Sunday in Haiti

IMG_7551Haiti June 23, 2019

Today is Sunday. I suppose you knew that. It’s about 8am here–something you didn’t know. We don’t know yet if we will be going to church. The roads may be safe, or not, in that part of town today. We’ll wait for reports to come in before traveling.

Yesterday was a good day of final repairs around here. We got two toilets removed and re-installed, another one repaired, and a dozen or so fans working so that there will be enough for the team coming after we leave. If someone thinks what we are doing here is unimportant, have them turn off their AC and hold things in for a day. It helps me feel essential.

Jenn and Sue have pretty much finished up the curriculum, mostly just a lot of printing left to do. The pool is refilled, more shade cloth installed, and Clorox tabs put in the water tanks for good luck.

Tomorrow begins training so things will get lively. Living here is a lot like camping. Water is limited, electricity is on-and-off, and your fan is your AC. In the same way, food tastes better, you spend more time together than in front of a screen, and time moves more slowly.

Monday I hope to put the brain (ECU Computer], side mirrors, filters, and an alarm in Sue Spinney’s RAV4. Sue was at AnchorPoint a year ago, lives about a mile from here with five kids in her house as a small Cresh. All the houses in this area have tall walls around them, most with razor wire. Hers has no wire, and someone has been jumping the wall at night to help themselves to her car’s parts like it is their private junk yard. Both front running light assemblies are also gone. We brought one of those a few years ago—it didn’t last 24 hours after we put it on her car before someone took it off as their own. But the brain, that costs around $300 used, and leaves you stranded. Hopefully the alarm will help. I suggested she keep a python in the car. Or a ferel cat.

WENT TO CHURCH, BACK, PICTURES ARE…

Top pic is Ben, one of Byron and Shelley’s kids, in a shirt some AnchorPointers may remember.

Bottom is me and the pastor I met from India, and the family and staff here at supper time. Then Byron and Shelley who direct this place, then Sue whose RAV4 I get to work on tomorrow. Chef Jeff, a young man who came to live here due to circumstances after the earthquake is at the bottom. He is a good kid, much fun, often asking me how Micah Cooley is doing. That makes me like him more.

Thanks for your prayers. It was good to be able to go to church today. No issues and a nice break. I met a guy and his daughter who just moved here from the states. He is working with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, and is a retired US Air force pilot. His wife is in the states for a bit longer, selling the house or something, I can’t remember.

OK, enough rambling.

Dan

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Haiti, June 20

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Haiti, June20

The Exit: We met at the office at 8:30 to put our last minute items in the luggage, do our final weigh ins, and go to the airport. We left around midnight to NYC where we had a 2.5 hour eating rest around 4:30 NM time, 6.30 NY time. Then we had a 3.5 hour flight to Port-au-Prince. We got in around 1pm. The airport went smoothly, but here at the house/compound we are way behind.

Today is Thursday. On Monday we have over 400 kids—I’ll get the exact count later—invading us for English Camp. We came with 4 people. With the family and friends here we have maybe another dozen or so to help us. That makes 16 of us to run English Camp for 400—including 2 meals and 4 classes. I am probably missing some, but it seems mightly lean. When we leave on the 29th, there is a large team coming in for a couple weeks. That will get them half way through EC. After that I believe they are on their own.

The Bad News: is that because of the US travel restrictions due to Haiti unrest, most of the teams that come to help out for the summer are not coming this year. Also Andrew, the son of the missionaries here who has run English Camp for the last five years or so is working on his Doctorate in the States, and could not make it either.

The Good News: we should have a number of Interpreters and Junior Counselors to help us. They are national kids, Junior and Senior High age, and can help control the chaos.

English Camp: is rather like VBS, if your are familiar with Vacation Bible School—only longer and with breakfast and lunch served. The kids come in and are served a breakfast of a boiled egg and banana, that kind of thing. Without it they are too weak to concentrate. We then have a big open assembly of songs and a Bible Story before breaking up into age groups. Generally around 40+ in each of the age-groups, led by one of us and a junior counselor and usually an interpreter. They then rotate between 4 classes: English, PE, Science, and Bible. There is a lunch time also. It all begins at 9 I think, but they start arriving MUCH earlier, and ends around 3, but many leave MUCH later.

