Monday, October 30, 2006

The Lord has used dreams to get my attention at key points in my ministry life. I quickly confess that I do not usually have a clue what they mean. However, upon sharing them with the godly people around me, I have usually been able to see His direction in them.

One of the first I remember, was when He was calling me into ministry. The dream I had, caused such an unsettledness within my spirit, that I was compelled to share it with those I knew would not laugh at me. They were very helpful in helping guide me in the right direction.

There is no doubt in my mind that surrounding ourselves with God's people is necessary in our lives. Their wise counsel is such an important aspect of our walk with Jesus.

When I was on staff at a church in Carmel, Indiana, I had a dream that caused me to question with intensity, it's meaning.

In the dream, I was in a dark landscape. A great light from heaven, with a narrow beam suddenly shone, and ranged across the land like a searchlight. Somehow, I knew it was seeking me. I found that my reaction was fear and awe. I did not know why He would be seeking me in such a way. It made no sense from a "God" perspective, because He already knew where I was. Why would this shaft of light seek me?

Once if fell upon me, I froze. A loud voice thundered from the heavens. I'll never forget the words. "My child, your time has come." The imagery in my mind will never be forgotten.

I set out to find it's meaning. Could it mean I was going to be taken home? Did it meant that He was about to do something in my life that He was calling me to obedience in? My reaction in those days continued to be fear and awe. I did not know what He was showing me.

I remember thinking in the days ahead, that to the Lord, a moment is like a thousand years. I found no comfort in that thought. I did not want to wait for this answer but this was not about what I wanted.

I would like to tell you that He revealed the answer to me. I cannot.

Years passed. God called us to change leave a part-time paid position and return to our "home" church. I changed full time jobs at His beckoning. BJ passed.

In the weeks after BJ's death, I was perusing his journals. I will never forget my find.

I read and turned page after page. Savoring and hearing his voice speaking, every word. How I missed him in those moments. I worked through the pages of his earliest journal. The one he was writing in around the time of this dream.

I was once again frozen. How could this be?

His early journal was filled with writing and drawing. As I turned this page my eyes fell upon a picture he had drawn that instantly reminded me of my dream. Somehow, without getting every detail right, he had illustrated a representation of the imagery in my head!

Here was a picture, drawn by my son that returned me in full hyper-speed rewind, to my dream.

Closer scrutiny reveals many inconsistencies between his depiction and those in my head.

Perhaps it was just grief, and extreme longing for his presence. I honestly don't remember telling him the dream...perhaps I did. All I can say is that in those few seconds, I was returned to four years ago, to a dream that I did not, and still do not understand.

I appreciated the fullness of this memory, and its continued impact on me. There is nothing quite like it. I cannot explain it, but it brings peace and a sense of contentment.


Friday, October 27, 2006

On Sunday morning, I will be sharing at St. Andrew Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida. I will not be able to have Deanna with me this time. Would you please pray for those who hear, that they would respond to how the Lord is moving in their hearts?

This week a friend of mine...who shall remain nameless so that she continues to be my friend (I hope)...had a wee fire in her apartment. For some reason, her stovetop ignited as she was preparing her evening meal. All kidding aside, when she called Deanna there was a small edge of terror in her voice!

She already had the fire under control, but feared what could have happened, and what may yet happen if she turned the stove back on. We worked it out together, and all is well. By the time I arrived at her place, the smell of smoke was dissipating. There was still a hint in the air, but you could not tell what had happened.

This reminded me of a couple of times when another lady I know was preparing Swedish Meatballs. I am far from a chef, but as I understand it, one must get the skillet extremely hot to prepare them. On the first occasion, this other lady also lived in an apartment. As she was preparing this meal, the grease caught fire.

Having no experience with grease fires, she did what came naturally. She threw water on it.

That enraged the fire, and as the water hit, it leapt off of the stove and ran up the walls and across the ceiling! I remember the terror in her voice when she called. Well, actually it was the shrill screams of a smoke detector that I remember hearing. The voice on the other end pleaded for help to make it stop.

Miraculously, the fire had gone out, but the smoke detector wailed on without taking a breath. This distraught, embarrassed and frustrated lady called to beg for help to make it quit. Amazingly, she was not interested in discussing the cause of the smoke detector's announcement, she simply wanted instructions on getting it to settle down.

The lick of the flames across the walls required some attention in this case. Repainting was required to cover the scars of the event.

Another time, on a somewhat smaller scale, years later, it happened again. Swedish Meatballs were once again the entree' du jour. Again, the grease leapt into it's 'flame on' mode. This time, a wiser cook grabbed flour... lots of flour...five pounds of flour... and doused the flames.

This time, only a third degree blister on the counter top needed attention from the burn unit.

Surprisingly, I was over for dinner both of these nights. I am told these are the only two times she has ever prepared this dish. You know what? Those meatballs were delicious!

Sometimes, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we have to experience the fire to get to the 'good stuff.' Whether or not we bear the scars is not really the issue. Our faithfulness to our Savior is. How we respond, what we learn, and to whom we point is what matters. Free of the lick of the flames, we are given the opportunity to minister to others who are experiencing similar, searing pain.

Last night, Whitney had the opportunity to share her testimony with a group of girls who have significant need. Though Whit has never been at the specific point these young ladies are, the Lord used her faithfulness and obedience to draw another to Himself. Through her singing and sharing, the Holy Spirit brought conviction, and a New Creation has submitted to the Father's Will! Amen!!!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

We have entered into negotiations to purchase a home. We have sifted through so many. We have seen some we liked, but did not feel at home in, and some we did not like at all. We have seen some we were fond of, but knew they were going to take significant work to get them where they were "livable" for us. We have found one we hope will be ours.

We don't mind painting, but when it comes to structural repairs, I'm afraid Deanna isn't married to Mr. Fix It. I have the desire to be able to tackle such things, but not the know-how. I am impressed with people who can take on such tasks, and create a beautiful result.

When I was in college, my summer job and ultimately my profession (for a time) was landscaping. I could take a barren strip of dirt, and create something from it. I could walk up to a new home, and create a design that would warm the house and make it look like a inviting home.

That creative flair has served us well, at times. However, it does not translate to tackling things that require hammers, nails, screws and hydraulic impaling tools. Then I pretty much become the assistant who stands by, holds the equipment, and is warned not to touch certain things.

