Saturday, September 29, 2007


American hero, Lt. Col. Paul Kari called me yesterday. He's my pilot friend that spent eight years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison in Vietnam.

That same heart that forgave his captors for eight years of pain (pain he still feels every day of his life) was moved by the plight of our AIDS orphans in Africa. Paul is personally making Christmas wonderful for almost two hundred of our African kids.

He'd never give me permission to tell you this, but I'm doing it anyway. I want the world to have a peek into the heart of a great man who served his country.

And I want us all to honor and pray for our heroes fighting for our values and freedoms today. Thousands of their children face Christmas with dad or mom away on the battlefield--precious little ones that live in fear that daddy or mommy won't come home.

Shouldn't we call these little ones--our warriors' sons and daughters--heroes, too?

Will you pray for them?

Will you bless their little lives by honoring their freedom-warrior parents?

Let me know if you want to help Children's Cup help the Little Heroes here even as we help our kids in Africa.


Little Heroes Project
Children's Cup
PO Box 400
Prairieville,LA 70769-0400

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Doubt is faith in the devil.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Two brothers, a brother-in-law, my wife's parents, several friends--so many deaths in recent months.

In each case our loved ones were ready-maybe even anxious to meet our Savior.

Did saying our goodbyes make us sad and bring tears?


But was there grief?

Not at all.

Any sadness was for ownselves--not for the loved one who is rejoycing in the presece of Jesus.

Comes now the thought, "What about the ones who aren't ready--especially our own loved ones?"

For long moments a thundering cascade of memories grieves my spirit--memories of unspoken witness, of missed opportunities. Unbearable decibels of our own silence

Forgive our silence, Lord. Strengthen our voices.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Chinese proverb: Who live too close to the temple laugh at the gods.

We must never lose our sense of awe at who God is.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


The highest reach of our faith is to have faith IN Jesus rather than faith FOR what we think it is best for us to have.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Your ability to do God's will is not subject to other people's decisions.

Friday, September 21, 2007


He nearly side-swiped us as he cut us off on the wide, unusually empty highway. “That was senseless and dangerous!” I thought as I mentally told him off. I think I probably even mumbled, “Joker,” out loud.

It shouldn’t have surprised me because I’ve known for years you cannot relax in Manila traffic—not even for a moment. I’m sure I didn’t look so pleasant as I glared at him, seeking his eyes so I could see him recognize my anger.

I didn’t catch his eye, though, because he was focusing all of his attention on our two-year-old son Joshua. Josh’s bright yellow hair and engaging blue eyes had captured the jeepney driver’s heart.

Instantly, I forgave his violation of my right of way. As he waved and smiled at my son I was even ready to admit that I had probably encroached on someone’s right of way at sometime.

Josh waved to him and we lost sight of each other in the increasing traffic.

I looked to my left and in another jeepney was a young Filipino family. The mother was holding the tiniest, prettiest little girl. Her black hair and dark brown eyes captured me. She had a power over me that brought instant love.

Power, that’s it. There is power in these little lives. Maybe it’s in their eyes. Perhaps it’s the unguarded innocence that isn’t trying to challenge my culture or measure my successes. Those powerful little eyes were looking for one thing—a smile. And when they found it their personalities burst open in friendliness.

Indeed, it is a strange and wonderful force that little ones have. Some of the grandest legends and folklore tell of the pauper’s waif turning the heart of a king, or melting a tyrant’s frozen will.

Fables and fairy tales have used the emotional voltage of children to create their beautiful lessons and fantasies.

And let’s not forget that wise men sought to find One Special Child. It fit the Heavenly Father’s plan to have His Son arrive as a child.

“A little child shall lead them…” took on a new ring for me today. Its ring resonates in my heart.

Tonight I read the usual crop of international news magazines. The tiny, beautiful faces I had noticed all day were not far from my mind as I read articles about another week of saber-rattling and war talk around the world. Just like the drivers in a traffic jam, each one feels his rights have been violated.

With a sudden dazzle of bright yellow hair Josh burst into the room to tell me, “Nite-nite, DaDa.” Of course I stopped and hugged that little kid. What an exciting child!

Then seven year old Susan came in to say goodnight. Warm feelings of love and hope swelled in my heart as I held her. The war threats were swept out of my attention as I went to get her some bedtime books.

Later as I reviewed the day’s events my thoughts became a swirl of jeepneys, children’s eyes, and war rumblings.

