Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008!

May we look back on 2007 with fond memories, during many trials and tribulations, and recognize that with a new year upon us, 2008 will be filled with goodness, blessings and incredible events that will change all our lives in ways we never dreamed of...

Happy New Year to you all!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Eve Experience

This Journal has sure taken some interesting avenues over the last couple of years! The aspect I love is having the ability to digitally pen my thoughts and experiences and know that at the click of a button a message is broadcast to a wide audience. What a resource this is...

2007 is about to end, and for many this has been a year action packed with adventure of some sort.

I would like to share one such adventure that has been interesting, challenging and sometimes disconcerting. After returning home from Dad's funeral in May everything was going good, until June 22nd. Driving home from the office with Nancy and Tammy I suddenly felt a weird sensation as if I was going to black out. Arriving home, I felt disoriented, dizzy, and fatigued...lay down for a few hours and tried to figure out what had just happened. Tuesday, I still wasn't feeling right, so Nancy made an appointment for me to see the Doctor. I explained what had happened the previous Friday, and he immediately ran an ECG which revealed an irregular pattern. He looked at it for a short while, and then looked at me and said "...I think you have had a heart attack, for your safety I am calling 9-1-1 immediately and sending you off to the ER for further evaluation" ~ I sure was surprised at his urgency. Within minutes I heard sirens blaring, and soon I was on my way to the ER strapped to the gurney. Further tests were done, blood work processed and shortly after I was discharged. Had I experienced a heart attack? According to the ER physician - no. According to my Doctor - yes. This began to play on my mind, and all the while the constant dizziness, nausea and fatigue was not leaving, and I lost an incredible 35lbs!

For the next six weeks, I began to progressively feel worse, losing my appetite, constantly fatigued, and plagued with extreme nausea that kept me in the bathroom constantly. I would go to sleep and barely be able to get out of bed in the morning - being a morning person, this seemed out of the ordinary for me. Nancy and I would arrive at the office, and within 15 minutes I would be laying on the floor at the back of the shop wrapped in a sleeping bag fast asleep for hours at a time. This carried on for a few weeks, until August 15th, 9.30am ~ I stood up from my desk, and felt an incredible heavy sensation across my chest, followed by an extreme lightheaded feeling and immense uncontrolled shaking. It was intense to the point that I told Nancy to call 9-1-1. A second trip to the ER resulted in me spending a week in the intermediate care unit. The symptoms that were being experienced pushed the doctors to run various tests to establish diagnosis. In four days I had 5 MRI scans of my brain, neck, spinal cord, and chest. Attention shifted to my heart, and I underwent a stress test, echocardiogram, carotid ultrasound, nuclear thalium test of the heart and extensive blood work. Everything was coming back negative, apart from the ECG which showed an arrythmia (irregular heart beat), and some lesions that were found in my brain. The Neurologist continued her evaluation and hinted that the two lesions found in my brain were symptomatic of MS (Multiple Scleroris). A further MRI is scheduled in a couple of months.

Attention then shifted to the arrythmia, and after three months of different medications the Cardiologist indicated that medication was not compensating enough to rid my heart of the irregular beating. After running further tests and ECG she accelerated a referral to an Electrophysioligst/Surgeon at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego. I saw this Specialist on December 7th, and after yet another ECG he took one look at it, and indicated that I was a perfect candidate for a "Cardiac Catheter Ablation". This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where catheters are inserted into the groin - femoral artery, and the neck, these catheters are then moved into the heart through the aorta and a 3D image is generated on a screen. This 3D mapping image locates the arrythmia, and once the surgeon has moved the catheters into the exact position of the faulty electrical passage, an electrical charge is delivered to the area, burning the fault, thus eliminating the problem. The procedure today has a 85% success rate ~ 10 years ago this procedure involved open heart surgery. If you would like to read more about this procedure here is the link: Cardiac Catheter Ablation.

The procedure has been scheduled for Christmas Eve, Monday December 24th! I am checking in to Hospital on Monday morning at 5:30am and the procedure will begin at 7:30am. This is a long procedure and will take as long as 6 hours. I will be monitored for another 6 hours, and will probably be allowed to return home on Christmas Day.

You know, when things like this happen they grab your attention. In my mind I have been concerned and have had a million questions to ask. Why me? How did this come to be? I thought I was healthy? The mind is an amazing tool. It can run wild, or stand still and do nothing. I have discovered that perfect peace lies in the knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and that whilst we journey through our mortal lives here, a greater destiny awaits, and many challenges have to be confronted and dealt with ~ the good news is we don't have to do it alone. There is no doubt in my heart and mind that the Lord is in control. It isn't for us to ask why...but can I share with others what the Lord has chosen to do in my life through circumstances that are seemingly beyond my human control? Can what I experience, if I step out and testify ~ help someone else in greater need than I?

I am guessing that many of you will be surprised at this post, and wonder why I haven't said anything earlier. Let me be real for a moment...sometimes we face situations that for a season we have to walk through, we have to navigate them selfishly with the Lord, until His perfect peace is instilled in that perfect moment, and for me that moment is here, and now. So I have the freedom to share my experience with you now. It is much like being one of those little sheep on the ledge awaiting deliverance. And so if you read the previous posts you will discover the method in my madness...I share what I feel is appropriate in "real life experiences", and relate the reality and knowledge of the Lord being our deliverer from life's trials and tribulations.

May this Christmas Day be filled with peace, blessing and love for you all. An update will be posted following my return home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Having a "sheep moment"...?

