Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 1 - Building

We worked hard the first day of building. Everyone was pretty tired. David is our construction supervisor and was pleased with the progress. The foundation with the first two layers of cement block was finished. We laid the cement floor and completed four more layers of the walls. It turns out that uploading pictures to FaceBook is so much easier so I’m abandoning this blog for that venue.

Friday, February 23, 2018

At the Airport


Airports contain all sorts of people, mostly in lines. I like PreCheck, although that line seems to be getting a bit longer than a few years ago. Today, I had to check in at the desk which always slows things down a bit. For some reason I had two seats on the flight from Calgary to Amsterdam which is perplexing since I wasn’t able to sign up for any seat online.

I’ll be visiting four airports over the next 26 hours: Seattle, Calgary, Amsterdam and Johannesburg. I like walking around airports if I’m not in a hurry. I don’t like running around airports. Two poor ladies carrying rather large bags without wheels just ran up to the gate next to mine. I remember running through the Houston Airport several years ago. Not fun!

My biggest concern today is that my backpack is crammed full.
P.S. that’s not my pink bag!

Calgary - Hopefully my bag checked through . . . Everyone I talked to says that is supposed to happen.  But everyone else on the plane picked up a bag to take through customs. Time to pray :). Free “WiFi” in the Calgary airport. I’m downloading the KLM app to see if I might change seat assignments. By the time the app is available I’ll be in Amsterdam. haha

Actually, the airport is in Schiphol where it’s sunny and 30 degrees, just like home.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

T-Minus Three Days

I actually blast off tomorrow but the stats on my travel get me to Johannesburg Saturday at 10 pm. It goes something like this . . .

  • Leave Friday at 945 am from Seattle and Arrive JHB at 10 pm Saturday so that’s ~ 36 hours.
  • 10 time zones so subtract 10 hours travel time = 26 hours
  • 5 hours in two airports, Calgary and Amsterdam, yup it’s the milk run ‘cause I used Delta miles. These two fine cities are, well, north and South Africa is, of course, south! So subtract 5 hours = 21 hours
  • So I’m 21 hours flying on three different airplanes . . . That’s a long time.
Bose headphones - check
Stephen Lawhead’s The Mystic Rose - check
Tylenol PM, for sleeping I hope - check
Snacks - check

Hope they have some good movies too . . . 

Currently washing clothes, getting my bike stuff together (more about that later) and paying bills. 

What am I forgetting? Ideas appreciated in the comment section. Let’s make this an interactive experience.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

T-Minus 4 Days to South Africa

I decided to write about my second trip to Africa. Writing helps me process the experiences I’ve had in life. I was surprised to find this first journal (below or navigate to 2009 on the right) from my trip to the Sudan in 2008. As I glanced through it, great memories flooded my mind.

So I’m tagging this next trip onto the first. Africa is a very different country and culture than we experience in the US on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to the trip. For those of you reading who are not familiar with what I’m doing, I’ll be leaving Friday, February 23 and returning Wednesday, March 14.

The adventure is in two very different chunks. The first week I’ll be serving on a Habitat for Humanity work team along with Peter, Joseph, Brayden and Alisa from Evergreen Covenant. Brayden is our leader. We’ll be laying the foundation for a two bed room, concrete block home for a family of orphan children in Losotho, Africa. Losotho is a small island country totally surrounded by the larger country of South Africa.

The second week, we’ll fly to Capetown to visit Ray and Gay Brook. The guys are staying until Wednesday and we’ll get to do some siteseeing together. Then, I’m staying through the weekend to participate in the bike ride. What a privilege as it appears to be one of the most beautiful rides in the world. 

So this is the place I’ll post information and pictures as often as I can. I look forward to seeing how God will present himself to me on this trip. Life’s a pilgrimage of many sorts. I love adventures! See or as examples.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Home Again

I arrived in Seattle right on time last night to be greeted at the airport by my entire family. They tried to sneak up on me but that was a little difficult as Carol was carrying a bunch of "welcome home" balloons.

