Mission Complete

The title to this post is a bit misleading. Perhaps it would be said better if I just said, “WE ARE HOME!!!” That is a victory in itself, but that doesn’t mean that a huge part of me is not still in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi with my friends, both Choctaw and the mission team for the week.

I thought this might be a good post to give everyone an overview of the entire week. Some of the things we did included:

  • A four-day VBS program orchestrated by our new friend, Rachel.


  • A five-day adult Bible study mostly led by our friend Jeanne, from Wellington, New Zealand (yes, our team is international!)
  • A evening at the Choctaw Fair, where we watched the first half of the stickball game where Bok Cito (Bogue Chitto) won against Pearl River. Go Bok Cito!


  • A local Choctaw taught many on our team how to weave stickballs. Totally cool!


  • Lots of impromptu stickball games in the front of the church where we stayed between locals and some kids on the mission team.
  • A gigantic slip and slide – what fun!


  • Several visits to a local retirement home from which lots of great stories were told.
  • We helped a local pastor and his wife move.
  • Eyeball Pictures.  😀


  • Prayer walks, where we pray for communities, services, leadership, etc. This was a great experience.
  • Covering prayer, where we covered the rest of our group in prayer as they went about their tasks.
  • An obstacle course.


  • We spend most of a day cleaning a local church.
  • Fantastic Indian Tacos


  • Old friends and new friendships


  • And much, much more.

When we left this morning, and even last night before bed, hugs were exchanged, laughter happened, tears fell, and hearts were bonded. I love the folks in Bogue Chitto, and honestly, I miss them already. I would name names, but there are so many that touched me, so many relationships that were built, so many that I feel bonded to, I worry I would miss one. Each and every one is important to me.

Have you ever been on a mission trip? Have you ever devoted a significant amount of time making the difference in the life of another? If not, you really shouldn’t put it off any more. Consider partnering with a mission group, perhaps even a Native American mission group, and use what you have been blessed with to make the difference in the lives of others.

VBS in Bogue Chitto

I am waking for the last full day here in Bogue Chitto this year.  It’s hard to believe it is almost over, and it is hard to believe how God has orchestrated this differently than last year.

We were supposed to end VBS one night earlier, but we decided to go on one more night with a fun activity – a giant slip and slide!

Though I took pictures of the slip and slide, it was only with my proper camera, so I have no way to share that here yet.  I do have a picture from Wednesday though:


VBS is now over, and today we will spend the day connecting with folks one last time. Our team is going to use that time to give a local church a major cleaning.

If you would like to donate to help pay for our trip, it’s not too late.  Just head over to GoFundMe and see our page on Choctaw Mission 2014.

More to come later.

How to Waste Your Time Planting Corn

I have always had a fascination with gardening, but it wasn’t until the last ten years or so that I really got into it.  Even so, I am reminded how little I know year after year.

Last year I got the idea that I wanted to plant Landrace Popcorn.  I’ll probably tell more about that sometime in the future, but in essence it is open-pollinated popcorn from which seed is selectively saved year after year.  That is definitely an oversimplification, but it is enough for now.  Last year I also planted Glass Gem Popcorn, which is absolutely beautiful, but almost worthless as a popping corn.  Here, check this corn out!

Glass Gem Popcorn

Unfortunately, I didn’t time these crops very well and they cross pollinated, affecting the quality of my popping corn.

This year I tried again, but low and behold, my interests in other things were sparked again, and while I didn’t grow Glass Gem Corn, I did grow two ancient corns that are flour corns.  I meticulously planned the dates each would mature, and I was sure I would avoid cross pollination this year.  Wouldn’t you know it, one of the ancient corns matured at exactly the same time as the Landrace Popcorn.  GRRRRR!

In an effort to stem the damage, I have been attempting to hand pollinate the corns, though I found out last night that I am not really doing this the right way, so there is no telling what I will get.  My guess is the seeds from this corn will probably be useless next year, but I suppose I can consider myself fortunate because I learned something from it.  While the wind was low this morning I walked through the garden attempting to hand pollinate better and I shook the stalks, hoping to spread the pollen on the corn while it was less likely to cross with the other.  Only time will tell if I was successful.


I had a great experience last night working with a young man at our vacation Bible school. Obviously something was wrong, and none of us had been able to get the young man to talk. Finally, he began talking to me last night. After he did we really began to connect and it was the first time I have seen him smile. Tonight he’s going to come back and were going to play a little bit with my camera which really interested him. I’m not sure what’s going on in his life, but I really hope that this makes a difference for him.

We have just finished visiting the Choctaw Residential Center. This is a nursing home in the Philadelphia area. No one on my team feels particularly called to this ministry, but we all had a good time. I worked a puzzle with a nice lady name Shirley and a young man named John was there visiting his grandmother. The rest of the team played ball with several of the residents. It sounded like they were having a good time.


If you would like to donate to help pay for our trip, it’s not too late.  Just head over to GoFundMe and see our page on Choctaw Mission 2014.

Choctaw update

It is amazing to me how different the trip can be this year from last year.

To begin with, the water was out the first couple of days. A waterline had burst in the woods near the church. Even so, we have really been blessed.

Yesterday and today we have spent much of our time helping the pastor of the church which houses us and hi wife move. They have taken over two more local churches, including the one where the chief attends church.

