a transparent view into the heart of Christianity and the love of Christ. God has used the events and disasters of recent history here to bring hope.

We hope and pray that each of you had a wonderful Lord's Day and we look forward to worshipping at home again soon.

On a more exciting note, we are bringing home tons and tons of pictures...even of KFC. KFC is huge here because the people love chicken. Tonight we bought ice cream sundaes there for $.75 and cones for $.14.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Church in Bahasa Indonesia

Bahasa means language. This morning we attended a local church. We were blessed to worship with our brothers and sisters from a different country. The sermon reminded us that regardless of our language and cultural barriers, we are united as one in Christ's sufferings and His word is not contained anywhere, but is free for all to experience. We do miss the opportunity to worship with our church, but we feel blessed to be where we are doing the work of the Lord.

Many of you will be excited to hear that even on the other side of the world, I have already had a Sunday nap and plan to have another. Worship here starts at 8:00 in the morning. The people were very cordial and seemed truly happy to have us in their worship service this morning.

It is kind of hard to believe that we have been here over a week now. We actually have only a week left and part of that will be spent in travel. Please continue to pray that we will be effective witnesses and workers in the short time we have left here. We are confident of God's sovereign will here and are convinced that He will bring about His good purposes as He sees fit.

We have enjoyed the comments that have been left and look forward to others, it is exciting each day to come to the internet cafe and read the words from home. Please stay in touch and keep us informed of the things going on at home.

Oh...and by the way, I haven't eaten any more intestines, but I did have Baskin Robbins's a tough job but somebody's got to do it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ahh...Western Toilets

Sorry if that seems a bit vulgar, but until you have been without western style toilets, you can't really appreciate them. The culture here uses a toilet that amounts mostly to a hole in the ground, but we have found a few places that appeal to us westerners and we are grateful for that...but enough about that.

We apologize for not posting yesterday, but it got late in a hurry and we were totally worn out. We toured an ancient bhuddist temple. At the top of the structure, we stopped and read scripture. It was really a special time to be reminded that we serve the true God.

Today we had off as well, so we spent it doing some sightseeing. We toured a silver factory and got incredible deals on silver jewelry for Angela, but I won't brag about that. We also toured the old part of the city where we are staying and saw some ancient structures and breathdtaking view of Mt. Merapi spewing smoke in light cloud cover, we have pictures.

Tomorrow we are worshipping in some local churches. A couple of our guys are preaching with interpreters. Please pray for them, we are excited. Our work will begin again on Monday, but we try each opportunity we have with the locals we encounter to share our stories and our hope with them. We love to see our team members share their stories as we pray for them and look for our own opportunities. God has indeed been good to us and we look forward to his continued faithfulness.

Angela is rushing me, so we'll be sure to give you some more info tomorrow. Please contine to pray for us.

Oh, and P.S. I got a blowgun and I am an expert already...Angela is soooo excited.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Good Day

Today was a great day. We realized for the first time just how much impact we can have while we are here. Angela and several of the ladies did puppets and ministered to some ladies and children here. She also enjoyed fellowship in the home of a native Ibu (mother) with the other girls from our team. One of the Muslim ladies was impressed with the way that Christians could relate to her. Her stereotype of Christians was very negative, she was shocked at how nice Christians are and how much fun they can be.

My group continued to work with the same church where we have been all week. It is exciting to have a presence in the native communities to show them a different side of America and Christianity than they expect to see. Please continue to pray that the Christian image will be elevated to the level of holiness and love to which Christ has called his children.

We are reminded today that we come to this land with a message of hope. We come to share the light with people in need and distress. Indonesia has been shaken and the people here are anxious for hope. We pray that our efforts rock sterotypes and open doors for hope to be realized in this nation.

Starting tomorrow we have some time off, we are going to visit an ancient Hindu (or Bhuddist, can't remember) temple near here. We'll be sure to get lots of pictures. We hope everyone is well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Intestines...They aren't just for digestion any more.

So, this morning I ate intestines. I didn't know what it was until tonight, but needless to say, it was NASTY. Other than that, today was wonderful. The temperature was a bit warmer, but everything was great. Angela got to spend some time cooking, sort of. Maybe when we get home, she can cook intestines for everyone.

Angela spent some time with some Indonesian believers today. She was excited that they all sang together. As the Indonesian women sang, she recognized some of the hymns and sang along. God's children can worship him even through the barrier of language and Angela experienced that today.

This morning, I spent my quiet time next to an open sewer. It really stinks, but I was reminded that God is present among us regardless of where we are. On the other side of the world, the same God present in Spartanburg is active in our lives. God is great and we look forward to the lives he is changing.

