Tuesday, January 31, 2006

BJ loved to laugh. The intensity that often came through in his personality, sometimes shielded this fact. His laugh was infectious, and unique. When he would erupt, it drew others... especially his mother and me, into the folly.

When the kids were young, for one April Fool's day, I decided to try to "get" them. I pulled out their two favorite cereals and switched the contents. Then just to make sure they knew they had been had, I did the same to the milk and orange juice. It was foolish not to take pictures of the result.

The initial expressions were followed by double takes to both the boxes and pitchers. They were more than worth the small effort that went into the prank. Ultimately, when they heard the words, "April Fools!" the giddy laughter replaced the sleepy confusion that had overtaken them. I was promptly swarmed and beaten by little fists.

BJ never forgot this. Each year, he would try to outprank his first experience. Honestly, unknown to him, most of his attempts were truly 'old school.' I never really tried hard after that year. In my mind, I would never be able to outdo what had been accomplished on an early morning whim.

His best attempt came about two years ago. He had heard some "new ideas" at school. "New ideas" work on unsuspecting, otherwise occupied, too busy to notice, parents.

Perhaps I should have noticed him lurking around every corner, waiting for the payoff. I was busy... doing nothing... but busy. Then it happened. I stood at the kitchen sink to rinse a mug. I was too involved in the mundane to notice the obvious. Upon lifting the faucet handle to release it's flow, I was overwhelmed by a stream of water I could not identify. Volcanic laughter burst forth from around the corner! He had taken a rubber band, secured it around the sink sprayer trigger, and aimed it perfectly at the position of the unsuspecting user. By the time I gathered my bearings, and figured out what was happening, I was drenched!

The chase was on! We covered every inch of that home as he tried to escape my rather moist demeanor. It's amazing how long it takes to figure out what has just happened, as the water continues to dampen your experience. Whatever I did to him, was not close to the victory he had achieved.

Fortunately, my suspicions were now raised, and I saw the plastic wrap stretched tightly over the toilet... just in time!

Yes, those "old tricks," were new to him, and brought great satisfaction.

That jovial spirit naturally entered into most of his relationships. He brought joy to many, and seemed to have an affinity for when and where it was needed. Because of his love for Jesus, and obedience to Him, he also showed how to have an eternal relationship, to those who had been without. Their joy is now complete in the most important way.

"Jesus wept," but I am sure he also laughs!


Monday, January 30, 2006

It's important to report the faithfulness of our Lord this past weekend. My family had the privilege of sharing at The Winter Youth Retreat at Highland Lakes Camp, Marion Church of God, and Emmanuel Community Church of Ft. Wayne, over the weekend (all in Indiana). We were blessed deeply to meet many new people- many of them family from here, and to be able to fellowship with brothers and sisters. The Lord stirred the hearts of His children in these services. Talking to a few students who want to take BJ's place on the field was incredible. There is such passion in the youth of America, and we must work together through prayer and action, to mold and direct that passion in a Christ-like manner.

Many of you remember praying for Shelby during BJ's stay in the hospital. She is the daughter of Kent and Amy. Kent is the Minister to Students at ECC in Ft. Wayne. Reuniting with them was "bittersweet." Our hearts are forever bound together through the circumstances of our journeys. Getting together and talking was both healing and emotional for each of us. One day, I will spell out all of the intersections between our families... the thing is, they are still being revealed. God has to be the author, as it is uncanny how our lives are interwoven.

I am thrilled to report that Shelby is vibrant and growing! What a beautiful, precious twin! Her health has improved immensely, and though she has a couple of lingering remembrances of her journey, she is in good shape.

Lauren spoke and sang at the church in Marion. She shared the testimony of BJ's walk with eloquence, and in a way that God has uniquely gifted her. Man, can she string words together. Poetry comes through in her message, and the message is clear. She also shared a song she finished writing on Saturday, about her journey through this storm. It is entitled "Unshaken." What a moving, personal testimony put to music.

We are seeking the Lord and His direction for each future step. It is healing for us to share what God has done, and is doing. We are thankful for the opportunities we have been afforded. We are moved at the opportunities to meet many of you who have been praying for us. It is very humbling, and we wish we could somehow repay you. For now, please know how incredible it is to be able to spend time with you, hearing your hearts, and sharing in fellowship. ECC, Wow! You guys are the best. God is truly moving in your church. What faithful and encouraging believers you are.

Jeff and Sarah, and Tom...Thank you. Worshipping beside you is a privilege! Blog family, again, Thank you for praying!

Have a blessed week in the Lord!


Thank you RC for the $ for North Africa! Wow!
We are not sure which Mark A. asked us to contact him... we know several.
Nate Dog and Ames... you got us back on-line at home, and we are thrilled!!! Thank you.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What an incredible opportunity! Anytime you gather together believers for the express purpose of growing in discipleship, fellowship, and worshipship (no, it's not a word, but it's fun to use in this sentence), it blesses the heart of God. To see His children, hungry and open before Him, ready to receive all He has to give is a move of His Spirit. That is what is happening at Highland Lakes this weekend.

Somtimes we don't see things for what they are. We have 20/20 vision for our own needs and desires, and are farsighted for what He wants or needs from us.

Over the last year and a half that we have lived and worked at Highland Lakes, many were the times that BJ would come over to see me while I was working. The thing is, the camp is on a very winding, wooded road, which has yielded many accidents. I feared he would be one of them, as there are no direct routes from our home to camp, except down the highway. He generally chose a hike beside the highway, over indirect trails through the woods.

It makes sense I guess, but it always made me uneasy. I was sharing with a friend yesterday, that it feels unusual to think back and remember that I was more concerned about him making that quarter of a mile trek down the highway, than I was making a multi-thousand mile trip to a foreign country. I guess the difference is he was called to one, and just using common sense in the other.

How many times does using common sense lead us to danger's doorstep? When we are operating under our own good judgment we can make really bad desicions. Imagine seeing a gathering of policmen, and walking into their midst and bringing up something extremely controversial. Most of us would never do this. We would use "good judgment" and decide that doing so might land us in significant trouble.

How few of us would even do so if we felt God's Spirit directing us to. It's too risky, it doesn't make sense. To learn the kind of obedience that with each heartbeat you follow through and do whatever the Lord directs is a concept that we like to believe we are available for, but the reality is that most of us are too busy, or too distracted to see or hear that direction in the first place.

BJ was born with a hereditary vision problem. One that was incorrectable. One that most people did not realize he had. He learned to compensate, and he got by. How ironic that though he could not see well with his own eyes, his vision when it came to the Spirit of God leading him, was very close to 20/20.

He did march into the midst of policemen in a foreign counrty, one more dangerous than his own. He did share a controversial subject, at risk to himself and his team. But he knew that he was being obedient to the call of God in his life, so he went, and those policemen found salvation in Jesus Christ!!!

When was the last time I took a risk for my Lord? When will be the next time? Your physical vision does not matter. It is not what determines Christ-like obedience. Spiritual vision is. I am reminded that perhaps I need to have my spiritual eyes checked. While I'm at it Lord, will you take a look at my hearing?


Friday, January 27, 2006

I just want to say THANK YOU, family for your intercession on our behalf. Shortly after writing yesterday morning, the Holy Spirit began to comfort, and bring peace anew. I know many of you have never let up in your prayer support, and Deanna, the girls and I are so very thankful.

This weekend and next, here at Highland Lakes, we are having the Winter Youth Retreats for state Southern Baptist churches. We will have 200 students or more both weekends. I heard from a blogger from North Vernon, whose daughter is coming this weekend. She was one of the 97 who committed to take BJ's place on the mission field at his funeral celebration. We have never met this family (we will tonight!). There were many we did not know on that day. That they were there, was a move of God, uniting the body of Christ in ways I am still in awe of.

One of the things that stirs our hearts like nothing else, at this point, is seeing students commit to serve in missions... here or abroad. To meet this young lady and her mother will bless our hearts, greatly!

I was on the phone last night with a close friend in Oklahoma, who told me of a youth minister who played the dvd of BJ's celebration, recently at his church. 11 students committed to take BJ's place, as a result. To see God continue to move in this way is such a comfort to Deanna and me.

