Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The day that Betty and I dreaded, dreaded fiercely, could not be held back. The earth rotates, day dawns, evening comes, night falls, another day. The dreaded day--dreaded by us as parents anyway--was August 10th, 2006. That was the day our daughter, Nancy, her husband, John, and our two grandchildren, Daniel and Suzanne, were departing yet once again for their outpost in the arid, dusty town of _______________ in the ________ part of the Republic of Niger. The John & Nancy DeValve missionary family is pictured above along with out Aunt Jeanette Hausser. The history books will record that this day, August 10th, was the day that airlines to and from Britain went on RED ALERT because a terrorist plot had been revealed and, fortunately, through the joint efforts of Great Britain, the United States, and Pakistan, had been foiled.

The DeValve Family along with their 27 pieces of excess luggage were on their way to JKF Airport in New York. The pastor of Grace Bible Church, Dunmore, Penna., Pastor Terry Ribble, had kindly offered to transport them to the airport using the church van. There had been some question right up to almost the eve of their departure about so many pieces of luggage, but finally confirmation from the airline was received that all pieces would be accepted and shipped via Paris right on to Niamey, Niger. All the pieces were falling into place. Well, almost.

Massive delays and missed flights and big lines at airports were the order of the day, that day. The security was tightened. Carry on luggage became a thing of the past. Actually, except for the Government of Israel, the governments of the world are still trying to keep one step ahead of terror perpetuated upon airlines and airline passengers. But rather than one step ahead, they are always one step behind--always in a reactionary mode, not an anticipatory pro-active mode whereby they anticipate the terrorists next tactic. Well, enough of that. As it turned out, due to waiting for passengers who'd come into JKF late, then a big storm moving into the JFK area, the DeValve Family and all passengers on board that Air France jumbo jet sat in the plane, on the runway, for six or more hours before departing for Paris. Result? They missed their connecting flight to Africa which is not a daily flight--maybe it is once a week, I don't know. So, they had some unexpected, but not unwelcomed time in Paris to get some much needed rest. They finally got out on Sunday afternoon, the 13th, on Air France to Casablanca with a layover there and then a connecting flight on Royal Air Moroc on into Niamey where they arrived on the 14th. Also, 25 out of their 27 pieces of luggage arrived (we presume the other two have by now turned up) and all were cleared through customs without a penny of duty being levied.

While we dread these goodbyes and departures (Nancy's missionary service dates back to 1982, so there have been many goodbyes--they get no easier!), yet we Praise God that they are taking the Gospel of light to those sitting in the shadow of death. God has honored their Christian witness and their humanitarian work during times of famine and He is in the process of raising up a people for his Name. So, our distress at saying goodbye is also mingled with joy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This administration/academic building was built on a solid, stone foundation, of cement blocks made one at a time on location. The metal bars for the windows, the casement window frames, the metal doors and frames were fabricated on location with a welder purchased by a donor in the USA. Each classroom is built to accomodate up to 30 students.

In the year 2001-2002, Betty and I had the inestimable privilege of serving God in Ethiopia. We were posted to the Ministry Training College of the Kale Heywet Church of Ethiopia, in the town of Hosanna, in the southern mountains of that nation. We were struck by the great need of the college to have a campus of its own. The buildings there were using were on loan to them by the local district of the KHC denomination and while they met the needs of the college on a temporary basis, a long-range plan and solution were needed.

We worked with the college administration, along with our teaching (Don) and library (Betty) schedule, to a long-range campus development plan. The first new building proposed would be a combined academic/administration building. When we returned to the USA we began to make the needs of Hosanna known and one couple, in particular, responded immediately. A retired pastor he told us, "I love to raise money." And between him and his wife and their contacts and Betty and me and our friends we saw around $40,000 come in rather quickly. Less than two years after leaving Ethiopia in 2002, we were back, with our pastor friend, for the dedication of this new building. Pictured above, we are in front of the new building, with one of the students we had grown close to during our altogether too brief tenure at Hosanna.

Since the dedication of this building--four administrative offices, four faculty cubicle type offices, there are two very nice classroom--two more buildings have gone up. One a men's dorm designed for 40 single men and a dinning room/kitchen building. We Praise God for the way He is building this campus for a ministry training college that meets a vital and strategic need of the growing and developing Kale Heywet Church of Ethiopia--the daughter church of SIM.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

These are the first photos taken digitally. What can I say? Only this, the upload is far, far inferior to the actual photos. And that is true, too, of the uploaded photos I've seen on other blogs. What's going on? Ban sani ba!

Anyway, the first of these three photos is Betty and it is my custom when buying a new camera that the very first photo is of her and the second is of me. How many new still cameras have we ever had? Three. The first, with money given to us by the Brethren Chapel in Mishawaka, Ind. was an Argus C-3. Anyone out there in cyberspace remember that camera? Almost every American missionary of that era had one. Good, tough, reliable, inexpensive and wonder of wonders--but the usual in 1952--it was American made. Our second 35mm camera was a Pentax K-1000. Again, inexpensive, but tremendous value for the money. If you can get your hands on a good K-1000 these days, and reasonably, get yourself one! Even in the digital age, film cameras are not yet relics. I hope not. I have my Dad's Minolta. Heavy, but excellent camera. As for camera number three--well, I've not exactly leaped into the age of digital photography. Let's say I've stumbled into it, about the last citizen of Planet Earth to do so. But here we are with a Canon Power Shot A-620. It can, once I get it figured out, do about as many mysterious and eye-popping things as my computer. Please don't judge my camera, or my abilities by the quality of the photos on this blog. Oh, by the way. "This is the day that the Lord has made, rejoice! And, be glad in it!"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006