Thursday, October 2, 2014

Helping Mary


I had to share this picture with you before getting into the heart of this post.  I snapped this picture over the weekend as Noonie and I stood across the way from Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  It should be called God's Garden.  God's majesty is what comes to mind for me.

What does is mean to help Mary?  This week, that's what I'm up to with the staff at Arizona Shine
 

The missions project of this station is to send 100 SonSet Radios to Mary Moshoeshoe, who manages Harvest FM, a Reach Beyond partner, in Lesotho, Africa.  I'm on the air six hours a day helping Arizona Shine raise its own funds and telling the SonSet Radio story.  


Imagine...

In the tiny country of Lesotho, 70 percent of residents are unemployed and 40 percent are suffering from HIV/AIDS.  This epidemic affects all aspects of society.  It leaves orphans reliant on the care of family members or the community.  Life expectancy is just 36 years.
 

Through this SonSet Radio project, Arizona Shine hopes to send 100 radios to Harvest FM, so Mary and her staff can hand them to people in remote areas.  As a result, they will hear about the hope and love of Jesus Christ.  Past shipments of SonSets have done miracles in Mary's ministry: 

A group of prostitutes, who thought they were totally rejected by society, were "thrilled and overjoyed" to receive the fixed tuned solar powered radios. One of the programs, which was being broadcast at the time, gave listeners an opportunity to phone in and pray on the radio for the "street ladies." 

Four of these girls were convicted and made commitments to the Lord. When a local factory heard of this, they contacted Harvest FM and said that they wanted to offer these four girls jobs. As a direct result of this exercise, the government has now offered to establish a "job creation" project, as they work alongside Harvest Fm, to uplift these girls. 

Please pray for the 100 radios to have an incredible impact and bring people into the Kingdom of God.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Partnering with Christian Radio for the 2% Solution

There are 87 countries that are 2% or less Christian, and in many of those countries our Reach Beyond teams are using radio and healthcare to bring Jesus there.  At the Momentum Christian radio conference last week in Orlando, we invited Christian stations to become part of the 2% Solution with us by helping fund SonSet radio distribution. 


Our booth, pictured above, made the point that none of those in the picture, except me, were Christians.  The people in the picture were taken by our photographers in countries unreached with the gospel.  To drive our point home, we asked one person after another to stand in front of the display and I took their picture with their camera.  When they get home and look at their pictures, they'll remember the message we were getting across.

I've been in Tampa since Saturday afternoon, enjoying time with Travis, Jenny and family.  Here are some of the highlights.  Let's start with Travis surprising me with tickets to the Tampa Bay Bucs opening football game.


 

Today we went to the zoo, which had a merry-go-round.  Here's a pose with Summer:


Travis gave Rhett a chance to pet the goat:


 Meanwhile, Bella went off to school:


 

Last night, I caught this cute picture of story time:



Tomorrow, I will be visiting Wycliffe in Orlando with a couple of our other staff to get their input as we work on a project that will help re-shape some things at Reach Beyond.  Tomorrow night, I'll be speaking at a Tampa church, then it's home to Noonie on Thursday.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Totally spent

 

Yesterday was an action-packed day at the Reach Beyond headquarters and we flew open the doors for a live radio broadcast and our first open house with our new name.  The Advancement department spearheaded this event.  I have such a great team, plus everyone in the building pitched in.  It was awesome.


The day was anchored by a live, 12-hour broadcast by Denver's AM91, and they spurred on their listeners to sponsor 426 SonSet radios to be sent to Ghana.  I spent 7-8 am on the air with their broadcast team, telling stories of what God is doing through our partner stations in Ghana.  Here's one that floored me when I read it:

“Drinking was destroying my life,” confessed 32-year-old Kofi, a farmer in southern Ghana. “My life was a mess, and I was suffering. I was known as a drunk, and people would make fun of me. Sometimes I didn’t even know which city I was in." He lives with his 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, and his wife works in Accra, 50 miles away. “I would drink and come home late, not even recognizing my children, not knowing their state or whether they had eaten or not,” he admitted.

Kofi’s children and brother urged Kofi to quit drinking and listen to the local Christian radio station, Victory FM, because of the Christian programs it airs. “I was listening to the station in my room and that’s when my life was transformed,” he related. "Listening to the radio has been helpful to me because now I’ve stopped drinking, I come home early and I take good care of my children.” Kofi and his children get up early each morning to listen to the programs, and afterwards the children go to school while he works on his farm.


Our goal was 1,000 to have SonSet radios sponsored, so the AM91 will continue to push this for the next week.  Please be praying.  Every radio is a little missionary that broadcasts the gospel to families and villages in four areas of this African nation.


We had lunch under a tent for everyone.  It rained, so I'm glad we had the tent.  The Sonflowerz sang and ministered to us during lunch, and we even had some drawings. 

My brother, Bobby, came down from Denver and spend a few hours with us, taking in lunch and a tour of our facilities.  Noonie took a turn on the phones and she said that's the most number of listeners I've ever talked to during a sharathon.  She is usually on the air during events like this.

By the end of the day, I was a zombie.  I don't get it, though, because everyone else was still full of energy.  Yeah, I'm getting old.

Praise God for the sponsored SonSet radios, which will bring people to Christ when they arrive in Ghana in a few weeks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Missions Team on the Way Home


When the rest of us are heading to bed tonight, our Romania missions team will be boarding an early morning flight back to the States.  They've put in several days of hard labor (in a good sense) to show and share the love of Jesus.

This was a shared effort with Reach Beyond staff and missionaries and over 40 people from Christian radio station Joy FM in St. Louis.  This is the third missions trip they've been on with our ministry.

