Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WSN mascot health update

For over 12 years, Freckles the Wonder Dog has been the WSN mascot. On Friday before Christmas, he pinched a nerve in his neck or back, or both. Of course, at the time we didn't know that. All we knew was that he had random yelping at all times of day and night that would send us all in to shock. He was obviously in a ton of pain. We took him to the vet emergency room, and came home not knowing how damaged he was, but with lots of pain killers. I wasn't sure if they were for the dog or me. Props to our daughter-in-law Laura, a nurse who helped us figure out that the muscle relaxers were making him work too hard to breathe and seemed to be making him worse.

By Christmas he was doing better, but still in a lot of pain and we started searching for different solutions. We had heard that chiropractors can help dogs, and being the son of a chiropractor I was pretty convinced it could help. I just couldn't imagine getting the Beagle to lay on a table and let someone work on his spine.

Yesterday we took him to a vet who not only does spinal manipulation, but also accupunture and food supplements. Who knew? I had to see this, and also hope that it works, cause watching our pet in pain has not been pretty. And there won't be any surgery. I've had him with 2 paws in the grave over the last 10 days, so it kind of felt like a last resort. Let's just say I wasn't going to watch Marley and Me, or Old Yeller, or any other pet movie that makes grown men cry.

Well, the experience was awesome. The Pet Chiro really knew her stuff. You can see her treatments frm the pics. The Wonder Dog isn't dancing on his back feet (except if its begging for steak, when he seems to recover really quickly - "only a flesh wound"); but he is defintely doing a lot better, and we hope he will keep improving. He still lets out an occassional yelp but his overall response is better everyday. It looks like Freckles will continue his reign as the WSN Mascot for a little while longer, imparting wisdom during those long daily walks in East Orlando.

I couldn't believe he allowed this! And have no idea if it helped.
Well, 2009 is just about 6 hours away here on the East Coast, and over the next few days I have much to say as we get this year rolling, including -
*my personal focus for 2009
*my favorite coffees of 2008, and
*my favorite story of God using a student to touch other lives from this past year.

Stay tuned in 2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lessons from the dinosaur (now in a convenient Bible study method format)

On a slow news cycle, we can always pop in a story about our friend the dinosaur, and what we can learn from them. Here is what I just read:

"In families of some of the most vicious and carnivorous dinosaurs, dad took care of the developing eggs, possibly laid by more than one mom, a new study suggests. Evidence for dino daddy daycare and potential polygamy comes from the fossilized remains of three dinosaurs sitting on nests. In the animal kingdom polygamy is common."

Notice the 3 dinos fossilized while sitting on the eggs. Does it surprise anyone that men would fall asleep and die while doing childcare? My wife would say that is a common trait of all males while watching children, proving some theory of evolution.

Imagine being so sleepy that when the mudslide or lava flow came, you didn't budge. But this is how boring childcare is for men. So BOOM, millions of years later, you're a social science icon. I think they got fooled into watching Barney, which always put me to sleep in about 5 seconds. (But I heard the US military blared the Barney theme song for hours to break terrorists. Genius. Who needs waterboarding, Barney will make any grown man cry for momma.)

Also, like men today, no self respecting dino would do childcare alone. That idea would have been laughed off immediately.

Dads, don't do child care, certainly not baby care, and definitely not any egg care. You will get fossilized. And people will say you were probaby a polygamist too, when it was just helping out at a CCC conference, or the neighbors.

And don't fall for this line - "Hey honey, why don't you invite your friends over, it will be more fun for you." Nope, you'll still die, only all together. Which is still no fun in my book. Don't take your friends down with you like this.

Big Finish
Don't be duped by childcare offers, or enticed by polygamy. Stay away from both.
Let's not forget, despite how fascinating they are, dinosaurs are still extinct. This kind of behavior will kill you and eventually all of us.

You've been warned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evangelism Breakthrough?

Today I'm driving on the 408, and I saw my house being pulled by a small van. It even has our name - sort of - all over it. (Bubbalou's is actually a BBQ place here in Orlando.) This is one of their mobile units out providing quality meat to the masses. Which makes me think we've missed a connection right in front of our noses for years:
Bringing the reality of Jesus to the students of the world, now being served with an order of BBQ ribs, brisket, or pulled pork, fries, Texas toast, and sweet tea.
I will keep working on this brainstorm for all of us.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

This is what it looks like to be me watching "It's a Wonderful Life".
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Heading back to Orlando

Sitting in massive gridlock in Buenos Aires as I head to the airport. Its about 8 pm here and we're sitting on the 9th of July Ave approaching the famous obelisk landmark in the heart of the city.
Highlight of the time here - talking with staff about their ministries and hearing how God is moving around the world, as well as the challenges they face.
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Reaching 130 million students

