All Posts by cmack

2 Biggest Loser’s Winner Announced!

Connie has won…

the ladies’ Biggest Loser’s contest held at the PIONEERS office. Today, during a staff meeting the announcements was made and prizes awarded. The winner was not determined by the “amount of pounds lost” but by the greatest percentage of body weight lost. Connie squeaked into first place losing 12.8% of her body weight. Now Connie and Kelly are planning how they are going to best use the $190 that she won.

Kelly came in 3rd place

…in the men’s division, but he considers himself the real winner – health wise. He lost a total of 8 inches and has only 3 more pounds to lose to make his personal goal. Both of us are now caffeine free and feeling great! We feel ready for our upcoming walkathon…more about that in my next post.

biggest-loser

Combined Weight Loss…

The total weight loss among the 32 particpants was a whopping 311pounds. So there are several of us walking around a few pounds lighter and feeling healthier.

Executive VP, Ted Esler gives Connie Cash Prize for Biggest Loser Contest

Executive VP, Ted Esler gives Connie Cash Prize for Biggest Loser Contest

Have You Ever Seen A Blessing? Meet Stella!

Stella proves that it’s never too late in life to do something that will make a difference in eternity. She is just one of some 20 snow birds – retirees – Saints of the Lord – a true angel in disguise, who is storing up treasures in Heaven doing volunteer work at PIONEERS. She is freely giving of her time, giftings, and talent to see the Kingdom expanded.

Meet Stella our Volunteer

Meet Stella our Volunteer

For the past 11 years Stella and her husband, John, have been spending the winter months of their “golden years,” serving the Lord through volunteer work at PIONEERS. John is a retired business man and his wife is retired from 30 years of corporate work. But they aren’t sitting back in a rocking chair…no sir!

They drive their 5th wheel down from Michigan and camp in our KOA campgrounds. Orlando S.E. / Lake Whippoorwill KOA has over 120 sites for campers and RV’s of all types, and also cabins and cabanas that can be rented. Visit the website link above to see all the amenities and activities that are provided. Below is an example of what you might see at the KOA site.

Sites for all size RV's

Sites for all size RV's are Available, Like this Super Sized Lot

Cabanas to Rent

Cabanas to Rent

Stella Helps Kelly & Connie

Stella has been a real trooper, working in a different department each day. One day she helps at the receptionist desk, another day in the finance department and on Thursdays she has been helping Kelly. She has organized all his files, inventoried my web-store resource materials and helped update our database by making data entries for us. She’s saved us a ton of time and work.

Stella gets Kelly Organized

Stella gets Kelly Organized

Kelly's Office and My Computer & Desk in Background

Kelly's Office & You Can See Connie's Computer & Desk in Background

A Bushel of Blessings

There are many other volunteers working in areas where they can use their own special talents and gifting. Some help in the area of maintenance: building repairs, carpentry, plumbing, painting, & grounds upkeep. Some enter computer data for various departments, do filing, help in the mailroom, housekeeping for our guest rooms, kitchen help for meals, making airport runs to pick up guests and visitors. They all have true servants heart, willing to do whatever the need is.

But it’s not all work for them. They have their share of fun in our rejuvenating Florida sun. They go to the beach, visit tourists sites, fish in our lake, gather for grill outs and picnics and often meet in the Rec hall for games and planned activities.

Fishing, Canoeing, Biking, Swimming, Hot Tub & More

Fishing, Canoeing, Biking, Swimming, Hot Tub & More

Swimming Pool in Walking Distance

Swimming Pool in Walking Distance

Showing Appreciation

This will be Stella & Johns last year as volunteers. After 11 years I think they deserve a break. But, they aren’t leaving us; they will still come down next winter with their 5th wheel and just enjoy themselves.

Thursday night we had a special “Volunteer Appreciation Dinner” for all of them. But truly, there is no way of repaying them for all they do for us. Those rewards will come later in the form of a crown with many jewels.

