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?

Three Great Events

We just finished 3 successful ministry events and are looking forward to a little slow down in the action for the month of July. So what have we been up to? One of our favorite events is seeing just who God is calling to the mission field. The first week of June brought 25 new missionary candidates to Orlando for a week of orientation.

Candidate Orientation Program June 2009

Candidate Orientation Program June 2009

The two young single girls I interviewed mirrored the other 23 candidates with their passion for God and for missions. These two have known they would go into missions since they were 5 years old. One was from Oregon and the other was from Oklahoma. Both of them have already been to “difficult” fields, on more than one short term trip, that lasted up to 2 months long, and loved it. They are sold out to missions and can’t wait to go long term. They were amazing and inspiring.

Our second week found us flying to Colorado to spend a few days with our staff in Denver. We hadn’t been there since last September so it was good to see them all again. The highlight of that trip was the office family picnic, but the weather was wacko and cold. We had rain and hail which forced all of us under the only covered area in the whole park. We enjoyed ourselves in spite of it all.

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This past week we had our ACMC team fly into Orlando for their bi-annual team meeting. Now this is a group of mission specialists with diverse giftings that touch on just about every area of missions one could imagine. What a team.

ACMC (Advancing Church Missions Commitment)

ACMC (Advancing Church Missions Commitment)

Next week we are in for a real treat, but that’s a story for another time.

6 Wedding Anniversary and Ossobuco

Fifteen years ago today, Kelly and I were celebrating our 25th silver wedding address with about 100+ Indonesians. We had purchased 100+ individual slices of cake to give to our fellow Indonesian church members at the end of the service. You see, we were following their custom, where the person having a birthday or anniversary throws a celebration party for all their friends. If you go out to dinner with your friends for your birthday, YOU pick up the tab for everyone. We had only been there for 6 months and could barely speak the language, but honoring customs transcends any language. It was one of those memorable moments for us.

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So, if that was our 25th anniversary 15 years ago, that makes today our “40th anniversary”. How great is that! The two of us thinks it’s pretty great. If you look at us 40 years ago, you can see that we were “just kids”, and we don’t feel a year over 39 today.

June 7, 1969

June 7, 1969

Today after church, we went to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate. We ignored our diet for one day and ordered Ossobuco…it is so delicious that it melts in your mouth, and is well worth the splurge.

Ossobuco

Ossobuco

Have you ever had this meal? It’s a meat, potato and gravy person’s delight. Here is their description:

OSSOBUCO: Marinated Pork Shank Slow Cooked Until Fabulously Tender. Served with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy and Vegetable of the Day

We enjoyed our meal and reminisced over our previous anniversary memories, like the one mentioned above. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be blessed to share another 40 years together…if we live to be 100.

8 Three “F’s:” Family – Friends – Fun

Yes that’s right, our 2 weeks in Tulsa and Arkansas were chocked full of family, friends, fun and more. The more was: attending a mission’s conference and Kelly preaching at a couple of churches. I got this great shot of our little munchkin, Ava, and I’d like to introduce her to you.


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Ava is our youngest granddaughter and she is 15 months old. Of course she captured our hearts.


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Little Ava went to Grandpa right away, so I had to wait my turn. This is Kelly with Ava and Katie. Katie is our talented soccer player.


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I was patient and finally got my chance with Ava.


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This is Ava’s dad and mom (Gale & Tamecca).


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Here is Katie again with her dad.


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Emily is granddaughter number three. She is becoming quite the young lady. Grandma got to help her with her homework.


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Gale and Tamecca have a blended family and it never gets boring around their house. Emily is helping Kira color “inside the lines” and Katie is helping Kira’s brother, Aden.


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Here’s a great shot of Tamecca’s 2 boys; Gavin and Aden, and Gale’s 2 girls, Emily and Katie.


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If we weren’t spending time at Gale & Tamecca’s, we were at Erin & Lisa’s house. Here are 3 generations of McClelland’s; Erin, Kelly and Killian. When I said “Smile please.” this was the response I got.


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This photo opportunity was too good to ignore. Erin & Lisa are animal lovers and I think their animals…love Kelly. Jack, the Labrador, is patiently waiting his turn.


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Did I mention “Friends” in my subject line? This is our friend Pat. She made our whole trip possible by inviting us stay in her home while we were in Tulsa. We enjoyed catching up on each others family news and had a great time.


