Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Someplace Else

I have to confess and apologize that I've not kept this blog up for some time. It's a lame excuse -- "guess my mind's been someplace else" -- but it's a bit of a theme in my life these days, and the flavor of this post.

For one thing, this week I thought I'd be someplace else. I am honored and excited to have been asked to be a part of CrossWorld's new Innovation Team. Our job? Explore new ways CrossWorld can fulfill its mission. The team is kicking off today with the team meeting together in Kansas City over the next several days. Only this first get together will be without me as I'm sitting in a hotel room in Rochester, Minnesota.

You see Pat's had a rather serious relapse in her symptoms over the last several months, a long, slow return to the movement disorder greatly affecting how much she can do. So we've returned to the Mayo Clinic for a rerun of the week long physical therapy to get things back under control. It's hard work for her but she's doing great. And we've had some helpful appointments with doctors in looking towards maintaining her control long term. I mean, we enjoy the folks at Mayo but don't want to keep coming here ever year or so.

But just to let you know that we still do what we can, just a quick word about a video we're working on that will go "someplace else". You may remember a video we made called "When 1 Becomes 2". By special request, we're producing a French language version that we'll show in, well, other places. (And, the English language version was shown at a conference in Ireland a couple of weeks ago. How international.)

So, though our minds are someplace else, our hearts never are. And a big shout out to all who have been praying for this time at the Mayo. It's going great!

Friday, July 30, 2010

André Presses Forward

A theme I often think about is "going the distance" -- that is, whether or not someone continues on the path of their faith despite the equally distracting threats of affluence and adversity. That's certainly the content for more than a brief post, but in preparing the interview footage we've received of Haitians in the aftermath of the quake I ran across someone I think is certainly intent seeing something through to the end. And I wanted to share that with you.

Dr. André Patrick Jeudy reveals his hardships, his courage, and his faith that "goes the distance" -- all in 2 minutes. I hope you find this inspiring.

André (a Haitian doctor) from CrossWorld on Vimeo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hello! Namaste! (That's Nepali for "Hello") Here are Kevin and I with the three Nepali boys that we brought to International Camp at Westwind this week. Monday through Thursday we picked up (from left to right) Prabin, Prius, and Bishal and headed off to Waukee. They are wonderful boys! They were well-behaved and we were proud to get to know them. They laughed at my feeble attempts to learn Nepali, let us listen to some of their music, and regaled us with soccer stories every morning and afternoon.

We visited the zoo and an ICubs game (they were pretty bored, but so were most of the kids) and played soccer and kickball. We learned Nepali words and a verse in Nepali.

The last morning we picked up the boys Prius gave me a sample of an Indian food that he said was "good for digestion". I had seen them all popping these little things in their mouths so I knew they liked them. But I have to confess, my first thought was it looked exactly like dog food and I'm afraid, it tasted even worse! We were careful not to disparage the tidbit in front of them, but it was all I could do to actually swallow the thing. It tasted like LOTS of pepper and...well...poo. I knew we had to have Kevin try one because I could NEVER describe it to him, so Prius gave him one. His face contorted and started sputtering and coughing...he concurred. It was great fun though!

It was a great opportunity to meet some of the Nepali people in Des Moines and begin to see what we might be able to do to help in the future. We are going to take the boys out to Kevin's sister's place because they mentioned several times their favorite animals were horses! (She has graciously agreed.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

In High Definition

Just wrapped up another video for CrossWorld this morning. This was our first foray into editing video shot in High Definition -- the HD you see all over the place these days on TV, Netflix, DVDs, etc. The reason the technogeeks go all bananas over those two letters is because stuff in HD has an incredible amount of detail we haven't been seeing up to this point.

But really this video is HD in another way, too.

Some CrossWorld folks visited Haiti a couple of months after the earthquake, interviewing church leaders and members about what it was like then, what it's like now, and what they think things will be like going forward. There were hours and hours of interview footage for us to watch in order to whittle it all down to five minutes. And unless you drop by our "editing suite" (second bedroom), we'll never be able to share it all with you. Alas. (You are always welcome, though!)

