Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To see the sun rise or set against the mountains, I had only to walk outside the little circle house where we stayed. We were on a hill among many, able to overlook a Swazi village in the valleys below, where herds of cows wandered along the many dirt roads (actually, more often the paved highway!), young people waited at the bus stop, older women walked along the road balancing full 50 gallon jugs on their heads - no hands - and not a single drop spilled. Roosters crowed and the smell of cooking fires burned outside tiny little houses while young children played outside.

This is Swaziland.

Guava trees, orange trees, lemon trees, papaya trees - all right on the campus where we stayed. Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College is educating the students that will become pastors and minister in their country. We worshipped with them, in English and SiSwati; we ate with them; we discussed ministry with them. These students go to EWBC on scholarship, and most of them are already pastoring or ministering somewhere. Their hearts to serve the Lord in this little country are evident. And they are so needed.

See, statistics say that 52% of the people are infected with HIV or AIDS. Statistics are wrong.

90% of the Swazi population is infected. And if nothing is done to stem the violent spread of the AIDS virus, the Swazi people will be extinct in less than 50 years.

The Swazi culture is so steeped in withcraft, some of the men falsely believe that they can cure themselves by having sex with a virgin. Rape is prevalent, and girls as young as 6 years old are being affected.

Basically, lots of people are dying.

This is Swaziland.

The LORD is raising up His people in that country, and they are going to battle for Him. In the following days I will tell you individually of all the men and women standing up for the children, and the adults, in their particular areas of ministry, and helping to educate and feed them.

The Swaziland I saw was one where the LORD's power is more prevalent than the death Satan is trying to spread. It is a small country with incredible people He has set aside and called to do His work, and they are being obedient.

Obedience. It was a theme for my team during our 2.5 weeks learning from and being blessed by the amazing people we met in Swaziland. Consider the word: OBEDIENCE.

"Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23


P.S. Thank you to all who prayed for my team! Please pray for us as we have come back different and bonded to each other and the Lord in new ways... Not all of us came back at 100% health, though the Lord did bless us with good health in country. Levi and Tom were sick on the flight home, Rachel was getting over a nasty cold, and I seem to have developed the flu overnight... Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, May 29, 2006

What a busy holiday weekend this has been. Lauren arrived home safely from Swaziland, and will relay some of her experiences this week. God certainly blessed their trip!

Spending part of the weekend in Dallas (actually Rockwall) with Whitney was a great deal of fun. Meeting those she is working with, and renewing some old acquaintences rounded out our time.

Deanna and Lauren arrive this coming Saturday, and I cannot wait!

Too often I find myself looking for a new comfort zone. There is nothing inherently wrong with having one, except that I tend to dwell there for too long. When things get hectic, I like the ease of knowing what is going to happen in certain areas of my life. That has been absent for some time.

That is part of this growth process which is okay. I just find I am longing to linger in familiar places, yet there is little that is familiar.

My friend Lou told me a story yesterday that I find I can identify with far too closely. When she was little, she wanted a pony. She wanted one badly, but because her family could not afford it, she had to settle for occassional rides on a neighbors Shetland.

She relayed stories of riding this horse, who had an ill tempered colt. The colt would jump up while she rode the mother, and kick or try to bite her. As annoying as that would be, that was not what I identified with.

The mama Shetland had been one of those live carousel horses. Tethered to a line, walking in circles for hours while city-bound children got a taste of the country, by riding aloft this tiny steed.

Lou rode her when she no longer had to fulfill this work function. However, this pony had worked this way for most of her life. She had grown up being groomed for this function. She did it very well... perhaps too well.

When Lou rode her, they had the entire field to negotiate, yet the pony would do what she had always done. She walked in a circle. That is a sad pathetic picture in my mind. This horse had been released from her previous bondage, no longer forced into servitude, free to run wherever she wanted, yet so clinging to what she knew, that if a rider was aboard she traversed a circle. She could not do otherwise, as she had become a slave to her own thought processes, a slave to habit.

I am way too much like that! I was set free by the King of kings, yet so powerful is my desire to embrace what is familiar, that I miss out on some of the best things the Lord may have in store. I must learn to break free of what I know, and ascend the heights of His grace, plumb the depths of his mercy, and gain wisdom from the mind of Christ!

There is danger in walking the paths familiar. Danger of never letting go of what I used to be, never discovering what He has for me. His way is best, and I am striving to release my grip on what I used to know. If I am to be like my Savior desires, I will have to learn to walk new, unexplored paths, and find His comfort and freedom there!


Friday, May 26, 2006

Sometimes I am so distracted by my own issues that I miss the obvious. Yesterday morning, a three car accident happened 25 yards or less from my bathroom, and I was oblivious. When I left for work, I saw 3 emergency vehicles, whose sirens I did not hear, and saw 3 demolished automobiles. Ambulances had already come and gone. I heard nothing.

My home is far from sound proof. I hear traffic all the time. The only thing between the busy road and my patio is a privacy fence. I routinely feel the sub-wolfers from "pimped out" rides as they go by. I know when traffic is heavy, and when it eases, by the noise outside of my walls, but I heard nothing.

In my defense, I was probably in the shower for part of this. My wife considers me a detail person. I notice lots of things. Lots of useless things. My mom tells a story from my younger days, when a lady came to our home. Upon her entrance, I announced, "You had those shoes on last time you came over." Important stuff, right?

I would like to claim that I was so focused on my Bible study and prayer time (which were also happening during the approximate time of the accident) that I just didn't notice. The truth is, I cannot figure out how I missed it.

This was preying upon my thoughts on the way to work, when my own near miss occurred. I was driving in the left lane of a busy four lane road. There were cars coming toward me, and there was one heading my same direction, who was a bit behind me, in the right lane. Without warning, a white van pulled out from my right, from a neighborhood. They had no right of way, no space, and no time for their maneuver.

Tires squealing, blood pressure spiking, and nature trying to make a 911 call, I swerved into on-coming traffic as this van pulled directly into my lane, and headed right for me. I do not know how metal to metal contact was avoided. Only the Lord's intervention prevailed. We were moving much to fast, and the situation was far too dangerous for defensive driving to get credit.

I am thankful that God is on the throne. I know I have been spared from a horrific end. In the eight months since BJ passed, there have been times where in all honesty, I would have welcomed a different outcome. Not today. There is too much to do, and too little time to accomplish it.

I know I need to get my head in the game, and be sensitive to His leading no matter the circumstances. Recognizing the cracks or opportunities as they are revealed is what it's about.

You still have my attention, Lord! I am listening, and I am thankful!


Happy 19th Birthday Whitney! I love you, honey, and I'll see you in Dallas this afternoon!!!

