It’s A New Revolution

Some of you may remember that in 1978 at the age of 13, I lived in Iran.  My dad took a job there and my mother and I moved to join him a few months later.  But the 1.5 year assignment was cut dramatically short by the sudden spark of a revolution.  It was a very intense time that culminated in our sudden departure, when my father’s company first sent back the families, and then the employees, shortly before the Shah fell and everything went dark.

But despite what was happening politically and in the media, when I returned home, I had a very different view of the Iranian people than my friends.  They said they hated them because of what they saw on TV.  However, the exposure and experience I had was to a people of high character, ethics, kindness and compassion.  And they were just normal people trying to earn a living and make it through life the best they could, like the rest of us.  The short time I spent in Iran was deeply impactful and implanted so many life lessons in my young, impressionable mind.  I never forgot my experiences there.

Fast forward to less than a decade ago, when I began to hear stories that despite the darkness that had overshadowed Iran (or maybe even because of it), the good news and hope found in Jesus was spreading throughout the nation.  And over the years the reports have continued to swell.  The statistics say that more Iranians have come to faith in Christ in the past 20 years, than in the previous 1400 since Islam came to Iran.  What’s happening there is nothing short of supernatural!  But that’s only part of the story…

The real story is not only their salvations, but the incredible FAITH that is being manifest in these new believers.  They are radically changed and passionately obedient disciples of Jesus, who have truly counted the cost of following Him.  “They do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelations 12:11)  They have no buildings, no programs, no curriculum, no worship leaders – nothing that characterizes the Western version of Christianity.  And despite the fact that they risk their very lives to share what they have come to know, they are replicating themselves and transforming their world.  I challenge you to take a few hours to peek outside your Western window and watch this documentary movie (featuring Joel Richardson) about what God is doing behind the scenes in the nation of Iran – where the fields truly are “white unto harvest.”  I guarantee it will stir, inspire, humble and challenge you in your faith:

MARANATHA!

Amazing Stuff!!!

Almost two months ago, I woke up on a Saturday morning to a message from my good friend, Dana, who shared with me a 48-hour link to watch something that I later learned she had been an “investor” in.  It’s called “The Chosen,” and it has taken it’s place as the largest crowd-funded media project ever.  The idea behind the creation of this project started with a short film the director made to show at his church for Christmas.  Through quite a “providential process,” that film became the impetus for the goal of a long-running drama series based on the Bible.  The principle idea is that there have been many movies and mini-series made, but up until this point never a multi-season show about the life of Jesus, and also nothing that really delves into the “back stories” of the people who met Him and whose lives were subsequently transformed.

I shared the link Dana sent me with 3 other friends, and all of them had the same response as me – at the end of the 4 episodes we were all simultaneously bawling and saying “WOW!!!”  It is true that out of all the many Bible shows and movies I’ve seen, I’ve never seen anything like this!

For my Bible loving friends, I want to be clear (as the director is), that this is a dramatization.  They have taken care to be faithful to scripture where scripture speaks.  But they have used the facts we are given in scripture, along with carefully investigated historical and cultural information, to craft some plausible “what might have been” back stories of some of the people who encountered Jesus.  They are not trying to “add to or change scripture” (and believe me, I’m a stickler for that kind of stuff).  What they are trying to do is use the tools now available to us in this time and place, and give us a chance to view these people as REAL people, just like us, and not just stories in a book.  They use both imagery and story telling (something Jesus Himself did in His ministry quite often) along with modern media, to explore the “old, old story” in a fresh, new way.

The original Christmas short video that started it all is called “The Shepherd” – and you can view it here:

Then I encourage you to head over to www.theChosen.tv and watch the first episode for free.  I challenge you to not be powerfully moved by the end.

Although I was initially able to watch all of the first 4 episodes for free that weekend, I ended up purchasing them when they later became available, because I wanted to support the project and be able to view them again and again.  The next 4 episodes are set to begin filming in July (coincidentally in/around my hometown of Dallas, TX).  They should be available for viewing before the end of this year, and that will round out Season 1 of “The Chosen.

