Thursday, February 10, 2011

Into the Mouth of Madness

This honestly has been one of those times where I could easily pack it in with this blog and quit for good.  It has been a very difficult week for us as a family.  We had a friend whom we’ve known for some time descend deeper and deeper into terrible mental illness.  I’m not at liberty to discuss all the details but let me say it has been deeply disturbing and a shock.  I have dealt with such things before as a minister but seeing someone this close go so far into madness has been a terrible blow to us all.  Neither we nor trained therapists and psychologists have yet been able to pierce the dark world our friend is in now but we continue to hold out our faith and pray.  Some of you may know that we are planning many trips this year.  This has also been a really challenge and stretching for our faith.  We will be leaving soon to Chicago for some meetings in a Ghanaian church and we intend to go back to Ireland in April.  My daughter will begin driving lessons this summer and by next fall we intend to head back to the Philippines. Follow the news and you know this is a very dangerous place these days and our family will be there for two months…one month we will prepare for a missionary team to follow by securing housing and setting up banking etc.  Lovely and I have done this before but this time things have gotten worse and we will bring Gabby for her first time there.  All of this we bring before God…we have no intention of quitting but admittedly I sometimes wonder if it’s worth putting it here…I guess for now I’ll remain.  I have been very annoyed that the file hosting site I normally use is screwed up so I can’t put my own music here.  I have no idea if they’ll fix it so for now it’s a mix of things I could find and that’s how it will stay for the time being.


Until I get through my pictures from Ghana I’ll keep plugging away.  The bitter cold and snow here returned with a vengeance and it does nothing to inspire me to take pictures…at least not just yet.  You know what I miss?  Green…grass, trees and of course the heat that accompanies green!  One thing that I love about living here in Montana is we can walk still…no fear of the crimes that stalk much of the world today…and no tall fences with their intimidating gates.  Ghana may have the high walls and gates but they also have such beautiful flowers and trees with exotic bark on their trunks.  It’s hard to walk anywhere without seeing a wonderful blossoming tree or bush…this I miss very much.  By God’s grace we’ll return to Ghana next January…then I can put even my dear friends in California to shame while they brag of sixty degree weather I’ll be in my shorts on a beach!  Ghana always has interesting things to see and things that I love to try.  You can always see someone selling their fare…this man had a lot of luggage for sale…he didn’t have enough hands to carry it all so he found a way.  This is dear Hans who is the youth pastor in my African brother’s church.  He worked tirelessly to capture Gabby’s favor.  We love him so very much.  We look forward to the time when we can return…not just for the weather and flowers you see!  There are times when I wish I were a botanist instead of one more failed gardener with a black thumb.  I often wonder if I could actually make something grow in counties like this.  If I could have a garden I think I’d include everything I couldn’t grow hereand that would include the majestic palms that may not have fruit but look so very amazing.  For now I can only dream of such things but you never know.  Stepping out your door can be a very dangerous thing because once your feet start walking down that path only God can tell where you’re going to end up!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

The World’s On Fire

It’s seeming like it these days with the mess in Northern Africa.  I never thought I’d see times like these in my life time.  I t has the feeling to me of big things happening…far beyond what they cover on the news.  It’s times like these when it’s good to know God’s in control.  All of this reminds me of a day in Ghana when we were sitting in the compound and suddenly smoke started pouring over the wall!  It was very thick and began to choke us all.  Someone had been burning garbage when the fire got out of control.  It entered a vacant lot next to our house and actually began to be a threat to the property we were on.  The razor barbwire served as no protection against this threat.  From a distance the fire didn’t look like a big deal but in an instant it became a threat to us all.  Fortunately the efforts of the people on the other side of the wall stopped the fire before our house caught on fire.  I feel about the same with the threats there are globally these days.  We sit with a false sense of security thinking it could never be a problem here but I think it’s a fool’s hope to figure that we are ever going to be effected by these things.  Traveling as we have gives us a front row seat many times of the threats out there and let me tell you it’s very real…this hits home when you’re seeing it with your own eyes and not just sitting in the living room watching it on TV.   The good news is that not all is lost or dark.  We must hold to our faith and never let go because the time will come when we see just how precious it is .  Faith as we sit in the pew at church isn’t the same as church tried in the fires of difficult circumstance…faith tried like that is a precious thing indeed.  I’ve begun to stretch my faith more and more.  Actually praying for those I know online that are struggling, praying when we pass an ambulance when we’re driving somewhere…I know this is a good thing before the Lord…a blossom in an otherwise dreary day.  We don’t have to just sit as spectators to other’s suffering…our prayers really do make a difference.  I can say this for sure since I’ve been the recipient of prayers from many of you all here as well…it makes a difference…it really is a flare of color in the face our our grey circumstances!  I read a post of a friend today who has been caring for her sick mother.  It looks like the end is near for her yet she was thanking people for their support and prayers…I echo this today and I just want to say thank you to all of you who have done this and continue to do so!  Don’t give up! 


Now I want to share some more of my random bits and pieces from Africa.  Enjoy!  The sight of these crabs thrilled my wife since she’s a sea food lover…she’s a Filipino after all!  I end up eating more shell then meat when I attempt to eat such things…so she ends up feeding me like a baby!  Here is some Ghanaian “light soup” cooking…they may call it light but let me tell you it’s not anything less than hot and spicy!  This dish had a lot of okra in it..can you tell?  Oh how I wish I could grow one of these in my backyard!  I spent a lot of time around this tree…sometimes chasing lizards other times just seeking some solitude.  All houses were surrounded by high walls so you can imagine how large this flowering tree must have been!  This is the street corner of the street we lived on while in Ghana.  This is one way to keep out uninvited guests!  Gabby seems a bit mystified at the mango growing here.  We will educate here in these matters in the Philippines!  I never knew the joy of mango until I ate it straight off the tree!  It wasn’t the season in Ghana at the time but in the Philippines it’s often enjoyed green…something the Africans simply couldn’t not imagine!  We’ll show them when they come with us to the Philippines this year!  Coconuts don’t really thrill me but I love the coconut trees!  Often abroad you must watch your step or you’ll end up in the sewer…yes, I’ve been there and done that!  Plantain anyone?  If only the mango would have been ripe!  These Ghanaian children saw us walking and wanted their picture takenand of course this inspired some of us to join them…you can never deal with prejudice by treating those different than yourself in a special way…treat them as you would anyone else and you can see the beauty of the way God intended it to be!  I’m not even sure what this was so of course I took a picture!  This was our street…don’t you just wish you could walk down it feeling the tropical heat and enjoying the exotic feel of it?  Lovely and I dreamed of the day our feet would touch the red earth of Ghana West Africa together…God kept His word and that’s just what happenedbut this vision is bigger than just the two of us..African, Canadian, Filipino and America feet touched the soil together in a powerful mission of purpose…this is just the beginning