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I Live in a Storage Unit

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The day after I returned from Higher Things , I moved - Just from my 2nd floor temporary apartment to a 1st floor temporary apartment in the same building, but all of the furniture and housewares from upstairs came with me, hence the title.  While I was in Montana, a crew of seminarians had come and and cleared out everything except my personal effects, so I came "home" to an empty unit. The next morning, I was downstairs by 6:00 am to start cleaning since alas, arranging for someone to do so in advance proved more difficult than anticipated. I had put out a plea for reinforcements around 10, and they showed up right on schedule. I enjoyed watching them carry things I'd forgotten I owned, but there may have been a few overwhelmed tears when the water quit on me and I looked around at the chaos knowing I wouldn't rest until order was restored. A little pizza and beer, a few hugs and words of encouragement, five  botellones  of tap water for cleaning, a shower, and a h

Bear Country

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Montana might be Big Sky Country, but underneath all that big sky are bears. I guess conceptually I knew there were bears in this part of the country, but I didn't realize they were so much of a thing .  Way back on May 30, I got an email from Delta Airlines with the subject "Update: Your Flight Schedule Has Changed." That meant instead of heading home after Higher Things at around noon on Saturday, I didn't leave Bozeman until 11:45 pm . In lieu of spending a couple hundred dollars in change fees, I figured I could tough it out and entertain myself. And remember: I know lots of Lutherans. Everywhere. Turns out Sam, a young lady whose Chicagoland congregation I hosted on a short-term team to Peru in February 2020 lives in Montana now and was willing to drive a few hours to see me.  Bears were the theme of the day. Sam picked me up from my dorm at MSU around 12:30, and after hitting up a local bagel joint for lunch, we started at the Montana Grizzly Encounter.  Meet

For You 2022

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I've been putting off this post because how do you even begin to explain something you're still figuring out the intricacies of? Prior to the March DRLM FORO , I was admittedly in that stereotypical camp of people who thought Higher Things (HT) was a cultish organization that put on anti-Youth Gathering conferences. And maybe, in the beginning, it was. But no more.  HT is an LCMS RSO whose mission, as I've come to understand it, is to feed high school kids real (not diluted or dumbed down) theology; point them back to their pastors when they're dealing with the hard stuff of life, have doubts, or just need to hear that Jesus loves them; and unite them in worshipping their Savior such as they might on an average Sunday in Anywhere, USA.  Among a slew of other ways to reach teenagers, HT does  put on conferences, though: usually 2-3/year, held on college campuses, for ~1,000 participants. Last week, I was privileged to attend one at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT

La vida nunca es fácil

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There are SO. MANY. beautiful things about life in Latin America. More than I could list, truly.  But there are also so many things like THIS. Rarely can I think of a good example on the spot, but here's one that typifies how you just know  some things are going to go...or not go, as may be the case.  My car was in desperate need of new tires, to the point that I probably shouldn't have driven to Punta Cana to meet my family on them. When Dominicans tell you your  neumáticos are in mal estado, it's time. So, a month ago, right as they opened, I rolled into a place recommended by two experienced missionaries with Carlos, a missionary spouse, accompanying me. About an hour later, voilà - four new Firestone All Seasons. End of post, right? No.  New tires need to be properly aligned, but the guy who performs alignments was sick that day. In the spirit of good customer service, the kind receptionist made arrangements with a similar place across the street to handle the alignmen

Four Years Later...

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Turns out it had been four years ago to the day that I was last in Colorado during a pre-deployment network building tour when I stopped there last weekend between the LCMS Youth Gathering in Houston, TX, and a Higher Things conference in Bozeman, MT. Friends from my El Paso days, the Hills (Ken, Carol, and son Chris), had relocated to a beautiful new home in that time but still had room to host me. Carol promised we'd fill my short time with "joy and laughter, prayer and thanksgiving, memories and food!" and she did not disappoint. We caught up over avocado toast on the way home from the airport Friday and, together with the entire Hill clan, ravioli lasagna with strawberry shortcake for dessert that night. Before bed, she asked if I'd like to go for a "2 or 3 mile hike" on Saturday.  SIX miles later, we were sweaty, dehydrated, and more than ready to inhale some "fine Latin fusion" but proud of ourselves for conquering Castlewood Canyon in 90+