Good Bye! Until Next Time!

My sister and brother-in-law  (Joy and Ryan) left for Australia as missionaries on Wednesday. As they were packing the day before I had some time to reflect upon all that they were doing.  I learned some things that I didn’t know, like how handy it is to have a portable bag scale or to have travel locks for my bags.  I also learned that I want to have everything packed and ready at least a day before I go and that I am already feeling excited/terrified about leaving.

 

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Joy and Ryan waiting to check their baggage

 

My dad and I had the privilege of dropping off Ryan and Joy at the airport.  We all got into my car and left for a traffic filled drive down to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).  While Joy and Ryan waited to check their baggage my dad and I left to get their last meal in the states.  We went to my favorite sandwich place, Little Lucca’s in South San Francisco.

 

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Enjoying the Goodness of Little Lucca’s

 

After a great meal at SFO my dad and I left them to head home.  I love Joy and Ryan and am excited for everything that will happen in Australia.  GOOD BYE!  UNTIL NEXT TIME!

 

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Good Bye! Until Next Time!

 

 

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Christmas with the Family

Christmas consisted of 3 different acts.  The first act was with my Grandma on my mother’s side.  The second act was at my parents church with my Grandma on my dad’s side.  The third act was with my immediate family at my parents house.

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Grandma Z opening Presents

Act I was having Christmas eve with my Grandma Z.  It was great to have family time with her and some other family.  We had a traditional Christmas meal, which consists of fondue, shrimp, spinach dip, crackers with meat and cheese, fruits, vegetables, and Christmas cookies.  I have had many wonderful Christmas memories that include my Grandma Z.  It was a blessing to be able to spend Christmas Eve with her.

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Candle Light Christmas Morning Service

Act II was going to Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church on Christmas morning.  It was great to be able to visit the church that I grew up in and to see all of the familiar faces.  After a Christ honoring service we went for lunch at my Grandma C’s assisted living home.  It was awesome to be able to see her open some gifts at the table and then to have a wonderful meal with her.  Christmas would not be the same if I didn’t spend some time with Grandma C.

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Christmas Presents Under the Tree

Act III was with my immediate family.  This may be the last Christmas that I have with my immediate family in the future.  My sister and brother-in-law are missionaries to Australia and are leaving on December 28th.  My parents said that the best part of Christmas was being able to spend it with all of us.

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Look how nice the gift of the trout looks.

 

Send Off Service and Sent Off Party

To all of my family and friends who are in the Southern California area I would enjoy having you come to either or both of the following events.

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Placerita Bible Church

Send Off Service

I will be preaching and formally sent off by my elders at Placerita Bible Church.

Date: January 8

Location: Placerita Bible Church, 22004 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, CA 91321

Time: 10:30 am

Disciples

Fun with Friends

Send Off Party

The open house will be a great place to visit.  Light refreshments, appetizers and deserts will be provided.

Date: January 8

Location: Please contact me to RSVP and I will give you the location.

Time: 3:00-5:00 pm

Christmas Tree Cutting

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season and also one of the things that I will miss the most when I move to Brazil is Christmas Tree Cutting with my family.  For every year that I can remember my mothers family has gotten together at my Aunt and Uncle’s in Placerville for Christmas Tree Cutting.

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Family Picture

When I was young this signaled the beginning of the Christmas season and always happened early in December.  We would get together and hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.  Upon finding the perfect tree we would cut it down and put it on our car.

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Cousin’s Picture

After tree cutting we would always have a home made Italian meal.  From hors doeuvres, to scratch made ravioli’s, and fresh baked pies we always enjoy the spread.

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Home Made Ravioli’s

Each year we would also get a visit from Santa Claus with gifts.  This year was no different as Santa came with gifts for the youngest cousins and even one for Grandma.  Grandma had a great time with Santa this year.

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Grandma on Santa’s Lap

We would always gather around the table and this year I got to get a picture with my Aunt Gianna.  While at the dinner we would not only share stories of what happened over the last year but some traditional toasts.

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Aunt Gianna and Me

Another thing that I will miss with this family is the fact that we are all pretty tall.  We enjoy being exceptionally tall group of family, I think that the average height of this group is 6’2″.  This year we played a friendly game of PIG on the basketball court.

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Younger Family Picture

Common Discipleship Objections: Life Stage (Discipleship #4)

The second most common objection of discipleship is a persons Life Stage.  Life Stage is closely related to the maturity excuse but I will try and  make a clear distinction.  Life Stage refers to an individual’s external circumstances while Maturity relates to a persons internal character.

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Family Men can Disciple Others

LIFE STAGE OF THE DISCIPLER

  1. I am too young to disciple someone older than me.
  2. I am too old to connect with this younger generation.
  3. I don’t have kids, wife, ect. so how could I disciple someone with kids, wife, ect.
  4. I am too busy with life to disciple anyone.
  5. I have done too many things wrong.

