1. I live in Nairobi, Kenya, literally a stone’s throw from Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in Africa.
2. I am married to a wonderful woman, Lesa, who is simultaneously beautiful and artistic and intellectual. I have 3 children: Robbie (10), Avery (7), Sydney (4)
3. My wife, Lesa, is adopted. Her birth-mother’s maiden name was Brown. Pretty sure we weren’t closely related when we got married.
4. I used to think that to be a missionary meant you had to live somewhere without electricity or water, and teach people (who may or may not be clothed) to grow corn, and would have to build your house by hand and carry water miles each way every day. Strangely enough, I’m friends now with quite a few people like that and respect them tremendously… they are the real missionaries, I’m just a poser!
5. I used to think the only people who became missionaries were people who didn’t fit in to American culture to begin with. Strangely enough, I’m starting to find American culture as the foreign culture that I probably don’t fit into anymore.
6. My wife always wanted to be a missionary, but had to give that dream up when she married me, since I had no desire whatsoever. She wrote her own college degree program, entitled “International Ministries with an Emphasis in Fine Arts.” Today she is a high-school fine arts teacher on the mission field.
7. My wife also has about half of a master’s degree in missiology. I have just a few hours of graduate school in the same track.
8. I weighed 200 lbs when we left for Africa, June 2007. Three months later I was down to 170 and seem to be stuck there no matter how much I eat. Cause? I’d like to think change of diet, more exercise, but in all honesty it’s probably tapeworm.
9. I piloted the space shuttle. Yeah, you read that right. Space Camp, 8th grade, Huntsville, Alabama.
10. I doubled majored in computer science and piano performance. People always think that is a strange combination, but in my years in the software industry I met some of the most amazing musicians. I think I declared my major in like 3rd grade, my high school yearbook says I wanted to be a “computer-music engineer and impress the babes”.
11. I did learn how to impress the babes in high school: study some Harry Connick jr jazz ballads and reproduce that and the girls will swoon. It worked for my wife 🙂
12. I was heavily involved in 4-H growing up, doing projects in everything from cooking to electricity to photography. Somewhere there is a box full of blue and purple ribbons collecting dust…
13. I kissed Miss America when I was 17. December, 1992. I was a featured entertainer at a big, national 4-H event in Chicago and jumped up on stage, down on one knee, with a dozen roses. Miss Leanza Cornett give me a big smooch as her private security force holstered their drawn sidearms.
14. I asked Miss America to prom my senior year. After #13 (above) another friend of mine pulled a similar stunt and actually got her home phone #. I called it a few months later to ask her to prom, and left a message on her answering machine. Of course, she never called back but I wanted to be able to tell all my buds that I asked the current reigning Miss America to prom.
15. I have had a wide variety of hairstyles, for a guy. It started with a flat-top in my awkward middle-school years, grew into a floppy top in high school, a ponytail when I lived in Denver, short hair, then a faux-hawk during the better part of my years as a worship leader in Washington, DC. Current style: the missionary buzz cut.
16. The most I’ve ever paid for a haircut: $80 (which included highlights, I might add) during my trendy worship leader days (see http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/06/269-understanding-how-metrosexual-your.html). What I pay right now in the local slum market: about $1.
17. I’m on my 3rd career. My first 5 professional years were spent as a web software developer in Denver and Kansas City. My 2nd 5 years were spent as a Creative/Technical Arts Director/Worship Leader (a position shared with my wife) in Washington DC. Now I’m doing all the above on the mission field, if you hadn’t gathered that already. Funny how God has a way of expanding your mind and moving you from one place to another which may not make sense from the world’s perspective (not moving “up” in the world. but moving broader in scope)
18. I was in 4 different countries last year, only 2 of which I can talk about publicly.
19. We have had 6 different homes in the past 2 years. That’s part of the transition of moving overseas!
20. On June 7th this year we celebrated our 11th anniversary as we moved into our 11th home since being married. And we’ve never been in the military!
21. In high school I shot myself in the thumb with a BB gun. A couple weeks later, as my thumb had swollen to enormous proportions and my mom exclaimed, “What is wrong with your thumb?!?” I had to confess and go to the doctor. Not only had I broken my thumb but the BB was still in there causing an infection. I kept up my piano lessons the whole time.
22. I’ve played the Major General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore and think Gilbert and Sullivan are still funny.
23. I’ve written 2 musicals, one was a one-act jazz comedy, the other a full length dream-sequence-soul-musical version of the Easter story (in the style of The Wiz, if that helps you understand)
24. It takes $5500/month in support for us to be missionaries here in Africa. Every single month.
25. We average $4000/month in support. Want to help us out? Send me a message!