Last night we also did Bible school with the local youth, and we had an adult Bible study which was fantastic. There were 10 or so adults in the class – about twice as many as last year. Tonight we will also have vacation Bible school for the children, and it is our groups night to lead. We will be teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit. We will also be working with the adults again, which is where my heart really is.

After the moving today, we walked around the tribal Council area and prayed for the leadership, all of the social services that are offered here, and the people in general.

Hopefully, later I will be able to share some pictures I have taken. There were really some adorable little kids at the vacation Bible school last night.

As I understand it, we are going to have Indian tacos tomorrow night or Thursday night. That will be a real treat. Even though I don’t eat bread most of the year I will eat it for this trip.

Thanks again for the prayers, and if you wish to give to help pay for the transportation on the trip, it isn’t too late. Just visit our site: Choctaw 2014

Making Stickballs

What an interesting day. We began our day at a local church, but this afternoon we are relaxing before a full day of work tomorrow.

We have encountered an interesting issue already – the water line burst in the woods, so we have been without water for almost 24 hours, and it doesn’t seem that it will be fixed until tomorrow.

The team is watching a local Choctaw teach us how to make stickball a this afternoon. It is really fascinating and a very intricate task. Check out Elijah working in one:


Soon it will be time for a short nap, and then more work this afternoon as we prepare for a busy evening.

Choctaw Stickball

Have you ever heard of Stickball?  No, I don’t mean baseball, and I don’t mean lacrosse.  The Choctaw Indians, as well as some other tribes, play a game called Stickball.  Though I am probably off a little on the specifics, it is roughly 100 people on a football sized field, each with two stick with a tiny basket on the end.  The players are attempting to get a ball about the size of a golfball from one end of the field to the other without using their hands: throwing, scooping, and carrying, though you wouldn’t want to carry the ball far.  You see, if you are carrying the ball, you are fair game for something like a tackle in football, though much more rough.

By the time this post goes live, my family, my home-based church, and several other folks will be watching the final game of the World Series of Stickball.  They don’t play the final game until late in the evening, so we may not stay to watch it all, though my plans are to do so.

Last year it was amazing to watch the teams come on the field.  There were so many players, and the teams were generally led by drummers who pounded on their war drums.  The players hit their sticks together in a most menacing way, letting out war cries as they took the field.  This is, to these young men, no game.  They are here to win.

This is a picture of a player from the winning team last year, which was Beaver Dam:

A player from Beaver Dam prior to the game.

A player from Beaver Dam prior to the game.


And last year’s runners up prior to the final game:

Koni Hata before the game

Koni Hata before the game

And finally, some action from the final game:

Beaver Dam vs. Koni Hata

Beaver Dam vs. Koni Hata

This year the final game is Saturday, July 12th, and will start sometime after this post goes live.  With any luck Bok Cito (Bogue Chitto) will be in the final match.  Lot’s of love to that team, which is the town where our mission trip is based. UPDATE: Bok Cito won in the semi-finals against last year’s champion, Beaver Dam. They will face Pearl River tonight in the finals.

If you would like to donate to help pay for our trip, it’s not too late.  Just head over to GoFundMe and see our page on Choctaw Mission 2014.


Today is the Day!

Today is the day!!! We leave this afternoon for the first leg of our journey to Bogue Chitto, Mississippi for our annual mission trip to the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians. We’re staying over tonight in Tupelo, Mississippi (praise God for hotel points!), and then tomorrow we will drive a few more hours to Bogue Chitto.

Would you please go check out our Choctaw 2014 GoFundMe page?  While you are at it, please don’t skip over the video slide show from last year.  I know that sounds boring.  Seriously, go check it out.

There were several new donations yesterday, and we are getting close to our goal. I will continue to ask though – won’t you consider a small donation to help pay for the transporation on this trip? Any amount helps.

During the week I hope to post updates here, and I will leave the fundraiser open until we get home. Once again, thank you to all who have given and all who are praying for us. May you be blessed by God.

Seven Things Jesus Would Say

What would Jesus say if He were a part of your small group?  I saw this article in my news reader and ignored it.  Why?  So many articles aren’t well written or thought out, and truly, how do we know what Jesus would say?  Despite my hesistation, I am glad I read this.  Aaron Armstrong did a fantastic job on this article, and backed most everything up with scripture.  That which was not backed up by scripture could certainly be concluded by reading the Bible.

Aaron hits hard with the first point, that Jesus would say we are too easy on church people.  AMEN.  AMEN.  AMEN.  However, point number five is the one that I think more people need to read/hear.  Yes, I am going to make you go read it yourself.

These aren’t the only things Jesus would say, of that I am sure, and I think most of the church would be amazed at what would come out of His mouth.  There is one thing for sure, He wouldn’t fit the mold we try to put Him in.

Now, go read the article and enjoy.  After you’re done, why not let me know your thoughts and anything you would add to the list?

Three Great Things Leaders Do

There is a plethora of articles out there on leadership, but the many of them are misguided. The concepts are fairly simple, and while I would not have necessarily chosen these three things as my top three, they would all be on the list.

Three Things Great Leaders Always Do

  1. You must have a clear vision.
  2. Actually care about people.
  3. Be the hardest working person in the organization.