Tuesday, August 30, 2005
But Deputation isn't over! Our retreat is on the 9th and 10th (in two weeks!). Email me if you didn't get the directions in your inbox.
Welcome home! I can't wait to hear all your stories!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Top O' the mornin' to yeh! They never EVER say that here. So don't play that stereotype. I put up a substitute picture, since the real pictures take forever to load (and I'd have to go get the stuff), but I thought this might sum up our time in Belfast. We arrived at Derryvolgie Hall on Sunday afternoon - after being snuck out of the Kilcooley church so that we wouldn't be egged - and have been blessed with individual rooms and showers with AWESOME water pressure. We did some serious shopping on Monday, accompanied by good friends from both the Lowe Memorial and Lucan teams. I think we spent about 7 hours or something shopping, of course praying amidst it all to keep in mind that we are on a mission trip . . . but we got some great stuff. That evening we were priviledged enough to meet up with a portion of the Carlow team (our first team in Ireland) which was so amazing and quite good "craic". It's really strange to think that we didn't know any of these people before the summer started. Although, Mel and I did calculate it out, and it seems that we have met approximately 120 new people this summer, and that's just the leaders from the camps. You add in members of the congregations and all the kids we built relationships with, = mind boggling. Tuesday we took some time for ourselves (aka more shopping, and Brian got a hair cut, also watched Man on Fire with Jaffa from Carlow while eating sandwiches from the best place in Northern Ireland, apparently) and then met up with Michael and Julie Peacock for tea (dinner) which was absolutely fabulous. SO good to meet up with them again. I forgot to mention that on Sunday night we met up with Derek who is the minister of Fisherwick Presbyterian Church (http://www.fisherwick.net/home.htm) in Belfast and attended their evening service. It was great, and we also met up with him yesterday morning which was wonderful as well. We spent the rest of the day with Christine McClelland (who headed up the Lowe Memorial team) touring Bangor and the east coast. They have amazing ice cream here - honeycomb/pooh bear, and choco pooh bear. It's beautiful. We also had all you can eat chinese buffet - do we have Honey Chili Chicken at home? because it's everywhere and it's gorgeous. Anyway, today we are off to Route 66 Bible Conference in Cookstown, hoping to have a blast and learn a lot. There are a handful of people from camps that'll be there, which is exciting in itself. We can't believe we're coming home in less than a week, so if you could pray for our hearts to be prepared for that transition, and the fact that we have to give up living in Ireland!! I think it's a pretty sure bet that we'll all be coming back here some day. Thanks for your continuous support! Hope you all are doing well!
Becca, Mel, Brian and Tyler
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
August 29! Our thoughts are with all of you, home and soon-to-be! love,
The Turkey girls
Sunday, August 21, 2005
North Africa and Malawi made it home safe and sound yesterday. North Africa was first, coming in a few minutes early and skipping easily through customs. They were pretty awake, yet kept saying, "It's weird to be home!" Malawi was a bit late and they din't make it as smoothly through. They had a long, long flight that ended up being sans a few bags. They were tired but in good spirits.
The next team home is St. Petersburg. They arrive Friday the 26th on British Airways #49 at 4:15 PM. Turkey then arrives MONDAY AUGUST 29th, 8:54 pm on Delta 1178.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Well, soorry it has been three weeks since my last email, I have been here and there and didn't have a chance to go into town.
Life has been different lately, last thursday we left the farm, and the kids :( it was sad, but we had a wonderful goodbye ceremony with lots of singing and dancing. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were in Zambia on safari YEAH! I have always dreamed of taking a safari in Africa and I actually got to go on one. It took 8 hours of driving on dirt roads through Zambia to get there, but We saw all kinds of animals: geraffs, elephants so close you could touch them (it was actually really scarry) hippos, cranes, aligaters, hienas, on and on. It was so amazing. After we got home, monday we left for Lake Malawi again and had a time of debriefing. I used most of my free time to set up a CD of everyone's digital pictues so they could take them home to all the different places people go home to. SO, today is our last day in Malawi, and I am sad, but very excited to be home. I am looking forward to seeing
ALL of you and showing you my many... many......many pictures and telling you some of the stories. :) OK, thank you so much.
For a one Carol Soldano: Oh, and there was a request to bring fudge to the airport... :-)
Thank you all so much,
Kenny Soldano singing off from Africa ......for now.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Next to arrive are North Africa and Malawi, both on Saturday. Malawi comes in at 4:15pm on British Air 49. North Africa arrives at 4:50pm on SAS 937. Feel free to join us at the airport to welcome them home.
Quick update, as Mel doesn't want to be late for her football (soccer) tournament. We are now in Bangor, doing the Kilcooley team and having a whole lot of fun. They estimated that about 40 kids would come, and the first day we had about 75, and it just keeps growing. No joke. They are great kids, yet it's quite a different experience from our previous camps. "The Troubles" have hit this community more than any we have worked with in the past, and its quite a learning experience, and I'm sure Mel would be more than willing to talk to you about it when she gets back. Kilcooley is known for a lot of troubles of it's own, and these kids come from really hard familys - single mothers, drugs, and the influence of the paramilitary. Prayer for this community would be appreciated, as there is a lot of pain and hurt that has formed it into what it is today, and we really want these kids to know that this life isn't all there is. Needless to say we are locked in the Presbyterian Church from the inside pretty much the whole day, and that is quite a different experience. We had a great time celebrating Brian's 22nd Birthday, even threw him a disco up at the center (a place they have open for people in the congregation to come and chat) just a minute from the church and we all danced our hearts out. It was amusing in another sense, because Brian mentioned to me how he was getting a little clausterphobic being locked in a church all day, and then we proceeded to blindfold him, walk him to the center, which we also locked. But it was still an awesome par-tay. Prayer would be great for Brian, as he was playing football yesterday and hurt his already damaged knee, which is now quite sore although still in one piece. I'm working with the 6-11's with Tyler, and Mel and Brian are working with the teens, and in the evenings we all hang out with the teens. Just pray that we can really get deeper with these kids, as we have a great time hanging out and playing games with them, but that we can really bring Christ to them as a serious part of their lives they should consider. After this week, we get a few days off (to SHOP!) and then it's off to Route 66, which I accidentally wrote as Route 55, and I blame that on fatigue . . . Anyway, we are going to finish strong, although not on our own strength but soley on JC, because there is no way we could be doing this without him. Amen!
