Entry 10 / Bethany College of Missions

Sunday

Dedicating Clara Isabel Hedrick

Bethany Church of the Twin Cities

The prayer of dedication

Perhaps it is only fitting that Entry 10 should should feature grandchild number ten. It turns out that our visit to Bloomington, Minnesota coincided with the dedication of Matthew and Noemi’s third child and our tenth grandchild.

Jeanne arrived from Charlotte on Thursday evening and we spent the next three days or so playing with grandchildren, eating and watching the NCAA “March Madness’ on TV and finally seeing my alma  mater and favorite, Kansas University go down in defeat to the untattooed and miniscule North Iowa University. It was a good time with Jeremy and Rachel (our other children) arriving at Matt and Noemi’s on Saturday morning with their two boys. This all meant an exhausting and hectic (frenzied) day of doors opening and banging closed, screeching and screaming.

Prayer for Clara

On Sunday we joined with almost four-hundred others at church where Matt has been the lead pastor for almost seven years. It was wonderful to celebrate perhaps our last of the grandchildren to be born. They all swear that their families have been completed.

Entry 9 / Bethany College of Missions

Thursday

Our last day and a group hug and a memory made…

Almost sixty students being outfitted for mission and ministry

Here’s most of the gang all gathered in front of the main entrance to Bethany College of Missions.

They have had quite a challenge these last wo weeks. First, just to endure me and my stories takes people of unusual stamina. Secondly, even though we only reached Acts, Chapter 17 they had to recall almost all of it for the two tests they took during the course.  I’m impressed (I’m almost always impressed!) as the majority of the students leave this portion of Acts with a full-blown grasp of the content.

One more thing. Let me tell you what’s nice about this experience. I like to watch them grow up and many of them are married with children and on the field. I am often invited to come and teach in their schools or churches in various parts of the world. This is mustard seed faith at work. A small investment, like a small dandelion, has been blown upon and spread all over the globe.

Entry 8 / Bethany College of Missions

Wednesday

Should I even try to explain this?

Jerry's regular eyewear

I am not a believer in or a proponent of astrology but it has been of some concern to me that Jerry and I were born on the same day. I’m sure there would be exceptions to this but we are both extroverts and admittedly love talking, complaining, attention, affirmation and as you might notice, food – we both really like  (adore) food. Then too, I like it because Jerry never “shush’s” me like many other people do. “Oh, Tony… shhhhhhhhh'” they’ll say. I don’t like being “shushed.” All of this combines to bring us together on any visit I make to the Bloomington. Minnesota area.

I first met Jerry almost ten years ago in a photocopy shop when he was making photocopies of Second World War documents and I maps of Slovenia. As a second generation Yogo-Slovenian-Croat-Austrian, Jerry looked over my shoulder and inquired about my interest in the Balkans and that region of the world.

Through this first introduction we took up meeting for coffee in a local shop and over time Jerry listened to the gospel, committed his life to Christ, and within three years sold his house and belongings, moved with his three children (now grown) to Vancouver, British Columbia and took up studies at Regent College where he managed to graduate with a Master’s Degree. He is now on track to be ordained with The Evangelical Covenant Church of America and has a four hundred fifty page book on the monastic movement being read for publication (sorry, I can’t tell you with whom but it is a well-known publisher). He has done all of this while being relatively penniless.

As we sat around the table at Buca’s Italian Restaurant in Eden Prairie, it finally occurred to us that neither of us have had any visible means of support for more than fifteen years and we have not starved to death in some dark, deserted corner of the universe. God has been our constant supply and though scary at times we have much to be thankful for and none of this has anything to do with stupid green glasses that light up and blink, shamrocks, the luck of the Irish or St. Patty’s Day.

Entry 7 / BCOM

I trade work for food…

Tuesday with Amber

On Tuesday afternoon, right after class, I drove out to Prior Lake where I was to give former student and friend Amber Lang (the wife of Rich Lang)  a crash course in watercolor. Noemi, my daughter-in-law (a pretty good watercolorist herself and an even better photographer… www.noemiphotography.com) offered her kitchen table.

Here is a snap shot of me giving pointers. Amber is giving a shot at illustrating a children’s book, something I’ve never done before. I hope that I was able to help her even a little.

This is not out of the goodness of my heart….

Poor Rich. When her husband was a student I often had at my house digging and cutting and trimming so I definitely owe him one. I am only amazed that after I caught him up a tree in my back yard with a chain saw and me without liability insurance that he has lived this long to be married and produce a rather pretty baby – truly I am a debtor. So I did my best though it wasn’t the debt to Rich that attracted me. Amber promised to make me supper and indeed, what a fantastic stew I enjoyed at their house. Jesus was right when he instructed his disciples that should they leave houses, lands, cattle and family members to follow him then they would receive in return all of this a hundred-fold. I can make the boast that I have free beds and meals in literally hundreds of homes in more than twenty nations. Next month fish and chips in London and lutefisk in Norway (not ever). I will be in Norway but I expect the best roast, cheese and salmon in the world.

