Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Day At The Farm

Xavier's class recently got to go on a field trip with some other classes.  They went to a local farm where the kids got to interact with most of the animals.  They got to ride ponies, milk cows, and feed the animals.  It's awesome that they have the opportunity right now to do these sorts of things that aren't generally available in West Africa.

Science Fair

This past week was the Mercy Ships Academy Science Fair.  The junior high and high school students all participated by doing an experiment of some sort and preparing a report and display.  It's so cool to see the creativity of God shining through the kids. 
They did an amazing job and we're so proud of all of the kids in our community.  We're especially proud of Grace and the huge amount of effort and attention to detail she put into her project.  She is so incredibly wise and mature.  We're so honored that God was pleased to enturst us with the treasure of her life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Riding the Thunder

To live out this quote from Theodore Roosevelt is exactly what I need in my life right now.  Maybe it will encourage you as well.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Field Trip!!!!

The Academy has been doing an awesome job of taking advantage of our being in a developed nation by planning field trips for the kids.  Recently, the Elementary went to uShaka Marine World in Durban.  They had an awesome time.  Thanks to the Academy teachers (Dara included) for making the trip possible.  What a blessing to have teachers who care so passionately about our kids!  Here are a few photos of their trip:

The Wealthiest Man on Earth

That's me.  Mr. Rich.  Financially?  Nope.  We're bretty much broke.  But I'm sitting at my desk with Xavier's snot and tears staining the shoulder of my shirt because I was just holding him after he fell down outside.  And it means I'm the richest guy around. 

I was just walking back from checking on things in the kitchen when I saw Xavier running with his class.  He looked at me, squealed with delight, said "Daddy!!!", and then proceeded to catch his toe on the paving stones and fall flat on his face.  And I was there, not at some job site, fire station, or office miles away. 

I live and work in a place where I can hear my kids playing in the courtyard outside.  I get to see my wife and kids every breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I often see them while I'm walking from place to place around campus.  I see them walking back from school.  I see their PE lessons when I walk through the gym on my way to the kitchen.

I have a wife who loves me and treats me better than I deserve.  I serve in a role that I love and in a mission that I'm passionate about.  I am a child of the King of the universe. 

Unfortunately, I sometimes forget how rich I am.  It's far too easy to take things like that for granted after a while.  It's also too easy to focus on the stuff that ticks me off or frustrates me.  Community can be trying.  Finances are bad.  The kids misbehave.  My department isn't where I want it to be.  Well, you get the idea.  I end up in self-pity, feeling self-righteous, and acting self-centered. 

The reality is that I'm blessed beyond measure.  A God who calls me His own, a wife who loves me, amazing kids, a passionate purpose, and the opportunity to experience life in a way few people get to. 

Maybe I should start acting as blessed as I am. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

Many of you will find the following comment shocking; I (Peter) struggle with sarcasm.  See.  I've been digging into scripture to find both encouragement and correction in this area.  I find that the amount of sarcasm I use has increased lately and I need the Spirit to help me keep it in check.  I can throw out some zingers that are pretty funny but they really don't acheive anything other than making someone else look bad, which ultimately ends up making me look like a jerk (after everyone stops laughing).  I was looking for a devotional in this area and found the following.  It's about gossip, not sarcasm, but I think the same principal applies for all of the various ways that we use our word for something other than speaking the truth in love.

If you don't say it, they can't repeat it. Yiddish folklore offers a telling tale about gossip-makers. One such man had told so many malicious untruths about the local rabbi that, overcome by remorse, he begged the rabbi to forgive him. "And, Rabbi, tell me how I can make amends." The rabbi sighed, "Take two pillows, go to the public square and there cut the pillows open. Wave them in the air. Then come back." The rumormonger quickly went home, got two pillows and a knife, hastened to the square, cut the pillows open, waved them in the air and hastened back to the rabbi's chambers. "I did just what you said, Rabbi!" "Good." The rabbi smiled. "Now, to realize how much harm is done by gossip, go back to the square..." "And?" "And collect all your feathers."
From Hooray for Yiddish. (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/g/gossip.htm)

I have some feathers to pick up.  You?