Search This Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sabbath Thoughts...

It’s funny how easy it is to miss resting—even when I have ‘down time’.  It seems that my mind is often constantly busy with different ministry things, interpersonal things, things that need to get done for ministry events and the dojo, things that need done at home or in my life in general, and more besides….  Often even when I am doing things that could be restful, my mind is pretty occupied.  It’s not like it is necessarily stressful—in fact, most of the time I enjoy the things I am doing and the things that I am thinking about.  It is just very different from truly stopping—and truly resting.

When I truly stop and rest, I do not think about anything that I need to do or let there even be a tentative schedule in my head.  I treat it much as I did when I was a young kid and had an evening free—I did not think through what I had left to do on ‘back burner’; I did not worry about tomorrow or what needed done tomorrow; I did not even worry about things that I could do or ‘should’ do that day.  I just rested and enjoyed the moment—savoring all of the little things around me and enjoying them.

Tonight, as I rested in my living room, different things would stick out to me.  The old couch that I was resting on is definitely part of a bachelor pad with four guys living in it; it is old and not super ‘stylish’, but when I stop it is fascinating to look at.  It has designs of farmhouses, waterwheels, and leaves in it along with certain fibers that make parts appear shiny…  It must have been a fine achievement for the artist, designers, and workers who built it in its original day.  The padding that is heavily worn still works and makes it comfortable to lie on as warm air from the heater blows over my feet.  There are actually so many interesting little things in my house, all designed to please the person who is using them or looking at them that I rush past or use without noticing during my daily rush to ‘do things.’  I miss the intricate carvings in the end-table made to wow guests, the artistry and design that went into the guitar poster on the wall, the work that had to go into crafting and finishing all of the wood in the house for it to look good for those who lived there…  There is so much that is literally fashioned expressly to be appreciated that I just don’t take the time to stop and appreciate because of my pace of life.  Making the time to stop and appreciate and enjoy all of these things at least once a week (on my Sabbath) actually helps me be more thankful to God and His providence.  What crazy things!  I have clothes that are comfortable, food that is chilled but hat I can heat, water that I can flavor as tea or chocolate or any number of other things.  In my house I have cheeses, crustaceans, and canned vegetables—a tremendous variety of food to choose from.  Our society has given us so many little pleasures that I almost never TRULY stop and notice when I am ‘rushing’…  Stopping and appreciating them fully as I partake in them (while resting) is good medicine for me—emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  It adjusts my speed and my attitude and makes me look at things through a different lens and perspective; it is a lens and perspective that is at once more natural to me, and also something almost foreign because I usually don’t take time to operate in this mode.  What an interesting thing, rest is.  What an important part of life…

It is odd, but resting is actually a lot of work for me, at first.  My mind doesn’t want to shut down, my sense of urgency and pace wants me to use this ‘free time’ to ‘catch up’ on several little tasks so that I can rest more easily by not having to remember to get them done—but if I do that I will ultimately never truly slow down into rest…  I often have to pray and ask God to help me to let go of things into His hands (which I need to do anyway), because by focusing on ‘letting go’ I continue ‘focusing’ and don’t actually let go.  Once there, I have to just let rest happen naturally and naturally start appreciating all of the cool little things around me.  It’s not that I just lay there like a bump for hours on end necessarily; rather, whatever I do once my mind is in ‘rest mode’, I try to do appreciating every part of it and being thankful for every part of it—listening to my coffee machine percolate and being amazed by how good the coffee smells and tastes and how warm it is in the mug in my hands, enjoying the texture and flavor of cheddar cheese as I have a small afternoon snack, enjoying the comforts that allow me to read my book or rest with my girlfriend, thanking God for the Kansas wind and brisk air and all of the life around me when I am outside…  It varies, but the part that is the same to me is that when I truly STOP, then I can truly start resting, listening to God, and letting God refill me—which I desperately need.

