Wayfaring Stranger

Christmas Letter 2011 and Mission Trip gallery

Photo with flag

Hope you all had a wonderful year! Here is my Christmas letter for 2011. Merry Christmas one and all!

I haven't had a chance to make one of my photo galleries for my mission trip like years gone past. But it is up online.

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Merry Christmas 2010

preview New York City 57th and Broadway preview New York Empire State Building preview Russia and Rodney with Campers preview Rodney and Sea Horse in Roatan Honduras preview Rodney and Sea Horse in Roatan Honduras (2)

Hope you all had a wonderful 2010! Here is my Christmas letter for 2010. Merry Christmas one and all!

The "readers digest" version is on my mission trip I got to go to Siberia Russia (bookended by a couple of days in New York City). Followed by a couple of quick (cheap non-rev/interline) scuba trips to Roatan and the Florida Keys. :)


My Siberia Russia mission trip

I'm just getting this gallery up ... so many photos! What a trip! Let me know what you think :) You should see the hundreds of photos I left out so this wouldn't get overwhelming ... if it isn't already. We went a lot of places and talk to hundreds, no thousands of people.

Siberia mission trip title image

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Prison 42

Oleg, one of our Russian Christian helpers said this about our trip to prison 42 (the maximum security prison for violent criminals) : "For us Prison 42 was like a fortress with no doors, until you came and now it is wide opened!"

That's so awesome! Thank you to all who prayed for us and supported us so God could "crack this nut" for the local Christians to start ministering to these men.

I just noticed that my blog email wasn't turned on when I posted from Russia and New York, so there are 3 older posts on my blog that you might want to read too.

Home Again, Home Again!

Hello Dallas :)

I got in late last night. I non-rev-ed into and out of NYC to help keep my trip costs down; Global Aid only arranged airfare into and out of NYC since team members lived all across the US. Our team got back into NYC on Thursday the 22nd, and I stayed in NYC until Saturday to take in some sights. When I left on Saturday I flew from La Guardia to Chicago and then (supposedly) onto Dallas. Little did I know that Chicago had a monsoon on Friday which flooded the city, swamped the interstates, and closed the airport! :(( So on Saturday all the stranded passengers, crew-members, and I was trying to get out of Chicago (note: revenue customers and crew-members out rank me on standby priority). It was quite a travel day, but I made it a little later than planned being diverted all over the place ... although my bags flew straight on without the same difficulty that I had! So at least my luggage was waiting for me in Dallas once I arrived.

Each of the orphanages and schools we visited had a concert planned for us. Wow, I felt like a visiting dignitary or somebody important. The kids were so cute and talented, one was designed around Russian fairy tales, another a puppet show, some with music (one included kids playing the spoons!:); and one school had an auction of crafts, dolls, and toys that the kids and local people had made. One girl hula-hooped like I have never seen before. Once their concert was over we would sing, dance, and do a gospel drama for them. It was a fun trip.

At the summer camp the "kids" challenged us to a soccer match. I say "kids" b/c these guys were ringers or something; they were huge and obviously good soccer players. They massacred us at 5 to 1 ... at least it wasn't a shutout! :)

One village we visited was a village of the SHOWSI (sp?) people group. There are only 7000 people of their kind and that number is shrinking every time a census is taken. Their school was a little larger than the Little House on the Prairie-style school, it had a few classrooms off the big "main" room; but it looked and felt like it most every other way.

Later after the SHOWSI village was when we visited the maximum security prison. These prisoners were serving 30+ years to life ... this was a tight-lock-down kind of place. I have never been to a prison like this in the US, much less in Russia. The prisoners have time, lot's and lot's of time. So they read and think and read and think and talk. Philosophy is very much a Russian pass time ... always has been. So when we talked to the prisoners some were quoting out of Hebrews chapters 4-6 and asking if it meant you could loose your salvation, and other hard questions!

Two of the team-members from Wisconsin have been in prison ministry with Campus Crusade for the past 33 years. They are the ones who gave the seminar the 1 Saturday we were in Siberia. Corporal Marina is over the whole Novokuznetsk region of prisons and she was with us at some of the prisons and she attended the seminar with much interest. I think there is a great work going on there and that a prison ministry is about to explode all over Russia. Please pray for Russia and its prison ministry.

The Russian government just created a chaplain position in its prison system and invited the Orthodox church to fill it; which they agreed to. But once they found out it was not a paid position they withdrew their support, so now it is open to literally anyone who volunteers to be chaplain. So the church is trying to fill the role, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve the prisoners and spread the gospel!

The church has a vision to reach every single village and people group in Russia and Siberia and all the churches have been challenged to take a year and send people out to their surrounding villages. Please pray that their message will be received and accepted. One of the churches we visited stars at 10am and finishes at 6pm! They have 2 hours of worship, then lunch, then evangelism training, then visitation/evangelism in the village and surrounding countryside. Boy, doesn't that convict you when you are sitting in a pew looking at your watch wondering if your favorite restaurant will have a long line because the preacher is running late!?!

There is still so much more I could tell you, but words are not enough. Maybe next year you could go too and experience the stories first hand?! :)) I will try and get pictures up a soon as I can.

God bless

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Hello USA!

We flew in from Moscow yesterday on a 10.5 hour flight (or 9.5 maybe?). And EVERYONE is glad to be back. I scheduled a stop in NYC to take in some sights and I walked around all day yesterday. I was worn out, but maybe that'll help beat jetlag.(?)