For my non-believing friends, I hope you will at least watch the first free episode.  Because as dramatic and powerful as the portrayal of the healing and deliverance of Mary Magdalene was, it is the same for me and all those who have truly encountered Jesus.  To steal a line said by her character in the second episode, ”I was one way, and now I am completely different – and the thing that happened in between was HIM.”  This is the Jesus I have come to know and love.  He is my very best friend, and I sincerely hope He will become yours too! 🙂

What’s Up???

I know I’ve been delinquent in posting lately, but I’ve been rather busy with what?…BEES!!!

 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝

Yes, spring has sprung in Dallas and the bees are out in full force, establishing new colonies and gathering pollen to make honey.  In order to gear myself up for the floods of calls we get this time of year (which don’t necessarily mean income, because we do lots of educating people about bee behavior, give free advice and are honest about when our services aren’t needed) I got myself a bee pedicure:

So just to give you a taste of some of the amazing things we see in this business, below is a photo of a swarm my technician, Jefferson, collected in downtown Dallas several days ago.  Yes folks, it’s all bees!

God’s creation is so amazing!!!  If you know anyone in the Dallas/FW area with a bee problem, have them give us a call (click below to see our website):

I’m OK – Again

Nearly three years ago after the last big (7.8) earthquake here, I posted something immediately to let you know I was OK.  That earthquake was felt very strongly and traumatically by me, and I did have damage afterwards (see this post and subsequent ones).

I’m figuring if you hear “Ecuador 7.5 earthquake” on the news, you will be checking in with me again.  I’m thankful to report that, although nearly as strong, this earthquake was far from me, and pretty far from civilization in general (it was in the Amazon jungle, near Peru).  Friends closer to it in my favorite city of Cuenca felt more strong shaking, but nothing damaging.  I did feel it, however.  Ironically, I’d woken up early and was lying in bed praying when the shaking began.  It lasted quite long and felt similar to how the big one started 3 years ago.  Just as I finally decided to head down the stairs, it stopped.  (We had another earthquake that felt as strong to me just 20 minutes after.  I assumed it was an aftershock, but it was actually a 5.5 near Guayaquil, which is milder, but closer to me).  I knew by the way it felt and the duration, it had to be a large one.  So I immediately checked the earthquake site and saw where it was and how strong.

We’ve been relatively “tremor free,” since the frequent and long series of aftershocks finally calmed down from 3 years ago.  But I guess it’s time for things to heat up again. 😬  Just a reminder of the times we are living in.  Speaking of the time just before His return, Jesus said: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10-11)  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Gail’s Guest Perspective

I’ve asked all my previous guests to write their reflections of their visit and my life here.  Both Deanna and Dana graciously obliged me, and now here is Gail’s guest perspective on her trip:

After five years, I was returning to Ecuador to visit my dear friend Mary.  When I left, her Spanish was limited and now WOW!  I was impressed with how well she speaks with all the locals.

She has built a very nice home with a great beach and mountain view from her roof-top patio. You can enjoy your morning coffee while lying in one of her roof-top hammocks.  Where else can you share a just out of the oven (built on a bicycle) “pan de yucca” while exploring downtown Puerto Cayo.  When Mary lived in the states, she did not cook very much and now she serves you gourmet meals.

She shares her daily Ecuador life along with meeting her very nice circle of ex-pat and Ecuadorian friends.  Buses, taxis and of course walking are her modes of transportation, and a couple of times you will find yourself a little out of your normal comfort zone.  But rest assure it is safe and fun.

Mary and I have always shared a love of coffee and food.  So needless to say we sampled and ate our way through the cities we visited.  She gives you, as she calls it, “A taste of Ecuador,” and does a fabulous job.  Mary is a great tour guide and knows the history of her new country.  What a great way to sitesee Ecuador – my own personal tour guide!  I had an adventure of all the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and most especially, taste.  Mary shows you both the coastal and mountain regions of Ecuador.  I went 14,000 feet above sea level through the Caja National Park.  I left with a better understanding of why she loves her new country.