Sunday, April 22, 2012

If you want the trophy in February, you have to win in April

I have decided to return to the blogosphere with a relatively uncontroversial yet surprisingly enjoyable subject (at least for me) the NFL draft.  I've been writing a few other posts for the last few weeks.  I'll share those when I complete my thoughts.  I may also give an update on my family and my profession, but for now here are my thoughts on the upcoming NFL draft.

Draft Notes

Preface - I love the NFL draft.  I believe championships are won and lost on this day.  Teams that consistently receive value for their pick in April have a better chance of winning in February.  The importance cannot be understated to how well a team will do over the next 5-7 years.  Here are my thoughts on what I think my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, should or could do this week in the 2012 NFL Draft.

At the conclusion of last year's season team owner Art Rooney came out and said that Ben needed to "tweak his game"  Through much discussion of what "tweak" meant the consensus was that Rooney wants Ben healthy at the end of the year.  In order for that to occur he wants Ben to throw the ball away more often and he wants the offensive line to provide better protection  This is not the first time a Rooney has publicly interjected his thoughts on the team.  Remember when Tommy Maddox was at the helm for a year?  After the 2003 season Dan Rooney came out and said that the team needed to run the ball more next year.  The Steelers ranked 31st overall in Rushing that year.  Well, the Steelers listened in 2004 they finished 2nd in rushing.  Following the 2009 season Rooney also came out and said that the team needed to get more contributions from their rookies.  Once again the Steelers listened.  In 2010 they drafted and started Maurkice Pouncey and got contributions from their young receivers. When the Boss speaks the Steelers have listened.  Protecting Ben and keeping him healthy is the priority lead forth by the guy who signs the checks.  In my opinion that should be the number one priority.  So lets look at the prospects in the offensive line that could help the Steelers.

If O-Line is the priority.  It hasn't been in the past.  Colbert doesn't like the big contracts for Offensive linemen.  He doesn't like the high draft picks for OT.  As I've discussed with a friend, there is a moneyball mentality to this approach.  The Steelers have chosen to spend their money elsewhere.  They haven't spent on wide receivers and they don't spend on offensive tackles.  They have drafted well using a best player available approach, but that has left them thin on the offensive line.  Will they shift their strategy to a needs based approach or will their stick with best player available. Rooney wants Roethlisberger standing.  So, what are the options?

Here are Mike Mayock's top 5 OT, Guards & Centers.

Offensive Tackle
1. Matt Kalil, USC
2. Riley Reiff, Iowa
3. Mike Adams, Ohio State
4. Jonathan Martin, Stanford
5. Cordy Glenn, Georgia
1. David DeCastro, Stanford
2. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
3. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
4. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
5. Brandon Brooks, Miami (Ohio)
1. Peter Konz, Wisconsin
2. Philip Blake, Baylor
3. Ben Jones, Georgia
4. David Molk, Michigan
5. Michael Brewster, Ohio State

Of those players I believe the following have a chance to be available at 24 and could conceivably have a grade worthy of the 24th pick.

Kevin Zeitler - G
Mike Adams - OT
Jonathan Martin - OT
Peter Konz - C/G

The problem for the Steelers is none of those guys are truly worth the 24th pick.  Pick them there and we reach for a need.  We could trade down to the early portions of the 2nd round and get one of those guys.  So, do they draft another position in round one or do they trade up for an offensive lineman worthy of a first round pick?  If they draft another position could they fill their need in the 2nd with a player like guard Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State?  He has a chance of being available and he would certainly present value in that spot.

Lets look at the options the Steelers have.

