torch bearer
bringing the light of Jesus to a dark world John 8:12

What I want for Christmas

11/23/2009 03:22:00 PM

Ok, I know that many of you are not even wanting to think about Christmas yet since Thanksgiving hasn't even arrived, but, if it is good for Wal-Mart, then it works for me.

I remember, as a kid, sitting on the lap of a fat guy in a red suit, AKA Santa, around December and hearing him belt out in some "I'm trying to sound jolly to the 3,000th kid I've seen today" voice…"What do you want for Christmas little boy?" Well, if I was able to sit on his lap now I would say "I want a Red Rider BB gun…" just to be smart with him. Of course, we all know what his response would be…Come on, say it with me… "You'll shoot your eye out." As adults, we don't have that privilege to sit on his lap anymore and tell him what we want. I guess, as a grown man, it would be a little creepy for me to sit there and talk to a guy in a beard made of cotton balls and tell him what I want. Of course, if I thought that he would have any sway toward me getting what I want for Christmas this year, I might just risk the embarrassment and climb aboard.

See, this year I actually know what I want. And so I am putting out my request to you nice and early so you can help me get it. You may be thinking a few things right now… "Is he nuts? Like I'm gonna get him a present." Or, "This is a little bold, publishing a wish list for all to see." Or (my personal favorite), "Shoot, I forgot to put him on my list. I'm so glad that he reminded me. I'm all ears, Eldon, to hear what I can buy for you!" Yeah, I like that last one. I digress. I have put a lot of thought, time, energy and distance into this present that I desire. Are you ready?


That's it. No iPhone (although very cool), no ties (don't wear the ones I have), no TV (nothing good to watch anyhow) and no new cars (even that Ferrari that I have been eyeing). Nope. Just a well with fresh water being pumped out to some kids that I fell in love with back in September. These kiddos are dying at an alarming rate and yet it is so easy to put the brakes on that statistic. Fresh, clean water is part of the answer.

In this village, Oloporoli, all I saw was sick kids. The doctor that was with us said that the least of their health problems was pneumonia. The least! The villagers had to walk for about 20 kilometers just to find some water to drink and cook with. If you help me with my Christmas present, they would only have to walk about 100 yards.

There are two little ones that stand out the most to me on that day we were there. One is 7-year-old Naserian. You may remember the story I shared before about the girl who had been circumcised. That is Naserian. But the other one that stands out to me is one that I don't have a name for. I'm assuming she had a name, but I don't know.

My encounter with her was very brief. In fact I didn't talk to her more than trying to say hello to her before she ducked behind her mom and hid in her shuka (wrap type clothing). All I remember was a cute, dirty, deathly skinny and so sick little girl. As I stood up, our interpreter, Too Tepeny, was talking with the mom. I stood there for a moment before Too (pronounced Toe) began telling me what the mother was saying. As I heard him speak, my heart crushed under the pressure and my eyes tried to hold back the tears. He told me that the mom wanted me to take her daughter with me! Now, this wasn't just in playful banter because the kid had been naughty, nor was it just some half-hearted idea. I know this because I asked. He talked again to her and she said, "No, I want him to take my daughter.' I could hear the child making noises and crying behind the mother as this conversation was going on. I don't know if the little girl understood what was being said or not, but I can't imagine what she would be thinking if she did. Through my own pain and tears I asked Too, "Why?" He said that the mom wanted a better life for her daughter than what she was going to have living where she was. My heart had been broken just one too many times this day. The crushing pain of hearing story after story of suffering, the visual reminder that these people are dying, and the smell that wouldn't let me forget that I wasn't just checking out National Geographic photos online. I couldn't hold back my tears, as I can't now, any longer. I replied to Too, "You realize I can't take her, right?" You may never know the agony of those words, or the agony of the reply, "Yes. I know." I would have taken her home at that moment without any hesitation if I could have. Every part of me wanted to scoop her up and love her. To give her a home. To give her a future. To give her hope. I came to a great realization that day, that I'm not the supplier of any of that. Maybe a home someday, even if it is not to her specifically, but the rest of it I couldn't. I knew then, that there is only One who can supply that future and that hope that she needs and that is Jesus Christ. More desperately than the physical water they were longing for, they were in need of Spiritual water. We offered that to them that day, and many made the choice to follow Jesus and receive that hope that comes through him!

Just as they were able to drink of Living Water that day, my desire is that they would also be able to drink of physical water that helps them live. So, that is what I want for Christmas this year. Even if you don't "buy" me a Christmas present, maybe you could "buy" a family member or friend this present. We are only about $10,000 short from making this well happen. If 100 of you (ok, that's bold thinking that 100 people are actually going to read this, which means it puts a little more weight on those of you who do) would "buy" me a $10 gift toward this well, that's $1,000! I've never gotten a $1,000 Christmas present before. And this would be the perfect one.

If you want to help "buy" this gift for me, you can send a check to Rick Willison, the leader of the X Treme Team. Any gift that is given is tax deductible! Just make your check out to TJMI (Team Jesus Ministries Inc.), write on the memo part "Eldon's Christmas Present", and then send it to:


1523 Scarlett Drive

Anderson, IN 46013

Or you can use PayPal. Go to "send money" and then use the email

So, I sit upon your lap (eww) as a child would sit upon Santa's lap, and ask but one thing for Christmas…a well for my kiddos in Oloporoli!

Bearing His torch


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Common Story

11/04/2009 08:40:00 AM

The kids asked a good question this morning during our Bible reading, "how do you get something out of a story that you have read so many times."

We were reading Genesis 7 today. The story of Noah collecting all the animals and getting them stored away on the ark. The ark being sealed and rains coming down and the floods coming up. The complete destruction of everything except that which was on the ark. If you have spent any time at all in church you have heard this story.

So, what do you get out of a story you have heard so many times. Well, verse 1. That's right, I didn't even have to go very far to find some meaningful morsel of truth. Verse 1 says, Then the LORD said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation." God used Noah because he was righteous before Him in that generation.

Noah was used to do something amazing because he was seen as righteous. Noah didn't go into this thinking, "I am going to be famous. Someone is going to write all this down, compile it into the world's bestselling book, people are going to preach about me and use me for children's stories. I can't wait to see what people will say about me!" No, he did what was right because of a fear of God. Because of his right-standing before God in his generation, he was used to restart the population of the earth. But it wasn't because of what he wanted out of it.

You can't be seen as righteous when you are doing what you are doing for the wrong motives. You are only seen as righteous when you are obeying God because that is what is right. Can you imagine what God could do with a bunch of Noah's in this generation? How he could "restart" the earth with a generation of people who were righteous before Him.

Are you doing anything? Are you in a place to be used by God to affect this generation and those to come? With what motive are you doing what you are doing? Let's be known as a people who were "seen that are righteous before God in this generation," and let's see what God does with that.

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Asotin, WA, United States
Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, and called to be His torch bearer to the world.
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