It is October 5, 2018, day 13. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today/tonight I am writing a bit about a mission/learning trip I am on this week in Tijuana and San Diego. My first time to Tijuana was 25 years ago. I came on a mission trip with YWAM. We built a home, did some dramas and I even did a Tamborine dance (it will cost you $50 to see that picture).

Tonight, 25 years later, I’m sitting in TJ on a immersion trip learning about immigration, DACA, and reflecting on the first time I was here. I love this country, both the beauty and the brokenness. I have learned so much from Mexico and I am excited to learn more in the next two days.

Today we went to the border wall, on the US side. We heard about immigration, both the facts and the stories. Then, we went over the border to a center that houses men and women who have been deported. I sat across the table from Roberto, a man who just got deported today. He leaves behind his wife and four children. He was not legal in the USA, but was working to provide for his family, and trying to be a good husband and father. He was pulled over for a traffic violation, checked for his status and deported (this was his story).

I was humbled to hear the heartbreaking stories of these men tonight. These men have made mistakes, and were living undocumented in the USA, but still, it is so sad to see them alone, in a country that they don’t know and living in a shelter. The people of the Casa del Migrante center love so well, they look a lot like Jesus. I am excited to go back tomorrow to learn more.

Peace

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It is October 4, 2018, day 12. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. Today, as the above picture shows, I am writing about Thirst, the new book by Scott Harrison of Charity Water. I first heard about Charity Water approx. 10 years ago, right before starting Steps of Justice. I was super compelled by the story, but more compelled by the injustice of people having to drink and bath in unclean water.

I have been to Cambodia many times, leading teams on our Steps trips. I remember one time seeing a small pond that was on the edge of the village we were working in. The pond was filthy, with garbage floating all though it. It was also the source of drinking water for the whole community. We worked with a local NGO to get clean water into this village, but it was only one of many.

Seven years ago, a group of us embarked on a 10 month Steps of Justice tour of the USA and Canada. Everywhere we went we told the story of Charity Water, and the story of Rachel, a nine year old with a birthday wish. Our daughter Emma, who was nine at the time, raised over $1000 for water projects in Africa.

Since those days, we have run many water walks, brought awareness of the water crisis, and distributed over 100 water filters in Cambodia and Haiti. This story has moved me to action in many ways, from the way they do charity, to the commitment they have to the lost and broken. Check out the link below, pick up the book and let it move you.

Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

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It is October 3, 2018, day eleven. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. I was thinking last night about today’s post, and wondering what to write about. There are a lot of things to say, some are fluff and just fun things, but I wanted to write something deep, real and vulnerable. The word insecurities came into my head before heading to bed and was there today at 6am when I woke up. So, lets talk a bit about that.

I have always been a super insecure person. I am not sure where it came from, but insecurity runs deep within me, raising its head at the most inconvenient moments. I was extremely jealous as a teenager and into my early 20’s, and 30’s, and 40’s now that I’m thinking about it.  My greatest fear was that the person closest to me would decide they no longer wanted relationship with me, and leave me for someone better. I’m not really sure what better meant, but I know it wasn’t that the other person was better looking, it was more that they were more secure.

These insecurities were not just a mild bothering, they would totally incapacitate me. I would get irrational, I would imagine myself being shunned by my best friends, and I carried the assumption that everyone found out who I really was and pointed out to the world that I wasn’t good enough. I would feel alone, misunderstood (by God, and other people) and unloved. The worst things was was, I didn’t feel these insecurities around people I had little relationship with, it was with those who knew me the most, those who I loved the most.

I lost a few very close relationships as a result of this. I have pushed people away, calling a preemptive strike on people that I thought were going to hurt me by ending relationship. These are my biggest regrets in life. They are not that I didn’t learn how to play guitar, or that I failed at something I tried, but that I pushed people away as a result of my jealousy, insecurity and passive aggressive nature, which I’m sure I will write about later.

I am an Enneagram type two, a helper. When I function at a high two I am loving people, engaging their needs and walking with them to see them succeed. When functioning at a low two I am insecure, afraid Im not doing enough, and worried that someone else is going to come in and do more. I function well when I feel that I am needed, but I find it hard to believe that I am wanted. The older I get the less this has control over me, but it still lurks in the shadows, coming into the light when I feel the most connected, and loved. I will continue to fight my insecurity, speaking truth over it instead of believing it’s lies and trusting that I am worthy of love, that I am wanted and as a son of God and knowing that I am extremely valuable and wanted in this world.

Peace.

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It is October 2, 2018, day 10 of sharing. I am writing a bit every few days about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. This week at the school we are talking to the middle schoolers about grit and perseverance. Dictionary dot com defines perseverance as “Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties,obstacles, or discouragement. This I know far to well. 

I have shared a bit of the story of coming to San Diego with Steps of Justice and trying to find my place in it all. I knew I wanted to work with refugees, but I was not sure how that would happen. I made a phone call to my friend Jon Huckins and he hooked me up with a meeting with my now good friend and partner in crime David, who took me to a refugee resettlement agency. A few weeks later I got a text from the refugee resettlement agency with an address of a newly arrived Somali refugee family in City Heights. My job was to pick up the kids and take them to register for school. I remember sitting outside the families house, slightly paralyzed with fear as I had no Idea what to expect.

This happened on a weekly basis, and each time I sat outside a families home I had to force myself to get out of the car, walk up to the house, knock on the door and invite the mom and kids to school to register their children. It took a lot of grit and perseverance, and I gained a lot of character through it. I was learning a new culture, figuring out the education system, engaging in conversations with people who only spoke Arabic and hoping I didn’t mess things up to badly.

The two reasons that I got to be in the place where I am at right now is:

  1. The favor of the Lord
  2. My perseverance

I kept showing up, registering kids, loving the best I knew how and not giving up. These steps can work for all of us, and in all situations. I think we may give up and throw in the towel way to quickly. We get frustrated, discouraged, tired and end up giving up, before we see the breakthrough that we dream of. We need more of us who will stick it out, dig our heals in, grit and bear it. Then, we will see the reward on the other side.

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It is October 1, 2018, day 9 of sharing. I am writing a bit every few days about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. This past weekend we had some friends staying with us that we have known for the past 23 years. Some of you reading this are not even that old, but this will be good for you all the same. Last night we were sitting around eating Raclette (cheese, potatoes, bacon and pickles of all kinds), we were not trying to be healthy, thats for sure. We were laughing about past memories, sharing deep thoughts and wounds and giving and receiving from each other. It wasn’t just the adults thought, our children were with us, laughing and getting slightly embarrassed at mom and dads stories.
We have only hung out with these girls a handful of times over the past 20 years, but when we do it is deep, beautiful and life giving. Our kids call them Auntie as they are truly family. This happened because we are vulnerable with each other, and we are there for each other when there is a need or crisis. Our family is blessed to have friends like this from around the world. Friends who are like family to Amy and I, but also to our kids.
All of us can have these types of relationships. They take time, although some relationships like this seem to happen overnight. Take a few minutes right now to think about who that person is in your life. Someone you don’t see regularly, but when you do, you pick up right were you left off. Give that person a call, send them an email, or SMS them telling them how much you appreciate them, asking if they are ok and even setting a time to get together. Then, make it happen. Friendship is a gift, having a friend and being a friend. Spend time building and cultivating relationships, because in the words of the great scholar Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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