I can be a great cheer-leader from that position. I can encourage the craftsmen in his task, and tell him how incredible the outcome will be. I am not bad at giving him "pats" on the back. I just can't do the work.

The fact that the Lord has gifted each of us differently becomes more clear every day. I am surrounded by people who know what they are doing. They don't just know what they are doing, but they are good at it. I often stand by with trying to remember to close my agape mouth, for fear of tipping my hat to the fact that I too often am clueless about the processes I am trying to assist with.

Fortunately, part of the giftedness of those He has surrounded me with, includes the extension of grace. I keep thinking my withdrawals must have about depleted the supply. It just keeps being given to me. I know I don't deserve it. I even get down on myself about it.

It is just so amazing to me that the Lord understands how I am wired. So much so, that He foresaw who I would need in my corner in this foreign land. He has provided for each need at just the right moment.

I am most amazed at Deanna. She has suffered the loss of her only son, and dealt with it in a way that only mother's who have lost sons can understand. I stand by trying to hold the tools that she needs, but feel like I inadvertently pull the trigger on the wrong piece of equipment.

If this were not difficult enough, she is provided a position through Divine means. She realizes this, and gives it her all. The problem is that her all is not enough, or so it would seem to her. Every fiber of her being wants to quit this position and do something trivial where she can at least feel like she is appreciated.

Instead, she forges ahead with students who don't seem to care and show little respect, because she knows it has been a provision of the Lord.

She continues to struggle through this because she knows that He has promised to "be with her" in this time of suffering. Though she struggles, she amazes me, and I love her.

She has taught me to keep moving forward, even when I cannot see where we are headed!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I must say that each morning as I arrive at the computer, the Lord provides something for me to share. I have feared that the time would come when I would get here and...nothing. I think that day has found me. Clarity has taken a vacation.

There is much going on in our lives, and sometimes I am not very good at sifting through it all, and keeping it compartmentalized. When I do this effectively, I can look at many different issues, and tend to each of them. Sometimes, in all honesty, you just get overwhelmed with life, and all that is coming at you, and feel like you have nothing left.

There is no doubt that the Lord has extended significant blessing our way. We are most thankful for His constant provision. We do not take it for granted. We are constantly amazed at Him. We don't always agree with His methods, but we love Him for His sacrifice, and have certainly learned that His ways are better than our own. We do our best to submit to Him, His authority, and His direction.

I think we thought that He would shield us from further suffering after losing BJ. What He in fact has taught us, is that suffering is a routine part of being a believer. We aren't very good at it, but we are learning to embrace it, and carry on with our lives.

Today, I am just humbled that He finds us worthy to suffer on His behalf. He certainly suffered for us. If our suffering brings Him glory, as Beej once so eloquently put it, then suffer we shall. And we will do our best not to complain about it.

God Bless!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another young man I barely know blessed my heart this weekend in a way few others could. I know him only through his parents. Part of our 6 week journey in the hospital with BJ was spent drawing encouragement from them, and attempting to give the back the same. They spent 2 or 3 weeks there themselves, which was preceded by a month in another hospital.

Their daughter Shelby was one you prayed for, and saw the Lord heal and deliver! Today, she is full of life, and functions as a most precious 3 year old. Shelby has an older brother. His name is Geoff. I did not have the opportunity to get to know him very well.

Because of this, I have to say I was quite surprised by his reaction to our arrival. His mom and dad had planned to meet us for dinner the night we arrived in Ft Wayne, but Geoff had a dilemma.

He was supposed to go to a birthday party that evening. The problem with that, in his eyes, was that he would not get to see or spend time with us if he went. So paramount was this decision in his eyes, that he shed tears over what to do about it.

How is it that this young man who barely knows us feels such a deep connection with us? How mysterious this is to me. How has the Lord moved in his own heart, that he would endure this journey of his own, to bring blessing to us?

His parents figured out a solution. I must say, it was a perfect one. One that made our evening so much more enjoyable. They decided that they would make dinner at home. When the birthday party was over, Geoff would come home to spend time with us. We would all be able to fellowship together! And we did!

Since Deanna had to remain in Indianapolis, my brother Brad had come with me. We had an incredible evening! We had 3 year old twins bouncing in and out of our laps. We had their 5 year old sister showing us new games and toys, and sharing them with us. We even had a bit of conversation with mom and dad.

As we sat down to dinner, dad relayed to me that Geoff would be home soon, and that he had a "surprise" planned for me. One he had been talking about all day. One that might catch me off guard. I began to wonder...but had no solution.

Geoff got home just after dessert. He is the oldest of the children, and relayed what kind of party it had been. He had a great time.

We spent time hearing from his heart. He took us to his room (each of the children did) and showed us a huge project he had recently completed. He was into Lego's. I was very impressed with his Lego-land achievements! On the floor was an large semi truck...a tractor trailer that looked very real. He said it had taken him about a week to complete! It was amazing. I was surprised that one this young would have the 'stick-to-it-iveness' to stay on such a large project. He had, and had done very well.

The girls and I returned to the family room, while my brother and Geoff remained in his room to talk through project and others.

A short time later, Brad returned and sat down. I did not miss Geoff until it happened. Suddenly without warning, there was a loud noise...I was hit! Grabbing the back of my left shoulder, I turned to see an impish grin on the face of this young Nerf-war gamesman.

In that moment, I tried to catch my breath as the rewind button raced backwards to the times that BJ had done this to me. How did Geoff know? How could he possibly comprehend how meaningful this would be to me? What precious insight, and how awesome it was to once again be surprise attacked, by one who clearly had deep love in his heart.

Later, as he sat in the safety zone of his father's lap, I returned fire, pegging him in the chest. I think he was as surprised as I had been.

Later, as we were saying our goodbyes and walking out to our car, Geoff pointed out another accomplishment. He had raked the fallen leaves in the front yard, into a pile. A pile that also flooded my mind with missed days gone by. Days I can only retrieve through the process of remembering. Days I might have forgotten about had young Geoff not been used of the Lord to help me remember!

Thank you Geoff for your loving heart. The Lord is doing a work in your young life. A work that has blessed mine!


Monday, October 23, 2006

What a refreshing and blessing of a weekend the Lord provided! We saw family, friends, and got to share in two different churches in Indiana.

I am told Deanna did a great job, and the hearts of some lost and broken people in attendance were moved, deeply.

