Showing posts from 2011

Advent: God With Us

O Holy Night

In a lowly manger lay
A child small and helpless Surrounded by the stink of barn And old and dampened hay.
Wrapped in clothes to keep him warm The infant rarely stirred The silent night on David's town Enveloped Bethlehem.
Yet one cannot imagine  The energy that night The static in the air; the stink of demon's fright  The Deliverer has come!
If you've seen Jesus, you've seen the Father And even as he lay A newborn helpless in the dark The Light had come that day
To be rejected and despised  Smitten and rejected Pierced and beaten near to death And still they'd call Him Lord
Did He hold back the angels then, As the baby cried? Keeping them from rushing in An army to defend Him
God transcends the thoughts of man; Surpasses understanding And as the baby cried that night Did He know I would find Him?

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. (John 12:44-45 ESV)

Our Christmas Letter

Friends and Family,

We're looking forward to Patrick's first Christmas! We'll remain in Oxford to spend time with Jonathan's family, but this also enables us to create our own Christmas traditions. We're up to any suggestions!

With it being Patrick's first Christmas, it makes me look at the many first of 2011 and all the wonderful God has led us this year.
We ushered in 2011 with a trip to Hawaii with my family. It was so much fun and a "babymoon" for us right before the baby. Jonathan enjoyed the snorkeling, and I enjoyed my time as a "beached whale." We were also able to visit the Mighty Mo- a highlight for the both of us.
February brought us the greatest joy as we welcomed Patrick David into our  lives on the 18th. We also celebrated the start of our 2nd year of marriage. Patrick is almost 10 months old! I just know he'll be one too soon. He's crawling almost faster then we can get things out of his reach. He likes to live life o…

A Thanksgiving-To-Now Update

On Tuesday, November 21, we made the long trek down to Duluth, GA to visit Maggie's family for Thanksgiving. It took ten hours driving through Cincinnati rush hour and some rain in the dark, but we made it in three pieces (Maggie, Patrick, and me, respectively). On Wednesday night we enjoyed an amazing Thanksgiving meal put on by Maggie's great aunt Kathryn. I enjoyed meeting new family I didn't know she even had, and catching up with some good friends, Tara and Joel Beauchamp. They are heavily involved with a halfway house for men struggling with addictions. Find out more about their faith based support ministry at It's really neat stuff.
Speaking of stuff, we stuffed ourselves that night, and then had to work it off playing some four square. My Culby 4 experience came in handy, and I dare say that a couple times I was singled out and every move (sometimes wrongly) scrutinized. But I showed them what C4 can nurture in a pe…


It's a dastardly scheme of the enemy's. A devastating blow against the Christian walk when a believer does not have the Christ as the Lord over his life. So easily do the attractions of the world creep in and arrest our attention. We turn from the reason for  our existence and allow our minds to grow dusty in regards to how we think of Christ.

When materialism, or social help, or Christian ministry, or community service, or hedonism, or any other entity or idea other than Christ becomes our aim, we are trapped in a temporal state of mind.

I drove down from Ohio to Georgia last Tuesday. I was concerned about money and the maintenance I had to perform on my car. I had just gotten my oil changed and was forcefully warned about all of the different ways my car could spontaneously combust at any moment if I didn't immediately drop $1,000 on it. Driving to Georgia, I began to worry and fret about finances. Need I elaborate? I think everybody's been here before. Sometimes worry…

Piggy Bank

Jonathan and I had an open house this past weekend. Maybe the timing was wrong or the location was too far--- regardless, we had very poor attendance. Being a very positive person, this was what threw me into the ocean of reality. However,  God is very intentional, so we started thinking about a different direction God would have us take in getting to Costa Rica.

Considering we live in a college town... 
God has put us in this location, home of Miami University, for a specific reason. I believe one of the reasons is to help students understand stewardship. Maybe God is wanting us to ask for support not from established individuals but from the poor, college student who can only give up a coffee a week.

