OK, sorry for not updating the blog recently, but as you will see…we have been racking up the travel miles again…


From June 1 through the 6th we had 24 new missionary candidates on our Orlando campus going through our 3rd orientation for the year. This is why our entire team for Church Partnerships (CP-team) was present in Orlando during that week.

CP Team Group photo 6/08

(Top-Left) Kelly, Denny, Tom, Greg, Mike, Doug; (Bottom-Left) Connie, Nancy, & Patty

Denny & Nancy live in Orlando but are from Michigan & they cover several mid-western states, Tom & Mike and their respective families live in Philadelphia and they cover the states in the northeast and others, Greg & his family live in Virginia and he covers that area, and then Doug & Patty live in Colorado Springs and cover the Rocky Mountain & Plains states, the other states are divided up among all of us.

With 5 new team members, it was a great time to hold a vision casting meeting. So, when we were not meeting and interviewing new candidates, we were meeting together as a team (see photo). It was a great time to train the “newbies” and get us all on the same page. In the photo below, Kelly is bringing everyone up to par on technical resources that we can use to serve churches more efficiently.

CP-Team mtg June in upper room

Now that Kelly is a VP, he has been able to turn immediate CP-team leadership over to his assistant, Denny. He is doing a great job and has helped free up some of Kelly’s time needed to oversee all 5 teams.


With our team in Denny’s capable hands we left Orlando on the 5th to fly to Sacramento, CA to attend the “Harvest Gathering.” This was a 2-day conference for churches throughout Northern & Central California. First Baptist Church of Elk Grove hosted the conference with about 400 believers participating. Two of our California ACMC team members were a part of the conference. Ken was responsible for all book & resource sales at the event, and Larry was a presenter for several workshops.Harvest Conf Book Table Sales June 08

Both were a big success and book sales totaled close to $4000. (Photo above, as you can see the book tables were very popular.)

Harves Conf Kelly at PI booth June 08

Kelly gave Ken logistical help with the book sales, and we also represented PIONEERS with a display booth. (Photo: Kelly talks with a young man who is interested in missions and learning more about PIONEERS.)


From Sacramento we flew to our Denver office on Sunday to see how our teams were doing. Our office lease there will expire at the end of the year so we looked at office space in 3 different locations. One office was particularly interesting so we will take the next steps to see if it is a good fit for our teams. Tuesday was a day of meeting with all three team leaders. Pray for wisdom and God’s leading as we look for just the right office space for our Denver teams.

ON TO DALLAS June 11-15

Wednesday we were off to Dallas for the Perspectives National Conference. Most of you have probably never heard of Perspectives. www.perspecitves.org

‘Perspectives on the World Christian Movement’ is a dynamic, 15 week course (college credited), about God’s heart for the nations. Classes are held in local churches with trained instructors teaching on the Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic perspectives of missions. The course is for anyone who wants a closer walk with the Lord and to see where, how and why they can play a part in the biggest thing God is doing….and has ever done!

The people who run the classes are called coordinators and there were more than 400 coordinators attending this 4 day conference, going to workshops and seminars to sharpen their skills.

Perspectives Banquet 1

Perspectives Banquet 2

(Photo on the top is one side of the room showing half the crowd, and the 2nd photo is the other half of the room.)

Once again, Ken, from our ACMC team was asked to set up a book store and we were there to lend our logistical support. This time, sales were close to $20,000…a very productive weekend. (Photo below: Kelly helping Ken with book buyers.)

Dallas Ken & Kelly Book sales

While Kelly helped in the book store, I helped one of our Orlando Team members, Laurie Nevius at the PIONEERS booth. (See photo below) We had a great time talking to people about an upcoming PIONEERS event called: ‘Story 08’. (More about it later.)

Dallas Perspectives Connie & Laurie


We returned home Jun 15th, Sunday evening at 11:30. Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted but pleased with how well the trip went.

