Tag Archives: Change

Re-entry…

Well…it’s been almost one month since I’ve been back in the U.S. after living in Guatemala for almost two years… and I have to say…re-entry has been enlightening.

With Guatemala, its customs, its conditions and its people still fresh on my mind, jumping back into the U.S. way of being has allowed me to see and appreciate both countries with a new perspective.

Let me share and compare some of those perspectives.

Driving. (Winner – U.S.)
Driving in Guatemala is organized chaos. The lanes are very narrow and mean nothing. If a car, truck or bus can fit on it…you drive on it. Chicken buses rule the road and are very aggressive…if they want your lane…they are going to take it. I remember praying each time I got behind the wheel in Guatemala, and luckily I did ok.

Driving in the U.S. is wonderful. Most everyone follows the rules, drives in their amply wide lanes, obeys traffic signals and so on. Roads are well marked, and streets have signs and numbers. Wonderful!

Food. (Winner – Guatemala)
The food in Guatemala is wonderful! The markets are everywhere, and there is nothing “marked as organic”…because it’s ALL organic! Carrots are as big as the end of a baseball bat, and fresh fruits of all kinds are for sale on every street corner. The meats are all grain and grass fed, and although they are not a huge part of the daily diet, they are great quality. The best part is the price! Cheap, cheap, cheap!

I’ve been in “food sticker shock” ever since I got back! The average cost of breakfast with two eggs, hashed browns, bacon, toast, coffee and orange juice is roughly $10.00, and in Guatemala, I would spend about $5.00 for the same thing. Also, while the number of restaurants and choices in the U.S. far outnumber Guatemala…I have to say…I still dream about some of my meals in Guatemala.

People. (Winner – Guatemala)
The people in Guatemala are wonderful. They are courteous, helpful and happy. They may not engage you first, but once you muster the guts to engage them…you’ve got an instant friend. They look you in the eye as you pass on the street and always return the smile you give them. The family is huge to Guatemalans, and they spend lots of time together…just being together…and they love it.

In the U.S., people seem busy, preoccupied and anxious about something or other. Most conversations I hear, (yes, I’m eavesdropping on the conversations of others…), are people complaining about politics, family, their job or something. It’s rarely good conversation…always problems. Most people are doing something on their phones rather than looking around and engaging in the world around them. That’s unfortunate and more than anything; I wish that change.

Creature Comforts. (Winner – U.S.)
I have to say…I don’t miss wondering if I am going to have water from one day to the next! Many times in Guatemala, I would turn on my faucet and hear that dreaded gurgling sound. I also don’t miss the noise. The sounds of Chicken buses, the loudspeakers on the Zeta Gas trucks blaring their sales jingle, the constant explosions of firecrackers at daybreak for signifying someone’s birthday and roosters that crow at all hours of the night. Nope…I don’t miss those things.

Being home in the U.S., it’s funny how quickly I take these things for granted. Of course, I’ll have water…and I can even drink it if I want! Although there is noise, it seems to be a constant hum of traffic that is almost relaxing. I can turn on TV and get all sorts of channels…and I can understand everything they are saying! Also, if I need something, there is always a store that has it, or I can order it online and have it delivered in days! Something that was never an option in Guatemala.

Yep, I have to say that being back in the U.S. is nice in many respects. I’ve been able to see my family and friends and I don’t worry about my safety and day to day life is just…easier. However, I most certainly miss many aspects of my Guatemalan home. I miss my friends; I miss feeling that “connection” with people, I miss the smiles and laughter, I miss the beautiful children and hardworking work ethic of their parents. I especially miss seeing how far $10 will last me!

Re-entry has been enlightening…and I hope I can carry the best of what I experienced in Guatemala with me and share it here in the U.S., but I also realize the unrest that will always live inside me…as expressed best in this quote:

“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

― Miriam Adeney

Distance brings clarity…

My morning commute...
My morning commute…

Distance brings clarity…

I heard that statement recently and the more I think about it…the more truth I find in its simplicity. Often times our days are so full of activities and other distractions that our lives become a blur. Our days become one continuous stream of activity, to do lists, and we are subjected to a constant barrage of information we have rarely asked for or need.

