Saturday, October 14, 2006

Thomas Tank Engine

It’s not every day that you get to meet an icon—much less, ride in it/him. We got to do just that. Thomas Tank Engine (a really useful train) came into town for a publicity shoot and to connect with some of his fans. Willy is a big Thomas fan, though he feels a closer bond with Percy. I think it’s because Percy never let the fame thing go to his engine. Thomas, on the other hand, has spent his adult life marketing himself. I don’t think he’s left himself the time it takes to really develop your inner train. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like he was rude…just aloof. He had this plastic sort of smile that seemed prefabricated. He didn’t really talk to anyone and refused to sign any autographs. He just sat there smiling, while people took their picture with him. I was shocked at how good he looked for his age. You can see from the pictures that he doesn’t have any wrinkles. That’s quite a fete for a guy who’s 60. I heard the word “botox” being whispered more than a few times in the crowd. We got to ride in him, which reminded me of riding the train into London with my dad. I was the same age then that Willy is now. Willy and Abi loved it. I think they were more forgiving of Thomas’ personality flaws. I should be, too. It’s not like I’ve ever been the star of a big TV show with global merchandizing. That’s a lot of pressure on a little train. Of course, Thomas’ manager (Sir Topem Hat) was nearby. Willy and he struck up a friendship. Abi was less trusting. Overall, it was a very pleasant way to spend an autumn afternoon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Peru - Stark & Beautiful

I've uploaded one of the shows I use when talking about Peru. It is a pictoral introduction to the geography, economy and beautiful people of Peru. You can get to it by clicking on the "Peru - Stark & Beautiful" title above. Or copy the following into your web browser: Click on the Picture of El Misti and enjoy the tour!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shrader Family Photo Album

Check out the Shrader Family Photo Album. Click on the title and it'll take you directly there. It'll be a regular part of the Links below.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Prayer Requests and Answers - 10-06-06

Praise for previously answered prayers:
1. We have completed the support raising and medical clearance portion of our journey to Peru. (We’re still accepting pledges, since it is common for some pledge partners to miss some months or have to stop completely. As such, having pledges above your minimum helps to make sure that finances don’t become a bottleneck for the ministry.) Having passed the line of the minimum amount we need to go, we were granted approval to purchase tickets. We’ll be departing for language and culture studies in Costa Rica on January 3rd. Praise the Lord!
2. My mother-in-law has recovered well from Gall Bladder surgery and my father-in-law is recovering well from hernia surgery.
3. I’ve been writing the doctoral project and am really enjoying it.
4. Willy is loving preschool.

Prayer Requests:
1. Anointing—the Holy Spirit’s presence in visible, experiential form. Over the past year, I’ve been really blessed during our missions services to have so many kind believers join their faith to mine. This has resulted in some awesome experiences where people have been saved, baptized in the Spirit and dramatically touched by God. I don’t have any hallucinations about the power for such an anointing residing in me. It is pure grace. There have been services where I had been fasting and praying, memorizing the word, doing everything physically possible to be an anointed speaker, which resulted in a very blah service. Then, at other times, the Holy Spirit fell with great power in spite of me. The Spirit is like the wind—blowing where and when He chooses. But, as I hinted above, one characteristic that really seems to invite the Spirit’s tangible presence is when many believers believe together. So, I’m asking for my friends to believe with me and ask the Spirit to continue, and INCREASE, His presence in our services and work. I’ve got three specific events in mind: A) SALT—Dec. 29-Jan 1. SALT is the leadership conference that Chi Alpha (XA) puts on every year. It is a huge honor for a XA pastor to be invited to speak. This year, I’ll be the main speaker on Dec. 29 & 30. I want to be used by the Lord as an open and faithful vessel. I want the students to experience the presence and power of the Spirit in a mind-blowing way. I want each student to get the gift of faith so much that they move mountains, raise the dead and overcome the fear of Man in sharing the truth about Jesus as Messiah. B) Our continuing services. Even though we’ve crossed the finish line, we still have many services yet to fill before we leave in January. Lena and I don’t want to be lame duck missionaries. C) On the mission field—that means here (as we witness to unbelievers, worship the Lord and preach the gospel), in Costa Rica and in Peru. I’ve developed a taste for spiritual fruit and want to increase my daily intake.
2. Spanish—my doctoral studies put the kibosh on my Spanish studies. I’m asking for the Lord to give all of the Shraders the gift of Spanish.
3. Spiritual, Eye Opening Empathy—In my doctoral studies, I’m learning how much we need empathy for others to incarnate the Father’s heart. Empathy is to feel what other’s feel. The Pharisees knew what God’s word said, but they failed to implement it properly because their hearts were hard. I want empathy for my children, so that I can be a kind and understanding father. And I want my children to have empathy for others, so they can be the best missionaries possible. A 9 year old boy with empathy can convict the hardest of hearts.
4. God’s care and confirmation for our families: As we get closer to our departure date (Jan 3), it gets harder to be nonchalant with our families. We’re aware of it all the time. I’m asking the Lord to confirm our calling for our family members, so that they will be just as certain of our calling as we are. I ask, also, that He care for them (of course, that’s His nature). For my mother, Lena’s parents and our siblings the cost of taking our children overseas feels very expensive. It’s interesting that when someone gets called to go, the price of going must be paid by many. Our families and our friends pay emotionally and financially. It takes a lot of faith to go, but it also takes a lot of faith to send a loved one. I once asked my friend Ty Silva (a missionary that I’m honored to call a friend) what the most costly part of missions life was for him. He said, “Saying goodbye to my daughter, when she became a missionary.”
5. Doctor of Ministry writing speed & clarity. I’m typing like a mad man…I just hope the end result doesn’t sound like it was written by a mad man.