I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!
Jonah 2:6

Sometimes we have to experience the feeling of death before we can know the freedom of life. In a spiritual sense we have to give up before we can be raised up. When we realize there’s nothing more we can do, then God can intervene and save us. When Jonah gave up the hope of surviving, God intervened and saved him. Jonah had to die to his own desires before he could live.

In the highlands of Scotland, sheep often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they can’t get out of. The grass on these mountains tastes very sweet, and the sheep like it. They will jump down ten or twelve feet to a ledge with a patch of grass, and then they can’t jump back up again. The shepherd hears them bleating in distress. The shepherd may leave them there for days, until they have eaten all the grass and are so faint that they cannot stand. Only then will the shepherd put a rope around the sheep and pull them up out of the jaws of death.

Why doesn’t the shepherd attempt a rescue when the sheep first get into the predicament? The sheep are so foolish and so focused on eating that they would dash away from the shepherd, go over the precipice and destroy themselves.

Such was the case with Jonah. And such is the case with us. Sometimes we need to experience a little bit of death before we can enjoy the abundance of life. The Lord will rescue us the moment we have given up trying, realizing that we can’t liberate ourselves, and cry to him for help.

And at that moment God does something miraculous. He offers a gift - a gift of grace and mercy. Just like salvation came to Jonah, rescue will come to us.

This is such a blessing, knowing that as often we face situations and think there is no escape, the Lord is all the more ready to rescue us in our folly. His grace and mercy are truly everlasting...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ever wondered...?

I think what has been really amazing to me is the advent of the internet. Who would have thought ten years ago that we could sit in the comfort of our home, in front of this mass of plastic, cabling and graphics and be able within the click of a button to capture an audience with our thoughts, perspectives and musings?

I started the Jubber Journal in 2005 with the intention of sharing events and challenges that presented themselves to us as a family. Some of the entries have been funny, sad, joyful and interesting. A lot of my focus has been centered on the situations that continue to besiege Zimbabwe, the plight of the innocent in the aftermath of a dictator who is leaving a trail of destruction in his wake of evil leadership. As we head towards closing out 2007, the thought that has struck me deep in my heart is "how can I best use this resource as a tool to proclaim the goodness of God, and somehow shine through this technology as a beacon that will draw more men unto Him"?

2007 many have labeled the year of jubilee - Lev. 25:10 - celebrated typically every 25 - 50 years. Known as a year of remission of sin, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. I have seen the Lord working wonders through this year...

In May my father went to be with the Lord. Many doors were opened that enabled me to travel to Holland, some of the circumstances were impossible, yet the Lord opened many doors, and through sharing that event with many visitors to the Journal many lives were impacted. One such testimony that comes to mind is a reader who sent me this comment below on October 29, 2007:

"Praise God, That is a wonderful post, I just read about the cancer being gone. I just had to find a way to tell you. I do not know how to post a comment on your site. Sincerely, Rex Orr"

I do not know this man, never met him, but thank the Lord that he stumbled on the Jubber Journal and was able to find comfort and blessing and see the Lord working in a life altering situation. We communicated via email briefly and then I received the following email on November 11:

"The Founder/President of our company, Rex R. Orr, passed away on November 11, 2007."

Sometimes, we take lightly what we say and do, and how we perceive the awesome power and ability God gives us in the hope that we navigate life with Him in all our adventures. I stand in awe of the Lord, knowing how perfect His timing is, that He leads people across our path for a reason and purpose, and that if we only took a moment we would hear His still quiet voice and be responsive to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.

As we close out 2007, consider this, in your circle of influence how can you impact someone's life, and bring them hope and encouragement even though your own circumstance might be challenging you beyond what you think you are able to handle. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how much of a blessing it is to shine for the Lord...

Friday, November 23, 2007

This will get your attention...

Not much is known concerning the exact hour and time of the return of the Lord, but return He will.

Seriously consider this life altering question; Are You Ready...?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ian Douglas Smith: 1919 - 2007

It is with regret that I submit this post. Today in Cape Town, South Africa, the former Prime Minister of the then Rhodesia passed away after suffering a stroke.

He will be sadly missed, fondly remembered, and loyally respected for his leadership 1965 through 1980.

God's speed Ian, Hamba khule...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Zimbabwe's Monumental "Black Friday"

Today marks a significant day in History for Zimbabwe. On November 11th, 1965, Ian Smith signed the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia from the United Kingdom. The move was frowned upon by the British, the Commonwealth and the United Nations because they condemned the move as illegal. Rhodesia kept her allegiance to Britain, until independence in 1980, when ZANU PF gained control from Colonial rule, and changed her name to Zimbabwe.

Sitting here in my tiny home office, contemplating the last five years away from Zimbabwe, it struck me that this coming week, November 14th in particular is a significant day for Zimbabweans throughout the world, read on and you will understand why;

Zimbabwe marks the 10th anniversary this week of "Black Friday", when its currency plunged a record 72%, an episode widely regarded as the precursor of its subsequent economic meltdown. Under pressure after street protests by former guerrillas who were demanding payment for their role in the 1970s liberation struggle, President Robert Mugabe ordered unbudgeted payouts for 50 000 of the war veterans. The Zimbabwe dollar fell by 71,5% against the greenback, while the stock market crashed by 46% as investors rushed for the United States dollar. Since then, it's been downhill all the way, with inflation the highest in the world at nearly 8 000% and widespread shortages of basic commodities such as fuel and sugar in a country that had been a regional breadbasket.

Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), vividly remembers the events of November 14 1997. "I remember people crying on that day because then 25% to 30% of our investors were foreigners, and when these foreigners started offloading their shares, our stocks got hammered," he said. Since then, the overall value of stocks on the ZSE has been stuck at about $2-billion. "In fact, we haven't moved in real terms since that day," Munyukwi added. Many analysts saw the events of a decade ago as a clear signal of the government's willingness to buck the laws of economics for short-term expediency, a trend that continues to this day. "We have been consistently doing things economically wrong for the past 10 years," said Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch. "It was irrelevant whether or not they [war veterans] deserved the compensation; that wasn't the issue. It was beyond the country's means."

Quite sad to think that Zimbabwe was once considered Africa's breadbasket ~ today ravaged by a handful of intently selfish megalomaniacs, she plummets further into oblivion while the world stands by watching less appropriate or seemingly unimportant events occur across the globe, simply because Zimbabwe has nothing to offer...simply sad!

***Megalomania (from the Greek word μεγαλομανία) is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, genius, or omnipotence - often generally termed as delusions of grandeur. The word is a collaboration of the word "mania" meaning madness and the Greek "megalo" meaning an obsession with grandiosity and extravagance, a common symptom of megalomania. It is sometimes symptomatic of manic or paranoid disorders.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here are two important items of information to track the Fire situation live. One is the Google Map that is being updated as events occur. The other is a link to our local news channel that is covering all situations across the region as the news becomes available. This is an interactive map, by clicking on any of the icons you will receive updated information.

View Larger Map

President Bush touched down at Miramar Air Base a few moments ago, and will be touring the area during the course of today. This has officially been called a disaster area.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego Wild Fire Update

Hard to explain what is going on here right now. this is like a scene out of a movie, with spectacular effects. More than 500 000 people have been evacuated. Over 2000 homes and businesses have been totally destroyed. The Santa Ana winds have eased, there is now an onshore wind that is good and bad, good in the sense that the fires are not traveling west at this time, bad in the sense that the fire is now unpredictable in terms of direction. Since Sunday we have not seen the blue sky, the air is toxic and dumping ash 24/7.

We are staying home, are ready to leave at a moments notice, and are following the news constantly. I salute the State and Federal Agencies that are and have done a spectacular job with their commitment to fighting this disaster and for the highest possible professionalism that is being used around the clock to keep residents informed, safe and out of harms way.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monster Fire - California Ablaze

In 2003 there were some pretty devastating fires that wiped out 100's of homes in San Diego county - what caused it? A hunter who became lost from his party tried to get their attention by starting a small fire.

Fast forward 2007 - within three days of the anniversary of that bad fire that cost the State of California a few billion dollars - and here we are once again with an unfolding tragedy taking place.

It started out yesterday, when we heard there was a small fire in Ramona which is quite a ways up the road from us toward the desert. Next thing we know - door bell is going constantly, and someone banging on our door at 2:30am this morning! Our Neighbor - alerting us that the fire has become a monster and is heading our way. We woke up, turned to the local news channel, and started to follow this impending disaster taking place. At 4:30am we received our "reverse 911" phone call urging us to pack, get ready for evacuation and sit tight waiting for the Authorities to give the word to get out.

It is now 11:00am - the sun is completely hidden by the thick smoke and the fire is 0% contained due to high Santa Anna winds that typically come howling towards the coast off the desert. This wind is strong - 50 miles an hour constant gusts, usually dies down at sunset but this time it has been unrelenting, howling through the night adding fuel to the fire.

We took a drive to the office, and couldn't believe the difference in temperature and visibility. Clear blue skies, not a breeze at all, very strange.

Being back at home now, we have been informed that if it becomes necessary the authorities are going to turn off the gas and electric for safety issues. Added to that we have been asked to stay off cell phones to leave as much of the airwaves free and open for the crew that are battling this monster. Sadly, the aircraft that do the drops are unable to take off due to these raging winds, and poor visibility. Crews and resources are being flown in from neighboring States, and by tomorrow will have more than 15 helicopters in the air doing drops, as well as fixed wing - if the wind stops.

We live in San Marcos, so you will see one of the visuals of the area below that will give you some idea as to location and spread of the fire. The current wind direction is westerly which is in our path. So...we are sitting tight, waiting for the evacuation orders to come from the authorities. The news is grim, many homes have been leveled - the stats are going to be high...

Here are some images I have taken today starting with early morning to current (11:00am)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prayer For Zimbabwe

This is real, and I ask you to take a moment to listen and pray and agree with this particular post:

I am working on a post that is close to my heart, with regard to the Zimbabwe situation. The freedom of the internet is powerful, and I hope to use it as a tool to bring an awareness of the plight of innocent people and the saving grace of Christ at work throughout the world today.

Be blessed always!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Remember...

Today, September 11 we respectfully remember the events of the same day in 2001. Those who lost their lives in the event and the aftermath are remembered and never forgotten.

If you would like to download a image of respect please go to this link, it is free.

Respect September 11, 2001

May the Lord continue to strengthen those who suffered loss, there may be a battle taking place, but the war is already won.

Be blessed...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Great Listening

I have been searching for quite a while for a good Christian Radio online. Yes there are a bunch of great ones out there, but I came across one that not only has a cool website but they have a great selection of new releases and contemporary music which I enjoy. I have added it to my links - so check them out when you get a chance. It is simply called AIR1 and is based here in California, but being web based I am pretty sure you can listen. Let me know if it works for you!

