Thursday, February 28, 2008

I keep hoping to have some time to update my blog, but time keeps slipping away. And now I have a sudden and unexpected trip to Guatemala this weekend that knocks the first part of March all topsy-turvy. I have to say, though, that being able to make the trip and hopefully be a help to the Rickenbachs is a pure miracle from God!

Short version: My passport was in Washington, DC, to get a visa for a trip to Bolivia during Holy Week and Easter. I have confirmations that my papers arrived at a travel documents office on Monday 2/25. I talked to someone at the office on Tuesday 2/26, and he told me that the Bolivian consulate takes 3-4 days to process visa requests and that I could expect my passport back sometime early next week (around March 3 or 4 or 5).

But on Wednesday 2/27 FedEx delivered an envelope with my passport and visa, and a ticket on the envelope said that it was scheduled for delivery on 2/28.

I about lost my proverbial eyeteeth. And during the next hour and a half I found flight schedules that would allow me to keep my obligation at Ft. Myers Rescue Mission and still get to Guatemala at a decent hour. And after I had looked at getting two tickets (one for the Guate trip and another to get back home from Miami), I checked a multi-city routing on the airline's website and got the whole journey for 35% less than I had anticipated!

So, would you say that God was working things out for me to go? That's how we took it, so "off I go, into the wild blue yonder" again. I'd appreciate your prayers. I'm due back on March 6.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A little about my Costa Rica visit:

I thoroughly enjoyed being in C.R. again, this time with Rex II and Melissa (Missy) McDowell and their son, Devin. We stayed with the pastor and his family, eating most of our meals with them, laughing and joking and having a great time.

Part of our time was spent on buses, which yields us this nice photo of Devin, as seen between two men who were standing in the aisle.

And here's one of the family on another bus.

We did a lot of walking in the few days we were there, but it didn't make much difference. I thought sure that I'd lose some weight with all the kilometers it felt like I walked, but it must have been that we stopped at Pollo Campero (Country Chicken) -- a franchise from Guatemala and very good -- a couple of times for lunch. The first time we at there we were with the pastor, Rolando Meneses, seated at the right.

I'm not quite sure what to think about the next picture. I don't
THINK they were trying to steal Chick-Fil-A's advertising idea, but someone apparently thought this was a good way to announce their own chicken restaurant (not Pollo Campero). As I'm sure you can guess, the cows in the picture are urging us to eat more "chikin," though they didn't misspell it. Some friends who are associated with Chick-Fil-A thought it was pretty cool!

And lest you think that all we did was walk, eat, and ride buses, I'll throw in the only picture taken of me while I was preaching.

I won't show you the one they took of me dozing on the bus! I've never seen a more horrible picture of myself. Rex2, if you DARE to show it to anyone, your black list will become long and dark and everlasting!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hi, everyone. Back from Costa Rica. Had a good visit there, but no time to tell about it now. Gotta get to bed so I can go to Bloomington early for one of our church people who's having open heart surgery. Our pastor is chairing Sea Breeze Camp Meeting, and our assistant is sick, so he asked me to go in his place.

Did you hear about the fire that destroyed the maintenance barn at Allegheny Wesleyan College? You can see pix at -- click on the fire link at the bottom of the page.

More later, with pix, I promise.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Off to Costa Rica early in the morning, and I have to finish packing yet, so I'll just leave this brief note to ask you to pray for me and this trip. I'm due back on the 12th, and hope to publish a picture or two and tell you a little about the trip.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I was hoping we'd get those 3-5 inches of snow that were forecast for today. No, it's not necessarily that I like snow. I'm just an economical sort of guy.

You see, I have a snow thrower that I bought about three years ago. I had a little electric one that was great in Columbus, IN, for a short, flat driveway, but now I have a long, uphill drive. I've used the little electric one, but it takes a lot of time for a little, 12-inch-wide thrower to clear a long driveway.

And who wants to get a heart attack by shoveling snow? I keep reading where more guys my age have heart attacks after shoveling snow than after any other activity!

So I bought this nice, large, self-propelled snow thrower soon after one of those big snows that really covered us up. The machine is a bright red, has three forward speeds and reverse, a crank that you can use to direct the way you want to throw the snow . . . well, you all probably know more about such contraptions than I do.

I won't tell you what it cost, but it was enough that I want to use the thing!

So far I think I've cleared my driveway twice, maybe three times. Last year the only time it snowed enough to be worth using the machine I was out of town and the snow melted on the asphalt and cement before I got back. So I didn't used the snow thrower all last winter, nor so far this winter. If it keeps going like this, I'll have two straight years of non-use.

Dave Ramsey says to rent the equipment you need rather than buying it. I doubt if you could find one to rent the day before a supposed big snow.

Anyway, I thought sure I could stay home from the office today and use my Big Red Machine. But, no, the snow went north of us. We got about 1/4 inch this afternoon -- about enough to make things white and to make me look stupid if I clear it with the thrower.

So, maybe next week . . . or more likely next decade. Probably it'll snow while I'm in Costa Rica Feb. 7-12 and the machine will sit in the garage and laugh at me. Come to think of it, that big maw in the front does sort of look like a wicked grin!