More to come in the future, especially about the church we have helped to repair.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Last night we were beat and really did not have time to share our exciting experience as we posted our blog entry. We went do Mt. Merapi, the volcano that has been active in Indonesia of late, and watched it spew lava from about three miles away. It was truly incredible to see the hand of God at work in nature. We indeed serve an amazing God. It was better than fireworks.

Today we went on sites for the first time. Angela and our other femail team members played games and sang songs with some children in a nearby village. They also spent time building relationships with some of the Indonesian volunteers here. She also slept late, it was nearly 7:00 am when she got up.

I say she slept late because me and about half of the guys woke up at 4:30. Since we were all awake, we went ahead and got our mondies (Indonesian bathing, no showers here, just big buckets of water and drains in the floor) and started eating and drinking coffee. By 8:00, I had eaten breakfast three times. I was concerned about losing weight, but Angela and I have both been very impressed with most of the food. In fact, there is a Dunkin Donuts right across the road.

We are really amazed that we have been away from home for five days already, it has flown by. It's amazing how much you can enjoy yourself and ministry even when sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor and sharing three bathrooms with 50+ people.

I spend my day in a nearby village demolishing and helping to rebuild a small baptist church. It was exciting. I also met a cute little four year old little girl named Ekka. Her parents wouldn't let me bring her home. I also ate some food from a street vendor, some sort of fermented fruit, it was terrible. But, what's life without risks...

We have been welcomed with open arms everywhere we have been and look forward to continuing to work and minister here. There are indeed needs and we are grateful for the opportunity to meet some of the needs.

Please continue to pray, and if you see my mom (Craig's) wish her a happy birthday from us.

Monday, July 17, 2006

We're Fine

I am sure that by now you are all aware of the earthquakes and such in Indonesia tonight (this morning for you guys). We are all fine, the quakes hit about 350 miles from us. We understand, however, that preliminary reports are that there is significant damage. Please pray for the people and the relief work that is underway already.

We were truly blessed to be able to pray with a relief team as they left our headquarters headed for the disaster. They were hoping to be on site less than eight hours after the quakes. Please pray for us and all that is going on here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Our First Night

Last night we had a good night's rest. This morning we started off with a big Indonesian style breakfast with lots of rice, garlic, and STRONG coffee. Craig is really excited about the coffee!!!!!

We really enjoyed getting know some of our team members better and look forward to working alongside them. Many of our team members have been here before, they have had a lot to offer to us. Their understanding of the culture really helps us to feel as though we fit in even better. For instance, this morning I learned that I shouldn't cross my legs with the sole of my shoe pointing at anyone, it is an insult. Angela also learned that she shouldn't be seen with wet hair unless she is with her husband (that's me).

We have both been encouraged by the passion displayed by our hosts for the people and culture here. It is exciting to know that people from opposite sides of the globe can display such passion and care for one another. Though we are so different from this culture, we are all the same in our need for a Savior. Please continue to pray for our efforts.

Remember to post comments for us to read and to continue praying.

Finally Here

Well, after forty three hours of travel time, Angela and I have finally arrived with our group in Jogjakarta, Indonesia where we will spend the next two weeks aiding in earthquake relief. The flights really were not as bad as we expected, but the time changes have us messed up. We've only slept about 6 hours since we left on Friday.

Though things are different here, we are very excited. Tonight, we had our first ever experience on Asian roads. Though Jeff and Seth can talk to you about our Costa Rican mountain passes, nothing really compares you for the thousands of motorcycles jockeying for position, sometimes with as many as four and five passengers. It is truly amazing to watch, especially since I was not driving.

We will post more later, but for now, continue praying for us!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Please Comment as You Pray

As Angela and I prepare to leave for Indonesia, we are excited and nervous. However, we really look forward to the opportunities we will have for ministry. For all of you who are checking in for updates on our trip, I encourage you to please leave comments here or send us some emails so that we can know your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this trip possible. We pray that many will be blessed because of your help and that you will be blessed because of your giving, praying, and caring.

A Thought for Parents

Growing up, I had very few friends that my parents did not know at least something about. My friends were always welcomed at my home by my parents; it took me a little while to realize that they were so welcomed because my parents were interested not only in being nice people, but also in being certain that I was hanging out with decent kids. Throughout the years, my parents developed a sort of mental file about my friends that to this day still amazes me. Further, I believe that there must have been a network of parents that talked regularly to ensure that information was conveyed properly from one household to the next because my parents were often telling me the latest high school news before I was even aware. In some instances news of my happenings would beat me home.

