Saturday, October 29, 2016

Day 14

Waking up with the final stretch in mind was great, having pain shoot through my body was not.  It was mixed feelings as we said good-bye to our friends. As in every place that we have stayed,  once again we did not want to leave our friends.  The good news is that we were only 3 hours away and closer to our family and one more day away from Bekah's play that she is in.  The drive was a little slower than we planned but we arrived in time for hugs and a home cooked meal. To be hugging family that in some ways felt like we had seen them last week, and in some ways has felt like five years. We enjoyed the evening like a bottle of Gatorade after a marathon.  We made it.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Day 13

A leisurely relaxed morning was much needed as we awoke to a drizzly morning.  We were then blessed with another gourmet meal as we started the day.  Patti stayed at the house and worked on office work to keep everything running as she always faithfully does.  I got to enjoy seeing both of my friends at their work and see how they impact the world for Jesus.  He serves the community with his business with audio & visual equipment.  And she serves at a ranch the serves the community by loving on kids by using animals, crafts, and the beautiful outdoors.  It was great to watch and amazing to see the impact they have made all over the world in such a short time.  It was difficult to just watch, because everything in me wanted to help.  They did not need any help though, and my wrists and hands are still not able to do what I want them to because of the recent surgeries. I still wanted to help though as I watched them and God do amazing work.  The evening was epic as we played Mini House Golf and recorded a fun song on his music equipment.  And yes, Patti beat all of us like a dirty rug.

Day 12

Starting off the day with a fresh start I decided to salvage the remaining good pieces of of the bikes: seat, handlebars, and brake pads. While struggling with it, my friend came back from his five minute errand and opened up the garage door.  "Can you help me get this undone," I said trying to do a three armed job with two.  He looked at me and said, "Why are you messing with those old bikes when you can ride your new ones," pointing to two brand new bikes next to his truck.  After being stunned, these questions popped out of my mouth, " how did you get those in 5 minutes? NO WAY! Are you kidding me? Uh a." I went and got Patti also, only watch her go through the same emotions of shock, gratefulness, and blessing that I had just went through.  
Then it was my friend's turn.  He went in the house and opened up a check that came to him in the mail from a mistake someone had made a while ago and was now paying him back.  He was surprised and had no idea about it. So now he was shocked and blessed while wearing a smile. After good-byes to him and his wife, we drove three hours to our next stop to see other friends of ours from way back.  We were able to see our first snow in many years and the amazing fall colors of the northwest.  

Driving up to their house at dusk was a welcomed site, because my body was and is getting tired of this traveling. Being welcomed by warm hugs, warm house, and warm food is more than I deserve but I appreciate greatly and enjoy. What a blessing.

Day 11

Leaving the sweat embrace of our friends was difficult. The prayers were still in our hearts as we headed out for a quick 30 minute drive to meet my uncle that I have only met once before. We arrived at a fun Mexican restaurant in a slight drizzle. Inside sitting patiently was my uncle, aunt, and my cousin. It was encouraging and fun to hear stories of my dadf and his childhood. After some amazing stories and encouragement we said good by and headed out into more pouring rain. After only a quarter mile before heading on to the freeway while sitting at a light we we thrusted forward with the dreaded crunching sound. Realizing we were just rear-ended, we pulled over as soon as we could to exchange information, only to find ourselves sitting alone. It was a hit and run, that left us with two totaled bikes and a crushed hatch that would not open. 

After calling the insurance and the police we headed to our next stop. I must admit that the wall of gray fog that  we drove into as we headed into Oregon matched how we felt. We were a bit shaken up. It was hard, so we prayed and thanked God for what we have and released what had happened.  We arrived to meet our good friends that we have known for a long time, way back to early camping days.  Their familiar love and comfort was wonderful as we laid down for the night.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Day 10

Walking up to the ouwie dance
by Patti after she accidentally
smashed her finger so bad that
 it turned blue instantly.

