Monday, December 28, 2015

A Gift Easy to Forget

There’s a gift that I’m learning to value more and more, though it’s nothing new to me.  I hope I can help you to value it more too, as it’s a gift that the world around us is working hard to devalue.  Men gave their lives so that we can enjoy this gift, yet we often take it for granted.  This gift is freedom.

The story of Roger Williams is a piece of history we should all become acquainted with.  Roger hated seeing people oppressed.  He stood firmly against intolerance and oppression, which were common in the colonial age he lived in.  While those around him in New England were busy exploiting the new world around them, he treated the Natives fairly and befriended them.  He founded the colony of Rhode Island on a bold new principle: that one’s religious persuasion should not affect his or her civil standing.

About 150 years later, a group of men who some would call rebels pledged themselves to live or to die for the principles of liberty, and founded the United States of America.  These principles have now influenced most of the world for decades.  Much of the prosperity, peace and happiness enjoyed in the world is owed to these principles.

Freedom came from throwing off the rule of the King of England.  There’s a freedom I love even more, however, and this freedom comes the opposite way: from submitting to the rule of a King.  Sure sounds ironic, doesn’t it?  It won’t when you know the King.

I had the privilege of tagging along with Fountainview’s choir and orchestra on their Christmas tour this year, so I heard their concert about 25 times.  Their featured song, “What Kind of King”, was meaningful to me each of those 25 times.  The lyrics include “What kind of king trades a royal robe for rags, and wears a crown of thorns upon His brow?  Who leaves His throne to carry a cross so willingly…”

We’re familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth – Baby born in manger and all that – so familiar that it’s easy to miss the significance of it.  Can you imagine the freedom He enjoyed as Prince of the Universe?  He could do anything He wanted to do, go anywhere He desired to go, and even create anything He could dream of.  What would make Him give that up, and constrain Himself to human limitations – the hard life of a poor man?

He couldn’t stand seeing us without freedom.  He saw that we were slaves to sin, and knew that this slavery always leads to death.  He had to reach us with the only thing powerful enough to break the chains of sin we were bound with: love.  Jesus’ promise is that He’ll write His law of love on the hearts of all who invite Him to.  He values our freedom too much to force this on us: we must continually choose Him.

God’s law is known as the Law of Liberty.  This title seems like an unsolvable paradox until we realize where the law is written: in our minds.  There will be a kingdom that enjoys a much fuller freedom than any of us now experience.  It will be a country where everyone does what they want to do – because like Jesus their favorite thing to do will be to make the lives of others better.  You can be part of this kingdom: God will qualify everyone who is willing.  I recommend the book Steps to Christ for more details – it’s easy to find online.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Views of Congo

Shortly after arriving at CFM's campus from the well-drilling project, I tagged along on a trip to see a village school.  Here are some views of what school is like for many village kids:

another scene from the school
After visiting the school, we went to another village.  We wanted to see the village's river access, so we could plan boat trips there.  We were escorted well.

Mosier family at the river

At the end of November, I got to accompany Luke and Chantée, with their crew, on a trip down the Congo river.  They went to the villages of Yangambi and Yalolia, setting up their portable dental clinic at each village.  The video below, though not professional by any means, gives a good view of what it was like at Yangambi.  It was similar at Yalolia, with the addition of crowds of kids.

Handing out toothbrushes in Yalolia

When I would bring out my camera in Yalolia, the kids would go crazy.

These kids walk a few kilometers to and from school.  Many in Congo walk 5km or more each way.

I met these guys when I was walking down the road looking for fruit for sale.  They showed me this new church start on the way.

When the people in this village heard that I was looking for fruit, they sent kids shimmying up the papaya trees.  I ended up with way too many papayas.

Luke and Chantée, with the Yalolia pastor's daughter

Last-minute tooth removal

Pushing upriver: the guys plant their poles, then walk to the back of the canoe.