Hope you all are doing well, and if we don't get a chance to post again, we'll see you in two weeks!
Becca, Mel, Brian and Tyler
Monday, August 15, 2005
Lindsay, Mirta, and Hillary Souvenier shopping in Zagreb
Lindsay, Flutra, Sanela, Fellanza, Daniela, Hillary, and Sithabile sight-sighting in Zagreb
Hillary, Christine (Mom), Tihomir (Dad), and Lindsay visiting the Catholic Cathedral in Zagreb
Look who joined us this week! It's Allen Belton from UPC. A ROM legend!
Jan, Lauren, Kristin, Hillary, Lindsay, Allen, and Sandra in the Hope House Office
Hillary and Lindsay singing 'Enough' by Jeremy Camp for our International Talent Night.
We were a big hit. Hi-5s all around!
Well our stay in Fuzine has come to an end. We leave for the Zagreb airport in less than 24 hours. ROM has been amazing. We have made wonderful friends, learned difficult lessons, and dreamed beautiful dreams for our futures at home in Seattle! When we return we will inform you of all the details about how ROM went.
Thank you for all your support, prayers and encouragement. Much Love, Lindsay and Hillary
Croatia and Ethiopia are next. They both arrive Wednesday. Ethiopia Arrives on United Airlines #221 at 2:50 pm. Croatia is on LUFTHANSA #6292 at 4:50PM.
Tuesday mornin we went back to work, that night we had a big storm here in AH. Rain, thunder and lightning. It was neat to watch, and kinda crazy that it was pouring rain, but still warm. However up in the countryside, it probably wasnt so warm. And so many of the people still live in tents. At least the bad weather was all done by Wednesday morning. So, we got back to work. A few of us worked at the same site we poured the floor at last week, but on a different house, preparing that floor. We will likely pour that floor tomorrow, our last work day, we start home on wednesday. A few also worked at the first site, prepping the govt house for pouring the rest of the roof, which we did today. Oh, and I got to dig in my hole, the hole is deeper than I am tall now.
We also got some exciting news this week. Three of the kids at the first site, Salim, and eleven year old boy, Usara, a ten year old girl, and Hessna, and seven year old girl, will be going to live in the capital, with a very very rich person. How did this woman even hear about these people?? The ambassador came our first week here, and there was a lot of press, this woman wanted to help somehow, so she wrote and asked if there were three children that would be able to go live in the capital city and go to school. There are seven kids in this family, one older girl, thirteen, two younger girls, maybe four and five, and a baby boy in addition to the kids that are going to the capital. There is no father around, Zulihah, the mother, moved back with her parents and family after the earthquake and is living in a tiny house. It is one room, made from rocks with dirt over them, the houses they lived in before the earthquake that fell on them, there still are earthquakes up there often, about once a month. Its her and seven kids. Tonight though, the three kids moving will be coming back to the house we stay at tonight, and leave for the capital tomorrow morning. They are going from a place where they have to ride a donkey for a few hours for water, theres no electricity. Alright, so I lost my train of thought there because I went up to the mountain to get the kids. We just got back a lil bit ago. Think about this, they probably found out they were going on friday, then today, they found out they were coming here tonight, and going to the capital tomorrow. Their mom was crying so much. They werent sure if they were going to let Salim go, because they kind of need him to help out around there, but his mom was around the corner crying, and told us to just go. Salim cried when he said goodbye to his grandmother. Both girls cried a lil bit. Then the kids and I climbed in the back of the truck for the ride back to the house. Between the three of them they have one little backpack and a plastic bag with clothes and I dont know what else. Only their oldest sister Hannah watched the truck leave, and as soon as the car began moving she turned away and cried. The three kids in the truck didnt even turn around, they just looked forward with a straight face. It was really hard to watch it all. In their eyes I could see the fear of leaving everything theyve ever known and going to live somewhere theyve never been, with someone theyve never met, with luxuries they have never even imagined having. In the mountains there really isnt any opportunity for even going to school, and now they are going to be able to. Please be lifting up their trip tomorrow and the new life they are going to have. They will probably be able to return home for a visit next summer, but they will continue to live in the capital until they are finished with school, and possibly beyond that. Also please be lifting up the family that still lives in the mountains.
Well on a different note, yesterday we had a service here at the house, there were over thirty people. Three people from the countryside were baptized. It was a big celebration, a wonderful thing to be able to witness.
Thank you all for lifting us up! We will see you soon!
Sunday, August 14, 2005
This past week has been quite the challenge. We are working with runaways at a center. The center is divided into 2 sections, upstairs and downstairs. The downstairs kids are the ones who just came off the street. They are literally locked in a space the size of about 4 or 5 dorm rooms, and can't go outside because they'll run away again. When they are picked up off the streets, they are brought to the center, cleaned up, the heads are shaved on the boys, and they are issued clothing, and in they go. For about 3 weeks the center will search for parents, relatives, anyone. But about 3 or 4 weeks, the kids are there to stay. We haven't figured out if there is a timetable for them to stay downstairs, but one boy said he's been there for 2 years!! There are about 12-14 kids downstairs. The upstairs kids have more freedom, but not much. They are the kids whose families were never found, but they won't run away. Sort of like Russian foster care. They can go outside, but we can only take 5 out at a time, and there has to be 4 adults outside also. I think there's 15 or so upstairs. It's hard to say exactly, because the downstairs kids come and go each day. When we leave each afternoon, most likely there'll be some gone and some new ones the next day.
The downstairs kids are very sweet, something I wouldn't have expected from street kids. They are generous, and gentlemanly even! They are also so starved for attention. They never see anyone but their counsellors and the other downstairs kids. When we come, we love and pay attention to them, and they eat it up. The challenging part are the kids upstairs, who don't seem to care about anything. As Carly said, They have teen angst. We think some of them are glad we are there, but they don't want to show that they are glad....you know teenagers!! :)
So this week we have a mini skit and a lesson planned to introduce God to the downstairs kids, because they finally trust us enough. So pray that something willl be retained from what we say. Also pray for guidance as we deal with the upstairs kids and figure out how to reach them. Unfortunately time is not on our side, as we only have one more week with them!!
