Transforming Harrisburg
January 24, 2014

On January 23, 2014, JoLene and I attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony for new townhouses in the Allison Hill section of Harrisburg, PA.

These townhouses are a project of the Brethren Housing Association (a ministry of the Church of the Brethren) and Pinnacle Health. Six blighted homes on Hummel Street and Haehnlen Street (really an alley) will be demolished, and five townhouses will be built, in which homeless single mothers will get a second chance at life.

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For 25 years Brethren Housing Association (BHA) has helped women and children out of homelessness through rehabilitated housing. In so doing, the BHA and its many partners in the community have been a stabilizing influence in a distressed neighborhood.

On this bitterly cold day the groundbreaking went forward, on site and outdoors, with many community leaders turning shovelfuls of dirt that a workman had already loosened with a backhoe. Without his preparatory work who could have turned any dirt with a shovel on a winter day like this?

About 50 people attended this event. Part 2 of the event was a business luncheon at the Church of the Brethren on Hummel Street. At last we got warm! As part of the program a mother who has already been helped by the services of BHA told her story of moving from homelessness and helplessness to a new life for herself and her children.

If you want more information about this project, or if you would like to make a donation, you may  contact Steve Schwartz, Executive Director of BHA, at: sschwartz@bha-pa.org.

The Church of the Brethren cares about people’s spiritual needs, presenting faith in Jesus┬áChrist as the way to true life, both now and in the world to come. They also care about the whole range of human need, reaching out to help in all kinds of practical ways. This multi-sided ministry is a sign of the kingdom of God.

My wife and I live in Harrisburg, and we are pleased to see ways individuals and agencies are working together to see people’s lives transformed in ways that bring long-term good.

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Christmas Eve in Bethlehem
December 24, 2011

As JoLene and I planned this trip, we were eager to include being at Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Again this year the Jerusalem Baptist Church, located at 4 Narkis Street, was planning a bus load to go to Bethlehem, and we were pleased that seats were available for us.

The group was international, with people from Japan, India, Holland, Norway and Canada, to name a few.
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Saving Children
December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Earlier I posted a blog for this day, but somehow it disappeared and couldn’t be retrieved, so here I am recreating it. Sigh…the joys of cyberspace.

This morning Hank took JoLene, Chris M. and me to Tel Aviv to see the facilities and meet some personnel of Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), the charitable Israeli organization that I described in my blog about December 19. Hank’s organization (1 New Heart) and Brethren in Christ World Missions work in cooperation with SACH, sponsoring children to come from the West Bank to the hospital for surgery. SACH accepts children from many nations, but so far, we have specialized in children from the West Bank.

Our tour started at the Wolfson Medical Center.

This is a general service hospital; the heart surgeries done by SACH take place in one wing and are only a part of what goes on in this Center. Dr. Houry, who does the ICU work with the children, gave us a tour and a careful explanation of the program. Two other doctors also do the work of SACH. Dr. Sasson, who does the heart surgeries, gets paid for his work. The other doctors and nurses all serve as volunteers; they work full-time at other medical duties and serve with SACH free of charge. They are all compassion-minded Jews but welcome partnership with a Christian like Hank.

Here is Dr. Houry, talking with our group in an ICU ward. How many people do you recognize in this photo?

We met Hanan, a two-year-old girl from a village in the West Bank who was admitted for heart surgery and who will be sponsored by 1 New Heart. Unfortunately, son after entering the unit she got the flu, so surgery had to be delayed and she returned home to get over the flu.

We learned that on Tuesdays SACH has a clinic for Palestinian children, free of charge, to screen them regarding their heart issues. Have you ever heard of this kind of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians being reported in the news in USA?

Next we drove a few miles to the children’s house, where the children and their mothers, or other relatives, stay before the surgery and again after the surgery until the child is deemed recovered enough to return home. Here is a wall in the house, with a tribute to past surgery patients.

Then we drove a bit farther to tour the new house for children.

It is state of the art and spacious and will soon be ready for occupancy. The wall around the property features the logo for SACH.

After this we returned to Jerusalem and my mini-apartment for the three of us men to spend a long afternoon working on review and planning. The session was quite productive, and we all felt a sense of accomplishment.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of reconciliation, and it is a great privilege that the Brethren in Christ have a part in reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Thanks for your prayers for, and your participation in, this great work.

At the Center of Madrid
May 21, 2011

So here is my photo report to follow up my comments in my previous blog about the demonstrations here in Madrid at Sol, the heart of the city. The news reports that similar “Sol camps” have been set up around the nation.

First of all, here is Hotel Asturias where we are staying. A two-star hotel, so it is not quite as nice as the average Comfort Inn at home, but the cost is less than $100 a night and includes a free breakfast. We are well pleased.

As I mentioned before, this is located one long block from Sol, so we are very close to the heart of things. It is a privilege to at this place at this time.
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Photos from London
December 26, 2010

Here are some photos to illustrate my trip to London on December 13-20, 2010.
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Guatemala – Monday, November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010

Our last full day in Guatemala. Tomorrow we fly home.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010
April 24, 2010

The staff at our hotel invited us to join them for a special breakfast, which was most enjoyable.

The day was warm and sunny, so when we and our friends went to Speakers’ Corner, many people were in the park and at the Corner.
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About Life’s Difficulties
April 1, 2010

I found this prayer written by Tracy Macon Sumner to be wise perspective on life and troubles and God’s larger purposes – a thoroughly Christian view of life.

Father, help me to see the difficulties in my life not as just chance circumstances but as the instruments in your hand used to mold and shape me into a stronger, more complete believer. Help me to see them not just as your disciplines, though sometimes they are, but as things you have allowed into my life to help give me more strength, more faith, more love, more compassion. In short, Father, use everything that comes my way to draw me closer to yourself and to make me more and more like your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ.

Trip to London – Sunday, September 27
September 29, 2009

This morning we went to Hollingbury Hotel to have a chat with two of the men who sit at the front desk. It was good to catch up with them again. One of them has completed his law exams and will be looking for a job in his field.
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London – Sunday, September 20, 2009
September 21, 2009

Up early to go with our friend Edgar Moyo to St. Helen’s Church of England Church in Notting Hill. I had met the church’s Vicar (Pastor) Steve Divall on previous visits, and he invited me to give a brief report about the work I do and the varied ministries of our missionary team.
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