Friday, May 14, 2010

Check out my @constantcontact newsletter archive

This is our new newsletter archive! Check here for past and current issues of the AMF Kid's Resource Newsletter!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Times they are a changing!!

On March 1st I started my new position with the American Missionary Fellowship. Two years ago Cindy and I accepted the postion of Regional Director here in the North Central Region of AMF. It has been a pleasure to work with the missionaries here and see how God is touching others through their lives! We have always been impressed with the variety of the work they do but more importantly we are amazed at the quality of work they do in the hearts of those who do not know Christ.

AMF has now set us on a different path with the mission as we establish the position of Director of Children's Ministry Resources. This is not only new to us but new to the mission as well. Cindy and I have worked with children and youth for more years than we are willing to admit and the idea of helping guide the mission in this area is both humbling and exciting! We are really looking forward to seeing where God leads in the next few years!

But we will miss being Regional Directors as well. Fellowship with our missionaries and praying for them has been not only a responsibility but an honor! It seems like we barely scratched the surface with our North Central family and now God is moving us on! We trust God's direction and we know that he is placing men in our position that are more than capable of caring for our missionaries. Still, there is a sense of loss there!

So to our North Central Regional family we say, "We love you and will miss our previous relationship but we also look forward to the new directions God will take both of us as we make this transition! We are still in Illinois and look forward to hearing from you!" Your prayers are coveted for all the changes in store and the challenges ahead! We've been on such a mad schedule that Cindy and I have not had any time for blogging since August! We hope to change that now that we are in the process of settling again! Busy schedules ahead including a full summer!


Sunday, August 09, 2009

My feet hurt but it was fun!

The force is with us!!

Summer is both the best and worst time to blog! There is a ton of stuff going on to blog about but at the same time very little time to do blogging! Hence my newest post since the 4th of July! I have many new ministry items to blog about and I will get to them soon but I want to share a little of my last couple of days with you.

Last spring I planned a short vacation for my boys and I. They wanted to attend the Chicago Comic-con together. So for Nick's birthday we bought he and Alena tickets to come visit us. Alena stayed at home with Cindy and while they hung out the boys and I and my nephew Dan attended the Comic con which is one of the largest get together of comic book, star wars, gaming and costume aficionados in the nation!

We spent the last three days wading through quite and interesting collection of humanity! And we also spent three days examining some interesting collectibles and talking to artists and actors and fans who have dedicated their lives to large parts of their imaginations! Take a look at some of these photos and then please read my comments at the end!

Andrew and C3PO!

Ready to take on Comic-Con 09!

Beware of Troopers!

Lots of celebrities to sign autographs!! (only $30 dollars a piece!)
This Edward James Olmos.

Mad Gamers!!!

I have to admit that despite the overpriced everything and the fact that I don't think any one's autograph is worth 30-40 dollars and the alternator going out in the car- we had a great time! It was fun to see cool stuff and entertaining to watch people in costume and awe inspiring to see some of the artists and the amazing work they do. But in one of the panel discussion I was especially intrigued by a discussion concerning the construction of star wars costumes! The panel was made up of the folks you see in costume at the top of this post!

These folks are part of two different groups. One is a "storm trooper" unit of folks who like to dress up as star wars empire bad guys and the other is a group of folks who like to dress up as star wars good guy rebels. Many belong to both groups!

What amazed me was the dedication each had to the construction of their costumes! Many had invested several thousands of dollars in their uniforms. The Chewbacca costume cost it's owner about $5,000 dollars and is one of eight in the world! Chewie (not his real name) spent a year before a single stitch was sewn just researching the outfit to make it perfect. The costume was made of the same bolt of fake fur used by the costume artists to make Chewbacca's original costume in episode 3! He even hunted down the original molds used to make the teeth in the mask and hand sewed the hair a piece at a time into it! Many shared the joy of finding single pieces in their journey to complete their outfits!

And by the way do not think you can join this group by purchasing a store bought costume! These folks have high standards and a list of costume requirements that must be perfect before you can be considered for membership! Their dedication is intense!

It was interesting that this Sunday in church we were discussing the kingdom parables in the book of Matthew and one of those is the "Pearl of Great Price" where a merchant sold all he had to obtain a single pearl of great value! This made me think of the star wars fans whose dedication to their costumes was so intense that they sacrificed valuable time and money to complete each one with loving care!

I believe that is the same dedication that you and I are asked to have towards the Kingdom of God. As Pastor Bruce shared this morning it is our pearl of great price!! I have to admit that why I desire to have that kind of dedication to the Kingdom of God many times I find myself doing things that do not reflect that kind of attitude! It is a constant re-adjustment each day to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God - the Pearl of Great Price!

Let's not let a group of star wars fans prove their dedication is greater than ours! How much more worthy is our endeavor than theirs! We need to live as citizens of the Kingdom today! The Kingdom of God is at hand!
PS - I don't normally spend a lot of time preaching on my blog so I hope you will indulge me this once! If you are interested in more of our trip to comic-con I will soon be posting some video on my facebook page!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Hello to all and my apologies once again for so much time between posts! You would think I'm busy or something?

I've added two pictures to my blog today that show the front and back of a actual "report" form that was put together by an American Sunday School Union superintendent (much like the job I have now) that was in the Chicago area in 1894. That's right! This document is over 100 years old! It shows an example of the kind of Sunday School work that was done then. It copied fairly well considering it was filled out using a pencil. The back includes some commendations from very well known ministers and business men of that day. I especially enjoyed the comments from D.L. Moody and Homer Merriam (publisher of the Webster dictionary).

As we celebrate the 4th of July and the freedom that our country has been given through many sacrifices and the grace of our loving creator I am once again proud of AMF's historical heritage. And as you hear the Star Spangled Banner sung this 4th remember that Francis Scott Key was part of the leadership of what is now AMF and that those men not only valued political and personal freedom but also freedom from the chains of sin. Chains which still enslave many today! It is those chains that we are working to break and those chains which when removed provide the greatest freedom man can know! Eternal Freedom!

Happy 4th of July from the Belleques!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ministry Highlite - Barron Church

Frank and Linda Distad, AMF missionaries in Trego, WI have a unique church ministry that Cindy and I finally got to visit recently. After our Area Fellowship in Wisconsin we spent the night with the Distads and the next day attended their church in Barron, WI. Unlike most churches the majority of attenders at Barron have special needs. It is a church geared toward the disability community. A very unique ministry!

There aren't a lot of people at Barron Church (although
many members were unable to attend that day) but they
give new meaning to quantity vs. quality!

Frank and Linda Distad work very hard to make each Sunday
special for the congregation. Frank delivered a practical and engaging
message on the 23 Psalm.

Frank's simple but practical message kept the attention of all!

They even let me share a little but I received much
more from them than they did from me!

There were many special numbers, individual responses
to Christ, during the service!

This is my kind of worship team! Check out that smile!

It was a priviledge to be prayed for because my
birthday happened to be in the month of May!
Check out the cool Larry the Cucumber
I got for our fridge!! Sometimes it is the small
gestures of love and acceptance that make the
biggest differences!