A nice thing about having almost your whole mission body on one continent is that we can all get together on a regular basis. So right now I’m in Poland (Krista & Alex are arriving soon) working with a group of techies who are giving up their vacations & paying for the privilege to work on missionary laptops. So while the missionaries (including myself) are in the meetings, these guys (no ladies this year) will be working diligently on fixing computers so that the missionaries can work more on helping people know God and less on struggling with computer issues.
This is my fourth year working with this group (some of them change every year but they all come from the Mark5Ministries) and it’s a blast to be with the geekest geeks. Just as a little bit of how geeky they are – they started pulling out all the electronics they had in their pockets (and only in their pockets – not what was in their backpacks or luggage). That’s what in the picture to the right. There’s only 5 guys and they still had all of that in their pockets.
Wondering what kind of issues they encounter? Below are two issues they had last year – one is where a screw was coming up through the motherboard and case shorting the motherboard (no one knows how that happened) and the other is a seriously messed up screen.
Recently Jim and I were able to spend time installing an Internet Cafe as a part of The Anchorage Project in the inner city of Dublin, Ireland. The director there is an Irishman named Joseph Donnelly who grew up in this part of Dublin and can tell stories of what its like to live in this area. He knows it; he lived it. He knows there’s a loss of hope in his town now more apparent than ever as the recession is taking a nasty toll on the economics of Ireland.
Several years ago, the board of directors of an old mission house approached Joe and asked if he and his wife could do anything with the old mission house to change the neighborhood. This is the same mission house that Joe as a teenager vandalized and threw rocks at before having his life transformed by God. The Donnelly’s idea was to use the mission house to now bring hope into the neighborhood. Their mission was that hope is comprised of four aspects: beauty, children, community, & justice. This old mission house is now called The Anchorage Project.
Beauty is being lived out through the use of plants and birds that are sold through the Anchorage Project. They train people on how to take care of these plants and birds, and while it can seem strange, all sorts of people from little old ladies to tattooed young men come to the center waiting for their flowers.
Children are cared for through the Anchorage during the children’s morning programs and special events that happen in the neighborhood. Parents see the joy that the kids have and the sense of play that is inspired at the Anchorage. Through their children’s eyes, they have a sense that things will be alright.
Community is beginning encouraged as the Anchorage Project starts a cafe which includes the Internet Cafe. This is a safe place for people to gather. They can come in and have something to eat and drink, sit around and chat with friends, get on the Internet, socialize or just talk with one of the people working there. Those who serve in the café aren’t there for a job but are wanting to care for people living and working in the neighborhood.
Justice is the final aspect of bringing hope and all the other parts play into it. Almost every part of beauty, children and community has a small fee, such as the flowers are sold or time purchased on the Internet Cafe computers. They are priced to be inexpensive to the community but they do create a revenue source so that every year the neighborhood, via the Anchorage Project, is able to give help to in places like Africa, Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. Hope is found in the realization that even though they don’t have much, they are still able, as a neighborhood, to help others.
So how do computers help bring hope to the inner city? By being a part of an overall plan, computers and technology can further the vision and mission of ministries. The vision of a computer center, as part of the café, continues to build a sense of community by getting people out of their homes and together. It also meets a real need by tapping into an opportunity for people to have access to the internet, for everything from research to communication. A way for this poorer neighborhood to have a greater variety of tools to make their lives better. And this is all done in the name of Christ and for the purpose of exposing others to HIS Kingdom.
We were delighted to share in a small part of what The Anchorage Project is doing to impact their community and the world.
I use a website called TripIt.com to help me manage my travel arrangements. It works great and I highly recommend it. I’ve been a member of the site since April, 2008 and I just took a look at some of the stats for my trips since then: a total of 20 trips with 168 days away from home and going for 60,870 km (37,822 miles) to 34 cities and 17 countries. Now this doesn’t include all of my trips especially the ones I drove to or to cities within the country once I got there. Now for some of you road warriors out there, I know this doesn’t seem like much but I have to say, I was a little impressed with myself. Not bad for two years. Let’s see what the next two years brings.
I’m still working on putting up our pictures (coming real soon) but I just wanted to share with you an update about the incident that happened in Sudan right before we left Kenya. This is an excerpt from an email from my father-in-law:
“What is keeping us occupied now is three families – two from Ethiopia and one from Nigeria who serve with SIM in Sudan. They were evacuated to Nairobi on Friday. Their station in Sudan (Atar), was attacked at 4:00 am on Dec. 30th. Shilluk Sudanese from a nearby tribe came secretly in the night and lit the house of the Nigerian on fire – shooters standing outside to shoot the family as they tried to escape. Their grass dwelling had a plastic cover under the grass to keep the bugs and rain out. When that caught fire, it rained drops of hot melting plastic on them as they rushed to flee. The husband was badly burned. Drops of melted plastic also go the mother and one of the children. The bad guys went on to the homes of the two Ethiopian teachers and their families. Again they piled dry grass outside the house and lit fire. Then they shot bullets into the house. Amazingly none if the bullets found their mark and everyone escaped. The Nigerian ran for the Nile river and dived into the water to put out the burning plastic on his back – he is quite seriously burned but it does not seem life threatening. Anyway, all three families lost everything down to their clothes, cell phones, cameras, pots and pans – suits, everything they owned. They came out in blankets, someone lent one of them a pair of flip-flops for shoes – one came out without even a shirt.