On our return flight, our plane stopped in Kansas City. Deanna and I remained on our plane for the final leg to Tulsa. There was an empty seat beside us, and we were sitting at the front.

On walked a small young man with his right leg in a brace. He asked in his pre-pubescent voice if the seat was taken. We invited him to sit down with us. He was an incredibly friendly and talkative young man, with incredible manners.

We began to talk about where we were headed, where we had come from, and what we enjoyed in life. His name is Keegan, and he is 13 years old. His birthday was a few days ago.

I asked why his leg was in a brace. He said proudly, "football." This little man was playing defensive tackle on his football team. He was injured while shooting under the centers legs and trying to grab the football. I was impressed. He was enthused.

He began to tell me how he traveled once a month between KC and Tulsa because of a broken family. His mom and his younger siblings lived in the former. His dad in the latter. His dad is a wrestling coach. Keegan who enjoyed football, had missed the junior Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling by one place. Clearly, this was an accomplished and well spoken young man.

He continued the conversation as if he had been waiting for it all day (reminds me of someone else). He moved from topic to topic, and expressed himself quite well. He spoke of being the smallest in his class, his favorite video games and why, and his desire to be an anesthesiologist when he grew up. Apparently he had recently taken an aptitude test, and the medical field ranked high in his interests and desires.

He said most adults don't get that, and think it is an odd pursuit for a 13 year old. I tried to encourage him to say the course, if that is where he felt led.

Then he asked the question. "How many children do you have?" I responded without hesitation, as I had been silently praying for an opening to share with him. I told him about my daughters, then I told him about my son. I gave him an abbreviated version of BJ's testimony (this was a short flight). He seemed to hang on every word.

When I was done, he immediately began to speak. Three weeks ago, his stepmother died in an automobile accident. She had had a really stressful day, took something to calm her, then fell asleep at the wheel and flipped the car. She died instantly.

Keegan fought emotion as he recounted the story. He was a brave young man. We talked about death, then we talked about life...Eternal life. He listened intently. He declared his desire to give his heart to Jesus. As the plane descended from the sky into Tulsa, young Keegan gave his heart to the Lord.

As we deplaned. He stopped, turned around and waited for me. He extended his hand, and said, "it was really great to meet you, Brent. Thank you."


This 13 year old already seemed to be a man. He seemed to get things in a way most people his age do not. The Lord melted my heart for him, and his disposition.

Deanna sat silently throughout, praying. Praying for the salvation of one who reminded us so much of our own. Praise God! He truly answers our prayers!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

NBC Indpls can be reached at 317-255-6692 to find out service times and locations. Anyone can attend and there is no cost...

ECC in Ft Wayne will be with the students from 9:45 to 10:45 Sunday AM.
(I do not have the address or phone number handy, but it can be googled, I believe it's on Hwy 24)

Finally, It has taken all morning for my computer to decide to let me on this site. It is crazy how hard it is to be patient when you know you have a limited window of time, and must get things done in that period. Now I don't have time to write much.

It makes me wonder if the Lord ever feels that way watching us flounder around missing the main thing, and having to wait on us to "get it." Once we do, much can be accomplished for Him. We must look at whether we are making Him wait, or if we are getting the core of what He wants us to see, and then busy about His business.

Deanna and I leave for Indiana early tomorrow morning. She is speaking twice at Northside Baptist in Indianapolis, and I am speaking at ECC in Ft Wayne. Please lift up the hearers, that they will be obedient to whatever the Lord moves in their hearts to do. Our desire is to be obedient to His call, and to not make Him wait on us to be obedient!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Since first hearing the Hymn, "It is Well With My Soul," I loved the song. For as long as I can remember, I have been one who was more moved by worship music than preaching. Though that has begun to change in my life, this song is still very meaningful to me.

When I heard the story behind the song and it's author, my love for the song only grew. To know that this man had lost his family on a sinking ship in the high seas was overwhelming to me. I often tried to put myself in his place. I wondered what it would be like to lose everything dear to you, and still pour out your life in worship to the Savior.

I have often reflected on this in my adult life. Perhaps I have reflected on this more over the last year or so. I did not come close to losing everything dear to me. My wife and two wonderful daughters bring me so much joy. I know I write primarily about BJ, but that is because he is the inspiration and purpose behind this site. It is truly not that I care more about him than I do my girls...all three of them.

Do I love Jesus enough to pour my life out as a worship offering if I lost them too? Job did. The author of this song did. I know that some would not, but I tell you honestly that we have heard from many who felt they could not carry on if they had undergone our circumstances. I do not know if that is true or not.

I do know that if Jesus is the main thing in your life, then your life is already a love offering to Him. If it isn't, then change needs to occur. We encounter many things in life that we do not understand. When we were young, it was common for many of us to take on a "I'll take my toys and go home," attitude when things did not go our way.

As you grow in Christ, He prepares you for specific paths. Paths that may not be illuminated to you now, but will become clear as you draw nearer to them. If Jesus is enough to call on as Savior and Lord, at the point the Holy Spirit brings conviction in your life, why would He cease to be enough when the storm clouds began to brew?

He is sufficient to deliver you through whatever happens in this life. In 2 Cor. 1:8, Paul wrote, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life." My family and I certainly walked out these words. We understood their meaning in ways we did not think were possible.

The return of joy in our lives we thought would never come. Still that joy seems to abandon us from time to time. But body of Christ, His grace is sufficient. Where He leads you, He will give you the ability at the very least to collapse into his arms. His love for you is truly incomprehensible at times. When it seems He has discarded you, in truth, He is with you. He still has authority over your circumstances, and he remains present...always.

Keep your eyes on Him.

There are two families at present (and many more I am sure) that are in need of your prayer support and encouragement. They are walking the long dark valley of the shadow of death, and fear does lurk. Please lift them up.

Vince was in an accident and stopped breathing for several minutes. It is unclear whether or not He knows Jesus. Please visit and encourage this family.

Karen is also in the hospital. She was having breathing difficulties, and has now been put on life support. Her husband is weary, and needs your prayer support.

Thank you for lifting these before the King of Kings!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Growing up, I was very fortunate to have parents who though not wealthy by any (US) standards, always made a big deal of Birthdays and Christmas. By that I mean they would use those special days to give to us kids. I often wondered how they were able to do this.

As a child, you tend to compare your gifts to what other kids get. We did not get huge gifts like mini-bikes, cars or trips, but we were lavished upon with things that we needed, and few things we wanted.

