When Will America Wake Up?

I’m not the kind of person that believes in conspiracy theories. I’m not gullible. I’m the kind of person who believes Americans are Americans first, and political party affiliation second. But, I’m not sure I believe that any more. Let me explain why.

While I wasn’t alive during World War 2, the stories I hear about the country coming together out of patriotism and love for our country are incredible. Everybody gave up something for the cause of winning the war.  While it wasn’t a pretty time in our country’s history, Americans were opposed to communism and Marxism following the war. They wanted to protect our nation from radicals who wanted to change our country’s foundation. We’re a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. There are many in our nation who want the country of the government, by the government and for the government.

Today, the Democrats appear more interested in supporting the top of the party rather than protecting America. Republicans are, too. They’re more interested in capitulating their values and appeasing those opposed to our foundation. I believe there are political leaders who who to change our constitution, rather than protect and defend it.

Why can’t both parties just stop with the political battles and start asking the question, “What’s best for our nation?” Why is it ever better to implement a program that isn’t sustainable? When is it better for a country to give something to it’s citizens its citizens don’t want? Why is it better for a country to ignore the mistakes of other nations, and repeat their mistakes. Why is it we allow a president (any president) to circumvent the constitution through executive order. What do I mean?

The Constitution clearly states the Congress passes and approves laws, NOT the president. The president should be allowed to change implementation dates, passes laws, to tell the justice department NOT to enforce certain laws, just because the president says so. Those should be impeachable offenses, wouldn’t you agree?

The frustrating part of all this is that Americans are ignorant. Nearly half of all Americans don’t exercise their right as an American and VOTE. On the other side of this, I really don’t want them to vote because they don’t know what or who they’re voting for. 3/4 of the people who vote are unsure of the issues they’re voting about. They don’t know the candidates, they don’t know the issues. They simply vote the party line — without question.

What’s the answer? A return to God. I know what some of you are saying, “keep religion and politics separate.”  Why should we? Our founding fathers didn’t.

Here’s what John Adams said, “[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.:

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

But, in order for us to turn back to God, our churches need a renewal. In order for revival in churches, we need to repent of our sinful ways and focus our eyes on Christ alone. It’s only then can we expect our country to improve.

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Here’s an article I happened across. I’m posting it to get your response. Any cursing or name calling won’t be tolerated and will get you banned from this blog. This blog is meant for open fair and CIVIL conversation. Since it’s my blog, I get to decide what that is.

Why Obamacare is a Fantastic Success

By Wayne Allyn Root

There are 2 major political parties in America. I’m a member of the naïve, stupid, and cowardly one. I’m a Republican. How stupid is the GOP? They still don’t get it. I told them 5 years ago, 2 books ago, a national bestseller ago (“The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide”), and in hundreds of articles and commentaries, that Obamacare was never meant to help America, or heal the sick, or lower healthcare costs, or lower the debt, or expand the economy.

The GOP needs to stop calling Obamacare a “trainwreck.” That means it’s a mistake, or accident. That means it’s a gigantic flop, or failure. It’s NOT. This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism. It’s not a failure, it’s Obama’s grand success. It’s not a “trainwreck,” Obamacare is a suicide attack. He wants to hurt us, to bring us to our knees, to capitulate- so we agree under duress to accept big government.

Obama’s hero and mentor was Saul Alinsky- a radical Marxist intent on destroying capitalism. Alinksky’s stated advice was to call the other guy “a terrorist” to hide your own intensions. To scream that the other guy is “ruining America,” while you are the one actually plotting the destruction of America. To claim again and again…in every sentence of every speech…that you are “saving the middle class,” while you are busy wiping out the middle class.

The GOP is so stupid they can’t see it. There are no mistakes here. This is a planned purposeful attack. The tell-tale sign isn’t the disastrous start to Obamacare. Or the devastating effect the new taxes are having on the economy. Or the death of full-time jobs. Or the overwhelming debt. Or the dramatic increases in health insurance rates. Or the 70% of doctors now thinking of retiring- bringing on a healthcare crisis of unimaginable proportions. Forget all that.

The real sign that this is a purposeful attack upon capitalism is how many Obama administration members and Democratic Congressmen are openly calling Tea Party Republicans and anyone who wants to stop Obamacare “terrorists.” There’s the clue. Even the clueless GOP should be able to see that. They are calling the reasonable people…the patriots…the people who believe in the Constitution…the people who believe exactly what the Founding Fathers believed…the people who want to take power away from corrupt politicians who have put America $17 trillion in debt…terrorists?

