Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Answering Questions

The precarious roads, the staple foods, the local food market – it is hard to communicate what these aspects of life in Congo are like if you have never been there. Sometimes we joke that Congo and the U.S. are almost as different as going from the earth to the moon!

One resource we recently created is a photo book that attempts to answer some of the “Frequently Answered Questions” about life in Congo. We use pictures (and text) to try to answer questions like “what do people eat?” or “what is a typical day like?”. Click here to see it online. If we get the chance to visit you, you can see it in person. And if you like it so much that you want to order a copy for yourself or to use in a Sunday school class/church, you can also order a copy from the link above.

FAQ photo book cover

We are getting ready to hit the road! We look forward to visiting churches and connecting with people who have been supporting us in various ways. We want people to know how we have seen God at work in Congo and help churches and individuals to connect with that work. To that end, we are updating our blog, creating a few handouts, and trying to find ways to convey what is going on in Congo.

What do you think of the book? What tools help you understand and connect with what God is doing in a far-away place? We welcome your input and suggestions!

Friday, June 10, 2016


 I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121: 1 – 2)

There is something therapeutic and healing that happens, basking and glorying in the wonders of wilderness, God’s glorious and untamed creation.  Last month Kristi and I had the privilege, along with Jim and Sherri Bertolet (Kristi’s parents), to visit Glacier National Park.  We arrived in West Glacier, Montana, by train from central Illinois.  We arrived before the major tourist season, beating the crowds.  It was a bit cold and rainy at times, but the marvels of the place were beyond expectation.  So many times I would gaze upward, with neck craned far back, drinking in the deep beauty and wonder of a place beyond description.  I would meditate upon God’s glory and goodness, simply giving thanks.  Enjoy a few of our pictures taken, along with a soul stirring poem by Henry David Thoreau.

Majestic, mysterious, misty mountains

Feeling small, admiring the awesome peaks in the distance

Lake McDonald on beautiful May morn

Avalanche Creek, emerald pools spilling below

Tundra Swan, resting on blue Lake McDonald

Wildflowers drape the valley and mountain roof top floors

Harlequin ducks migrating through (male, female)

Breakers and rapids crash down McDonald River,
finding fulfillment in lake below

Our new little "ziiiip" friend, the Pine Siskin in flight

St. Mary's Lake, small Goose Island in middle, surrounded
by titanic, monolithic uprisings

Two Medicine Lake below, mountains and glaciers
serving as the glorious backdrop

Our little party, posing in the shelter of Mount Sinopah,
the wavelets stirring at Two Medicine


We need the tonic of wilderness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe, to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.
At the same time that we are explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.

We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the site of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic figures, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thundercloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

Henry David Thoreau