Sharing Brazil and Old Haunts

While traveling around to share Brazil and continue/build relationships with families I come by some places where I used to live.  I visited San Luis Obispo and was walking around down town I noticed that some things had changed sense I went to college.  There used to be a parking lot across the street from Woodstock Pizza.  However, Woodstock Pizza was still the same great pizza place.

San Luis Obispo

Downtown San Luis Obispo, CA

As I walked downtown I saw many of the same storefronts with new businesses.  At one alley I saw something that had not changed.  It was bubble gum alley.  I remember the first time I ventured down this alley was in college and added some gum to the alley.

Gum Alley

Bubblegum alley in San Luis Obispo, CA

Hill Hiking with Guide Dogs

While staying with some friends in Canyon Country this month I have had the privilege of having two escorts on my morning hike.  These two dogs join me in combing the hills behind their house.  They act like scouts in front of the army running here and there making sure that I am out of any danger or don’t run across a snake or other animal unexpectedly.

Canyon Country 2

Stormy and Sivke leading the way up the hill

The hills behind the house begin innocently enough with some relatively flat areas to explore.

Canyon Country 3

The beginnings.

However, if you want you can always find a hill and for a while I thought that the power lines up at the very top of the hills were going to be out of reach until I heard the buzzing and noticed that our path was taking us up to the top.

Canyon Country 4

Found the buzzing Power Lines

While hiking up to the top of the hills I would stop and look out at the beautiful ridges and country side.

Canyon Country

View from near the top

From the very top the hills and canyons seemed to extend a great distance.  It only occurred to me at the top that I was going to have to find a way down.  The dogs had led me on an indirect path from my friends house to the top of the hill and I was desiring to take a more direct route back.  This led to me walking down a couple of ridges that were not actually paths to get back to my friends house. I have been thoroughly enjoying my time with the dogs in the hills and look forward to more hikes in the near future.

Canyon Country 1

View from the top of the hill

Ordination!

On Saturday May 14 I had the privilege of having the oral portion of my ordination.  My Sending Church, Placerita Bible Church, elders questioned my knowledge of the Bible, Systematic Theology, and Practical Theology for an hour and a half.  One of my seminary professors, Dr. Barrick was responsible for testing my knowledge of the Bible, understanding and articulation of biblical facts regarding the content found in the 66 books of the bible.  Our senior pastor, Dr. Tyson was responsible for testing my knowledge of Systematic Theology, what the whole bible teach about a given topic. Pastor Severance was responsible for testing my knowledge of Practical Theology, the application of biblical truths to someones life. I appreciate all of these men and their impact on my life.

Ordination 1

Dr. Barrick, Me, Dr. Tyson, Pastor Severence

Not only were these three elders present to grill me with questions but there were others present to watch me sweat and answer.   Many of these men have knowingly or unknowingly helped me study for this ordination over the years through talking with me over various biblical/theological ideas or questions.  Thank you for everyone who attended my ordination.

Ordination 2

All in Attendance

It was not a surprise that I didn’t know every answer.  I was actually encouraged that I understood and was able to answer the majority of the questions.  But I had expected to not be able to answer some of the questions and actually practiced saying “I don’t know.”  While I did pass my ordination my elders wanted to encourage me to continue to study and know the scriptures and their practical application better.  Part of their encouragement was to give me “homework”specifically regarding some of the questions that I did not know well enough. Looking forward to having a better answer to these questions in the future.

Ordination 3

My Homework

Family Time and Pictures

Joy and Ryan

Ryan and Joy

While in Sacramento last month I was able to spend some time with my parents and my sister and her husband.  This marked the first time that I was able to watch them present what they will be doing in Australia.  I have had the privilege of getting the play by play before but I was so encouraged to hear them talk about how the LORD brought them together and then is taking them to Australia together.  If you want to follow them please check out their website.

Not only did we get to spend some time together but our whole family unit got to spend time with one another.  We were able to even take some family photos as this may be the last time that we are together for a while once the kids leave for Australia and Brazil.

A Family Picture

Our Family having Fun!

Hiking the Santa Rosa Plateau

It was a beautiful afternoon for a hike in Murrieta, CA.  One of my favorite places to go hiking when I lived in the Murrieta area was the Santa Rosa Plateau.  A friend and I decided to go hiking a couple of weeks ago.

Santa Rosa Plateau 1

What a beautiful day to hike

Even the marsh area was cool without being filled with waters.  There were all of these beautiful blue flowers that had popped up all over the area.

Santa Rosa Plateau 2

A dry marsh near the top

While hiking along the trail we took there were many great views from near the top of the plateau looking out over different parts of the valley.

Santa Rosa Plateau 3

Good Views

Not only were the views beautiful but the conversation that transpired along the way was well worth the hike.