1 Yard Sale – Great Weather – Great Neighbors – Great Sales

THE YARD SALE:

Well, we blew up the balloons, laid out our meager items and they came to buy. The weather couldn’t have been more agreeable, maybe a little less windy but who’s complaining with sunshine and 80 degrees. So how much did we make????


You can see in the photo below that we didn’t have a lot to sell and nothing was marked over $5.00. Most things were $1.00 or 50 cents. Yet, we still made $55.00. The best part was that we only took a few items home, which was our objective…unloading stuff to create more space. No, let me correct that, the best part was meeting so many of our neighbors. We couldn’t believe how many people came to look and buy. We started at 9 am and packed up at 1:00, plenty of time to still enjoy the rest of our afternoon. Kelly even got in a little radio time (amateur radio).


Kelly - the great salesman!

Kelly - the great salesman!

Monday is the end of our office “Biggest Loser’s Contest”. So, stay tuned for final results. You’ll see them posted here. I’m shooting for the ladies first prize.


Cardiologist gives Kelly an A+

The doctor told Kelly today at his annual check up to: “Keep doing what ever it is your doing, because it’s working!” What was he doing? The Atkins diet & exercise. What was the issue? Just 3 months ago… his cholesterol had shot up to: 275; HDL: 49, LDL: 161; triglycerides: 327 (ideal-150), not to mention a return to hypoglycemic symptoms. And, today he was told that his EKG was excellent. God is good! Compare December’s numbers with these below:

Today’s numbers :

  • Cholesterol 122 (flagged for being too low – ha!)
  • Triglycerides: 133
  • HDL: 52
  • LDL: 43 (bad cholesterol)

Update on our Biggest Loser message:

Today, Kelly weighed in at the doctor’s office at 172. That means he has lost 23 lbs so far. As for me, I have lost about 13 lbs.

The contest ends March 8th but the dietary routine will remain the same for us after that great doctor visit. Now it’s time for my check up. My last cholesterol reading was up also, so I’m waiting to see if I will have similar good news from my doctor.

3 QST: HamCation, HamCation

QST is amateur radio talk for: Attention – Bulletin; It is a Ham radio Q signal that is “calling all Radio Amateur’s” attention to a “bulletin”. Thus, my title QST: HamCation…

If you did not attend the Orlando HamCation held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds last weekend, then you missed a perfect opportunity to become submerged in the world of Ham Radio and electronics. It was a first for me and I was blown away. There were easily over 5000 people there, possibly more since they had 10,000 last year. These ham-ventions are held all over the US and this one is the largest in the Southeast.

Yellow hat...Is Kelly Smiling? You Bet!

Yellow hat...Is Kelly Smiling? You Bet!

WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

There were over a hundred commercial vendors inside 3 large buildings enticing “hams” with the latest and greatest electronic devices. But that paled to where the real action was taking place. Outside there was one of the largest fairground tailgate areas around. There were rows & rows of RV’s, trucks, and cars with their tailgates or awnings opened, and swap tables filled with amateur radios, parts, computer hardware, software and more. It was like the biggest ham & electronic flea market ever, with prize drawings & food hawkers! Kelly was in 7th heaven and we soaked it all in.

NOTE: You can find Kelly in all the photos by the bright yellow ball cap he is wearing.

"Let me see, what do I get first?" he said rubbing his hands together with anticipation.

"Let me see, what do I get first?" he said, rubbing his hands together with anticipation.

Something Has Caught Kelly's Attention

Something Has Caught Kelly's Attention, "Hmmm, do I need that?

There Was Something For All Ages

There Was Something For All Ages

The Tailgate Vendors Went On For Blocks

Outside: The Tailgate Vendors Went On For Blocks (Kelly on right)

The Tailgate Flee Market: "This is just what I want at a great Price."

The Tailgate Flee Market: "This is just what I want at a great Price."

THE HIGHLIGHT

One of the highlights of the weekend for Kelly was when we attended a Sat. morning forum presented by  Buddipole Antennas. Kelly had just bought one the week before and the presenter was the designer himself, Budd Drummond. Kelly would not only get the inside scoop on its use, but also get to meet the designer. And, it was better than that. When Budd heard Kelly had just bought one, he brought him up front, explained all the intricacies to him and had Kelly assist him with setting up his products.