That’s because they are Saul Alinsky-ing the GOP. The people trying to purposely hurt America, capitalism and the middle class…are calling the patriots by a terrible name to fool, confuse and distract the public.

Obamacare is a raving, rollicking, fantastic success. Stop calling it a failure. Here is what it was created to do. It is succeeding on all counts.

#1) Obamacare was intended to bring about the Marxist dream- redistribution of wealth. Rich people, small business owners, and the middle class are being robbed, so that the money can be redistributed to poor people (who vote Democrat). Think about it. If you’re rich or middle class, you now have to pay for your own healthcare costs (at much higher rates) AND 40 million other people’s costs too (through massive tax increases). So you’re stuck paying for both bills. You are left broke. Brilliant.

#2) Obamacare was intended to wipe out the middle class and make them dependent on government. Think about it. Even Obama’s IRS predicts that health insurance for a typical American family by 2016 will be $20,000 per year. But how would middle class Americans pay that bill and have anything left for food or housing or living? People that make $40K, or $50K, or $60K can’t possibly hope to spend $20K on health insurance without becoming homeless. Bingo. That’s how you make middle class people dependent on government. That’s how you make everyone addicted to government checks. Brilliant.

#3) As a bonus, Obamacare is intended to kill every decent paying job in the economy, creating only crummy, crappy part-time jobs. Why? Just to make sure the middle class is trapped, with no way out. Just to make sure no one has the $20,000 per year to pay for health insurance, thereby guaranteeing they become wards of the state. Brilliant.

#4) Obamacare is intended to bankrupt small business, and therefore starve donations to the GOP. Think about it. Do you know a small business owner? I know hundreds of them. Their rates are being doubled, tripled and quadrupled by Obamacare. Guess who writes 75% of the checks to Republican candidates and conservative causes? Small business. Even if a small business owner manages to survive, he or she certainly can’t write a big check to the GOP anymore. Money is the “mother’s milk” of politics. Without donations, a political party ceases to exist. Bingo. That’s the point of Obamacare. Obama is bankrupting his political opposition and drying up donations to the GOP. Brilliant.

#5) Obamacare is intended to make the IRS all-powerful. It adds thousands of new IRS agents. It puts the IRS in charge of overseeing 15% of the U.S. economy. The IRS has the right because of Obamacare to snoop into every aspect of your life, to go into your bank accounts, to fine you, to frighten you, to intimidate you. And Obama and his socialist cabal have access to your deepest medical secrets. By law your doctor has to ask your sexual history. That information is now in the hands of Obama and the IRS to blackmail GOP candidates into either not running, or supporting bigger government, or leaking the info and ruining your campaign. Or have you forgotten the IRS harassed, intimidated and persecuted critics of Obama and conservative groups? Now Obama hands the IRS even more power. Big Brother rules our lives. Brilliant.

#6) Obamacare is intended to unionize 15 million healthcare workers. That produces $15 billion in new union dues. That money goes to fund Democratic candidates and socialist causes- thereby guaranteeing Obama’s friends never lose another election, and Obama’s policies keep ruining capitalism and bankrupting business owners long after he’s out of office.

Message to the GOP: This isn’t a game. This isn’t tiddly-winks. This is a serious, purposeful attempt to highjack America and destroy capitalism. This isn’t a trainwreck. It’s purposeful suicide. It’s not failing, it’s working exactly according to plan. Obama knows what he’s doing. Stop apologizing and start fighting.

Oh and one more thing…Conservatives aren’t “terrorists.” We are patriots and saviors. We represent the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. We are the heroes and good guys. Unless you get all this through your thick skulls, America is lost…forever.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I can’t help but think about that holiday season. It’s really my favorite time of the year. I love the family gathering, the festive mood, the traditions, the music, the food — everything. Believe it or not, I even enough the shopping, but I would say that it’s not my favorite thing about Christmas — there, I said the politically incorrect WORD.  Christmas. There I said it again.

I didn’t mean for this blog to be political, instead I’m writing this blog to tell you about something exciting our family is doing this year that will actually give to orphans in the former Soviet Union.

Anastasia before she was adopted and now.

Anastasia before she was adopted and now.