RESPONSE TO EXCUSES

  1. Age is a convenient excuse for not discipling.  Each of us in the body of Christ has a different role and we all learn from each other.  Discipling someone older than you requires reviewing some specific verses on how to relate to those older than you, 1 Timothy 5:1-2. Younger men discipling older men need to treat them like a Father.  Younger women who disciple older women need to treat them like a Mother.  Discipleship is simply defined as purposefully and intentionally encouraging others to become more like Jesus.  Someone who is younger can always encourage those who are older to become more like Christ.  Applicable Verses: 1 John 2:12-14, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Timothy 5:1-2
  2. This is similar to the prior excuse.  People think that they need to connect with the younger generation with experiences or the same likes.  Discipleship is not about having fun together but is about walking through the different seasons and issues of life with others.  Enjoying your time with those who you are discipling is a byproduct of spending time with those who are in the family of Christ.  We are called to teach individuals to observe/practice what the scriptures say, there is scripture no that says we are to only do this with those who we connect with easily.  Applicable Verses: 1 John 2:12-14, Matthew 28:18-20, Titus 2:2-8
  3. Man’s wisdom comes from experience and living through different life stages.  However, God’s wisdom is found in the scriptures and teaches us about how to handle every situation through not only specific direct teaching but also different principles.  God has granted to the believer everything pertaining to life and godliness, 2 Peter 1:3, so the one who has not experienced different life situations can still minister to and encourage those in that particular life situation.  The scripture is complete with everything that the man needs to equipped for every good work.  As a discipler you are to exhort others to know scriptural principles and practice them not to simply teach your experiences.  Applicable Verses: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3
  4. Busy with life does not qualify you to ever not do what the LORD requires you to do.  The call to make disciples in Matthew 28 does not have any exemptions for life business.  A busy life is a normal life for almost every christian.  Some of the best disciple makers that I know are also some of the busiest people I know.  Paul was a very busy man however he always found time to make disciples, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7.  Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
  5. This at first might be a maturity issue but instead it is typically used by people who think that they have made only wrong decisions during specific life stages.  Doing things wrong can cause you to have afflictions that will make for a more difficult life but experiencing the difficulties can help you see the grace of God more clearly.  Experiencing difficulties and doing things wrong can provide an example for what not to do and how God’s grace brought them through the trials.  God’s grace has abounded in the life of people who have made many wrong decisions.  After receiving the comfort from God believers are able to comfort others who have been similarly afflicted, 2 Corinthians 1:4.   Having experienced the consequences for not doing things scripturally some times helps us have compassion in dealing with others who are suffering through the same afflictions.  A discipler who can show compassion towards those who have made poor decisions is rare but one who is able to restore such a person is even more rare.  Applicable Verses: Galatians 6:1-2, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
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Looses Sleep to Disciple Young Men

LIFE STAGE OF THE DISCIPLE

  1. I am too old to be discipled.
  2. I am too young to be discipled.
  3. I need someone to disciple me who has already successfully completed my current life stage.
  4. No one would understand the difficulties that I am facing right now with my family, job, relationships, etc.
  5. I don’t have enough time in my life to be discipled.

RESPONSE TO EXCUSES

  1. Being too old to be discipled is a convenient excuse for not wanting to be discipled.  Typically this excuse is being driven by two reasons.  The first is that they think that they have arrived and the second is that they think that they are incapable of learning anything new.  No person has ever completely arrived at maturity, or complete Christ likeness.  Those who think that they are unable to learn anything new do not understand the gospel which says that those who were sinners can be made righteous.  Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  2. Being young is not an excuse to not be discipled.  Being young is a great time to be discipled.  Titus 2 encourages the older to disciple the younger.  The younger you are when you get discipled means that you need to be humble.  Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 John 2:12-14, Titus 2:2-6
  3. The biblical mandate is not to share with others your own wisdom as to how to handle a situation but to give God’s wisdom.  An individual does not need have their own wisdom but know the wisdom that is found in the scriptures.  An individual’s knowledge of the scriptures and it’s practical application to that persons life are key’s to discipleship not one’s personal experiences.  Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  4. Not thinking that others will understand the difficulties that you are facing is one of the greatest lies that people tell themselves.  This denies that God’s grace has helped others through similar situations.  One of the greatest things about discipleship is being able to walk another through the hardships with the same scriptures and biblical principles that the LORD used to comfort you.  The very reason that someone uses this excuse to not be discipled is the reason why they need discipleship the most.  Applicable Verses: 1 Corinthians 2:3-11
  5. Not having enough time to be discipled is like cutting off your own nose to spite your face.  Discipleship is something that all of us are called to participate in.  Making time for discipleship in your life will help you to better honor Christ.  If you don’t have time to do what Christ calls you to do than make time.  Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20

SUMMARY

Life stage is not an acceptable excuse to either disciple or be discipled.  Every believer is called to disciple others.  If we want to honor Christ we will not continue to use excuses such as life stage to make or be discipled.  Life stages are great opportunities to make disciples through bringing people along with you as you walk through the life stage.

