Saturday, February 21, 2015

Noonie in Chicago

Talk about God working out something real cool, this is it.  Noonie and I will celebrate our birthdays on the same day Monday (yes, it happens every year), but I will be in Nashville at the NRB Christian Media Convention.  Now this is the second year in a row I've left Noonie on her own for her birthday/my birthday/our birthdays.

This year, though, we found one of those super-duper deep discount deals on Frontier so Noonie could visit her sister, Lauri, in Chicago to celebrate with her.  Noonie is there now.

Well, lo and behold, it turns out that Noonie had set up an interview on Moody Radio for Phil Stacey to be interviewed and sing on a national radio show called Chris Fabry Live.  Phil is the recording artist for our new song Reach Beyond, which is being played on over 80 stations in North America.  He is a former American Idol finalist and a passionate believer.  Noonie has been helping to promote the song to Christian radio.

God worked it out that Phil was already in Chicago for a week of speaking and singing, so his Moody Radio appearance was able to happen yesterday -- while Noonie was there, too.  It all came together!  And the one-hour show was awesome! 

The show was recorded, and you can listen to it at this link. (It is the February 20 program, Hour 1). I was moved as I heard Phil sing Reach Beyond and other songs, but more importantly, to hear his passion for the lost.  As a bonus, the songwriter (missionary Ty Stakes) joined the interview by phone from Southeast Asia.

Noonie with Phil Stacey yesterday at the Moody Radio studios
alongside one of their ancient microphones.

Go ahead and listen.  I think you'll be moved.  You can also listen to the song here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Make Ebola Kick the Bucket

I am sitting here exhausted watching the Super Bowl.  Not because of the Super Bowl, but because of the eight days leading up to today. 

Noonie and I returned last night from a fast-paced California trip.  We were carrying the banner for Reach Beyond's efforts to end Ebola in one of the final hot spot countries in W. Africa-- Sierra Leone.

The Bucket Brigade is an all-out effort to provide food and sanitation supplies to families in villages and towns in Sierra Leone.  Families are being quarantined for at least 21 days, and they are not able to leave their homes for food, water or anything.

We have teamed up with an in-country partner to distribute these supplies in a 5-gallon bucket.  Reach Beyond is providing funding and volunteer teams in Sierra Leone are going door-to-door to distribute buckets.  Each bucket will be provisions for a family of five for a month.


Our ministry goal is to provide 500 buckets, which cost $100 each.  It was so encouraging to see people get behind this project at each of the events we spoke at with Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson, Healthcare VP Sheila Leech and Reach Beyond Global Ambassador Ron Cline.

A total of 208 buckets have been sponsored.  Find out more on our End Ebola for this project.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Have You Heard?

God has really done something special in the past few months, and I'd like you to hear the results.  Radio stations across America are getting a hold of a brand new song that will grip your heart when you hear it. 

A little background...

Our ministry's new name, Reach Beyond, is meant to communicate our commitment to reach people who have never heard the name of Jesus, to declare and demonstrate the gospel to them.

We reach beyond our borders, beyond our comfort zone, sometimes beyond safety, and usually beyond what's familiar.  In reality we're all called to reach beyond something for the cause of Christ, even it it's just across the street.  Why would we want to keep the Good News a secret?

But, more than that, God was the first person to "reach beyond" when he sent his Son from perfect heaven to this broken world.  For our sake.

Listen to the new song, Reach Beyond, written by one of our missionaries, Ty Stakes, produced by Chris August, and sung by Phil Stacey.

Read the full story, too, and check out the lyrics.  And then pray that God will use this song this year to cut to the hearts of millions of people about the great gift He has given us and the gift we must tell others about.  We must reach beyond.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I Don't Know About 2015

Have you given some thought about what God may have on the horizon for you in 2015?

Sure, we've all given it at least a little thought.  But, you know, we don't have any idea what the future holds.  It puts us all in a position of needing God.  We should cling to Him.  And, as we've turned the calendar to the New Year, it is a time when we take account of where we are at and where we're going.

I told Noonie the other night that the Lord has been impressing on my the word "simplify" as I look to 2015.  In ministry, I already know what that means:  stick with a few big things and see them through.  Don't get too complex.  It's easy to get sidetracked and stray away from what God has given us to do.

That's where I'm at with my service at Reach Beyond this year.  I have a few key things -- two or three to be exact -- that I'm responsible for this year, and I need to keep my eyes on the ball.  Follow through.  No "Squirrel!" moments for me.  OK, I do need a few of those or I'll go crazy from boredom.

It seems that at home, Noonie and I are together on this "simplify" idea.  We're focusing on a couple things ourselves, so pray for us to stick with these things for the full year.  God has made it clear where our attention needs to be, so we're committed to staying on track.