As some of you know, my daughter is from Irkutsk, Russia. We adopted her in 2002 from Baby Home #1 in December of that year. In fact, the adoption was official just one day before the New Year. Why is this an important fact? Well, because my daughter wants to give something to her former orphanage at Christmas time, and you can help her.

The program is called Project Hope. When you donate $25 at http://www.YouCaring.com/projecthope you can provide more than a Christmas gift to a child without a family at Christmas time. You’re providing the greatest gift of all — the Christ of Christ.

How does it work?

Because Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union don’t allow Christmas gifts to be SENT in to the country, Russian Ministries started a program called, Project Hope, the Great Gift Exchange. The money is collected in the United States and sent to partnering evangelical churches in country. These churches then purchase toys, candy, personal care items and God’s Word. These items are placed in a festive boxes and are then hand delivered by Christians.

In partnership with Baptist Bible Church of Irkutsk, my daughter wants to send Project Hope Christmas boxes to all 150 children in her former orphanage. While the goal of $3,750 is a formidable goal, the church has a goal of distributing 1,000 gifts 12 orphanages in Irkutsk.

Nikolas Yonker before and now.

Nikolas Yonker before and now.

Anastasia isn’t working alone, however. She’s working with three other families who have adopted children from the same city, who now living in the United States. Niikolas Yonker, Annika Tuls, and Matt and Katie Olsen are joining together to help the Baptist Bible Church accomplish their goal.

From now through December 18, 2013 these young people are collecting money to help provide these gifts. They want to make sure these children have more than a Christmas this year, they want them to hear about Jesus. Through Project Hope and your contribution, you’ll ensure they have both.

Anika Tuls before and now photo.

Anika Tuls before and now photo.

Today, there are more than 700,000 children in the orphanage system in Russia alone. Since Russia has banned all adoptions to the United States, and more countries could be banned in months today come, these children have little hope of being adopted. That’s why this program is so important. It gives a child hope during one of the most hopeful times of the year — a time when Jesus brought hope to the world when he was born in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.

Katie and Matt Olsen before and now.

Katie and Matt Olsen before and now.

 

Please give generously. $100 provides four Project Hope Christmas gifts. Your donation could make an eternal difference in the life of one child, or many children. It will also empower the Baptist Bible Church to have incredible impact in their community.

You can give safely and securely on-line at https://www.YouCaring.com/projecthope. If you have questions, please email me your personal information at gregsyoder@gmail.com and I’ll get back with you asap.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. President George W. Bush is getting bum wrap when it comes to the poor economy that many claim was given to President Barak Hussein Obama. Here’s why.

Here’s an email I received the puts much more clearly than I ever could.

The day the democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007 the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress. The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.

For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s fault”, think about this:

January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress.
At the time:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH

January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
Unemployment… to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!

President Bush asked Congress 17 times to stop Fannie & Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie? OBAMA and the Democrat Congress. So when someone tries to blame Bush. REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007…. THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!”

Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democrat Party.

Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 and 2009 as well as 2010 and 2011.

In that first year, they had to contend with George W. Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited
it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.

Why is it that nobody is talking about this, not even Fox News? It’s quite frustrating to hear the Democrats saying that we’re better off than we were four years ago. I’m not. I’m not only making less money than I did in 2008, but I had two years of retirement taken away, I’ve been paying more for health insurance, and I’m paying double for energy including gasoline, home heating, and electricity. Also, food prices have doubled.

Another issue for me is religious freedom. Today, we have less religious freedom in the United States than we had in 2008. If you remember, both houses of Congress passed Hate Crimes legislation that adds sexual orientation to the list of groups under the protection of the federal law. It also gives states and local jurisdictions federal help in prosecuting hate crimes. This law could be the law that prosecutes Christians for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality — calling it a sin.

The bottom line is I don’t feel better off than I was four years ago. 24 million Americans who are currently unemployed (and millions more who are under-employed), the 40 million plus people who now receive food stamps, and the 1 in 5 million Americans who are now living in poverty certainly aren’t better off.

So, the question remains, if President Obama was a CEO of any major company in the U.S. or around the world would he be fired? Would his contract be renewed with five trillion in debt, 8+ percent unemployment, and four years without a federal budget? If he would have said, “you can’t blame me, the former CEO left a mess” they wouldn’t have cared very much.

So, if you are a democrat and plan to vote for President Obama, pretend you’re a stock-holder. Pretend you’re evaluating his performance as a CEO. Is there enough evidence to renew his contract? Is there evidence of quality leadership that has taken our nation to the next level, or has his leadership been divisive? Has he been one to lead through international calamity? Has he helped lift democracy in the Middle East? Has he led in these situations from the front, or followed from behind?

