Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Message from NA

North Africa has arrived!
We've arrived, finally, in the city of our destination. We spent last night in a hotel on the mainland; it's a good thing some of us borderline speak Spanish, because that's pretty much all they spoke there in Spain. The hotel was nice, but confounding; it turns out that to use the lights or air conditioning, there is a plastic key card that slips in to a recipticle. It took us hours to figure that out. Since we were traveling east to that point we were actually going foreward in time, so our watches were useless; but I believe we had been up about 24 hours at that point. I think I'll use that as an excuse as to why it took us so long to figure it out.
Wednesday morning, we took a ferry across the sea to where we are now. It was an eight-hour trip, but I managed to sleep for most of it. It was a sizeable vessel; you could rent cabins if you wanted, with bunks. For our price range, we were in the Armchair Class. Luckily the arms came off a few of the chairs, so it was actually more comfortable than the airplane.
We got in around 9 pm, so we have yet to actually do anything. Tomorrow we will have a meeting; hopefully after that I'll have a better idea. But just so everyone knows, we made it and we're safe.
Derik Campos

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An update from team India!

update 2 from team india
well I am happy to be back in good health. it was nice to get back into the school. we have been in the school for about 2 weeks now and are getting into a routine. the kids really seem to enjoy us which is a blessing. I have been teaching a business course and have been setting up a dummy bank and post office with ashley. ashley has also been working in the nursery. meadow has been teaching some english and matt has been teaching computer science.
besides that we had a camp at the school for the older kids from last friday after school until sunday evening. the plan was for us to plan sunday and friday and saturday were supposed to be taken care of. we were supposed to be the supervisors of the kids and help them with the activities that were planned. this guy named medusa was leading the camp. what a great name. he gave us an outline for the weekend and we had a five minute orientation. I will sum up the orientation for you in one sentence. THE SUPERVISORS ARE DOING THE ENTIRE RETREAT. all this guy did was make an outline for us and turned us loose. what a joke. he was atleast supposed to stick around to be the official leader, but he took off after the orientation and never showed up. Rita wasn't too happy luckily she helped us plan a few of the workshops but we had to come up with all of these extra games. it was definitely
a challenging experience and one that tested our patience, but we pulled through fairly smoothly. God is faithful and Rita bought us dominoes for finishing the job. I was in heaven chopping down on this spicey pizza.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Message from the DR

I recieved this from the DR team. They started a blog!
Things are going very well for everyone, we moved in with our families last week and have had tons of adventures in the past seven days. We started a blog for our group, and most of our updates will be on there. Someone will still be updating you weekly, but if you could send the address of our blog to the people on our email list that would be fanTAStic!
We are going to have pictures and tons of other glorious things there, so if you wouldn't mind, we would really appreciate it.

There is now a link to the DR blog on the right hand side of this page.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Update from Croatia!

Hello friends! Today is our 5th full day in Fuzine. We just finished helping with the 5-day Advocates Europe Conference (for Christian lawyers). There were 30 people staying here at the center (Hope House) where we live, and more than 50 people attended in all, from 15 different European countries, the US, and Cameroon in Africa. What a fun and diverse group. We never knew lawyers could be so much fun!! Since we collected everyone's money, they called us the tax collectors. And one French man called us "The Beauty of God." Oh, Bernard, what a character! It was very inspiring to hear how God has been and is working in Europe, especially in the post-communist countries. We also felt very fortunate to be able to go on an excursion with this group - to the island of Krk, just off the coast, for an afternoon of sightseeing and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. It was absolutely beautiful! (except for all the topless old women and men in speedos!) Anyway, we have a day off tomorrow, and then begin our kids' camps on Tuesday. We are prepared with 6 bags of marshmallows! We sent a few pictures. The group with the lake in the background is from our first day here, when we walked down to the lake by Hope House with the group from Bulgaria (and Dusan from Serbia). The photo with the Croatian flag in the background is us in the Zagreb airport when we first arrived. The last photo was taken in the courtyard at the monastery we visited during our trip to the island of Krk.

Much love and thanks for all the prayers and support! ~Hillary and Lindsay~

Saturday, June 25, 2005

An Update from Mekelle...

