Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Real Washington

When we travel "Back East" and refer to Washington (sometimes even when we mention a particular town) people will ask us, "Washington State or Washington, D.C.?" Well, friends, this is the real Washington, not the District of Columbia! This is where I was born, and where I have spent 23 of my 56 years, and it's good to be back. We have started a 2-week tour of churches on the Washington Pacific District. I'll tell you more about the services in a few days, but there are a couple of personal connections that I'll share first.

Yesterday we got to meet Dave and Rosie Kerr, along with their lovely daughters Grace and Anna. The Kerrs have been missionaries for several years, but are being reassigned to PNG! Dave will teach at Melanesia Nazarene Bible College (MNBC) and Rosie, who is a family doc, will help out at the hospital. They are just waiting for their work permits and visas to go through, and they will come. Please pray for that to happen quickly.

Then in the evening we had a great family time. We went with my niece Liz Cushman and her husband Adam to the home of my cousin Elli O'Brien and her husband, Roger, where we met up with my other cousin Mark Maguire and his wife Julie. We had a great evening of laughs and reminiscence.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The updates haven't been as frequent as I'd intended, but I wanted to do a quick update of our speaking on the Indianapolis District.

We started the tour Wednesday, Arpil 29 at Avon Parkside church. Unfortunately, Pastor Darryl Bogatay was ill, and we didn't get to meet him. The youth pastor and our friend Nancy Pyle (who is NMI president at the church) took good care of us.

Thursday evening we spoke at United Community, with Pastor Darwin Pressler and his wife Jean. Linda , a lay member of the church, heard that we needed a car for out time on the district, and offered hers. It was really great to have a car to use as we needed throughout our time there.

Saturday evening we traveled to Stringtown. We spoke at a Faith Promise dinner that evening, and then in both Sunday School and the church service in the morning. The pastor at Stringtown is Rev. Bill Bean. His wife, Martha is the district NMI president, and arranged this entire tour. Thanks to her for a great job.

Sunday evening we were at Grace Pointe church. The little girl wearing some of our PNG artifacts was a total charmer! Our hosts were Rev. and Mrs. Don Brewer. Rev. Brewer is serving as interim pastor.

Thursday morning found us at Westside Christian School. We spoke in the chapel service of this K-8 school. A great group of kids. We also got to spend some time with Westside Church's preschool.

Thursday evening found us at Spiceland Church of the Nazarene with Pastor Allen and Rachel Southerland. We stayed with NMI president Ray Hail and his wife Marian in their 180 year-old farm house.

Friday we were with the Greenburg Community Church of the Nazarene, and Pastor Perry and Tina Cook. Helen Philips, the NMI president organized the service some snacks afterward. They also gave us a money tree! We had several requests for cuttings from this tree.

Sunday morning was a special time for us. We were at the North Vernon church, where our friend Don Messer was was pastor until his recent sudden and untimely death. He and his wife Barbara were formerly missionaries in Africa, and later served as pastors to missionaries through Nazarene World Missions. In this position they cared for missionaries and their families, especially the MKs who were in college in the US. Don had visited us in PNG, and is missed by us and by Nazarene missionaries around the world. We got to spend a few minutes with Barbara, who is still in Mount Vernon. She will be returning to Olatha, Kansas, and will continue her work with World missions. Associate pastor Brian Goode is serving as interim pastor. He, along with NMI president Martha Morgan took good care of us there.

The tour finished Sunday evening with a service at Speedway Church of the Nazarene, which is located in the community of Speedway. You won't be too surprised to know that the community has grown up around the Indianapolis Speedway, and the church is just a few blocks from the world's most famous race track. We could hear the roar of cars doing the time trials for the up-coming Indy 500. We had a good service, hosted by Pastor David Perry and NMI president Lisa Fishburn. There were several people from the Westside Church who came because of a special interest in PNG. The photo is of the foks who stayed around to talk and ask questions.

The trip home was uneventful, unlike our trip east a little over 3 weeks ago. It was nice to actually travel together. Drew and Andrea picked us up at the airport, Sam was waiting at our apartment. We'll see Amy and my dad this afternoon. It's nice to be "home" for a few days before heading out to western Washingon on Saturday.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In the Hoosier State

I've been meaning to ask someone what the origin of "Hoosier" is. I don't know, but I know that we're here.

Since our last report, we've been with several friends. After Gettysburg we spent a night with Tom and Lois Staton. Tom is an ENT surgeon, who has come to Kudjip as a volunteer 8 times, and will be coming for the 9th time in July. We were joined for dinner at the Statons' by Dan and Karen McClean; Karen is the mom of Jill Riggins, our fellow missionary at Kudjip. Jill is in turn the mother of the famous child bloggers, Aden and Wiley.

On Tuesday (oh my, that's now over a week ago--I'm slowing down) we drove on to Danville, Indiana. We're staying in the home of Mike and Nancy Pyle (sorry, no photo), who have also been to Kudjip twice (Mike is a surgeon). Nancy was here for a few days, but needed to re-join Mike, who is teaching at Olivet Nazarene University this year. Their daughter Katie lives here, but is away at work and busy with wedding preparations much of the time, so they have given us the run of the house. It's a wonderful, relaxing place to stay. We'll still stay over night at a couple of the farther-away churches on the district, but mostly we'll be here.

Mike and Nancy have several bird feeders near their window. I've been sitting there with my camera at the ready. I'll show a sample of my success.

In the next day or so I'll give you a sumary of our deputation services so far.


Friday, May 1, 2009

A Somber Day

Having grown up in the West, and never traveling much in the eastern US, I have never visited many of the sites that are important in American history. One that I have very much wanted to see is Gettysburg. For our non-US readers, this was the site of one of the biggest battles in the American Civil War. It came at about the mid-point of that war, and is considered by many to be a turning point. Though not decisive, it was one of the first big victories for the Union forces.

Sunday evening after our service, we drove for a couple of hours toward Gettysburg, and then Monday morning we drove the rest of the way in. We took a 2-hour bus tour of the battlefields, then watched a movie at the visitor center, saw the cyclorama (a huge circular painting, for which you stand in the center, surrounded by the painting), and then spent time in the museum. In the late afternoon we drove back out to Cemetery Ridge, the site of the climactic action of the three-day battle, commonly known as "Picket's Charge." We stood in the area that was defended by the Union forces, then walked through the field where the Confederate forces mounted their ill-fated charge. It was with the poignant awareness that men on both sides of this fight could have been my ancestors that I walked this ground.

It not a fun day, but it was a good day. I gained a bit of understanding of the details of this famous battle, but mostly I experienced this place that holds such a central place in my country's history.

The photo was taken looking north across the west slope of Cemetery Ridge. Out of the photo just to my right is the famous "Copse of Trees" which was the point of the deepest Confederate incursion into the Union position. The photo looks across the site of "Picket's Charge."