As a parent, I have not always found the means to do likewise. That is one of the reasons I so admire a particular lady in my life. She always found a way, without great means, to bless my family on these special days.

She exceeds what we have done as parents. She gives for every special day. It is her joy in life. On Valentines Day, we are always the recipients of special candy or gifts. On Easter, my favorite M&M's always find their way to my front door. On Birthdays or Christmas, the depth from which she digs in order to give is very humbling.

Great thought goes into each. She slyly begins asking questions far in advance of the day, to find out what our children's current hobbies or interests are. She then goes to work to find things within that realm of 'likes.' She is always successful, and blesses us beyond words.

Growing up, my favorite football team was the Chicago Bears. My favorite player was Gail Sayers. He was poetry in motion. It was amazing to watch him run the ball. Somehow, a couple of years back, she found a way to get some of his memorabilia, she had him sign it, she framed it, and gave it to me. Words could not express the depth of feeling I had opening that gift! That she would remember this from our childhood, and bring it forward to bless me in the present was amazing.

When Beej was little, he always treasured time with her and her husband. He enjoyed the thoughtfulness that went into the gifts she sought out for him. I hope he learned to express that to her.

When he passed, you may remember what she did. She found a company that took pictures and made "throws" from them. We have the picture of him in which he is playing guitar and leading worship in Peru '05, woven into fabric. The same guitar he chose to give to a national musician there, who has used it to lead worship and lead scores of people to Christ.

When we choose to give, the blessing extends beyond the recipient. They in turn, are inspired to do likewise. Jesus Christ, who taught us to do this, has gifted many people to be incredible givers.

I must say that my family is surrounded by many such people. However, the giver that blesses me so frequently, and does so not to receive, but because the Lord has made her thus, is my big sister...Lisa!

Thank you, Lisa. Your giving has blessed so many for so long. I do no know how you do it, but I love and appreciate the heart from which it comes!!!


Monday, October 16, 2006

There is a phrase that seems to have become a substitute for "no" in our Christian vocabularies. While it is not always true, it has become a way of putting someone off in a manner that seems "spiritual." They are words too often used to indicate to another that we are going to carefully consider the outcome of the question we are being asked when in reality, we know that the answer in our own minds is..."it ain't gonna happen."

In all honesty, I was struck by this phrase when a good friend of mine used it recently. In my mind he was using it in a concerted attempt to point out to me that he was serious about the issue at hand. And while I believed him in those moments, I stopped and immediately wondered about how often it is bantered about in discussions across America, with no real expectation of positive outcome.

It has become part of the "church" culture to say it. It is an issue of the heart and in truth a reflection of the depth of our relationship with Christ. If we toss it out without thought, if we cut someone off with it, if we use it to indicate that "we'll get back to you later," on an issue we are uninterested in agreeing to, but do not want to be negative about, then we are using it in an inappropriate fashion.

How many christianese phrases can you say that about? With the slide of selfishness that too many believers are on, these types of issues will rise, and do more to defeat our witness, than to point to the One.

Next time someone asks you to do something, and you hear these words come out of your mouth, be sure that you mean them. "I'll pray about it," are words that imply you will seek divine counsel. You are telling the other, that you want the Lord's direction in the matter. It implies that you will get back to them with a response, once the Lord has provided it.

Do we meant it? Are we really seeking Him on the issue? Is it just a convenient way to put them off until we can formulate an answer with the word 'No' in it that is filled with our own justifications, and little of His direction?

Some of us use this phrase appropriately, but more of us use it as an arrow from our arsenal to deflate the attempts of those sent to us to seek our very own obedience.

Realistically, we need to pray about it. Honestly, we seldom cover our offering with the promised petitions.

We need to pray don't we? What would happen if our obedience was birthed from our intense efforts in prayer?


Friday, October 13, 2006

You can see some of our family pictures if you go to and then click on pics. (Be sure to use the Underscore between dad and brent)

Those who know me, realize I have a large emotional core. I am moved very easily. My family teases me because tears inevitably come when watching things like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Touched by an Angel," etc.

Recently a story was relayed to me that touched me deeply. It began the recent process of writing about those with giving hearts. Those who like the widow, give their 'mite.'

A young man (6 to 10 yrs. old) has on numerous occasions displayed his huge heart of compassion. He has revealed at just the right moments, his obedience to the Lord. He is aware of the suffering around him, even when others would think he was preoccupied with juvenile interests.

Sometimes it is humbling how children "get it," when adults don't.

A loved one was recently in his presence for a time, and saw this in action. His acts of generosity come not because he was taught to do this, but because his tender heart is prompted by the Lord, and he follows. His parents have recognized his compassionate spirit, and are trying to foster this. In an age when most children care only about themselves, there are still those who seek God.

Oh that we would move at the whim of the Holy Spirit each time direction was given to us.

As most children do, this young man collects coins and bills and stows them away in a place that is his own. He tucks them away and dreams dreams of how he will one day use this money.

I remember BJ doing this...I remember doing this myself. Beej would save what he had and begin to dream about what he would get when he had enough. A bass guitar, a new game for his game system, etc.

What sometimes happened, was he would end up using it for gifts for his family. This came about as a result of a time when he did not have money to buy Christmas gifts, and it was very hard for him. He decided then, that he would use his money, at least on occasion, to buy gifts for others. Deanna still wears with pride a cz ring that Beej picked out, and was proud to give her as a gift. Most who view it still believe it is real. To Deanna, it is. It is real sacrifice. It reflects real love, and not selfishness that is so often prevalent in our world.

The giving spirit is one that humbles and blesses the receiver, and those they relay their story to. That is how I came to know this story. Someone close to me was recently spending time in the presence of this young man. He ended up being the recipient of an unexpected gift. He was preparing to leave for a trip, and this young man knew. Upon the impending exit, in a private moment, this young believer produced a baggy full of money. He handed it over, and said something along the line of, "this is for your trip."

The recipient struggled for composure (it wasn't me) upon this most generous act. He did not know what to say. The immediate inclination was to give it back and resist taking money from a child. In a moments pause, he held onto it until he could speak with the mother.

She insisted that it not be returned. The lad has shared with his parents that he does this at the prompting of the Lord. Their desire is not to squelch this giving heart. It could damage his obedience to the Lord by inappropriate yet justifiable intervention.

