Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Samm I Am

If you grew up reading Dr. Seuss, your mind seems to be forever primed and the slightest thing brings back of flood of verses. And when I looked at this picture of the SAMM cake, one of Dr. Seuss' poems came to mind. "Sam I Am" and something about not wanting to eat green eggs and ham!

Actually, there's been a lot of SAMM stuff going on this week besides the commemorative cake that was made for the annual banquet.

Who is SAMM? Well, in short, it's a mission made up of many people who love and care for people. Some of those people live in Canada, some live overseas. But we're all part of a large, cooperative effort to love and serve other people. I won't go into much more of that, but if you'd like to know more, click the SAM Ministries website link on the right of this blog.

SAMM I Am-ers had a busy week.

First, SAMM's AGM (annual general meeting) kick started the week. Lots of prep went into the reports and there were many good reports!

Then it was time to prepare for the banquet. There were to be 160 in attendance this year, up from 100 last year, so we needed a larger dining hall. Our home church offered the use of the main auditorium. We felt very honored, and it looked so nice.

But first, there was lots of moving of chairs and tables into position.

There were a few glitches along the way. But nothing that Patti, Cheryl and some duct tape couldn't fix.

Dad pauses to check the presentation on his laptop. It always pays to check things before hand. You KNOW how technology can let you down at the worst possible moment.

This is the display table with Amanda (our daughter) and Carole (Child Sponsorship coordinator).

All set up. So nice.

Dwight with his brother, Steve, who MC'ed our evening.

My mom sharing about the work in Brazil.

Carole, sharing about the sponsorship program, with the beautiful handmade quilt, that she and some ladies made, behind her. What a labor of love and a beautiful gift!

Two young ladies who are passionate about missions. Janette (front) receives a framed picture of an African elephant. Erin, on the right, has been involved in raising resources in a number of ways.

Some of the lovely people who came.

After the main program, Dwight's parents celebrated their 80th birthdays.

With the banquet over, it is now time for a few days of strategic planning meetings (talking about plans for the next 1-5 years).

This was also a Lagore I Am week since we all were here together.

It doesn't happen often that the entire family is all together at once, and when it does happen, it's picture time! You better believe it. Here are the A. Lagores (+1 on the right: Rodney Naude. But he's family too :))

Left to Right: Allen, Dwight, Arthur, Gladys, Steven, Rodney

The whole family!

We have under 2 weeks left in Canada and still many things to do, so I'd best be off for now.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Be Prepared!

During this trip home, we’re taking some time to do some preparation and forward planning—both personally and for the mission work.

On a personal level, we’re working towards getting some important things in place for our retirement/semi-retirement years. Although that’s awhile away for us yet, it’s definitely headed our way. You know those quotes that stress the importance of planning ahead...like how it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark? Well, we want to do our best so we’re not caught out in the rain ☺

In terms of the mission work, Dwight and Russ have been very busy this week preparing a video presentation for the upcoming annual SAM banquet. As with any production involving technology, this is no simple affair. Many hours of focused effort go into putting video and audio clips together in order to produce something meaningful.

First, you need a white backdrop (yes, sheets will do) for the “set” so filming of certain segments can take place.

Then you need a script and a video camera and proper lighting and a quiet spot where you can “film”.

That can be tricky…finding a quiet spot in a household of 7+ people who are all busy coming in and going out and cooking and cleaning and answering phones, etc. But they managed. And so, once again, “Russoft Pictures”** churned out yet another informative mission presentation.

(**From the time Russell was young and rearranging the house and scrounging for props like ketchup, paintblankets, and boxes to make homegrown movies, his video projects have always carried the “Russoft” label.)

Yesterday, after months of preparation, the first team of nursing students from Prairie headed for Mozambique on their 3 week rotation. We will miss being there for the first group but plan to be back for the arrival of the 2nd team in June. You can watch their promotional video on youtube, and follow their blog at Journey To Mozambique.

Here are a few more links to current events on the ground in Moz:

A morning at the mission school with Keren.

Central Mozambique is back online! (Pavkov's blog)

Last week, Rick and Heather Neufeld made a trip north to conduct a children’s ministry seminar with pastors and to distribute “Unique Christmas Gift” packs to needy children and orphans. Short termers Mike and Marie-Eve (from Canada) accompanied them and experienced some of the adventure of travel in Mozambique. Here are a few of the photos Heather took of the trip.

Yes. Always be prepared :)


Monday, May 10, 2010

Family Time

We’ve had some time with family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, and so on) this week, so in many ways we spent the perfect Mother’s Day together. (Thanks to my cousin, Kim, for the wonderful family photos.)

As we sat around the table yesterday enjoying a wonderfully prepared brunch, we reminisced of times gone by. Like how Auntie Marlene and Uncle Elmer had an oblongish 3-legged footstool we used to like to tip and “take rides” on. And how when we made trips to visit them on the twisting and winding mountain road between Squamish and Vancouver, we'd get car sick.

I remember when mom told us she had discovered “Gravol” (to my 6 year old mind: "gravel") that we were to take before each trip. This was to help reduce motion sickness. I wasn’t sure how my swallowing gravel was going to help at all with that, but I was willing to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised when Mom offered me a spoonful of sugar with a crushed pill rather than stones.
And we talked about some of the small troubles we encountered (shenanigans, mostly, that we got up to) as youngsters and how Mom guided us through correction to resolution, and how much better we felt at the end.

And how Auntie taught us to “whistle while you work” when attitudes towards clean-up time sagged a little.

All very vital input, really. If you take it. Like swallowing sugar and crushed pills rather than stones.

Mom, thank you for the sugar with the pills. Without the stones.

