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Chicago Photos

My worship service yesterday was me, God, the city and my camera. Here is a glimpse.

Beef and Guinness Stew

I have always loved St. Patrick’s Day. No not in for the green beer but for the story behind the man Saint Patrick was ironically not Irish. For more about this amazing man who loved the people of Ireland, check out this video:

So in honor of the holiday, I’m making Beef and Guinness Stew tonight for dinner. Please join me using the recipe below:

Beef and Guinness Stew Recipe

Rich and hearty, this is a great stew to make during cold winter months or anytime you want a hearty stew filled with beery goodness.

This recipe is designed to be made with the unique flavor of Guinness but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment with other stouts and porters! Serve it with the same beer you use to make it.

2 – 3 pounds lean beef, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp ground black peper
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
24 oz. Guinness Extra Stout (not Draught Style)
2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
1 tsp thyme

Toss beef in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp of oil. Mix the flour, salt and black pepper and red pepper. Add to beef and toss until the meat is evenly coated.

Dissolve the tomato paste in a cup or so of the beer.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides. Add onions, garlic and the beer/tomato paste mixture. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.

Empty the frying pan into a casserole dish and return it to the heat.

Increase heat to medium and add enough beer to cover the bottom. Boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the pan.

Empty the pan into the casserole dish. Add the rest of the beer, the carrots and thyme. Stir and taste to see if you want to add more salt, pepper, etc.

Cover and simmer on the stove top or bake at 300 degrees F for 2 hours, more if you’d like.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Scatter chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 6 – 8.


I sat with David for about an hour yesterday. He has captured the hearts of our team here, but has a literal hole in his own. He desperately needs heart surgery. Albert has spent the last few weeks trying to get David’s family to take him to the hospital, or grant permission for Albert to do so. David’s uncle should arrive today and Albert hopes to acquire such permission. The second hurtle is the money for the surgery, but our team has assured Albert that it would be covered. We will figure out a way.

I sat with David and showed him pictures of my family and my son David. I slowly told him the story of David and Goliath. I prayed with him. I took his picture and let him take mine. I made animal noises. I did anything I could to make this sick, sad boy smile. He has only smiled a handful of times, and heaven breaks in when he does.

Leper Hospital

We made plans to visit the leper hospital this morning, and I had forgotten what a difficult experience that is. After a difficult and hot hour-long drive, we arrived at the Little Flower Leper Hospital. Abraham greeted us and escorted us through the wards. We walked into rooms full of 20-30 people afflicted with leprosy. Many had digits missing from their hands and feet, and some, limbs missing. Their bandages were speckled with blood spots, and it looked more like a war hospital that those afflicted with an old, treatable disease.

We walked down the rows of beds and made eye contact with those who had been sent away from their families and rejected by society. The simple act of looking them in the eye and greeting them, “Namaste,” brought a smile to many faces. In each ward we would engage this slow processional, adding hugs and hand shakes along the way. Then we would sing a worship song or two. I found myself choked up a number of times and struggled to keep from bawling in front of everyone. The music seemed to be a comfort to them, and some clapped or hummed along.

Abraham escorted us to the main office down the street where we met Brother Christa Das, who founded the hospital in 1982. He has skin of old leather and a heart of joy, and would quickly and easily break into a 4 tooth smile. On his wall were awards and a magazine from a few years back with him on the cover as India’s Man of the Year. We sat with him for about half an hour and asked questions about the hospital and his journey. He worked for 14 years in Kolkata with Mother Teresa, and shared her challenge to “preach without preaching.” His reasoning for living his life this way was quite simple. “Jesus said to care for the least of these. I believe the least of these here are lepers.”

As the team debriefed later, we concluded two things. One, that we will most likely not experience a resolution from our uncomfortable experience at the leper hospital. And two, we need to determine who the least of these in our lives are, and respond with love and sacrifice.

Make A Joyful Noise

“If you are going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
– 1 Cor. 1:31

I’m listening to the kids singing upstairs, worshipping God and singing/yelling at the top of their lungs. It is a beautiful, joyful noise.

Today has been a good day. This morning Albert took us to their new land. I was there 4 years ago when it was only a large empty space outlined by a property wall. Today stands the first of four buildings. It will hold Albert and his family, all the children, and have space for visiting teams like us. It is a big step toward a God-dream that Albert is saying yes to. Eventually there will be buildings to house 1,000 orphans, a school and a training school for pastors. We stood on the roof and prayed that these dreams would become reality and God’s will would be done. That the opening of the front gates would be opening arms of love to all that enter. We prayed that the government would not take a portion of the land to build a new road. We prayed that it would be a place used by God.

The light of God’s love shines brightly in dark places, and this ministry is definitely a beacon of light and love here.

Traveling to the Glory of God

We have had some traveling woes. Nothing major, but some professional minors. Our hotel “right next to the airport” was 45 minutes away, decreasing our potential 6 hours of sleep to 4. The hotel had bedbugs. We think. Getting our tickets in Delhi took a long time, so we had to run to the plane during final boarding. Then we sat on the runway for over an hour. Then we flew to Kathmandu but didn’t land there, re-routed to Lucknow, fueled up there, sat for another hour, then finally landed in Kathmandu, missing our connecting flight to Simra by well over an hour. We were so late to Kathmandu that we missed our contact with our plane tickets to Simra. After a few hours we finally had tickets and flew to Simra. Getting off the plane and seeing Albert was such a relief and joy. We drove about 90 minutes to the border and waited for immigration. Traffick was thick and eventually came to a standstill. Our driver said in 15 years he had never seen traffic so bad. We had to abandon the cars and make it to the immigration office by foot. The officer eventually showed up and demanded a bribe for coming out so late. We obliged and crossed the border. Then we went to immigration in India and then came to the building where we are staying. The shower and good night of sleep was amazing and refreshing.

I’ve been pondering 1 Cor. 10:31 today, which says that we should do everything to the glory of God. Everything. Even eating and drinking. What about traveling? How do we bring God glory when we have to run to catch our flight only to have it sit on the runway for over an hour and are tired and we miss our next flight and the baby on the plane won’t stop crying… How do we travel like this to the glory of God? Perhaps it is by having extra grace. Being patient. Smiling at Mr. Grumpy Pants. Being gracious and understanding. Showing love. I think and hope those things have been more evident in our team than the opposite. It has been humbling and a reminder that we are not in control.

We need to work out these logistics for sure, but we acknowledge that more than order or control, we need God and His Spirit.