Getting Ready: Sue and Jenn who came with us will be going over the curriculum for EC today. Some may just need to have an update. Others will need a re-write so as not to repeat for the kids from last year.

I have a mess of broken benches, trampoline, vehicles, it’s just not ready for the EC invasion. Last night we had an electrical issue, looks like we need a breaker as half the house lost outlets till we swapped a breaker out. You want outlets, as sleeping without a fan in this heat and with mosquitoes is most unpleasant. Everywhere you look there is something else to be done. The pool is half full of green water—we will have to bucket it out and refill it, and it is a BIG pool–ot unusual, but more difficult with fewer workers. Hopefully we will wait till we have junior counselors/interperters! Vines and trees have  will need to be trimmed and clean before kids arrive. The ECU brain was stolen out of a vehicle we need for camp. We brought one, but I need to get it and a car alarm installed—it is the second brain stolen, plus the turn signal lamps and the side mirrors. So frustrating. Another commode is busted, and the list goes on.

But it is WAY better than being bored!

The generator is currently out of diesel, so we have no internet now, but I’ll send this when I can. I’m working on laptop battery power.

Blessings!

Dan

What’s Happening in Haiti

This update just in from our Missionaries in Port-au-Prince.

February 17, 2019
Celebrating Milestones and Facing Crisis
This is Gaelle. (photo from English Camp 2018) She is one of five children, soon to be six.
Gaelle has now missed 7 days of school: meals, vitamins, snacks, Bible stories & play time.
We are thankful that God has made a way for us to walk alongside Gaelle’s family during this time.
February 2019, has been a month for the books!
We stepped into February with big plans for Byron and Shelley’s 30th anniversary celebration, incoming teams, and hopefully the rescue of children from a corrupt orphanage ,,,,WELL, we did pull off the anniversary celebration!
We returned to Haiti from Santo Domingo on day 4 of ongoing demonstrations, road blocks, burning tires and the shutdown of grocery stores, gas stations, water stations, and street vendors. The manifestations have not been limited to Port-au-Prince, but have extended to other cities and the countryside.
This is a political issue, and the folks behind the demonstrations are seeking President Jovenel Moise’s resignation. There is hurt and anger stemming from years of corruption and mismanagement of resources , rising fuel and food prices, and general frustration with the lack of employment and educational opportunities.
After 9 days of lock-down, we have been granted a “pause” of 2 days. They have kindly given the population time to locate food, water, and fuel. By the grace of God, fuel began being delivered to the gas stations in our area yesterday. Public transportation shut down the afternoon of February 6th, and began operating again today, February 17th.
God has faithfully and graciously cared for our needs, and permitted us to be an extension of His grace and provision to others. We have a wonderful staff who have helped us locate and purchase supplies, and we can say with MUCH THANKFULNESS that we are well supplied with food, water, and fuel.
It is our deepest desire to walk this out well. To this point, God has not given us the “green light” to evacuate. We do receive the security alerts from the US Embassy, and are very cautious if/when we venture out. For now, we are stewarding the resources which God has given us for the care of those He has placed within our sphere of influence.
Will you please pray with us, and for us?
  • To keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and to spend the down time we’ve been given to rest in His presence.
  • Protection and provision for the people of Haiti. (The current demonstrations are orchestrated by a handful of people and do not represent most of the population.)
  • To have discernment: what to share, in what quantities, and with whom?
  • For insight regarding what to purchase and where.
  • For wisdom regarding the upcoming scheduled mission teams and visitors.
  • For our continued safety: Byron, Shelley, Joe, Ben, Dom, and Isabelle Tlucek are still in Haiti with Sue Spinney.
WE PRAISE GOD FOR HIS FAITHFUL CARE AND PROVISION, FOR HIS PERFECT TIMING, AND HIS LOVE, MERCY AND GRACE. TRULY, WE ARE GRATEFUL TO BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
Lastly – I feel compelled to include the following verses from Isaiah 58:
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.
“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure[c] on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;[f]
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 58:6-14

Free GOOD Book

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Download a free e-copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress book here. The artwork is AMAZING, totally fun. It’s from the movie that is coming out in April.

