Thursday, July 31, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Yesterday we took time out for a family day. We've been pretty heavily involved in ministry and sharing with people. It has been very rewarding, but tiring at the same time. It's taken a toll especially on Cole. We took a short trip to San Diego and spent the afternoon touring the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum. It was really interesting and educational.

Last night, we went to a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park. Cole especially enjoyed it as his first real baseball game. He also enjoyed eating the traditional roasted peanuts and Cracker Jacks for the first time. Although the Padres didn't win, we still had a great time anyway. Because the Padres are named after the missionaries that came to California to build the missions along the mission trail, we're wondering if we should choose them as our new hometown baseball team. ;-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

We got a stark reminder of life in Southern California this morning when a 5.4 earthquake rocked the area. We were speaking at a senior luncheon several miles from the epicenter, but it still rocked our area pretty good. Thankfully there was no damage or injuries where we were.

Today, we also ran across a few new wonderful resources for our ministry in Mali including a supplier of medical supplies for the mission world and a new Bible study designed as a tool to introduce the Gospel as part of an ESL (English as a Second Language) program for students like those we've recently started working with in Mali. We also received a couple more guitars for some of our Christian musician friends. We know these are going to be a huge blessing.

We're not sure how or when we're going to put these resources to use, but we know they will play an important role in the future. We're looking forward to seeing how God is going to direct us to use them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little House In the Big Woods

We spent the weekend in Lytle Creek in a small mountain community. We stayed with a couple in their beautiful log cabin and had a great time sharing with them and getting to know them. On Sunday, we spoke at Lytle Creek Community Church who is one of our supporting churches. This church continues to amaze us with their commitment to missions. They are a small church of about 30 people yet they have committed to support 3 missionaries. They are a wonderful encouragement to us.

We also received a guitar for one of our Christian musician friends in Mali. We know it's going to be a huge blessing them.

When we left Lytle Creek, we returned to Oceanside where we will be staying until our departure on August 11th.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Please Pray for Julie's Mom

We are continuing to do a lot of visiting and are enjoying seeing so many people. To those we've had a chance to see, thank you for taking the time to visit with us. We have so enjoyed seeing everyone and it has been a big encouragement to us.

Tonight we'll be leaving the OC and spending the weekend in Lytle Creek. From there, we will be returning to Oceanside for the remainder of our stay. Again, please contact us via email or telephone (714-618-1184) to schedule time to get together.

Last week, Julie's 80 year old mother Joyce fell and was taken to the emergency room. The doctors discovered she had a broken leg from a fall a couple of weeks earlier that has kept her bedridden. The doctors needed to perform surgery to put a plate in her leg to help it heal. She also suffers from Parkinson's disease and this has been a very difficult time for her. We're pretty sure this is the last time Julie will get to spend with her mother and she is going to be saying her final good-byes. Julie's mother is not currently a believer which places a heavier burden on us. Please be praying for her salvation, for Julie's family as they deal with this, and for Julie as she says good-bye. We are very grateful that our trip fell into this timeframe that has allowed us to be here during this time of family crisis.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beach Blanket Bingo

Bike Ride at Balboa There's nothing like a day at the beach...especially now that we live in sub-Saharan Africa. Today we had a perfect day at Balboa and packed in as much as possible in one day. We started with lunch at BJ's Pizza followed by a walk out on the pier. Later we took a surrey ride along the boardwalk. Of course, what's a trip to Balboa without riding the ferry and stopping for some famous Balboa Bar ice cream treats.

Seals in Balboa Harbor Later in the day, we took a harbor cruise to see some of the beautiful multi-million dollar waterfront homes and a trip out of the harbor to see some sea lions. We finished with a beautiful sunset over the ocean.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Greeting Card

Our family is continuing to change...both spiritually and physically. We are happy to present our new prayer card for 2008 to reflect the physical changes in our appearance. We will be sending out new cards in our next mailing in a couple of weeks. Please let us know if you'd like extras for you, your church, or someone you know.

TRIVIA: We always take our prayer card photo somewhere at Disneyland. This year's is the same location as our very first photo for MAF in 2001.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friends

Sorry for the delay in updating our blog. We have been so absorbed in being back in California and enjoying time with friends and family that we haven't taken the time to catch our breath let alone post any new blog entries for over a month! SHAME ON US!! We have back-filled the last several entries, so please read the entries before this to catch up on what's been happening.

