Sunday, December 28, 2008

Off to Peru...

On Tuesday evening, Danny Canaviri and I will be taking a bus to La Paz, Bolivia's capital. From there, we will take another bus to the border with Peru and after crossing the border, we'll catch another bus to Cuzco. We hope to arrive in Cuzco sometime on New Year's day.

On Saturday, Jan 3, we will join a tour group and hike the Inca Trail. The four-day trek includes stops at several Inca ruins and ends at the well-known Inca site, Machu Picchu. We'll then stay there for a day and head back to Cuzco for our trip back to Santa Cruz. If all goes as planned, we'll be back home between Jan 8 and 10.

I'm praying this will be a great time away to get rested up for the next semester of ministry. I'm hoping it's also a great opportunity to hang out with Danny and also visit our missionaries in Peru as well as visit some amazing historic places. Please pray with me that we will have protection, fun and maybe even some rest!


School starts back up on the 12th along with all of the normal youth ministry activities. In addition to the weekly events, I will be facilitating a class on EVERY YOUNG MAN, GOD'S MAN for the 11th and 12th grade boys. This will be a three-week, daily "class" for discussion and study. Please pray with me that each of the students will be involved, attentive and ready to allow God to work in their lives.

Immediately following this class will be our junior high camp, Feb 4-6, followed by high school camp, Feb 9-13. Pray with me that things will fall in to place and preparations will come together. Pray also that the students will be ready for what the Lord has in store for each of them spiritually.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Please enjoy an incredibly beautiful day of celebration with your family. May God's peace fill your hearts and lives!~ Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center Class of 2010 ~

Are the holidays a busy time?...

These last few weeks before the school break were incredibly full, but we were able to have a great end to a good semester at school.

During these weeks I was involved in finishing picture packets for those who ordered school portraits of their children. It's a fun, but tedious process that just takes some time.

We were able to finish up the Bible study series from Max Lucado's book, It's Not About Me. Those last three studies went very well and I believe it was a great series for where we are as a youth group.

On December 12th and 13th, I was also in charge of our bi-annual "garage sale" at school. We had more than forty vendors set up their treasures and several hundred shoppers filled the gymnasium looking for the best deals.

During finals week at school, we also had all the closing events for junior high and high school. Monday evening, the high school gathered for our last Bible study of the semester. On Wednesday afternoon, we had an end-of-semester youth group with the junior high, which included food, swimming and a brief challenge. On Thursday afternoon, we did the same with the high school students.On Wednesday evening, I had the junior class over for Christmas dinner and then I hosted the senior class on Thursday evening. It's been fun working with both classes as co-sponsor this year and I look forward to another semester with them.

Since school let for the holiday break, I've been working at the house trying to get caught up and even ahead. I still have a ways to go, but I'm making progress.

Coming up early in second semester, I'll be teaching a three-week portion of the 11th and 12th grade Bible class to the boys. We're going over the books Every Young Man's Battle and Every Young Man, God's Man. I'm looking forward to this time with these 17 young men.

Immediately following this series, we'll be going straight into our junior high and high school youth camps. Gary Hansen, SCCLC graduate of 2000, will be returning to Bolivia to speak at these events. I'm excited to have Gary back in this capacity and look forward to these opportunities to be challenged and challenge the youth spiritually.

In addition to these special events, I'll be resuming and continuing the regular youth activities. Please pray with me that during the break from classes, both the youth and I can be ready for the new semester.

Blessings on you and your family for Christmas and throughout the holidays. I won't be with my immediate family, but I'll be enjoying this special day with my missionary family.

John 1:14

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Missionary Staff Conference...

Our conference this past week went very well. It was good to meet with the staff of the mission and go over reports of ministries and look at new opportunities and challenges for the year to come. I was voted on to the board for another year as 1st member-at-large (or as the youth so kindly say FIRST LARGE MEMBER!).
Here, we are praying for Ron and Bonnie Gouge. They have served WGM Bolivia as our field leaders for the past 11 years. They have accepted the field leadership in Argentina and will be transferring to their new assignment after the first of the year. Please pray for their continued ministries.

Rick (Lori) Lampen has accepted the field leadership as our new Field Director and Len (Betsy) Phillips will be the Assistant Director. Because Len and Betsy are on their Homeland Ministry Assignment right now, I'm the Acting Assistant Director becaue of my position as 1st member-at-large. Confusing? It just means that I'll help out where needed... Please pray for Rick & Lori, Len & Betsy, along with the WGM Bolivia staff, during this time of transition.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Junior High Out...

