Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Fraud, More Red Tape

I'm a little grumpy today. I'm a cosigner on Andrew's bank accounts. He has been getting hit repeatedly by fraudulent transactions. My job is to contact the bank to report them, then fill out paperwork and have it notarized, so he can get his money back. Today he decided he had to close the account which keeps being hit, but the problem with that is all the valid electronic charges made to that account have to be rerouted to a new account before the old one can be closed. It has been a real pain in the rear.

I'm also still working on getting Andrew and Laura's marriage license through the hoops. I called a certain country's embassy today and heard the good and bad news: the good news--they found the envelope (which had been delivered Jan4). The bad news--they hadn't opened it yet. I spoke with the man for a few minutes, and he told me to phone back tomorrow morning. So I will.

I'm also a little grumpy about our car. Tomorrow it goes in the shop to have the leaking power steering fixed, the brakes fixed, the oil changed. I hope the car is worth the expense. It is annoying to only have one car at times like this.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Still Job Hunting

I made Rachel stand still for this photo after she got home today from a job interview. She was happy that the interview went well and the principal of a local Christian school seemed interested in hiring her--except for the small matter that she didn't really have a position open :-( But it was a positive experience for Rachel, and there is a possibility that a content-mastery job could open up (that's like a tutor for kids who aren't keeping up with the rest of the class).

Yesterday Rachel got a funny phone call from a school where she had earlier phoned and left a message. Turns out what she thought was a preschool was really a school to teach handicapped adults how to be car mechanics! Not exactly up Rachel's alley, but she talked to the guy for 20 minutes anyway, discussing the possibility of an administrative job there.

In the meantime, she's just finished a typing job for an elderly couple in the neighborhood. Continue to pray that God will open up something suitable for Rachel, preferably within easy driving distance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Book Port

Gary has bought himself a new toy, a Book Port. Not exactly a toy, really, since it is a way for the blind to read books. (Gary, you remember isn't really blind, he's just legally blind, from Stargardt's disease.) This device replaces a similar one that recently died and allows him to download non-copyrighted books from the internet for free and listen to them with text-to-speech software. He can also listen to a form of audio books for free since he has access to these copyrighted materials via websites for the blind. He is still figuring this machine out, but he has discovered he can download email or written reports into it and listen to them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More News

We've already gotten word from someone that they can make up the $200/month loss in our support, at least for rest of 2006, thanks to the sale of some real estate. We thank God for the way he provides.

We continue to ask him to provide a job for Rachel. She called 10 places today, got three possible follow-ups.

I got my annual mammogram report back today, and unlike last year, this one was uneventful.

Rachel has decided to make a website for herself, mostly to post some of her photos. I'm helping her with the main page and links, but she's organizing and labeling all the photos. I suppose when it is ready, I'll post the link here.

Speaking of photos, Andrew told me about a trip they recently went on to distribute goats in a very rural area of Ethiopia. When I complained about not getting photos from him, he had to admit he has lost the power supply to recharge the battery. :(

I've started working on income tax preparation, always fun.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Catch Up on the Personal News

Not much exciting to blog about, so I'll see if I can think of a couple family things to mention.

David continues in medical school in Houston. He doesn't write often, or call, but when he does he either has 1)something funny to say, or 2) needs something. David, if you're reading this, don't forget you owe me $$ for car insurance. Love you, Mom

Andrew and Laura are doing pretty well in Ethiopia. Laura's mom visited them in January and bought them a satellite dish so now they have 15 new Arabic channels to watch soccer on. And a few English ones too. They are still wishing Laura could find a job, and we are all still waiting for paperwork from the Ethiopian embassy to be returned.

Rachel is still looking for a job, but she is doing some typing for an elderly family in our neighborhood. Not much money, but it gives her something to do. She really wants to buy a car, but has only $3000 and the car she really wants, a Toyota Echo, is about $5000. She can get a Corolla cheaper, but the Echo sits up higher, and she can see out of it better, something we feel is quite important in her case. So maybe the car purchase is on hold for a little bit until we can figure out what to do.

Speaking of money, we got a letter from a long term supporter saying they would have to end their support due to the husband having a stroke and now they need to pay for his round the clock care. We certainly don't begrudge them this; they have been faithfully giving to us for our whole missionary career. However, it means we need to find $200/month more support from another source (or maybe Rachel REALLY needs to get a job :-) Anyway, we expect the Lord to provide, as He always does.

