Tag Archives: Calling


Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, WEB) 

I can be oblivious at times. As Beth will attest, it’s usually when I’ve got my thoughts deeply imbedded in a particularly difficult conundrum trying to unravel the pieces of a complex problem to create an elegant and simple solution. At other times I’m just tired from resolving the aforementioned puzzle and my brain goes into the oft ridiculed “nothing” box which every male keeps handy for escape and relaxation. But, there are many areas of life where I endeavor to be very observant. Sometimes for safety reasons and other times to insure I’m behaving appropriately for the sake of those around me.

When I was growing up my parents instilled in me certain cultural expectations and behaviors for the sake of politeness and common sense. One of those areas was driving habits. Always look out for the other driver. Don’t do anything which can distract you from the road. Always pay attention to your surroundings just in case you need an unexpected detour to escape an accident or obstruction.

Driving back from the beach one day Beth and I were enjoying some music as we cruised down the highway. Traffic was minimal but there were a few other autos peppered along he highway. We slowly passed some and others passed us. Then a big car went flying past us in the left lane. Being passed was not unusual for us. However, when I looked over at the driver he was reading. He wasn’t glancing at highway signs but held a book in his hand, in front of the steering wheel, and was reading and turning pages as he evidently exceeded the speed limit in a casual fashion.

Aghast at the apparent lack of concern for other vehicles or his personal safety it reminded me of other “modern” annoyances. I’ll admit I’ve done some stupid things and been oblivious to others around me. Still, I try to be courteous and not endanger my fellow human beings. I’m not old fashioned when it comes to technology and courtesy.

How many times have you stood in line when someone answered their cell phone? There’s normally nothing wrong with that. We carry cell phones to be available everywhere (another topic I’ll leave for another post). However, if you have to shout into the phone so loud that others stare at you then something is amiss. If your phone is that poor get a new phone. I’m convinced the person you’re talking to can hear your booming voice without the aid of the telecommunications network. Really people. Show some consideration and concern for those around you.

Back on the driving kick and cell phones, driving, and traffic lights. Is your life so hectic and important that you must text or call someone every time your car comes to a stop. And, what makes you think that suddenly driving below the speed limit on a busy road makes it safe to text or call someone? Where did common sense go?

It just seems to me people have become so self absorbed that there’s a perpetual lack of attention to anyone and anything around them. You’re so important that holding hands and spanning an entire walkway in a busy mall is OK even if other shoppers are piling up behind your show of family unity. Who cares if the waiter can’t hear your order because the person a couple tables away is shouting in their phone?

People are taking a back seat to what “I” want or the prevalent persistent attention seeking electronic devices so ubiquitously beeping and clanging not to be ignored. We’ve become too worried that we might miss something happening and thus be a social outcast because we failed to read, laugh at, and comment on some bane, self indulgent post on social media. We cannot travel 60 seconds without a conversation which is best left to our full attention.

I’m reminded of the Psalmist’s admonition to pay attention. Be still, and know that I am God the Lord proclaims. We can’t be in tune with our savior and creator if we are always focusing on the creation and the things we’ve created. When flushed with a need to tweet, text, post or otherwise interact via an impersonal piece of electronics; perhaps it’s time to pause, quiet our thoughts, still our heart, and realize God is the one in control. When we lift our eyes to focus on the God of the universe it keep us from becoming oblivious to those around us, the very ones He created just as he created us. He’ll keep our vision focused and not oblivious.


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I’m Content

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6 WEB)

No matter what people may think, I’m content with my life, my family, my work and my faith; so, stop telling me I need something more. I was thinking about this while lying awake in bed one morning. When I look at things in my life and consider what I’ve done, where I’ve been and what I’ve acquired (physical stuff, experiences, etc.), I’m content. Unfortunately, sometimes, when my frustration over things around me percolates to the top of my patience, I might present a temporary persona that doesn’t portray a contented soul. But that’s another subject.

One of the first things I thought about was my wonderful wife quietly asleep beside me. It’s the precise planning of God that brought us together at the right place and time to embark on an amazing busy, full and fantastic life. Two-thirds of our lives we’ve been together and I’m looking forward with anticipation to undertaking together the next 40 plus years of life and adventure God has planned. Like most married men I know; I often wonder how my love tolerated me all these years. But I’m content knowing God was gracious to me and gives her lots of patience.