DRY-DRY-DRY Albuquerque, NM

ALBQ CPF Group Photo

Kelly and I just spent all of last week (May 12-16) in Albuquerque for our first ever, off-site Church Partner Forum. (We usually hold these forums in Orlando at our Pioneers campus.) The exciting part of this event was that none of the 8 churches who attended had any previous connections with Pioneers! It was a great opportunity to open the door for the possibility of future partnerships.ALBQ CPF Kelly table setting

We took 3 of our team members with us and co-hosted this event with another agency called:1615 logo You can learn more about this group at www.1615.org . They coach churches on how to design their missions programs to fit the DNA of their church.

Roadrunner from website One highlight of our trip was seeing New Mexico’s state bird — a real “Roadrunner” scooting across the parking lot at our hotel. Kelly captured a photo of one on his cell phone and maybe he will add his picture to the blog. Here’s a link to Kelly’s photo! This is the same bird that was made popular in Wile E. Coyote’s Warner Bros. cartoons. (Credit for photo above: Photo: and no it did not go beep-beep www.birdwatchersdigest.com/)

Roadrunner Facts: Roadrunner is the state bird of NM. They prefer walking or running, attaining speeds up to 17 mph. hour; and are quick enough to catch and eat rattlesnakes.

Description: The roadrunner has a long, graduated tail carried at an upward angle, long stout legs and a distinctive head crest.

Albq map of stateCity of Albq from wikipedia

Albuquerque Facts: Dry, dry, dry is my description. Officially, the climate is classified as arid (defined as: a severe lack of available water). That’s an understatement! The city was founded in 1706 and is named after a Spanish village Alburquerque (extra “r”) and a “family name” from Spain and Portugal. Living at sea level in Orlando, this view of the mountains is breathtaking. (See photo above)

The red area on map above shows where Albuquerque is located in NM. Population: 534,089 (2008); Elevation (at airport) is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.

Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM Albuq Hot Air Balloons

(Hot Air Balloon photo © Cindy Petrehn photo)

The Rio Grande (photo left) flows through the city north to south. (3 Albuquerque photos come from “wikipedia.org” ) A Striking Site: On a previous trip we got to see a view like this of the hot air balloons. A popular attraction in early Oct. is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

1 Exercise and Nature Walks

Take a walk with us…

…Yes that’s right, a walk. For us, walking each day is “what the doctor ordered.” And there’s no better place to take this kind of ‘healthy exercise’ than in beautiful Florida (with it’s thousands of lakes and ponds).

Every where you look, there is a pond or lake of some type. In our housing complex, there is a 30 acre spring-fed lake called Lake Frederica, and 3 flood retention ponds with beautiful landscaping and lots of wildlife to enjoy. Let me share some of this beauty and wildlife with you.

Ventura pond view

This is one view on our walk along the pond. This shot is taken from the sidewalk that winds along the edge of the pond.

Fish have beds!

Our walk takes us along one of the larger retention ponds and Kelly has helped me learn how to spot the fish in that pond. We have shad (which are easy to spot because they jump out of the water a lot), and there are bottom feeders, a kind of catfish—Florida style, and there are tilapia (which is quickly becoming the fish of choice at the grocery stores and at many restaurants).

Did you know fish have beds? Every spring, when its time to spawn they build these bowl shaped beds by swishing their tails back and forth in the sediment. Then, they lay their eggs in the bed and stand by to guard them from predators.

The beds also serve as a nest for the growing fry, which also have to be guarded. If we walk up too fast, the adult fish will pull back off the nest, hoping you won’t take notice.

fish bed

Look real close and you’ll see the light brown bed just below the water’s surface. These beds are all along the shore line, and when the water level drops really low, the beds can be fully exposed.

fish sitting on the bed

Now look closely and see if you can spot the tilapia fish, sitting on the bed. Kelly put his Polaroid sunglasses over the camera lens to make the fish show up in the photo. If you know Kelly and his love of fishing, you can imagine how this stimulates his sportsman’s instincts. Watching for these fish on our walks makes the whole exercise thing a lot more interesting!


