Vietnam is so much more than we expected. Like the U.S. it differes greately from the North to the South, but that’s where the similarities end. During these first three days we were in Hanoi getting used to the traffic, learing how to cross the street, and generally getting our street smarts. We focused on learning what to eat and what not to eat as we give our bodies time to acclimate to the food. We are told to slowly ease into eating the street food as our stomachs will not be able to handle it at first.
Our trusty Hanoi guide also teaches us how to cross the road. Close your eyes he said and just walk. Don’t open them or look right or left or you will lose nerve and begin darting in traffic. This would surely get you run over because all the scooters, cars, bikes, etc automatically sense where you are going and just move around you. Therefore maintaining the same direction and speed when in the street in critical. the sights, sounds and smells are nearly more than our senses can take in. The constant horn sounds which are used differently than in the U.S., mean “look out, here I come, make way”.
The 3rd day of the trip we drove to an ancient area called Hua Lu which was the capital of Vietnam centuries ago. We went to the temple complex of Dinh and Le which also housed the Palace of the original capital. Tam Coc was our next stop where we paddled our way thru Three Grottoes. Named because the river actually passes thru mountains three times and you just paddle your boat right thru the darkness and out the other side. We had help paddling, well actually she paddled and I helped. I was amazed how she paddled the oars with her feet. It looked impossible but somehow it worked.
See the VIDEO
Stay tuned for the next part of the trip when we go to Sapa and hike thru miles and miles of mountains and jungle to visit villages and schools to deliver our supplies.
We just got back from a 10 day Alaskan Expedition a couple of weeks ago and wanted to post some of the photos here since Facebook can only hold so many You can check out the videos on Youtube…
OK, I know I haven’t been on top of things lately posting to the site, but we are still working on the property. Recently I spent another week working with a mini-excavator to clean out the area where we hope to have a pond one day soon. It was kind of swampy due to all the springs in that area and therefore it was overgrown with trees, bushes and etc. I did some serious de-forestation in that area and it drastically changed the look of the area. I’ll post pictures of this as well.
We recently went to Nicaragua for a vacation with our friends Larry and Mitzi Bodie. Now, if you know anything about us, you know we really try to do some good and spread some love and goodwill wherever we go and Nicaragua was no different. We got to visit a couple of schools and take supplies and do a little work at a medical clinic. Mitzi is a nurse so she provided a ton of help at the clinic and Larry was assisting the dentist with pulling teeth so this was very helpful. Somehow Kimberly and I ended up with the job of weighing babies to ensure they get the right amount of medicine. We even got to help start a scholarship fund to send kids to high school. Virtually none of the childres in that area go to high school because free public school ends at the 6th grade and they cannot afford to continue school.
It was certainly a vacation as you could tell by the house we rented on the beach. It was absolutely amazing, even having it’s own light house tower. The house was fully staffed and every meal each day as well as snacks and anything else we needed was prepared for us. I would definitly recommend this place to anyone. We found it on cyberrentals.com under Nicaragua, it was the only house for rent in the Playa Hermosa area. Check out a few of our photos here.. We also put up a few videos on our youtube channel here…
I call it a vacation when I get to spend a week on a track hoe working at the farm. It’ll be the second time I’ve taken a week off to rent equipment and play at getting work done. I’ll be looking for some hired hands to help me complete the rail road tie retaining walls as well. I may have more gravel brought in as well. Kimberly has building a bridge over the creek on my list too, but that is going to take some more planning I believe.
Kimberly will come up to spend Memorial Day Weekend there as well. I’ll get some good pictures to post of the before and after.
Bye-Bye for now.
This was a big weekend for the barn. We went to camp on the property, visit with family, and yes… To check barn status. We now have fresh concrete block walls. The footers went in and the block crew finished a few days later. We have a renewed level of excitement now that we can actually see some serious progress. Also, the driveway to the barn is finally in good enough shape that any 2 wheel drive vehicle can make it all the way to the barn.
Next week: Floor joists, the upstairs floor and walls and quickly to follow will be the roof trusses. It should go fast from here on out. We will return in three weeks to see what we hope will be a complete shell of a barn.
We still need to hire someone to mow/bush hog the property. The property will quickly get out of control if we don’t keep up with this aspect. I can’t wait to have a tractor and my own bush hog as well as the time to do it myself, but for now we have to find someone to hire. Can’t wait to show more pictures of progress in three weeks. See the ones from this week here.
We are home safe and sound. We spent the last day in Greece at the ancient city of Corinth. We were able to stand in the exact same place where Paul stood when being judged. See Acts 18:12. We browsed the ancient ruins and viewed the museum most of the day while listening to our our tour guide Costas. Costas is one of 850 registered tour guides in Athens and one of the only 3 that are Christians. He spend the day pointing out these significant items and where they were mentioned in the bible.