Today we attended Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda. We had a chance to speak in their Catalyst Sunday School class which was a LOT of fun!! We really enjoyed meeting everyone. We also attended one of their worship services and took part in a missionary prayer time and mission committee meeting after church.

Last night, we were invited to a Rose Drive Friends Church mission BBQ. It was a time to meet a lot of people from the mission committee and have a good time sharing and getting to know each other. There was also another RDFC mission family from France there too. We have so enjoyed our time with the people at RDFC. They have really made us feel welcomed and a part of their church family.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Half Time

Today marks the midpoint of our trip. It's hard to believe we've reached the halfway point of our furlough already. We knew the time would go fast...just not this fast.

Now that we're in Orange County, our visiting schedule has kicked in full speed. We've been able to see a lot of friends and supporters this week and we're looking forward to even more in the coming weeks. Our calendar is filling quickly, so please get in touch with us ASAP to arrange a get together.

We had an excellent meeting with a couple of pastors from Wilshire Avenue Community Church in Fullerton this week. They took a great interest in our story and our work and have invited us to do a couple of presentations at their church. We are in awe at how the Lord is drawing new partners to our ministry.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tales of the Unexpected

We spent this past Sunday at Harbor Trinity Church in Costa Mesa. This is the church John's mom attends. Her Sunday school class has taken an interest in our ministry for the past few years and several people in the class support our ministry. We had the chance to share with her class and another Sunday school class followed by a presentation in the church service. As an added bonus, Harbor Trinity took us on as missionaries this month and have begun to support us. We're thrilled to have another church as part of our team. Something that really caught our attention was a sign posted at the exit of the church parking lot that reads "You are now entering the mission field" as a challenge and reminder to all church members that the mission field is everywhere and we are all missionaries.

We also got confirmation that people are reading this blog. We have longtime friends that we were hoping to have a chance to see but were afraid we wouldn't have an opportunity to arrange a get together. We got an awesome surprise when they showed up at Harbor Trinity this week to hear us speak. They have been following our blog and saw that our furlough schedule listed a church presentation near their home so they decided to attend. We were so excited to see them! We had a chance to go out to lunch with them afterward and have arranged another rendez-vous at the OC Fair in a couple of weeks. If you're following our blog, please don't hesitate to tell us by leaving a comment on the blog or sending us an email. Letting us know about your interest in our ministry is a very big encouragement to us.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Change of Address

It's a treat to be able to celebrate the 4th of July in the States this year. We get to participate in 2 different Independence Days this year...July 4th for the USA and September 22nd for Mali. We had a picnic at a park in Yorba Linda (the hometown of President Richard Nixon) followed by a wonderful fireworks show. Living in a different country as ex-patriots has a way of separating us from our homeland and heritage. It was fun to get into the Red, White, and Blue spirit again and celebrate with our countrymen.

Today, we also have moved to Orange County for a few weeks. A family from our church left for a three week European vacation today and have offered their house to us while they are gone. We feel very blessed to be in a lovely home in the hills in Orange overlooking the OC. We're looking forward to being much closer to friends and family and having more opportunities to visit. Now more than ever, please take the opportunity to get in touch with us to arrange for a get together while we're here. Contact us by email (jclark@ywammali.org) or telephone (714-618-1184). We're looking forward to seeing you while we're here. We'll be moving back to Oceanside at the end of July and will finish our last 2 weeks there.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Constant Gardener

Cole earned a new responsibility this week. He is now in charge of yard work and lawn care at the house we're staying at in Oceanside. We don't have grass in Mali, so Cole has never experienced operating a lawnmower. He had the chance this week to give it a try. Of course like most kids, he proposed taking on the job using a riding lawnmower.

Because of his hard work on the yard and around the house, we decided a day at LEGOLAND was in order. We remember visiting the park with Cole the year it opened and it has always been one of Cole's favorite SoCal attractions. Now that he's getting older, he'll probably soon outgrow the park so we made sure he really made the most of this trip.

This past Sunday, we visited Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda. We chose a Sunday school class at random and it just so happens that the teacher wasn't present this week so they asked us to share in his place. We enjoyed talking about some of our ministry and answering many questions. We developed many new friends in the process. After church, we went out to lunch with the Rose Drive Missions Pastor and another missionary family who are on furlough from France. We enjoyed getting to know them.