Ok, so two weeks turned into two months without a post on the Blog. Hopefully you haven’t all forgotten about us. So many things have happened over the past two months that I will only give a summary. In mid February our friend Monica Romano from St. John’s Montgomery came for a visit. She brought four suitcases. Only half of one was her stuff. The rest were gifts and supplies generously donated by our friends in Alabama. We cannot say thank you enough for all the wonderful reminders of home and of the supplies for Sunday school.
While Monica was here we took 6 days and travelled around the country. We went North to Oshakati and ended up spending the day with an incredible group of people from the HIV support group at the village of Onakunghundi . I have sent out the web album to our email list but if you didn’t get that, here it is again. Click Here. The structure made of sticks is actually the Church/Preschool/meeting hall, etc. The people there were beautiful and generous, they cooked us a chicken and served us omalodu, traditional millet beer. We sang and prayed with them and were generally inspired by their hopefulness. You can see in some of the photos how high the water was when we visited. The flooding got much, much worse after that in the North. After leaving the North we took Monica to Etosha for some game viewing and to Swakopund for some ocean & dune viewing. It was a great trip and we were excited to see a friendly and familiar face. Just after Monica left we had a major computer crash and lost most all of our photos from the first 9 months. We thought they were backed up to another hard drive, but...
A couple of weeks after Monica left Penny and I were asked to come to an orphanage just across town with a friend from the U.S. Embassy. It was a life altering visit. I cannot go into detail about it here but here is what I wrote the night after our visit on my Facebook page:
Sometimes it happens before you know it. You walk into a place, a relationship, or a situation and before you know what is going on, your heart is removed from your chest and smashed on the ground in front of you. You feel your gut tighten and it hurts in a way no words could ever touch. A voice in the back of your mind says "What did you expect? This is the way it goes, this is life." Then you think you hear laughing, at how naive you were, at how silly your expectations about the world were. And all the time you stare down into the face of that child, crushing you heart beneath her feet. She smiles at you, it's her laughter you heard, and she's holding the first toy she has had in months. It only makes you happy that you once had a heart, it makes you remember where it was. Then the little boy comes to you wanting his photo taken and again you feel this ripping in your chest. "Wait" you think "isn't that over, isn't my heart destroyed beneath another foot?" And so it goes on and on and on for what seems like days, but is in reality only a few hours. The six month old infant, horribly thin and nursing a surgery wound bigger than her. A little girl unable to control her urination after being repeatedly raped by her step-father. 37 little children from 6 months to 17 years old, many HIV positive, living in a run down house, also known as an orphanage. A woman does her best to run this place with the help of German donors and provides a place and a home for those without a home. Each one of them now holds a piece of the heart that once lived in my chest. I'm happy I can still feel it hurt.
For the past few weeks everything has revolved around Easter. It is tradition at the Cathedral to invite a Holy Week presenter from outside the Diocese to spend Holy Week with us. To preach and celebrate and do a program associated with the themes of Holy Week. This year The Rt. Rev Garth Counsell, Bishop of Table Bay, and his wife Marion were our visitors. Bishop Garth is actually the Bishop of Cape Town in South Africa, but because that title is reserved for the Archbishop of Southern Africa, he is known as the Bishop of Table Bay. Bishop Garth and Marion stayed with us at the Deanery from just before Palm Sunday till the Tuesday after Easter. They are an incredible couple and we were so honoured to host them. It was truly a blessing and we feel as though we now have new friends in Cape Town. Easter at the Cathedral was an incredible experience and I learned so much. It is a blessing to celebrate the resurrection with so many incredible people.
Well that is all to say for now. I am trying to recover from multiple respiratory infections, from sinus to chest, I picked up over the past couple of months and finally went to the Dr. for. We took a few days at the coast and are resting and getting ready for our next busy time before we come home. In two weeks Penny goes North to help with HIV training and the following week I go North for the second session of our Clergy training program. After that we have a few days to pack and then we are in the States for a month. We will be arriving in Alabama in May 20th and be there until June 22nd. Two dates are organized for preaching and dinners. On May 31, Pentecost Sunday I will be preaching at St. Stephens in Birmingham. Penny and I will also present for the Sunday School that morning. That night we will be hosted for a dinner and talk at St. Francis in Indian Springs. On the following Sunday June 7th I will be preaching at St. John’s in Decatur, and we will have a dinner and talk at St. Timothy’s in Athens beginning at 5:30pm. More gathering times are sure to be added and we will do our best to keep everyone updated as to our whereabouts. We have added a Twitter feed to the blog and we are trying to Tweet regularly. We love you and appreciate all your prayers and support. We could not do this without you. Jeremy and Penny