My brother Brad is having surgery on his spine today. They are entering through his neck (throat) to try to correct issues from a car accident this winter, where he was hit by a young man who ran a stop sign. Please lift him up.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I am proud of each of my children. They have all done very well in school. Lauren graduated from high school with honors, and is in the Honors College at her University. Whitney graduated 10th out of over 800 students in her class from high school, and she and Lauren both have received the maximum academic scholarships in college. BJ was number one in his class in high school, and had the attitude of "It's no big deal, cause I'm not really trying."

At this point is sounds like I am bragging. That is not my intent. I am proud of my children's academic accomplishments, but Deanna and I feel very blessed to have children who have so much on the ball in this way, and we have never taken it for granted.

When students reach high school, every parent (and student for that matter) will remember the onslaught of college mail they begin to receive. Advertisements from colleges and universities come in by the armload. I've heard parents brag over what universities their child is hearing from. My attitude is different.

Most of that stuff goes into the trash... some of it unopened. We've been through it with our daughters, and so kind of got used to it. Sometime after his death, it began to come for BJ. I usually sorted through it, and threw it away so noone else would see it or be upset by it. I find myself wondering, now that it is being forwarded to Oklahoma, if this is one of those things in life I just have to accept. Is there a way to stop this from happening? Would it take years and a lot of money to get them to stop?

I am ready to not have the frequent reminder that he won't be going to college. Every time one of these arrives, it is a bit like being stuck with a needle at the Doctors office. I don't like that either, by the way.

During the time we spent in the hospital with him, I remember Deanna and I discussing how foolish it would be to send him back to school anyway. Not because he had learned enough already, but because it seemed clear to us that the call on his life was ministry, specifically, missions. Education would be helpful, but in all honesty, we looked at all that the Lord had done through him already, and thought, sending him to school will be wasting his calling and his gifting, as what was truly important had become abundantly clear. That is sharing Christ with a lost and dying world, immediately.

My wife and I both have college degrees. I am not anti-education. It's just that we received a new view, a new perspective. From the depths of Beej's suffering, and our exhaustion came a clarity (at least we perceived it as such) that time was short, and he must be freed to minister, and not bound by the traditional prerequisite, of years of study. He was already studying on his own. He was teaching himself Spanish, because he knew he needed it on the field. He had begun to study Greek, again self taught. He was frequently reading Christ centered books that many adults have never taken the time to peruse. He was writing, he was impacting his world, and people were responding!

Who were we to insist that he get more education? God was using him enormously. Why should we intervene?

Then HE did, and took that decision out of our hands.

School is good. It should be pursued by students. This writing is not intended to give those who don't want to go, a crutch to bolster their position. My point is that sometimes in extreme situations, conventional wisdom needs to be set aside. We need to be close enough to our Lord to recognize when those times arise, and then sensitive enough to His leading to respond appropriately.

In some fringe way, I guess the Lord was preparing us for the fact that BJ would not go back to school.

Now if I could just get word to the colleges and universities, who keep stuffing my mail box, and pricking my emotions.

Be blessed today,


To anonymous from 10:13 yesterday, there is a book underway, but you can also find some of my sons writings if you go into the archives from August, September, etc. Thank you so much for your interest!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So often I have met people who feel broken, abused, or thrown away.

In August of 2000, I moved my family to a northern suburb of Indianapolis. We were very excited about the home the Lord provided for us. To date, it is still our favorite of those we have owned. It had a raised front porch. That porch was perfect for rockers (the chairs, not the music style). The problem was, we didn't own any.

My Mother believed as we did, and saw to it that we got them. She called it a housewarming gift, but it was really her way of meeting a need that she knew we could not. She found a supplier of double-seated and regular rocking chairs, and bought us one of each. I don't remember how we got them home, I just know they were very bulky.

We spent many hours in those chairs over the next six years. We'd go out during rainstorms, and rock while sipping a cup of coffee, and just listen to the rain. Other times, we would hang out there with our kids, talking over issues, major or minor, it didn't matter. We loved that porch.

I remember BJ doing homework out there. I wrote messages (sermons) out there. Whitney and a friend often sat out there to talk. Lauren retreated there when she was upset. Sometimes it was just a place to escape to.

When we moved to Monrovia, we packed the chairs up and took them with us. They were a bit weathered already, and I should have re-treated them. However, I never seemed to get around to that.

In Monrovia, we had no covered porch. The rockers still got a great deal of use, but they began to weather hard. I felt I had waited too long to repair or restore them. Though they were still able to hold a load, they did not look very nice.

That is often how we look. The battle of life can be a difficult one. We do get battered and bruised. Sometimes, we bring it on ourselves by making bad choices. Other times, those around us make bad choices, and we pay the price for it. No matter the cause, we get weathered, and feel defeated. We struggle to find much value in and of ourselves. We even feel others see no use for us.

Incredibly, our Lord never views anyone as a lost cause! He always sees through the broken exterior, and can view our untapped potential. Because of Him, and His view of us, we can be reworked, refined, renewed.

I opted to leave those broken down chairs behind when I moved this time. I struggled with the decision, and feared breaking my Mother's heart. With all we had been through, and the uncertainty of the future, it just didn't make any sense to take them along, and pay for the extra weight on the moving truck. I left them.

Around the time I left, my close friend Lowell came over to help pack. He offered to purchase them. I was embarrassed because they were in such sad shape. I gave them to him, and considered it a blessing that he wanted them. Like our Savior, he saw the potential that was held within, though the outside was a mess.

This past weekend, Deanna and I spent our nights in their home. They were very gracious to us while we were there.

Adorning the front patio of their home out in the country were two retooled rocking chairs. I know it must have taken many hours, but I can tell you it was worth it. They were freshly painted and sturdy. Ready for new life, many more hours of enjoyment, and the making of new memories.

Like Lowell's redemptive view of something that seemed ready to be discarded, Christ looks upon you and I in that very same way. We may need a lot of hours of work and restoration, but the project is highly worthwhile. Never give up on yourself, or those the Lord has put in your path. Allow Him to work, and you will see beautiful results!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This past weekend was amazing. So much happened in such a short period of time. Though it was packed, it was a blessing!

Getting to see my lovely bride again was such inspiration for me. I think we found out quickly what she doesn't miss about me. The little irritating things that are present in every relationship. I guess I know (after 23 years) what I have to work on. While that may be true, the time we spent was so very important to us both. I don't know how couples go for long periods of time of separation, as a routine.

I am thankful that in less than 2 weeks, (Lord willing) she and Lauren will arrive here in Tulsa!

We met many precious people at Brownsburg Christian Church. Some who are soaring, and some who are at points of desperation in their hurt. I guess every body of believers is made up of the same. It isn't any fun when you are the one hurting, but we know we serve a God who has provided us a Comforter to help us during those times.

