Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I meant to post sooner, I even logged on and began writing an entry, but, as so happens so often in my life, I was blank. I knew what needed to be done, had intentions of doing it, I even started doing it... but, just couldn't get it going. I did this again last night. I had full intentions of going to the gym, even got all dressed and ready... long story short, I had dinner and watched TV. So much for that discipline thing I wrote about before. I'm working on it, I am a work in progress.

So about the updates I promised... first, youth ministry... I don't have photos yet, but I will post the video at the earliest possible convenience. I have to render it out for the web first. I hope you will all enjoy it. So, needless to say, that update is still in progress. More to come later...

Second... This weekend we, as Capital Church, embarked on a long term investment into a community located in Swaziland, Africa called Mkhombokati. We heard from the president of Children's Hopechest, Tom Davis, as he discussed with us the need in this particular village in Africa.

Swaziland holds the number one spot for HIV infection (approx. 45%) leaving most children not only orphaned, but without suitable structures to live and to raise their younger siblings. Every child that reaches the age of 15 has a one in ten chance of making in until 30. Due to the AIDS epidemic there is no opporunity for industry, only poverty. One missionary recorded how when he first arrived in the country he had to bury one person a week. That total is now ten a day. On top of all that Swaziland, a monarchist government, is a polygamyst culture. This means that many children who do have parents, their fathers are their primary caregivers, who are never there and care nothing for them.

Mkhombokati is primarily made up of some small shacks linked together with a central building where Children's Hopechest provides food for the orphans. Capital Church's role in all of this is to 1) Sponsor out each child to one family from the church. This sponsorship includes monthly donation along with written contatc with that child. 2) to send periodic teams to Mkhombokati to help provide for their needs. Whether physical, emotional or spiritual. This means these teams will do anything from build a school to lead Vacation Bible Schools. This will be a long term effort where Capital has plans to take onwership of this community; investing in it and making it their own.

Before I introduce our newest little family member, I want to share with you all the words of Pastor Walter. Pastor Walter is the Pastor for this area of Swaziland, and it is his vision that has inspired this movement. Pastor Walter, talking about the Swazi people described the despair and poverty of his nation and asked [imagine the broken english with thick African accent.] "How do you be the hands and feet of Jesus..." he responded "God is there, by using us... We are coming with hope to them... I see them arising up... why? Because God is using us as the hands and feet."

So... we have decided that we want to be part of the hands and feet. We want to see change in this world. We want to see a world where God's Kingdom is a reality not a myth. Hopefully, in the future, Shelli and I will be able to be those hands and feet there in Africa, providing medical services, putting on VBS, building, and investing in these children face-to-face... In the mean time, meet our little boy Menzi. [Might I add, we also have another little boy, Jose in the Dominican Republic, and I don't want to diminish his value to us as well. We love them both.]

Menzi Manyika, Age 9

Menzi like sports, dancing, music, singing, and reading. His personality is described as active, good-natured, friendly, and curious. Menzi is in the second grade. We are both extremely excited to be part of this, and look forward to continuing to pray for Menzi and be a part of his life.

In other news, this weekend is a big event, as Shelli is riding the tandem bike in the Logan Century with her Dad. This is Shelli's first century ride, although its Garys millionth or something, he is incredible. She is way excited but a little nervous, too. I am really stoked for her, I know she will do incredible. She is relentless and driven and it shows in everything she does. I am looking forward to cheering them on from the sidelines, as I am in as about of good of shape as a hippopotumus with three legs. Like I said, I am a work in progress, and I am working on it. Please pray for Shelli and her Dad, for health and safety, and that they would enjoy this experience together. I will be cheering them on at the start and then hopefully catching up with a couple good friends while they ride.

and so it starts

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It really did. It started. We have officially received emails notifying us to update our blog. 2 posts in and we are already slackers. I knew it would happen, I just didn't know it would so fast.

So, married life transitions have begun. For the most part we are all settled in. Our apartment looks far more domesticated than it did as a "bachelor pad". We have dishes that match and everything! Oooo, and towels, matching towels, shower curtain, too. Its become much more a home and I feel far more settled in than before. Unfortunately, in the mix of everything Shelli and I haven't been able to see a ton of each other. She starts classes again next week, I believe. She is taking Physiology and Chemistry as prereqs on the path to her nursing requirments. In the meantime she has been working like crazy at Primary, mostly evenings, which means I typically see her a half hour before I leave in the morning and about an hour before bed at midnight. Its been a little rough, but we do get the weekends. I have been full speed ahead back at work. My job never slows, I run about 10-15 different deadlines every two weeks, in addition to daily workload, this only seems to increase as of late. I have this curse/gift where I thrive and and excel under pressure, so deadlines can be good, but I also get consumed by them and they overtake me. This, is very, very bad.