Brandon and All,Salam from Mek'elle Ethiopia!
Well we finally arrived in Mek'elle about a week ago, quiet the trip! Things in Mek'elle are quiet different than in Addis, it is a much smaller town. It took a little adjusting to get used to the frequent power outages and water shortages, but we have all fallen in love with the town and the people. We have spent the past week getting oriented to the city and to the youth center and have been having a blast!We will be starting English clubs this Monday, and are all excited for this. Time and Kelly will be wokring with the little kids, Matt with the middle kids and MIke and I with the oldest kids. In English club we will be using an around the world theme to play games and do crafts to help the students with their english. Matt and Kelly and I will also be starting Reading clubs this week, where we will be reading stories to the kids and doing crafts and asking questions to help the kids work on their English. Kelly and I are also in the process of developing interpretive dances for the girls anti-aids clubs, it has been a blast and we will start practics on Monday. We will be giving a special perforamance to anyone who would like when we get home! Mike will be taking over computer classes soon, and will be the "computer guy" for the center. Mike has been attending Taekwondo class in the morningand has been giving extra lessons to some of the kids in the afternoon, they love it! We call Tim the famous guy . . . the kids just love him everywhere we walk little kids run up yelling his name! He has been playing a lot of football (soccer) and basketball and table tennis with the guys, they just love him!We would love prayers for good health, especially as we begin being invited to peoples home for dinner, prayer for opportunities to build relationships with the older kids, wisdom in juggling all of the things we have to do and continued team bonding.
Lots of love to all at home,Jamie, Matt, Tim, Kelly and Mike

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Team India... check'n in!

Joel is just now getting over being really sick, he has spent the last two days bed-ridden with diahrea so I will write a short update on what's going on in India.
India has been quite the experience so far. Bangalore has 7 million people and we feel like we've seen all 7 million of them already! Cows & dogs run wild and the streets are complete chaos. We are starting to settle into our weekday routine of helping out with the Asha Kiran special needs school. The children are an absolute joy to work with. Ashley is working in the nursery, Meadow is teaching english, I am in the computer lab and Joel will be teaching business and math when he recovers. Joel is the first of us to get sick, which is pretty ironic since he was the most concerned about not getting sick.
This weekend we will be sleeping at the school to help with an older kids camp and we will be leading activities on Sunday morning.
Prem and Rita James are amazing hosts and both are very wise in the Christian faith and in the many different religions of India. We have already learned so much from them during our night-time discussions.
The team would appreciate prayers that Joel would continue to recover and that he would be able to start teaching, that the weekend camp at the school would go well, and prayers that Christ's message would be heard throughout the one billion populace of India.

-Matt, Joel, Meadow, Ashley
We made it to Fuzine!

Hi guys! After several hours of flying, 4 airports, and some driving, Lindsay and Hillary have arrived at Hope House in Fuzine, Croatia. We are really tired & we need showers (we were in some 33 degree celcius weather - apparently that's pretty hot!). We have our own room & bathroom (yea!), and everyone is really nice. Tomorrow the Advocates Europe conference starts here, and we will be helping out with that. We will tell you more & send pictures later.
~Hillary & Lindsay

Monday, June 20, 2005

Malawi has arrived!

Greetings friends & family ~
I am taking this opportunity to let you know that your children, family, & friends have arrived in Malawi safely. Sorry that you may not have heard from anyone until now.
Everyone is doing fine. It is much cooler than the group was expecting (“Isn’t Africa supposed to be hot?”) They have stepped into the middle of “winter” here, which means cool/cold nights, dew on the grass in the mornings, & then mid-70 degree afternoons. They’ll start getting into the warm season in August. We have had a great week of orientation together in Lilongwe: we have had a local doctor presenting medical information; the head of our staff came to teach on Malawian culture; the COTN staff counselor gave a talk on stress, group dynamics, & traumatized children. The group has spent a day in the “heart of the market” learning how to bargain & shop; they had lunch at the Nature Sanctuary & saw hyenas, a crocodile, monkeys, a 10-foot python, & a leopard; Sunday they had a welcome ceremony & play time out at the Chitipi farm; today (Monday) they are down in Mtsiliza village seeing the feeding program in operation & having a welcome ceremony there. Tonight is our Prayer & Commitment time as a large group before the two teams split-up. Altogether we have 24 interns in Malawi, including 5 national interns who are students at the African Bible College.
You can pray for us as we drive up to Chiwengo tomorrow. We will all spend one night together, & then Carly, Shannon, Mel, Rachel, Kenny, Nolan & I will be coming back down to Lilongwe (where that group will be based) on Wednesday.
Next week your special person will be allowed to write to you themselves. (COTN policy says that they have to be in the country for 2 weeks before they are allowed to email & “reconnect” themselves to the outside world, just to allow them a bit of time to really settle-in).
God bless ~
Drew Stark
Intern Director

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ethiopia's on the move!

Ethiopia left Addis and are headed to their summer home. Here is a shot of their last day in the capitol!

