Friday, November 20, 2009

A Beautiful and Muddy Country

Hi everyone...we typed this last night but the internet went down before we were able to send it. We are just leaving for the first night of the Festival of Hope. If anyone is up at your late hour, please be praying that the rain will hold.
Love you is the update.
Rwanda Update: Thursday, November 19, 7:40pm GMT+2
Hi guys, We've managed to find a wireless signal and someone from our team is letting us use their laptop they brought. Wow, so many stories to share...
We got to Rwanda yesterday in the morning. We came to our hotel, had some lunch and then immediatley set out to do work projects. Some went to orphanages, some went to run eye glass clinics and we went to the local hospital to visit with the sick. There were three of us and we each had a translator. We probably prayed for about a 120 people or something like that. It was intense because everyone wanted prayer for healing. I'll share one story...
We approached a group of people outside one of the wards and we heard screaming. We approached and the noise was coming from a young boy of about 3 years old. Our translator inquired and told us that the parents thought the boy had a demon. He had been like this, frantic, screaming, terrified, for a long time. The translator who was also a local pastor had him brought into a back room to pray for his release from the demon. We felt just a tiny bit inadequate for the task. The pastor started praying for the boy and it didn't seem to be helping. Then he stopped and talked to the parents some more. He told us he didn't think it was a demon but instead a sympton of cerebral malaria. So we started praying for healing. That didn't seem to work either. So we stopped. The boy screamed the entire time. He was hallucinating that wild animals were crawling up his legs and attacking him. He kept pawing at his legs. I suddenly felt like Jesus just wanted me to speak words of love over him. So I started to do that while stroking his chest and face. After about five minutes of this I started weeping and he suddenly stopped screaming and calmed down. It was amazing. God is so cool. But he still wouldn't let me put his pant leg down which he was holding up as a way to avoid the "animals." I grabbed it and pulled it down and whistled a little tune. Then he pulled it back up and I whistled a different little tune when he did. Then I grabbed his pant leg again and did the same thing. And he pulled it up. We kept doing that, pulling it up and down and me whistling this funny little tune and then about about 20 times he started smirking. His eyes, cleared and all the fear was gone. It was beautiful. I could feel the large group around us breathe a sigh of relief. When we left about ten minutes later, he was still calm. It is such an honor to serve our God!
We also handed out packets of rice and soap to the patients we prayed with. Patients are responsible for anything they need. Medicine, supplies etc... they had to pay for entirely. Food and washing and all that sort of thing they had to provide for themselves..either through family or friends. The sick have to take care of themselves! It was a very intense afternoon.
This morning (Robin speaking) Caris and I went to run our first eye clinic with two other team members. It was great! We rode in a van for about 45 minutes on a road that was so rutted I didn't think we would make it all in one piece. Bouncing and shaking, honking to get the people to move aside so as not to run anyone over. (People are walking along all the roads all day and always smile and wave when the white people go by. We are quite an oddity.)
We gave the eyeglasses out to about 200 people today after testing them for what strength they would need. People waited patiently to come up to one of three tables, one at a time to receive their glasses. When I gave them their new pair I would say: "This is a gift for you from your friends in the United States who love Jesus and love you." It was such an amazing experience as all of the experiences are here. We are being blessed as much as we are a blessing, I am sure.
We have a specific prayer request that is very important: Every afternoon about 3 pm we get an unbelieveably heavy downpour of rain that drenches everything and makes everything a muddy mess. Tomorrow afternoon we start our first outdoor meeting at 3 pm. Please pray God will hold back the rain. Else the field we will be in will be an absolute mess!
Well, got to go. Caris and I gave out goats today. We will cover that later. Caris took about 150 pictures of the event. Quite the thing! We had a blast.
See you soon...Thanks for reading our letters. I know it is hard to imagine how it is here. We are having a hard time believing where we are ourselves!
Love to all,
Robin (and Caris)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Night In London

