A Kind Word

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it enough, but the people around whom I live are extremely kind to me. I’ve thought about that a lot today.

You see, the people of Belarus are a kind, friendly and good-humored nation. I have heard it said that the patience and peacefulness of the Belarusian people has been determined by the nation’s history that has been darkened by endless wars which the Belarusians did not start, but to which they fell victim. Over the years I have observed that Belarus is welcoming to visitors and interested in sharing its culture, traditions and sense of community with them. This nature of hospitality is not unlike the area in the United States where I spent many years of my adult life: The South. :-)

Though I am able to have enjoyable conversations with those around me regarding the weather, coffee, and other general sorts of things, I often become discouraged when introducing anything that regards the soul into these conversations. As friendly as they may be, I am living in the middle of a people who often give the impression they are just not ready to have a life-changing experience (though, who can say they are ever really “ready” to accept a change so great as salvation at any given moment?).

This perception is often an excuse I use to decide what I should and shouldn’t say in uncomfortable situations.

On a related note, I was grateful to read a particular passage by Tim Keller this morning before work. In an effort to wrap this up and to catch up with Walter in a few minutes, I’ll just share it with you here in hopes that it might also encourage another out there as it encouraged me…

OH! Before I paste the excerpt and split, I wanted to remind you to be sure to check the blog tomorrow as there will be good reason! I apologize to my Belrusian friends, but this puzzle and its spoils will be of greater benefit to those reading in America!

Alright. Good evening and happy reading:

All forms of work are participation in God’s work. God made the created world by his Spirit (Gen. 1:1-3) and continues to care for and sustain it by his Spirit (Ps. 104:30), watering and enriching it (Ps. 65:9–13) and feeding and meeting the needs of every living thing (Pss. 145:15–16 and 147:15–20). Indeed, the very purpose of redemption is to massively and finally restore the material creation (Rev. 21–22). God loves this created world so much that he sent his Son to redeem it. This world is a good in and of itself; it is not just a temporary theater for individual salvation. If the Holy Spirit is not only a preacher that convicts people of sin and grace (John 16:8–11; 1 Thess. 1:5) but also a gardener, an artist, and an investor in creation who renews the material world, it cannot be more spiritual and God-honoring to be a preacher than to be a farmer, artist, or banker. To give just one example, evangelism is temporary work, while musicianship is permanent work. In the new heavens and new earth, preachers will be out of a job! Ultimately the purpose of evangelism is to bring about a world in which musicians will be able to do their work perfectly.

Posted in Journal, Thoughts

When We Cannot Speak

Today has been a difficult day. I awoke early this morning with a great deal of pain in my lungs, although this is not unfamiliar for me. For many weeks now I have been facing this complication, making it difficult to breathe.

In the frailty of my understanding and absence of my words, I have been meditating on this passage:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
– Psalm 62:5-8

Posted in Uncategorized

One Final Puzzle

Hello, America. “Walter” here once again. I’m pleased to announce that I have one final puzzle to share with you this week. Despite his illness, Phillip has insisted that he and I come up with one final puzzle as an entertaining gift for you folks back home; this weekly project has proven to be a great distraction from Phillip’s battles the last few weeks.

A final big puzzle deserves a final big prize; Phillip has been kind enough to award 3 lucky winners with a $50 gift card to Amazon! I have no idea what that is, but Phillip assures me you can get all sorts of cool stuff there (including some fantastic literature – Phillip’s recommendation, of course!).

Time to get the ball rolling… We’re kicking this puzzle off with a different kind of cipher (one which Phillip informs me is named after a Charlie Brown character? I don’t get it). You may have to do some research to get going this time around, but I’m sure you’re used to putting on your thinking cap by now! Good luck!

Step 1:



  • Kim Jones
  • Jason Bradley
  • Karen Gardner

Posted in Puzzles

Some Perspective

Hello America… “Walter” here again. Just a quick post today, as Phillip wants me to share this quick clip from a church back in the States. Such amazing strength was shown in this man’s life.

No matter what happens, God is sovereign, and God is good.

Posted in Journal

A Quick Update

Hello America… This is “Walter” again. Phillip would like for me to give you a few quick updates on what’s going on over here.

Last Week’s Challenge

You people really went ALL OUT trying to solve my puzzle last week! I know Phillip enjoyed watching so many of you trying to work out the mystery. The winner’s list has been posted on the original puzzle post and all prizes went out this morning; if you’re one of the winners, be sure to check your email address!

Phillip’s Illness

To be completely honest, Phillip has seen better days. I am always amazed by his courage, faith and sense of humor in light of the gravity of his illness; that’s still the case even though he’s been fighting pretty hard over the last few days. We’re all hoping he’ll pull out of this season soon and get a break for a while. Be sure to keep checking the blog and saying Hello on Facebook and Twitter; it’s always an encouragement to him since his iPad is kind of his “lifeline” to the world right now.

Speaking of his iPad, I’m having a hard time prying it from his fingers at the moment… He just discovered the Bible App that allows you to read the Bible in dozens of different translations at once; I haven’t seen him this happy since he clobbered me at Words with Friends for a week straight (not fair, I think, given that English is NOT my first language!).

I’ll keep you posted, America!

- “Walter”

Posted in Journal