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!

Area Fellowship - Northern Wisconsin!

Well it's been a while since I've posted but that is because we have been extremely busy with ministry! One of the neat things we get to do each year is treat our missionaries to a day or two off at what we call area fellowship. It's a chance to relax, fellowship, share information and get to know each other as AMF family better! Our recent area fellowship was held for our missionaries in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota plus one family from Northern Michigan. We had a great time together (at least Cindy and I did!). We were also fortunate to have our new Executive Director Ridge Burns with us and were able to get to know him better! Here are some pix from the weekend!

This Area Fellowship was held at Camp Chetek on Chetek Lake.

Always a great time for fellowship!

Ridge gives us a "graphic" perspective on AMF!

Worshipping together!

Ridge gets "schooled" at Carpet Pool by
an AMF Missionary Kid!

A great weekend with great Missionaries
who are serving the Lord everyday in the
North-Central Region of AMF!!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nebraska Camp Conference!

The second camp conference for AMF camp ministry staff was just as fun and successful as the first! This time we were in Wellfleet, Nebraska at Bethel Bible Camp. Our hosts were John and Carol Lewis. Many great discussions, times of sharing and prayer and some fun thrown in provided a good time for all! Everyone is very excited for summer ministry! (and that's not just because it snowed on us while we were there!!) Here are some photos to peruse!

A quick game of "find your camp on the map"!

Studious missionaries sharing good stuff!

Our host John Lewis leads a discussion on facilities!

Prayer with our fearless leader in red shoes - Ridge Burns!

Three camp dudes (and half a dude!) checking out some media tools!

Three generations of camp girls!!

You'd think with a cool bell like this John would
use it to wake us up! Nope! He chose to play chickens
clucking to popular tunes every morning!

Poor Wade discovers the futility of group photos!
Forget changing a lightbulb! How many missionaries
does it take to accomplish a group photo!

Good luck Wade!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kansas City Puppet Festival!

I had the opportunity to help with another One Way Street puppet festival in Kansas City, Missouri this last weekend. It was fun and a good chance to equip about 200 people for ministry! I taught Script Writing, Gospel Ballooning and an Object Lesson Class. Here are a few photos of the action!

Our Host Pastor Dave of Evangel Temple prays for us!

Lots of cool blacklight!

We saw lots of puppet teams!

Lots of fun scenery!

Lip Synch competition!

This poor puppeter was working

so hard he blew and arm off his puppet!!

Amy Harder Amazing Puppet Animator! Check out her site!

An Aussie puppet sketch!

A human video presentation!

A new group of balloonatics!

John Bell brings the closing challenge!

Puppet Competition Awards!

We even gave out a rarely seen Platinum award!

Our fearless leader Branden Treu!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My name is Brett Belleque and I am a trading card addict!

Last weekend Cindy and I went to the Sublette Toy and Tractor show in Sublette, IL. Cindy has a nice blog on her site about the day. I wanted to share what I bought there. I have always had a fascination for trading cards - especially those that depict old television shows! (If you have any you would like to get rid of let me know!) My idea of fun is to open a whole box of trading cards! I'm not a professional collector but I think it is a crime that any pack sits unopened! I found some Andy Griffith cards at the show and thought I would give everyone a peek!

Each pack was for sale for a $1!
I only bought 5!

Opie and Barney!
I love Don Knots!

Andy and Barney!
One of the world's greatest duos!

Barney and his gun!!
With only one bullet of course!

Some of the gang from Mayberry!
I opened every pack and then closed them
again until I get some holders for them!
I might even clothespin one to my bicycle spokes!
They are meant to be enjoyed!

Western AMF Camp Conference!

I had the opportunity to attend the first of two AMF Camp Conferences this last week at Camp Morrow in Wamic, Oregon. We had a great time sharing ideas, hearing God's word and fellowshipping. I did a special presentation each night with fun activities with our missionaries. It was a great time to consider how AMF fits into Christian Camping and how our model of Evangelism, Discipleship and Congregating is supported by our camp programs! Here are some photos of the weekend!

A look at Mt. St. Helens from my plane seat!
I was in High School when it blew!

Our special guest Scott Lidbeck challenges us from
God's word!

The camp fed us well and offered lots of opportunity for fellowship!

We tried to fit in some fun time too!
They have a fun challenging Frisbee Golf course!
No pix though I was too busy looking for my disc!!

Several missionaries led different forums
on a variety of topics.

There was a lot of great discussion and input!

We had many opportunities to pray together as well!
That's our motto! "Pray First"!