You see, recently their neighbors got divorced. This precious young man knew it was happening. He had seen the pain in the wife's eyes. He had heard her sobs as she tried to carry on with life. He had been stirred at an overheard conversation of money issues. In those moments of her brokenness, he retreated to his room, then crossed the street, obtained her attention, and made his offering.

All that he had, all of his pent up dreams, all his hopes for self-fulfillment were layed down in this unbelievable act of selflessness. He looked up at this hurting soul, extended his arms and offered up his dreams as a balm for her broken soul.

Clutched in his precious fingers was his treasure. Her hope for the future was found in those moments as he gave to her all that he had...just as the widow from the Word had given her 'mite,' he gifted her with his piggybank.

How deep and soothing is the oil of selfless love.

Truly, from the heart of a child, we get a picture of our Savior.


Thursday, October 12, 2006 was down much of the day so I have been unable to write. I should be back tomorrow...Lord willing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I have always been struck by the story of the widows mite. Here is a lady who literally had very little, and gave it all. She left herself nothing to go on. There was no money left for food, rent, or any sort of pleasurable extras. She gave all she had.

There are few stories that parallel this kind of giving in Scripture, with exception of Christ Himself.

Most of us find the need to hang on to our perception of what little we have, as we will surely need it for a day in the future, when the 'wheels come off our wagon.' After all, it is prudent to save. It is not a bad idea to have money for emergencies.

When I was in Africa this past summer, I found it unbelievable that the people we worked with who knew nothing of Jesus or His saving grace, knew more about giving than we did.

One day, we sent out our team to prayer walk the village. They were broken into teams of four or five, and they headed out. Upon their departure, the leadership gathered to take care of some detail work we had not had time to tend to.

Later, all of the teams had returned but one. The homes in this part of Africa all had accessible roofs. I went up to the roof of the home we were in to watch for our team. The home was on a ridge top, so my view was excellent.

Down the dirt path (they called it a road), in the distance, I saw the dust rising from their footsteps. There seemed to be joy in their body language. I could not wait to hear from them.

Upon their return, they proceeded to tell us a story of giving. They were walking this section of the village on the outskirts, where we had not visited before. One of them was drawn to a particular area, so they went. When they arrived, they stood for a moment or two and prayed. As they began to move on, people emerged from a home, and began to speak to them.

They did not speak English, and our team did not speak Arabic, French or any other language they knew. Communication happened through gesturing, with bits of sentences being understood from our weeks in the country.

They were being invited in for tea and lunch. Our team knew lunch was waiting for them (pb&j that we call squeezers) back at the house. They decided the right thing to do was to oblige this kind gesture. Armed with the knowledge that these peoples view of us comes from American television shows aired in their country, they rightfully set out to dispel that paradigm, and try to build relationships.

They were treated to tea and a meal, not offered in any of the local cafe's. They had an incredible time of fellowship. They smiled and laughed together.

Our team returned with their appetites relieved, and a renewed joy in their dispositions. This group of students had been extended a courtesy that is common in this Muslim nation. They were invited into a little shack of a home to join into a time of feasting, with all that these people had to eat.

As the widow gave her mite, these Berber Muslims gave from their poverty.

Our team was very moved by this gesture. In fact, we found that in general, this people group would extend friendship and courtesies to us as foreigners, that we Americans would never extend to them when they visit our country.

I had to sit an reflect on the thought that I have never started a conversation, while in the US, with someone I easily recognized as Muslim. If I wasn't willing to start a conversation, how was I ever going to invite them to my home for a meal. How could I possibly build a relationship with someone who needs Jesus, if I was not willing to give from my "apparent wealth."

Giving is an attitude of the heart. There is no expectation of receiving, from a true giver. I am not a very good giver.

I am so humbled when the lessons the Lord teaches me, come from the lost.


Lauren is sharing her journey in Chapel at IWU this morning. She is doing so before the entire student body in two separate Chapel services. The start times for them are 10:10AM, and 11:20 AM. Please lift up the hearers of the Word.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are so giving. It would be impossible for me to name everyone, and I will not try. I do, however want to share about a few, this week.

About a year ago, we began to receive blogs from a precious lady who was a transplant from Australia. Her resources are limited as it is illegal for her to work in the US. That did not stop her from doing what she could to bless my family. "She did what she could," (Mk. 14:8) are words that leap to mind from Scripture that describe her actions.

She is a devoted follower and worshipper of Christ. Of the things that minister most deeply to her soul, listening to worship music is at the top. One of the ways she reached out to my family was to compile several cd's of her favorite Praise music. These cd's found their way to our player, and were utilized for hours during the time shortly after BJ passed.

During this same period she knew the medical bills were mounting, and wanted to help in some way. Since her own options were limited, she did what she could. Another of her favorite things to do is to 'quilt.' She offered to make a quilt that we could auction off to help defray our seemingly insurmountable debt. She began to work.

She has walked the 'valley of the shadow' in her own life over the last year, with her own family. She would from time to time, as prompted by the Lord, pull out the patchwork, and involve herself in stitching therapy.

This therapy helped her work through her own experience as she sought the Lord's will for her life and that of her husband. These were difficult days, as her daughter was walking through a very dark era. Difficult decisions had to be made. Decisions that no parent wants to make.

God was faithful, and in following His will and direction, their daughter has made vast improvements. Following Him in the darkness, seems at times futile and foolish to our own way of thinking. However, their obedience has brought about blessing.

A blessing they have shared. During one of the most difficult periods of her own life, she was preparing a love offering for another. She did what she could.

About a week ago, Deanna and I had dinner with she and her husband, Kevin. It was the day before BJ's birthday, four days after the first anniversary of his death.

When all this began, and she made an offer to us, I remember posting on this site, "How will you get it to us?" I had no idea that a year later, we would live an hour or two apart.

Our friends, arrived in Tulsa to share their love offering. Out of an enormous gift bag came one of the most beautiful quilts I have seen. In a pattern she describes as "Jacobs Ladder," with bright blue shades to reflect his life, a king sized quilt emerged.

We were moved by its size and beauty! We did not have words.

Then she turned it over, and our hearts leapt and were flooded simultaneously. On the back of this lovely gift, stitched into the fabric were pictures of BJ, quotes of his writing, lyrics of songs that have been important to us, a quote from the blog from one of the single most important men in Beej's life, and over in one corner, a name that has become synonymous with God's blessing in the life of the Higgins' family...