Kelly Meets Budd Drummond, Designer of "Buddipoles"

Kelly Meets Budd Drummond, Designer of "Buddipoles"

Budd Drummond has Kelly Assist Him In Set-up

Budd Drummond has Kelly Assist Him In Set-up

The Buddipole goes Segway Mobile

The Buddistick goes Segway Mobile

What’s a Buddipole? It’s an antenna system designed to be lightweight and compact for portable operations, easily fitting in a travel bag, and still not compromise on performance. Perfect for what Kelly needs.

Compact Case With Buddipole

Compact Case With Buddipole

The Compact Antenna Fully Expanded - Ready to Go

The Compact Antenna Fully Expanded - Ready to Go

It was a great weekend and we truly enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t win any of the drawings, but hey, there is always next year.

2 “MISSIONS COST GOD HIS SON”

THE QUSTION IS:

Are we “asleep in the bottom of the boat” like Jonah, and “is the church failing in our mandate“?

Missions Cost God His Son was the theme for our “Global Impact Celebration” missions’ conference held at Pine Castle United Methodist Church, where Kelly and I are members. (See photos at end of this posting.) Keynote Speaker J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, author, award-winning journalist, and ordained minister delivered a challenging and thought provoking message from Jonah 1: 1-5.

JONAH:

Rev. Grady spoke about Jonah being in a deep sleep in the bottom of a ship, when God sent a violent storm that threatened to break up that ship. He shared that the storm came, because of a disobedient servant (Jonah). Rev. Grady related this to; ‘We are in a storm today, not just because of the politicians & Wall Street, but also because the church is asleep in the bottom of the boat’.

THE CHURCH TODAY:

He explained that the church has been given the Words of Life – life saving equipment – and we are failing in our mandate to take it out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the Ends of the Earth. We are keeping it to ourselves. God wants our GPS systems to be reprogrammed so we can be heading in the right direction. If we obey, we will see our ship taken to the shore of Nineveh and we will take life to the people.

YOU DECIDE IF THE QUESTION ABOVE IS TRUE

Rev. Grady’s serman ties in with a webinar Kelly listened to about Significant Facts & Trends in the North American Missions Movement (NAMM). The researcher was Michael Jaffarian, Senior Research Associate for Operation World. Here is just one area that he spoke about:

FACTS:

The NAMM is a $6 billion industry with 822 separate organizations;
Those 822 divide into 5 major kinds of mission agencies:
Denominational
Founder  Based
Task Based
Mom & Pop
International Expansion of North American Ministries

LENGTH OF SERVICE:

  • There are about 43,000 N. American long-term missionaries, numbers growing, modestly. (Length of service-more than 4 years.)
  • There are about 8,000 N. American middle-term missionaries, numbers may be declining. (Length of service-less than 4 years.)
  • There are about 150,000 N. American short-term missionaries, numbers growing strongly. (length of service-two weeks up to one year.)

TREND:

The best estimate of the number of American short term mission-trip participants: 1.5 million. (length: 2 weeks or shorter)

The North American churches are sending more than sixty times as many mission-trip participants overseas as long-term missionaries.

Imagine, if an average of $2,000 is spent to send those 1.5 million: that = $300 billion compared to $6 billion given toward long-term workers. Would we consider this a good use of our missions funds?

RESULTS OF TREND?

GROWTH:

Strong growth in short-term missions & mission trips has not produced strong growth in long-term missions. (The number of long-term missionaries is not even keeping up with the rate of national growth.)

GIVING:

It was thought short-term trips might give participants a heart to give to the missions’ program. Research shows that those who are giving, are giving to others going on short-term trips. Again, long-term missions has not benefited from this program.

Mr Jaffarian ended on a positive note: “Trend is not destiny.”       The direction of God trumps the direction of trends.”