Clearly, this is not about BJ, but about serving God in missions. Something we are all called to do, in some way. To see students motivated to "go" because of his story, to see the Lord use it as a tool to raise up this generation is huge to us.

Every missionary... or believer for that matter, is inspired at some point by the life and committment of another. To see our Savior take the life and death of our son, who lived and died serving his Lord, and make much of it, is uniquely humbling
for us. It is a platform from which we have been allowed the privilege to minister, and serve. We do not take that lightly.

That you would allow us to share with you this journey, and open ourselves... often at our most vulnerable points... without your passing judgment, but simply lifting us up and encouraging us, is a gift from the Father. Today, we want to say THANK YOU, once again for serving Jesus, by standing beside us in this fight.

We are honored to have family like each of you... reader's and/or writer's, you bless us!


Mark A. please e-mail me at bahiggins1259@msn.com

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Alas, plumbing the depths of agony in this loss is wearing very thin. I feel I have little else to find, and little else to feel. The incapacitating sadness is all I can seem to grasp these last few days. Where is the compassion that I used to have for others? Where is the "on-off switch" I long so much to trip? I do not wish to dwell in this place. There is no joy here. Is this a tabernacle I have created, that lets noone else in? Proverbial or otherwise, is there in fact, light at the end of this tunnel?

As I read about Joseph and Jacob, so many times before I have felt little compassion for him as he had eleven other sons, plus all of his umentioned daughters. Yet as I perseverate day after day about my own son, have I lost my daughters? Have they faded into the background of an angry sea, unwilling to yield them back? Do I love them any less? Would I feel any less pain had I lost one of them? Would my words be few, then?

I think not!

Joseph was lost to his father to serve the purposes of the Lord. After years in prison, he was elevated to an unfathomable position. En route there, "ABREK!" was shouted before him, as all were commanded to "bow down," to "take a knee," to "make way" for the anointed one! He was just a man, but he was fulfilling the lot the King of Kings had set before him.

Why would this position be granted to one so lowly?

What inexpressable disbelief and joy must Jacob have felt, so many years later to be told, YOUR SON IS ALIVE?! How then does one foot go in front of the other? How then does he regain the muscular control and sanity that must have temporarily left him as those words settled into his mind. How quickly would I trade his pain for mine... to see him again, this side of eternity!

Alas, it is not to be. It will not come to pass. There shall be no such ending to this story, though I would will it.

There is but one place to focus now. Cling to the hem of His robe as He passes by! White-knuckle grip on His presence, until He says, "What is that in your hand?" Release it, that you might be used, once again!"

"Yes, and this too shall pass." One day, or many, it too shall let go in severity, and life's full, many faceted colors shall return to restore full hue to all of its dimensions. I cannot see it, I cannot sense it, but do know the promise of my King... "and lo, I am with you always."

One foot in front of the other.

ABREK! Make way! Bow down! Take a knee! The Savior is here!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My mindset when buying groceries has changed over the years. It started in college and it was just me. I got the cheapest, fewest items I could get by on. When we got married I tried new recipes and wanted to impress my husband... yeah right. In a few years, we had a baby so the grocery list included diapers and formula. As our family grew, so did the grocery bill. When all three children were home, I'd regularly buy 3 gallons of milk a week. Now, we can scarcely drink one before the expiration. Maybe I should buy a half gallon?

I always went to the store with the children in mind. We got into a routine (OK, a rut at times) because of the children's preferences - Whitney and BJ are quite picky about what they like. The children celebrated if I got a "special treat." Well, we can hardly live without desserts every once in a while. When I was a kid we rarely had dessert unless it was someone's birthday, so maybe that's why I have such a sweet tooth. My kids do too. We kind of lived by the adage that "chocolate is always a good idea."

After BJ died, I couldn't eat anything sweet for about a month. My stomach had a sick feeling much of the time. Something had happened to us too unbelievable to accept. It wasn't supposed to be this way - maybe I'll wake up from this nightmare. I was shocked and overwhelmed with sadness and physically sick to my stomach. Food was a nuisance and sweets were out of the question. I wondered how long the feeling would last.

The six week stay in the hospital and following BJ's death, I ended up not cooking for about 3 months. It's the 1st time in my life that I have tired of eating out. Our wonderful friends at Northside and FBC provided for us for a long stretch. Going to the grocery for the first time after not cooking for so long was a difficult day for me. This past year when I went to the grocery I'm thinking of BJ - what he likes, what he will eat, snack on, special treats he will appreciate. As I think of this last year, how thankful we are that we had the opportunity to focus on just him for awhile.

I remember the day vividly: I was in the frozen pizza section and the tears started to flow. I always got one supreme pizza for Brent and I and a plain cheese one for BJ. That day, I got a cheese pizza anyway. There have been occasions where we've eaten foods in memory of BJ, with bar-b-qued ribs at the top of his list.

Brent has since teased me about the cookie jar. He thought I was the one who ate all the cookies. Now, even our cookies don't disappear as quickly as they used to...

As we continue to miss and mourn the loss of our BJ, we pray that God will continue to strengthen us for each new day with new decisions to be thankful not irritable and resentful, to be joyful not angry and bitter, to be passionate not apathetic, to be generous not selfish, totally surrendered, holding nothing back. Thank you Father, for You only are worthy. Thank You for Your grace and protection and provision for our every need.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I want to share a writing BJ did in school. He had a class called Honors Language Arts (HLA), which was challenging, but he gained benefit from it. This was the last writing of his 8th grade year. He was reflecting back on his year, and was asked to write about his goal achievement.

Who he was in Christ was always close to the surface for him. Amid struggles, he was cognizant of his weakness, and need for growth. Typically, he embraced this, but at times he had to learn or relearn to get self out of the way... something I still struggle with.

"In our first composition, I stated that I have a goal to receive A's in Honors Language Arts all year, to get mostly, if not all A's in other classes, with no grades lower than a B. I also have goals to grow on a spiritual level, and be an influence among my friends. I also had a goal to bring at least one person to Christ.

I feel I have accomplished each of these goals. If I remember correctly, I have received nothing less than an A- in HLA, but definitely nothing less than a B+, as well as receiving the top grade one six weeks (Much to Mr. Simon's surprise: "Brent Higgins!?!") in the class. Also, I have maintained all A's and B's overall, although I probably had more B's than I would have wanted.

As for my spiritual goals, I feel I have accomplished them as well. I now am much more frequent, persistant and consistant in reading the Word and praying daily. While I can't really explain how I've grown spiritually, it is evident as a result of reading the Word more and praying more, and can be seen in works, which are how I accomplished my other goals. This year, in the past two months, I have started up two Bible Studies, one at school and one at church on Wednesdays, I haved consoled and given advice to many friends of mine on many occassions, I have started a ministry online on a forum, and am constantly quoting scripture and arguing the case for God. I have also started a Christian rock band Ice to Fire and written the lyrics to 25 songs, and completed all of the music to one of them, and am now going on a 5 week long, intensive mission trip to Peru during the summer. By the Grace and Words of God, I have also brought one of my good friends to Christ.

My goals are pretty much the same for next year, but I want to maintain all A's with no more than 2 B's, I want to grow more spiritually, be more of an influence, and help bring at least 2 people to Christ.

I will prepare by continuing to read the Word, pray, and seek God's will, and by being active and striving to learn as much as possible from my Peru trip. I will prepare for my academic goals by being a little more responsible, and trying a little harder."

He brought many more than two people to Christ that summer alone. He laid down his childish ways. He embraced the siginificant task of taking the gospel to other nations, God grew in him a heart for discipleship, he sought to protect the women on the trip, in short, God grew him into a man.

His testimony stands, brings glory to God, calls others to lay down their lives for the Savior, and leaves a legacy that his father is humbled to follow.


Please, please, please pray for "On Our Knees"...or Tammy's father as he undergoes a quadruple by-pass surgery Wednesday afternoon. This is unexpected. "On Our Knees" are traveling from Tn to Oh right now to be there for the surgery.

Linda R. how is Hollie? How are things?

