Chocolate Math!

How old are you according to your chocolate consumption?

Work this out as you read.  Don’t skip any steps.

  1. First, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)
  2. Multiply this number by 2
  3. Add 5
  4. Multiply it by 50 — calculators are allowed
  5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1759 .. If you haven’t, add 1758.
  6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should now have a three digit number.  Now, scroll down.







The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).
The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

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Windows 7 House Party at my place!

House Party My Party

Shared via AddThis

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Our Second Day in Guatemala (Part One)


We met by the pool each morning before heading out for the adventure of the day.

Day two began with a hearty breakfast followed by devotions before boarding the bus.  We drove for a couple hours to an orphanage on the other side of Guatemala City.

The plan for the day was to do some clean-up work, help serve lunch and then have time to play with the children.

The photo gallery below covers all the helpful work the team did: organizing the school supply room, cleaning windows, scrubbing walls and floor mats, and doing some yard work.

Next update:  Serving lunch, playing with the kids and being blessed!

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I don’t know why I thought it would be different this time…

Between additional travels and the inability to access the internet during that time, I’ve fallen quite behind with updates from this year’s mission outreach to Guatemala. I think it was about the third night that we were in Antigua that it began to dawn on me that I truly wouldn’t have the opportunities I expected in order to quietly sit, reflect and write about what God was doing in and through the teens this year. Where did I come up with that expectation? Granted, this was only the second of these types of trips I’ve been on, but didn’t I learn from last year?!

This trip is nonstop activity! And, as a leader, who’s there to pour into the lives of the teens on his or her team, it starts early in the morning and doesn’t quit until late into the evening. Maybe next year (yes, I’m hoping to go again) I’ll understand.
So, here’s what happened: Each day, after a morning devotion together, 12 teams boarded 12 buses to head out to their designated location; some went into Guatemala City, others drove to orphanages or schools in the high-country villages, and some drove more than two hours to Lake Atitlan where they boarded a boat to take them to one of the villages that surrounded the shore. After 10 days in Guatemala, 400 teens—whose lives will never be the same—were used by God to change the lives of more than 3,000 people!
For our team, one of the last to arrive in Antigua, we were on our way within 10 hours of being at the hotel. After a few hours for sleep, we woke to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet followed by devotions. Then, after loading the bus and counting off to make sure we were all aboard, we headed out for the small village of Santa Maria.

Large buses and narrow streets make for an exciting drive!

I still don’t know how the drivers do it.

Once the bus was parked, we walked up the main roadway into the village square and met with the principal of a school. Needless to say, he was excited for us to be there—we were going to paint the exterior walls of his building!

Each of the team members grabbed a brush and a bowlful of lightly terra cotta tinted paint and went to work.

And, boy, did they work!

After a lunch break for the first of many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (a staple on this trip) every part of the wall we could reach had a fresh coat of paint.

Now, it was time to play with the kids for the rest of the time we had before we needed to get back on the bus to head back to Antigua.

One of our team members, Andrew, wowed the crowd with yo-yo tricks. Little did we know that Andrew was a champion yo-yoer in his home state!

After we got back to the hotel we headed out near the pool to spend some time rehearsing the “Spellbound” drama.

It had been two days since we last worked on it and it would be two more days before we had a chance to perform it for a group.

Everyone was thrilled with how well they remembered their parts.

After dinner it was time for the first FUAGNEM event (Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute) in Antigua! Cotemporary Christian Artist, Jamie Jamgochian got thins started with a few of her songs. Susie Shellenberger then exhorted the entire group to not push the snooze button when God calls in our lives—an important challenge for us all.

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Putting it Together

Wednesday was devoted to finishing the dramatic mime presentation, “Spellbound.” In conference rooms all over the hotel, teams worked to build on what they started on Tuesday.

They danced…

They posed…

They learned how to apply make-up for their characters…

They rehearsed…

The “Cats” practiced being menacing…

Many have asked about the drama. Here’s a synopsis:

In “Spellbound” the toy-maker creates a world of toys for his son. Then, he creates two special toys, the prince and the princess. They’re given free reign of everything except the tree that stands in the middle of the toy world.
An evil magician enters the land of toys and tempts the princess to eat the fruit of the tree. As she does, the creation begins to crumble. When the prince also eats from the tree, the world of toys is controlled by the evil magician and a wall of separation is established between the toy-maker, his son and the prince and princess.
Because the toy-maker knew the wall would not last forever, more toys were created to interact with the prince and princess. But, the evil magician has control over them, too. He sends his bad-cat minions to wreak havoc and cause pain and suffering for the toys.
Eventually, the time comes for the toy-maker to enact his plan and he sends his son the land of toys to grow up as a toy and tell the other toys about the toy-maker. Many of the toys grow to love the toy-maker’s son. Some are healed of their ailments.
The evil magician concocts a plan to get rid of the toy-maker’s son and convinces one of the toys to help capture the toy-maker’s son. The plan succeeds and the leader of the cats nails the son to a cross where he dies (see below).