As we complete our week of global meetings, we are in work groups adressing topics relevant to reaching the students of the world; like establishing global learning communities; students leading movements - not staff; and the use of the internet to plant movements.
For example, imagine a series of fun videos that students put on Youtube that tell the story and practices of student-led spiritual movements.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Argentina BBQ

Standing on the roof of the Argentina CCC National office, grilling meat for dinner. Every office needs a grill like this.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Buenos Aires

Sitting with 50 other campus ministry leaders around the world. Right now we are interacting with a panel of South American leaders about leading organizational change with those who lead us (leading "north") as Bill Hybels has said. This is a very unusual concept in many cultures, and very hard to practice in any organization. But while we are to respect everyone and honor those who lead us, we still have a role to influence those in the org. who are above, and beside us (peers, "east and west"), not just those who report to us ("south").
This process is building a new leadership culture in South America.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rocky on Election Night

Ever since the last presidential debate, I've been thinking of this election in terms of Rocky. And then just now, I turn on the TV looking for something besides election results, and there it is, Rocky 2. A serendipitous moment if ever there was one.
There is Barack "Apollo Creed" Obama, young, slick, polished, the heavy favorite. And his adversary is John "Mickey" McCain. I know, your thinking; Keith, that should be John "Rocky" McCain. The biggest comeback kid since Truman, and the foreshadowing of Bill Clinton."
But no, I mean Mickey Goldmill, Rocky's trainer. The crusty old boxing trainer for Rocky. Its felt like old Mickey has been doing the boxing for the past 2 months against this quicker, younger opponent, just trying to land a punch, with Sarah "Adrien" Palin watching and cheering him on. Go, Mick, hit him.

I don't know how this fight will turn out, but I'm guessing it might look something like this -

I don't know, it's just the way I think it will end tonight.
Notice Sarah P in blue.

I know, many of you young people haven't enjoyed Rocky, in light of the series debut in 1976, but the last sequel was only last year wasn't it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friends in Another Portland

2 weeks ago, Kim and I were in Portland, Oregon. (Scroll down global road for highlights).
Now we are visiting our team in Boston, so we came up early and met with our best friends from our days on staff in Philly, David and Robin, who now live in Portland, Maine. We had not seen them in 17 yrs, which is so sad for all of us. We all just got a little busy there for awhile, huh?. But we picked up like it was only yesterday, which is an amazing thing about frienship.
They gave us a taste of Maine with a lobster lunch and took us on a hike on a chilly but beautiful Sunday afternoon. They also have a genius dog, Max, who plays soccer.
There is more to be said on all this, but its 2 am and I really need to try to sleep. Its like I have jet lag for some reason.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scraps from the kitchen table

For those of you who are new to the Global Road, "Scraps..." is the random thoughts, experiences, observations, keen insights (ha)- all usually unrelated to each other - that get chucked in to this blog every so often. Like the leftovers thrown off the table to our genius beagle. So tasty and bite size.

We were asked for input on our conference room at our headquarters, in order to make some improvements. Here was mine:

I like it that the table is so long, if I sit on an end, I can’t hear people on the other end. This allows me to do something else and not feel like its my fault, and I’m not multi-tasking then. This is why I’m disappointed if someone saves me a seat in the middle. Stop doing this. It is irritating me.

I have a feeling I will only get middle of the table seats from now on. A sort of meeting purgatory!

After getting home from our recent trip to Portland, I watched football off and on all day yesterday. My good friend Eric in Indiana is a Texas fan. He was doing something with his family and unable to watch his Longhorn's in the Red River Shootout. I knew this was hard for him, so I texted him updates throughout the day. He especially liked it when Texas won. I was glad I could be of help to him during family time.

I watched Mizzou get upset by Oklahoma State. This was disappointinng, but I was happy for my friend Dave Robinson, since his nephew is the QB for OSU. Dave was one of the founders of WSN, and worked with CCC in Eastern Europe for about 15 or 20 years, but is now a pastor in KC, Missouri. I was happy he got to see his nephew play so well. Sorry Mizzou fans, you were going up against Robinson mojo.

Today is a slow day on ESPN and FOX Sports Network. I flipped through the channels this afternoon, and saw in succession: Kids playing for the championship of Scrabble, Europe vs. US in Trickshot Pool, and Championship Darts. Sports?

I am very excited about what God is doing in Moscow CityFocus. I think you'll be encouraged. Check out the link for the story of Yana and Kristina at Humanitarian University.

Also got a few reports in the last week of 50 students at a retreat in an Asian country, trusting God for almost 600 decisions for Christ this year in their region of the country. This is awesome stuff. God is working all over the world.

Time to go, there may be professional hula hooping or marbles on TV now.

Friday, October 10, 2008


You must visit Multonomah Falls and have the world famous "A" take your picture. She's a talented 6 (maybe 7?) year old photographer and one of the stars of the Burning Heart Revolution.

