Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Blog Sites

Please look for me at these sites
Clay Pot Journal: Ministry Blog for Albany Church of Christ
The Journey Home: Parker Family Web Log

See you there!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm Moving!

No, we've not grown dissastisfied with life in Albany. Really, I'm not moving, but Clay Pot Journal is. I'm integrating it with our (still under construction) church web site and view it as part of my ministry to this church and community. I hope that what I share will be of some interest to those who don't live here as well.

I'm going to leave my old posts here on Blogger for the time being. Once I get Word Press figured out, I may create a personal site and move them there. For now, I'm making A New Beginning at journal.albanychurch.net .

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

She's home!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dark Side of the Moon

It’s Sunday night after 9:30 p.m., the boys are settled, and my beloved is on the dark side of the moon.

Not literally, but you may be old enough to remember the Apollo lunar missions where the space capsule went to the dark side of the moon and was temporarily out of radio contact – there was always the tension as they awaited re-establishment of contact.

Although Maureen has been 10,000 miles away from home for the last two weeks, we have been able to have frequent contact. Every day—including today—we have talked twice. (Thanks http://www.tel3advantage.com/ for 2.2 cents/minute phone calls.) But now she has left Singapore on Singapore Airlines and is headed toward Tokyo. (Jeremy kept wondering why we couldn’t call her on her cell phone.) After a brief stop there, her plane will continue on with a ten hour flight to Los Angeles. There she’ll have to go through immigration and customs and catch an American Airlines flight to DFW and then the puddle jumper to Abilene, arriving – we hope and pray – at 9:35 Monday night.

In other news…

We’ve done OK here the past two weeks. We’ve had our moments – good and bad – but I’ve grown even closer to my sons by being alone with them for so long. I’ve also grown closer to my wife, as I’ve been reminded how much she does and how much I take for granted. I’ve grown closer to our church here in Albany; they have more than amply supplied us with meals and have shown their genuine concern for me, Maureen, and the boys. And not just the church – everyone in town seems to know that she is gone and near strangers will ask when she is coming back.

At this point, it looks like I’ll be going to the airport alone tomorrow (Monday) night. We realized that Jeremy has to take his TAKS (Texas achievement) test on Tuesday and will need a good night’s sleep. A friend from church offered to come and stay with them while I went to get Maureen. Jeremy was pretty upset when he found out he wouldn’t be able to go to the airport, but I think he has accepted it now. Sometimes it’s tough to know the right thing to do as a parent.

We had a good day today with our family here in Albany. There were quite a few rarely seen faces at church this morning and several stayed around to visit, which I took as a good sign.

When I stood up to preach and I saw them there, I felt my voice trembling as I was overwhelmed with the responsibility to speak a word from God to them—a word that reflected both the call to discipleship and the call to embrace God’s grace.

Tonight we had a men-included baby shower for a new family at church, and we took advantage of the occasion to have a time of baby-blessing for this family and one other recent arrival. It was not a highly ritualized occasion, but it was a chance to speak words of blessing and encouragement over these babies and their families, and to pray God’s blessing on them. I hope this tradition can evolve and mature into a regular feature of our church life. If your church has a particularly meaningful ways to bless children who come into the world, I’d love to hear about it.

(This isn't getting published until Monday morning because Blogger was having issues last night--and they've taken out the thing where you can modify the date/time stamp to make it look like I posted last night. Anyway, Maureen is still on the dark side of the moon, but I was able to check her flight (Singapore Airlines 12 ) and they have left Tokyo, but still have almost 7 hours to go to L.A. Feel free to pray her safely across the ocean with me.)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Goodbye to Ah Kong