We’ve lived through raising four children, watching them leave the nest and start a life of their own with their own families. I like my children’s spouses. I love them all and I believe they like me. Our children are doing well in a variety of jobs. We’ve got service managers, restaurant managers, teachers and soldiers carrying on the family line. I’m proud of them all. They’ve had their problems, we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but as family we work through things. Thanks to them I have a number of grandchildren that I love dearly. I think they love me as well. I know why God gives us grandchildren. It’s to insure we still have that delightful spark of innocence to encourage us in life. They have good and bad days, they’re little children and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’m content with my family.

I’ve spent the majority of my life serving and working with the same organization in various places around the globe. I’d like to say everything was rosy and delightful all these years but the truth is there were hard times along with good times. Still, I’m content with what God has been able to accomplish through my work around the globe. More than once I felt ill-equipped for the job. It was then I watched as God stepped in to show His grace and let me know that I can do all things through Him. I can’t say I never had doubts about what I was doing. They would raise their ugly heads now and then until I reset my vision on the one who gives me strength. I can say I never had doubts about God’s calling me to this life. I’m content in my work and ministry.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to God and asked, “Why?” Sometimes I found the answer. Some questions remain unanswered. I’ve railed at God in my frustration and anger and praised and worshipped Him at all times. Yes, even when I was furious I still worshipped God. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, some things I still don’t understand, but I trust in God in all things. I’m comforted understanding that I can come to God with praise, anger, questions and the small issues of daily life and He listens. He shows me grace, especially in my stupid times. He loves me always, even in my disobedient times. I’m content with my faith in God.

In all this I find myself wondering why I would consider not being content. I can stop and think and realize that this is a great life God has provided and like the verse above I have great gain. Sometimes people think I’m discontent because I’m frustrated with things or get angry over an encounter with massive stupidity. So I wonder if we’re not confusing contentment with emotionless living. Are they the same? I don’t think so. God gave us emotions to help us deal with life on this spinning rock. We can let them get out of hand but to dismiss them as ungodly just doesn’t ring true for me. There are some things, regardless of my godliness or contentment, which I suspect will always increase my blood pressure.

There are inconsistencies in the behavior and reliability of computers, an area I’ve worked with for over thirty years that make me want to test the aerodynamic characteristics of the device from any open window (which I have done). There are vehicle drivers who apparently didn’t attend driving school, forgot all they learned or had incompetent teachers. Some folks standing in line for ten minutes or more to pay for items wait until they reach the counter to fish through their fifty gallon purse looking for their credit card. Sometimes I just sigh and roll my eyes. Other times, for whatever reasons, I just get frustrated or angry.

Then there’s the modern church. As a faithful member of the congregation we’re never doing enough “for God.” We hear preaching about contentment and at the same time a message of “do more” which creates discontent because we’re not doing enough, in the eyes of the local church, to justify our claiming to be faithful believers. Rubbish! I’m concentrating on my walk in this world as a faithful follower of Christ. Just walking faithful with God through normal tivities of life is doing something “for God.” Where that intersects with a church ministry, such as being a full time missionary, I’m glad to go as God leads. I don’t doubt some future heavenly residents might need a little fire under their backside to get them moving but who lights the fire, God or man? Without getting into a pet peeve let me say I’m content with the ministries where God has place me and I’m not looking for more. If He gives more I’ll undertake it. Otherwise I’ll be content with the here and now.

That’s probably where contentment lies. It lies in knowing you are where God wants you to be. It’s understanding the abilities God has given for the particular task and being content that God knows what He’s doing. Does it remove all emotion so we can be like good southerners and just say, “Bless their heart” when they do something ridiculous. At times it might. At other times life boils to the top and we are reminded we are humans, designed with emotions, by a God with emotions, to live in an emotional world. I’m content to live here, with all my foibles, until He takes me to that perfect mansion. Are you content?

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Venture Capitalist Missions

Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:3 WEB)

I know I’m not young so when I think to myself, “I miss the way things were,” I feel even older. But I must admit I do miss some things from the past. I miss some of my old music, my hair, and other things I don’t want to talk about. I do want to talk about the old approach churches took when considering new missionaries for support.

