Step Up to Leadership

Uploaded by rmaxtorres.
The Rose Hill Garden Project begins with these middle school students in the Leadership Class at Fonville Middle School. It is exciting to see the emerging motivation in the lives of some of these young people. I saw at least a few in each class who actually drove the action in their group. Evident in their conversation and through their ideas was the acquired skill they each had through their family experience. I believe the parents of each of these students would be proud to see their children's leadership in this project.

There will definitely be a sense of accomplishment when they put the finishing touches on this project. The gloves, rakes and fertilizer we ordered finally came in this afternoon. Tomorrow will hopefully be a flurry of activity with students and adults. Pictures will follow. Check the Flickr soon.

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Consider the flowers of the field...

Uploaded by rmaxtorres.
I finally broke down and bought another lawn mower (feels like one each year!) so I could take the jungle growth down a notch or two. As I approached the outcropping of pink 'buttercups' growing near the house, I had an imaginary trip to what it must have been like on that afternoon when Jesus of Nazareth sat on a hillside with thousands. As he unveiled the loving care of a Gracious God, to the self-absorbed, and others in the massive crowd.

I couldn't bring myself to mow these amazing flowers. I know they will be gone in a few days, and the bees will have to go to other fields to collect pollen to meet the needs of their colony. But if God has taken such good care of them, I am reassured to remember that any seemingly insurmountable issue I may face is completely resolved in the capable hands of a Mighty God.

Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?


Young Leaders of Tomorrow

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presented by Communities in Schools and St. Martin Episcopal Church

Scores of young men from Marshall & Fleming Middle Schools experienced a day of orientation and capacity building for their future!


CrossRoad FAF Night

CrossRoad FAF Night
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.
Isai kicked off the night.

CrossRoad Youth Fine Arts Run Thru

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this was an exciting night at XRD youth night

Code of the Street: No Snitching?

Sunday, April 22, 2007
If you witnessed a crime, would you help police solve it? For most people, the answer is yes. But in some inner-city communities, helping the police is called "snitching," and it's considered as bad as any crime. Anderson Cooper reports on this disturbing trend and how popular culture is encouraging an attitude that is leaving murders unsolved. -60 Minutes

Do you remember what happened when you asked someone who you knew had the information, and all you got was "I don't know."? When my children would do that, I educated them on the value of declaring truth... for safety's sake. It's a valuable lesson in Character.
When our highest profile leaders are guilty of non-disclosure of the truth, how do we expect our children to be forthcoming with the TRUTH? Or is TRUTH relative?

What a different world Grandfather grew up in. The code of the Wild West was certainly brutal, but are today's children in their own wilderness? Is it ok to NOT tell the truth when what you say may result in bad consequences for someone?


Pray 21 is more than a national campaign to pray for our youth. It is a 21-Day National Movement created for teens and adults to pray together to discover their place in the Cause of Jesus Christ.

We will announce this challenge for teens and adults to pray together and accepting Christ's call to transform the world next week during a press conference at the National Day of Prayer from Washington DC.

Join national leaders, pastors, musical artists, congressional leaders, and many others in this campaign to change the church's future!

Please pray for the message of Pray 21, and pray for the response of a generation fully prepared to answer God's call on their life.

Watch for details coming soon at Pray21.org.


Happy Birthday Wesley!

Wesley J. invited us over to his him to celebrate with him as he turns 27 again for the 10th time! Wesley is one of the earlier generations of young people who helped forge CrossRoad into a viable ministry in the mid to late '80's. Happy Birthday my brother! It was good to see you again.

Message from Winkie Pratney in South Korea

To all my praying friends,
Thank you! I wanted to give you the latest update from S.Korea:

From: Martin Dale
Date: April 24, 2007 11:05:40 AM CDT
To: Houston Area
Subject: Message from Winkie in S. Korea

Subject: Message from Winkie in S. Korea
From Winkie!!!
You never know how much you're loved until you have stood at the line of death and watched heaven trigger hundreds and hundreds of astonishing intercessory prayers. From all around the world they came- Israel, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, The United States, Canada, Malaysia, Romania (and on and on) standing in the gap for my family and I. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by your love, generosity, passion, and prayer. More to come when this sage has been brought to the conclusion. God has it in His heart for us all.

Bless you, bless you, bless you so very much! - Winkie

From William
Well, Winkie seems to be making progress each day. He is walking now (either with someone's aid or a wheeled-walker). The drainage tube coming from his pleural cavity is still in place, and he's still on some sort of fluid drip, so walking to the bathroom or doing anything out of bed can be a bit of an ordeal, but we're managing. The private room is nice to have. I'd dare say that Winkie had the best night's sleep he's had since coming out of the coma last night in that room- probably 5 or 5 1/2 hours. I was able to sleep more as well. Soon I must return to him to swap shifts with Mom.

