Friday, March 27, 2009


So, we flew into Kingston Saturday afternoon and took a two hour bus ride into the mountains toward Mandeville. The YWAM base was actually about half an hour outside of Mandeville--deep in the country on the top of a mountain. From the sign, the base was about half a mile around the mountain. It was, as predicted, warm during the days and cold at night (43degrees without heat). It was a really wonderful place, though, and the staff there were extremely good hosts. Mrs. Simmons (below) was our host the whole time and went with us around the area when we went out.

The sunrises were beautiful and from the highest point on the base you could see the coast several miles away.Parts of the base were still showing evidence of Hurricane Ivan five years ago. The roof of the chapel (top right building with the sun peeking out) hit the building in the foreground, which is the cafeteria and storage rooms, and slammed into the great house (just behind me when I took the picture) taking out a whole room and part of the roof. The far building is the dormitories.Another shot of the dorms...The staff team that helped lead the team was (from left to right) William Draper, Brantley Murray, Caren Dilts, myself, and Jason Dixon.

This is a picture that Rebecca took of me talking with some of the missionaries there. Dave and Deb were the couple that hosted us when we came in December.At one point the team took a picture inside the chapel on the base. We did all of our evening intercession sets in the chapel, and I was really encouraged by the excitement of the freshmen in prayer and worship and the depth of their maturity as they served.

Our days started at 6:30 with breakfast and we left the base to do devotions in three of the area schools about 7:45--music, storybooks, skits, and a short teaching. After devotions, we worked for three days on three different projects. We did some scraping and painting on the base (I scraped paint all day the first day); we poured a floor for an orphanage; we poured concrete for an outdoor area for a church (my second two days). The first picture is the line of gravel and sand that we toted by bucket-brigade from 50ft. up the hill toward the right. They mix the concrete by pouring the bags over the gravel/sand mixture and then mixing it with shovels and bucketed water. This is a picture of some of the guys mixing up the concrete. Once it was mixed, you filled up the buckets and then toted it around to pour it out where they were laying it out. REALLY hard work, but I was told that it would've taken the church over a year to do the work that our team was able to do in three days (because of material/labor cost and the number of people we were able to devote to the project). It was a great trip...It gets more and more difficult to leave the family, and I'm getting a little nervous about the two weeks in Zambia. The girls were really sick the first couple of days, so it was a bit hard being so far away when a lonely and exhausted Carolyn was trying to keep up with them. Mid-week was much better, though, when the girls started feeling better and the rest of the trip for me was really good. The big goals of the trip--community building with the freshmen, meeting some tangible needs for the community, and introducing first year students to missions--were more than met!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a pic of a plane for my Lou

Had a chance for a few minutes online. A picture of a plane as promised, Em (more to come):

We had a safe trip down and a good reunion with Dave and Debbie (they appreciate the licorice, Carolyn!). I'll post plenty more pics when I get back. We're really excited about the trip and still would love your prayers as our freshmen are going to be really stretched in how they view their lives in the world as a Jesus-follower.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jamaica bound

Our team will be leaving for Jamaica later tonight. 37 freshmen and a five staffers. We'll be in the school doing devotions and VBS-ish things in the morning and late afternoon and then several work projects during the day. We'll be back next Saturday and I'll have some spectacular pictures (I hope) to share. I'd appreciate your prayers for kingdom-advancing work, safety, protection and provision. This is the first over-seas missions experience for many of the students and we hope that it shifts their trajectory in life even more toward the Lord and his good dreams for them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A few pictures from "The Great Snow of 2009"...

DAY 1: Emmaleigh ate snow and Hannah cried.

The "snow bunny" in our backyard. This was just before Hannah's gloves got wet and immediately froze to her hands resulting in an immediate retreat indoors.
DAY 2:

We went to Jon's (brother in law) dairy for some sledding hills. Em and Carolyn:

Hannah, who loves to try anything, would've been on the sled (aka, hamper lid) all day. Em, on the other hand, took a great deal of convincing to try the tube, or anything else.

Eventually the cold won, and we took it back to the house. We have almost as many pictures of these two days as we have from the two months previous! The vast majority have one of more of the girls in some state of crying. Neither of them really like to be cold...In other news, just before we got 4 inches of rain followed by several inches of snow, we framed the floor to the living room. Impeccable timing. The rain and runoff slid off the subfloor into one of the unfinished spots and collected between the new and old block foundations. Jon saved me with a sunk pump at a pivotal time. And its all dry this morning! Praise the Lord!