However, what I have discovered in the short time I have been here in Guatemala is the beauty of the space that exists when those things are absent. I am learning what to do when I don’t have internet. I am learning how to live without a phone or mail. I am learning how to exist without a car. I am learning how to live without having access to TV to watch sports and my goofy reality TV shows. I am learning how to listen to people talk and not understand the words they are saying, yet understanding the meaning behind the words. I am separated from what I have known and what has been familiar…yet I am beginning to see clearly.

I mean this figuratively and literally! I wear glasses when I am home in order to drive and to see anything over 5’ away. However, since I have been here in Guatemala, I have not needed to wear them. I can see perfectly! I am also beginning to hear the voice of my heart. I know it sounds weird, but being able to walk to school each morning is a wonderful 20 minute way to begin my day. I look around at the people, the flowers, the buildings and of course the volcanos that surround the city. I hear the birds chirping, the “chicken buses” roaring past and I feel the cool breeze on my face. I hear the faint voice of my heart speaking to me in a me in a way that I can’t describe. This is sacred time and I cherish it.

I never had these experiences before and I am beginning to understand why. I believe it is only when we can look at our lives from a distance that we really can determine if we are living the life we truly want to live. I believe I finally am. Distance brings clarity…and for the first time in a very long time…I can see 20/20.

How do you boil a frog…

Lemur Leaf Frog (Hylomantis lemur)

The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger, not jump out and will be ultimately cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for our inability or unwillingness to react to threats or harmful conditions that occur gradually over time.

Like the frog, so many of my friends are in water that is slowly being heated. They are struggling with problems… family problems, problems getting along with co-workers, problems with health… and many of those people are Christians! I understand the problems…I don’t understand the extended struggle. Jesus said that “in this world, you will have difficulities.” Being a Christian does not give us a free pass away from difficulites, but what we DO have is a better way to deal with them…

We are to pray, then we are to focus on what we can and should do…and then do it…then we are to turn the rest of it over to God.

That’s it…every problem…every situation…same remedy.

So why don’t we do that?

  1. I think many of us love God…but deep down…we don’t trust that He will work in our favor…or in our timeframe.
  2. I think there is a certain sense of pride that comes with having to “deal” with stuff…laboring brings a certain sense of self worth.
  3. I think we know what we need to do to get out of our problems…but we imagine it to be far scarier or more painful than our current condition…so we stay put.

What we fail to realize is…

  1. God can be trusted. Think back on your life…has God ever told you to do something and you are worse off because of it?
  2. We miss out on “peace.” I think having a peaceful heart is one of the most underrated conditions we have as humans. Peace reminds us that everything is just as it should be. Peace tells us…someone else can… and will take care of me. Peace reminds us we are not God, …nor should we try to be.
  3. Sometimes we are a “stiff-necked people.” We know what to do…but we just don’t do it because what we “imagine” we will have to experience. We think about the future and in our mind…it is scary, painful and uncomfortable and that “picture” has less than a 10% chance of really happening anyway. Yet…it is enough to stop us from moving forward, growing closer to God and being happy…we CHOOSE not to move.

What this reminds me of is…God is extremely patient with us.

  1. He will love us enough to allow us to wallow in our own “stuff” for an extended period of time.
  2. He will listen to us say how much we love Him, but understands that we don’t really trust Him.
  3. He will be there for us when we finally DO turn to Him and He will welcome us with open arms.

But in the meantime…many of us will just continue to struggle, kick and complain…

Go figure…

 

 

Photo Credit:  John Clare.  Flickr.  Lemur Leaf Frog.  No changes were made.  

60 days…to beginning the next chapter…

It’s hard to believe that in 60 days I’ll be sitting in the airport with a one way ticket to Guatemala!

Why am I going?   Good question…

I think God has been moving me. When I step back and look at my life, I can see a significant shift that has taken place in me over the past decade. I’ve become a Christian, I got baptized, I began working mission trips into my regular life schedule, I started seminary, I left my 30 construction career and lucrative salary to become 100% dependant on God and the generous donations of my supporters…and now I’m moving to Guatemala.

When I think about it…it all makes sense. I think God has been preparing me to do the “real work.”   It all made sense when I heard pastor Andy Stanley say recently,

“Holy hands are dirty hands.”

