Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Well - a couple of days early and "Mission Accomplished"...

Sunday afternoon I ran 13.7 miles to take my grand total for the year up to 1002 miles!

Last January 1, I decided that I'd run 1000 miles this year - and so I did.

As I ran, I've been working on a book called "Leadership on the Run". It's not ready to read yet, since most of it is still in my head - but I've learned some great lessons about leadership that came from 1000 miles on the road.

Anyway, this year, I'll put the book to paper and see what happens.

By the way, I'll run today or tomorrow, and continue running in the days ahead. Though I've "accomplished" the "mission" - I'll still run. I guess the "mission" was just a milemarker that helped me keep moving toward the greater goal of healthy living.

There's a lesson in there somewhere...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Running on Leadership

So, I'm running this afternoon, approaching mile 960-something, and of course, it's snowing again. Blizzard. Squall. My eyes nearly freeze shut - except, well, they were open. But my eyelashes were thick with ice! How fun!

But as I ran, I thought this thought: Why do grown men play football? More to the point: why do they get so EXCITED about making a tackle or catching a pass - what, with all the chest thumping and strutting and even an occasional point towards heaven?

Don't get me wrong - I love football - am nearly addicted to watching (and still, within me there's that hope that some coach somewhere will need me as a wide receiver and call me onto the field!) But WHY do grown men get SO into it?

And, because I had plenty of miles to run and time to think, and because I was engaged in my own battle against the snow and ice and wind - I've figured it out.

Exodus 15:3 makes it clear: "The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name." We sometimes forget that not only is God loving and gentle, but he is a warrior. And may I remind you that we are made in God's image? Grown men on the football field - image bearers of God - naturally become warriors. The drive to do battle - for good (my team) to conquer evil (your team) is strong and real inside each of us. God put it there.

The danger is not that we'd play football (or any other sport, video game or even dance contest for that matter) - but the danger is that we'd allow that to be our ONLY outlet of the warrior within.

Good must conquer. Light ALWAYS prevails. Get in the game! And Christmas is the perfect time to do it. Find a need and fill it. Then give a mighty chest bump to whomever is closest to you!

Monday, December 15, 2008


God answers prayer!
So, I've been praying recently, that God would give me someone to get to know and help them along in their journey to Jesus. I just don't know any unchurched people - I've only been here a few months.
So, I'm out jogging. About mile 3.5. Blinding snowstorm. I'm running down a little road between two massive farm fields - and I notice a truck up ahead, pulling over to the side of the road.
As I approace, I notice the guy is wearing camo and fishing around in the back of his truck.
He's gonna go hunting.
I stop and chat. And find out that he's hunting coyote!
Wow -- I've never hunted coyote before.
So, as he's telling me about his occasional "big hunts" with a bunch of his friends, I boldly make the ask: "I want in on this - it sounds fun!" Well, he could have plinked me with his .270 right there, but instead, he gave me his card and said that I could join them.
This is what is called "purpose driven hunting".

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dream Big

Well, it's almost over!

For the last 6 weeks, I've attempted to have dessert with everyone in my church.

Jogging has helped to keep me from expanding too much - and some great volunteers in my church helped make this happen.

Tonight, I wrap up the last "in house" dessert. I've been able to go to about 16 homes and meet with small groups of people. While there, I do a talk on Luke 15 (Lost people matter to God) and then we pray and dream. We dream BIG dreams for our church. God's dreams! And it's been fun!
But I'm exhausted. So tonight is a landmark of sorts. I am 'almost' done with phase one of our visioneering plan. (I have one more dessert at the church on Sunday afternoon, for all those who couldn't make an 'in home' invitation).
Next, is prayer and prepare, where I and the Leadership Team work through all the results of these extraordinary meetings.
Then, I'll put together a talk and test drive it a few times.
Rewrite and then we'll have VISION DAY where we'll launch -- together!
That's when it all begins!
Very exciting! The people of Portage Free Methodist have been so great. Awesome prayer times and fantastic ideas! Wow - thanks God!

New Coffee Place

Wow - what a staff and high capacity volunteers!