This weekend was good for relaxing, as we saw Swan Lake on Friday, went to Peterhoff on Saturday, and explored more of the Hermitage today. We had a Peterhoff adventure as Carly's camera got stolen by gypsies. It was the strangest thing ever, and we actually have part of the theft on video. But since they are gypsies, we couldn't get the camera back, even though we launched a nearly 3 hour long operation to recover it. She lost all her 300+ pics....
The gypsy story is really long, I'll have to tell it in person, it sounds better that way anyway. Wow, our team has so many adventures/problems, but our leader Tanya, said that if we didn't have so many problems, she'd be worried because Satan is going to try to stop us as we work for God. We must be having an impact here that Satan is worried about!
Sadly, our trip is coming to an end, as we fly out from St Petersburg on the 25th and arrive back in Seattle on the 26th. It seems so natural to be here, it's so strange to think about leaving!
This is really long, sorry!!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
ROM group at monastery on Kosljun Island
Salutations and Selam!
These 8 weeks have absolutely flown by and it’s hard to believe we are on our last day in Mekele, Ethiopia! We’ve been saying our goodbyes to the kids, adults and everything in between and though it’s been hard all of us could not have imagined a cooler experience! This last week has been one full of lunch dates at the kid’s houses, coffee dates with friends and the finishing up of classes. This last Saturday we held a pancake breakfast for the little kids at the center. We told them to come over at 8 am and they were there very promptly….at 6:45. We had a ton of fun though and learned that the kids are definitely connoisseurs of jelly and syrup and by that we mean that they enjoy a little pancake with the jelly. They pile it on, eat it off and ask for more (I like their style personally!). We played soccer, ate pancakes and introduced them to the Frisbee which they really seemed to enjoy.
On Monday we had our last English club and the summer we have been studying different countries. We decided to end on the USA and our activities consisted of playing basketball and making/eating PB&J sandwiches for the older kids and making hemp bracelets for the younger ones. Kelly has taught a couple of them how to make bracelets and necklaces and we think she may have spurred the next major export out of Ethiopia! The basketball was particularly entertaining as it basically turned into a game of American football with occasional dribbling. We didn&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;#8217;t have any broken bones so it was a victory in our minds! The PB&J had a similar result to the pancake feed. The kids loved them, but we eventually took the bowls of jelly away when they were fighting over who got to lick the bowls. Tuesday we had our last reading club in which we played numerous rounds of musical chairs and had a
ton of fun! Tuesday night we had a goodbye bonfire for the older kids. We figured it was the Ethiopian equivalent of lighting wooden pallets or maybe a couch on fire! We built a big fire in the backyard and just hung out with everyone. We found our Sunday that another fast just started to there was no grilling, but we still had a lot of fun!
Kelly and Jamie finished up their Anti-Aids clubs, Mike finished his computer classes and I finished my HIV classes so we&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;#8217;re officially ready to go. An on an additional note we don’t think anyone is play host to anything right now (translation = No one is sick!). Also, Millione and Yohannes (Two of the little guys who have been very helpful and who all of us want to take home) are here and they say hello!
Friday at 6 am we head out for Lalibela to see the rock churches (google it, they’re cool!). A couple of us checked out the bus yesterday and were told it was more like a military convoy vehicle so we’re working on that. As much as we would love to sit sideways on benches nailed to the floor of an old flatbed, we figured we would see if they have anything else! We’ll be there until Sunday morning, then it’s off to Addis Ababa for a couple days and then to America on Tuesday at 11:55 pm. We fly for something like two days and touch down in Seattle three hour after we left, should be fun!
We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for us while we have been here and though we’ll miss everyone and most things about Ethiopia, we’re all excited to see all of you when we get home. The experience has been one of a kind and has shown just how big the love of the God is! We’ve all learned a ton and are excited to share (either the short or long version) with you when we get home!
With Much Luv,
The Ethiopia Team
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The next team to arrive is the DR. They get home at 1040PM on Sunday evening on Continental 1481.
Thank you for lifting our team up! I will try to write one more time before we return home.
Lowe Mem was an absolute dream of a camp, or at least we consider it as such in retrospect. We are excited to meet up with some of them on our break (some shopping in Belfast!) and a few we'll see at the Route 55 Bible conference at the end of August. So now we're up at Tobermore, and we really have no idea where that is in relation to Belfast, because all of us were taking naps on the ride over. But my sources tell me that is Northwest. Anyway, we were a bit tired coming in, and have tried to get as much sleep as possible, but it's tough jumping from camp to camp. However, I did manage to finish Harry Potter 6 earlier this week! INSANE - but I won't give away the ending if you haven't read it yet. The theme of this camp is Formula 1 racing, and "Grand Prix Winners!" There are about 25+ people on the team, and it has been AWESOME getting to know all of them. Brian is working with the teens, Mel is with the 11-14 and also sittin' in with the teens, Tyler is with the 8-10 yr olds, and once again I am blessed with the 7 and under catagory. They're all so cute and sticky. We're staying at the Baptist Church up the street from the Presbyterian Church the camp is held at. We get really nice showers at the local fitness center, and they feed us well as Ireland has the best sausages ever. They're keeping us pretty busy, from about 7 to 11 and no time for naps inbetween - although Tyler emerges from rooms a little bleary eyed in the middle of the day and we can't figure out how he gets away with his siestas. God is really making himself known to us through the hearts of the kids, and it's so encouraging to seem them excited about the stories and tesimonies we have to share with them each day. We ask for prayer that we will still have energy and strength as we go about our days, and especially prayer for work with the teens (mainly haughty 13/14 yr olds). Thanks for all the support and prayer you have blessed us with so far, and pray for our transition on Saturday as we continue on to Kilcooley. Miss ya!
In Him, Becca, Mel, Brian and Tyler.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
1. Pray for a strong finish, that they would finish their classes and relationships strong.
2. Pray that the beginning of the debriefing process would begin smoothly.
3. Pray for a safe trip home…
Mumbai (Bombay) has still been experiencing flooding. The team is scheduled to fly through there, so pray for their trip. Also lift the people of Bombay as they have been dealing with much destruction and many deaths.
4. Pray for a smooth adjustment home.
All said, the team has had a great trip and will return with many stories to share.