Years ago, when I thought of the word “Holy”, the thought would be accompanied by a sense of things that were clean, bright, and neat and often separated from other things. Just as one thinks of God in the Old Testament residing in the Holy of Holies, and the actions of the Pharisee and Sadducees in the Bible worrying about being exposed to someone who was “unclean.”  They went to extreme measures to remain “clean and holy.”

When I thought about it, I had evidently carried this belief forward and was practicing it in my life and ministry to some extent.  I was working in ministry…but from afar…my hands were clean.

My new perspective is quite different. I now realize that my version of “holy” was not missional…nor biblical. Missional work requires one to “get their hands dirty.” One must get out into the community and along side of those that they are trying to reach and help. It’s not easy and it cannot be accomplished from afar. One must engage.

That is what God did…He sent His Son to live with us...He engaged.

But why go to Guatemala?

I believe our God is a sending God and we are to go and be a part of those communites we intend to reach. It is in this engagement and through acts of service and love that we become holy and then become useful tools to God.  I don’t exactly know why God has called me to Guatemala …but I just know He has…and that’s good enough for me.

So here we go!   I am excited to begin this next chapter of my life as I put all my belongings into storage and move to Guatemala to place myself in God’s service. I have no idea what to expect…but one thing is for certain…I’m going to get my hands really dirty!

If you would like to be a part of my support team…I need it and would really appreciate it.  If you’ve read my blog this far…maybe God has a calling for you as well!   All you have to do is click on the button below.

Donate

 

Blessings!

Why Missions?

I never thought that I would end up walking away from a lucrative 30 year construction career to devote my life to mission work…but I did.   Since then, I’ve never been:

  1.  More uncertain about where my next dollar was going to come from and…
  2.  I’ve never been happier.

Mission work may not be for everyone, but everyone has a part to play in God’s ultimate plan.  Here is a little story about how I found “my part.”

If you would like to help support me in this ministry…I would really appreciate it.   Here is how…

Donate

I would appreciate your prayers regardless.   I will be taking a small team down to Guatemala in April…stay tuned for updates!

Thank you!!

 

Momentum

Zig Ziglar- You don't have to be great to start

Today I finished my fast.

For the past 10 years I have fasted for the first 40 days of the year. I love it. It gives me a way to reset my body, lose a couple of pounds, and begin each year with positive momentum.

It’s never too late to start…but you do have to start!  Momentum is everything!

Monday’s should be the best business day of the week.

Think…Big Monday = Big Week = Big Quarter = Big Year!

What do you want to do that when you look back in 5 years you’ll be glad you did?  Write that item down and then take daily action in that direction!  Do it!  Get going!  Make a move!

 

 

photo credit: NextTwentyEight:https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenext28days/9298936641

 

Moving forward by looking back…

I went to college to study Civil Engineering.  One of my favorite classes was surveying.   I loved being outdoors shooting grades, working with bearings and establishing benchmarks.   I was the guy that got to operate the transit (the thing you look through).

What I learned as a transit operator was a way of projecting a straight line forward. All one had to do was to take a backsight on a marker that was behind me, lock down the controls and just flip the scope over 180 degrees and then whatever I sighted on would be in an exact straight line from where I came from.

So as I apply this principle to my life and looking back on 2014…here is what I see…

I have just finished my first year in ministry. It was wonderful to say the least!   We were able to take part in some significant life changes in Guatemala and growth in our ministry.  For the first time in my life…I know I’m on the path that God created me to walk.

So as I lock down those controls and flip the scope…

Here is what I see looking forward into 2015…

In order for me to continue to grow and be effective in a multi-cultural ministry, I must be able to speak the language. As it stands right now, I have been relying on two years of High School Spanish to communicate with the people we serve in Guatemala.  I’m horrible at it and they deserve better than that. The only reason I have not learned the language is because it’s difficult. I always find “other things” that I need to be doing when I am at home.  This must change…

So, I have made the decision to move to Guatemala in June for a minimum of six months in order to learn the language. I’m going total immersion…No English!  My plan is to spend the first month going to a language school in Antigua to get the basics. Then after the first month, I’ll stay with Oscar and Amy Garcia, our Ministry Leaders in Guatemala. I’ll work with them doing just about anything and everything… but only speaking Spanish.

I’ll be blogging on a weekly basis and sharing everything that I am doing, learning and goofing up…   The big question for me is…can I do it?  Can I really learn the language in six months?   What happens after that?