This webinar was sponsored by: The Mission Exchange

Photos below are from our Global Impact Celebration – Missions Conference:

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Wed Night Children's Program

Wed Night Children's Program

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Kelly & Connie in Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

Kelly & Connie in Indonesian Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

1 Biggest Loser Contest

Kelly & I have joined the office “Biggest Loser Contest.” We have 35 participating – with 22 women and 13 men. We each paid $10.00 so the cash reward for the women will be $220 and the men, $130. The results for Kelly and me after the first week were incredible…read on.

biggest-loserIt wasn’t difficult to decide to do this diet. Kelly had slipped back into the same symptoms that brought us off the field. That was scary! The Atkins diet made a difference then, and it looks like it is working again.

Kelly Has Reason To Celebrate! After just one week his blood sugar level fell below 100 for the first time in years! Hallelujah! And all because he corrected his carb intake. In One Week! And, he feels soooo much better! icon-carb-counter

Since then his blood sugar has been as low as 86. As for me, I won the first week of “Who lost the most weight percentage wise”. I lost 6.5 lbs. that week. As for the rest of our office group – 84.5 pounds total, were lost the 1st week.

Kelly's Ham Radio Call Sign

Kelly's Coffee Head & His Ham Radio Call Sign

Coffee Head Is Gone! The worst part was going off of caffeine cold turkey. I know, we should have done it gradually, but we didn’t.  We paid for it too. The 2nd & 3rd days brought on horrible headaches and body aches. Wow, this was an addiction! The 4th day was a break through; our heads cleared and we started to feel human again. The best part though was that by the 4th day, the hunger pains and cravings between meals was completely gone. Do you know how freeing that is?

OK, we will keep you informed of how well we do. I believe the contest ends around March 9th. But since it’s not about the contest or money, but eating right and feeling good, we plan to work toward making this a “life-style” of being healthy.

9 “K4UPG” (Kelly for Unreached People Groups)

Hurray! Kelly did pass his test and was able to renew his old Amateur Radio license. He has new “call letters” now, “K4UPG,” as you saw in the title. If you understand the kind of missions work we do, you would agree K4UPG is very apropos for him. Possibly there will be opportunities to share about the Lord to other “hams” when they ask him about his call letters.

As Kelly reacquaints himself with his old hobby of 30 some years ago, he has had to reacquire various items, parts and tools of the trade. EBay has been a great resource and it is easy on the pocketbook.

This last weekend we had our first Amateur Radio outing so Kelly could test his radio. Our housing community has a 30 acre lake just a couple of blocks from us with a small and simple park area overlooking the lake. (Simple means: 3 weather worn park benches & 2 small picnic tables.) It is a very “open” area without electrical wires or tall buildings that would interfere with his reception, ideal for what he needed.

The Lake

The Lake

It was extremely windy so we had to set up in an area a little more protected by trees. “Set up” meant, stringing his antenna coax between two trees about 60 feet apart. And, the higher up the antenna, the better the reception. With the wind, this was a challenge!

Kelly, Throwing The Line Over The Limb

Kelly, Throwing The Line Over The Limb

Ally-oop, And He Makes It Over The Limb

Ally-oop, And He Makes It Over The Limb

The 2nd Tree about 60 ft Away From The First

The 2nd Tree about 60 ft Away From The First

Kelly Attaches Antenna Ends To The 2 Lines

Kelly Attaches Antenna Ends To The 2 Lines

Since last weekend, he has been researching different ways to get his antenna strung between the trees without throwing his arm out of joint. He has come up with some ingenious ways, so the next post about his radio adventures will probably introduce you to one of these.

For this outing, he was testing his transceiver and mostly just listening. (He’s still working on the “tuna can” transmitter, waiting on parts. NOT- kelly it is done!) With the receiver he was able to “listen” to the chatter over the airwaves. He actually heard other amateur operators transmitting from the Falkland Islands, Costa Rica and from different states all over the US. The day was a success.

The Alcov Protected From The Wind By A Tree Line

The Alcove Protected From The Wind By A Tree Line

Close Up, And He's Getting A Signal!

Close Up, And He's Getting A Signal!

