Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Letter

At the moment I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Steve's been suffering with infections/boils for a while now. It can get into your body here, stick around, and erupt again even after antibiotics. He had a really high fever a few days ago and got a horrendous, very painful infection under the skin on his upper leg worse than I've ever seen. And I have a scar on my leg bigger than an American quarter from just the eye of a boil once in Fiji!

He's been on antibiotics for a few days and has started a second one as well. While he probably still has a few painful days ahead, it's finally moving towards healing. Thank you, Father! It's that in between phase of not knowing if things are going to get worse or not before they get better that gets to me......

The last 6 months or so while great in many ways have also been draining with sicknesses in our family; repeated viral infection on the tongue, the usual stomach stuff that happens here, a seizure, Chickun Gunya, anemia, colds and flu, asthma, boils. There have only been short periods where everyone has been well.

I'm pretty easy going about lots of things, but don't always deal well with my family being sick. Especially when it's weird, out of the box stuff and we're skeptical of the local doctors.

I had a unique encouragement yesterday, however. There's a sweet, older lady in NZ who doesn't have email but who wants to hear from us because she faithfully remembers us. A friend prints off our emails and forwards them to her. She occasionally writes us long, newsy, and always encouraging old-fashioned letters in return and sends them all the way here to us.

At the end of last week one of her letters arrived. It was a busy day and I set the letter aside to read when I had a few minutes to enjoy it. She'd been ill for a long time, but yesterday we got the news that she had died.

I still hadn't read her letter.

I carefully opened the aerogram and sat down to read. It wasn't anything specific that she said but her words of fa1th washed over me. She spoke of her own joys and trials and spoke directly to the last things she had heard about us. She reminded us that 'all things work together for the good.' And told us that she remembered us often.

Her very last words to us were, "May G0d continue to watch over you all and keep you in His care always. May your journey continue under the Master's supervision."

Sickness or health, easy or hard, stretched or comfortable, He watches and cares and we are under His supervision. And works it all together for the good.
Here's the photo of Adam and little friend that I couldn't figure out how to post below. Thanks, Jenny!
(And 'no' that's not a rash on Adam's cheek. That's just plain ol' dirt!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Adam loves to play with the little ones in FS's nursery in the late afternoons after their naps. It's not unusual to see him walking around the first floor of the factory with the head of a just awoken, sleepy kid on his shoulder. Especially cute since Adam's only 1/2 the size of an adult himself! Adam also likes to play basketball in the courtyard most days as well.

The other day I walked through and had one of those, "Oh, where is my camera?" moments. But since there was no camera nearby I will have to describe it instead.

Adam was bouncing his basketball in front of the nursery right where the people, which include Adam and Steve, are in the picture on the left above. He was bouncing it between his legs along with other tricks and showing off a bit. Standing up and gripping the inside of the gate to the nursery (the doorway beyond) and watching Adam, were three diaper and T-shirt clad little boys about one year old in a row. They had gorgeous grins from ear to ear and were bouncing together right along with Adam's ball.

It was one of those moments that I was so glad that our children are here and having the life experience that they are. Life in a mental snapshot.

Usually no cameras are allowed in FS, but recently a photographer got special permission to do so. She took some amazing shots including the ones above. There's a fantastic one of Adam holding one of the tiny three musketeers, but for some reason it's the one photo that I can't download from her blog! Oh, well. I'll put a few more of her pictures at the bottom of this post.

I'm not a photographer and I'm not an artist. I don't naturally see hidden visual beauty around me like photographers do. I knew in moving to this city that one of the hardest things for me would be the lack of beauty, particularly natural beauty. I'm a "communing with Him through the beauty that He's made" person. But through photos that I've seen people take of the city at large, I'm now seeing beauty in snapshots all around me that I didn't before. They have taught me a lot about opening my eyes to the beauty within a frame.

It's not hard to find beauty inside of FS in the faces of women. But here are a few faceless beautiful images inside FS as well:

Trimming newly sewn bags.

Mixing paint for screen printing.

Braiding small bits of recycled saris to put on zippers.

Braiding recycled sari handles for bags.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Some of our neighbors (not in the trade)

Friday, November 18, 2011


When we have groups come it's always interesting to see this city again through their eyes. Everyone experiences the sensory overload at first that just can't be explained until you've been here or somewhere similar. So many people, sights, sounds, smells all at once. Some people love it. They love the excitement, the constant action. Some people, particularly artists or photographers, are awed by the hidden beauty in fabrics, old architecture, fading paint on a wall next to a brightly painted door. Some people can't get past the dirt, smog and filth.

But if here long enough most people end up asking this question, "G-d, how can you let this happen? How can you let people and children live like this? How can you let them be so poor, so abused, so hurt, so dehumanized?"

It's a challenging question. And there are lots of pat answers that are somewhat harder to believe when the pain is right in front of you. (I think I've posted it before but I love this quote: "Sometimes I would like to ask G-d why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. 'Well, why don't you ask Him?' Because I'm afraid He would ask me to same question. -Richard Stearns" )

This city can change people and one of those ways is this:
Perhaps in seeing more suffering on the outside than one has seen before we can get more of a glimpse into His heart. He sees suffering everywhere, all the time. In countries where the physical may be more comfortable, He still sees the inside. He sees the agony of the sinful human condition every minute of every day. Where we manage to gloss over and beautify, He sees it at it really is.

So instead of getting lost in the question of 'why' I remember that it hurts Him too today. And it hurt thousands of years ago when He walked streets similar to mine and died on a cross. And I can still sing (as I've been today!) with all my heart:

You are good, you are good, when there's nothing good in me.
You are love, you are love on display for all to see.
You are light, you are light when the darkness closes in.
You are hope you are hope you have covered all my sin.

You are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling.
You are true, you are true even in my wondering.
You are joy, you are joy, you're the reason that I sing.
You are life, you are life in you death has lost it's sting!
(Forever Reign by Ingram and Morgan)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Rachel was home sick from school yesterday and this is the result! She painted the background in coffee and then used henna to make the design.........


"The g-dly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them." ~Ps. 16:3 (NLT)

Lately I've read a lot of discouraging comments about those who Believe. Granted some of them are from those who are looking for the worse case scenario in order to support their own agendas, but still sad that they are able to find examples to document. We are all fallen. We are not perfect. We all make obvious mistakes and need a Perfect One. But as I read the above words recently my heart sang a resounding, "Yes!"

Because they are 'in the land' where I am our co-workers here came to mind first. We have an amazing group of self-sacrificial co-workers here, both in FS and in sister activities! People who put aside their own comforts, desires, and rights every day in practical ways to serve others. In fact, everyone gets along exceptionally well because of our common goal and focus. They really are my heroes!

But those of you in other lands came to mind immediately after! I know some amazing people. So many who truly are g-dly and selflessly serve. You are the yet unsung heroes who I admire. People who are quietly faithful and live out Matt. 6 and 7 every day. You inspire me!

Thank you!