Michelle Obama said it well Tuesday night. She said, “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” It certainly did in President Obama’s situation. It revealed he’s divisive, can’t unite, can’t budget, and can’t lead.

Elizabeth Warren has it totally wrong. She’s demonizing corporations who HIRE people. To demonize them cripples the corporations who hire people.

Greg just before the start of The Crim

Greg, without his glasses, already looks like he’s run 10 miles, but really he’s thinking about running 10 miles and wonders if he’ll finish because of his cold and nagging cough.

After I ran the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan in May, I needed motivation to continue running. So, I set my sights on the Crim 10 Mile Road Race in Flint, Michigan. I grew up in the Flint area. In 1982 I ran The Crim. At 16 years old, not much of a runner, I ran 10 miles in 1:17, that’s about a 7:40 a mile split. I was 2, 224 place. That was better than half, I guess. That was 30 years ago to the day.

Well, I’m not 16 any more. And, I’m probably 50 pounds heavier. But, I competed and I finished!

On Saturday, August 25 I was hoping to finish at 90 minutes, or a 9 minute mile pace. Unfortunately, I had a couple of things going against me.
1. I have been battling an upper respiratory infection and my cough has prevented me from training the last 10 days.
2. I’m older, and I had forgotten about all the hills on this course.
3. My will to push on this day was — well — NOT THERE.

I started my day with little sleep. My cough from my cold kept me awake. I maybe got five hours of sleep, if that much. An hour here, 90 minutes there, not very restful. I woke up tired, not very excited, and worried whether or not my body would let me run, let alone meet my goal.

My dad dropped me off on the U of M, Flint campus and I walked the rest of the way to the starting line. There were surprisingly few people there one hour before the race. I watched the wheelers start, then the 30 year runners, and then it was our turn.

I was in wave C, based on the pace I had select when I registered. So, about three minutes after the front runners started, our wave was allowed to start. I actually felt pretty well. My fist quarter mile spit was about 2:15. My first mile was 8:50ish. And, no coughing at all. I made it to mile four and I was still at about a 9 minute pace. Then at mile five I hit a gradual hill. Then, turned a corner and there they were — the dreaded BRADLEY HILLS. This is a section of the race course that has a series of three hills that climb about 100 feet in about three quarters of a mile or less. These hills kicked my tail. When I saw them, my goal was to run up all oft them.

I did it! But, I was spent.

I got to the top of the last of the three hills and there was another one — a gradual one — but a hill none-the-less — and WATER. The last four miles of the race my body kept saying, STOP, walk a little. So, at each water break I walked through them. It was so frustrating. I had trained all summer to RUN the Crim, not walk it. Not just run it, but do it at 90 minutes.

So, how did I do? My official time was 1:41:44. Not what I was hoping for. 11 minutes and 44 seconds slower than I had hoped.

But, I did finish and I did my best. Next year, IF I run it again I will do a couple of things differently.
1. I will do more hill training.
2. I will do everything in my power NOT to get a cold.
3. I will conserve a little more for the dreaded Bradley Hills.

I will say this, going back to where I grew up was kinda sad. A town that used to call itself, “Buick City” or “Vehicle City” isn’t much of a city anymore. Most of the GM plants have been completely torn down. The home of the famous Sit Down Strike is gone. GM and the Unions have pretty much destroyed a city that was once a bustling city full of hope and pride. Now, the main focus of downtown Flint, colleges and universities.

I’m glad I was able to do my part to give this city a boost. If you remember to, pray for the city of Flint. It really needs it.

I received this in an email yesterday. It’s one of those emails that go around asking people to forward it around,”If your a true American.” What do you think about this?

“I Am the Democratic, Republican Liberal-Progressive’s Worst Nightmare.
I am a White, Conservative, Tax-Paying, American Veteran, Gun Owning Biker. That’s me!
I am a Master Mason. I work hard and long hours with my hands to earn a living.

I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don’t push it on others..
I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles, and drive American-made cars, and I believe in
American products and buy them whenever I can.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and not some liberal governmental functionary,
Democratic or Republican, that wants to share it with others who don’t work!

I’m in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!

I think owning a gun doesn’t make you a killer; it makes you a smart American.

I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to
anything. Get over it!