I remember going from church to church presenting the work of the ministry, presenting how we were called to the ministry and presenting our desire to bring God’s love and grace to a world in need of salvation. We were looking for opportunities to share the work of the ministry with the people of the church to encourage their prayer for the impact of the ministry. Yes, we were also hoping God would lead the church or people in the church to support our financial needs in the ministry.

guam97God touched their hearts and they did partner with us. In those days you shared your calling with the body of Christ and received prayer, encouragement, financial support whatever was needed for the ministry. Of course, folks had to be convinced that you were sincere about your calling and they received assurance when they prayed on your behalf for clarity and confirmation. If your life reflected the calling and commitment and the body was convinced through God’s reassurance, then you were sent off.

Folks expected to hear now and again about how God was working in your life and the lives of those where you ministered. Just sharing a story or two of how things were pressing forward and how God was helping your spiritual growth in the process was enough to encourage the church and continue to affirm your ministry and calling. It didn’t take an analytical demonstration of the efficaciousness of your particular style or methodology weighed against the numeric counting of those claiming conversion to understand God was working in and through your life and ministry. People wanted to simply know that God was working and you were still committed to obedience to God’s call to ministry.

The definition of a call to ministry has changed. It isn’t that I’m called by God to server where He leads. It’s that I’m called and here are the spectacular, awe inspiring, facts, figures and examples of how you’ll be impressed with my calling. Support (financial, prayer or spiritual) has changed from trust in God’s calling someone to ministry to become man’s statistical analysis of a person’s potential. Just ask any missionary trying to raise support in the accountant guided world of church administration. Numbers and spectacular new methods are the guiding indicators of whether someone should be supported or their support should be continued. Like venture capitalists trying to convince potential investors (aka supporters), those in ministry must come up with a new and spectacular methodology for presenting an ancient simple message to a complex and technologically advanced world. If my story isn’t better than your story then I lose. It has become a competition for those called by God in the human arena of predictive bang for the buck. They must convince the body of Christ by presenting a new flashy ministry, complete with astounding numbers, that they are called. If we can’t quantize it, then it isn’t sustainable and thus unworthy of the church’s backing.

Why should someone feel guilty and need to apologize for not having large numbers, personal encounters and spectacular stories of salvation? People usually come to the Lord in the simple, everyday ways of life. Even with the increasing number of avenues for proclaiming the simple Gospel message people still respond in simple humility, not spectacular world shattering declarations. But that’s what we came to hear about. That’s what the church and the mission committee wants to hear, the spectacular.

But God, spectacular as he is, isn’t looking for spectacular people but humble people who recognize their need and turn to him. He’s not looking at the bottom line of a ledger but the end of a pathway that leads to salvation. God’s not calling workers into special ministry based on their high tech approach or their book sales or their ability to captivate an audience with spiritual literary quotations. God is calling humble servants willing to follow him wherever, whenever, and however he needs them.

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News Aficionados

If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11 WEB)

I left the mainland for Asia and then Europe over thirty years ago. It’s been one adventure after another. I’ve seen things I never imagined. I’ve visited places I never thought I’d visit. Gallivanting here and there you develop a whole new outlook on the world.

My small town view of the world expanded as I met other cultures, learned other languages, and choked down strange unknown foods. Another strange transformation began to take place. I’m sure it’s part of my character but I discovered it watching my wife. She has developed into a news aficionado over the years.

2010_04_11_odd-003What is a news aficionado? It’s someone with an expanded world view. Growing up we were both content with local news sources. The local paper, local radio, local TV all brought us the top, earth shattering, important news events from our town and the world. At least we thought it was from the world.

I’m not a newsaholic like my wife. She could watch news almost all day, read the paper, go to news online and be very content. I’m overloaded after reading the headlines when my browser opens each morning. But, whether with a lot or little news we both have been impacted with news aficionado status.

We didn’t realize this until we were back in our homeland after years overseas. We turned on the TV, no cable, and tuned into the local stations. Four channels seemed enough for our meager needs. The hour came, the banners were displayed, the staff were introduced and the news began.

