Friday, August 31, 2007

I Am Only One

While attending meetings at the University of Southern California recently I saw a student athlete with the most amazing quote on the back of his shirt. Here's what it said:

"I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
What I can do, I should do.
And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale

As I read this quote I was reminded why we started Amor Ministries in the very beginning. We saw a need and we knew we needed to do something. We didn't really know what we were doing in those early days. We just saw children and people living in abject poverty and we did everything we could do to help.

As we do today, we simply trusted in God to guide us and use us to share "love" to those in need and give glory to God. We simply said, "Here I am, send me," as quoted in Isaiah chapter 6. And God did the rest!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hurricane Dean Hits Cancun

The much anticipated Hurricane Dean has finally hit Cancun and the eastern coastal region on the Yucatan. Fortunately for Cancun, and the Cancun Christian University, the hurricane center is some 100 to 150 miles south of Cancun.

I called Gilberto who is at his apartment in downtown Cancun to see how things were going. To hear our phone conversation click the link below:

Phone Call Update From Gilberto In Cancun

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Week Of Changes

What a week. Changes, changes, changes! First, the book writing was put on hold. Too many events at work to get accomplished while writing a book. We didn't anticipate our summer participants not meeting our goals, we landed about 1,000 participants short, so we have to place more attention on recruiting more groups for this spring and increased fund raising. Our directors did a great job making budget cuts that will help us through the remainder of the year.

As I write this I should have been on a plane with Gayla on the way to Cancun for a meeting regarding Cancun Christian University. Well, it looks like Hurricane Dean decided to invite himself to Cancun also. Currently the hurricane is projected to hit Cancun sometime this Monday. All Nations Seminary President, John Lee, was also heading to Cancun, but from Peru. He was in Peru this week at the time of the 8.0 earthquake, which currently has killed a reported 500 people. John was glad to hear that we were not insisting that he meet us in Cancun to experience a hurricane. We will rescheduling this trip sometime this fall. When Gilberto called me from Cancun yesterday he was packing his things and consolidating his non-perishable foods in case he needs to ride out the storm. We'll keep him and all our friends in the Yucatan in our prayers.

For more updates on Hurricane Dean go to my other blog: Cancun Christian University.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Board Chairman Spends Two Days At Headquarters

Amor Board Chairman, Mike Mirau, spent the best part of two days recently working together on technology issues and helping write the business plan for Cancun Christian University. Recent team member changes on the IT team made it advantageous to have Mike fly out from Dallas to spend some time with Travis Hall, Bob Brewer and myself. We reviewed the current technology and information systems of Amor, discussed present and future needs, and assessed our contingency plans. Mike spent well over 17 years as the Director of Information Technology for Interstate Batteries and has frequently provided oversight and consulting for Amor as it relates to our information system needs.

In preparation for the November Amor Board meeting, Mike and I also spent time working on the Business Plan for Cancun Christian University. For the last seven years Mike has been the President of a company called Personnelity as well as actively coaching executives leading all sizes of companies. While the Amor Board approved the Executive Summary for the University last February, the board is anticipating a consolidated business plan at the upcoming November board meeting. With Mike's expertise, we made significant inroads in the initial stages of drafting a proposal for the board.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where Did The Short Term Missionaries Go?

As its been on a lot of our minds lately, I have also been wondering why this summer our number of participants didn't meet our projections. The estimated number is that we are going to be 10% below our projections. Now on one hand, that doesn't sound like much, but in real numbers we are talking about some 1,000 fewer participants than expected. That translates into 50 few homes being built this summer for some very need families. Its this revelation that hurts the most.

So what did happen this summer? We have had a lot of discussions about this lately. The answers range everything from a normal three year grow cycle that Amor goes through, to concerns about the upcoming passport requirements, and even to the effects of the immigration issues being in the news all the time. Lone Tree Director, Tim Worrel, recently commented to me that its even possible that larger churches are taking a more active role in organizing their own mission trips to facilitate projects that they have more control over.

I would like to add my own thoughts in this regard considering a recent article in USA Today. The article estimates that well over 500,000 faith based volunteers have participated in the Hurricane Katria recovery. " Most donate a week or two to the recovery", the article went on to say. Now, at the height of volunteer season, one supervisor is overseeing nearly 1,000 volunteers a week. The past two years have mostly been spent just gutting homes, stripping off materials from the walls right down to the studs.

This kind of short term mission endeavor has never been seen in the United States before. It has been a time when our "neighbors" were right in our very own yard, right here at home. Considering the staggering effects of this hurricane, it brings a great deal of appreciation to the fact that our fellow servants remember that its not whether you serve overseas or in your own US backyard.....its not one or the other....we still must do both. Thank goodness for the faithful servants who flew and drove to the hurricane devastated regions to face heat, humidity, mosquitos, lack of electricity, lack of privacy, and basically extremely unsanitary conditions. Thanks also to those who have traveled across familiar borders, to destinations far beyond the comforts they left behind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Man Killed For a Loaf of Bread

I was shocked this week when I heard about a man in Zimbabwe who was killed in a fight over a "loaf of bread"! No doubt the economic and political situation is worsening by the day as inflation is pushing to 10,000% and food shortages are worsening.

But to hear that someone actually lost their life over a loaf of bread is utterly disheartening. Among other instruments, the man was actually stoned to death.

It can only bring more meaning to me about when Jesus said, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" Mt. 7:9 I may never be able to wrap my head around such tragic consequences for such meaningless actions. But being the father of a son tears deep at me I consider that everyone is a child of someone. How could anyone kill someone over a loaf of bread? It humbles me greatly in such refection that our Heavenly Father would never give us a stone in place of a needed loaf of bread. Neither would I do such to my own son. Neither should we to anyone in need. Not even for a Samaritan. Not even for an enemy.

Are We A Movement or An Organization?

USA Today had an eye catching article today entitled, "Young Adults Aren't Sticking with Church."

According to the author of of the suvey, Ed Stezter, "People are looking for a faith that can change them, and to be a part of changing the world."

This is the missing link??? How tragic this is when you consider that this is the number one reason people keep telling us they come on mission trips with us. Its a real reminder why so many of the churches across the US that bring groups with us are growing. They are the churches that are providing opportunities to develop a living faith as well as empowering them to be a part of changing the world.

What an opportunity and what a privilege it is for us to once again recognize what a pivotal and strategic position Amor has been placed to be a conduit for such a need.

This also lead me to recall a conversation I recently had with two good friends of Amor, Dan and Wayne. They both have a long history with the British non profit organization called, Toc-H.
They have both described the work of Toc-H as a "movement" not an "organization." It think that as we look closer as to how Amor goes forward, it becomes increasingly obvious that we as as much a "movement" in present times as Toc-H. We are, no doubt, in part, a product of the very "movement" that Toc-H has been described as. It will definitely be very interesting for us to process and understand our role and definition as a "movement" rather than an "organization." Both, in reference to who we are today, as well as how we "move" in the future!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


For once I would like to indulge myself by letting my artistic side reveal itself. While driving through one of the Tijuana, Mexico communities called Amparo Sanchez today where we work I came across a road that had a plethora of walk bridges built across a dry river bed. The unique construction was actually picturesque in spite of them traversing one of the most poverty stricken areas we work. See for yourself how amazing these bridges are. I would say they all qualify as "appropriate technology",or maybe "alternative technology" would be a better phrase.