Monday, January 23, 2006

The summer of 1994, my father took ill. My family and I were in Virginia visiting Lynae and her family, at the time. A phone call revealed that dad had cancer... pancreatic cancer, the same cancer that claimed the life of his older sister, just years before.

We were told the odds of two people in the same family contracting this form were astronomical. Odds did not matter, because God had a plan.

Dad was diagnosed in early July. On August 26th, he went home to be with my Father in Heaven.

During his illness, a friend who was a brother in Christ, gave him a masculine looking music box. The kind of piece that would have been at home on a ship's bridge, as it was adorned (as I recall) with similar design. When wound, it offered up "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," as it's treasure.

The piece sat on my father's hospital bed table. We were fortunate enough to have him at home for the last weeks before he passed. I remember dad listening to that song. I remember how ready he was to greet his friend, Jesus. He had led a Christ-like life, and was an incredible example. He went home on his younger sister Maralyn's birthday. I will never forget being at his side as he drew his last breath.

I wish I could remember if it was a birthday or Christmas in which this next thing happened. I cannot even recall if it was that year, or a couple years later. BJ and his grandpa were very close. As I am sure I have shared (forgive me if I repeat myself, please), the ultrasound Deanna had while pregnant with Beej revealed that he was a girl. When he was born, dad was thrilled to have a grandson... his first, and the last he would know.

Anyway, for that special day, my mother gave BJ a very special gift. He unwrapped that same music box. Beej, unlike his dad, seldom cried. This brought forth a torrent of emotion, as he remembered winding it, and listening to it with his grandpa.

I would often hear that box playing it's melody at night after he had scurried off to bed, or during moments alone in his room with the door shut, as he would remember that man who loved him so much.

Not long ago, I found that little melodic memory, stowed in a safe place with other treasures he received from his grandpa. Winding it just one more time, brought back a vision of their times together.

I will never forget being at his side, when he drew his last breath. The music that reminds me most of him is different than that of his grandpa, but the bond and memories they shared in their short years together, will ever be etched within.

The legacy left behind by these two incredible men of God was clearly part of His plan. I don't understand it, nor can I say that I would have done it that way, but His ways are higher than my ways, and for this I am thankful.

I too, look forward to the day when I can greet my friend, Jesus!


Wednesday of this week I have the privilege of speaking to a few students at Mooresville High School. This coming Sunday Lauren is speaking at a church in Marion, In. and that night I will be sharing with student at ECC in Ft. Wayne, In.
I would ask that you would lift up each of the body who hears, that they would discern what the Lord has for them.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

My family is a "hugging" family. I have always been given hugs, and I enjoy giving them. I am thankful for a wife and children who are receptive to this. Each is different in their need and approach to giving and receiving them.

Deanna and I frequently embrace. Sometimes it includes more, sometimes not. Our children grew up watching this, and sometimes getting embarassed by it. Beej especially would do so... for some reason, so did our dog. They both reacted similarly. Although, I believe Dakota (the dog) was jealous, both he and BJ were vocal when they saw it.

At times, Beej would come and try to get between us. On other occassions, he would fold his hands up under his chin, flash a "not in front of me" embarassed grin, and groan. We enjoyed doing this just to evoke his reaction.

Lauren grew up desiring to have hugs once in a while. When she needs one, she wants a secure, "make me feel better," long, tight embrace. She usually accompanies it with an "I love you."

Whitney has always sought them frequently. There is safety, and shared compassion in her need. For that moment, the world is shielded from her heart, and cannot penetrate her weakness. I often lift her off of the floor.

BJ's hugs were always stronger and longer than most guys are comfortable with. He, like his sisters, was very loving. The breadth of his heart was enormous for such small stature. He would often snug up close to me during the most mundane of activities.

Unfortunately, one of the struggles I now have, is the memory of how many times I "pushed him away," during one of those moments. He learned to be "physical" by example, and yet I sent him a mixed message. I always had a reason. "It's too hot, and we're sticking together," or "I am trying to do something, and you're impeding my progress."

As much as I loved him, too many times I did not embrace his embrace.

I regretted it in the moment, and I regret it now. I ache to be able to hold him again, and tell him how much I love him. I wish I could understand my reaction. I wish I could justify my reaction. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

I know he knew I loved him. I know he felt many embraces from me. I just long for one more. One more time to say "I love you" without using words.

I often find myself asking my Heavenly Father to close him in His grasp for me. Oh how I hope He does so.

I am thankful for the grace I have in Christ for past, present, and future failures.
I am so appreciative of His embrace each and every moment of my need.

If you have never made a decision, while under His conviction, to make Him Lord of your life, I do not know how you would ever endure pain, suffering or loss. Our God of compassion draws us near in our hurt. Don't reject His embrace if you sense it. Receive it, and be changed.


Christal M. we want very much to see the finished product!
Laura O. what a blessing your writing is. We love it over the picture! We would like to have that picture by itself as well, if you can e-mail it! bahiggins1259@msn.com

Friday, January 20, 2006

In April of 1983, I took a job with an agency in Indianapolis which provided services to and for individuals with developmental disabilities. I had the privilege of working with many wonderful people within that realm, for 21 years.

One of the characteristics that many of them had in life was a joy in their circumstances. A joy that seems to be lacking in the lives of many Christians. Having joy, as a believer, comes naturally. The lack of it, reveals sin issues in our lives.

One of the men I worked with for a few years, before we found him a job in the community, was James. James was a believer, who attended church each Sunday, and carried with him the joy of his salvation. He was amazing. His zest for life, and zeal for sharing that life with others was humbling. James did not present as an individual with diabilities. The issue that gave him away was his inability to connect his speech with his intended words.

He struggled to form the words correctly, and his pattern of speech often included clicks and uninteneded utterances. This complicated his opportunities to share with people. They often grew impatient with his attempts, or ignored him. My own staff struggled a great deal to understand him.

I found that the times I struggled most to "hear" him were when I was in a hurry. If I could clear my mind, relax, and give him a chance to share, I could usually understand him. This became interpretation of another kind.

I remember many times after he got a job, he would call and want to talk. Talking to James in person was one thing... he would muster body language that would persuade his inferences in a direction that was beneficial to your comprehension... on the phone was a brand new foray into communications. My patience was tested time after time, as we tried to have a conversation. His patience was tested as well, since the dummy on the other end of the line was not "getting it!"

Amid these attempts to communicate, I believe the Lord showed me something. One of those things that was obvious after I realized it. You see, James loves to sing. When he sang, you could understand virtually, every word. Upon this realization, we had discussions which revealed that James sang in the choir at church, and he often performed solos.

I was humbled again. To see this man offer up his all in song, in words that were completely understood, was something I did not give him the benefit of in my thoughts about his life. I was wrong. There was way more to him than the obvious.

Do you know that we broke new ground in communicating? I found that if I asked him to sing what he was trying to say, he could convey his point much more effectively! I still remember the meeting in which he demonstrated this for his sister. She was shocked! Her whole demeanor changed. She was already a very caring individual, but when she saw something in her brother that was brand new, emotion was quick to follow.

I think sometimes that our attempts or failures to hear from God are this way. Our expectations are replete with hearing His voice in ways He is not speaking. He told Elijah that His voice was not in the thunder, the heavy winds, the roaring sea, the obvious. His voice is found in still small unintelligible ways compared to our expectations. He is sharing with us. We just have to learn to discern His voice. We must separate it from the multitude of worldly voices screaming around us.

God still speaks to us today. We must slow down, relax, and learn to "listen."

Lattany, I am praying for your trip, your nephew, and your family. Thank you for hearing His voice, and responding to it in simple obedience. The enemy is fighting against you, but our God will prevail. Be encouraged, and serve!

Serving the King beside you,


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Taking pictures of your children or loved ones, is often part of being a family and getting together. I have written about many pictures, and the impact they have had. You are probably sick of that. There is no doubt, that in the absence of physical presence, pictures will stand... obviously a poor substitute, but better than nothing.

My brother Brad, has taken many, many pictures of our times together. We have framed photograghs all over our house of his work. Some of family, many of nature. He has blessed us with homemade cards which always include points of interest, captured on film. Others are enlargements made just for the right time.

