Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday July 31 - Day 6

One of our team members, BB, has spent a part of the early morning in the bathroom with stomach issues. I readily offer him up as a token sacrifice to the stomach gods that be so that I may escape his dire situation. But hey, I'm a leader. Around mid-morning, NLind is with him as it comes out the other way - well she wanted to be a nurse. We let him sleep it off for the rest of the day. The rest of the day is simply known as "Pygmy Village." Not a store in the mall, but an excursion that all of the camp will take - riding in dugout canoes upriver into the jungle to visit a pygmy tribe. No I'm not kidding.

Right after breakfast, we pack it all up into three Toyota Minivans that serve as our transport. We drive about 20 minutes and then get in a combination of 4 canoes.

The lodging caretakers at the beach have set this up for us, including bringing a list of basic staples for the village - soap, matches and salt, and a huge bottle of whiskey we all thought was water. We are told the pygmy village is a touristy kind of thing, except we don't see any other people the whole day. Touristy is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. G ends up staying back at camp to take care of BB, also using the time to continue to tweak his talks.

The canoe ride is uneventful. We hear monkeys but don't see any, although people in another canoe later said they saw a few. I thought I saw an antelope, but it turned out to be a goat. Give me a break, I live in the suburbs.

Cameroonians believe that there is a spirit of water, a spirit that does not have the best interests of humans in mind. Couple that with not knowing how to swim, you have a chicken-egg combination - people die because they don't know how to swim and they are afraid of the water because people have died and there is a spirit that lives there. Many of the students here ran into big opposition from their parents about the camp because of both the beach and the river ride. It's pretty amazing that most of them were allowed to come in the first place.

The pygmy village is a surreal experience. There is no water or electricity and they live in a complex of thatched roof structures, built out of branches, leaves and sticks. They are all fully dressed in clothes when we arrive, and there are all ages of them from little kids to older, grandmotherly types. They are just a bit shorter than us and top of the roofs come up to about my shoulder. They marry other pygmies from other tribes and they go into town only when they need something vital. They don't speak English or French, except one of them named John. That's kind of random. They also have a dog or two.

In the back of my mind, I've been asking myself if this kind of thing is even morally right. The scenario is a bit too exhibitionist and consumeristic - bring a boatload [literally] of white people to see a village of pygmies. To be blunt - it sounds too much like a zoo. I love exposing students to the concepts of engaging another culture - I don't think we have a choice, the future depends on it. But it has to be an engagement, not a viewing.

At one point, JM tells me that she wants me to talk to the tribal chief about why we are there and about Jesus. I collect a few thoughts ranging from "I'm going to do what?" to "Maybe other gods talk to this guy," to "This should be interesting." In the end, I share just a little bit about how we are here from America because there is a God that talks to us, gave us a book and created everything that you and I see here. Not necessarily right from the Four Spiritual Laws. I would speak to Wlson, who spoke French to one of the canoe drivers, who spoke the pygmy language. The answer would come the other direction. After our short dialogue, there was also a short question and answer session and then the pygmies did a dance for us, with hand made drums, singing and pulling some of our pale skinned teammmates into the circle of dance. Surreal.

We arrive back at camp in the late afternoon, have a snack and continue on that evening with normal camp stuff, including a talk and small group time. Quite a day in Cameroon.

Photos: one of the canoes, NLind dancing with the tribal chief, me and the chief.

20060726Cameroon photoset

Another Update from Cameroon

Here is another update. Please remember the health of this team in your prayers!

Good Morning America!!!

Just talked to G and we need to keep praying for the health of the team. L and E are doing better. L is still on a BRAT diet with a tender tummy. B woke up early in the morning with loose stools and feeling yucky. They are working to keep him well hydrated and he is resting today.

Let’s really pray that the enemy would just leave them alone, please! And we do know that some great things are happening down there…even more reason for the enemy to be upset with us.

S has been a bit more engaged yesterday and Y (one of the guys that gave his life to Christ yesterday) has really jumped in with both feet and shows a true hunger and thirst for the Word. Praise God.

