October 2018

A glimpse into Mary’s work:

Working with the SIM International Child Safety Team has been both a privilege and a challenge.  We value your prayers for this work, and perhaps more information about what we’re doing will help to inform your prayers. Continue reading


September 2018

46421748_191688611712367_7015070689870741504_nWe often write of my travels for SIM’s ministry purposes, but most of my working days are spent at the SIM USA office here in Charlotte.  That’s maybe not quite as glamorous as getting stamps in my passport, but I’d like to share a bit of what fills up those days.  While much of it really is behind-the-scenes financial nuts and bolts, I do spend more than half my time working directly with our SIM USA missionaries, both face-to-face and by email or phone.

My go-to analogy when presenting SIM finances to a room full of new missionary appointees has to do with baseball, and specifically with umpires.  When you drive home from a baseball game and the conversation in the car is all about the umpires, is this because those umpires had a good game, or is it because they’ve had a bad game?  No doubt you’ve experienced this, and you know exactly what I’m talking about! Continue reading

August 2018

August included a vacation! We took a road trip that included a stop at one of my favorite places, Animal Adventure Park, where I got to meet up with some special friends and enjoy many beautiful animals, including April the Giraffe and her son Tajiri!

Our next stop was at Jacob and Katies, and we enjoyed our time with them sightseeing in their current location!

We are so thankful for times of rest and refreshment, with friends, family and beautiful bits of God’s amazing creation to enjoy!

DeckerUpdate August 2018

Cotopaxi volcano Quito

August 2018

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dispersed the crowds. And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already far from land, was taking a beating from the waves because the wind was against it. As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the water they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:22-33‬ ‭NET‬‬

Greetings from sunny and stormy August! So far this summer we’ve had over 50 days of 90° plus weather, with plenty of thunderstorms mixed in! It feels a bit intense. Continue reading

July 2018


mockingbird parent feeding the baby



Child Safety presentation for new SIM workers

July included time to appreciate God’s creation in the back yard, training sessions with new SIM workers, and a special weekend with young adults who have been part of our community for most of their lives, and much of ours! We love being “Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary”,  cooking and eating and laughing together, playing games, and thinking together about the important things in life.

June 2018

In June, we took some time for a Minnesota/Wisconsin vacation. Although we’ve lived overseas many years, and in North Carolina for quite a while, we still feel at home in Minnesota, and love our times there. (Although it is never long enough, and there are so many people we’d like to be able to spend more time with!)

One of our favorite things about overseas life has been the community we’ve worked with, and some of our favorite community “kids” are grown up now– we’ve had so much fun celebrating with them at weddings, and meeting the newest babies!

May 2018


This cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, may be the most iconic landmark in Milan.

Dave shared some beautiful and iconic sights from Italy, while participating in SIM’s leader development program.


Lake Como


The mountain view in Torre Pellice, the little village near the France border where they had their meetings.


And, while closer to home, we appreciated the beauty of God’s creation and the privilege of enjoying some special times with our favorite grandchildren! We feel so blessed to be near them in this season of life.

April 2018

April included travels for ministry conferences for both Dave and me.

At the annual Child Safety and Protection Network conference, I had the opportunity to brainstorm with others who work with member care topics related to child safety. Although the Child Safety Advocacy team at SIM USA is separate from the Member Care team, I’ve been involved in member care during many of our years with SIM, and it was interesting to think through some of the ways the two areas work together as well as well as the ways they have differing responsibilities.


Dave shared this picture from Dallas, while participating in the Christian Leadership Alliance conference, where “leaders engage in shared learning experiences that offer Christ-centered focus, biblical principles, proven best practices, emerging trends and practical applications.”

During the times we were not traveling, we appreciated the sights of Spring, a visit from precious friends, and a visit to the Columbia Zoo with our favorite grandchildren!

March 2018


March included some special times. A trip to Charleston to (belatedly) celebrate our anniversary was one.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Uptown Charlotte with a couple of our favorite people was another!

And it’s always special when my mom comes to visit. We had some fun outings, including a day-trip to Greenville for lunch, to visit the Zoo, and see some wonderful spring flowers! And of course,  a Charlotte highlight is always coffee at Amelies!


We are thankful for God’s good gifts of these special times of beauty, fun and family!

DeckerUpdate – March


February was an unusual month, the warmest February in history here in Charlotte, yet I missed virtually all of that while enjoying (most of) a month of real summer on the other side of the equator, in Southern Africa.

My stops included South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi, and my traveling companion was Nathan Krupke, our CFO at SIM USA.  Nathan and I began by performing financial audits of SIM offices at each of those three stops, following which we attended SIM’s Global Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa.

There were a couple of themes running throughout this trip, and I’ll use some photos to help tell a few stories. (Click on the photos to enlarge them, and see the entire caption!)


First is that SIM is old!  We’re old, but still changing and growing.  This year SIM is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and the celebration was kicked off in grand fashion with over 450 SIMers from more than 50 different countries attending our second tri-annual Global Assembly in Johannesburg. Continue reading

Events in the news: talking with kids

Part of my work in child safety involves following current events, and providing resources for parents. Below is some helpful material I received today.

From Darkness to Light

Dear Friend,

In today’s world, media is everywhere – on our TVs, on our phones, and on the radio on the way to school. Currently, we all have been flooded with the horrific Larry Nassar case. As an adult, this can be a pretty scary topic to talk about with children. It’s important to realize that it is not just a “gymnastic problem” and child sexual abuse can happen in any youth sports organizations or other youth serving organizations.

So how do you start this conversation?  Continue reading

Minneapolis Miracle!

The world is still talking about it this morning, so apparently it really did happen. We were sitting on the couch quietly planning a funeral, beginning to silently process another devastating loss. They were so dead, and then…

I have a new-found appreciation of what it felt like to those who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus. Wait, did somebody steal his body? Is there a yellow flag out there on the field? How did that boulder get rolled away? Did he step out of bounds? OMG (read Case’s lips!), what on earth just happened??

It feels wrong to compare a football game to a resurrection. My point, though, is just to say that in a hundred years we won’t be talking about this game, but we’ll talk of the empty tomb, and all that it accomplished, forever and ever.

This morning, I’m sure enjoying that football game all over again. Forever and ever, I’ll enjoy the resurrection and all that it accomplished for friends and enemies, young and old, rich and poor, and black and white, not to mention all other races and ethnicities.


And here’s a nice story about Case Keenum.



Winter wisdom from G.R.A.C.E.

Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E) shares wisdom that each of us needs to consider.

As the dark horrors of sexual abuse finally begin to surface across all spectrums of our society, we are once again reminded that our churches are not immune from this wickedness. The #metoo and #churchtoo movements are a sobering and painful reminder that a dark winter exists inside the Church … a community that claims to follow the One who is the Light of the world.  (Read the article here.Winter Insde the Church, and the Hope of Christmas)

Follow them on Facebook to regularly see what they are sharing.


Autumn 2017

Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Charlotte!  We still aren’t quite used to the way fall begins here, with no MN State Fair to mark the end of summer.  We are starting to see some fall colors now, and enjoying slightly cooler weather. But, as Minnesota natives, we are looking forward to experiencing some “real” fall weather at the end of this month!  Continue reading