I hope and pray during this busy Christmas season that we can all force in the time to genuinely rest as God commanded in the Old Testament—and that we continue to stop and rest throughout the year.  Though it is increasingly hard in our society, I think we need to rediscover and re-initiate the lifestyle of healthy balance and include genuine rest.  Without it, I think that we lose much of the beauty, joy, and perspective that God intends for us…

Thank God for another good Sabbath.  :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blessings, Meditation

This morning's early church prayer and meditation class ( was particularly good.  We had a very cool new person join us, and the atmosphere was conducive to interactions with God as usual.  I substantially enjoyed the 'Examen' meditation; my consolation (life-giving memory from the week) reminded me of some of my purpose in Christ, and my desolation (life-draining memory from the week) taught me that I cannot easily hear God when my pride feels challenged and my emotions get high.  It was a good reminder of my need to really slow down in such instances and pray, trusting God to answer.

Perhaps what was even more cool was hearing how Aikido has been good for some of the youth who have been taking it and having a chance to hear about some of the families who have been taking it chatting about and working on Aikido together.  It brings my heart great joy that we can help families enjoy things together and help communities form--both things that seem very important to God, Biblically.  I also feel that the idea of forming community and working together towards common, Godly purposes is a huge concept throughout the New Testament.  It is exciting to see that lived out a bit.  Beyond that, I have just been feeling very blessed all day in many little ways.

Thank God for a great birthday and exciting life!

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Newsletter and Prayer Requests

What does it take to make a very easy-going person like me truly upset?  In all honesty, I’m not quite sure, but partially due to all of the loud noise over elections and partially due to some recent events on campus, the prevalence and volume of the ‘worldly’ worldview often presented unopposed at our university is getting pretty close.

What do I mean by ‘worldly’ worldview?  Well, that would be hard to fully explain in one short newsletter, but in general I mean a way of looking at life that is based not in God or scripture but in the popular culture of our generation and our country in particular.  On campus it has several strongholds.  One of the most vocal strongholds lately has been what I would call the ‘tolerance’ worldview.  The ‘tolerance’ worldview would say that it’s ok for any person to believe what they believe and that they should also agree that it’s totally ok for me to believe what I believe.  The worldview would say that we should tolerate any and all beliefs and actions and cannot make any statement about what is right or wrong ‘at large’ or else we being judgmental and are bigoted.

One of the main problems with this worldview is that it sharply contradicts itself.  It claims that we should accept any worldview and allow anything, yet if we REALLY accept and allow anything, that also means that we should be totally ok with a bigot being a bigot, or a racist being a racist, or a chauvinist being a chauvinist, and so forth.  However, the supposed ‘tolerance’ worldview is actually extremely intolerant of those categories and quite a few others, as well.  It has a very set agenda that includes subverting other worldviews that have statements about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and calling them bigoted and judgmental WHILE MAKING STATEMENTS ITSELF about ‘right’ by saying that everything must be ok (everything EXCEPT any of those other worldviews).  In the end, the ‘tolerance’ worldview is very intolerant of quite a bit, but it hides behind a smokescreen that gives it great protection by immediately accusing anyone who disagrees with it of intolerance, bigotry, judgment, discrimination, and hate.

Interestingly enough, while I must point out that the ‘tolerance’ worldview is very intolerant to clarify that it is as discriminatory as any other worldview and thus on only equal footing, I must also point out that I don’t believe ‘intolerance’ is bad.  What?  ‘How can intolerance ever be GOOD?’ some may ask.  Well, I would hope all of those who read this newsletter do not tolerate rape, torture, murder, and quite a few other activities.  To broad tolerance statements like ‘we should respect all religions’, I would point out that religions exist that require human sacrifice, cannibalism, rape, giving up daughters to any passers-by until the daughters become pregnant, and many other practices that I do not believe should be tolerated or respected.  The ‘tolerance’ worldview has made words like intolerance and discrimination into extremely negative words that have dirty connotations, but being intolerant of behaviors is critical to any society.

Now I will make another statement that may cause issue; I feel that the ‘tolerance’ worldview has often seeped its way into the church to ill effect, and I feel that scripture makes it quite clear that Jesus himself was intolerant.  What?!  How can I say that Jesus was intolerant?  Well I can say it based on his interactions with the Pharisees, among other things.  He seems to be extremely intolerant of their way of adding to scripture and of altering scriptures’ interpretations to fit their own ends.  He calls them things like ‘sons of their father the devil’, ‘vipers’, and a ‘brood of snakes’.  Those words would certainly not indicate tolerance or acceptance.