Rwanda Update: 11/16/09 10:45 GMT
We made it to London! We made it into London this afternoon and bussed to our hotel. We are staying here overnight and will leave for Nairobi and then Kigali tomorrow evening. (Another red eye!) Everyone from the team made it here as well as all of our luggage. We had a team meeting this afternoon where we got introduced to each other, worshipped together and heard more details about the trip. We are getting more and more excited about getting there and getting started with things. We will be trained tomorrow morning on how to run the eye glass clinics.
After the team meeting we had a some time to walk around London and find dinner. A group of nine of us went to the Westminster area which was absolutely gorgeous at night. We come up from the London underground right under Big Ben. We saw the Abbey and the parlimentary buildings and the London Eye. So huge!! It is a ferris wheel that sits beside the Thames river and holds like a thousand people at a time. It costs a fortune to ride and wasn't open tonight but still fascinating.
We finally found a little Italian place to eat dinner together. It had "Godfather" pictures up all over the walls. Funny. I had a Jacket Potatoe with chili which meant a baked potatoe with chili on it. Others at our table where very confused at what a "crisp" versus a "chip" was and which ones meant they were getting fries. Sounds like a great "Italian" place right? :)
Please pray for a good night's sleep tonight. It is nearly 11pm and I'm feeling weary but not tired yet. Only had about 4 hours sleep at this point so I need to crash. Also pray for our layover in Nairobi tomorrow. It is a quick layover and evidently it is a confusing and crowded airport.
Hope to send updates in Rwanda! Love you all.
Caris for the Power Girls

First to London

RWANDA UPDATE: 11/14/08, 10:01pm PST

Hi everyone, we wanted to send our first update tonight before we leave. Our plane departs tomorrow at 1:19pm. We will first be headed down to San Francisco to join the rest of the team. Then we fly out around 8pm from SFO and will arrive in London the next day. We are all packed. (It's amazing how much stuff you can condense down to two suitcases and two carry-ons!) We will spend 24hrs in London to adjust to jet-lag before flying down to Nairobi and then over to Kigali. The last leg will be by bus to Rwamagana. (Yea, say that five times fast if you can say it at all.)

Please be praying! Pray for our flights to go smoothly. And for the adjustment to jetlag! We won't be in country that long so we want to make the most of our time there. Also pray for our patience and mercy towards one another as we get tired and worn out from travel.

At this moment I think we have been blessed with over $7700 worth of support for this project from you...our friends and family. We are extraordinarily blessed as are our Rwandan brothers and sisters. Thanks once again for your generosity of spirit! We can't wait to give away the goats that so many of you purchased.

Grace and Peace to you!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mooching, Wedding Bliss and Timber!

There are some friends in my life that really put my lack of blogging to shame. One of them does that by blogging regularly enough that I always feel like I know what is going on in her life. Since she lives far away that is so cool. However, I feel bad that I don't reciprocate the information exchange and my life continues to be a mystery to her. :) The other person who puts me to shame is the one person who is an actual, in-the-flesh fan of my blog. She actually checks it consistently and reads it and keeps asking me to update it. Since my last update was in March, I am ashamed.

So I'm going to tell you about my weekend briefly and quickly and try to make a new commitment to posting more regularly for all my "fans." All one of them.

This weekend was characterized by quality time with friends and family. I got off work early on Friday and my friend Janie (the unnamed fan) and I, went to Barton Park in Clackamas where half the church was camping for the weekend. We drove by everyone's campsite and took stock of what everyone was having for dinner. Then we parked and ate four dinners. :) No really, we were stuffed by everyone's hospitality and it was a blast to just hang out and talk with friends. We drank people's booze and ate people's smores. Well, I drank people's booze and Janie and I both ate the smores. Did you know that I am a smore making pro? Apparently. I have been thus named by Janie and the Jorgens family.

Saturday started with another wonderful breakfast at a new place that Maile and I were encouraged to try called Cafe Du Berry. (Although you would have never known that that was the name of the place. We never saw their name anywhere. Not on the building or even on the menus! I checked my bank account this morning just to see who the charge actually posted to.) The little cafe was on Macadam and Maile had been told that they had a killer French toast. So that's what we both had and it was good although I'm not prepared to say that it was the best I've ever had. I would have preferred it more cooked in the center. It tasted almost like you were eating custard which is both awesome and weird for French Toast.

