Satur-deja Vu

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang is demanding $1 million ransom be paid for each of the 17 missionaries they hold hostage or he has vowed to begin executing them. Pictures and video have been released that appear to confirm all 17 are still alive. The US State Department believes the video to be legitimate. Christian Aid Ministries does not want to make any comment that may endanger the lives of those missionaries being held. I have a pastor friend that has traveled to Haiti many times both for humanitarian relief and to train local pastors to be effective in their ministry. Haiti is an impoverished nation with government corruption and mismanagement of the highest order. Pray for the people of Haiti, these 17 missionaries in particular, and the political situation which prevents conditions from changing.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has a profitable tourism industry with resorts and scenic beaches with palm trees. All the trees in Haiti were cut down years ago to be burned in campfires to cook food. There are no trees in Haiti. Basic medial supplies, such as bottles of aspirin, are in high demand and the most common mode of transportation besides walking is bicycle. The need is great, please pray.

Human remains found in Carlton Nature Preserve confirmed by FBI to be those of Brian Laundrie. They also found a notebook and backpack they hope can shed light onto what happened. I said if he was found in that park (and not Canada, Mexico or beyond) that I would eat my shoe. The Sarasota park near the Laundrie home has been subjected to intense search missions for the past month, by everything from local sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents to dive teams and cadaver dogs. Then on the day the park was reopened to the public, his parents show up and starting finding things. This has been one of the craziest stories of the year and don’t expect it go away anytime soon because it has piqued the collective attention of the American viewer.

The ALCS wrapped up last night as the Houston Astros won their fourth game vs. the Boston Red Sox. The World Series begins on Tuesday but we can’t say where yet. The Braves have won three games and the Dodgers two in the best of seven NLCS. The Braves could finish the series tonight; if not they will play a winner take all game seven on Sunday. Recall, if you will, the Braves were up 2-0 last year over the Dodgers, then 3-1 over the Dodgers, and still managed to lose. This all feels very familiar but I have to believe that going back to Atlanta and playing to their home crowd at Truist Park give them an advantage. They only need to win one of the next two games. The World Series home advantage will go to the team with the best record. If Atlanta goes, the Series will start Tuesday night in Houston. If the Dodgers go, they will have home field advantage and game one will be played in Los Angeles.

The Georgia Bulldogs are off this week and will face the Florida Gators next Saturday. At least my family can enjoy a nice fall festival today in downtown Plainville without that stress in my life.

This year’s Hunger Walk illustrates the way life is slowly returning to normal. All of those Braves-Dodgers games I mentioned earlier were played in an isolation bubble in Texas. Then entire MLB postseason was. We tried to do a virtual hunger walk in 2020 with participants submitting pics or short videos of themselves walking at a local park, trail or simply around their neighborhood. Donations were about half of the 2019 total, which had itself been an all time record high. This year we stepped out on faith and added a fifth food bank to the four we have been sponsoring for years, and upped the donation goal to match! I don’t have exact numbers as checks continue to arrive in the mail and people make good on their promised commitments but it looks like we will be at or very near our goal of $5,000! It was good to see people show up and good to see the community bounce back after an off year. Praise the Lord!

Jesus taught using parables about sowing crops, casting nets and keeping sheep. Those were common activities his working class listeners could relate to. The Apostle Paul often used analogies about athletic competition, particularly racing, which were commonplace in the Greco-Roman world. He talked about running the race, focusing on the prize, and competing by the rules so as not to be disqualified. At some point every analogy breaks down. While there may be a first, second and third place, and perhaps today winners in different age groups or categories, those first century races usually had a winner. Just one. If we are running the race toward the author and finisher of our faith, everyone who crosses the finish line is a winner. The prize is Jesus and he wants you to win!

That’s about it for this week. There are so many things I need to do as I struggle to get back to 100% healthwise. I keep feeling like I am almost there but tire out too quickly. Is this what getting old feels like? Apologies for not getting iMonk Radio published, it will happen next week for sure. Peace and God bless blog friends.

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