Dinner at VIKALINKA

UK 09-06 to )9-25 678One of our missionaries, Julia Frey, is an amazing cook! You can read her food blog at www.vikalinka.com.  She likes to serve me new dishes when I come for a visit but this night she indulged me by serving something I’d had before… and loved.  Jeanne and I showed up for dinner and enjoyed her unforgettable French chicken dish.

UK 09-06 to )9-25 681Brad and Julia have cute kids, Mitchell and Vika (Brad is Canadian and Julia is Russian). I do, however, think they are slightly spoiled to good cooking; they paid little attention to her creations until dessert was served. Her fruit tarts were pretty amazing, though.

During the evening we enjoyed catching up on their lives and praying together for their ministry future.

Chris from Ljubljana visits in the US and Canada

Chris and The North Street Band in Perth, Ontario

Perth on the Tay

Chris called from Atlanta and said that he was in the country and on the way to Virginia and wondered if we had a bed. It’s always great to have missionaries stay with us when passing through. I am always his guest when in Ljubljana so it’s nice to return the favor now and then.

He only managed to stay a day before he was in the car, roaring off across America for a month. He had just come from New Zealand and Australia. Since he was also headed to Canada we made arrangements to meet up in Ottawa for a few days.

On July sixteenth he called to say he had arrived so we spent a few days showing him Ottawa and the area. This meant that on Saturday we attended North Streets concert at the Perth Folk Music Festival.

I’ll be showing up on his doorstep on August 13 so we’ll see each other some this year.

Here are a few pictures of North Street Band who come to Europe in September and October.

To Colwyn Bay in Wales…

What you might expect

For at least three years the Ussery’s have extended to me a standing invitation to come for a visit. Nate and Ali (Greenhalgh) Ussery were my students at Bethany College of Missions in Bloomington, Minnesota. After a period of time living in Bawtry, near Doncaster in England, they have for about three years  lived here on the coast North in Wales. Nate continues to work in Balkan reconciliation so he spends time in Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and other nations of that ethnically and religiously divided region. 

Whar I'ad me bed

On Monday the 31st, I took a flight from Bologna, Italy to Stansted in the UK, caught trains, the underground, more trains and finally arrived at the Colwyn Bay station at around five in the evening. I was met by Ali and taken to the enormous home they share with her dad and mother Keith and Myra. The home sets straight across the road from the ocean so one might on a clear day see a hint of Ireland somewhere to the southeast.

In the morning after a good rest, we went out for a drive to see the countryside. Yes, Wales has a varied a beautiful countryside. I would love to have scheduled more time for photography. There are numerous and quaint hamlets at almost every turn.

 

The next day we spent time walking and stopping to pray at the UK’s smallest chapel. That afternoon Nate drove me down to Chester where I spent the night before boarding the train to London.

 

I arrived in London in a down pour and then had to navigate my way across the city to the other side and Eltham in the middle of rush hour. I have a word for you (especially older folks) don’t plan to do this with two suitcases. I lugged my cases in and out-of-doors and up and down one set of stairs after another. I finally made it to Eltham at around seven in the evening, then taken to Mike and Jane Haley’s for my billet. I sure needed a good sleep but I had eaten something that upset my stomach so for the entire night long I had no idea what to expect. I was up and down all night so I woke up exhausted and forced myself out of bed at eight, went over to visit Brad and Julia Frey’s only to find that I had to head back to the Haley’s and my bed. This I did and finally woke up after noon feeling much better.

Matt wouldn’t recognize this place…

My first trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia was with my son, Matt. This was shortly after their independence from Yugoslavia and Communist rule. Everything here needed a facelift and man did they get one. I lot can take place in 13 years. The city is beginning to sparkle, especially along the river in the heart of the city. The big willows and eucalyptus  trees casts their dappled shade all over the streets. Tall rising trees that look like poplars frame almost every vista. Truly the walks are exhilarating.

When Matt was there, he experienced the ugly side of communism where a customer meant virtually nothing. He recounted the story of going in to get his groceries at around five in the evening, loaded his arms, rushed up  to the cash only to be impolitely told, “Sorry, the store is closed now!” In those days the customer was not king. There were no products and hardly any money. Well, those days are gone.

