Bender Bylines was created in 1992 when my family and I were missionaries in East Africa for three years. My job was to revitalize the dying printing facility that had been established in the 1940’s. They had letter press equipment and we were able to introduce offset printing for the first time. Mostly all I have ever done in my life has been centered around printing. So, publishing a newsletter was not a hard idea to come up with. I was determined though to print it there at Musoma Press. Not an easy task given the environment at the time. But it happen and During that time, we wrote to our supporters about life in Tanzania. Those were the first publications. They were about life as a missionary, current events, and the truth about hard issues that we face from day to day. We sent those newsletters home to our church and supporters. The title caught on and soon people looked forward to “Bender Bylines”
Life was different there especially for a printer. All the common resources that I am so used to were so hard to come by. Traveling 8hrs to by paper and supplies, going two hours to make our first plates and negatives. Establishing sales and new products. Each step was hard to make. Yet at the end we had many successes. Raising a family there was also a struggle. Blending into the community and making friends would stay with us for a lifetime. Pictured to the Right is me and my best friend Hunga. He was learning the sales and marketing.
Today, in 2009, I wish to start again in my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I desire to write about personal struggles, experiences, and about a God who loves me through all my mistakes. When you have difficult times, writing them down does many things. One, it just may help me to learn not to repeat the same mistakes twice. Doesn’t always work. Second, it gives me a chance to reflect to a time when I really needed God’s help and he showed up. We cannot forget those times. Thirdly, is the fact you are reading this, I hope my struggles will be able to bring guidance, hope, and truth into your life situations. I have learned over the years that embracing the truth is the best way to live a life of peace, Love, and freedom.
Sadly many of us do not know the truth or understand the truth. We are like a ship tossed at sea not realizing the rocks that are all around us. We need a light to shine in the darkness or our ship will surely be destroyed. We need to understand the truth to make wise choices.
Shopping in Tanzania was quite an experience. There was not a lot to choose from. Two different boxes of cereal would be a great find but mostly there was only “Weatabix” a breakfast type of cereal that you would break up in milk. This would be the same for other items on the shelf. At times it would make life easy because if I wanted cereal, I would waste no time while grabbing the only choice on the shelf. It also made it less expensive.
Coming back to America and stepping in a grocery store was mind boggling. I remember my family just starring at all the boxes on the shelf. There was just to many things to choose from. We were overwhelmed.
Today I do not even think about such things. I throw all kinds of items in the cart. Sale- Sale-Sale. I just must have it. I still stand there sometimes looking at all the choices and sometimes wonder how simple it once was to only have one. Yes, there is something about choices that give us a sense of control in our lives.
Bender Bylines is collection of experiences, facts, and research that has helped me on my passage through the rough seas, dangerous rocks, and dark night. There have been times where I ignored the light and tried to sail on my own understanding. I tried to make choices without understanding. I must confess that I got banged up, tossed at sea and was shipped wrecked for quite a while. If there was not someone who was faithful to shine a light for me to see, I would still be lost.
Today through these pages I wish to shine a light. My hope is that things that I have experienced and mistakes that I have made can help another person stay clear from the rocks (lies) that are all around us. Jesus said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Life is full of choices. Some good some not so good. I write about life and the choices we make. Right or wrong we all have choices that we have to live by. Some choices make little difference in our life. Other choices can change our whole future. I hope you enjoy reading my articles as I once again pick up my
pen, keyboard and write about everyday experiences, current events, and sometimes just my perspective on things. Maybe your perspective might change. Perhaps you will be encouraged. Whatever you get out of reading Bender Bylines I truly pray that it helps you make good choices in the future. So once again I bring you “Bender Bylines”