Sunday, June 28, 2009

Greece June 09: Shinning Bright

To go along with our theme for this year (SHINE in 09), here are some examples of how our team shined in Greece!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Greece June 09: New Friends

Having the ability to partner with a city in Greece makes it easy for us to make long-lasting relationships. One of our goals in this trip was to make sure we made an intentional effort to get to know some of the locals and establish an ongoing relationship with them. Here are some pictures of some of our new friends:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy's Home = Great Excitement

Nothing makes me feel better than the excitement I see from my kids when I get home. They can make the worst day melt away with their smiles and jubilee. I think that God wants the same kind of excitement from us when we encounter Him every day. His love for us is greater for us, than our love for our kids… His pleasure in us must be greater too!

Also, there is another video I showed in church today during the offering. I am in no way a country music fan, but it definetly shows the importance of our example to our children. Our words do not matter at all if our actions contradict what we have to say.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Greece June 09: My Fear

One month before our trip to Greece to the day I had major shoulder surgery to fix a torn/shredded labrum. My doctor told me it was the worst case scenario, which brought about doubt if I would be able to go on the trip at all. Once he cleared me to go 10 days prior to our departure, we knew there would be many limitations on my involvement... many limitations!

With one exception on one day, my shoulder did not bother me anymore than it has before or after the trip. Everyone on our team was very mindful to help and protect me when needed. In fact, I would like to thank Christy, Jamie, Robert, and Cody who helped carry my stuff throughout the trip! Also, many thanks to Ms. Sandy for the shoulder rubs, they helped more than you know! Another huge blessing was being able to get ice every night from the hotel bar... relax I only got ice! And if my doctor or PT read this, I was faithful to do all of my exercise everyday on the trip.

The hardest part for me was not dealing with the discomfort that exist whatever my location, it was found in my not being able to participate in our partnership as I would have liked to. Typically, I would have jumped right in the middle of whatever they were doing, but not this time. Instead of participating in the track & field warm-ups, I watched. Instead of high-jumping and long-jumping, I measured the distance of each jump. Instead of running the 1,000 meters, I timed it. Instead of leading basketball drills, I... well I did play a little basketball one-armed and poorly! If you notice pictures of me participating in any activities, note how my left arm is always pulled in close to my body as not to move in a way to reinjure it.

Patience (in taking it slow), humility (in asking for help), and long-suffering are all things this injury has taught me to this point, but more than anything it has given me an appreciation for a healthy body God has blessed me with throughout my life. Sports and competition are two of my favorite things and it’s good to know in another 5 months I'll be able to participate again. God is good.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Greece June 09: Fun Times

During our trip we worked hard. In fact, part of my worry at the end of the week was that I might have pushed the team too hard. Blisters on one team member’s feet, soreness in multiple bodies, and some being worn-out-tired brought me to that conclusion, but the reports from team members have eased those fears.

We make it clear that we are there to work; we have a job to do! However, all work no play makes for a miserable trip so we try to add some fun activities as well. Here are some pictures with a brief explanation of what we did for fun:

Cape Sunion (pronounced Sunio), a beach on overlooked by Poseidon’s temple.

Playing tennis on a clay court at my favorite spot in Athens – I was really elated they allowed us to play for a few minutes. This is at a private club I would love to join if we lived there. They have grass, clay, and hard courts, as well as a nice cafĂ©:

Racing Christy in Corinth on the ancient track starting blocks:

A ferry ride of the Aegean Island where we relaxed and played paddle ball:

Relaxing after dinner below the Acropolis:

Not pictured: Constant joking, laughing and smiles… usually at Robert’s expense!

Greece June 09: Our Partnership

We have been blessed with an opportunity to partner with a municipality in Athens. This partnership has allowed us to learn more about the Greek culture, as well as share with Greeks about our culture.

We have made a great friend in Kostas who allows us into his community. We have assisted and participated in various sporting events, from basketball to traditional Greek dancing!

There is nothing like the opportunity to play with the kids and talk to the parents. We are prayerful that this door will remain open so we can continue to Share and build relationships!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greece June 09: Prayer

Prayer was a major focus of our trip this year. We began our trip at the Acropolis, followed by a Bible study at Mar's Hill where we focused on why we were there and asking God for His favor throughout our trip.

The next day our leaders had us praying for the city of Athens,

the Greek government,

and their Orthodox Church.

Future Greece Posts: Our Partnership, Fun Times, New Friends, Shining Bright, My Fear & My Favorite Part of the Trip

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Religious Freedom Threatened In America

The first ammendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

In spite of that a San Diego couple was ordered to stop having a Home Bible Study:

"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

"We told them this is not really a religious assembly — this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.

But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.

For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.

"The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple Bible study in their own home."

"The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it settled for the future."

The couple is planning to dispute the county's order this week.

If San Diego County refuses to allow the pastor and his wife to continue gathering without acquiring a permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court.

We better fight for our religious liberty and freedom to gather, because those opposed to Christianity are fighting to take that freedom away.