Friday, March 29, 2013


Things were falling apart in Jesus world. A year ago he had quit school to help his mother scavenge metal, cardboard and glass to eke out a living for his five brothers and sisters. The police are searching for his step-father and when caught, he'll be in for a long time.

Pedrigal, the boy's barrio, is as tough as they get. Jesus, 13, and his mother want him to get an education. They talked to me about getting Jesus into an orphanage. One less mouth to feed yet one less kid to help scrounge trash; In their lives a major decision.

I held him by his shoulders, looked him in the eye and asked, "Are you serious about this Jesus?" "Si Pastor von." "Jesus I want you and your mother to think on this a few days and I'll be back to take you to an orphanage, so you can check it out."

He gave me a big hug, which I wasn't expecting from a "cool" thirteen year old boy.

Yesterday we dropped by and he was ready to check the orphanage out. He got into the back seat of my car. I don't think he had ever been in a nice car like mine, he sure checked it all out. I gave him a pair of sunglasses so he could look cool.

Children of Promise Orphanage has a great collection of kids;

Julian and Jesus checked it all out.

"Lets go back so you and your mom can make this decision. Then let us know what you decide." We returned him to his downstairs shack, promising him that we'll be back in a couple of days for his decision.

If he goes, it will be the best decision for him;

For us it will mean more help for her and the other four kids as they struggle for food. Indeed life is a struggle for so many of our people.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


"Von, there's a family that wants you to visit them."

So we headed a few blocks down the road to see them. We walked carefully through the small front yard while Philip's mother, Alecia, held on to their Pit Bull guard dog. We filed into the open door to their small two-room shanty. Philip, a tall good looking sixteen year-old walked into the room along with Paul his thirteen year-old brother. They are not in school.

Alecia attends two of Spectrum's big food give-away days every month. She has to travel quite a distance for the few vegetables she gets. They are very poor. Her husband brings very little money home. Alecias trying to feed the family of eight a better diet. On the stove she had a small pot of vegetables cooking and some corn tortillas on the table.

The evening meal.

Her son Philip, as young as he is, is a serious diabetic! He has to have two insulin shots a day. Also he cannot hear .. it's been a year now without hearing.

Well, as we talked we found that the free insulin Philip was getting from the General Hospital was no longer available, and they had no money to buy more. I sat at the table holding the two empty bottles while trying to explain to Alecia what would happen if he doesn't get his shots on time ... disorientation; an insulin coma and death. I hope I scared her.

We left the family some money both for Philip's insulin and food for all.

In my travels I always ask the Lord to get the money to the right needs, and this was yesterdays answer.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I gave Brian a new plastic top! I haven't seen someone so happy in years! He actually jumped up and down in joy.

Just a little $1.20 plastic top!

Brian, his little sister and brother are road-workers ... that is, they have one shovel between them and they fill up chuck-holes in the long winding road that leads to barrio Ijido ... Lets face it, great potential ... the dirt road is nothing BUT chuck-holes. The little girl holds out a can hoping for someone to donate a few pesos.

They know my car and run out to meet me. I generally give them a chocolate bar and sometimes a dollar.

The whole family of seven, including mother, work in two different locations, filling holes and looking for donations. That's their work. That's their living. Indeed they are dirt poor.

I've met their mother and the kids. I've been to their small, rather stark house. One big bed. Roof leaks when it rains.

Brian is only 13. He's not in school, he has to work the road. Money comes hard. Mom's seven months pregnant and not able to work the road for a while.

So now it's up to Brian and his brother and sisters to keep the family in food. (Anyone want to help on food, shoes and schooling?)

Brian was bare-foot and wearing old torn and dirty pants.

But that top! That little top, made it all worth while.

Life is great when you're a kid ... and get a top!

Saturday, March 09, 2013


As much as we would like to re-live the past or even alter the past we can't. The past is locked by Divine decree. Every minute that passes forms into a fixed history. The past does not vanish it simply appears again as history.

As much as we would like to know the future, we can't; it too is locked tight. We can predict, but never know for sure.

We are forced to live in the now ... the moving present. The fluid in-between of past and future. The measured ticking of twenty-four hours is the sound of the simple span of now.

What I do now won't alter the past, but it will alter my future and can alter the greater future.

The future is always coming at its consistent, divinely measured speed; whether we like it or not.

I need the simple skill of seeing and taking the opportunities presented me to build the future I want.

Lord, I need your wisdom.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Let's face it, music carries with it a unique energy. Today people are not only attracted to energy and hungry for energy, but we are actually addicted to energy . . in any form, in any way we can get it.

There is platform energy. "Entertainment energy" is another form of transferable energy. Singers, bands, groups ... secular music is a great example of a popular source of what I call, platform energy. Dynamic personalities, dynamic beat, add to the projected energy. (Lyrics? No way!)

Good question: Why do you or I like the music and musical groups we like? What do we get from the music? For an example, why do we prefer a live outdoor concert to a simple CD or DVD? Could it be projected energy?

The transfer of energy from the platform to the seat ... the performers to the hearer. A growing phenomena. We love it and we pay big bucks for it!

A truly vicarious experience; a vicarious transfer of energy by music ... by beat.

This is true even in listening to speakers or preachers. Why do we prefer a moving dynamic speaker to a statue like academic speaker. Of course the content is important ... but "dynamic" satisfies an inner energy hunger. The dynamic speaker transfers energy to his audience. He's a giver, we're takers. He's there to give we're there to take.

We travel miles simply to get a charge, by a big name charger.

Caution! The medium of secular "energy" music, can be caught by the Church ... misunderstood and misused. Caution! Culture can invade and corrupt the simplicity of honest worship in our Lord's Church. Synthetic man made energy vs God's Holy energy.

Have I a point here?

Man made energy is less expensive and sadly ... often more to our liking.