From a first time blogger, thoughts about life from an American missionary now living in the US after years in Russia and doing a lot of back and forth. Family stuff, Christian content, sports innuendo and lots of quotes from good books.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Private Thoughts on Public Matters

In the spring of 1978, after much prayer and planning, my father and mother pulled me out of public school. A high school diploma, undergrad degree, and master's degree later, I've never been back. Nothing against public schools. Just seems my educational paths were more private in nature. So, the last 28 years have had me largely unaware of God's working on these campuses.

This past weekend, I and a friend/brother/co-worker in ministry headed down to Panama City, FL, as WWYC reps to gather together with 1800 university students who largely come from state colleges and universities. I think every SEC school was represented (though Mississippi State was either really small or really quiet), most every OVC school, and a lot of other conferences as well.

Let's just say that after parts of 3 days of rubbing shoulders with these kids and their campus ministers, I have been profoundly impacted by what the body of Christ on state campuses looks, lives, and worships like. Furthermore, I believe they are meeting a need in evangelism that a private, Christian school could never, ever meet. We met kids who are now saved who would have likely never known the Lord had that campus ministry not been there. Former drug dealers, drug addicts, and gang members were not all that uncommon among the campus ministries of MTSU, AUM, Troy State and others during this weekend. No matter who they might have been, they are now saved and that is, to put in the vernacular of the weekend, awesome dude!

So, while I am grateful for the GACS/DLU/ACU academic and spiritual training I received, I am growing more prayerful for the ministries and ministers at UGA, Auburn, Tennessee Tech, UT Knoxville, Alabama, and on and on. God is doing some eye popping big things on state campuses and I so hope the church at large not only sees it but enters into it as well.

If you care to see what it was about, check out

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hello Russia, Goodbye Russia, Hello Dad, Goodbye Dad

Since I last stopped by, I've traveled to Siberia and back (no, really. I was there for a winter outreach our ministry does) and am just now getting over jet lag. When they find a cure for that, I'll be first in line.

I got back in the U.S. on Friday night, January 7. On Saturday night, January 8, at 6.25 p.m., my father and friend, Coleman Browne, died. Dad, as you know if you've Blogged With Rob much, had journeyed the last ten years of his life with the beast called Alzheimer's. He fought the fight gallantly, never not once complained, and fully finished the 66 year, 11 month race, though short it seemed to us, that God called him to. With my mom, my brother, myself and some dear friends gathered round his bed, dad literally went to sleep never to wake up (here) again. No pain, no struggling, no angst. Thank you Lord for that.

3 days later, Dad's body was cremated. My dad, being a huge fan of keeping all things simple, never got the point of paying thousands of dollars to have someone bury you after you die. I gotta agree with him on that one. Two days after his body was cremated, I went to pick up his ashes. That was an interesting ride home. Were I not so pragmatically matter of fact, I'd probably have gotten the willies or something. Not me though. My dad's oldest son is blunt enough to know those are just the ashes of a man's body whose soul is now free again with his full sight, hearing, and mind in tact.

My brother and I spoke at his memorial service this past Saturday. I have never ever been so proud of the man I once called my kid brother. With poise, emotion, and clarity, he honored my dad with humor, perspective, scripture and insight I only wish I had. I said my piece afterwards and then my mother rose to speak.

My mom is a spiritual giant in the eyes of anyone who truly knows her. I had my doubts early in the week whether she'd be able to pull this off or not but she did great. People were crying freely in the audience but mom just flat out gave a kingdom perspective of an all too early occasion. Having walked the walk God called her to the last ten years and having done it the way she did, she had no reason to regret anything. With joy in her heart at dad's homecoming and peace in her soul about the way she'd honored her husband, my mom blessed my dad and all who heard her with her words. My brother and I agreed that she is at a place in her walk with the Lord few mortals will ever know. It has not been easy but it has been worth it.

So, rejoice with me today that dad is Home. Really home. Rejoice that mom is free to live her remaining days here on earth with both peace about the past and anticipation about the future. The spiritual boot camp she has been in the last ten years has prepared her well for....whatever God leads her toward. Pray for me that I'll leave half the legacy to my boys that my dad left to his. I mean that.

Not for long but for now, goodbye dad...I love you...