What we saw was the High Definition behind the monumentally huge ripple effect of the quake on Haitian life. Stories of rescue and death. Firsthand accounts of how life in a hard place before is now so much harder. Unique perspectives on how this will affect the future of, well, everything in Haiti. And mostly, we saw people trusting in a God who remains unshakeable even when the ground beneath their feet isn't. Wow.

In short, we saw the "detail we all haven't been seeing up to this point". So, here's the video we've made. You can listen to the Haitians tell their own story.

But what I'm especially excited about is the new Vimeo page we've made for CrossWorld for this project. We'll be releasing short snippets of the many interviews that we didn't have time to include in this piece. So stay tuned, we'll let you know as we release any interviews.

And check out the whole story -- in High Definition.

Haiti in the Aftermath from CrossWorld on Vimeo.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to give in a way that God gets credit

Kevin spoke yesterday at Westwind. It was an awesome morning. Here's a link to listen to the sermon. He gets a little zany making the crowd blare trumpets and fake applause for giving a $1 to charity. If you would like that to make sense...listen in.

I got a lot out of it. One thing was that it reminded me of the fact that giving in the way Christ teaches, reserved the receiver's dignity. Interesting because it came up in one of the interviews we listened to in the Haiti footage. A Pastor commented that the Church in Haiti was able to give and retain the people's dignity unlike the aid organizations that were abundant after the earthquake. It was especially poignant to me because I lost a bit of dignity recently in terms of a gift.

Friday, April 30, 2010


You know how the Voice Over for the Monster Truck Show sound? That's how you need to read today's title.
So, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday at Westwind Church in Waukee, Kevin is teaching. It's in the series on the sermon on the mount in Matthew. It's gonna be swell, of course, but he wouldn't mind your prayers either.
Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Haiti Part II Video

We are in the process of working on a second video for CrossWorld about the after effects of the catastrophic earthquake that struck the island on January 12th this year.

As a reminder, 230,000 people lost their lives and another million were left homeless as a result of the massive 7.0 quake. So what is it like now?

From watching the footage supplied to us 60 days after the quake hit there are a few things that stand out.

First, EVERYONE has been affected by this quake. Every person interviewed lost a close family member or loved one that day. People are still living in tents and often those are not waterproof. One man is watching over 30 children and puts them in cars to keep them dry. That is the day to day now. Now the work of tearing down the thousands of buildings that are unsafe and trying to rebuild homes and buildings goes on a little at a time.

Second, this crisis is putting even more stress on the country because of the dramatic job loss. Businesses, hospitals, schools, etc. are destroyed and can no longer support employees. By way of explaination to show just how this "domino" effect works lets look at a seminary in Port Au Prince.

The Seminary (or any school for that matter) needs to be rebuilt. The way to earn the money to do so, is to have students enrolled. Students need funds to be able to attend classes but lost their job because businesses collapsed in the quake. The businesses are unable to open again because no one has money to purchase goods. And now the schools can't pay teachers it previously employed because of a lack of students and funds. Now those teachers are unemployed. You can see where this is going. The country needs JOBS worse than ever!

Those stories are compelling and useful. But the other message in the interviews is equally compelling. The number of people who have and are crying out to God for his help and salvation at this time in Haiti, is remarkable!

-A student pastor sits on a collapsed house and holds a bible study.

-A church sees over 100 people come to Chirst since the quake.

-A pastor is unable to reach his wife after the quake and as he helps his children get to their home he tells them they must prepare for the worst. Mom is probably dead. When he reaches the house (collapsed) he sees a crowd of people around his wife praising God. She was pulled out alive and before he arrived she had lead 10 people to Christ!

For every story of loss, they counter with a story of God's mercy and grace in the midst of their struggles. Stories that show the Church being unleashed into the community and God being glorified!