10.05.2014 - 10.05.2014 65 °F
We retrieved ONE bag today . . . but it wasn't the one we expected.
We understood this first recovered piece was to be the trunk with 250 prs of glasses & other project supplies that we intended to use during this trip. However, when we picked up the bag this morning – to our surprise, the returned bag was the OTHER checked bag = our little checked suitcase with odd bits of Dave’s warmer clothing for Amsterdam, plus some yummy treats, snacks and gifts for host family.
And the trunk with all the glasses? There is ZERO tracing information about the trunk – so that's not looking good at this point. We had hoped to do a glasses distribution while Mike and Diana Henderson (friends from Hermiston OR) are here with us, but this is day 6 of that missing luggage & they are leaving tomorrow. Rats!
Yesterday Jean replaced her missing coat, on Air France's nickel (they got by easy – we had about $250 allowance to replace essentials, and the grand total was $36 for an adequate lightweight parka (not an equal to her missing GoreTex coat...), a pair of leather gloves and a matching scarf. She can get by with these in Netherlands, but we are still hoping for the trunk's return for obvious reasons (and it would be lovely to leave this nice clothing behind for our host's wife).
So we ask you to keep praying -- time's a wasting here. We leave the 10th, so if it's not here in a couple days, we will have no use for it till next trip. We don't want it returned to USA because we'd just have to bring it back again . . . so let's hope it gets here sometime and stays here. I'm not even certain that our hosts can claim it without our passports . . . hmmm. Houston, we might have another problem . . . Well, God will sort it out -- he always does! Thanks for your continued prayers.
We did a partial food distribution yesterday - Diana & Mike helped Dave shop for food & assemble the packets. Diana was such a blessing to the old/poor/sick people who received our food packets - she offered the bags with a greeting in Romaneste’ ("A little gift for you"), and visited with such compassion. Mike also visits with the people so easily - it's fun to watch them just fit right in. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven". Truly both Diana and Mike were the hands of the Lord yesterday = “Jesus with skin on”.
We are all still kinda jet-lagged (turning 10 hours around is just plain difficult!). This trip we had planned to do 3 primary projects:
- 1- Glasses Distribution. Here’s how it works: We just open our trunk filled with reading glasses of various diopters, and ask someone on the street if they need glasses. We fit them with a Snellen eye chart (in Romaneste) - and the crowd gathers. Build it and they come. But without any glasses . . . that project is on hold. We had so hoped Hendersons could participate in that - it’s really fun, valuable to the locals, and fascinating to watch the dynamics.
2 - Food Distribution. We spent approx $300 on 30 food packets. Food was a little cheaper this year than we expected, so there will be more (or larger) packets distributed at Christmas. We leave enough $ for the same kind of produce: salami, pate, noodles, sugar, flour, cookies, oil. It’s not a lot, but the staples do bring a little practical cheer to the very poor who are either elderly, disabled, widowed, or long-term unemployed.
3 - Visit Petre. We brought this illiterate peasant boy for facial plastic surgery when he was 10. His face was fried on a stovetop when he was an infant -- parents were drunk and he fell out of his little crib onto the stove. Village teachers would not allow him to attend school because he was “too ugly”. The surgeries were marginally effective because he was a poor healer (keloids) - but he can at least now close his eyelid and smile. The big work was done in his heart, with people to love and care for him. He’s in his 20‘s now and we would love to see him. It’s a full day’s trip up to his very remote mountain village: a steep drive on a very poor stone road which we would only attempt if the roads are acceptable. We’ve been afraid to try it because we had a little rain the other day, but we might still be able to go if the weather stays clear.
I was amazed to find WiFi here at our host home, but we’ve been unable to access all web pages. That explains the abrupt blog posting the other day = it was a work in progress when I lost the connection and therefore lost my composition. The neighbor has an excellent connection, but we don’t want to bother them – but after walking around the property searching for his signal, we finally found we could sit in the barn doorway and get on his signal. The turkeys are a few feet away and chatter off-and-on. Of course it doesn’t smell very good right there, but it works! People everywhere seem to have cellphones -- even the almost-illiterate peasants driving the horse-and-cart! And I’m surpised how many smartphones we see; and most homes of younger people seem to have internet.
I’ll try to get a good enough connection to post some photos today – IF I can figure out how to post photos, that is . . ..
Please keep praying for our lost luggage -- we really do need that missing piece! Thank you!