In other news - the heatwave currently sweeping across Southern California is proving to be unbearable. I thought it got hot in Africa (which it does...) but right now the heat is crazy! We have resorted to sleeping downstairs because the heat is just not easing off as it should during the night. In theory summer is ending and fall is kicking in so that should bring some relief and cooler weather over the next few days - that is what we hope...going to the beach over the weekend was an option, but thousands of others had the same plan, so traffic and space was at a premium. Across the city "cool zones" were set up in malls, libraries and senior centers. Great idea for those folks who don't have aircon to go and relax in cool surroundings for a few hours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tiny Updates

So, last night the skies were crystal clear here in California. Going to bed I wondered in the back of my mind if I would by some chance get up and see the lunar eclipse taking place. Well - at 3.30am I was wide awake, and it dawned on me to peep out the window - there it was a blood red moon! Nancy got up too, had a glance up into the sky and went back to sleep!

Good news regarding the Revival Center website - the original URL is live:

I listen to a fantastic online Christian radio station, and came across this link that I thought would be of help to folk searching for answers and scripture references:

New Living Translation

I will list this link in my favorites as well so if you need it in the future just click and go.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lunar Eclipse 2007

This just in - hope you are ready for a spectacular event this Tuesday! A lunar eclipse will be taking place and will be best viewable in the Northern Hemisphere - sadly Africa will miss this one. Apparently the best views will be down under in hope you folks have your cameras ready. For us here in california it looks like it will be an early event which most of us will miss.

Lunar Eclipse - August 28th, 2007

I know to a large extent this is random, but for anyone who doesn't know - it could be shocking to see the moon turn blood red for approximately 45 minutes...

Enjoy it, and have a great week!

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's a Beautiful thing

I have totally been slack with my posting on here lately. I seem to always come up with an excuse and yet each day is filled with events that are worth sharing. How do you limit what you share and with whom?

One thing for sure is that since returning from Holland in May, life hasn't been the same. Actually more to the point this year, the year of jubilation, 2007 hasn't really gone according to plan. The 64 thousand dollar question is who's plan is being followed? Mine or the Lord? If it is my plan then I can understand why it has been tough, if it is the Lord's plan then how do I determine that and walk it through? Thought provoking isn't it...

This is such a resourceful place to vent, you would be surprised when honesty is employed how many people will identify with truthful statements that occur in daily life. Sadly most people are a closed book, under lock and key.

This Sunday Nancy's sister leaves for Johannesburg, South Africa with her baby son Joshua, and his Granny. Reason for the trip? This little gift from the Lord was born with a cleft palate and is scheduled for corrective surgery over the next three weeks. We know that this is a milestone for this little chap, but he is such a bundle of joy, and loves life to the fullest. Of course his big sister Kristen won't be going with sadly, because of school commitments, but she understands and is excited for their return.

Even in a nation of extreme hardship, where the rich and the poor meet together on the same level for survival, and inflation is currently hovering around 7200% (hard to imagine...) those with the will to survive make do with each challenge as it surfaces. The shortages are inhuman. Antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of AIDS/hiv are in short supply and medical imposters are selling scammed drugs for profit - how sad is that? What level will a person go to in order to profit off the misery and sickness of the parentless? When will this madness end one wonders? Yet the fat cats continue to prosper and do exceedingly well making multi million dollar deals for selfish profit.

There is a nucleus, a remnant that remains focussed, dedicated and faithful to the needs of mankind in Zimbabwe - the Church. Despite the difficulties, the Gospel is being preached, lives are being transformed and people are finding hope where none exists by turning to the Lord. It is amazing that when there is no gas, no electricity, no basic staple food, unsafe drinking water, sickness and disease, people still find peace and comfort in their service and commitment to the Lord. Reminds me of Paul who said he learned to be content in whatever circumstance he found himself in. He knew what it was to have much, but was content in having nothing. This New Testament passage of scripture is being lived daily by those who belong to the Lord in a nation that is being punished unfairly for a season.

Recently, we established contact with a good brother and friend back home. He pastors the church I came to know the Lord in way back in 1980! They have stepped up their campaign to spread the gospel by going electronic - yes - a website! We chatted about helping out and are blessed to be able to host the site on our server. There are a few technical difficulties we are working through to make it happen so it will share a dual URL for the times when there are issues in that neck of the woods. To visit Revival Center Ministries website your options are below in order of preference:


When you get a moment check the site out, it is packed with info and teaching that will knock your socks off.

In other news, I have had quite a trip of late with my health. I spent 4 days in hospital, had every kind of test run on me, and everything checks out. That is good news. The other good news is that I have lost a fair amount of weight (30lbs), and Nancy is making sure I eat healthy and stay in shape. Sometimes we let go of ourselves and don't ever think there will be consequences later on, but trust me - the price will have to be paid. I have stopped drinking sodas and coffee and am drinking green tea, water, and fruit juices as well as changing my food intake to consist of more organic food stuffs. Tastes the same actually...and is far more healthier!

Enough rambling - it is Friday and the weekend is here - hope you all have a good one, take care out there and be blessed in all that you do!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I must share this with you

Sometimes strange things happen to our bodies without us knowing what is going on. With all the events that have been happening lately, I haven't felt too good, and it culminated in me having to see my doctor on Tuesday. Let me back up a little here and you will begin to see where this is going...I have not gone into deep detail as that is not necessary.

Friday after work on the way home with Nancy and Tammy I suddenly felt as if I experienced an electrical shock through my brain. It was a dreadfully weird feeling, to the extent that I was out of commission for 4hrs eventually falling asleep at home. I had a relatively quiet and relaxing weekend after that experience until Monday. On the way home in the car the same feeling occurred - this time not as sever but bad enough for me to pull the car up in traffic and ask Nancy to carry on driving.

