Wednesday, June 25


What follows is adapted from my wife's blog written May 2 along with an update of what has happened since arriving in the USA June 1.

Do you believe God heals today? I think a lot of people do and I'm one of them. However, to be honest, my belief is that God saves His healing power for others who are either more worthy than I, or more in need than I, or for whatever other reason. For some reason it's hard for me to believe that He would bring that healing power to me or my family. But now I think He has.

Approximately 6-7 years ago our daughter Anna was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (among other things). She started on medication which helped to relieve the symptoms which were so destructive to our family. She was on medication for about a year when the symptoms began showing again and the neurologist changed her medication. For children who have Bipolar Disorder this is very common. As children grow and change the need for medication changes as well. For most families it's a constant struggle tweaking meds to find what will work only to have them outgrow the meds a year later.

Anna's medication was changed and they were very effective for about a year. At that point the strength of the medication was increased. Since that time (about 5 years ago) her meds have stayed the same with no change. A couple of years ago I called the neurologist thinking she might need a stronger dose or a change, but the doctor didn't agree and it was left as it was. I often wondered why we never needed to upgrade, as it were, her medication.

During all this time...we have prayed, and prayed, and prayed, then prayed some more. We wondered if it was indeed BP or was it spiritual in nature? That was a big concern of mine. I have encountered first hand people who were demon possessed. And to tell the truth, there isn't much difference in the manifestation of both. I vacillated between the two. Once we got a medication that worked I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I just accepted it and went on to dealing with it in our daily lives.

Because of this diagnosis I think I spent more time praying for Anna than I would normally have done. Bipolar Disorder is not an easy thing to live with, for the person who has it and for the family of that person...At those times when praying for Anna I did so believing that God would answer in some way. I am just surprised when the answer is "yes" since it seems to be "no" most of the time. I have a hard time sometimes believing that God will. I know He can, but don't always think He will.

Upon arriving in the USA earlier this month, one of the first things we did was get our daughter evaluated professionally. After several consultations and testings both have concurred she is NOT Bipolar. She does have some manageable problems, but the dreaded BP diagnosis has been ruled out. While she evidenced all of the symptoms for Bipolar disorder, and had been previously diagnosed as such by professionals, this latest evaluation shows our daughter as being either: 1) previously misdiagnosed, or 2) healed. Since she previously had too many of the symptoms and behaviors of BP children, and now these are gone, we feel God has healed her. As can be imagined, this confirmation alone has made our short trip to the States worthwhile.

God is good. Of all the people we have prayed for healing and restoration over the years, it humbles us that He would now choose to reach down and touch our own dear daughter and heal her too.

Monday, June 16

A few thoughts on the SBC in Indy

My wife Linda and I just returned from the SBC in Indianapolis. After the convention we spent a few days in Indiana and Kentucky visiting friends and taking in some of the beautiful Indiana countryside.

Even though we were present for the entire meeting, almost all of our time was spent working the IMB booth in the exhibit area and were basically clueless what was going on next door in the convention sessions. Our only way of keeping up was to go back to our hotel room and read what others were writing!

My impressions? I can't comment much on what took place on the convention floor, but can affirm that Southern Baptists have a big heart for world missions. My wife and I greeted and talked to dozens of people who stopped by the IMB booth. We met many fascinating people who were genuinely interested in what God is doing in the world today and shared how they have been involved or plan to be involved in missions. Both of us were greatly encouraged in the high level level of missions interest held by so many.

It was great seeing again many former missionary friends from Ecuador: Stuart and C.L. Pickle, Randel and Sheila Trull, Gary and Terry Odom, Norma Whitten, Cary and Ann Hanks, along with Alan and Mary Murphy whom we were appointed with back in 1986. My wife was very pleased to finally meet Rebekah Naylor whom was influential in her own missionary calling back in the early '70s.

It was also fun to meet many of the bloggers whom we have been reading over the past couple of years: Wes Kenney, Bart Barber, Bob Cleveland, Tim Guthrie, Tim Rogers, and Les Puryear. We enjoyed lunch one day with Micah and Tracey Fries sharing with them our "Guayas for Christ" project hoping they will adopt one of the counties of our province as one of their ongoing missions projects. There were others present whom we would have liked to have met, but did not cross paths with during the week.

Of course, for me personally, the highlight of the convention was the IMB report shared on Wednesday night. As many who were there have affirmed, there seems to be an overall spirit of genuine repentance and wanting to get back to what was heard many times as a "Great Commission Resurgence". My own conversations during the week with many people seemed to confirm this. The "rank and file" are tired of battling each other and are ready to wage war against the real enemy of the souls of men.