All these answers we’ll soon find out…so I hope you’ll follow me and see what happens.   I guarantee it will be interesting!

Looking back on my first year in non-profit Ministry

Wow. What a year this has been.   I am in the process of putting together our second annual report which has required me to look back on all that we have been able to accomplish this year thanks to many generous financial teammates.   So if it’s ok, I would like to share the impact that we as a team have been able to make…you’re going to love it…

Light of Hope School – Guatemala

Schools

  • We have 5 Christian schools still operating in Africa providing education to over 500 children and employing 34 teachers.   90% of our children come from Muslim families. Go figure!
  • We have a pre-k school in Guatemala that currently has about 60 children and 3 teachers.
  • A Guatemalan music teacher is using the incentive to play in the band as a way to reach children and keep them interested in school and making good grades. The band dreams of someday marching in the Macy’s Rose Bowl parade, and they had all the instruments they needed with one exception…they didn’t have a Tuba.   We got them a Tuba.

P1010444   P1010440 IMG_1739   Ebola supplies

Community Development

  • We purchased and shipped six school buses to Africa filled with school supplies.   The buses are now being used to take people throughout the region.
  • We provided a Fire Truck that was donated from the City of Tyler, TX to the Guatemalan city of San Jose Pinula. This has also opened the hearts of several fire fighters that want to adopt the Guatemalan station as a “sister station.”   We actually brought two firefighters from Tyler with us to Guatemala this month.
  • We shipped a container full of Medical supplies to Guinea, West Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic. The container was filled with protective suits, medical gloves and unfortunately…body bags.
  • We held five medical clinics in Guatemala and treated approximately 1587 people.

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Training

  • We held a Pastors conference in West Africa in March and trained over 50 pastors.
  • We held a Pastors conference in Guatemala in December and taught over 100 pastors.
  • We provided 20 sewing machines to a group of women in Guatemala to begin making items to sell in the marketplace. Many of the women had never sewn before, and the learning curve is very steep.   However, while they learn they are also engaging in Bible study!

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Home Improvement

  • I experimented with a solar light bulb for people in Guatemala to use. It’s a liter plastic bottle that sits halfway in and halfway out of the roof. Light come in through the top and is emitted from the bottom. It produces the light of a 60W bulb and will last about eight years.   We have installed several so far. They love them. The only problem is getting on the roofs to install them…many of the roofs are not stable enough to hold the weight of a person.
  • We provided over 26 smokeless stoves for families that had been cooking over an open flame with no exhaust in their home.   This $250 addition to the home has been life changing to families. It is one of the best things we do!
  • We came upon a young girl in Guatemala that lost her parents and, is raising her five siblings in addition to her two children. All of them (9 people) have all been living in one room that a neighbor is letting them use. I’ve seen the room…it’s horrible.   We are building them a home now. It’s under construction, nothing fancy… but hopefully it will be ready by Christmas.

HI Facebook

Technology & Social Media

  • We have a Facebook page that has grown to over 167,000 followers!   That is more than many of the fortune 500 companies!   We engage an audience of over 20,000 people every day from countries all over the world. We have even had 20 decisions for Christ this year!
  • We started a similar Facebook page all in Spanish as well.   It mirrors much of the content we have on our main page, but we just wanted to engage our Spanish speaking friends in Central America directly.
  • Chuck’s son, Adam developed a training platform called Conscientia. We have been meeting with churches and hospital groups so they can put their training content on the platform. It’s a great tool, and we just have to figure out how to market it better. So far, we have one church using it and one hospital group (UT Southwestern Global Health Program). They have put about 15 courses on it and are loving it.

Creating Partnerships and Relationships

  • By investing all of our time and resources in one common area in Guatemala, we have developed a very strong relationship with the Mayor of San Jose Pinula in Guatemala.   He is also the Mayor of over 26 additional cities and settlements in a much larger geographic area.   This is fascinating to me because it is rare for a governmental agency to be such a fan of a faith-based non-profit organization…especially from the U.S.
  • We have developed the same type of relationship with the government of Conakry in Guinea, West Africa.   We met with them in March, and they will be working with us to get land to build a community medical and training facility on. Again, how does an African Muslim country partner with a U.S. Christian non-profit?

