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Author Bob Newell

We recently traveled across this country for the privilege of learning from Jimmy Carter. The Nobel Prize winner and 39th president of the United States, now in his 90s, continues a disciplined practice, learned from his father’s model and begun as an 18-year-old student at the United States Naval Academy. President Carter is a Bible […] Read More

Jesus is God in the flesh. This assertion opens John’s Gospel through the proclamation, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Theologians use a $4 word to describe this process, referring to it as “incarnation.” That Jesus took on a human body is a basic assertion of Christmas, for which the Advent season anticipates and prepares […] Read More

Easily obscured by the contemporary, somewhat artificial, expressions of a cultural Christmas is the reality that the original Bethlehem story occurred against a backdrop of pain and dislocation for its primary characters. While we celebrate with great festivity the generous portion of blessing and “good times” that our Christmas acknowledges or at least prompts, we […] Read More

My wife and I recently returned to Athens, Greece, to minister among Greeks and Albanians. The lives, fortunes and misfortunes of many there continue to matter to us, despite the reality that we no longer live among them. Their struggles remain current to us and our awareness of their current trials forms a kind of […] Read More

Vernon and Gladys learned in early 1934, less than two years after they married, that she was expecting twins. Poverty, like swollen river flood water, was always lapping at the front door for this young, northeast Mississippi couple, causing Vernon to work extra odd jobs after farming with his brother, Vester. With no financial security, […] Read More

Some call it a modern-day Greek tragedy; others refer to it as the new normal for the country of Greece. Because my wife, Janice, and I moved to Athens, Greece, in 2005 and lived there for more than nine years and have many friends affected by it, we call it the number-one item in our […] Read More

When we founded PORTA–the Albania House in Athens, we chose its name for strategic reasons. Porta is found in both the Greek and Albanian languages, meaning door or gate. We knew that this word would help to open a larger universe of possibility for Albanians. We believed this title would assist us to communicate our […] Read More

On Dec. 1, 1990, Phillippe Cozette, a French construction worker, reached a grimy hand through a tiny crack in a rock wall and grabbed the similarly dirty hand of Graham Fagg of Great Britain. That handshake, between a Frenchman and an Englishman, with its careful pumping in a close space, was more than just social […] Read More

For the first time since before we opened PORTA–the Albania House in Athens seven years ago, we planned a paint day and a work day. Because we want to leave the facilities in the best possible shape when we depart this field and relocate to Texas in September, and because it was past time for […] Read More

On Sunday, Sept. 3, 1967, I had recently moved into a graduate student apartment and was about to embark on an academic journey, which would lead to my first master’s degree. My personal life was happily consumed with the delightful challenge of adjusting to the second year of marriage to the lovely Janice Ann Riley […] Read More