One Deanna has been searching for relentlessly, is of Beej playing his cello... the one we had rebuilt, as it had been my sister Lisa's, then mine. It lay dormant for many years while we grew up, then for some reason, Beej wanted to learn to play. Deanna wanted proof he did.

Years ago, just after the Columbine shootings, the Lord began to lay a tug on my heart to visit Littleton, Co. and the school. I cannot explain it to you, I only knew I had to go. I shared it with Deanna, and she did not know what to say.

I shared it with Brad, and he asked, "Why?" I could not answer. I only knew I had to go, and it carried a nervous expectation.

In October of that same year, six months to the day of the tragedy, Brad and I were visiting my sister Lynae in Colorado Springs, as her son Joshua had just been born.
We were there to support she and Rich, and to see our new nephew.

We made plans to visit Columbine H.S. Lynae and Rich had asked the same question of "why?" I still did not have an answer.

We went to the school, it was in session. As we neared, Rich put his signal on to turn in. "No! No!" I sputtered, "don't turn in, go past it."

Understandably, a bit annoyed, Rich asked where to go. I saw a turn in just past the school and directed him there. It was a park. We pulled in, drove to the back, and got out to walk to the tall hills behind the school. We saw the memorial which had been recently erected. I walked, I prayed, I sought the Lord on why I was there.

I didn't understand why I had gone, even after we were there. It was a time of tremendous spiritual battle, but I knew I had been obedient.

Upon return to Indy, I was sharing a message with the youth I was pastoring at the time. A message the Lord had laid heavily upon my heart as a result of all that had occurred (Joshua had almost died, and had to have emergency surgery... it saved his life, a life set apart for the Lord's work).

After the service, one of the students (Brennan of Haste the Day) came up to me and said, "God told me we are supposed to write a song together." My reply went something like, "then He'll have to tell me, 'cause I don't write songs."

That week, the Lord poured through me, words. Words inspired by being at Columbine, and the corresponding reading from Isaiah 13 He gave me.

I took them to Brennan. He set them to music, and recorded a rough copy. It has a haunting melody. Deanna took that song, wrote harmonies, and a cello line. For me, the cello made the song.

Deanna, Lauren, Whitney, and BJ ministered with that song at church... later, they even won a contest.

Now that Beej is home, Deanna has hunted through piles of pictures (as she scrapbooks) for just one of Beej playing the cello. No luck. The longing within her intensified. I believe she even had Brad hunting through mountains of pictures he has taken through the years... nothing.

Yesterday, we received a card from my mother, when I opened it, two pictures of BJ playing the cello, with his sisters and mother singing that very song, fell onto the floor. I immediately began to weep for this long sought after gift which we had given up on finding.

Thank you Brad for taking them! Thank you mom for giving them! Thank you Lord Jesus for meeting one more seemingly insignificant desire in our hearts!


Lord willing, the girls will record that song this summer... I believe BJ's cousin David even recorded Beej playing it, so our hope is he and his cello will be on it as well.

Thank You Mount Holly, N.J. for the book! Thank you Cindi in Lakewood for the incredbile writing!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Recently, I was having a discussion with a co-worker (and friend) about her horses. She started using terminology that I did not understand. That is not hard to do in areas I know little about. This day, the words she was using struck me, and held on.

She started talking about "verical flexion," and "lateral flexion." Unknown to her, the questions I began to ask were for intended spiritual purposes. Not because I am so spiritual, but because it was one of those 'God moments' for me.

"Flexion," according to the dictionary is:
-the resulting condition of being bent, or
-the act of bending a joint or limb.

"Vertical Flexion" according to my friend, is - getting a horse to say "yes," or nod up and down, when you first mount up. This lets you know the horse is with you.

"Lateral Flexion" is getting the horse to "kiss your foot," or move the head side to side... a "no" motion.

I read a bit on-line in an article by Clinton Anderson from "Natural Horse" magazine. In it, he conveys that you gain much better control of your horse by lateral flexion than vertical. Why? Because the horse has much more power in nodding yes, than no. Because of the bit in his mouth, or perhaps its neck muscles, it apparently has less stress in the "yes" motion, and it has much more strength vertically than laterally.

I know these concepts are already leaping into your minds. That's why I thought it was so cool. When we say "yes" to our Lord, there is so much more power evident at our disposal. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is, and the fact that we are in agreement with His will.

When we say "no," we have much less fulfillment spiritually speaking. We can do more on our own, but that kind of self-satisfaction is temporary, and empty. It does not cause us to grow in the Lord, it causes a greater chasm between Him and us.

Saying "yes" hurts less than saying "no." So why do we spend so much time saying "no?" Clearly it doesn't make any sense. Like horses, we do have a free will which we like to exercise. The corresponding pain we endure when we say "no," causes much of the difficulty we experience in life.

Saying "yes" connects us directly to the conduit of power that is found in serving our King. We do not have to know where the "yes" is leading, to access it. We simply need to say "yes," and let our actions reflect "yes," and we will be in the flow of His strength! Knowing that "His power is perfected in our weakness" (2Cor. 12:9) suggests that the less we sometimes know, when we say "yes," the more glory the Lord God will receive.

This is a lesson Beej learned very well in his youth. He was not afraid to say "yes." He said it often, though seldom knowing where it would lead. The power the Lord displayed through his life is evident to most of us. His flexion was vertical in a world that is typified by lateral. The "bending" he underwent ultimately served his advantage, and glorified Jesus.

How about you? Are you an example of Vertical or Lateral Flexion? Let your yes be yes!


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In case you missed it, I did post one of Beej's writings yesterday at midday. You'll find it below this one.

Since the passing of my son, actually, it began before that, when Beej began sharing God's call for him to North Africa, the Lord affirmed in my heart that he was to go. Naturally, as he was journeying through disease (believed to be Bubonic Plague) I believed that the Lord would heal him, and he would still go to North Africa. I believed he would have one powerful testimony. A platform from which to minister, both here and across the world.

That has taken on a form I did not anticipate or expect. Clearly, the Lord's will is still being accomplished, but it is happening in a way I could not foretell in my fleshly wisdom.

My father was in the air force, way back when. Just before he got out, he spent time in the same North African country that Beej was called to. The Lord gave me a sense of His will for Beej to be there, somehow, completing a circle. I did not claim to understand it.

Upon his death, we began to struggle with what God was doing. I admit, my wife and girls were of one heart, believing we were to go in his place. I was not so convinced. I had told the Lord a long time ago that I would go anywhere He wanted, except for Africa. I pleaded with Him not to send me there. I cannot even tell you why, I just did. I have a fear that is probably tied to missionary stories I heard as a child.

Since that time, the Lord has gently shown me, sign after sign, revealing His plan. Initially, I was certain I was creating these somehow on my own. I resisted. I could not see how He could work out the details for this to occur.

Recently, Deanna and I were headed out on a Friday evening. We had not made a decision about where to eat. God planted within my spirit the need to go to a particular restaurant. One I did not really want to go to. Trying to be obedient to what seemed like a rather foolish and insignificant whim, I suggested the place, and we went.

We were seated, received our menus, placed our orders, then sat back to relax and wait. In doing so, I looked at the decor around me. Hanging in poster form, next to Deanna, was why the Lord wanted us to go there. I laughed as I saw it, and pointed it out to her. What I was looking at was a movie poster of a film carrying a title of the most famous city of the North African country God was calling us to.

I had been seeking Him hard on his direction for us. This was no random coincidence. There are no random coincidences in Christ. He sees that we see what He wants us to see, in His timing... if we are obedient.

This past Sunday morning, our pastor preached a sermon that rocked my foundation. God spoke to my heart and said, "What are you waiting for?." I proceeded to go up to him to share that in fact, the Lord had called us to go to North Africa this summer. I conveyed that God had huge details to work out, but that I knew He wanted me there.

This being the case, Deanna and I (and possibly Lauren and Whitney) will go to North Africa this summer. In the presence of my Awestar family who were with us Sunday morning, I surrendered to go. We along with Rachel, an Awestar director, will lead a group of missionaries into a Muslim world that I as of yet, know very little about.