Team India arrives: British Air, 49 at 4:15pm
Yes.. we are still alive!
So I´m not sure how many of you are still checking our blog since we have not updated it in quite a few weeks but we are still here. Some of us have definatly melted some from the hot hot HEAT that we have had this last week, other than that we are ok. Since our retreat in La Romana, we have all enjoyed getting back to our regular schedules; batayes in the mornings, lunch at the beach house, and afternoon activities. We have all been keeping VERY busy! The girls have put on two purity convernces for the girls at the bateyes. We are winding things down this week and next. Having our last soccer practices before the big game. Brent and Erica have organized and painted a mural at Don Bosco with the children in 95 degree heat. Kirsten has been working with her dancers so that they can perform at the big game during the halftime show. We are trying to get in as much as we can in our last two weeks here. The calender shows no room for breathing. We are spending as much time at the beach as we can. All of our host families and the interns will be going to San Rafeal this saturday. It is an amazing river that flows down onto the beach where warm meets cold and its well... Glorious!!We are all doing great and none of us are ready to leave our new families and friends. If you do not hear from us again, due to our busy schedules, we will see you all soon!
- With love, your interns.
The DR team arrives next Sunday, 8-14, on Continental #1481 at 10:40pm
This is Tim here, and I’m writing from The Ranch in beautiful Mekele, Ethiopia. We just had a big rainstorm, complete with lots of hail and some flooded streets, but don’t worry, the sun will be out in a few minutes to dry everything up. That happens almost everyday here and we just learn to carry an umbrella and sunscreen in the same backpack.
It’s hard to believe we have only 11 days left here in Mekele. We’re really feeling at home here; our week is full of lunchtime coffee ceremonies in the homes of the kids from the youth center, and we’re slowly picking up the language. The girls (Kelly and Jamie) are busy with English and reading clubs, anti-AIDS club (where they are choreographing some awesome dance numbers with the 75 girls in it), and some exciting activities for the girls on Saturday mornings. Matt and myself (Tim) seem to have won the kids over in our English clubs. Matt has befriended most of Mekele. Mike is molding all the kids in his computer classes into the future Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs’ of Ethiopia as well as doing Gung-Fu with some aspiring Bruce Lees in the mornings.
There is a lot of work going on at the youth center, building a new classroom, painting, doing maintenance, which we also help out on. I really feel like we’re investing in not only the youth center building, but also the lives of these kids with all of our work there.
When we’re not at the youth center, we’re having Ethiopians over for a bonfire in our backyard, or some grilling of hamburgers on our awesome new grill that some enterprising young deputee designed and had the town welder make for us. We also like exploring the area, as I’m sure you read about in detail in the last update. Everything is so green and beautiful here!
The reason we only have 11 more days (as of this writing) left here in Mekele is because we are planning on taking a trip to Lalibela, home of the world famous rock churches (I think there was an Amazing Race episode where they had to run through these rock churches in search of some flag or something) ANYWAY, we are in for a 12 hour bus ride with a few Ethiopian friends, a day tour of the sites, then it is off to Addis for our last few days. Yowza!
So, we’re really cherishing our last days here, just enjoying seeing the work that God is doing. Speaking of God working, please keep praying! A few of us have been a little sick, most notably Jamie, who is bed right now with some tummy troubles. We have good doctors here, but health for our whole team is always a concern. Also, please pray that in these last days here, God would continue to open our hearts for the needs of these kids, that we would be able to show them the love of Christ through our relationships with them.
We’re loving Ethiopia but missing you all…
For the whole Ethiopia team
It’s a beautiful day in Malawi. Us girls decided to walk to town on our day off. Walking to town can be quite an adventure with cars swerving, honking and racing by us because there are no speed limits in Malawi, but don’t worry mom. Currently we’re sitting outside a cute little café drinking yummy cappuccinos and being reminded of Seattle. We’re relaxing after a week of camp at Lake Malawi which was really awesome. After a two hour drive we arrived at the Teen Missions Int. campground where each intern was responsible for two to three campers in each of our tents. Most of us had at least one camper from our ministry at Chitipi as well as a camper from Chiwengo (another COTN site). It was a good opportunity for us to get to know the Chiwengo kids whom we never get to see. Although the language barrier could be difficult at times, we tried to keep in mind that the camp was for their enjoyment and not necessarily for our desire to minister to them individually through our words. To sum up camp, we’ll walk you through a typical day. We woke up at about 6am with the sunrise. After breakfast we would split into two groups (older and younger) for bible activities, until mid-morning tea-time. In our free time until lunch,we would play fun games like Drip-Drip-Drop (like duck, duck, goose w/water) or arrange a soccer game between interns and kids. Somehow we managed to pull through with a win—despite that they’re African children who are naturally skilled at the sport. We were pretty impressed with ourselves seeing as we haven’t had any intense athletic activity in the past two months. After lunch, we would start on our half hour walk to the lake. The scenery on the way to the lake was how we originally pictured Africa to look like with large open fields of golden grass, huge Baobab (bay-oh-bob) trees and intense sun beating down on us. The lake was gorgeous—picture the ocean with warm water and no salt, and white sandy beaches. Swimming in the lake is the kids’ absolute favorite part of the day and a lot of the kids were eager for us to teach them how to swim. The lake was also the location of ourdaily bathing rituals. We felt ‘exotic’ shampooing our hair while immersed in water. The day concluded with dinner and an evening Bible lesson. The lake was quite a memorable place. The sunrises over the water were breath-taking—however, the trash burning was also breath-taking but in a different way…The bathrooms weren’t the most delightful either, especially with the presence of a large, disgusting, hairy, frightening spider—MUCH bigger than the typical 8-legged creatures found in Washington. However we are still thankful for the time we spent at the lake! Random tidbits: Shannon is preparing for a talk she was asked to give at a church gathering next week even though she is terrified. Rachel is recovering from being under the weather for a few days and is attempting to whittle. Kenny recently went to get a buzz cut with the kids from the farm. Carly and Melissa enjoy making mochas at night, and Nolan’s 22nd birthday is on Tuesday! This summer is quickly passing by for all of us. We only have two weeks left with the kids until we leave on our safari. We ask for prayers that we may be able to take advantage of all of our time left with the kids. Also, that we may be able to leave Malawi on our scheduled departure day, as the workers of South African Air are currently on strike! We hope everyone is doing well, wherever you may be.Peace and Blessings,The girls of Team Malawi (Rachel, Shannon, Carly, and Mel)
Monday, August 01, 2005
We thought we'd send ya a wee update from the green Isle. We had a fabulous holiday, and saw much of Ireland, and believe it or not - in sunshine! We arrived in Belfast on Friday afternoon, taking a large bus up from Dublin - and it didn't have a bathroom on it was was terrible for Mel and Brian as they are avidly using there Nalgenes. So we're at Lowe Memorial, and started our first day of camp today, with the pirate theme of Landlubbers, which is the same theme as Carlow's camp, so I guess we're a little more experienced this time. We are staying in the church, and the team is only about 15 people or so, which is smaller but really nice as we make a pretty close knit community. And they are all so much fun, and also hilarious. Lowe Memorial is in Finaghy, which is South Belfast, and it's been raining the past few days but amazingly the weather is beautiful today. Praise the Lord. No, seriously. We got to participate in the Sunday service yesterday, Brian on guitar, me on vocals, and Mel did a scripture reading and Tyler in support. Brian and Mel this week have alter egos as "Yo Ho" and "Heave Ho," respectively. And they are doing an amazing job letting there inner-pirate come out to the 4-11 crowd. Please keep us in your prayers, as these next few weeks are going to be extra tough with immediate transitions from one camp to the next. We miss you all, but they keep us happy and well fed, so don't worry! Shiver me timbers, God bless!
