Saturday, February 28, 2009

Walking in Stephen's shoes

Stephen is 13 years old.  He lives in Northern Uganda.  He has a mother, a father, a younger sister, and younger brother.  One August night, he was in bed with his younger brother.  That is when the rebel soldiers kidnapped him.  His parents were no match against the men with weapons.  After weeks and months of threats and atrocities he had no longer had hope of rescue.  He had been broken, he had given up hope.  He was terrified of his captors, yet he was even more terrified of the enemy.  One day, he was sent on a mission to attack a small tribe.  The government's army captured him.  He was really scared now - what was going to happen?  He had heard that those who were captured would be tortured and poisoned.  He was loaded onto a truck, he was taken to a complex.  When they arrived, he heard singing!  He was amazed, other children who he had been a rebel soldier were there.  He knew these children, he thought they had been killed by the enemy.  Yet, here they were - they were welcoming him.  They were singing about joy, about how they were happy.  He was being welcomed to a place of joy!  This was a World Vision rehabilitation center for child soldier victims.  After a few weeks, Stephen left this place after beginning to recover from the atrocities he had seen and been forced to commit.  He went home.  His family celebrated.  He was also one of the few lucky ones who had not contracted AIDS while a child soldier.  Yet, there were many who were not so lucky.  
World Vision hosted an amazing AIDS experience walk through.  It was a large tent, with three paths.  Each path led you through the life of a different young person/child.  The stories caused one to desire to do something with the information, pray, support, tell others.  The visual, tactile, and auditory senses worked together to draw you into the story.  I became Stephen.  I will never forget his story.  

Internet again!

It has been just over a week since I have had an internet connection at home - see technically I was borrowing internet from the guy who lived in the apartment above me (with his knowledge and consent).  However, he moved out a week ago and I didn't move out until today.  So now I am in my new house (with my great friends Meri and Matt - there married).  I am all moved in and plugged in once again to the internet...  So hopefully over the next couple of days I will catch up on the blogging.  

Friday, February 6, 2009


Children's Pastor's Conference.  CPC is an annual event, held in two locations each year.  I was blessed to be able to go there today, someone had an extra pass and so I ended up spending the day in San Diego.  I greatly enjoyed it.  I love to learn, so I love conferences.  I went to three great breakouts and two great general sessions.  At some point through the day I realized that although this was the first CPC I have actually attended, it is not the first CPC that I have been at...  I also realized that my journeys through various CPC's struck me as type of milestones in my life.  
My first CPC experience was my Sophmore year of college.  The children's team was attending.  I don't think that I really got out of the car, but I did pick up some of the staff and we hung out in old town for a while.  It was a great time.  That was the year after I had decided to go into children's ministry.  It was an important year for me in a lot of ways.
My next experience at CPC was not really at CPC - it was at the Willow Creek children's conference.  I am including this one because it was the spring of 2004.  Our church had just been through chaos.  Our staff went to willow and it was an amazing time of encouragement and being together.  A feeling of "we can move forward" was the result.  
My next experience was in 2006.  I went with my boss at the time to post a job opening.  All we did was walk into the exhibition hall and post the job opening.  It was at a time when I was beginning to question a lot of things.  Like, what am I doing?  Why am I not doing something else?  Am I supposed to be doing this?  It was the beginning of over a year long process of God moving me.
Spring of 2008.  This year, I went to CPC with my boss and his wife (Joe and Julie) we had a booth for the ministry and I heard Joe over and over again give his spiel about what we do.  I remember thinking "What we do is really cool."  Once again, I did not leave the exhibition hall (this time I didn't even walk through it) but I did have a great time handing out scary looking David and Goliaths to hundreds of children's workers.  Around that time the idea of being at this new job was becoming permanent.  I was beginning to be ok with that and living in the Temecula valley.  That was a great time of God beginning to really work in my life in an amazing way.
That brings us to today's visit.  This past year has been one of the best and hardest of my life.  Today I thoroughly enjoyed being at CPC and remembering all that God has done to get me to this place in my life.  Right now there is hope, excitement for the future, and a great expectancy to see what God is going to do in my life and through the ministry.   As I spent the day as a real attender of CPC I was overwhelmed by what God has taught me this last year as He has shown me over and over again that He has a plan for my life.  
That is my journey over the years at CPC...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Random Update

So, lately I have been working on taking more pictures of the everyday randomness of my life. It should not be so difficult with an iPhone and all, but it is. So here are a few from the last week or so...

This is my new room. I will be moving in with two great friends (they are renting a house). I am pretty excited about it, but not so excited about the greyish blue hue of the room. So I am in the midst of repainting. I will move in on the 28th.

Last week I went home to spend the evening with the fam. While there we decided to have strawberry shortcake. This strawberry looked an awful lot like a chicken, so we had to take its picture before we ate it...

A couple Sunday's ago, my friend Meri and I took a rag quilt class together. This is the picture I took of my layout to help me remember where all the pieces went (once we quilted them) The colors are actually a bit more muted then they look in this picture.

Ok, so that is all for now. More later...