Friday, April 08, 2011

God Bats Last

I appreciated this blog post by Paul McKaughan of The Mission Exchange.

Isn't it wonderful to know that our God bats last? (That's a baseball analogy for those not familiar...)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sparky Anderson

Those of you from Michigan--or if you follow sports at all--are probably aware that Sparky Anderson passed away on Thursday. A sad day as another legend passes on. He won two World Series titles as a manager with the Cincinnati Reds and another with the Detroit Tigers (in 1984). While I was only four years old at the time, I've read and heard so much about that '84 team I feel like I was at every game of what was an incredible season.

But my favorite memory of Sparky is a personal one. And it's not the opportunity that I had to shake his hand at Tiger Stadium. It's of correspondence we exchanged back when I was nine years old.

The Tigers were in the midst of another losing season. The All Star break was approaching and the Tigers were in last place (this was most definitely not the 1984 season, when they led the AL East wire-to-wire). I wanted to encourage Sparky and the team so I wrote him a letter, talking about the 1914 Boston "Miracle" Braves. That was a team that got off to a miserable start and appeared to be entrenched in last place for the season until they turned a corner and went on to win the World Series in dominating fashion.

A few weeks after writing the letter (and receiving a signed photograph in response), I was watching the post-game show following a Tigers win. The broadcaster was interviewing Sparky, who had whispered something to an umpire immediately following the end of the game, about what he had said to the ump. Sparky's response about knocked me over: "Remember the 1914 Miracle Braves." Those weren't his exact words, I'm sure, but as best I can remember 21 years later. Of course, what was a nine year old to do when he hears a legendary sports figure reference a letter he wrote on national television? Well write another one, of course.

Sparky wrote back--on yet another photograph--telling me that indeed my letter had prompted him to mention that to the umpire after that game. As you can imagine, most of my childhood was spent with two signed photos of Sparky Anderson hanging from my wall.

Sparky was a one-of-a-kind manager and will go down as one of my all-time favorite sports figures. Tigers baseball has now lost two greats this year: Ernie and Sparky.

Click here for Mitch Albom's take on the passing of George Lee Anderson.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Love-Hate Relationship with Facebook

It seems as though a lot of people lately are talking about deactivating their Facebook accounts or simply deciding that they spend too much time on FB and cutting back on the minutes (or hours/days??) that they spend on the site.

I've considered this. While I have been serious about this, I always come back to one thing: relationships.

My time on Facebook is spent primarily doing two things--sharing updates and thoughts with friends and family, and receiving updates and thoughts from friends and family. I am now really only on Facebook twice per day--once in the morning, and once in the late afternoon/early evening. I read the posts from my friends, making comments, offering advice, reading some of the recommended stories and articles, and sometimes looking through a photo album that looks like it might contain photos in which I'd be interested.

What does this accomplish? Just recently I discovered that...
Chris and Alissa had a beautiful baby girl.
Ruth is having an incredible visit to Siberia.
Bob and Cynthia are progressing well through the Wycliffe application process.
Scott got married. (And the friends who went to the wedding ate a lot of good food in Arkansas.)

Could this have been accomplished through e-mail and other forms of communication? Some, but not all. And it wouldn't have been done in a public way where I can interact with hundreds of other colleagues, friends and family members. It allows me to learn from what others are learning, grieve when others are grieving, and praise God when others are praising God.

Does Facebook take up some of my time? Yes. But does it also greatly enhance my interaction with friends and family? Absolutely. And that is worth a few minutes of my day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Languages of Africa

Click here for a cool blog post by my friends Jeff and Heather. It has a great map and brief summary of languages and Bible translation in Africa. For those interested in learning more about why we're serving in Nigeria, this is a great link to check out.

Monday, July 06, 2009

FAQ--What will Technology Be Like?

One of the questions that we are frequently asked is what our technology situation will be like. No, we are not living in a hut and be relying on a satellite phone for communications once a month or so (although some of our colleagues may be in similar situations).

We will be living in a large city (Jos) of about one million people. There is power, albeit intermittent, and Internet access, albeit often slow and unreliable. We are anticipating that much of this will be improving over the next year or two.

One of the most remarkable things about Nigeria--and Africa in general--is the widespread use of cell phones as a primary mode of communication. Many (most?) people don't even have a landline. SMS (AKA texting) is very popular. My colleague Erik Hersman (click here to see one of his blogs that I follow) is something of an expert on this topic and recently posted the picture above. Basically, residents of Lagos (a major city in Nigeria but not near where we will be) can text in traffic updates and it will then be combined to allow subscribers to get real-time traffic updates.

I don't really know how it all works, but I thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share it with you. Credit goes to for this photo and sharing the idea. If you click on the photo it will bring you directly to the post about this program.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unexpected Blessing--Diapers!

An unexpected blessing hit us last week.

We were notified by the Cotton Babies company that we have received their "Diaper Grant for Missionaries." A friend turned us on to this program a few months ago and we applied. For a variety of reasons, we will be using cloth diapers in Nigeria and they can be very expensive (but much nicer than what cloth diapers were a generation ago), so this program seemed like it could be a huge relief for us. That has definitely proven true! The grant has provided us with almost all of the cloth diapering supplies we'll need for our time in Nigeria, and we are so grateful.

If you click here, you can learn more about their program--pretty cool stuff! We're now encouraging any of our friends who are considering cloth diapering to go for it--and use Bum Genius if you can.

What a cool company to want to use their product to advance God's Kingdom in this way. Thank you Cotton Babies!

Overheard when planning to move overseas...

I think I came in at the wrong point in the phone conversation when all I heard was Christie asking,

"Do you have rabies?"

She was in the midst of making phone calls to arrange for doctor appointments, including the vaccinations we'll need. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Find a Bible

When we meet with people about our ministry with Wycliffe, plenty of people ask us, "What languages do you speak?" That prompts us to explain about how we're supporting the work in other ways (Finance, IT, etc.) so that the people who are gifted with languages can handle the translation and linguistics issues.

Now, we have a new way to have people hear what the Bible sounds like in other languages. Click here to check out the Find a Bible feature of the International Forum of Bible Agencies. You can select from several languages in Nigeria, as well as thousands of other languages around the world--all in audio form. Pretty cool!