Much love - Becca, Melinda and the Best Team of Pirates to Sail in an Airplane over the Atlantic.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Hello all! Team St. Pete, checking in!
We figured it was about time to give you all an update, and to show you some of what we've been doing for the past 3 weeks. They seem to have flown by, though some of the individual days seemed to last forever (funny how that happens).
The past two weeks have been spent teaching VBS at camp. Well, a sort of VBS anyway. Two days before we left for camp, we were informed that we weren't allowed to talk about God at all. This certainly came as a shock. We were going to be monitored as well, to insure we didn't. Since our VBS plans were the different characterisitics of God, this also led to some frantic rearranging. We managed though, definitely learning that in Russia the only motto to follow is: "Be flexible!!" We managed to come up with a program based off the story of the wise and foolish builders, hoping to show the kids ways to build a solid foundation for their lives that happened to correspond to lots of Jesus' parables. I think we managed pretty well, and hopefully our kids picked up some good stuff from us. We managed to work God into the lessons in the last few days of camp, as we gained the teachers trust and they stopped watching us during our lessons.
Our kids were definitely a handful, but we fell in love with them over the two weeks. We were working with orphan children who were ages 7 or 8 to about 14 and 15. It was pretty difficult. Most of the children had some sort of ADD or other attention disorder, and all of them acted out often. They were all so desperate for attention and love, it was heartbreaking. We had two children who became extremely violent when they got angry or upset, which was often. All of the kids resorted to violence very quickly which was hard for all of us. It was very sad to watch them sometimes, though we are all pros at breaking up fights now.
The camp was a strange one--it was very different from any camp we've seen in the states-- and we were never quite sure what we'd be doing from one day to the next. We had our kids twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. We spent a lot of time jumproping, playing Pioneer ball (Russian kids version of volleyball), soccer, and Uno. One of our greatest achievements is that we can now play a complete game of Uno in Russian! The kids were fun to play with, and they all got very good at sign language by the end of the two weeks. Our interpretors were invaluable as well, and we learned very random Russian words to get along. All in all, we tried to show the kids Gods love through actions, since we couldn't through words. Hopefully we managed. The last day at camp was so difficult. It was very hard to say goodbye to the kids, as they were all beginning to really open up to us, and trust us more. I don't know if it was harder on them, or us, as everyone was crying. It was like a scene from a movie, with the kids surrounding the van and running with it until we managed to drive away. We can only hope and pray that we were able to impart to them that they will always be loved and taken care of, no matter what; or maybe stirred up some curiousity about God.
We arrived back in St. Petersburg on Saturday, and will be working with the Nazarene church for the rest of this week, helping to maintain their ministry center by painting and doing other maintenance duties. We're all looking forward to the painting, and getting back to the apartment, and a working bathroom! We made do with an outhouse for the two weeks of camp. I don't think I've ever been more happy to see a toilet in my life! All in all things are going well. We've managed to stay healthy for the most part, though Kendra picked up a cold on the last few days of camp. I think we may all have lost some weight at camp, because the food wasn't the greatest, but it was an adventure! We've had our share of adventures so far, and are looking forward to more before we come home! We miss everyone, and hope all is well. Zvogom!
'Anzhelika', 'Carliknose/C-money', 'Brisha' and 'Keeyendra'
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Work is kind of like a normal job here. We changed the schedule a little bit from the first week we were here because its so hot in the middle of the day, so now we leave the house between 6:30 and 7, we all climb in the back of a pickup and ride about a half hour up to the site, a little after noon we all climb back in and come home for lunch and a little nap, we usually go back to work around 3:30 and come home 7:30. Also, sometimes we go pig hunting. One of the guys here shot a pig (twice!) with his 12-gauge, but didn't have the spotlight so it got away before it died and he couldn't find it. Curses! We found it the next day but the meat was already spoiled. Man, we would have had bacon for the rest of the trip!
Weekends we have some time to relax. We all have had the cultural experience of a public bath now. And we went to a wedding yesterday and today. Yesterday before the wedding we poured the roof on the house we began when we first arrived. In Derik's words, "We made a djinn whose name was Atchun, or Thirst. We mixed him up and slowly, bucket by bucket and wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, he became the roof of the house. We got a couple pictures of it if anyone'd like to see". The girls had to dress up in these traditional outfits for the wedding. The guys and girls are in different houses. They tried to make all us girls dance, it was hard, but really fun. The bride sits in a different room and isn't supposed to be happy or smile or anything because she is leaving her father. The guys were in another house and ate and talked.
Sapphire and Derik
Team NA, plus Brian Grove...
Children of the people they are serving...
After a hard mornings work...
Some pictures I brought back from India:
Asha Kiran's visiting summer teachers...