Greeted by this interior

The first time I went to Ljubljana on my own I wound up cold the first night of sleeping on the floor so I found a store, an awful disheveled place with plaster from the walls all over the floors and all of my looking was under the light of one bulb dangling at the end of a long wire. Matt will know the store I’m talking about but I doubt if he would recognize it today. Under the exterior of this run down place was an Art Deco or Nouveau (I don’t know one from the other)masterpiece. The edifice has been thoroughly restored into a high styled women’s fashion boutique. I decided to pop in the door which had a stern mafia styled guard in everything black posted ready to

Totally tricked out-not Terry the building

tackle anyone that wore socks that didn’t match. Terry told the guard that I was a ridiculous American tourist and asked if  could take a shot to which I was granted one… One. I took a snap of the first amazing thing in view and then quickly turned over a women’s boot. My eyes evidently bulged when I saw the price because the five euro an hour guard looked at me shrugged his shoulders and opened his palms upward as if to say, “Insanity, isn’t it?” These littles babies were only a measly 635 euro.

It always snows in Minnesota…

This isn’t really true but it also isn’t true that, “it never, ever rains in southern California,” as the hippies sang in the sixties. But twice now I arrived in Minneapolis with better than tolerable weather to be met by a snow storm in only a few short days. Here it was again. The last time I was here for two weeks Minneapolis had the second worst single snow storm in recorded history. This time it wasn’t as bad but it was more unfair since we were met by the promise of springtime weather. Not so! We will spent the next two weeks slogging through snow and slush.

SICK…

AGAIN…

More lately, it seems that I have gotten sick (the unrecoverable kind) every time I have traveled. Jeanne and I arrived in Minneapolis, went out to Matt and Noemi’s house, spent the night and then drove the next day to the Kansas City area to meet the Benedict family (more on this in the next entry). I remember right when it happened. I sneezed four times and wound up sick for the last two weeks.

I DON’T TRUST FLU SHOTS…

I am assured those who sell them (perhaps this is the first clue) that they have nothing to do with contracting everything and anything other than the H1N1. After coaxing by many of my friends and seeing a friend sick with Bird or Swine or some other kind of influenza, I decided to take their advice and over the last few years have been getting these blasted shots at $22.95. It is cheaper than computer virus protection but I have a theory about that as well. I am pretty sure that Norton Virus Protection is in cahoots with the software companies. In the same way, I think the flu virus folks are tied in with the people who make this over the counter stuff like ThermaFlu, Mucinex and the like. It is all a huge conspiracy like the hot dog makers and the hot dog bun makers. It takes three packages of wieners and two packages of buns to finally come up with as many wieners as one has buns. It’s all fraud. You are made to buy more stuff… stuff that you don’t want, won’t work or will quickly be obsolete. Did you notice? You can now buy obsolescence insurance.

Anyhow, all that being said, I was sick the last time I was here in December. I was sick before that with a sinus infection from Slovenia, through Italy, Norway and America. This began exactly on September 27th while on the train from Trieste to Venice. It ended a week before I went to Minneapolis in December and the beginning of my next cold. It is no fun and nigh impossible to teach three hours every morning for two weeks with laryngitis.

Double or nothun, so to speak…

Read this great offer below…

1st Corinthians at Bethany

In less than a week Jeanne retires from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in order to join me in ministry. Immediately, we will go to Minneapolis for two weeks where I will teach Acts at Bethany College of Missions.

After returning home for a couple of weeks we fly to Oslo, Norway where, for two months, we will be serving in various Bible training centers, preaching in Pentecostal and Lutheran churches and speaking at two conferences – one in Bergen and the other in Bjorli. We have also been invited to make a ten day trip to Italy where we will join with Italians and Spanish in an evangelistic outreach. We have just launched our second congregation in Fidenza near Parma where I have worked for almost ten years. We’d love to have you invest with us in this venture to make more and better disciples.

Look at the offer that a long time friend and donor recently made.

If you haven’t already, what a great time to get behind us in monthly or one time giving. Because of this, we can encourage so many more pastors, missionaries, help churches and training centers as well as reach the lost.

Here is our proposal:

“For this year only–to provide matching funds up to $15,000.   You would go to your other support participants and explain to them that there is a possibility of receiving $15,000 of matching funds. Every extra dollar (above their normal giving to you) that they give up to $15,000 will be matched.”

Your gifts are tax deductible. For those who prefer to give on line go to www.adventive.ca . There, on the right side of the Home Page, you’ll find easy giving through Canada Helps or Pay Pal in the United States.

In Canada: ACCI 89 Auriga, Nepean, Ontario  K2E 7Z2

In the USA: ACCI 141 East Main Street, Rock Hill, SC 29730

BCOM Sophomores

What a great group of young people. 

