Sunday, April 19, 2009
A mere 200 yards or so down the road a police man pulled us over. Ordering our driver to get out of the vehicle, they went behind the vehicle and it was clear the officer was very upset! He was accusing us of blocking the president's motorcade and passing stopped vehicles during a presidential motorcade. After 45 minutes or so of heated discussions and the realization that our team was not going to bribe him, he insisted on raising the stakes and made us go to the police station in the next town. There he took our national staff in through the side door for further "discussions" and attempt to force the driver to sign a mia-culpa document! Well these were totally false accusations as the 5 of us in the vehicle testify to and can prove it. But he was facing either a severe beating or years in prison for this "hiddious crime"! After two hours of delay, it was agreed that the driver would return on Monday to appear in court so that the "visitors" could make their international flights.
He was released on condition of appearing in court - and of course, having his drivers license and vehicle doucments confiscated until the judge ruled on this case. We were about 1,000 kilometers from Arusha - so this demand was going to be costly, especially as he would need to bring our lawyer in order to get some form of justice.
We drove just a couple kilometers further under a cloud of doom until we reached the project we were supposed to visit for lunch - now hours late. We were discusing this incident with the staff we were told that this police officer was recently transfered there and already had a reputation of being a "trouble maker".
Come to find out, the project director is the head of security for the province. The chief of police is also an active member of the congregation! One phone call to the chief and another to the national level "fixed" the problem. The chief himself came to the church to get things straightend out. The driver would stop by the his house to pick up the confiscated vehicle documents on his way home! All charges were dropped! PTL!
The corrupt cop will most likely not be around that town much longer. In his zeal to make a buck or to "do one for the president", did not realize what he was doing. This was a very visible way that God demonstrated His grace. Trumped charges an all we were able to walk away praising God... and making our flight home!
This is normal life - their daily bread - in many countries. Prayer every time you get in the car is more than "keep us safe", but it is also "deliver us from evil"! Evil has been defeated! And we know in WHOM we can trust!
Friday, April 17, 2009
The dictatorship and wars has destroyed communities' economic productivity. Cities that used to have many factories and jobs, now are just barely surviving. Mostly on reselling things brought in from elsewhere.
Lake Victoria - the source of the Nile river.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Seems impossible, but posting this Palm Sunday Mass at St Peter's Basilica in Rome now seems anti-climatic! But being with these beautiful children in Ethiopia has been more rewarding. Here is more of Rome as I promised. It is out of place, but I have had no or pitiful internet connectivity for the last 5 days, so please accept it as it comes.
Was the mother HIV+? What was the desparate situation that pushed her to abandon her baby? The Compassion project we visited found that nearly 75% of the caregivers that went for voluntary counseling and testing proved to be HIV+! What made this comunity so much worse than the national average of 10% or so? We were told that there is a large military base there. No wonder! It is sad that those who are there to "protect" a country are in fact "destroying" it! But it is beautiful to see these children and adults have a second chance through our HIV program.
I wished there was something I could do for this precious little one that born innocent - now will be forced to live a life of desparation herself! My prayer is that the local church will be able to somehow reach out to this "new mother" that will be raising her and lead her to the Feet of Him who transforms lives! Then this precious little one will have the opportunity to reach her God-given potential even though she was tossed out like garbage by her birth mom.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
After being snubbed by American Airlines yesterday in New York JFK, we ended up in Zurich Switzerland instead of Rome Italy! How did that happen? We were forced by air traffic to make circles over the ocean for 40 minutes before they allowed us to land. Geoff and I ran to another terminal making it there just before take off time. The plane was sitting there at the gate, but AA staff would refuse to let us on! There were about 15 of us there in the exact situation, but they would not listen. They even confessed they were sending the flight to Rome with empty seats! So much for customer service! They knew full well there were that many of us were delayed, but could care less! Thanks to Maryln we got on Swiss Air to Zurich later that night, then on to Rome. But the Pope would have to do Palm Sunday mass without us! Thanks American Airlines for taking away that once-in-a-lifetime experience!