We also hiked to the top of the acrocorinth which is the Corinthian equivalent to the acropolis in Athens. The view from there was amazing and the pictures reflect that. The entire photo collection can be viewed here.
We came back with our eyes opened to how easy we have it in this country and how much we take for granted about our Christian lives. The people we met had to give up everythign they knew and had to become Christians and they never looked back. As hard as it was and even while still getting over the jet lag, we feel refreshed and renewed and have a deeper understanding of the history of the bible. Along the way were even able to break a few barriers while helping and serving a few refugees. Thanks to all those who supported and prayed for us during this trip.
Yesterday we went to visit two mission groups in Athens. The Lost Coin ministry is a very small group that ministers to prostitutes and victims of human trafficing in Athens. Ema the main person working this ministry has done this for over 9 years faithfully. She has received international recognition for her work with these victims. Her group goes out every other night and visits the brothels and prostitutes in the white light district of Athens. They take some food and other necessities to them people there and then pray for them while walking the streets.
The second place we visited was called the Oasis center. This group feeds, clothes and teaches English and Greece to the many refugees in the city. We helped them to serve dinner and teach English. Then we watched a film their native (Farsi) language about a group of Afgans that came across the border. Through many trials and sufferings they made it to Greece and eventually connected with some Christians that brought them to Christ. Many of the Afgan people cried through out this film, especially at areas where they were trying to get out of their country while swiming thru rivers, padding small rafts thru the ocean and etc. It was very emotional for us all. Kimberly met a family with a very sick boy. After feeling his forehead which was on fire and then seeing his throat full of blisters she asked me to go to a pharmacy and get medicine. The mother of this boy would not even talk to us at first, but soon she allowed Kimberly to help her in the English class and give her son some of the medicine. We gave them the medicine and spent a good deal of time trying to explain how much to give him and how often to amke sure they understood. When they left the woman hugged Kimberly. I think many barriers were broken down that day.
Wednesday was a long hard day for us. The men built a fence from trees cut from Mt. Olympus. The women did various painting projects. The unrelenting heat take its toll. A couple of the ladies were getting a little sick and light headed from not drinking enough water.
For those who thought we weren’t going to be working hard I will be bringing home proof in the form of a busted up face. A fence post fell into my face and busted my chin, lip, under nose area. It looks pretty ugly, but I will consider it another battle scar when it heals.
To cool off after our work we went to the beach aroun 5pm for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful place with deep blue water and high mountains and cliff surrounding the beach area. It is one of the main local areas to go and enjoy the beach.
That night we went to Timothy’s house to eat. He is a man who works with AMG to further missions work. Some of the stories we heard that night are amazing. He worked with the Albanian government to help open up the land to Christians after the change in government. This was only due to him picking up a hitchiker on the way into the country that turned out to be a newly elected member of parliament. Not only was he one of the first outsiders in Albania, he met all of the leaders and was instrumental in setting up Christian churches, hospitals and schools there.
We missed writing on Monday night. It was so late and we were exhausted when we arrived back at the bunk house. It was our 2nd and final day of getting over jet lag and sight seeing. We went into the main part of Athens to see the Acropolis where the Parthenon is located. Words are hard to come by to express the feeling you get when you realize you are in a town in which something 200 years old is a mere baby. There are ruins just strewn everywhere that are more than 2,000 years old. Costos was our guide and he is wonderful. Out of 850 licensed guides in the city, he is one of only 3 who are evangelical Christian and therefore gives tours based on thier biblical significance. We stood on Mars Hill where Paul gave his speech that we know from Acts ch 17. I read this passage to the group as we stood there. It was a feeling I cannot describe. We walked up the very same steps that the Apostle Paul walked up to get to Mars Hill. The steps are carved out of the marble hill and are worn completly smooth and are as slick as ice. Some of this pictures are under the Photos area with the ones from yesterday.
Lest you think we are only sight seeing and not working hard, you should know that today we worked in an international refugee kitchen to help prepare meals for, witness too and generally just show love and compassion to those that have never seen it before. Over 400 people come thru this kitchen and a day like today. We were told that if we were not there today that they would not have feed the people because they would not have had enough people to cook and run the kitchen.
There were people from over 6 countries, very few spoke english. Those that spoke english taked of coming to Greece to flee certain death in the home countries of Afganistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and etc. They risked their lives packed into small rafts to get to Greece and now had nothing but their lives and the shirts on their backs. This ministry has shown Christ to many people and led many of the people that we met to accept Him. Some know they can never go home no or they will face certain death from their own family members for turning their back on Islam.
We brought back an appreciation for how very lucky we are to live in America and that we should never take our rights for granted.
Tomorrow we will work back at the Cosmovision Center. The men are helping to build a fence from old posts while the women paint and freeze tomatoes. Late in the afternoon we are told we get to go to the beach to cool off for a couple of hours.