1. David DeCastro - guard - Scouts have called him the best Guard prospect since Hutchinson. The problem is there isn't a situation where he would fall to 24th.  He could go as high as 11th.  The Steelers would absolutely have to trade up to get him.  They've done this before.  In 2003 they trades their 3rd and 6th round picks to get safety Troy Polamalu. Moving from 27 to 16.  For the Steelers to get DeCastro he would need to fall to approximately the 16th slot.  It might take more than it took for them to get Troy.  Why would it cost more?  With the rookie salary cap top prospect are worth more because they don't cost nearly as much.  Consider this, Sam Bradford, Jamarcus Russell and Matt Stafford were all #1 picks.  All three QBs signed contracts north of $70 million dollars.  Any guesses on how much last years' #1 received? $22 million for Cam Newton.  Comparatively that is cheap labor.  This is the reason nobody took a run at Mike Wallace this offseason.  Why pay top dollar when you can have inexpensive rookies and you don't give the Steelers another incredibly valuable 1st round pick.

So, back to the draft.  My ultimate scenario is for the Steelers to go up and get DeCastro.  I've been wanting them to go up and get a stud offensive guard for years (Brandon Albert 2008, Mike Pouncey 2011).  It will cost the Steelers a pretty penny, but if protecting Ben is the priority, and DeCastro is as good as they say he is, it's worth the price.  I doubt they will do it.  If DeCastro is gone, we don't want to reach for an offensive lineman at 24 and we want to stick to our rather successful best player available approach then what do we do?

Best Players (Potentially) Available

1. Mark Barron - safety Alabama. My first alternative to an o-lineman is to draft the number 1 safety. The performance by our secondary in the Denver playoff game showed we don't the depth behind Ryan Clark.  More and more teams are utilizing the 2 TE set and having 2 safeties who can cover would go far to be able to shut down teams like the Patriots, Packers & Saints. This pick would also go far in replacing Clark when he retires in the next few years.  Drafting to replace players who are going to retire is something the brass likes to do - see ziggy hood and Cameron Haywood replacing Smith and Hoke.  I'd love a Mark Barron pick.  There is potential he falls, but it is unlikely.

2. Dontari Poe - NT Memphis. Mammoth man who is incredibly fast. Haloti Ngata type build and workout numbers.  Similar to Ngata, Poe didn't have an incredible college career, but NT in the 3-4 scheme don't stand out on the stat sheet like other positions.  I'm growing more and more intrigued by a 345 lb man who can run a sub 5 second 40 yard dash and benching 225 lbs 44 times anchoring our 3-4 NT position for the next 12 years.  Peo rocketed up the draft charts after his combine performance.  He was the projected pick for the Steelers before the combine.  Now there is some talk of him slipping back into the 20s..  If he slips all the way to 24 I find it difficult to believe the Steelers pass on him.  Similar to Barron replacing Clark, Poe would be a true replacement of Hampton when he retires in a few years.  My reservation, do you need a big NT in the 3-4 in the new pass happy NFL?  Is he big, strong and fast enough to push the pocket and get to the qb?  When I think of Dontari I think of Ngata. And when I think of Ngata I think of Ben Roethlisberger walking around with his nose turned sideways. I'd like a young Ngata on my side.  We can all watch Thursday night and hope he keeps slipping.

3. Courtney Upshaw - olb Alabama - In the words of Bill Cowher - rush the quarterback.  Getting pressure on the QB is the name of the game.  A player that could come in and become the next Harrison is always worth a first round pick.  The problem is we use to be able to find these guys in the mid to late rounds.  Upshaw better be the next Harrison, Porter, Gildon, Lloyd if they make this move.

4. Donte Hightower. Consensus mock draft pick for the Steelers. I'm not convinced.  Inside Linebackers in the 3-4 are not your typical 1st round pick.  They already drafted Lawrence Timmons in the first round and having 2 first round picks on a non-priority position such as inside linebackers wouldn't be spreading your picks across your team very well.  In addition I'm not sure Hightower has the build for the new NFL.  At 265 he is a big ILB.  He has straight line speed with a good 40 time, but his lateral movement at the combine was terrible. Not sure I want him covering backs in the flat or a fast pass catching TE.  Similar to Poe, the NFL has evolved the last 10 years.  Teams just don't run as much as they use to. Then again, if you can't stop the run, that is all you will see remember the Jaguar playoff game from a few years ago?  I'm not convinced about drafting another ILB, so I'm nervous about Hightower.

