Olga and Sven Fix the Tank

12 08 2009


I told you earlier about our Swedish Tank (93 Volvo 240 Classic).  The other night we had a small setback.  We got into the car and a warning light came on with which I was unfamiliar.  I asked Timberley to look in the owner’s manual and see what it meant.  She reported that one headlight was not working.  I looked ahead of us, flashed the high beams a few times, and, lo and behold, she was right.  Our right headlight was not working.

We decided to call a local mechanic we had heard about who specializes in Volvos to fix the light and look at  a few other things we wanted to have checked.  The next morning, however, while I was at work, I received a text message from my bright son telling me that we don’t have to get the light fixed anymore.  I asked him in return, “Why not?”  He immediately replied, “We fixed it already.”

Of course, I figured something odd had happened.  Perhaps the light had come on by itself.  Perhaps Timberley and Samuel opened the hood and there was a loose wire that needed jiggling.  I filed that thought away and didn’t think about it the rest of the day.

Then when I got home I remembered to ask her about it.  “So what happened to the car?  How did the light come back on?”

“I already told you.  We fixed it.”

“But I mean, really, what happened?”  I could tell that Timberley was enjoying this a little too much.  She had a funny smile on her face, and I was not sure what was so funny.

“I figured that I could fix it, so I got out the shop manual for the car.  Sam and I went out, took out the head light from the car, and pulled out the bulb.  We went to the auto parts store and bought a new bulb.  We brought it home and Samuel put it all back together and reassembled the headlight in the car.”  She said it all as if she had said that Samuel took out the trash and replaced the garbage bag when he was done.

I have been really proud of my wife and son before.  But not often have I been this proud.  Good job.


We are in North Carolina!

2 08 2009

Timberley, Samuel, and I said goodbye to our friends in Louisville and set off for the faraway land of North Carolina.  But we thought we should stop off in St. Joseph, MI along the way for some swimming in Lake Michigan.  While we were there my dad flew out from CA to make the trip to NC.  We picked him up at the airport in Kalamazoo.

Louisville-Raleigh 026Louisville-Raleigh 039

We returned to Louisville from St. Joseph long enough for Samuel to get his warts frozen and injected at the doctor, then we set off for NC.  We went through West Virginia on the way and found the best Italian restaurant in Beckley.  I wish we had found it years ago for all of our many trips from Louisville to Richmond.  We could have avoided Sbarro pizza at the Tamarack travel stop and just gone down the street for some real Italian food at Pasquale’s.  I had linguini carbonara, and it was fixed the authentic way, which I am sure is illegal in some states since it involves raw or slightly cooked eggs.  But it apparently is still legal in West Virginia, or Pasquale has some deal going with the local health department officials.  Anyway, we had a great meal, spent the night at Beckley and then set off for Raleigh.  We entered NC through Mayberry (Mt. Airy) and passed Mt. Pilot (Pilot Mountain) on our way to Raleigh.  My dad took our picture at the border.

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Borgers are Moving to NC

14 07 2009

This past year has seen many changes in the lives of Timberley, Samuel, and I.  We have experienced the death of our daughter, relocated to a new (and always temporary) location, changed our ministry and work, endured the sickness and death of Todd’s mother, and then rejoiced in the sickness and recovery of Todd’s father.His will in certain things.

Through all of these trials we have experienced the surety of God’s hand in our lives.  That hand has not always been comforting, but it has always been certain.  His hand at times has seemed severe, yet it has always inspired confidence.  We have learned through this year to trust in God despite turmoil in our lives, uncertainty about our future, and sorrow about loved ones.

God has led us through some decisions, and the results of God’s leading have led us to better understand, in part, God’s will and design for our lives, and to understand, in part, the events of the past year.  I say “in part” because there is still a vacuum that no understanding will fill.  And it is that vacuum that we must learn to live with and to offer our selves to God’s care and providence without knowing, or liking,

All that being said, I need to let you know about some recent important changes in our lives.  On July 1, we began our leave of absence from the International Mission Board.  That means that although we still have a formal relationship with the Board, we have no responsibilities and are not being supported in any way from it.  That decision was made as it became clear that we were not going to be able to return to Indonesia at this time.

As the time drew near for that break in service to begin we were contacted by a friend at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, about an opportunity to join the Old Testament faculty.  At first I did not think much would come of it, for various reasons, but perhaps the biggest being that it did not look as if they would be hiring anyone for almost a year.  We needed to find some other work before that time.  But I responded that I would be glad to talk to them about it.

As it turned out, they did want to hire someone now.  I have been invited to join the faculty of Southeastern Seminary beginning this fall.  We are working out details now, but it looks as if we will be moving to Wake Forest, NC on August 1.

