Two Great Speakers

We hadn’t known this before we booked our cruise, but one of the speakers for the week was our own former U.S. Senator Al Simpson.  We were thrilled to know he would be speaking throughout the week.  In addition, his close friend, Norman Mineta would be sharing the speaker’s platform.  Norman was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush, the only Democrat to hold office on his cabinet.  He was in this position on 9/11 and was the man who issued an order to ground all U.S. civilian aircraft, something that had never happened before.  He also worked on the implementation of the Transportation Security Administration department for airline safety. Here is an excellent video of Norman’s recollections of the events on 9/11.

We listened to all their speeches throughout the week and they were fascinating, funny at times and entertaining.

The story of how the two became best friends is amazing, and they took turns sharing the story with us.  Norman’s family had been detained at Heart Mountain–near Cody, Wyoming–one of the Japanese internment camps during World War II.  Al’s Boy Scout leader decided to take his troop of young boys out to the camp to play competitive games and camp-out together.  They ended up in the same tent and became fast friends for life, though one joined the Democratic party and the other joined the Republicans.  Maybe this is why Al was always so good at crossing party lines and working to compromise rather than hating the other side, something that is badly needed now.

We had met Al several times before, and he invited us to have lunch with them in the Palm Court; it was a special treat to sit with these two giants of the political world–men with integrity, kindness, intelligence and openness.  Their wives, Ann and Deni, are also about as kind and caring as anyone you could meet.

We asked a lot of questions about Washington and about 9/11, of course, and they willingly answered them all.  What an honor and privilege to dine with these special people!

Here are some photos from breakfast and from our dinner that evening.





Compassion Kids

At the Compassion Experience conference we had a very unique experience.  We were able to Skype with kids in two of our Child Development Centers.

Here are the kids in Burkina Faso.

2014-06-28 09.48.55_500After introductions they sang a wonderful song for us.  Then one of them read from one of their sponsor letters.  It was truly special!  Then several of the kids shared Bible verses with us and testimonies.

For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

Next, we were able to ask questions of the kids, such as “What do you do during the day at the Child Care Center?”   It was wonderful hearing them answer our questions.

If that wasn’t enough, we also got to visit with some kids in Bolivia.

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They were celebrating all the birthdays for June.  They also sang a song for us, shared some Bible verses and answered some questions.  When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” one of them answered, “A dentist, so I can give nice smiles.”  Another said he wanted to be a fire truck driver.  One of the children read from their sponsor letter.  We not only got to hear them sing but we shared a song with them that alternates between two groups — “Alleluia — Gloria a Dios!”  That was really fun.  They taught us actions for some of the songs.  What a wonderful treat!

Not only this, but we had a formerly sponsored child for our guest speaker — Satish Kumar of India.

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His story of hardship and heartache was very compelling, and to hear about Compassion’s ministry and support in his life.  When he lost his father to suicide and his home to a fire (as his father committed suicide) Compassion came forward with food, clothing, and a new roof on the burnt home.  It was very sad to hear that his sponsors only wrote him twice in 14 years, and never sent a photo.  But for all those years they had no idea of the impact their sponsorship was making in his life.

He qualified for Compassion’s Leadership Development Program and completed a degree in Business Management.  Now he sponsors a child from Sri Lanka and he writes her a lot.  Hope is what he is giving her!  I’m so thankful for Satish’s life and for the fact that he’s sharing his story with many others and calling people to sponsor kids.

If you’d like to sponsor a child — please click here or in the graphic in the sidebar.  You have no idea how much of a difference it can make for a child in need!

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Compassion Experience

I just returned from a great conference in Colorado Springs — Compassion Experience.  By all means, go to one of these if you get the chance.

We had great speakers, music and fellowship.

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Here I am with the CEO and President of Compassion Internatioanl — Jimmy Mellado.

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He lived in seven different countries growing up, competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and was president of the Willow Creek Association for many years.  What a fascinating man, completely devoted to helping children in need around the world!  I have heard him speak several times now, and he never fails to inspire me with his love of God, family and ministry.