Somehow, God has a plan, that will see three generations of Higgins men pass into a country that needs Jesus. The last to carry the name will remain behind. Yes, my son will go. At least a part of him. We will take a portion of his ashes, and these will be dispersed in the last country God called him to. It will be my honor to go in his stead. I am more fearful than he, but he laid his life down for his Savior, his King. I am compelled to go and do likewise. "God will give me the strength, and do these things through me," Beej said.

Thank you son for following God's call, and leading the way!


Monday, January 16, 2006

Well, let me just say what an encouragement it was to have Awestar missionaries with us this past weekend! Those who came: Barbara Ann, Heather, Meagan, and Logan. Those who called: Erin and Tara. You have blessed us in a huge way. Our daughters enjoyed hanging out, and getting to know you as well! States represented were, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, and North Carolina. Wow!

Our God provides in the most amazing ways, and we are most thankful.

I want to go ahead and share another of Beej's writings today. This was written, I believe, when he was 13.

"Beglorify God to Belittle yourself. Do not Belittle yourself (Belittling with a motive of secret, desiring pride. "If anyone is to come after me, he is to deny himself, take up his cross and follow me" Matthew 16:24. While you must deny yourself to be with God, you must search yourself in doing so. You must have a pure motive), you then only Beglorify yourself by assuming that by you admitting that you are nothing, you may be something and glorify God. Instead have joy in the glory of God, for that is praise and that is glorifying God, and that will Belittle you as you are in awe of God.

For when you have joy in God's awesomeness, thus you are in praise, you will feel compelled to share it and spread it. Praise of God alone will make you realize that you are small, insignificant, and useless. Then you will find yourself glorifying God, and NOT yourself, for you are nothing, and God is everything, and for our nothing, God sacrificed everything, so that we may have everything.

So then, why do you still refuse? "I have taken hold of Christ because He has taken hold of me," as Paul said, so take hold; He will never let go or fail. Delight in God. Have joy in God. That is praise. That is your purpose. That is all you have and all you'll ever need. Your responsibility as a Christian is to delight in the one and only delightful. Delight in His everything and your nothing. Does not that make you greatful to be alive? That your purpose in life is to delight. So then, what else can anyone say?

No action is greater than its motive. The only correct motive is to bring glory to God"

Let us then, glorify God!

We are a blessed people, let us share the wealth we have been afforded... His everything, with those who do not have it.

Bless someone today!


Saturday, January 14, 2006

This is a day that will always mean a great deal to Deanna, the girls, and me. Students arrived from the mid-west, and west to just hang out with us. Students who went on Beej's last missionary journey. Students who knew him very well. Students who continue to serve the Lord with glad hearts!

We had a time of worship last night, and it was precious to me. We look forward to having our hearts further bound to theirs the rest of this weekend.

Another reason this is so special to Deanna and me is that today marks the 23rd anniversary of our wedding. Yes, 23 years ago, a shy, beautiful and unassuming young lady walked into a singles Sunday School room and caused my jaw to spontaneously free fall to it's fullest open position. I immediately bowed my head, and said, "Father, if there is any way, this is the girl I want to marry!"

Our first date followed closely, on September 25th, 1982. Our wedding, soon after that, on January 14, 1983. However, it was not as easy as I have made it sound.

Deanna had an attractive roommate. Deanna was convinced that my uncontrollable "stares" in her direction were being offered to the young lady sitting beside her. I could not make eye contact. I was frustrated. After class she quickly disappeared, and I could not find her. Sadly I retreated into the sanctuary for the service.

Much to my surprise, a tiny, 5'1" young lady stepped to the pulpit. I could barely see her head over the top of it. Music began to play, not the 'harps of heaven' indicating my obvious infatuation, but the music to which she would sing a song (solo) entitled, "Words and Music." The power, breadth, and depth of her voice, undid me. I struggled to see where she stored the necessary componentry to put forth such an offering.

There was no backing out. I was never known to pursue those I wanted to get to know with the passion or fervor that now overtook me. To my utter amazement, the Lord saw fit to unite our hearts, bodies, and souls for a lifetime. What a treasure she is and has been.


There is no other with your innocence, joy, passion, and love for the Lord, or for me. I have been blessed as deeply as is possible, to have stood side by side with the woman of my dreams, and raised two beautiful daughters, and one knightly son.

God is unbelievably good!

The weekend will entail opportunities to further hear from the hearts of those to whom we are ever increasingly bound. Thank you, Father.

Oh, who was the surprise? A young man who asked his parents for a trip to Indiana for his 18th Birthday (January 12). A young man we had never met or spoken to. A young man we had only seen in pictures. A young man who shared Jesus with the Muslim woman across the aisle of the plane, on his way here. A young man whose conversation was full of "salt and light" with that same lady, as she was off to be engaged in an arranged marriage. A young man who traveled from Utah. A young man who had crossed swords with BJ on many occassions. Who had in-depth conversations with him about being called to martydom. A young man who portrayed Christ both in the drama, and as best he can in life. Logan. Thank you for giving up so much to be with us this weekend! We are blessed. Thank you to each of the Awestar students who are here with us! Those who aren't, we miss you.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Today, a few students from Awestar are coming to our home, just to spend time with us. I cannot tell you how much this means to us. Flying and driving from different U.S. cities, just to hang out, share and encourage each other.

As I've thought about it, I am struck at what it cost for this to happen.

There are parents footing the bill for many of these trips. We are so greatful for this provision. It is one thing to send your child overseas for missions work, but quite another to send them to the home of someone you don't know, for what appears to be frivolous reasons.

They are not frivolous to us! Each of these students have made sacrifices to serve the King. We look forward to times of discussion about our Savior, how He is working in each of our lives, times of worship, times of tears, and times of laughter. This, I believe is all a part of God's design for the healing each of us need to experience.

We know for the most part who will be here, and are very excited. However, one person wants it to be a surprise. I am heading to the airport today to pick up someone... someone I hope I recognize, someone I hope recognizes me. When you don't know who is coming, all sorts of things run through your mind. Especially being at an airport with hundreds of people. How will I know which one?

I think this is very much the way it was when I met Jesus. I had never seen Him. I only knew of Him through what I had read, and the stories from others. In a sea of many people, amid so much pain and ugliness (inside of me), when I was in so much need, I met a man who was also God. He gave His all, that I might have life, that I might learn to die, to bring Him glory.

When I met Him, I knew it was right. I knew it was what I had been looking for. There was completion in my soul I had never experienced.

Today, at around 1:30, I will go stand by a revolving luggage conveyor, and wait to see who comes. I know the surprise will bless my girls and me. I cannot wait!

Please pray for my friend Kristin D. who was to come, but as many of you have read in the last couple of days, she is experiencing undiagnosed symptoms, and cannot risk the trip. Kristin, we will miss you so much. We love you!

For the rest of the Awestar family, we have thought of each and every one of you as we try to figure out who our surprise is. For those moments at least, you are here with us, and we appreciate your presence!

If you have never been on a mission trip overseas, please allow me to encourage you to do so as soon as you can. Seek the Lord first, but know there is something amazing that He does within you, when you are obedient to His call. He changes you in all the right ways, even if it hurts. A heart for missions is what we should each be about. Each of us should either be going or helping to make it possible for others to go.

"Will you go? Will you answer the call and get uncomfortable for Christ?"


Thursday, January 12, 2006

I don't know how many equestrians are reading, but let me say right at the outset, I am not one. One of the last times I was on a horse (I was 14), she decided to 'round up' a loose pig. She took off after it, and was not interested in doing what I wanted to do. I hung on for dear life, but did not know the rules of riding when amid such a gallop.

We were heading to a corner of the property at a high rate of speed. A heavily wooded corner. A heavily wooded corner with locust trees... you know, the ones with enormous thorns? My horse forgot to measure how tall "we" were. She was only thinking about herself. She easily passed under the biggest one on the property. I did not.

Instead of leaning forward and getting low by her neck, I laid back. I was violently removed from my saddle. My landing was anything but graceful. The first thing to hit the ground was my left hand. At that speed, my wrist took the brunt of the punishment.

When I came to, I was covered in dirty sweat. I looked at my aching left arm, only to see that everything was normal... except that my hand was at a right angle to my arm... bent in a way it shouldn't. My friend came to my rescue. He tried to walk me back to the barn. I passed out twice on the way.