At the Doctor, he asked what I experienced and what I felt, and was uncomfortable with my description of the events of Friday and Monday, so he got the Nurse to check my blood/sugar level for diabetes, that was clear. My blood pressure was high 148/96. Then he ordered an ECG and the results alarmed him significantly to the extent that he expressed concern that he felt I had actually experienced a Heart Attack. Looking over my ECG he notified me that to be safe he felt it best that I be rushed to Hospital and called an Ambulance. Nancy was told the exact same story that "I think your husband has suffered a Heart Attack, and it is necessary that he be taken to Hospital for validation and further tests..." Shame - Nancy couldn't believe what was going on, and was overwhelmed, she called the girls, Vicky came to the doctors office to be greeted by an Ambulance in the parking lot. The Paramedics hooked me on to oxygen, and a monitor and were talking me through everything they were doing, as well as asking me questions to establish my coherency (dates, time, city, year, date of birth etc.). On the way to the Hospital I couldn't quite believe or come to terms with what I had just been told, and even more difficult to believe I was being rush to Hospital for this sudden heart condition. Yes - I was gripped with fear, because nothing was making any sense. How could this be, I kept asking myself.

At the Hospital, I was wheeled in and immediately had people milling around me, hooking me up to a monitor, and then another ECG was performed, and blood samples taken, as well as a chest xray. A short while later Nancy, the girls and their friends (Sam & Shannon) arrived and of course seeing them all, I was relieved but also didn't want them seeing me in such a state. Jerry also came by on her way home from the Ministry Center and I was blessed that she was there and prayed. A short while passed and the Doctor came back bearing good news. My blood is clear of heart issues, my xrays indicate a healthy heart and clear lungs! The best news I had ever heard! Of concern was the blood pressure, and lightheaded experience . However, after sharing a little while with the Doctor he summized that the onset of the events over the last 5 days is a culmination of stress.

Amazing that no matter how much faith you can have, no matter what your belief values are, no matter how calm you think you might be...stress can kreep in, and the body has a mechanism that will kick in when the load is great, and remind you that you are reaching your threshold.

I thank the Lord for His grace and Mercy and for being with my family through a difficult time such as this.

In addition to what was a scare - I do want to share a huge blessing. Today when we arrived home from work at the front door was the largest fruit & vegetable basket I have ever seen in my life, along with two wonderful books for me to read on health. I do not know who blessed us with this basket, but I know one thing for sure in my heart, the Lord will bless abundantly the hands and hearts that have blessed us. may the Lord shine upon you and bless you always for your caring loving hearts!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Build it & they will come...

Today marks the first month since Dad's passing. It is said that time flies when you are having fun. Well, what happens when it isn't fun anymore, and time still gallops like there is no tomorrow?

The events of the month of May still seem distant, almost as if it were a dream. Nonetheless, time is at work, and life goes on. There have been some really personal, special times of reflection, and I have been blessed to recall some very special memories.

Ironically, this past weekend TFH men's camp centered around "Leaving a Legacy". I always knew one day would come for me to sit down and figure out what legacy I was going to build and leave for my children. I think many people build their legacies around material substitutes. At one point that was one of my attaining goals in Zimbabwe, to build a successful powerhouse business that would one day be left to my children. It was on track and success was on the horizon. Then plans changed and we found ourselves across the oceans' floor in the States! No problem...material legacies can be built anywhere, anytime and will usually succeed. If the well being of your children is important then you will make a plan and your legacy will take shape.

Watching Dad for the past three years walk the road that he was called to walk, brought a different perspective to me as far as legacy is concerned. As a family we watched Dad go through the loss and heart break of losing Mom. Being in Holland, not fluent in Dutch, adjusting to a new lifestyle very different to the typical African counterpart, and then being diagnosed with stage 4 NSCC (Lung cancer) Dad successfully adjusted with a few hard knocks along the way. I looked at Dad and wondered what his legacy to us would be when the Lord called him home.

I became acutely aware of the spiritual aspect of what it means to "leave a legacy..."

Dad embraced the Lord with all his heart, and began studying the Bible, watching every possible Christian broadcast he could find, ordering CD's and DVD's to fill his hunger for his search for the Lord. He carried two Bibles - an english and dutch version, and was soon known in his senior's home as the "African Man of God". He would tell everyone his life story, and even while undergoing chemotherapy treatments, would share with the nursing staff, doctors, and patients of how great the Lord is. He never complained, never became lost without hope, never feared the future that lay ahead for him. He never grumbled, and never argued. Those who would visit him were in awe of the peacefulness surrounding Dad. He expressed an astonishing desire to be with the Lord, and knew without a shadow of doubt that his eternal life was secure.

Being at TFH men's camp this year, I equated what we heard and learned to that of Dad's newfound legacy that he left us: To be a man of God; To shine as a light for Christ; To always be ready to give an account of the hope and calling that we have in the Lord in our hearts; To think of others more highly than we do of ourselves; To hunger and thirst for the things of God more than any material possession we can attain and achieve in this life; To not shrink back in adversity, but to stand firm and know that this is a journey and we ought to walk life out in such a way that we draw others to Christ, by example; And finally, to make it one of our life's goals to bring our families both near and far to the throne of grace so that we might all partake in the riches and fullness of Christ that is to come.

So - Legacy, sure the material legacy is important and wise, but I believe the spiritual legacy is of greater importance than the material.

One of these will pass forever, and one will remain after testing forever...

