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"The News"

We went public this morning with our “news.”

We’re expecting baby #4.

It was a little bit of a surprise and we found out 30 minutes before Tamara had to drop me off at the airport to leave for Africa a couple of weeks back (not the best way to process the information :)

Anyway, call me pessimistic, but I’m pretty sure this means our 4th girl!!!

P.S. Is anyone putting together a March Madness pool… I feel strangely drawn to sports right now!

7 Comments

Posted in: Family, journal

King Leopold’s Ghost

Here is an amazing book that I just finished reading through.

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa.

It not only tells the dark story of King Leopold’s Congo, but the beginning of the modern human rights movement, which developed in the face of it.

It is a fascinating read if you are interested in either African History or the history of Human Rights movements.

Ben’s Blog

Ben Edwards is one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen (and one of the neatest people I’ve had the privilege to know).

We were lucky to have Ben with us in Africa.

Click here to visit Ben’s blog. He has posted a lot of pictures and stories from the trip.

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Posted in: africa

Long way home…

Bujumbura to Nairobi, Nairobi to Entebbe (spent the night and had a crazy experience with “The Russians”… ask me later), Entebbe to London, London to Seattle, Seattle to Redmond.

Glad to be home.

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Posted in: africa

Danny Boy

Danny is a little orphan boy who lives where we stayed in Burundi.

He was found as an infant in the garbage. He has HIV/Aids.

The center found a home to take him in for a small stipend. After a long period of time a visit was made to the home and they found that Danny Boy was being neglected… that’s what poverty does. The family was using Danny for the money and figured what was the point in trying to keep him alive.

Danny was brought back in worse shape than he left. He now has Tuberculosis in addition to HIV/Aids. You can hear the fluid in his lungs when he tries to laugh…

It took 3 months for Danny to engage people or smile after being rescued from the foster home. He had retreated somewhere far inside himself.

Kim played with Danny for hours on end throughout the 5 days that we were in Burundi. Danny loved Kim… loved her hair… loved the games she played with him… loved her necklaces… and brightened every time he saw her or heard her.

I found my joy in watching Kim love Danny.

I’m pretty sure that God thinks that Danny and others like him belong in loving arms rather than trash dumps.

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Posted in: africa, AIDS, burundi

Not since before ’93

Yesterday we drove all day to get to the National Reserve forest of Burundi.

Dan Brose, who was a missionary in the area for 8 years hadn’t even ventured to the park… which was my first clue that we were on to an adventure.
We were the first ever to make it in a Matatu (cheap little van with bald tires).
The park was breathtaking… untouched land of hills, trees, fields and rivers.
We didn’t see the hippos or crocodiles, but Dan, Seth (a WR videographer), Beth and I did get off on a wrong trail (we learned later that it is a trail used by poachers).  The grass was over 10 feet tall and so dense that we had to walk with our hands pushing it away in front of ourselves.
On the way home we stopped to eat at the home of Duncan (a missionary from the UK that helps with agriculture in that region).  Duncan, who has the coolest British accent, told us the reason that the whole village was swarming outside the buildings where we were eating is because, “this is the largest number of Muzungu’s (white people) in this region since before ’93 (when the war in Burundi broke out).”  He went on to say that our presence there was the event of the decade.
I asked if there are other visitors or tourists who make it to the National Forest Reserve and Duncan smiled and said, “No.”  Dan then added that our trip then officially declares that “the park is open again.”
We made it back after dark (not good because of rebels and carjackings), and had a sound sleep in Gitega after our full day of Dan Brose led adventures.
This morning I went with the Brose’s to visit a compound with a medical facility and watched an entire intestinal surgery… I mean one foot away!!  It was a crazy experience, taught me a lot about 3rd world medicine and was much more realistic than Grey’s Anatomy!!
We’re back in Bujumbura (the capital) now and Kim is complaining about drinking too much water and helping me figure out how to spell “Bujumbura”.  (She’s also intermittently sarcastic which means that she is doing great :)
John & Lori are on the front porch dancing around (they’ve only been married for 6 months so that should explain it…)  Ben just left for the airport for his flight to Kigali, Rwanda.  He was supposed to leave yesterday evening, but the flight got cancelled.
Beth has found her match in Seth the WR videographer and is having a blast getting video footage and talking about video projects.
The Brose’s and I spent the drive back this morning figuring out how to sell the “Amani Ya Juu” clothing at Antioch that the women she used to work with make.  We also brainstormed the future of Antioch missions, goals for the joint project between WR and Antioch, plans for the upcoming school of missions at Antioch (big thing happening that I’ll be sharing a lot about real soon), the art coffee house idea (we can get Burundi coffee and sell the clothing as part of it!!) and how we can network with other churches in Oregon around common vision.  Our theme quote is what Reagan said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit!”
There are some amazing things happening and I can’t wait to start talking about it!!

