What Do You See?

A village chief lay dying and wanted to choose a successor. He called his three sons and told them, “Sons, I am about to go to the place of the departed spirits and I must first choose one of you to be the next chief of this village. I want you to go to the yonder mountain, climb it, and bring me something from the mountain. Hurry because I will soon die. Life is quickly passing from me.”

The three sons hurried off to the mountain and individually began to climb it. After a couple of days the first son came and stood before the aged chief. He said, “Father, I have climbed high on the mountain and I have brought you a tree limb.” The chief asked him to go and wait for the return of the other two sons. Several days passed when the second son returned to the father. “Father, I have climbed high on the mountain and have gone above where the trees are. I have brought you a rock from the mountain,” he stated, visibly tired from the journey.


It seemed like a long time and the third son had not returned. Finally, he came and appeared before his father. “Father,” he began, “I have climbed high on the mountain. I have gone above where the trees are, and have climbed to the top. From the top of the mountain I could see far into the distance. I could see the river flowing, and smoke rising from distant huts. I saw the beauty of God’s creation. However, my dying father, I have nothing in my hand to bring you.” The old chief whispered, “You, my third son will lead my people because even though you have nothing in your hand to bring me, you do have something in your heart.”

What do you see?
photo credit: Loco Steve via photopin cc

2013: The Year of Increase

I never imagined the airport hall was so long. She purposely walked toward the security check; never looking back. When I yelled out, “I love you MORE” she threw her hand behind her head in acknowledgement but kept moving. My heart leap-frogged into my throat and I lightly pounded my chest a couple of times to hopefully knock things back in place. So, this is how parents and loved ones feel when letting go of their precious AIMers as they leave for the field! Thirty-years ago my own wife made such a journey. A trip of three or four months turned in to a lifetime of mission’s service. Things have come full circle. What will happen to our fledging AIMer? Time and God will tell!


As our own missionary prepared, packed, repacked, and repacked I pondered what the next five or six months on the field would bring. She had purchased white mugs from the Dollar Tree (expensive shopper!). Special friends and family took colorful Sharpie markers and designed a special keepsake for her. (I’m not sure what she is going to do with eight coffee mugs in one hundred plus weather. She doesn’t even drink coffee!) To solidify the ink and art I guess you put the mugs in the oven, bake them, and the ink doesn’t come off. I thought of her time overseas as an opportunity for increase. I designed her mug with life’s purpose in mind and depicted her AIM tour as 2013, the year of increase. Increase of what, you might ask? Well, I will tell you since I think it also applies to you—whoever you are; wherever you are.

I pray that 2013 will be a year of increase for you. I’m sure this involves many things but here are a few I sketched on the mug:


  • Vision
  • Purpose
  • Passion
  • Burden
  • Word-view
  • Worldview
  • Friendships
  • Cross-cultural Experience
  • Faith
  • …and last—but not least—souls!

Her time in all of these will increase. Like John the Baptist reminds me, her time with me will decrease. I’m a little bitter about that. Why must I increase? But, she will be a better person because of AIM and I’ll be a better father and leader in the process. So, I leave her and each of you to a time of increase.

I love the picture of her and one of her friends as she was about to step out and walk that long road to the security checkpoint. Her mother and I are in the background, tears in our eyes, smiles swelling in our hearts, backing her up, and cheering her on. So, the Poitras household is quieter this evening, lonelier tonight, but the mission team in Ghana is on the increase.

So, dear AIMer and friend, we back you up, and cheer you on, as you proceed down the path of increase in 2013.

Do You See Elephants or Frogs?

A preacher friend’s son, and his boy, went on an excursion to the local zoo, to see all the animals. In one enclosed area, across a small pond, there stood huge elephants and towering giraffes. The Dad tried to get the attention of his little son, “Look, see the elephants.” Amazingly, the boy was captivated by a frog leaping from the little pool of water. Every time the father would say, “Look, son, see the elephants, and the giraffes,” the boy would respond, “Frog. Frog!” Finally, the Dad pulled the son, away from the enclosure, and they moved along. The little boy kept crying, “Frog. Frog. Frog.” Isn’t that like us sometimes? God’s wants to show us the elephants, giraffes; the mighty things He wants to accomplish in our lives and ministries. Yet, all we see are the insignificant frogs.

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