5. Cody Fleener - TE Stanford. I wouldn't be the first time Colbert drafted a TE in round 1. And the patriots' style attack of Grok and Hernandez must be tempting to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. My concern is we hear every year how we will include Heath more In the offense do we really want another TE to include in a offense that has trouble throwing to our primary TE? 

6. Remaining CB - Alabama cb Dre Kirkpatrick or South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore Janoris Jenkings- All three of these CBs are equally talented and chances are one might slip to 24.  Jenkins is out because of character issues.  One of the other two prospects might be better players and better value for the team, but I'm not sure we need more CBs. Colbert has been drafting a lot of CB over the years and I think that Willie Gay would have had a problem staying in the starting lineup if he didn't leave as a free agent. Lewis, Allen, Butler, Brown have talent. We'll see if one of those young guys can step in across from Ike.

My prediction. With the 24th pick the Steelers will draft Dontari Poe - NT Memphis. 

With their second pick in the 2012 NFL draft the Pittsburgh Steelers pick Amini Silatolu

If that happens, I think it will be good for the Steelers, whatever happens I'll be happy.  I love watching the NFL draft.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seneca Hills Winter Pictures

It has been snowing here at camp these past few weeks.  I took the following picture of camp since most people only see camp during the summer.

The Homestead - where Jessica and I are currently living.

Friday, September 19, 2008

God had a plan

God had a plan. 

Hello friends.  Allow me to update you on where Jessica and I have been over the last few months.  When we returned from Costa Rica, we were facing the decision on whether to go back long-term or not.  After being home for a few weeks, we were pretty sure we were going to return.  It was at that time that the missionaries in Costa Rica said that they were receiving a house mother back from their other orphanage in Guatemala, and that we are welcome to come, but we would not be the house parents.  We were pretty devastated, but God had a plan.

Faced with yet another closed door, we weren’t sure what we were going to do, so we thought I was going to return to finance and just get a job.  During the interview process in Pittsburgh, we went to Seneca Hills in Franklin, PA, the summer camp that has been a part of my whole life.  We spoke with the Facilities Director, Stan Smith, about possibly volunteering at camp and working maintenance while we waited for the interviews.  Stan was quite happy to have us help out since the summer camping season was just around the corner, and there is always plenty of work to be done.  Jessica learned how to use a power washer, and we both spent many hours painting. 

The interviews were going along when Michael Harvey, the Executive Director of Seneca, took us out to lunch.  Come to find out the Administrative Assistant had given her resignation to pursue another job.  Her last day was the day before the first week of summer camp.  Michael asked Jessica if she would consider applying for the position.  Jessica had said many times that if she were to work at Seneca, that would be the place for her – but that was always under the assumption that the current lady would be there forever so there was really no chance.  It truly was a perfect position for Jessica; it combines all of her gifts: details, finance, big event planning, and organization.  However, what would I do if Jessica worked in Franklin?  If I were working in Pittsburgh, the commute is just not possible.  So, we told Michael that Wednesday that we weren’t going to say no, but we weren’t sure how it was going to work out.  God had a plan.

The next day I went to my quarterly Program Committee meeting for that camp.  I have been on the Program Committee for the past three years.  The committee is in charge of vision casting the direction of programming (activities, etc.) for the camp.  During this particular meeting, our current Program Director, Tracy Mitchell, announced that she will be leaving at the end of the year to be a missionary to South Africa.  One of my “dream jobs” has always been the Program Director position at Seneca Hills.  However, just like the Administrative Assistant, we thought Tracy would be here forever. 

So, in back to back days, two full-time positions (the positions that we loved from a far) opened at the ministry where we were already volunteering.  God has a plan.

We decided that Jessica would interview for the Administrative Assistant position.  And she was hired shortly thereafter.  We then asked them if I could continue to volunteer at the camp and then interview for the Program Director position.  They allowed me to volunteer and said that when the time came I could throw my hat into the ring.  Due to Tracy’s wanting to wait until later in the summer to tell the summer staff, her decision to go to South Africa was kept under wraps for a few months – which is why this update is so long coming. 