G said that even though this is a much more expensive facility (and therefore a pretty nice place to be) than we had originally desired, it has left no reason for complaining and therefore the teens are more able to be focused and there are less distractions. This is great news!

Love and hugs and thank you for battling with us!

W and the kiddos

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday July 30 - Day 5

Sunday is our first full day of camp. The schedule is similar to a retreat with talks immediately followed by small group time, meals and games and beach time in the afternoons. G is smart enough to know that small groups are the medium by where relationships are built and lives are transformed. Therefore, small groups are a major component of this camp.

Besides the games, our team also has responsibility for small groups, along with the Cameroonian Nav team. Out of six small groups, our team has been split so that each group has both American and Cameroonian leaders. Although not quite as straightforward, our team's job is to assist, dialogue, ask good questions and listen a lot. The relationship between teacher and student in Cameroon is a 'teacher talks, student listens' idea. Interactive discussions are not the norm but is the environment we are trying to shape.

LF and I are in JM's group. She's a fabulous lady who works as a teacher in Yaounde and has intentionally 'adopted' about 8 or 10 high school students over the years and a bunch are here at this camp. I'm amazed at our first few small group times, some of the students are sharing very deep parts of their soul. JM first met G - get this - 13 years ago when they were both on a summer YWAM project in Benin. Now, G and W live across the street from her and serve together. The wild adventure that is God's plan.

During the morning talk, ADress from our team shares his story about how he became a Christian. It's a good story, one that I know a lot of students, American or not, can relate to. I'm convinced that one day, someone in Cameroon will point back to the time here as the beginning of their story with Jesus.

Cameroonian men have this really cool handshake. It's kind of hard to describe, but its the normal shake your hands, which moves into both of your hands gripping each other like you are arm wrestling and then your fingers pull on each other as your hands move away and you end the shake by making a snapping sound as your fingers pull off of each others. Like I said, hard to explain, but very cool.

Today is also my anniversary. D is a saint for letting me be in another country on this day, the second year in a row. I would call her, but I don't see a phone booth anywhere. (haha)

Our team is a bit more vigilant during beach time today. I assign the three lifeguards to stay at the outermost line in the water so the Cameroonians will know how far is too far. I can relate to the concept of water being a new medium, whereas our students don't remember a time when they couldn't swim. Some of our kids give beginning swimming lessons to the Cameroon students.

Besides G, my two other roommates are NDne and Wlson. NDne is a closet evangelist. Soft-spoken with a gregarious smile, he comes alive when speaking about the Scriptures. Wlson spends as much time with students as he can, usually right after small group time, getting to know them and what is in their head. Both are high school teachers and both have a heart of gold.

Photos: mealtime at camp; G and ADress upfront during one of the talks; NDne, me and Wlson.

20060726Cameroon photoset

News from Cameroon

This is Deanna posting. I just heard from WN with these prayer requests for the team in Kribi. Here is what she sent. Please, if you feel led, life these up in prayer.


Hi Warriors,

Just heard from G and they are doing well. The weather is not rainy and they are having a good time. This morning, Ndoune, one of our Cameroonian team members, gave the Gospel message and 5 kids came to Christ!!! What a praise!!!

Some key things to be praying about…

Elly and Lauren, from the US team, were down yesterday with a bad tummy…They are both feeling better today, but let’s continue to pray God’s protection over all the US team.

One girl, Sophie, a Cameroonian, has been making herself scarce each time God is talked about. They are working to love her to the group and Christ and we are praying for an open heart and that she would be more involved.

The whole schedule that Gilles worked painstakingly to put in place has had to be changed and almost scrapped. We are learning the true meaning of flexibility and are praying that the US team can roll with the punches…they surely aren’t in Kansas anymore!!! J

Marie Paule, Ndoune’s wife, is staying with us while he is at the camp. She is 36 weeks pregnant and we are really praying that little Jean Samuel (the unborn little guy) doesn’t feel the need to come early…wouldn’t that be like the Lord’s sense of humor…NOT!!!

