Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Family fun...

Getting plugged back into life here has not been easy. I've had some tough sickness that I believe personally is related to British Airways more than it is anything I ate or drank in Africa. Fever, Kenya's revenge, and a pretty consistent headache have overruled the days, and the rest of the family has been sick, so for the first time in my life, I've postponed sickness, in a matter of speaking. So, today, I crash hard.

Last night, we had a fundraiser at our AAA baseball team's home game. The Nashville Sounds. We played a pregame concert and one dollar from each ticket was donated to blood:water for drilling wells!
I met had the opportunity to deliver a ceremonial first pitch, and it went smashingly. I was low and inside, but if I was Greg Maddux, they'd have given me the strike. I got the "ooooo" from the audience, which was the best part for me.
Ella and Evan met Ozzie, and after the gig we hung in a skybox and ate hotdogs and drank c-dogs. :) It was wonderful. Lots of Samson folks came out, and many from Ella's preschool community, too! It was great to get some attachment with my Africa experience and my home community.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A brief summary out of sorts.

I have some really good excuses as to why there haven't been updates. For better or for worse, we haven't had a lot of free-time. My battery is on it's last legs. Yeah, and that whole lack of power issue in villages. I didn't think about that beforehand.

I have so much to say right now. My head quickly starts to pound when I consider what to type. I'll give some highlights, and probably use the next few weeks to post some reflections on what I've seen, heard and felt.


This is a good summary picture. I've felt the newborn hope in the midst of great sorrow. For many reasons this is significant. The child I'm holding up is named Jena Lee. She's the namesake of our Blood:Water Mission director, who was visiting the village last year at the time this sweet little girl was born. The way they honor people is no where on the grid of what I understand as an American. The depth of grace, gratitude and passion these people have for life and community is like none other I've ever experienced.


Lis jumped in with both feet. This was a momumental shared experience for us. We were glad to be together to experience this. Many times we can live parallel lives, and appear together, but not actually living and sharing life together. This was a sweet time for such things.


This was a bridge we crossed to visit one of the only people in the surrounding community that was living publicly with HIV/AIDS. We had to walk a while to find her. The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS looms large there. People are abandoned by the community. I have many stories of great hope to bring to this, however. We finished late at night and had to cross this bridge by the glow of Dan's ipod. Note the sludgy water below.


She has 9 children to care for, including her husband's other wife's kids. They had both died of HIV/AIDS.


This is a shot from the inside of a village church. One of the genocide sites in Rwanda. We were there with Gary Haugen, of IJM, who was working for the state dept. in 1994 when the genocide occured. He says he no longer asks "Where is God?" in times like that, but "Where are God's people?" I lack the words to explain that day right now.


Our plane leaves Heathrow in moments. I want to say more, but that's to come. There is great hope in this land. It is the hope we share in America, though it's not as clearly marked for us, it seems. I leave with the gracious gift these people's stories, and I will carry them with me to America, to share in the larger story of our redemption and restoration as the well-loved of God. I'm so glad He knows me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


We just got in to the overnight house in Nairobi. We'll be heading to some villages in Kisumu tomorrow. It's pretty exciting to arrive. There's a lot of unknowns still, but Jena and I had a conversation that helped articulate the mind-set in a way I can activate my heart.

We are here to celebrate. Celebrate the stories of these beautiful people, celebrate our relationships with them, and what God has done in our midst. There. That feels a lot less "here we come to save the day."

My ipod shuffle is nonstop with Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." My favorite line, which I paraphrase:
"Oh, bless your think you're in control."

That's wisdom for this trip dropped to a hellafunky beat and guitar track.

We're officially on the ground!

Heathrow Airport

Just talked to my dear friend Jude. What a strange world we live in. We're 25 minutes away from her. I wasn't aware of that yesterday in Nashville.

We slept well, and I watched "Good Night and Good Luck." SO important to take in now, in this world of slanted news, and press releases that paint inconsistent pictures with what's actually going on in the world.

Hm. Off to Nairobi shortly. Another 6 hours and things get really different.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Kenya and Rwanda

Friends of this blog, those becoming fluent in flibbityflu...

Please direct some thoughts and prayers for me as we leave today. We're off to visit some villages, and see some wells that have been drilled in communities as a result of our work in blood:water mission.

It's going to be demanding physically, and we'll be staying in villages for at least half of the 10 days we're over.

I want to remain teachable throughout, and ease those feelings of USA entitlement that I carry with me. Bono's "where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die" from How To on the front of my brain. I'm not there to fix it - I'm there to learn from people who have had a radically different life experience than mine. To quote Dan on the new record,

"teach us how to learn, see the things you see,
walk the road you walk, feel the pain that you feel,
at your feet I kneel, I want to see you shine,
see your light not mine,
'cuz light gives heat.

I want to see the character of God in them, and I know I will. But that's scary, too.

I'll try to post some pictures and let you in on what we've been up to.

Much love.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A full plate, a full heart.

It's been a difficult proposition to find blogtime. So, I've let a lot accumulate. Lis just had a birthday, which we'll celebrate this week. I'm excited to have her back after she took a roadtrip to Myrtle Beach.
We had a great visit with my dad and his wife. They are in a great season of life, and I'm happy for them. We are very active with them when they visit Nashville. Shopping, visiting places, exercise, etc. All followed with something off the grill and a great bottle of red. I need to be better about calling. They'll be watching the kids while Lis and I go to Kenya and Rwanda to see some well projects we've done with Blood:Water.
We ended up at the local renaissance fair this year. The weekend we went was called "Pirate Invasion." Evan came dressed in full costume as Jack Sparrow.
School ending has meant for some sweet time with the kids. Evan finished 2nd grade, and Ella's got one more year of preschool. Time is flying. They have lots of thoughts to share, and my goal for each day this summer is to engage them with encouragement, spirit, and love. Bottom line, enjoy them and stay present with them.
I've got an explanation for this, but I can't do it until it's announced. Let me say that I never thought I'd have a thing for acting. More on that soon.
We've completed our last record. It's our best effort yet, many have said, and I think we'd concur. What little I've shared with friends has gotten lots of animated response, and that excites me about the future. This is a shot taken from a video we dreamed up. The future of independence has it that we can have an idea, and we can try it. Even if it means wearing monster costumes.