Friday, September 25, 2009


Above is a picture of the Bunker Hill Bridge over the Charles River that leads into the Big Dig. On the left is the Boston Garden, home of the Boston Celtics. The ground floor is Boston's North Railway Station.

The Big Dig is a mega project that rerouted Interstate 93, the chief highway through the heart of Boston, into a 3.5 mile tunnel under the city. The project also included the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River (above), and the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the space vacated by the previous I-93 elevated roadway.

The Bunker Hill Bridge is a dramatic looking suspension bridge. The Big Dig is said to have been the most expensive highway project in US history. Estimated at $2.8 billion in 1982 ended up costing an estimated $22 billion including intrest costs. It also resulted in criminal arrests, leaks, death and charges of poor execution and the use of substandard materials.

Boston's skyline. Boston is the largest metropolitan area in New England as well as serving as the economic and cultural hub of the region. It is the unofficial "Capital of New England." The metropolitan area is home to 4.5 million people.

Boston is an exciting city with millions of people. It represents cities all over the world that are filled with people who live, love and have dreams for success and financial prosperity. Yet so many are lost and looking for a better way.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19: 41

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Organizational reorganization

During our birthday break on Wednesday we recognized five people who will be moving to new work groups as a result of organizational reorganization. Sharon Mann (left) and Patti Harris provide word processing services for the entire organization. However, our dictation has been seventy percent of their work because we record notes on every interview. They represent dozens of unsung heroes at the IMB. They work quietly behind the scene and yet provide critical services. They see their work as a ministry. Sharon and Patti will move to a new unit, but they will hear my voice every time they transcribe one of my notes.
Brenda Moncreif and Temple Foster are the conference coordinators for our office. They plan and execute ten to fourteen interview conferences a year. They invite the participants, plan the schedules, arrange for staffing and a million other details. They have made it possible for 800 or more prospective missionaries to attend an interview conference each year for the past several years. Their function has been moved to a different office.Debbie Williamson (left) has been a consultant's assistant, business process coordinator and administrative services team leader. She is one of those people who knows how things work and makes sure they do. In this picture, she has been training my assistant of many years, Joan Ivey, in some of her new duties. Debbie knows more about our technical systems, business processes and administrative proceedures than anyone in our office. We will miss her.

Sharon, Patti, Brenda, Temple and Debbie are the latest of those who are leaving our group for new assignments. They are not only colleagues but also friends and in many ways a part of our family. The will be missed.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthday Break

We have a once a month celebration in our office to honor those who have celebrated birthdays. Today was the day...There is always plenty of food! Around our office it is all about the food! The chocolate chip cookies are a specialty for Randy Rains.

Joel Sutton celebrated his birthday on 9-9-09. We have worked together for many years.

Kelly Davis worked many years mobilizing students to serve the Lord overseas. He now interviews people who are exploring long term term overseas service.

Andy Tuttle, another member of the team, turned 50 today!

Debbie Duffer celebrated her birthday on September 18. Recent reorganization has resulted in a shift in responsibilities, her focus is now helping overseas personnel stay on the field.

These folks have been colleagues and friends for many years. They are deeply committed to the Lord and have a vision for sending people around the world to proclaim the Good News. They work hard to meet the needs for personnel around the world.

As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. John 9: 4

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Old House

Scott and Erica live in a house that is almost 200 years old. It was built before 1832 but the courthouse where all the records were stored burned that year. Pictures of the area dated 1812 do not show the house. The cedar shake siding was added within the last thirty years. There is pine clapboard siding underneath. The vinyl windows were installed two years ago.

The kitchen floors are twelve inch pine planks. The fireplace does not work. By the way, we installed the new dishwasher on Thursday. The flooring and other aspects of the construction have caused some to wonder if the house was built by a shipbuilder. Ship building has been a prominent part of the local economy since the foundation of the city of Portsmouth which is nearby.

The stairs are steep and shallow, no more than six or seven inches deep.

Note the foundation is stones mortared together. On top of that you find brick. The change in the foundation has caused some to wonder if the house was moved to this location after being built at another location.

This brick archway serves as the foundation for the kitchen fireplace which is directly above. It was once used as a root cellar.

It makes you wonder how many generations have lived in the house? What were their stories? It also gives a perspective on our lives. We are just one link in the chain of generations which the Lord causes to come and go throughout history. Each with its own dreams, hopes and challenges.

Generations come and generations go,but the earth remains forever. Eccl 1:44

Unless the Lord builds the house,its builders labor in vain. Ps 127:1

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cambridge Baptist Church

Sunday we were at Cambridge Baptist Church in Richmond where I served as interim pastor for about two and a half years. It was a wonderful day of worship and for renewing relationships. I was especially honored to be invited to preach that day by the new pastor, Jay Smith.