Saturday afternoon I went to see my friend Luke Hotchkiss get married to Virginia (Ginny) Hurt. It was at Pennisula Park in North Portland. They got married in the gazebo and it was a beautiful and perfect day for the affair. It was a bring-your-own-chair event and everyone also brought a potluck item to share. It was so much fun. After their real vows they read vows that Add Imagewere in the style of Dr. Seuss. It was hilarious. If you want to read the vows check out this link:

Many of my friends from OSU and InterVarsity were there celebrating with Luke and Ginny and we spent all afternoon talking and catching up. When the wedding was over we didn't want to leave each other so we all went over to Anthony and Sarah's house and played games and watched Gran Torino until midnight. I loved it. It was so good to see everyone again. Good folk!!

On Sunday, Dad and Mom and I went to Chinatown to the House of Louie for dim sum after church. Then we walked to Powells and Mom and I bought new books for our classic literature book club of two that we formed in March. We are now working on "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Room With A View." We also picked out two books about Rwanda because we are hoping to go there in November with Eternity Minded Ministries. Then of course a lovely summer afternoon would be incomplete without some ice cream so we walked to Ben and Jerrys for some scoops.

We were considering wrapping up our afternoon then but it was so nice outside that we decided to go see the Portland Timbers play the Montreal Impact up at PGE park. We beat them 4-0 which was great although my mom and I missed two of the goals because we went to get hot dogs. Geez!! We payed for that twice. Once when we found out they scored while we were gone and a second time later...(ya dogs.)

I was beat by the time I got home on Sunday night. I think my cats were suprised to see me home. LOL. But I loved every minute of my weekend and felt so blessed by the people in my life. And now it's Monday. Ugh. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wedding Bells and Bagpipes

For those who don't already know, my handsome brother got married two weeks ago to Pamela Jean Proctor. It was a beautiful and fun affair. Instead of writing a million words about it, I'll just post a bunch of pictures for those of you haven't already seen them on facebook.

Here are both sets of parents watching the wedding rehearsal. We couldn't have asked for two better in-laws. Scott and Sandi are awesome.

Ahhh. So cute.

They made up a game of wedding jeapordy. How fun is that?! Between the maid of honor and I, I think we were able to guess most of the answers. This was a fun inclusion to the rehearsal dinner at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and most people's favorite part of the evenining. It helped everyone get to know each of them as as a couple. Scott and Sandi made the poster board at their sign shop they own, Impact Sign Co.

Do I? I do!

It's the bend and snap!

This is my new sister-in-law Pam. I'm a lucky sister to be getting someone as amazing as you Pam.
My mom was so pretty!! No. She was gorgeous actually! Dad, you are so lucky.

We are freezing our little butts off but at least we are looking beautiful!

Look at these handsome men! And not a single one among them. I mean, I guess that is no suprise but geez, what did I get dressed up for then? :)

Pam looked fabulous. Her dress was amazing and the hair and makeup looked perfect on her. Although, someone remind me not to get a dress with beading under the arms for my wedding. By the end of the night...ouch!

How can you not love this man?! Dad, you are the cutest.

Dad, I still can't believe that you took this shot. You took the best picture of your life at the perfect time. Thank you. you! You looked amazingly handsome that day.

Like I said before...handsome!

I want to thank my cousin for taking the most beatiful picture of my parents I've seen in awhile. Just lovely.

Mother/Son dance.

This photo has so much character in it. I love Pam's face. She was worried about breaking Chris' back. I think he was doing just fine though. LOL.

This picture makes me smile. This is Jon Sturm, the pastor who performed the wedding ceremony. I worked with and for Jon for many years. It meant a lot to me that he did this for my brother and my family.

Maile and her adopted Portland dad. Maile, even if you never marry in, you will always be a part of this family. We love you so much!