Kim and I came out to meet with Matt and Krista Mikalatos. Matt gives leadership to WSN in the Greater NW region, and does a fantastic job. Some have called him a genius. Well, one person called him that yesterday, but I think it was used as sarcasm. We have been talking since he joined the WSN team about visiting him in Portland, and the past few days we've finally been able to take him up on the offer.

The regional team of leaders here is awesome, the Columbia River is beautiful, the falls are majestic, the food has been amazing - I had fresh salmon for dinner and once for breakfast -and the coffee is always good.

(More on salmon: I had the best salmon in my life, seriously, this is not hyperbole, grilled on Wayne and Elaine Wright's Weber on Monday night. The Wright's have blessed us for 28 years as ministry partners, but we haven't seen them since they moved from Kansas City 25 years ago. Great Reunion. And salmon has never tasted so good.)

I'm a convert, this is a great place to be. WSN moves its offices here next week.
They do need to work on the whole rain thing though.

Well, back to Orlando today. And I'm back on the Global Road.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Kim and I are here to pray, plan, discuss, and dream with about 12 others from Western Europe, Canada, and the US, about bringing the reality of Jesus to every student here.
We got here Sat am and have spent the past 2 days sightseeing. Unfortunately, jet lag has won out tonight/this morning, and I've been up since 2:30. Kim, however, is sleeping just fine. So I just decided it was time to blog.
The bird statue with the man's head is at the entry to St. Chappelle church. No idea what that's about. Architect's humor? Who knows?
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Rain, Sleet, Snow, (and Michael Phelps) at Copper Mountain

I'm sitting in Lefty's Mile High Grille at the Denver airport, about to enjoy my favorite tuna steak sandwich anywhere. On my way home from the '08 STINT Briefing conference at Copper Mountain. It's a gathering of over 300 young leaders, most of them having just graduated a couple of months ago.

To welcome them the first night, I spoke on Moses' encounter with God in the bush on fire on Mt. Horeb, and how God wants to surprise us, even when we feel like we are the least likely or adequate for being used by Him. (Remember, Moses was living pretty far at that time from his original vision of delivering Israel.)

All of these STINTers have heard from God - had their own Mt. Horeb moments marked by worship and full surrender to Christ. They shared where some of those had taken place; a coffee shop, a cemetery, on an airplane to Rome. The atmosphere is filled with a mixture of deep humility and great anticipation of God moving and leading and overpowering with His presence.

We experienced the drama of weather in the Rockies, from driving rain to sleet, a ground covering hailstorm, and a thunderstorm that dropped snow - all in about 24 hours. This has only added to the sense of majesty that we are in His hand, at the intersection of the finite and the eternal. And also being wet and cold a lot.

Each night there have been large gatherings in the lounge, watching the Olympics and cheering on Michael Phelps to his 8 gold medals. It feels like a certain sense of "team" is forming as we celebrate these moments together. And just maybe, we are breathing a bit of the truth from 1 Cor 9:25: "they sacrifice everything to receive a gold medal, but we live in surrender to Christ 24/7 to receive an eternal reward. (My paraphrase)

What a privilege to be together in God's presence, in His amazing creation, preparing to believe Him for spiritual movements to be launched all over the world this year.
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Friday, August 1, 2008

All in a day

How much could happen in one person's life on the same day in the calendar. Turns out quite a few. And all together they can produce a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

August 1 -

12 years ago. Freckles the Wonder Dog enters the world. Our kids pick him out of the litter in mid September. This happens because in a moment of sadness after Nike the Hamster dies we tell the kids they can upgrade to a real pet. Enter the Beagle.
10 years ago - My Dad dies of cancer at 69. It is hard to believe he has been gone for a decade. Trauma, tears, sadness. Remembering how bravely he fought the cancer, how he loved my mom, and me and my 3 brothers. How he tried to show up at every sports event we were in. How he helped build a swimming pool in our hometown cause kids needed a place to swim. School board president. City Council member. Mowed the yard with his tie on, at least once. Bad golfer. Funny guy.
4 years ago - our family with our load of worldly possessions loads up the truck and moves to...Orlando. Trauma, sadness in leaving friends, hopes for God's hand to be upon us, questions of how this will all pan out. Wondering a few times if it was all a big mistake. Confidence that God has revealed His will, even though its hard.
3 years ago - our son Matt starts dating Laura at the Daytona Beach Summer Project. And now, they get married in one week. Whoa. Weren't we just getting over Nike the Hamster?
Today - Megan our daughter drives home from FSU. Tons of great stories. Awesome to have her home. She's a leader and a story teller, and a great kid.