One lady whose heart we heard from, was asking for prayer for her 18 year old son. He had previously lost a close friend in a car accident, and just lost a best friend... to murder. Her body was found in a pond (I believe). The "prince of this world," (John 12:31) serves up tragedy after tragedy. We must unite and fight against him! It is spiritual warfare, and we have the arms to deflect it. We must be willing, and active!

I met a family and their son who is 12, or soon will be. He, like BJ, is small in stature, but huge in heart and desire to serve the Lord! I met him in the parking lot, just before we left. I believe we will see him leading the way for many, as he seeks what the Lord wants for his life. He must be encouraged and supported by his family, and his extended family, you know... us! God uses the small in stature for mighty purposes!

Angela Ganote and her family were amazing. I don't know what preconceptions you have about what a television anchor would be like, but mine were shattered by her, or better put, Christ in her. What a servant for the Lord! She is where she is because the Lord is ministering through her, to her co-workers, the subjects of her stories, and to her church family, where she is on the leadership team. She was so inspirational! We must all aspire to do more!

I was involved in some friends wedding this weekend as well. I had the privilege of sharing some personal comments, doing "the blessing," (I still don't know if I did that right) and praying for them, toward the end of the ceremony. The groom, as I was leaving, shared with me some comments I shall never forget... Thank you Johnny! I met his father for the first time at the reception and was humbled by his kind words as well!

The bride was stunning. Her family (our former pastor) was such a blessing to us during BJ's journey. This couple exhibit the love of Christ in all they do. They are so precious to us! I look forward to their serving with me in missions one day soon.

I got to see old friends, my family, and even relax a bit! What a full and wonderful weekend it was!

Finally, I got to visit briefly with Emily. Not 6 year old Emily of a few blogs ago, but recent college grad Emily who will now enter the work force as a teacher. She is one whose life was forever changed by BJ's. I am so proud of her. Because of the hard work of some of her faithful friends-Mark and Amanda- and her responsiveness to the move of the Holy Spirit in her life, she surrendered her heart to Christ a few months ago, partially as a result of BJ's journey. She has promised to go with me to the mission field, and she assured me that she seldom makes promises, and only does so when she intends to keep them!

Emily, I know the Lord is very proud of who you have become in such a short time! He has big plans for you!

Thank you all for your prayer support over the last weekend, and past several weeks for that matter!
You have blessed us!


Lauren's mission team in Swaziland are doing well, but a little hungry. They are having an amazing, but heart breaking experience working with orphans, people in a trash dump, and other areas... even digging footers, and mixing concrete. She will tell you about it in a couple of weeks when she returns!

Monday, May 22, 2006

"How do you want your son to be remembered?"

A question I was asked that rendered me speechless.

A question so simple, yet not. A question I've thought about extensively. A question with obvious answers.

Oh my, do you really want to know? There are so many things. As my mind raced and I couldn't find the words, these things came to me: His smile warms my heart (present tense since I'm still able to see it in pictures), his laugh gave delight, his arm around me gave me comfort, his words of love and appreciation gave deep satisfaction, his teasing made me lighten up, his words of wisdom about sharing with others filled me with the purest kind of joy. I want to remember these things. I want to treasure them in my heart for always. I'm just aggravated that my memory is not complete.

What BJ stood for was made clear: All because of Christ.

What more can be said?
To live or die, Christ is why, to Him be the glory, not BJ, not us, nothing else added.

Father, what an amazing weekend You gave us. Thank you for Your continued grace to our family. Your graces have come every single day. We've looked for them, we've needed them and they've come.

Thank you for being with us in our speechless moments as well as in the moments when we can talk a blue streak. I pray we continue to encourage people to look beyond themselves, beyond this life even. I pray we continue to be faithful in pointing people to You, O Mighty God, my Savior and Redeemer. Thank you for the comfort we have in knowing BJ is with You in all Your glory. We can't possibly think he's missing anything here. Help our memory of him spurn us on, keep our perspective in check and give us hope for our future.

Your Words, Your love letter to us, let us take every one of them to heart. You didn't waste any, You didn't mince words, You gave it to us straight. You repeated words for emphasis 'cause You know we're kind of hard headed at times. You assured us of Your love and You assured us of certain damnation if we reject Christ. It's the truth! It's the ONLY TRUTH. My prayer is that anyone reading this take their Bible out right now and start reading and continue reading. It was written in the past for all ages, it is current as ever and appropriate anytime. You will be blessed if you read - it's a promise! Rev. 1:3


Friday, May 19, 2006

We played so many games together through the years, and yet he always had the energy for more. I'm glad I don't have a memory to count the times I declined, for one reason or another. From his earliest years he would hide when I got home from work, so that I would come and find him. He squealed with glee or would begin to laugh when he knew I was getting close. The games began here.

Hide and seek became a natural extension of this, as we often joined his sisters in a full fledged version. He never wanted to quit playing. He was so funny. He would play and play and play, then all of a sudden realize he needed to go to the bathroom, and take off at great peril to anyone in his way (sometimes he even made it, before expelling the drama). His enjoyment of games only increased.

It did not matter whether it was a board game, a made up game, charades, or sardines, he loved them all. The more mentally challenging the game, the more he enjoyed it. Unfortunately, there was an inverse relationship between how challenging the game was, and the number of people he could then find to play it. He thrived on mental stimulation. He rejected artificial stimulation, unless it was Mountain Dew or Inca Kola.

On our vacation the week before he went into the hospital, Beej and I played pool every evening. We both stunk at it, but that hardly interfered with the gamesmanship. We taunted each other, made fun, and had a great time doing it. I can honestly remember though, having a sick feeling in my stomach over his increasing illness. For reasons I cannot explain, something gnawed within. Even then, he did not want me to worry.

A few days later, he would tell me ..."I believe He will deliver me through this"... A few weeks later, he would cross from life, to Life. BJ, you Win this time, the only time that really matters!

He enjoyed playing games in life, but he didn't play them when it came to his faith in Christ!


Today I fly back to Indianapolis to spend the weekend with my wife. We are to be interviewed Saturday morning by Angela Ganote from FOX. She is doing a follow-up to her previous "Unsung Hero" story on BJ. Sunday morning we will be interviewed live at Brownsburg Christian Church, by Angela in all 3 services. We would love to meet you if you are there!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Around my wrist hangs a faded plastic hospital bracelet. It used to be purple, then it was pink. Now it is pretty much white. Time, wear, sweat and soap have eroded the color from what once identified me as BJ's father at the hospital.

Before I moved to Tulsa, a friend asked me (with disdain in his voice) how much longer I was going to keep wearing it. "Until it falls off," was my answer. I could tell he thought it was pathetic. I couldn't really blame him. It kind of seems like I'm living in the past from certain points of view.