Last Tuesday, 21 junior high students joined me and a few others at Buffalo Park after school. (I'm not really sure where that name came from...) There were several activities for the kids to enjoy, but the most popular was laser tag, something new for almost all of them. It was a nice afternoon with friends and they really seemed to enjoy themselves. Our next activity together is Bible study on the afternoon of December 2. Continue to pray that these activities and studies together will not only draw the students closer together in their friendships but also help them in regards to their relationship with God.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Retreat Aftermath...

This last week was spent in "clean-up" and follow-up from retreat. I still have a few loose ends to tackle, but it should soon be done. I had several great times of follow up with students and was able to get some feedback as to how the retreat went for them spiritually. I believe there have been many good strides in young lives, and pray that this will continue and even grow within the student body.

Monday's Bible study was a good follow up for retreat as well. We looked at making wise decisions and living wisely.

Thursday, I had the privilege to visit with a former student, her husband and several friends from their church. It was really neat to see how God has worked in their lives and great to celebrate with them regarding their baptism, which had occurred the night before.

It's been a great week, but I'm really looking forward to one full-night's sleep! When it will happen? ...only time will tell!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Highlights from Retreat...

Some of the ladies were relaxing while we waited for the road to open on our way up to Samaipata. The youth made the best of the time and didn't whine or complain...we had a safe trip up even with all the construction on the mountain highway.Our sessions went well. Rhonda Bill did a great job of leading our times of worship music and the kids really sang out. They were also very attentive during the speaking and had many opportunities to be challenged to renovated.Along with the challenges spiritually, the young people enjoyed activities and free time together. They got along very well as they battled it out with mummies, water baloons, human machines and four-way-purpetual capture the flag!
Danny and I battled it out with the belly bumpers.
I must say that I did win the battle, but the war, well it continues...
(Even though I knocked him and several others over a lot,
I think I'm much, much, much more sore then they!
Getting out of bed today was very difficult! Ha...but it's so worth it!)

Thank you for your prayers for this weekend away. I believe God honored those prayers on so many levels. He laid out the weekend with beautiful weather (the first time without rain in all the years we've had retreat...), great attitudes from the kids, open door to travel even though the road is under construction, safety and protection in travel and throughout the weekend's activities, providing cooks on short notice, and open hearts to hear the challenges spiritually.

Please keep praying that God will do some awesome things in and through these young lives. We continue to plant the seeds, but pray that they will be open to receive what Christ desires to do as He renews their hearts and lives!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Praying for Revival...Please Join in...

Here is a list of retreat participants for this weekend's trip, Nov 7-9. We do request prayer for safety and protection for travel and throughout the retreat events. However, much more than this, we would like prayer for SPIRITUAL REVIVAL! Please join us in this prayer. If you click on this list, it should open in a new window. You can then print a copy for reference throughout the weekend. Thank you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Through Christ's continual work within, our lives must be "Renovatus", Latin for "renovated".

I'm reusing our camp 2004 theme for this year's retreat. Of course, the current students were too young to attend in 2004, so it will be fresh and new to them. It really seemed to be the most fitting focus for our three-days away. (Thanks Kent!)

Please pray
with me for REVIVAL, that the 57 students attending and each of the 13 staff will be challenged by Scripture and allow God to make them a new creation!

JH Bible Study...Making Wise Decisions...

19 Junior High students came to Bible study on Friday afternoon. We had a good time hanging out and also discussing the importance of good, wise and godly decisions.
There are consequences for EVERY decision we make. The better the decision, the better the consequence...
Continue to pray for the junior high students as they develop in their relationship with Christ or, for others, decide to become a follower of Christ.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Volleyball Champs...

Well, Tuesday's championships were very exciting, and that's understating the fact! Both our girls and boys teams played better than anyone could have imagined. The girls had to make a comeback in their first game as they were down by 8 point, but they pulled off a victory to end as champions. The boys started out in a great rhythm and held that for their two-game victory. I'm very happy they won and enjoyed watching both matches, but to see their great sportsmanship and testimony was even better!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's Going On...

Here is a copy of the posted schedule for the coming week, to give you an idea of what's going on... Always something going on!

School Portraits...

