Saturday, June 23

Saturday, June 16


well, i (sarah) am back home. it was really nice to wake up in my old room, especially since the bed is new and nice and comfy. i do miss jason though.

please by praying for jason this week. things in the middle east are getting kinda rough, if you haven't read the news. bethlehem is relatively unaffected by everything in gaza right now, or was on friday morning when i left. so we are safe where we are, but it is affecting millions of palestinians who are our neighbors in towns close by. pray that peace will somehow prevail in the land.

well, i'm off to breakfast at cathy's corner. the the tour of eating begin!

Tuesday, June 12

The Headlines

This is a little update we just sent ot our support list. I'm to lazy to write an origanal post, but here's the headlines from the last few weeks.

The last few weeks have been quite a blur, complete with flurries of activity, many "see you laters" and a few goodbyes (for now) with our House of Hope family. The children will return to their homes for summer break on Friday and Sarah will leave early that morning to return stateside. It's hard to believe that these 10 months we've spent in Palestine are almost over, but it actually is true.

So much has happened in the last few weeks that we will have to just give you the highlights (and lowlights). Please don't expect any great words of wisdom concerning our time here, they won't be ready until we are able to rest and reflect. Without further ado, here are the highlights.

Light of the World (Formerly Hiba Amru Charitable Fund) Benefit Dinner
Last Saturday night, at 7pm, the first annual Light of the World Foundation benefit dinner took place at the Bethlehem Hotel. Sarah took the lead in organizing and staging this dinner in order to benefit the newly established Light of the World Foundation, which is the newest (more official) incarnation of the Hiba Amru Charitable Fund, which we have been working to establish in order to help a young girl from Hebron to receive a Kidney transplant.

We were able to raise about 3400 shekels during the course of the dinner, and though it wasn't quite the financial windfall we were hoping for, it did provide some valuable experience regarding how to organize and run such an event, and some much-needed exposure in the community. Sarah expects that this will become at least an annual event, and we may (if you are lucky) stage a similar event stateside if the opportunity arises.

The Adventure Gardens
Construction on Paidia's Adventure Gardens has finally begun. Although the beginning of the project was fraught with delays, we have now completed the structure of the 40ft climbing tower that now stands on what was formerly a Jordanian and (later) an Israeli military base. We hope to begin holding summer camps by the first week in July, and therefore must complete construction of the low elements, at least one side of the climbing tower, and all our safety checks by that time.

This project has been an adventure, and most every minute that Jason is not at the House of Hope, he is working on the tower in Beit Sahour. The last week and a half of his time here will be very busy, as he is planning for the summer, trying to finish strong at the House of Hope, and contribute to the construction project at Paidia. A new wrinkle was thrown into this project this morning, when Jason woke up with severe back pain, preventing him from working at the site for the immediate future.

Computer Theft
Unfortunately, all the positive excitement was apparently not enough. Sunday night, when we decided to spend the night with some friends of ours in Beit Sahour, our room was broken into from our balcony door. Fortunately, the thieves left our money, passports, camera, (as well as the money that we raised at the Foundation dinner) in our room. They did, however, manage to make off with our laptop computer and a DVD player that we were borrowing from a friend. The government situation being what it is, there is really no reason to alert the local police, and we realize that, barring God's intervention, we should not expect to get the things back.

We have already been able to make contact with someone in order to replace our computer on the cheap, but our backup CD's were also in the computer case, meaning that many of our pictures, documents, and other personal files are now gone. Although we are frustrated by this turn of events, we are thankful that we lost only things, and that God closed the eyes of the thieves so that they did not take the other things in the room.

Another sign of God's grace in the midst of frustration was Sarah's comment that she made to me (Jason) last night as we talked about the theft. "I hope that whoever stole the computer was a poor person who has a family to feed, and they are able to get the money they need from it." My response was far less generous, but Sarah's merciful spirit shone through clearly at a time of crisis, and I thank God for such an incredible blessing.

Financial Support
We are not entirely sure exactly what our support situation is right now, because we were keeping track of our financials using spreadsheets on our laptop. However, we should be able to rebuild our records within a few days (and with some help from you, Eric) and we'll know more once we are stateside.

Prayer Requests
Some of these may seem a bit disconnected from the rest of the e-mail, but these requests are really what are on our hearts and lips, and we ask you to join with us in talking to our loving Father about these concerns.

Please pray:
For the safety and development of the children over their summer break
That we will not forget too much Arabic during the two months in the US
For safe travel and protection from jet lag
For Jason's back pain to lessen so that he can return to work on the construction project
For the House of Hope, Paidia, and Light of the World to grow and to glorify God in their work
That God will provide the money that we need for the coming year

Monday, June 4

crunch time

i have 12 days left here. jason has one week more than that. it's weird to be almost done. i keep saying that i only have X days/weeks left, but it doesn't really feel like that.

i'm really gonna miss the kids. iyad didn't come back after this last break and ahmud was sent home, so we've already gotten to see what life will be like without some of them in our lives. jason's a lot sadder about it than me, but i think if any of the girls hadn't come back, i would understand more. it will be a big shock to be able to wake up and not have to worry about if asma is up running around, if baraa fell out of bed, if aya is invading someone elses bed after she peed in her own. some of that will be nice. i hope it will be relaxing. but i'll still miss it.

so jason and i are really busy right now. i kind of like it because it keeps me distracted and gives me things to do. but i also get overwhelmed and do things like write on my blog or watch the office instead of being productive. i'm trying to wrap up our work at the house of hope, working on a benefit dinner for light of the world that is this saturday, figure out what's going home and what's staying here, and still have energy to take care of the kids. jason's working two pretty much full-time jobs. they're building the climbing wall and the low ropes elements for paidia this week. he's really excited, but also really exhausted.

we're trying to figure out when we're gonna get to see people this summer, so if you'll be near siloam or little rock, let us know and we'll try to find a time. if you're not close to those places, buy us a plane ticket and we'll come see you.