Praise the Lord, O my soul!
With all that is within me, praise his holy name!
For as the skies are high above the earth,
so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers. (Psalm 103: 1, 11 NET)
Dear friends and family,
Greetings to you from rainy Charlotte. We are grateful for your friendship and for your prayerful support as we come to the close of 2018. Continue reading
palava sauce with fufu!
love Liberian food!
Reuben and Odell
Mary and Reuben
so special to meet Besselyn!
enjoying the beauty
P. Tyrone and family
It was a surprising privilege for me to visit Liberia during the first weeks of December. God blessed me on this trip with amazing connections, reunions with longtime friends, favorite Liberian foods, and beautiful sunsets along the Atlantic ocean. The training times with many different divisions of SIM/ELWA ministry staff gave me opportunity to present new materials, and to learn from them about cultural factors impacting the protection of children in Liberia. Please continue to pray with me for these friends and colleagues as they continue to honor God in their ministries, that the light of Christ will shine through all the ministries of SIM and ELWA in Liberia.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)
We do thank God each time we think of you, with joy because of your friendship and partnership in the gospel. We pray for you, and hope that you pray for us, that the One who began a good work in each of us will faithfully complete it in our lives.
During these cold and rainy Autumn days (record-breaking rainfall!) we continue in our daily work. Dave has given a fuller picture of his ministry here, appropriately including a sports analogy! And more about Mary’s ministry is written here.
Occasionally we are surprised by unexpected opportunities, and we ask for your prayers as Mary has been invited to come to Liberia for a couple of weeks in the first part of December, to work with the SIM Liberia team in the development of their Child Safety program. Continue reading
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
We 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 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!
“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
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.
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!
the baby had just fallen asleep so i couldn’t stand up to hug the bride! such a fun and funny moment.
“the girls” from D.A.
celebrating with Sami!
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.
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.
hiking during our camping weekend with Danny’s family
young bluebirds, recently flown from the nest!
the return of the hummingbirds
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!
baby bluebirds in the back yard nest box
the giraffe feeding was a blast!
so much love for the llama!
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!
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!)
Fumane is Treasurer for our SIM office in Johannesburg, where she serves our teams in nine Southern African countries by caring for their finances. Her husband is a professional soccer player from Nigeria.
On many of our SIM teams worldwide, the “team” in reality extends beyond just SIM, where friendships and partnerships grow to include other organizations as well. In this case, two of the couples that we spent our Sunday with are workers with Flying Mission Zambia, who fly our staff into places that are sometimes unreachable by road.
The Johannesburg office includes Swiss and Canadians working alongside of South Africans, providing vital services in leadership, media and IT along with finance.
Fostance (left-center) is a Malawian who directs Sports Friends Malawi, a very impactful ministry that equips local churches to minister through sports. Nico (right-center) is a Dutchman who directs a ministry that reaches out to those of another major religion in the region.
Nico and his family led us up a mountain, where we enjoyed a spectacular view.
Worship times at Global Assembly were rich and meaningful, as all 450 participants came together to worship the Lord in many languages but with one voice.
Our auditing job is simplified a bit when the treasurer is married to the director, as is currently the case with SIM Zambia. Jeff and Rose have served this team sacrificially through several years of ministry in this office.
Wadi is our SIM Malawi Treasurer. He and his wife treated us to a wonderful Malawian supper, along with their young son.
This brief reunion with most of our Liberia delegation was especially sweet.
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
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
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