Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Hike

Well, hello!!! It has been two weeks since we have updated this and I think it is time to let you know how things are going and where the Collies are at. I (Dave) have officially turned 34 since I wrote last and on my birthday, my wife planned the best day ever!!! She set up a whole day for us to go hiking with Thomas Atkins!!! Thomas is the one you probably don't recognize in the picture above.

I just want everyone to know, I absolutely LOVE hiking!!! Hiking is one of those things that takes lots of effort and is always more fun with other people. You get to see things that few people ever get to see for themselves and you often get the chance to experience dirt in places you never thought possible.

The hike we went on was called St. Mary's Pass. The views were spectacular and the things we saw I will never forget. The hike was intense and physically taxing. Actually it was one of the harder hikes I have ever been on, but at the same time it was one of the most rewarding.

I think this trip to California has a lot of similarities to my birthday hike. I want everyone to know, I absolutely LOVE California!!! This last month of being here has taken an extra dose of effort to plan meetings, help the kids adjust to a different environment and schedule, and living out of suitcases. At the same time though, we were able to live and spend time with lots of people. It has been such a joy to be with Nana and Grandpa. They are the BEST!!!! We have had such a great time living, eating, and just being with them and this time will never be forgotten. During our time here in Cali, we have had the opportunity to see things things that not everyone gets to see for themselves. Things like the sunset on the Pacific Ocean, California Costal Redwoods, bear poop, mountain streams, and high altitude wild flowers. One of my favorite things about hiking is the people you go with and for me that has been one of my favorite things about this trip. Not only did we get to see Nana and Grandpa, but we got to see countless other family members and long lost friends. We got a chance to share meals, swap stories, and encourage each other in life. The conversations shared were so great and uplifting and we will never forget this month in California.

Now as we think about our next adventure we are excited to see things that many people never get to see or experience and we are SO excited about going on this new adventure with some new friends. In less than a week we will be in New Orleans. Actually the next time we write on this blog, we will be in our new home. Pray for us as we prepare to leave. Pray that our final days will be glorious and fun. Pray we will be able to fly home and pack up with no glitches. Pray that we will have safe travels as we drive our family and all our earthly possessions into the swamps. Pray our kids are able transition into this new life quickly and easily. Pray we will be a blessing to those we meet and live life with in New Orleans.

Thanks, friends, for joining us on this journey. Thanks for your support and prayers. We are grateful for every single one of our dear friends and family. See you on the flip side!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

There Are Greater Things Yet to Be Done in This City

I sit looking out over the beautiful yet simple skyline of Sonora, California. My window is open as the sun says it’s good-night and the breeze floats in gently. I can see a spire glowing somewhere downtown and the needlepoints of tall evergreens against the almost navy sky now. A motorcycle rumbles into the neighbor’s driveway next door, but it’s a relatively quiet night in this cozy little place. It reminds me of home back in Campbellsville a little…except for the blessed absence of humidity! And for a moment, I wonder why can’t this be home? Why does my heart feel so at ease here? Why are we moving to New Orleans?

“Because that’s where I’m sending you,” comes the reply.

But why, Lord, are you sending us there? And then, I begin to see past the tucked in town out my window. People begin to trek across my mind. Even in this quiet, comforting place, there lives the family who seems so put-together but are contemplating divorce, the single guy who struggles with the depression, the recovering addict trying to stay clean, the alcoholic who sees no hope. Even in Sonora, there are greater things yet to be done. Just as in New Orleans. Lord, help my heart long for the people to know and taste that You are good. That You give peace. That You are their Light in the darkness.

“Your home is with Me, Child.”

Yes, yes, I know, Jesus. Help me to remember. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my home is with You. My heart belongs to You. And that’s why you send us. So that others can come home, too.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Phil. 4:1 - "My Dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and crown I receive for my work."

This past Sunday we visited the church we attended when we lived in California and we got to reconnect with old friends and we heard a wonderful challenge from Pastor Mark. They have been going through the book of Philippians and focusing on joy and how to experience joy in your life as a Christian. The main point of the sermon was stated like this: The quality of our relationships determines the quantity of our joy. How true that is. Pastor Mark asked two questions as he ended his sermon. The first was, "Who is your Paul?" which means, who is it that is mentoring you, challenging you, and causing you to grow as a Christian. The second was, "Who is your Timothy?" which means, who is the person you are mentoring, challenging, and causing to grow in Christ. I immediately thought of those who I have had the privilege to work with over the past few years and how my relationships with them have brought me so much joy. :) I also immediately thought of a godly man who has meant so much to me in my relationship with Christ and my journey of growth with God and others. He is pictured above. His name is Pastor Claude Short. He was my pastor from the time I was about 11 to age 18 and his influence cemented many truths about Christ, the church, and following God. We were able to eat dinner with Pastor Claude and his wife and daughter last Saturday. Eating with them was such a joyful thing for all. Not only was it joyful to him to see people he has loved and mentored following Christ, but it was a joy for me to see him still following and loving God after all these years. Pastor Claude was the one who baptized me when I was 14 and I was able to not only tell Silas about that, but show him the pool where I was baptized. We took the picture above last weekend. It is such a perfect example of joy. I am standing with my mentor and pastor by the pool I was baptized in. I am standing there with my son who I am discipling and training to follow God. And I also have Silas holding little Dave. Little Dave is a knitted doll I received from a eleven year old girl in KY as we were getting ready to leave. She said she made it as a thank you for all Jen and I had done for her and her family.

The quality of our relationships determines the quantity of our joy. Let me challenge you as I did in the last entry... Invest in people. Love people genuinely. Be willing to take the time to not just be their friend but speak truth boldly and disciple them. Find someone who you trust and let them speak into you. Then make sure you find someone and speak into them. When you do this, you will experience the joy Christ has desired for you to have.