Even before high school, my parents were keeping a close eye on me. As a matter of fact, I can even remember attending a sleep-over party in elementary school where someone had the bright idea of throwing water balloons at a passing motorist. The passerby, unbeknownst to us, was drunk. As the water balloon burst on his window, the car screeched to a halt, backed up and turned into the driveway of the home where we were spending the night. The driver proceeded to have an altercation with the father of my friend whose birthday we were celebrating. Needless to say, after that the party was scaled down.

This event took place sometime after dark and then we went to bed. Amazingly, when my mom came to pick me up the next morning (she had to drive there, we did not live in the same neighborhood or anything), she questioned me about the incident with the water balloons during the previous night. I was shocked, how did she know? To this day, I have no idea how my mom and dad found out about the water balloon incident on that night, but I am thankful that they cared enough to find out about that incident and many others during my adolescent years. I am also thankful that my parents cared enough to restrict my future visits to that home.

I say all of that to point out that my parents cared enough to ask questions and to keep asking questions (from whomever they deemed necessary) until they found the answers they needed to ensure my safety and my solid upbringing. I do not remember always being excited about the prodding and subsequent discipline when necessary. I hated when my parents would question the character of my friends and I despised the times when I was told that I could not spend time with certain people. Looking back at those years now, however, I am eternally grateful that my parents cared enough to work hard at raising me and my brother because their hard work then has spared years of heartache that could have followed later.

Looking at the work that it took my parents to know my friends, it seems as though they were presented with a huge task. Unfortunately for parents today, the task has continued to grow. It has grown because students of today are not satisfied merely with having friends at school and in the neighborhood; the social network of most students has begun to extend beyond their immediate surroundings and social circles through the use of the internet and a variety of virtual communities that have sprung up seemingly overnight. For students this is reality and community, but for parents this is a frightening new world of which they have little if any knowledge.

Frightening as it may seem, however, statistics show us that teenagers are engaging in online communities at an alarming rate. According to an article found in the Pew Internet & American Life Project Report, a whopping 87% of teens are classified as “online.” That number is up 24% from just four years ago. Teens are taking over the internet and are making their voices heard., which sold for 580 million dollars in 2005, is made up primarily of teens. Its popularity grows seemingly exponentially, with membership around 10 million in January of 2005; it had quadrupled to more than 40 million members late in the same year. MySpace was so popular that in 2005 it was responsible for 15% of all internet hits in October of 2005 and in that same time period more than 20 million members clicked on.[1] It is time for parents to become as proactive about their teenagers’ cyber life as they are about their everyday life that parents are used to seeing.

I think much of the problem with teens and the internet can be summed up by the comment I received from one parent: “look, if its about the computer, I just have to trust them because I just do not understand it.” My response to this parent was, “you no longer have that privilege.” Parents teach their kids safe driving habits by driving with them and teach them responsibility by checking behind them to be sure that rooms are clean and homework is done. No one expects that a 14 year old does everything he or she is supposed to do, that is why parents, teachers, coaches, and other student leaders hold them accountable for their actions and follow behind them to be certain that they have completed their tasks.

I know that my suggestion for parents to become more proactive in the online lives of their teens is a bit presumptive. After all, I grew up in the technology age, I saw the birth and boom of instant messaging and email and was able to be a part of a college age that was just beginning to appreciate high speed internet everywhere. Most parents are not as fortunate. Those in the 40 years and up age bracket did not have the opportunities of readily accessible personal computer and of course the internet was not even thought of as they came through school. The suggestion of learning the internet and becoming technology savvy is a frightening and daunting task for many parents, but it is a task that must be tackled.

I do not imagine that parents of yesteryear had an easy time trying to understand the habits and actions of their children and of their friends. However, one thing is true, good parents took the steps necessary to ensure the safety and quality of rearing for the children they loved by being actively involved in their lives. The same thing must be true for parents of today. As parents today love their children and seek to raise them right, they must be actively involved in a multi-faceted approach. Teenagers often exist in multiple worlds at one time, “Oprey calls it multi-tasking,” was the quote from Sweet Home Alabama. Whatever its called, parents must be ready, willing, and able to contend with students who can watch TV, listen to music, do homework, talk on the cell phone, and chat simultaneously with an untold number of friends through IM, MySpace, and email.

In other words parents, attending the football games, band competitions, and dance recitals are vitally important and must be done, but that must be only a part of interaction with kids. Parents must take an active role by being interested in and understanding (at least to some degree) the things in which kids are involved. But fear not, because for those of you afraid of technology and concerned about understanding your kids, there is at least one bright spot. The light at the end of the tunnel is that knowing your children and their activities better does not have to be a new aged idea, in fact getting to know your kids can start old fashioned. Spending time with your kids is the best way