Thursday, July 31, 2008

ASP part 2

Monday morning began with us gathering up the tools that we might need (since I had not been at the site, I had no idea what we might need), making lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (minus the jelly because they ran out), loading up in the van and heading out to find our site.

We were located up Hinton Mountain Road, about a half hour ride from the school up a very windy and narrow road. I loved driving it every day. When we arrived we found a house that was, maybe in a fire, but regardless was only half there, a trailer right behind it (maybe 10 feet) that had no electricity and was not lived in because of that. This was "smiles". Some say that it was called smiles because the trailer bowed so much it looked like it was smiling. That had been corrected before we arrived.

Our task was to complete the underpinning (skirting) around the trailer. Most of the frame work had been done, but every now and again, we would find a 2x4 that was not nailed in. We quickly came to realize that those boards were in areas where wasps lived. We found out after I was attacked and stung twice in the face. Fortunately, I am not allergic to the beasts!

Over the next couple of days we completed the frame, attached tin skirting, put in 8 vents and w access doors. All of this was competed by early Thursday morning. Our next big task, which we fought to get permission to do, was build a porch and stairs so that the family could get into the trailer. We were dependent upon ASP bringing us lumber and we had virtually nothing to do Thursday morning until they finally brought us some of the materials (not all that we needed, however) around lunch time. That afternoon, we dug the holes for the posts and set them with concrete.

Friday again we had to wait around until they brought material (again at lunch time) so all we were able to compete was getting the joists of the porch attached. We really were disappointed that we could not get the rest of the porch and the stairs built. Hopefully, they are finishing that up as I write.

The other group worked on a house in town that had been burned by arson. The tasks that they had seemed overwhelming and I was glad that we got the trailer to work on that we had.

Most of the pictures are now online.

I will write part 3 later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ASP in West Virginia

I am slowly recovering from my week with the youth of Ridge Church on our mission trip to Hinton WV with the Appalachian Service Project. I have not gone on a youth mission trip in a number of years, I think my last one was to Oklahoma. That trip I flew in late and flew out before it was over and just came a paid a visit with the youth for a couple of days. This time I was the team leader even though I flew to join the team on Sunday while they drove on Saturday.

The youth left on Saturday morning and drove to Charleston WV to spend the night at Christ UMC. They went to church the next morning and then drove on to Hinton. The big excitement was the realization that some famous actress was a part of the congregation (as far as I know she wasn't there that morning) and her sister was there. I have no idea who it was (they told me but, as they liked to remind me, I am OLD!

I left Munster right after Church on Sunday, I changed my clothes in my office and Nancy drove me to O'Hare. I thought I was on one airline but it ended up being United because it was a code share although my ticket was not very clear. Once I figured out where I was to be, I settled in for my 3pm flight to Washington DC (Reagan Airport) and then a short hop to Charleston WV. We boarded shortly before 3, only to find that their was a mechanical problem. While fixing that issue, another mechanical problem came up, that was fixed, we taxied out of the gate only to sit because of weather in Washington. We finally took off sometime after 6pm.

By the time we arrived my flight to WV had long since departed. Since it was mechanical issues, United arranged for a taxi to Dulles Airport (on the other side of town) for a flight that left in about an hour. I had to run through the airport, but I made it to the flight, only to find it delayed because of weather in Charleston. I finally arrived in Charleston after midnight, still needing to rent a van and then drive the 1 1/2 hour or so to Hinton. Fortunately my van that I had booked was waiting for me.

I arrived in Hinton sometime between 2am and 2:30, Monday morning -- 13 hours after I left Munster. By the way, the drive time to Hinton from Munster is only 10 hours!

I arrived and eventually find the school where we were staying. After an unbelievable adventure with only the light of a cell phone, I found my cot on the boys side of the gym (fortunately I did not wake any of the girls up when I was looking for my bed on their side of the gym . . .). Unfortunately, while they had set up my cot, they had not gotten my suitcase or my sleeping back out of the trailer. It was close to 100 degrees in the gym at 3am and I slept miserably until 5:30 am.

Enough for now, I will continue this adventure later!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Greeting fron Kenora, Ontario Canada.

I am up in Canada with Jim Dye and his son in law Peter from Ct.

We have had a great trip so far.

