Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Snow, snow and more snow

We have had loads of snow after more than 48 hours of snow showers. Our American missionary friends have said that it was the most they had seen fall at once and that is in the 8 years that one of them has been in Latvia. Our house manager was telling me that it is the most she has seen in the 22 years that she has been living in the apartment building here in Ergli (at least that is what I think she said as she was telling me in German and my German is very very rusty and I wasn't sure if that was the most she has ever seen, or the most in November or the most all at once). It was certainly impressive but not quite as impressive as the three foot of snow that fell in 24 hours the first winter we were in Colorado and that hadn't happened for quite a while. Hmm wonder if there is a pattern there somewhere. This little fella was determined to get to the swing this morning. It was so comical watching him make his way through the snow that was up to the top of his legs in places. As you can see he made it and the swings are still above the snowline - just!

I had an email newsletter with the following verse in it from Daniel 11:32-33 (Amplified Bible)

32 And such as violate the covenant he shall pervert and seduce with flatteries, but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]. 33 And they who are wise and understanding among the people shall instruct many and make them understand, though some [of them and their followers] shall fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plunder, for many days.

As they said in the email that in such uncertain times it is good to remember that by standing firm in faith we can do great exploits for God, only they left off the bit at the end about the some of them and their followers falling by sword and flame for many days which isn't so encouraging. It would certainly seem that those who forgot the poor and looked to their own wealth were seduced and that has brought about the downfall of many but I am looking to see who will be the wise and understanding who will be instructing many. Sure some of them are certainly going to have a rough ride as none of us can escape the turmoil just because we are Christians in fact we should expect to see more than our fair share of turmoil according to the Bible. 

Following on from that I also read the following in my daily devotional readings

Proverbs 28:8 (New International Version)

8 He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

So for those who have amassed their wealth on the back of sub-prime mortgages, lending to the poor at exorbitant interest rates and that isn't just the loan sharks (or rather some sharks were bigger than everybody thought and appeared quite respectable, the wolves in sheep's clothing perhaps!) it is time for that money to go to those who will be kind to the poor. Just as the bankers were creative in their approach in masking the deceit and intrigue so I believe that there will be a release of transparent and honest creative solutions to those who are going to help the poor. Questions are beginning to be asked about the traditional aid given to those in need and that is not just on my course but on the BBC  and the New Internationlist, not that aid is wrong but the effect and how much of it is used is wrong and doesn't really address the issues of all the power in the market resting firmly and squarely in the West. So it is going to be an interesting time when God raises up those who are going to be giving to the poor and it won't be using the traditional models but some radical reshaping of the markets.

Talking of my course I have been hard at work and I am still enjoying the challenge. As I read some of the chapters I am questioning the data, the sources, and the concepts and then finding this is what I am supposed to be doing and I am questioning the right kinds of things; which is encouraging for a starter course that is supposed to get you into thinking about the different aspects of development and the challenges to the theories and methods used. I notice that while I am reading articles on the internet that I am able to break it down into different concepts, pigeon holing to some extent but useful as a starting point and means I am getting the hang of the language used in development (or at least I hope so). Ian is very supportive he comes in with cups of tea to keep me going and asks things like "Well Aristotle how's it going?", either that or Plato or Archimedes (have you noticed they are all men!). I had an online tutorial on Saturday which was interesting and again I was encouraged that I was on track, I could think outside the box but also could grasp the ideas. The only problem that I had was that my ears ached after having headphones on for two hours and I must admit my attention was beginning to wander at times because I was watching the snow outside.

Since we are into name calling in our house at the moment (only in jest honest!) Ian is now the new Vidal Sassoon. I hate trying to find hairdressers which I think I have mentioned before and since my hair was getting rather long again it was time to get the scissors out and let Ian chop it. It looks alright and he is happy with it, but no pictures - I'm camera shy!


Sunday saw us out on our snowshoes that we bought in our last few days in Fort Collins. We had traipsed through a near blizzard over Cameron Pass (10276ft) to try out different snow shoes at a shop sponsored event in January and I found a brand that didn't seem to make my knee sore. We decided that snow shoes might actually be quite practical and Ian loves snowshoeing and is not so keen on skiing and although I prefer skiing I realised that there would be more opportunity to try out snow shoes than skis and that proved to be the case. There was not enough snow to ski on but there was more than enough for the snowshoes, so we had a wander around the local countryside and it was great fun. Oh yes I nearly forgot, we nearly got the car stuck again, this time in a snow covered ditch. There was some sideways slithering down the hill which didn't free the car but looked impressive, so we took a chance and Ian reversed onto the field and built up some speed and managed to get across on a slightly flatter section. Thank goodness the field wasn't boggy underneath or more ditches.

This week saw us going to a meeting Sunday night as it was the launch of the Ērgļi Baptist Church. We are not really sure if we will make a firm commitment to this particular Church but we would love to see the Latvian Christians built up and really taking hold of the faith for themselves, rather than either being spoon fed or just told what to do which often happens. At least it was a chance to see who the Christians are in the village and encourages us to keep trying with the language. 

5 comments:

Kathleen said...

I loved the picture/story of the little one and his perserverance. What brand are your snow shoes?

Joanna said...

It was amazing watching him. He didn't really play on the swing afterwards, seemed to have just been the achievement of getting there that mattered, or maybe he just got too cold. Lol

Snow Shoes are Atlas

Joanna said...

http://www.atlassnowshoe.com/product/e10 - mine (same colour too :o))

http://www.atlassnowshoe.com/product/10 - Ian's but his are brown and none of the fancy writing up the side - sure that will make them work better hehe.

Anonymous said...

The photo of the snowshoer (you?) in the snowy wood is lovely.

Joanna said...

The snowshoer was Ian :o)