And then I thought, “Would there still be wars if we hugged one another’s children?”

Thursday, September 20, 2007


What honest believer would tell you he has never doubted?

Who have never doubted are never sure they truly believe.


I've heard the pacifists' phrase all my life, "Live and let live."
As a missionary who has observed suffering humanity in 109 countries I'd rather we'd all say it this way, "GIVE and let live."


I stood in a crowd of business leaders and watched as the power people performed the ageless ballet of introductions, attempts to impress, probes to learn who the other person really is, and questions to meter each other’s power.

Ice tinkling, liquor sloshing in the expensive crystal.

Exaggerated politeness.

Quick glances around the room to see if anyone is observing their finesse—whom they should maneuver closer to for that all-important introduction and chance to impress.

They check and recheck their mental list of acceptable behavior and strategy to impact others with their charisma and impress.

The words are predictable and memorized like the opening moves of chess.

Status is measured by how well you perform the script.

And since everyone knows it is a flash-and-dazzle game they all leave wondering what the ones they met are really like.

I have to believe that a clear gaze, a firm handshake and confidence in God’s ability to use the skills He has given you leave a stronger, more favorable lasting impression.

There is power in authenticity.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Can I share a flashback to the 1970's with you? We were missionaries with International Corresponndence Institute in Brussels, Belgium.

Who could tell how old he was? Tossled gray hair, rough cut beard, faltering steps with a cane, and he always carried some sort of bundle of papers or sticks.

Many times we had seen him in the forest behind the ICI office or walking on the sidewalk past the office.

Last summer, 12 year old son Dan (our numbr 2 son) was out by the sidewalk watering flowers. The old man came hobbling by. The man asked Dan for some water in his not-so-clean water jar. He was grateful but had little to say.

"Please wait for a minute," Dan said, "I have something else I want to give you."

He ran into the ICI office and got the first lesson of "The Great Questions of Life" in French. The course introduces students to Jesus as Savior.

When Dan handed him the booklet, the old man thanked him politely and then resumed his sad shuffle down the sidewalk.

Later Dan told us about it, and, of course, we encouraged his compassion.

"Well, you know, Son, that could become a very significant thing in the old man's life." we told him. I silently prayed that Dan might someday see results from this kind of witness.

Then we all just didn't think about it anymore--until yesterday.

Yesterday, now one year later, Dan was again out front drooling over some Corvettes parked across the street and once again the old man came by.

"Hello, Grandfather," Dan greeted him. "What is your name?"
"Hello, young man, I'm Simon and I'm 80 years old. Are you 18?"
"No, I'm 13."

For a moment age stood back in silence and beheld youth and seemed to measure the promises of life for the lad.

"Are you a religious man, Grandfather?"

To answer the question gnarled old hands reached inside that same old dirty coat he wore last year and pulled out a Bible.

"Yes, Child, God is very good to me. I read this and He is so precious. Last year, right here, a child gave me a drink and gave me a little book about God and the questions of life. Now I also have this Bible someone else gave me. I read them all the time. God is so good to me."

Dan didn't tell Old Simon he was that child that gave him the water and the book, but I'm sure Dan's heart was dancing as Old Simon and Young Dan, now linked for eternity, finished a warm conversation.

Old Simon's walk is a little slower this year, but his heart is certainly lighter. His beard still needs trimming, but brightened eyes look out in new wonder at youth and life.

Note: Dan has continued a life of witness and reaching out in Jesus' name. He serves as Development Director for Children's Cup and is seeing his vision for global missions come to pass. His publications impact thousands of lives. The support he raises enables 'Cup's global ministry. His on-field visits are a high-point for 'Cup's staff and thousands of our CarePoint children.

I repeat a question I ask a lot. Is it OK for a father to be proud?


1. Am I exempt from the Great Commission to go everywhere and tell everybody about Jesus?

2. Do I have God’s permission to stay home or be idle during the harvest?

3. Is there any need that will move me to action?

4. Can I ignore this need?

5. Even though I’ve trusted the Lord with my eternal soul, do I trust Him with my checkbook?

6. Is He urging me to give right now?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Look into their eyes clouded by pain,
Festered with flies.
Does what we see disturb our ease?
Can we say no to their sad pleas?

Know that they are real. Sense their response.
Know that they feel hunger and thirst,
And constant fear.
Wanting to live yet death is so near.

We can, we must.
They seek but bread--even a crust.
The cost is so small. Just a few cents
Spreads a banquet in famined tents.