Many events took place that will be kept in the family vault as far as Dad's journey in the last 3 months is concerned, but the most outstanding event is that of how he turned 180 degrees from a life without God to one overflowing with God - that is Dad's Legacy to us, and we receive it, and walk it out, and will build on it and pass it on to our family and so the seed of his legacy will remain, and continue.

EDIT: Take a listen - really great lyrics

Friday, May 18, 2007

Back Home

What a week! Here is an adventure packed story if there ever was one. Started of course with great sadness in hearing that Dad had passed away and gone home to be with the Lord. Then the next objective was to get to Holland in time for the funeral and to be with Billy & Karin. I literally raced up to Los Angeles to the Dutch Embassy to get a visa and must say that the staff were truly fantastic in taking care of my application. After securing my visa the next hurdle was going to be finding a way to Holland - this is where provision and a huge miracle took place. A few weeks prior "S~C" emailed me and offered their air miles as a means of getting me to Holland to be with Dad. At the time it seemed unlikely that I would travel for various reasons, and so I made the call and within 20 minutes "S~C" had arranged the flight for me. I was totally amazed! Sitting at the airport I contemplated what lay ahead upon my arrival. I hadn't seen any family members for 5 years, 'what a moment to meet again...' I kept thinking. Usually any kind of trip has a level of expectancy, excitement for what lies ahead, yet this trip I had nothing - just the reality that I was on a mission graciously provided for, to go and help my family bury our Father. Landing in Houston was interesting - the flight was on time, but the distance between terminals seemed like an endless marathon. I made it to my departure gate 15 minutes before take off and settled in for the flight ahead. The weather in Holland was chilly and raining, made for an interesting landing! As I walked out of the Customs area I heard Karin yell out my name, and when I saw her and Billy and little Rebecca standing off to the side, my heart was filled with joy and emotion. It felt good to see family again! Driving back to Billy's house, we chatted in the car about Dad, and caught up a little. Arriving at the cemetery, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, other than to go through the motions of a funeral, only this time it was special - the significance of this day was awe inspiring for me. I was going to see Dad for the last time, and I was going to have the ability to pay my respects to Mom who passed in 2005. I was scheduled to be the last speaker and this was a personal honor. As I stood and looked over all the people who had gathered, it struck me that I was looking at two unique families. My blood family, namely Karin, Billy & Linda who had for the last 3 years looked after Mom and Dad, and over the last number of months been with Dad on a daily basis almost. The other family was of great significance. Dad's Church family, and now by spiritual adoption my family. These folks had come to Dad's side and were with him like my blood family right up until he was called to rest. It was really great for me to meet with each person who loved and cared for Dad. I have had much email communication with them all, but meeting them in person was awesome. Actually it was special, because they all resounded what a blessing Dad was, and how they loved to be with him. The average Dutch funeral lasts probably an hour ~ we concluded everything a staggering 3.5hrs later. The afternoon seemed to go by in a flash. Saturday we had a great day, we went to Utrecht to visit Lisa and to see her kids - vanity fixed her eyes on me and the two of us clicked! What a beautiful soft natured baby! Damien was a bit shy, but came out of his shell at the end of the visit and waving goodbye was sad as we drove off. Sunday Billy and I went to Dad's Church - Het Kruispunt, and I felt really welcome and at home. To be in the same Church that Dad had fallen in love with was special. Everything was just like being back here in Church. Same worship, same joy and genuine love, a real place to fellowship. After service we had lunch with Pastor Marinus, Mattie his wife, and all the brothers and sisters who were close to Dad. It was a very special time. Sunday night we drove to Apeldoorn, to meet Tante Nel, Oom Henk and Tante Ann for Chinese dinner. The irony of it all - Billy indicated that the very table we were sitting at was the same table they had sat together with dad for the last time! Monday was a rush day, I had to go to the Foreign Police, then we went to Dad's old home, and cleared out a few more things, visited Tante Nel and Oom Henk, this too was a unique visit. Tante Nel is Mom's sister, and so we chatted for a while catching up on the years gone by. I remember as a boy, living in Holland in the 1970's I would go often with them for long walks in the Dutch forests. We would pick edible mushrooms, and berries and those memories seem as if it was yesterday. Amazing what events impact your life growing up. Monday night was a real treat, Linda made a delicious Indonesian dish, which I gulped down savoring the flavors. Tuesday came all too quickly, and no sooner had I arrived then it was time to leave again. We stopped off at the cemetery on the way, and I had a moment to bid my farewell, it too was a special moment. The drive to the airport seemed to go fast, and suddenly the reality hit me that I was already on my way back home to the States. Farewells are always touching. I thought to myself "wonder when I will see my family again..." no one knows those answers. The flight back to New York wasn't full so I had a row to myself. In the terminal the line was huge, and it was a race against time. Believe it or not, I was actually the last person to board for the last leg of the trip into San Diego. At one point my legs felt like a mass of jello, but somehow I made it just in the nick of time. Coming in to San Diego I looked out the window and there was a Padres ball game in progress, at that moment I knew I was home. And now it is Friday night, and to be honest, it feels like a dream. The events of the week right now are a blur, I can't believe all that has happened. I do want to make special mention of the following people: "S~C", Pastor Marinus, Mattie, Ineke, Evelyn, Catriena, Ina and every single person who impacted Dad's life in Holland. I sincerely pray the Lord bless each of you abundantly, as you all have blessed my family, I am truly thankful for each of you, and humbled to be a part of your lives.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dreaded Moments Glorious Rejoicing