Ultimately, I got a cast, and quite a story. I never forgot locust trees. I even went to school and studied them.

Several years ago, I was at my brother's camp, during a time the Lord directed me to fast, and seek His face. While there, I was hiking in the woods... a different woods. Yet, I came upon a locust tree. It had even lower branches than the last one I'd met. I paused, looked at that tree, and remembered the pain of my previous encounter.

I fashioned a crown of thorns as I reflected on my Savior's pain. My broken body paled in comparison to His. Why did He give so much for me? I did not deserve what He gave. Neither did my son.

Yet my son learned to give in a way I haven't. I have an old picture of him, riding a pony attached to a bar, inside a corral... safe, nowhere near harms way. He was having a great time. Yet, safety would not be his choice.

Not long after that, he learned what a crown of thorns was, and what it represented. Not long after that, he met the wearer of those thorns. Not long after that, he knelt before the bearer of his sin and pain, and beheld Him for the first time, face to face.

We all have stories. We all have scars. I want to see His.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The other day, Deanna and I were on our way to... somewhere, when she asked if we could stop and get some glue dots at Michael's (for scrapping). She said, "it won't take long." In the mean time, we heard from Whitney, who decided to join us there.

I'm sure that Michael's is a wonderful craft store... It carries the name of the Archangel... and... many people shop there. However, did you know that glue dots cost $66.18 (after required impulse extras)? Did you know it takes an hour or more to find and purchase these sticky little "i" toppers? Did you know that when men enter that store, they pass through an "eye-glazer?"

The men in that store, though few and far between, looked lost...wandering aimlessly, in hopes of finding their wives... or some item which would suddenly, and magically transport them out. I'm sure there are men who enjoy a visit there, but the men I saw were not among them. Apparently, these had been duped as I had, by a promised quick stop... which turned into an expesnsive, spree of endurance.

So many of the products in the store are made to look like they came from outdoors, yet they emanate a fragrance I believe a plastic factory would belch. It's hard to breathe. It hurts to breathe.

They sell candles that if burned, would help eliminate such offenses. Isn't it funny how these tapirs can transport us to memories of places we've been or would like to return to? We often purchase them to allow us those same opportunities within our homes. Some of our homes... well, they need them.

Have you ever noticed how different homes carry different aromas? I could stand blindfolded in a room where these were captured and bottled, and identify whose homes were represented. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes... not so much.

The camp owned home we live in is one such example. The back of the home used to be a garage. Somehow, Beej's room carries with it a unique, pungent fragrance. One that you wouldn't say smells good, but isn't overly offensive either.

In his absence, it is amazing how when I catch a whiff of that, I instantly think of him. I never did a few months ago, but now it's a routine reminder. Open the door to his bedroom, and you smell... BJ. Well, not really, it is a poor representation of vivid memories.

I've said it before, probably multiple times, but we need not to be poor representations of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Each of our "smells" will be different, but all should reflect who He is! These aromas should be sweet and current... not memories of days gone by... of times that we walked closer to Him. They should be and are, whether we like it or not, reflections of where we are with Him, right now.

Have a blessed day,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The summer of 2004, Beej received a teaching from David Post at Awestar on "putting on the full Armor of God." This really struck a chord with him, and the Lord used this teaching to minister to many upon his return.

I am afraid the notes in his journal fall significantly short of what was in his head, and on his heart. However, I want to share them with you. First, you will see a "what to do," then as you will see how to practically apply this, as he shares "what did I do" from personal experience during a spiritual low point.

"Evaluation: What do I do?

Suit up! Ephesians 6:10-18

First- Fasten tightly the Belt of Truth to hold you up.
-Turn to God's Word and servants to find the truth on uncertain matters.

Second- Put on (and repair) the Breastplate of Righteousness to guard your heart.
-Focus on God, strive to live like Him. Realize and remember that you are righteous and strive to live it out.

Third- Prepare for battle by putting on th Gospel of Peace as shoes.
-Daily read God's Word and understand the Gospel so you are prepared if you fall. Begin memorizing scripture again.

Fourth- Take up the Shield of Faith to quench the fiery arrows.
-Trust God in all you do. Believe that He protects you and will guide you. He has everything under control, so be courageous. "He is who He says He is, and will do what He says He is going to do." Then Satan cannot pierce you with doubt and worry.

Fifth- Secure the Helmet of Salvation to protect your head.
-Turn back to God. Realize and remember that He has forgiven you. Remember who you are. Remember your calling.

Last- Take up the Sword of the Spirit- the Word of God.
-Use scriptures, God's Word, to actively attack sin and defeat Satan's strongholds Fight! This is war!

Diagnosis: What did I do?"

Belt of Truth loosened, causing me to stumble.
-Uncertainty on certain doctrines caused a little confusion.

Did not prepare or shoe myself with the Gospel of Peace- put flip flops on.
-I slacked on staying in the Word and did not memorize scripture.

Without proper shoes, could not get up from stumble regarding the Belt of Truth.
-I did not turn to the scriptures to gain a firmer understanding of the truth.

Disarmed, became more vulnerable to attack.
-I was not paying attention to God; or Satan attacking me (dropped my guard).

During fall, dropped Shield of Faith.
-I stopped trusting God in everything.

Breastplate of Righteousness pierced, cracked.
-My lifestyle altered, I became more irritable, depressed, cynical, less caring, more prideful.

Helmet of Salvation slipping.
-My lifestyle corrupted, my desire for God gone, I stood on the brink of rejecting Him altogether.

Sword of Spirit in sheath.
-I was not actively attacking Satan or my sin.

Beej was 14 when he grasped and taught these truths. He was passionate about the issue of Spiritual Armor. He continued to practice these principles of "what to do," and then diagnosing "what he'd done," until he went home. I trust the Lord is using them in each of our lives in similar fashion. If He hasn't, He desires to begin.

Serving the King beside you,


thank you so much for the ornament and poem. please forgive me for failing to do so sooner.

Monday, January 09, 2006


When do I begin to get past this crucible of suffering? I understand your taking my son... it was for your glory! How do I carry on? How is life ever to be lived in the fullness of joy? At what time can I begin to feel without the searing pain of his loss? He is in my every thought and desire. I see his face everywhere. I see his legacy before me, and behind me. I am thankful for who he was in You. Is it proper to say "who he is" rather than "who he was?" I know he is there with you Lord, abiding, loving, worshipping, at your feet, learning from the mind of Christ, the mind of God the Father. How incredible that must be.

When do we carry on? How do we move on? When will You make Your will known to me? How long do I hurt so deeply? Is this my lot, to abide in the deepest of loss and pain? Is this how You felt when You gave Christ? Was it a moment, or was each moment an eternity?

Oh God, protect us from ourselves, and the things that filter into our minds... surely it's from Satan. We only want to bring You glory. It can only happen in our extreme weakness. I have little else to lay at Your feet.

When will we raise up a revolution? When will we fight with our swords unsheathed? Too many of us are on the loose with our swords nowhere near the ready. They are locked, even rusted in place... in their scabbards, secure and sedate. Teach me to raise up the warriors You seek, to loose them on the world. The lost world bound for hell, unless we rise up and fight for our King!

How can we continue on with church like this? The lost cry out! The martyrs cry out! Our bodies are far too pleasing to us while noone else can be drawn in. What we have created is not appealing. Somehow we have lost our passion for you, or we veil it in a cloak of hypocritical, religious holyspeak, and practices that only serve to glorify us, while we dilute the message of the Cross, and chase away all who are in want.

Lord Jesus, raise up a generation who will fight! Who will lay aside the world and it's enticements. We cannot play like this is a video game. We must fight, for we are in a war. Help us to discern the difference between the two. Change our hearts, and draw us to the battle lines. Send us into the fray. Jesus Christ is worth it! We must rise up Father, show us how... for only by Your strength and might will it be done!

So Be It!

Your child

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I was talking on the phone last evening, when the doorbell rang. We live out in the country, and the doorbell never rings. I was startled... I wasn't even dressed! In my hurry, I threw on some clothes, and scurried to the door, while trying to counsel with someone on the phone.

