Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Little Is A Lot

What if you could save a life by sleeping in a nice bed and taking a hot shower?

Living on the mission field has opened our eyes up to one incredible fact, a fact that is ignored or often spurned by those who have never seen it with their own eyes.

A small amount of money can accomplish a large amount of ministry.  

Let me say that again.  A small amount of money can accomplish a large amount of ministry.

It doesn’t take much to save lives.  It doesn’t take a lot to provide medical attention.  It is a pittance to purchase food.  Clean water for life only cost $50.

A small amount of money can accomplish a large amount of ministry.

There is a second, indisputable fact.  We don’t have the small amount of money needed for this particular project—even if it is proclaiming Christ and saving lives.  You see, the money has been already given to other projects…so that even though my pastor’s child will die without a $300 surgery (true story), we don’t have the $300.  Read that again.  Saving a life of a baby only cost $300…so the baby dies.  (We actually did have the money—but you see my point).  

We don’t have the small amount of money that it takes to carry the gospel to this jungle village. 
We don’t have the small amount of money that it takes to provide clean water.
We don’t have the small amount of money that it takes to purchase seeds for a starving community. 
We don’t have the small amount of money that it takes to buy over the counter medicine for these children…so every injury becomes infected and lifespans are shortened. 

Why don’t we have this money?  Two reasons:

1.  We missionaries have tapped out our donors.  As my momma used to say, “Too many trips to the well dries it up.”  We have limited access to a limited number of faithful donors.  And, most of our donors also support other ministries—so they have an unlimited number of needs asking them for their money.  The people that want to give have given.

2.  People do not give, no matter how great the need is, because we are selfish and greedy. (being honest here)

So, what do you do?

We have decided to start small businesses that donate all of their profit to these needs.  It is called Business on Purpose. Remember my first question: What if you could save a life by sleeping in a nice bed and taking a hot shower? The answer is that you can.

The Harvest Guesthouse (see our Facebook Page—Like it.) is our first Business on Purpose.  It is a place where short term teams and missionaries can stay while they are in Cochabamba.  It is NICE.  The cool thing is that all of the profit, every penny, goes to the Kingdom of God.  

In our first year of operations, we have purchased and distributed over $1,000 worth of food, $1,500 worth of medicine, 11 water filters, and given dental care to over 2,000 people.  We have help pay for school for some poor kids, and provided surgery to a baby.  Yesterday we purchased two outboard motors that will enable our friend Tony Murrin to carry the gospel and aid to river villages along the Amazon River Basin.  Our first year and we used a small amount of money to honestly—no exaggeration—save the lives of children, provide seedlings and plants to five starving communities, and preach the gospel to over 3,000 people.   All of this from giving people a nice bed to sleep in.

We want to start more businesses with the same purpose.  We want them to be wealth generating organizations that provide small amounts of money to change eternity. 

The next two that we want to begin are a language school teaching English to wealthier Bolivians and a hamburger restaurant.  

The only problem is that we need people. We should be able to get our business license in the latter part of 2014.  After that, we need people.  We want to organize and manage our businesses with a North American efficiency.  We need people to come join the team.  How about you come to Bolivia to teach English for a year…or two?  Why not come live here and help run a restaurant that does way more than provide food?  Or….who knows what opportunities there are?

We need people to come join in the fun…and hard work…or reaching the poor for Christ.

So, what are you doing? 

(PS we are still receiving donations for start up expenses.  Holman Account 340 at Ripe For The Harvest)

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Too Much Trash

Two years ago I made the switch.  I bought my first computer, a Windows PC, in 1988.  From that moment on, I was a PC dude.  I purchased PC’s for home, homeschool and office.  However, more and more, I was getting dissatisfied.  My last three Dell PC’s lasted less than two years before a hard drive crash, and Dell Customer Service was horrible.

So I switched.  I went to Mac.  I thought that I had entered computer heaven for the first six months.  Then…things started happening.  I had to run disk utilities a couple of times.  I had to do safe starts.  I polled my Mac friends on Facebook and they all said that this was weird.

My Mac was SLOW.  Sometimes it would not hardly boot up.  Then…out of the blue it started telling me that my 500g hard drive was full.  I looked and I was using 498 gigs.  This was impossible.  I do not game.  I only had basic office software—word processing, presentation, spreadsheets.  I do not download movies.  My Mac is a work computer and nothing else.  At the most I should have a couple of hundred gigs.  So I started looking on line to try and find out what was up.  The cleanup things that I found on line were not helping me.

Then I found it.  In iphoto.  I glanced at my photos and I had…ready for this…almost 18,000 photos.  But there is more.  The photos were not in albums.  They were in the trash.

If you are like me, you take full advantage of digital snapshots and snap away.  At the boy’s track meet, when Ben was jumping in the high jump, I had about 25 shots of every jump. At Christmas I would snap from the moment they began opening until they held the final present in their hand with faces aglow.  Then, after importing them into iphoto, I would eliminate 98% of the photos and just keep the best ones. The others I put into the trash.

What I did not know was that in iphoto, when you delete photos, it doesn’t delete them or move them to the computer trash bin.  It puts them in the iphoto trash bin.  You then have to empty that trash bin into the computer trash bin, and then finally empty the computer trash bin in order to free up space.

Now, lets complicate things.  I could not delete them out of iphoto without my computer locking up…just like a stinking Windows!  After researching on line, I discovered that because I had so many photos, I had to delete them a little at a time…no more than 100.  Do the math.  I had to select 100, say delete forever, yes I am sure and then wait for them to go to the computer trash. Then I had to right click, empty trash, yes, and wait.  Go back to iphoto and do this to 100 more.  I had 18,000!  I ended up spending over two hours deleting photos that I had already thought I had deleted.