Entry 6 / Thunder Bay

 Thursday – Sunday

The REAL DEAL! There was a time when you would not have wanted to meet him in a dark alley.

    About six years ago, after completing studies at Bethany College of Missions, they arrived in Thunder Bay with nothing but a hand-made trailer with all of their belongings pulled behind an old (and often repaired) Volkswagen Jetta. 

Angie balancing the books. The work is never done.

Emergency food pantry.

Today they have a native family center called, “An Eagle’s Cry” located in the notorious Simpson Street area where most “proper” people will not venture after sundown. Begun with virtually nothing, their storefront ministry stretches the distance of three shops. Several times a week “Eagle’s Cry” is filled to capacity with entire families being fed,  little children doing crafts, games being played by teenagers, others getting hair cuts and at times, the Bible explained to many who have not even completed grade school level education.  

Games room

Computer skills

Dining and meeting

Hair care

 

As you can imagine, this outcome gives his mother and I some satisfaction. In fact my dad and mom would be thrilled to have lived to see this as they ministered to native people’s while I was growing up in Wichita, Kansas. Because of my early exposure to native American playmates, it was slightly reasonable for us to adopt Sky. We picked him out of the newspaper almost forty years ago when he was but two and a half years old. It wasn’t always easy for us or him but here he is today and a great blessing (as is Angie) to his entire family and hundreds of others who have yet to experience the grace of God that Sky and Angie have encountered. 

  

Arriving in Thunder Bay with nothing other than the call of God and faith they now have the Center and even though rented, live in this marvellous home on College Street.   

 I enjoyed cooking for them in their gourmet kitchen. Here we enjoy one of my favorite meals, Penne and sausage.  

We had to rub sticks together.

Entry 5 / Weekend in Thunder Bay

Thursday – Sunday

Jesse Greenhouse (left) and Justin Hedrick (right)

Tony as Kermit... "It ain't easy being green"

My grandchildren expect a great deal from me. They have heard stories about my antics and so they expect unusual and mischievious behavior from me.

In particular, the boys have heard tales they want me to live up to, like the time I dressed up in a rabbit suit at Easter and knelt down before Jesus on Highway 169 or another occasion when I pulled up my shirt in front of the Abercrombie and Fitch store, exposing my large and rather unattractive stomach, until security came to inquire if I was out on a day pass or not.

These legends have made their way around and in the process have gotten larger than they really were. My family is generally embarrassed by me except when people retell these stories with apparent enthusiasm at knowing such a person – let alone being related to one. Because of this they want me to tell these funny stories or do odd things in public. They sometimes get in a “Double-Dare” mood and when they do I just can’t help myself.  Over the weekend Jesse and Justin, at different times, wanted me to do weird stuff like this one picture in Starbuck’s at the Chapter’s bookstore in Thunder Bay.

My updated profile pic

Later, my older grandson thought I might look valiant in his paintball helmet. At my age I would stumble over myself just to admired.

Entry 4 / Bethany College of Missions

Wednesday

Time for a grandkid fix…

Leyton with his mommy, Noemi

After a typical morning of three hours on the Book of Acts (or the more precise name: “The Continuing Ministry of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and among the Apostles”) I finally reached the martyrdom of Stephen at the end of chapter seven. Tomorrow the students will take the first of two summary essay exams on what we have so far covered before we move on to the next section, beginning with the conversion of Saul. Acts can be handily divided into three sections (Acts 1:8), Jerusalem – Judea, Samaria and the utter most parts of the earth.

The afternoon was spent, as it was yesterday, working on a Mormon power point presentation entitled “So, what’s the difference?” In the fall I hope to be teaching two courses (Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses) on modern religious movements while in Italy. I will also offer these courses in the Charlotte area in late October and November and though I have taught these on numerous occasions, I have a lot of catching up to do. These quiet afternoons provide time for that sort of business.

Matt with his hands full, Adriah and her new baby sister, Clara

At five this evening, I jumped in Pastor Eric Burgdorf’s loaner (Mr. Taurus as it is so called) and ran out to my son, Matt’s house for supper.

Adriah, considered to be the most photographed child in North America

Another one of this cute fella they call Bubba.

 

I managed to see Noemi before she stepped out the door to be with her friends but enjoyed some chicken and rice she brewed up for me beforehand and then hung out and played with the kids, Adriah and Leyton. Later little Clara woke up and I handled her for a while. What a cutie!

Tomorrow, right after class I will grab my things, pick up my grandson, Jesse and head almost straight north of the “Gunflint Trail” for Thunder Bay, Ontario about a seven or more hours up the north shore of Lake Superior. Just take a map, put your finger on Duluth and follow it three and a half hours northward. Once there I will enjoy the weekend with my oldest son, Sky and his wife Angie who work with street people and native youth. They have two (almost grown) children, Justin and Alysha.