Thanks for staying abreast of my adventure in Africa during the past few weeks. I'm trying to think about how I will answer questions about the whole experience. I'm sure there will be opportunities for conversation but let me sign off on this blog with the following excerpt from my journal dated March first.

The mornings in Africa begin with a mixed chorus of dove's cooing and rooster's crowing. The air is cool and refreshing to the lungs. Small birds with sky blue bodies flit from twig to ground and back looking for breakfast.

Only two days separate me
from the plane that will take me from Yabus back to Nariobi. I wonder what I will remember from my time in Africa. First will be the people, their smiles and singing. Their joy in the midst of such a difficult setting is hard for me to understand. Simple survival is a chore. Add years of war on top and life should be unbearable.

Yet, somehow the spirit of these people grasps the dusty, cracked land in which they live and the hand of God and pulls the two together. The Sudanese clearly understand what rebuilding their country will entail, and yet, they do not lose heart. And even though I have but glimpsed the tenaceous spirit of these people - as much as I do understand, I want to take back to America. The Dinka, Uduk, and Mabaan people don't readily speak of the horror and autrocity of war. The potential for tribalism to continue to divide the country is self evident, but instead of despair, they talk of sing of hope. Even when they are silent, you can still see hope on their faces or in their eyes. I wonder if I were in the same circumstances if I would have a Sudanese sized hope. I feel weak and insignificant next to these people. They fully understand how to rest fully on the rock in the midst of the storm.

A few days ago Anter prayed, "Our ears are tired of hearing gun
shots and our feet are tired of running to safety." Peace is possible when people like these stop looking out merely for their own interests and also look out for the interests of others. Someone might shoot me if he wants my shirt unless I first say, "Here take my coat as well." A man who lives with abandonment as if to lose his very life will in the end save it. This way of living in the world makes absolutely no practical sense to those who rob the poor and leave them for dead. The teachers and students in the Sudanese Interior Church Secondary School are learning to practice these truths and will take what they have learned back to their villages to become leaders of hope for the future.

Grace and peace to you.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 18+ Beyond Africa

I've been traveling again. Flights from Africa to London (2 of them) also went without a hitch, and my luggage arrived with me in London of Friday. I've been learning to ride the "Tube", London's subway, and spending long days sight seeing. The downtown area is full of people, it seems almost twenty-four hours a day. Although, I don't know first hand after around midnight.

I've stayed a bit out of town in the community of Ilford to save money. Today I move to Paddington, a large central transportation hub, to be close to the Tube stop that will whisk me off to Heathrow tomorrow. Thankfully it is sunny today but pretty cold. Yesterday I rode on the top of a double decker tour bus and nearly froze. The temperature differential between Yabus and London is nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I understand Seattle/Bellevue area is a bit chilly again as well. Hopefully they have restocked the deicing fluid at Sea-Tac so I can land Monday night. Maybe I'll land before the white stuff is all gone!

I look forward to seeing everyone soon. I leave you with a few transition pictures.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 16-17 Back in Nairobi

We made it back to Nairobi. It took most of the day Tuesday. This time we flew both 2 1/2 hour flights in a small 15 seater. After a while it was a little claustrophobic. However, the scenery in Kenya was green, lush and mountainous.

I will be here today and tomorrow (a safari is planned tomorrow morning). Then Thursday night I fly back to London and will be there for some site seeing for three days. I'm looking forward to seeing you all next week. I arrive back in Seattle on Monday evening the ninth. Below are some last pictures from Yabus.

Termites are a real problem in Yabus. They eat anything wooden which makes it difficult to build any type of buildings.
Here is the whole gang at the compound in Yabus.

The Village of Yabus from the air.

The compound from the air.

P.S. Today is an important day on the political scene in all of Sudan. A decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) could cause major stress to an already fragile climate. Click here to read an article about the decision from the BCC.

Grace and peace,