I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac or any other item, you should do it in English.

I believe there should be no other language option.

I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.

Guy on Harley

Guy on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle

My heroes are Malcolm Forbes, Bill Gates, John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Willie G. Davidson, who makes the awesome Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

I don’t hate the rich. I don’t pity the poor.

I know wrestling is fake and I don’t waste my time watching or arguing about it.

I’ve never owned a slave, nor was I a slave. I haven’t burned any witches or been persecuted
by the Turks, and neither have you!

I believe if you don’t like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and
change your own country!

This is AMERICA …We like it the way it is and more so the way it was…so stop trying to
change it to look like Russia or China, or some other socialist country!

If you were born here and don’t like it…you are free to move to any Socialist country that will
have you. I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the White House, the seat
of our biggest problems.

I want to know which church is it, exactly, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson preaches,
where he gets his money, and why he is always part of the problem and not the solution?

Can I get an AMEN on that one?

I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you’re breaking the law, regardless of
what color you are, but not just because you happen to ride a bike.

And, no, I don’t mind having my face shown on my driver’s license. I think it’s good….
And I’m proud that ‘God’ is written on my money..

I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don’t want you deciding who
should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.

I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me
into making ‘donations’ to their cause….Get a job and do your part to support yourself and
your family!

I believe that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes two parents….

I believe ‘illegal’ is illegal no matter what the lawyers think!

I believe the American flag should be the only one allowed in AMERICA !

If this makes me a BAD American, then yes, I’m a BAD American.

If you are a BAD American too, please forward this to everyone you know…

We want our country back!

My Country…..I hope this offends all illegal aliens.

My great, great, great, great grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in the Revolution
& the War of 1812.
My great, great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Mexican American War.
My great, great grandfather watched as his friends & brothers died in the Civil War.
My great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Spanish-American War.
My grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I.
My father watched as his friends died in WW II.

I watched as my friends died in Vietnam , Panama & Desert Storm.
My son watched & bled as his friends died in Afghanistan and Iraq .
None of them died for the Mexican or any other Flag.
Everyone died for the American flag.

Texas high school students raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole,
other students took it down. Guess who was expelled…the students who took it down.

California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo, because they wore
T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.

Enough is enough
This message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America .

We’ve bent over to appease the America-haters long enough. I’m taking a stand.

I’m standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country,
and for the American flag.

If you agree, stand up with me and forward to everyone in your address book!!

And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.

AMERICANS, stop giving away Your RIGHTS!

Let me make this clear! THIS IS MY COUNTRY!

This statement DOES NOT mean I’m against immigration!

YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:

1. Get a sponsor !

2. Learn the LANGUAGE, as immigrants have in the past !

3. Live by OUR rules !

4. Get a job !

5. Pay YOUR Taxes !

6. No Social Security until you have earned it and Paid for it !

7. NOW find a place to lay your head !

If you don’t want to forward this for fear of offending someone,
then YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !

We’ve gone so far the other way. . . bent over backwards not to offend anyone.

Only AMERICANS seems to care when American Citizens are being offended !

WAKE UP America ! ! !

If you do not Pass this on, may your fingers cramp !

Made in the U S A & PROUD OF IT!!!!!

What an experience. Two years of work came to a conclusion this weekend. What a weekend.

It all started about two years ago when I blew out my knee playing basketball. After surgery ended my basketball playing days. I began strengthening my damaged knee. Elliptical, bike and the running on a tread mill were the tools used to get me to even consider running. I worked hard. I worked my way up to 3 miles each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In January, my sister Laura challenged me to start running a little further. Then she started talking about running in the Fifth Third Riverbank Run.

In January, we run four miles. A few weeks later five miles. Then I thought, Hmmm, I might be able to do it. So, I started training for the 25k.

Laura and Greg finish Fifth Third 25k

Laura and Greg finish Fifth Third 25k

Thanks to Patty Riva at CU Radio, she was able to get me a complementary registration and I registered for it. I ran four times a week…running up at 13.5 miles in preparation for the race, which is the largest 25k in the United States.

The day before the race, my sister and I picked up our registration and took a tour of the course.

Then, on Saturday May 12, we ran. And, ran, and ran. 15.5 miles later, we finished the race together. It’ll be something I’ll never forgot. An overweight 46 year old guy was able to finish 15.5 miles. Not too many people can say they did that.