Santa Rosa Plateau 4

View of the Plateau

Santa Rosa Plateau 5

View of the Plateau

Not that we were a shadow of ourselves at the end of the hike but I thought that this was a cool way to mark the end of our hike.

Santa Rosa Plateau 6

Shadows at the end of the hike

Missions Dinner at FOPC

Last week I had the opportunity to share about Brazil at a missions dinner at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church (FOPC).  I grew up at FOPC and have many wonderful memories at this church.  I was so encouraged by all of the people that were able to come and listen to me and other missionaries talk about what the LORD was doing all over the world.

Missions Dinner 4

Sharing Brazil at a Missions Dinner

I can remember going to some of these missions dinners while I was growing up.  It is a different experience being up front and being the one sharing not listening.

Missions Dinner 2

Sharing Brazil at a Missions Dinner

I was encouraged by the response and also look forward to speaking at many more missions evenings/dinners. The hardest part of sharing at missions dinners is that there are so many great things to share that I have to limit all of the stories.

Missions Dinner 1

Sharing Brazil at a Missions Dinner

Tuesday Morning Men’s Group

Over the years there have been many different people and groups who have prayed for me through the various seasons of life.  People and groups come and go but there is one group of men who has not changed.  That group is the Tuesday Morning Men’s Group at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.  The men in the group have changed but the group as a whole has prayed for me from the time that I was about 8 years old.

Tuesday Morning 1

Worship Led by Bob

Over the years I have had an opportunity to join this men’s group on various Tuesday mornings while I have been in town.  I have always loved to sing with these men and have joyfully added my off key yodeling to their voices of worship.  I want to thank all of the men who have participated in the group over the years.  I look forward to joining them the next time I am in Sacramento on a Tuesday Morning.

Tuesday Morning 2

Men Singing with gusto

Visiting Friends Churches

I enjoy visiting friends churches while I am on the road.  It is not every Sunday that I get to speak at a different church.

I had an opportunity to visit a Covenant Grace Menifee where many friends of mine attend.  I am so excited to see what the LORD is doing at their church.  It was awesome to worship with them and to hear how they are reaching into their community with the gospel message.

Cov Grace 3

Covenant Grace Menifee Worship

My friend Erick Cobb preached during the Sunday that I visited.  I have heard him preach many times before and I was not disappointed.  I was personally challenged during this message to practice forgiveness.

Cov Grace 1

Erick Cobb Preaching

Even without sharing at a church many times I get to sit with friends.  It is a blessing to be able to sit with Jamaal and Bre.

Cov Grace 2

Sitting Next to Friends

Menifee Hills Exploring

One of the cool things about visiting so many of my friends all over California was that I don’t seem to run out of old and new places to explore.  Above my friends house in Menifee there were some great hills for hiking.  I got to go climbing up these hills on some nice trails.  Even though the trails were well defined they were not always a nice easy hike.  Some of the trails involved some fairly steep inclines.

Menifee Hills 1

Looking into the sunrise

I was struck by the amount of brown that is on these hills.  The day before I was up hiking Towesly Canyon in the Santa Clarita area and the hills were beautiful and green.  Even though the plants were dead it was still a beautiful view.

Menifee Hills 2

Looking at the valley between the ridges

From the top of the closest high peak you could see all of the housing tracts to the south.  It was a real contrast to look at the well watered and green housing tracts around the brown hills.

Menifee Hills 3

On the top of the closest high peak

This hill was particularly steep so I decided to stop at one of the shoulders and look out over the valley to the south east.

Menifee Hills 4

On the top of a shoulder on a ridge

Sharing Brazil and Catching Up

As I travel I have had the joy of catching up with old friends.  This was one of the best parts of being a missionary.  Over the past few months I had been able to meet with lots of friends and catch up with them.  Here are a couple of examples.

I first met Alice as a little kid growing up at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.  In the summer of 2000, I was a Children’s Ministry Intern when Alice was the Children’s director.  As we talked we shared stories of how I dressed up as “Zot the Robot” and taught some devotionals with the other interns.  I had a great time catching up with Alice and hearing about all of the different things that the LORD had been doing in her life.  As a part of our conversation I was also able to share about Brazil.

Alice and Me

Alice and Me

My friendship with Trent began when I visited the Hospitality House at Travis Air Force Base around ’08 or ’09.  Over the years our friendship has consisted of sharing meals with each other when we were in the same town.  In Sacramento we were able to connect and swap stories about all of the things that the LORD has been doing.  One of the things that I enjoyed about every conversation with Trent was that they were centered around Christ.  As we shared what was going on in both of our lives it was very encouraging to hear how the LORD was guiding both of us.

Trent and Me

Trent and Me