|Since the last post was from 2014 and the photo in it was even|
older, here is a recent photo of my family.
My last post was in March of 2014 and I can easily say some big changes have happened since then. Here are a few highlights:
In August 2014 I left my job at Nappanee Missionary Church to become a missionary in the Dominican Republic. My family and I lived outside the city of Moca, serving alongside an amazing pastor named Quina Ovalles. Her love for people and her commitment to hard work have changed my life. Even at 72 years old, Quina is constantly learning new things, working hard for the sake of others and presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ - both through words and actions.
We lived in the Dominican Republic for a year and it was obviously a learning experience. We didn't master Spanish, but all four of us became quite conversationally proficient. The biggest lessons, however, were cultural. We learned about different traditions, customs, humor, politics, strategy and even racism. Some of these lessons were a joy to learn and some were very difficult and even hurtful. In the end, however, we came away with a new appreciation for cross-cultural living.
After returning from overseas, I joined the staff of Transformation Ministries in South Bend, Indiana. My good friend Kory and his wife Ali started this ministry in 2009. It was a grassroots operation, and still is in many ways. The focus is the youth of South Bend and we use a variety of programs to spark transformation in their lives. We do not claim to have all the answers and we do not rely on our own strength to carry this ministry. We enlist the help of roughly 125 volunteers and everything we do is an expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We work hard. We try to show genuine and unconditional love to everyone we encounter.
These experiences have taught me much and taught me that I still have much to learn.
My purpose for rebooting this blog is to explore some of the lessons I've learned as well as to share many of the lessons I'm in the process of learning. I'm not doing this because I think I've attained some great wisdom that should be shared with the world. It's really more for me that I'm writing again. I have a goal to publish one post per week throughout 2017. It is an effort to establish a rhythm and a discipline of writing. I love to write, but I don't always make time for it.
I'm also writing on the blog because it gives others the chance to give me feedback on what I'm writing. So, please leave comments or email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to some good discussions.
If you've got ideas for topics I can address through my writing, please share those with me as well. I might even ask some of you to be guest writers. I know many people who are far wiser than me, and I'd love to read what they would write about certain subjects.
In the process of writing, it will never be my intention to offend anyone or to diminish the value of any other person. I may address some topics that are very sensitive and I may offend you at times. But please know that my intention is not to hurt anyone, but to share about the things I'm learning. As long as it's constructive and not hurtful, I'll be eager to hear any criticism or disagreement at any time.
I'm excited to get started. Look for my first post of 2017 coming toward the end of next week.