Here's a God story from our trip; we all packed a lot of gifts and aid materials to take to Siberia with us. So we all had 2 checked bags, 1 personal bag with clothes and gifts to give out and 1 bag from Global Aid with more stuff to give out. You can check 2 bags on an international flight, so going from NYC to Moscow was fine. But when we checked in for Moscow to Novokuznetsk, that is a domestic flight and they wanted to charge us for all the extra bags and extra weight ... it was going to be 2 thousand bucks! Charles started talking to them telling it was aid for orphans and prisoners and the rest of us prayed. They wanted proof of what we were doing so we pulled out our trip books and showed them our itinerary and they waved the entire fee! Slava Bogo (Praise God)! He is good and takes care of his own.

Ok, here's one fun story. The Russian alphabet has a lot of latin characters in it but they are pronounced like the Greek letters, so you can almost never sound out any words you see (e.g. a "P" is the Greek letter "roe" and makes a "r" sound). So a "nameless" friend asks how to pronounce "pectopah" in Russian. Me: "resturan", her: no in Russian, Me: "resturan", her: no in RUSSIAN, Me: "resturan", her (turns to Laura a Russian speaker): how do you pronounce that in Russian?, Laura: "resturan", her: Oh, ok. :)

God bless you all, and more stories to come.

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Priveyet from Siberia

Hello from Siberia Russia!

We have been really busy. We have been visiting at least 2 sites a day, including 3 prisons and 1 summer camp. Some days we were up at 5:30am and in bed after 11pm. Some days it was a 4 hour ride out to the sites and one day was 5 hour ride. But it's really been a great time. We visited a men's rehab center and met a lot of great guys and heard some convicting testimonies. This is the first internet opportunity I've had yet.

Today we went to Russian churches and talked about our project and we got to eat lunch with a family from the church. Our team split up and went to 4 churches. At our host home we sang songs, ate some good Russian food, played games, told jokes, etc... Fun time were had by all!

The time in the prisons has opened doors and established relationships for the local believers to do more ministry once we leave. Dan and Rene gave a seminar in a near by town on prison ministry yesterday (they have been in prison ministry for 33 years). People came in from as far away as the Urals and Moldavia to attend. It is something that has been needed, and has been prayed for, here for years. God is getting ready to do a great work in the prisons here in Siberia and in all of Russia. Pray for access to the prisons and for open hearts of the prisoners.

The kids at the summer camp were sooooo cute that I want to stay and just be at camp all summer! :) If you don't see me back by next Monday, you'll know where to look.

There are so many stories to tell, but I have to go so that will have to wait till I get back I guess.

From Russia with Love

P.S. ok one last story. I am sitting at an internet cafe with my roommate's laptop b/c I am LOCKED out of my room! :-(( The lock just jammed and won't open, thank goodness for the diversion and the chance to update you all. They have called a carpenter to drill the lock, but he is out in his dacha which is about 2 hours outside the city. So we'll see how that goes. Keep PRAYING for us! And God bless you. :)

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Southwest proudly presents our 2009 Flickr Photos of the Year

There's some really great Southwest Airline photos in this blog post.

Lighting above Sky Harbor

Christmas Letter 2009

Hope you all had a wonderful 2008! Here is my Christmas letter for 2009. Merry Christmas one and all!


Vacation to Italy and Croatia -- photo gallery

My 09/2009 trip to Italy and Croatia

Hey everyone, I am finally getting my photos online from my trip to Europe.

NEW! poll feature ... please give feedback on the photos. Do you like it, vote it Good. Don't like it? Vote it bad. Let me know what kind of photog I am! :)

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Christmas Letter 2008

Hope you all had a wonderful 2008! Here is my Christmas letter. Merry Christmas one and all!


Russia pics

My Russia '08 pics are now online! Click here : photo gallery to view my album.


Final Stretch

Hey, we're on the final stretch of the '08 English classes! We've all had great students! Most of our (Jerry, Tracy, and Rodney's) students stayed with the classes for both weeks and a lot of them came to McPeaks after class to hang out and chat. We also had a lot of fun with the students during the day; going sightseeing, bowling, etc...

Tonight (Friday night) about 17 of us will go to the Ekaterinburg Opera house to see Swan Lake. This will be my first time in the opera house and my first time to see a ballet live. :))

Many of our students signed up to go to the Forrest Fun Party, so I am really looking forward to that. The return trip is going to be kind of rough, but it is well worth it. We will leave the party to return to the hotel for a quick shower and to pick up our bags and then leave for the airport for the long journey back to the good 'ole U.S. of A.

Please pray for us! Please pray that many students will come to our Forrest Fun Party, that they would have fun and connect with the Kompass ministry, that they would listen and be open to the good news of Jesus, and for our endurance of the flight back home.

Thank you and God bless! ... Rodney.

Start of Week #2

This year we have three English classes of about 30 students; so 90 students have been exposed to 4 stories about Jesus. Next week we will tell 4 more stories about Jesus; then on Saturday we will take the students to the "Forrest Fun Party" retreat. It will be a weekend of fun and games. After the retreat, the students will be asked to join Bible studies from the book of John.

Today the guys and Chris (Kompas staff) went to a Russian banya. We had a great time, talked about future ministry opportunities here and Ekat and in Russia in general. A banya is such a great way to start the second week; you feel clean, invigorated, and energy enough to tackle the second week. :))

Prayer Requests:

  1. That God would bless the second week of the English classes.
  2. That God would greatly use the retreat next Saturday to draw students nearer to Jesus Christ.
  3. That many students would join one of the Bible studies.
  4. We have to leave at 3am Sunday morning for the airport; but we won't leave the retreat until midnight (it's over an hour back to the hotel). So we will probably will not sleep at all before starting the long trip back! Please pray for our strength on the return trip.

Click here: English Class Students in 2008, to see a class photo.