We left Griffith Airport in Jim's Bonanza airplane with Peter flying. We took off about 5:45 am and arrived in less than four hours to Kenora. We then got in a car that Jim leaves at the little airport here to drive to Laclu where his cabin is. The cabin is actually on an island in the lake so we had to take a boat out to the island with all of our stuff.

Last night we had an early dinner and then headed out fishing. We are fishing for Walleye and I caught the first and the largest of the day. Also caught lots of Northern Pike and Perch but we have thrown all of those back.

Today we got Jim's sea plane and headed to a lake about 10 miles away. We got there and a thunderstorm came up. We tried to beat it, by jumping in the plane and heading back to the cabin, but all we did was take off in a torrential thunderstorm. I guess I have determined that I am not going to get airsick!

After about an hour or so, we headed back to the lake and fished again. This time the only problem was that I burned by legs! I wish I had taken my camera, but I didn't. I did not have a lot of luck with the fishing but we caught 6 or 8 nice sized Walleye. Peter caught a monster of a Walleye, easily over 2 feet, but since it was so big he released to to live another day and make more Walleye.

It is just 4 in the afternoon, but I am beat! I slept great last night (except when I got up to go to the outhouse and got locked out of the cabin at 3am --- that's a story for another day). Jim stayed at the house taking a nap, Peter had some work to do and wanted to find an Internet cafe, so here we are in downtown Kenora.

Tonight, I think that we are going fishing for Crappie, but I am not sure. Tomorrow, if the weather holds we plan to fly the float plan about 1 hour north of here to Fletcher Lake --- it is a fish camp fly in lake. Should be fun!

I got some great pictures of Chicago as we flew past yesterday, but I have not had time to mess with them and I may not until we get home.

I will try to update again.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I went to visit one of the "shut-ins" of Ridge Church this afternoon. She is 94 years old, and I love going to see her. The problem is that she wants me to stay for a couple of hours, when all I have is 15 minutes or so.

Well, I spent about a half an hour with her. And she said that she plans on living a least a couple more years. "I don't think about that much." She said. I am sure that she will.

Why she is my hero is because, even though she has failing eyesight, she reads the church newsletter and knows what is going on and wants to talk all about it. She loves to talk theology --- not the conservative BS, she wants to talk about progressive theology. She loves to engage her mind.

She was telling me how she just came across the cool company (The Teaching Company) that puts out all kinds of lectures. She said she is so excited because she is learning all kinds of new things (AT 94 YEARS OLD!!!!) She has been listening to a class on music appreciation. She is telling me all these things that she is learning about how music is structured and why that is important --- did I tell you she is 94?

She also found so Biblical lectures. I told her that I had a few and that I would have to go through them and see which ones she might like.

She is unbelievable. I hope that when I am her age, that I have that passion that she has to keep on learning. To many of us think we know it all and never move forward.

Thanks Amy!

What do you appreciate about the USA?

OK, I know that most of you would say that I am not the most patriotic person in the world. And without a doubt, you are probably right.

  • I do not believe that the flag belongs in a worship space

  • I am not a big fan of patriotic hymns (my favorite hymn is This Is My Song)

  • I am not a fan of the pledge of allegiance (but I do say it every week)
    • The 4th of July has come and gone and I am curious . . . What do you appreciate about the United States of America. How would you answer that question. Eugene Cho, in his blog on God's Politics, asked this very question.

      I am curious how you might answer.

      Check out this blog for some more interesting comments.

      Thursday, July 10, 2008


      I am working on my sermon for Sunday which is based on Genesis 25:19-34, which is the story of Esau and Jacob. As I have been studying their story I have become fascinated with Rebekah, even though she is not the theme for my sermon this week, I have done quite a bit of reading about her.

      In the midst of my reading, it made me want to stop and take a moment to thank the wonderful woman who is a part of my life. I would not be where I am today without Nancy! She is the light in my world.

      Most woman would have a hard time being married to me (and I am sure that Nancy does at times . . .) but, she has the wonderful gift of being willing to share me with so many other people. Most evenings, I am not at home because of meetings or appointments with people. Next week I am going to Canada with a friend who is a member of the church, and she is the one who encouraged me to go. As soon as I get home, I will load up to head off for a week to West Virginia to be with our youth Mission Trip with ASP.

      I am so lucky to be married to such a wonderful woman.
      She allows me to minister in so many ways!
      Thank you! I love you more than you will ever know!