Things I love about Lena

Lena turned 39 last May. One of our family traditions involves me making cards for her. Usually I write a poem. I get extra credit when the card or poem is funny. Last May, for her 39th birthday, I decided to do a card entitled “39 Things I Love about Lena.” When her birthday came, I wasn’t done with the card yet. That’s the danger of asking for a work of art as a birthday gift. If you value getting your card on time, then a store bought card is the right gift. If, like Lena, you value a work of art—then you might get your gift a little late. Her birthday was May 8. I gave her the card last night. (Some works of art are better if they age like cheese.) As you may guess, I can’t share all 39. Some are too personal. But a few are worth sharing here, allowing others to see what we value as a couple. The book of Philippians is a hortatory letter of friendship. In the Greek style of greeting cards, one was the hortatory letter of friendship card. (You can find it at the Ancient Greek Wal-Mart in the card section between Artemis' Birthday cards and the "We're so sorry you lost the Olympics cards.") In this type of letter, a mentor writes his/her disciple and advises him/her about who to imitate. I write this today in the same vein. Lena has done for my Christian walk what glasses did for reading. Hopefully, you'll be inspired to be like her. You'll definitely say what I say everyday—“Boy did he get a great wife!”

Some of the 39 things I love about Lena:

1. Her witty sense of humor
2. She’s as pretty or prettier, now, then when we got married.
3. She’s a great cook
4. How she looked the first night I really noticed her.
5. Our discussions. We love to talk about life, authors, psychology, theology, literary themes, the enduring quality of fig newtons …
6. She loves Jesus
7. She is not easily offended
8. Doing the crossword puzzle together
9. Being on the road, figuring out directions and problem solving together.
10. She’s a Christian in her own right. Many men and women tag along with their mates in the arena of faith. We definitely “spur one another on in love and faith,” but we don’t depend on each other. If I were to die sooner, rather than later, I know that Lena would continue to serve the Lord and teach our kids to do the same. The ministry version of this is that she is a teammate – not a mascot. She preaches with me and doesn’t just watch me minister.
11. She has a heart to disciple women
12. She fights fair, apologizes, confesses sins, admits wrongs and considers accusations.
13. She reads and continues growing
14. She practices emotional honesty and integrity
15. She has a gorgeous brain. She speaks Spanish, which she learned in school. That is incredible, because many never use what they learn. Lena is able to discuss psychotherapy methods and schools of thought from Art History. And she is really dangerous playing Wheel of Fortune.
16. She persevered and conquered fears becoming a social worker, going into the inner city among rats and trash...for the women and children
17. She forgives
18. She talks things out
19. She’s my best friend

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Birthdays, Births & Multitasking

This past week, Hannah and Willy both had birthdays. Hannah is now 12 and Willy is 4. I remember Hannah's birth well. It was the first day of school at UC. I was trying to organize student outreach, while being true to my laboring wife. I think I probably did a lackluster job in both camps. When Colton was born, on the last day of school at UC, I folded newsletters while Lena did the hard work of pushing out a baby. I'm often looking for a chance to multitask. Thankfully, Lena is very understanding and a true team player. So, she's never complained. By the time Willy was born, we were doing ministry at Wilmington College (which starts school in August). The ministry was well under way when he was born, and I had learned a few things through the years. Consequently, I didn't try to multitask during his delivery.