It seems as if God is bringing together some new things that only He could do.  Southeastern is a place where I can be involved in training young men and women (and probably some not-so-young men and women) for gospel ministry including service overseas.  But the relationship between Southeastern and the Mission Board is such that I will still be able to see to fruition some of the goals I had made while I was in Indonesia.  It became very important to me while in Indonesia to develop theological education in other countries so as to help strengthen the local national churches and conventions.  This was a difficult task while on the field because of limited resources available and other factors.  I can see now how God might be working in a new way, however, as I will be at a seminary with greater resources and with an institutional focus on seeing God’s gospel of salvation go out to the whole world, seeing churches around the globe strengthened, and training pastors of all nations for gospel ministry.

The Swedish Tank

11 07 2009


Timberley has her dream car.

We have a new 1993 Volvo 240 Classic.  For those of you who care, 1993 was the last year Volvo made the 240 model.  To finish production they made 1600 cars specially designated as Classic.  They are individually numbered on the dashboard.

We bought this car from a local used Volvo dealer, Mike Butenko.  In the course of working out buying the car we found out that he and his wife are members of a local Baptist church and that our family had attended a missions banquet at their church in 2006.  They remembered us from that night.

The car has 132,000 miles on it.  We told Mike that our goal is to get it to 500,000.  Mike said, “I think you are seriously underestimating this car.”

Later on I talked to Samuel about it.  We figured out that if we drove 20,000 miles a year, he would be 31 years old when we get to 500K.

For another view, here is Timberley next to her baby.


One Year Gone By

8 05 2009

september2006-186We are remembering today the first year since Anna’s death.

Today has been busy with the preparations for my mother’s funeral on Saturday so we have not really spent time together remembering Anna.  Instead we have checked in with one another from time to time, mentioning Anna or asking about certain memories.  The outward focus has rightly been on my mother and helping my father.  But in the background of everything is our memory of Anna.  The experience of losing Anna certainly clouds this new experience of losing my mother.  I don’t think it fair to say it has desensitized us, but I do believe that Timberley and I have approached her death with a realism that we would not have had before.  I am certain that in my own case my reflections on death and the resurrection have prepared me for answering certain questions about my mother’s sickness and death.  Of course, the whole experience of losing one’s parent is a wholly different experience than losing one’s child.  This week has not been as gut-wrenching as the week we had one year ago tonight.  Timberley reminded me of that while we were eating dinner this evening.  We were talking and joking about things.  Sometimes we spoke of Mom, sometimes we spoke of other things.  But everything, even the serious things, had a lightness about it.  Timberley leaned over to me and said, “Todd, do you remember the night after Anna died, how you felt like your heart had been ripped out, and everyone else was just walking around and talking about mundane things?  Look over at your dad.  I am sure he is feeling the same way now.”  I looked at my dad.  As we were all laughing about other things, my dad just sat and ate and looked at his food.  His other half is gone.  The one with whom he had become “one flesh” is gone, and so he is no longer one flesh, but what, just half a flesh?  Which half?  Left? Right?  Perhaps he is just the outside with nothing inside.  He is hollow and aching.  Or perhaps he is just the inside with no outside, raw and exposed to every passing intrusion.

the-kids-june-2005-007I received a letter–email actually, but letter sounds more human, less mechanical–from a friend who knew Anna perhaps better than anyone outside our family.  Their daughter was one of Anna’s best friends in Indonesia.  She was writing to tell us how they were remembering Anna’s passing on this one year anniversary.  They read Anna’s book aloud as a family.  They listened to Switchfoot.  They brought out things that Anna had given as gifts.  They have planted a memorial garden for Anna and they spent time in that garden.  I am really glad that on this day in which we are busy with other things, that other families are able to celebrate and remember the day in this way.

If you have young children, consider printing out Anna’s book and reading it together with your children.  Read some of the stories about her and what others have written about her.  Think about the example that Anna set as she followed Christ and use her as an example for your children to follow, or for yourselves to follow.

In preparing for this day we thought about putting something in the newspaper as a remembrance of Anna.  This was what I wrote.  I asked Timberley if was too “high-school-yearbookish” but as I told Timberley I was trying for something that had the character of Anna, something light and playful but serious at the same time.

Anna Christine Borger (March 29, 1999-May 7, 2008)
We wish to remember Anna Christine Borger on the first year after her death.
She gave freely.
She loved deeply.
She played happily.
She sang joyfully.
Anna, do you still have your eyes wide?
It’s not over yet!  Jesus is coming soon!
Anna resurget. Anna will rise again.