How about you?  What is God impressing on your heart?

(The picture at the top was taken the other day from our back porch.  Do you see flames?  Or the beautiful sunset?)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Spending 32 years in California, we didn't have scenes like this at Christmas. 

These sights look great as long as you're inside.  Like the one on the left that I took from our bedroom window.  Yeah, I'm still a fan of warm Christmases.  You see, I grew up in Rochester, New York.  Near Buffalo.  You know, that place that got all the snow a few weeks ago. 

And, yes, we got a ton of snow, and shoveled a ton of snow.  So a warm, carefree weather Christmas has always been a blast.  Last year, we were with our kids and grandkids in Florida.  I got sunburn on the beach Christmas Eve Day.  I like that.

Anyway, I do love the view this time of year.

No matter what the weather, though, we celebrate the birth of the King anywhere we are.  He came for the entire WORLD -- whether sunny skies, warm, cold, snowy, rainy, breezy.  It doesn't matter.  He came to reconcile us with God, and that's why there is joy in any weather.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. I couldn't resist

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You Gotta Love Grandchildren!

We had amazing family reunion with our kids and grandkids just days before one of our families went international for a two-year period.  It was an awesome week in mid-November and we'll never forget it.  Noonie and I also didn't mind being in Florida while Colorado was in a cold snap dipping below zero for days. 

But the drama before the trip was quite something...  

One moment everything is fine, and the next moment life is in a tailspin.  That's what we experienced in late October.  One Monday, Noonie didn't sleep at all because of sharp abdominal pains.  (Of course, I slept through the night).  She thought it may be the flu or something. 
At work the next morning, I was talking to a co-worker about Noonie's symptoms, and he said right away that those were the same symptoms he had months earlier-- which led to having his gall bladder removed!

I called Noonie with my thoughts, and her pain had already been increasing.  I took her to Emergency, where she spent most of the day in great pain and receiving a lot of pain relieving drugs.  She had an ultrasound, x-rays, and even an MRI.  Those only added to the pain.  By the end of the day, it was confirmed that she had gall stones and a very inflamed gall bladder.

I only had time to text family, close friends in our small group at church.  Our church family and Reach Beyond family here came around her and prayed faithfully, and now we know first-hand what that feels like.  We saw a sudden turn of events in the pain issue.  Imagine hours of pain after no sleep the night before.  By early afternoon, Noonie was resting comfortably.

She was admitted to the hospital, and thankfully she was able to have surgery two days later to remove her gall bladder.

Recovering quite well, but whipped by remnants of all the pain medication, life slowly returned to normal. 
Until four or five days later when the pain returned with a vengeance.  Again we went to Emergency. 

For several hours she was treated and went through some of the same tests, which came back negative. Well, except for the "pain test," which Noonie described as worse than childbirth.  But they sent us home once the pain had subsided. 
It took three days for the pain to really subside fully, and it turns out that there was intestinal blockage that was causing the repeat sessions of pain. Needless to say, it is a week she never wants to re-live. 
So now she is regaining her strength, overcoming fatigue, and is doing most of her normal activities.  She is even back in the pool.

So we are happy to live a boring life in the foreseeable future.  This Christmas, we have a lot to be grateful for. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Serving Together

One of the most meaningful experiences is when Noonie joins me in my travels.  The past six weeks have been brutal for ministry travel, but it was capped off with Noonie and me serving together. 

We headed to South Bend, IN, to bring hope to Africa.  "How did that happen?" you ask.  Well, we spent a day and a half at Pulse FM, dedicated to providing SonSet radios for one of the poorest countries in the world, Lesotho, Africa.  That's the same station we helped a couple weeks earlier in a fundraising event in Arizona.

If you read my last post, you remember the situation in Lesotho ... a 70% employment rate.  On top of that, 40% of the people have HIV/AIDS.  And the lifespan is just 36 years.

In that setting, Harvest FM broadcasts the hope and love of Jesus Christ throughout much of that country.  Harvest FM is a lifeline for tens of thousands of people.  It's not just a radio station. The staff below holds a torch for a ministry event they were part of.

Most people in the remote areas of the country cannot even afford a radio.  And if they have one, they can't afford batteries.  On top of that, there is no electricity in these remote areas.

That's why the solar-powered SonSet radio is so important to these people.  It's a "little missionary."  Every SonSet sent to Lesotho will be fix-tuned to Harvest FM.

As a result of the day-and-a-half fundraiser on Pulse FM, listeners called in to fund 300 SonSet radios!  With the radios raised in Arizona, that makes 400 radios going to Harvest FM.

Thank you for your prayers and support, enabling Noonie and me to serve God and reach the unreached with the gospel.