Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feeling loved

Pam brought some very special gifts with her. Look at how much our family loves us! This is a really cool potholder that Jordan made for us...

Jordan also sent a cool drawing of the boys riding down the hill at their house.

Taylor drew a picture of their new Wii. Jed is jealous!

This one is Morgan almost falling in some water. Woah!

Haley and Christian made us this really cool photo album.

Inside we found pictures of them and really cool drawings. Christian drew this one (my favorite part is Batman), and there a picture of Bobbie Jo and Haley next to it.
Aren't we so blessed? We have such great nieces and nephews who love us! To Jordan, Taylor, Morgan, Carter, Christian, Haley, Amanda, and Xavier, we love you so much!

Pam's arrival


She made it! What a relief. There were no problems and everything went very smoothly. We picked Jed's mom up in Nelspruit around 9:30 last night and arrived home just after 10. Talked late, of course. She hadn't slept at all on the flight, and when we first saw her she was hyped up on pop! ;)

I just arrived in the office, it's almost 8am, and Pam is still sleeping soundly, so that's great.

This morning I have an appointment with the eye doctor (because my prescription expired and I need new contacts). So we'll all go into White River and have coffee and see what there is to see. Jed took the day off, and I took most of the day off. Tomorrow is a public holiday, so we'll see what we can find to do around here. The weekend will probably be low-key, lots of catching up and looking at pictures, maybe a day in Kruger Park or a drive to Blyde River canyon, probably taking Eunice and Eunie grocery shopping. Normal things, mostly. We're planning to update the blog very regularly, since I know the Heubners at least are eager to hear how Pam's doing.

Thanks for all your prayers and for your incredible generosity in helping Pam get here. You know who you are. We love you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bouncing

We have a new family volunteering at Hands, Dan and Jen Waspe and their boys, Marley and Sonny. We had a nice supper together. The boys entertained me and Jed entertained the boys.
video
Just so you know, Jed didn't want me to post this because he didn't want anyone to be jealous. Just know that if he could bounce any children in the whole world, he would definitely choose his nieces and nephews. We loved hanging out with Marley and Sonny, but they made us miss Jordan, Taylor, Morgan, Carter, Christian, Hayley, Amanda, and Xavier more than ever!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Goodbyes

One of the hardest things about being at Hands at Work long term is that we're constantly saying goodbye to great people who come here to volunteer for two weeks or two months or a year. (Shout out to Carly and Jon and Lacey and Laura and Dara and Daryl and Stephanie and Callan and Marc and Dan and Heather and Pieter and Liesl and Morgan and Dana and Nathalie and Jordan and Laura and Tracy and Kevin and...you know who you are.)

It amazes me to see the impact that people can make in just a short time. The latest goodbyes were said to these beautiful ladies from Edmonton...
Beth, Tara, Katherine, and Dayla.

They were only here for three months, but they served with their whole hearts. They lightened the load for many of us, including the people working in our offices in DRC and Swaziland. What a privilege to get to know them and laugh together and serve together! We will miss them very much, but we're excited to send them off on the next leg of their journey to India.



This is everybody yelling at Jed. We had worked so hard to get the automatic timers going on two camera, and Jed stepped in front of them (on purpose) to capture this image at the last second. Ha!

The good news is that we are also welcoming five new volunteers in the next week or so. Wow! The great news is that one of those volunteers is Jed's mom, Pam. Yay!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Snake on a plane, er, in the workshop

I know you guys love to hear about snakes. Check this one out! It's a Mozambiquan spitting cobra. (Don't worry, it was dead when we took the picture.) As they say in SA, "Eish!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Auld Lang Syne by Jed

Don't tell Jed I posted this. My parents send him a harmonica for his birthday last month. It even came with a book. He practices pretty regularly. (Do you know how hard it is to play one note at a time on a harmonica?) He's getting good!

video

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hands' Conference 2009

We are together. The theme of our conference this year was appropriate and inspiring and meaningful. I spent the first week of our conference here in White River with all the Hands staff from Zambia, DRC, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, in workshops in the morning; we covered topics like Hands' family tree, our culture (vision, mission, core values, code of conduct, etc.), communication. I spent the afternoons in meetings, usually with the Hands' staff working in Zambia, since it's my job to support our two offices there. It was incredibly exciting to make plans for major expansion in west Zambia, east Zambia, and the Copperbelt. Remember, we're aiming to support 100,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (the poorest of the poor) with food security, home visits, and education by the end of 2010. About a quarter of those children will come from Zambia! (We supported around 6,000 children last year.) In the evenings, we often had our African visitors over for dinner. (I posted a few pictures of that a while ago.)