The book is a Christian allegory written in…

wait for it…

1678!

That’s not a bad run for a book. Typically, if you are part of the fortunate 2% or less, (depending on who is number-crunching) who get their books traditionally published, you may get a 3-month run. So, a 4,092-month run and a movie deal isn’t bad. It’s no Bizarre Bible Stories, but not bad.

We hope to show an early pre-release showing of the movie at AnchorPoint in March, to get folks excited about blowing big bucks and bringing their friends in April. We also hope it is good. Otherwise, it won’t help much.

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God, Me, and Manana

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My friend Clay recently did a podcast on a question asked by his son, “How do I know hat God wants me to do?” He asked some other dads and myself, then tied it all together. I wish I had heard this back in 1975 – his content is excellent! You can listen to it here.

It’s a question I think we over-think. This may be a bit of Cooley over-simplification–but here is my take on it.

If we belong to God, he will lead us where He wants us to go. It’s his manipulative grace. Why would he lead us in the wrong direction?

If we belong to God and resist him, he can send a big fish to vomit us out where we should have gone in the first place.

If we belong to God and are clueless, he can manipulate circumstances like he did for Paul in Acts 16:6-10. There God kept slamming doors in Paul’s face till he pretty had no direction to go but the right one.

The key is to belong to God. Or, as Psalms 91:1 puts it, Those who sit down in the presence of the High God, will spend the night in the shadow of the Almighty.

I hope you belong to God. If not, why not give your life to him now? If you do belong to him, don’t sweat manana. Sit down in God’s presence today, and you will be doing what he wants tomorrow.

Stud Studebaker for Christmas

Before 3/4 ton pickups with Cummings diesel engines, there were Studebakers. They had no AC, broke down more often, came with no cup holders, and had limited ground clearance – but a man with a Studebaker was a man who could go anywhere and do most anything.

At least he thought he could.

It may be good that I have no memories of this vacation. Here is another picture of our studly Stude, this one hauling down a Christmas Tree from the mountains around Tucson. I’m sure all five of us kids were crammed in there with Mom and Dad. It’s amazing how many people a station wagon could hold before seat belts, shoulder straps, car seats, and air bags. I believe the average lifespan back in the 60s was 12.

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My favorite Studebaker pic comes at the end of  the blog. First I am pasting in our Christmas letter for those who missed it. Scroll past the letter if you have already read it.

Yeah, it’s late. You can’t rush perfection. Here is the mostly true update on the Cooley’s.

JoLynn is working full time for a few months or a few years for Presbyterian Hospital. She’s piloting a Patient

Advocate program at a new hospital. The job is assisting patients in pain and their families in crisis who are attempting to work through a maze of medical misunderstandings while hoping and praying for healing.

It really is a great ministry where Jo gets to help many people on some of their most difficult days.

She can have it. It’s easier to write Christmas letters.

Megan, Jon, and mighty Memphis live here in Albuquerque, and as of October 11 have Indigo Rose to keep them up at night. We appreciate their kindness in giving us our first granddaughter. Memphis is my cookie-making buddy. Indigo is my nap buddy – who often naps when I get to hold her. Lucky Indi even has a daily naptime! I’m jealous.

Amanda, Jake, Oliver, Emerson, and Harrison (or Oli, Emmy, and Harry as we call them), live in Marble Falls TX. Amanda runs Camp Peniel’s weekend camping program, and Jake works for Overhead Door in Austin. After 7 summers and hundreds of weekends there, I always thought I’d work for Peniel, but the opportunity got passed down to Amanda. Not that I’m jealous. They were able to come in for Christmas, and we had enough snow to take the boys sledding in the back yard – my Christmas highlight.

