Wednesday, April 15, 2009

At Work in Port au Prince

The Feed The Hungry team arrived in Haiti on Monday & Tuesday. Seeing the kids at the Mercy & Sharing Orphanage and School was again an emotionally moving experience-- most of the children are here because they were abandoned, left by a parent to basically die. Some were left at the Hospital General in PaP, some were left on a street or field, one was found inside a cardboard box... and I hate to even think of this... one abandoned child I met a few years back was thrown into a latrine hole when only a few months old.

It's hard to comprehend how a mother or father, or both, could consciously decide to do such a thing; I honestly don't know what combination of factors make child abandonment such an accepted 'fact of life' here. Maybe it is abject poverty... a mother knowing she cannot provide for her child (but I've seen moms & dads do some extraordinary things to make ends meet when it comes to their child's survival); maybe it is social stigma or superstition... most of the abandoned children have some kind of handicap or another, either a physical or mental challenge; maybe Voodoo has something to do with it, the nation has been steeped in the dark religion for over a hundred years.

Regardless of how, when, where, or why they've been abandoned IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING to see the wonderful joy and absolute life that these kids exude. From the littlest infants to the largest teens, every one responds with life and laughter to the smallest gift of love-- a smile, a wave, a tickle, a hug, a little game of catch-- causes great joy to erupt.

Today I've been privileged to feel a small portion of what Jesus must have felt when he had the kiddies pressing all around him, getting blessed by their time with Jesus and Jesus getting blessed by his time with them. Remember the disciples tried to shoo them away but he rebuked the guys pretty good saying, "Let the little children come to me! Stop keeping them away! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." He treasured his moment away from the do's & dont's and stresses of adulthood to let loose and feel the joy, sheer innocence, and trusting abandon that makes a child a child... and I treasured my moments today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

JP has arrived in Lahore!

JP called from Quetta, Pakistan... they made it through the border and will clear the vehicle through Customs in Quetta.  He's met up with Salik John from the Evangelical Fellowship of Pakistan and they'll get a good nights rest and then go to Lahore; then back to Germany on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

At the Iranian Border

Jean Pierre called and he's stuck at the Iran/Pakistan border.  The border has been closed for two days because of unrest in Quetta.  There doesn't seem to be much in the news cycle at this point, but here is a report from the BBC:

JP and the boys are supposed to meet with Feed The Hungry representative Salik John at the border but they haven't seen him yet.

Please continue to pray for safety and secure passage through to Lahore.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not much from JP today; he did send a couple photos from Turkey. Please continue to remember JP & the boys in your prayers. Bad news out of Pakistan yesterday & today; first a suicide bombing in Islamabad and then today a suicide bombing in Chakwal which is in the central part of the country (a city in the north of Punjab State).

At least 22 killed in Pakistan suicide bombing

CHAKWAL, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering of minority Shi'ite Muslims in Pakistan on Sunday killing 22 people a day after a deadly suicide attack in the capital, police said.

Pakistan is crucial to U.S. efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan and U.S. President Barack Obama has said the release of additional U.S. aid to the nuclear-armed country depends on how it tackles terrorism.

The attack in the central city of Chakwal came a day after a pilotless U.S. drone aircraft killed 13 people including militants in the northwest and a suicide bomber killed eight soldiers in Islamabad.

About 2,000 people had gathered at a Shi'ite religious center in Chakwal, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Islamabad, for a ceremony when the bomber struck.

"There was a break in the ceremony and some people were going out and others were coming in when all of a sudden a young man tried to run into the crowd," said witness Amjad Hussain.

"When guards tried to stop him at the gate he blew himself up."

Regional police chief Nasir Khan Durrani said 22 people had been killed and 35 wounded. Durrani said the death toll would have been much higher if the bomber had managed to force his way into the crowd.

Surging militant violence has raised fears for nuclear-armed Pakistan's prospects, a year after a civilian government came to power ending eight years of military rule.

President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the coalition government are also struggling to revive an economy propped up by a $7.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan.

Outside the religious center, blood was splattered over the gate and walls while shoes and other possessions were strewn on the ground. Three mangled motorcycles lay outside the gate.

Pakistan has a long history of tit-for-tat attacks by militants from the majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim communities.

But sectarian militancy intensified after some anti-Shi'ite groups forged ties with al Qaeda and Taliban militants, security officials say.

Shi'ites account about 15 percent of Pakistan's 170 million mostly Sunni population and in general the two communities live in peace.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In Instanbul

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sat 4/4/2009 1:52 PM
Subject: Update

Hi FTH Staff,

Thanks for praying. We are in Istanbul at the moment. I decided yesterday to take one day off. Two days full driving and two nights with only a little bit of sleep is enough reason for a break. We got a nice hotel at the airport for a good rate. We spend almost two hours at the Turkish border. On the Greek side the custom office called an inspector and gave order to examine the vehicle. The female officer that came to the car, thought we transferred an ambulance into a camper. But when Marcel opened the back door and when she looked at the orange stretcher and the medical equipment, she became very nice and she gave us all the stamps we needed. On the Turkish side it was difficult to find somebody who felt responsible to work on our papers. They all were not very friendly. Several times the thought came up in my mind, if they want to become a member of the EU, they need to change their attitudes towards foreigners, and should start to study at least a little bit of English. Not talking about German. Every officer refused to stamp our custom papers. I hope that this will not give us any difficulties to get the tax back when we return to Germany.

From there we went straight towards Istanbul. People were walking all along the highway. Can you imagine, driving 150 Kilometers an hour, and there is a donkey on the right hand lane. Well this is this part of this world here. At one point there was a big hole in the surface and I really was worried that this maybe did something to the ambulance. But praise God, nothing happened. Pastor Peter in Zurich had the vision, that our vehicle has a kind of protection wall or skin around it, like an army tank. I really believe that. We are in the army of the LORD and in a mission to bring the gospel, health and delivery to the hurting people of Pakistan. Sunday morning we will leave very early. I have the goal, to get as close as possible to the Iran Border. So we will spend the night from Sunday to Monday again somewhere in Turkey. Tuesday morning we will cross the border into Iran. And I believe we could be at our final destination on good Friday. It would be nice to park the Ambulance on Easter Sunday in front of the church. That would be great, but I will not put myself under any kind of pressure. This could become “unhealthy”, driving tired……Thanks for praying. I believe GOD for seeing you all in South Bend this summer. Any way to drive there…….
Jp, Marcel and Philipp

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Turkish Delight!

-----Original Message-----
Thursday, April 02, 2009 2:15 PM
Subject: Update

Short update on the trip. Please pass it on to everybody else. Drove four hours. Just three hours away from the Turkish border now. The officer this morning, when we came off the ship in Greece did not charge us for the road tax, because of the thing we do-- driving an ambulance to Pakistan, she said. Maybe it was my smile.....

thanks for praying, jp