BFFs? LOL. We are so chipper in this picture.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Food Critics

Maile and I are spoiled. Portland has some really great restaurants and we have been to enough of them that now it is getting harder and harder to please us. I had a coupon last night for a buy one get one free dinner for any of the restaurants owned by the Restaurants Unlimited Incorporated. They own places like Newport Bay, Stanfords, Portland City Grill and others. We decided we would go to Manzana in the Pearl District. We couldn't find it though because it was no longer there. It had been replaced by Palomino which is owned by the same company so we decided to go ahead and try it.

Now Maile and I should really start our own food critic blog or at the very least start posting on city search or something because all we do when we go out is comment on everything about our experience. Palomino had a good ambiance. No complaints there. Our waiter was attentive and cute. **wink, wink Our first impressions of the menu was that it lacked a cohesive theme. Exactly what kind of food does this place specialize in again? Nothing stood out of note. We shared an order of portobello mushroom soup which they kindly split into two bowls for us. The soup was good but I was glad for the fresh cracked pepper because it really needed an extra dimension to it. Just a tad boring. They also served us sliced bread with some sort of salsa or marinara sauce with chunks of cheese (maybe feta) in it. I like the sauce but Maile thought it was a bit weird.

We decided to order two things and split them each in half. I ordered a chicken and Gorgonzola salad and Maile got the Marsala chicken with cappellini. The salad was actually quite delicious. It had pears and candied walnuts and coated lightly in a maple vinaigrette. The chicken was very tasty and the flavors of the salad blended quite nicely. I thought the $18 price tag on the salad was rather exorbitant but the salad itself was nice.

Maile's Marsala was nothing to write home about. HA, although I guess it was enough to blog everyone about. Nothing extraordinary about it. A little heavy on the garlic. The presentation wasn't very nice. It really needed some sort of vegetable with it to help liven up the plate. Brown sauce and sauteed mushrooms never look all that pretty when poured on a plate over a flattened breast of chicken. The chicken was $19.

Anyway, I think our final verdict would be that the price was way too high for the creativity of the food. You can find much better places in Portland that give you a much better meal for the price. I am just glad we got $18 knocked off our final bill.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Unusual Wedding Preparations

You know...when it is your brother getting married, the type of wedding preparations you do looks different than if it is a friends wedding. As family, you have all these other things to think about, like what to do with all the family coming in to town. For my parents, this has meant pushing the time line of their home remodel up to get the upstairs finished in time for guests to arrive. So my dad and I spent all day Saturday installing crown molding to the baseboards, doors and closets of the guest bedroom and hallway. I must say that we were impressed with ourselves. We did a pretty good job (this time) and accomplished much more in a shorter time period. I'd show you pictures, except that I didn't take any. I like working with my Dad on projects although when it comes to numbers and calculations, we don't process things the same at all. He would spout all these numbers into the air and my brain can't collect them into any coherent. Give me a piece of paper and a pencil and I'm a whiz at math. Make me do anything mentally without a visual image and I look like an absolute idiot. But we didn't cut off any fingers and didn't destroy too much wood because couldn't measure correctly.

We also reinstalled the closet system that they took out in order to pain the closet. My dad took before pictures of what it looked like assembled so we would know how to put it back together. Course the pictures didn't help me know which of three nearly identical shelves was supposed to fit at the top so I had to reinstall the shelf three different times. The pictures also didn't tell me that I was using the wrong screws. Who knew that all the hardware in the bag didn't just go to this closet. Oi!

However, the house is looking fantastic and if you haven't had a chance to see it since all the work started like a year and a half ago, you should check it out. The master bath/walk in closet is so cool and the kitchen isn't too shabby either. Great work Mom and Dad! Now on to the rest of the downstairs. :)

I also got my hair cut and highlighted this weekend in preparation for the wedding. My gal Chandra made me look fabulous again. I was getting a little scraggly there. Now I've got to work on the slideshow that I am putting together for the reception. I need to block out time in my life to do that because that is going to take a bit of work. Then next Sunday I'm starting to bake the 36 dozen cookies that will end up being party favors at the wedding. His and Hers favorite cookies. Cute huh? So 18 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies for my brother and 18 dozen white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for Pam. Thank you ahead of time, Mom, for helping me!