April 24, 2009

Sea, sand and sun

We are on our way home from CEF, with a stopover in Panama City Beach.
We had a great time in Missouri, working and visiting. The trip to Florida was uneventful and the weather here was nice and cool so we could get used to the warmer temperatures we are enjoying now.
We have been positively lazy: sleeping in, walking the beach, enjoying the water, getting dry in the sun, (without burning :-), sitting in the hot tub and watching some commercial free TV. I guess there must be things to see and do around here, but our days were filled with rest. Sand, sun, sea, surf and sun-sets. We should arrive back at our home by Tuesday of next week (April 28). I think we have found spring. It has been green, we have seen flowers burst forth, and we have soaked up the sun.
Enjoying creation come to life, enjoying life such as it is, and being assured of LIFE, we live on as travelers as time marches onward.

April 14, 2009

Our work at CEF.

(the pictures are clickable for larger views)

Although most of the volunteers here work at the Mailbox Club, some of us work in different areas, like maintenance and grounds for many of the able bodied men. Corrie and I usually work in the production department. We are involved with collating, punching and comb-binding books of “flash-cards.” Some of these books also contain text and songs, for use in clubs. The CEF press here also publishes Spanish versions; some of the international books contain just the flash cards. Also we have been helping pack kits for the various Gospel Clubs, like the Five Day Clubs, or Good News Clubs. The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that Good News Clubs can be conducted in public elementary schools, so many kits are prepared for use in Good News Clubs held at these schools.

Corrie is the one volunteer who is trained and trusted to make “Wordless Books.” These booklets use color to tell the salvation - gospel story. Green is for Salvation and is the outside cover. Black signifies our sin, Red the blood of Christ, White is the washing away - purity, Gold is heaven, the presence if God. Many of the club leaders like to use these little books. They are made in strips, which produce 6 booklets. In a day a person can make about 200 strips, or 1200 booklets. CEF press also still makes flocked pictures, which can be used on flannel boards; again, there continues to be quite a demand for these as well.
Most of this work is labor intensive, therefore the use of volunteers is very beneficial.

For relaxation we have a country band sing along, called
“Picking and Grinning” once a week, usually on Thursday night. We do a lot of old “homecoming” songs, and some fancy guitar picking goes on as well. All good clean fun. Many evenings we go for a walk on the grounds, but this time, the weather has not been cooperative. It has been cold and rainy, most days. So we have been relegated to watching some DVD movies on our computer in the room.

April 6, 2009

On "Assignment"

Here we are again, working at the beautiful Child Evangelism Fellowship campus. It is nice to be back here among old friends while making new ones. The CEF Headquarters is always a bustling place. Just the operation of the Mailbox Club keeps many volunteers busy. Corrie and I usually work in the finishing department, with the production of flash-cards, binding them into books; or assembling kits for “5 Day Clubs,” or “After School Clubs” where the Gospel message is presented to children. During our stay at here in Warrenton, Missouri, we again noticed te colorful center of the campus; the International Plaza. CEF is present all over the world and the world is divided in 8 CEF regions. Although each region has a regional director, each of the countries in these region is individually represented. The plaza sprouts nine flagpoles; one for each region and the 9th one for unreached nations. There are about 59 nations in the world where CEF is not present. Each of the 8 flagpoles flies a flag from a nation in the specific region, the names of the individual nations are listed on the base of the poles. I used to recognize more flags than I do now, and it is always a nice challenge to me to guess the country represented by a specific flag. The flags are changed weekly during a scheduled ceremony attended by staff and volunteers. During the dedication service of the plaza last year, a specific national flag was run up the associated regional flagpole after a brief history and other information regarding that flag and what it represents. The first flag up was from Brazil, representing the Latin American region; the first international endeavor of CEF, back in the 1940s. Next Europe was represented by Albania, the country in which all religion, – including Christianity, had been stamped out. After the fall of communism, things definitely changed! For the unreached nations the international board selected Egypt to initially be represented; after all Jesus went there first. Every day now, as we walk to work and back to our room in the lodge, we are continually warmed in our hearts by the grace of God, who allows His word to be spread to all the children of the world.