Who knows? This might be the start of more blogging... then again, maybe not.
I'm off to Zimbabwe today to deliver three ServLife interns to Musha Wevana home for children - I absolutely love hanging out around this tree while singing and dancing with the kids. I'll see those beautiful children again in a couple of days and I'll see South Africa again next week.
I would have kept going with the blog title, but I don't know to spell anything in German without google, and it is too late to look anything up because I'm leaving for two weeks in the morning and haven't packed yet.
The whole family is off to Thailand - I'm there for a week of ServLife meetings and a week of the beach, while Amy and Vusi get two weeks of beach time. Of course, we live across the street from the beach, but our beach is crazy cold, so this is a treat. The 14 hour plane trip, 6 hour layover, and 2 hour plane trip after that might not be a treat, but the result is. Wish us well.
I rarely blog from home, so who knows if I'll blog from the road. To keep you occupied, watch this video every day until I return. :)
When one blogs as sporadically as I do, one is bound to have tons of ideas for blog posts that never made it online. Lucky you, I've decided to post again - but the cheap and easy way by clearing out my blog idea folder. It is a very big folder that only grows and never shrinks... here is one small step toward the shrink.
A short article on controversial "slum tourism" in Kenya. This hits us as well - we don't take visitors to the shacks, slums, and townships "just to look." Well meaning, kind hearted, caring people want to see what it looks like in the informal settlements, but it's hard to find a way to let them know that it isn't cool to drive through and look at poverty. Another dilemma.
I found the rejesus "Faces of Jesus" gallery fascinating, which led me to plan to explore the rejesus site. Turns out I never did that, although I was interested enough to plan to do it and then blog about it. So maybe someone out there will figure out what rejesus is all about and let me know. Thanks.
Seriously, that didn't make a dent in my "want to blog about" pile. And that pile doesn't even include actual original ideas, which is a whole separate pile that I keep avoiding because you'll all be mad at me when you find out what I really think. :)
Which leads to this question - did anyone actually read anything linked in this post? If so, what? And why did you choose that link? I'd love to know, because I'd like some help rethinking this blog. Until then, I'll just keep digging through that folder of old ideas that never made the cut.
It has been a month and seven days since my last post on this lonely blog. In case you were wondering, based on my last post, I'm actually back from Zimbabwe. Have been for a while.
A lot has happened in a month and seven days. Speaking of Zimbabwe, there is a new "unity government" with power shared between Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party that has been in government since 1980 and the two factions of the MDC. The MDC party(ies) holds an extra seat in Cabinet and the majority in Parliament, but no one believes Mugabe is down and out. We are hopeful that a new era has begun in Zimbabwe, but in any case, this welcome news is just the beginning of long road toward recovery. Keep up with Zimbabwe here.
On the home front, we've been busy with preparing for new business skills training, this time with a local partner. The sponsorships and Kids' Clubs in South Africa are on track, again, with local churches involved, and we're busy planning another Umzimba African Missional Theology Conference for July... yes, led, taught, and developed by local pastors and leaders. In South Africa, they say "local is lekker," and we believe that's true. Whatever we can do to empower and equip local churches to lead the way toward growing churches and sustainable development, we will do.
ServLife is growing. We have new staff in Indianapolis HQ supporting us and a new West Coast coordinator. This is exciting, and we are off to Thailand next week for a time of team building and strategic planning with ServLife team members from Asia and the USA.
Vusi is growing too. Seriously, he's the world's biggest and cutest baby. We can't believe how blessed we are to be his parents. He is a great gift, and we love him like crazy. Don't know if it will be before we get back from Thailand, but I'll post some pictures. You'll agree - he's off-the-charts cute.
And my parents are in town. To prove it, I'm posting a picture of my Mom that I took on my cell phone. Mostly, I'm just posting that to get her back for nagging about my lack of blogging. Love you Mom! Great to have them around, just hanging out, getting to know Vusi (and spoiling him, of course!), and helping out. They've been to all the tourist hot spots before, so this has been a great trip for Gram and Pop to spend time with their newest grandson.
Finally, I'm a little unsure about the direction this blog should take in the future. It has gotten pretty stale of late, with a few personal updates, a few ministry updates, and lots of links to information about Africa that you probably didn't read. Hmmm... this question is still rumbling around in my brain, so stay tuned.
Thanks to both of you, dear readers, for sticking around. We'll see if we can't spruce this blog up in the coming months. :)
The buzz is that everything is changing "soon." Of course, that buzz has been heard before, and The Old Man has managed to hang on a bit longer. The cholera epidemic is spreading throughout the country and is spilling over into South Africa and Botswana. Hospitals are out of medicine. Schools are closing down. The daily limit on cash withdrawals has been bumped up from the amount needed to buy 1/4 loaf of bread to enough to get two or three loaves. The army rioted and calmed down again. And there is no political resolution despite elections held in March.
Can it get worse? Of course it can. But it can also get better. Pray for better. And pray for the poor who are suffering and starving while the fat cats sip their champagne. Pray for the Church and their influence.
Why would anyone voluntarily travel to Zimbabwe at a time like this? There is no limit to the number of Americans who ask this question, but now that it is being asked by South Africans and Zimbabweans alike, I'm starting to wonder. But the answer remains clear when I think clearly - God Himself identifies with the poor and the suffering, and during this season of Advent we remember more vividly that He became poor and suffered Himself. I am going to Zimbabwe to meet God. And I will find Him there in the joy and laughter and perseverance of His Church and I will find Him there in the faces of the children discarded by the world but created in His image.
In other travel-related news, the exchange rate on the street is now Z$2225 to US$1, which amounts to 22,250,000,000,000 to 1 under the old system. If my math skills are up to par, I think that's nearing 22 1/2 trillion to one. But, we just spoke with a Zimbabwean friend who has recently returned to Cape Town from a visit home, and he reports that Zim dollars have all but disappeared from the streets due to a lack of ink and paper to print more notes. So South African Rand and US Dollars are accepted most everywhere, with petrol coupons being the currency of choice. These days, 1 British Pound is worth 1.282 litres, and this is quickly becoming the "real" exchange rate.