Saturday, January 29, 2005

What's going on in Chris' world

How's everyone doing? It has been an interesting week. This week was budget week. Anita, Grace and Albert were in the office to prepare the budget and submit it to Finance. I am very pleased to say the budget has been submitted and I still have a job! :) (We were not planning to cut jobs at all. We did have to cut some special projects and find creative ways to do some things.) It was good to see Anita again since she moved to Brazil back in August. She and I communicate a lot through email for work but seeing each other in person is better.

I have a theory about change: People who do not like change need change a lot so they can become used to it. Becca and I moved the furniture around in our bedroom. To me it was not a big deal but I think it is good to change things up every once in a while. Also, because we moved the furniture we were able to clean some areas that are not normally cleaned. I thought this was good because if we never moved the furniture before we move out we would have a lot of cleaning to do in May.

On Monday of this week I put the deposit down on the airfare for the mission trip to Thailand this June. At this point the teens are working on their support letters and applying for passports. I think this experience is going to be a stretching experience for the teens, especially those who have not been on a missions trip before and/or have never left the US. I have to remind myself a lot that this is a big experience for a lot of the teens though it may seem like just another missions trip for Becca and I.

That's all I can think of for now. Make sure to visit Amelia, Ked, Becca, and Debby's blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

New blog

I have created a blog for the missions trip Becca and I are leading this summer. Check out the new link in the links on the right or click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

What a week

It has been an interesting work. God is doing something though I am not completely sure what it is. The lack of knowing can be annoying at times but I have to remember that God is in control and that is better than me being in control all the time.

Nothing too exciting to report from Grand Rapids. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Ilana Marie Rhodes

Ked and Amelia's baby girl is here! She was born on Friday. Check out Amelia's blog for pictures of Ilana.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Debby's back...again

Debby's blog is back up again. We both hope it will stay up this time. I love the picture and the fun new design. Check it out!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Banished from home...

Debby's blog is having difficulty right now as Debby is changing servers where her web site is hosted. I will let you all know when her site is live again.

I also want to take this opportunity to show you Will's website. This kid is not even a week old and he has a website. I am an adopted uncle who spoils my nephew's rotten. It is not much right now, but I will :) add to it as time goes along.

I write this blog entry from Panera Bread. Tonight my wife is having a Junior High girls sleep over so I have been banished from my apartment. I will be spending the night with my in-laws but I could not pass up an opportunity to spend some time at my 2nd home. My wife will not be at all surprised that I was here.

I was very excited to receive a phone call from a friend named Rob who was wanting information on flights to and from the Philippines. I think being a travel agent could be a very fun job. I have been playing travel agent a lot lately as I have been trying to find airfare for our missions trip to Thailand this coming June. I have used a travel agent in Oregon in the past and again their fares are turning up better than some local people. I am really looking forward to this trip as we will have opportunity to see a new country and new people but also to learn more about the real life of a missionary. Missions has been close to my heart for quite a while and I am anxious to see how the Lord uses this trip in my life and in the lives of those coming along.

Well, tmsaisti...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Debby's back

Some of you may have noticed that Paradise Of the Blog has been down for a while. Well, the site is back up now with a new design. Check it out and welcome Debby back to the blog world!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The baby's here!

Jesse and Rhonda had their baby last night. William Jesse was born at 11:22pm weighing in at 8 lbs, 6.2 ounces at 19" long. Becca and I went to the hospital this afternoon to visit Rhonda and meet William. He is the cutest baby. Of course we took pictures. See picture below and links in this post.

Chris and Will Becca and Will

Update from Noel about Sri Lanka

Here is an update I received from my co-worker Noel about the situation in Sri Lanka. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters there.

Noel's Update

Saturday, January 01, 2005

News from Sri Lanka

This is an email I received from a co-worker in Sri Lanka. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and other countries affected by the tsunami.

Dear All,

The reality of the magnitude of destruction caused by the killer waves that hit Sri Lanka and other nations in the Indian Ocean are now being brought to light and it is far worse than one could ever imagine.

I watched with horror as TV images showed a group of Sri Lankan soldiers (who had no other choice and so this is not about them but the sad task they had to perform) with gloves and masks across their faces, pull out bloated, naked bodies out of some muddy areas. Some others had to be wrenched out of places where they were stuck with long pieces of wood. The bodies were unceremoniously dragged and lined up on higher ground. Since it is now a few days since they died, the bodies are decomposing. Hence, they were then taken and buried in a mass grave. Hopefully they were properly fingerprinted and photographed in order that they could be identified.

Unfortunately, there are still some areas and some people are still out of reach and are not receiving anything. This was reported to me by a colleague who I sent with the Methodist Church to the Eastern province with a truck full of relief supplies. Unfortunately, the distribution is also hampered in some areas because the landmines in this formerly war ravaged area have now been dislodged making the entire place a different sort of death trap.

On a worse scale are isolated stories of looting of broken houses by local thugs. A couple of my daughter's colleagues were horrified when some local government officials diverted the truck of relief supplies to an area unaffected by the tsunami. (More such incidents were reported in the local media later). They were powerless. Then in some areas people not affected are joining those affected and collecting relief supplies (understand able to some degree as they too are poor).

Yet in the midst of the calamity and human evil, it was also heart-warming to see the efforts of so many Sri Lankans. People from all walks of life were sending essentials to those affected. People were lining up along the roadside with their parcels of food and handing them over to the many trucks that were on their way to the affected areas. One seven year old girl brought her entire little piggy-bank of USD 21 and gave it all for relief. "Please give this to some other child to get something she likes"she said as she handed it over. And an old lady, a pensioner in her eighties gave USD 2 saying, "Please buy something for someone to eat" Young and old alike are helping. The response is overwhelming.

Moreover, all of the help that is being given is not necessarily financial. Many are going and cleaning up Children's Homes, Homes for Elders, the homes of friends and even those of strangers. Others are riding with trucks to deliver food, packing food and so on. It is taking every form of help imaginable to meet the needs of those who have been affected.

But the psychological damage is not even being addressed. Many are traumatized and still walk around in a daze. we do not have people who are trained in helping these people. Often the friends they turn too are in equal need of emotional help. One young woman was miraculously saved when she was thrown out of the train (some of you may have seen the over turned carriages on TV) but right now is unable to speak from the shock. Some of my friends were trying to help her - I pray they will be successful.

Then there are the inevitable questions and many have called and asked for help in trying to understand this tragedy in particular and tragedy as a whole. Many Christians too are bewildered and some are even questioning their beliefs. Some like Job may trust in the goodness of a sovereign God who permits calamities while others may begin to doubt.

We are offering to our readers and some churches, the booklet, "Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering." We have it in Sinhalese (for some reason we decided to print this title in November ahead of schedule). We will do an urgent print in English and if possible translate and print it in Tamil as well. We are trying to do the same with another book, "When Tragedy Strikes". We hope that our Christian brothers and sisters may be enlightened by the reading of these books and be better informed so that they could to help explain some of the more difficult issues to those who are confused.

Last night, our neighborhood in Mount Lavinia was like a ghost town. The last night of a year is filled with the usual parties, dances, fireworks and celebrations. Yet, everyone was muted and not even wishing each other a Happy New will take some time for the shock of a disaster of this magnitude to wear off. A death toll of more than 40,000 as of now with some entire families being wiped out is definitely not easy to handle especially when everyone seems to know someone who has perished. And so ALL are affected in some way or another.

In HIS firm and loving GRIP