This week, I have been asked twice about the strap. First by a 6 year old young lady at whose house I was having dinner (Emily). Second by a man of some rank with the National Guard (Rick).

Though I keep it on to remind me of a 'faith so great that death was no big deal, ' I am still caught off guard when people ask me about it. I need to be prepared.

Emily is an extremely intelligent young lady who uses big words for her young age. She reminds me so much of BJ. He did the same thing. People used to laugh when they met him for the first time, as it is disarming to have one so young, come across so mature.

I explained to her that it was my "parent i.d. bracelet" from when my son had been in the hospital. That seemed to satisfy her, so we moved on to other topics.

Tonight, I was invited to dinner with some co-workers. Afterwards, the women were getting their hair cut, and so my friend Walker and I began to walk a bit. We were in a mall, so we just kind of did that whole "mall walker" thing. You know, you've seen them, or perhaps been run over by one of them.

As we neared one end where a huge store had gone out of business, Walker said, "Let's go into this recruiting office."

I was thinking, "What in the world for?"

I followed him in. Before us stood three fatigue clad National Guard recruiters. Walker began to talk to them. We both introduced ourselves. They wondered if we were there to "re-enlist." We laughed a bit. I was very uncomfortable. I don't do things like this. Just walk up to random people for no apparent reason. I could not wait to leave.

Then the one in charge asked me about the raggedy white plastic band. I gave a brief scenario to him without much detail... like I had with Emily. He was not satisfied. I gave more information, to which he responded, "Follow me."

As we walked down a hall that seemed much longer than it was, I felt a bit like I was being ushered to the principal's office. We arrived at the last door, and entered. He walked around his large wooden desk and pointed to his family picture. Specifically to his 6 year old son, Tyler.

He began to share with me how Tyler had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. Suddenly, I felt like I'd known him my whole life, and was obscenely comfortable (to my previous way of thinking).

For the next 10 or 15 minutes we began to talk about our sons. Tyler is in remission. Rick wants to believe he is healed. I pray that would be so. He began to try to talk about faith, and the whole issue parents go through when their child is afflicted. I knew exactly how he felt.

I began to share BJ's story with him. I told him what he had said to me in the emergency room... I know you remember, but for any new reader's, "Dad, I know your scared. I believe the Lord is going to deliver me through this, but if he doesn't I'm going to be with him, and that's okay with me."

Rick shook his head. I went on to tell him how BJ had shared with his friends that he was called by God to be a martyr, to lay his life down for Christ. Rick shook his head more. I equated BJ's sacrifice to those of our military acquaintances who had lost their lives in the line of duty, and relayed that at 15 his faith was so deep and strong that he was willing to lay it all down because he knew that it was gain.

We talked more about Tyler. We talked about his nickname and how he resisted it. He did not want to be called by that nickname, because it reminded him of a neighbor girl. I told him how BJ had been the same way. That at around Tyler's age, BJ had announced to all listeners that his name was Brent, and he would no longer be known by BJ. Then a few years later, he rescinded this statement, and chose to be known once again by BJ. Rick's sons nickname is TJ.

Rick had 3 swords hanging in his office. I told him about BJ's rite of passage, and how we had given him the sword he had longed for, and how that was a symbol of his passing into manhood.

At every turn, I tried to point him to Christ. When those moments are over, I can always think of 100 things I could have said, or perhaps said differently. None of that matters. What matters is that Rick is seeking, and God directed a man, who recently arrived from Indiana, who cannot seem to let go of a silly sentimental hospital bracelet to share with a man's man, who was twice his size.

Rick and I walked out to rejoin the others. Walker told the men we were missionaries who took students to the mission field, and asked if we could pray for them. We did, then said our goodbyes.

Walker began to relay to me how the Lord had urged him to head into the recruiting office. He didn't know what the purpose would be, but followed with a heartbeat of obedience. I thanked him for that, as I relayed my fears and discomfort in walking into that situation. I started to tell him why God had led us there, but he already knew. The other two recruiter's had filled him in.

The Lord has renewed me! I give Him praise for this opportunity!

brent (dad)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Even though I love my job, the students and music combination is my joy, I do not love the formal evening programs. I endure them and accept that it is part of what I do, but I sweat and stew over everything. Can't sleep, can't eat, get red blotches all over my neck., headaches...

After I went back to school this year, my principals graciously agreed to allow me (and the other elementary music teacher in the township) to have parent observations during the school day, just for this year. Parents were invited to come to their child's regularly scheduled music class.

Although I still got a little nervous with "adults" watching us, it is so much more natural, not to mention more fun. I'm all about fun. If music can't be fun, what is the point? I guess that sounds irresponsible, but truly if students are not enjoying it, chances are they are not learning anything either. I like to trick them into learning something!

Anyway, the observations have gone well. The parents here in Zionsville are amazing, very supportive, as I have spoken of many times. I know not everyone was able to come because of work, or getting off for several of their children, etc., but they were gracious none the less. I will miss their kids so much, I can't even imagine. Well, maybe I can imagine...

When I was thinking of not returning to school, someone wrote about the healing element in hearing children's voices, or something like that. You know children have great capabilities of melting the hardest heart? Indeed, they have been one of God's best graces to me - they really care, they say what they mean, they are kind and tender hearted, plus they just make you smile.

I cracked up one day when a little boy (1st grade) says to me "Mrs. Higgins, are you quittin'?" They don't beat around the bush, do they?

"and a little child will lead them." Isaiah 11:6

And Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Time flies by when kids are growing up. Parents whose kids are grown are sure to agree with me. Savor the moments. There will always be frustrations in life, don't let them get the best of you and steal your joy. Listen to your little ones, hug often, be patient but firm, pray for them and be thankful. Find comfort in knowing God loves them more than you do! It's an amazing truth.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flip flops have been all the rage for some time now. My daughters wear them everywhere. They seem to go with any outfit under any circumstance. It's all about comfort and color. They are inexpensive and come in a delectable array of hues. When I was young they were called "thongs." That has become a term that brings quite a different picture to mind.

I remember spending $1.97 on my last pair. I've had them for years. I wore them a great deal in the summer, but contrary to the womem in my home, I wear more sensible shoes when cooler temperatures arrive. I don't really understand the appeal of wearing shoes that bare your "piggies," while complaining about being cold. There is a fundamental contradiction here.

A month or so ago, I brought my daughters new flip flops from Mexico (probably made in China). I carefully chose a neutral color believing they would go with any outfit. Apparently they don't go with ANY outfit.

Oh well, no matter, they are not that expensive. You can afford to make mistakes at this level as they are minor in cost. I recently heard one of my daughters get silly with excitement over a pair Deanna gave to her (these were hand-me-downs). I thought the glee was authentic. A day later, after she went back to school, and I was watching the movers load the semi, I found those same shoes in a basket of things she "might use at a later date."

