Monday, December 21, 2009

Kyle's Recital

Here is some video footage from Kyle's most recent piano recital.

Here we go a-caroling....

The third grade students in my school surprised me on the last day before vacation with some caroling outside my office. They are so cute!!!

Naivete Exposed

I had no idea. I mean, I should know for goodness sake, but I didn't. Not really. Not until I saw it close up. Not until I touched it, smelled it, laughed, cried and prayed with it.

In the daylight, Penang is a tropical island paradise. It's sun and beaches and food. But at night a different Penang emerges. A Penang that is hungry and lonely and lost. When the shopowners pull down their metal gates for the night a new tenant unrolls a tattered blanket and curls up in the doorway. After the food stall owners serve their last customer, a new customer looks to be served.

The island paradise suffers from a nocturnal blight in the form of the homeless and the sex workers. I got to see this with my own eyes when I volunteered at a local shelter called Kawan House. My school and church work to help out and donate money and goods to Kawan House. Here is some info about the place from their website:

Kawan (which means ‘friend' in the Malay Language), is a drop-in Centre situated at 37 Love Lane, in Georgetown, Penang. We serve the street based community whether that be those who are homeless, drug users, sex workers and people from poor backgrounds. The Kawan ministry provides free services such as breakfast, lunch, bathing & laundry, a rest area, hair cutting facilities and referrals to other service centres. We can serve around 100 people each day we are open.

A team from Kawan goes out onto the streets of George Town every Wednesday evening to build further relationship with people on the streets and we run a street church service on Saturday mornings where around 25 people attend.

We also run a charity shop to serve the local community. We have seen that the streets of George Town is a harvest field that is ripe for harvest, yet the workers are few.

One Wednesday night I got up enough nerve to join these wonderful people in their work on the streets of Penang. It was a humbling experience to say the least. I met so many people, and they were kind and sick and empty. One man sleeping on a park bench, saw our small group walking and recognized the group from previous weeks. He called out to us and asked if we would pray for him. The experience was real and raw. One woman in our group was in the middle of a heartfelt conversation with a prostitute when the conversation was cut short because the prostitute had a customer. This same prostitute has a 5yo daughter who is often in the room during "business hours".

The work that the people at Kawan house do is remarkable. They feed and clothe and minister to the forgotten ones. It is hard to think of the Christmas season in the same way as before after seeing this. As we celebrate the birth if Christ this year, take a moment to pray for those who will not be opening any gifts.

Kyle LOVES doing Homework

Can't you tell?

Thanksgiving in Penang

I have to admit...I was looking at our first Thanksgiving in Malaysia with some trepidation. We have always celebrated Thanksgiving with the same family members, the same food, and usually around the same table. But this year it would be completely different and I was sad about that. I couldn't find the right kind of cornmeal to make my famous cornbread stuffing and turkeys here are hard to come by and expensive!

Shortly before the holiday arrived, another family that has been working at Dalat for several years invited us over for thanksgiving dinner. We were very happy to join them rather than spend the holiday alone even if the menu included ham instead of turkey (that's how most westerners end up celebrating here). The big day finally arrived and when we arrived (sweet potato casserole in least I oculd find my ingredients for that!)...we were surprised with a REAL turkey dinner!

Larry and Debbie and located and bought a turkey and gave us a little taste of home. It was such a great day. This is a pic of our kids and their kids gathered around the table to eat. I have so much to be thankful for.