Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We are back where so many things in our lives started.

Children's Cup was born here.

Sunday will be the 50th anniversary of the first time I ever kissed Jean--right here in Des Moines. I think Ill try it again...

Valentines day it will be 50 years of grand adventure together.

Than you, Lord, and thank you Jean.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Which is the greater miracle? Calming a storm like Jesus did on Gallilee or calming a heart like will do for all who come to Him?


Hold a basin of water in your hands, get the water sloshing around. By holding the basin steady you can calm the water.

But hold a frightened bird in your hands and try to calm its terrified heart.

Let your troubled heart hear Him say, "My peace I give unto you..."


What a service yesterday morning!

This predominately African American church in Kansas City is pastored by Rev. Frank King and his wife Robin.

I sensed the same kind of authenticity in the leadership that I do at our home church, Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge.

If you live within drive range check this one out--regardless of your race. We hugged and were hugged in a genuine sense of brotherhood in Christ.

They have an obvious heart for missions and are sponsoring one of our huge Christmas parties for our 25 CarePoints in southern Africa. It costs $1250 to give several hundred kids a party with food (meat and ice cream, too), games, toys, personal gifts, Gospel and personal affirmation.

Later they will be sending a team of workers on a short term missions trip to Swaziland.

One party sponsored, 24 more to go.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In the breakfast room of a hotel in Missouri this morning I watched a dignified black gentleman. His demeanor said he was military.

"Did you serve in the Far East?" I asked.

"Yes, I did. Navy."



"Were you there for the Tet Offensive?"

With that question he entered a world of memory alive in his mind. He told of close, personal combat in the battle for Hue.

I noticed the entire room was listening to our conversation.

"Do you think about it every day?"

"Oh, yes. Especially how Americans treated me when I came home. The sneers, the names they called me..."

His voice trailed off.

"I served my country, I obeyed my President, and I'd do it again."

I told him about my friend that spent 8 years in the Hanoi Hilton who came home to a divorce and the taunts of "Baby Killer."

"I know how he felt," my new friend said.

"Please let me apologize and thank you for fighting for my country--for my family."

"Thank you. Somebody else said that to me yesterday, too."

"America has changed. We are running out of people like you."

We parted quietly both having a sense of having been in each other's hearts for a few moments.

I didn't get his name--wish I had.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Before we can trust you, we must be able to believe you.


Beware the long answers.

They usually are carefully crafted with words designed to communicate the lie without actually telling the lie.

Only by precisely parsing the sentences can the real truth be discerned.

Athenian sophists' skill couldn't match today's word manipulators.

An honest man wields great power with short answers like "Yes" or "No." If further definition is required let that be given after the short answer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Do the increasingly strident political arguments and attacks remind you of the fights and screaming of your elementary school playgrounds?

It seems that the attackers are only interested in winning the word fights--not the logical and moral substance of an issue.

What has happened to truth?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Our African children love stickers. I've even seen a child get out of a food line to get into a sticker line. He was betting we would have more food there tomorrow if the food ran out today, and he knew the stickers would be gone in a few minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I often tell people who talk to me about Africa, "Once you go to Africa, you'll go back in your mind every day the rest of your life."

I think that is mostly true.

I met a man who had served as a missionary in Africa 17 years earlier. I asked him, "Levi, is it true, do you think about Africa every day?"

He didn't say anything for a while. Instead he started weeping. When he could speak he said, "Yes, it's true. In my mind I still live there."

My missions career has taken me to 109 countries and each of them have marked me, but there is something about the African countries that just won't let go of my heart.

Nor would I change that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This picture is Children's Cup's mission statement.

Great graphics work, Jean.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ben and Susan and our three grandkids. Trinity, Kayla and Levi, are mighty strong reasons to go back to Africa--along with about 10,000 orphans and vulnerable children Children's Cup cares for.

We plan to go back October 16th. Hard to wait.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Lee is a friend to Healing Place Church and to Children's Cup.

He spoke today to the HPC men's luncheon--profound and stirring--again.

Sound bytes:
"Patience is a weapon."
"Patience is not passivity."
"When you help others with their dreams, God will give you your dream."
"Significance is more than success."
"Significance is measured by the difference an action makes and how long it lasts.

Thanks, Lee, for your anointed ministry.

We heard you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last night we took part in the Missions Convention at Hosanna Assembly of God Church in Baton Rouge. There was a poweful sense of "rightness" about the event and its goals.

I salute Pastor Don Williams and his leadership team for their steadfast vision for missions. Fewer and fewer churches have retained an active involvement in sending long-term missionaries. Some refuse to send anyone except for short-term teams believing that the internet can substitute for on-the-ground missionaries.

International businesses know better. They maintain a leadership presence guiding the success of local enterprizes.

