Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Name That Band!

My friend Kara tagged me a while back in this band generator game. Here's how it works:

Album Title: Random Quote Generator (Last four words from a random quote)

Here were my results:

My Band Name: Packet Switch Stream
Album Title: Quickly and Easily Tomorrow
Album Art:

We're easily the sweetest new band out there. Now let's see what bands you can randomly generate! I tag Dani, Phil, and Chad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

These are real people...

Nicomedes is 48 years old, married and has 5 children. He owns a chiperia (local bakeries specialized in preparing a traditional Paraguayan bread called chipa) located at the building where he lives. His and wife and sons are responsible for selling them out of their home while he is in charge of outside sales. For over 20 years, Mr. Nicomedes has dedicated himself to this activity. His leadership skills have made him a very respected man within his community--he has always been part of community outreach programs, and even presided over the district's commission. His main goals have been promoting growth and improvement in his community. In the past, he used to borrow an oven from the neighbors until he invested the loan amount he received from Fundacion Paraguaya to build one for himself and to purchase baking ingredients. Now, he is requesting another loan in order to purchase additional ingredients in wholesale quantity, such as starch, vegetable oil, cheese and wood. 

Kiva = Micro-Loans Made Easy

This morning I sat at my dining room table in my house in South Bend, Indiana, and simultaneously loaned money to a chipa baker named Nicodemes in Caacupe, Paraguay. And how did I accomplish this incredible task, you ask? The answer: Kiva. Kiva makes loaning money to entrepreneurs in impoverished countries as easy as the click of a mouse. Here's some more info found on their website:

What Is Kiva?

We Let You Loan to the Working Poor

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle, and what effect it has on the people and institutions lending it, borrowing it, and managing it along the way. To do this, we are using the power of the internet to facilitate one-to-one connections that were previously prohibitively expensive. Child sponsorship has always been a high overhead business. Kiva creates a similar interpersonal connection at much lower costs due to the instant, inexpensive nature of internet delivery. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a loan and are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money.

This is seriously so easy! What are you waiting for?! Help someone in the impoverished world now!

Friday, November 7, 2008

MSM Fall Retreat

Getting ready to head off for the weekend on our Middle School Ministry Fall Retreat. We're trying out a new venue this year, heading over to Prairie Camp's new Retreat Center. I'll be leading worship for the retreat, and former youth pastor and current church planter Jeremy LeVan will be speaking. Looking forward to a great weekend of unplugging from all the distractions around me and diving into deeper relationships with some pretty cool middle schoolers!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yo tengo gozo...

A few girls from my Spanish class put together this sweet video of themselves singing "Yo Tengo Gozo." These girls are really picking up on the language quickly, and I'm so proud of them! Notice the cool special effects in the video, which can only mean one thing...they are Mac users! Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Good Meal and Great Friends

Over the past couple months, I've gotten the chance to try my hand at cooking more than a few times. Now for those of you majoring in AC to the Max trivia, you might recall that I'm not exactly Emeril. However, in recent months I have become what I would consider quite proficient in making Chinese food. So, Sunday night after our high school ministry, Adrienne and I cooked up a storm: Jasmine rice with Thai Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce, stir fry chicken, szechuan chicken, and chopped onions, garlic, and green peppers. If I can say so myself, it made for quite a tasty meal, and what made it even better was sharing it "family style" with a great group of friends.


I had the misfortune of witnessing Notre Dame's defeat at the hands of Pitt in 4 overtimes this past Saturday. My dad, brother, and I went to the game together, an annual tradition dating back to our childhood. Incidentally, this is the third time I have witnessed Notre Dame lose an overtime game (somehow I think it might be all my fault!). The first time was to the #1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers back in the Eric Crouch era (around 2000, I believe). Then, in 2005, the Irish stormed back against Michigan State from a 3-touchdown deficit in the 4th quarter, only to get beat in overtime. Then, of course, this most recent loss in 4 overtimes to Pitt. As if that wasn't enough, I also saw the Irish lose to USC in 2005, thanks to the "Bush Push," in one of the most heartbreaking games in ND history. All in all, I'm pretty sure my attendance at ND football games is a curse. Anyway, it was still fun to get back inside the most historic stadium in college football history. Here are some pics from the game.

Trunk 'R Treat

This past Friday night, our children's ministry at St. Mark put on a great event called "Trunk 'R Treat." Families in the church decorated the trunks of their cars to different themes, and kids both from the church and from the community came to see the trunks and, of course, get lots and lots of candy! I went with an international theme, displaying flags and soccer jerseys from different places I've traveled around the world. Check it out. 

Common questions I received were: "Are you one of those people who sell stuff out of their cars?" and "Are you a Communist?" I assured everyone that I was neither of those things. All in all, it was a really fun night. Seth and Nikki joined in on the fun as well. You can check out their pictures here.