Unfamiliar Surroundings

Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a flight with my thirteen year old son, along with two other dads and their sons. We are going on a mission trip to Laos and Thailand. We have been preparing over the last several months for this adventure. I’m curious? Have you ever embarked on a mission trip or another type of global travel that took you to very unfamiliar surroundings? What do you remember most from that experience? What was one thing you learned that you haven’t forgotten? Would love to hear your story. Better yet, would love to sit down with you when we return and hear your story. By then, hope to have a few of my own!

What we will be doing:

  1. The first part of the trip, in Thailand, we will be twelve helping hands and feet during an intensive youth discipleship camp.
  2. The middle part of the trip, we will be trekking into mountain villages in northern Laos , led by our host missionary and his son, sharing God’s love and His message of hope!
  3. The last part of the trip, we will help out at the English Teaching school they operate. We will be there to help build relationships with the students.

Most importantly, we will be WORSHIPPING. I’ve read that missions exists because worship doesn’t…that worship is the fuel and goal of missions.

Psalm 97:1 says “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!”

So our goal for this trip is simple: to worship God as we let His love work through us into the lives of others, our friends in Laos.


Walter Cronkite

If you’re over forty years of age, you likely have distinct memories of one of broadcasting’s most distinctive figures – Walter Cronkite.  Was there another anchor worthy of delivering the news when I was a child?  If there was, I certainly wasn’t aware.

Many would agree, there was something about this man that set him apart.  I wouldn’t have been able to put my finger on it as a kid.  And given that the character trait I’m about to attribute to Walter Cronkite is a LEARNED one, it is a trait within the grasp of each and every one of us.  What am I referring to?  Walter Cronkite demonstrated CONTENTMENT.  He had an ease and a calm about him that conveyed a strong inner foundation.  When I reflect on his life, I think of a man who’s professional position did not supercede his personal position.

The dictionary defines “hero” as a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

Personally, I need to look no further than the longevity of his marriage to consider Walter Cronkite a hero, a man of noble qualities.  On March 15, 2005 he lost his wife of 64 years, Betsy, three weeks before their 65th anniversary.  In addition, their family tree consists of three children and many grandchildren that look upon the lives their parents/grandparents lived with great admiration.  In fact, The Walter and Betsy Cronkite Fund for Fair Play was established by the Cronkite’s children to honor the lives of their parents.

We can learn alot from a man who shared these thoughts about his wife shortly after her passing –

Walter, wondering about how different his life would have been if he had not detoured to Kansas City, 8/2005: “But I can’t say that my private life would have turned out as happy. Perhaps I might never have found my Betsy, who, after 64 years of marriage, was still as beautiful when she died this year as the day I first saw her. Meeting such a bright and supportive woman brought me a lifetime of joy and tenderness. And for me, that was key.”

Back to CONTENTMENT.  Through a Crown Financial Ministries small group study several years ago, I learned that contentment is learned.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

I believe contentment breeds trust.  And since his passing last week, we’re reminded that in his era Walter Cronkite was dubbed “The Most Trusted Man In America”.  In my next post, I’ll share some thougths on this designation attributed to a broadcasting legend.


Parents Are Prophets

My favorite blogger is Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C.  Here’s what he wrote today:

“When our kids were younger I started writing them annual letters. They were collections of cute things that our kids said and did. But I also tried to capture those moments that I believed were prophetic glimpses of who they were becoming. I’m sad that there are missing years, but I’m not going to allow the fact that I missed a few years keep me from picking the habit back up. As a dad, one of my roles is to function as a biographer for my kids. In a sense, my letters are their journals before they had the ability to write or remember.

It’s Summer’s birthday today and I’m writing her an annual letter. Letters force me to say what I mean and mean what I say. And they are something I envision her hanging on to and accumulating as the years pass. Honestly, I think they will be far more meaningful ten years from now. The letters take a backseat to the presents now. But someday the presents will take a backseat to the letters. I was really inspired to pick this habit back up a few weeks ago during a baby dedication at NCC. A new father sent me an amazing letter he had written to his son before he was born and it deeply impacted me. I imagined his son reading that letter when he turned 16 or 18 or 21.

The bottom line is this: parents are prophets. And we’ve got to find ways to speak faith, hope, and love into the lives of our children. An annual letter on their birthday is one way of doing it.”

I enjoy journaling.  I really like journaling in written long-hand.  As time moves on, there’s something about seeing words I have actually written recording thoughts, perspectives, emotions, challenges, life lessons learned and those being learned.

When my first son was born, I started a journal dedicated just to him.  I did the same when my second son was born.  It was my intention to record anectdotes, funny things they said, personality traits as they developed and thoughts I wanted to share with them that would speak wisdom into their life for future years.

As with Mark, sadly I have let quite a bit of time slip by without regularly spending a few moments further creating these most treasured archives.  At the beginning, it was my intention to compile these over the years and present them to my sons on the occasion of their 18th or 21st birthday.

Reading Mark’s thoughts today have compelled me to pick up again this process of pouring my life into the lives of my children.  I won’t worry about all that I’ve missed in recent months of neglecting this exercise, I’ll just choose to make a “course correction” today and journal.  I have nothing of greater value to leave my children as a legacy of my love for them than words I record about our lives together and the men they are becoming as God leads their lives and they follow His plan and purpose for them.

One note:  I will likely give way to technology and begin journaling electronically versus hand-written.  I would rather maintain consistency and get the words out than worry about the manner in which they are recorded.  Function over form.

Here’s Mark’s blog site if you want to check out his other posts:  http://evotional.com/

July 13, 2009 | Filed Under Heritage, Legacy