In specific, Christ takes a great deal of time in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 showing the letter of the Law and how the Pharisees sought to live that out verses the Spirit behind the Law and how that lifestyle looks.  He takes great pains to paint a picture of the Spirit behind the Law.  He indicates that it is not enough to merely abstain from murder, but that we should seek to see through eyes of love when angry and make peace; He teaches that adultery goes into the internal realm of our heart and how we look at people and that change needs to take place there, that commitment is lifelong and giving our words value comes from integrity in our hearts, that love perseveres through wrongs done to it and seeks to care even for enemies.  He illustrates that we live out this spirit of the law not for praise on this earth but because it is the way of life in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and to come.  In this He highlights right and wrong heart attitudes over giving to the poor, communicating with God through prayer and fasting, worrying about the temporal things of the world verses the eternal things of the Kingdom of Heaven, judging others in self-righteousness verses seeing wrong and helping them in a spirit of compassion, and many other things.  At the end of the sermon on the way down the mountain, He lives out this spirit when he approaches a leper and touches him, healing him. 

The leper would have been ‘unclean’ in the eyes of the Jews of the day, and they would have thought that touching the leper would make Jesus ‘unclean’.  It would also have likely been believed that this leper was unclean because of his own sin; if Jesus just said that the Pharisees wouldn’t make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, many in the crowd who saw through the worldview of the day would have said that this man never would.  Yet in front of the crowd, Jesus lived out the spirit of the law by showing compassion, even touching the man against the views of society, and healing him.  He then tells this man to go and give the sacrifice at the temple for those cured of leprosy so everyone would have proof of his healing—restoring his honor and place in the society; those words probably greatly healed the heart of the leper and of much of the damage he had taken.  What an illustration of deep love!

I think it is very important to look at what Jesus did not tolerate in this sermon—living for our own accolades, worrying first about worldly possessions and worldly needs and thus not trusting God, just living up to the lowest, easiest interpretation of the law, and judging others without having first asked God to help us with our problems.  However, I think that it’s even more important to look at what Jesus did not tolerate in the status of this leper; He didn’t tolerate a lack of love and the idea that it was possible to live for God in a bustling society without loving others.  Without love, the heart of the perspective of the Spirit behind the law is missing.  That is a tragedy, and it should not be tolerated.

In prayer a local ministry leader and I are looking at having a forum within the next year on campus to not only challenge the unchallenged ‘tolerance’ and ‘worldly’ worldviews that are often taught, but also to show this often unexpressed worldview of Christ’s.  I do not know how it will come about or what it will look like, but I ask for your prayers for discernment in this and am excited about it.  :)

Please keep college students and local ministries in your prayers.  May the body of Christ continue to come together in ever greater numbers and quality to reach out to the world around it in love.  Please pray for God’s providence of financial partners for me in the Kingdom ministry here.  My number of supporters has not decreased, but the income of some has so my monthly support will likely drop very soon.  If you or someone you know is interested in partnering in outreach here, please contact me at 785-259-2539 or  Thank you for your prayers, friends.  Go with God!

Monday, November 5, 2012

God's Providence Nov 5

God showed his providence recently in that an anonymous person donated some meat to the church and some to me in specific.  That's pretty cool since the free lunches I cook for college students on Sundays are mostly expensive due to the purchase of meat!  Thank God and His people for this cool assist!  :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


So many things have happened in the last month and a half that it seems like a blur!  Early September was a welcome and needed break to the extremely high pace that always accompanies the start of the semester.  Unite Game Night and Common Grounds Coffee House developed a good, strong rhythm, as did the small groups, early church prayer meditation sessions at the dojo, the lunches I cook for college students on Sunday, and many other facets of life.  Then the late part of September and the early part of October hit!  The campus club I instruct, the FHSU Aikido Club, hosted a national Aikido seminar with the director of the international association as our guest instructor for three days; it was a great chance to get to know new students and have fun with many who had come back.  Right afterwards (two hours after the instructors had boarded their airplane) I was honored to speak at a multi-church healing service in preparation for the local ‘Festival of Faith’.  Then it was a crazy week of preparations for Oktoberfest weekend and our Unite [alt] Game Night. 

