Wednesday, November 26, 2014

allan to axel: we all look up to you

yesterday we had a sweet but tough conversation with the boys and our staff.  it started as a discussion about the challenges and sacrifices of a life following jesus.

i knew where the conversation was going (the davis family and Axel announcing that they are moving to honduras) but before we got to that point, i wanted the boys to know that following jesus often leads to having to do hard things.

i talked about our move to guatemala from florida 6.5 years ago.  how hard it was to leave friends and family, but how faithful God has been.

then the announcement came.  eyes got teary.  paul shared.  his eyes got teary.  my eyes were teary.  i'm pretty sure kerrie's, mynor's, and walda's were as well.  jessica was sitting in the back - and her eyes weren't just teary… they were leaky.

then a very special moment came.  (lots of them actually.)

Axel stood up and, in front of many of the young men he's grown up with, told them that he is moving to another country to help start another boys academy.

now, before you think "thats not that big of a deal", let me put it in perspective.


our town makes small towns look huge.  buena vista, for many generations, has been so far removed from civilization, that "leaving" has simply never made sense.

  • one- the lack of education would never lead to outside opportunities.  
  • two- the lack of exposure to the world outside of BV would never lead to opportunities.
  • three- when something has never happened before, the pressure for it to never happen increases
  • four- the pressure for men to not "do well for themselves" - as bizarre as it seems - is incredibly strong here.  men work a few specific jobs, period.  anyone who tries anything different gets harassed and made fun of.  its a crazy phenomenon that we never expected, and it controls people.
Axel sharing

so there stood Axel.  in tears, with stressed veins in his temple and neck, struggling to get it out… but finally explaining that God has called him to do something, and he's answering the call.  he said its been hard to make the final decision, but that his life has been changed by being in the academy for the last 4 years - and he knows this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

call it cliche to say, but for me it was a moment when time stood still and it was just Axel standing there talking.  maybe it just seemed that way for me, knowing what i know.  understanding the hugeness of what was happening.

after that, some memorable comments were shared.

carlos said he wanted jessica to know how much he'd miss her.  that she has been like his private teacher over the last 2 years and he's thankful for all she's done for him.  (leaky turned to pouring!)

julio asked what its like to feel "called".  it was a great question.  and i had noticed that his mind was working overtime as he was listening to all of us share.  he asked "how do you know when you're called by God?" it lead to a great conversation.

then allan stood up with a very serious look on his face. (not normal for those that know allan!)  with his own emotional crack in his voice, he looked right at Axel and said:  

Axel, I want you to know that I admire you and I am proud of you.  we're all proud of you.  no one has ever left here before to go live in another place.  but you are doing something very big and we will all look up to you for it.  i support you all the way.

it was a special day.  friends are leaving, but exciting new things are beginning.  

there's a group of boys in travesia, honduras, that are a lot like the boys of buena vista.  soon they'll have some great people coming alongside them to love them, teach them, and share jesus with them.   chains of generational sin will be broken there through those boys, just like its happening here in BV. 

sure, following jesus is hard.  but there's no greater call.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

looking back

one of our first soccer camps in BV
we're coming up on another BVSA graduation.  i've been going through old pictures in order to put together a little "video of memories" for this year's graduates.  in doing so, i've come across so many old classics that have gotten me emotional.

its so good to look back.  we focus so much on where we're going, that we don't look back enough... and remember where we were and how far we've come.  whether its our marriage, our business, or our walk with christ...  its important that we take time to reflect.  remember the "old days." remember how different we were, how we've changed, etc.  and just look at old pictures!
joni & oscar on the future BVSA site

as followers of jesus we should be careful not to look back and get high on ourselves for where we currently are.  that would be the wrong motive and could lead toward pride and judging others.  just the opposite, we should recognize how much we've changed/grown, and then long to see even more change/growth over the coming years!

i love looking back at these pictures, seeing what we, and our BV boys, were up to 6+ years ago... and compare it to where we are now. especially as some days can feel so mundane...  it gives me energy to keep pushing!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

wealth and salvation

click to watch sermon
we recently returned home from a trip to the states.  our friends at savannah christian invited me to preach at their church...  5 services and around 10,000 people if i remember right!

knowing how big of a church SCC is made my stomach turn at first, but i said "yes" before thinking twice.  i knew i had to do it.  here's why...  

a month or so earlier, i had spoken at a mens conference in savannah.  it was a message about what we as men do with our money - and how those decisions actually affect our salvation.  a tough message for sure...  lets just say there were some crickets chirping in the room.

the amazing part is how God gave me that message.  as crazy as it might sound, he gave it to me in a dream.  basically word for word, right down to the chapters and verses.  i know it sounds wild, but its true.  i woke up and told my wife every word of it...  looked up all the passages...  and wrote it all down.

when i returned home to guatemala after giving the message to the men at the conference, kerrie asked me how it went and i remember telling her, "i did it.  don't know how it went over, but i said what God told me to say!"

you can imagine the shock when just a couple weeks later - my friend pastor dave stewart at SCC called to invite me to share the same message with the entire church.  i was stunned!  excited, but stunned.

if you want to watch it, you can click here.  its not the exact same message i shared with the men - that one was much more "raw" b/c of the nature of a mens conference.  i also took out my personal testimony as i had to shorten it quite a bit for the church services.

i am grateful for the teachings Jesus gave us about our wealth and our salvation!  it has changed my life and i continue praying for deeper changes to come.