Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Haiti Trip March 2014

Edith and I were on a trip to Haiti from March 3 to 15. We spent the first part of the time in Cadiac. There we attended the convention at the Cadiac Church. I preached on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. During the day we visited savings groups that are part of the Open Hands savings group program in Haiti. At the end of February we had 165 savings groups in the program, with a total of 4,067 participants. In 2013 these people saved the equivalent of $242,00 U. S. Dollars.

We had a good time with our friends there, and enjoyed the trip very much. Marvin and Lois Mast and Joe Kuepfer from Kansas also traveled with us on the Cadiac portion of the trip. Marvin is on the Open Hands committee. Joe and his wife will be joining the Open Hands staff team in July. They will be living in Cadiac from July - December 2014. In January 2015 our plan is to have them based in Hyderabad, India, although that hasn't been confirmed yet.

Then on Sunday, March 9 we met Bethanie in Port-au-Prince. She took us to LaSource where she lives and works on Monday. We spent the remainder of our time with her in LaSource. We enjoyed being with her and seeing again what she is involved in there.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

This is Lyndon Swarey, Joe Kuepfer, Marvin and Lois Mast and Edith in the Open Hands office in Cadiac. My apologies to Lois. Her head is not on the picture. 

There was a double wedding in Cadiac on Saturday. This is one of the couples who got married. They have been living together and have four children. They were baptized the same day they were married. Their house recently burned down, so they are living in a temporary shelter. 

Of course, we did some birding while we were in Haiti. Here are Edith and Bethanie walking along one of the paths while we were birding. 

Here is an ovenbird. 

This is an Ani. 

And a gray kingbird. 

This is a village weaver. 

This was my favourite bird. It is a tody. They are so cute! 

Here is another picture of the tody. 

Here are Edith and Bethanie with one of the nurses from the clinic and her husband.   

This is an Antillean Mango Hummingbird. There are three kinds of hummingbirds in Haiti and we saw all three of them. 

There are many mockingbirds in Haiti. Here is one of them. 

Here is an American Kestrel.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Calendar Revision

A few months ago I was at the vehicle licensing office. The man behind the counter ask me what the date is today. I told him what it was. He then said, "You know if they would stop changing it every day, maybe I would be able to remember it then. But they change it every single day. How am I supposed to keep track of it?"

As we get close to the end of the year, I usually think about how we should revise the calendar. I think we should have 13 months every year, with each month having 28 days. That would make a total of 364 days. Then at the end of the year we could have a one day holiday, before the new year started. Of course, every four years we would have to have a two day holiday for leap year.

With this calendar if the first of January would be on a Wednesday, as it is in 2014, then the first of every month would be on a Wednesday. We would always know what day of the week a certain date would be on.

If we would then not count the holiday at the end of the year as any day of the week, the dates would always be on the same day of the week every year.

I just think it makes so much sense. But I don't know how to go about getting the western world to adopt a new calendar.

Then too we would need a name for the 13th month. My suggestion would be Edithober or Edithember. What do you think of my calendar revision suggestion?

Sunday, October 27, 2013


 Last week Edith and I visited Nepal. We were there to visit with the staff of EQUIP Nepal. They are in the beginning stages of developing an orphan support program. Many pastors in the country of Nepal are caring for orphans in their home. EQUIP Nepal intends to provide some very minimal and basic support for the children in these orphanages.

We spent the first day of our visit in Kathmandu. Then I traveled with Joe Kuepfer and Stephen Burkholder out into the mountain villages south of Kathmandu. We visited two pastors and spent some time with the children. It was 110 kilometers from Kathmandu to the first orphanage we visited. The trip took us about 5 hours. We crossed two mountains that are both over 6,300 feet high.

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

This is a view from beside the road as we were going up the first mountain. Right beside the road the mountain dropped off over a thousand feet into the valley below. I told Stephen that if we took one step off the side of the road they wouldn't find our bodies until November.

This is a view from the side of the road going down the second mountain. You can see the road in the distance. This road was a little wider than one vehicle, but not as wide as two vehicles. Yet there was two way traffic. It was challenging at times for vehicles to find a way to get past each other. 

Here is a section of the road going down the second mountain. The first 80 kilometers were winding mountain roads similar to this. We traveled about 20 to 30 kilometers and hour and sounded our horns at each turn because it was impossible to see if any vehicles were coming from the opposite direction.  

This gives you an idea of the nature of the travel. There were motorcycles, cars, mini buses and small trucks on the road. Of course it was also shared by cows and other animals. We were driving motorcycles, which is the most practical method of travel. 

Here the children at the first orphanage we visited are doing their homework. They came home from school while we were there and needed to get their homework done. Stephen Burkholder is observing as they work on their homework. 

Here are two of the children from the second orphanage we visited. We stayed at this orphanage over night, so we had more time to play with the children at this orphanage. One of the girls had her eighth birthday while we were there. 