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We also met up with Steve and Margie who are friends we’ve known since Bible school. Was that really 20 some years ago?


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I did mention that Kelly preached at a couple of churches. Here he is looking up a Bible verse at our sending church, Word of Life, in Sand Springs, OK. Pastor Emigh was in Poland and Romania on a missions trip, so Kelly filled in for him for this Wednesday night service.


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This was a special treat for us, Erin and Lisa came to hear Kelly preach and willingly sat on the front row with me.


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When Kelly finished preaching, Erin, Lisa and our friend Pat went with us for a dessert treat at a local restaurant. It was a great way to end the evening.


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Our other preaching opportunity was at another one of our supporting churches in Russellville, Arkansas. Before Kelly began his sermon, the two of us shared about our ministry work with PIONEERS.


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After sharing, I sat down and Kelly shared from the Word of God.


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We always have a good time of fellowship at Russellville Christian Center and they’ve been a great encouragement to us over the years.


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After the service, we had dinner with Pastor Tom and his wife Bonnie, and then headed back to Fort Smith to finish off at the missions conference we were attending.


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That pretty much covers the way our trip went (including the stay in Branson with our grandson mentioned in an earlier post). So, I thought I’d end this post with this last great shot of Ava…what a munchkin.



1 Could You Pass This Test?

1) Where is the largest church in the world? 2) What continent has the most evangelical Christians? 3) What is the largest mission association in the world? 4) Which country sends out the most missionaries per Christian?

The answers may surprise you because, “The Center of Christianity Has Shifted”. This was the topic of our most recent Church Partner Forum held on PIONEERS campus. Our featured speaker was Scott Moreau; author, Professor of Missions & International Studies at Wheaton College and editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.

If you’re interested in this subject you can read: The Changing Face of World Missions and Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends from a series written by Scott Moreau called, Engaging Missions.

Oh yes, the answers to those questions above are:
1) Korea [830,000 members (2007)]
2) Asia
3) India Missions Association
4) Singapore

The theme for our banquet was “International Market,” so we transformed the recreation hall with a few treasures several us have brought back from our time serving in various countries.

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Of course no mission trip is complete without the traditional “trunk” to contain all of your possessions.

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And, the best mode of transportation for those narrow streets in Asia is the bicycle rickshaw.

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This was our International Market Street which lead on around to the street-side night café shown below.

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Candle lights on the tables and strands of hanging lights enhanced the night time street café feel.

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Without a doubt, our “food affair” was international all the way.

We added to this international atmosphere by having those who could, dress for the occasion in the cultural dress of a country (or they could go “Hawaiian/Floridian”).  We had a wide range of countries represented:

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Of course, Kelly and I dressed in our Indonesian Batik, as did several others.

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Africa was represented by several, including Denny and Nancy (above).

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We even had the Middle East attire…thank you Art.

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But by far, Tom’s dress was the best…Mongolia!

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This is what our group looked like in “normal” dress. It was another successful Church Partner Forum.

6 Second Harmonic in Branson, MO

We spent the first weekend of May in Branson, Missouri where my alias was, Connie “XYL of K4UPG”. This is where Kelly, alias K4UPG, introduced his “Second Harmonic” to the world of electronics and Amateur Radios. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.

We took our grandson, Killian, with us to Branson to the OzarkCon09, which is a four-state conference for QRP Amateur Radio operators. They use various code words when talking to one another over their radios. For example:

XYL stands for Ex-Young Lady, which is the code word for “wife”.

The code name, “Second Harmonic” stands for “grandson,” which means our son would be Kelly’s “First Harmonic”. I won’t try to explain how the 2nd harmonic of a wave in a signal, is a multiple of the fundamental frequency, because I’m already confused. So, on to the fun stuff.

We picked Killian up from school and headed for Branson.

We picked Killian up from school and headed for Branson.

Photo below: At the hotel Killian checks out the “tools of the trade” that Grandpa has brought…one set for Grandpa and one set, just for Killian.

He can’t wait to try out the soldering iron.

He can’t wait to try out the soldering iron.

With the voltage meter Killian runs a test on his CD player.

Killian runs a test on his CD player with the voltage meter.

At the conference Kelly & Killian head to the Vendor Fair to check out their wares.

