Category Archives for "Family & Friends"

1 Books, books and more books:

At 7:00 pm we closed the book table, did an inventory and by 9:00 pm had all the remaining books packed up and ready to ship back home. When we closed out the cash register, the sales for the day showed we had been successful in moving a lot of inventory into peoples hands. We were all quite pleased with the results, considering the current state of our economy.

Kelly and I were attending the Mission ConneXion Northwest, sponsored by the northwest area churches and held this year in Vancouver, WA. It’s a two day event challenging the Church to fulfill the Great Commission. We were there assisting Ken, our ACMC team member, with his book sales for the conference.

Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference
Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference

This event, with its 125 workshops, four leading keynote speakers, and inspirational worship sessions had something for everyone. The attendance count hasn’t been posted yet, but we are estimating around 6 to 7 thousand may have attended. (While it’s not as many as the 15,000 that has attended in previous years, it was a good attendance for the times.)

One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.
One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.

About 80 missions agencies set up exhibits providing information about work being done in countries around the world.

Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.
Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.

In between workshops and general sessions, the book table was a favorite gathering place where a wide variety of books about missions could be found.

004 Book Table Crowd2 028

We had 6 long tables stacked with books, videos, and other resources all pertaining to missions.

There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
This young lady couldn't resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
This young lady couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
Connie explains the plot found on this DVD of "The Enemy God".
A customer asks Connie to explain the plot to this DVD movie, “The Enemy God” that was made by our Denver film team.
Kelly rings up another sale.
Kelly rings up another sale.

We love getting mission materials into peoples hands and to the churches. It was a great weekend for us in, even if it was rainy and cold. We even got to have lunch with a couple we hadn’t seen since 1986, back when we were living in Portland. Friends and missions, what a combination.

Reflections:

With the start of a new year, many of us are reflecting on the past year as we look to ‘what’s next’. I’m thinking back over three main events from the last 3 months of 2009.

The first event happened in October when we broke our record for ‘the number of new missionary going through our training program in one year’.  Our 5th and last orientation program for the year had 29 new candidates bringing the years total to 158.

OCT COP 2009

The second event was hosting this group of pastors and church leaders (shown below) for our November Church Partner Forum.

Even though it takes a lot of hard work to put it all together, it’s one of my most favorite events. The positive response and feed back from the participants makes it all worth while.

Church Partner Forum November 2009

Church Partner Forum November 2009

The third event, that just ended on New Year’s Eve, was Urbana 2009. What? You’ve never heard of Urbana?

Urbana logo

Upwards to 20,000 young people (ages 17-30) attend this student missions conference sponsored every 3 years by InterVaristy Christian Fellowship. It started in 1946, and from 1948 to 2003 was held at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana… thus the name “Urbana”. Since 2006 it has been held at the St. Louis Conference Center in Missouri.

It’s amazing to see this many young people give up 5 days of their Christmas break for the opportunity to see, hear and respond to God’s global mission.

Kelly and I had the privilege to attend back in 1991, and were amazed by the zeal and commitment of these young people whose hearts are turned toward God and missions.

PI Urbana 2009

Pioneers sent a team from our office to represent our agency. The photo above was taken by one of our co-worker showing our world globe and Pioneers’ sign hanging over the heads of the participants.

Yes, 2009 has been a great year and we have great expectations for 2010. Our prayer for you is that 2010 will be a blessed year for you and your family. Happy New Year!

7 Holidays and Vacation

It was a great Thanksgiving and vacation! I know, everyone is already focusing on Christmas but I haven’t blogged for a while so I’m playing catch up. We tried something new on this trip…we “drove” from Orlando to Tennessee, instead of flying. Fourteen hours of driving in two days, at our age…need I say more? But it was all worth it.

What really made our trip great is that Kelly and I each got to do something we  enjoy. For me it was, Thanksgiving with my family, for Kelly it was spending quality radio time in my parent’s back yard.