Lawrence Lee with his family--May 2006
My father-in-law, Maureen's dad, Lawrence Lee, left this life last night -- from my perspective -- Saturday morning Singpore time. Those left behind -- Maureen's mom, her sister, her brother, and his three grandchildren -- will miss him. He was 85 and had was in a coma following a stroke a couple of days before.
During all the time that I knew him, "Dad" always seemed a kind, old man. Maureen was nervous about our first meeting. She wasn't sure how he would receive me. But he welcomed me--a stranger and a foreigner--into his family.
The joy of his life was his grandchildren. He wasn't able to do a lot with them, but he longed for their visits and mourned their absence. And they loved him. When I asked Jeremy what he remembered about his grandfather he said -- "not a whole lot, but I loved him."
I'll always be grateful to Ah Kong (grandfather). He is the father of the love of my life. And he took his kids to church. It was through the church that Maureen's beautiful character and molded in the image of Jesus Christ. I don't know if that could have happened without Ah Kong seeing that his children got to church.
Good bye, Ah Kong. We'll miss you.
Maureen left tonight (Saturday) to join her family in Singapore. She plans to fly back into Abilene on Feb. 19.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Winter Makes It

Like much of the country, winter made it to Albany this past week. We called off Sunday services -- the first time in anyone's memory that has happened -- due to icy road conditions. The kids were out of school Monday and had late starts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But Wednesday was the big day for the Parker household -- That's the day Jeremy and Jonathan got to play in the snow for the first time in their lives!

The only winter that Jeremy has spent in the States was when he was three years old, the winter of 2001-02 -- the year we adopted Jonathan. That year we missed the snow a couple of times because of our travels and the most we saw was a few flurries.

Wednesday morning the boys were so excited to get out in the snow. In keeping with the "You can take the boy out of Africa, but you can't take the Africa out of the boy motif," Jonathan just can't seem to accept that you just have to wear shoes in winter in America.

And to think that my boys' first snowballs were aimed at dad ...

Come see us in Albany and visit Shackleford county's historic restored court house just one block from our house. ______________________________________________________________
On a much less playful note, I extend my sympathy to all the friends and family of Adam Langford and Moses Kimeze who were serving God in Uganda when they were killed in a truck crash this week. One insightful commenter on Mike Cope's blog noted that, when praying for missionaries in the developing world, we need to remember that the greatest physical danger is not terrorists or disease (though these are real dangers), but traffic. Sadly, that has been my experience. First Nancy, then Cyndi, and now Adam and Moses.

Not long before his death, Adam had written in his blog quoting Mahatma Gandhi as saying, "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Adam added in his own comments, "...I am beginning to believe we need more people who are willing to enter into the suffering of others whether they can help or not. I want to choose suffering for the sake of others."

Adam and Moses, your service was not insignificant, and your suffering is over.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

West Africa meets West Texas

Four things have happened this week that have made me think a lot about West Africa – well, really, there are more than four, but I’m going to talk about four here. On Saturday we had a gathering of former missionaries to West Africa at the Hollands’ home. Jeff, Brenda, Josiah, Ellianna, and Rebecca, our teammates from Togo, live in Abilene, about 30 minutes from Albany. Jeff is getting a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to the Hollands and our family, the Wilsons (our teammates in Benin), the Baileys (who worked among the Aja in Benin), and the McVeys (20 yr. veterans to Ghana), were present. We talked some about Africa, but mostly we just enjoyed being together. There is a feeling of understanding and being understood when you’re with those you’ve served with.

Hanging out with old friends -- Andy Wilson & Dan McVey (but who was I boxing?)

The second incident was a couple of nights ago when Maureen made fufu for us to eat. Fufu is made from boiled and pounded yams and/or plantain – it sort of resembles sticky mashed potatoes. Of course, the secret is in the sauce. Our favorite is groundnut (peanut) soup, which Maureen made with the help of peanut butter. The boys jumped for joy when they heard we were having fufu. Jonathan announced that this was the first time he had eaten fufu in Texas—a truly momentous occasion!

You can taken the boy out of Africa ...

Today I attended a meeting of some of the CofC ministers in the area. We enjoyed a good time of fellowship. I discovered that one of them believes that God is leading him and his family—along with several others—to West Africa of all places. (I can’t say who because he is a preacher and his church does know yet.) We compared notes and shared memories and dreams. It was definitely a God-thing that we met.

Finally, today I was looking on the Blogger home page and happened to scroll down far enough to find this blog of a Peace Corps worker in Togo. He has some great video that gives you a feel for Togo, especially this one. (I still haven’t figured out how to link to/embed YouTube. Any help out there?)

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