Kenya Update 2

After spending our weekend traveling, we began our first full day of work today. We spent the day at the Watoto Wa Ahadi rescue center. This is the residential facility Sodzo International runs for boys who have been rescued off the streets. They spend anywhere from a few months to a couple of years at this facility while work is being done to reintegrate them with their families. Some of these boys arrive struggling with substance abuse, others are victims of abuse, and others have simply been abandoned to the streets by a family that doesn’t want them or cannot support them. Here they receive housing, food, and most importantly, Christian nurture.

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Kenya Update

We arrived in Kenya last night to begin a week-long mission experience. Five of us from Bonsack Baptist met up with five others from South Main Baptist in Houston, Texas. We will spend the week working with a ministry called Sodzo International, which works with boys and young men who are living on the streets. They provide housing, education, and job training to these young men, while also working with families in neighboring villages to address some of the systemic issues that led to these young men leaving home in the first place. We will spend some time with the young men and some with the families. Exactly what will be doing with them remains to be seen, but that is part of any international experience. You simply have to remain flexible and be willing to adapt to what the circumstance require at the moment.

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Lessons from an Osprey

I have a friend who is kind enough to grant us access to some waterfront property, so with the church office closed, I spent Labor Day at the lake. It is a beautiful piece of land, just far enough removed from other homes that you have a strong sense of being “out there” in nature. At night there are no competing streetlamps or front porch lights, so the stars shine far more brilliantly than what I usually see at home. During the day the only traffic comes in the form of the occasional boater, so you are much more likely to see the local wildlife make an appearance.   

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An Unlikely Friendship

Connie Moorman couldn’t understand why Jeremy’s name kept grabbing her attention.  He was on trial for charges related to a double murder, and every time she would hear about him in the local news, she felt a sense of burden about him.  A few days later a co-worker asked Connie to please pray for a friend, whose son was on trial.  It turned out that son was Jeremy. 

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More Than We Could Imagine

All-Abilities Playground  Cultivates Community 

Bonsack members James and Jennifer Garner didn’t set out to bring an all-abilities playground to Botetourt County, but a family trip to the beach almost 4 years ago changed all that.

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Principles for Simplicity

In yesterday’s sermon we talked about economic simplicity.  Using Jesus’ parable of the so-called rich fool in Luke 12:13-34, we discussed how easily we are controlled by the “stuff” in our lives.  The things we own soon own us, so if we want to reduce anxiety and worry and create more space for God and others we need to find ways to live with less.  We need to constantly ask ourselves, “How much do we really need?” Truth be told, we probably don’t need nearly as much as we think! 

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Remembering Mema

Our vacation this week began with a funeral.  My wife’s 94 year-old grandmother died last Friday, following a battle with prolonged illness.  I first met Mema 23 years ago when Heather and I started dating.  Heather is the oldest of her cousins, so she was the first to bring home a potential mate.  That means I was the test case for how her family would respond to such a new addition.  I would like to say I passed the test with flying colors, but it was more the case that I was graded on a curve!

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Summer Cooler & the Resurrection

I enjoy something about all the seasons, but we are primarily summer people in our household.  The long days and warm temperatures make it possible for us to get outside after being cooped up for months on end.  We particularly enjoy striking out for the lake whenever we get a chance.  When a Saturday afternoon opens up for us, we grab the dog, hook up our old boat, and head out for the water.  Sometimes we even take the kids. 

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Go & Tell : A Q&A on the Southwest Virginia Partnership

In April, Bonsack commissioned Larry & Lynda Brumfield and Larry & Phyllis Perdue to serve for a week in Nickelsville, Virginia at the Southwest Virginia Partnership, a missions outreach that is sponsored by the Baptist General Association of Virginia along with three area Baptist Associations (Clinch Valley, Powell River, & Wise). The Brumfields and Perdues joined over 50 individuals from churches across the Roanoke Valley as they coordinated BookNet, an in-school book donation program for 12 schools in three counties, volunteered at Gate City’s food bank, visited nursing homes, and renovated the Partnership’s dining space to help accomodate future volunteers. Larry & Lynda Brumfield as well as Phyllis Perdue sat down for a conversation to reflect on the trip.  

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Bonsack's Community Garden

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “farm to table” movement within the food industry, which seeks to provide locally grown food for service at restaurants, school cafeterias, and local markets.  Bonsack now has its own version of this movement in the form of our community garden. 

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Kaleidoscope: Our Upcoming Church-Wide Music Event Bridges Generations

When was the last time you looked inside a kaleidoscope? A classic childhood toy, a kaleidoscope is a cylindrical tube with a series of mirrors that, when peered into, reveals an optical effect of moving, colorful, and perfectly symmetrical patterns. A high-quality kaleidoscope looks a lot like brilliantly moving diamonds or dancing stained glass. 

While a kaleidoscope is a fun toy, it admittedly makes for an odd name for a musical presentation. Yet, Kaleidoscope is the name of our church’s Festival of Choirs and Congregational Song, happening May 5.

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Burning Buildings and a Hole in the Ground

I am watching almost 1000 years of history go up in smoke.”  That’s how one distressed reporter described the scene yesterday as she watched a fire tear through the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.  I’ve never visited the cathedral, but I too had a visceral reaction to the sight of flames engulfing the massive gothic structure.  I’ve replayed the video of its majestic spire collapsing through a hole in the roof several times now, each time wanting to disbelieve it.  It doesn’t seem like this should be able to happen….

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Disney Reflections

This year my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  Apparently, that many years of marital bliss can cause you take temporary leave of your sanity, because to mark the occasion they decided to take the entire family to Disney World.  Yes, we just returned from a long weekend of standing in very long lines, usually for the privilege of standing in another line…

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40 Days of Prayer

Lent is the period of 40 days that leads up to Holy Week.  Admittedly, we Baptists have tended to not pay much attention to the liturgical calendar, but there is some wisdom to be gained in listening to what the broader Christian family has to tell us during this season.

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A Fresh Start

Let’s face it, there is nothing uniquely spiritual about New Year’s Day.  The only mention of a new year in the Bible comes at the Passover in Exodus 12, when God is leading his people out of slavery in Egypt. When we translate from the lunar calendar used back then to the Gregorian calendar used today, Passover happens in March or April, in the week that leads up to our celebration of Easter.  January 1 never appears in the Bible…

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Called to Know, Grow & Go

As we prepare to close out this year and enter into a new one, there are a couple of visible changes that you can anticipate.  Neither one by itself represents a major overhaul, but taken together they are part of our larger effort to begin implementing the priorities of our new strategic plan... 

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Standing on History: Israel 2018

Today we toured the old city of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem of today is a modern, sprawling city with high rises and traffic and all the things you associate with an international destination, but nestled in the midst of it is an ancient, walled community measuring no more than 1.5 square miles. This is the area, more or less, to which the Bible refers when it speaks of Jerusalem.

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Center of the Universe: Israel 2018

After spending two days in the area around the Sea of Galilee, yesterday we turned south and followed the Jordan River valley all the way to the northern tip of the Dead Sea, at which point we turned west and began the climb up to Jerusalem…

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Truth Over Power: Israel 2018

When you experience something moving or meaningful, your first instinct is usually to find someone with whom to share it. If, for example, you encounter a beautiful sunset, you almost can’t help but run back inside the house to call for your spouse to come out and join you. Somehow the experience means more to you if you can bring someone else into it…

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