...Linda Ronne.

We do not have any of intention of auctioning this incredible keepsake. It will always remind us of God's provision and blessing...both to us, and to others. It will find it's way to a bed in one of the rooms of our new home...well, when we get one.

Linda taught us the same lesson that the woman with the alabaster jar at Bethany had. She did what she could.

We can bless the lives of others simply by using what the Lord has given us or gifted us with.

Thank you Linda!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Thank you for your prayer cover for our time at Sweetwater Baptist Church in Neosho, Missouri. We shared twice on Sunday. Once in the afternoon with students, and again at the evening service. We had a precious time with these folks. We met many wonderful people, and were moved by their love and generosity.

In the afternoon, a youth rally was held which drew several churches from around the area. The students were very responsive to the presence of the Lord, as He moved among them. I believe He raised up a few more missionaries!

We spent Saturday looking for a new house. We toured 8 different homes with our realtor, then went back past some of them on our own.

Looking for a house is interesting and challenging. I think I even got accused of being a "snob." Previous experiences have taught me not to settle for situations that are not to your liking. I think that is reasonable. I also believe I am pretty open about what we saw. I would be happy with 3 of the 8 homes we visited.

If I were handy, I would be happy with even more. It is so interesting to see what "issues" other people put up with in their living situations. Not all of us have $$$ to throw at our houses to update them or correct some of their aging issues. We saw this in obvious ways, yet we could see through these problems to find the charm that each discovered in their own situations.

Deanna and I were all over the place in trying to decide our next move. At different points, each of the three homes were our favorite, for different reasons. By the end of the weekend though, I think we decided to revisit each of them, and to look at a few more.

We are told by realtors that it is usually easy to discern (for the realtor) which home is the right one, because one or both of the couple put on "the look" when they have found their new nest. All three of these homes seemed that way as I marked Deanna's glee at different points. However, one still stands out.

The difficult part of this process is not having our children present to help. Sometimes that can be a burden. I mean, if as a couple, you are making a decision that you know one of them will be displeased with, it is not easy to proceed. However, when we have done so in the past, their input was very valuable to us.

This time, as 'empty nesters,' we find we are searching for a house that still carries that "home" feel, and that will please our visiting offspring. The whole adventure carries an upsetting edge, as we try to find a place and do not need to include space for him.

He is such an important part of who we are. That will not change. Not including his needs burdens us. We want to be able to make a new space for him. Here, where the most important ministry in his life contributed to who he was. Here, where he would have been thrilled to see his parents join in partnership those who had become so important to him.

He will always be with us in our decision making. We will include what we know of what he would have thought.

What he thought, and what he did has been used of God to have impact on so many lives that we cannot believe it. We have learned in very 'up close' ways what "issues" people live with, in their lives. We have seen the Lord help many 'clean house,' and offer them new beginnings. We have been fortunate to see many get 'the look,' as they surrender their lives to Him.

'That look,' was so much a part of who BJ was. He wore it well. He wore it consistently. Now he has the privilege of offering it directly to his Savior!

Whatever house we choose will be a hearth to gather around...but it will never be "home." No, that is reserved for a time when we will first glimpse His look, in person.


Friday, October 06, 2006

There is such a fine line between pile pumping and perfectionism. I do not pretend to understand the nuances between the two, but my life exists between their borders.

Growing up, I was the one who always wanted things just so. I followed Mom's lead and thought piling your clothes, papers, books etc. in places they did not belong was a bad idea. My family grew up in a 3 bedroom home and consisted of 2 boys and 2 girls. Brad and I had a trundle bed (trundle, what a good word...I wonder where it came from?) in our domain. Because I was the oldest boy, I got the top.

There were periods where he would leave the bed up, instead of making it, dropping it, and rolling it under mine. This reduced the room we had to move by about half or better. We had to walk the perimeter of the room during its "up" phase.

It didn't matter too much, I learned to cope. What I did not tolerate well was debris in the way of the room we did have to move. It caused stumbling on midnight trips to my sleeptime hobby.

As and adult, I found that I began to compromise my standards. When I lived alone, my place was always picked up...I didn't say clean, I said picked up (I'm still not sure what all those chemical cleaners do, other than make it hard to breathe in the house).

When I took a job in a wholesale greenhouse that employed developmentally disabled adults, I soon discovered what dust, dirt and grime really was. It layered every portion of my office no matter what I did. As I learned to begin to tolerate this, I soon found that piles began to grow (I wonder if the fertilizer we stored on the premises had anything to do with it) all over my workspace.

Now how did this happen? What is it that allows one to go from one extreme to the other? I soon learned that the pile that most needed my attention, was the one that had the most layers of silt.
I would like to tell you that I have repented of my messy ways. I would like to say that when I start a new job or move from one office to another, that piles disappear, and order is restored.

The truth is, it happens for a few clock ticks, and then they start reappearing...and growing. There is no longer fertilizer standing by to blame. It does not seem to matter. Now who do I blame my unfortunate inability to file, on?

A good friend of mine has a similar issue. Comparing yourself to another can make you look good, but it is probably not the right thing to do. Oh well, I must declare with perhaps a bit of pride, that his piles are deeper and messier than my own. His system of corrections would not please any warden.

The solution to finding a space to work in his office is to bring in a box, sweep the contents of the desktop into it, and store the box. Okay, that works too.

My preference is to take a few moments (okay, days) and organize. What an incredible difference it makes in approachability and comfort of your workspace. The problem I have, is that after I file, I cannot remember what I filed it under. At least when it is piled on my desk, I know which pile it lives in, and can find it easily.

I know you have already crossed over and made the spiritual connection, so I could probably stop. Since its Friday and I'm taking a writing break this weekend, I won't.

Your thoughts may be higher than mine, but it is really simple.

We have at our disposal a model of perfection, and a distasteful example of pile producing. I have to be reminded to view which border I reside nearest. Sometimes, I need to move. Sometimes, without even realizing it, my piles have become anchors. The sheer weight in them hold fast when I try to move closer to perfection.

Yeah, when there are piles I know where everything is, but when there are piles, others can't see the proximity to perfection my model has drawn me to.

It's time to clean house. The dumpster behind my residence is hungry for the unnecessary contents in my piles. The world around me needs to see my model of perfection.

I guess today needs to be a workday! Wanna join me?