It made for a difficult day but she danced her way through the morning and got packed and ready to go. In the middle of our six hour drive we stopped for gas. As we were stopped we noticed a man trying to break into his car. After 40 minutes we helped him get in his car that he had locked his keys wallet, phone, and left the radio on. We were happy that the engine started up without a jump start. We had a new friend and headed out on our way.

Half way on our drive, I caught Zakita (our car) in a Car's moment. It was a cool moment.

(Yes that is a reflection in the hubcap of a semi that we passed)
We arrived at a dear friend of ours that receives us as a mother and father, they rejoiced and encouraged us and had a wonderful time visiting. They are amazing at ministering to neighbors and leading them to Christ.  They are so welcoming and willing to adopt many into their family.  They have grand children that are not their own but hey love them and treat them as their own. We give the glory to the Lord. We want to grow up and be just like them.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Day 9

This day was spent visiting a dear friend who is doing time in Prison.  Because of her bad choices she was stripped of everything that was important to her (including her two children).
Since in prison she has grown into a beautiful and fruitful tree bearing amazing fruit.  Though prison walls contain her she is free spiritually because of the redemptive work of our Savior in her life.  The hope and anchor she has found in Jesus she shares with many prisoners to help them to grab hold of Him also.  She leads multiple support groups for victims of domestic abuse, grief support, and she even vigils with the terminally ill that are dying in prison.  She shares Jesus with sooooo many inside those prison walls.  She is able to reach inmates that the ministries that come in cannot reach.  She is really walking out being the hands and feet, heart and mouth piece of Jesus in side those walls.  She is doing a very important work.  This once intimidated and shy introvert has become a bold and strongly rooted soldier for Christ, that she said "I am so comfortable with a microphone that I can share and preach for 2-3 hours straight."

As I pulled out of the prison parking lot and prayed for her, the thought of the one strong lesson I learned this last year over the pain and difficulties that we have walked through, is to focus on today.  We are not promised tomorrow, all we have is today.  We need to follow Jesus in the moments He has given us right now.  Don't get distracted on the "what ifs" of tomorrow and the uncertainty of the future even if it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  He has given you the light of today, step into it, embrace Him in it, He is with you, trust Him and follow Him even if it feels dark, and He will bring life and light and purpose to you in your today.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Day 8

Waking up after a good night sleep we began getting ready to go which takes awhile. In the process we met an older man that had broke his foot but did not trust doctors to take care of it. He did allow me to pray for him. So taking off driving into the desert we discovered after 15 minutes that there probably wouldn’t be any gas stations when we needed one, so we got to go back to get gas. So after take two, we drove for 6 more hours to our next stop. Enjoyed listening to a godly book on CD and enjoyed the sunset as we drove in to Fresno. Stoping to get some traveling stuff we were blessed to meet some great people at the store.  We were able to encourage each other and share what and why we do what we do. I can honestly say we said good bye as friends. After some good Mexican food we called it a night. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Day 7

Another beautiful morning topped off with great hospitality, gifts, and prayers. A night of very little sleep because of pain. Put Mark in the back to sleep as Patti drove Zakita (our car) away early in the morning. Our next stop was on the way to visit a friend in California, it was the Grand Canyon, which was 3 hours out of our way. Since we have always wanted to see it, and never have, we put it in our way. I had heard many stories both good and bad about it. I did not know what to expect. After stopping for gas on the way up I saw the, “Welcome Martians” sign, and was really confused. 

We stopped at the visitor center and saw bus loads of foreigners heading into the store. Some rushed to get in the building to get out of the cold brisk morning air.  Recognizing there situation, being in a different place and feeling different, I held the door open and greeted the people.  Not many people noticed or cared but the few that did, it was very special and worth it. If no one recognized it was ok, because I represent America, Zoe, and Jesus so that is good enough. Had lots of fun doing that even when we got to the Grand Canyon or “the big hole” as one man said.