Where in the World is Meadow Wright?
Matt playing King or the Moutain with the Mukti Girls...
Ashley looks right at home, don't ya think?
Joel rolling Chipati's... Nice form bro!
Quick! Move Brandon! Here come the pacidermes!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Hey All! We are now on Holiday, and Lucan was an absolute blast. As you can see, Brian was quite involved as on of the premier members of the "Rock and Roll" duo, and played the whole week for the kids. They absolutely loved him, and he had a lot of fun, and also learned a lot of guitar! We made a lot of good friends and were touched by a lot of the kids at the camp. The daily routine was Junior camp in the mornings and teens in the evenings, and it was a good experience to be involved with these two different ages, and get a feel for ministry. We left Lucan on Saturday via rental car from Enterprise . . . it's been interesting. This is like the 2nd or 3rd time that Brian has driven a stick, and along with the fact it's on the other side of the road, and that the roads are about the size of a bike lane, it's been an adventure. We've traveled the west coast, visiting the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, stayed the night in Lisdoonvarna at a B&B (the host lady was a Manchester United fan, awesome!). Next we hit Westport, and climbed the Croagh Patrick, which is 2,510 ft up, and is also known as 'the Reek' or Holy Mountain of Ireland, and thankfully we were here this weekend and not next weekend, because about 50,000 people are going to pilgrimage there to climb it . . . and some of them barefoot. It was magnificent, the view was amazing, and we were all so glad to have done it. Then we hit the beach. GORGEOUS. It was an absolutely beautiful day, we walked the beach and Tyler rented a surf board and wet suit to ride the foot high waves. Now we're at the Downhill Hostel, up in Derry which was a long drive. But we took a break and saw the Marble Arch Caves which were really really cool. The beach here is so amazing, and it's just a stones throw from the hostel. We met up with Angie Little and Jessica West, who go to the INN and are working here over the summer. We'll be heading back south on Thursday to drop of the car and pick up luggage that we left with friends, perhaps catch a movie, and then head up to Belfast Friday to meet up with the Lowe Memorial team. We're excited! And praise the Lord for this amazing holiday! Hope you're all doing well, and God Bless!
Much Love, Becca, Mel, Brian and Tyler
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Dobro vecer prijatelji i obitelj!
We have so much to tell you since our last update. Our first camp, for kids with cancer, ended and the second camp, for kids with downs syndrome has also come and gone. The building has been quiet without the kids here, and we miss them a lot, but we are getting pretty excited for ROM! Our ROM leadership team is growing as team members are arriving here at Hope House. We switched rooms, and are now living on the top floor with two roommates: Lauren from Texas, and Masa (Mah-sha) from a small town in Croatia. Tihomir and Christine have been keeping us busy with projects in preparation for ROM. We even learned a new skill: sewing! This we definitely come in handy, as the two of us are responsible for making 60 robes in the next week! All prayers for this project are appreciated. Also, this weekend, we visited the city of Rijeka, on the coast, to attend the Baptist church. Our host “dad,” Tihomir, was the guest preacher. After the service, we spent the afternoon swimming at the beach, and eating sladoled (ice cream) in Opatija. Below are some pictures from the past few weeks. Uzivati!
The first picture is of the kids from the downs syndrome camp receiving their diplomas at the end of the week. We got to spend that afternoon prior to the ceremony helping the camp staff (Brett, Mirta & Dinko) create the diplomas.
The second picture is of us and our friend Paula, who is the older sister of one of the girls at the camp. The background of the photo is dark because we are in “Spilja Vrelo,” a cave in Fuzine. Even though the outside temperature was nearly 80 degrees F, the inside of the cave stays at around 40 degrees F all year long.
The third picture is of us working on our sewing project. Lindsay is ridiculously gifted at cutting fabric & Hillary is learning to sew in a straight line! We just want to make sure you all know that we really are doing work here!
The fourth picture is of part of our ROM leadership team in front of the new Baptist church that is being built in Rijeka. The church we attended today will move to this building once it is completed. The church members tell us that the new building will look like a space craft when it is finished. Please pray for the new building to be finished quickly, and for the church’s youth program, which is struggling.
The fifth picture is of some beautiful buildings in the lovely town of Opatija, where we spent the afternoon on the beach, after a long, hard week of hunching over our sewing table. The architecture is amazing. Tihomir told us that the town was used as a vacation destination for the Austrian elite around the turn of the 20th century, but now it attracts tourists from all over Europe.
We are really enjoying our time in Croatia, and we can’t believe we have already been here for a month. We would appreciate prayers for ROM, specifically that all the participants are able to get their visas without problems, and for their safe travels across borders. Also, that the last of the funding will come through for the conference. Finally, we would like prayers for building strong friendships with the other ROM participants and leaders. When we leave Croatia we want to be able to stay connected with these people and continue to encourage each other in our efforts toward reconciliation and Christ-centered leadership.
We love you all, and continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. See you soon.
~Hillary and Lindsay
I just got back from spending some fruitful days with the North Africa team. They are way, way out in the boonies and are totally cut off from email for the summer. (Derik sent the below posting with me) But they are doing well overall! Keep them in your praers. Pray for team unity and for endurance as it is really, really hot where they are. I can't wait, until you can hear about their ministry. They are doing some amazing works and have some great stories to share. I will post some pictures upon my return home late next week.
I am off to Bangalore tomorrow and will arrive Tuesday (I think). Continue to pray for my broken leg. Other than wheelchair rides from popler who speak German, Spanish, Arabic, French and, oh, some English, getting around is fine.
Keep praying for the teams.