Yesterday, Linda held a meeting where we tried to solve the age old mystery of assimilating new people into the church.
During the meeting, we discovered that we have no "mid-size" environments, where new people can get to know us personally. It's a bit much to expect them to jump from a "big" worship service into a "small" group or class. That would be intimidating to most.
So the idea, was to create a relaxed place where people can hang out, without pressure.
Coffee is obviously the answer.
So, the group decided to establish a sort of "half-time cafe" - open between our Sunday morning services, especially designed with new people in mind. Then, they said: "Let's do it - now!"
Of course, me being the voice of reason said "Shouldn't we at least wait one week?" They denied my attempt at moving slow, saying things like "You've taught us well, you should be proud!"
I went to my office and they ran and built a cafe.
So, if you've not made the jump to one of our Christian Ed. classes - why not drop in for some coffee!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Can I speak to you about politics?
There's a certain level of fear, and combined with the way our politicians practice loving, or rather, not loving each other, adds up to apathy. Then, that leads us to "whatever" - meaning, it just doesn't matter what we do.
I think God would be pleased if we realized that "greater is he that is in me" and acted upon the truth that "I can do all things through Christ".
In other words: see a problem? Fix it. You can. Yes you can.
What do you notice? What problem needs fixed? Try - and see what happens. God is just possibly stronger than you think!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reprinted by permission from my other blog: DREAM BIG found at http://www.portagefmc.blogspot.com/...

I've been reading this amazing book: IT - How Churches and Leaders can Get IT and Keep IT.I like IT.IT - in case you don't know, is an unexplainable phenomena, that intangible but almost palpable feeling you get in some churches and not in others.
Does that help?
How about this: IT is the power of the Holy Spirit unleashed and unabated in a local church - the spirit blows where it chooses, no?
However you describe it, IT is a gift from God - and it's one gift I want.
So, Craig said this: "...almost every with-it church I've observed is virtually obsessed with reaching those who don't know Christ. A passion to share Christ consumes them in a beautiful way."I agree - I am passionate about finding lost people! And then, Craig messed me up when he asked these questions:
"When is the last time you've had a lost person in your home? (The plumber who repaired your sink doesn't count.)
How many meaningful conversations did you have with non-Christians this week?
Who are the nonbelievers you prayed for today?
I couldn't answer those questions very well. And I'm convicted. Certainly - I have good reason - I just moved here for crying out loud! I don't know anyone! But I know that it's awfully easy for my entire life to be consumed with church-world and think I'm doing what Jesus would do.
He made the time to spend with those outside the church family. Of course, he can make time - He created time!
And I believe he can create within me a heart that is driven to find and love the lost. But he won't do it without me. I'll aim, I'll arrange my schedule, and I'll pray for lost and that my heart will be broken!
I wish I was better at doing what I know is right.
I'm praying to start and build relationships with those who are far from God. Will you pray too?Comment below - and we'll pray for each other!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Adam and Eve

Yeah, we had Trunk or Treat at Portage Free Methodist tonight. An amazing job by the church. Just under 1000 and very organized and planned out. First there was the cool entry through the tent. Then, the trunks full of treats. From there the kids went into the Auditorium for a 10 minute drama and short gospel presentation (101 Dalmation theme, Drama: Beyond the Fence, written by our very own drama team) and then down to the gym for snacks and some amazing games, a huge-mongous 'refridgerator box maze' and all kinds of other great things. Very, very well done - "Props" to Portage!

And of course, Mary and I were there, dressed as Adam and Eve. A fun night!

New Personal Record

Quick update...

Mary and I finished our last run for the month - a quick 4 miler.

That gives me 104 for the month - a new personal record!

Tally: 844 miles on the year, which means I have only to average 78 miles per month for the last two -- yay!

The cool news is this: Mary has done an amazing job running.

She's not just a "beginner" any more - a real road warrior, and it's noticable when I gaze upon here lovely body.

Uh, too much info - sorry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some of us whistle, others...

Too much time on his hands - but cool none the less!

Check this out...

Friday, October 24, 2008


Someone put this stuff in the box marked

It's obvious that I'm getting old.
I'm eating dogfood for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Women Don't Understand

So, Mary and I were working on our house the other day. We both have projects galore - lot's of things to get done.

Mary of course, has painted the girls rooms, our room, the bathroom and the family room. So now, we move outside.

A Saturday.

Mary - she's going to paint the house!

Me - I'm working on the garage.