I just finished Andy Stanley's Fields of Gold. The book does a wonderful job of addressing stewardship and what prevents us from giving. Fearis the reason Andy suggests why we don't give back to God. We're afraid that when it comes down to it we won't have enough. Or whe…

God is in Control

I am more than eager to go to Costa Rica. This picture of the youth group is the background for our computer. Every time I see it, which is often, I pray for the students that they would seek God and find Him. I pray for the young women that they would find fulfillment, satisfaction, love, and encouragement from God in His Word. I pray that the youth will desire to know God and know His Word. I pray for Jonathan and I that we will be leaders worthy of this ministry He has called us to. We pray that He will use this time in preparing for Costa Rica to teach us how we can better minister to these students.

There are so many different ways God has made it clear that He desire for us to go to Costa Rica. I'll have to write a post about all the different ways at another point. We trust that God will provide the necessary funds for us to actually go and be the youth directors. However, it is challenging to trust Him when things aren't going at the rapid pace we desire. We're sup…

Ready to Climb

Last Thursday, two of my Youth Climbing Team students made me very proud. They led up our indoor wall.

There are two type of rock climbing with a rope: the first is top-roping, where you have an anchor at the top. The rope goes from the climber, up to the anchor, and down to the belayer, who takes up the slack as the climber moves up the wall. 
Lead climbing is the second type, where the rope is tied to the climber, and as he moves up the wall he clips the rope into anchor points in the wall along the way. The belayer feeds more slack to the climber as he moves up the wall. If a climber were to fall top-roping, he would fall maybe 2 feet. In lead climbing, you fall the slack to where you last clipped in to an anchor--and that much more (if you're 5 ft above you're anchor, you fall 10).  Where as top-roping can require no previous experience, lead climbing requires hard work at skill and technique. I had these two students training on more and more difficult routes while still top…

First loved us

Patrick loves to talk. He'll babble all day to anyone or anything. The other day I heard him saying his normal "Dadada  dat dat dat adadad," so I went to check on him. He was talking to the baby on the diaper box! With his constant attempt to communicate-- and my linguistics background-- I'm very interested in how he'll soon start to understand and even say more words. This got me thinking....

How is Patrick going to understand the word love? I say "Patrick, I love you" about 20+ times a day, but what will that mean to him? How will he learn to understand love? Then it dawned on me... Patrick will understand love because I demonstrate it's meaning to him. I comfort him when he cries. I feed him when he's hungry. I play with him and cuddle with him. I consistently show Patrick that I love him. He'll understand love because I love him and demonstrate it. 
1 John 4 came to life in this context. Verse 19 states: "We love because he first love…

Summed Up

Tonight I was reading in the book of John. This is what stuck out:

"The next day again John [the baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus." (John 1:35-37)

This is what I want to be about.

This is the essence of youth ministry.

 "The next day again John [the baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's…

My God Loves

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Giving Thanks

Patrick brings great joy into our lives. His cute smile, constant babbling, and how he always squeals at dogs makes me bubble over with joy. It is crazy to think how much better our lives are since Patrick was born 8 months ago. As he discovers each new food, we get to be a part of the adventure. God uses Patrick to not only provide me with great joy, but He also uses Patrick to keep me thankful. I cannot see that cute smile without giving thanks to the Father. Ephesians 5:20 talks about giving thanks always and for everything. When you thank God for all He's done for you, it easily turns into a habit of prayer.
Speaking of prayer, Patrick was an answer to a prayer I had when we were in Ecuador right after getting married. The transition into a place where I didn't speak the language but wanted to still minister was really hard. Jonathan, who speaks Spanish fluently, was able to lead a Bible study and give devotions at youth services while in Salasaca. I on the other hand learn…

One step closer to Costa Rica

We’re proud to announce that we are now missionaries with ReachGlobal preparing to go to Costa Rica! This journey, which started back in March, climaxed as we attended an 8 day conference at the home office in Minneapolis. The conference’s goal was to determine “fit”—the mission with us and us with the mission. And we both agreed that the fit was perfect! As an extension of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), ReachGlobal exists to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people. Jonathan and I are ecstatic to be a part of the organization committed to developing, empowering, and releasing healthy leaders!What does this mean?Now that we’re accepted, we’re one step closer to Costa Rica and serving the International Youth Group (IYG). We will be a part of a healthy ReachGlobal team that seeks to minister to those in San Jose. When we were in Costa Rica, we were greatly encouraged by members this team. We’re so blessed to enter a network of ministry and support! Pe…

Costa Rica Here We Come!

