Category Archives: Life

Moscow Bound

We’re minutes away from going to bed. We’ll be waking up around 3:30AM on Thursday morning to head to church to meet up with our mission team and leave for the airport. Yes, that time will probably already have passed by the time you read this. This will be our third trip to Moscow, the previous two in March of 2005 and October of 2006. Those if you quick with math will see that Crestview is averaging sending a team about every 18-months to assist with the church plant in the Golovinski region of Northern Moscow.

We’re super excited about the work God is doing there. If you go back and read this Four Things post from two years ago, you’ll see that one of the things I wanted to do before I die was “Attend church in the Golovinski region of Moscow, Russia.” That may sound rather simple, but two years ago, there was no Protestant, Christ-following church in the region. In October of 2006, I did it. Interestingly enough, I think I’m more excited to go back this time and take part in a much more mature body of believers.

Now the sort of sad part – I’ll likely be 100% off the grid for the next eleven days. No phone, no email, no #citrt, no internet of any kind. If you need to get in touch, I highly suggest you do it before 4:00 PM EST which is the time I’m scheduled to board the flight to Moscow @ JFK in New York. Otherwise, pray for a divine message to be delivered to me.

We’ll be back home on Monday night, March 31st and I’ll have a quick one-day turnaround before heading to Oklahoma City for Spring Church IT RoundTable. These next two-and-a-half weeks are going to be one tremendous experience and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me, Bonnie, and the rest of our mission team. I hope you will all be praying for God to move in a mighty way in Moscow.

Priceless

Distance to Chapel Hill: 182 miles
McDonalds Value Meal: $5.32
One lower-level ticket: $490
Fulfilling a dream: Priceless

I just bought two tickets to tonight’s Carolina/Duke game on eBay. It’s 1:25 PM and the game is in less than eight hours. I’m literally awe-struck right now. I don’t think the reality of it will hit me until tip-off. Thanks to Matt B for taking the other ticket in the pair – looking forward to the road trip!

Our Debt Snowball

It’s quite timely for me to see Dean’s post about being debt-free this morning, as we just made our final payment on our credit card debt last Monday.
BoA Paid off
We still have a little ways to go, but we are highly motivated right now. I’ve been just devouring as much information as I can get my hands on. I’ve been reading Free and Clear by Howard Deyton of Crown Financial Ministries, listening to Crown’s 30-minute daily show, and most recently, getting on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon. I’ve even decided to teach Dave’s Financial Peace University at Crestview starting in January and I am pumped up about it. I can’t wait to get started helping other folks catch the fever to “Live like no one else so that later, they can live like no one else!”

I think listening to the radio programs everyday has been more helpful than anything else. It’s not just hearing the success stories that motivate me though – it’s the utterly depressing stories of people that are so much worse off than we’ve ever thought about being. Bonnie and I are truly blessed. I have a wonderful job that I absolutely love and the fact that I can get paid at all for doing it is still amazing to me, let alone the fact that I can get paid well for it.

If we can stay on track through the Christmas season, we’ll be paying off our cars within the next three or four months and then we’re attacking my student loans. About the time we pay that off, Bonnie’s will come out of deferment and we’ll start cranking on that. On paper, it looks like two years from now – Christmas 2009 – will be a VERY Merry Christmas for us.

Happy Birthday Java

Three years ago yesterday (that would be November 18, 2004), our little girl was born. A quick photo summary of her life:

IMG_0616 Taken on New Year’s Eve 2004 – she was about 6.5 weeks old
My best guess is that she was about 10 weeks old here – I know she was still young because she is still wearing the little red collar and she was still sleeping in our room (crate in background). IMG_0662
This was her first snow (January or February 2005) and these are still some my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken of her. I’ll never forget how the snow made her just act like she was on drugs.
IMG_0707 IMG_0724 IMG_0722
We were checking her email. IMG_0259

And just some random favorites:

IMG_0027 IMG_0044 IMG_0018 IMG_1177.jpg IMG_1188.jpg IMG_0660 IMG_0812 IMG_0687

img_1769

Moscow 2008

I guess now is as good a time as any to let everyone know that Bonnie and I are planning to return to Moscow on another mission trip in the spring of 2008 if everything works out well. The current itinerary has our date of departure as March 20 and we’ll be home on March 31. That means we’re leaving less than five months from today.