At the end of the day, Mary shows me around the house - nicely cut in, the new paint looks terrific against the brick and white trim.

Then she asks: what did you get done?

Excitedly, I bring her to the garage and show her my handiwork.

It took me all afternoon - and I was proud. The compressor, nicely hid and the air hose ready for work.

Mary's response: "You coiled a hose? I painted the house and you coiled a hose?"

Women, they don't understand garages.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Captain Kirk has nothing on me.
A few weeks ago, I went jogging. A nice Saturday afternoon, leisurely 5 miler, to pray and think through the next days sermon.
1 1/2 miles in, I felt a little cramp in my belly and thought "hmmm, that's not good. I wonder if I should turn back?" Quickly I answered myself: "No way, I don't turn back!"
Every 1/2 mile after that, the cramps got worse. At the turn, half way through the run, the thought hit me: "I may not make it." The question of returning to my home was not the point. The question of making back to my home AND to my bathroom was seriously in doubt.
I thought of the run still before me. A long, straight road. No trees for more than half a mile. Hmmmm.
I kept running.
I kept looking for trees. Finally: There's one! Not enough coverage.
There's another: I'd be way too obvious. The cramps are hitting now, harder and harder. My breathing is shallow, I'm breaking out in a sweat. I'm taking small little tiny strides, but still - nature is winning the battle.
Finally, I remember. A few hundred yards, and there is an abandoned, decrepit old barn. I'll aim at that.
Finally! I jump off the road and over the fence - I'm sprinting now, to the barn. I am not going to make it!
Thankfully, there is a huge maple tree just ahead - perhaps I can make it there.
Barely if you know what I mean.
Approaching the tree is an explosion like none other.
Now, I'm behind the tree and trying to finish well. This is not a good scene.
A car is coming, so now I'm hiding and...
He's gone - now: to the Barn.
I spring as best I can, to the barn and make it inside. Safe. And now to survey the damage.
Well, the damage is, uh, pretty bad.
Using my T-shirt, I clean off best I can.
Then, I make my way back out to the road.
1 and a half miles to go.
I finish the run, careful not to wipe my sweating brow with my t-shirt.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Friend Day at Your Church...

This video has gone crazy - but in case you haven't yet seen it - enjoy! Listen for the words "he is like a mountie, he always gets his man!" (Yay Canada!)


I was at the Good to Go cafe in beautiful downtown Vicksburg for some coffee and studying the other day - props to G2G for some great coffee and ambiance! - and I heard this funny song. Here's the link - enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Well, the tally for September is in.

All the ballots have been counted.

All the miles have been done.

In September, I ran 96 miles.

That's a personal best!


That puts me at 740 1/2 miles so far this year.

My goal: 1000 miles by December 31.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

YouTube - Fast Clapping

I never get enough of clapping.
I dream that after I finish preaching, the entire congregation will clap like this guy.
Not for me, of course, but for God!
YouTube - Fast Clapping

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birthday Girl!

Yay! Mary finally turns... uh, am I allowed to say this?
Of course - because no one will believe that she is only 43. Wait, that didn't come out right.
No one will believe she's already 43 - everyone will say "you can't be a day over 35!"
Uh, I think I'm in trouble.
Happy Birthday Mary!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ty and I

I know, poor English - but it rhymes!

So, next week, ABC and the most Christian Show on Television will be here in Portage. I've signed up to help.

I said "I'd give my right arm to help build a house with you guys, but that would make it kind of hard to keep hold of the hammer."

I hope they let me help!

94 Degrees

Well, the tub is now 94 degrees. Starting to feel warm - maybe even tonight we'll jump in!
Another 5 degrees would be nice.


Well, the hot tub is nearly complete.
We moved in at the beginning of September and after unloading the trucks, I filled the tub.
It leaked.
After filling it 7 times and emptying it 7 times (each with a new "idea" I had that I thought would solve the problem) - I had nearly given up.
Then, Gary - the former owner called and asked how things were going.
We said: well, great, except for the leak. He said "I'll be there tomorrow."
We worked all morning, and discovered the culprit - and he then hired a company to come and fix it. He paid. That's nice - THANKS GARY!
And today they are here fixing it - it's filling right now!
Maybe tonight we can finally have our "hot tub welcome home party" with the girls.
My girls. Not just any girls!
Yeha and Yay!
This Saturday, I will write my sermon from the hot tub. Booyah!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Blog