Thank you for praying for us and I will keep you updated as often as I have news. Gilles sounded encouraged and upbeat…he is so flexible and God made him for Cameroon, I think! I sometimes just do better to stay at home and pray!! J

Love you and thanks,

W and the kiddos

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday July 29 - Day 4

The process of putting on this camp is a major logistical spider web - funny that Mission Advance was a precursor to the summer in that fashion. Luckily for me, I just had to show up - 6000 miles away. G Nen manages all of it effortlessly. Incredibly adaptable, laid-back and soft spoken, he's got a huge heart for the students of Cameroon and a well thought out vision and strategy. As you hear the story of the Nens, you can tell that God has been preparing them for the French speaking African world.

We load 37 Cameroonian students, probably another 8 or 10 Cameroonian youth workers, our team of 12 and everyone's luggage onto a coach bus that seats about 60. We also load about 100 bannanas, plantains, tomatoes and avacados - 100 each. Kribi is about a 3 hour drive south from Yaounde and our bus is full. Everyone brims with anticipation. I'm just trying to watch the road in an effort to keep from getting motion sick. One of the endearing traits of this particular mission team leader.

The ride there is uneventful - which I'm told is a big relief in Africa. We enjoy watching the African countryside, with farms, houses, little market areas and roadside stands. These stands sell bushmeat - the real stuff - like water rats, porcupine and monkeys. The day's special hangs on a stick next to the road - by the tail. Yummy.

Our housing at Kribi is incredible. Americans would pay a ton to live here. We have two lodging areas adjacent to each other. The girls are about 50 feet away from the beach, on a little bluff a short staircase up from the water. This area contains about 8-10 4 bedroom apartments - each with a private bathroom including a toilet, shower and sink - and a few eating and meeting areas and serves as our meeting space. There are another set of 4 apartments around the corner where some of the boys will stay. A 5 minute walk around the corner and up another flight of stairs are where the rest of the boys stay, high up on a hill. Same lodging set up - 4 to a room, private bath. Better breeze than down below, the view of the ocean is spectacular.

After check in and getting their gear into their rooms, the whole camp heads down to the beach for some fun games. Getting here was a part of it. Executing now that we are here is what its about. Our students run the games and even with just a bit of confusion at the beginning, they run well. After the games, everyone gets in the water and has a blast. We have chosen a spot on the beach where you can wade out 75 feet while the water is only up to your waist. Even so, good thing our team has three lifeguards on it.

Since Kribi is a major fishing village, dinner is fresh fish, delicious. Our team is fully engaged over dinner and the evening, playing UNO, hanging out, trying to learn/practice French - most of these students speak both English and French. Watch a group of American students befriend other students in another culture sometime. It will give you hope and resolve for the future.

Photos: the bus ride, games on the beach and LB and ESunde eating fish.

20060726Cameroon photoset

Friday, July 28, 2006

SPACE Cam team Friday update

A quick update from Friday's activities -- today had a bunch of cultural orientation and planning sessions for the student camp that will start tomorrow. The team is all well and healthy and enjoying their time together while planning for the camp and enjoying their time with their host families.The student camp starts tomorrow and runs through Wednesday afternoon.

Tomorrow we take a bus for about 3 hours to a beach area known as Kribi. About 20 other Cameroonian students and leaders come with us and we will help out with a camp for high schoolers until Wednesday.

You can pray specifically that our team works well together in running both game and small group discussion components and for the students that will be involved in the camp. Also continue to pray for health and safety while we travel to and back from Kribi.

Thanks for thinking and praying for us

Friday July 28 - Day 3

It would be safe to say that most teams had a jolt last night due to the culture. Cameroonian homes are not like ones in the States. One team has no running water inside the house - they have plumbing just no water through it. Buckets are used for both showers and flushing the toilet. NLind, the leader in that house, absolutely loves it. The Lord has groomed her for Africa. Regardless of the luxuries, the host families are imprinting their hearts with ours.

