Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A video to watch

This is a great video by Louie Giglio from the Passion movement. What he says in this video really connects with our hearts and the things we believe!

As we get ready to attend the Boston Winter conference, we sent this out to our students.

It's sort of a commercial for the passion 2010 conference, but it's more than that. Louie is talking about living faith filled lives for the Glory of God, and expecting great things from God during this strategic time of life called college!

It's like 30 minutes long...but it's good!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Warrior's Passing

We just found out this week, that Franklin Elser passed away in October of this year, in Missouri where he and his wife Betty were living. Franklin was a man of great faith, and a retired Presbyterian minister.

Stephanie and I still remember vividly our visit to Franklin and Betty’s house back in 2001. We were actually raising financial support in order to head out to Spain on our first assignment with Campus Crusade for Christ.

We had a wonderful visit with the two of them. Betty is very outgoing, and loud, and Franklin was much more soft-spoken. He had a cane, and was almost 90 years old. He was small, and his back was curved. His calm and yet engaging demeanor, combined with his age and his cane reminded me of Yoda from Star Wars. I remember three things specifically about Mr. Elser.

#1. He was a devoted prayer warrior.

At the time, the Elser’s were living in a little home on the East side of town. It seemed like and apartment, not too big, nice and cozy. There was a couch, and some chairs, and I don’t remember too much about the d├ęcor, except for the big World map pinned up on one of the walls. Franklin and Betty used the map to help them pray specifically for the nations, for people all over the world. If I recall correctly, there were a couple of handwritten notes on the wall next to the map with specific prayer requests. It was like a prayer wall. (I think I remember that he had those books that help you pray strategically for each country in the 10/40 window, but I’m not sure)

Though age had taken it’s toll on his body, Franklin’s mind and spirit were quite alert still. And though his official pastoring days were behind him, he was still quite engaged in the work of missions, praying faithfully for the Gospel to go forward all around the globe.

#2 He was a fervent supporter of missionaries.

Praying would be enough, but as Jesus stated: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) We asked the Elser’s if they would like to contribute to our campus ministry work, and they responded with a joyful “Yes.”

At that point, Franklin did something I will never forget. He picked up a piece of paper. It was white, and folded in half. After unfolding it once, there was another piece of paper scotch taped to it, so that the total size of the page looked to be around 17 inches long. On both sides was typed –in single space type with an old typewriter the names of various different missionaries and mission organizations. And next to each name was a dollar amount ranging from $15 to hundreds of dollars that he was giving to the different missionaries. I was able to look at it for only a few minutes as Franklin added our names to the list –but I estimated that there were like 120 different missionary organizations and people that the Elser’s were giving to! (I didn’t get to count them, but I estimated based on the lines that fit on a page of that size. All I know was there were a bunch!) There was a line that said Campus Crusade for Christ on it. Franklin and Betty had already been contributing generically to Campus Crusade, so he wrote our name next to that, and decided to earmark his next contribution (and add to it) so that it would go to fund our ministry.

I could not believe how many missionaries they were supporting –and praying for! Especially on a retired pastors salary. It was truly inspirational to Stephanie and I both.

#3 He was a discerning encourager.

Over the years, Franklin continued to encourage us. A couple of times he wrote us a short note to let us know that he was praying for us, and to lift our Spirits.

We saved the one he sent us back in December of 2001. At that time, we were ready to get to Spain, and were becoming a bit disheartened about how long it was taking us to amass the funds! We’d been raising support for about 11 months and still didn’t have enough to leave.

At a very divine time one day, we received a short hand-written note from Franklin. He had meticulously scrawled a verse from an old hymn for us to read. It encouraged us to fix or eyes on God and trust in his timing. We saved that note because it so ministered to our souls, and the words of that hymn still do.

Franklin was a devoted follower of Jesus, and today he is with him in paradise! Our prayers are with his wife and family who continue to live on. I know they miss him, and we do to. I am very thankful for his example.

(Additionally, just this week I found an old Mission Frontiers publication. It featured John R. Mott –which is cool because he was at Cornell. The magazine was actually addressed to Mr. Elser, and he’d apparently given it to my brother David back in high school. On the back cover he’d written the names of 4 students who he had thought might benefit from it.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

hoping to get with the times...and keep up with you.

Hey, thanks for coming to our blog site/web site. This is our latest attempt at making a cool fun, interactive site that helps us keep more connected with you! Let's give it a go!