Hi Friends and faithful readers. Reader. I'm sorry for my woeful lack of posts.
From here on, this blog will be updated (really!) - on what's happening in the Crydo-fam life and what I'm wrestling with and praying about.
I've begun a sister blog that tells of the happenings at Portage Free Methodist Church.
So - check it out!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Pastor Kevin worked hard on a video that we used last weekend, as part of the message. It was very "tongue in cheek", mind you. The concept was, I will tell my story, because that's the story I know best - but my story actually reveals God's grace. So, while I may talk about me, it's really all about Him!
From now on, whenever I tell a story - one where I am a character - I'll be sure to connect the dots to reveal God's grace. You too?
Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLfZVyIu-g8
From now on, if you want to see any video we show at Portage Free Methodist Church, simply go to http://www.youtube.com/ and search for pfmc!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Day at Portage FMC!

While this picture looks like the typical rectangular auditorium - it isn't. It's actually kind of square and a nice stage - a beautiful place.
I can't wait until it's filled with people. A building is nice - but one filled with image bearers of God is more than amazing! Tomorrow morning! BooYah!
Tomorrow I officially begin my ministry in Portage. I'll be preaching on the concept of story. Specifically: Stories worth telling. Here's the point: Your story is worth telling, because it reveals the grace of God.
Hey - you have a story - but it's really not about you. It's about God - and that just takes a little bit of looking. So look for God at work in your life - he's there!
I'm thankful he has been in my life - first wooing me towards him, and then filling and using me.
Thanks God!

The House We're Aiming At...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Hey - we sold our home!

Yay to God! We accepted an offer, (Thanks Dan - you put the "Dan" back into "Danberry!") on a Thursday and closed two weeks and one day later! Wow!

And then, we went house-hunting in Portage. While we've been doing internet searches like crazy, this was our first day to actually go inside these homes.

Clarence - YOU ROCK! - took us through 11 of our favorite homes last Monday.

We came back on Wednesday to tour this one again.

I ran to see Greg at Bank of America and got my pre-approval for the loan and we made an offer on this house Wednesday evening.

So now, we're waiting.

Pray with us, won't you? We think this will be a fantastic ministry home and a wonderful place for our kids. Plus, Mary and I like it alot!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well, it's nearly time to hit the road!
This Sunday, Mary and the kids and I wrap up three wonderful years of ministry to the community surrounding Ottawa Lake, Michigan.
CrossRoads Community Church has been a blast!

Quick reflection says that I provided CrossRoads with some things they needed, and while here, I learned a whole lot too!

So, we're packing boxes and hitting the road for the awesome community in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Specifically, our assignment is the Portage Free Methodist Church. We're very excited about the future. While our hearts break over leaving our friends at CrossRoads - we're excited about what God has in store!

So, here's Mary outside my new office building! Soon, these will be my new digs!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Married to My Hero

She battled cancer with confidence and grace.
She prayed and believed.
And she won!
And the Relay for Life people found out and invited her to speak in the opening ceremonies at the Relay in Bedford last weekend.
Great words, Mary. And you surprised me with nice words about me - thanks! Yet another reason to love you!
God is good!

Three Thousand and Counting

Way to go CrossRoads! Our team (Going, Going, Gone!) raised over 3 grand for cancer research. Together, we are helping the hurting by doing our part in eradicating this horrible disease. Eventually, cancer will be GONE!
You raised money, and over 70 of you walked for our team!
There is something amazing that happens when we work together!
Thanks and yay CrossRoads and yay God!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Going, Going, GONE!

Well, coming soon - we'll be walking the track at Bedford Community Stadium. Why? To raise money for cancer research with the American Cancer Society. Our team name is "Going, Going, Gone!" - and reminds us that if we work together, cancer one day will be "Gone!"

This is part of our "Go Factor". Leaving the comfortable confines of our church, we serve the poor and hurting. While cancer victims may not necessarily be poor, they are definitely hurting. And we care. Whenever someone hurts, we care. We care about things like cancer - because we know that God cares too!