We were shocked at the site, overwhelmed, speechless, jaw dropped, and eyes welling up in appreciations of God’s beautiful creation.  We thought we knew what it would looked like, but it is a whole new experience being there and seeing the vastness of it all. One of my favorite things was to help families take pictures of themselves with the beauty of the canyon as their backdrop . We were there only a little while before we had to go ahead to our next stop. Upon leaving and getting lost to leave the park we saw elk doing a fashion show on the road.  Driving into the valley at sunset we were thoroughly blessed and enjoying the handiwork of our Lord.

Day 6

   Leaving Prescott with love and prayers from our old youth pastor, we head 3 hours to a friend of ours that we had met in Texas many years ago. In doing some preventive maintenance, we stopped by the tire store to check our tire pressure. Surprised to find out that we were missing a lug nut, because it simply fell off but because the stud was stripped. They were not able to fix it, so they sent us somewhere else which took an extra two hours to fix. Looking at what was to gain, we found us at a quant place for lunch to proof pictures and write emails.

Being back on the road, we found us descending into the valley at sunset at another beautiful place. Thinking it was our friends birthday, we were going to pick some things out to surprise her. The surprise was on us because it really is two weeks later. Since we were late, we did not stop and get birthday surprises, so it worked out. The evening was filled with wonderful food and stories of God’s goodness and miracles from all over the world as they have done overseas missions for many years in many places including locally were they both work at a school. Going to bed I was reminded that God can do any thing with any one at anytime. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Day 5

We woke up day 5 to a beautiful Arizona morning.  Our friendly cheerful host family treated us breakfast and good conversation.  We discovered the amazing things they are doing for the Lord.  Being a missionary means that you are following the mission that was given to us, "Go make disciples" and Jesus taught us to love God and to love others.  SO no matter what you do, in doing so you are either a local missionary or a foreign missionary.  The amazing work they are doing in counseling and helping others is radically changing lives.  They don't get much credit for what they do, but they are not doing it for that. As Jesus has set them free, they want to share that and free others.
Or our 2 hour trip to ur next stop, we met a man traveling across the US doing work that pays for his missions to Nicaragua.  When Mark was 20 he spent a month at an orphanage in Nicaragua.  So they had much to talk about.  After exchanging hugs and information, we were on our way, and we had a new friend.

Entering into the quint hidden city of Prescott, AZ, it is quite majestic.  It was exciting to meet up with our old youth pastor and his wife, who helped us become who we are spiritually. Not only were we very encouraged by them, we were able to go out to dinner and minister together to a hurting couple and to pray for others.  Singing old youth group songs together before heading to bed, topped off our blessing of a day snuggled in warm cozy jammies and blankets. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Day 4

Moving on to the next stop is hard and the goodbyes are heartfelt and filled with love. There are very few new things that happen to you the older you get, and a humbling one took place on this day. We gave four stuffed animals to the family when we arrived, and when we left the boys had a surprise for us. On their own they gave us their own “Lovey”(stuffed animal) and some for children in there Philippines. That was a first, and a boost of love fuel. As we were walking to Zakita (the name we gave our car) we saw what we felt. In the cool breeze of a sunny day stood a 15 foot blossoming tree that was surrounded and filled with small delicate dancing butterflies. Hundreds of them delighted in the moment, displaying perfectly how we felt. These are the moments that I get a hint of heaven. Yes, a splinter in the forest of His goodness and truth but a splinter none the less. Leaving that moment led us directly to another two and a half hours later we were connected with family that received us with elated concern, love, and generosity. The evening was filled with fellowship memories and stories of God’s goodness. What a blessing, what an amazing work God can do.    

Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 3

Tucson Arizona...we meet up with a friend of ours that was once upon a long time ago, one of our students when we were youth pastoring 25 years ago. She is now married with three boys. This amazing family made us feel right at home with a wonderful greeting and love. We attended church with them and were able to speak a little about the Philippines to their Sunday school class where we saw her use here amazing teaching skills to teach her class. Then were blessed to hear a message at the service. Later we were taught the local technique of blending in with the beautiful native surroundings. What a wonderful work God is doing in this precious family. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Said good-by to Texas today. 12 hrs driving, 11 people greeted, 10 looks a looking, 9 horns a honking, 8 restroom runs, 7 albums played, 6 flat road kills past, 5 gas pump stops, 4 stuffed animals given, 3 cups coffee,  2 stops at Walmat,  and 1 recovering patient.

Highlights: Hello and good-by to NewMexico  
Woke up to 50 people going dove hunting
Met a sweet lady with one grand child that lives near her, and gave a stuffed animal to give
We met a couple making the opposite trip and gave us tips on our trip
Talked to people when we stopped and answered questions about the car and about "Zoe" Life
Drove though a beautiful sunset in the mountains as we entered Arizona.  
Greeted by our wonderful host family and gave away 3 more stuffed animals.  
Encouraged by stories and conversation. 
 Then crashed hard for the night.

Coming soon:  Day 3   ....  stay tuned ...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Zoe 2 the World!!!

Well to wrap up our time in Texas after multiple doctor appointments, tests, MRIs, 2 procedures and 3 surgeries,  5 incisions, and many wonderful visits with friends, we WRAPPED our car that was given to us.  When SignMasters told us they could design anything that we could imagine, we were excited and begin to dream what would be fun and draw attention so that people may approach us and ask us "What is Zoe?" And it would give us an open opportunity to explain that it means Overflowing and abundant life in Christ and lead into conversations about life and Jesus.  We have had multiple opportunities already to have this very conversation and we haven't even started our big road trip.  God is so good!  So as soon as Mark is released from his day surgery today, we will start the first leg of our trip.  Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Letter to You...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for your prayers and your support over the past 12 years. We are currently in Tyler, Texas on sabbatical after finishing our goals and vision in the Philippines. Before we left the Philippines to come to the United States, our house was destroyed by fire along with several in our village. All of our personal belongings, including personal mementos from our families and trips, songs that have been written, diaries and other deep personal things were destroyed. So all of our mementos and our belongings are gone. Mark’s injuries have been adding up and need to be taken care of. He was building a playground for an orphanage and a large rock fell on his neck some years ago. The end of 2014 he was heading up into the mountains for a outreach to a rural village with bibles for distribution and had a motorcycle accident and was seriously injured. We have now come back to the United States for medical care, healing, recovery, and planning the next step of our ministry. 

Mark is working with Dr. David Carney, an orthopedic surgeon in Tyler, Texas and just had a knee arthroscopy that they corrected a few things. Dr. Charles Gordon, a neurosurgeon at Precision Spine Care in Tyler is evaluating of some of Mark’s health problems as a result of a neck injury. We are also working with Dr Charles Fries a Christian counselor, who is helping us debrief and transition to this new season in our life.

While navigating this season here in the U.S. we have good news, the ministry in the Philippines continues.  The rebuilding of the 9 houses that burned down has continued, bible studies, preaching, youth ministry, and the activity area continues to be open daily.  We are in contact every other day and still supporting families, students, and ministries that we have raised up. There is even reports of spiritual great-grand children now. God is amazing.

We are asking for your prayers for healing, for guidance of those who are medically treating us and helping us to recover, and that God would grant us wisdom and direction. So please consider on going financial support for the ministries in the Philippines and our medical expenses and state side expenses. After all of that is done, what is next? We want to visit churches, sponsors, and supporters and continue to support the work that you have helped start in the Philippines. After that we will see, but only as we walk through this next door. Please keep us in your prayers and we appreciate your kind and helpful support. Thank you for your amazing love during this time.

Love and blessings to you all,

Mark, Patti and Bekah