Ice Bucket Challenge

Mare Cris and I have accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge!  This one has personal meaning to me because we have a family member who is battling ALS.   Here’s the video:

You can help ALS research by donating to or joining the Baker’s Dozen team. CLICK HERE for more information.

Posted in My Journey | Tagged , | Comments Off

Eight Twenty Eight Book Review

eighttwentyeightA friend of mine blessed me with a complimentary copy of Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up.  Here’s my review:

This book is the story of Ian and Larissa, a couple who have inspired millions through this video testimony.

Ian and Larissa’s story started in a fairly typical manner.  They met during their college years, and a simple friendship began to transform in to something much more significant.  They began dating, and each of them sensed God was as work in this newfound love.   Ian began working to save for an engagement ring, and it was only a matter of time before he would propose marriage.

But their lives were interrupted by a horrific automobile accident that left Ian with severe brain injuries.  Larissa was told her boyfriend was not likely to live.  Ian did miraculously survive, but their future together was anything but certain.  Their relationship, if it survived at all, would never be exactly what either had planned.

Eight Twenty Eight takes the reader through Larissa and Ian’s extraordinary journey (through her perspective).  She watches Ian fight his way back from the brink of death and the darkness of a comatose state.  She reflects on memories of their courtship, all the while wondering if she will ever be able to relate to him again in a meaningful way (doctors warned that he may not even remember her).

I would say their story has a “happy ending,” but I don’t think that expression quite does it justice.  Larissa’s commitment to Ian becomes something more costly and beautiful than she ever would have imagined.

Read this book–it’s definitely worth your time.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged | Comments Off

Shawn Davis, my friend

My friend Shawn Davis passed away this morning. I rejoice that he has left the confines of a diseased earthly body to be with Jesus. But I’m sad to lose a one-of-a-kind friend.

I met Shawn back in 2000 while I was living in New Orleans (I had moved to NOBTS to finish my studies). He didn’t exactly fit the mold of a seminary student—most of us don’t have tattoos and multiple piercings. But I found him to be one of the most genuine, Christ-centered people I had ever met. It taught me a much-needed lesson about judging by external appearances. I realized Shawn wasn’t trying to be “cool” or “relevant”—he was just being himself. I think the best word to describe him would be outrageous: Shawn’s personality was even more colorful than the ink embedded in his skin.

Shawn, Ryan (another seminary buddy), and I had some great times in New Orleans. Our conversations included everything from serious theological discussions to jokes of forming a pro wrestling tag-team. Thinking back on these memories brings a smile to my face.

I left New Orleans in 2001. I saw Shawn and Karen (his wife) a time or two after that and we kept in touch sporadically while I was in the Philippines. We reconnected on Facebook a couple of years ago.

Shawn and I talked for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago. His voice was weak, but he told me how honored he was to be my friend and how proud he was of me. He challenged me to continue preaching the gospel before saying goodbye.

The honor was mine, Shawn. See you on the other side.

ShawnKarenKageNote: Shawn leaves behind a wife (Karen) and a young son (Kage). The Harvest Fellowship Community Church in San Antonio has created the Davis Fund project if you would like to help this family. Here are the instructions:

You can give online by clicking here and setting up an account. Enter your information and you will be taken to the giving screen. Follow the directions on the screen. At step 2 make sure you choose Davis Fund Project. Finish the steps adding your payment information. You can even setup scheduled recurring gifts if you want. 100% of the gifts designated to the Davis Fund go to that project. You will receive a year end tax statement automatically if you give in excess of $100.

You can also give by check/mail:
Davis Fund Project
c/o Harvest Fellowship Community Church
PO Box 700447
San Antonio, Texas 78270-0447

Be sure to write Davis Fund in the memo.

 

Posted in My Journey | Comments Off

Two-Year Anniversary: Daylight Dreams

My Dream

My Dream

It’s been twenty-four months since I watched Mare Cris walked down the aisle. Her radiant beauty filled the room as she held back tears. She was overwhelmed with emotion as a room full of loved ones stood in her honor.

I was smiling and quietly joking with Erwin, my best man. Typical behavior for a groom, I suppose. But part of me still couldn’t believe this wedding was actually happening. It all seemed too good to be true, as though any moment I’d wake to realize it was all a dream.

Two years have flown by. My dreams are occasionally haunted by images of life without (or before) her.  I’ll subconsciously re-live my days as a romantically frustrated bachelor (or even my student years–those dreams seem to happen more frequently now that I’ve moved back to my home town). I’m always relieved to wake up and find my wife lying next to me.

Life is sweet when you wake to see your most beautiful dream.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.

–Proverbs 18:22

Posted in Married Life | 1 Comment

Six Month Update

I don’t guess I’ve said much about our journey since the post on reverse culture shock.  Mare Cris and I have been here in Alabama, USA for six months (as of yesterday).  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Winter Fashion

Winter Fashion

Staying Warm

After 11 years in the tropics I was looking forward to the variation in weather that comes with the fall and winter seasons. Be careful what you wish for–we’ve experienced some record-breaking low temperatures.  Mare Cris saw snow for the first time while we were in Pigeon Forge (TN) helping with a youth retreat.  She also loves seeing me wear something besides shorts and white t-shirts (my garb of choice in the Philippines). I only sweat when I go to the gym these days, and this is a welcomed change of pace.

Ministry

Mare Cris and I visited several churches in and around the Birmingham area last year.  It was an honor to preach, worship, and in some cases catch up with old friends.

This month I started a new phase of ministry at First Baptist Chalkville (located about ten minutes from where we live).  Their pastor resigned recently (to pursue another ministry opportunity) and I’m preaching/teaching there while they search for a new one.  My wife and I are delighted to have a place to serve!

Spending Time with Family

Mare Cris' 27th Birthday Celebration (with our nephews)

Mare Cris’ 27th Birthday Celebration (with our nephews)

I’ve really been blessed with the way my family has welcomed Mare Cris.  My nephews are crazy about her (who can blame them?).  I’ve spend most of the past eleven years on the other side of the globe, so being with my family through the recent holiday season was a great joy.

Waiting

The most challenging part of our lives right now is living in limbo.  We believe the next step for us is for me to become a full-time pastor.  We just don’t know know exactly when or where this will happen.  We could end up settling down here in the Birmingham area or moving to another state altogether.   We are patiently waiting and trusting God to reveal these things to us in His perfect timing.

Posted in Cultural Issues, Married Life, My Journey, Pictures | Comments Off