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Posted in: africa

Congolese Mountains

I’m sitting on the porch of the Brose’s old home in Burundi looking out over Lake Tanganyika at the Congolese Mountains.

Burundi, which is the 3rd poorest country in Africa, is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been.  Like Rwanda, it is a nation of hills and beautiful trees.
We have had nonstop meetings with the World Relief staff and I have met some of the most capable people that I have ever met.  World Relief has an amazing vision as well as quality people.
The internet is very slow… so I will save all the tidbits for some other time.
Everyone is doing good!!

2 Comments

Posted in: Uganda

Quick Pics

Some quick pictures that Ben shot… The first is a lady in her home outside of Kapchorwa and the second is a tribal elder in the cave where he was born and where they lived during the reign of Idi Amin.


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Posted in: Uganda

Monkey Island

Last night we had Chinese Food with Pastor Peter and Pastor Fred from Africa Renewal (ARM’s). It was at a restaurant called, “Fang Fang.” I’ll pass on Chinese Food for a while :)

So the lineup for today…

John & Lori Courtney are heading to the ARM’s office to meet for a lengthy time with Fred Sekyewa the Executive Director about child sponsorships and everything else related to Africa Renewal. John is the best “question asker” I have ever met. It has been great having a thorough lawyer along on the trip to move things forward!! After their meetings they will be heading to Bethany Village, which is an orphan village on Lake Victoria that was started by ARM’s.

Ben, Beth and Kim are headed to “Monkey Island.” It’s an island in the middle of Lake Victoria that you get to by a half hour boat ride that is supposed to be filled with Monkey’s. Ben has a long lens for his camera that he affectionately named his “monkey lens” as it is his dream to be able to photograph some wildlife.

I told Ben that he needs to get a picture of Kim acting like a monkey with a real monkey behind her that we could auction off when we get back to church… pretty good idea, right??

As for me… I will be heading to Entebbe Airport to go hunting for my luggage…

At 3:00 a.m. we head to the airport for a 5:00 a.m. flight to Burundi via Nairobi, Kenya. We will be met there by Dan and Tambre Brose who are from Antioch.

As far as what is being accomplished…… there is so much happening and developing that I have a perpetual migraine and can’t imagine trying to type it all out right now… sorry :)

More later~

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Posted in: Uganda

The Gold Jacket Lives!!!

Since my luggage is still lost… I had to preach this morning at Ggaba Community Church to a thousand people wearing the gold jacket they bought me when we went to visit the first lady.

To the jacket was added a 30 year old tie that was in someone else’s luggage to be given away.

I looked so sketchy to the American eye that a couple at the service from Saddleback Church wanted to avoid me during the meet and great time. After the service they told me that I weirded them out a little and looked like some televangelist until they heard about my lost luggage and borrowed clothes.

Anyway, the Gold Jacket lives on and the whole adventure continues!!

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Posted in: Uganda

13 out of 14

13 of the 14 missing bags were delivered to us tonight…. Guess who’s bag was #14

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Posted in: Uganda

Safari John

John “Safari” Courtney (I say that because he reminds me of MacGyver on this trip) did a good job of negotiating with British Airways… and even though we won’t get our bags till late Saturday, we all got 35 British Pounds (70 bucks) for our trouble. Patience and diplomacy live!!!

Things have been going well… Beth, Ben and Lori are way ahead of schedule on the FGM video (and are having their lives changed in the process).

John and Kim spent yesterday learning about the child sponsorship program in Kapchorwa as it will be the oversight center for the Bukwo child sponsorships when they come. They also visited Testimony School that Sisters Church helped to build. John was excited and (according to Kim) broke the world record for questions asked in a 3 hour period!

Today, John and Kim were able to drive down to the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps and hand out school supplies and water treatment tablets. It is the definition of poverty and both of them were moved by the hopelessness as well as the lack of clean water in some of the camps. It was also a real educational experience learning about the history of this area.

As for me, I’ve been meeting with Pastor David from Bukwo and growing in excitment over future opportunities.

We should all be finishing up sometime this evening and then might drive to Sipi Falls to catch the African Sunset.

We’re all pretty exhausted and jet lagged so we’ll hopefully get some good sleep before driving back to Kampala tomorrow.

On Sunday, I will be preaching at Ggaba Church (the headquarters of ARM’s), which was a surprise to me. After that the whole team will be meeting with the two Parliamentary members from Bukwo.