Financial Clearance Received

It is crazy to think that I have raised the financial support to leave for Brazil.  It was towards the end of January 2016 when I began to ask for support from different families.  To think that in the last 11 months that the LORD has provided all of the financial support is amazing.  The gifts ranged from $1 to much more than that and it is due to each of these gifts that I have received my financial clearance.

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No Gift is too small

The statistics for my monthly support are very interesting.  There are a total of 55 individuals,  families, or churches who are providing my required monthly financial support.  Their support has allowed for me to reach over 100% monthly needs.  The over support will still go to my account and be used for future ministry opportunities.  Praise God for his provision of $3,552.34 in required monthly support!

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Thank You for Helping Me Reach 100%

The one time Outfit & Passage support was provided by a total of 81 individuals, families, or churches over the past year.  Their generosity has been overwhelming.  Praise God for his provision of $39,200 in required one time support.

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No gift is too large

Missionaries Love Affair

Missionaries have a love affair with acronym’s.  (This is not unique to missionaries because there were many acronym’s in every field that I have ever worked in.)  What makes the missionaries love of acronym’s a little unique to me is sheer volume of the TLA’s (Three Letter Acronym’s) that are present.  When a missionary can’t find a TLA that works they use an ETLA (Extended Three Letter Acronym).  This unique language is something that I have been trying to figure out ever sense I became a missionary.  To prove my point simply ask any missionary that you know and they will affirm the presence of their own unique TLA based language.

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TLA Definition

For example: The are two required training that I had to complete before I could leave for the field as an ABWE missionary.  Training began with EMC in July and was completed with FPS in November.  While at FPS we were told of some things that we needed to do like get a POA and MPOA before we leave for the field.  I am so excited to have completed my training and received the required clearance.

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Example of ABWE TLA

I am glad that I have been able to figure out my missions TLA based language.  If you want to love your missionaries I would encourage you to also learn their TLA/ETLA based language.

The Countdown is Over!!! … A New One Begins

Now that I am at 100% of my monthly support requirement there is now only one more financial goal that I need to reach before I get financial clearance.  The final financial goal is to raise all of my Outfit & Passage.  Currently as it stands I am at 93% of the one time Outfit & Passage.  This means that I am only $2,811.65 away from getting my financial clearance.

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Not just one family yet.

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No more monthly support required!

I hope to receive my financial clearance by the end of December.  If you  want to help me get my full financial clearance please do not hesitate to use the link below.

If you want to support me please use my account number 0170101 and click on the link below.

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Miles through My Eyes

I have conservatively driven over 38,000+ miles over the past year.  The vast majority of this was raising awareness and support for me going to Brazil as a missionary. This translates to 610+ hours of driving in my car.

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Driving in Kansas

This number surprised even me but that is what the odometer on my car says.   When I share this with others they normally ask, in a shocked voice, about what I do during that time in the car.

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Driving in Utah

In a prior blog I talked about what I do in the car.  However, each of these miles represents more than just a destination.  These miles represent connecting with people and churches who I have known over the years.

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Driving in Delaware

Relationships are key to build when you are a missionary. All of these views from behind the wheel represent not just my view from the car but traveling to build and strengthen relationships with friends and family from all over the country.

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Driving in Tennessee

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Driving in Texas

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Driving in Montana

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Driving in South Dakota

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Driving in New Mexico

Putting in the Miles

I been traveling all over to raise support sense February.  I spent most of February through June traveling up, down, and all around California.  July, August, September, October and November  were  spent driving all over the country raise support and attend the two required training sessions in Harrisburg, PA.  I have driven through a total of 30 different states during these two trips, July through September and October through November.

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30 States that I have Visited

Last week my car broke 100,000 miles after purchasing the vehicle with only 62,000 miles.  I purchased my car just prior to leaving for survey trips to Germany and Brazil in October through December 2015.  I spent a little less than 2 months outside of the country during that stretch.  This means that I have put lots of miles, conservatively 30,000+ miles and possibility as many as 34,000+ miles, on my car that directly relate to support raising over the past year.  My cross country trips have been a total of over 23,000+ miles in which I covered 21 different states to present to families and churches.  As crazy as these numbers appear they are actually just the means to an end.  The end goal is to reconnect with friends and family to raise awareness and financial support.

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21 States where I have Presented

Each one of these states represent a group of families, individuals, and churches who I know and have been able to reconnect with.  Putting in the miles is not about seeing the country, which I did A LOT of, but it is seeing the friends who have impacted my life in various ways.