Romans 11:36

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen."

Jan 31, 2010

A beautiful dream

So I'm back in Costa Rica for the final three months of my time here . . . and it's bittersweet.

But, one of the sweet parts was that Amanda came with me for my first week back, and she got to spend an evening with the family of Carmen and Jose, our Children's Home property caretakers. Their five children, from left to right, are Darwin, Hillary, Lady, Sylvia and Danny. They are one of the most precious families I know.

Carmen's story as to how she came to be working at the Children's Home is one for the ages. She had received a dream in which she was walking through a large piece of beautiful property in Costa Rica, and at the bottom of the property was a river. The next thing she knew she was at the river and was helping to bathe lots of little kids--with the aid of a large group of North Americans. She told her husband, Jose, about the dream, and they prayed about it.

Shortly thereafter, Ray and Lidia came to Carmen and Jose and asked them if they'd be willing to visit the site of the proposed Children's Home, in order to see if they'd like to be the caretakers of the property.

As they walked onto the 7-acre piece of gorgeous green property, and then started down the hill on the backside of the property, Carmen saw the river. She immediately turned to Jose and said, "Do you remember the dream?" Jose responded, "Yes, and this won't just be your ministry, this will be our ministry."

Carmen and Jose now work with North American mission teams, preparing the way for a Children's Home to be built on that property--with the purpose of serving, caring for, and loving young Costa Rican children. They may even bathe them in the river one day . . .

Yeah, God does that.

A purposeful snowstorm

After returning back to the States before Christmas, I was blessed with the opportunity to interview with the Duke Divinity School selection committee (more on that later). The interview ended around 2:00pm on a Friday. My goal was to then drive, with Amanda, to Charlottesville, Virginia in order to see some friends from my days at UVa. Only, things didn't work out quite as I had planned.

Leaving Durham, North Carolina at 2:30pm typically means that you'll arrive in Charlottesville sometime between 5:30 and 6:00pm. On Friday, December 18th, 2009, that was simply not true. For those of you who live on the east coast, you'll remember the massive snowstorm that hit the mid-Atlantic that day, but what you may not remember is that it originated in southwest Virginia . . . the exact part of the state that I'd be driving through to reach Charlottesville.

Around 6:30pm Amanda and I were 20 miles south of our destination, and only 25 miles south of Charlottesville. About that same time, the road we were on closed . . . in both directions. For the next 12 hours Amanda and I drove inch by inch in the snow, turned off the engine twice to take naps, helped push other cars out of snowdrifts, and even braved the blustery night winds to answer nature's call. It was an adventure, to say the least.

At 6:30am we parked our car in a snow drift and walked 200 yards, in snow up to our knees, to our friends' warm and cozy home, finally able to get our night's sleep.

The picture you see above is how we found our car at 3:00pm that day, less than 9 hours after we parked it there (and yes, our car is facing the right direction . . . it's the 18-wheeler that's on the wrong side of the road).

Oh yeah, and the reason it was a purposeful snowstorm: my interview at Duke paid off :-) So now I'll be enrolling at Duke Divinity School in August of this year, and I'll even be getting some scholarship help. Praise the Lord.


Christmas in Africa

Welcome to Child Haven in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Child Haven is home to 13 children who are growing up and receiving the love and care of a Christian mother and numerous Christian "aunties"--and one of those aunties happens to be my girlfriend, Amanda Brill.

I went to South Africa to visit Amanda in December, and some of my most treasured moments in that country were spent at Child Haven, playing with the kids and watching them try to discern what their mama and aunties meant when they said that I was Auntie Amanda's boyfriend and she was my girlfriend. They're adorable.

Before Amanda and I left the country for Christmas, I was able to dish out a collection of candy canes (fresh from the USA) as my parting gift. Here you can see the kids displaying their gifts with pride and admiration (or a complete lack of understanding that they were posing for a picture).

The Child Haven ministry and the other ministry that Amanda is a part of, an HIV/AIDS Community/Children's Home, are incredible blessings to the Kingdom of God. You can learn more about Amanda's ministry on her blog,

I'll just say that I'm a blessed boy . . .