“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, July 2, 2015

NEW LOVE: DAY 3 - GRANDMA LAREE AND THE ORPHANS

This post gives an update on my wife LaRee and daughter's mission trip to Haiti. 

Yesterday, temperatures reached 42 Celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit). For readers in southern U.S. or other hot areas that may be nothing but for my Canadian wife it was oppressive and the high humidity added to her misery. 


LaRee shows orphans
sewing principles
Never one to shy away from her responsibilities, LaRee soldiered on and taught sewing to children at the Christian orphanage and school called Hands Across The Sea (HATS). 

I've peppered this post with photos of
The orphans will learn to
clothe themselves & develop a
marketable skill

yesterday. If the text seems disjointed, it's because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The children love sewing! LaRee says they have amazing attention spans, taking in everything she has to teach. Their minds are like sponges soaking in all LaRee presents.


LaRee helps a student with a pattern
Sewing involves more than just sewing as any seamstress will attest. It involves planning, math, drafting, following a pattern, cutting, pinning, understanding dimensions and dynamics of different fabrics.  

After the sewing classes were over for the day, it was time for fun. They celebrated Canada Day (July 1st) with fun and games. Laughter was abundant and joy infectious.


LaRee takes the hand\
a hatless little orphan
The littlest orphan was running about without a hat at the Canada Day party in the sweltering sun. She is a little girl of about three years of age who was suffering from malnutrition when she was brought to the orphanage a number of months ago.  LaRee wrote and said,


LaRee pours water
over the child
to cool her down


Ah, relief!
"This little girl was outside in 42.8 in the sun celebrating Canada Day. Her hat was nowhere to be found. I took one look at her little head covered in teeny tiny braids and could see the perspiration dripping. I  took her by the hand and started to wet her head down. She was absolutely elated and so was I, just to watch the expression on her face!" 

The children love Grandma LaRee and she has fallen in love with them. 
LaRee when at home
in Canada

LaRee said she would like to bring them all home to Canada to safe and wholesome grandmotherly nurture. And if we had the resources, I have no doubt LaRee would build a big house where we all could live as a family, rich in arts and crafts and saturated in Christian love where Jesus Christ is Lord.

Sweet fantasy, isn't it? But is it? If you read my previous post, the fantasy will become a reality for at least one small child. Our daughter and son-in-law are adopting a Haitian orphan. That child will be an orphan no more. Our family awaits with home and hearth and new love.

When LaRee's stay at the orphanage ends, she will never forget her children back in Haiti. And they will not forget her. She will leave them with something to remember: Love abides even in separation.

[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSATOECyIYw for "God Loves You", Jaci Velasquez. (3:36)]





Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WAITING FOR MY HAITIAN GRANDCHILD

My last blog post dealt with my wife LaRee teaching sewing to
Grandma LaRee teaches
sewing to orphans in Haiti
children at an orphanage in Haiti. Yes, she giving of her talents to the orphaned or abandoned children but she is getting so much back: Simple humanity despite abject poverty responding to the grandmotherly love of LaRee. 


LaRee told me today that Christ's presence is almost palpable but Satan is sniffing and prowling around the perimeters too. The spiritual stakes are horribly high -- for nothing less than the minds and souls of children. Pray for the children, the orphanage, LaRee and my daughter. They come together in faith to create a chain of a larger Christian community leading the children to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 


LaRee is also gaining perspective of the environment from which our next grandchild will come. Our daughter and son-in-law are in the process of adopting a Haitian orphan from a different orphanage. They will envelope the child with the love of a mom and dad and siblings. A family and a happy home -- who could ask for anymore! Of course, Grandma LaRee and I will be there to encourage, love and adore all our grandchildren. 

Knowing my daughter -- an evangelical Christian -- she will keep her Haitian-Canadian child well connected with the a black community that's rooted in Christian faith. The family of God expands connections and interconnectedness just you can see below. 

