Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trip South and Training Program

Well May and June were another two very busy months. I was in the North for a week with the training program and following up on a pre-school we are building and last week we traveled South to the outstations along the Orange River.
At Odibo in the North, about 1kilometer from the Angolan border, they have identified the need for an activity center for pre-k kids. We, through donations from the Diocese of Alabama, are funding the construction of a building that will be called the Odibo Activity Center. It will be a pre-school for local children and will initially have 50-60 children. These photos show where they have been trying to gather and the new building next door.

While I was in the North we had week six of the new clergy training program. Week 6 was dedicated to personal growth, counselling and HIV education. With funding from the Diocese of Alabama we invited trainers from LifeLine/ChildLine and Catholic AIDS Action to come and present for the week. Students gained valuable knowledge and skills to help them be the type of supportive and loving presence they will need to be as pastors in their communities. You can view photos by going to the Picasa Web Album. Click here to see the photos.

After a short break we decided to take a quick trip to the South. The trip lasted a week but was planned quickly. We wanted to get South because we had not been able to deliver the bibles and childrens books that had been donated to us by our friends in Alabama. Over a year ago we received 5 mail bags full of children's books from Grace Gilchrist, a retired school teacher from Christ Church in Tuscaloosa. We have been giving the books away to orphanages and other individuals but still have so many left. The challenge is to give them in a way that they will get used. We decided to take close to 100 of them south and give them to the outstations for their children. This photo shows one of the children in Noordower with a Curious George book. All of the kids that came that day got a book.

As I said before we took blankets and children's clothes and toys as well, but what people asked us for more than anything else was bibles. Each person wanted a bible of their own in a language they could understand. Around November last year I approached my friend Rev. Heidi Kenner at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham and asked if they could donate money to purchase bibles that we could distribute. The Cathedral gave money to buy several hundred bibles. We have been giving them to outstations and groups but had not been back South since we purchased them. We took 3 cases of Oshikwanyama bibles with us and a case and a half of Afrikaans bibles. When we left, the Bible Society of Namibia had no Oshikwanyama or Afrikaans Bibles left. Their next order will come in July. We plan on asking for more money to repeat our distribution efforts. The Bibles cost about $10USD each. Here is a photo of one of the people in Noordower with a new Bible, blanket and children's book for her kids. We cannot thank Heidi and the Cathedral and Grace Gilchrist enough for their donations. All of the blankets, Bibles, and soccer balls were purchased with money donated from the Diocese of Alabama, as were our accommodations for the trip. The clothes, toys and transportation costs were donated by St. George's Cathedral in Windhoek.

We have added two Picasa Web Albums of our trip South that you can see by Clicking here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. Part 1 is from Noordower and Part 2 from Ausenkehr.
Each time we travel around the country it is a new experience. We thank God for the opportunity we have been given to serve here in Namibia. Seeing the joy on peoples faces at having their first Bible or knowing that they and their children will be a little less cold in the night because Christian people that they will never meet care about them is an amazing experience. One of the best parts for me is the opportunity to share Eucharist with our brothers and sisters in far out places and to baptize those wanting to join this community of faith. We had a Eucharist and baptisms on a very cold and windy night in Ausenkehr. We used a table for our altar and borrowed a mixing from our lodge for a font. Wine and water were carried in plastic bottles. We took a paten and chalice from the Cathedral and all stood in the light of one light bulb and altar candles to join together in love and praise. Here is just one photo from that night. The others are in Part 2 of the Web Albums.

Thank you again for all your support and prayers. We love and miss all our friends in the Diocese of Alabama. Blessings and Peace, Jeremy and Penny

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