Friday, December 27, 2013

National Church (Gabon) friends in the News!

Gabon News journalist, Kephren Kanga, reports the following:

"A training seminar was organised for pre-primary and primary education teachers of the Christian Alliance (C&MA) in the school district NgouniĆ© and was centered on various modules: ethical principles and professional ethics, methodologies from different disciplines to produce educational protocols for improved classroom practice.

It is about getting a number of ethical principles and professional ethics on the one hand and the other hand to work on methodologies from different disciplines to produce educational protocols for improved practice class.
The objective of the seminar was to strengthen the capacity of classroom teachers of classes for better performance.

It should be added that at the pre-primary level, a pan on psychomotor was discussed including educators who came from Nyanga.

The seminar was moderated by Wilfried Ibiatsi, Manager of pre-primary, Etienne Etienne Mouele Ndongo, education inspector, director of the first degree and Armand Moussadji, education inspector, chief of inspection and pre primary from Libreville."

The national church in Gabon stays very active in many sectors beyond local faith communities- ministry to orphans, widows, elderly, HIV, primary care clinics, hospital, and many education programs.  They're an inspiration!  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Jungle!

Merry Christmas from our hostel family to your family!
…yes, there is a Christmas tree behind us somewhere.

Can you guess which picture is more true to "normal" at our house?!?

Meanwhile, in Florida, Joe is having a great time with some family…

Rope course at the Orlando Zoo.

Grandma and Grandpa Straw!

Let Every Heart Prepare HIM Room

Alace, my wife, used to run the front desk at a Days Inn hotel in Longview, Texas on evenings and weekends.  It was an interesting job in which she met a wide variety of people traveling for a wide variety of reasons- business people, families on vacation, and more.  One time our neighbor showed up with her kids- she was leaving her abusive husband in the night.

Alace never remembers a time when the hotel maxed out and she had to send anyone away.  Of course, this is the very thing happened to Mary and Joseph when they were looking for lodging upon arrival in Bethlehem.  No one had "left the light on for them" (shameless Motel 6 advert reference).

The "no-room-in-the-inn" piece of advent is a key aspect highlighted again and again in Christmas celebrations and plays round the world… and in a recent episode of a very popular "guided reality" show.

Rightly so…

What I mean is, what if you got a knock at the door and Jesus was there… right now… asking for a place to stay?  After getting over some initial shock, we might object saying that our place was somewhat inadequate- too messy, old sheets, evidence of a less-than-sacred lifestyle, etc.

I suggest to you that…

Friday, December 20, 2013

Training Nationals Project

Part of the ethos of many international organizations is incorporating the equipping of nationals.  For example:  your organization digs water wells?  Teach locals how to dig them and maintain them.  Your organization does medical work?  Set up a training program to teach first aid, emergency care, nursing, and more.  You get the point, oui?

This is one of my favorite parts of the team that I serve with in Gabon.  Our colleagues are nurses, surgeons, maintenance workers, etc.  Most of us have a program of training and equipping locals, since it's in the DNA of what we do.  

With our maturing aviation work (now in year 5), we are starting to contemplate…

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Daughter- Ag Queen of Central Africa

Just got accepted to Nyack College!!!
This past Saturday morning, I had a lovely breakfast in the kitchen with my daughter, Megan.  She's the middle child- our only girl… my princess!  

So, directly after sharing "petit dejeuner" with my princess, she was off to assist the slaughter of almost 100 chickens that her "Ag-Science" class had been raising for the past couple of months! She was mainly involved with gutting the chickens.  Now, I've dubbed her the "Ag Queen" of Central Africa.  What happened to my sweet, innocent princess?!?

Here are some less-gruesome photos of her involvement with planting some crops.  Enjoy!

The whole class… chicken-killers all… don't let their sweet smiles fool you!
More photos…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Med-Evac Equipment donation

A friend in the US just let us know that a backpack style med-evac bag, called a STATPAK, has been donated to our program!  Here are the photos:

The team that secured this donation is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  They are also proposing a trip to Gabon to do some "flight nurse" basic training in 2014!  Please pray that the logistics of their trip are worked out and that effective training of Gabon nationals becomes a reality.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ravi Zacharias on Mandela's passing

(from RZIM's weekly email to me, written by Ravi Zacharias)

"I’m sitting at the airport in Bahrain, about to catch a flight to Jakarta. The television screens are full of coverage for a man of courage, conviction, and influence. Every now and then his picture with his winsome smile is shown with the words under it: Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013.
Looking at the dates, I thought first of my mother. She was born just two years before him but passed away nearly four decades before he did. Yes, she had a short life span. She did not make a world impact but it was because of her that I am a free man today. Her life and example were for me, life-defining. Nelson Mandela, by contrast, changed history for millions, if not for the world. A different role, a different call. So it is that each one of us has a part to play, whether of great influence or of small influence, but equally important.
Yet, as I look at his picture and consider his legacy, I mourn the loss of not just a person, but

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hope House and Nelson Mandela

OCT 2014 UPDATE:  Check out the E4 Project website for the latest on Hope House.  CLICK HERE

AUG 2014 UPDATE: ROOF PROVIDED!!!  Update coming soon.


FEB 2014 UPDATE- A C&MA church in Libreville (AVEA II church) donated $2000 to the urgent construction needs of HOPE HOUSE!  An additional $400 has been donated from international donors!  Please read below to find out how to help with the remaining need ($3600).

DEC 2013-
Today, I am in Libreville "by accident" for a second day.
You see, immigration didn't like my exit visa documentation and held me at the airport while my flight back to my family in Cameroon boarded and then departed.  That was two days ago.

So, while I'm working to fix my airline ticket to the next flight to my destination (Friday) and then getting my passport ship-shape for round two with immigration at the airport, I'm keeping my eyes open for ways to stay engaged, here in a city where I've lived the past 5 years, save for the last 4 months in Cameroon.

Ironically, I'm now a guest in the guest house that Alace, my lovely wife, was director.  My "used-to-be" house (next door) along with all my furnishings are now home to a new family.  I had a wonderful time visiting them and seeing them enjoying those furnishings... in a weird way, however.  ("Hey- that's my couch!")

I asked a colleague if I could help run some errands during this surprise extended stay in LBV and I was happy to be tasked with…