Posts in Blog
Kenya Update 5

After visiting a Christian school yesterday and playing with the children, today we concluded our mission experience by visiting a slum in the village of Mutuati. Sodzo has worked with several children from this slum over the last few years. They have also established a couple of their family strengthening groups in the area.

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BlogBonsack Admin
Kenya Update 4

Today we returned to the Watoto Wa Ahadi Rescue center (which is Swahili for Children of the Promise). We spent the morning doing more painting as well as some plaster work. The plastering technique involved scooping the wet mud with a trowel and slinging it against the wall. We ended up with more plaster in our hair than on the wall. I don’t know if it was a commentary on my lack of mastery of the trade, but at one point the Kenyan woman who was co-leading our work crew took my trowel away from me and started using it herself! My job at that point was simply to go behind her and scoop up the left over mud from the floor. It’s nice to know we all have a part to play.

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BlogBonsack Admin
Kenya Update 3

Today we visited Lin Joka, a small village where Sodzo International hosts one of its family strengthening programs. Family representatives are invited to join in groups of 25-30 people who meet weekly for education and financial support. Each family contributes a small amount each week - about 20 shillings, the rough equivalent of 20 cents. The group accumulates this money over time and collectively decides how to use it by making micro loans to group members who have a need. For example, if this week I have school fees to pay for my children, the group loans me the amount I need and then agrees to a time period for me to pay it back. In this way, the group serves as a local bank by keeping the resources within the local community and enabling individual families to meet needs without becoming dependent on people who do not have their best interest at heart.

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BlogBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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Blog, NewsletterBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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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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Newsletter, BlogBonsack Admin
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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BlogBonsack Admin
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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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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An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a tradition that we low church Baptists have tended to ignore, but regardless of whether we attend a formal Ash Wednesday service or not, there is great wisdom and truth in what this day represents to the greater Christian family...

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BlogBonsack Admin