Thursday, June 12

Hidden in the jungle

C.S. Stanley is a photographer with the IMB who has done a thought provoking series of short videos for CommissionStories about the unreached peoples living in the Amazon Basin in South America.

Thanks to Pascal Stowell, IMB missionary in Brazil, for sharing this video in YouTube format on his blog RealNuz4Brazil.

Saturday, June 7

South America: Reached? Not Yet!

My wife, Linda, and I arrived this afternoon in Indianapolis for the annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention. We will be spending much of our time in and around the IMB booth helping elevate awareness of the spiritual needs in South America.

*Many people think South America has been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this continent holds some of the remotest, darkest places on the face of the earth with virtually no way for the light of the Gospel to penetrate. This unthinkable tragedy exists as near to us as a three-hour plane flight!

For example, did you know...

There are 699 people groups in South America. Of these 699 people groups, 411 are unreached people groups (less than 2% evangelical.) Of these 411 UPG, IMB missionaries work among only 48. Of these 411 UPG 200 have no evangelical presence of any kind.

Did you know there are 85 unreached tribes in the Amazon Basin that have no contact with the outside world?

Did you know that of the total 378.7 million population in South America, 355 million are lost? Nine out of ten who die today will die without Christ.

Are you aware that 77% of the region's people live in cities?

Did you know that besides Spanish and Portuguese, 433 other languages are spoken in South America?

That of the 699 people groups represented in South America, IMB missionaries have only engaged 87 of them?

Roman Catholics 79%
Evangelical 6%
Traditional Ethnic/Spiritist 3%
Non-religious/Other 12%

The unreached of South America desperately need our fervent prayers, generous hearts and going feet to unlock their spiritual prisons. Are you willing to go and tell them God's passionate message of love and salvation? Will you pray away these nearly impenetrable Gospel barriers? Will you give generously to support fellow Southern Baptist who are investing their lives there in obedience to God's call?

Before clicking away to some other read, please take a few seconds to view this very short video on the unreached of the Amazon Basin entitled Hidden in the jungle. And then: pray.

*adapted from IMB literature, also please see and or call (800)999-3113

Tuesday, June 3

It's good to be back

It is so good to be back amongst family after many years of being away. After only fifteen hours from walking out of our house in Guayaquil, we sat down with all our family in Seguin, Texas for a delicious Sunday lunch of some of our favorites: brisket, potato salad, baked beans, rolls, cake and ice cream. Then sat around all afternoon getting caught up on on everyone while sipping Dr. Pepper's and munching on all kinds of other good snack foods we have missed.

Bright and early on Monday morning we all got in the car for our first trip to Walmart. I made sure I had my Visa card, and my dad made sure I understood that we were now back in the land where STOP signs mean that you have to literally "stop!" Five minutes into our Walmart shopping experience both my wife and myself went into panic attacks. It is just too overwhelming. There is too much to choose from! The first thing on my list was to find something for my stomach indigestion from the previous day's overeating. I was not prepared to have to choose between 40 different products! Of course I had to read each one and compare prices, and what each did. I was so confused, I gave up and walked away from the drug area empty handed and frustrated, only to become more frustrated at trying to pick out a new pair of jeans. I didn't realize you have to choose between "relaxed-fit", "regular", "slim", "faded", "pre-washed", "variable-stretch" --all I wanted was a pair of jeans! Then there was under wear. I won't go into detail there. But I found out there are all kinds of different under wear to choose from also.

We had agreed beforehand that we would not venture over into the food area so as not to be tempted beyond that which we were able to bear. However, I could not resist a "peek" and slipped over into the food area to see if there were any cherries. Sure enough there were an abundance of big, juicy cherries. I quickly grabbed the biggest bag I could find and headed back over to the clothes area where I was supposed to be. At checkout time I was shocked beyond belief to find out that bag of cherries cost $10! My wife rightfully let me have it on that one, not to mention the chips, salsa, SunKist Oranges, Mountain Dews, and some more Dr. Peppers I also picked up while on the "wrong side of the store".

After three hours of walking those long aisles, we were both mentally and emotionally exhausted, and had to go recuperate at a DQ where we had Hunger Busters, fries and Root Beer. That seemed to calm us sufficiently to enable us to complete a second run and complete our buys for the day. We came back to my parents house having spent several hundred dollars on I don't know what, but it sure was a fun day!