Deanna and I travel to Neosho, Mo. this weekend to share. Please be in prayer for the students we will meet at 3:00, and the rest of the body in the evening service. Pray that God will bring about the change that He desires.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

While in North Africa, in a particularly dark village (we were told we were the first missionaries to visit here), we stayed in the home of a gracious family. The patriarch of this home was a pleasant man. He wore a smile routinely, and wanted us to be comfortable in every way. He and his wife worked hard to assure the same. At times they did things that humbled us beyond expectation. They reflected true servants hearts. He used humor to help overcome the language barrier.

One day while visiting there, he found a scorpion. This species of scorpion was deadly, and there was no antidote within the borders of the country (we were told). Somehow, knowing this, made it all the more attractive to my group of men. The idea that they could flirt with this kind of danger was too appealing.

I found myself standing close by and giving instruction as needed to assure they did not do anything stupid (right!). The man of the house sensed my concern and the attitudes of the guys and chose to do something I did not expect. He produced a lighter, pinned the scorpion down with a twig, and proceeded to burn off the stinger. (This scorpion when layed out flat was probably 6 inches long from end to end).

Understandably, the scorpion objected. It writhed in an attempt to get free. Success was not to be his on this day.

Suddenly, what was so deadly by design, no longer carried with it, the method to deliver it's poison.

It still tried. It would poke it's powerless tail at its intended victim, but to no avail.

On the day that we were told what BJ's odds of survival were, we felt very much like we had been "stung." We brought him to the hospital completely confident of their ability to cure him. In our minds, he only had pneumonia. They could hook him up to various expensive machines and bring about would just take time.

In the long days and nights ahead, we would entertain occasional notions of the verse "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1Cor. 15:55)

I began to seek to dull the ache within. If death was the potential result, how were we to escape the "sting?" How could the death of my son, not hurt more than any pain in life? How was this verse supposed to make any sense? I could not see it.

I am not sure I ever really comprehended what was being suggested, until I read on.

Certainly the death of a loved one carries with it a most painful edge. One that seems to fray any fabric it touches, for a time. Escape from this kind of hurt is not easily found.

However, the triumph of this verse comes from the next lines. "The sting of death is sin...But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." vv 56-57.

To be true, death is very painful for the survivors. But the sting of death comes from wrong living, wrong reactions, wrong motives. A relationship with Christ helps blunt the pain. I hurt for those who lose loved ones that did not know Christ. There is no hope there.

Attending the funeral of families who do not know Jesus, reveals a whole different kind of "sting." I have lost my grandparents, aunts, uncles, my father, my best friend and now my son. All were believers. There is a marked difference in our suffering as believers! We do have hope! We know we will be reunited with our loved ones! That day will come...soon!

Verse 58 says, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Praise God for His incredible promises! He is the One who sears the stinging edge of pain in death for His own.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I am struck this morning by how our Great and Mighty God answers prayer.

It seems natural to search for clues in the sequence of events leading up to Beej's death. From my perspective, it is not that I don't accept what happened, or even that I question what happened. It is that he gained some level of understanding while in Peru that God was calling him to be willing to lay down his life. This experience was so real that he began to share it with his teammates, and subsequently, his friends upon his return home.

I read a page of his journals each morning. I hear the words in his voice. I am still moved by his depth of understanding as he read the Word. I enjoy seeing how the Lord inspired him, and what his thought processes were. Unfortunately, the page or so of writing only hold a small portion of what was actually in his mind.

I have found myself wondering at what point he began to recognize what he was being called to. It is with that slant that I sometimes hear his words. Unfortunately, without the author present, one can only view his writings and put things in context by having additional conversations with those who knew him, those he shared with.

Interestingly, I place a new value on those chosen few. I often wonder if his words about his forthcoming expectations echo in their memories.

I was reading from his Peru '05 journal today. I have posted this entry in full at some previous time. It's context came across a bit different today than it did on the day I posted it. Perhaps because I have more information now than I did then. Perhaps because the tide of tears has receded a bit, offering more clarity.

He has spent his quiet time on this day, July 3, 2005, reading from John 15. [I find myself wondering if he contemplated what Independence Day meant to our country. A child growing up who experienced 9/11, may have a different view of life and death, than adults whose own life experiences have tempered the mettle of their dispositions.] In response to verse 13, he wrote, "The greatest love, the greatest way to love and obey Christ is to lay down your life for Him A) to lay down your sense of self and follow and obey Him in living B) to die for Him."

Later on that page, his prayer for the day was, "Father, help me to truly clear the platform of my life and lay down my desires for You. Help me to be obedient without hesitation and to have the faith like those of Heb. 11. Continue to break my heart for my team, the Peruvians, and for North Africa. Please bring more clarity on this calling. In Your Son's name, Amen."

I am struck by how the Lord answered his prayer. Hindsight from over a year later provides a clarity we could not have predicted or expected. But did he?

Immediately after his return home from Peru this last time, he had a conversation with friends on a weekend youth retreat. They questioned him about his readiness for the eminent, upcoming spiritual attacks due to his extreme obedience to Christ.

His response went something like "Yeah, I know the enemy is going to come after me. You know, I could be lying unconscious in the hospital in a month, and dead in two."

The reason western Christianity is impotent in much of the battle for souls today is that as believers we are not prepared to die for Christ! We are lulled into complacency by all that we have, all that we want to gain. Our response, if any, to those in need, is to throw a bit of money in the offering plate, and expect that someone else will take care of the work that needs to be done. We are too busy, and too self motivated.

The Lord is trying to awaken our hearts to the needfulness of a dying world. He uses the Cassie Bernalls' and BJ Higgins' of the world to try to open our eyes. As Keith Green put it, we are "Asleep in the Light."

I have to ask if my faith is heavy enough to make a ripple in the sea of lost souls. If my life were required of me tonight, would it make a difference to another, tomorrow? Does the way I live my life inspire others to seek harder after the face of Christ? Am I willing to lay down my "stuff" and go to work, telling others about Him? "...will you answer the call and get uncomfortable for Christ?" (BJ)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today, I return to the State Fair here in Tulsa, to work with the "carnies." What an interesting people they are. I met many, and their stories are pretty amazing. Traveling from state to state doing the fair circuit is an interesting life. These folks have very little.