One of my "side jobs" over the years has been to take portrait pictures for the SCCLC yearbook. While taking more than 1,000 pictures this last week, several of the high school kids wanted to get some group pictures too. It's been fun to capture the students each year, but it's even more fun to look back through the old yearbooks and see just how much they change!

Birthday Celebration...Purity Commitment...

Bill and Bev Smith are good friends and coworkers at the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center. They recently invited me to join their family and the ninth grade class in a celebration of their son Nick's fifteenth birthday. Along with the celebration, they asked me to help present and pray for Nick as they gave him a "purity ring." It was a great time of fellowship and, I pray, a good challenge for Nick and all of his classmates!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

JV Finals...

Tuesday, our JV boys took on the International School for the season championships in volleyball. They struggled through and lost the first game, but changed their strategy and turned the tables in game two by starting with an 8-0 scoring run. They ended up winning the second and third games and are this year's champion within their league.

The girls played for first place this afternoon in soccer. They played a great game and really picked it up in the second half fighting hard. Unfortunately, they couldn't take the lead but held on to second place in the league.

It's been so much fun to watch and support our young people throughout the season. Win or lose, they've displayed wonderful sportsmanship and represented the school well.

Next week, the varsity teams play semi-finals for both volleyball and soccer. I'll keep you posted...

Mid-Semester Bible Study and Dinner...

Monday, we celebrated the end of the first quarter at Bible study. Since we also had makeup soccer games that afternoon for the varsity boys and girls, we decided to make it an evening of celebration. Immediately following the games, we headed to my place for dinner, singing and a challenge from Scripture.

I shared from James 2 about the apathy many of us go through spiritually. I was challenged through the study in my own relationship with the Lord and many of the young people shared that it was good timing for them as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Surgery went well...

It seems that surgery went well and dad is home recovering fine.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

October 7....and an important prayer request!

I'd rather have pictures here...but I don't have any right now, so just a short update...

Chapel last Wednesday went well. I spoke on the theme Jesus, The Revolutionary, challenging us to remember that although Christ was Gentle, Meek & Mild, He was also a revolutionary. Not only did He challenge the thinking and practices of His day, but He wants to continue to revolutionize our thinking and very lives today!

Friday's open house went well. I helped the senior class and their sponsor with the dinner before hand. We had approximately 170 people attended and they all seemed to leave satisfied. Afterward, several juniors and seniors invited the sophomore guys to go and hang out together. So 13 of us went Karting and then came back to my house for Sundaes, play ping-pong & Wii, and just hang out together. They seemed to have a great time.

I did get sick over the weekend. I guess it's like a sinus infection, but I've been trying to get my rest and be a good patient. I seem to be on the mend.

Also, over the weekend, I helped to keep track of Steve and Becky Swope's kids. We've been encouraging the couple (he is the director of the school) to take some time they did. I had fun hanging with the young-uns...oh, they're old enough to care for themselves, but it helped me feel mom and dad could leave worry-free. I also helped by filling in at church in Steve's absense. He was in charge of Sunday's service including communion.

Last night we had Bible study continuing in our series from It's Not About Me.

My father had surgery last week, but due to complications he is back
in surgery today, Tuesday, October 7, at 1:30. Please be in prayer for him & the surgery to relieve the extreme pain he is experiencing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

After Bible study, 20+ students went to the airport to say farewell to Hannah Swindoll pictured here in the green jersey. She and her mother left for the States after serving in missions in Bolivia for a good part of Hannah's life.

Please pray for Hannah and her mother Mary, as they make their adjustments into their "new" life. Pray also for the senior class, the rest of the student body and the staff at SCCLC as we adjust to the changes.

His Unchanging Hand...

Last night's Bible study was the 6th in the series from Max Lucado's books, It's Not About Me. The study focused on His Unchanging Hand, the stability we can only find in God through Christ.

from Max Lucado's book...

“God never pauses to eat or asks the angels to cover for Him while He naps.

He never signals a time-out or puts the prayer requests from Russia on hold

while He handles South Africa.

He ‘never tires and never sleeps(Psalm 121:4).

Need a strong hand to hold? You’ll always find one in His.

His strength never changes.

Need unchanging truth to trust? Try God’s. His truth never wavers.

Your outlook may change. My convictions may sway,

but ‘the Scripture cannot be broken(John 10:35). And since it can’t,

since His truth will not waver, God’s ways will never alter.

