It is nearly 9AM here, which means that it is around 3AM where my friend Stacey lives and around Midnight in Seattle, where all of you are.  I made many attempts to get online to write last night, but I think God must have known how tired I was.  I have fresh fingers and a fresh mind this morning.  Today at noon I will be riding with Kurt and Stephanie Plagenhoef to Fushkruje.  There we will meet Alban, Edvis, an engineer from the city, and the primary contractor for the site where the church is being built.  Next Monday will be my first day on the job.  I am nervous.

Yesterday was a very encouraging day.  Astrite and Emily from Smile International hosted a conference here at the school.  The key note speaker was a man named John Verwer.  I’m certain you can find information both on and from this man online, and I recommend you do so.  He has been travelling as a Christian speaker for 55 years.  

Just go ahead and sit with that statistic for a second.  

Mr. Verwer has about a dozen engagements a month, somewhere in the world; anywhere really.  He was honest, funny, and warm and he challenged the men in the audience in a special way.  Mr. Verwer brought to mind an idea that I had never considered before, and I will get to that in a paragraph or so.  Before I do, let me offer a piece of my world view.  I believe in God.  I do not believe in luck or chance, but in a plan that God has for His people and His world; of which we are a part.  I believe that you, yes even you, were in the plan of God since before the beginning of time.  You are His child and He intends to prosper you.  So, that’s where I’m coming from.

Mr. Verwer offered a complement to that perspective, a rational conclusion stemming from the reality of a fallen world.  That complement is that there is an evil one who also has a plan.  He has a plan to unravel what God has interwoven.  He is like a malevolent dog who waits until twenty minutes before Thanksgiving dinner is served to tear the entire banquet from the table-top by taking the tablecloth in his teeth and ripping the entire course violently to the hardwood floor below.  This act of anti-harmony takes no small amount of foresight; the dog is a planner.  In the same way we have seen how the dog waits until there is a great and beautiful work being accomplished through an individual by God.  He then takes advantage of that person’s lack of vigilance, their humanness, their broken nature and leads that person to destroy their families, their careers, and themselves.  People who work in the church needn’t fear this animal, but they do need to respect the sharpness of his teeth and the strength of his locking jaw.

Read Ephesians chapter 6.

I am loving life more with each day.  The next time I see you I will be able to sing you at least two short songs in Albanian from memory.  I have been welcomed into this house like a man attending his first family reunion.  I hope that you will visit me here.  I pray you are well.