This has been a very difficult weekend. Karin took the step to fly to Holland to be with Dad for two weeks, and it was a dream for me to travel too, just to bless Dad and be around him for a little while. Over the months he has been struggling with his health, but through it all has stood firm and bold in the knowledge that the Lord is in full control. Dad came to fellowship at a Church in Voorthuizen called Het Kruispunt where he truly became a part of the family of God. Over the months and weeks, the brothers and sisters surrounded Dad with love, prayer, scripture and worship. Well, as Karin arrived in Holland a phone call from the Hospice notifying Bill that Dad was not doing well. He was able to see Karin walk in the door, to which he exclaimed "I can't believe it - you are actually here..." The Church brothers and sisters had also gathered together with our family and at 15:50 Saturday Dad went to be with the Lord. I am in the process of preparing to go to Holland to be with my family to bury a man that had a profound impact on my life - my Dad. I watched Dad transform from a sinner to a believer, and have been blessed and count it an honor to have witnessed the goodness of God working in and through Dad. He didn't understand or see it in this life, but unknowingly he touched many people through his example and faith. He has completed his race, he has won the prize - eternal life in glory with the Lord. Yes we are devastated and sad but our hearts rejoice because Dad graduated and has gone home to be with Mom and all the other saints who have gone before. I don't have too much else to say right now, but will be adding to the Journal when I return from Holland.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Face of Adversity

I heard it once said somewhere in London every so often, you can stand on a box above British soil, and rant and rave and let it all out. Otherwise known as Free Speech. Whether that is still allowed or practiced I am not sure.

Lately the "Face of Adversity" has seemingly been gaining ground and yet through it all we continue to see the faithfulness of God. All of us at some point in life will face adversity. Be it work, family, self; someone else perhaps - adversity in some shape or form will be your friend.

So, my little soap box, rant and rave for today is that I dislike adversity. I wish it on no human being. Wouldn't it be easier to plain sale through life without difficulties? Trying to understand why adversity comes is futile. The only reason I can summize it happens is; personal inner growth.

Talking about the "face of adversity" - I was touched by the American Idol season channeling support and much needed help into adverse situations in Africa and back home here in the States. To see the emotional side of Simon Cowell culminate in carrying a terminally ill woman to Hospital (...she passed away two days later from AIDS) does show that if we take focus off our own lives and look to someone who has perhaps a greater need than us, we will note that our face of adversity is not as bad as we like to tell ourselves. I think what is remarkable that through this level of entertainment and global challenge to help suffering people - American Idol 2007 has raised over $70 Million Dollars for aid in a matter of less than 14 days.

Something I keep wondering is; what if there is more to life? Is money going to fix it all the time? Surely not! What if there was a greater help that could be offered. Something that isn't materialistic in its' form. Say, something that has eternal value. Fact is we are all going to pass one day. So, if I am staring into the face of adversity but have inner peace surely that would be the greatest of help? I think coming to the table as entertainers and helping out of personal abundance in many respects is easy. But giving something of eternal value to someone who has a material need, surely outweighs the temporary level of physical suffering. So to me the eternal value can be summed up in offering God's salvation through Christ's death on the cross to generations of people who might be glaring into the face of adversity. Food for thought...

I am working on a post to catch up on the weeks that I have missed, but sitting here at work today, I suddenly realized that I skipped the entire month of April.

Friday, March 16, 2007

MDC - the awakening has begun...

I like to think that I am by virtue still a Zimbabwean, and therefore inclined to support events that take place locally, industrially, commercially and foremost politically on home soil. Any news search online this week will no doubt list the events taking place in Zimbabwe at the moment. In as much that last weekend the MDC called for a prayer meeting, and subsequently what took place in general consensus is the beginning of the end for the powers that be. The 'police' attacked MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, shot and killed an MDC activist and imprisoned and brutalized countless unarmed supporters of the MDC. I came across this youtube link ATTACK ON MDC and encourage you to open the link and hear and see first hand what took place last weekend.

I have often wondered when the MDC would spring into action, but now I can see that the only real way that true democracy will be re-established in Zimbabwe is when the people themselves reach their threshold, when the people collectively come together and say 'enough is enough' and force~change the situation. Will the government kill everyone? Surely not! Unite, come together Zimbabweans, usher in the new beginning...the power for true change is in the power of the people, rise up and take back your nation. Then let the MDC and others bring back sovereignty in it's honorable form back to Africa's once famed breadbasket.

Of interest is the manner in which the government is responding to international outcries - this is the beginning of the end, the final unraveling of a despot and his henchmen.

Our heart, thoughts and prayers are with you all - you are not alone!!


Some links relating to events as they are currently unfolding:

Zimbabwe is Africa's Shame
Zimbabwean Defiant After Police Beating
Zimbabwean Opposition Leader: I was a victim of beatings
Mugabe Arms Police
Rivals Vow to Drive Mugabe Out
Mugabe Tells Critics to "go hang"

Now would be a good time for a western nation to come to the table and respond to the threat being presented - help the people of Zimbabwe, time for change is now!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

About time!!!

Have you noticed how fast time is going? I dawned on me today that I have not updated my blog once this year - how sad is that? So - how has 2007 started for you? Too many questions at the start of a post don't you think?