When Oktoberfest came around, we set up a table and sign at the event and gave out information about all of the available alternatives to the typical post-Oktoberfest partying that would be happening later in the evening.  We also got permission to walk around and hand out flyers at one point in the day.  As Oktoberfest wound down at the park we headed up and made final preparations for our big game night.

At the game night that evening, we served free pizza, gave out free Hostess products and ice cream, and had prizes from local businesses for the various competitions throughout the night.  The first competition allowed students to form four-person bands to compete at ‘Rock Band,’ a game that has guitars, drums, and a microphone and that scores how well you play given songs.  The picture on the lower left shows some of the six bands assembling for the competition.  After that we had a Texas Hold’Em card tournament (picture on the lower right), a ‘Just Dance’ tournament (students hold a controller and dance to music; the game rates how well a person danced), and a card tournament again even later along with breakfast.  Several individuals from different churches GREATLY helped make the evening a success—thanks to all of you who helped and who prayed for this event!


Oktoberfest evening at large this year involved at least one rape and two beatings that were so severe the individuals beaten were life-flighted to Wichita.  On a night that can contain so much darkness, I am glad that we were able to offer a fun night of safe alternatives to college students.  Though it was a VERY long night, I feel it was well worth it.

The last month-and-a-half has also contained good opportunities for connections at large.  Some time ago a friend of mine, Pastor Jerod Brown, moved to WaKeeney with his family feeling led to Hays.  Jerod currently is a part-time pastor for Red Line Church of God in Palco and helps at WaKeeney Church of God.  Back when Jerod moved here, he asked me to show him parts of Hays that I felt could use outreach; it seems that Meadow Acres trailer park really stuck out to him.  Now he and the Palco church and possibly some people from WaKeeney want to make this one of their outreach areas.  They plan to come in and grill and then come back repeatedly to get to know people and find out what the needs are.  Knowing the needs they then plan to come out and help.  I happen to also know an individual from North Oak who is very interested in outreach into this sector and that the new pastor of the Hispanic church at First Baptist in Hays also may be interested.  I was blessed to be able to facilitate an exciting meeting between Jerod and the man from North Oak, and I hope soon to be able to have the same meeting with the pastor from First Baptist.  Though I am not sure where all this may go, it is exciting to see God bring people together like this to do outreach, and I look forward to watching and assisting at times as it develops.

Beyond that connection area, I am also excited to be facilitating a meeting between most of the ministries that work with international students along with some of the FHSU offices that help internationals and some private individuals who do.  That meeting will be this upcoming Sunday, October 21st.  Please keep in in your prayers as there are some important things that we hope to discuss.  I believe that God can greatly use such a meeting.

I also have a meeting with some university officials soon over a recent presentation on campus.  The presentation ‘Sex Ed Boot Camp’ gave out some good information about contraceptives and protection.  It also encouraged students to experiment with members of the same sex, to have sex with strangers at parties after getting to know their names and a little basic information, and to participate in a variety of other activities that I find equally dangerous to a person’s well-being.  I am unsure what to expect at this meeting—I just request prayer that God help me to represent Him and the truth well; this includes being an active peace-maker.

For prayer requests—I would also request that people pray for our men’s small group.  It is very small right now, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It means that everyone feels very open sharing what is really going on in their lives.  It also means that with busy schedules it often ends up just being me and one other praying and talking.  While this can also be good, I feel like we need to have a Sunday in which everyone who comes shows up so we can have a good time diving deep into the Bible study portion of the group with varied perspectives.  I also would personally request prayer for my upcoming visit to SonRise Methodist Church in Pueblo West, Colorado.  My aunt and uncle have invited me to come speak at their church; I will be both sharing a message and sharing information about opportunities to pray for and financially support me as a missionary back here.  I would love prayer for both parts.  God has used a similar version of this message powerfully before, and I would love to see Him speak through it again.  I also would love to have more people praying for and financially supporting me as a missionary and the ministry itself here in Hays.

As always, I want to thank all of YOU who read through this newsletter, support us, and pray!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prayer Requests

Hello everyone!
   Sorry its been awhile since I've had a chance to post an update on here; the time has been really crazy between the FHSU Aikido Club Seminar and preparation for our Unite [alt] Game Night tonight.  I have a little down time as I sit here at the Oktoberfest [alt] booth with information on alternative activities that students can enjoy tonight as opposed to the typical crazy after-parties.
   In this time I want to strong urge you to pray for everyone tonight.  Oktoberfest evening can be an evening of violence and excess, but it also has great potential for servants of Christ to reach out and help others by providing rides, care, or even just a friendly ear.  Please pray that Christians do not lock themselves up and stay safely away from the night, but that they feel inspired to invade into the darkness with love.
   In Christ,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

From my meditation today...