Yes, that means we have a new back yard. We moved last January to a smaller one-story house on a half-acre with an amazing view and a perfect little sled hill in back. It’s beautiful. JoLynn is a sledding goddess, so that was the real reason for the move. Our new address is: 2112 San Pablo Rd NE, Rio Rancho NM 87144.

Micah has been with Air Guard Intelligence for over six years, and went full-time with them a couple months ago. They paid him well to go back full time, so he is the one with the nice new red Miata. Not that I’m jealous. We’re not sure how his English degree helps him to blow things up. I guess you wouldn’t want to miscommunicate. He comes to church with Starbucks for his sister – it’s great to have even half the family with us for worship.

Caleb is three semesters short of graduating from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He spent the summer taking European Reformation classes in … Europe. Not that I’m jealous. He too was home for Christmas, so we had the entire clan here. It was great fun. A line by the bathroom door is such a good memory of old times.

Dan – Our new house is 20 years old, so it has plenty of fun projects to keep me out of trouble. I still enjoy a week or two in Haiti in the summer, and the church is rolling right along – the merger was a great move, the staff is terrific. The New City Catechism is our current study – great stuff. My sister Janice and I wrote a small stocking stuffer book, Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories, to hit store shelves in September 2019.

Mostly I’m just jealous of Indigo’s naps and Amanda’s camp and Micah’s Miata and Caleb’s summer and not at all of JoLynn’s job. God really has been gracious to us, and we are most grateful. My favorite verse for 2018 came from Ecclesiastes 12:13 in the Message.

Fear God. Do what he tells you. That’s it.

Happy 2019,

Dan for all

And my favorite for last. My dad the stud working on his Studebaker. Notice the lush Arizona grass. I believe the license plate says 64. I you have a spare Studebaker you want to sell, let me know. I’d love to surprise JoLynn with one for Valentines.

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2 Christmas Thoughts

scientific 16x20The picture is from Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories, unfortunately not being released till 2019. It’s our take on a Magi, and has nothing to do with 2 thoughts from 2 very different writers.

The first, from Caleb Cooley

This day we celebrate the Lord of creation taking on flesh without division, separation, confusion, or change. This day we celebrate the Logos, who willingly and vulnerably enters into the creation that He Himself spoke into being. This day we celebrate the very purpose and end of the whole cosmos, intimacy with God our father. We worship a good and powerful God. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” This is a Merry Christmas indeed.

The second, a poem from Meredith at AnchorPoint Church,

And the Word Became Flesh

And the Word became flesh showing us what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy
He did this so we could see and could know and could dwell upon these things

And the Word became flesh leaving a realm that was free from the limits of time
He entered our time in a cursed world that He did not cause, to free us from the worries of tomorrow

And the Word became flesh, blessing us with each new day as a gift to enjoy everything good from Him
Lavishing us with gift upon gift and the ability to enjoy each perfect gift from above

And the Word became flesh to take upon sin and know us in every way
Therefor hearing every prayer and petition, working everything for our good, the Good, causing thanksgiving for each redemption

And the Word became flesh, to overcome death for us, to restore us to Him
For we do not need to be afraid or discouraged, we are strong and courageous, for You are with us always

And the Word became flesh because what was once glorious and perfect was broken
He came to remake it anew for He who began a good work in us will surely carry it on to completion

7 Reasons to Start Christmas TODAY

 

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  1. American Thanksgiving is on the wrong date.

The Canadians have it right, and celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of OCTOBER, as the Pilgrims intended. President Lincoln got many things right, but was allowed by God to make this one glaring error to prove to the world that even he wasn’t omniscient.

Now you know the truth. The stores have it right.

Besides, there just isn’t enough time to enjoy the season if all your shopping, decorating, family meals, traveling, college exams, parties, and Christmas movie watching have to be done in a few weeks. That’s no fun. Start today and enjoy a slow, mellow, long, shockingly long Christmas season, as Costco intended.