Lots of food Karen Dad Mom(1)

Mom roasted a beautiful 22 lb turkey and Dad did the carving. But that wasn’t all, my brother brought 3 turkeys, so we had deep fried turkey, smoked turkey, roasted turkey and all the trimmings.

Harmon Family Turkey Day 2009 (2)

I believe their were around 22 of us. The best part was that we were all able to sit together in one room.

Family means little ones who get all the attention

Family means little ones who get all the attention

Since we were all in one room, no one was sent off to another room to sit at the ‘little kids’ table. It really was one big happy gathering, kids and all. (Of course we all know that the little kids are the best part anyway.)

Girl talk

Girl talk

The next day, when the big event was over, there was plenty of time to talk and visit with family. (This is me, my sister and sister-in-law getting in some good girl talk with Mom.) It was a great relaxing weekend.

Kelly radio bkyd

And as I mentioned, Kelly got his quality ‘radio time’. The best part for him was that he was able to put his antenna up in my parents back yard and leave it up the whole time we were there (something he can’t do in our condo setup in Florida). Each day he could just walk outside with his radio and start transmitting.

Kelly radio  deck

Of course this Florida resident wasn’t quite use to the below 40 degree weather, but it didn’t stop him. Even when the rain came, he just moved up to the deck and continued his fun.

4 Home Again In Indiana

Pumpkins on door stoops, fall colors of red and orange and willy-worms slowly crawling across the country roads, yes it was Indiana in October. And, I hardly noticed the low 40 and 50 degree temperatures. Well that may not be totally true, but it did feel like “home”. That’s because our Bicknell friends at Word of Life Church always treat us like family.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita. We ate at the Kerusso Coffee Shop, an outreach ministry of the church.

The missions conference was great, and we’re definitely a good 6 lbs heavier from all the down home cooking of Aunt Rita and the other great cooks from the church.

The theme for their conference was “Show Them Jesus” and the youth did an outstanding job with several dramas.

Some of the youth with their youth leader

Here are some of the Youth Drama Team called, "Impact"!

Getting to know our friends better

Getting to know our friends better

Even though it was a short trip we got to spend a little bit of time with Kelly’s mom and some friends of the family. Kelly’s brother and sisters will appreciate these photos since they didn’t get to join us.

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl)

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl in Blue)

Bezy grp photo (2)

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter, "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

More family friends

All in all, it was a great trip. Of course, Kelly says the one thing that really topped it off was our flight home by way of Chicago O’Hare Airport. Why? Because he got to eat his Chicago Style Hot Dog, and he loved enjoyed every bite.

Kelly Enjoys His Chicago Style Hot Dog

4 Kelly’s Bear of a Day

Grrrrrrrr. That’s what I heard all day Friday as Kelly prepared for Saturday and what he knew was going to be a bear of a day. As a matter of fact he turned into a Polar Bear on Saturday. Not just any Polar Bear, but he became #173 Polar Bear—as part of his radio buddies’ “Polar Bear QRP” Day.

Polar Bear Day happens only during months that end in “bear” as in Octo’bear’ and Novem’bear’, at least that’s the way it was explained to me. Anyway, I haven’t mentioned much about his ham radio hobby so I thought I’d share a couple of photos with you.

Kelly -Lake-Fredrica backgrround

He set up his antenna and radio in our neighborhood lakeside park. He talked to a few “bears” from other states and even heard some Europe stations, a few German and Scandanavians also.

Radio on Table

This is his portable radio set up.

Kelly at the table

And here you can see Kelly tuning in to get a clear transmission. He had a great Polar Bear day and can ‘bearly’ wait for the next one.  For more details you can visit his radio blog at:    K4UPG.com

4 It Happened on a Sunday!

Two weeks back, our church service at Pine Castle United Methodist Church (PCUMC) started as it normally does, with praise and worship, followed by the offering. But ‘normal’ stopped there. An outsider might have been shocked by what happened next. We all got up and left the sanctuary, some 400 of us. We walked out the front door.

