Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Packing RDKs (Rapid Deployment Kits)

Saturday morning were the "Breakout Sessions". A time when you could learn more about the various aspects of Military Ministries. They have national and international ministries, as well as ministries for military families and chaplains, and resources for any military personnel that would like them.

We chose the breakout session where they were packing RDKs (Rapid Deployment Kits) for the soldiers that would be going overseas to various countries. Each RDK includes a small camouflage New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, an Our Daily Bread devotional guide, a "Would You Like to Know God Personally?" booklet, all in a waterproof bag designed to slip into a soldier's uniform pocket. (You can contribute to the cost of RDKs here--each kit only costs $2.50.)

The RDKs are packed weekly by volunteers and sent to chaplains in all of the armed forces. They typically pack about 1,500 packets in a morning. We stayed for both breakout sessions (and had more volunteers than they usually have at any given time) and packed about 2,000 RDKs. It was really neat knowing that our hands were the last ones that would touch the packets before being handed out to the soldiers.

The RDKs are, of course, where our involvement with Military Ministries comes in. Scott is the liasion between RBC Ministries and Military Ministries. RBC prints the special Military Edition of Our Daily Bread (different than the one pictured above) and has been doing so for nearly a decade.

posted by Kim  # 10:57 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Military Ministries Conference -- Friday Night

click to enlargeFriday night was the most exciting part of the conference for me. General Sada spoke after dinner. He told us about being a "Jesus-follower" since childhood. He was the counselor to Suddam Hussein and an Air Marshall in the Iraqi Army, which is pretty much the highest position you can hold. He retired, but was recalled to service by Saddam Hussein, who KNEW that Gen. Sada was a Christian! In fact, he gave Gen. Sada the job of finding him body guards who were also Christians because he knew that they wouldn't try to assassinate him like his own people might!

During the first Gulf War, Gen. Sada was given the responsibility for the Prisoners of War. He was put in the very difficult position of upholding the Geneva Convention, which Saddam personally signed, or executing American POWs, per Saddam's son, Usai's direct order. Gen. Sada chose the high road and for his integrity, he was punished with discharge from the army and 8 months of imprisonment. The reward, however, are the lives of the servicemen who were eventually freed and released.

He confirmed that Saddam did have WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and while most were destroyed, some were secretly sent to another country to be hidden for a later time when Saddam would be able to use them. He also said that the vast majority of Iraqi citizens supported the coalition forces being in the country to help establish a peaceful government.

When asked about Saddam's eventual fate, Gen. Sada said that the country currently has the death penalty, but the people were trying to get that changed so they could make Saddam live out the rest of his days in prison...which could be a long time, since he is in such good health. One thing he was sure of was that he would never be released.

Gen. Sada struck me as being a genuine, gentle and tender man of God. He has been appointed as the counselor to the new Prime Minister of Iraq--and since that is an appointed position, it will not rest on who is eventually elected. Gen. Sada is writing a book about his experiences, but we didn't hear anything about a title or release date. I do look forward to reading it, though.

Before we left for the conference, Christopher said he would like for us to bring him back the autograph of a General. He never said it had to be a U.S. General...

click to enlarge

posted by Kim  # 4:37 PM 0 Comments

Uncle Sam Wants You!

Friday was a very busy day at the conference. We were divided up into 4 groups and each group got to tour one of the military bases. We were in the group that visited Fort Eustis Army Base. We met in the base chapel and heard how the chaplains meet the needs of the soldiers and their families.

We visited the base museum and got to see how the army vehicles have changed over the years. Lots of pictures here. Then we ate lunch at the base commisary and visited several buildings on the base. But, the end of the afternoon was the best part.

We got to see a demonstration of the MWDs (Military Working Dogs), which was pretty amazing! They demonstrated obedience training, aggression training, and explosive detection. The most amazing part was watching the explosive detection demonstration. One of the handlers planted the explosive material in the far right section of the training yard, then another handler brought the dog out on the opposite end of the yard. The dog received the command and was at the explosive material within 5-8 seconds. (Pictures Here)

We also got to visit the Apache Helocopter Training Center, which was very interesting. We got to sit in an Apache Long Bow and look at all the instruments. The best part, though, was at the end, when Sgt. Major Smith told us about his recent deployment to Iraq. His word-pictures were so vivid, you could almost see what he saw as he told his story. He was a believer. He said that faith in God was the only thing that gets you through times and situations like that.

At the end of the tour, we saw some of the Army ships docked in the water. The word is that the Army has more boats than the Navy and possibly more planes than the Air Force...if I'm remembering what they said correctly.

posted by Kim  # 3:44 PM 0 Comments

Music and More

Friday night, and throughout, we got a chance to know Dick and Mel Tunney, song writers and musicians. They provided music for the conference and provided a atmosphere of genuine praise and worship. We hit it off really well and enjoyed getting to know them throughout the weekend.