So we are trying to care for them at the moment. The Sudan team is doing everything they can to provide immediate and long term care. There will be some serious trama care here. We had the Nigerian (XXXXXX XXXXXX) for dinner last night and had to help him to his room. On the way down he told me he cannot sleep – and has terrible dreams when he does.
These people need our prayers.
And by the way for those connected with SIM – you can made a contribution to their restoration by sending any gift to our SIM office and mark it Sudan Relief and Contingency Project # KE 82490.”
Please keep these people in your prayers as it will take a long time for their recovery and the ministry that they have so worked so hard on for the past 4 1/2 years is now burned down. Pray for those that did this that they will understand a peace in life that only comes from knowing Christ personally.
If you are interested in financially helping these families and the ministry there, you can find the information about how to donate at SIM’s Website – http://sim.org/index.php/content/donate.
Today has been a day of doing all those last minute “want to dos”. Krista got a pedicure, I fixed my in-laws wireless router and Alex played with his cousins. Its been a wonderful last day except for one major exception. My mother-in-law got a phone call this morning which forced her to be gone much of the day. She is part of the administration team for those in Sudan for their mission and this morning, people attacked their missionaries there burning the church, the school, and their homes. Some of the children and one of the parents suffered burns and others had some minor injuries. My mother-in-law worked on arrangements to get them flown out and all the missionaries from that team will arrive in Kenya tomorrow. They’ll be staying in the places we are vacating so we’re getting them all ready to go for them. (In an earlier post, I told you that the son of the lady who cleans these places died so we’re trying to help in what way we can). Would you take a few moments to pray for those injured, for those that lost everything they owned in these fires, and especially for those that started the fires that they would come to know the one true God? Thanks.
I remember as a child thinking about Africa and ‘the BIG game hunters’ going out to face the lions and rhinos. That was the image originally imprinted on my brain until I started learning more about Africa (my ideas of Africa have changed considerable especially once I married someone from this continent) Well today I got to be that great hunter except with a camera instead of a gun.
I thought that the “safari” ride at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World was spectacular and probably very similar to what its like to be on safari (they really do do a great job at Walt Disney World) however I have to say that it does pale to some of the excitement of really going 4X4′ing through the bush. There were some times today that my heart got racing. Like when we came up on a group of white rhinos getting about 20 feet away from a momma rhino with her child. Exhilerating!
We also had a fun time when we were stopped and a monkey slipped in through the window to steal some grilled corn it some how knew we had in the car. Or when another monkey ran right up to my niece’s window making her jump into her father’s lap. We also played ‘chicken’ with some zebras and some water buffalo.
When I get back to Germany, I’ll work on getting my photos loaded up here. Until then, just know that my dream of a safari adventure has come true.
I love traveling in countries where people aren’t always worried about being sued. With a little common sense, you get to do some unique things relatively safely. Today we relaxed most of the day (I’m really into a book right now – I know, you didn’t know I could read) but then before sundown we went to the Nairobi Wilderness Walk where we got to experience a miniature safari. As we were standing there looking that the cheetah, one of the workers there said, “Do you want to pet him?” Of course we said “Yes!” So to the right is a picture of us inside the fences petting the cheetah who just purred like a cat.
Continuing our walk through this place we got to see “white” zebras, pygmy hippos, rhinos, crocodiles, ostriches, hyenas, and many other animals. This was our “appetizer” for tomorrow when we’re going on a real safari with the guys and the older kids. I’m going to make sure my camera memory sticks are empty as I’m going to fill them up.
On a sadder note, we received word today that the lady who cleans the guest house that we are staying in lost her son last night. Her teenage son was having some medical issues (like diaherrea, cramping, stomach pains, etc) and she took him to the hospital. When she couldn’t show that she had money to pay for the hospital, she was turned away. This happened several times until he died in the car on the way to another medical clinic. Once he had died, she was even turned away from the hosptials morgue as she didn’t have any money to pay for that. This is the reality that people face in many parts of the 2nd & 3rd world. We’ll never know what the boy died of but most likely, it was extremely treatable. Pray with us that this single monther of two (now one) will have a peace that can only come from God.