Hello again to friends and family!Here we are again, basking in yet another one of the Carribian'sfavorite past-times...This one, Hurricane Emily passed us yesterdaywith nothing but high winds and lots of rain, nothing that we can'thandle!This week has been exhilarating, one of our busiest here, and thisSaturday finds most of us sleeping in and getting some much neededrest. We have come to the point in our trip where we are past thegetting to know you stage, settled into our homes and jobs, and thetime is beginning to fly by. It is now less than a month until you seeour bright and shiny faces again!Teaching in the Bateyes is going amazingly well, for most of usEnglish is the favorite, and seeing the kids advance from simple wordsto phrases has been such a joy. Teaching everything from "Hello howare you?" to our favorite phrases such as "Wassup" and "That's rad"has defiantly been the highlight. The other half of our morningteaching in the bateyes, tutoring has been more of a challenge. Evenfor those of us that speak Spanish, our attempts to explain math andlanguage skills has put us all to the true test of our patience andabilities. No one can quite remember the last time one of us did longdivision! Nevertheless, being in the bateyes three days a week gettingto know our kids and building relationships has been such a blessing,and it is becoming more difficult every day to think of leaving.Monday our afternoon plans were changed suddenly by our amazing interncoordinators, Drew and Dana. Instead of our normal afternoonactivities in the Bateyes, we were driven (in our favorite COTNvehicle, 'vericose van') into the amazing hills that surround Barahonafor a hike that ended at a waterfall/river. We spent the afternoonswimming, floating down the rapids on the single enertube we broughtand having time together, without having to think about work. Mondaysare our "church days", and this week we were able to sit on the banksof the river and have our time together, with an awesome word from afriend of Drew & Dana, Maile.That night a few of us were taken by our families to a concert put onby one of the local churches that included everything from mime actsto ribbon dancers, to a group of men who rapped Kirk Franklin inSpanish! Holler back.Tuesday we began yet another one of our summer projects, updating allof the information in the COTN Child Sponsorship program. With over500 kids in all three of the Bateyes, it is a huge job that includesinterviewing each child, getting their measurements and taking theirphoto. With all of us working together we were able to get the entirebatey of Algodon finished this week, which was a huge blessing.Tuesday night was also the beginning of another Pentecostal revival inBarahona (there have been 2 since our arrival) and the biggest one tocome through town in over 5 years. With a large stage and over 1000people, most of us attended with our families.Wednesday was spend tutoring and doing our usual activities in thebateyes. The sports and games team now has two solid soccer teams, onein Algodon and one in Los Robles that will hopefully face off againsteach other at the end of the summer. We also spend the day helpingDrew and Ben plan for the first ever Young Life event that will happentonight (Saturday) in Los Robles.On Thursday we had the privilege of cooking dinner for the staff ofCOTN. Well, we helped cook! San Cocho, a favorite Dominican dish (theequivalent of cooking steak for people in the states) was on the menu,along with brownies and lots of fruit and rice. We gathered at Drewand Dana's, ate, talked and danced to the music of the revival thatcould be heard from across the street. It was awesome to be able tospend time and get to know the people that make this mission run herein the DR, and hopefully we will have an opportunity to be able to doit again soon.Friday during our afternoon soccer practice in Algodon hurricane Emilyunleashed her wrath! No worries, it was nothing unusual, just bucketsof rain and wind- which cut our time there a little short, but we areall fine and well.So there you have it folks! The week in review, brought to you by yourloving COTN interns. As mentioned, tonight is the first Young Lifeevent which will bring together the youth of Los Robles and Algodon,and is the first youth ministry project that COTN has taken on. Pleasepray for wisdom for our speaker, for energy for us interns, and thatthe youth may see that life with Christ is more than just words on apaper, but that it is real and exciting. Oh yes...and for the weather:)Again, don't forget to check out our blog site http://DRinterns.blogspot.com(pictures will be up there soon!)Con Amor!Brent, Gib, Kelsey, Erica, Carmen and Emily
Selam!I hope all of you reading this newsletter are doing well, because we are doing more than well here in Mek’ele! I’m hoping that this letter gets out sometime in the near future, as the phone line has been out for a few days now…but I’ll send it off as soon as possible…Anyway, like I said, life in Mek’ele is going really well. We’ll start with a youth center update…English Clubs are absolutely amazing. Tim and I are teaching the little little kids, who speak no English, and we agree that our class is way cuter than the other two classes. The kids are slowly but surely picking up on colors, and some of them are pretty adept at the alphabet as well! Matt and Jamie’s class and Becky’s class are studying countries of the world, this week is Ireland…I think they’re doing a bunch of stuff with potatoes and then learning a jig. Reading clubs are going well too, we’ve successfully built sheep, learned rhymes, and figured out that if you do your homework, you get a bouncy ball.On Saturday we had a big AIDS awareness/peer educator graduation. The little girls started off with their interpretive dance to “Stand By Me,” followed by the circus kids. Ok, these kids were incredible. They juggled flaming batons, they built human pyramids that were more like human flying buttresses, there was a girl who could contort her body in every possible way, there were kids flying in the air, it was out of control. Then the older girls did their “Wait For Me” interpretive dance (they loved performing!), they graduated the peer educators, and then a live Tigre band played. Ethiopian dance party anyone? We were all up in front trying to do Tigre dancing, but it’s hard for us to do! The kids said, “nice try…” Comforting.Jamie and I are supposed to start a new interpretive dance with the girls this week, so we’re working more on Miracle Drug. We’re supposed to do a Shania Twain song after that, but I think we’ll search out a different artist. I don’t think I have the patience for that much Shania.Oh! The fast is over! Hallelujah! We ate at the Meat Hut twice yesterday. Big plates of Zilzil tibs…best meat in all of Africa. Think steak, cut into small pieces, fried up with onions and garlic, and you eat it with you hands/injera. Delicious. Maybe we’ll head back there today…Ok, well, I think I’ll sign off for now. If you think about it, keep our team in your prayers; we’re half way done here, which we can’t believe! Just keep praying that the relationships we’re in here would be fruitful, as they have proved to be thus far! We miss all of you a ton, you are in our thoughts and prayers daily.Ciao!Kelly