So, what do I make of this? It reminds me that our lives consist of so many different pieces and threads, no matter what day they fall on. Our lives are filled with simple joys and powerful grief, and everything in between. And it is God's presence which is the constant in every one of these moments. He is the One who is our Refuge, or Provider, or Peace, or Strength, or just Whatever we need at the moment. He not only is there, He is handcrafting each of our days to accomplish His good purposes for us. When they make sense, and when they don't. When they are filled with celebration, or filled with pain.

"In your book all the days of my life are written; The days that you planned for me before I lived any of them." Psalm 139:16

I'm reminded of the last lines from the song "One Day More" from Les Miserables - my favorite broadway play - where everyone is imagining what the next day will hold for them,

Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more.

August 1.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Learning New Skills may not always be good for you

I heard that learning new skills was good for you. Especially the older you get. Not sure where I got this, but I vaguely remember hearing that it helps prevent Alzheimer's. Which is why you've got airplanes full of people working Sudoku puzzles, all in hopes that by the time they figure them out they will either have a) healthy brains, or b) arrived at their destination, even if they don't know who or where they are. Cause I guarantee you, those puzzles are not inherently fun or relaxing, but instead put you into a math-induced coma.

So I have tried something more practical in the past week. First I tried my hand at Putting in and taking out a contact lens. (I don't really consider wearing them a skill, just in case you wondered.) This became MY GOAL, on the order of JFK's vision - by the end of the decade, landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. (Practice saying it like him, it sounds more dramatic.)

By the way...
I have always thought the ending of the Man on the Moon vision - "and return him safely to earth" - was an interesting tack-on, like we might not care if we got them back safely, as long we beat the Russians in getting them up there.

NASA techie #1 "Hey does anyone know how to get Neil back?"
NASA techie #2 "No, it wasn't in my job description."
NASA techie #1 "You hungry, let's go get pizza."

Back to our featured story...MY GOAL-
The Contact Lens Skill wasn't just for my long term mental health. Its because I'm tired of reading glasses. Mostly, finding ones I like, then sitting on them in the car or crushing them in my backpack on the plane. I thought it would be more convenient to get A Contact Lens. But actually, I almost lost my short term mental health learning this refined and extraordinarily difficult art, which is practiced successfully by 40 million Americans according to my reassuring optometrist, Dr. Ipokeu. Anyone who tells you its easy to learn to put in contacts should be immediately regarded as a habitual liar. I tried every method and trick for days to keep my eye from blinking at the critical moment. Turns out my eye has a fantastic avoidance system for having someone's finger in it, including my own. This is what eyelids are supposed to do right? 50 years of training, and my eye has it down pat.

I discovered my eyelid is actually stronger that my finger's ability to hold it back. I tested them at the YMCA, and my eyelids can lift 150 pounds, but my index finger and ring finger only about 2.5 lbs. So, my eyelid wins every time.

As if the Contact Lens Skill sessions weren't enough, I decided to vastly diminish my long term Alzheimer's odds in the same week by putting on new screens that turns our backyard in to a small version of a batting cage. Turns out Mr. Weedwacker got a little too close over the years (another skill I must improve on) and I have enough rips in the screen that they serve as safety flaps to let the lizards know they are now entering our living area.

My friend Bob gave me great instructions on how to plan for, measure, cut, and install the screens. Even gave me the tools. Unfortunately, he could not do a brain transplant beforehand to tell me which side of the rubber stripping to put in that holds the fence into the frame. Of course, I had it turned the wrong way. Never once did it occur to me that I had it turned the wrong way. That is why God gave men wives. So that they can show us how to do stuff.

Wife: Honey, maybe if you turned it around it would help.
Husband: Right? Its obvious this is the right way.
Wife: Hey, look, its easy the other way.
Hsuband: #$%^&#! (while screaming)

Yes, it was magic. Suddenly, I did not have to use the strength of my arms, legs, and eyelids to force the threading in the groove of the frame in the fence of the cage that surrounds the house that sits on the street that Jack built, but it actually went in fairly easily, much easier than a contact lens in fact.

So, there are many morals, principles, and lessons you, or I, can take from this week of Learning a New Skill. Feel free to make up your own. I had a few to share, but I can't remember them now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Family Reunions

Its been a week already, but our family went to KC for the annual Bubalo reunion, aka Bubalo Golf Tournament and Eating Extravaganza. Our whole family gathers each year for a weekend golf charity tournament, which honors my dad's inolvement with young people. We came up with the idea of this golf tournament shortly after he died of cancer almost 10 years ago.

A fond and somewhat excruciating memory of my childhood was of my dad taking me and my three brothers golfing. The excruciating part of the memory is that these endeavors usually involved 5 hours of running around a course looking for lost balls and generally wreaking havoc on the lives of anyone who was unfortunate enough to have chosen to play at the same time as us. My dad lived life with an eye on the watch, and was afraid of "slow play" like it was the Grim Reaper, about to descend upon us if we should cause someone to wait more than 10 seconds. This, we managed to do alot. We weren't great players, but we were more in shape by the end of the round. That's what jogging 18 holes of golf will do for you.