Again, no matter, it's an inexpensive issue.

I remember wearing my cheap pair to the hospital when we took Beej there. Day after day for six weeks I wore them. I remember thinking, I can see why they like these. They are easy to put on and take off. They are easy to stow, and they can be worn with anything (well almost). I had a problem though.

My pair had little grooves in the footbed. These little grooves were a magnet for unsavory aromas. It got downright offensive! I had to find a resolution.

My friend Sammy had done me a favor and bought me deodorant when I ran out. There was a problem though. It was the right brand, but the wrong type. I always use the kind that is blue and translucent. This was white, and powdery. Evertime I put on my clothes, I got white streaks on my shirts. I could not retrain myself to be careful.

I would walk out in the morning, and people would laugh at me. "You did it again," they'd say. They were right. How silly of me. White powder stripes on each shirt.

Finally, I got new deodorant, and I found a new use for the white powder variety. I stroked it into the footbed of my flip flops. Amazing results! Initially, they were slippery to walk in, but that didn't last... and neither did the unpleasantness.

You know, when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, God saw to it that their clothing and sandals never wore out (Deut. 29:5). That amazes me beyond words. I cannot fathom that very idea. I cannot keep shoes or clothes for anywhere near that long. Some of you remember my story about my father's shoes which I kept and wore for 12 years after his death. I had them resoled at least once. They were good shoes. I only wore those with dress clothes, and they did not last.

Forty years? Unbelievable! God makes provisions for his people while they experience the desert. He cares for us in our times of need. I love that about Him! It is truly hard to comprehend how He cares for us in such times.

We walked those hospital halls for six weeks. He took care of us in amazing ways. He reached out to us through many of you. Elsie Jay and Sammy bought us new clothes and washed the old, and kept us in necessary provisions. Big John brought breakfast everyday. Meals were provided by church members from three different bodies. We stand in awe of that kind of love. Truly, many of you took care of "the least of these."

My flip flops? After BJ died, and we were walking from the hospital to the car that last time, they broke.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Today, the most beautiful woman in the world, whom I love and married 23+ years ago is speaking to a ladies group. She is sharing from a place of pain and hurt that few understand or can relate to.

At this time, I am not there to support or encourage because I am 10 hours away, on my knees lifting her up. I must entrust her completely to His care. He alone has what she needs. He alone can offer the comfort, encouragement and support that a room of ladies need. It is my time to bow down, and allow Him to work.

Why is it that the time we seem to have the most to offer, is the time we have given up so much, and feel we have the least to give? I suppose because we must remain completely in need of Him. When we are at that most vulnerable point, then others can find depth and strength in what He has provided through our pain.

Sometimes that angers me. Sometimes that hurts in such a visceral way, that I cannot function. And sometimes, I do find that I can understand.

Lord God, pour your Holy Spirit through her pain, through her tears, through her place of discomfort.
Raise up a room full of enabled servants. Those willing to change what they can to further their own relationship with You and enable other to do likewise.

Please allow my bride to find moments of peace, joy, and comfort through her perpetual desperation.

I do not understand a Mother's love, but I do benefit from it.

Similarly, I do not understand why You love me, but you bless where ignorance resides, if my passion rests in You.

Lord, because of her pain, she is speaking for You. Use her Lord, and fill her. Comforter, I implore you to do what the Father sent you to do!

I know of my failure and unworthiness, but You have taught me of Your grace. It is from here that I seek and request your intervention. It is from here that I find peace.

Thank You Jesus, for providing it to her, and through her, as well!


Friday, May 12, 2006

It has been an interesting journey to begin to get to know those who knew my son on the mission field. The BJ they knew was not always the same one I knew. The differences were sometimes minute, yet differences nonetheless.

You have heard from many of them through the last 8 or 9 months as several have been faithful writers. The connection we have is a very special one. The stories I hear are significant to me.

I spent a week in Mexico with one young lady who told me that she knew my son, because her team (Thailand '05) were the last ones to arrive back in the U.S. They got to debriefing in the middle of the night. BJ came out and carried her backpack in for her. Her connection was short, but memorable.

I spent time with BJ's "POP" (an acronym for Passing On Principles- the entry level of leadership) from Peru '04. I had the privilege of seeing him at BJ's funeral, Leadership training last November, and here the last couple of days. I met his mother and brother at a Christian bookstore recently.

Another of his team from '04 was at the same Christian bookstore, at the same time. I have met her on several occassions as well. She and her sister are both alumni of Awe Star. She has been a source of inspiration to me. BJ came home in '04 with much to share about her. She is precious.

Still two more who were hugely important to Beej may come to spend time with us in August! I pray that comes to pass.

These are just a sampling of the many I have had the honor of spending time with. I have met many parents as well. I am moved each time I have this privilege, because I know what it takes to surrender your child to the Lord's care. Each of them are encouraging, and have a story to share. This is such a huge blessing.

Recently, I am told, a discussion began over whether or not I would allow my son to go to the mission field if I knew then what I know now. I was very quick to say, "YES, I WOULD!" When God calls you to an area of obedience, the wrong thing to do is say "No."

Yes, I miss him. Yes I would love to have him by my side to continue making memories together. Yes it is excrutiating to live each and every moment knowing he is gone. But truly I say to you that you only have to read this site for a moment to see how much God is doing in the lives of others, as well as our own!

Many lives have come to the Lord Jesus, because he layed down his own. He was a willing participant in this. Not that he knew specifically what was happening or even that it would happen this way. He knew he was called to martyrdom. He had written much about each of our need to be similarly willing to lay down our lives.

He could have saved his earthly life by being disobedient to God. Back in the winter of '05 he struggled over returning to Peru... he wanted to go to Thailand. God said otherwise. BJ obeyed. His direct obedience to God's call resulted in his death.

I understand that had he been diagnosed much sooner, he could have been spared by being on doxocyclene. Do I grieve over this? Of course. I would not be human if I didn't. Do I blame the doctors? NO!

I know that what happened to my son has from the very beginning pointed to Christ. BJ was known to quote Phil. 1:21, "to live is Christ, to die is gain." There is no question in my mind that his death was great gain. Great gain for him, as he sees Christ in all His fullness. Great gain for those who have come to Christs' salvation as a result of BJ's story. Great gain for many readers who would not willingly seek to benefit from his death, but in fact do as the Holy Spirit moves on us. Great gain for his family in that we have each drawn closer to the Lord at the sacrifice of our only son/brother.

Does life go on as though none of this matters? Yes, if we allow it.

