My Bookshelf 2013, 2014

Disclaimer:  I am a HUGE NERD.I have weird habits and hobbies (wrestling, as an example).  But I LOVE to read.  I don’t have a lot of time to read but like to try and read a chapter or 50 pages a day.  Let’s just say I get to read that much about 2 times a week.

I made a goal in 2013 to read a book a month and actually read 15 books!

This year my goal was 24 books and well let’s say I didn’t quite get there BUT I did read 16 or so.

I also realized after Amy read the same Christian Fiction book for the 3rd time, only she gets all the way to the end of the book and says “hey I’ve read this before, that I need to start recording the things I have read.

So no better place to do this than a blog post.  Here is my bookshelf for 2013, 2014, and my proposed bookshelf for 2015  (based on current Christmas presents).

Note: Special thanks to pastor friends: Nathan, Jeremy, and Matthew for their suggestions.  Thanks to my boss / mentor Rob for his suggestions, although they mostly are too contemplative for me.  Thanks to Dennis who keeps me into the “back story of history” type books as well.  I expect to add to my 2015 list when I see Dennis and his bride Mary at our April staff meetings!

Disclaimer 2: Except for Twilight Harry Potter, and maybe Hunger Games, I read exclusively non-fiction, so these lists reflect that!

2013

  • Unleash by Perry Noble
  • David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  • 11 rings by Phil Jackson
  • Last Lecture by Randy Pousch
  • Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll
  • I heard you paint houses Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa by Charles Brandt
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • In the Name of Jesus by Norueii
  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
  • Red Moon Rising
  • Shadow of the Almighty
  • King Jesus Gospel
  • Surprised by Hope
  • Let the Nations be Glad
  • T4T

2014

  • The Squared Circle: Life and Death History of Professional Wrestling by Shoemaker
  • Life Together by Bonhoffer
  • Forgotten God by Chan
  • Overwhelmed by Perry Noble
  • Book on Speaking in Tongues (can’t remember the name or author)
  • Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of WWII by Zuckoff
  • Emperor of all maladies a biography of cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • AHA by Kyle Idleman
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Maxwell
  • Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks
  • The Power of Habit by  Duhig
  • Some book about the US Ambassador to Germany during the rise of Hitler (can’t remember name or author)
  • Blue Burqa (can’t remember name or author),  some book about a woman serving as a missionary and business woman in Afghanistan and the differences in culture.
  • What about the Man by Matt Perkins
  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
  • Heaven by Randy Alcorn
  • Tradecraft by ???

2015 – proposed list currently

  • Think Fast / Think Slow – by Kahnemana
  • Console Wars by Blake Harris
  • A God-sized Vision: Revival Stories that stretch stir by Hansen
  • Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud
  • Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by Webb
  • Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office
  • Code Talkers
  • The Dude’s Guide to Manhood
  • People Raising
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Church History in Plain Language
  • The Treasure Principle
  • Jim Henson Biography
  • No Easy Day
  • Mere Christianity
  • Screw Tape Letters

If you want my thoughts on any of these, please let me know.  Currently, my computer is losing it’s mind with the mouse pad and it taken about 2 hours too long.

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

2014 – Year in Review – Superlative Style

I didn’t love high school.  I loved parts of it but the reality of it was that I was too uncomfortable in who I was to really enjoy most of it.  I wasn’t all emo, either.  Just unique, not unlike today.  Just a more comfortable and confident unique.  One thing I did LOVE was Senior Superlative.  I loved reading them in our school paper, the Zepher (sp?) and more in the yearbook.  I loved seeing them in our video yearbook (how antiquated is that or how old am I that there were video cameras and cassette tapes….I am old!).  Anyway, I loved Superlatives.

So 2014 will of course have a video review – premier will come to my family at Christmas and then to our supporters – but for now 2014, Edmonds Adventures – year in review – Superlative Style.

Stats

  • 1686 participants traveling to Belize
  • Making up 96 teams
  • Serving in 41 ministry locations
  • Resulting in over 100 people coming to know the Lord
  • And obeying Christ in over 50 baptisms

Just read over that for a moment again.  That’s God’s kingdom, coming down to earth.  That’s the Gospel finding persons of peace and exploding.  That’s just the beginning!