Somehow we usually ended the afternoon by feeling it had been a great time, despite scores that matched the heat index on a hot Missouri summer day. (It does seem we usually chose the hottest day of the year to play, so survival was pretty much a victory.)

The family of Missouri Bubalos has grown from 2 parents and 4 sons to include their 4 wives, plus their 14 children and their spouses/fiance's/girlfriends. And a couple of their children. Add in the Northen Bubalo tribe from Duluth, Minnesota, where my dad was born - his brother Bob and some of his family attended - and you end up with the scene above. We may have had people who just jumped in the picture for all I know.

We've done T Shirts for all 10 years. My brother Mark plus some of his friends from St. Peter's UMC do most of the heavy lifting for this tournament. All the money raised goes to send kids from their church to camp and on mission trips.

I was happy to be part of winning The Wisk Broom Plaque - won by the team I was on with 2 of my nephews and my brother Al, it will be proudly displayed in Al's office this year in Indiana. Seems a wisk broom was an indispensable tool of my Grandad Bubalo, and genuine mostly-used relic was saved and turned into a trophy for the family team with the lowest score.

The weekend is a reminder of the power of family. Certainly anyone's family background makes a huge contribution to who they are in life. You may spend your life trying to overcome the background or riding its benefits. Sometimes a bit of both. I've been fortunate that what my family gave me balances way out on the positive, for which I am grateful.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lucky travel clothes

I believe anyone who flies a lot has found their most comfortable travel clothes. Yet rarely does this get talked about. I am breaking this trend and telling the world. I have a short sleeve/ long sleeve - depending on the weather on arrival - and jeans. My favorite short sleeve was getting worn. It also had an chlorine stain that made it start to look like a work shirt. Imagine the joy when the same shirt went on sale online for $15. Same color same brand. I imagine its about 8-10 yrs younger than the old fave - on hangar, on way to retirement. But I can still travel in comfort.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In the Lion's Den

Oh yes, Matt and I are not still stuck at Dulles in a thunderstorm. Though when we did get cleared to take off, the pilot referred to us as "the pathfinder, the first plane given permission to go west through the storm to find a route between all the major thunderstorm cells that other planes could follow." I wasn't very excited to be a pioneer at that moment, but I was also too tired to really care. Plus what do you do at that the flight attendant call button and lodge a protest. "Could you please tell Mr. Pilot that I am not as adventurous as he is and that I did not buy the Pathfinder thrill ride fare, just the basic economy fare?"

Yesterday I spoke at X Track. Its the 5 weeek cross cultural preparation class for our staff who are headed for international assignments. It is always so encouraging to be with them. You rarely find a more teachable audience. They are following Jesus to the edge of their comfort zone, out on an edge where their faith has never been before.

To lift their spirits, I took them on my own little journey through Daniel 6. Here is the short summary. In first grade, we learn the lesson of Daniel in the Lion's Den. God rescues those who follow Him. I like that lesson. It is helpful, it comforts me.

It's just that as we grow in faith, we need to teach the other lesson of Daniel 6 that precedes deliverance, i.e. sometimes following God fully will get you thrown in a lion's den. There is a good reason we don't drive this point home to first graders on the flannel board at Vacation Bible School. "Okay kids, who wants to get thrown in the lion's den? Just follow Jesus with your whole heart, and eventually you'll get that chance. It may not be until your 70, but just wait, it will happen."

This teaching would really hurt our VBS numbers.

However, as we grow we need to not only be challenged by the example of Daniel's integrity and dedication to follow God fully, and God's deliverance of those He loves, but also that following Jesus will at some point, and probably many points, lead us into lion's dens and fiery furnaces of challenges where the outcomes are not certain.

Because sometimes you get a physical deliverance, and sometimes you don't.
Try on Hebrews 11:35-38. A nice cheery verse you don't find in a lot of Christian bookstores. No bumper stickers will be made with this on it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the runway; so close, yet so far.