The team did some work in the building that houses our radio partner in Arad, Romania.  As you can see, it does need some work.  This isn't the kind of radio station building you'd see in the U.S.


Don't judge a book by its cover.  Or a station by its building.  On the very top floor, a very nice station has been built out broadcasts the gospel to the community.


The work team of 47 people had a direct impact on the lives of the locals.  This puppet show was part of a VBS program that captured the hearts and minds of the kids.




 



The team put on a carnival for the community one night, another creative way to share the Gospel.




They shared their testimonies at a youth gathering.




They did repairs and ministered to the kids at the Friendship Youth Camp.  Face painting was a hit.




Well done work team!  Can't wait to hear the stories.



Now which way is home?



Monday, July 21, 2014

Missions Trip in Romania Under Way

It is a major task to coordinate 47 people heading to Romania for a missions work trip.  But that's exactly what I've been working on for the past several months with our team here, in partnership with radio station Joy FM from St. Louis, MO.

The team flew out on Saturday and they completed their first day of work today.  Romania is nine hours ahead of Colorado Springs, so they are finishing up their day when I am just sitting down at my desk in the morning.  I went on the trip with Joy FM two years ago, but this year I sent three other Reach Beyond staff to head it up.  They were joined by two of our missionaries based in Romania.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Grand(parent) Time

Last week, we wrapped up ten great days with our five grandchildren and their families.  They all converged on our home in Colorado and we packed 10 of us inside.  Thankfully, there was a lot of outside time, too.  We missed Travis, who is deployed, and Jayna, who is in California.

Rhett is one year old and I had fun the final night throwing him into a pile of pillows.  He had fun, too!




The kids pinned our son Tommy and tickled him.  I think he let them win.


Of course, we took a hike in the beautiful Colorado foothills.


If five grandchildren weren't enough, we added two more little ones when my nephew, Ryan and his wife, Caroline, came with their kids for a Saturday picnic.  And his parents joined the fun (my brother, Bob and wife, Jan).  We only needed two more kids to field a baseball team.






Saturday, June 28, 2014

How Not to See California

Good friend and Reach Beyond Board member Dr. Rick Bravo
and I climbed this "mountain" dozens of times over the years in
San Luis Obispo.  He and I make a point to "scale" Bishop Peak
every time Noonie and I are in town, like this latest time as we
sport our SonSet radio shirts.


It was a 14-day whirlwind trip that included a wedding, driving through Mojave, too-short visits with radio colleagues, three days with ministry partners on the Central Coast, a hike up Bishop Peak for old timesake, a chance to see my stepmom and have time with a couple of our kids and family.  

I had a visit with Annelies (or as our kids call her, "Grammalies)
in Fullerton, but these times are so meaningful now that we cannot
get together as much as when we lived in California.  Meet Fibi.

No, this is not the way to see California, but at the same time, it was probably the best visit we've had since we moved to Colorado.  By the end, we weren't exhausted.  We were super-encouraged.  I think it was because it was filled with quality fellowship with friends, family and ministry partners.  And discussing with so many people what we and they are seeing God do.


Reconnecting with Teammates


Our time in California was cut short in February, so on this June trip we were able to squeeze in some time with people on our sending and support team that we didn't see last time so we could update them on the ministry.

These are my heroes.  Jim and Donna Jeffrey are our co-laws
(our kids married each other) and they are so missions-minded.
They have gone out of their comfort zone (even though they
look pretty comfortable here) several times to leave this
country and venture to areas that badly need the gospel, for weeks
at a time.  Missions is a way of life for them.  As always, we had
such an encouraging time connecting with them in SLO.


Now I know why missionaries get so much refreshment out of their furloughs.  It is energizing to spend time with those who pray for us and give to our work, and to hear what God is doing in their lives.  Noonie and I remarked how blessed we are to have a bunch of friends with whom we can pick up where we left off.

We still didn't see everyone on our team, and we regret that.  Time was so short again.  But, we shall return!  If you are one of those we didn't see, thanks for understanding.

Radio Partners


Backtracking... the trip started out when I spent a few days in Southern and Central California with Reach Beyond radio partners.  I also spent several hours with Ambassador, the agency that help carry out our radio ministry in the US, which includes the Reach Beyond radio feature heard in over 1,000 communities.  We talked about how we can better mobilize listeners and radio stations to join us to take the gospel to unreached people around the world.  Please pray for us as we develop this effort further.

The happy couple.  Donny and Tu-Anh's wedding and
reception were outdoors.  What a memory!  And I didn't
mess up the ceremony.  Whew.

Then it was up the coast to Sacramento for the weekend, where Noonie and I had an amazing experience as I performed my first wedding ceremony.  It was for Donny Trone and Tu-Anh Nguyen, a couple we've known for almost a decade.  Donny was in my Bible Study for almost five years while he was a student at Cal Poly.  What an honor to lead this Christ-centered ceremony.  It was a great weekend and we will never forget it.

Family



In the middle of the week, we were able to meet up with Jayna in Santa Barbara, since we were in San Luis Obispo for a few days. 


We spent the final weekend with our Monterey kids and grandkids (Tommy, Olivia and family).  They are preparing to head overseas for two years in December, so whatever time we can spend with them is precious.  And it was a blast!

Two wiggly grandchildren, Roman and Aria are squeezed for
a picture with grandma and grandpa.


This was no walk in the park.  But it was a walk on the beach
with Tommy, Olivia, Aria and Roman. 

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that truly empower us to do our part to take the gospel to the unreached.  After this trip, we really know how important you are in so many ways. 

Come visit us in Colorado!  That's what our five grandchildren and families will be doing next week.