My team has the least culture shock, since we are living with Americans. We have hot water and our house is very close to American standards. It is still Cameroon and the sounds of the city don't drift away until deep into the night. The weather here is mild, chilly at night for good sleeping with highs in the 80s during the days. There is the under-aroma of burning in many parts of the city - from people burning their trash. The smell reminds me of my time in the Dominican Republic - one of the most evocative triggers in my memory.

This morning was spent doing some administrative things at the Nav center. This included two sessions - one on cultural orientation and one on the history of the Nav ministry here in Cameroon. Both were vitally important. I'm beginning to see that our team is here at a very crucial, significant and unique time in the history of Cameroonian students - and for that matter, the future of Cameroon.

Lunch is at the Nens. Our main task while we are here is the assistance of running a student camp that will take place Saturday through Wednesday. This camp serves as the catalyst for jump starting student ministry here in Yaounde. The team here has thought about, prayed over and dreamed about this camp for many months and us being here signifies the culmination of a huge vision. After lunch, we sort out all of our team bags while the Nens kids have a rest time upstairs. It's Christmas time for this family. We have brought a huge amount of amenities for them - things we can get at any corner store back home and things they long for here. Cheerios, chocolate chips, Bible studies, Christmas napkins. Makes me wish that we had brought more - packages sent to Cameroon sometimes arrive, maybe arrive a year later or disappear forever. Our time this afternoon here is also great hanging out with the Nens' kids. They are a fun bunch.

We also spent the afternoon putting together our plan for the games segment for camp. Games will be run on the beach, in the later part of the afternoon. Gross youth type games won't go over here and most of our team aren't big fans of those anyway. Instead, we plan some relay-type games, with one of the goals to build community and relationships among the 6 different small groups that the camp will be broken into. As some of my mentors say, Cause Creates Community.

This trip, nor SPACE, isn't necessarily about this week. It is about shaping the future - specifically by preparing our students to engage culture and reach the world. Therefore, our leaders have purposely tried to stay out of the discussion about games and let the seven students brainstorm, decide and outline the plan of implementation. Although awkward and tense at times, our team prep time is a valuable experience - both for the leaders and students. Sometimes the most difficult task of a leader is to purposely stand down in order to force someone else to step up.

The evenings are spent back in the host homes where they have dinner together, continue to get to know one another and pack for the beach. Camp is tomorrow. Three hours on a bus with all of us to a beach/resort area called Kribi. 90% of Cameroons don't know how to swim. We will find tomorrow that none of them have ever been to the beach before. What is everyday for us in the States is nothing sort of the miraculous for them. And maybe vice versa.

Photos: Sorting through our team gear, trampoline time with the kids.

20060726Cameroon photoset

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday July 27 - Day 2

We flew from DC via Paris and Douala to Yaounde. 12 people, 24 checked bags. Miraculously, all of us and our stuff made it to Yaounde with no issues. Our flights were on time, we had seats and the gobs of stuff we packed all made it.

On our flight, we met an American church planter that was in Yaounde for three years. He was heading back over for a short time to speak at a conference. We also met a Canadian family working for Wycliffe/SIL working on Bible translation with a pygmy tribe, coming back from a year long furlough - Cameroon has an estimated 286 languages. Indeed, a small world.

When we landed, there was a mass of humanity that came to meet us. They all knew our names and faces, had been praying for us for months and carried all of our luggage for us. Included in that were our hosts G and W Nens, who moved from Howard County about 18 months ago and Ptrs, the Navigators Cameroon director. It was a small glimmer of the hospitality and warmth that we would experience for the rest of our trip.

The ride from the airport is in the dark and its pouring rain. Our first taste of transit in Cameroon includes potholes, an intersection with taxis everywhere the eye can see and lots of people out and about, even in the darkness and rain.

All of us went via a bunch of different cars to the Nav center, the house of the former director who had just left for the states a few months ago, for a little reception for our team. When we got there, we were told the power had been out for a few hours. A sometimes daily occurrence in parts of Yaounde, as well as other parts of the world outside the realm of a person from Columbia, MD.

