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.

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.