Who am I?

My photo
Monrovia, Liberia
I live in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa with my wife and youngest son. We are recently arrived in Liberia where we are serving as missionaries with Evangelical Church Missions working under the Liberia Evangelical Mission. For most of the last thirty years we have served under ECM in Bolivia, South America. We are the happy parents of four children and the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ice Cream, Clowns and Kids

Who wouldn't want a nine scoop ice cream cone? That is exactly what my kids made on Friday at the tutoring center. It was a fun learning and counting exercise.

The cones were almost as tall as the kids!

One cone and nine scoops makes ten things.

but of course the best part was the real ice cream at the end. A well deserved treat!
On Saturday was a district wide children's rally that was held at the district headquarters or, as otherwise known, at the tutoring center. The rally was planned by the district board and included singing, clowns, presentations by each church group present (as well as the tutoring center kids), puppets and a story. There were around 200 kids present, I think. Despite the hot weather and the wind blowing sand everywhere, the rally was a success if success is measured by the enthusiasm of the kids. Below are photos from the event.

Clowns and kids always go together.

One of our favorite enthusiastic kids.

Bryan leads the tutoring center kids in their special music.

I was in charge of the rhythm band section.

I told the story

with a little help

from my friends.

Ch'airo is traveling again, this time to the US. I will be attending the Recalibrate Conference in Chicago and then get to do some fun stuff with my kids and finally ending up in Minneapolis for the annual mission board meeting. So I am not sure if there will be a post before I return or not. At any rate I want to share about the conference in a later post. Don'¡t hold your breath waiting, (two weeks is a long time not to breathe) but do be sure and check back and see what's going on.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ch'airo On Vacation

Ch'airo has been on vacation, in case you've noticed that there has been nothing new for the last several weeks. Niki and I had the chance to go and visit friends in the city of Cuzco, Peru. Cuzco is an very interesting city, to say the least, and very expensive. So we had to limit our touring to only a few sites but still it was worth the time. Actually we spent much of our time with our good friends, that, after all, was the real motive for the visit. But, I would like to share with you a few of the highlights.

To start with Niki had a free ticket to travel on Taca. So she flew to Cuzco a few days ahead of me. I flew to La Paz and then went by flota (bus) from La Paz to Cuzco. The bus was a double decker. I had a seat on the lower level as it was bus came (bus with bed) on that level. While not a nice comfortable king sized bed with comfy sheets and pillows, it was better than a normal bus seat or the semi-cama (part bed) seats on the top level.

The bus left in the morning so I had the chance to see a lot of scenery.

The first adventure came when we arrived at Guaqui, still in Bolivia but close to the border. There we were all required to get off the bus and then walk through a market. The only reason I could see for this stop was to try to entice us to buy something in the market. (We had to walk through it again on the way back home.) It is an interesting marketing approach. Kind of like requiring all visitors to some town to take a walk through the local Wal-Mart.

Then it was back onto the bus until reaching the border with Peru. here we had to check out of Bolivia and then check in to Peru. The bolivian side was not well signed and I ended up in the wrong line twice. the second time it was longer than the first time. Then it was the wrong line in Peru. At least I am consistent. When I finally had my stamp to enter Peru I was the last one back onto the bus. Oh well. It isn't the first time I have held up a bus load of passengers in Bolivia. (I'd rather not publish the details of that trip.)

It was fun to see Lake Titicaca from the peruvian side,

at least for the first several hours. But anything gets old after a while. . . . Finally we arrived in Cuzco (between 13 and 14 hours later) and I was greeted by my good friend.

I will spare you the details of all the good food and fun we had with our friends but will give you a brief overview of the highlights.

Kentucky Fried Chicken!


Paddy's Pub - the highest 100% owned Irish pub in the world. Good food! (No, we did not sample any of the drinks beyond pop and lemonade.)

Interesting sign in the bathroom.

An astute observation.

We visited a church that has been built over what was the major temple in Cuzco under the Incas.

I think the last Inca ruler was killed at this site. He probably didn't pay the entry fee and was caught trying to sneak in the back door.

We toured the city in a double decker open air bus.

A pretty lady I met on the bus.
The visit to The Valley was perhaps the highlight of the touristy things we did.

Down in the valley . . . .
From llama

to beautiful hand woven cloth.

Stirring the pot of wool being dyed. You don't want to know what is in these all natural dyes but the ingredients include bug shells and human urine.

We also toured the Seminario pottery factory, met the potter himself, watched pottery in the making and, of course, bought some of our own.

One of the other potters working in the shop.

I had the privilege of preaching on Sunday at our friends' church (Iglesia Evangélica Mundial) and of visiting an after school program that is similar to what we do in Santa Cruz.

The place that hosts the after school program also raises guinea pigs for money. They are a popular food.

On the way back to La Paz at the border I managed to get in the wrong line again on the Bolivian side, but only once this time. It was even longer than the last wrong line I had been in. But I was not the last one on the bus this time.


Border opening ceremony.
After arriving in La Paz I spent several days because I wanted to meet with the national board. I had money to give them and some other items to talk about. It was nice and sunny for La Paz and I even stayed warm at night (unusual for me). Sunday was the day of the Pedestrian - no cars or buses allowed in all the city. jSo I walked about an hour to get to church where my frind is the pastor. I was the first one there. I said that was a miracle that a Cruceño was the first one at church! I had to walk back to my room, of course. But I was told there was a more direct route I could take. Do I have sucker written on myñ face or what? So I took the route (I actually knew it years ago) and, you guessed it, got lost. (Wrong lines, wrong turns on the street - are you seeing a pattern here?) Finally I found my way back home. Exercise is good for the soul and body so no damage done.

I had a good meeting with the national board and was encouraged that they are encouraged about the progress of the church. They shared about some new churches being opened and hermanos eager to work and study.

So now I am back home getting caught up before the next trip and thanking the Lord for the good break. Noe, I wonder,  will I find my way to the airport . . . .