Floods in a local neighborhood, crime in the local neighborhood, corruption in the local neighborhood, weather and coming events all were centered on the local region. One or two stories gave lip service to news and events from other regions of the state. One or two mentions were made of something from another country. We tried news from all four stations. The same. The world didn’t exist, except in small drops, outside the local area.

We were starving to hear about other world shattering events. The local stations weren’t going to satisfy that need. We then turned to newspapers.

We walked to the nearby news stand. Five papers. There were four local and one “international” paper which mostly contained US news and events. I’m beginning to understand why we had such a small view of the world as we grow up.

I must admit I don’t trust news people any further than I can throw them. Everyone reporting news, no matter what culture, language, nationality, political party, or faith reports news with their own slant. But, at least, it gives us something to work with to see what is happening in the world. It gives us a glimpse into how God’s creation is getting along without Him.

I don’t mean God is gone. I mean most of the world ignores God and tries to do things on their own. In our Bible Belt society, at least where I grew up, we often have a poor perception of the great dichotomy  between the nations and God.

Folks around the world are not filling churches, singing praise songs, and wearing the latest fashions on Sunday morning. In most lands there aren’t churches on every other corner vying for the tallest steeple and most impressive facade.

Call me a news aficionado. I called my wife a news aficionado. She didn’t like it at first but I think she’s warming up to the idea that it isn’t such a bad trait after all. I want to know the needs and conditions where I live. I also want to know what is happening in the world. Not to analyze the methods or motives of world leaders but to see the needs.

Once I know the needs I can pray effectively. Once I know the needs I can minister, where I live, effectively. Once I look beyond the horizon of my front porch, or the borders of my city limits, I understand more why Jesus said to the Galileans, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NET.)

Jesus lifted my burdens and placed his yoke on my shoulders. I understand, once more, why God called us to minister to the nations. I feel Jesus’ compassion to bring the message of salvation to the world. I pray that we, as Christians, take the time to expand our vision, learn more of the need in God’s world and do what we can.

Pray always. Go if we are called. Give as we are inspired. Teach our children. Learn from his word, the Holy Spirit and others. Do your work, whatever it may be, to the glory of God that his name is praised in the streets. Not just here, in our own backyard, but also with a vision for the world.

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Spirit Led

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16 WEB)

As I grow older I see more and more change. I have the sneaking suspicion I was less observant as a young man. Still, while growing up my Father was excellent at teaching me to observe things. Not just big things that you can’t miss but the small, almost insignificant, changes.

Teaching me this was very important for working in a technical field. When it comes to troubleshooting problems, accuracy involves noticing small changes and then discovering why. There is a mystical gift for good troubleshooting. My father taught me how to use the gift.

Over the years I worked with many engineers and technicians. Some were excellent at noticing the small things. Hearing the slight change in pitch from a blower, catching a scent of ozone from some failed part or noticing the tell tale wisp of smoke escaping a component were second nature. Others couldn’t find the problem when the transmitter was in flames before their eyes.

Following the Holy Spirit’s lead is much like troubleshooting. Sometimes the direction is obvious. At other times it’s noticing the small changes in life, family, work, prayer time, and studying God’s word that tweak our heart to change. We each have a gift to recognize this prompting. Responding to God’s call for change is important in our Christian walk.

Calling us to the mission field was a major undertaking for God. I am rather thick headed at times and can easily choose to ignore the signs and wonders which are so obvious. Still, once we were called, we knew it and responded to that call.

A calling it is. I emphasize the calling because it was not the choice I, nor Beth, would have made. As a matter of fact mission work was far from our thoughts and not part of our plan as a newlywed couple. And yet God prepared the way during my schooling and through the friends Beth established in Wilmore.

Reading missionary biographies, being introduced to furloughing missionaries, and being burdened for the lost were just some of the methods God used to put our feet on the right path. Because God did the calling, because God did the directing, because it was God’s direction and not ours we see things with a different perspective than some.

Granted, there are many missionaries who understand what is involved in being called by God. Others, including some missionaries on the field and some full time Christian workers, don’t appear to have a clue. It appears illogical, from a human standpoint, to work outside our training.

When our work is a calling we can either obey or run. This is like Jonah and the whale. If we choose to run, there is no place we can escape God’s hand or voice. If we obey, we may not immediately know the results but can trust God to accomplish his purposes.