We definitely have our work cut out for us as far as fund-raising is concerned. As of this moment, we have 11 confirmed team members, and at least five more are still considering it. One of those five is my dad! I really hope that he feels led to go, because I think it would be awesome to get to work alongside him. Our team leader currently has our goal set at $25,000, but that could easily go up beyond $30,000 if all the others decide to go.

I have no doubt it will happen – but it’s hard to see that far in to the future right now, especially with the holidays fast approaching. We have two events planned already: a yard/bake sale on Saturday, November 3 and our usual Poor Man’s Supper and Auction on Saturday, November 17.

Now, I know I have readers all over the United States, Canada, and probably other parts fo the world as well, so this is where you come in. I know you can’t attend our in-person fund-raising events, but you can still help in a couple of ways. First and foremost – pray. Pray for myself, Bonnie, and our entire team. We know that God has called us to this work and we want to be sure to stay in His will. The second thing you can do is give.[1] The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We don’t want you to donate anything that belongs in your church, but if God has blessed you, please do consider going over and above your tithe and support the work that God is doing in Moscow. If you’d rather give offline, just leave me a note and I’ll get in touch with you. Finally, talk it up! Help me spread the word! The more people we have praying, the better. Also, I’ve setup a Moscow Mission 2008 page on the Crestview website to take online donations. I know a lot of you have blogs, so post a quick note linking back to this page so folks can find this information.

I really hope that most of all, you will be in prayer for us. From our previous two trips, we can tell you that it does make a difference. I’ll be sure to continue posting updates as our plans solidify and as we get closer to departure time.

P.S. – Oh yeah, I selfishly tagged it with CITRT so it would end up in the Planet feed. :-D

[1] All contributions are fully tax-deductible.

The Money Man

I’ve always enjoyed the little one-minute Daily Money Makeover clips I hear from Dave Ramsey every morning on the radio. I just happened by his site this afternoon and ran across what they’re calling Drive Free. I’ve never been one who thought I needed and new car, and I certainly have never been one of those people who say “You’ll always have a car payment” – but that video is still a major eye-opener. Go check it out.

Congratulations in Order

I just wanted to to publically congratulate my lovely wife for completing her second semester of graduate school in pursuit of her MBA. She just completed her last exam last night and she ACED IT. With two semesters behind her, she still has a 4.0 – isn’t she so smart?!

I’m so proud of you! You worked so hard for it, now get busy with your accounting for this summer…

Live from Louisville

I’m in Louisville, Kentucky for the better part of this week to help one of our offices relocate as well as begin the rollout of Asterisk throughout our company. Part of this task of relocating them is setting up a VPN between our office and our client’s headquarters back in Western NC. This will be my first attempt at the VPN stuff, so everyone please say a prayer that I somehow manage to teach myself something else this week and that it goes well.

I really do enjoy travelling every once in a while. This is my first “major” trip since I started my job two-and-a-half years ago, but I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it more often if it’s justified. I didn’t mind being alone on the flights or driving around a city I know nothing about, but what stinks is when it comes time to eat dinner – who likes to go to nice places alone? Isn’t part of travelling for work purposes getting to indulge yourself a little and hit up all the “nice” restaurants? Oh well.

And while I don’t mind travelling alone, I certainly do miss my wonderful wife. We were talking about this trip the other night, and we could only come up with a few times since we were married that we’ve spent a night apart, and couldn’t think of any time that we spent more than one night. It’s not that we’re joined at the hip or anything, we just try not to be apart more than necessary – she’s my better half, and I am her’s.

OK, enough with the sappy stuff.