  • To the ends of the Earth – (superlative for favorite expansion location)
    • God has called us clearly in His Word to go to the ends of the earth.  This year I had the awesome privilege to travel to BOTH Guatemala and Southern Belize.  While the trips were very different, they were equally powerful.  Pastors we met were begging for us to come and partner with them, share their vision, their heart and their people.  Winner: Southern Belize.  No place  has gripped our hearts like Belize.  Over and over again we had people telling us that Toledo, Southern Most Belize is forgotten.  No more.  I can’t wait until 2015 to have 8 – 10 teams serve down there!
  • Most Challenging Project
    • The answer here is simple….Bunk beds.  Handy with power tools, I am was not.  So it was a challenge to design, purchase and lead an effort to build beds.  BUT It was so rewarding! To see Lawrence (Cerebral Palsy) have a bed for the first time was forever a life-changing moment.
  • Most Likely Staff to Befriend the President of the USA
    • Tie – Katherine and Amanda – I have never seen ANYONE befriend Pastor Lloyd like they did.  For goodness sake, he didn’t even know MY name until June of this year.  Anyway, at the meetings, I had never seen someone just sit and talk to Pastor Lloyd so intentionally from a new staff.  He then asks about them to me in the middle of the summer, and takes THEM to lunch.  I was jealous!  BUT that relationship is was amazing!  Those two most likely to be friends with the president of the USA.
  • Most Likely Car to quit on you in the middle of the Boom cutoff
    • Columbus – Hands down this was the MOST FRUSTRATING CAR.  Our white explorer just gave out on us on the Boom Cutoff, unfortunately, for Andy, it was when he was driving! Columbus had a good ride, time for him to go!
  • Most Likely Car to keep on chugging
    • Bessie – Bessie is our Toyota Tacoma and it runs like BOSS.  We mostly think this is because Leah talks to it all the time and makes it smell pretty.  Bessie has the most miles, most character, and most age but she keeps on truckin’ And Leah keeps on keeping the car smelling pretty!
  • Favorite 8th grader task to occupy our staff
    • It was a close race between rainbow looming and string friendship bracelets but when Andy was asked to drive to OW to deliver the strings to Lorelee and Mollie to make more bracelets.  We had a clear winner.  I think our staff made around 150 bracelets, not including the ones made for kids in Belize!  Let’s say we all had flashbacks to middle school
  • Highlight of the year – non-salvation related
    • People getting saved, God’s kingdom growing….that’s always the highlight.  But besides that our highlight for the year from a work perspective was our staff, specifically our staff connecting with each other.  All of our staff connected and I would be willing to say that overall it was the closest I have ever seen a group of staff get.  I couldn’t pick just one connection.  The highlight of my fall and winter has been seeing our staff visiting each other, seeing screen shot of google video chat sessions or knowing that our staff are willing to travel from each end of the country to another continent to be together!
  • Most Unlikely Ministry
    • Tutoring – English to our neighborhood. We had always wanted to be the house that people come to that kids come to.  We wanted our house to be a center of activity.  Well now it is.  Every day we have 3 – 4 kids over for homework help.  Little did we know that we would have to do some of the tutoring across languages.  It’s been awesome and challenging and for sure unexpected!
  • Favorite Kids Babysitter
    • Now this is a dead heat.  The kids LOVED mustaches with Leah.  Really ask every day for Andy to push them higher and Madeline is still putting on chalk as eye-shadow to have crazy colors like Mrs. Linda.  So the answer it’s a tie.  We are so blessed to have so many people cherish and love our children.  They are truly cared for by our community!  Praise God.
  • Largest Spiritual Battle
    • Hands down winner is the time Amy and I were presenting the Gospel on the last day of VBS and a man who was drunk threw-up in the middle of the church.  Looking back it is quite comical but really a challenge spiritually! And God came up like a boss anyone because that Sunday 50 kids gave their lives to Christ!

It’s been a year.  A year of amazing triumph of the Lord over the darkness of the enemy.  People coming out of prostitution, drug dealing.  Families have been healed.  Lives saved.  It’s been an awesome year.  How do you put that to a cheesy superlative?  The answer is simple you don’t.  Our God cannot be categorized.  He is amazing, awe-inspiring and ridiculously ridiculous.  God did immeasurably more this year than we expected and planned for.  And he will do more than that in 2015. Truly, Truly the best is yet to come!

And now some pictures from our furlough in the States:

Let me in.  It's cold!

Let me in. It’s cold!

Decorating the Christmas tress with everyone!

Decorating the Christmas tress with everyone!

We went to Mama Teetles church on Sunday.  It was kids performance Sunday.  naturally ours wanted to take part

We went to Mama Teetles church on Sunday. It was kids performance Sunday. naturally ours wanted to take part

Leaf pile fun!

Leaf pile fun!

We LOVE Jordin!