IMG_5230

Evangelism

  • I bought a computer, a projector, church presentation software and had it delivered to our Pastor friend Karim Koroma in Guinea. Having these simple tools is unheard of in that area and it allows Pastor Karim to do Christian outreach throughout the region. Within days of receiving the equipment, he had an outreach event in a city called Kindia. About 75 people attended to watch the Jesus Film, worship and learn about Christ. The following day 11 people were baptized.
  • We have also passed out over 15,000 gospel stories called “The Gift.” It is written in both English and Spanish. One interesting observation after giving them away…I’ve NEVER seen one of them ever discarded on the ground.

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Personal Transformation through Mission Trips

  • We took a group of six men to Israel this year and hiked what is called the Jesus Trail. It’s a route from Nazareth to Capernaum, and we calculated we hiked over 100K.   We did it over four days, and the trip was deeply personal for each participant.   Walking the route that Jesus walked has completely changed the way I read the Bible. I highly recommend putting this trip on your bucket list.
  • We have taken 57 people to Guatemala this year!   These trips are amazing in so many aspects.   Each one is different, and my favorite part is watching the Lord move in the hearts of each person uniquely.   Mission trips are special in so many ways. I don’t know who blesses gets blessed the most…the people we serve or the people we take!

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Summary

So, not bad for 12 months of Ministry huh!

I have never been more uncertain about what the future holds. But I’ve also never enjoyed the level of pure joy and peace that this year has brought.   I’m working extremely hard. I’m working on something related to the ministry just about six days a week and about 13 hours a day.   But I love it.

Added to the workload is the fact that I’ve gone back to school in order to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise that will allow me to teach better and lead in a multi-cultural environment. I’m enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary and I’m working towards a MAGL degree (Master’s of Global Leadership). That’s what I want to do…train leaders in underdeveloped countries.   School is tough, but I love all the work that is involved because I can apply what I learn immediately to the
ministry. So far, I’m straight A’s!

I’m hoping this update has brought you a little insight into what 2014 has meant to me and I hope it has demonstrated how God is using Hope Ignited in a unique and significant way to help bring the light of Hope to some very dark places on our planet.

I cannot begin to tell you how much doing this type of work has meant to me. We’ve got a lot of work left to do and 2015 is already shaping up to be a very busy year.   I can’t wait to see what God has in store!

Thank you so very much and I hope you enjoyed this report.

Blessings,

Bob

Gifts

christmas-gifts-wallpapers-Christmas-Gifts-Wallpapers

It’s Christmas time.

The time of giving and receiving of gifts. Some people love this exchange and other’s dread it. But I was wondering why we do it at all?

Why do we exchange gifts?

Some believe that God was the initial giver. He gave His Son to the world.

Some also believe in a wealthy bishop named St. Nicholas who secretly enjoyed giving gifts to people in need. A famous story about St. Nicholas, tells of a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St Nicholas dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold and ever since, children have hung up stockings on Christmas Eve hoping that they will be filled with presents by Christmas morning.

We all know how it feels to give to others. I think we are wired by God to enjoy it.

Recently, I was in Guatemala with Hope Ignited hosting a medical clinic and doing community development projects. We had a small team of 7 people and of that team, 3 people had never been on a trip like this before. So, I wanted to capture some of the highlights of that trip which I was able to experience.

The Greatest Payment Ever

pink Gerber daisy
…priceless…

We were made aware of a young father in the village that was dying of cancer and would soon leave a widow and several young children. Our team went to his home and found him in bed with a horrible multicolored tumor on his leg the size of a soccer ball.

The room was dark but we were able to discern that the man was in his early 40’s. The room had a stale stench of sickness that was indescribable. One member of our team was a doctor. Rachel Jamison, is a pediatrician and also Chuck Jamison’s daughter in law.

She examined the young man and spoke with his wife as we gathered around him in prayer. We laid hands on the man as Chuck anointed him with oil as a sign of divine love. Many in the team felt the loving presence of the Holy Spirit as we spent time just loving on this man and praying with his family. It was a very powerful and emotional moment for everyone.

As we left, walking up the hill toward our van, one of the man’s young daughters came rushing up to Rachel. With a big smile, she handed Rachel a single flower as a gift of thanks for caring for her father.

I know doctors make a lot of money…but I don’t think anything will ever top the value of that single flower.