I was stunned, when through the window of the door, I could see Jack, Beej's best friend. When I opened the door, there stood Taylor, one Beej called his brother. They were accompanied by their friend, and a recent aquaintance for BJ, Mike.

What had prompted this "breathe of heaven" to come in our direction? They were headed to Chicago, made a 180 degree turn, and drove to lowly Monrovia. Chicago surely held more promise of excitement and enthusiasm for these three. What could Monrovia offer?

It didn't matter, they were here, and I was so pleased. Beej had a history with these young men. A website whose sole purpose was to minister, created by them, a band pulled together to bring glory to the Lord, overnights of bed-jumping, and long talks about Jesus... until dawn.

They sat and we talked. We got caught up on their lives, their future plans, and how God was working. What a blessing.

At times, Deanna and I sat nervously, unsure what to offer, or what to say. As they were preparing to leave, Jack asked, "could we see BJ's room, you know, just to look around and stuff?"

We led them through the heart of our home to its soul. Opened the door, and watched the memories surface for them. BJ's new bass guitar which Jack had never seen, was once again "held," and played. His new acoustic guitar came alive with songs that he and Jack had written together, but we had never heard.

Taylor asked to see his journals, and found a quiet seat in the living room where he could look for "the" page. One which would mean something to him, more than any other. He scanned and searched, but could not find it. Soon, Jack and Mike joined him. They read through the many songs BJ had written. They found the writings on the "Armor of God," and requested a copy for a friend who was deeply moved by BJ's passion for it (you'll see that on Tuesday). Jack requested to be able to put music to his songs. Then amid further conversation, Jack found it for Taylor. I had pointed Taylor into the wrong journal.

At BJ's "calling," I had told Taylor about BJ's fondness and concern for him. In October of 2004, at the retreat Beej would pen the "I will..." creedo, the one that now serves as the Global Passage Creed for all Awestar missionaries, he wrote something more personal... a listing of his family... his loved ones.

In a page predesigned to list the members God had brought into your life- your blood relatives, it was written:


Taylor was not born into our family by birth. He was born as a brother, into the heart of my son, by a loving and caring God who knew that this young man needed a special kind of love, and saw fit to give it to him in the form of a gift... a second gift (the first being his salvation). Beej had accepted Taylor and loved him wholeheartedly, without caveat, as he saw in him something that many miss. He believes in him, and wants him to become all Christ wants for him.

That kind of love is rare in our world. The kind of love that would bring three teenage boys, no... three men to our doorstep, to bring encouragement into the hearts of two grieving parents, while stirring memories, and bringing comfort into their own hearts... I serve a God that big, and I praise Him for it!

Thank you Jack, Taylor, and Mike for an unexpected blessing. You have served our Lord, and encouraged our hearts!


Friday, January 06, 2006

My girls returned home safely from the Passion Conference last night. It was edifying and encouraging for both of them. It is good to have them home for a day or two before they both begin classes, next week.

A friend of Beej's wrote me awhile back, and shared her story in meeting, and getting to know BJ. She gave me permission to use it, and I pray it somehow brings you encouragement. Her name is Gizele. Beej was attending school in Carmel at the time. Here is her story:

"I emailed you a long time ago and told you that I was someday going to tell you the story of how I met BJ, which I said was one of my favorite stories. So sorry it has taken me so long... i've just been so busy lately (though, as BJ always said to me, that's still not an excuse... I smiled every time he said that) and I haven't gotten on the computer for something other than school since the beginning of the school year. Anyways, so that's why it took me so long, and I'm here now.

Before I start my story, there's something else I'll share with you. It's one of my last memories of BJ. I'm very involved in orchestra, and I was nervous about my auditions last year (my freshman year) for what orchestra I would be in for this year (sophomore year). Well, it turns out that I made the 2 highest orchestras here at CHS! (to be in the top 1, you first have to be in another one, that's why I'm in the top 2, anyways...) So I remember when I was talking to BJ and I told him the news and he was like, "that's so cool! I'll have to come to one of your concerts sometime." And I said to him, "oh no BJ... they're going to be long and boring, trust me" and he said, "no no no... it'll be fun! I'd love to come see you somtime" and that was that- he had alreay made up his mind that no matter how long and boring, he was going to come to an orchestra concert. Like I said, this is one of my last and favorite memories of him- he was always so involved in everyone else's life.

AMYWAYS, so finally I get to how I met BJ! It was March 11 2004, a Thursday- I remember that because he brought up the day sometime later. It was a typical day, and I was at lunch, buying an ice cream cone, because that's what I did every day. About 5 people or so in front of me was BJ- at that time, someone I knew only by name and face. Anyways, so I noticed that when BJ got out of the line that day, he had nowhere to sit because his friends hadn't saved him a seat at his usual table. So he sat, all alone at the end of an empty table.

Well, I saw him sit down at the end of that empty table and that made me sad. So, instead of going back to my table with my friends, I sat down right across from him and said, "Hello Brent! You looked lonely, so I decided to sit here and talk to you..." and babbled on incessantly for a few minutes or so. We had a good conversation and quickly became friends. A few days after that, I asked if he wouldn't mind doing it again- and he said he would love to. Then, every Thursday we had lunch together until the end of the year.

I know that it was in the Lord's hands now that we met. The line was long that day, but I still got in the line to get my ice cream... I was meant to sit across from BJ that day and meet him.

Meeting BJ and becoming friends with him had a HUGE impact on my life. Whenever I think of BJ, I think of Hebrews 13:2- "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Well, I feel like on that day, I entertained and angel. I feel like BJ saved me and he taught me what it was really like to live for Him.

Last year in English, we had to write a personal narrative about a significant event that happened in our lives. I wrote about meeting Bj- the very story I just told you. In fact, I referred to it as I told you my story.

Whew! so I finally got that story out, along with a few tears. Even though I know it's all good, it's still hard sometimes."

Beej had a knack for reaching out to others. It meant a lot to him when Gizele reached out to him. I remember him sharing Christ with her. He talked about it, as he always did. He was so enthusiastic in sharing the details. He passed many a email back and forth with her, trying to encourage her, and make sure she knew Jesus. She also brought encouragement to him.

Thank you Gizele for sharing with us, and letting us share in your story. I know it is very personal and precious to you.

Gizele and her family were some of the many students we met at Beej's Celebration. We are deeply moved at their outpouring of love for him.


I am reposting the www.linkingup.com address as some of you have been away, and may not have seen the story on this "Voice of the Martyrs" website. Go to this link, when it comes up, click on the Kids of Courage button to see a story on BJ.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mark Schultz' song "He Will Carry Me" has been my song of choice the last few days. It is very affirming and an encouragement.

The chorus: Even though I'm walkin' through the valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him whose love will comfort me
And when all hope is gone and I am wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will ever need
He will carry me.

Bridge: Even though I feel so lonely
Like I have never been before
You never said it would be easy
But You said You'd see me through the storm.

Thank you Father. He is faithful to carry us and see us through the storm. We see His hand at work and we rejoice that God is moving in so many, with our son as the catalyst.

However, we are still working through some anger issues. I still get irritable way easier than ever. Often, my patience is short. I don't know if I could be functioning in any other school district right now. The students are absolutely the best and the staff and parents have definitely been there for me. Thank you Zionsville.

But, we still don't like living without BJ in our lives. I don't think it will ever feel right. Brent and I still are cycling through the stages, more like waves of grief, and it's not pleasant. This morning on the way to school, I lost it passing by Monrovia High School. I used to drop BJ off on my way, I'd give him lunch money and he'd give me a kiss and we would part with "have a good day."

We keep coming back to the sovereignty of our God. He alone is in control. He sees the whole picture that we only see in part. How dare we be angry with God for taking something from us? We deserve nothing. What we do have is a direct blessing from His merciful hand. I thank God again and again that we were able to have BJ for 15 years! We got to see God do amazing things through him! We got to love him and train him and talk to him and walk with him every day. We got to see beautiful fruit in a child we bore. We'll miss him till we see him again, but we'll continue (I pray) to be thankful in our sorrow while we wait expectantly for the Day.