After a short time of introductions and welcomes, all of us left for our host families. Our team split into 4 groups. All the other groups except mine stay with Cameroonian families, all who have deep investment in starting the student ministry here. Another small glimmer of the real depth and commitment of the people here. I and two other guys stay with the Nens, so that we can 'commiserate late at night.'

Photo: Some of our crew at the airport with Ptrs.

20060726Cameroon photoset

SPACE Cameroon has landed

Hi all
A quick note just to let you know that the team has arrived here in Yaounde safe and sound. All of our bags also made it safely and all of our flights had minimal delays. The team is now settling in with their host families tonight with cultural orientation and prepping for the camp tomorrow morning.
Our next email update will probably be on Friday or Saturday, right before we leave for the camp at Kribi.
Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

T minus 22

So we leave for the airport in about 22 hours. This will probably be the last post for at least a little bit. Here are some things I'm doing before we go:

- Putting all email addresses for parents onto a flash drive file. I'm not sure how much access we will have to the web once we get there. I know there is email but I think its only via dial-up, so we may use someone else's email client to send stuff out. So updates may come to this blog via Blogger's email feature [where you can email your post to a secret address and then it gets automatically posted.]
- We scan all of our passports into electronic files. We then print a copy of each passport for each leader and also email those files back to ourselves. The passport is probably our most important document, so we have multiple copies and can get one from an internet cafe if we need to. Leaders will also have copies of signed permission slips and health id cards.
- I think I have to buy some dog food.
- Finish packing - remember to always pack one set of clean underwear in your carry on.
- Laying out all the stuff for my team at work.
- D bought me some more bug spray.
- Set up my iPod shuffle for some music to soothe me when we are traveling. I very much appreciated the sentiment GM spoke of the other night when he predicted he would be throwing up on the 3 hour bus ride to Kribi. I told him we both could reserve the front row.
- And, yes, finally, I told my parents about my trip. Some might say I'm being a terrible example to my kids and students for withholding this pretty imporant information from my parents for so long. They might be right. But I know that the less time my parents have to mull over my decision, the better off we all will be. And I've told my kids - and will tell my students - embrace the good, right behavior, be liberated and free to toss the bad behavior - you have the choice for how you will live.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Strategy vs. Logistics

"Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics." - Omar Bradley, General of the US Army
I'm certainly learning about this idea this summer. More on that later. In the meantime, read the post titled Logistics and Movements from Sam Metcalf

Technorati tags::

Final Weekend

Another very busy weekend. But luckily, the fourth of our five teams is away. LA left yesterday afternoon and I had a fun time hanging with them in the final minutes before they departed. And our Merge team came home and they seemed to have a great trip all in all.

The Cam team also had a busy weekend with our final preparations. We got to stand up front during all the church services yesterday to be prayed over. And last night we had our final team meeting which included putting down some preparations for the camp we are going to be a part of, a packing party - packing all of our team stuff for the camp and our hosts, and hanging together during the first ever co-ed sleepover [lock-in] at the headquarters of the international SPACE office - ie my house.

All of our remaining visas were delivered this morning. Malaria meds start tommorrow. Departure is on Wednesday evening from Dulles. Keep praying for our support to continue to come in. We still need quite a bit.

Photo: After we packed our team stuff, I made the whole team take a walk around the block to get used to walking with about half of our stuff.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Visiting the Merge Team

KCoats [this coming year's SPACE intern], ESunde [last year's SPACE intern] and I went to visit the Merge team tonight. The team is doing great, they are having a great time. Intriguing first comment from JWhitt [one of the leaders], "This is nothing like I expected. It isn't a missions trip, it's a week long retreat."

JWhitt was one of my students that I had brought to the SEMP conference in the summer of 2000 - SEMP being the precursor to Merge. It's been fun to watch as she has taken the lead this year to bring a team back.

