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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.

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.

africa-dress

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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!