A quick update from the other side of the world. We thought we should catchup on our updates. seeing as how we have now missed two mailings!First thing, everyone is well! That is a wonderful blessing.On Saturday, we had a day of R&R. We took a bus tour to Mysore. It wasbeautiful. We saw a palace, several temples, a Catholic church, RODE ANELEPHANT and took countless pictures of the monkeys running wild. The verylast stop was at the Brindivan Gardens. They were beautiful and as the sunset, we got a beautiful show from the illuminated fountains. It wasabolutely wonderfulWe spent Sunday afternoon at Asha Kiran Special Needs School for the SundayGet-Together. It is a Christian outreach that seeks to reach out to thestudents, families of the students and anyone living near the school. Thereis a bus that picks people up in Indiranagar (about twenty minutes from theschool) to allow more people to attend. Last weekend we had a decentturn-out. Mostly children have attended, but we have seen some response fromthe parents. It has been wonderful to share with all the children and beable to answer some questions.Matt and Joel are still staying at the school. The warden that was thereduring the month of June has left, so the boys have stepped in. It has beenvery beneficial to the two boys that board there. Both Matt and Joel havebeen able to form relationships with Adeep and Nandan. They have been ableto be positive role-models and also share the word of Jesus Christ. Thestronger the relationship grows, the more the boys become interested. Godworks in amazing ways.Prem and Rita continue to be great hosts. They have been great mentors androle-models for us. We learn so much from them each day. They are soinspiring and full of wisdom.We continue to ask for prayers for team unity, health, Prem and Rita, theSunday Get-Together and a warden for the hostile at Asha Kiran. We alsorequest prayers that we may be able to make a difference in these children'slives and that we may be able to reach new children.With Love,Meadow, Ashley, Joel, Matt
We are now in the city where we will spend the remainder of our trip time at. We actually arrived Sunday night, but it has been very busy since then! We left our first location on Thursday night and traveled around the country. Our original plan was to leave Thursday morning, but our father had a different plan for us. Wednesday night we were playing soccer with some of the neighbor kids on a concrete field. Emily fell and fractured her wrist. She went to the emergency room that night then back to the hospital than e following morning. After quite a few hours of trying to figure insurance out she went in planning to pay it upfront with the insurance saying they would reimburse her. There were a lot more issues with trying to get into the doctor, but eventually she got there, and when she was done they told her it was free. That was a definitely a blessing. So we took a bus and arrived at our hotel late thursday night. Friday we spent some much needed time relaxing. On Saturday we got to explore the market. I think the highlight of saturday though for all of us was time we spent in the home of a family there. Bryan was giving us the tour, and he stayed with this family for two weeks while he was going to a language school. The people here are so nice! She gave us tea and bread, and they didnt have much, but it was amazing. Most of sunday we traveled, in a taxi. We had 7 of us if you include the driver in a taxi for five hours, but it wasnt too bad. We settled in, had some dinner and slept. We had to get up early to get out to the building site. Here we are helping rebuild houses from an earthquake. The girls whitewashed and the guys got to dig in rock. Us girls all got to work in skirts too, so that was interesting, but we made it work. I think the hardest part for all of us is the language barrier. Many of the women will invite us girls into their homes, so we sit with them, and smile, because we cant really talk to them. Of course today we got a little lesson, learned how to say mouth and nose and stuff like that, its hard though. Its so neat to be able to spend time with these people. Those still without houses live in tents, tarps over whatever they can find, but they make it work, its amazing, they are so creative. Its hard though, because we cant help everyone, there arent enough resources, and all the government will do is build four walls, but the walls arent really finished, and a roof over less than half of it, then they are done. The work this organization is doing here is amazing, and we are all so excited to be able to be a part of it.
Sapphire, Keli, John, Emily and Derik
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Sorry we haven't updated in such a long time! Our access to computers is limited. We successfully completed our first team/camp at Carlow (team pictured), and we had such a blast. The people, atmosphere, and overall experience was amazing. You might even say "Brilliant." We made so many great friends, we hope to meet up with some of them later in our trip. We had a couple days off after our Carlow camp, and stayed at a host family from the Lucan Presbyterian Church, Patricia and Roy. They were absolutely wonderful, they treated us very well with delicious meals and unlimited showers. Unlike Carlow. :) We took a day trip into Dublin and saw the Book of Kells which is a 1200 year old illuminated manuscript of the 4 gosples in Latin, on calfskin. Awesome. Becca was stoked. We were also able to make a trip out to see Trim Castle, which is where part of Braveheart was filmed. WICKED! Brian was stoked. We also went shopping at the nearby shopping center. Tyler was MORE than stoked, and bought more than he could ever need. On Thursday we cracked down to business, and met our new team in Lucan. We are sleeping at the local church, and the camp is held at the youth center about 10 min away, and starts this monday. The camp looks amazing, thanks to us Americans, we did a good clean up job. We've been doing a lot of prep work for the camp, and decorated the hall with the theme "It's God's World," lots of animals and a really AWESOME 3-D tree. Today was the day Harry Potter came out, so don't be worried, Becca got a copy. Phew! Prayers for our health, as hayfever/allergies seem to be on attack, as well as energy as this heat wave tends to zap energy pretty fast, and prayers also for the camp this coming week would be wonderful, as we share Christ with the kids and teens. After Lucan we have our week off, and we'll talk to you then. We miss you all, and hope the weather isn't "mingin'" at home. Irish slang, look it up. Cheers.
Melinda, Becca and the rest of the team.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Everyone is healthy so far, praise God. Or as the Russians say, Slava Bogoo!
Hopefully next time we'll be able to post some pictures. We have some great ones already, but everyone forgot their USB cables! Whoops! Along with pictures we are also filming an Oscar-worthy video of all of our experiences. It will premier on September 9-10 at the Deputation retreat. Can't wait to see all of you there!
Carly, Breanne, Angela, and Kendra
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I just thought I would write and let everyone know I made it to North Africa. I can't get my lovely upc email account to work so I'm using the blog! I guess I'm sort of a two week long Deputees, so it counts! Well, it was a three day long adventure that's for sure. My broken leg came in both useful and annoying. There were times it got me to the front of the line and to the good seats. But I also had to endure being pushed around and stuck in the wheelchair van with those of a much more... well, "experienced", age. Moping around in crutches is a ton of work that's for sure! Well, it is night here and I am headed for the sack. I will meet up with the team in the morning. Hope you are all doing well!
Sunday, July 10, 2005
This is us on one of our first days in Antalya drinking Turkish tea the "proper" way. To our suprise, a Turkish waiter informed us that this was in fact NOT the proper way to drink tea and was actually "VERY dangerous." (who in the world told us to simultaneously hold the saucer AND the cup??)
We visited the old city of Antalya, much of which is from 130 AD. Here we are peeking into the gates of the oldest structure in the area: originally a Roman temple, it was converted into a church and later a mosque. We were shown an old cross engraved in the ruins...it was interesting and fun to see the evidence of Christ in this Muslim country.