There are a lot of voices out there we listen to every day. My prayer for those reading this is that you hear the "Voice of Truth." Don't let the evil one remind you of all the times you've tried before and failed. I'm quoting another song, it's so poignant. Casting Crowns is the group. Here's the chorus:
But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says "Do not be afraid"
The Voice of Truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will chose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

At 14, I felt God calling me to be a missionary. I went forward at church and everything. I continued to pursue God and prayed about what He wanted for my life, but not with what you would call "passion." I didn't get what my son got. I was insecure, I wanted people's approval, probably more than God's. I feel that now I am understanding more of what it's like when you're "sold out for Jesus." I know I can't do it on my own, so I claim scripture and BJ's paraphrase "God will give me the strength."

When I was struggling with what to major in at college, Dad's advice was "do what you love." I've always wanted to make a difference in some way. Teaching was the right choice for me - a great combination - music and children.

My other desire, common with young adults, was to get married and have a family. Funny, I always thought I'd like to have 3 children. I promised God I would raise them up "in the way they should go." Was this my compromise for the mission field? I don't really know the answer. I know God gave me an amazing husband and three precious children. We've known His grace and blessing over the years.

With the loss of our son, it's changed me. It's shaken me. It's broken me. I don't WANT to be the same. I find I have little interest in things that don't matter. Now, more than ever, I pray for an opportunity to work in the mission field. If it's just during the summer, I will go. If God provides a more permanent type of a commitment, I'm there. We don't know what the future holds, but we know God is working and we know for sure we want to be ready to be part of it. I feel that God is preparing us to give whatever it takes. We want to be bound by nothing that hinders and ready. Haste the Day Father!

Love to you all,

Marla, we are so thankful for your precious gifts. Moved beyond words. Greatful for the timing. You have blessed us deeply!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I want to share from Beej's '05 Peru journal today. In this we see a picture of some of the difficulties, and how Christ was honored through them. The experience did not always see people come to Christ. Many spiritual battles were fought. In his writings, Beej spoke of his own struggles at times, and then of his teams'.

How God worked in my life today:

1st was boys school. I gave testimony, then we had our free day and I bought my Peru bag, pants, and Sublimes...

2nd- Unfocused and angry- finally got focused and darkness started to lift just before sword fight. Then I trip over a cord as I was going out, and though I didn't fall, the music stopped but we kept on going. The climax of my battle was over. 3rd- Then we went to the PdA [Plaza de Armas] for the teacher's convention >1,000+ crowd. As we waited for about an hour, Satan started attacking many members of the team physically (illness) or spiritually (distracted). When the time came to do the drama, we rebuked Satan and let God work through us- we had not [much] left, so we had to rely on Him for strength. Through the darkness, His glory shone. We didn't see any salvations, but God showed up. We learned much about glorifying and worshipping and obeying Him despite circumstances. It's not about us, it's about His glory and He was glorified cuz seeds were planted. [Then he writes in spanish-my imperfect translation follows] Also, I saw a man I led to Christ at the PdA on the 3rd and he waved at me.

I called home.

When I re-read his entries, I can hear his voice, and see all of his routine body language. He was so passionate about serving. The Lord delivered them through many difficult spiritual battles to see great things accomplished for Him.

Beej was a very normal young man who had an extraordinary anointing. As I look back over his life, I can clearly see the times the Lord worked in Him. Of course we believe that God had a plan for Beej's life, and He accomplished that plan. It was His will that was done. We praise Him for His sovereignty.

Deanna was the spiritual leader of our home for the first 14 years. In that time, she prayed very hard that I would step up and take on the role God had for me at home, and in life. During that time, Beej had struggles, was on ritalin, and could not focus well in school (Kindergarten through 2nd grade). He was very intelligent, but did not thrive. I saw in him many attributes of myself that were not flattering.

When I surrendered to the roles God had for me, Beej noticed. He was always watching, and as I look back, I can see he was emulating us. Accepting the mantle of spiritual leader was humbling, and corresponded with a tremeandous move of the Lord in my own life.

Beej had prayed to receive Jesus when he was six, but during this period of spiritual growth in my life, he heard a muslim converts testimony, and felt for the first time, he truly understood what Jesus had done for him. He recounted that as the moment of his salvation.

I am not taking credit for the man of God Beej was. I am simply showing that God used some parallel changes in both of our lives to bring Him glory.

Children do watch and learn from their parents. Boys watch dads more closely. That is a blessing if the father is following Jesus. It is a total frustration, if he is not. In broken homes he will watch mom, and the men who mean the most in his life.

It is important that our children see Jesus in us. We need to be in the Word, in prayer, and they need to see that despite our faults and imperfections, we live a life that is patterned after that of Jesus.

Parenting is a huge responsibility. I believe that after accepting Christ, raising your children to understand this relationship is key in their own belief and development, and is your primary responsibility. When parents act more like the world, their childrens view of Christianity is often that it is unimportant. However, cramming Jesus down their throats, will not go over any better than if you beat the man on the street with your 25 lb Bible, and expect him to get it.

We must model what we want to see in them. Live Jesus as best you can. It's what we are called to do. If we are legitimately doing this, then Christ will be there to help guide you through the difficult times and decisions.

In His Love,


Monday, January 02, 2006

The Happiest of New Year's to each of you!

Today, our girls leave for Tennessee, for the "Passion" conference. How incredible it will be to lift up praises beside thousands of others, who love Jesus. They leave with a college group from church, and will be staying in a church in Tn. I am trusting the Lord will speak and minister to each of them in a very powerful way. I believe He is raising them up through this journey. I know He will direct their paths.

Deanna and I were discussing this past weekend, the direction of our lives at this point. I know at the beginning of each New Year, people tend to take stock of where they have been and look forward to where they are going. We are contemplating the same.

We are not looking at setting "resolutions," but are hoping that through His transformation, that we are found useful in His sight, and for His glory.

As I look back over my life, I can see ways that the Lord has been trying to develop me to lead. I say that with no element of pride. I do not like to lead. I like to follow, and play a supporting role. There are a skillion books out there on how to lead. I am not interested in them. I have already read many.

I am interested in being who Christ wants me to be. I believe that as I learn to follow Him, and attempt to walk in His footsteps, He will use me. Since the years just before I was called into ministry, the men who played vital roles in my life have been called home, or incapacitated. I have even warned a couple of my close friends that they need to pray that I am getting whatever the Lord is teaching, cause it is dangerous to be close to me. While I share that largely in jest, it is important to realize that when our Father is trying to show us something, it is important that we pay close attention, and learn.

I have been guilty of practicing the same old thing, in spite of what I have been taught. There is comfort in routine, for me. Consequently, I become a poor follower, and an even poorer leader. I become a distraction that interrupts the task at hand. Watching Beej's life has taught me much about being a radical follower of Jesus.

Setting aside self, and putting Him first changes my view of things. I no longer want what I thought I wanted. I find my desires in ministry changing. I hunger desperately to serve Him in such a way that it is making a difference for lost and hurting people.

I don't want to see them drawn into churches, and lost there. They need to be transformed into who Christ wants them to be, not some mold that we force them into, because it is our view of what a Christian is supposed to look like.

Beej didn't look like most Christians. He talked openly about His Lord with anyone willing to listen. When they stopped listening, he kept talking, and would draw new people into the conversation. Why? Because it does not matter what you want or what I want. It matters that we glorify Christ, and edify His body in the process.

Most of us Christians fall into our comfort zones, and never get involved in daily life-changing, transforming conversations. That would take too much energy, or cause others to look at us funny, or stop looking at us entirely, and we need to be seen! We even want to be heard. But the "stuff" of our conversation is often about how we look, or what we're wearing, or how our team did, or the next big event in our lives.

Beej embraced Christ as his life. He did not follow a pattern layed down by other believers, traditions begun and followed for generations. He followed Jesus, talked about Jesus, modeled Jesus. He pointed others in the right direction, and was not afraid to tell them when they were headed poorly.

I want to make much of Christ, and Him alone. It is time to stop pretending, for me. Exalting Him with my broken, imperfect life is the desire He has placed in me. I will seek to do this with all that I am.