525,600 minutes

How do you measure...a year in the life? (Now you will be singing this all day!)

Here's Tessa on her 1 year birthday. What a difference a year makes.


The following was shared with our college students last week via a weekly email. From time to time I might re-share some of those "thoughts" here. Enjoy.

If you walk in our house you’ll be greeted by two special mutts, Montana and Neela. Montana is a bit older, a bit bigger, and a bit sweeter than her little sis. Neela is the eternal puppy, little miss sneaky, pretty whiny.

Neela is the one who I will honestly say “gets on my nerves”. She tests my patience. She looks at me as if to say “I know what you want out of me...but go ahead a accept that I am who I am. And just to prove it I think I’ll poop right here.”

If you were at Emmaus this past Tuesday you heard that Neela was hit by a car Sunday and her leg was amputated Tuesday morning. Right now, Neela sits on my office couch just as happy as can be. Probably feeling extraordinarily special that she gets a seat of honor...and coupled with the sweet meds.

I’ve been hard on Neela. Really hard. Her attitude — if you can call it that — makes it hard for me to love on her but I learned through this process how important she is to me. She’s part of our family...and Tessa’s favorite dog to kiss. (Yuck.) I love her, not in spite of her issues…but simply because she is a part of me and my story.

I think that sometimes I’m like Neela to God. I’m just a little odd. Too confident in myself. I smell like I’ve rolled around in death. I’m maimed and wounded...and the scars are not attractive. But God doesn’t weigh my value by these peculiarities. He sees my desperate desire for living water and my need for a Savior and he delights in my vulnerability. My weakness does not repel him. In fact he loves me. And he loves filling my weakness with his love.

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! …Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:3-6 as paraphrased in The Message
What a blessing he is!

Have you thanked your heavenly Father for pursuing you? For choosing you? For inviting you? Rest today in the truth that you are beloved, part of a divine family...and your wounds don’t scare him.

I know right?! He really is that good! - Justin

Haiti donation contact

If you have items to donate or questions, contact Myra Phillips. myra@silicones-inc.com

You can bring items to First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem on Sunday. Building B. 1stpres.com

You can help Haiti

We have a plane leaving Winston-Salem within the next week headed to the DR bringing medical supplies. If you'd like to donate anything toward our efforts in Haiti, here's what you can do:

Start a medical supply drive and/or take up money to buy supplies.

Here is a rough list of what is needed. I will let you know what to do with it as soon as I can. But go ahead and start collecting!

All and any first aid supplies… ie bandages, splints, braces adhesives etc
Antibiotics, pain meds…. etc

We need antibiotics, sutures, casting materials, ACE bandages, gauze, antibiotic cream, IV fluids, water purification tablets, Band Aids, Diabetic and hypertensive medications, protein powders, milk, vitamins, baby formula, baby bottles, pain medications, tape, IV tubing, angiocaths, syringes, needles, glucometers and strips, sterile and non sterile gloves, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, recharable otoscopes, iodine, betadine, alcohol, peroxide, acid reflux meds.

what am I to do?

Tomorrow, I'm DR bound once again. This time, I will have Haiti on my heart as I go. Provided that my flight goes as scheduled, I will be a mere few hundred miles and yet feel a world away from the devastation that I am seeing on the news.

If you are wondering like me, "what am I to do?," I just wanted to tell you that Mission Emanuel is putting together a shipment of supplies to take to the country. You see, a few years ago, we built a water filtration center. We have the capability to provide thousands of gallons of clean water. We have medical supplies and resources that have been gathered over the past 13 years of ministry in the DR. What an amazing God who knew that all along. He knew that we could do what we can to mobilize our people to help. Thanks to so many of you, we can DO SOMETHING.

But what really gets my heart going is that I believe God can use this to change the hearts and lives of so many Haitians and Dominicans. What most of you might not know is that there is a H U G E divide between the two cultures. "Hate" is sadly not too strong a term to use in labeling their relationship. Their history has put them at odds with each other for a very long time. There continues to be much discrimination and prejudice among the general Dominican population towards Haitians. My prayer is that God will use this to break down those barriers and show all of us that we are no different. I pray for Dominican hearts to be broken for their neighbors that they would realize we are ALL called to action. God can work so much better when we get out of the way, forget what shade of brown our skin is and just LOVE somebody.

Ok. I'll stop there. If you want to give, do it. I don't care how. Just $5 will make a difference. At our water plant, a 5 gallon bottle of water costs a little under $2. I bet you can find that hanging out in your couch cushions!

Anyway, if you'd like to donate through Mission Emanuel. Click here. Or if you prefer talking to a real live human being (Julia, Kathy, or Traci), call 407.422.9200.