Let me back up and explain a few things. The situation with our economy is affecting everyone in one way or another. Our church is among those to be counted as struggling to stand our ground. So much of what has happened in this past year and a half would discourage most, and yet we continue to see the Lord at work in many different ways.

In February 2008 I showed this picture of our church in one of my first blogs.

PCUMC SanctuaryNew Worship Center (on the right) featuring a 1,250 seat sanctuary is nearing completion. Our original sanctuary is on left side of road.

And then in an April blog, I announced that on Easter Sunday we had moved into our new sanctuary.

PCUMC front

Pastor Blake in The Master's House

As you can imagine, this beautiful building has become a bit of a financial challenge for us during these hard times.

A lot of hope had been placed on selling the old sanctuary, but we all know what has happened to Florida’s real-estate business. A deal that had been in the works in early 2008; crumpled by the end of that summer. Everything seemed to dry up after that and looked hopeless.

And then all at once in June of this year, we had an offer from a group to “lease with an option to buy”. In July our church membership, through our Charge Conference, voted unanimously to accept the offer. By August the members of Greater Trinity Baptist Fellowship Church of Orlando were moved in and starting services. We are thrilled with our new neighbors. They have joined us in many of our activities, like our Pot Luck Night and our ladies functions.

So, when we walked out of our Sanctuary two Sundays ago, all 400 of us marched across the street and joined our brothers and sisters in their Celebration Service. It was a grand time.  A Baptist Church and a Methodist Church, one African American and one not so much, rejoiced in what the Lord had done. Hallelujah.

I forgot to take our camera but Kelly came to the rescue with his cell phone. He was able to capture this shot of the two Pastor’s wives standing in front of their husbands who are giving each other a brotherly hug.

Celebration Service

ZC-SHILOHMISSBAPTISTPastorJim2009

Our two pastors are becoming good friends and we all look forward to getting to know each other better. Both churches hope to find shared projects that will allow us to work together for the good of our community.

2 Destination Naples, Florida

How does the phrase; ‘swaying coconut palms, sweeping white-sand beaches and spectacular sunsets,’ grab you? Well, that’s what we found on our recent trip to Naples, Florida.  We were attending a regional event held by the ministerial association that ordained Kelly.

It was a much needed and timely weekend get-a-way for us. The meetings were refreshing, the food delicious and our accommodations great. As you can see by the first photo, Kelly was able to set up his ham radio from the balcony of our hotel room. From this balcony, I got some sun, he got some radio time…and we both enjoyed the view!

Hotel Room Balcony

Hotel Room Balcony

The highlight of the trip had to be the sunset dinner cruise they arranged for all of us to take on the Naples Princess Yacht. This is one of those things we never would have done on our own, so it was a real treat.

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

We sailed out of Naples bay and cruised into the Gulf of Mexico. From the bow of the deck we could see the dolphins playing and the multimillion-dollar homes of Port Royal lining the shore. Unbelievable!

Mansions in the Bay

Mansions in the Bay

We were served a great dinner inside where it was nicely air-conditioned, and then went back out on the deck to watch the beautiful sunset and enjoy the fresh air.

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

After dinner we went out on the deck for a better view of the water and sunset.

It Was A Beautiful Sunset Set!

It Was A Beautiful Sunset!

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

What was striking was to watch the sunset change as the sun got closer and closer to the horizon.

Sunset as we enter the Gulf

Sunset as we enter the Mouth of the Gulf

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Our regional director hosted the event at his church and his staff definitely took care of all of us with excellence.

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

As you can imagine, we can’t wait to find out what the next regional event will be like. They set the bar pretty high so it will be hard to top this one.