I am learning, against my will as always, the value of peace in chaos. I tend to get wrapped up in fiascoes, I get... intense, for lack of a better term. I think I age a year for every day I am at work. God, never really gives me alot of time to be at peace, but he does lead me to find peace in the midst of chaos. My prayer of "God, give me time to find peace and slow down" is seemingly responded with, "I will give you my peace, I will slow you down." I need to find peace, be in God's presence, without needing a separate circumstance to get me there. I am learning this so readily now, because I am something I have never been before: a husband. There is alot more to life now. If I can find peace, keep a cool head, then things tend to work themselves out. If I become... intense, lets just say, they don't; if anything, I create more 'things.' Funny how that works. My theme as of late centers around one word. Something I need to emphasize in every aspect of my life: my work, marriage, relationships, endeavors. Discipline. Capability is rarely my problem. Discipline, is always my problem. For so many I know 'discipline = success,' for me 'discipline = failure.' I would like to see that changed in my life. I'd wager that the result would be immeasurably positive.

I will post again in the next couple of days. See, one of the other things permeating our life, is our volunteering with Capital Church as youth leaders. A very time-consuming, invasive adventure, but ultimately beautiful. Tonight, we film video to promote this weeks activity of 'Water Armageddon' on Sunday. Lets just say, I hope I am alive to repost in a couple days. I'll have photos too, I hope. Also I will be bringing news of another adventure, our church will be partnering long term with a small community in Swaziland, Africa. Shelli and I will have the opportunity to be a huge part of this, and we get to hear all about it this weekend, I am immensly looking forward to this!

More later...

welcome to the family

Friday, August 3, 2007

The past few days since our return it has been interesting reflecting on the brevity of everything swirling around our lives. It has been a time of tremendous transition and incredible adjustment. Our apartment has been turned completely upside down and nothing seems to roll to the same old tune in which it used to. Everything has a new song to it, a different rhythm, a different beat. Its fun, exciting and overwhelming in the same breath. I have been glancing through photos of our wedding day and realizing that I was at a completely different event. Not really, but I think you can catch my drift. Its amazing how looking back on the photos can help you piece it all together through the chaos.

I have also been thinking a lot about how Shelli and I form our family. In one hand we are clinging to that which has most made us... us: our families. It is amazing how God molds us through our families. Their love, support and encouragement has brought us here. We carry with us traditions, methods and habits that we received from our families that we want to pass to our own family. One the other hand we are doing just that; creating our own family. One that is uniquely us (despite sharing a last name with several thousand people). In the midst of all this we are also both being welcomed into new families, Shelli into mine, and I into hers. Each side becomes part of our family as much as we are part of each. This really is a beautiful experience to go through, it carries plenty of adaptation requirements, but it has been fun to become part of Shelli's family, to see her become part of mine, and to meld our own family from each.

One the topic of where we come from here is Shelli and her Mom, Pam...

me and my Dad, John...

...welcome to the family!

I will leave you, as I promised with some fun photos and commentary from our spectacular honeymoon!

Starting with Royal Carribean's own private Island in the Bahamas: 'Cococay'. Where we went sea kayaking, snorkeling and dined on sand dollars...

Followed by the unforgettable Nassau, Bahamas

Where we built our very first home... which is no longer standing...

And this is how we funded our honeymoon...

We return to the cruise ship for Dancing...

And towel animals. This is Ellie...

Back to land, and the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral where I discovered I can never be an astronaut (I know what your all thinking, but no, its because I'm too tall smarty pants!)

We did however meet an astronaut...

And of course, just like everywhere else we went, played in the water...

The next day we got rolling and.. you guessed it, went and played in the water! Body boarding in Cocoa Beach:

And the Ron Jon Surf Shop...

Oh, and did I forget to mention the Manatee Park?

"I'm a Sea Cow... I live in the Oshun"

new life

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The wedding has come and past and the honeymoon has lapsed, now its back to the 'real world'. No more manatees, stingrays, or body surfing. It really is sad, isn't it? Since our wedding website is now obsolete for keeping everyone abreast of our new family stories, we are switching to this blog. Hopefully Shelli and I will be a little more effective at keeping a regular stream of updates than we were that last month before the wedding (sorry, it got a little hectic there for a while). you can also now email us at

Thank you to everyone who helped us out with the wedding, especially in those last waining moments. We have received so many compliments on how beautiful the entire event was and we just couldn't have done it without everyone there helping us. We could not have dreamed of a better group of family and friends to have in our lives. You are all wonderful! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I will be back shortly with some pictures of the wedding and honeymoon, but for now here's to all things new!