Yes, that's our plane...sitting still - a "live" shot out the window. We left Cairo at 530 am - that's 1030 pm yesterday EST. Now we sit on the tarmac in DC- a mere 2 hrs from home. Surrounded by thunderstorms and 30 other planes. I kid you not, we've been on this plane for 2.5 hrs already and no end in site. So, we wait.
We have been served survival rations of granola bars and lemonade to keep us pacified. Matt is sound asleep. I want to be.
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Monday, June 9, 2008

Sharm El Sheikh

Perfect last day for Matts graduation present after the conf. We flew here last night, snorkeled in the Red Sea today, and sit at the airport on our way back home, via Cairo.
This place is fascinating, people from all over the world, but very few Americans. We saw a muslim woman totally covered in black on the beach, with just the opening for her eyes. And there was the opposite from Western Europe. No need to elaborate.
This trip with Matt has been so amazing. I just feel grateful as we sit here and prepare to leave. Words are inadequate.
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Great 24 hrs

It started last night bumping in to a fancy wedding in our hotel. This morning we headed out to the pyramids, which included crawling in to a couple of them, a short camel ride, a horseback ride, the sphinx, pushing away lots of people who wanted to sell us anything and everything, taking tons of pictures, looking at papyrus parchments, and ending the day with a sailboat ride on the Nile and spotting a Sheikh in a hotel lobby. As far as cool days go, this one gets a 10. More pictures later. Its time to sleep.
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Beside the main drag in Alexandria

Matt and I are about to be beseiged by street vendors while relaxing at a cafe on Alexandria's main boulevard along the coast.
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Ancient alexandria ruins

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Touring Alexandria

Spending this afternnon in Alex, not a lot of time, but we went to the Bibliotheca Alexandria. One of the world's largest and definitely coolest libraries - with incredible architecture. Alex the Great pulled together all the worlds top literature of his day - then it got burned somtime after. Bummer. So this one was built in recognition of all that. Don't hold me to any of this though.
Also went out to the citadel, a big fort protecting the city. As well as to some ruins ofthe original Alexandria. There you have it. Tourist day in Alex.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Egypt Campus Conference

That's me with luther our National diector. About 50 campus staff are meeting here, somewhere near Alexandria. Awesome and intense prayer and praise, along with some messages on keeping our relationship with Christ fresh are what we are doing today.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Egyptian rest stop

On our way right now to Alexandria, our driver Mo stops for chai. We've listened to Arabic music for 2 hrs while dodging and weaving through city traffic and now on a main "interstate". We also played "frogger" with pedestrians because that is just the way it all works. Watermelom must be big here, just passed 3 guys competing for sales abt a mile apart - or maybe its a genius sales strategy.
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Monday, June 2, 2008

20 F and G

We leave in 15 minutes. See you in the land of pharaohs and pyramids.
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16 years of waiting

Matt and I are at Dulles airport on our way to a campus leadership conference somewhere outside the city of Alexandria, Egypt. In Jan '92, when Matt was 6, I went to this awesome land, and ever since then we have talked abt going there together. So, you can imagine that I"m pretty excited at this becoming reality. I'll be trying to send some pictures and stories throughout our adventure. I will speak to some of our leaders on how to think differently about ministry and reasons why those who do what we do lose their vision and passion. Should be an awesome time.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

scraps from the kitchen table

A few appetizers on this fine Memorial Day Weekend -

American Idol I - I pulled for Blue Springs, Mo's own David Cook all season long. First time I've ever watched the whole show. I usually quit after the early self- deceived ones are eliminated.

American Idol II - went to a BBQ in the neighborhood for Paul B, who was back for 2 weeks in the middle of his deployment in Iraq. Just a normal guy who is serving his country. He talked about bringing peace to Iraqi citizens who just want to be free, and they are glad the US is there. Hmmm. Something you don't hear everyday.

Matt graduated from Miami University (in unison..."the one in Ohio.") It was a beautiful day, but bittersweet. I wished we had lived closer to experience more of this along the way. But it was sweet to enjoy with him the memories of his college career over some great food and walks through campus.

CityFocus Summit - A trip to Chicago to meet with 25 staff leaders from around the US who are bringing the reality of Jesus to the students in 6major US cities, plus Craig, Joe, and Kathryn from Mexico City. I believe we are on the verge of major breakthroughs in seeing movements launched all over our cities.

Indy 500 - yes its today, and though I lived there 8 years, I never went. Wish I would have though. Go Danica.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Madness in Mexico City

Spring break blew open doors in Mexico City and Acapulco. Here is an account that Enfoque Mexico co-leader Craig Johring sent to me a few days ago.

Up to this point we’ve launched the first 35-40 campuses through our staff and short term folks, like Spring Breakers from the US showing up on campuses and believing God for Divine Appointments to find leaders who will launch movements.

At our Acapulco Spring Break conference the 150 staff and students here gave away over 3500 Four Laws. They shared Christ with 546, and saw 208 make decisions for Christ.

But even bigger for the Kingdom was seeing students own and sense empowerment with the mission. I sensed we had turned the corner when students stopped handing me the contacts of the students they had met here on the beaches who wanted to start movements on their campuses back in Mexico City. They would show me the contact, and then say they were going to coach and help that person launch a group.

Yesterday on the last morning of the conference we had students fill cards listing the names and universities where they were making a commitment to go and help the friends they have on those campuses launch a movement. There were over 70 students who brought their cards up for the commissioning, and most of these students had 2-3 cards in their hand.