From the frying pan into the fire…

From the frying pan…immediately following having “all those Edgers” invade our campus (see previous post on Aug. 9 for that story)…

…we jumped into the fire…with a campus full of new missionary candidates who were going through their first round of training and orientation called, “Candidate Orientation Program” or “COP” for short.  One event following so closely on the heels of a previous event keeps all of us on our toes, but it’s always worth it.

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

We had 44 attending our COP, which means we had to “pack them in,” to make room for everyone. It’s a great problem to have. In this group, the youngest was 18 years old. She’s going to the field for one year and then back to the US to attend college. After getting her degree, she plans to go back to the field full time. The oldest was a couple who said, “retirement is not in our vocabulary”. The husband is 78 and the wife is 68. What an inspiration for all of us to see their desire to “finish well” in their golden years.

It’s Been a Great Summer!

“My life is changed forever and I will never be the same.” Her eyes filled with tears as she choked back the emotions that were building. “My expectations didn’t even come close to preparing me for this.” I handed her a tissue and waited for her to continue. I knew what was coming…I never tire of hearing their stories about how God showed up, usually in some unusual and unexpected way.

This is an Edge worker from a previous trip.

This is not Patricia, but an Edge worker from another team.

Patricia had just returned from living 6 weeks in another culture as part of our “Edge” program. Her experience had been a positive one, which she felt might be one more confirmation of her call to go long term. My role was to debrief her, which means I helped her process her summer experience.

She was just one of some 126 young college age adults giving up their summer break to work and learn alongside our career church-planters working with the least reached people around the world.

Our hope is that the participants in this program will grow in their passion for God, view of the world, and understanding of themselves as they learn and serve.

  • The first 4 days of their trip involves cross-cultural training and team building just before leaving the states.

    (Around 8 of the participants received their orientation in England with our British mobilization base located there.)

  • Once overseas, they live with a missionary family or possibly in the home of a national for 4, 6 or 8 weeks depending on their destination.

  • And finally they return to the US via Orlando, to go through the debriefing process.

What does 112 young college kids look like when you get them all together for orientation? Here’s a photo that says it all.

Summer Edge 2009

3 A Visitor Comes to Our House

I mentioned in my previous blog that we were in for a treat. That treat arrived on schedule as planned, a week ago last Tuesday. And as you will see from our photos, we have been enjoying ourselves. I’ll just give you the highlights and you’ll see for yourself.

Our visitor is Kelly’s mom, Jean. The first week was especially enjoyable because she got to join us at the office for our Pre-Field Banquet. This was our closing banquet in celebration of the 44 new missionaries on our campus, who were completing their last week of training before going to the field. As you can see from the picture, this was a large group.

44 new missionaries prepared for field departure

44 new missionaries prepared for field departure

Jean, Phyllis & Chet during Pre-Field Banquet

Worship time during the Pre-Field Banquet program.

This particular group was special for Kelly and I because it included some friends of ours who are ready to depart for the field. They are from one of our supporting churches back in Indiana and we are very excited to see what God has in store for them.

Kelly & Connie have lunch with friends, Phyllis & Chet

Kelly & Connie have lunch with their friends.

The following weekend we took Jean to the golf coast for a little R & R at the beach.

Jean ready to test the water temperature

Jean is ready to test the water temperature

We had a lovely suite for one night at a beach resort in St. Pete. (Kelly got a great deal on Priceline). He set up his radio equipment right on the beach and participated in the ARRL Field Day. You can read more about his adventures on his blog at: www.k4upg.com

Kelly with his portable radio setup on the beach

Kelly with his portable radio setup on the beach

I think he found the greatest spot when he located this special spot on the beach:

This is the life: in a hammock with his radio & a cool ocean breeze

Kelly, a hammock, his radio & a cool ocean breeze!

Jean and I enjoyed the sun and beach by relaxing in our beach cabana with a good book. Our only regret was not being able to stay an extra day!

Hey Jean, pass the suntan lotion, would you please?

Hey Jean, pass the suntan lotion, would you please?