It was a GREAT summer.  Jessica worked long hours, but loved it.  The summer started with one week of training followed by the first week of campers and the auditors.  The camp is fortunate that she’s that tough - she had some long days that week, and most of the summer, as she worked through all the different processes.  When I asked her after one particularly late night how she was doing and whether she liked her job she said to me, “I love it.  I can do this job!”  She still works way too long, but hopefully that will change eventually. 

For me, I spent most of my time working with the Program team organizing games, singing silly camp songs (See the first picture), hiking in the woods (See the second picture), doing belly smackers (See the third picture) and playing with campers. 

Now when we’re out and about on weekends, I will frequently run into one of the nearly one thousand campers we had this past year.  They smile ear to ear and say “You’re that guy from camp!”  Yes, I am that guy from camp.  Junior campers quickly follow that with “I LOVE DEAD BUG TAG!!!”  For those of you who have not yet played Dead Bug Tag, let me explain.  Dead Bug Tag is a game of tag where all the summer counselors are “it”, and the younger campers have to try to get away.  When they are caught, they have to get on their backs and move their hands and feet like a squished bug.  After a few minutes of being a dead bug they are told they are now alive and can run around again.  Here is the best secret about Dead Bug Tag…a tired camper on Sunday night makes for a sleepy camper and a happy counselor.  The third picture is Dead Bug Tag in action.  Dead Bug Tag is one of my favorite games yet. 

After the summer camp season ended, the Board of Directors began the interview process.  Last night the Board selected me to become the next Program Director.  I am very excited about this position and the overall direction for our lives.  After more than a year of trusting, we are finally seeing God’s plan before us. 

Due to the general nature of non-profit’s, funding the overlap between now and Tracy’s departure will put an extra strain on the budget.  However, we believe that this time is imperative for training, as well as the regular PR and planning that needs to happen before the new year.  Tracy has been the Program Director for over five years, and her knowledge base is huge.  I need to learn as much as I can from her. 

So that I can start October 1st, I will be working to raise support for this “bridge” period.  For the past 14 months Jessica and I have not asked for financial support feeling that it was right for us to finance this period of our lives as we were searching for what God had for us.  Many of you have come to us asking how you can help.  This is it. 

Jessica and I are thrilled to be at Seneca Hills.  We would like to invite you to camp for a tour, a stay or a meal, whichever suits you best.  We are planning on having a party next Memorial Day weekend during family camp where everyone who has been on this mailing list is invited to come to Seneca Hills as our guests.  You will be able to take a swim in the pool, climb the climbing wall, go rappelling off The Rocks (see the 5th picture), bike along the Allegheny River, zip on the Zip Line, play torpedo ball in the Rec Center, camp around a camp fire and get to see firsthand the slice of heaven that God has led us to.  For more information about the camp, visit

If you are interested in partnering financially in what we believe God has called us to do next in our lives, we ask that you consider giving to Seneca Hills.  Checks can be made out to Seneca Hills and sent to the following address:

Seneca Hills, PO Box 288, Franklin PA 16323

If you want to help us “bridge” the gap this fall, please write “staff supplement income” in the memo line.  Any donations above and beyond the “bridge” amount will go towards the Operations Fund if God provides more than is needed.

Thank you for your prayers over the last 14 months.  Please continue!  We need them.  Thank you for your notes of encouragement.  Keep it up.  Thank you for reading the blog.  I hope to start my regular postings again.  And thank you in advance for supporting us.


Jon and Jessica

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reflecting on the last eight weeks

Dear Friends & Family,

I have officially made it out of the quarantine I placed myself in when we returned from Costa Rica. Not sure if I got a bug on the plane or the change of climate (we came home to “The Blizzard of March 2008” - 14 inches, which set some records in Ohio), but I was miserable for a few days. As we reflect on the past eight weeks at Hogar De Vida, Jessica has encouraged me to write about the different feelings I had and to let you know what God said to me while we were away. Since much of our blog was based around short stories and funny experiences, I felt that now was a good time to reflect and share.