No seriously, I love blogging - it is a way of letting people gather a glimpse of a "day in the life of..." and sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. Over the time life of this blog I have had some wonderful creative ideas spring to mind on how to make this a platform for sharing information, staying in touch with friends and family, and for making new friends. I must say that I have had the blessing and honor of establishing contact with long lost friends and one in particular I would like to expound on. When I started high school a few years ago (yeah right...) there were two seniors who took me under their wing so to speak, one now lives in Mauritius, the other in South Africa. Ken and I over the years became best friends, and one hobby we shared was building bicycles and perfecting the art of "popping wheelies" - the art of riding your bicycle on the back wheel for as long and far as possible. We really became good at it, and at the local shopping mall we often would attract a small audience who would cheer us on, and watch how far we could go. Those were the fun days...!

Well Ken and I lost contact many years ago, probably early 80's when he left Zimbabwe for South Africa and so to have been able to re-establish contact lately has really been wonderful. One thing that is scary is when you are a kid, and time passes by, when you see your friends from school days you get a sudden shock and reality check of what the aging process does to our bodies as we grow old. Recently Ken rode his motorcycle up to Zimbabwe, and whilst there he took a few photos and sent them on to me. It touched my heart to see pictures of places that I had frequented as a kid, my old school and finally to see pictures of Mom & Dad's home where we grew up. Memories came rushing back, and I would like to share a few with regard to the pictures below.

The first few pictures is of a place called "Hillside Dams". In the 70's and probably earlier too, this was a family picnic get-away on weekends. There were two dams, - upper and lower, and lots of nature paths to walk on, with descriptions posted along the way educating you on the flora and fauna. The upper dam allowed you to fish, usually catch and release, no boating was allowed and during the rainy season we always placed a bet on how high the dam would rise, and whether in our lifetime we would see it overflow - well of course it did overflow many times! The lower dam is usually where the crowds would gather. You could hire a boat and paddle across the dam, along the edge of the water bank you were allowed to feed the ducks, and fish. I remember the fish actually stealing the bread from the ducks as fast as it landed on the water - funny how childhood memories stick in your mind so vividly. The lower dam also had an attraction in the form of a live band that would play music under a gazebo, and a well stocked candy shop offering treats. Looking at the pictures below, and reading some vague descriptions of what used to happen here would make it seem this was a major figment of my imagination. Sadly most people who lived in our city should they read this entry will add their amen! Now this once prolific sanctuary has become overgrown, frequented by fishermen catching for food, not for recreation. It is a place that is unsafe to visit alone usually resulting in crime, and the memories of yesteryear have all but vanished into the depths of those who have sought life outside of sad.

This house brings back memories. The funny thing is none of us have been there for years, and yet it still is the same color Mom & Dad painted it many many years ago. I never thought it would still look exactly the same but it does. This is the house that I knew as home for many years of my life, as well as my sisters and brother. It was home! The tree that is almost over shadowing the entire house was planted by Dad - something he carried out of his car and dug a small hole and planted - well look at it years later! To the right of the house is what used to be a lockup garage. It took on a few different purposes over the years, from keeping Dad's car safe at night, to housing my first motorcycle. Then it became a living flatlet that was used by a few members of the family in transition to their own homes etc. I remember on the roof of the garage one day I became creative...having come across a can of white spray paint I decided to write something on the galvanised corrugated roofing. This is what it read "JESUS CHRIST IS..." and then there was nothing more ever written. At the age of 16 I became a Christian and so one day I remember thinking to myself - "...airplanes fly over the house every day...what if I write that Jesus Christ is Lord on the roof, perhaps someone will see it and their life will be changed...". What a concept. Years later I remember one comment Dad made...and this is what he said to me: " should have finished what you started on the garage roof that day". Isn't life like that? We start many things and don't seem to have the energy to bring to completion many of the projects we embark on.

Gifford High School was less than 5 minutes walk from home. I remember my first high school day as if it were yesterday. Stiff starched uniforms heavy, back pack with books, and big kids being nasty! Little did I realize that in time to come, I would become one of those kids towering over cowering kids on their first day of High School. The pictures below will show you the prized Rugby Field where only the Headmasters First Team would play. No other levels in the school were permitted on that field during Rugby Season. I do remember my first high school rugby game though. It was the first sport I chose to get involved with, because I loved the nature of the game, the seriously rough and tumble manner in which it was played, with zero protection. My first game was amazing - my parents were there in support and the inevitable happened. As the whistle blew for kick off, I raced towards the defense knowing I had an audience (Mom & Dad) reaching the defense with the intention of ripping the ball from his hand and darting to the other end of the field to score a "try" everything ended almost as fast as it started!!! I crashed into this kid at full speed putting my knee out, ending my career instantly on the rugby field. The pain was mega excruciating and trying to put on a brave face was impossible! Today as you can see in the pictures this is not the flamboyant field it used to be. Behind the field you can see a building with the roof ripped off. That used to be the music and art block...I sat in those classrooms honing my skills - or should I be more honest and say "goofing off" just like 99% of the other kids. Music was one of the most painful experiences for me. Mrs. Hughes was the most strictest teacher I had ever come across - we had to sing, and sing properly - I hated it with a passion. She once caught me riding my bicycle in the suburbs with my school socks down below my ankles - she pulled me over, yelled at me, and told me i would be visiting the Headmaster (Mr. Menee) the next day to explain my tardiness outside of school. I received two cuts with a bamboo cane for this little incident. Those were the "old school" days - where discipline meant what it stood for!

Looking at these few pictures sent to me by my good friend Ken, sure stirred up fond memories of life growing up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. None of the photos resemble what used to be...the vibrant exciting city is being laid to waste - sure the structures are there, but life will never be the same.

If you could turn back time in your life today, have you ever wondered what you would do differently to shape your future? Like Dad said to me many years ago...son you should have finished what you started...