Stove building / Life changing

We also visited the home of a widow and her 3 children, all under the age of 8 living in a “home” of corrugated metal and plastic scraps. Each morning she leaves her home at 5am to catch a bus to go to work washing produce in a nearby village and does not return home until 7:30pm. The children are left unattended with only a few pennies to buy a small bag of junk food to sustain them. Her “home” had a pile of rocks where she could cook and a bucket and a rock to wash clothes on.

Frank Gray
Frank Gray

One member of our team, Frank Gray, a soft spoken man that had never been out of the U.S., volunteered to help build an indoor stove for the family.  He worked for two days with a Guatemalan masonry worker apart from the rest of the team. The work was dirty as they cleaned out a place for the stove. The area was full of spiders…which Frank is deathly afraid of!  With language barriers between Frank and the mason, and under the supervision of countless curious children that were trying to understand why he was working so hard to provide a valuable stove in a shack for a woman he had never met or seen, Frank got it done.

After two days of hard work, we all gathered in the “home” to light the stove for the first time. The children all gathered around to watch with excitement and smiles from ear to ear…but the biggest smile among them all was the smile on the face of Frank.

We never saw the widow during the time we were there, but it was evident that her life would be better…and I think… so will Frank’s.

The Hugging Pharmacist

During our medical clinic, patients were registered and then sat in line to see one of three doctors that we had available to us. Once they had seen a doctor, they reported to our make-shift pharmacy that was staffed by Hope Ignited’s Chuck Jamison and a Guatemala first timer…Scott Helfrich.

Scott Helfrich
Scott Helfrich

On several occasions, I would walk in the pharmacy and I would see Scott with a huge smile on his face doing his best to converse with each patient to fill the prescription the doctor had ordered. It ranged from vitamins and antacids to worm medicine, antibiotics, ibuprofen and sinus medication. Scott would get eyeball to eyeball with each patient and explain the dosage and frequency of each medication in his “makeshift spanish”. But at the completion of each prescription, Scott would open up his arms and embrace the person.

It was the most beautiful and natural display of love for one person to another that I’ve seen. No doubt, each of the 388 patients that we saw over the two days felt better when they left…and I can’t help but to think it was largely due to our “Hugging Pharmacist”.

No Pressure Blood Pressure

As part of our medical clinic, we were required to obtain each patients temperature and blood pressure. I was responsible for getting the temperature of each person. It was an easy job that only required a gentle swipe of an instrument across the forehead of each person. The blood pressure job was a bit more involved. The volunteer for that job was another first timer, Joyce Fownes.

In Guatemala, most people have an elevated blood pressure due to genetics, but mostly diet. To see a patient with 180/100 is pretty typical.

Joyce was to record the blood pressure of each of the 388 patients in addition to many of the family members and children that came with each patient. When I took a break from my temperature reading responsibilities, I noticed how Joyce was taking each person’s blood pressure.

Joyce Fownes
Joyce Fownes

She would kneel on the hard concrete floor in front of each seated patient and gently place the cuff and stethoscope on their arm as she took the reading. I watched the eyes of each person as they looked at Joyce take the readings. I can only imagine what they thought of this woman from the U.S. that was kneeling before them on the hard ground serving them.

It was such a beautiful example of what Jesus would have probably done if He was there…and when I think about it…He probably was.

These are just a few of the highlights that I observed during our week in Guatemala. I have to say that the team of “first timers” was amazing.

So, when I think about the week, I know we went there to serve the people of Guatemala…but I know without a doubt…we were the ones that received the greater gift. Our hearts were filled with compassion, love and a deeper understanding of our place in this world.

All of this brings me back to Christmas.

Remember, the story of the three kings. They received word that the moment they had been waiting for had arrived. They traveled to this place of promise and brought gifts to bestow upon the one who would change the world forever. They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh… all things of great value to give as a gift to the newborn child.

Whether shepherd or king, their encounter with the Christ child was the same. They left Bethlehem different than when they arrived. They returned home changed, with hearts full of exceeding joy.

What I find so interesting is that even the wise men took a new path: “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:12, NIV)

That is why I love trips like this…I believe you get to experience Christ…and once you experience Christ, your life can never be the same. And your response is always praise.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

I pray that we can all do that this Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas!!