Sunday, May 26, 2013

Good Friends Believe in You

When Project Lost Sheep was starting, I asked my friends to join me in helping reach out to children. Among them was my life long friend, Janet Newman, who was Secretary of the Board for many years.

Janet sparkled when she was well and she understood my passion for helping the children, although she had none herself. Janet liked to write beautiful cards to people and did phone work for us as needed. Jesus understands and feels our human emotions of loss. Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. And then, Jesus called him back to life.

We can weep now, but joy comes in the morning, because we will see our believing friends again on the other side. If you are starting a Project Lost Sheep group in your city, talk to your friends. Urge them to join you in reaching the children before they go into drugs and gangs. Friends can become even closer as they have a mission to the lost.

Don't wait. God doesn't count numbers: he counts hearts. A few adults with united hearts can with God reach a community.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


We don't hear or see much of this except on special occassions like Christmas or birthdays. Kindness tends to be extended to a circle of family, friends or even strangers. Maybe that is why we have a hard time looking out of our own little space to see how desperately the world needs kindness.

Love is kind.
If we really want to reflect our God to people we need to put on kindness in our actions, in our words, in our day to day life.

How do we show kindness? Be patient when you have to wait. Smile at the person who serves you. Give presents when it is out of season especially to those who have obvious needs. Celebrate the Lord's kindness to you. Remember His loving kindness. Pay attention because you are always the recipient as his child of his kindness. You can count on it. It may be as simple as a splash of sunshine on you on a dark day.

Someone will be there to give a comforting word when you are hurt. (The Lord's kindness sent that person.) 

 Someone will be there to help you when you need it. (The Lord helps you.) 

 When you need guidance. (The Lord opens a word to you from the Holy Bible.)

God is full of mercy and kindness all the time to all. Count on it. He proved his love to us dying on a horrid cross for our mistakes so we could have peace with God. What greater kindness could be shown than to lay down his life for us poor sinners?


No wonder they went fishing. They had seen Jesus crucified and then he had revealed himself to them. Still it was "overwhelming". So John, Peter and some others went fishing. All night, with all there experience, these rugged men caught nothing. They were tired as dawn came and they had an empty boat.

From the shore Jesus said "Children, have ye any meat?"
> No
"Cast the net on the right side and ye shall find,"
153 fish swam into net

But, look a little closer, because Jesus already had fish and bread on a bed of coals ready for them. Jesus knows where his disciples are. He knows when they are tired and have fished all night. They sat and ate the bread he provided and the fish he grilled.

Jesus, alive from the dead, knew what they needed and provided for them because they were his children! 

"Believe and receive...."
St. John 21

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Project Lost Sheep Came About

Project Lost Sheep began when I was away on a retreat. It was very quiet. I was at our favorite family vacation spot and not expecting anything unusual. However, while I was on the very much run down basketball court just walking around I heard the words "Project Lost Sheep" and "seed to the future." I knew it was a call to work with children.

I went to my missions pastor in the church I'd been a member of for years and he told me I needed to start a non-profit. He gave me the name of a man in the church who could help.

Some time went by and I got some of my dearest friends together for lunch. Those who came seemed interested and the children's minister of the church came towards the end and affirmed that this mission was "from the Lord".

Of course, I didn't know what to do next but one of my friends, Audrey Hostetler, said she would pray for this work to be established.

We needed a church home and so I went to another church where it was easy to get a room for meetings and met with the pastor who was very positive about outreach to children. That is how we came to have the First Baptist Church in Menlo Park as our base for meetings.

The night of the signing or the incorporation papers we had a table with books on for a program that was going on and then our little group filed into the library for the signing of the papers.

There were 4 of us. One for each job. I became President because that was the job that was left. Little did I realize what I had just signed up for. My life took an entire new direction and I was on the biggest adventure of my Christian life!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The More You Give, The More You Will Be Blessed

Non profits of all sorts are hurting. I just got a letter from one pastor in San Jose, established in l980 that said giving was down 30%. 

We are delighted to report that many of the larger corporations in America are getting into the giving mode. This is very USA. 

 We need to share and care. 
 We need to be careful to maintain good works.

As the founder of a non profit I can tell you that every little gift counts. Large, sustaining gifts are also needed. Many people worry about money. Even those who have so much.  "I need more" seems to be the cry. But do we? Do we need more material things or do we need more internal satisfaction?

Do you have friends? Do you have close family? How much real soul satisfaction do you have?

Look around. Find a need and start really investing in some time, energy and yes good old fashioned folding green into it. ;-)

You will be blessed if you follow your heart and keep at it.

Tutoring Gives Brain Boost @ Onnuri

I was just impressed with the tutoring improvements for the children and how God works in the Onnuri Korean Church in San Jose.

Children get help with their home work.
The same tutors work with the the children each week.
Children get close attention from high school tutors at
Onnuri Korean Church in San Jose.

Joyce Dueker, second from right, brings new mothers (one left) to visit program. 
Hyewon (on right) was part of the original prayer group that led to
the launch of a program at her church.

Adult volunteers cook food for the children, lead games, and even pick up high
school tutors from their homes.
A commited team is key to the successful launch of a volunteer program.
The home church is active in many mission areas.

Team leader, Glen Inn, top right.
Glen's enthusiasm is contagious.  He works full time for Cisco Systems.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Church Centers Of Hope

Today I had an interesting experience with a small shop owner who had definitely been intimidated by the force of gang activity in a good part of San Jose near Los Gatos.

"Why are people paying so much for houses and taxes in a place that is just as bad as a ghetto?" he quipped. People think that because they live in a good part of town they are safe from the avalanche of lawlessness that is creeping into most cities in America.

We are blind. We do not see that the lack of opportunity for youth leads right to a life of crime and those in the middle will pay for it in higher taxes, home invasions or worse.

Now, as you know we work for children and although this is no "quick" fix to help the pollution of society by the bully tactics of the gangs, I believe that real reaching out by the community and demanding better for the children will turn around an entire city in time.

Churches need to be centers of hope where people really reach out and serve those who are less fortunate. Talk is cheap. Good works that help families cannot be disputed. The reason children get bent the wrong direction is because they have terrible roll models in their own families. They have no line of authority and they crave structure and a place to hang out. Unfortunately, gangs will readily take and train a 12 year old to lie, steal, cheat and get ready for the next level: to kill.

We can and do step in to help children by giving them help with learning math and English plus lots more. At Onnuri Church in San Jose the children are learning to grow plants. They are learning to sing songs. They are learning to really care about their high school tutors who in turn help them with their homework. The children have a happy home after school. Imagine for a moment. Think of the worst, gang ridden area of your city. What would happen if we came there? Would you pray? Would you tell others. There are many links in a fence that keeps a community safe. Be that link.

Mother's Day

It is the little things when you look back that count.
I found myself going out and getting a rose from the garden for my daughter who is visiting briefly. Then, I recalled that it was my mother: Myrtle D. Sutherlin who had started it all. She loved her garden in San Jose.

I never came home from college or elsewhere without finding a small token from her garden in my room. We always had something from the garden on the table even in winder. Holly or some other greens. At Easter it was lilies on the buffet. And in our rooms this time of year it was always roses. 

She loved beauty and she expressed her love with these gifts from her garden. She was a very busy woman who taught full time. Once I wondered where she prayed and then it came to me: in her garden.

May we honor all mother's in this month of May and remember that they did little things for us that live on.