They have definitely done some neat things at Merge. There was a replica tabernacle set up and part of the experience was to walk students through each component experientially, giving them a hands-on experience of what some of the elements of the Old Testament tabernacle really mean. There was also a 'stations of Jesus last hours,' also the same kind of thing - very experiential. They have also integrated small service projects that the teams are involved in. Good things no doubt.

Those good things aside, it wasn't quite what I expected either. Anybody that went to a week of SEMP got exposed and trained on how to share their faith, at multiple depths. Whether it was identifying spiritual roadblocks, writing a letter to a friend or sharing verbally on the street, they all got both classroom teaching and on the street experiences of sharing their faith in their own culture. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that standing on a street corner screaming the Four Spiritual Laws is the goal. I AM saying that there is a correct midpoint somewhere on the spectrum between:
1 - screaming the Gospel to strangers
2 - having kids go to another culture with zero training about how to talk about Jesus and their faith.
And I'm also saying that the combination of evangelism training and community service projects sounds like a real winner. But Merge was definitely not about the evangelism training.

Our purpose for sending students to Merge revolved around the evangelism experience and training - and service projects would have been icing on the cake. Sending students to serve in another culture requires them to have experience in their own culture first. Sadly, although Merge sounds like a great week, I'm not sure it fits the type of preparation we want our students to have. Not a concluded decision yet, but definitely requires more evaluation. And hey you guys that have spent time in other cultures with students, love to hear your opinions...

Photo: KCoats, ESunde, JWhitt - Merge team leader and JSutar - Merge team leader.

Technorati tags:: , ,

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tuesday Potpourri

** The 5 hottest religions in Hollywood
My favorite - a purported benefit to the Vedic religion is flying... Of course, the article doesn't exactly make Christianity sound that intelligent either... via Thunderstruck

** An interview with Erwin McManus on the The Leadership Blog
6. What goals do you have as a leader?
Erwin: i would like to change the course of human history.
i'm pretty sure we cant pull this off alone-
so we're doing every thing we can to
and unleash
the god given potental in every person we touch-
to awaken humanity-
any one of them might be the key.
mosaic exists to create the future.

other than that i dont make goals.
Hmm, I think I need to rethink my goals for next year - er, the next 500 years...
via Steve McCoy

** Dennis posts about the big three challenges in Mexico City - space, transportation and time. Good things to think about since we know the world is getting more and more urban.

Technorati tags:: , ,

SPACE Prayer Letter - July 2006

"Let others complain that this age is evil. My complaint is that this age is paltry. It lacks passion. " - Soren Kierkegaard

Hi Dear Friends of SPACE --

Hope this July finds you well - thanks once again for your thoughts and prayers for our students and leaders that seek to communicate God's passion for the nations and to live lives larger than themselves.

We've already had a busy summer which included a mission prep weekend with all of our 5 summer teams and the sending of three teams so far.  (We also had a fabulous Sheng family vacation in California - Disneyland included, of course!)

In late June, we took all five teams away to one of the Delaware beaches to run a mission prep weekend where we enabled our teams to bond together through some mission workshops, small service projects on the boardwalk and living together for a weekend.  It was an awesome time as our teams grew, worshipped and served together - hopefully setting up some great teams for their summer experiences.

As of this week, we've had two of our summer teams come home from their mission experiences - serving with the Center for Student Missions in Washington, DC; and serving with CMTS Ministries near Lancaster, PA.  One team - Baltimore - is in the field this week and return on Saturday, while our LA team leaves for a week on Sunday.  The fifth and final team for this summer, my team to Cameroon, leaves the following Wednesday.

It's been a pretty wild summer seeing our dreams and visions come true for 5 student teams this summer - what a joy to watch kids leave their personal comfort in order to bless and serve strangers.  Already, we've heard some great stories about kids experiencing the tension of making an impact on people while being stretched and challenged.

We would love for you to pray for:
- The Baltimore team and the rest of their week, as they participate in various service projects around the city and grow as a team and as individuals within God's story.
- The LA and Cameroon teams as they finish their final preparations and that their teams would make a lasting impact.
- Pray for my Cameroon team, that we would all grow a deep level of team unity.
- That support for all of our summer teams would continue to come in so that we could finish the summer break-even.

