Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hard to say GOODBYE!

Two weeks ago at the end of Refuge, our high school ministry, we had to say goodbye to yet another one of our students.  This is something that is all to common in ministry to the military.  You see, having grownup as a military brat, I am somewhat used to it.  Although, it is still tough.

When you invest your heart and life into working with people, there is always the heart strings that get attached.  When the heart strings are attached, there comes a time when they are stretched, wound so tight as they join you close. They are interconnected with others.  They strengthen you when you are down and sad.  They hold you when you are discouraged. They are tightened during adversity and tough times.  They spring and bounce when joy and happiness is celebrated.  You see heart strings are the binding agent that connect us with people.

Well, on that night of Refuge, our heart strings were pulled on hard.  You see, "G" was leaving and moving back to the states. (the term is PCSing/Permanent Change of Station).  He would no longer be there on Wednesday, at the Christmas Dinner, at Spring break camp...and you see for us, spring break camp was big...that is where "G" met Jesus for the first time in a real and personal way.

He simply trusted Jesus with his life and gave control of his life over to Jesus.  "G" began to grow in his relationship and sought to understand the Bible and learn about his new friend, Jesus.  Their heart strings were eternally connected!

"G" also was connected with the other students at Refuge and his high school.  They enjoyed hanging out with him, playing video games, talking and just spending time with "G".  You see, "G" was connected.  His heart was attached!

When someone leaves our youth group, we take a time at the end to have them sit in the middle of the room on a chair and we speak words of life to them.  We share with them what they have meant to us, how they impacted us, how they changed us and how we will miss them.  Of course, it is tough and yet, it is a heart felt time of investing and encouraging.  Tears flowed as friends and classmates shared of "G"'s impact in their life.  When we were all done, "G" said, "Can I say something?". Of course I said yes and as he spoke of how he would miss all of us, he challenged the students that were there to stay in youth group, grow in Jesus and me an encouragement to each other.

WOW!!!  What a powerful thing to say to his peers and friends!

So you see, it is hard to say GOODBYE and yet, knowing that lives are being changed and impacted and that they will go out and make a difference after leaving here, well, the goodbyes are a tad bit easier.

If you would like to receive our email prayer updates, feel free to email me and I would love to include you into Team SHACKELFORD updates!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A bit of NW Humor


• If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you live in Oregon.
• If you’ve worn shorts, sandals and a parka at the same time, you live in Oregon.
• If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in Oregon.
• If you measure distance in hours, you live in Oregon.
• If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in Oregon.
• If you have switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’ and back again in the same day, you live in Oregon.
• If you install security lights on your house and garage but leave both doors unlocked, you live in Oregon.
• If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Central, Southern or Eastern Oregon.
• If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a 2 layers of clothes or under a raincoat, you live in Oregon.
• If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow and ice, you live in Oregon.
• If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Oregon.
• If you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash, you live in Oregon.
• If you know more than 10 ways to order coffee, you live in Oregon.
• If you know more people who own boats than air conditioners, you live in Oregon.
• If you stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the “Walk” signal, you live in Oregon.
• If you consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain, you live in Oregon.
• If you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and Dutch Bros, you live in Oregon.
• If you know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon, you live in Oregon.
• If you know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Clatskanie, Issaquah, Oregon, Umpqua, Yakima and Willamette, you live in Oregon.
• If you consider swimming an indoor sport, you live in Oregon.
• If you know that Boring is a city and not just a feeling, you live in Oregon.
• If you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, you live in Oregon.
• If you never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho, you live in Oregon.
• If you have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain, you live in Oregon.
• If you think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists, you live in Oregon.
• If you buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time, you live in Oregon.
• If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your OREGON friends, you live or have lived in Oregon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A new church adventure

Today the three of us had a new adventure!  The entire garrison closed chapels due to the snow fall that hit early this morning dropping 4 to 5 inches of beautiful snow on the ground.  Making the road conditions to RED.

So, instead of driving in to post for chapel, we walked about 30 steps from our front door to the door of the local evangelical church right outside our windows.

We had been there before mid week to view the architecture and the beautiful murals that are on the ceiling.  The church dates back to the 12th century and is pretty impressive.  Marble columns, stained glass windows, cathedral altar area gated off to the public, preaching points where even Martin Luther is to have visited and preached.

As you can imagine, it doesn't look anything like the churches in the states or even on post here. It is unique and beautiful.

Well, part of the adventure was that the entire service was done in Deutsch including the 6 songs we sung. It was interesting trying to catch words and phrases we know and understand but the fun was the hymn numbers. Instead of saying one hundred and sixty two, they say the two then the sixty then the hundred and by the time my mind reversed it all, I forgot the number...oh well...thankful for the Rosetta Stone we were blessed with and need to keep working on it.

The other interesting adventure was we were never verbally greeted by anyone there. When we walked in, we were handed a hymnal and a song sheet. We greeted them with the standard, Guten Tag, meaning Good Day. No response back.

We made our way to three seats and sat there. No one greeted or acknowledged us. When we left, no one thanked us for coming except for one man that I approached and initiated a conversation in some Deutsch and mostly english.  Even at that, it was all business about the question I asked.

My take away from this adventure, it is crucial to greet people, welcome people and engage them in conversation when at church.  The isolation that I felt in a church that didn't speak my native tongue and did things differently, was very not inviting or welcoming.  That makes me aware of what I need to do when I see someone at chapel that I don't know or have never met.