Craig wrote today and told me there are now 45 movements in Mexico City. Less than 2years ago, there was one movement at UNAM (one of the largest universities in the world). Read more on Mexico City from Craig and Joe Cross on the blogs I have listed

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Campus Meets Berlin

March Madness jumped to Europe last week when 50 German students gathered in Berlin to share their faith with other students. This kind of gathering had not happened in the last 15 years with our ministry. 20 students from Univ of Indiana and Purdue joined them, along with the Berlin Stint team. They talked to students at Humboldt University, Technical University, and Free University.

At one university, 8 German students did a creative outreach where they put 50"Soularium" cards on the floor of a lobby and interacted with those who stopped by about what they meant. (These pictures are designed to grab curiousity and connect with someone who might not typically respond to a conversation about the Bible.)

A huge answer to prayer was the transit strike (airlines, buses, trains, oxcarts, everything) was settled the day that everyone traveled to Berlin.

One of the leaders of the Western Europe ministry called the "Campus Meets Berlin" gathering historic. So much prayer and work have preceeded this moment by German leaders and students, plus Americans and other Europeans, who have a heart for spiritual awakening throughout Europe.

Its a great day for all of us to celebrate. Count me in. "Ich bin ein Berliner".
(And no jelly doughnut comments from the peanut gallery. Look it up. That whole slam on Kennedy's German grammar being wrong is an urban legend...according to Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March Madness

There's a different version of March Madness than the buzzer beatin, bracketology lovin, Duke hatin festival that lasts three weeks - of which 1 week is in April. It occurs all over the world, with college students using their Spring Break to travel the world and bring the love and grace of Jesus to other students. So, I'll take the next few entries to tell the story of some of these world rompin, Jesus lovin students who've set out around the world to experience their own March Madness.

Costa Rica STINT team shared this -
"On Friday a group of staff and students from Idaho arrived. They were able to meet so many new students on campus. We are now in the process of following up about 40 students they met that week. In fact, we have one new brother in Christ!

We also spent one day at an orphanage in Cartago, a neighboring town. That experience affected all of us deeply. We are hoping to have continued contact with the orphanage in the future...taking supplies to them and playing with the kids."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"The pain is unbearable"

Yes, this is a quote I read this morning. But what was it about?
-A father losing his child to cancer?
-Genocide in Sudan, perhaps?
-An innocent life lost in some kind of random violence?
If these or similar thoughts race through your mind, you would be wrong.

It was freshman basketball player Jai Lucas from Univ. of Florida, explaining how hard it is to not make the NCAA tournament after being NCAA champs the 2 previous years. And if that wasn't hard enough, the Coach actually has locked them out of their $10 million practice court .
Ouch. That's right, the coach decided they needed some old fashioned discipline. Seems the team doesn't want to win badly enough; takes their status as 2 time national champions a little too much for granted. So the coach was forced to take draconian measures. Back to practicing in the little old dusty gym that the fraternities play their intramural games in. No more big screen TV in your own private lounge. And no wearing the school colors around campus, including "gator" logos. They are simply not worthy of all that, until they figure out had to play harder and win more.

Oh the pain. The embarrasment. The shame and humiliation of it all. It must really be hard on these guys right now. Next thing you know, they'll have to go to class too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Scraps from the kitchen table..

Nothing like a beautiful Saturday morning to get back on the Global Road again.

It is amazing to see the student involvement with the needs of the world. Every time I look up, students are doing something to help others. Here are three examples from my own tribe, which I happen to be quite proud of -

I went to Dad's weekend at Megan's sorority, and they were doing "Race to Live". It's the biggest philanthropy on campus, 700 runners, all put together by a bunch of college girls. Raised thousands for breast cancer research. Nice job, ZETA's. Quite impressive.

Matt is leaving today for New Orleans during Spring Break, with about 100 college kids, to join the ongoing rebuilding efforts there.

Matt's fiance (yes, managed to work that in) Laura leaves today for a medical mission trip to South America for her Spring Break.

Now, dial back to when I was a college student student (whoa, too far there, I was not born during the depression). None of this kind of stuff was being done, or very little, or I was just not paying attention. What is happening is totally cool. Students want to make a difference right now.

A few other morsels to get you through the weekend. In case you've been wondering, I will not be running for President. Since Michael Bloomberg made his big announcement to clear that all up for his 5 friends, I thought I should do the same.

Also, like Barack, I will not be accepting any VP role with Hillary. I've worked too hard and long to get where I am (exactly where is that?) just to help her win Missouri, Indiana, and perhpas the whole South - only to break ties of boring Senate votes when in office. Just not worth it.