We LOVE Jordin!

photo 4 (5)

Krispy Kreme HAPPY FACE

Krispy Kreme HAPPY FACE

We LOVE "christian chicken"

We LOVE “christian chicken”

This swing has had 4 generations of kids on it!  still going strong

This swing has had 4 generations of kids on it! still going strong

playing with grandma Jane!

playing with grandma Jane!

I love beef so that means I LOVE these cows that are going to be steak soon

I love beef so that means I LOVE these cows that are going to be steak soon

Amy at the farm and the tractor.

Amy at the farm and the tractor.

we visited our friends Matt and Faith.  Didn't get any pictures with them but did with their kids.

we visited our friends Matt and Faith. Didn’t get any pictures with them but did with their kids.

Pardon our American pictures.  Here we are driving the cart in the grocery store

Pardon our American pictures. Here we are driving the cart in the grocery store

Now I lay me down to sleep – A post on Sustainable Ministry

Things have been rocking and rolling for our family over the last month.  Now we are in the States, back at home with family and friends and RESTING….well, sort of.  Resting as much as our family does!

Before I get to our post for this week, I wanted to share a couple of other related posts that our family had a hand in.

First of all, we wrote about our favorite gifts to bring home from Belize as part of the PPM Staff’s Blog series “Gifts we bring home”.  You can read that post here.

Also, we were featured in the Praying Pelican Missions Blog “A Bucket List Mission Trip Turns into Full-Time Missions.”

Praying Pelican Missions is founded upon three pillars of ministry.  Those pillars are genuine partnership, long-term relationship and sustainable ministry.  About a year ago, I was praying through how to improve sustainable ministry in Belize.  I was wrestling with “how can we meet physical needs in a tangible continuous way?” We were doing food ministry and that was AWESOME.  But we could do more.

On a trip earlier in our time in Belize, I saw and took this picture.

Sleeping baby in Southern Belize

Sleeping baby in Southern Belize

A child sleeping in a hammock, tied up and without a bed.  I was shocked through my American eyes.  But I gained cultural eyes.  I knew this was just life, a way to do things.  Then as I went on more and more home visits in 2012 and 2013, I met more and more kids, teenagers, some of our own staff and ministry partners that slept on the floor. I met parents who hadn’t ever had a bed to sleep in for their own, always sharing the bed with 2, 3, 4 kids.  I met kids who slept on what couldn’t even be called a floor.  The same floor with termite-infested boards or worse.  The privileged ones slept wrapped in hammocks or on egg-crate foam that some of us had on top of our beds in college to make them softer!  I was taken aback.

I came home and shared with Amy, God is showing us this so we can do something I feel but what. How can meeting this need lead more people into a relationship with Him?

Amy agreed and reminded me of building bunk beds with the Hope For Belize teams serving in Sandhill in 2009, 2010, 2011.  It was a EUREKA moment for me!

Hope for Belize Team - delivering a bunk bed constructed for a local family in 2009

Hope for Belize Team – delivering a bunk bed constructed for a local family in 2009

I started researching bunk bed plans, material costs, tool requirements, etc.  For those who know me, THIS was a HUGE deal!  For us in our relationship I came up with the ideas and Amy executed them.  She owned the power tools.  In fact once we tried to install a ceiling fan together and well for the sake of our marriage, we decided NOT to do that again.  Power tools = NOT Josh’s thing!

Fast forward to my first mission trip leading experience for Praying Pelican Missions.  I remember sitting in a restaurant in Belize City with Rob and Tony thinking about everything that was before me for the next week.  I was comfortable with the spiritual leading, the speaking, the logistics, the relationships.  One thing I was NOT comfortable with was the project!  We were building pews that week for the church and I was afraid.  Rob told me the Lord will provide the workers if that is the project He wants to get done and of course HE DID!  The team was awesome and we got a lot more than those benches done!

Now here I was with a burden from the Lord and a potential solution and no discernible skills to accomplish the task. How was The Lord to use me to create a bunk bed plan, an estimate, a materials list?  Who was going to teach people how to build them?  So I went into Madeline’s room and looked at her bunk beds and started praying!  And praying….and praying.  I kept coming back to Rob’s statement to me about 3 years ago, The Lord will provide to get done what he wants to get done.  Moses had the same question in building the Tent of Meeting and He provided the Workers in Exodus.

After some laboring and one prototype that Jojo now sleeps in I was ready to lead our first team in bunk bed construction.  And it was AWESOME.