Thanks so much for praying and partnering with us. As always, more real time updates on the blog -

tony sheng

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

DC team followup

From the CSM DC blog, some comments from our team from last week:
I have really enjoyed my stay here at CSM. It's been a great experience and a great opportunity to grow with my friend, Tyler. I'd actually like to come back here next summer, or go on another CSM trip to another city in need. Thank you CSM, for an awesome time!

Welllllll tomorrow is our last day, and we are so sad! We had alottt of fun! The week flew by so fast! It was an amazing experience and we learned so much about the city and missions. We want to thank Hannah and Jordan for being awesome CSM leaders!
-Britt,Tricia, and Elizabeth
See the full post.

Don't worry, there will be a lot more content in August about our teams and following them up.

Technorati tags:: , ,

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blur of a Weekend

This weekend was pretty much a total blur. But I think I was involved in some good things, including a lot of Skip-Bo games with K... I've never played before and she has consistently beat me for the first 9 or 10 games. But yesterday.... I dominated...

In other non-Dad-has-to-win items...

- Worked from 1am to 5am on Sunday morning - got paged at 10am but luckily it was a quickly closed issue.
- Was able to make it to 2nd service to be able to pray with the LA team in front of big church.
- Em and I were able to see the Merge team off. I'm probably going to go visit them this week.
- More pool time.
- The DC and LC teams came home yesterday morning. By most accounts, both were pretty successful. 2 teams are done. 1 is in the field. 1 leaves this Sunday and my team, the last one to depart, leaves in 9 days.
- 2nd to last Cam team meeting where we went over the travel info in detail. GM did a great job going over two short passages about team unity and the idea of a body. We are having a Cam team sleepover next weekend - the first ever co-ed sleepover I have been involved in. Oh, the tragedy. [Pray for the final set of 3 visas - they are being Fed-ex'd to the visa service today...]

Photo: The LA team waiting to go up to the stage to be prayed for.

Friday, July 14, 2006

LC 2006 team departs

Well, the LC team of 14 departed for CMTS this morning. There was a bit of confusion up until last night with some vehicles - most of that was because I was in the middle of it. I should have taken care of it before I left for vacation, but oh well. It worked out and it's SPACE.

It's very exciting for me to see them off. I love this trip because, well, to be honest, it was, sort of, my idea. [OK you are right - *God* gave me a fantastic idea.] Anyway, it has so many great elements in it - to engage middle schoolers in working and serving, taking them away for some nonglamorous work, exploding their worldview and faith by working alongside someone so unconventional, and the connection to a GCC supported ministry.

This is also the first time [but hopefully not the last] that I have released something I wholly owned and unleashed someone else to run it. That's exciting to me because it personally lightens my load. But even better is the fun to empower someone else to run it and see how they shape and infuse the experience from their perspective for middle schoolers. And, NLind is the perfect person for it.

Two teams away now, one of them returns on Saturday, the other one returns on Sunday, while a third team departs on Sunday

Photo: some of the team getting ready to leave this morning. Check out the mohawk!

Related posts: 2005 and 2004 trip wrap ups

Technorati tags::

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dinner with the DC team

A few of us went to have dinner with the DC team tonight. They have had a few bumps this week, but overall, the team is doing great. Morale was high, they still had a lot of energy and most of them seemed to enjoy the Thai food.

There were six of us that went, and after reflecting upon our group, I can't imagine a better group of people to drop in on a team that has been living away from home, serving and blessing strangers, doing new and strange urban work projects and experiencing urban missions. If I were away, I would go crazy if a group like that were to visit me.

Tomorrow morning, the LC team departs. That will be the second team that leaves for the field, out of five this summer. Hey, check it out, all of our huge dreams for the summer are really happening!!

Photo: some of the team and their wacky visitors outside Jandara - NW, DC.