One of the ladies I met had just a few teeth left. She had a very outgoing personality. I guess you would have to, to lead that lifestyle. Her name is Rhonda. Rhonda had traveled from Albuquerque where she had worked the fair, to get here. However, she had to hitchhike to get here. Some truckers took pity on her, and saw that she arrived.

Rhonda had a car and a boyfriend, but as the fair drew to a close in New Mexico, he decided to leave with her car and her money. She was literally left with the clothes on her back, and penniless.

Rhonda and I talked about Jesus. She knew it was coming, and was proactive in the conversation. The carnies have discussed their beliefs with chaplain after chaplain, at fair after fair. Most of them remain very gracious.

She was out front with her belief in God and her proclamation of a personal relationship. Why is it that it can be hard to believe? The fact that her life is different than mine cannot be reason enough. Yet, it seems to be the launching point for me to make judgments. I know I shouldn't, but our traditional view of carnival workers is that they march differently.

After all, they tend to dress different, a different aroma often wafts from their general direction, their language is course, their English broken and alcohol often seems to be one of their staple food groups. You know, it is every bit like the mission field!

Instead of passing judgment on these that I see and share with, Lord help me to have a burden for their salvation. Show me how I can impact their lives by loving and listening. Help me only to speak when you open my mouth. They have heard it all, and seen life from a very different perspective. It is not my right to consider them less, but only to love them like the "least of these."

Dean is another carnie I spent time with. Dean arrived from Oklahoma City's fair. He has a 22 year old daughter who is strung out on drugs. His wife often accompanies him, but is not here in Tulsa.

You see, their daughter has gone missing. Tears formed in the corners of Dean's hardened eyes as he opened up. He fears the worst, and hopes for the best. I do not understand that kind of pain. I shared with him that I had lost a son, and knew what it was like to have him missing from my life. Dean then revealed that he too, had lost a child. Another child. Another daughter.

The pain and hurt around us is staggering. Praying for Dean was the most I could do, but I confess that is feels so hopeless, sometimes. This man has learned to go on in life under circumstances that would cripple me. However, Dean needs Jesus.

I do not know how those who don't know Christ can cope with life. I am thankful that He has blessed me with the ability to do so, and that He has provided me with opportunities to find a mission field here in my backyard.

Bless a life today, share Jesus.


Monday, October 02, 2006

I spoke with Lynae (my sister) Saturday evening, and she told me that Joshua (keeper of the sword) had chosen to mark BJ's recent anniversary in a most unusual way.

When we lived at HLBC (the camp) and they visited, BJ and Joshua had visited an oversized mud puddle that seldom dried up. Because of this, it was filled with tadpoles. This memory left an indelible print on Joshua. When offered some pretty enticing alternatives of how to spend 9/26, Joshua balked at them.

His mind was made up. He wanted to buy some frogs to remember BJ by. The anniversary came shortly after Josh's 7th birthday. He went out and bought two fire-bellied toads. One he named BJ, and the other, because it rhymed, DJ. Joshua had no idea BJ had a best friend named DJ.

DJ tells a story of shortly after he and BJ met (they were on the same Peru mission team) how he and BJ began to wrestle. Beej always being small, had indicated that he was a wrestler. DJ tossed down some sort of gauntlet, and suddenly these two who had known each other for about three hours, were embraced in today's version of male-bonding. Beej picked him up and threw him onto the bed then proceeded to try and keep him down. In those moments, their hearts became inseparable.

Fast forward...we were spending one of our first nights in a hotel in North Africa. My room contained three other young men I didn't know well, yet. One was DJ.

Conversation was happening as I had been resting. I got up from my repose and noticed looks being fired from one to the other. As I began to wonder what was up, it happened. DJ grabbed me and began to try and take me down. Before he knew what happened, he had been upended and tossed down onto a nearby mattress where I held him for a time. Eruptions of laughter filled the room.

A few moments later, after we had separated, I was suddenly under attack by not one, but three young men! Suffice it to say that I held my own...for a few seconds. It was not long before I had to relent. Overpowered by numbers. I like to think I put up a good fight.

These moments instantly reminded me of the stories I had heard told at BJ's funeral celebration. Just that quickly, their hearts became a part of mine.

Two or three weeks later, on a very hot and sticky night, as I lay trying to drift off to sleep, I was instantly overwhelmed by the bellow of his loss. My face was wet, and my heart oh, so heavy.

My pain was unknown to my team in those moments, but not to that of my Savior.

That team of guys, thinking they were being funny, came and piled on top of me! Through my tears, I embraced them and held them close. I think they thought I was punishing them by not letting them up. The truth was, I was receiving a long needed embrace that only the Holy Spirit could orchestrate.

A few moments later, they returned to bed none the wiser (until now).

Yesterday would have been his 17th birthday. While Lynae was relaying the Joshua story to me Saturday evening, she asked if Sunday looked big to me. I told her that it wasn't near as imposing now that we had passed the one year anniversary.

In wondering how Joshua was handling it all she told me that Joshua could tell the difference between the two toads in a most unusual way. The DJ toad would often leap off of the face of the BJ toad. Because it did this repetitively, he felt sure the BJ toad was the one who was being tolerant.

I laughed about this as I went to bed. As usual, I had to get up several times overnight to know. Each time, I offered up a Happy Birthday to my son. I was doing well...not too melancholy.

Somewhere around 7:30 that morning, I felt Deanna leave the bed without a word. I wondered where she was headed. My answer came in short order.

As I lay trying to force a few more moments of rest, a beautiful offering arose. In the early morning quiet, the sound broke through loud and sweet. It echoed down halls that begged for his presence and met the ears of one who longed for the same.

Deanna sat quietly at the piano serenading her son without voice, as it was too hard to find. "Happy Birthday to You," rebounded off each wall as it brought about a flood of memories.

Beej would celebrate his 17th as he had his 16th, in the presence of the King. We would honor his day by wearing black and pink. Deanna pulled out the skirt she had not worn since his funeral. She had been saving it for this day. She looked beautiful in it. I wore the pink shirt he had given me for Father's Day, while he was in Peru.

How incredibly blessed we are to know that he had such wonderful bonds with his cousin Joshua, his friend DJ, and the many friends and family who spent his 16th at our home in Indiana.

On this, his 17th, his home church in Indiana would hold a missions fair picnic. This carried his name and was held in his honor. It was held to raise money for missions. So very fitting for a young man who only lived to try and bring glory and honor to his Savior.