The BCOM Sophomore Class 2010

Some are more clear about their call than others and for those, coming to Bethany means a guided call where they can learn, listen and decide the next step for themselves. Some who come with the conviction that missions is their life calling find that it is not and the opposite is true. Perhaps an equal number who show up simply to grow after exposure to cross-cultural ministry make the decision to invest their lives in other cultures and people groups. Either way, the kingdom is advanced in homes, churches, missions and marketplace ministries.

A "RELAXED" teaching environment? I guess so.

Apparently, this is my wise, professor look.

It’s a very relaxed learning environment (at least my class is) and I have to often call the chaos back to order. I am always surprised at what willing hearts I have here. To be honest, I have had BCOM classes where many of the students had very little respect for age or authority. They were sometimes  rude and insolent. They treated the teachers as their peers. Fortunately, I haven’t encountered attitudes of this nature in at least five or more years. Now, I am not saying here that students are compliant and don’t have opinions, it is just that they are open-hearted and eager for change and maturity.

 

I have a confession to make. I have not been a fan of the BCOM House of Prayer movement (modelled after Kansas City House of Prayer). This will come as no surprise to many on the BCOM staff and though I was not a vocal opponent, I considered the entire business to be too esoteric and undirected to be of any use. To me it was too subjective and etherial. This was simply my opinion. I also admit that in my various attempts to be involved,  I never came away from the experience feeling anything but frustration and confusion. All this being said, it seems that are those who did connect. Some who have prospered because of these LLLL OOOO NNNN GGGG protracted quiet times in the prayer (furnace) room. I have no way to account for the changes in the student body except to think that these prayer meetings began around the same time as did the transformation in the overall classroom environment. I have always seen my personal mandate as that of making more and better disciples. Perhaps in order to effectively do this, you must begin with more and better people. The Prayer Room may have been the means to this transformation. So then, while it isn’t exactly me, I see value in the gifts, graces and calling of others who do see, “Ministering to Jesus” as their life’s purpose. Afterall, I do understand what a “Kingdom of Priests” should be doing. Biblically, Priests were intercessors. They were never meant to serve as one-sided intecessors who only speak to men on behalf of God they also were called to speak to God on behalf of men. The fact is we need both Priests in the church. More than this, we desperately need a new spiritual deportment. I’m make no claim to knowing if this is the result of undergirding prayer. However, whatever it is that causes this new openess to the Spirit and Word of God, I just hope it continues.

Recital Season… It is what you make it.

Joel Haley doing a splendid job in Rock Hill, SC

One of the great joys of being a grandparent is the attending of sundry recitals and sporting events. Living close to John, Jake and Joel, we get to be a supporting cast to all sorts of learning experiences. We get to go through, baseball, soccer, swimming, football and now, piano, violin, and with the others, saxophone, voice and even art.

A very focused Dylan plucks away

I arrived in Minneapolis and right away, after being picked up at the airport, I was taken to the Greenhouse home and fed a terrific squash soup. Not long after I was wisked off to see Dylan, who is six and new at this, pluck his violin through eight bars of music and then stayed to watch other people I did not know play their instruments (some good, others not so good) for the next hour or so.

I offer some encouragement in doing this as it is quite amazing to see how six year-old string pluckers become quite compotent fourteen year-old Mozart players. The same is true of the chilly nights logged watching boys we do not know run up and down the field in support of an eighth grade linebacker who waits his turn on the gridiron. This is the great privilege of being a grandparent and the stuff they will remember.

Grandchildren remember their favorite pie crafted by a grandmother with amazing pie crust fingers. They remember grandfathers who can be heard over everyone else shouting a hearty, “BRAVO!” or “ENCORE!”

This may be our remaining purpose in life and no doubt (if the Lord wills) a good use of the next ten to twenty years.

Bethany College of Missions Fall 2010

What a week!

Saturday evening

I started with a headache that developed into a full blown, “stay in bed and drink lots of liquids” event. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a “stay in bed” sort of schedule so I just kept going until on Saturday, when I could do no more, we had a blizzard that stopped everyone from doing more. So there was my answer, snuggle up in my single bed in my little eight by ten room a let’er howl and that she did.

Shovelling out on Sunday morning

Today (Sunday) it is bright and pristine with amazing drifts and sub zero temperatures. Almost everything is cancelled including the Bethany Church Christmas program where I was planning to see my grandaughter, Adriah sing her first public solo.

I did try to alter my circumstances and got up and around early expecting to pull the borrowed fourteen passenger van out of the parking lot and go to the local coffee shop. After a snowfall of sixteen inches and one of ten of the largest single snowfalls ever, nothing in our parking lot has either started or moved.  The Bobcat that clears the walkways hasn’t even managed to get us to the parking lot yet. So here I sit in my room again.