i do not wish to offend…

i do not wish to offend anyone with the next statement, so just keep that in mind.

i think that one of the most valuable things that i have gained from the first week (of two) of orientation has been the relationships that i have gained with those who are just beginning their service with mcc as well.  

[one of the great things i have learned about mcc this past week has been that everyone, no matter what job you are in, has to attend the first portion of orientation. even the new mail sorter from the akron, pa office was in attendance. makes for a level playing field, and good relationships.]

we have done the typical orientation things: like talk about sexual harassment and racism (granted they have a little different slant when these are in the context of other cultures, and figuring out how to navigate those issues outside of your own culture context).

i suppose it has been like part orientation (morning and afternoon workshops) and summer camp (meals, everything that occurs after dinner). 

we have had s’mores in our outdoor fireplace, gathered around our indoor fireplace and chatted, taken walks to the local ‘shoe-store’ to purchase ‘tap-shoes’ and played many games and pieced together many puzzles. 

it is encouraging and affirming to be here with other people who have a very similar world view when it comes to evangelism… the church… cultures beside our own… and things such as that.
it is also really neat to think that many of these people will also be at the same re-entry at the end of three years… when we try to transition back into the united states (or canada) after our three years spent abroad. its like a support group. for people like us…

look for more this week–i do promise to be much better at blogging the preparations for the trip!

i had wanted to post pictures of the place, but managed to somehow delete them from the card while attempting to upload them onto the computer. it’s a mystery. i shall take more, and post them soon!

pax

ike update

while i did not see the worst hit areas of south east texas, i saw some pretty intense destruction last week.

driving around some of the harder hit areas i forgot i had a camera, let alone how to work it.

saturday morning my friend emily (who is a pastor in houston) was taking some parishoners to work on a church in south houston that had some pretty major roof damage. i tagged along–wanting to be of some use.

the roof was metal-but looked like it was made of tinfoil that someone had pulled partially away from the building. it was still on part of the roof, but twisted and stretched down to the ground as well.

we spent the morning removing sheet rock, insulation and nails from soaked walls.
many trips up and down the stairs were made with arms full of sheet rock headed for the dumpster, and the pile of insulation on the gym floor nearly reached the second story.

walking into the gym the first time and seeing the roof,

with insulation hanging down–and the musty smell of something that was once full of water reminded me of a place we visited in rwanda on pilgrimage. a school where thousands had been murdered. now their unearthed

clothing hung in the silence of the memory of what occurred in that place. the same sort of death-riddled silence struck me as we walked into this church.

clothing at gikongoro, rwanda

that neighborhood was still without electricity at that point–which was over a week out from the storm hitting.  a youth group had also come to aid in the clean up as well–and many of them were in dark hallways and rooms with no lights, but cherrily set about the work of pulling sheet rock off walls, pulling out the insulation and cleaning up the nails. some were removing tiles from the floor, carrying sheet rock down the stairs and adding to the massive pile of insulation on the gym floor.

for what it was–in the middle of a disaster–it was a good morning

clothing unearthed from mass graves in rwanda

spent with some good friends and with some concious youth. the clean up went pretty quickly and, according to the pastor, is much much more of a help than i had previoiusly thought. i had no idea that volunteer work would help them so much — (apparently its a big help with insurance.)

the rest of the week was good–i had meetings with the district committee for ordained ministry and the staff/pastor relation committee of first umc, beaumont as well as a church conference with the members of first umc. all those meetings culminated in my approval as a certified canidate for ordained ministry in the united methodist church.  which means…its time to start writing my papers.

the preparations for leaving for uganda are always at the fore of my mind–and somehow i have managed to not prepare as well as i would have liked at this point.

the hallway between my room and my parents room has been designated the collecting point for everything to be packed. and there isn’t a whole lot out there… this is my last week working at my dad’s architectural firm… mom is taking next week off, as am i, and the major prep/packing will commence…

more to come…