Hearing requires listening, obedience requires following. The problems for us can begin when God’s calling is not to do what we feel we are trained or prepared to do! We use logic to try and avoid or ignore God’s call in our lives. “Surely the Lord will want me to use my training and education to serve him,” we say when God’s leading doesn’t fit in our earthly plans.

According to Beth’s training and education she is a physical therapist. According to my education and training I am a theologian and an engineer. When we arrived on Guam they didn’t need a physical therapist or a theologian. They needed a secretary and a ditch digger. While this was not our training, God used these jobs to teach us to trust in Him. It was not a question of using our skills. It was a question of obedience to God’s calling.

Through the years we haven’t always been so willing to follow when called to work outside our skills and training. Still, God used us in areas we never expected. In each case God provided the skills, understanding, and abilities to accomplish his task.

As I listen to people clamor about their rights, their need to use their training and skills, I am concerned. The concept of a calling appears to have faded. I think many of God’s prophets were working outside of their training and abilities. They were willing, sometimes through divine encouragement, to obey God’s calling regardless of the task ahead. What are we willing to do?

Are we guided by the Spirit or are we guiding the Spirit? Cleaning toilets, mopping floors, digging ditches for water pipes are not the normal activities for theologians, technicians or physical therapists. But God can and will work through us in these, and other areas outside our expertise, when we are willing to heed the calling and obey. I pray the Lord will remind me of this next time I kick against the calling because of my own selfish desires. I pray He’ll remind me and I’ll listen and obey.

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Diamonds, A Girl’s Best Friend

Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; (1 Peter 3:3 WEB)

The concept of mission work was something new for our family as God called us into the ministry. Our daughter, Ellice, was young but interested in God and teaching other people about Jesus in her own childlike manner.

For three years we visited churches, shared with friends, and put hours each day into raising our support for the mission field. When asked we would tell Ellice, and later our son Joel, we were preparing to tell others about Jesus. Two years later we discovered we were headed to the Pacific to proclaim the Gospel into China and the Far East.

While we were still in the US we were thankful I had a boss who was understanding. Often I took afternoons off from work and disappeared over the weekend to share at churches in the area. Occasionally we would take a weekend to visit my parents in Illinois.

My father was always tinkering something together in the basement. It might be as simple as a pot holder or as complex as a nuclear power station. Well, maybe just a ham radio transceiver. While growing up I was always fascinated with the projects and tests he made in the basement. Everyone needs a basement to keep exciting things as volt meters, old record players, radio gear and assorted other odds and ends.

Bringing my children to visit Grandpa was always exciting. It didn’t take them long to discover the miraculous neat stuff in the basement. Grandpa was a genius! He could build or fix anything! No two ways about it, Ellice and Joel thought Grandpa was the world’s answer to anything electronic or mechanical, not to mention a bastion of wisdom.

Each visit my Dad would take one of the two children aside for a one-on-one experiment and construction project. There were flashing lights to be wired together, radios to listen to and even the occasional conversation with some ham radio operator across the globe while sitting in Grandpa’s lap. During one of these visits Grandpa decided his first and only granddaughter needed some jewelry.

My Dad took a heavy piece of copper wire and a ten cent coin then called to Ellice and headed to the marvelous, mystical, basement workshop. The two were gone for over a hour before they emerged. Dad was smiling and chuckling while Ellice was beaming and holding out her hand.

“See Daddy,” she said as she approached, “Grandpa made me a Dime on ring!”

The ten cent piece, a dime, soldered to a ring of copper perfectly fitted to my daughter’s finger could well have been a multi faceted diamond stone in her heart and eyes. It was hand made, with love, to a precise fit, for her only. What more could a granddaughter want from her Grandpa.

From that day on, the ring was worn on all occasions. Everywhere Ellice went, she was wearing her Dime on ring. On Sunday she wore it to church. In the lower classrooms of our church, a separate church service was held led by the Asian residents of our area. They were great people and dedicated to the proclaiming of God’s word.

However, children are children. One of the young children took a shine to Ellice’s special ring and it disappeared. It was never recovered but not forgotten. The memory would come to light as soon as we arrived on Guam.

Our first evening on the island we were guests of another missionary family. This was standard in the mission. Dealing with jet lag is difficult enough without trying to prepare an evening meal and not burn down the house. The first few evenings any missionary arrived or returned to the island they were guests of other staff families.