In one week, we built 12 bunk bed sets.  That’s beds for 24 kids in the States but in Belize, one could estimate about 3 kids per set so that’s 30 kids who could sleep in their own space, out of mom and dad’s bed, off the floor.  That’s over 30 kids who now had a place to lay their head at night.  Those are moms who can now sleep comfortably not worrying about who is in their bed, not smashed against each other in the bed, not worried about what is crawling on their kids at night.  It’s peace.  It’s comfort.  It’s joy.

Bunk bed sets in the middle of construction!

Bunk bed sets in the middle of construction!

Completed Bunk bed set, ready for delivery and in house assembly.

Completed Bunk bed set, ready for delivery and in house assembly.

We stopped in one house during the week and delivered a bag of grocery staples (rice, beans, sugar, flour, etc).  The mom was obviously intoxicated and in this small 10×12 house, I couldn’t fully understand who all lived there.  That Thursday we stopped back to deliver a bunk bed set.  It was home to the mom, a youth, another youth with 2 kids, and Lawrence.  Lawrence has cerebral palsy and was sleeping on the floor.  When we learned what the situation was I was almost sick to my stomach, literally. I couldn’t imagine this boy whose muscles were so rigid already was forced to sleep on this rotted floor.  We got the bed in after removing the old materials and a full litter of puppies, not even two weeks old.  And here was Lawrence was squealing in delight.

We set up the bed with the mattresses, the pillows, the new sheets and then were on our way out but Lawrence stopped us.  He motioned for us to come back in and he wanted to show us him sitting on the top bunk of his new bed.  He was BEAMING.  A sense of true joy.  A sense of true value.  One bed set, one family changed forever.

Stories like that we repeated over and over again at each house as our delivery team delivered and set up these bunk beds.  It was a joy, a blessing to be a part of such hope.  But each time we were asked “why us? Whose this from?”  We answered plainly and clearly.

“God loves you.  and We at Galilee Baptist Church in Belize City Love you.  This is from God to show his love and meet your needs”

So what’s the big deal?  Why make beds?  The answer in my mind is that it’s what Jesus would have done.  Our savior met needs everywhere and anywhere no matter what they were and it was a HUGE blessing to work with a local church and partner team to do the same in Belize.

Rob said “If it is the Lord’s project. He will provide the skills in the people, the tools, and the resources.” God most certainly did.  Praise God!  Sustainable ministry in this instance was meeting a physical need in a local community continuously, permanently.  Sustainable ministry…one of the pillars of healthy ministry at Praying Pelican Missions.  Sustainable ministry – now those kids lay their heads down to sleep on comfortable beds, many for the first time in their lives.  Wow!

Lawrence after climbing down from the Top Bunk to get a picture!

Lawrence after climbing down from the Top Bunk to get a picture!

Praises and Prayer Requests

  • In the States – Amy, kids, and I are in the States.  We arrived last Wednesday and have enjoyed yogurt, salads, deli meat sandwiches, family, friends, and Frozen on Ice so far!  Continue to pray that this time is RESTFUL and we can come back refreshed and ready for a new season of ministry at the start of the year!
  • Visit to Ohio – Today, Monday, Amy and I are off to visit our GREAT FRIENDS Matt and Faith in Ohio.  Pray for us that it is a much needed and awesome time away from the kids, pray for my parents who are keeping all three kids!  Pray for this time just to enrich our friendship with Matt and Faith significantly!
  • Speaking Engagements  – Amy and I have the awesome opportunity to share how the Lord is moving in Belize while we are back in the States.  Be in Prayer for these times, that we can clearly communicate to people how God is moving and accurately CELEBRATE all the amazing things He has done!
    • If you are interested in hearing us speak, we will be at the following locations.
      • Dec 14 – College Park Baptist Church – Ruth Sunday School Class around 9:30AM
      • Dec. 21st – The Point Church – Apex Campus, off Highway 55
      • Dec. 26 – Dec 30th – in and around Raleigh – message us to link up.  We would love to see you!
      • Jan 4th – REVO CHURCH – NORTH Campus – Both services, Rural Hall, NC.
  • Praise – Medical Team at Omega – In Mid November we had a medical team serve at Omega, Paula’s church, in Western Belize.  I was sitting with Pastor Elizabeth, Paula’s mom, and she shared with me that over 25 people had surrendered their lives to Christ!  PRAISE HIM FOR LIVES CHANGED!

As you sit at home and life slows down this Christmas season, know that our family is praying for you all.  We love each and every one of you who sacrifice for our family.  You are cherished by us and it is a honor to partner with you all in The Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Richest Blessings this beautiful Monday Morning,

Edmonds Family.