After the Africa Conference, we were joined by staff from Hands at Work offices in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, South Africa, and Canada. We spent a couple of nights at a beautiful lodge and ate amazing food--like kudu and wildebeast! We spent the days talking about what's happening in Africa...how Hands at Work is empowering the local Church in Africa to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic by reaching out to some of the 12 million children who have been orphaned by the virus. As George says, the house is on fire! Today (literally, just today) over 5,000 children were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It's easy to gloss over that fact, until you meet somebody like Lorraine.

This is Lorraine. She is 14 years old. She is caring for her to younger brothers, Clarence and Remember. Their parents died a couple of years ago, and they have no one. No granny, no auntie, no older sister to look after them.


They live in a small block building with broken windows. They sleep on an ratty old straw mat on the dirt floor. When Jed and I met them, they had no hope. Lorraine wrecked us. Jed and I couldn't sleep the night we met her. We struggled to put our feelings into words for days. We could only cry out to God on her behalf.

In the last few months, however, things are starting to look a little better for these children. A few ladies in the village were encouraged to help look after orphaned children in their community. Many of these ladies don't have much to give. They struggle, just like their neighbors, to put food on the table each day and to purchase the school uniforms their children need to attend school. But one of these ladies, a special lady named Mina, understood that she did have something to give. Time. Compassion. Love.

Mina now visits Lorraine and her brothers twice a day. She listens to them and tries to help whoever she can. She brings hope. Mina is my inspiration. She is what keeps me going.

The best part of the conference this year was that we kept our focus on children like Lorraine. You see, many of us have seen and cared for children like Lorraine. But even in Africa it's easy to get caught up in day-to-day office stuff--reporting and emailing and fund-raising. But at the end of the day, it's all about Lorraine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One Shining Moment


Brooke asked me if I had posted yet about "our team's victory?" So here is my post. One Shining Moment is always a highlight of the NCAA tournament for me, so I thought I would share this years. Many of you might turn off your tv after the game is over, but every year CBS plays the 'One Shining Moment' montage. Here is the 2009 clip! Hope you enjoy as much as I did. For those of you who don't know Brooke went to grad school at UNC and we were there in 2005 for their last national championship.

Brooke ended up coming in second in our Heubner family pool. I came in third to last. I managed to beat the two youngest entrants into the tournament in my nephews Christian and Taylor. Let's just say my selection skills are a bit rusty after not watching a game in nearly 2 years! At least that is the story I am going with. Thanks again Kathy for getting it set up! It was a lot of fun to follow, even though I did terrible.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Madness!!

I would like to say thank you to my sister-in-law Kathy for putting together our Heubner family NCAA tournament pool. It looks like being unable to watch games for 2 years has thrown off my supreme ability to pick winners of games, but it was fun none the less. At this point I am still beating Brooke, but if UNC can pull off the national championship I may end up losing to my wife in a sports pool. It wouldn't be the first time though. She won my office NCAA hockey tournament pool in 2007. The only chance I have left to save face is Connecticut winning it all!

The internet service was upgraded last weekend in the area where we live. We now have 3G coverage. That might not mean much to many of you, but basically we went from old dial up speeds (around 30 Kbps) to speeds around 600 kbps. So our speed increased 20X! This means that I can now stream live low-quality video (thanks http://mmod.ncaa.com/) However, since you pay per megabyte of information downloaded my internet bill will probably increase by 20X (sorry, Brooke.) I think it will cost about $20 to watch the game. And since CBS makes games available on demand I won't have to watch the national championship game at 2:30 in the morning. I just have to avoid looking at scores and can pretend the game is happening as I watch it! (Who am I kidding, I'll probably watch the game live as well as pre-game and post-game. It isn't March Madness without seeing, "One Shining Moment!") Isn't the internet amazing.

I have often wondered during my last 20 months here how did people do this even 5 years ago. I think it would be so much harder to stay connected to my family and the world! No facebook, no email, no blog, I struggle to think if I could have made it this long without these tools? I'm glad I don't have to think too much about that. I'm glad I can still see blogs of friends having kids, of NCAA tournament brackets, of Facebook status updates, of the Hibbing Daily Tribune being online (how's the detour through Chisholm for Hwy 169?). I'm thankful that even though I am halfway across the world, I can still stay connected!