17 August 2009

Forgiveness in the Face of Terror

You may remember hearing about missionaries - John and Eloise Bergen's - horrifying attack in Kitale, Kenya last year. They've just released a book about their ordeal and the forgiveness they offered to their assailants.

Book promo from their website: "The year is 2008. Late one evening in rural Kenya, a band of men break into a farm and brutally assault and rob the couple living there. The couple had recently arrived from Canada for missionary work among orphans. Near the point of death, they struggle to find medical treatment in the dark of night. Their healing is miraculous, but the greater story is their spiritual journey to healing through the power of forgiveness. This book is their story - the shock and suffering they experienced, and the joy and hope they found, told here in their own words."

Order a copy of their book.

Watch a two-minute video interview.


Update on August 1st Plane Crash in Nairobi

"Give a Damn" crew

Mechanic, Ryan Williams

Pilot, Frank Toews

"How much has following Christ cost us?...
For some of us, it will mean paying the ultimate price."

- Frank Toews, in AIM-AIR's fall newsletter, 2006

On the morning of August 1, 2009 Rob Lehr and Dan Parris went up in an AIM-AIR single engine plane to film the Kibera slums near Nairobi, Kenya for their poverty documentary "Give A Damn". In their documentary, they want to expose extreme poverty, its causes, and why we should all "give a damn".

The flight turned tragic as the plane hit an electric telephone pole, spinning to smash into a building, before crashing three stories to the ground.

Sadly the pilot, Frank Toews, died on impact. The flight mechanic, Ryan Williams, succumbed to his injuries a week later, on August 8th.

Tributes to Frank Toews and Ryan Williams, AIM-AIR website.

Dan Parris' podcast from the hospital, August 1.

Rob Lehr's podcast, August 1.

Two blog posts from Rob Lehr -

"Injuries Don't Always Bleed" (August 4)
"Heading Home" (August 9)

"Give a Damn" documentary website.


Drought Conditions in Kenya

Men walk past dead cattle in Narok on Sunday. More than 80,000 animals have been driven from Narok to Kwale District in search of water and grazing, with the drought showing no sign of letting up. Photo/LABAN WALLOGA

Dead and dying cattle in Narok; the drought shows no sign of letting up.

Food Shortage

Kenya's Cabinet met in an emergency session to agree on steps to prevent mass starvation across the country. They discussed the report of a sub-committee which paints an alarming picture of the food situation.

The government believes more than 10 million need food aid. Compiled by a cross-section of ministries, it details the shortage of food and water for people and livestock.

On top of dry taps and daylong blackouts, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has warned Parliament that this year, the maize harvest will be 20 million bags, 13 million bags short of the annual requirement.

Water Shortage

During the long rains season - March to May - the country received very little rain with some areas receiving none at all.

The Kenyan economy is highly susceptible to drought. It pushes up the price of food and general inflation and forces the government to direct more of its resources to importing food at the expense of development.

Malnutrition is particularly serious problem, according to the Red Cross, and in some parts of the country, one in every five children is not getting enough to eat.

Livestock continue to die at a very high rate, said the Red Cross. So far, 40 people have died from drought-related causes.

Information from Government departments, the UN agencies and NGOs, the Red Cross report said, also indicates that the worsening drought has led to severe water shortage.

And it warns: “This is likely to compromise safe water and sanitation services that could trigger waterborne diseases.”

Power Rationing

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi announced power rationing in late July, because there isn’t enough water in the country to generate it.

In the program, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company says that residents of Nairobi will experience power blackouts from 6am to 6pm for three days in a week.


US Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger

How I Get Around in Nairobi


At the End of Slavery

After clicking the triangular START button, give the 2-minute video a few seconds to start. It's about the effort to stop human trafficking around the world.

The 30-minute documentary, by International Justice Mission, has a release date next month - September 2009.


News from Malawi

Malawi, with a population of 12 million, is among the poorest countries in the world, with rampant disease and hunger, aggravated by periodic droughts and crop failure.

Cooked, salted or dried, field mice strung on sticks are sold as a popular delicacy in Malawi markets and roadside stalls. The mice are hunted in corn fields after the harvest when they have grown plump on a diet of grains, fruits, grass and the odd insect. The most widely eaten species is known locally as Kapuku, gray in color and with a shorter tail than the more common rat.

Young boys have to be quick as they chase the mice through the fields and catch them. But local villagers have also come up with an innovative trap.

One method involves digging holes and putting clay pots filled with water into them. The mouth of the pot is smeared with fried corn husks. As some of the mice fight for the husks, they fall into the pot and drown.


03 August 2009

Plane Crash in Kenya

There was a drastic accident that took place Saturday, August 1st, involving Dan Parris and Rob Lehr. They were taking aerial photographs of Kibera, one of the worlds largest slums, when the plane stalled. The pilot managed to glide the craft just outside of the slum's perimeter most likely saving hundreds of lives.

A wing of the plane struck a telephone pole, redirecting it from the street they were trying to land on, and causing it to smash into the side of a three story apartment building. Throughout the 100-foot fall to the ground, the plane flipped upside down and instantly caught on fire. Both doors were off since they were filming; if they'd been on Rob says they would not have made it out alive.

Rob was able to escape the plane and though bleeding severely from the head, gained his composure. When he realized Dan was unconscious and still in the plane he went back for him. Dan regained consciousness, saw flames right beside his head and managed to crawl out of the plane.

When Rob made sure he was safely out he did what only a hero would do, went back for one of the two crew members. Reaching across the man's body, Rob managed to undo his seat belt just as his arm and pant leg caught fire. At that moment, a local man on the scene grabbed both him and Dan and helped them into a car headed for the hospital. As it sped on the wrong side of the road with it's horn blaring, the ride to the hospital was nearly as thrilling as the crash.

The two film-makers, Rob and Dan were injured (Rob has burns, cuts, and other pains; Dan has a broken collarbone, and abdominal pains; both are in stable condition).

The AIM AIR pilot lost his life. The other crew member is in critical condition.

These young men were filming a documentary called "Give a Damn".

In their documentary, they want to
expose extreme poverty, its causes, and why we should all "give a damn".

To view a Kenyan news broadcast of the incident, click here.

Please pray for all the injured, the bereaved, their families, and all others involved!

Information taken from here and other internet sources.


Aaliyah just spent a week with my Mom and I.
We really enjoyed her!

the big slide at Central Park Mall

Joslyn Art Museum's Sculpture Garden

with her daddy, Caleb



I recently watched the movie, Gandhi, for the 2nd time. What an incredible man he was! If you've never seen the movie, I would encourage you to watch it!

It seems appropriate, with Naomi and her family now living in India, to include a post about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Following are just a very few of his quotes:

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."

"Poverty is the worst form of violence."

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always."

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"

"If we practice and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless."

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

And my personal favorite...

"Live simply so others may simply live."


Missionary Friends

Chris, Erin, and Keyara

The Harrells serve the Lord in Sierra Leone (West Africa). They're also in the States on furlough right now. I got to see them recently at an open house in their honor.


Posting Comments on My Blog


Occasionally, one or two of you tell me you have problems posting comments on my blog.

Here are the steps to follow:

1 - click on "COMMENTS" at the end of a post
2 - type your comment in the big box; don't forget to add your name!
3 - type the funny word in the space they give you
4 - click "Anonymous"

It's fairly simple. Really, it is.

Give it a try :)