This is just another opportunity to let people know that we love them!
So, check out the "Go Factor" booth at Crossroads, or go directly to our website and sign up to help.
The event will be held on May 17-18. You can walk whenever you'd like - just sign up first - that way we can have someone walking at all times.
Our team mascot is a baseball. Every "walker" will get a chance to sign the baseball. We hope that one day, like a well hit ball that's high and inside, Cancer will be "going, going, gone!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

18 Weeks!

My friend Jon Hisey, who oversees the SMC portion of the Go Factor, writes...

“Dear Friends: Just wanted to update you on what has happened to date with the Katrina Relief Effort and what is coming up. In 2007 alone, more than 200 volunteers from more than 9 churches from the SMC have gone down to Pass Christian. Four homes were built, and so many more were finished from the efforts of our conference and others across the country.

Pastor Greg Nitchman and his wife have helped so many get out of their trailers and into beautiful homes. Thank you to all who participated by being part of the teams, prayer partners, or gave financially to the cause.

So far in 2008, there have been four teams that have gone down, two are there right now, or are leaving soon. Many more are in the planning stages for later this spring and for the fall. We now have an organization team lead by Eric Messer from the Crossroads Church. We recently met and agreed to take on an additional challenge for 2008. This is where you can get involved: The goal is to build a home from start to finish in 18 weeks, with the move in date the week before Christmas.

This is an ambitious goal because many homes take almost a year from start to finish. We will have many opportunities for you to be involved. If you are interested in any way, either by leading a team, joining a team, being a prayer partner, or donating financially. Please contact Eric Messer at messer13@sponsellergroup.com Put Katrina Relief in the subject line and please include the following: Your name, phone number, preferred e-mail address, what church you attend, and specific ways you would like to help. You will then be contacted with a construction schedual and specific dates that you can sign up for and the costs that may be associated.

As always please continue to pray for Pastor Greg and his family as they continue to take on so much in this ministry. Please continue to pray for the families that still need help too. You can keep up with his ministry by checking out the website at http://www.hopenet.ws/.

On behalf of Eric and the rest of the team, I want to thank you all for being part of this amazing journey that has grown into so much more than any one of us could have dreamed of. Jon C. Hisey (734-502-6859)”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Take the Leap!

I'll never forget it.

Her name was Becky, and she was on the 3 meter board at Spring Arbor University. That's a diving board about 10 feet up. That may not seem like much, but for a little kid, it was waaaaay up there!

And poor Becky, she got scared. She was too scared to jump off! But the rules stated that you weren't allowed to climb down, either.

She stood at the top of that diving board for a very long time, chewing on her nails. Until we started chanting her name… "Becky! Becky!"

Finally, she jumped - and we went wild! We were happy - but Becky was ecstatic - she had made the leap!

This Sunday, we're talking about overcoming our habits. You may have a habit in front of you that has dogged you for the longest time. You'd like to overcome it, but you're not quite sure where to begin. Today, we'll figure out how to "take that leap" together. Once you get on that board, there is no turning back. Start climbing, friend!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This weekend we start a new series: Doors.
Over the next few weeks we'll talk about the need for identity repair, a need to be released from whatever might enslave you, an increased capacity to love, and finding a personal relationship with Jesus. And we hope to help you walk through the symbolic door that helps you find freedom! And on Easter weekend, everyone will get a chance to... well - I don't want to spoil the fun! This week: Identity Repair!
Hmm, I wonder what music we'll use...?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Finally, a new post!

Well, this week we finish the series: When the Game is Over it All Goes Back in the Box.

It's been a fun journey: We started out with an amazing video and report from Haiti - and we were reminded that generosity is the path to real life!

Who can forget the giveaways? An Apple, 20$, and an Ipod Nano? Even I became a little envious of the gal who received the Nano - how come she's got that and I don't? Everything we own is a gift from God for us to manage! And remember as we handed our wallets to each other - and then I teased you to "dig deep and give generously". You all laughed, nervously. I'll not forget that all I have is a gift from God - it's not really mine - so giving should be easy.

But how easily our stuff makes us hungry for more stuff! And more stuff just makes us more busy, so last week we talked about Margin - the 10-10-80 rule. There is a kingdom that promises satisfaction and lives up to that promise!

And so we wrap it up this Sunday, talking about our Priorities. If you're like me, you get stuck spending your life under the Tyranny of the Urgent, when there are more important (tho less urgent) things to do. I think you'll agree, I'd rather do that which is important, rather than that which is urgent - but sometimes they get mixed up. Let's fix that this weekend!