Though many of our stories shared the lighter side of our journey, there were several difficult days for me. I was searching the entire time. Searching for answers to questions like “Is this mission teaching the Gospel? Do we feel that these people are following God’s leading? Is this a mission that is doing good in the world?” Very early during our time there the answers to these questions were undoubtedly yes. Great thing were happening at Hogar de Vida. The Gospel is being taught and precious ones were getting a chance to regain their lives after the turmoil they had previously experienced.

My searching then turned to whether or not Jessica and I were supposed to move to Costa Rica. Had our past six months lead us to this place to become long-term missionaries? Or was this a great experience, one we will never forget, and it is time to return to our lives in the States? For me this was the most difficult question. I began to search into what is “a calling”. I read the callings of the prophets and disciples in the Bible, I listened to sermons, and I asked the missionaries at Hogar de Vida how they knew when they were called. And I read Matthew 28: 18-20, which doesn’t give much wiggle room for “being called” or not.

Matthew 28: 18-20

The Great Commission

18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

During my readings I came across Elijah in I Kings 19. Elijah had just had his miraculous experience on Mount Carmel. He then flees from Jezebel to Mt. Horeb, a forty-day journey. God asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” I don’t know how many times I asked myself that question. “What am I doing here?” I had a good job. I worked with good people - doing something I loved - and enjoyed who I was when I did it. “What am I doing here?”

Many days I struggled with this question. For the most part I was a painter/maintenance man. Though I can paint pretty well, my skill set is not in manual labor. Not that I can’t do it, but I just like interacting with people. One of the best parts of my job at Hefren-Tillotson was the interaction with people, both co-workers and clients. In addition to interacting with people, I love information. For those of you who know my dad, you understand this love. I grew up listening to KDKA news talk radio rather than music. Jessica even filmed one of our video blogs on the topic of my pursuit of information.

However, in Costa Rica, most of my days were spent in solitude in an information bubble. I was struggling. I enjoyed the kids. I think the blog posts make it obvious that we really enjoyed that part. But would God call me to work at a place where I didn’t have much people interaction during the day? And place me in an information bubble from the rest of the world?

As we went about our days, we began to feel more and more of a draw to Hogar de Vida. The missionaries began to share with us how they have been praying for a missionary couple to come down and open the 3rd home. Olga, the house mom where Jessica worked, shared that they have been praying for eight years for a missionary couple to come. And we began to learn of other tasks (on top of being house parents) that really fit our desires and skills. (Psalm 37: 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.) So, we received another tug at our hearts. Is this really the place for us? God, do you want us to come here long-term? (And for those of you who are wondering about the information bubble, I finally found out they have a Wi-Fi network at Hogar de Vida.)

I continued to read about callings in the Bible. Moses was called through a burning bush. Sometimes I would think, why couldn’t God just call me through a burning bush? Why can’t there be some miraculous sign that just makes it obvious to everyone (and especially me) that this is where I am supposed to be?

While thinking these things, I listened to a Wild at Heart calling CD series. The speaker talked about how God doesn’t dictate to us because if all He did was to dictate then there wouldn’t be any room left for a relationship. He used the example of a new boss asking an employee what he thought about a project and the employee finally getting fed up with answering the questions and telling the boss “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” There isn’t room for dialogue if He only dictates.

The calling CD also used the Moses burning bush calling illustration. The actual words in the Bible are these, Exodus 3: 4 - When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said “Here I am.” Did you notice when God spoke? It wasn’t until after Moses looked - implying that God wants to talk to us, but He might be waiting for our attention.

Again, when God called to Elijah in 1st Kings 19, God wasn’t in the miraculous powerful wind or in the earthquake; He was in the gentle whisper. So, I began waiting for gentle whispers realizing that I might not get a burning bush.

Throughout this entire process (the past six months, not just the last two in Costa Rica), we never really knew what we were going to do until we were ready to take the next step. Madeline, the adorable Guatemalan child, was on our plane flight home from our trip to Guatemala when we had nothing else scheduled. We didn’t get the e-mail to go to Costa Rica until we were at the Booden’s’ babysitting for a weekend with again nothing left on our schedule. As these months have played out, we have begun to realize this process – talk about a lesson in faith and patience for two professional financial planners.