I just thank God for allowing me to do it. Pretty cool stuff. Even though I still hate to run — I loved the discipline that came with it. It’s really taught me a lot.

Will I do it again? If my body holds up, absolutely!

I would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their Saturday to help give us water, Gatoraid, Oranges, and ice.

It was an amazing day. Hard to believe it’s over already. I can’t hard wait to get back to running 9 miles a week. That sounds so much better than 25 to 30.

I received this email today from the National Religious Broadcasters’ Craig L. Parshall. He’s NRB’s Sr. Vice President & General Counsel. He writes:

“When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on October 5th in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, one particular tenet of religious freedom was clearly front and center – namely, the constitutional “autonomy” of religious groups to apply their doctrines to their relationship with employees. The case involves the so-called “ministerial exception,” a court-made rule that exempts the positions of “minister” and similar religious leadership roles from interference by secular courts. What quickly grabbed focus, however, was a stunning series of statements by the lawyer for the Obama Administration, Leondra Kruger, who slashed away at basic rights of religious freedom in her arguments. Kruger, an Assistant Solicitor General in her mid-30’s, announced – quite matter-of-factly – that religious groups have no special rights of association any greater or different than, say, labor unions. To which Justice Scalia exclaimed: “That’s extraordinary. That is extraordinary. We are talking here about the Free Exercise Clause and about the Establishment Clause, and you say they have no special application?” Then there were tough exchanges, evoking near disbelief even from liberal Justice Kagan.

“Do you believe, Miss Kruger, that a church has a right that’s grounded in the Free Exercise Clause and-or the Establishment Clause to institutional autonomy with respect to its employees?” asked Justice Kagan. Ms. Kruger replied: “We don’t see that line of church autonomy principles in the religion clause jurisprudence as such.” Said Justice Kagan: “So this is to go back to Justice Scalia’s question, because I too find that amazing, that you think that the Free – neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause has anything to say about a church’s relationship with its own employees.”

Legal principles, like shifting sands, often change with the tides, little noticed when our attention is directed elsewhere. Ten years ago I argued a similar case (Montrose Christian School v. Walsh) before the Maryland Court of Appeals, which also involved the First Amendment rights of religious organizations to govern their own employee relations. We were blessed with a victory, defeating the lawsuit by the ACLU, in a unanimous decision. The rule established in that case was followed again in another religious liberty case in 2003, but by 2007, the high court in Maryland had slowly begun to back away from the constitutional principles established six years before.

Some principles are too important to submit to the shifting sand of political correctness, or to novel constitutional theories that elevate “the public welfare” (attorney Kruger’s phrase) over the rights of religious freedom. We cannot afford to miss these alarming clues. There is a new generation of lawyers – some of them now in the office of the United States Solicitor General – who apparently have either forgotten, or have never learned, which liberties our Founders once pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to protect.

This is frightening! I never thought in my lifetime I would hear a government official claiming churches or religious freedom wasn’t protected under the U.S. Constitution. What is clear here is that our nation is at war, but it’s a spiritual war.  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

 

I made it to Miami, Florida on Saturday, January 8. It was totally uneventful. The only problem that I had was the fact that I had left my coat in my car. I didn’t think I’d need it in Haiti. But, I did need something waiting in the cold jetway.  But that was only minor.

When I got to the Miami airport, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to my hotel. I was told there was a shuttle, but the signs were not very clear. I went outside and believe it or not — I actually ASKED someone. They told me to go back inside and up a floor. So, I did that. Some really short lady pushed the elevator button, so I just walked in. Said something smart — and this woman said, “Greg Yoder.”  It was Kathy Redmond, with Compassion International and Dan Woolley, the Compassion guy who was trapped in the rubble of Hotel Montana, in Haiti.  I couldn’t believe we ended up in the same elevator.

We had a good dinner, laughed a little — okay, a lot. In the middle of dinner I get this strange call from my daughter. She told me that my wife had fallen, hurt her knee and hit her head and she thought she needed to go to the E.R. I couldn’t believe it. Long story short, the neighbor took her to the E.R., everything checked out okay, but she’s really sore. Pray for her.

I hit the sack after watch the football game. I woke up in plenty of time. Truth is, I couldn’t sleep much. I get pretty anxious when I travel. I don’t know why. I love flying. I love adventure. Maybe I can’t sleep because I’m excited about it?  I don’t know. I was told we needed to get the shuttle to the airport at 7:45am. So, I went down to the lobby early to get a cup of coffee and something to eat.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t watching closely enough because my team left without me. No big deal, I just caught the next shuttle and made it to the airport in plenty of time.