On August 25th we will fly to Costa Rica to visit the International Youth Group, meet with parents, check out cost of living, and all that good stuff. We will fly down on buddy passes, and the IYG is graciously paying the taxes and fees that come with those. This trip will allow Maggie and I to really make the decision of whether or not to commit to the IYG, and them to us. Sending agency details will fall into place however the Lord decides to lay them. 
During this time of discernment, we ask for your prayers. Please pray for wisdom and clear thinking on the part of Maggie and I. Pray that we would ask smart questions, be objective, and most of all be sensitive to the Spirit's leading. 
As I continue to contemplate leaving friends and family in the United States (and already have in Ecuador), I sometimes wonder just what it is that I really want to be doing. Will moving to Costa Rica and working with a youth group make me happy? It is sad to think of leaving the close proximity of…

A Quick Update

This past month feels like it has been jammed full with activities and deadlines. We went to Texas and I got to meet a lot of Maggie's great family, I stood up in Jonny Cake's awesome wedding (hair only slightly singed from the bachelor party firecrackers), we completed stage one of our Reach Global forms (Thank you everyone who filled out a reference for us!!), and moved out of our duplex. Last week and this week have been full of work and running those random errands that never seem to end. My dad has been in town for two weeks, and leaves tomorrow. We enjoyed having him around.

Maggie's Birthday is today, and to celebrate we went to The Melting Pot, a fun fondue restaurant where you cook your own meat. Happy Birthday Maggie!!

As we look ahead to what June holds, we continue filling out RG forms, I am leading worship for the highschool week of our church camp, (and Maggie and Patrick will be there too!), and I continue to evaluate keeping my lifeguarding job.

A couple pr…

More on Costa Rica

Dear Friends and Family,

I wanted to share what has been on my heart concerning our missions opportunity.

The possibility of living in Costa Rica thrills me. If you know me at all, then you would know I grew up in Ecuador and in a Latin American context, and that I absolutely love it. You also would know that I love mountain climbing and anything that can be remotely tied to it--rock climbing, rappelling, jungle trekking, backpacking, canyoning, spelunking, etc. You would also know that I have a heart for youth and enjoy and am energized working with them, especially in the context of discipleship. Being youth directors in Costa Rica pretty much just wraps all of this together with a nice ribbon and would just be waiting for us to open all in one mind-blowing package. Then why have I been unsure of this in the past couple months?

I want to quickly remind everyone that we have not been accepted yet by AMCA nor by Reach Global yet for this position. Everything is in the Lord's hands,…

Boy oh Boy

We have now been in Oxford for a full year, and boy oh boy do our lives look completely different!
For starters, we have now been parents for almost 11 weeks! Patrick is getting so big, or in Jonathan's words "fat." Patrick has been more than gracious with his new mommy and daddy. We thankfully don't have any crazy first child stories (at least not yet). Jonathan loves making Patrick fly and is making sure that Patrick is prepared for the rough world of being a boy. Thankfully our boy was born tough. Jonathan thinks Patrick takes after me in that he hates being bored. Anytime he is left alone, he gets upset. Thankfully, Patrick takes after both of us and loves the outdoors. Any amount of crying is quickly resolved by a walk around our yard. Yeah for a future hiker! Maybe we'll be able to hike the AT after all. Patrick started smiling at 6 weeks, and we have been greatly blessed by his new ability to connect. It definitely makes changing dirty diapers much better w…