      Wednesday, July 09, 2008

      Getting Ready

      It has been a crazy week, trying to get ready and get all the loose ends wrapped up for the mission trip to West Virginia with the Appalachian Service Project.

      I participated on ASP projects 30+ years ago when I was in High School. I have some great memories of those trips (and some pretty bad ones --- when Lori jumped out the window . . .). We went to Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky and would work on houses that were way up in the mountains. The two jobs that I remember best were digging a new outhouse pit and fixing up the outhouse and painting a tin roof. We always had a blast because on the way home we would be rewarded for our hard working stopping at an Amusement Park (King's Island in Cincinnati) or a side trip to Williamsburg, VA.

      We depart on Saturday, July 19th (well the youth do, I won't get there until Sunday evening the 20th). We will be staying in Summers County, West Virginia at the local Middle School, sleeping in the gym, showering in the locker rooms. It should be interesting.

      The last Sr. High mission Trip I found myself in charge of was five or six years ago when the youth went to Nashville, TN. What am I thinking . . . . . . . I am 48 years old!

      Now that most everything is sort of done --- at least the absolutely necessary items that would have caused the trip to be canceled, I am getting my head and heart around the project.

      What will we be doing? I have no idea for sure, but I know that we will be fixing up the homes of people who cannot afford to do it themselves. We will be traveling to one of the poorest sections of our country. I am sure that this will be an eye opening experience for our youth (and me as well!)

      Not sure how much I will be able to post while I am gone (if at all) but I will try.

      Next week I am heading to Canada to do a little fishing. But more about that later.

      Friday, July 04, 2008

      What a Day!

      Most importantly, welcome Tucker Carl Whybrew! Tucker was born to Sarah and Nathan Whybrew yesterday (July 3rd) in Lafayette, Indiana. Tucker weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and is 20.25 inches long. Ridge Church and the Town of Munster had a nice little celebration last night in his honor!

      Nathan is the new associate pastor at Ridge Church and they will be moving to Munster next week! YIKES! Hopefully, we will make everything go smooth and fairly easy for them. I cannot imagine moving with a week old baby, but that is the way the conference does things!

      Last night Munster held their fireworks display and Ridge Church invited the community onto the lawn. The place was packed as usual and we had a great time. After all the expenses are paid (which fortunately because of the generosity of so many people isn't too much) we will make about $2,600 which goes to support our Vacation Bible School and allows it to be FREE! Thanks to everyone who worked.

      This afternoon is the Munster parade and we will once again have a float in the parade. Nancy, Doug, Laura and Kathy are working on the finishing touches while I am goofing off in my office. It is a huge effort, but it is a lot of fun promoting the church and inviting people to our VBS.

      I will try to get some pictures posted of the parade on line this afternoon or tomorrow.

      Thursday, July 03, 2008


      I think that I finally have most of the programs restored to my computer here at the office. I have not put any of my sermons on line for weeks, hopefully, I will find time to do that tomorrow.

      Tonight is the fireworks display by the Town of Munster --- there is no greater place to watch the fireworks than on the lawn of Ridge Church! As a bonus we sell hamburgers, hotdogs, Italian sausage, popcorn, and all kinds of other junk! Virtually everything is donated so that we can use the money that is raised so that we can provide a FREE Vacation Bible School to the community! VBS starts on July 14th and you can register here!

      Come out and join us tonight!

      Tuesday, July 01, 2008

      The Things They Carried

      Nancy and I are in a book group and the current book that we are reading is by Tim O'Brien called: The Things They Carried. It is a collection of stories (sort of) about Viet Nam from a particular soldier's point of view. Once I began the book, I could not put it down!

      It is a fascinating book, because it clearly is marked as a work of fiction, yet, Tim O'Brien did fight in Viet Nam, the narrator of the book is named Tim O'Brien and he constantly is saying that this is a "true war story". I don't know if any of the stories really happened, but I am convinced that they are ALL TRUE. Maybe that is not such a stretch for me, since I look at the Bible pretty much the same way --- I don't see the stories as "history", but I do know that they are "true."

      A couple of the stories really spoke to me. I was really drawn into the story he called "On the Rainy River". It was all about his struggle with his draft notice. Should he go to Canada or should he go to Viet Nam. He brings the angst that so many struggled with alive.

      The other stories that captured me were when he takes his daughter to Viet Nam and the closing story which is about death (life???).

      This is a powerful book that I would highly recommend!

      For more information about Tim O'Brien, check out his web site.