This evening we met and were hosted by the Chen family. Eddie and Ruby are wonderful people and delighted to help us with our first evening meal on the island. We found their home on our map, drove over, and knocked on the door.

Eddie opened the door welcomed us and entreated us to enter. As we passed through the door Ellice looked carefully at Eddie, then Ruby.

“I don’t like Chinese people!” she proclaimed as a simple statement.

Beth and I were aghast. Eddie and Ruby didn’t miss a lick and just kept right on being gracious and wonderful to this new missionary family. With apologies and a desire to strangle our daughter we sat down, and began to converse and learn about each other.

In the course of our conversation we had a chance for an aside chat with Ellice. We soon discovered she was still mad about her ring missing from the service at our home church. We praise the Lord for the careful and gracious treatment by our hosts. They welcomed us and made us feel at home.

In the years following, fourteen on Guam, we became close friends with the Chens and often recalled and laughed about this first evening. Ellice and Joel were friends with their children as well.

Children are honest about their feelings, not always timely, but honest. Ellice’s honesty allowed her to draw closer to the Chens as they discovered something of her missing treasure and she discovered something of the treasure in the new family she met.

As adults we might learn a lesson. We can learn a little better timing but be honest with one another. It sure keeps the air clear and the relationships honest and on solid ground. Our Lord was honest with those he met. Still, he loved them and gave himself up for them. Maybe we can learn to do the same.

Years later when I discussed the matter with my daughter, she reminded me of something I forgot. After the Dime on ring was lost my Dad compensated by creating a Penny Bracelet. Same general idea, a piece of wire, a coin and some solder. While I was writing this I received a note from Ellice telling me she sill has the bracelet. She discovered the best jewelry in the world in one of her boxes. As she remembered her Grandpa she cried with good memories of fun times. It doesn’t fit anymore but it is among her collected treasures. The simple things of life are often the things we cherish the most.

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Pohnpei Honor

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 WEB)

As a teacher at the Summer Institute for Pastors held on the island of Pohnpei, I was considered an honored guest by the islanders and the students at the seminars. Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to discover new traditions in new cultures. Discovering I was in a position of honor was unique. I didn’t know how unique until the last day of the seminary. The day a teacher departed was a day of celebration with gifts given and honor shown to the departing teacher.

There were many “Thank you” and “Please come back” comments. During my two weeks of teaching we developed a bond between cultures founded on the Word of God and our faith. A number of island crafts were given to remind me of my time in their midst. One gentle servant of God presented me with a hand carved wooden fish. The surface was carefully smoothed by brush strokes from a palm branch. Still others presented necklaces of sea shells and other items they valued in their homes.

One woman soaked a fragile handmade headdress of flowers in perfume all night to place on my head and show honor to her teacher. The wave of perfume rolling down my face was almost suffocating but I dare not remove such a show of distinction. Another loving student created similarly fragranced lei from the luscious island flowers.

After all the goodbyes, thanks and a time of food and fellowship I was placed in the back of a pickup truck. I leaned into the wind as they drove around the city and surrounding village. I was on display so all could see the teacher who came to help them learn more about God and how to serve him. Needless to say I was a touch and embarrassed by all the attention. I only came to the island to serve God with the gifts He gave me. This demonstration I wasn’t expecting.

The pickup trip ended at the airport where all the students, friends and other curious islanders, watched until I climbed the stairs of the airplane and it took off toward my home on Guam. I watched them gathered at the runway fence smiling and waving until we were out of sight. As I sat back I was thankful for the overpowering fragrance of the flowers. A number of passengers, all from a tropical island, added to the airplane’s internal smell and it wasn’t good. Here was a small blessing in the form of fragrant flowers.

As I climbed off the plane Beth had the most unusual look on her face. I forgot about the leis and crown of flowers on my head during the flight. I think seeing her husband with a flower wreath on his head and shell necklaces was more than she expected. It was something new to remember.

I went to fulfill God’s call to teach and train others in the Word of God. I received a training course in cultural integration and cooperation. It wasn’t what I expected but exactly what God knew I needed. It’s nice when we can look back on obedience and see God’s hand in the results complete with flowers and fish.

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