When I got there, I was told Dan Woolley’s passport was set to expire in March. Typically, you’re not supposed to travel on a passport with your expiration date so close — six months is typical. So, Rich Van Pelt told me if Dan doesn’t go, the team’s staying home. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. My last trip to Haiti was memorable, but not for pleasant reasons. However, Dan made it through to the gate, security and on to the plane. He even made it past customs in Haiti with no trouble.

We arrived in Haiti Sunday, January 9. It was a partly cloudy day. Temp was about 80. A far cry from the 12 above in Michigan. From the airport we went immediately to the new Compassion Village. Wow, what a nice place. It’s certainly different the the Haiti Hilton last year. I was in a tent on the parking lot of the Compassion Haiti headquarters. This place is beautiful. It’s three two story homes all in one gated community. It has a generator, air conditioning (when the generator is running), hot water and great cooks.

Dan Woolley at Hotel Montana

Dan Woolley with Luckson Mondesir at the rubble of Hotel Montana one year later.

After our arrival, we quickly got ready to head to Hotel Montanan where Dan Woolley had a couple of interview scheduled with Reuters and AP. In case you’re not familiar with his story, he works in the website department at Compassion. He and his friend, David Hames, were taking a look at Compassion’s Child Survival Program. They had just been let off at the lobby when the 7.0 earthquake started. According to the driver, he thought the hotel collapsed. He looked for survivors, but couldn’t see any. David was killed. But, Dan — by God’s grace — survived with a badly cut leg. He used his Iphone to get his location and managed to find the elevator shaft. There he was trapped for 65 hours. Had he not made the decision to move, he would have been killed in the resulting aftershocks.

While trapped, he realized he wasn’t alone. Mondesir Luckson, a hotel employee was also trapped. They were able to encourage each other. They talked, sang and Dan shared the Gospel with his new friend. They were both rescued together.

On Sunday, January 9, the pair reunited at on the rubble of Hotel Montana. They shared stories. Dan showed Lukson his new book, “Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Hotel Montana” It was an emotional time for Dan. Making it even more difficult, the media following the two around. AP, Rueters, MNN, and the local press all wanted to know how he was feeling. At one point, Dan just knelt near where he thought the elevator shaft was in the rubble and appeared to pray. It was very moving.

Personally, It was strange standing there, knowing the dozens of people who died in the rubble of Hotel Montana. People from all over the world perished there.

I interviewed Dan at the hotel. I asked him, “One year later, could you have ever imagined that God would have allowed you to share the Gospel with so many people by way of television, radio and print?” He said, “For me, there was an opportunity to witness in the dark. And [I’m grateful] that God chose to use me in that way. After that, there was a wider stage that I didn’t expect. I have a little bit of a dramatic story, but God wants us all to testify to His goodness in our lives. It’s just a matter of what does that look like for us.”

Click here to listen to the interview.

It was an amazing first day.

Day number 2 was equally as amazing. We traveled to a the Berea Baptist Church in Port au Prince for a service celebrating what God has done in

Teen singing

Teen sings, "Hallelujah I have Jesus" one year after losing his mother in the earthquake.

the lives of Compassion children, families and staff. The morning was full of praise and worship, testimonies and God’s Word. One young lady shared how she was trying to get out of her house with her sister. The building came down on both of them. Her sister died. She was also trapped. The beams had pinned her head to the ground. After much pain, rescuers got her out. She is a part of the Leadership Development Program, Compassion International’s program to develop new leaders. She took a year off to recover, now she’s decided to become a Christian school teacher so she can have an impact on her country.

Another young man got up in front of the church. He said, “I lost my mother. She meant everything to me.” Then, he and his friend began singing a song with the lyrics, “Hallelujah, I have Jesus” in the most emotional, convincing way. The day was truly a blessing to me.

Unfortunately, I had to excuse myself from a meeting tonight. I’m not actually sure what the whole purpose was. I will find out when the rest of the team gets back. I had to write stories for Mission Network News and Remember Haiti with Compassion special that’s airing Wednesday on stations around the country.

By the way, you can catch my Mission Network News reports at http://www.MNNonline.org.

Because of bandwidth issues, I haven’t been able to upload any video. So, you’ll have to wait for that until I get home.   More reports tomorrow.