I can't wait!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

And Back to the Pass!

Here's Ted.

Ted is leading our next trip to "the Pass".

Ted is a Mississippi Veteran - He's gone on a bunch of trips, plus he helped build the barn last summer!

Here's what I like about Ted: He does not push his way to the front, but works on whatever job is presented to him. He just serves. I love that.

And I also love seeing others lead - Thanks Ted!

I can't wait to serve alongside you again, in Mississippi!

The trip is February 10-17 and will be another exciting adventure! Yay!

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Emails from Haiti!

These are the last two I received from Mary...

We gave 140 eye exams and glasses today. It really is amazing. The contrast of filth and pride is amazing. The people are truly happy. Love to you. Mary

The food has been really amazing. I had goat roast last night . Beans and rice tonight. It was made by Haitian women that work for the missionaries. The place we stay feels safe, but when the Voodoo Dr. and his followers march right by the compound with their drums, it is so wierd and scary. The drumming is amazing. Today we did 100 more eye exams. My job is fitting people and I could almost cry when they get so excited because they can read again. Love Mary

YAY GOD -- the voodoo doctors can drum all they like, but the GREAT PHYSICIAN restores sight!

One more from Eric

Hey Mark,

I have wept in my proverbial closet twice today, my heart is broken for these people. Today Gail told me that they view us blanc's as their only help from God. Today a woman came in with her husband he was almost blind with severe cataracts. They only had one ticket. She asked if we could see her also. I went to get her a ticket but I was told that we couldn't give her an exam because we were short supplies as it was and there was no way. I gave her a quick Glaucoma check. She had severe Glaucoma and will probably start to go blind from nerve damage in a year. I asked for a ticket again, I understand the predicament, but I also knew her consequence. I had to take a break to weep in private and pray for strength. I begged God to not allow my heart to become hard to these people and their great need. I think the Lord cut deep into my heart today to take me to the next level of commitment. I cannot NOT come back here.

Thank you so much for asking me to oversee this trip a year ago. You will never know how much your leadership, friendship and mentoring have meant to me.

Thanks, Eric!

Hey Mark,

Just a quick update. We handed out another 140 glasses today. My job is to check for Glaucoma with an angle test, something they call PRRL, precheck for nearsightedness, distance acuity and dilate the eyes. I work with Debbie Dushane on this. Jamie and Dave obviously do the eye exams. Emily and Mary distribute glasses. When Debbie and I finish the prechecks we help Emily and Mary. This is an extremely hard working team. No one feels like they have to be controlling which makes for a great working atmosphere. We have seen the miracle of sight given to many people. Unfortunately the people, because of disease and a lack of nutrition, have terrible eyes. There are so many cases of Cataracts and Glaucoma that it is gutwrenching. Some of the cutest kids are coming through here. One girl around 7 had glaucoma so bad that she suffered from nerve damage. she could only see about 6 inches in front of her face. Her script was a -9.0. She could see then but unfortunately you have to take the glaucoma medicine every day to keep the pressure off of the eye or have surgery. We could only give her a couple months of medicine. Without the medicine or surgery she will probably be blind before she is a teenager. Bummer!!

I was doing a distance acquity check and scratched my eye with a piece of paper. The doctors gave me an eyewash with antibiotics. They told me to apply it every hour for four hours, then once before I went to bed and when I woke up. We had finished all of the prechecks so I stuck the bottle for dilating eyes in my pocket. I was distributing glasses when it came time to put the antibiotics in my eye. I wasn't paying attention, because we are working hard, and I grabbed the bottle for dilating eyes. I put that in my eye and it felt like it was on fire. I just thought that my eye must be very sensitive from the scratch. I still thought that I had put the antibiotic in my eye. Well everything started getting cloudy and fuzzy in that eye. I went to Jamie and told him that eye was really bothering me. He looked at my eyes and started laughing telling me that I dilated my eye. I felt pretty silly.

It is really neat around here because you can hear them playing drums in the evening and it kind of feels like you are in Africa. Last night a local witch doctor had a meeting next door. The drums and singing was very loud. That was unbelievably awesome.

Last night on the way back to the compound there was a fire on the hill above our compound. We found out this morning that it was a house fire and a baby died. Maybe that is why the local witch doctor was doing his thing last night.