A week ago we wrapped up our 2nd (for the year), Candidate Orientation Program with 27 new individuals going through training and receiving an appointment to serve overseas.

These are the statistics from those 27 people 6 couples and 15 singles (3 were male & 12 females) from 14 states

Their anticipated destination of service: 2 to S. America/ 2 to Africa/ 5 to Middle East/ 2 to Europe/ 4 to Asian countries/ 1 to China /and 5 who are undecided.

WINTER WONDERLAND FOR A DAY- IN DENVER connie in denver snow full scene

Then last week we went to our Denver office. We arrived on Tuesday and it got up to 80 degrees. On Wednesday a cold front went through and by noon, huge snow flakes were coming down in sheets. It was beautiful, like a winter wonderland. We got 5 inches of snow.

The snow caked on the trees and grass but never stuck to the streets or sidewalks, making it the perfect snow fall (not requiring any snow removal). We woke up Thursday morning with the sun glistening off the clean white snow. By noon it had all melted away and we were walking around in short sleeves. Now that’s the way a snow fall should be. Twenty-four hours of blissful white snow, and then, GONE! SWEET!!!

Connie close up denver snow

connie in denver snow full scene

1 Meet our ACMC Team

We’d like to introduce you to our ACMC Team. These are our Regional Directors and they were in Orlando the first week of April to meet with us for their quarterly team meeting.

ACMC Group Photo Apr 2008

Back Row – Left to Right: Frank (Alaska), Joe & Tom (Pennsylvania), Ken & Larry (California), Lee (Indiana) Connie (Orlando) Front Row – Left to Right: Paul (South Carolina), Blake (Texas) Kelly (Orlando)

ACMC stands for “Advancing Church Missions Commitment” and their mission statement reads: “ACMC helps churches mobilize their resources for effective involvement in world evangelization.” Link to ACMC Website They are a great group of guys and we are excited about what God is doing through their ministries.

We celebrated my birthday that week and here is a photo of the birthday cake Kelly bought to share with our entire Orlando team. It was gone in no time. (The picture on the cake is of a person sitting at their desk with piles of paper work stacked around them…)Connie\'s Birthday Cake Apr 2008


Answer: Attend our Church Partner Forum (CPF)

Group Photo

The week after Easter, our Church Partnerships team hosted this event on our Orlando campus. We were at maximum capacity with 40 participants. We had churches represented from 13 different states (TX, MN, NY, IN, NH, CO, AR, IL, FL, CA, KS, CT, & SC).

We hold this event twice a year to strengthen the relationship between sending churches and our agency. Our intent is to help mission-minded church leaders explore how partnership and networking can help them sharpen their missions focus, mobilize members for missions ministry, and maximize their mission impact. (Link to our webpage.)

Our guest speaker was Dr. Tom A. Steffen, Director of Missiology and professor of Intercultural Studies at Biola University. (He is Kelly’s D.Mis.advisor.) He spoke on the hot topic; Business as Missions…is it a fad or something unique God is doing and how will your church respond?

Great discussions

Great discussions and interaction take place during the sessions.

over lunch

These discussions continue over lunch.


The banquet is a time for good fellowship.

There’s always down time in-between activities for networking.

Next month (May 15th) we are holding our first ever, “off-site” forum in Albuquerque, NM. Stay tuned for a report on how it goes.


PCUMC logoEaster Sunday, Pine Castle United Methodist Church moved into our new worship center which has been named, “The Master’s House.” After a brief time of worship and the partaking of communion in the old sanctuary, the congregation proceeded to parade to the new sanctuary located across the street. This was our “Crossing Over” to the other side.

Old Sanctuary Ps BlakePastor Blake Lorenz instructs the congregation on how we will all march to the new sanctuary.

Pastor leaves firstThe Pastor leaves first, and three men carrying a cross will follow behind him.

PCUMC choir Crossing OverThe choir follows the cross and the congregation falls in behind the choir.

PCUMC congregation in new facilityWe find our chairs and the choir is in their seats ready to begin.