I will not do so, easily. I will not perseverate on his life forever, because the real story is Christ and Him crucified and resurrected. But I will tell his story as long as the Lord draws others unto Him, through him.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have met so many wonderful people both here in Tulsa, and over the phone in other lands. As I begin to understand certain aspects of my new role in life, I must say how enthused I am at the opportunities to meet and speak to missionaries and others here and in foreign lands. Coordinating between the two is a blessing. Praying for them is a responsibility and an honor.

I have taken many meals with new friends, and had wonderful fellowship. We have spent time praying together, encouraging each other, even consoling one another. I am being well cared for, and I appreciate it.

But guess what. I miss my wife. When the Lord said "and the two shall be one," He was not joking. When you are missing half of you, it is unpleasant. When I constantly meet new people without her at my side, there is no way they are impressed. Deanna is beautiful, and people always think more of me because of her beauty. I can hear their private thoughts... "if a guy that looks like him can land a lady like that, then he must be something!" I am having to do it all on my own and I am not very fond of it.

I always looked forward to getting home in the evening, and spending time with her. Now I look forward to watching the ever present Tornado Watch/Warning signs on my tv screen. I am developing bad habits. Fast food, getting up late, watching guy movies without a chick-flick to break up the monotony, and I've even started to iron my clothes. Do you know how long it has been since I ironed my clothes? This is unfair on so many levels! (okay that statement about ironing sounded a bit sexist. Let me explain... Deanna did not iron my clothes, I wore jeans to work previously, and I am not so OCD that I needed my jeans pressed. Now I wear dress casual to work... please, no hate mail)

We have been together for over 23 years. The most we had ever been separated was a couple of weeks. We have now broken a record we did not set out to best. I miss so many things about her! I cannot wait to see her again!

I found out in the last couple of days that I will get to see her in the near future (not near enough to be with her on Mother's Day... I cannot believe our family is so spread out that none of us will be with her. How unfair for her!) We have been invited to share at a church in the Indpls. area, in a most unusual fashion. Our favorite newscaster will be interviewing us live before the church, in all three of their services. How exciting to see our Lord put something like this together. Not only this, but we will, Lord willing, be interviewed separately for a local television story. If all of this works out, we will pass along more details.

Please know that my enthusiasm is two-fold (at least). We get to point to Christ together, and we get to be together!

Thank you Lord for seeing even this need and meeting it. I was willing to wait, but He has seen fit to allow us a bit of time before she moves.


Lauren's team leaves today for Swaziland, S. Africa to return the end of May

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Some days you are headed in the right direction, and you still end up in the wrong place. I had one of those days recently. They can be interesting, even enjoyable, if you learn to react from faith and not frustration.

I am a Sonics fan. Not the basketball team, the fast food stop. Twice since I have been here in Tulsa, I have placed and order with a coworker, only to have them return and tell me that Sonics doesn't carry what you asked for.

Well, the Sonics in Indiana carried what I ordered, but they all closed a year or two ago. I guess Indianapolis just wasn't into the whole Sonics concept. You know, the old rootbeer stand idea crossing with modern day fast food? I can hardly believe they changed their menu. When staff returned and told me that they no longer carried Jalapeno Cheeseburgers, I was shocked. There is a Mexican restaurant every 100 yards here, how could Sonics not be able to sell that burger? (maybe because there is a Mexican restaurant every 100 yards!)

I am adapting, I just don't like it when restaurants dump your favorite food item.

Imagine my surprise then, when I had a hankering the other day for Taco Bell. (I know, I am eating too much fast food, but I am a bachelor right now.) I headed to the only one I knew in this area. I saw the sign as I neared it. One more stop light then it's on the right.

I began to think about the church service I had just come from, and what a blessing it had been. I turned in, and pulled up to the drive thru speaker. I looked up at the menu, and there wasn't a taco or burrito meal to be found anywhere. My mind began to race. Sonics dropped my favorite burger, and now Taco Bell has changed their entire menu? The only thing that even remotely resembled Mexican food was the word Jalapeno, but it wasn't going to be added to anything resembling a tortilla.

How could this happen? I have been told that Tulsa is middle America, and that many companies try new things out here, before they add it to other cities. I was ready to call 1-800-Taco Bell and tell them what I thought about their new burger menu selections. My next impulse was to drive off. That would certainly show them.

In a moment of weakness, I did nothing. I said, "I will have a number 10 please, with a coke."
In my bewilderment, I drove up to the window. It was only then that I realized it. I was not at Taco Bell. I was at a Tulsa favorite... Braum's (known for their Ice Cream and other dairy). Taco Bell was two doors down.

Oh well, number 10 was a Jalapeno Cheeseburger, and it was yummy! Your loss Sonic, I have found a new place for my favorite burger!

There have been many times in my walk with Christ where something like that occurred. I was headed in a particular direction, I thought I knew where I was going, and I ended up somewhere completely different. I call those "God moments" (has nothing to do with fast food). In spite of what you think you know, or what you think you are learning, He shows you something completely different, and you get blessed.

Thank you Jesus for that kind of provision!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

For the first time in my life I'm speaking at a ladies' gathering. It is friends and church family, thank goodness, but I am still intimidated. I was surprised yet honored at being asked. I knew why I was being asked, so it has a bittersweet taste, as is the course of our lives without our son.

Lauren leaves for a 2-week mission trip in Swaziland, S. Africa this week and Whitney leaves Saturday for a month long internship with a missions organization in Dallas. We will all be separated for the first time in our lives for Mother's Day.

These "first time in our lives" things are God's hand at work and we find comfort and affirmation in the fact. His ways are not our ways and we cannot always understand it. I don't know that I WANT to understand God because He is who He is, our arguments of human logic are a moot point. I NEED Him to be bigger, and He most certainly is MORE than we can fathom. He is in charge, thank heavens we are not.

My prayer today is that we always be surrendered to what He wills, not what we plan and desire for ourselves. He truly knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows what is best for us no matter what condition we are in and in spite of our condition. When we are running scared and lost, blind and crippled, hurt and deaf, He is our "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" Psalm 46. Whatever our ailment, He knows when to discipline us and when to allow healing. He knows when to stretch us and when to let us rest. He loves us enough to give grace and mercy and hope and sometimes prodding when there is the need - with me that is often.

In our study Sunday night at church, one of the things that stood out to me was being reminded that God's Word is LIVING, ACTIVE and SHARP. It's REAL, it speaks LIFE to us IF we have ears to hear! Father clean out our ears and thoughts of the world and help us listen to You, the I AM, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The statement I love and claim today is from the "sharper than a two-edge sword" scripture indicating that God's Word convicts and it comforts, it judges our thoughts and attitudes. Nothing is hidden from God's sight, good or bad. (Hebrews 4:12 & 13)

I have a poster in my office of a kitten and the quote "God hears the smallest voice." Thank you Father for hearing our cries and giving us direction and purpose, no matter how noble or humble. Thank you for not letting the most "insignificant kindnesses" go unnoticed as well. I know small acts of kindness mean the most to me, especially while we were in the hospital, but it is still true today. I pray that I can make a difference to someone today with a smile, a word of encouragment, a favor...


