Friday, October 31, 2003

Mike Yaconelli - youth worker legend - Dies in fatal crash {link]

Annette and I saw Mike Yaconelli in Buenos Aires just two months ago. His irreverent sense of humor and envelop-pushing wisdom communicated equally well to the Spanish speaking audience in attendance.

We took a few of our best friends (both Latin American youth leaders) to a huge Youth Specialties conference in Argentina. After hearing dozens of speakers, they came back impacted by and quoting Mike Yaconelli. I was honestly amazed that this 60+ year old gringo, was so relevant even for my 20-something mexican friends.

I'll sign off with this quote from the "Bye to Mike Yaconelli Forum":

What a night it must have been for Mike to see the face of Jesus, be held in his arms, and laugh! We all will miss Mike...

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

This sense of joy and pride... it must be how parents feel when their kids surpass them.

Last weekend a few of the youth leaders into whom we've invested our lives over the past 7 years did just that.. they surpassed us. They - not us - were invite to do a youth leaders training event. They organized and taught two days of seminars. It was wonderful and they received lot's of good feedback from those in attendance.

We were barely involved at all and never up front. We just helped serve food during the breaks.

Did we feel left out, forgotten, or obsolete? Not at all. On the contrary... this was the culmination of our work with local youth leaders; the final stage of the "i do it, you watch... i do it, you help... you do it, i help... you do it, i watch" process that we teach.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

If you tell a kid, "mankind is a fallen creature, but God loves us and offers expiation, redemption and justification through Jesus Christ" you're just wasting your breath.... do you think those words really have an impact?

But tell about a father who does his best to love his child, who gives until it hurts... but that child laughs, takes off, blows the money and humiliates the father and family... after screwing it up and ending up in a spring break beach resort turning tricks in exchange for food money or a high, the kid wakes up one morning wondering, "what the *$??! have i done to my life"... calls home and hears Dad's voice say, "Is that you?! I've missed you so much. I've been trying to find you. I love you... please come home. All is forgiven... forgotten."

Now that story has more of a chance of truly communicating. For exactly that reason, we are investing in a writing contest via our web site - $300 dollars to best retelling of the prodigal son parable. Together with a youth organization in Spain, we'll turn the story into an short-form animation for online and CD distribution.

Annette took 8 days to research and write up an explanation of the "why" behind this contest... a kind of mision statement. It's excellent + it's illustrated. Take a look at it here=> [Best - Adobe .PDF] or [Good - Word format]

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Althought Annette and I have lived in Mexico working with young adults for nearly 8 years, the following article really brought home the almost hopeless prospects youth here have for a better life:

It's tough being young in Mexico... as doors close, another generation grows desperate {click here)

Friday, October 10, 2003

here is a photo showing my "facial hair freedom" while Annette has been in the U.S. with her family:

Pretty scary, huh. I'm thinking my mother is looking at that photo and hoping Annette returns soon to bring order back to her little boy's face. Take off the glasses, and you could title this "Biker Tim".

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Good news! Our hispanic youth workers web site had 70,254 unique users visit the site in the month of September... that's a record. That's 2341.8 people per day and over 10,000 visitors more than the prior record month (which July '03).

: : : { click here to view a concise graphical stats page } : : :

You might ask, "Yes, but how many of those 'visitors' actually work with young people?"

I'm glad you asked :-) because we regularly poll our web site's users and according to our latest poll 95.02% of them work with youth. Interestingly only 3.85% of them are paid (91.17 are volunteers).

We are excited to be a part of something which is responding to a significant need - training and resources for people attempting to help and love the youth (within the Spanish speaking world).

Friday, October 03, 2003

It's 2:10 a.m. and i've just gotten my highest ever school in the game "Tetris" on my computer. It asked me for the name i wanted to put for myself in the "high score" table and i typed - TIM WITHOUT ANNETTE.

This picture pretty much shows the slow but sure slide into full-fledge bachelor-slob mode (the baseball hat is to men what "foundation" is to women).

Only 10 more days.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Today Annette's older sister arrived in Wichita (she lives outside of N.Y.C) As i mentioned a couple of days ago, Annette's being at her family's home is a birthday surprise for both Annette's father and sister. Her Dad got his big surprise two days ago (see note from Sept. 30) - today it was her sister's moment to receive her "Annette birthday package". The following is part of an IM chat between Annette and I about the surprise moment:

Annette: "Bethel Ann was so surprised - it was great!"

Tim: "Yea! How'd she react - do tell!"

Annette: "I hid behind a column at the airport and mother was waiting for her when she came out... they hugged and then I popped out with a bow around my neck and she was totally shocked, hugged me and almost cried."

Tim: "You had a bow around your neck!? How funny - I'll bet the airport security watching you on some hidden camera got a kick out of that. So, were you a little self-conscious with the bow around you neck?"

Annette: "A bit :-) - especially walking into the hospital on monday afternoon to surprise my Dad. Somehow at the airport it seems a bit more normal... or at least, understandable."

Tim: "uh, right.. that's like when i have my zipper down at the airport it doesn't embarrass me (ha ha)."

Annette: "Silly boy" :-)

I admit the 3 days growth is anything but attractive - but it get's me sympathy from the motherly types who see me - ask me where Annette is and when i tell them she's gone they have mercy and me and feed me.

For example... today i was invited to have "comida" with the Leon family ("comida" is the big mid-day meal eaten around 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon). Here's a bit of what I wrote to Annette about that meal:

"i had rice in a light tomato sauce (first dish) and then a plate full of chopped hotdogs in a tomato, red pepper and green pepper sauce accompanied by a hard roll. Financially they are hurting now, so any meat is a luxury."

Hey - I'm not complaining. It's better than my three meals of cereal the day before :-)

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