Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Here are a few pictures of our grandchildren (and Amy, our daughter) that we thought you might enjoy seeing. Elijah is playing flag football this summer, Anna is cheering for him and enjoying swimming, and Sophie loves to sit and watch Elijah and Anna swim. She is not too crazy about getting in the water herself. She is beginning to walk. We are able to talk to and see them (and they can see us, too) by way of webcam and instant messenger.
These are our project funds and what they are used for:
Benevolent Fund # 80087
Kindergarten # 80548 (This project is listed under Kathy Smith's name)
Money from the projects listed above will purchase the following items for orphans, some of the poorest families in Skopje, those in greatest need of help, schools in several towns and villages, and those without medical assistance.
· Backpacks & School Supplies
· Wood for Cooking & Heating
CBF GLOBAL MISSIONS OFFERING
Your contributions to the Offering make our ministry possible. 100% of the funds received are used to and meet the needs of the most neglected and most needy. Gifts may be made through your local church or mailed directly to CBF Offering for Global Missions, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145
For more information see www.thefellowhsip.info
Forty children from some of the poorest families in Skopje have experienced a wonderful year at the Çerdhja e Ardhmërisë së Familjes (Future of the Family) kindergarten. Our school year ended with a trip to the Skopje zoo. This was a first for most of these children.
The next day was their last day of school. They came with their parents to get their picture yearbooks and diplomas. Many of the children cried because school was out!!!
I have been privileged to watch Habibe Iseni (the director and head teacher) love, care for, and teach these children. Because of her vision for helping these families and your contributions to CBF and this project, these children have hope for a better life, and have known what it is like to be loved.
Rob and Janie Sellers led a group of university-seminary students on an exploration trip to several countries in Europe during May and June. The group included our colleague, Darrell Smith. This trip fulfilled course credit for these students.
We were privileged that a trip to Macedonia was included in their schedule (June 5-11). They visited historical sites, Orthodox churches & monasteries, interviewed an Orthodox priest and an Albanian Imam, saw some of this countries natural beauty, accompanied kindergarten children on a field trip to the zoo, experienced the multi-ethnic culture, toured some of the Albanian-Balkan team projects, visited in villages where we have worked, and ate a variety of local, traditional foods.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Sophia Rose (Sophie) will turn one year old on June 15. She will celebrate her birthday at noon so that Baba and Peepaw can see her blow out her candles - thanks to the invention of the webcam and Yahoo Instant Messenger with Voice!! Sometimes I get very upset with my lack of computer skills and all the problems that accompany that inadequacy, but somehow it is all worth it when we can experience moments like this, using the same technology.
We even have a video of her playing peek-a-boo and can see her over the webcam as she learns to walk. What a thrill!
We see stories in the making day by day in the ordinariness of life. These are stories, sometimes punctuated with a bit of excitement, sometimes enhanced by a brief excursion into the extraordinary, and sometimes disrupted by incomprehensible tragedy; but most of them are stories of life in the routine.
What is the plot and who are the characters in these stories? In most instances, the plot is simple: Doing what needs to be done to get by. Perhaps there is an underlying hope that someday life will be better, more purposeful, more eventful, or more joyful, if not now, then in the future for children and grandchildren. But for the here and now, this is their life, and they must live it as best they can.
The characters are those who are in their places, doing what they do as they intersect and interchange with others on the way to their places. These are not fictitious characters, but real people, living out their own life stories in the market, in their shops, in their offices, and in their homes.
As we watch these extraordinarily ordinary stories unfold, it occurs to us that somehow we have been drawn into the plot and have been given the privilege of becoming participants in their on-going life-stories.
What difference will that make? Will their stories end differently because we have become part of it? Is this ministry to which we have been called, just this: To participate in the ordinariness of their life-stories, and in the process, somehow to inject a measure of hope and meaning that comes from experiencing the incomparable grace of God? To be continued- - - - - -