Sunday, May 07, 2006

What a blessing it has been over the past couple of days to be present at two of MercyMe's five or more mini-concerts here in Tulsa. Saturday, after they played at Mardell's Christian Bookstore I had the privilege of going backstage and sharing with them for a few moments. It was good to hug their necks and catch up a little bit. Mike told me that they are tired from touring and ready to be home with their families (boy do I understand that last part) for a time.

While visiting, Bart asked me if I was going to be at "Church on the Move" for any of their services. He told me they had not played "Die for You" yet, as they were saving it for the fall tour. He said, "if you're going to come, we'll practice it and get it ready for you." We arranged for the 9:00am Sunday service. WOW!!!

Bart told BJ's story to an audience of several thousand. I cannot describe the range of thoughts and emotions that nearly overwhelmed me as the anthem poured forth amid pinkish spotlights. I sat alone, completely anonymous. Yet, I felt a tremendous sense of God's presence. The audience entered into aweful worship. When the song was over, their was silence. Oh how I wish I could have been seated by my son to share and enjoy the debut of his song. He would have been embarrassed, and would have struggled to somehow point to Christ in those moments.

That is what is real about all of this. God gets the glory, and people are moved and touched because of His presence. He uses His obedient, faithful ones to spread the gospel, and He honors their efforts, though they are undeserving.

Too easily do I find myself slipping into the mindset of needing to see this song become enormous, because the cost was enormous.

Know what? It doesn't matter if one more person hears the song, or knows why it was written. BJ was not obedient because he wanted songs written about his life. He was obedient because He loved Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelled within him urging him forward to share the gospel with whomever he could. He was faithful. But the Lord is more faithful, and though I do not recognize my surroundings, or know any of my new friends well, I have Jesus. He is all I need (and I do have to keep telling myself this).

dad (brent)


Friday, May 05, 2006

I have written before about the medical staff at St Vincent's Hospital. The interaction we had with them was very encouraging and positive through most of our stay. The only real times that things became discouraging were toward the end, when things began to look as though he would not make it.

The issue for the nurses became how to tell us honestly that it did not look good. We had spent 6 weeks side by side with them. We had laughed, and cried together and drawn close to some of them. You cannot walk a journey like that and not be emotionally attached. The nursing staff blessed us in a huge way.

I remember when a couple of our key nurses looked me in the face and said, "He has done so well, but it just does not look good, I don't think he is going to make it."

Can you imagine having to say those words to anyone? I cannot. They did it with such grace, and such love that I knew they were aware of something I did not believe was ever going to happen.

Somehow, when the doctors had told us this, it was easy to be angry with them. It was easy to say they just don't know, they are only reading the science of this whole thing, they don't know what God can do. Obviously, that was not always true, but for some reason, it was just easier to be mad at the doctors.

The nurses spent themselves hour after hour, day after day, week after week. They had struggles between them on who got to take care of BJ. We never saw anything unruly, but we knew they vied for his room. I must say that is very hard for me to understand. He was so ill, you would think they would want to be far away, in a room where the emotional toll was a little easier.

That is why I have so much love and respect for them. Each and every one of them. They are called to this role, and they embrace it as one who knew they just might make a difference. And they did.

They may not think so, but they changed my life. The level of compassion extended to us through them was so unbelievable. One or two of them had left instructions that if he passed, they were to be called immediately. I imagine it was more like, "if it looks like he is going, call me right away."

In the wee hours of Monday morning, September 26 at just before 3am, he went home... and after some private time as a family, the room filled with nurses who wept just as hard as we did. Some who were working, and some who came because of his passing. They loved us through the most traumatic moments of our lives. I shall never forget them for doing so.

They emptied the room, in what seemed like 2 seconds, of all the cumbersome paraphanalia that kept us from being able to love on him for the previous 6 weeks. They offered to allow us up onto his bed to lay beside him and love him one last time. Had they not worked as hard as they did for the previous weeks, they still would have earned my respect in those closing moments.

I remember each face that moved forward to embrace us, and offer their apologies for not being able to do more. Ladies, you did all you could. There was nothing left to do, but love us through... and you did. I love you for it. Let me say YOU ARE MY HEROES!!!

Deanna, Lauren and Whitney, when you eat dinner with them tonight, let them know how much I love them, and miss them.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Silky shocks of swirling cotton waves, rest gently upon her head. In vivid contrast, ruby red flowers lie just below this line of snowy white, at the base of each ear. Translucent, time warn flesh, tautly fits her lean frame, and her smart outfit beckons like a beautifully prepared gift. And those eyes, oh my goodness!

This was my date last night. She was the "young" lady I had dinner with. The one who recently told me that if she were 20 years younger, she would pursue my brother. Better known to many as Grandma Lucile. At 97, she still drives. She volunteers at the local hospital. She descends 14 flights of stairs at each opportunity, to deliver mail to anxious recipients. Her heart beat is for missions, and she makes sure that those who need to go, go. The Lord has blessed her with long life, and an enormous heart!

Back in the early 90's she and Walker Moore began a journey together... they call it Awe Star. She is the matriarch of this ministry. She is part of the foundation, a cornerstone of the infrastructure, and an immense driving force for such a small individual.

In June, during training time for the missionaries, it's Lucile who rounds the students up to see who needs what, or more accurately stated, who forgot what. In 2004, it was Lucille who approached BJ and asked if there was anything he needed. Sheepishly, he asked if she could pick him up a toothbrush, and he offered to pay her for it. She laughed at his innocence, and perhaps his foolishness. After all, a toothbrush?

She met that need for him, as she has met similar needs of countless others. I have often asked the Lord not to let me live until I was that age. I do not want to be a burden to my children. But I have never met or known anyone like Lucile. She's outlived her husband by many years, had hip surgery on two occasions (I believe), and had many heartaches in her life. There is not a bitter bone in her frame. What an awesome example of a Christian. If I could be like that, I would not mind living for a century.

She knows BJ's story well, but was unaware that "I Would Die For You" had been released. I played it for her. As she listened, she coiled nearly to the fetal position. She let it play twice. Her comment? "Bart and the guys have gotten a lot better!"

She knows them. They stayed in her home when they were first starting. That was back in the 90's when they were still known as the "Awe Star Band." She is proud of them. She added that she believed that song would go a long way.

What age does to many is cruel. Long life is often rewarded with significant illness, injury, and much difficulty. Not for Lucile. I cannot tell you for sure why she is different. But I can tell you that she is filled with the love of Christ, and where others pass judgment, she sees potential. She has incredible eyes, and they search yours for truth and depth.

