Sunday, November 30, 2008

I heart Advent

Advent means "coming". We are waiting for something sure and certain, with longing and anticipation. Week one of Advent the candle is lit for hope. Not the kind of cross my fingers hope-so hope, but real hope, as in waiting for someone/something to be birthed. Waiting on God. In hope, longing for Him to come bringing light to the hopeless darkness. A stark, piercing, peaceful light is coming to uncover, recover, and restore...hope. Wait with me.

A top ten for readers - play along!

Suppose you have been living in another country far away from your home in the U.S.A (or U.K. or Australia) for the past 3 years.  Perhaps it's a place lacking some of the normal conveniences or access to products and services you knew before. Strange dialects, food, and customs. Not knowing who to trust. A situation where moving about the city is unsafe and your freedom is limited in several ways because of your skin color and nationality. But this is not another post about human freedoms. Just setting up a little contrast about daily life. Things are not so instant. Getting things done is a slooow process requiring repeated follow-up calls and prodding. Online access is sketchy and frustratingly slow. You are removed from American political campaigns, hourly updates detailing the woes of the economy, Black Friday pre-dawn sales at the mall, and so on. Hmm--that's starting to sound better. 

My real friend, Sharon, an avid reader, has been living away from her home country. Here is her real question:
What are the top ten books you would recommend to someone who has had little access to books in the last 3 years?
It's a great question--one that I need your help with! I tend to get a little myopic and think of only a short list of what I'm reading right now. For example, this book by Roger von Oech: A Whack on the Side of the Head, How You Can Be More Creative. It's full of ideas to jump start your creativity and contains great quotes from a variety of thinkers. Here's one from today's reading:
Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
by Nobel prize winning physician Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Here's your chance to jump in and suggest some books worthy of Sharon's naira (Nigeria's currency.) Give a list or even just a couple of suggestions. You can tell why you chose them, but you don't have to. I will come back and add a few more titles after you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vote for a hero

Maria Ruiz was born in the US and lives in El Paso just across the border from Juarez. When she visited relatives for a funeral she found people living in squalor. Her heart went out to the 1200 hungry kids in one small village area.They were attending makeshift schools made of wooden pallets which had no electricity and no running water.

Maria started a feeding program. For three years, she would cook all night in her home at El Paso, cross the border and feed 1200 kids a day, five days per week. Vote for Maria. I did. If she wins, the money will go toward a feeding and community center. Voting ends Nov. 20.
Watch her video at asp.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sketches from Zambia

Finally--news from Zambia. The group is back in the town of Livingston for a few days. Tom will be doing some interviewing, will hopefully tour a game park one afternoon, and will be going to Victoria Falls with the group on Tuesday.

Some people think that going to Africa would be scary. From Tom's short sketches by e-mail it sounds wonderful and exciting...and maybe a little scary.
In his words:
The last few days have been filled, and hard to describe, but very good. I think I have the bones for a film. I recorded live music, which was really a highlight, as a group from the local church sang outside under the full moon. Their harmonies were extraordinary. Poor rural people, but, as you will hear, remarkable.
From a second short message today he tells about going to two Zambian churches--one in town and one in a poor section. He enjoyed the good music. The director of the ministry (Global Orphan Relief) spoke and their group was introduced. At the second church during a ministry time he saw a demon possessed woman prayed for and the demon cast out. (Apparently this also happened on a previous night as well. I wasn't sure where he meant.)

A woman in their group has become very ill. Please pray for her. I'm sure this is unsettling, if not frightening for her, the group, and her family. They have a few more days in Africa and arrive back in CO Thursday morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zambia trip

Tom is with a team of 10 in Zambia visiting sites with Global Orphan Relief (see previous post.) They will all pitch in to work on any community projects related to water systems, building, etc. His main job, though, is to interview and video the orphans and those who are working with and caring for them. He will also be documenting the local scenery and culture. He was asked to be ready to play guitar to accompany singing. He used to do this at our home group years ago, but hasn't for a long time. I'm sure he will have other stretching experiences as well during his time in the bush!  They are unable to contact us during this part of the trip. Just pray everything goes smoothly, for health and safety for all, and for Tom to be able to capture the stories that need to be told. He will use the visual and audio resources he gathers to produce a video piece on the work in Zambia after he returns home.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New things

We had our first gathering at the new meeting space for The Refuge last night. It felt warm and hopeful to me. It will need lots of TLC (i.e. work) in the next few months as we ease into making it our "own" for our once a week larger community time. I'm helping to create a welcoming and functional space with minimal budget (=almost zero$) and desire not to disrupt the elderly church which has used the space for many years. Much of what we do may have to be non-permanent and packable. I still want it to look great and speak of a very creative God who loves beauty and community!

The health website I've been working on for so long finally went live on Friday. There are only a couple of  things that still need tweaking. If you would like to visit click here.

My husband, Tom, heads to Zambia this week to shoot video for global orphan relief. 
Facts I've learned:
  • There are 1.2 million orphans - over 10% of the population.

  • 600,000 are AIDS orphans.

  • There are 75,000+ street kids.

  • Life expectancy is about 38 years.

  • 2/3 of the people live on less than $1 a day.

  • 75% of the country is not on the power grid.
Tom has never been to Africa. These statistics will be very real to him when he gets back. He will be creating a video documentary to share the stories of some dear kids, full-time workers, volunteers, and a great cause. Pray for safety for the team going over (which includes 3 teens.) If you wish to help fund Tom's trip you can donate at the global orphan relief website and indicate it is for Tom. He is taking time off work (=no income) and he wants to cover his expenses so money does not have to be taken away from the work on the orphanages or any part of the ministry budget. Thanks for thinking of us in the next couple of weeks.