IAFR Conference

Most of the IAFR team converged on Minnesota for a few days to retreat together this past week. It was a rich time of reconnecting, worship and learning. I am so grateful to be part of this amazing fellowship of the Highway.

Back to work

We’re so grateful to have seen 5 moose while recreating up north. I was delighted to get a photo of this one doing what moose do.

The clean cold northern air and the winds through the pines were just what I needed!

The northern sky was also spectacular.

Now it’s time to get back to work!


I pulled weeds from today. Lots of them. Wild garlic took over the ground under a row of pines in our yard and it had to be uprooted one at a time – most of the time I got it roots and all.

Now my back and thighs are telling me that I shouldn’t have been so aggressive.

It may not sound like a vacationy thing to do – but it is a helpful exercise in unplugging.

Getting ready to head into the northwoods…


It’s time to take a break – unplug and head into the northwoods of Minnesota. It’s been a long time since my last vacation and I’m feeling it. I’m tired.

Creativity is low as is mental dexterity. My heart is feeling the weight of the race and I’m thankful that I have the ability to pursue re-creation and rest like this. I don’t take it for granted.

I plan to take my camera and capture the impossible beauty of the tall pines and endless waters of Superior. If I see a moose or a wolf, you’ll be sure to hear about it!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul

Psalm 23:2-3



I’ve taken the days off between Christmas and New Years and have taken several walks along the wetlands and in the woods near our home. The cattails always catch my eye as they add gold to the whites and blacks of winter.

An unexpected visit

Photo: Bruce and Janet McNicol with Donna and I today sitting on our “Wes and Judy Roberts Memorial Sofa”.

We got an unexpected text last night. Bruce and Janet McNicol were in town and wanted to see if we were free to connect. Indeed we were.

It was really good to reconnect with them in our home this afternoon.

We were first introduced to each other by our friend Wes Roberts sometime between 1995-1996. Bruce was working on some life-changing training with Bill Thrall and John Lynch. They had founded the Leadership Catalyst. Ascent of a Leader, TrueFaced and The Cure are a few of the books they’ve published over the years. The Heart of Man movie 🍿 is a penetrating expression of some of their work (although is wont be easy for you, you MUST see it! – it’s available on Netflix).

Bruce is one of the few men who have left a permanent mark on my life for good. I’m not the same person I was because our lives crossed back then. Thank God.

I hope God has graced your life with a Bruce too.


Photo: Stephen and Tim heading into the sunrise to find breakfast this morning

I’m thankful for the chance to have had breakfast with Tim Barnes and Stephen Freed this morning. They are two of the finest people and leaders I’ve served with in my 38 years of ministry.

Friendship is essential to life.


Re-entry is always tough. It takes time to decompress after a visit to Kakuma refugee camp and reorient myself to life and work in Minnesota.

Today I bought my plane tickets and registered for an upcoming conference in Costa Rica at the end of the month. A large gathering of Latin American Missions is meeting in San Jose to reflect on missions among the diaspora. They’ve invited me to speak concerning the churches role in the global refugee crisis. I am flying in a day early to meet with a handful of Christians there that are serving refugees in Costa Rica. What a privilege to meet with and encourage them. I’m sure I will also learn from them!

I also met online with a friend, mentor and WEA leader, Christine MacMillian. She’s been my WEA leader as I serve as Ambassador for Refugees. We’re trying to figure out ways to get the right people to various UN meetings related to refugees. One specific meeting is called the Dialogue on Faith and Protection. It will meet on Dec 18-19 in Geneva. WEA would like me to be there – but the timing is really tough (the week before Christmas). I welcome your prayers as I try to discern whether this is something I need to do in spite of the timing. The cost of the trip would be high – probably $3700-4000 including airfare, accommodation and meals. I don’t know how I could swing that if I was able to go. Would you pray with me about this and let me know if God impresses anything on you?

In between meetings, I began writing up my recent Kakuma trip. So much happened while there. I’ve learned it is critical to keep notes and write a detailed report in order to keep track of all the moving parts in the ministry.

I’m home now. Donna is an elder at our church and is on a team drafting a statement to bring to the church concerning our posture on some of the most difficult social issues of our time.

Our plate is full. We’re both a bit weary. But we are also grateful.


The older I get the more important nature and beauty become to me. I took a walk in the woods near home this afternoon and came upon this blazing autumn sumac among the birches. It did me good.