29 April 2008


This is where we're at in fundraising. Many people have expressed a desire to give to the Aussie Mission. One of the ways they can give is to make a monthly commitment to provide for living expenses. This makes sure we stay in Australia to share the story of God and our lives. If you want to give, here is the address of our commissioning church whose elders and members oversee us spiritually. We've asked them to keep us accountable, not just for our finances, but that's definitely key.

Any financial gifts can now be sent to our new account that has been set up at the Round Rock church of Christ. Below are the church contact details. Please contact Gail if you would like to make direct deposits. All financial contributions are tax-deductible so make checks out to the Round Rock church of Christ. Please include “Aussie Mission” in the memo field.

Round Rock church of Christ
1200 N Georgetown Street
Round Rock, TX 78664
Phone (512) 255-5331
Contact: Tim Hunter (Elder of missions) or Gail (church secretary)

By June 1st 2008, we will relocate to the Austin area to better invest ourselves with the brothers and sisters at Round Rock. We anticipate spending four months serving together, serving God in their community and getting to know the family there, before heading Down Under. If you want to keep in touch with us, check out www.aussiemission.com. We have monthly newsletters you can download from August 2007 on, only skipping the month of January so far.

09 April 2008

Victim Treats His Mugger Right

Click on the title link above to listen (about 3 minutes) or read the article below:

Morning Edition, March 28, 2008 · Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"

Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"

"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.

The teen couldn't answer Diaz — or he didn't want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."

Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen's knife — "and he gave it to me."

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch."

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."

Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.

New Diet and Exercise Guidelines

I got an article I wanted to share that may have helped inspire me to start exercising again, not to lose weight, but just to be in Christian fighting condition. You know, train my body to be in service to the Lord instead of whims and so on. I have only run two or three times since Thanksgiving. Thankfully, my construction job has got me fairly active, but it's usually a low intensity and no cardio/aerobic really. But even that job will end soon as we transition into life down in Texas. We're set to move at the end of May.

New Diet and Exercise Guidelines
Gary Peters, D.C.

The federal government issued new dietary guidelines for Americans in January. Finally, the conventional medical paradigm may be indeed GETTING IT in terms of the amount of daily exercise one needs to lose weight, according to the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans along with a new Food Pyramid unveiled yesterday. Now, they recommend allotting 60-90 minutes EACH DAY to exercise.

That's a smart move, considering the key factor in building optimal health in people who have insulin resistance and need to lose weight is a 90-minute "dose" of exercise daily!

Most of the two-thirds of the country who are overweight and tens of millions of others with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, desperately need more exercise to revitalize their health. In fact, unlike typical commercial drugs, exercise can actually cause one to go into permanent remission for diabetes.

Other highlights of the new standards:

Lowering your intake of trans fats as much as possible.
Cutting back on sugar.
Increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables to 5-13 servings.
Eat fiber-rich whole fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Exercise 30-90 minutes every day.

04 April 2008

Early Morning, April 4

Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, April 4th, 1968. Did we kill him because of his non-violent attempt to lift up the poor? Or did we kill him because he pronounced judgment on the abuses of the powerful?

There are a number of U2 "Pride: In the Name of Love" videos available on the internet. One of my favorites is this sweaty mullet version so I've embedded it here:

There's also a version I like from the PopMart tour, which I saw with great friends in Dallas:


I was in a fender bender today, or "prang", as they say in Australia. I rear-ended an '89 Buick with my '92 Camry and then a Maxima slid into my rear. James Brown was in the car with me. We had been following some coworkers in the rain to another job site. James said, "Don't follow Lomberto," who was driving a truck, minimizing visibility of the road ahead. I followed the truck instead of the other cars in the caravan anyway although I general respect James' ideas. Well, on a busy four-lane road with a "chicken" lane Lomberto changed lanes quickly without a blinker. Suddenly I saw the Buick stopped dead and trying to stop while wishing the next lane was clear for me to swerve. I skidded for a fair distance before contact. The older gentleman, Oliver, was thankfully on the sidewalk rather than jacking up his car, which had blown a tire.

Well, the rest of the story consists of standing in the cold rain and going well over our cell phone free minutes. I was the only white person in the story except, I assume, for some of the people I spoke with on the phone making claims and reports on the accident and communicating with coworkers and our superintendent. The man who rear-ended me had said, "I got a Dentist appointment," and pointed to his swollen jaw. He left. James and I drove Oliver around to find an affordable tire replacement. He got a tire for $30!

What I learned:
I want to slow down and not worry about being lost from my caravan. They stopped to wait on us anyway. Next time, I will attend to all general road conditions than on sticking to the car just ahead of me.
I want to lead people, especially in slick road conditions on Friday afternoon, with great care and patience. I'm sure Sammy, Marcus, and Lomberto had this patience, but I suddenly realized that I usually do not. Unfortunately, I usually think to myself, "I'm such a good driver; I'm glad I'm not like other drivers." This might begin to change.

What I was reminded of:
I spent around $60 for my spare tire last November at Wal-Mart.
Nicole had an accident a couple years ago. She was mostly okay except for nerves and a head bump.
I heard from Australia that my brother had been in a car accident. My heart sank. He was all right except for shock and a dinner plate-size bruise.
I was rear-ended by a young Iraqi immigrant to Australia.
When I was young and playing football with my Dad, my Uncle, and my cousin, I juked my, at the time, little cousin after an interception. I had baited his Dad into throwing it gently to Brian so he would be sure to make the catch. Then, I intercepted the pass and ran casually toward a 10-inch diameter tree, finally dodging the tree at the last second, into the left lane, if you will. Brian, with arms stretched forward 11 inches apart closed his eyes just in time to violently kiss the tree. I, in a very un-Christ-like moment, was already turned around to enjoy inwardly my shameful juke. I can't believe I did it on purpose. I am ashamed that I was proud of my abilities to juke my little cousin into the tree.
Luke 18:9-14, " . . . Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored."

God have mercy on me, a sinner and proud driver! Please drive safely and listen to God's Word.

01 April 2008

Back from Belize!

Back from Belize! The only great drawback of the trip was that Nicole and I were apart. I was so glad to see and hug her again!

Here is the first of many Belize trip pictures I intend to post and comment on:

Mariano works at the Punta Gorda hospital. Early on during my conversations in Belize, Mariano tells me he is on the hospital staff. I think he said "meal" attendant. I say, "So you do the cooking for the patients?" He says, "Uh, no sir Jason." Eventually, I realize that he is saying "male" attendant. He mainly runs around on account of male patients who just so happen to stay in the "male ward", a single room. Mariano and I got along very well and had some good laughs as well as attended patients together. He asked for a Bible, so I got him one for free and wrote in it. Another staff member took this picture just outside the hospital the night before our surgical mission team returned to the States.

The Monday before leaving for Belize, Nicole and I discovered that a) we are having a girl!!! and b) the afterbirth/placenta is covering the baby's "way out". So we had (and still have) anxiety over discovery "b".

On the plane I discovered Psalm 131. So I read and meditated on it throughout my time in Belize and even since I came back.

O Lord, my heart is not conceited.
My eyes do not look down on others.
I am not involved in things too big or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have kept my soul calm and quiet.
My soul is content as a weaned child is content in its mother's arms.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord now and forever.