And thank you auntie (all our aunties, in fact), for your love and support too.

A few shots of our day with family. Relaxing after brunch.

Other news:

At long last, the health manual (both Portuguese and English copies) that Keren and I have been working on for quite awhile has been sent to the printer. What a big task that was to get written, edited, formatted, reworded, tweaked, illustrated (below: one of the possible front cover options, but not the final one),

translated, re-edited and re-formatted (countless times). I now have a new appreciation for anyone who has produced any book, but especially a health manual in two languages. Thank you Keren for your tireless work, hours of drawing and coloring, and to all who so willingly contributed toward this effort!

Meanwhile, back home in Moz:

Andy has returned to Switzerland but will soon be preparing to return to Mozambique.

He does many things besides fly planes. He's been busy working with the "ag" (agriculture) guys. Apparently, the veggie garden is looking great.

And making necessary changes so the sheep and cattle will be healthier and happier.

Construction on the Mercy Air house has been moving along nicely too.

As has been work on my cupboards while we've been gone. Thank you Ron!

Thank you for the Mozambique photos once again, Barb. My sister in Africa. You're great :)

And with that, and hugs to all the moms and aunties who help us along, I will say goodbye for now.


Sunday, May 02, 2010


We received news this week from our Mozambican mission base saying that the local cell phone service was down. It was down because a fibre optic cable in the Indian Ocean "broke-down". How a fibre optic cable can "breakdown", in the middle of the ocean, under 30 meters of water, is beyond me. But apparently it happened. And as a result, communications in our part of the country were down. Off the grid, so to speak. Unplugged.

No one could conduct business transactions or make calls on their cell phones. Internet broadband functions came to a halt too, and fibre optic-dependent radio and TV stations simply went off the air. (Click for story)

You can imagine the implications for the mission. Banks off-line = $0.00, meaning 0 purchases and 0 fuel for work and electricity. Not good news when you are running schools, feeding programs, clinics, head office business, etc. Even cell phones didn't work. Thankfully, we use satellite internet service so the team at home was not entirely cut off from the rest of the world. Just nearly entirely so :S

They say it'll be 4 weeks til repairs can take place. So until then, we trust some backup approaches will kick in.

The thought of being unplugged makes me think about South African plugs. They have always been anathema (that's probably a bit strong) to me. You see, South Africa characteristically uses a huge 3 prong plug. It's so big that if it falls on your toe, it's sore. And finding a plug-in in many places where we stay, is like looking for a needle in a haystack. They're there, but not plentiful. And then, there are the appliances that come with the 2 small round plugs. If you have an appliance like that, you need an adapter that goes from 2 small round to 3 big round. And sometimes the fittings don't fit together at all, or sometimes they go together but then flop out of place when you let go of them. Or, if you have a north american standard plug: 2 flat. You need to adapt 2 flat to 3 large round, if possible. But often, it's easier to adapt 2 flat to 2 small round, then adapt that to 3 large round. And with that many adapters in a row, the potential for floppy fittings increases dramatically. And as the floppy factor rises, so rises the unplug factor. But there are solutions for that, like duct tape, or furniture that prop things just so, and the new fang dangled plugs they keep coming out with all the time that are supposed to solve all the mismatched plug woes. Oh, what fun :)

The plug in the photo above, I believe, represents the system in the UK? It's not south African 'cause it has 1 flat and 2 round rather than 3 rounds in the big plug. But anyway, you get the idea.

Yes, these sights are all common and part of the fabric of life in Africa.

Moving on, Just a few other news flashes:
Mount Horeb, the Brazil mission, has updated their website with news items, so you can pay a visit there if you'd like. Just click the American flag in the top right hand corner for a computer generated English version.

In Mozambique, despite the quiet type chaos brought about by the fibre optic cable incident, a short termer couple have arrived. First, Mike and Marie Eve and their little one were held up in Europe waiting for the volcanic ash to settle so they could continue on their trip. I'd say it's been an adventure so far!

There's been a bit of fun here on the home front as well. We're staying with my parents in BC right now, and since the house is bursting at the seams with the size of the family, Dwight and Russ are sleeping out in the motorhome which is parked in the garage.

They went to bed, the first night, but left the door unlocked by mistake. Now, this is little Salmon Arm. There is theft everywhere, granted, but...this doesn't even feature compared to most places. Anyway, in the middle of the night, some brave soul actually opened the garage door, then opened the motorhome door, and stole Dwight's backpack from inside. From there, the thief took his loot outside where he could have a good look at it. He then proceded to sort through it and placed everything that was non-cash into a plastic shopping bag which he then left laying on the curb by the road. (sorry, no picture of the actual bag). What he took was Dwight's laptop bag (not the laptop) plus the cash, most of which was in Mozambican Meticais. There is no possibility for exchanging the Met's for Canadian cash here, so....yeah. Considerate thief, but not such a smart one, as it turns out. We were very thankful though that he left the passport and plane tickets, etc. so nicely packed in a plastic bag for us to find later :)

Otherwise, it's been busy connecting with people and family and getting stuff done including finishing up the health manual so it can finally go to the printers. I have now entirely gone through both the English and Portuguese copies to make sure they are as much alike as possible and to ensure that the points and illustrations all line up as they should. There was some formatting work needed too, so our daughter, Amanda, took that on for me. Phew! My plan is to have it out of my hands and on its way to the printers, this week.

I'll close off with a few family shots here.

Me and Amanda

The whole family at church

And, that's it for this time. Almost didn't get a post done this week. Not that it would be a train smash if I didn't, of course. But I have my personal goals, you know. Things I need to do, and if I don't do them, then things just don't feel...plugged in. :)