I have a new coffee streak going. Since Dec. 10, we've been on another free coffee binge at the Bubalo household. Props to my friend from South America who I'll just code name "Carlos" for getting me started with the bean grown in his own neighborhood, Tres Rios in Costa Rica. Since then, the cupboards have been full. I may start doing coffee reviews sson.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

150 bags of Clothes

6300 students at the Passion Conference gave their own clothes to students at Union University in Jackson Tennessee. That campus was torn apart by a tornado on Feb 5. Students here were asked last night to consider bringing any clothes they had to give away. This morning as they walked in the door they dropped off enough clothes to fill 150, 50 gal plastic bags. They assembly-lined them just now into a Penske rental truck which is on the way to Tennessee. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, that's in addition to the 14,000 pairs of new socks and 5000 new towels they brought with them to stock homeless shelters in Dallas. And the $4500 they contributed to drill fresh water wells for 2 African villages. So, turns out a Passion for Jesus could actually change the world around us, if we just give people the opportunity.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Passion Conference - Dallas

Here's Kim and I in Dallas with Joe and Craig from Mexico City, at the opening night of the Passion Conference. Here's a taste of the first night's message.

Die to little things (of your life) so you can live for a role in the epic story of God. - Louis Giglio

Pray with us for a partnership between Enfoque Mexico and Passion that will bring a day very soon where there are movements everywhere in Mexico City so that every student will know a true follower of Jesus, and the true message of Jesus, and ultimately Jesus Himself.
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Friday, February 1, 2008


The picture is blurry, but there was a lot of motion in the dining room with the stinters and staff roaming for food after a day of R&R in spain. Some went to Gibraltar, others to Granada. Talked to a few folks who went kayaking in the Med. WSN buddy Ron and I opted for a couple of hours in Frigiliana, a village in the foothills above Nerja. We were going to get gifts there for our wives but got sidetracked by the view of the valley below and a bbq grill at a restaurant at the top of the village. Oops.

The past few days were awesome, connecting with fellow staff and friends from all over the world, many I've known for 10-15 years, with a common love for life on the Global Road; men who share a love for Christ and His work among the students of the world. People who have suffered hardships of many kinds for the sake of the gospel. Relationships like this create a richness, a connectedness in life that is hard to put into words. Several of us finished the evening off last night being regaled by Paul, the Brit who owns the Smuggler's Inn restaurant, and heard of his total rejection of all US and UK foreign policy, not that we asked.
After a solid 3 hours of sleep, I headed off for Malaga, and sit in the airport right now, beginning to wake up after a great latte from the Cafe Ritazza...another little oasis. Leaving this little gathering impressed by the faith and hope of the men and women who are bringing the reality of Jesus to students all over the world.
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Monday, January 28, 2008

Frankfurt wind tunnel

So I'm on my way to Spain for a conference with about 200 stinters from Europe and Asia. On the layover, I'm in the Lufthansa lounge when a large fan or motor kicks on in the celing above us. It sounds like a jet engine turning on. It gets louder and as it does, air in the room starts to move. Within seconds we have a pretty good wibd tunnel is blowing, papers are rustling, the blinds are moving, it is getting pretty windy, and just then they get on the loudspeaker: "please evacuate the lounge." I did, and didn't look back. I have no idea of the outcome. But I am on the south coast of Spain and doing just fine. Crisis averted.
I am going to a meeting in just a few minutes with our Western Europe leaders Javier and David. I'm posting this from my phone, and mostly excited to try it and see if it works.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Commuting to San Antonio

I went to the home of the Alamo for our Summer Project Leaders conference, flew back home to see Matt before he returned to Miami (the one in Ohio) for his last semester of college. Then Kim and I flew back to SA for another few days to meet with regional leaders in our ministry that are committed to planting movements among all the students in the US. Special emphasis here on the ones we aren't reaching very well or often, the ethnic students in the major cities of the US.

Summer mission trips are one of the best environments to lead for the first time. It provides many of the challenges of organization, communication, focus, courage, faith, and care for people that you will experience the rest of your life in leading. We had students with us, and I hope we have more in the future. I'm not sure how many students will go with us on our summer mission trips, probably about 3,000. As life changing as these are, I wish we were seeing about 10,000 a year go.

I also think of the impact these mission teams will have. Students lives will be changed as they encounter a new life in Christ in over 30 countries around the globe.

The second half of the trip was about CCC regional and national leaders working together to reach the unreached students all around the US. We are still learning how to move from isolated leadership styles to ones that are far more connected with other leaders, even within our own organization. Not mention connecting with the resources that God has provided outside of our own organization. It his hard to move from singular leadership toward collaborative leadership. It requires so much time and trust to be built. And it demands a shift in the way I look at my role and my success.

I came away wondering where I have become stagnant in my leadership approach, and what changes do I need to make that will unleash Kingdom resources that God has provided within our organization and also outside of it.