Sunday, September 30, 2012

noah

me with noah (mynor and walda's boy).  love this little guy, could squeeze him all day long!

one of my favorite pics ever.

Friday, September 21, 2012

why we're called the rhinos

When we started the boy's academy, we announced the team name for the official 30 boy roster would be the Buena Vista Rhinos (or in Spanish, Los Rinos de Buena Vista).
 
Here's a quick summary explaining "why the rhinos?".
 
2 facts: Rhinos cannot see beyond 30 feet.  Rhinos can run between 30-40mph.

Those 2 facts together make no sense! Could you imagine driving 40 mph in your car and not seeing 30 feet ahead of you?

But what makes the rhino special is that he will not run top speed alone. A pack of rhinos is called a "crash" - because when they get together, they run their hardest, without any concern for what lies ahead. They know that, together, they can run through anything.

What we are trying to do with the next generation of leaders in Buena Vista at times seems impossible. Our hope is to lead these boys to break generational cycles of abuse, absence, addiction, and spiritual emptiness. Many dad's beat their wives and kids because they have never seen a man in their life who didn't. The root of the problem runs deep.

As we spend the coming years digging in and attempting to bring life, hope, and grace in Jesus name to these future men, they will need each other in order to stay strong. That's where the rhino concept comes in.

Just like the lead rhino runs hard, leading the pack, encouraging the others to run harder... these boys will look to their "lead rhinos" to push them. While we (mynor, myself, others) will take on that role of "lead rhino" in the beginning, our prayer will be that leaders begin rising up within. Then as life's journey moves along, the lead rhino will naturally rotate, allowing various teammates to step up and lead while the loyal crash runs hard alongside them.

I know that for me personally, my rhino crash is invaluable.  They encourage me, challenge me, push me, convict me, and call me out.  They love me deeply.  We share life together and we carry one another's burdens.
 
I pray that these BV boys will form their "rhino crash" - running hard for Jesus, growing together in their faith, and leaning on one another as they face their community together... a group of young men who love the Lord and their neighbors, work hard, respect women, and live lives of integrity.

Eventually, may the influence of the rhino crash of buena vista spread like wildfire and have a transformational impact in this place.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

a 5th grader's justice

"Alone: We Are Nothing"
more than a year ago, my son asked me a question.  "dad, why do you and mynor get under armor shirts for the coaches but not for the boys?"

i explained that its too expensive since their are so many boys in the academy.  he responded that he didn't think it was fair...  and that he was going to save his money so that he could buy all the boys an under armor shirt.

keep in mind this was coming from a 10 year old kid.

he asked me the price of the shirts, did the math, and came up with his number.

"Together: We Are Rhinos"
for over a year now, he has saved every penny.  seriously.  he has not bought himself a single thing that i can recall.  birthday money, chore money, report card money...  everything he's earned he has tucked into his sweet, velcro tony hawk wallet.

a couple weeks ago, after improving in 11 of 12 classes, he finally earned enough money to buy a new under armor shirt for his entire 15 member team.

i heard him scream from his room "cabal! cabal!" which in guatemala slang-spanish is like saying "bam! exactly!"

he came running out of his room to count it out in front of me.  his excitement was overflowing.

i have to admit, until he actually reached his goal, i hadn't given it that much thought.  

but as i watched my now 11 year old boy literally beaming as he counted the money, the awesomeness of the moment overwhelmed me.

he could have been saving for a wii, an ipod, or new shoes.  but none of that stuff matters to him.  he wanted to share it.  he wanted these boys, who could never otherwise know the plush feeling of an under armor shirt, to have one of their own.  justice mattered to him, and was worth sacrificing for.  in his 5th grade perspective, this would set things right.

the simple reason for his actions: "because its not fair."

and he was right.

he chose a shirt that has a message about teamwork, and i can't think of a better teammate than jake.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

ministry work isn't sexy

into our fifth year here in guatemala, we continue to learn.  while its been a long journey, it still feels like its in its infancy.  so much more to do, so many more goals and dreams.
one of the many things we have learned is that ministry work is not sexy.  we can be tricked into thinking that it is.  like in any career, our flesh wants to be recognized.  we all have ambitions, and we like to feel successful.  being "career missionaries" doesn't change that.

so for me, its been a process.  on one hand, i want our supporters to know that we're getting things done, working hard, changing lives, and sharing jesus with people.  i want to assure them that God is doing amazing things.  on the other hand, God assures that if these things are happening, the glory is solely his, and none is reserved for me.  as i grow as a christian, i consider this an honor.  the more i love him, the less credit i want, and the more uncomfortable i feel when praised.

he has taught me through his wonderful and living word that feeling good about myself, feeling appreciated and successful, is not part of the equation.  that humility and hard work far outweighs recognition and praise.  that everybody doesn't need to know all that we do, and that our work is to be focused towards eternal glory rather than earthly.  (read the challenging passage below!)

all of this leaves me thankful for our friends and supporters.  they are the ones that continue supporting our work and our vision.  knowing all the while that its not a quick-fix.  its not going to leave them feeling warm and fuzzy every day.  but rather that we work toward long-term, generational changes.  any parent knows that raising young boys into godly men is not going to happen quickly or easily.

we hope to have "success stories" to share along the way.  but its a fight against the flesh to want to force them.

i am comforted by Gods word.  humility, steadfastness, renewal of the heart and mind, patience, and not growing weary as we seek the see the fruit of our work...  all biblical truths that force me to turn from my flesh and what it naturally longs for. 

Lord, keep us humbly devoted to you and to the job you have assigned us.  let these boys, their families and their village be our focus and our energy.  let us not seek recognition for what we do, but let the goal of every day be that seeds are planted, watered and nurtured in secret - and your church may grow larger and stronger and your name may be glorified in heaven and on earth! 


"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.  When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out."
Matthew 6: 1-4 (The Message)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

goodbye george

george & frank
saturday morning was no different than any other morning for george, our 8 year old boxer.  he played hard with frank (our 2.5 yr. old schnauzer) in the yard.  they played with their toys and ran around on the property.

after a couple hours of hanging out with a bunch of the boys from the academy, we came in the house to find george dead on the floor.  completely unexpected and shocking.

the kids lost it.  so did kerrie.  eventually, i did too.

he has been the best dog we've ever had.  friendly and loving, combined with intimidating and protective.  the last few days, we have been recalling memories.  some friends emailed their memories of george as well...

*ripping down and eating our blinds, and washing them down with a collection of library books...
*chasing neighborhood kids, and biting one in particular that was taunting him (he deserved it!)...
*doing his normal 25 to 30 twirls before curling up on a miniature pillow that seemed impossible for him to fit on...
*his fear of thunder and lightening...
*busting loose here at the academy and chasing julio and luver as they screamed bloody murder...
*the guilty look on his face when he knew he did something wrong...
*ripping through the screen door when a stranger/worker walks by...
*loving to ride in the back of the pick-up...
*being sad and refusing to eat if we left him too long or went out of town...
*chasing birds on the beach...
*allowing little ole frank to bump him out of the way while he ate or slept...

we'll miss our boy.  there will never be another george.