Thinking on this, I believe that this is not just a computer issue, it is a spiritual virus as well.  You see, my computer could not process the present things that it needed to, it could not solve present problems and come up with present solutions…because there was so much trash from the past in it’s memory.  

We do that.  It happens in two different ways…and a third one as we get older.  

The first is that of unforgiven sins and wrongs against us.  People hurt us.  There is no denying it, people can be really mean.  From intentional sexual and physical abuse to unintentional absenteeism, we can be hurt by parents.  Friends, school mates, and other people can say and do mean things to us.  They hurt us.  Deeply.  So, what do we do with it?  We store it in our memories and refuse to forgive.  It turns to bitterness.  It locks us up.  It keeps us from doing anything else.  In my case, I had taken photos of a family vacation and could not even put the fun times on my computer because there was so much in my trash.  That is what bitterness does.  It doesn’t let us replace it with good times…as long as it stays there it stops us cold.  Bitterness is an acid that eats through the container that carries it…it destroys our lives.

A second way that the past stops us from the present is when we focus on the good in the past.  We look at how we used to do this or used to do that and think that we still are.  We used to be passionate about Jesus…so we think that we still are passionate about Him.  We used to tell people about the gospel…so we think that we still do.  The truth is, our present is no more than looking at photos of the past.  We look at all that stuff that made us who we are…but somewhere along the line we stopped.  We no longer really do any of the things that we love remembering.  What happened?  

Then, as you get older a change slowly takes place…unless we fight it.  I heard it put this way.  When you spend more time remembering what has happened instead of envisioning what can happen…you have stagnated and become old…even if you are young.  We have a tendency to look at those 18,000 photos and just remember.  We remember the fun. We remember the events.  We remember the people.  But that is all we do, remember.  We are not making any more memories.  Why stop?  

A Bible principle is this: Forget what lies behind and press toward the mark of the price of the high calling of Jesus.   In other words, stop living in the past and start striving for the future!

Don’t let your life become clogged down with what happened…go out and make something happen!

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


“You can have a piece of fruit.”

I cannot tell you how many times a day that I say that.  With 7 kids living at home, someone is always ‘starving’ and wanting to eat before or after meal time.  We have a pretty general rule of thumb.  You can grab a piece of fruit.

The fruit here is fantastic.  I know that in the States whole food is all the rage.  In other countries it is the only option.  Here the fruit is naturally grown and it isn’t cross bred for appearance.  Our fruit may not look good, but it is good.  Case in point.  The first time that Mercy ever visited the States she was two years old.  I took her to an appointment with me at a Starbucks.  I bought her a banana while waiting.  Back story: She eats five or six bananas a day.  

She took one bite out of this delicious looking, vibrant-yellow, perfectly curved banana and handed it back to me.  She said in her two year old Spanglsh way, “No es una banana daddy, no es”.  I told her that it was and gave it back to her.  She tried again.  “It looks like a banana, but no es.”

Here, our fruit is fantastic.  It is sssooo good.  We eat a lot.  We typically buy over 50 lbs a week.  

This past weekend we purchased 100 bananas to take to poor children in the South part of town.  It is for a Bible club that we sometimes help out with.  Because of Carnaval weekend (huge holiday), there were only 60-ish kids there.  So, we had 40 bananas left over in our big Ikea bag that we brought here to use for hauling things.  

I did not know this.  I had no idea that 40 bananas has been put in the back of my SUV in a plastic bag in the hot weather (it is summer here).  I did not know.  I emphasize that I did not know, but after a few days I found out.

The bananas, which had begun as this wonderful, tasty, full of texture gift of God had turned to mush…I began to smell something and as I turned to my Sherlock Holman deductive and investigative skills I quickly discovered a juicy surprise.  The bananas were almost liquified. They were beyond mush. They stunk.  They dripped.  There was about a 1/2 gallon of banana juice in the Ikea bag…hallelujah that it is water proof. 

Fruit wasted.  What is the purpose of fruit?  There are basically two. Fruit provides something that others need—food.  It also provides seeds for the next generation of fruit to provide something that others need.  

Fruit is not made to sit in a bag, nor is its purpose to decorate our home in a nice wicker basket.  Fruit is not designed to sit around and not benefit someone.  Fruit unused spoils.

I think that this is a problem with much of modern Christianity’s teaching.  We have filled our sermons, blogs, and bookstores with self-help materials.  The Christian life is all about, lets be honest for a moment shall we, it is all about being a rich, moral, nice person.  It is all about making my life better.

Before you argue with that, ask yourself:

When was the last time that you helped the needy?
When was the last time that you did something for someone (other than your family) for no other reason except that God loved them?  Something that could not be paid back with anything other than gratitude?

How much of your income do you give away? 

Who do you serve?

When is the last time that you told someone about the Good News of Jesus Christ?

How much of your Christian life/teaching is designed to help you be richer (financial principles), have a better marriage, do a better job parenting, etc.

How much of your energy goes into making your home nicer? 

Be honest.  How much of your life is about you?

God says that we can know ourselves by our fruit.  He gives us fruit.  But that fruit is not for us, it  is for others.  He did not give us fruit so that we could have a spiritual fruit basket on our nice Christian table.  He gave us fruit so our lives can benefit others.

Don’t let your fruit just rot and stink.  

Leia Mais…