Looks like Jamie has the upper hand!?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

An update from Tim (Ethiopia)

Yes, 30 hours of flying, not including driving time, We reached addis two nights ago. I'm safe, and loving Addis. Very cool city. Four million in an area the size of central seattle. donkeys, people, buses, ars all milling about the roads. Driving is awesome. We roll in this sweet Land Cruiser with a snorkel for crossing rivers (not necessary in Addis). Visited a orphanage for HIV+ children today, run by catholic nuns. They flocked us, just wanting to touch us. We held babies for a while. They just cried until we picked them up. Very moving. God is doing amazing things here. Our "house" here in Addis is a base for missionaries from all over the globe doing amazing things here in Ethiopia. Their faith is incredible, and they have awesome stories about the change the gospel mas made in people's lives. We fly out tomorrow for ------. Super excited to start running around with the kids. Seems like we eat all the time here. Aside from a little tummy rumbling (nothing some Pepto couldn't handle) our health is good. pray for team unity (great so far) and safety, that we could make a difference in ------. The kids we will be working with are in the people group that is influencial in gov't. There is a lot of potential for us to impact their lives and thus the entire country down the road. Wow! still overwhelmed! Miss you all, but I'm also very glad to be here! Keep praying!
Much love,

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The DR has arrived!

They are in the Carribean!
BRANDON! Hey homie, we just wanted to write to let you know that we all arrived safely in the DR yesterday afternoon. Met by the glorious 100 degree and humid weather, we are literally sweating through our clothes...but feeling great! Drew and Dana met us at the airport, along with the other 7 interns who will be working with us all summer. We are in the capitol, Santo Domingo until Friday for orientation and training, and then we head to Barahona Friday morning to meet our families and get settled. Drew just told us this morning that internet access is limited, so we might not be able to write for a couple weeks or so, but hopefully we can work something out so you and everyone else can hear about our adventures! Thanks for everything! hasta lugeo,
Kels, Brent, CarmDoll, Erica, Gib y Em

A message from Kelly (Ethiopia)

Hello Brandon and families!
I'm here in one of the --- offices at the Addis Abeba guest house, it's currently 6:36 pm, which means it's 4:36 am in Washington. I'm happy to say that we all got here safely (after over 30 hours of flights and airports) and our bags are all here...if not a little wet from the torrential downpour in Dulles. We spent today in a whirlwind of orientation meetings-everything from medical advice to the work of --- here in Ethiopia to how our account works here; it was a busy day to say the least. The short term coordinator, Leila, is really wonderful. We spent a ton of time with her today, asking all sorts of questions-most of which probably sounded pretty stupid. We went to a local restaurant for lunch (delicious and wonderfully spicy Injera!) and then to a little coffee shop where we had sugar with some coffee in it. I don't even like coffee, but it was pretty good. Overall, we're still in the process of acclimating, but it's going well.
Leila taught us some Amharic phrases today, none of which I can remember at this moment, but I'll work on that and impress you all upon our return. It was pretty funny to listen to us try to make sounds that are pretty much impossible for English speakers to make: like the khak sound that comes from the top of your throat...we're working on it. Everyone laughs when we attempt to use our sparse Amharic, but I think they appreciate the effort. We definitely stick out like five very white sore thumbs ("ferenge" is the Amharic term for "white person," but apparently it's not insulting, just a nickname of sorts...we say "Ethiopian" (another word I can't remember in Amharic) in return...laughs all around). This is a different country for sure, but we're loving it thus far.
There's a ton more I could say, but I'll leave that for another time. As a note, don't reply to this email address, we can only send emails from the guest house, we'll be able to check our own email accounts when we get time to go to an internet cafe, hopefully in a few days. Well, I'm off to go read for a while and then we're going to play Phase 10 (best card game ever!) and hang out until our early bedtime of 10 pm. I hope you are all doing well in Washington, you are all in our thoughts and prayers daily!

ps- a few ------ requests- we're flying to ------- on Friday, so safety for that journey; ---- for the missionaries here in Addis and Ethiopia in general, they've been so welcoming to us!; I have a head cold, and the rest have been feeling a little off lately, so ---- for health; continued ------- for the city of Addis and for peace to reign here.

The next morning: team Ethiopia is a little more rested now!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The India team has arrived!

Team India is officially in Bangalore!
The team arrived this morning as per schedule- They all seem to be doing OK-

Team Ethiopia has arrived!

Team Ethiopia is on the ground (though they look a bit tired)! Here's an email...
Dear Brandon,
The UPC Deputation Team arrived a couple of hours ago, tired but in good condition. None of them nor their luggage got lost in transit.
Things have been peaceful in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia since last Wednesday and we are involved in our normal activities. Tomorrow, the team will have an orientation at SIM Headquarters. Thursday, we will look at some of the HIV/AIDS ministries and try to visit the Missionaries of Charity AIDS Orphanage (Mother Teresa). Friday, they are scheduled to fly to --------.
Thanks for sending them!

SIM - Ethiopia

Monday, June 13, 2005

World Deputation 2005 Blog

The World Deputation 2005 Blog is up and running. Keep up to date with our Dep teams as they serve this summer.
India, Ethiopia, Malawi , North Africa and the DR have succesfully left Sea-Tac...