At the conference Kelly & Killian head to the Vendor Fair to check out the various products.

Photo below: Killian is drawn to the LED lights and is eager to buy a LED kit to put together later in the hotel room. Uncle Cy (behind the table) was one of many who were happy to help Killian get involved.

This vendor is known to everyone as, Uncle Cy.

This vendor is known to everyone as, Uncle Cy.

Photo Below: The highlight of the conference was Friday night’s “Hands-on kit building workshop”. The experts, Dar & Darrel, guide everyone through the building of a “signal injector / signal tracer test set” . This tool is used for troubleshooting and testing circuits and amateur radio equipment.

Workshop for learning how to build a kit.

Everyone gets set up for the workshop.

Grandpa gets Killian started with a bag full of parts and a circuit board.

Grandpa gets Killian started with a bag full of parts and a circuit board.

Photo below: Killian got lots of attention from all the guys who wanted to see him succeed and enjoy himself. They were eager to help him.

Darrel helps Killian with expert instructions.

Dar helps Killian with expert instructions.

Killian concentrates as he begins the soldering process.

Killian concentrates as he begins the soldering process.

Photo Below: Then, Doug Hendricks of QRPKits.com comes to everyone’s rescue with the PCB-Vice for only $30. The red aluminum vice shown in the photo holds the Printed Circuit Board which is then free to rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuvering.

Killian gets a free PCB-Vice.

Killian gets a free PCB-Vice.

Doug, who teaches & coaches girl’s basketball, gave this PCB-Vice to Killian at no charge “as an encouragement to the young fellow”.

Soldering can be very tedious but Killian was a quick learner.

Soldering can be very tedious but Killian was a quick learner.

Photo Below: Now Killian puts on the headset to test the kit and see if he put it together right. If he hears a tone when he makes contact with the alligator clip…that’s a good sign.

It works!

It works!

The finished project!

The finished project!

Photo Below: The guys were so great with encouraging Killian. During the drawing of prizes, a couple of the winners weren’t present and Killian became the “default” winner of those prizes.

Killian returns with one of his prizes...a book about radios

Killian returns with one of his prizes...a book about radios.

Photo Below: Back in the room Killian puts together the LED light kit he bought earlier from Uncle Cy.

Killian puts another kit together...LED light kit.

This kit is easier than the first one and comes together in no time.

Flip the switch, and the light comes on.

Flip the switch, and the light comes on.

It Works!

It Works!

That smile says it all. We had a great time and wouldn’t trade that weekend for anything. Grandkids really are great!

3 It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming.

This Easter weekend I am struck by how great a love our God has for each of us. Our King gave His all for us. The extraordinary suffering, rejection and death that should have been ours…He took it all. In return, we have the joy of Resurrection Sunday and Eternal Life. How incredible is that!    Happy Easter to all of you.

This is one of my favorite Easter Sermons:

“Dr. Tony Campolo tells the story of a little preaching competition that he had with his pastor during services at the church where he attends. Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon, perfect in every way. He had taken the congregation to the heights of glory. And as he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Campolo patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.”

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this. (Below is a brief excerpt, click here to read more, including the ending that begins with; “And now it’s Sunday…”)

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.”

To hear a short recording & get the whole effect of the sermon click here for a 3 minute 41 second recording. It’s really good!

Promised Results & Photos Of Walkathon

The PIONEERS’ “Walk for the World” event last Saturday, was a great success. Thanks for your prayers and support. Through our family, friends—and God’s grace—Kelly & I raised $1,170. The total raised by all participants from our office staff (Orlando & Denver) will be around $30,000, once it’s all collected. With the matching grant we will have nearly $60,000 to help us in mobilizing missionaries into the least reached parts of the world. Praise the Lord!

Kelly and I each walked 5 miles, which means we made our goal of 10 miles between the two of us. The weather was great with just enough of an overcast to keep it cool. The breeze was nice, but it added some challenges to Kelly’s radio antenna, whipping the backpack frame around a lot.

Kelly, aka the Radioman, was able to hear transmissions from 18 countries on four different continents with his 10 watt radio, including hearing a ham operator from Macedonia.

The pictures speak for themselves:

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Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

The Walk-a-thon Starts With Prayer

The Walk For The World Starts With Prayer

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids TOO!

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids Too

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk, Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

It Was A Good Day!

It Was A Good Day!