Look Close: The Antenna Wire Is Hanging From the Line Above

Look Close: The Black Antenna Wire Is Hanging From the Line Above In Font Of Kelly

Kelly's View Of The Lake & My Bench Between The 2 Trees

Kelly's View Of The Lake & My Park Bench Between The 2 Trees

While Kelly was having fun I was doing one of my favorite things, sitting on one of those weather worn park benches reading a good book and trying to keep warm. The book was “The Lotus and the Cross” by Ravi Zacharias, which I highly recommend.

Self Portrait: Connie Sitting On The Park Bench And It's Windy & Cold

Self Portrait: Connie Sitting On The Park Bench And It's Windy & Cold

Connie's View Of The Lake On Park Bench As She Reads

Connie's View Of The Lake On Park Bench As She Reads

It was a great weekend and we both enjoyed that day. We look forward to many more.

Our Largest Group Of New Missionary Candidates In 9 Years

God’s call to fulfill His promise to see a people from every tribe, nation and tongue brought into his Kingdom has not gone unheeded (Rev. 7:9). Forty-five new missionary candidates attended our January Candidate Orientation Program this past week (Jan. 4-9). It happens five times a year so this is just the beginning. What a great way to start the new year of 2009!

cop-jan-08-group-photo-3

I never tire of seeing these “called out ones” of all ages, from all over the country, stream into our training center. Each one has their own story of how God has touched their lives and brought them to this point. We feel privileged to hear these stories first hand and be a part of seeing their dream start to come to fruition.

Take for example, Nazir (not his real name), a 67 year old US citizen from Pakistan. He came to the US over 30 years ago with his family as a teacher. Now this guy has a story! He proves it is never too late to answer God’s call.

3 Jaclyn says: “YAY…YYYYYYYYY!!! STORY’08 WAS AWESOME!!!”

Christa says: “WOW! Last night was amazing! I never felt that close to God. It was the ideal way to start off the New Year! I loved Story ’08! It was great to hear from all these different missionaries and to meet new people.”

Those are quotes or “reviews” from a couple of attendees at Story ’08 which I have copied from our  Story 08 Facebook page.

000-story-08-marquee-promo-000

The main sessions were held in the sanctuary where a world globe helped us all focus on the needs of the world. Worship was sweet and the speakers were great.

Sanctuary with World Globe

Pine Castle United Methodist Sanctuary with World Globe

The crowd was great, some 300+ in attendance with the majority coming from out of state. Just take a look at the young people in these photos:

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

Kelly and I were in charge of book sales and they were brisk. It looks like we sold over $8000 in mission’s books and resources.

One such book table full of resource material

One such book table full of resource material

Kelly runs the cash register

Kelly runs the cash register

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

Taking A Break Between Sessions

Taking A Break Between Sessions

We finished the event off by bringing in the New Year with a “Concert of Worship and Prayer.” It started at 9 PM and closed at 12:30 AM on Jan 1st.

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

We took the globe off its stand and everyone gathered around to pray for the world.

Praying For The World

Praying For The World

Then, just before midnight we started passing the air-filled globe from one side to the other. It was a blast. It was also “heavier” than I thought it would be.

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

Hands Go Up and Globe Is Passed Overhead

Hands Go Up and All Join in as the Globe Is Passed Overhead

Here are a few more quotes:

Lesley: What an amazing week! Thank you, Pioneers, and all the people who worked to pull it off! What a great way to ring in the New Year…thanks for the experience. I hope there is a Story 09!

Irma from NY: STORY ’08 was awesome. I’ve been so blessed this week and am glad I came to the conference. Thank you Pioneers!!! God bless~

Emily (student at TCU): Thank you so much, Story’08 Crew!!! I know it was a ton of work, and it was such a blessing for me to learn from y’all and watch your example lived out in front of us. Thank you so much for the incredible amount of yourselves you poured out for us!! It was such a privilege to be around you, and I’m challenged to pray and seek hard to follow your examples in Christ. THANK YOU.

Ted (Valencia Com. College) Story 09…… Story 09….. Story 09…..

I don’t know if there will be a “Story 09”, only time will tell.  Kelly and I were exhausted when it was all over, but it was worth it!