These bright blue eyes which adorn her face, betray a gentle, purposeful, and very youthful interior, that every believer strives for, in Christ!

Thank you, Lucile! You bless me!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This morning I will attempt to share with you what I meant to last week... (This is Lauren. Hi!)

God has used the past year to reshape me by teaching me in some pretty intense, challenging and transforming ways. Obviously. And I have learned some amazing things, about myself, my weaknesses, and my God...

The last few weeks of school were... Intense. That's the only way to describe them that kind of does justice. It wasn't so much with school work, though that in itself was a sprint in the last week of me being there. The battles that came my way during the last weeks of school were very much emotional and personal.

At the beginning of each week, it was like -BAM! Here's your lesson for the week!- Each started with some sort of failing on my part, and ended in God's grace and mercy covering me. His faithfulness filled in the gaps where I had screwed up.

The first week I learned so much about myself and relationships through a difficult time with a friend. Monday was so marked by confusion, hurt, and frustration on my part, but as the week progressed and I spent much of it praying for God's Truth, He began to strip away the confusion until I was left with exactly what I had asked Him for - Truth. It was incredible to see how God completely answered my prayers and worked in this friendship, helping us to sort things out and come to a better place than we had even started from. I was amazed at God's power to work. Amazed that all that had been done to restore this friendship was not my doing, but the doing of One much greater, Who gave me more than I deserved by doing so.

The next week had a lot to do with my Swaziland mission trip, the certain logistical responsibilities necessary to be allowed on such a trip, and my certain weakness in completing these logistical responsibilities in a timely fashion... It was not good. But once again, through my tears, I saw God work. Granted, I had to snap into gear and really get things done, but even while doing so, I wondered if this time God would teach me the hard way. For a period of about two days, (which felt like forever!) I felt deeply that my not going on this mission trip was a distinct possibility because of my irresponsibility. I knew I had let people down- people on my team, people in the office of the organization sending us... It was terrible! So I learned a lot about humbling myself and recognizing my weaknesses in front of others... letting go of pride.

There are so many more things that God is working on in my heart! But these two experiences are a piece of what He's been doing in my life. The over-arching lesson I have learned is that learning itself is a painful process, but God is faithful to the end. He is faithful to bring the salvation He has started in us to completion. Yes, it hurts. But as my last lesson of the school year taught me...

My last few days of school were FULL of finals and papers and work. My major end-of-the-semester-paper in Hebrews was an exegesis (an in-depth look at a certain passage of Scripture) on Hebrews 11:39-12:11. This passage is about...

Enduring Hardship as God's Fatherly Discipline

He put a neat little bow on what He was teaching me!

And so, I am so looking forward to this summer and all the stretching experiences God will use to teach me and my family. This summer will be huge in our life as a family, and in each of us individually. My prayer to see God's Truth in all situations continues, and I pray that we are equal to the discipline that this intense training will bring!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I was looking for specific video footage the other day, and came across a dvd from Deanna and BJ's mission trip to Corbin, Ky. this past summer (just before he left for Peru). I began to watch it and quickly realized I had never seen it. Everything on it was new.

I saw him interact with children he was ministering to in Corbin, and I heard him testify of how God had moved in his heart. Yes, I heard his voice!!! I cannot tell you how excited I became. I cannot tell you why we never watched it. I cannot figure that out. I can however say that I am glad I didn't. This was so precious to me. It took me back to his crazy antics... yes, even on mission, he was cavorting with his teammates. I know I write of them often, but seeing them someplace other than my mind was incredible.

We did not own a video camera, and do not have old video footage to look back on. We have lots of pictures (thank you Brad), but no treasure trove of old memories.

The value of this single disc is enormous to me. I cannot thank Pastor Larry enough for the nearly two hours of footage he shot (and narrated). Deanna's voice it on it as well. For those of you who have never met her, she has a very distinctive laugh. Many times while off camera, I hear her loud response to humor.

Seeing this has blessed me in ways I find hard to describe. For most of us, it is hard to sit and watch other people paint, tell Bible stories, or rip up flooring. On this day, for me, the only thing difficult was maintaining my composure. I was doing very well until the end.

The end of the video was of unloading the trailer of baggage and equipment. Exciting stuff! Then the camera panned over to the right. I had no idea where it was going. Suddenly, there was BJ in the famous "pink shirt"... you remember, the one he bought to get a rise out of me. The thing was, I couldn't see much of him. You see, I was embracing him, in the way we often did. The explosion of emotion I felt at seeing that footage caused me to have to excuse myself from the room (where other Awe Star staff were with me). I am so very thankful that this is on disc. I just was not prepared to see it.

I have always been a hugger. Those who know me, know I like to give hugs (not wimpy ones either). To see that moment saved for me to view again and again is priceless. I praise God for this small provision of remembrance!


I am working with David (on staff with me) who will, Lord willing, help me to put some video clips of BJ on this site for you to view. We may actually get our family pic's up as well.

Roger, if you're serious, that would be incredible!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

BJ was a rootbeer fan. He liked his without ice, preferably from the bottle. He collected rootbeer (rb)bottles as he drank them. He had a ledge in his room which was covered with them. As a rb fan, he did not care much for the major colas. He had tried everything from natural rb to quite unusual names and offerings within the rb spectrum.

When he came home from Peru the first time, he had returned with a passion for a new drink. One he could not get here in the states. It's called Inca Kola. He brought a couple home, as he wanted us to try it. When I say try it, I mean try... taste... sip it. He only had a bit, and he wanted it to last!

I remember when the tables were turned. He would ask for a drink of my soda, and then proceed to guzzle it. When he offered us a taste, he stood close by, and if we kept it tipped up too long, he was quick to put a stop to it! This was a precious commodity to him.

He made it last much longer than it should have. It had to have been flat by the time he finished the last drips.

Though he knew this was available in limited quantity, and wanted to savor it, he had another passion which he was a little freer about sharing. He would drink long and hard from its source, and encourage others to do likewise. This was an offering that he made available at every opportunity. If it was bottled he would have received awards for being one of the top sales people.

Fortunately, it isn't bottled. It's available directly from the Well! Beej did not have to sell it, 'cause it's free. When you drink from this Well, you never thirst again. We still need refilling, 'cause we're cracked and broken vessels, but the Source does not stop filling if we don't stop seeking.

The ledge in your room is no place to keep this, it should permeate every recess of your being. It will never go flat. One could say in an 'old school' way that it is "good to the last drop." The thing is, it is always fresh and new... there is no last drop. You don't need a happy hour to imbibe here. However, I caution you, you may become "happy" if you drink it! If you don't, your drinking at the wrong well!

Come, be filled, restored, renewed. It costs more if you don't than if you do.

Be blessed by the Well!