Mel is a founding member of the musical group, First Call, who recently signed with Discovery House Music, which is a part of RBC Ministries. Scott and I have been fans of First Call since their very early albums (yes, I'm talking about vinyl here...and cassette tapes!)

So, we look forward to seeing Dick and Mel when they have opportunity to visit the RBC office sometime in the future. (What a small world, huh?)

posted by Kim  # 2:45 PM 0 Comments

Military Ministries Conference -- Thursday

Scott has had the opportunity to go for 3 years now to the Vision Weekend of Military Ministries. This is the first year I was able to accompany him. It was totally amazing! I'm not going to try to blog it in one post--it would be way too long and it wouldn't do justice to the experience, so I will give each day it's own post. There were lots of big names and top brass at the conference and it was great to see how humble and down-to-earth each of them are. It was neat to see how the many ministries can work together for the common goal of reaching our world through the armed forces.

We arrived in Norfolk, VA in the afternoon and were shuttled to the hotel, which is where the conference was held. For the ride, we were accompanied by the president of The American Bible Society, Gene Habacker. We had a great discussion while we waited in traffic.

That evening, we sat at dinner with some other Michigan people (Kon and Marilyn from Zeeland), along with some of the staff of Military Ministries--there were LOTS of people from Michigan there! We were treated to keynote speaker, Col. David William Eberly, author of Faith Beyond Belief".

Col. Eberly retold his experiences from 1991 when his F-15E Strike Eagle was shot down during Gulf War I. He was captured near the Syrian border and held captive as a POW for 43 days. Col. Eberly told us that during one particular interrogation, he was treated with respect and dignity (unlike some of the other times). He sensed that the man interrogating him might be a man of faith. He later found out that his interrogation officer was Air Marshall (General) George Sada, the right-hand man to Saddam Hussein.

General Sada was ordered by Saddam's officers to execute Col. Eberly. He refused to go against the Geneva Convention, which Saddam Hussein personally signed. He was imprisoned for this action.

General Sada was our speaker for Friday night...

posted by Kim  # 2:04 PM 0 Comments

Tons of Updates...

So much has been happening in our lives that it's been hard to keep up with friends and family, let alone updating our family website! I'll try to give you the highlights. I've just changed the format our our website to a blog format, which is more interactive (you can add comments) and archives entries so you can see the older entries if you want.

The boys are both doing great in school. Both have been moved up during this school year to more advanced math classes--guess they must have a knack for numbers! Neither are playing any sports right now, but they continue to enjoy band and playing their instruments. Christopher will march for the first time in the Memorial Day Parade. They're still both into video games and can't wait for the new Star Wars movie to hit the big screens next month!

Scott has recently changed jobs, but he is still working for RBC Ministries. RBC recently joined with another ministry, Walk in the Word out of Chicago with James MacDonald. He brings with him, Joe Stowell, former president of Moody Bible Institute. Scott is the new Project Manager for Walk in the Word in our Grand Rapids (they still have some operations in the Chicago Area). He has been doing his new job for about 6 weeks now, and has really been enjoying it. One of the parts of Scott's old job that he will miss is working with the Military Ministriesorganization. We just got back from a truly incredible weekend conference that they invited us to...more on that in another post.

I continue to work part-time on the RBC switchboard and work on growing my Web Design Business. I have several new clients since my last writing. There are also a few sites that you won't see listed there, as they are still in the early stages of construction. I started a News section on my business site, so clients and friends can keep up with the happenings of Dramatic Design, along with an email newsletter. I also recently attended a seminar that the Chamber hosted with Tony Rubleski, who is an expert in the area of marketing for small businesses. It was very insightful.

Grandpa's Alzheimer's continues to progress to the latter stages of the disease. It is very hard for him to walk or move without assistance, and he struggles with sundowning and hallucinations. Grandma spent much of the winter struggling with physical issues. She had pneumonia twice and the second time it really took her down--for about 3 weeks. The doctor was about ready to put her in the hospital for IV antibiotics when she finally turned the corner. And, as can be expected, she has to deal with the sadness of seeing Grandpa's decline, as do we all. Grandma really appreciates it whenever she gets a call or note from a friend or family member.

Well, those are the updates...not as brief as I intended, of course. For the most part, things are going pretty well. In times of struggles, I (many times) turn to inspirational music. One song that particularly means a lot to me is Life is Hard (God is Good). The lyrics are:

You turn the key
Then close the door behind you
Drop your bags on the floor
You reach for the light
But there's darkness deep in side
And you can't take it anymore
'Cause sometimes living takes the life out of you
And sometimes living is all you do

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good

You start to cry
'Cause you've been strong too long
And that's not how you feel
You try to pray
But there's nothing left to say
So you just quietly kneel
In the silence of all that you face
God will give you His mercy and grace
Jesus never said
It was an easy road to travel
He only said that you would never be alone
So when your last thread of hope
Begins to come unraveled
Don't give up
He walks beside you
On this journey home and He knows


posted by Kim  # 12:17 PM 0 Comments


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