As we know, that’s not how the story ends. After the evil magician returns to celebrate the apparent victory the toy-maker’s plan moves to the next level, and his son comes back to life. The evil magician makes a last-ditch attempt, but is ultimately banished from creation and the wall of separation is broken.

Many of the toys enjoy their restored relationship with the toy-maker and the drama comes to a close (whew!).

I am so proud of all the members on Team 8 (shown below minus a few leaders). They worked and worked and worked to learn about their parts. As we get to Guatemala and have opportunities to perform the allegory I’m confident God will use them to draw many to Himself.
Pray for the people we’ll meet. The harvest is ripe…
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Florida Days

By dinnertime on Monday, June 29th, the Embassy Suites hotel was noticeably different as more than 500 people wearing brightly colored yellow and orange shirts were buzzing in the hallways. Team assignments were given out as they all checked in. Lots of questions as many had never done something like this before.

Each evening everyone gets together for FUAGNEM! (Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute!), a fun time of music and encouragement from the host of this outreach, Susie Shellenberger. Susie’s been in teen ministry for over 20 years. She’s got a way of really speaking God’s Truth into their lives.

By the end of the program for the night 12 teams were formed and parts were handed out for the mimed drama, “Spellbound”.

I’m a leader on Team 8. Rob and Ben are on Teams 9 and 12, respectively. I know they’re here, but haven’t really seen them–it’s a busy place! Each morning, teams start showing up for breakfast at 6:45 AM and don’t make it back to their rooms for the night until 10:00 PM.

Yesterday, June 30th, was filled with a lot of hard work learning all the blocking for the drama. As I write this, it’s just over 24 hours since they started learning their parts and they’re 90% of the way there. By tonight, we’ll be ready after multiple run-throughs and dress-rehearsals.

It’s exciting to see new friendships beginning to form. My expectations are confidently high that all on this trip will see God work through and in them in ways that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

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Guatemala 2009 is about to Begin!

I’m just realizing that next Saturday I’ll be in Miami preparing to lead a bunch of teens to Guatemala! Rob II and Ben arrive the following Monday along with almost 400 other teens.

The time has swept by since the beginning of this amazing adventure. Thanks again for joining our support team.

Here are some things to pray about:

1) That God would bless the leadership team I’m heading (as well as the other 11 teams) with unity and wisdom as we prepare to take on the responsibility of guiding a bunch of teens through what promises to be an amazing experience.
2) Monday, June 29th, everybody finishes arriving in Miami and meets the members of their teams. Pray for a quick bond to occur so new friendships can be formed and we can begin the work of pouring out our lives to reach people for Christ in Guatemala.
3) Pray for the Guatemalan people that God has prepared before the beginning of time to be drawn to Him during this outreach

Learn more here by downloading a recent webcast hosted by Ryan Dobson, the new head of the Brio outreach.

Here’s the link:

Click on the “download the file” hyperlink to get the program.

Thanks, again, for your support.


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Guatemala Bound!

Our support is in and we’re now planning on being a part of the “Never The Same” Brio Mission to Guatemala!

What will God do this time? I’m eager to see. I’ve heard there are more than 400 teens signed up to go!

We’re hosting a get-together at our home on April 26th for mission participants and supporters who live in and around Colorado Springs. We’ll be able to spend some good fellowship and prayer time together.

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, let’s be mindful of the millions who don’t yet have Him in their lives. My prayer is that this summer thousands in Guatemala will be able to experience Him for the first time.

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Prayer Support Team Update

We just hit the 15% mark (!) and are at nearly 100 team members(!!).

Thanks, again, for all you’re doing to help us prepare for what I expect to be an amazing outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit in Guatemala this summer. I feel pretty confident when I say that i expect the prayers being raised for us and for those whom we’ll meet will add thousands to Christ’s Kingdom.

Please pray that all goes smoothly for Ben to get his passport. I have a birth certificate challenge to address beforehand. They actually have him listed as being born on June 7th–a day after he was really born! Should be simple to get fixed, but you never know.

And, if there are some of you who are interested in contributing financially, but aren’t comfortable with an on-line transaction (see older posts for details), please let me know by sending me a message via e-mail at We’ll provide you with a packet for you to use the regular mail.


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A note from Ben

I’ve wanted to go on one of these mission trips ever since my brother, Rob, came home from his first one. Last year, I also had an opportunity to talk with some of the other people that have gone on the Brio mission trip. When I heard about the life-changing things that they experienced it really inspired me even more to want to go on this year.

When my acceptance letter arrived I was excited because I had prayed that God would show me that this year I finally am able to go!

Thank you so much for praying with us for our support money to come in, and for any contributions that you might be able to make.


Ben Kirkpatrick

P.S. Here’s some additional information from my Dad:

If you’re interested in becoming a part of this outreach, please join our Facebook group.

And if you can help financially, there are two ways you can send along your donation to Big World Ventures, the non-profit organization that organizes the mission:

– online
– or you can send a check made out to Big World Ventures to us. Our address is 3425 Inspiration Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, 80917.

Big World is asking that we have all our support in place by April 1st, so we’d be most grateful if you would let us know as soon as you can.

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