Sunday, April 25, 2010

Making An Impact

This gentleman made quite the impact this week when he showed up at the pastor’s convention we were attending. You probably don’t need me to tell you that he looked like he’d landed on the wrong planet. I mean, everything about him was out of place at a pastor's convention! It took us a few moments to get over how he looked on the outside but once we did, we discovered someone amazing on the inside. Amazing, because he loves people. I think he rather revels in the impact (both shock value and otherwise) he has on others, because it proves his conviction that every life is valuable and can make an impact on our world.

Heather posted a great photo this week that reminded me of the impact people can make. These ladies receive help that enables them in different ways. The young lady on the right receives sponsorship, which enables her to remain in school and further develop her potential. The granny on the left receives support, which enables her to be a caring “mom” to children who need her.
The little one being held is Tendai, who is in the process of being adopted by Rick and Heather Neufeld.

I'll include a few photos that Barb Wayner sent this week as well. Thanks Barb for keeping us in touch while we're so far away. Progress on the Mercy Air house--looking good!

Ron taking a few minutes break.

Ron and Barb are staying in our house while we're gone. Apparently, they came across this large scorpion on the veranda so they took photos of it then swooshed it back off over the edge. Eeeek! (Personally, I tend to squish scorpions rather than swoosh them. Impact or no impact.)

Anyway, back to our week and the pastor's convention.

For the first few days after we arrived in Edmonton, we took a bit of time to reconnect with our kids. They had to study for final exams and we had errands to run and items to prepare for use on our display table during convention. But just talking was important too!

Once we were ready, it was off to Red Deer for the convention.

This is our promo/display table with pictures and brochures on both the Mozambique and Brazil fields. It was a great place to hang out and chat :)

I decided to get a quick photo between sessions. Left to right: Carole Argo (school sponsorship coordinator), me, Arthur Lagore (S.A.M. president), Patti Green (S.A.M. office administrator), Pastor Lorne Fischer (from Richfield, our home church), and Bill Green (S.A.M. vice president).

My parents were at the convention too, so that made it especially fun. We attended sessions together, handed out brochures together, ate together, and talked and talked and talked.

On Friday, right after convention, I wrote my statistics midterm exam, and on Saturday we got packed up and headed for BC.

Along the way, we stopped to visit my grandparents' (on my dad's side) grave. I don't remember my grandpa very well since he passed away long ago. But my grandma was a remarkable woman, small though she was. And as I thought about her life, I thought again about the impact a life can make.

And yes, I thought about it again as we drove through this pass which was literally carved out of the mountain side to better enable the flow of traffic.

And again, as we went over this amazing bridge just beyond.

Indeed. What an impact a life can make.

(Oh, and by the way, the mystery person in the first photo was really Pastor Dave Neufeld in disguise. He pastors a vibrant church in Grunthal, Manitoba and is Rick's dad. :) )

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What We Need

As we travelled from one country and culture to the next over the last few weeks, I thought a lot about what we as people need. I guess it's the mix of development and progress, cultural differences, and economic disparity that got me thinking. I decided I would share about the past week from that perspective, so bear with me.

To a greater or lesser degree, here are some of the things we need:

Buildings: Schools, Hospitals, Churches, etc.
(Construction on Outreach Community Centre in Ca├žador, Brazil)

(Mercy Air house, Mozambique)

Safety (New fire extinguishing system at Mt. Horeb, Brazil)

A Warm Shower (shock-proof, preferrably), when it's cold outside.

Parking Spots. Cars too. (Mt Horeb)

Kitchen Cupboards (Ron Wayner, Mozambique) Yay!

To Look Good. Real good.


Cool Bus Stops

Good Music and Prayer Time
(Mt Horeb church *the 2 young drummers are excellent!)

A Place To Worship

Something To Anticipate

To Talk To Someone

Somewhere To Hang Out

To Eat. As often as possible :)
(My Dad, the couple who translate our training materials, my friends, and us.)

Girl Time!

To Smile at the Camera. Cheese!

Accomplishment--even if it's just climbing the sand pile.

Oddities. They keep life interesting.

Hugs. Often.

To Long For Things (and not get everything we want)

To Love and Serve Others--as we would like to be loved and served.
This is an important and often neglected need we have.
(School lunchtime, Mozambique)

And at the end of it all,
To Rest (with our feet up, of course)
We're finally in Edmonton doing just that. That, plus enjoying time with family. And that's needed too.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, April 09, 2010

En Route

Last week I promised to update this "asap", but it's taken longer than I'd thought. We've been en route, from the Mozambique bush to Edmonton, Canada via South Africa and Brazil, so a few extra quiet moments to sort through photos and thoughts have been hard to come by.

I'm currently sitting in a preschooler sized chair, working on a preschool height table in a preschool classroom at the Mt. Horeb mission in Brazil. So here's an update on the last 2 weeks.

Just a few days before our departure from Moz, a small group made up from the Mercy Air USA and South Africa leadership team came for a quick visit to see as much of the work as possible during their short time with us.
Since it was a Mercy Air team who helped to put the roof on the Chitundo health post just a few months ago, it was exciting for them and us to accompany the mission’s carpenter 2 weeks ago to install the newly made doors.

The excitement over this health post in the Chitundo community is palpable.

When we arrived, a group of men were busy digging latrines that will serve the health post. This is a laborious task--no big machines to make light work here!

We had a few moments to talk with the community leaders regarding the running of the health post. They would like the running of the health post to be a cooperative effort between the community and the mission. Three staff members have already been selected to go for training at the district hospital in Manica.

On our way home, we got a picture of this demining camp. It is set up between the mission base and Chitundo.
Apparently a land mine was found recently by a local resident and the demining outfit was alerted. So far, 7 landmines have been found and detonated. It’s a bit sobering to realize how many people, including ourselves, have unknowingly bush whacked through that same area building roads, exploring the bush, etc.

Amid a flurry of activity, we somehow managed to pack our suitcases and leave.

Keren came along to make a side trip to Uganda and to start the process of getting her temporary resident’s visa for Mozambique. Here she is grabbing a quick lunch at Mugg and Bean.

And working on illustrating the health manual as well, of course. ☺

We grabbed a few days break at Kruger Park, just this side of heaven.

It’s always a pleasure! Then it was off to Brazil via Atlanta. Atlanta, U.S.A. is not on the way to Brazil. At all. But it is the most reasonably priced route if you need to make a stop in Brazil on a trip between Africa and Canada. So, just to clarify: 27+ hours of flying time and thousands more air miles is cheaper than 13+ hours of flying time and thousands fewer miles. Go figure. I don’t think even the complicated formulas in my statistics course could work that out!

Back home on the ranch, the work continues. Ron and Barb are staying in our house until their furlough time comes up, and in the meantime, Ron is making great progress on my kitchen cupboards. YAYYYY!

The Mercy Air house is coming along nicely too. Here, the slab gets poured.

So to wrap things up here, right now, we're in Brazil. In Itaperucu, to be exact. First and foremost, we'll be attending Mt. Horeb's annual general meeting. But simply connecting with the good people here and encouraging them is a close second.

The street outside the famous "Wooden Hotel".

This little wood slat house was lovingly dubbed "The Wooden Hotel" by mission staff and the many visitors who have stayed here over the years.

One of the classrooms at Mt. Horeb's primary school. (Yep, that's the size chair and table I'm using right now. Boy, do I feel big!)

Best cooks in the world and what wonderful, loving ladies they are too!

I better run for now. There are many more places to go, things to do and people to see before we leave here next week!

Dwight, my dad and I navigating Curitiba.

Tchau tchau for now.