The Master’s House Easter Sunday
Our new facility will seat 1200.

Pastor Blake in The Master’s HousePastor Blake welcomes all to “The Master’s House” and “A New Beginning” for PCUM.

Pastor Bev & Blake with logo on screenPastor Blake & Beverly Lorenz in front of the choir with our new logo on the screen


While most young people were heading to warmer climates to frolic in the sun for their Spring Break, this Youth Group chose a different form of ‘recreation’. These 31 Jr. and Sr. High Schoolers, from Fellowship Bible Church of NW Arkansas, spent their week of ‘Spring Break Vacation’ serving and learning at our Pioneers campus in Orlando.Fellowship Youth Group

A year ago, Finley Robinson, their Youth Pastor, attended the Church Partner Forum that is hosted by the team that Kelly & I lead. The idea to bring his youth group to our campus was birthed at that time. His church has around 6000 youth attending their weekly services. Pastor Finley said this group was Fellowship’s “cream of the crop”, and it was encouraging for Kelly & I to see their passion for God lived out day by day.

2nd Youth Group from FBC of NW ARK

This energetic group rented a bus, drove from Arkansas to Orlando and did various work projects on our campus. (They cleared land, pulled shrubs & old fence posts, stuffed envelopes and etc.) In return, our Pioneers people not only housed and fed them, but helped open their eyes to the world of ‘missions service’ by sharing with them various aspects of our work in Orlando and overseas.

Their evaluation of their week in Orlando reveals that their lives were greatly impacted and touched by God. Here is one example of a true transformation:

One of the young ladies in this group is from Viet Nam, and has been attending Fellowship Church and their youth group for the past 9 months. During her stay at Pioneers , she accepted the Lord as her Savior. PTL!


…that’s Holland, Michigan!

Palm Sunday weekend Kelly and I were in Holland, MI and Fort Wayne, IN. On Friday/Saturday, we were helping one of our ACMC team members with his Great Lakes Regional Missions Conference. The weather cooperated with low 50’s during the day and sunny skies, helping us have a good turn out.

· Attendance: 280+ mission minded people from over 100 churches

· Book Sales: just a little over $7,000.00 mission books, DVD’s and resources

· Exhibitors: 20+ Mission agencies & organizations with display booths & materials

· Plenary Sessions: Great worship time and captivating speakers

· Workshops: Whole variety of topics i.e. New Trends In Missions/How to Get Your Church Excited about Missions and etc.

Kelly and I helped with the book tables, running the cash register and answering questions.

ACMC Conference Workshop

Workshop on Short-Term Mission Trips



ACMC Book Tables

Booktables are almost empty!

Kelly Running Cash Register

Kelly running credit cards sales for books.


On Sunday we visited a church in Fort Wayne that has supported us on a monthly basis for over 20 years: Life Bridge Church. We got to see their new facilities and have a good talk with the pastor and his wife. (www.lifebridge.cc)


Life Bridge Church

Pastor Bill and Sherri Campbell with Kelly

on Palm Sunday in Fort Wayne, IN

Kutzners & McClellands

We finished our time in Ft Wayne by enjoying a great evening of fellowship with some very good friends, Carol and Dennis Kutzner. A pretty accurate review of our time together can be seen by clicking on the ‘Comments’ (by Dennis himself)! We missed seeing the Goodman’s but hope to catch them the next time.





1 JR.’S READY TO SOAR (Continued Eagle story from 2/14 post)

This is a photo from last week of Jr. and his mom, the female American Bald JR.’s Ready to Soar
Eagle, perched on top of a high voltage power pole by our office (the male eagle [not shown] is half again as big as the female). Jr.’s definitely getting big! We’ve been watching Jr. “flap his wings,” preparing for the big moment when he takes flight.

This week, he flew the coup! We haven’t seen him actually flying, but the nest is now mostly empty. I thought all three might have vacated the nest, but yesterday, Jr. was back sitting in the nest. I hope to see him fly and see him when his head feathers become white.