Thanks for your prayers of faith. Blessings to all of our friends all around the world. We love you.- William
------ End of Forwarded Message


The PlayBook

I wanted to recommend a very affordable resource for anyone involved in developing campus based ministry, especially in an urban setting. Several issues resonate with my own personal experiences over 30 years in Houston and other urban areas in the U.S. and the world. Please consider purchasing this very affordable book for your library available on Lulu.com.

It started out as a training manual for Student Venture’s New York staff, but the project quickly evolved beyond Student Venture because there are so few urban youth ministry resources available. Check out the Playbook: A Campus Ministry Primer for Cities for some helpful tools on engaging public school students.
Student Venture Playbook: A Campus Ministry Primer for Cities by Kevin Young, Jeremy Del Rio (Book) in Christianity
Preview this book
Student Venture Playbook: A Campus Ministry Primer for Cities

by Kevin Young and Jeremy Del Rio
This item rated Everyone Everyone by its creator.

City kids are especially dear to Jesus’ heart. “I tell you the truth,” he says, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). At its core, the Playbook is a tool to help campus ministers understand how to implement the Great Commission – “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) – in a manner consistent with the Great Commandment – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) – in the context of urban public schools.
Product Details:
Printed: 66 pages, 6″ x 9″, perfect binding, 60# cream interior paper, black and white interior ink , 100# white exterior paper, full-color exterior ink
Publisher: SV Playbook
Copyright: © 2007 Standard Copyright License
Language: English
Country: United States


A Survivor's testimony...

part 1

The April 20, 1999 tragedy in a Columbine, Colorado high school has yielded several spokespersons with messages describing the resulting impact on their lives. In these videos, Crystal Miller describes her triumph over tragedy and invites others to find hope as well.

The recent Virginia Tech incident on April 16, 2007 is another disturbing world event that troubles the hearts of young and old. As much as I don't understand the 'whys and wherefores' of this type of event, I also have a Faith that even this can be turned into an opportunity for good. A New Testament reference in Luke's letter (Chapter 21, verse 26) describes the impact of 'last day' occurences.

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:26

Troubles on every hand... and to what end? As in a physical drill, the impact of strenuous effort causes the body to be strengthened after repeated distress. If we are able to find HOPE, it is possible that this can lead to a strengthening of our FAITH.

A few of my close friends have experienced the loss of a child in recent tragedies. Often when I think of their VICTORY over the pain, I am overwhelmed to consider ever having to endure this personally.

I am optimistic that from the pain of this recent event we will be able to hear a new expression of trust in the Providential hand of God. As in the life of Rachel Scott (Columbine), there are stories yet to be told of the days in the lives of the recent victims prior to April 16th. The value and sanctity of life is never more pronounced as in the face of recent suffering and loss.

Forever hopeful.

part 2

Let me know what you think.


Mike goes to work!

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.

Something I really enjoy watching is the versatility of my sons. Mike can do so many things, but this is a before picture of a project that he will complete soon. I wanted you to see a before picture because I am sure you will be astounded with the after!

I love you Mike! Thanks for being awesome!!!!


Winkie Update- Praise God!!!

On Apr 16, 2007, at 2:27 PM, Martin Dale wrote:

Praise  God!
 It seems the majority of the battle is finally over!

 The majority of his infection, it seems has been taken  care of, and he has come off of both the dialysis  machine and the ventilator.
 I think he's been taken off a few drips and his pain  medication has been lowered.
 He is talking now (albeit, with a bit of a raspy  voice), and is drinking (with some assistance) liquids.
 His abdomen has now been sown up, and his kidney  function continues to improve. His bowel is working  properly, now (it seems), and they plan to move him out  of ICU tomorrow! Praise God! Thank you for all your  prayers of faith for him!

 The only two health concerns, now are:
 1. The slit where he was opened for abdominal surgery  has been sown shut, but it (the actual line) is  infected (they are using a topical antiseptic cream).
 2. They did NOT resow his abdominal muscles back  together before sowing up his skin, so he will (I'm  told) need another surgery for that (further along down  the line). Dr. Han says he will be able to travel home  (with the aid of an abdominal bandage), but will need  to get the muscle layers they cut through sown back  together eventually.

 Mom and I are taking turns spending time with him, and  are able to speak with him and ask him questions. I  told him, "The world is waiting to hear from you. What  would you like to say to everybody?" He said, "I love  Jesus and I love my son." (Mom wasn't in the room at  the time) He looks well. I was able to feed him some  water and Barley tea (something the hospital provided).

 Dr. Han said that his recovery was, "miraculous"... I  can only smile.

 William Pratney.



National Youth Day!

Uploaded by rmaxtorres.
El Tabernaculo Assembly, Houston - CrossRoad Youth celebrated the evening with a complete evening of student led ministry.

Check them out at http://CRYouth.com


Message in a Fish Tank

The hospital waiting room provides a calm relaxing distraction with their saltwater aquarium... but not all is as it seems.

Message in a Fish Tank
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.