For our last day at Hogar de Vida, Tim asked me to give the daily devotion. I didn’t want to, but said yes. Not knowing what I was going to say, I started looking through my notebook of devotions I had previously written. I came across one that I had written for a youth group retreat to Seneca Hills in March of 2004. The devotion was on calling. In my own handwriting, I began to read what I had said on calling nearly four years ago. I took my devotion for our last day from these pages. I compared and contrasted the life of King Solomon and his pursuits in Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11 to Jesus’ life in Philippians 2:1-11.

Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11

Pleasures Are Meaningless

1 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?" 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

I then contrasted this “chasing after the wind” to a summary of Jesus’ life in Philippians 2:1-11.

Philippians 2: 1-11

Imitating Christ's Humility

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Through humility and serving others, Jesus was able to have a life that was anything but meaningless. It doesn't say that one has to go to Costa Rica to do this, however this spoke to me. In addition, I had written three questions in my notebook to help others determine their purpose.

1) Is this desire that you have something that is sustained and matches against the teaching of the Bible?

2) What is it you do that when you do it you feel God's pleasure?

3) What is it that comes looking for you?

In my own handwriting I answered question #3 four years ago “for me it’s kids. Kids just like me, and I like kids.” This also struck me.

After reading my own words, I was taken back to when I originally decided that we would pursue missions. We were at Memorial Day Weekend at Seneca Hills Family Camp. The missions’ speaker was giving a spiritual gifts test that I had signed up for. I had also agreed to take some of the kids to the river to swim. Well, it took a lot longer for the kids to get ready than expected, and as we were finally getting into the river I looked at my watch and told the kids that I was supposed to be up at the chapel to take this test. Looking into their eyes I quickly realized that I didn’t need to take a spiritual gifts test to know one of my gifts is working with kids. I shared this at the last missions’ session of the weekend, and said that I wasn’t currently working with kids so I really didn’t know where this was going to go, but if God were to call me to work somewhere - be it overseas or in the states - that I would go. At that point I didn’t expect that it would lead to quitting our jobs at Hefren-Tillotson and everything else in the past six months.

Fast-forward to me reading my own words, contemplating that past Memorial Day Weekend, and now being presented with a wide open door to come to Costa Rica and be a father to the fatherless…is this my gentle whisper?

As we got on the plane to come home, I continued my practice of praying as Samuel prayed, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” The movie on the flight was scheduled to be Enchanted. A few minutes later, the attendant came on and apologized and said that the movie wasn’t Enchanted and that we would be watching August Rush. Rather than watching a movie about a fairy tale, we would be watching a movie about an orphan. With only one set of earphones, Jessica heard the music and words. But I didn’t need the sound; everything was coming in loud and clear. The movie is a beautiful story of how a boy, though abandoned and fatherless, has special talents and has a purpose in life. With tears coming down both of our faces, we watched as we believed God spoke to us again.

So here we are – back in Ohio – back in my parents’ basement. We ask that you continue to pray for us, specifically this next week. With a decision to go overseas waiting in the balance. With needs that we don’t even know of yet waiting to be fulfilled. Two travelers on a journey waiting as the God of the heavens and earth whispers gently – hoping we’ll hear – with or without headphones.

Lots of Love,

Jon & Jessica

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Back in the States

Dear Friends & Family,

We have returned from our eight weeks in Costa Rica. Though we had prepared for the difficult goodbyes, they were much harder than we expected. As we look ahead to the future we aren’t sure what we will do. The missionaries in Costa Rica opened the door for us to return. If we were to return, it would be for at least one year.

As we consider our future, we ask for your prayers. We thank all of you who have read our blog over the last eight weeks. Please continue to e-mail us with thoughts, funny stories, and updates on your lives.


Jon & Jessica

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Video Blog #9 - 03.04.08

After having technical difficulties, we were finally able to publish these videos. I hope you enjoy.

Video Blog #8 - 03.04.08