And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
This has been one of the hardest years of my life. As the year has progressed, it hasn’t gotten much easier either. We’ve experienced the estrangement of a son, financial difficulties, a home remodeling project that never seems to end, a checkbook being stolen, a 500 mile journey (1000 miles round trip) to see our fathers who were deathly ill, then losing both of our fathers in the same week, soon followed by an identical trip back to attend the funeral and mourn with family members, opossums attacking our baby chicks, guinea keet eggs that didn’t hatch, a cat that has an incurable illness that makes him drool (the Lord has provided funding for him to get a surgery that is supposed to help! PTL!), strain on relationships related to all the stress, and all this overlaid by chronic health issues that have been part of my life for many years now. Right about the time we were leaving for my father’s funeral, the Visions game server crashed, beyond repair, and we discovered that our backups were corrupted, so we really lost the entire server setup and have to rebuild the server. For six months I held the role of Producer on the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen MMORPG project under the leadership of my friend Brad McQuaid. (Yes, I was simultaneously producing both Pantheon and Visions at the same time. That really wasn’t nearly as hard as losing my father, or some of the other struggles that I face in life.) I had to resign from Pantheon this month because of a conflict with a newly introduced policy against posting religious things of a controversial nature on my personal and public websites. I had to choose God over the game. I have experienced many losses this year. Pain, debilitating fatigue, and sorrow have been a daily existence for many months now, with no end in sight. I am enduring. I am persisting. I am persevering. I have not given up.
I share these things because I hope it will give you some insight into what it means when someone says, “I’ve had a rough year.” I know that a rough day, or a rough week, or a rough year means many different things to different people. Everyone has struggles. I don’t pretend to believe that my struggles are the worst anyone has ever experienced, I’m well aware that there are children being kept in cages in India who are abused in unthinkable ways, and I know that their existence is far worse than anything I have ever experienced. They need to be rescued. I get that. I donate when I can to Gospel for Asia, and I pray for them regardless. I am hoping that by sharing a glimpse into my life however that it will encourage all my readers to be more compassionate when encountering others. Sometimes sorrow doesn’t look like sorrow, it looks like irritability or apathy. Sometimes pain looks like anger and sounds snappy. Sometimes fatigue and despair looks like carelessness or sloppiness. Be gentle and offer kindness to others, they might just be going through trials that are more difficult than they are able to talk about.
There are many scary things happening in the world today. Many trials, terrors, and tribulations of all sorts, some just being hinted at, some marching in full force. Prophesies of things to come seem to be starting to be fulfilled right in our lifetimes. We should not be amazed at them, because we were warned that these things would happen, but sometimes it is still amazing to see it happening so very fast. Our job right now, while we are still here on this earth, is to share the Good News of salvation through Jesus with everyone who will listen, all over the world.
That is what we are trying to do with Visions. We are trying to make a game that will be a safe place for people to log in online and talk to others around the world about the Bible. We have created a place where people can meet online for prayer meetings or Bible studies, even now before the playable content is finished. We are working on creating content that will give players something fun to do while waiting for their friends to log on. Eventually the content will be so interactive that many players will be able to collaborate together in a variety of different ways to create player made items and to complete interactive quests that are meaningful, educational, and fun. This is all taking a lot longer than we like, because we’re doing it with an entirely volunteer team who have only a very minimal number of hours to work on the project each week. And we have all these other life-stresses that pull us away from the work on Visions that we would rather be doing. But we have not given up, and we are making progress. We’re putting together another server to use for development (we still need money/resources to be able to put together a play server). We have some plans we are working on for some new items to use in the Christmas event this year. We are hoping to make this Christmas a memorable experience in game in Visions. We hope to see you there!
Please keep praying for us. Please keep sharing our Facebook posts when you see them. Please keep telling your friends about us. Please support us financially if you are able. And as soon as we get a play server back online again (we will announce it!) please come play with us!
God bless you.