Monday, June 30, 2008

PACE Workcamp!

Sorry we haven't written in a while for those of you who regularly check out the blog--it's been a busy month! We've been to Canada and back, celebrated our 6th anniversary, celebrated Rachel's birthday, and I just returned from a week at Pennsylvania Christian Endeavor's youth workcamp in Findlay, OH.

It was a great week. I believe we had about 160 people total there, mostly teenagers (pictured above), to continue the recovery efforts for those in Findlay effected by the floods of last August and this February. A lot of work was accomplished through the youth and their adult leaders! The homeowners were quite appreciative, and even the mayor came to our evening worship service on Thursday to extend the city council's appreciation for PACE and the youth. So why was the Beej there? I had the great privilege of sharing the messages at each of our evening worship services as we focused on the Beattitudes of Matt. 5:3-12 and how those reveal how we can be salt and light to our dark and tasteless world. God met us during the worship times, but He also accomplished a lot through His servants, the workcampers. Below is a picture of the staff for the week: Chrissy, the summer intern; me; Mark, the Work Coordinator; Dave, the director of PACE; and Ben, Dave's son. What a blessing to serve Christ and others with such amazing people!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

TEACH International

This week I (B.J.) was able to participate in something called TEACH International; it's the E.C. denomination's gathering of our international leaders to hear what God is doing in their national churches and what their needs and growth areas are. It was truly amazing to hear the stories of rapid, dynamic growth in India, the faithful endurance of believers in Japan, the courage (and even martyrdom) of our brothers and sisters in Liberia, and the joy and energy of the Mexicans and Costa Ricans. It was encouraging to us American delegates to see how the E.C. Church is an international denomination and how God is moving in all the nations; in many ways, it was challenging for us as we so often grow complacent or weary in our culture of luxury and self-gratification. Above you can see a photo of all the delegates involved in the conference; below are photos of a couple new friends.

This is Dennis Henry, the only delegate out of five from Liberia who was granted a visa to leave their country for the conference. Liberia is a nation torn by civil war from about 1993-2003; many church buildings were destroyed and believers martyred during the war. It was impressive to hear Dennis's heart for his people and nation; God is at work there slowly restoring order and peace, not through the UN or the government, necessarily, but through His people, the Church.

This is Elias Martinez, one of our Mexican delegates. I had some broken conversations with him, and I think we more or less understood each other. He is the energetic leader of a Bible institute in Mexico that trains pastors and church leaders for ministry, not to mention that he's quite a character!

Monday, June 2, 2008


Over the past few weeks, we have been extremely busy. Moving into a new house (only a block away but still quite a chore!), the E.C. National Conference, working, speaking in churches, and the like. But as I reflect, I have a few things to mention that I'm thankful to God for:

I'm thankful for Jesus, His Presence with us, and His work in and through us. It was really good to celebrate the Lord's Supper at the E.C. National Conference last week.

I'm grateful to God for Godly leadership in our denomination. Our new bishop was consecrated last week at Conference, and we have commented over and over how thankful to God we are that the Godliness of our denomination's leadership is hardly a question for us.

My car. It's not much to look at, the paint's flaking off, and the head gasket is leaking. But God has kept the Neon going well beyond our expectancy for it, and it got me to and from Conference safely and without incident.

A washer and dryer. As we moved into our new temporary house, we knew it lacked laundry facilities, and we thought we would be buying a washer and dryer for a few months' use. But our need was mentioned to the pastor at one of the churches we visited--Dennis Snyder--and he happened to have a spare washer and dryer. God provided one of our needs (or conveniences) through Dennis, and we are deeply grateful for His provision.

Last, and certainly not least, second to Christ I'm most thankful for a beautiful, faithful, strong even in weakness, amazing wife. She has been an incredible instrument of God's love, correction, and salvation in my life.