Friday, October 28, 2005

Rio Bravo, Mexico

Tomorrow morning, 26 men will gather at MBC at 5 a.m.; we are headed to Mexico. By 5:30 we will be on our way to the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield in Atlanta. We will fly to Dallas and then on McAllen, Texas. A bus will carry us to Rio Bravo. Once there, our phase of a construction project begins; we are building an educational facility for the deaf. Projects will include hanging sheetrock, painting, pouring concrete, and tackling an endless punch list.

This mission trip is part of our "Band of Brothers" Men's Ministry. For many of the men it will be the first mission trip out of our country. But once they get a taste of it, I doubt it will be their last. We are going to a very poor border town, and the experience may change the future direction of some of the men.

This year, MBC sent missionaries to China, Peru, Uruguay, Kentucky, Arizona, California, and Mississippi. A crew is returning to Mississippi in November; we have made a long term commitment to help re-establish a church battered by Katrina. We are helping them rebuild their sanctuary, re-roof houses, and provide salaries for their staff.

While in Rio Bravo, we will keep a look-out for John Wayne.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

No Bang For The Buck (part 2)

I returned to Pine Mountain late this afternoon to a different deer stand. The hunt was blessed with serendipitous events. I got to the tree stand and started up the ladder. As I reached the top rungs, I turned around to scan the large green plot behind me. Not 50 yards away three deer were feeding. There was nothing I could do -- suspended in air. My rifle was slung over my shoulder and unloaded. I quietly lifted the camoflage veil and got situated on the platform. When I finally turned around the deer were still there!

I silently watched the deer graze until something spooked them; the larger doe bolted and the two yearlings followed suit. The field didn't stay lonely long; three more deer came in from the other end and started feeding. A few minutes later, a spike horn and then a 4 pointer entered the field; the does were on full alert. Both of the young bucks stopped briefly at a persimmon tree and then slipped into a stand of tall pines.

The fun began when a big bodied 6 pointer came in from the road on my left. If you think the rut has yet to begin, nobody told him. For twenty minutes he tried to get a dance partner; none of the does were interested. Several times he chased a doe within 15 yards of my stand. I let him go. No bang for the buck.

Next year will be a different story.

No Bang For The Buck!

It was 35 degrees this morning when I got out of my truck in Pine Mountain. I could feel the brisk night air before my eyes adjusted to the darkness. When my pupils dilated enough to capture and discern faint images, I could see patches of frost that captured the scant beams of light from distant galaxies.

From the powerline where I parked I had to walk through a canopied section of woods to a large field. Once in the tunnel of trees, I stopped and listened to the silence. It was dead still -- it was wonderful.

I left the strip of woods and entered a field that is over 300 yards wide. After following the eastern edge of the field for about 250 yards, I turned left across it to the tree stand. In less than 5 minutes I was sitting 12 feet above the ground, trying to will the sun out of bed. The horizon slowly faded from dark to light, and creation came awake as if on a timer. In an instant, the birds started twittering and the squirrels started their hissing; the silence was gone.

Conditions were perfect. No wind, drop in temperature, a lush food plot out in front of me. At 8:45 this morning, I saw my first deer of the season. It was at the far end of the field, slightly below where I came into the field. I lifted my 308 and scoped it. I turned my scope up on 10x and scoped it again. A buck with 7-8 inch spikes.

No bang for the buck!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

An Ox In The Ditch

I just finished talking with Chuck; he has managed the project in Biloxi. The teams worked liked troopers putting the roofs on two houses. In all, they laid 80 square of shingles! One of the roofs needed significant work done in replacing the decking and was a lot more labor intensive than we had first expected. That extra work set them back about half a day.

Do you remember the confrontations that Jesus had with the religious rulers about doing work on the Sabbath? They were indignant because Jesus healed people on the sabbath. After one such healing Jesus asked them this question, " Which of you having an ox that has fallen into a ditch, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath?" Their response? "They could not answer Him regarding these things."

Tomorrow our Biloxi crew will follow the Lord's example and "pull an ox out of the ditch" on our Sabbath -- Sunday. They have about two more hours of work to do. If everything goes according to schedule, they will leave Biloxi around noon!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

They're Off!

We had a work crew of 17 people begin the trek to Biloxi. They are on their way with air hammers, clothes, and no lack of enthusiasm! The team is well assembled with a couple of professional roofers, a number of strong backs, and enough supplies awaiting to put roofs on two houses. Man does not live by bread alone, but it is a necessary part of their diet! We have another couple from the church that is on their way in an R.V.; they will be providing hot meals for the team.

The team is split into two groups. One team left town today and will get the roofs stripped, old decking removed, and have everything ready for the "professionals." Most of these folks have taken vacation time to bring relief to a very battered church and congregation. Incredibly, getting volunteers has not been like trying to find hen's teeth; they have gladly responded to this opportunity.

As I write I am a little disappointed. Due to circumstances beyond my control I am unable to go. God in His infinite wisdom and broader plan kept me here to tend the needs of the flock He has graciously given me the privilege to shepherd. I am very grateful that God may replace a worker from time-to-time, but the work goes on. Offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for the selfless workers who are responding to God's invitation to join Him on this adventure.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Call of the Wild 2

On October 1, nearly two hundred men gathered to fish, shoot skeet and sporting clays, rappel, go rock climbing, blast away at each other with paint ball guns, and hear some challenging messages around the theme, The Measure of a Man.

Using the Scriptures as the measuring stick we asked, "What is the measure of a husband, friend, and father?" The messages were geared toward men -- and they were challenging. All the speakers avoided pretense; they were gloriously transparent. The last speaker of the day was one of our men; Gerald is a trophy of God's grace. He told the story of his journey -- he was taken from his alcoholic home at 5 years old and adopted into a less-than stable household. We listened and were all convinced that we have one flawless Father!

For some of these men, it was a risky adventure to rappel off a 65 foot tower. They stood timidly on the deck and then took the leap off the edge. They landed 65 feet later, filled with the confidence that comes when you are willing to face a fear and conquer it.

Sitting at one of the tables one of the men commented, "Faith is like that -- no risk, no thrill!"