Photo l to r: Alex, Joanna, Philip, Woodlyn, Alycia holding Ella, me.
Ever take one of those Life Events Stress Tests? The kind that measure if you’re likely to go bonkers if you have too many major life changes? One of those tests where even too many good things can raise the old stress meter?
I’m married to the same wonderful wife. We live in the same house. I work in the same office, with the same great team, and for the same organization—e3 Partners. Our kids continue to walk with the Lord. But other than that, just about everything has changed in the past few months.
I decided to take one of those online stress tests just to see how close our family is to going bonkers. Oh, no! It said we had an 80% probability of stress related illness! But what it did not factor in is the grace and peace and strength of God lavished on us. But here is a recap, so you can be praying for us!
Note--many of these things are great things! So we’re not complaining! But coming all at once is a blessed challenge. So here’s what’s up with us, taken from the Life Events Stress Test list--
Addition of New Family Member: Yeah, we love this one. Elizabeth Grace (Ella) joined our family 11 months ago, born to Alycia and Landon who have been living in Asia. We can’t wait until they come home this week for a 5 month visit.
Marriage: We love this one, too! We rejoice that Joanna is marrying Alex on Aug 1st! They both will continue to teach at Bryan High School, where Joanna teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) and Alex leads the school choirs.
Beginning or Ending Formal Schooling / Outstanding Personal Achievement (On a stress test? Yup!): Landon just finished his Ph.D. in Asia. They are coming home for a few months, then heading back to a new city in Asia in December. Landon will be a professor there.
Son or Daughter Leaving Home / Changing to a New School: After graduating from high school a few weeks ago, Philip is looking forward to Howard Payne University this fall, which is Alycia and Landon’s alma mater. The August 21st drop-off date already is marked on our calendars.
Death of Close Family Member: Woodlyn’s mother passed away in early May. Fortunately Woodlyn was able to spend about 6 of her last 8 weeks by her side. Picture above was taken at the graveside service.
Personal Injury or Illness: A couple weeks after her mom’s funeral, Woodlyn had surgery to remove some precancerous cells. We are praying that her follow-up check-up shows they got them all.
Major Change in Responsibility at Work: My transition from the international side of our ministry at e3 Partners to our I am Second project has been wild . . . and great fun. I am Second has been an “exceedingly, abundantly” blessed project as almost 1 million people have visited the website, each spending on average over 9 minutes watching the videos about Jesus changing lives. Even though we have only promoted it in Dallas, people from 191 countries now have visited.
Our vision is to “inspire a revolution of Second.” Which means helping followers of Christ live like Jesus really is First in their lives. Tall order in our materialistic consumer culture. We are writing small group curriculum to go with the videos on the website. Plus redesigning the “Get Involved” and “Find a Group” sections of http://www.iamsecond.com/ to make it easier for churches to partner with us and people to use these new resources.
Fortunately, I can still continue leading church planting teams. In July we have a team of 35 going to Bolivia. Then in November we are taking about 25 from our church to Ethiopia to open up a new area for e3. Plus I continue to serve as our Africa Continent Director until we transition that role to someone.
Change in Financial State: Like many in ministry, we have seen our support fall substantially. July 1st was our 17th anniversary with e3 Partners, known as Global Missions Fellowship way back then. So we trust Jehovah Jireh to continue to provide for our family as He faithfully has done over so many years. He is able and we delight in being “stranded on omnipotence,” as someone once said.
Thanks: Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us, gone with us, encouraged us and financially supported us over the years. We are here because of YOUR partnership in the Gospel.
For the Fame of His Name,