Monday it is off to Bethany Village (the orphan village run by ARM’s) on Lake Victoria and then down to Entebbe to get some rest before getting up at 3:00 a.m. to catch a 5:20 a.m. flight to Burundi.

From there the schedule gets really full :)

All for now!!!

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Posted in: Uganda

Janet

It’s a crazy world!!

We arrived in Uganda this morning and while the team was filling out lost bag forms (that’s right… they won’t get here till Saturday!) I hopped in a Land Rover with John Hornbeck from Sisters Church and was wisked away to go and meet the First Lady of Uganda (Janet Museveni).

I had on jeans and a plain shirt, so while John changed into his nice clothes they went and bought me a bright gold double breasted jacket to clash with the tan pants I borrowed.

So there I was… meeting the President’s wife and looking like quite the fashion statement. John Hornbeck couldn’t stop laughing.

I’ll be heading up to Kapchorwa first thing in the morning and rejoining the team there. They headed up straight from the airport along with the rest of the team from Sisters Church.

I’ll be sitting around wondering “what next” in my two day old clothes for a couple (or three) more days.

What a wild beginning to a trip!!!

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Posted in: Uganda

It’s BA… everything is complimentary!!

That’s what the British Airways rep said in a heavy accent as we were boarding the plane to London in Seattle.

He had just finished telling us that there was a 99% chance that our luggage wasn’t going to make it on the flight (long story) and suggested we board the plane and get a bottle of red wine… “everything is complimentary.”

We’re hanging out in the International Terminal at London / Heathrow now wondering how we’re going to kill a 7 hour layover before we head to Entebbe, Uganda.

It’s been the craziest trip ever so far… my dog peed on my bag, we almost didn’t make it out of Redmond in time, a plane had a flat time (go figure?), half our team didn’t have the right reservations on the flight from Redmond to Seattle and had to do a multi flight dash to get to Seattle (and they still beat the rest of us), we almost left without the trip money (I tried to blame that one on Kip, but it was probably my oversight), and it ended with a personal escort van ride from the Horizon flight direct to the British Airways 777 (they pulled us off the Horizon plane before letting anyone else stand up!)

Anyway, I’m hoping that our bags will be in Entebbe, but I’m preparing myself for 4 days without my stuff (the next flight to Uganda is 3 days later!!)

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Posted in: Uganda

Africa

We’re off to Africa in less than 24 hours.

The team is myself, Kim Hunt, Beth Fischer, Benjamin Edwards, John Courtney and Lori Courtney.

We arrive in Entebbe, Uganda on the morning of the 20th. We’ll spend a week in Uganda driving to Kapchorwa, visiting some refugee camps, shooting a human rights video and hopefully making it to Bukwo (depending on safety issues).

After Uganda, we’ll be boarding Kenya Airways and heading to Burundi via Nairobi. We’ll spend five days in Burundi with some staff from World Relief. Our time in Burundi will be fast paced as we will be visiting some of the major towns and World Relief projects as well as heading “up country.” I think “up country” simply means a long drive past a lot of guys holding guns.

I’m going to try and blog periodically as I think I can find internet every couple of days.

Any prayer is welcome!!

7 Layer Dip

I remember someone once telling me that they thought when God works in things that it is like a 7 Layer Dip.

The idea is that He is not just doing one simple thing, but that when he moves it is complex, layered and deep.

I think I agree… When we act there is usually one outcome. When God acts, it seems, there is a myriad of outcomes.

He is like a conductor who with one wave of a hand brings in an entire orchestra… many diverse instruments all working in harmony and all from one simple act of the conductor.

What do you think?

3 Comments

Posted in: journal, prayer

antiochjr

If you haven’t ever seen it, Antioch has a pretty cool web site for its kids ministry.

There’s still plenty more to do to get it all the way ship shape, but it is definitely worth checking out.!!

www.antiochjr.com

WOW!!!

Some times there are cool things… and sometimes there are HUGE things.

Last night I received confirmation of a HUGE thing that has been in the works for a while.

Below is the statement that the Leadership Board of World Relief approved yesterday.

“WR as an organization has given approval to its International Director (Brose) to work in conjunction with Antioch Church in Bend to explore, brainstorm and experiment with new models and ideas for collaboration between missional churches, WR and international fields. The project has the rights and privileges stated above and will report ideas and findings to WR at specified dates.”

In essence, World Relief has sanctioned Antioch to work in conjunction with Dan Brose (The World Relief International Programs Director) as a “research and development” project for World Relief as an organization.

HUGE.

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