He will always hate sin and love sinners, despise the proud and exalt the humble. He will always convict the evildoer and comfort the heavy-hearted.

He never changes direction mid-stream, recalibrates the course midway home,

or amends the heavenly Constitution.

God will always be the same.

Catch God in a bad mood? Won’t happen.

Fear exhausting His grace … think He’s given up on you? Wrong.

He’s never sullen or sour, sulking or stressed.

His strength, truth, ways and love never change.

He is ‘the same yesterday and today and forever(Heb. 13:8).

And because He is, the Lord ‘will be the stability of your times(Isaiah 33:6).”

- It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado - © 2004 Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN -

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Worry?...Junior High Bible Study...

Eighteen 7th and 8th graders attended yesterday's Bible study. The subject, WORRY... We're all guilty of taking on worries, when that's really counterproductive. So we challenged each other in the area of first realizing the things that we do worry about, and giving those things over to God...They're really His problem, not ours! Just as Matthew 6 says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Uncertainty and unrest can bring much worry. However, God consistently provides peace through the political situation in Bolivia. Please pray for our ministries and daily activities as we seek to continually be effective even during these unsure days...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jon Birkey's "goodbye"...

Last night, at prayer meeting, we said our goodbyes to Jon Birkey as well as a few others. He's been volunteering in Bolivia since June completing an internship in missions and youth ministries for his degree from Huntington University. He had the opportunity to visit several of our ministries throughout the country and has assisted the youth program since school began in August.

Please continue to pray for Jon as he seeks to finish his internship, probably in California, over the next 3 months. I have appreciated his help and know that God has some great things in store for him wherever the Lord leads.
God continues to provide much peace during unsure times!
Thank you again for your prayers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Continue to Pray...

Last night's Bible study was a little different. Instead of continuing our current study on the Max Lucado series, 24 youth gathered together to have a time of sharing and prayer. They shared their concerns over the current political unrest and the unknown future. Many shared verses from Scriptures that help bring comfort and reassurance in God. We then had times of prayer in small groups and as a body.

Please continue to pray for the young people during these unsure times. Pray for wisdom for all those in leadership throughout the different mission organizations, the Learning Center, and for all the families represented.

Thank you so much for your involvement and support through prayer!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Praying for Bolivia...

As you may know through international news, Bolivia has been undergoing some strains socially and politically over the last few years. Things have recently become a little more intense, so we would all covet your prayers. God is good and has been faithful in directing our paths.
Please pray for ...
- continued physical safety amidst these changes
- wisdom and discernment for the country's leadership
at all levels within the government

- the Bolivian people who are struggling through this process

Living in Harmony...

The title for chapel this week was, Living in Harmony. We discussed the importance of realizing how you were "wired" by God and how that affects our relationship with Him. Secondly, all relationships here on earth affect our relationship with God. When there are broken or hurt relationships that we need to resolve, they will only hurt all other relationships until there is resolution.
Continue to pray with me that our student body will walk in "harmony" with each other and with all others whom God places in their paths.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Senior Retreat 2008-09...

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of leading a retreat for the Class of 2009. Liz Morriss, their sponsor, and I took the entire class of 21 students to a nearby "farm" owned by a friend. (Jon Birkey, intern for this semester, also helped me a ton with preperation and running the weekend away.) We spent the weekend challenging them in leadership; tackling the tough issues of coming transition and "leaving right; team building initiatives; and just spending time as a class. The weather was unseasonally cold, but everyone seemed to have a great time together.
Team building initiatives...Some "down time" filled with games and even horseback riding...
Please continue to pray with me that the seniors will have an awesome year together as they close out their SCCLC "career". Also pray with me for their spiritual health and their influence and leadership to the student body of SCCLC. We have such a dynamic and vibrant group! The weekend away was memorable and fun, but I also pray it was a challenge that each of them will grab on to the possibilities that God will enable in their lives!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Youth Group Fun...

On Friday, we had our first official youth group with the high school students of SCCLC with 50 young people in attendance. They came over to my place for lunch (since they only had a half-day of classes) and then after eating, we headed to the bowling alley to hang out and try our best to get some decent scores.
On Monday, I had the senior class over and it was a great time of catching up after a summer apart and talking about the year to come.