I have been many countries suffering from sever political unrest. This place is great but I will not develop a sense of false security. I do not share this with the team because I don't want to prematurely alarm them or take away from the experience. I am telling you this so that you know that I am watching over them like a hawk, especially the women. If Mary tells you that she feels very safe then I am doing my job right. I would not hesitate to cause severe harm to anybody that would be a physical threat to this team. I know that this may not reduce any worrying that you may do, but I want you to know that I am committed to this teams safety and to the success of this mission.

More Emails!

From Eric, our team leader...

Hey Mark,

Here is a quick update. The trip went well. We got to our hotel in Miami at 2 a.m. everyone wanted to shower and catch some shut eye before we flew out to Haiti. We were at the airport at 5:15 and on our plane at 6:30. They told me to look for Theodore when we got our luggage. I found him and for $20.00 we completely bypassed customs and he took us straight to Gregg Ennis. Everyone rode with Gregg except me. I rode with the local minister, Charity Noel. Your grandpa ordained him as an elder in the church. He said that your father has given him a ride from Indianapolis to Spring Arbor before. He is a very nice man and had some pretty wild stories. He has been a preacher for 33 years. His daughter is in NY getting her masters and his son is going to be a doctor. He starts his residency here at Dessalines next year. The poverty here is very extreme. 2 out of 3 babies die by the age of 3. The average age of a pregnant female is 13. The average man lives till 47 and the average female lives till 52. Gregg and Gail have worked here for 22 years. The quarters they have here are quiet nice. We had a Haitian chicken meal with rice and beans for dinner it was rather good. We are in a compound which seems rather secure. There is a disco tech next door and they are really partying it up tonight. There are no speed limit signs on the roads and no stop signs or lights. Their roads are about 60% covered. There are some very beautiful places by the ocean owned by rich people. We saw quite a few UN troops and very few police. I attached some pictures that Dave took. I have no idea the specifics since my upidstay computer won't let me view them and took me 30 minutes to attach these three....so enjoy. :-) There is great need here and a people that are longing to hear the good news because most of what they get is bad news. pep ietian mwa foo pu u. I can see why Gregg and Gail have devoted their lives to helping God's children here. God has blessed us with an exceptional team to Haiti. We all get along very well and I sense a longing from this team to serve God's children in Haiti with the love of the Lord. I have kept a constant eye on the women to assure that they are not in any immediate danger. They are awesome! I have never served with women that long to serve so much and not worry about controlling events around them. The church, this mission team, and Haiti have been truly blessed with having them here with us. Jamie Casper has fit right into the team. with his previous experience he provides a sense of continuity with the work that we need to do and our longing to do it correctly to be blessing to Haiti. thank you for the opportunity to serve God and our congregation in this task of utmost importance to God and his children.

In Christ,

Emails from Haiti!

The first one, from Mary...
Hi, we're here. The mission here is really neat. It is really dirty and really a beautiful country. I had a lizard in my room tonight. I guess he will keep other bugs away. Two big cockroaches in my toilet tank. Something ran across my bed. I think it was a gecko. It is really hot. Tomorrow we go to the church to do the glasses. We had no problems getting in or travel to the mission house. I love you guys. Love to you, Mary Mommy

And then, a couple days later, also from Mary...
Today was really cool. Gave away 140 glasses today. About 138 yesterday. We are only doing 100 pair tomorrow. My job is fitting the glasses. It has been really rewarding. I can't wait to show you the photos. It is really hot and humid. We are inside all the time. It feels safe, but don't worry I'm not wandering around by myself. I have so many neat stories to share. I can't wait. Love to you, Mary

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Well, here we go!
January 19, we are sending a team from CrossRoads to Haiti. They come home on the 26th.
And in between, they will be putting eyeglasses on people who cannot afford them.
Imagine, helping the "blind" be able to "see"!
And the people of CrossRoads have brought their nicely used glasses. Eric and a few others have checked them out, and made them ready for wear.
We have two doctors ready to go - and what a week it will be.
This group will have some great stories, great videos and they'll do some great things for God.
For my wife, this will be her "return" trip to Haiti - having gone there as a high schooler a bunch of years ago.
I wish I could be there! What an amazing trip this will be!
Pray hard!