 

  1. The music is better, so you can enjoy it longer

OK, it isn’t all better

 

music, Frosty the Snowman could gag a Shepherd. Still, after 10 months of Country divorces, Rap killings, Pop romance and Hillsongs oceans, aren’t you ready for a change?

 

  1. It’s easier on the budget, so you can ret 

    ire 10 years early.

If you wait to shop till December, when you are also paying for travel and party gifts and eating out, you will still be paying it off in July. Buying now will help keep you out of debt, allowing you to retire years early. Maybe.

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  1. The life you save may be your own

How many kids are in danger of a tripping injury because they can’t find the way from the street to your house on Halloween? Could you be sued? GET THOSE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS UP NOW. Besides, better for kids to see an early Christmas tree than a pumpkin carved like a wormy skull with a spider crawling out.

 

  1. The decorations are better, so let’s just go with Christmas and skip the rest.

Easter has pastel colors. Yuck. Halloween is black and orange, great if you work for UHaul. The best Thanksgiving table will have a centerpiece of plastic pilgrims standing around vegetables you can’t eat. But Christmas? Christmas is deep red, green, gold, nativity scenes, camels, and reindeer. How does a plastic pilgrim compete?

 

  1. The food is best.

Thanksgiving has turkey. The reason we don’t eat it the rest of the year is that it isn’t that good. Christmas has eggnog, cookies, and Chex party mix. It’s no competition, really.

 

  1. Because putting lights on your snow-covered roof on November 30 is foolish.

And the only thing worse is NOT having lights on your roof for Christmas. That’s just wrong.

 

If you are shopping early, Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories comes out in November.

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A Dad’s Dilemma

DadCastWhat do you do when your kids are grown and gone, but you still hope to speak into their lives?

DadCast.

Clay Holderman, a dad from our church came up with this cool idea. He would get a question from one of his adulting kids. Then he would ask the dads in his small group Bible study to record their honest thoughts. Then he would ask a pastor to get a Biblical perspective.

After recording, he would cut and paste and edit the mess into a thoughtful, helpful, 15-minute DadCast, and send it back to his kids.

Brilliant.

Or it will be if any of our kids listen to it.

The first question came from his oldest son, Cole. Could he ever become someone his parents couldn’t love? What if he became the worst of the worst of humanity?

Listen to the first DadCast on an app below and sign up or share if you like it.

RadioPublic https://radiopublic.com/dadcast-6rOord

Breaker  https://www.breaker.audio/dadcast

Apple Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dadcast/id1437549968

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/0aztVwmk8Uo0mMzIAs215i

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Why Cancer?

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In July of 2012 I was speaking at a 5th – 6th grade summer camp. The first night I asked all the kids to write down a question for God and to hand it in. One girl, Kristina Rae Barrett wrote, “Dear God, Why did you give me cancer?”

I knew Kristina’s dad since he was in my youth group back in ’85. Kristina inherited his spunk, love of life, and incomprehensibly deep faith. Actually, I think she passed dad up, telling him at one point, “If this is God’s plan for me, then I accept it.”

Kristina Rae Barrett, May 30, 2002 – June 21, 2014.

The book was also completed in June, 2014. Her question was the motivating factor for the book, and the focus of the first story. All profit (billions, I’m sure) from Bizarre Bible Stories 2! Go to the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation – Helping Hands Fund. this fund. The fund was her dad’s suggestion, as it had helped them over the years.

There are endless names connected to childhood cancer, but I can’t leave this blog without also mentioning Macen Holderman, who went to be with Jesus on September 27, 2016, at the age of 17. He was a ton of fun, I am sure he still is, but one of my favorite stories is when he was waiting in the hospital. One of his legs had been amputated, and as usual he was playing with his prosthetic. A shocked younger kid came up and asked him what happened. Macen answered something like, “I can’t tell you. But I can tell you,  NEVER disobey your parents.”

Why Cancer? I don’t know. I do know the attack on children and their parents seems to be especially brutal.  I know it is the result of sin, and as such we need to fight it. I hope you can help.

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