Gary is doing well. He went to Albuquerque in January and plans a trip to Germany in February where he plans to visit both our exchange daughters on either side of attending a conference. Then Australia in March.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Movie Review

No, I'm no good at movie reviews, so I'll just say: I liked it. We went on a triple date of sorts to go watch the End of the Spear movie at a local theater. There were also lots of folks from my work and my church there.

I wore my Waorani necklace as did most of the men in the movie.

The following is a prepared blurb about a memorial service held Jan. 8, 2006.

...a 3 day memorial service was held on Palm Beach in Ecuador commemorating the death of the 5 missionaries. Some 200+ Waodani and visitors participated - among them people from: Wycliffe, MAF, HCJB and Christians in Many Lands. Brothers of Jim Elliott and Pete Flemming attended the service. Wycliffe members Don Johnson and Bub Borman also attended the celebration. (Don and Bub had been in Ecuador in 1956 and had joined the team that retrieved the bodies.) Jim Yost, former Wycliffe Anthropology Coordinator and member of the Waodani field team, was also there by invitation of the Waodani. There were 10 Waodani baptized at the event last weekend.

I hope the movie is shown outside of the Bible Belt and that you all get a chance to see it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Guest Room Revisited

Last night Gary and I reassembled the old bunk bed and turned it into a storage loft for holding all of Andrew and Laura's stuff. Underneath the loft fits a double bed for visitors, and with this new compact arrangement, there is now even space in the room to turn around.

I know there are many hundreds of pounds of stuff on that loft, but Gary assures me it is plenty sturdy and safe.

Eventually, this room may become part of a rented apartment, as it was years ago years ago when the kids were little. But for now, we still have space for visitors.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Like Your Necklace

Several months ago Gary and his boss were in Orlando on business and Mart Green gave them a ride to the airport. Besides a ride to the airport, Mart gave both men a necklace (which they wore over their dress shirts and made it through airport security with no problem). Gary told me at the time the necklace was from the Waorani tribe in Ecuador, but I didn't pay much attention.

With the opening of the End of the Spear movie this coming weekend, I was reminded of this necklace, so I wore it to work today. My plan was to ask my coworker, who did literacy work with the Waorani, if the necklace was for real. Turns out I didn't even have time to ask--she came up to me and said, "I like your necklace." She went on to tell me that the string was made from a palm frond, the seeds were from a different palm and were naturally that color, and the ornament was a tusk from a white-lipped peccary.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

End of the Spear

At church today we skipped Sunday School and watched a 30 minute "how the movie was made" movie about The End of the Spear. It was filmed in Panama, with indians from the Northern Emberá language group. It was logistically impossible to film it in the Waorani area, but there were Waoranis there to teach the actors how to act like Waorani and to get the makeup right.

The most interesting thing I heard this morning was when Steve Saint, son of one of the slain missionaries, first asked the Waorani for permission to make this movie, they said no. Then Steve was able to persuade them to change their minds after telling them about Columbine. “Oh, that's just like how we used to act, killing for no reason,” they said, and then gave permission. (This society was one of the most warlike societies known to anthropology, with a homicide rate exceeding 60 percent as a result of warfare and raiding.)

So far, I've only found one theater that will be showing it this coming weekend, but I hope to get some friends together and go.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Christmas Cards

Each Christmas season I tape all my Christmas cards on the wall around an open doorway. I took them down recently, and analyzed who sent these cards:
  • local church friends - 4
  • coworkers - 6
  • financial supporters - 8
  • relatives - 11
  • faraway friends - 21
We also received 3 anniversary cards (30 years on Christmas Day), 3 cards from commercial interests, numerous Christmas letters, photos, and email letters. The loveliest were the handmade ones, but the ones with religious art were nice too. Two people loved us so much they sent two cards.

What makes a person count and analyze their Christmas cards?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Merry Belated Christmas

It was a bunch of work, but I mailed off 5 more Christmas packages this morning. These were the gifts that finally showed up inside the suitcase shown below. The smell of coffee in my office was getting to me, so I was in a rush to mail the bags off to their respective places--grandparents, friends, and parents of friends. Besides coffee, also included were baskets, shawls, and lovely silver Orthodox crosses.

The suitcase may have a permanent coffee smell, but that didn't seem to bother white kitty.

In other news, Rachel has applied for another job and has called a few more private schools and daycares to see if anyone is hiring. She is anxious to find some work, so pray that God will provide. We hope to soon help her figure out how much she owes Uncle Sam in income taxes, because after that she wants to see if she can afford to buy a used car.