The story of creation in Genesis, the Proverbs about listening and using few words, and the parable of the four soils hit me today as I read the Bible.  It is so easy for me to accidentally focus on the wrong things or even to look at the right things the wrong way and thus to be the seed that gets choked out by the weeds—wanting the nice things in life or focusing on the worries or cares of this world.  Today is my ‘office’ day when I spend the bulk of it in my room at my computer and desk.  I use the time to do web programming for Unite and Aikido of Northwest Kansas, to do paperwork and accounting for the dojo, Unite, and me, to catch up on dozens of emails, phone calls, and texts, to get files in order, to do little errands that I haven’t had time to in the week, and to try and take a nick out of the huge pile of things I would love to do in the ministry and/or dojo if I had the time.  It can easily become a day governed not by God but by my list of things to do, and my perspective can easily be not focused on Kingdom things but on accomplishing a bunch of check marks (if I am not careful).

My meditation challenged me to slow down and listen to God throughout the day, to be in harmony with the creation we are a part of, and to focus especially on the things that are clearly of the Kingdom.  In fact, I need to focus MORE on the exciting meeting I will have at 2:00 p.m. with the ladies who are helping run the Common Grounds Coffee House and Unite Game Night.  It is an obvious Kingdom thing, and I am truly excited to see what may come up next for Unite Game Night and Common Grounds!  The same is true of tonight when I help at my congregations’ youth group.  While not a direct part of the in-state missionary work I do per se, it is still Kingdom Work and can often be one of the most important parts of the day, if I let it.  I need to relax and be focused on those things even as I crank out web pages and fill out forms.  More importantly, perhaps, I need to see the forms and paperwork not as worries of the world or things to do that demand my attention be focused on them due to their seeming urgency, but as an important part of the Kingdom—as opportunities to share what God is doing and how He is working, as opportunities to make community here smoother and better, and as potential opportunities to increase my missionary financial support or income at the dojo to free me up and further Kingdom work here.  When I don’t let them rule my day instead of God but let God rule and excitedly get to those things, the whole day goes from another busy day to a fun and exciting day serving the Kingdom.

Thank God for a good time this morning in prayer, meditation, and in the Word!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Missionary Monthly Update

Near the end of August I ran into a difficult ministry decision.  Each year I have helped coordinate [alt], which is a Christian alternative event to the partying, drunkenness, and violence that occurs each year in Hays after the local Oktoberfest celebration.  [alt] provides a Christian concert that starts right after Oktoberfest and ends around midnight.  Then later night alternatives are provided by local ministries (including Unite—our game night and coffee house run all night that evening).  The lead coordinator for [alt] stepped down from his ministry position at his church near the end of August, and the other coordinator and I weren’t sure if we could do the event without him in such a short period of time.  The bands hadn’t been locked down and the money was partly tied to the lead coordinator and his church, which was understandably unwilling to route the funds through their nonprofit accounts without his involvement.  Everyone indicated that if I could get it all organized through Unite’s nonprofit accounts, could get good enough bands locked down and money to pay them, and if I could keep the whole event at least as high quality as last year that we could go ahead and do it.  We all agreed that was a long shot.  We also needed to know within a week to get advertising out OR to get out the word that [alt] would be coming back bigger and better next year.  It left a very short time window, but I felt like I should definitely pray about it to see what God wanted me to do and to look into the possibilities to see where we were really at.

As I prayed and looked into it, I didn’t really feel like I was hearing any answer or getting any inclination about whether to proceed or not.  Several doors opened up—I found some leads to different bands that might be able to perform for the event, and I was able to get permission to use our nonprofit accounts for [alt].  Also, some of our old partners were up to the task of helping out, and I had already done some work earlier this year in getting new partners to help with the event.  We didn’t have any god leads to indicate how much financial backing we could expect from old community partners, but at least one indicated that they would provide something if we could get the event to work out.