Our So Cal Vacation

The Hollywood Sign

sunset at Venice Beach

The Korean Bell


Disney fireworks

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

DC visit 1

Tonight I drove down unexpectedly to visit the DC team. They had an issue with one of their cars today and needed to switch it out. Since the Madre is here most of this week with her car, it was totally easy for us to switch one of our cars.

It was a lot of fun to drop in and see the team - I had already made some plans to have dinner with them on Thursday with some other SPACE peeps - and I got to see where they are staying and hear a bit about what they are doing so far. But more about the team later.

After I heard about the car issues, I literally just started laughing loudly to myself. It's just perfectly SPACE isn't it? The most random, unplanned, bizarre, ever-so-slight modification in plans. I couldn't help laugh and think, "I love it..."

As I was getting ready to drive back home, all the kids staying in the CSM church lodging were getting ready to have a "Dance-Off!" These are not your parent's missionaries...

ps - our family vacation was fabulous.

Technorati tags::

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Visiting Mosaic

Wow... it was a good as I expected it. D and I visited the 5pm service at the Mayan, along with UncleDve. The music was great and loud. Erwin was, of course, right on, speaking on Pressure, in the middle of their SportsCenter series.

UncleDve was easily the oldest person there - call us cool.

Technorati tags:: ,

SPACE 2006 DC team departs

I wish I was there to see them off, but alas, I'm still in So Cal [at least as of when I pre-wrote this post.] They will be spending all week with CSM in DC. It's a great team - quality students and leaders and I'm sure they are going to have a fantastic time. I'm also sure that there are going to be some major transformation that happens with some of them this week.

This trip was a bit bumpy in the early summer as the primary point person had a change of lifeplan and moved cross country before the trip. The other two leaders totally stepped up and led and then also recruited two more leaders. Not an easy situation to step into. One other neat thing about this team - one of the leaders is a Dteam leader for the guys. Meaning that not only does he get to experience this with his students, he will see them all through this coming school year. That greatly increases the odds for a mission experience 'sticking' with these guys.

Photo: Some of the DC team at the sandcastle building contest during Mission Advance.

Friday, July 07, 2006

stolen Celtic Way of Evangelism notes

[Post pre-written before leaving for vacation - another fun day in Disneyland - at the urging of K, we both rode the Grizzly River Rapids and, of course, I got soaked and she was totally dry.]

LB's notes here.

Interesting to me --
- No major denomination in the U.S. regards the apostolic mission as its highest priority
- Usually, the higher-ups in the church do not push for apostolic missions because they are the ones who want some security
- Use the Celtic model of conversion, not Roman
Roman: presentation - decision - fellowship
Celtic: fellowship - ministry/conversations - belief/invitation to commitment
"Christianity is more caught than taught."
- A good communicator helps people see what they can become.
- Contextualize the message: "The Christian faith never exists except as translated into a culture." (Bosch)
- In most cities, churches are only responding to those who take the initiative to visit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Homeage to a good friend

[Post pre-written before leaving for vacation - Disneyland today was pretty cool...]
A few weeks ago, our church van blew up. It was a good friend. When we think of partners in ministry, we talk a lot about people, financial and prayer supporters, teams of people and stuff. This van was a partner as well, like candy bars stuffed in the vents, tickets from that ezpass thing, and that overhead light that never could quite turn off. Oh the stories it could tell. The end of an era.

Technorati tags::

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th!!

Happy Independence Day! We are having a great family vacation.

Photo: Venice Beach, the first time the girls put their feet in the Pacific.

Monday, July 03, 2006

While I'm Out

[Post pre-written before leaving for vacation]
** CRM has launched a new web page with lots of cool resources for leader development, mission, church planting, etc.
SpeedLead - 10 minute exercises in leadership development - great idea huh?

** All 92 sneezed at the same time.

** Blending in abroad.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

THUMB - unreached peoples

[Post pre-written before leaving for vacation]
This is what my kids were learning about last week at VBS in CT with the Madre. I was very impressed and excited when they got home. My guess would be 75% of adult Christians in America have no idea what THUMB means and why they should at least know something about it.

Technorati tags:: ,