Here is another picture of the road. Also, you can see the terracing in the background. These mountains are filled with small villages. The people are farming the mountainsides all along the road. From some points on the road we could see up to 19 villages. Many of these villages are accessible only by foot paths. 

This is how I traveled. I am not an experienced motorcycle driver. It was an interesting ride and my skills improved as the two days went on.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Thailand Trip

 We have been in Thailand for a little over a week now. Hans and Sharon have been here with us. With them here, we are doing a lot of our tourist type activities. We spent a few days at the Lanna Resort to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

I am teaching a course titled "Kingdom Theology II" at the Institute for Global Opportunities in Chiang Mai. It is a three week course. I am now in the second week of classes.

Here are some pictures from some of our activities:
This is some of the grounds at the Lanna Resort. It is a beautiful facility. 

This is a picture of some orchids at an orchid greenhouse. 

Another flower from the orchid greenhouse. 

Here are Edith and I at the entrance to the elephant camp. 

Here is a picture of a flycatcher we saw at the Monthathan waterfall.

This baby elephant was two weeks old when we saw him. 

Here is Hans in the cage with the baby tigers at the tiger kingdom. 

Here is a picture of an oriental magpie robin.

Monday, August 19, 2013

We Are Moving!

We are moving to another house in Sioux Lookout. We got possession of our new house on July 31. Since then we have been moving things whenever we go to town. I was in Haiti from August 1 - 10, so we didn't move much during that time. Since I am back we are taking a load in every day. We need to be finished by August 29. It is going pretty good and it looks like we will make it with no problem. I have pretty much decided that I don't ever want to move again. I hope this is the last time for us to move.

This is a view from the front of our new house. 

This is a view from the back. The room in the center that extends out is a three season sun room. 

This is a side view of the heated shop that is behind the house.

This is a view of part of the back yard and part of one of the flower beds.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Open Hands Haiti Trip

I left Sioux Lookout on August 1st to go to Haiti with a group of men to visit Open Hands savings groups. Two other Open Hands committee members were with me, Merle Herr and John Omar Lapp. We met in Miami and traveled from Miami to Port-au-Prince together on August 2nd.

Saturday we toured Port-au-Prince, and had lunch at the Baptist Mission at Kenscoff. We drove out to Cadiac in the afternoon and arrived early in the evening. We stayed with Lyndon Swarey while we were in Cadiac. Mairi, his landlord was very good to us. She provided good rooms for us, and gave us breakfast in the morning.

Sunday we attended church in the morning. In the afternoon we visited a savings group in Miragoane. From Monday through Wednesday we taught on family finances at a seminar at the Cadiac church in the morning and then visited savings groups in the afternoon and evening.

We are pleased with the progress of the savings groups in Haiti. At the end of June we had 125 savings groups with a total of 2,848 members. In the first six months of this year the savings groups have saved the equivalent of $103,674 USD. Following are some pictures from the week.

This is the executive committee of the group we visited Sunday afternoon in Miragoane. This group was completing their third six month saving cycle. There are 69 members in this group. They really should divide into two groups, but everyone like this leadership team so well that no one wants to be in another group with different leaders.

At the end of the meeting they distributed to each member the funds they had saved over the past six months. The 69 members had saved a total equivalent to over $6,000 USD. The people were so pleased to get their money. They also had  maintained a savings account for the church. They gave that money to the church. Then after everyone had received their funds, they took an offering for the church. Junior Saurel Milien is the facilitator for this group.

This is a group in a new area for savings groups. Monday we came to this church in Fond-de-Rabi. They have been saving for a little over a month. The people are excited about what they are doing. Rochemy is the facilitator for this group. He is our newest facilitator and has about 5 groups in the Fond-de-Rabi area. 

Tuesday we traveled to the Flior community which is close to Lazile. We drove as far as we could and then walked about 45 minutes to arrive at the meeting place. The walk was mostly up the side of a mountain on our way to the meeting. This is a view from close to the top of the mountain. It was a beautiful place. I told the people there that if this view was in Canada, it would be valuable land! 

The group in Flior was a group that is cared for by Johnson Jeudy as facilitator. Johnson is on the left in this picture. The president of the group is on the right. This group is in their second savings cycle. 

Thursday we visited this group in Leba. We drove for an hour and then walked about five minutes to get to this group. They are in their third savings cycle. When we asked them what they had done with the funds they had saved in their last savings cycle, some said they had paid their children's school tuition, one woman said she had paid off her debt, another said she had fixed up her house. John Mark Philippe was teaching a lesson on priorities when we were at this group. John Mark is our teacher. He teaches in groups and trains teachers in the groups to teach the lessons that are prepared for them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sandpiper Pictures

This evening I went out in the canoe hoping to catch a few walleye. I only caught three northern pike, which I released. I did get some good pictures of a sandpiper though. When I got to the dock he was sitting on the wing of a yellow airplane. When I came back he was walking on the gravel road. Here are a few of my pictures.