It was an odd contradiction for me, because as I prayed and meditated, I felt slightly inclined to hold off until next year, but as the more I looked into it, the more doors seemed to open and the more it looked feasible with God’s providence and with a titanic amount of effort (which I was willing to provide).

My meditations brought me back to an interesting moment from the week before.  Unite had a table at Fort Hays State’s event ‘Picnic in the Quad’ along with the dojo and our Godly Warrior and early church prayer meditation ministries.  Right after the event I had to run to Trinity Lutheran church for a meeting, so I shoved all of the contents of the tables (including some syrup for the coffee house and some candy) into my car.  When I came back to unload it for the coffee house, I grabbed the candy first and then the syrups.  I had to set one of them up on the roof of my car before I could grab the next, so I made sure it was secure and then reached in for the next one.  To my surprise I heard the wobbling sound of the glass bottle ‘walking’ down the roof of my car.  I popped my head out and shot my hand forward to catch it, but with the other full of candy I couldn’t support it very well.  I readjusted but ended up dropping the bottle, and it shattered and spilled lovely smelling syrup all over the ground.  Needless to say I was upset—in hindsight I should have dropped the candy and let it spill all over the ground to catch the breakable syrup bottle; then I could have picked up the candy and put it back in the bag.  Unfortunately, it was now too late.

The whole picture was a good analogy for my life at the end of August.  I was so busy during the first week of school between promoting the different ministry opportunities at ‘Picnic in the Quad’ and other events, organizing and running ‘Get Plugged In’, and preparing for the grand back-to-school-opening of Unite Game Night/Common Grounds Coffee House that I literally felt unable to breathe at times.  I was also still running the small groups, leading prayer meditation, and doing the various dojo ministries.  My hands were quite full.

I spent a few days trying to figure that analogy out (I didn’t want to drop the syrup—whatever that meant).  Then the next week the [alt] decision came up.  At first my meditations just let me to different Bible verses and ideas, but then they also showed me how those verses related to the situation with the syrup.  It struck me that the candy I had held onto was somewhat similar to [alt].  If we dropped it this year, we could always put it back in the bag and make it even bigger and better next year.  The syrup was more similar to my life in ministry at this time: the small groups I lead, the one-on-one meetings with college students, the Unite Game Nights/Common Grounds Coffee House, my relationship with my girlfriend and friends and family, writing down some of what God is teaching me, and the unforeseen Kingdom Work that pops up in front of me from time to time (from preaching at different churches to helping make Hispanic ministry connections).  Though those things wouldn’t necessarily shatter never to return if I devoted less time to them, they also represent the heart and soul of what I do.  Would it be right to drop those to catch [alt]?

Even then, I still wasn’t sure, because more doors were opening even as the deadline to decide approached.  Finally, in meditation, I realized that it was much like the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.  I could choose to run around and do very real and necessary work (like what I would have to do for [alt] to be possible), OR I could choose to slow down and devote time to listening to Jesus and relationships.  In prayer I honestly believed that God would open the doors to make [alt] possible if that is the road I picked AND that it would be good and would be a God-thing that it happened.  I also believed that He would help me slow down and listen and love even better in what I was doing if that is what I chose.  It really felt like He was asking me ‘which road do you want to follow?’  I picked the listening and relational one.

As such, we won’t be having the concert portion of [alt] this year.  We WILL be asking all of the ministries (including our very own Unite Game Night/Common Grounds Coffee House) to step it up this year and offer alternatives that start even earlier and are even bigger to pick up the slack, and we also plan-Lord willing-to have [alt] again next year even bigger and better.

I am personally excited for the opportunity this gives some of the leaders for Unite Game Night/Common Grounds Coffee House and I.  We have a chance to come up with some really fun stuff to do outreach for the Kingdom this Oktoberfest night.  Please be in prayers with us as we see what God may have for us to do!  I also personally request prayers for God’s continued financial providence.  He has gotten me through the most difficult first two years of being an in-state missionary, and now I am excited to see how He will continue to provide for this Kingdom Work.  I have not received any additional supporters at this time, so I am still earning $907 per month.  However, I have received at least two one-time donations, and I am hopeful that a few additional individuals will prayerfully join in supporting me as a missionary.  Thank you again for your prayers!  --Brandon