Rivers afford the best access to many villages in Congo, so the proposed CFM hospital needs river access.
Guys from the land office showed us a potential riverfront property

Ferry service - many ladies with huge loads of produce, as below, would cross the river here to get to the market

the market is still a long walk away
Views from at or near the CFM property
the Congolese love to celebrate whenever they can - in this case for the arrival of Barry Mosier

The view has been different for the last couple of weeks: the conditions on Rose-Swanson are great for snow-biking right now

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kalima Well-Drilling

August 18, 2013:  I went to Okanagan lake with my friend Landon, who was determined to teach me how to stay above water on a wakeboard.  Mission accomplished - then I'm on my way home to pick up my bags and head to the airport with my parents.

August 19, way to early in the morning:  I'm stuck in the conveyor system in the passenger processing plant known as the Toronto airport.  My bag isn't showing up on the screens as having passed US customs, and it's almost time for my next flight.

August 21:  having repeated my prayers for a jet-pack and helmet so I can avoid airport terminals and dozen-hour flights, I step into the Kigali, Rwanda airport.  Now the guys in uniforms aren't letting me through to the baggage claim, since I don't already have a visa.  Finally I talk to the right guy, who goes through the simple process to give me my travel visa.

I finally get out to the arrival area, where Nathan, his mom Alvina, and girlfriend Starla are waiting for me.  There's no need to look for my bag on the baggage conveyor, so we rush off in an attempt to catch a run-away bus west.  We catch up to the bus at a stop just outside the sprawl of Kigali.  We relax, and watch the well-farmed hills of Rwanda pass by.

Rwandan hills - it was dark before we go to the nice, jungle-covered hills on the border.

 Great company: Nathan and Starla above, Alvina being herself below (photo by Starla)
After a night at a border- town in Rwanda, we cross the outflow of Lake Kivu to enter D.R. Congo.
It's so hard to let little old ladies carry our heavy bags on their backs, up the hill to the DRC customs building.
Views of Lake Kivu from the part of Bukava we were lodging in

Fishers on Lake Kivu above, boy showing me a common past-tome beside the lake below
A man arrived at our hotel to sell his paintings.  I had no need of paintings, but he needed enough money to travel and see relatives.

We had a week to waste in Bukavu, so I asked Fevrier about a trip to Kahuzi Park.  Therefore we spent a morning waiting at Biosadec University for permission and arrangements.  Some of the Biosadec staff decided to take us on an outing.  We didn't end up in the park, as far as I know, but we did make it out to a rural area where we delivered a huge lunch of peanuts and bananas to a semi-tame baboon.  Then we saw some other Biosadec projects.  At a little farm of theirs, it was obvious that the caretaker would have benefited from the baboon's meal much more than the spoiled baboon, but all I had left were a few squashed bananas.

The professional way to fix wiring
Yes, they do fly - I saw them
We finally made it to Kindu.  There, it took a couple days of waiting in offices and banks for Nathan to receive payment for wells he'd and his crew had completed.
Views from the river ferry at Kindu
The journey to Kalima ended up being quite a story - thanks to a semi-reckless driver with no spare tire.  We sped / bounced past a truck loaded with people - then the van we were in died.  The truck driver lent us his battery to get the (diesel) van started again.  We again sped past the truck - then blew a tire.  The truck driver tried to help us get the van going - it was painful watching them try to put on a tire and rim of the wrong size - and with a different bolt spacing.  Anyway, the truck driver offered us a ride to Kalima, then stayed around while Nathan's crew fixed the van's tire, then took Azaria back to the van with the tire, then came back.  It was sure nice of him to spend half his night helping us.
Kayumba pumps a recently-installed well in Kalima

It's good to see the well getting used well - you'll see this same well later

Kalima church - you should have heard them sing

talented bird

It was great to learn how to use the little trailer-mounted drill rig.

This was my favorite job.  In the African heat, I didn't try so hard to avoid the spray

view near drilling site

There was usually a crowd supervising

Family I walked a couple miles with when I was on a Sabbath-afternoon stroll.  He spoke a bit of English.  They still had hours of walking at this point.

 Michel, our host's son, took Nathan and I on a tour.  We passed through an abandoned Belgian settlement - now it's a school.


Same well as shown above, during a repair.  If you expand these pictures and look closely, you can see the PVC pipe.  We took it out as one piece by directing it up over a jackfruit tree and down into the neighbours' yard.  We broke it when we tried to put it back in, so still had to do some gluing. 

Starla and Alvina got some good pictures of well-drilling that I missed - I'll try to post some of them soon