We are still having very warm and very, very dry weather here. The grass has all died, I just hope the trees don't. Many places nearby have suffered wildfires.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

13 Days Later

David's suitcase, full of Christmas presents, arrived at 10pm tonight, smelling like Starbucks. Like, what's the RUSH?? Notice the broken off ID tag, and original baggage tag missing.

But also notice the address and phone number sticker on the INSIDE. *takes bow*

Now we have to figure out who all these bags of coffee belong to, one of which broke open during the lonely trip to Dallas from Ethiopia with a long layover in London.

Monday, January 09, 2006

David, I Figured Them Out

David took these photos while in Ethiopia and told me I needed to figure out the names. I started with an online Ethiopia bird list, then cross checked with Google Images.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Looking Again

Rachel had a sad experience yesterday. It turns out she wasn't able to do all the things her nanny boss wanted and needed, so she let her go. This was a disappointment to Rachel, not the least in that she had already grown quite attached to these three boys. So pray with us again that she will soon be able to find a different job.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


David found these on his trip to Addis Ababa.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Driving in Arlington

A couple posts ago there was a photo of Rachel by the Honda Pilot that she needs to learn to drive for the family she is now nanny for. I agreed to drive over there each day this week after I get off work and go practice with her. I'm happy to report that she has had two lessons and hasn't hit anything yet, and has only been beeped at twice. The goal is to help her become comfortable with this large car, and to memorize her way to the grocery store and back since she isn't so good with maps (but she does fine with the landmark-style of navigation).

Continue to pray for her strength and adjustment as she and the family get used to each other. There is no way she could really do everything the mother herself used to do, so they will all need to find a way to get the most important stuff done and leave the other stuff undone or ask someone else to help or something. In general, she seemed happier today than yesterday because she had gotten more sleep.

Last night she went to bed at 7pm she was so exhausted. But then at 8:30pm she was awakened because they decided to evacuate the house since a neighbor thought she smelled gas. That must have reminded Rachel of dorm life when someone pulled the fire alarm when everyone was asleep.

Speaking of being awaked in the middle of the night, this morning the phone rang at 5:20am. No, it wasn't Rachel. It was a guy from British Airways Heathrow airport in London asking if we were missing a suitcase. Yes, yes we are I told him, and correctly identified it. He said he would send it to DFW and they would deliver it. Good, I said and went back to bed. Then at 5:40 the phone rang again, again the guy from Heathrow. He needed a tracking number. I was getting a bit annoyed by then--didn't he know what time it was in America?--but then he said I was "brilliant" because I had put a sticker inside the suitcase with my name and phone number--the baggage tag and the ID tag were both missing from the outside.

It will still be days before we see this suitcase, since now David has to call them with a tracking number, etc. And he said he tried, but they are still on holiday. Hmm...

In other news, I spent time on the phone with the Embassy of Ethiopia, still trying to figure out how to get all the red tape taken care of so Laura can legally stay in the country. And I mailed David's backpack to him, since he left it here yesterday. And I mailed out tickets for Andrew's side job.

Good thing my nest is empty so I have time to take care of all these things, huh?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Driving in Ethiopia

Before David left to return to Houston today we made him give us a narrated slide show of the photos he took while in Ethiopia. I'm going to use a few of them on my blog over then next few days. Today we start with a series about driving in Ethiopia. Andrew has a nice ride. Of course, he has stories to tell about the red tape to import it.

It starts out like a ride in a normal city.

And they even give driving lessons at this driving school.

I think these are banana leaves.

A funeral procession.

Watch out for sheep and goats.

And cattle.

And camels.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Rachel Starts Her New Job Tomorrow

We've moved Rachel and a lot of her stuff to the home in Arlington where she will be nanny for six months. She will help to care for three preschoolers, help with meals, do laundry, and drive to the grocery store. The mom in this family has badly broken her leg and cannot put any weight on it for two months. She will be there to help Rachel, however. Rachel has a nice room and bathroom to herself upstairs, where the three boys also have a big play room. Her boyfriend set up her laptop so it is now working with wireless internet, so she is set to keep in touch by email and maybe IM. Not that she will have much time to communicate--she starts her day at 5am and ends it at 6:30 or 7pm, and the rest of the time she will probably be sleeping. She will get Saturday and Sunday off, and will come home then.

Please pray for her as she adjusts to this new job, particularly with the early hours and learning how to safely drive this big vehicle.

In other news, Gary wore his new outfit to church today, and thought his mom would like to see a photo.