Kylie and I have been working hard at praying together lately. It's a bit embarassing, but for 12 years of marriage now we really haven't established a consistency in praying together. We have times of praying individually every day and we pray with our kids in the morning and the evening, but unfortunately for the most part we have just let it go... knowing it would be great if we did, but resigned to the fact that it's hard to find time.
Well, last April I became aware of the ministry of Family Life and began listening to the podcasts of their radio program. It was really great to hear good thoughts and content throughout the week. It helped me remember the significance of my role as a husband and father as well as evaluate what I want to be true of my family and how to get there. I began implementing lots of little things and seeing a lot of fruit.
Then came the Family Life Oneness Prayer Challenge. The challenge was to begin praying together every day for 30 days. I thought, "that's what I need." I've know that Kylie really wants this, but never been consistent enough. We have missed a day here or there, but what a joy it's been to start the day or end the day talking to God about how we are feeling, what's been a challenge, where we need help, etc. We are still working on finding the right time, but I'm sure we will get there.
Check out their website and get some of their devotionals or 'prayer prompts' and see if it is helpful for you as well.
September 21, 2015
August 17, 2015
I've been thinking and reading a lot about raising boys into men. It started by listening to Family Life Today podcasts, then reading Stepping Up by Dennis Rainey, and then Raising a Modern Day Knight (forget the author's name...). It is amazing how once you begin thinking about the issue of raising boys into men you begin seeing the issue everywhere. Kind of like when you start researching a certain brand of car all of a sudden... they are everywhere!
For instance, a simple concept is the problem of boys in men's bodies. All over we see the effect of unengaged fathers by simply looking at the quality of men running around. Just last week I read about Donald Trump's offensive comments about women and then read about 2 New York Jets football playing punching each other. My first thought... these guys did not have quality fathers teaching them about what it means to be a man. Every time you see what is popular on social media it's always someone saying something prideful, racists, disrespectful, etc. Then what do they say? Sorry, that's not me! Huh?!? That absolutely is you. You wouldn't have said it otherwise. No one knows how to take responsibility for their actions.
Which leads back to trying to be a father that raises up two men. And it has been frightening because what do you do when you read that stuff? You look in the mirror. And you begin to realize I'm not actually a man... or I only recently became one. I'm going to need to be intentional in my own life as much as I need to be in their lives.
But the good thing is that if you are intentional, know when to sit down and talk, know when to say I'm sorry, don't fly by those teachable moments I think you are going to do just fine.
July 13, 2015
Last week we had the privilege to attend our area retreat. We went to another island to a city with higher elevation. The clear air and the cooler temperatures were wonderful! Our kids were cold and asking for jackets. ;)
We spent too much time at a beautiful outdoor mall enjoying shopping, Starbucks, and Wendy's. We had a thoroughly enriching time with other area workers. And B had some neat opportunities to lead some worship as well.
But by far what ministered to our hearts was seeing the kids enjoy the kids program that some westerns came to put on for them. They played tons of games, did loads of crafts, and came back to the hotel singing all sorts of songs. They made new friends and told us many stories. It was a joy to see them enjoying a program that they rarely get.
Overall it was a priceless week together.
June 10, 2015
Our kids are so accustomed to air travel that just going to the airport and getting on a plane is like an amusement park for them. We found a nice hotel that was in the middle of a big city. Even though this particular city is not very beautiful the hotel had a wonderful garden area, play place, pool, and beautiful restaurant on top of the hotel.
We laughed as we watched the kids absolutely thrilled by a small kiddie pool and small play place. We said to one another 'That's the blessing of having no parks in our town - we are all easy to please.'
April 2, 2015
As we drove there the kids were asking all sorts of funny questions. We live in the tropics on the equator but most of their books refer to life in the US with seasons and terrain we never see. So Abi (having recently been introduced to the Little House series) was asking if there were woods or panthers outside of our town. After explaining the best I could I told B that I really wanted to take the kids to a zoo the next time we were in a place that had one. "They're the perfect age!" I exclaimed.
At the retreat center the kids and I wandered around enjoying the trees and fish ponds. A groundskeeper told us to head down a little path because there was a "landak" down there. I told the kids I had no idea what a landak was, but we should find out. To our surprise it was a porcupine! (Sorry for the blurry pic.)
After B finished his business with the administrator the man asked if we wanted to see a bear. "A what?!" I asked, certain I had misunderstood. Nope, that's exactly what he said. Abi asked if it was big enough to eat little girls. The man just laughed and said it just ate fruit and rice.
So he led us down a path and, sure enough, there were 3 cages. There was some animal we have no idea what it is :), a few small monkeys, and a bear! Apparently all these animals had come straight from the rain forest on our island. The bear was small (less than a year old) and tame enough the man was petting it and teasing it! It was so fun for us to see the animals so up close and so unexpectedly.
God has quite a sense of humor and loves to give sweet gifts, doesn't he?!
February 8, 2015
Our time at the conference was really nice. It is always great to be with other Westerners and to speak English with people who know and understand your situation. We had wonderful meetings where we were challenged to think through how we communicate in our culture and re-examine if we are sometimes communicating things we don't mean to with our actions and the way we use our time. It was very challenging! We feel like we are coming back with some good tools for learning. Even though we have been here 8 years, we still often feel that we have so much to learn.
The even was jam packed! We were up at 6 to get kids dressed and get them breakfast and then to our meetings at 8. Those went until 12:30 and then we had just one hour break to get everyone fed and back to our meetings. I think we crashed each night at around 9:30! :) So, it was a good time, but we came back very exhausted. Plus, all the kids got sick on our last day there. Though we've been back a week it feels like we are just now settling back in.
Here are some pics from the hour or two we got away to go to the pool.
|Hangin by the pool|
|B and little Andy|
|Best of friends|