Some of the church had come to visit and encourage in the Latino fashion by gathering in the waiting room (this time, sans large pans of home-cooked enchiladas or greasy hamburger bags) and waiting for their chance to go into the room to visit a post-op Pastor Cantu.

As we waited, we noticed that one of the smaller 'perch-like' fish was actually going belly-up! It was still alive, but obviously not swimming at 100% capacity. Amidst dramatic gasps to gulp for oxygen in the water, the weakened fish was being assaulted by the other fish in the aquarium. As they nipped and tugged at the upended fish, scales and particles clouded the water and fed the frenzy in their saltwater environment.

I sat back and quietly remarked, "I think we could get a message from this picture." That was all it took for the conversation to turn to figurative examples of the value of defending those who were weak or wounded. Deliberate comparisons to the cannibalistic nature of nominal Believers began to be described from various perspectives (as the small fish gasped and struggled against the nips, tugs and chomps of fish which had been peers or swimming companions earlier in the day). As the softer under portions of the fish were slowly consumed, the now lifeless carcass drifted within the currents and eddies within the tank.

Unfortunately, this same descriptive often accurately portrays human behavior within an organization (organism) that lays claim to being a rescue ship and/or safe harbor in storms. Is it merely a flaw in the nature of humans to go after those who are weaker, or is it a reaction to unrealistic religious societal expectations that demand Hyper-Spiritual performance at any cost?

How much value does a Post-Modern (mass produced/high efficiency/lowest bidder/smallest common denominator) version of Christianity place on the human emotion and sentiment that experiences the pains and struggles of the REAL Real World.

I think it really does go to the value of the 'least of these' in our expressions of a REDEEMED Lifestyle. Are we REDEEMED? Is REDEMPTION something we understand? Can REDEEMED individuals express themselves through value or worth again? Can we let them? Can we help them?

Post Script: The ecological description of this same incident could stress the value of one laying down their life for those around them. Being consumed in the act of providing nourishment for the next generation is a noble thought, but since we are finite beings, it's not really a valid comparison to an Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient "I Am!" who readily gave Himself for the lives of all mankind. We should preserve LIFE with healthy nourishment, lifestyles, and practices that will honor the generations before and after us. And if we see another "Fish Man" who is struggling, resist the animalistic tendency to devour and destroy.

Pastor Cantu's surgery


If you were to write a book about this surgery, it would probably be an epic novel by now. Pastor Cantu has been trying to get on the table since 2005! On one scheduled surgery date, heart complications delayed the appointment. Subsequently, a slip and fall injured his shoulder so he had another delay. Several other issues later, and finally... today the Doctor's put a little net inside his stomach to repair the tear or hernia. Thanks to God, he is through this step and we just need to let him rest and recover completely!!!


Leroy turns 48!

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.
Celebrating Leroy's 48th Birthday at Olive Garden. It was so good to walk behind Leroy as he wolked into one of his favorite places to eat. The evening was complete with the Olive Garden singers, as well as his Mom, sisters, nieces and nephew present to give thanks to God for another year of life.

Way to go Leroy!


Virginia has her 70th Birthday


Mom set up a weekend for us at Slumber Falls on the Guadalupe River. My uncles & aunts all showed up! Floyd was there from San Angelo, and Marty & Wayne were there from Brady. Cousin Christy also came up from Brady with her kids. Floyd's boy, Chucky, couldn't come because of the several inches of snow that fell on San Angelo... in April! Crazy Texas weather. If you don't like it, just wait. It'll change in 30 minutes. :)


Fonville Soccer Team!

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.
Fonville Students vying for a shot at the championship missed it this time. Several of the team members on boys and girl teams are in our Step Up to Leadership class. Part of life and leadership is learning how to take a momentary defeat. I think any student who is involved in organized and supervised sports is learning leadership skills.


Winkie Pratney's Health!

To all my friends, and others of you who pray.

This is the latest update from Shane Anderson, Winkie Pratney's assistant. Please continue pray for Winkie, Faye and William.

UPDATE AS OF 5:16pm April 1, 2007:
“Winkie is not getting better. He is getting worse. His carer has said that without serious prayer, it does not look good.

Winkie is not improving and they are keeping him in ICU. He is now conscious, but now has pneumonia and his bowels are not operating correctly. They have just performed a CAT scan and are looking at that right now.

He has been taken off the respirator, but he is not really able to talk. Fae's only communication with Winkie is via a 3rd party. They are not allowed to use telephones in ICU.

Now we have the issue of finances. As those of you who have had Winkie come and speak know all too well, Winkie has never in 44 years of ministry ever asked for money. He has no fee to come and speak, and replies solely on whatever he is given. Winkie also has no health or travel insurance. He lives completely on faith. If you feel lead to send Winkie some money, please do so. We also want to fly Fae out to South Korea to be with her husband right now, and we want to do that ASAP.

Please send all gifts to the address below.
Winkie Pratney Recovery Fund
c/o Shane Anderson
20131 FM 16W
Lindale, TX 75771

Look at some of his video promotional info on his blog! (like 6Mile)