Governmental foreign aid relying heavily on local administration does not do well at husbanding massive cash flows that seldom reach the needy people for whom they have designated their dollars.

Deciding which model is right is a "no brainer."

An aging foreign missionary corps is asking, "Where is the next wave of missionaries?" "Who will carry forward the training and equipping the local churches?"

I pray that pastors will bring back the altar services where burning hearts sing, "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord..."

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The worst is passed.
Hurricane Ike is leaving our area.
Sweet relief in the middle of the night.

But now I remember, my Texas neighbors are still in the middle of it right now.

I don't even know how to deal with the thought that my peace and safety came about because the hurrican changed direction and is now slamming into the Texas coast.
Thousands are hurting right now--perhaps many are dying.

How does one deal with such feelings?

First, I must acknowledge my debt to God, followed by my irrevocable commitment to spend my life easing the suffering of others.

My debt is bigger than I can pay.
Oh, sweet the thought, that's what Calvary's cross was all about.

So many times I have comforted others and reminded myself that God can take the worst thing that can happen to you and turn it into the best thing for you.

Hard to see when you're in the middle of the disaster...

Lord, I ask you to turn this thing to good for every victim--so much they will thank You for it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Seven years ago today America cried and ran to the altars of faith. God heard, came close and carried America through its darkest days.

Today, much of America has abandoned those same altars. Indeed, some even ridicule them and legislate against them, seeking to deny access to those sacred havens to our children, our institutions, and, yes, even our hallowed halls of government.

What will it take to bring America back to the altars?

Monday, September 08, 2008


Chet Atkins called Jerry the greatest guitar player in the world.

His music awed us.

His acting in "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Waterboy" had us laughing.

His great sense of humor made it fun to be around him.

And his heart's honest serch for God touched all that knew him.

We will miss him.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


My family has just lost another friend--for a little while.

Buzz Cason, one of Children's Cup's board members was instrumental in leading Jerry into a walk with Jesus.

Jerry entered into Bible study with Buzz and some other Nashville musicians. Ben Rodgers and I got to take part in that.

Buzz, Jean and I took Jerry to see "The Passion of the Christ." As we walked out of the theater Jerry was weeping. He stopped us in the foyer and said, "Right here, and right now I am telling you and promising Jesus that I will live every day of the rest of my life for Him."

Now they are together.

We'll see you later, Jerry!

Friday, September 05, 2008


This awesome church (our home church) is really reaching out to the community. It's making such an impact the wife of Governor Bobby Jindal just came by to see for herself and to thank Pastor Dino and the church for helping.

By the way, the Jindals are also born-again believers!


September 3, 2008

Now I know why they call it “Aftermath.”

It’s because after the storm passes you start to do the math on what its damage will cost you.

We are doing that now.

Since Hurricane Katrina, insurance companies have redefined what they will pay for and have made mandatory deductibles that shift much of the recovery burden onto the property owner.

In the case of Children’s Cup right now, it looks like we could be facing more than $31,000 in uninsured losses due to Gustav.

All of me is praying, part of me wants to panic (we still haven’t covered more than $30,000 in the Swaziland deficit) but underneath it all I have an abiding assurance that God knows where the money is and He will call His willing people to help.


Twenty minutes ago I came back from the post office. They are operating without electricity and just sorting what they can.

In our mail today was a letter from Shelly Meyer with a “special offering” check from Joyce Meyer Ministries for $20,000—nearly one-third what we need.



September 2, 2008

Downed trees hiding live utility wires, branches blown everywhere choking roads—we had only one circuitous route to get out of our neighborhood.

Initial Children’s Cup Office damage list:

Downed trees (three of them cherished live oak trees)
Roof, soffits, and siding damage

Warehouse overhead door and possible roof damage
Mobile home staff house damage (at least it is still standing)
No injuries or loss of life.

This is neat: Our sons Dan and Josh have both taught their children to enjoy the dramatics of a storm. They saw the storm as an adventure.

Makes us remember typhoon seasons in the Philippines when our kids were little. We usually had more than a dozen typhoons hit our island every year. It may have been that sometimes we got more scared than the kids.


It’s Labor Day 2008 and Hurricane Gustav just spent several hours pounding Baton Rouge.

We were not hurt.

Our house seems to have escaped damage—trees were falling on houses all around us.
Initial reports are that the Children’s Cup office complex did sustain damage but all should be repairable. We’ll check after the total curfew is lifted.

Son Dan’s house and ‘Cup office manager June’s house had serious roof damage—but again, nobody hurt.

They tell us to expect to be without electricity and phones for up to three weeks. My near panic reminds me how dependent we are on technology.

Gotta slow down a bit now whether we want to or not.

Don’t want to think about the four new potential storms brewing in the Atlantic…