Engaging the Community: Park Clean-Up

Engaging the Community: Park Clean-Up

Two months ago our family moved into the big city from our small rural village. While we are still adjusting to the background noises of the city live, we are enjoying being close to the different amenities of city. One of which is a great city park walking distance from the house. Rare is the day that our son isn’t trying to get us to go over to the park so that he can play on the slides, swings and monkey bars. The crazy thing about the park is that it seems that there is always trash scattered around the play area, tables and throughout the grassy fields nearby. I know the city park crew is trying hard to keep up with picking up the trash; yet it seems that folks are littering faster than the park crew can pick things up. In chewing over this problem, our small group (i.e. our family and one other family with two young kids) decided to leave the comfort of our home Bible study and start picking up trash every other week. In doing so we are not only teaching our children the value of loving others and engaging the community around them, but we are also fighting the spiritual battle of selfishness, laziness, and waste that fuels the littering issue. In picking up trash we declaring that God’s rule of love, kindness and self-deny is entering that piece of earth. It may sound strange to some ears, but to us the act of picking up trash goes beyond the physical world and deep into the spiritual. The two are interwoven and...

Philippines 2014: Video

I-61 Ministries just released a cool video highlighting the work of some good friends of mine, Chris and Cathee Mapes, who are working with the tribal people of Kalinga Province, Philippines. The Mapes are not only helping strengthen the local church, they are also teaching people to become “self-sustaining by lowering the farming costs via organic fertilizers, livestock raising, and creating a community co-op as well as conduct health, sanitation and nutrition teachings.” Check out their FB page and website....
Time To Do Something

Time To Do Something

I know I have talked about i-61 Ministries before…but I just can’t stop sharing their videos and articles as I think they are on the right track. As Tri says in the below video, it is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the state of the world today – poverty, environmental decline, spiritual decay, etc., and etc… However we have to start somewhere doing something. Just like Matthew West states in his song “Do Something”: I woke up this morning Saw a world full of trouble now Thought, how’d we ever get so far down How’s it ever gonna turn around So I turned my eyes to Heaven I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?” Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of People living in poverty Children sold into slavery The thought disgusted me So, I shook my fist at Heaven Said, “God, why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, I created you” If not us, then who If not me and you Right now, it’s time for us to do something If not now, then when Will we see an end To all this pain It’s not enough to do nothing It’s time for us to do something   So, what are you going...
Pakak Project: Organic Farming

Pakak Project: Organic Farming

Chris and Cathee Mapes, Vineyards missionaries in Pakak, Philippines, recently started an awesome organic farming project teaching farmers how to make and use “homemade natural fertilizers and pesticides.” This will save the farmers TONS of money that is usually spend on chemical fertilizers and pesticides – items that are normally bought on credit with a 10% monthly interest. As one farmer said: “…on a good harvest, which is May or June harvest, i get around 43 cavans, i set aside some for our consumption, and i sell the rest….sometimes i get paid 15,000 pesos…i use 10,000 to pay off the fertilizers, pesticides, etc that i get on credit with interest…2000 to 3,000 i use to pay for the hand tractor, fare, milling and other things….i barely have enough left to get basic necessities for my family….at least this time i don’t owe anyone fertilizers or pesticides.” While this sounds good, the use of homemade natural fertilizers and pesticides is something really, really new in this areas. This means that not everyone in the village is ready to make the switch as they are concerned with how good the organic products will work… as in are the fields going to be protected against rats, birds, insects and other such things… Accordingly, Chris and Cathee are asking for folks to pray for a good crop yield for these farmers and their fields. If things go good, then more farmers will be willing to make the switch, saving them necessary funds for their family. Read more about Chris and Cathee’s ministry on their website, “Mapes...
Creation, Youth, And The Three Rs

Creation, Youth, And The Three Rs

As mentioned in my last post, this weekend was the first (and hopefully ‘annual’) PRV youth retreat. We traveled about 30-miles north of Crouch, Idaho, to a place called Silver Creek Plunge, which was, appropriately enough, in a valley called “Peace Valley.” 😀 There were 12 of us on the retreat – seven young adults ranging from 12(?) to 19, four leaders and a two year old.  Granted, the two year old thought he was much, much older and kept insisting that he be allowed to join the others in their activities.  The teenagers, for their part, did an awesome job at including him in their activities; without, I might add, any requests or comments from us – they simply just loved hanging out and playing with him!  (how cool is that! I love our church family!) Throughout the weekend we talked about creation and how God is continually active in creation, whether that be humanity, fauna, flora, dirt or rocks. St. Paul tells us in the first chapter of Colossians that all “things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” was make through and for Jesus. Furthermore, not only was it made by the Creator, but it is sustained by Him – meaning, that He didn’t just make things and then went on vacation. Nope, He is right there in the midst of everything working and fighting against the injustice of the evil one, till that day comes when enough is enough and all things are renewed and evil is destroyed once and for all (oh, that it may come soon!). Yet, I digress from the main...