Mike Wilson leads the praise team. His day job is serving as a network administrator. Mike works hard to provide a powerful worship experience. His wife, Cindy, recently graduated from nursing school. They have two sons, one is in college, the other recently enlisted in the Navy.

Pastor Jay Smith is graduate of the US Naval Academy. He has a vision for seeing Cambridge have a significant impact on the community around the church as well as across our country and around the world.

"Into Hymn" a group of students from James Madison University provided the special music as well as a concert after lunch.

These to ladies with Charlotte are from Jamaica. They first started coming to Cambridge about a year ago. They have come to Henrico County Schools to teach in a special exchange program. A year ago they were facing culture shock and the challenge of beginning the school year in a new system. Cambridge was able to provide them a lot of encouragement and support.

The youth have always been a vital part of the church.

Chad and Anna Stillwell are part of the growing group of young adults.

Jason Owen is a professor at the University of Richmond. His little girl is six months old.

Tom and Harriet Jones have an awesome testimony and exhibit an incredible love for the Lord. Harriet sings for the worship services and is totally awesome!

In the midst of challenging days, God has a way of providing some wonderful blessings that we least expect. Sunday was one of those times!

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1: 6

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jars of Clay

2 Corinthians 4: 7 "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

The treasure is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. The One who created the sun that is so bright we cannot stand to look at it has taken residence in the life of the believer. That is an awesome treasure.

But we hold that treasure in clay pots. Have you noticed that as believers we are all pretty ordinary? Have you noticed that clay pots are prone to getting beat up?

The point is that the spot light in our lives needs to be on the treasure and not on us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Portsmouth Harbor

Portsmouth, NH was first settled in 1630 along the banks of the Piskataqua River. The city has long been associated with ship building. The river serves as a boundary between New Hampshire and Maine. The harbor is interesting because of its history, the scenery and people. Across the river is Kittery, Maine.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is known for the submarines that were built there.

Below you see the hull of a Los Angeles class nuclear submarine that has recently arrived for re outfitting. The project will probably take two years.

The lighthouse at the mouth of the river marks the entry to the the harbor.

There are sail boats everywhere.

And just a few luxury yachts.

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.

Psalms 107: 23-24

Sunday, September 6, 2009

dec-- Durham Evangelical Church

We attended Durham Evangelical Church on Sunday with our son and daughter in law. dec as they refer to it is a thriving church that has an important ministry to the area.

We attended the second of three services. On a holiday weekend they had to put out extra seats in the foyer. I am guessing there were two hundred and fifty or more people in attendance.

I apologize for the poor quality of the image. The worship is filled with praise music led by a strong praise team with a strong driving rock beat. I learned later that this team gathers at the church at 6 AM on Sundays and leads worship for all three services. I found it to be very meaningful time of praise and prayer.

Pastor Terry Sharbaugh preached from Luke 10 on the time when Jesus visited in the home of Mary and Martha. The message was very clear, Martha was busy doing good things but it was not the most important thing. Mary was doing the most important thing and that was spending time with Jesus. He said it is a powerful metaphor for American culture. We are all very busy and most of the time it is doing good things, but we often don't focus on the most important thing, spending time with Jesus.

The majority of the people there that morning were young families. Scott and Erica had nursery duty that morning so I had a chance to stop by the nursery.

It was a great time of worship for me personally. I was also impressed with the church and its ministry. Next week they will be having their eleventh annual pig roast. They have invited the whole neighborhood to join it.

I rejoiced with those who said to me, "let us go to the house of the Lord."
Psalm 122: 1

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100: 3

Saturday, September 5, 2009


We spent the Laborday weekend in New England visiting with our grandson and his mom and dad!

Arriving late we did not see him until Saturday morning. Joseph is an avid "Thomas the Train" fan. He loves his trains!
Walking around Portsmouth Joseph decided he wanted a ride.

Waiting for our harbor cruise boat Joseph and his mom and grandmother hung out together.

Standing at the rail of the tour boat that took us on the harbor cruise.
Finishing the excursion with a huge dip of vanilla ice cream. Joseph turned four this week. He is a lot of fun!

Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their chlidren.

Proverbs 17: 6

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Incredible Beauty

August 20, 3:30 PM heading south from Juneau

August 20: 5:00 PM (taken from our stateroom balcony)

August 20, 8:00 PM

I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalms 121: 1

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


These soldiers had just arrived home in Anchorage after a year's deployment in Afghanistan. A sign that one of the children was holding said, "nice to meet you daddy!" I can never thank them enough for what they have done and for the price they have paid.