Tomorrow, Monday the 18th, we'll have our first high school Bible study. Those will then continue each Monday evening. We'll be working through a series based on the books by Max Lucado, It's Not About Me. Tomorrow's session is Bumping Life Off Self-Center.

Finally, I've also begun meeting with several young men at different times for accountability. I think there will be about 5-7 different ones that I'll have time with on a weekly basis.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So, What are You Practicing?

Our theme verse for this coming year is Colossians 3:17 - "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

So our theme with the youth this year will be "If Practice Makes Perfect, what are You Practicing?" Not saying that what we practice makes us who we are, but it reflects who we are and influences who we'll become.
Pray with us that God will continue to work in these young lives and that we will have the wisdom and discernment to lead them as God directs.


During the last several weeks, I've had the privilege to get together with several of SCCLC's graduates of years past. It has been great to catch up with them and see how God continues to work in many of their lives.
Some of the class of 2005 that were in town
got together for dinner a few weeks ago.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crazy Days...

The last several weeks have been kind of crazy, but good. We were able to get a lot of work done on the house/youth center and it's almost ready for the new school year to begin. There's a little more painting and a few more cabinets to be installed, and it will be done.

David & Tim Zimmerman along with Jordan Newman were a great help in getting most of the painting done. What a relief to get that behind us!

I was able to get together with Cody Kargus, this year's camp speaker, and his team from the States. Several of our youth here have also been heavily involved in their group. They leave tomorrow, yet I believe God really blessed their time here.Friday night, I had his team over and invited our youth to join us as well. There were 60 plus here for supper. We had a great time of fellowship, laughter and getting to know one another. Two of his youth shared with the group and did a great job of challenging each of us.

This morning, I had the opportunity to preach at the English Church. The pastor has been in England for 2 months and asked me to help out. I shared about the RACE set before us and the challenge from Hebrews 12 to FIX Our Eyes on Jesus!Tomorrow, I'll be out at school meeting with the director and secondary principal. We'll be planning events and chapels and going over the schedule for the semester. I'm excited about the new year and know that God has some awesome things in store for us!

I'll also be meeting with the WGM Field Treasurer tomorrow to go over some procedures in the office. She is leaving Bolivia and several of us will be filling in as needed. Pray that we will be able to find a treasurer to come take on these responsibilities soon. Also, pray for each of us who will be taking on these duties to help in the mean time.

There is a Referendum vote in Bolivia next Sunday, August 10. Please pray for a peaceful day and an outcome that would really be for the best for the country and its people.

School starts on August 11, and so please continue to lift each of us in prayer as we get things in order. We are still short on staff, but know God will provide.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let the Work Begin...

Today, Tim Zimmerman and Jordan Newman (both WGM "missionary kids") started helping on the repainting of the house / youth center. They have a pretty substantial task ahead, so pray they stay the course.I emptied the kitchen to make way for construction workers coming in tomorrow to give the cabinets and counter tops some seriously needed attention.

I was in the office this morning and stopped by the school as even during school "break" there's plenty to keep me busy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Missionary Retreat 2008 ...

We just returned from our annual missionary retreat for the WGM - Bolivia missionary group. Including the special speaker, other missionary guests and all the kids, there were 70 of us in attendance.
Pastor Dave Engbrecht of Nappannee Missionary Church spoke to us from John 14-17. The series on "Intimate Conversations" with Jesus to His disciples, was timely & pertinent to our group. God's Spirit was evident through the music ministry, preaching, and time "away" from the normal routine of life and ministry.Thank you for your prayers during this event. Our time together was refreshing as well as relaxing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Graduate Visitor...

David Lotz (SCCLC 2008) came over to my parents' from Indiana. He's in the States, preparing to study at Purdue University and currently looking for employment. Pray for David and the rest of our graduates as they seek to set up this new phase in their lives, many of whom are very far from their families and friends. David stayed with us for several days and it was an awesome time of fellowship and fun. For me, it was great another help in "ministry closure" for this school year. Although I pray our friendships continue to grow, serving David and his classmates as their youth director has finished.

As I return to Bolivia on Wednesday, pray with me that I will be able to prepare for the "new" year of ministry with another group of young people.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Family Vacation...

While Steve and Nina were on their honeymoon; mom, dad, my niece Christa, my brother David and his family and I went on vacation together to Arkansas. We met my uncle and aunt there and had a great time together boating on the lake, playing golf (well, I played once...that was enough), and we relaxed a lot...