Jesus is Lord.
Let's let them know His Holy Word
Is a fountain flowing alive,
And Jesus is the Bread of Life.


It happened a couple decades ago in the Philippines but it is still so vivid in my mind.

Outside, the city of Manila had awakened to another day of political unrest.

"What will happen today?" was the first thought for many. Each day seemed to bring new threats to the country.

Some Christian leaders had called an early morning strategy session. Some of the leaders were former rebels.

When I looked around the room I could see violent episodes of bombings and killings in the history of Manila written in the backgrounds of these strong ones. Each was given a turn to speak.

The first to rise was Cesar, a tall man with greying hair. He was a financial genius--he had been very corrupt. Even from prison he controlled a financial empire.

Then came Roger. He was known as a bombastic speaker. In the 1960's and 1970's he had used his fiery speech and organizational skills to lead the Marxist efforts toward violent overthrow of the Philippine government.

He trained guerillas. He devised the terrorist's strategies. He planned the liquidation of all missionaries.

I was one of those missionaries.

When he began to speak he still had the fire in his voice--but it was a new kind of fire! And just like every other speaker that morning, he told how Jesus Christ had changed his life and Jesus could save this nation.

Like many others that spoke he had found Christ in prison and now he was preaching the saving power of Jesus Christ to the same city he had led toward communism.

Each speaker urged the audience to use every means to tell the Philippines about Jesus--the only hope.

When the meeting was finished Roger and I were standing face to face. The one who introduced us told him I was one of those missionaries on the list and mentioned some of my work.

We shook hands.

I held his gaze and saw no hate in those eyes. And then in Christian brotherhood he hugged me.

"I love you, brother," he said. "Keep up the good work."

Once he had planned my death--this morning he hugged my neck.

What a meeting!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


"Please, Please, Daddy, don't hurt me again."
When he was gone, she sobbed in pain.

When will it end? When will it stop?
Now she's waiting for hope, waiting for hope.

They said, "I do," with words they meant.
He's drunk again, the paycheck spent,
He's cursing her, he slams the door.
Weeping, she's waiting for hope, waiting for hope.

There are twelve to fourteen million hurting kids--Africa's youth orphaned by AIDS. In city and bush, huddled in the dark
they're waiting for hope, waiting for hope.

The doctor says, "You have cancer."
His heart racing, he fights anger.
Overpowering dread fills his soul.
He's waiting for hope, waiting for hope.

They're waiting for hope yet so often we turn away. We must tell them, "Hope's on His way!"

Hope's name is Jesus;
Hope's name is Jesus!


Pastor Jerry Donthnier, a long-time friend, starts every conversation by asking, "What do you think about Jesus?"

No matter who it is or where it is.

The answer cannot be faked and always exposes their heart.

Some are uncomfortable, only a few are impolite, and all are jarred into examining their hearts.

We were at a restaurant. He asked the waitress.

She immediately started weeping.

Right then in the busy restaurant she knelt at the end of the table and said, "Oh, please pray for me. I want to give my life to Jesus. I've made such a mess of it."

Heaven rejoiced. Curious onlookers stared and then most of them bowed their heads. Some closed their eyes and prayed, too.

Those six words changed lives that day.

Pastor Jerry, if you had left those words unsaid her life may have stayed unchanged.

Now, what about our own times of unsaid witness?

Friday, September 14, 2007


Let me share this note from our daughter in Africa.

Our daughter Susan found a wonderful verse that we have seen
God fulfill. Susan's husband is Africa Director for Children's
Cup. She has had a ring-side seat observing God's great move in 'Cup's work in Southern Africa.

Is it OK to be proud of our children?

Isaiah 51:2b

"When I called him, he was only one;
I blessed him and made him many."

Hey Dad,

Remember February, 1992? You were the only one. Now the Lord has made you
many. He has blessed the work; and currently there are 12 adult
missionaries (plus 7 MKs!) on the ground, with more on the way. Not to
mention dozens of African staff.

It's cool, Dad.

I love you, Dad, and I'm proud to be your daughter.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


For maximum use of time don't plan your tasks by what you can do in an hour, but by what tasks or parts of tasks you can do in five minutes.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Please allow a bit of exegetical license for my interpretation of the word "mark."

Missions is a high calling--and it will mark you, even scar you. In spite of that, called ones press toward those marks knowing the prize is worth it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


God knows better than we do what will make us happy.