I will begin with something good. The clergy training program is getting started. We have had two discernment days over the past few weeks. Lukas and I met with 11 people from the area around Windhoek and South and then Lukas went to the North this past weekend to meet with another large group. It was great listening to their stories and feeling their ethusiasm. We have really started to get the program together. Towards the beginning of October the selection commitee will meet and choose the postulants for the training program. They will register for their TEE (Theological Education by Extention) materials in November and we will have our orientation week in January. We hope to have 36-40 students in the program. Everything will depend on how far we can make the grant money go. We have a plan, but the changing economic conditions could affect how many students we can accept.
Now for the big downer. On Wednesday, August 6th, The Transfiguration. Penny and I were both invited to lunch with different people. Me with the personal assistant for the Ambassador of Nigeria and Penny with the Dean's wife. She left at 12:30pm, I left at 1pm. She got back at 2pm. I arrived about an hour later and found Penny standing with the Dean at the front of our house. As I walked up the steps she told me that our house had been broken into. She had come into the house to find that the window in our living room had been broken and the security bars pried off. She initially thought that only the computer had been stolen, but after some searching realized that our old and brand new digital cameras had been stolen. After a day or so we also figured out that Penny's purse an my second wallet had been stolen. Betwen the two they got Penny's iPod and both our credit cards. By the time we cancelled the cards on Friday the thieves had charged several thousand dollars. For the next few days we had a guard at night. Since that time the parish has really taken security much more seriously. We have a new temporary security fence in the front and back and a new plan for security of the property.
Over the days that followed the theft we experienced a range of emotions. Sometimes we were angry other times we were sad. Sometimes we felt guilty for having these things in the first place and other times we were frustrated that we lost photos of our family and friends that had not been downloaded or backed-up. When we moved here we did not bring much, mostly clothes and electronics. We had been feeling really homesick anyway and then to have most of what conected us to home taken was hard. At the same time we could look around and see how little most people here have, the high unemployment rate and rising food prices make for a desperate situation. As we takled to people in the parish we realized that most everyone has had a theft of some kind and that in many ways it is a rite of passage. We feel connected in a different way. We know we must remain vigilant about our security, both property and physical, but we cannot lock ourselves away and become disconnected from the people were are here to serve.
Enough bad news lets get to some good stuff. About the same time that were were robbed Penny and I had been considering adopting a cat from the SPCA here in Windhoek. We had actually gone the day before and picked out two cats and they were being spayed at the time. We went and picked them up the Friday after the theft. You can see them in the photo. Since we had been feling homesick we named our new additions after rivers in Alabama. The grey and white cat is named Coosa and the calico/tabby mix is named Sipsey. They are very sweet and affectionate and have brought new life to the house. As you can see they have already started getting comfortable.
So we went and ordered a new computer and had to wait about 2 weeks to get it. The Olympics have been a nice diversion and we have never felt so patriotic. You can tell that you are feeling homesick when you get tears in your eyes during the medal ceremony for womens gymnastics. I realized that this was the first time I have ever heard the Star Spangled Banner from another country.
This past weekend we experienced a highlight of our time here so far. The Dean, Mike and his wife DeeDee and Penny and I took the youth confirmation class on a camping and hiking trip to the Nakluft Mountains. There were 20 kids aged 12-17, from a variety of economic backgrounds.
We left at about 11am on Friday for a 5 hour drive through the bush to the Namib/Nakluft National Park. We took a bus that had seen better days but semed up to the trip. Mike followed in his truck. About 3 hours into the trip we had our first flat tire, on Mike's truck. A very nice Austrian couple on holiday in Namibia stopped to offer assistance. About 30 minutes later our second flat, this time on the bus. This is a part of the world where you must take flat tires very seriously. As you can see from the photos we are out in the middle of nowhere and it can be hours before another car passes.
So we finally arrived at our camp site and got everything together. The kids were split into teams and were each responsible for preparinga meal. It was very cold during our trip. A cold front from the Cape came through and brought temps close to freezing both nights. It did, however, make the 10 mile hike the next day much nicer. Rather than try and narrate the entire hike and the rest of our trip I will download photos and just say a word about each one.
Next a couple of photos of the amazing scenery. As I said the hike was 17km or about 10.5 miles and reached a hight of 1910 meters (6266 feet) Its 1000 feet higher than Denver. We will post more photos of the trip in our next post.
We will be updating the blog more frequently now that we have our computer back. Thank you for all your prayers and support. We heard that we made the Huntsville Times last Friday. If anyone has a copy please drop it in the mail to Jeremy and Penny Lucas PO Box 65 Windhoek, Namibia, we would love to see it. Blessings and Peace, Jeremy an Penny