My daughter and son-in-law live three hours away. When Grandma LaRee and I visit them we'll attend church with them. This spastic old white grandfather will be dancing -- granted from the waist up in my wheelchair -- toddler on my lap, thoroughly embarrassing my teenage grandchildren. Hey, when in Rome ... go with the flow gramps!  (Actually, if I was in Rome, I'd be at the Vatican in Saint Peter's Square or participating in Eucharistic centered worship.) 

At any rate, Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk_1ZE7Rwcg&list=RDPk_1ZE7Rwcg for "I'm Not Tired Yet" by the Mississippi Mass Choir and soloist Mosie (Mama) Burks. Although the entire performance is 15 minutes and enjoyable, I direct you to the first 7.10. A foreshadow of things to come? I hope so. Grandpa's still got a lot of love and nurturing to give. I'm Not tired Yet. Whether Evangelical or Catholic, may Jesus Christ be praised!



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WRITING HOME FROM HAITI ORPHANAGE: DAY 1

LaRee teaching orphan children
30 June 2015
About an hour ago, LaRee wrote home from Haiti where she is teaching sewing to children at an orphanage. After two days of gruelling travel, she and my daughter were up early teaching orphans.

Here is the text of LaRee's note to me:


Laying out material to measure & cut
"Hi Mark -- Well, this has to be the most humbling experience I've ever had in my life. I feel disgusted and ashamed with myself. The people here have nothing, and I do mean nothing, and yet they seem happy and content. I honestly could never have imagined this kind of poverty, I have so much to write about, and we have only been here for 1.5 days.

The heat is unbearable. The humidity unreal! I was literally dripping huge droplets of water onto the sewing machines as well as the students!  The kids beamed with excitement when they actually began using the machines. I had to keep taking deep breaths in order to keep myself from bursting into tears! They are so keen to learn. 

Children with
Grandma LaRee
They constantly touch you, and if they were allowed they would climb on you and never let you go. Each of the children have their personal stories. They may not know the story yet, but possibly someday they will be told. 

One little fellow with CP is the most loving endearing little fellow, with a wonderful sense of humour. Karen, the lady that runs this orphanage, was told to just "throw"him away. That he would never see, hear, walk or talk. He does all of the above. Granted, with some difficulty, but he just glows with the love of life!  He is full of humor as well. Another little girl, who I instantly locked eyes with the moment we drove into the orphanage, has no parents, to anybody's knowledge. She is the sweetest child, I only wish I could bring her home with me. She absolutely beamed and giggled when she got behind the sewing machine. 

Another boy, mmmm about 13years old was found in a basket by the river, at about age 1.5 years old. His little legs were so crooked  that Karen was told to just throw him away as well, and choose another child that would be able to help himself. His name is (guess?) Moses of course��

Anyways, I am exhausted, mostly from the heat. I have something wrong with my eye, and am using polysporin for it. I have feet that would match yours....very swollen from the heat. But hopefully my body will adjust in a day or so.

Our sleeping arrangements are much better than we expected. I'll send photos later this evening. 

I have so much to write about, but can't possibly get it all down. The food is delicious. The cook is adorable. I would like to bring her home with me (as well as all of these children)

The noise at night is CRAZY! The crickets, frogs BIG FROGS, goats, tons of ROOSTERS! I hate roosters! Dogs, horses. Mosquitoes, noseeums.

The morning worship time was heartbreaking, heart warming, and I

just know that Jesus was in that room.

Mark, it is so overwhelming. If I stop to think about the things I have seen, I would break down completely, so you just keep going, and move on. 

It's getting close to supper. I will try to write more tonight.
I love you with all of my heart. 
LaRee"

God is Father to us all; we are His children through Jesus Christ.[1] 
(Help defray LaRee's costs here
http://www.gofundme.com/vvqtt8 )

Click image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuQ-IOA412w for "I Have A Father" by Marantha.


_____________________________________
[1] John 1.12, Phillipians 2.15, 1John 3.1-2.


  

GRANDMA LAREE TEACHES ORPHANS TO SEW

My latest column for The Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) appears under the title "Teach a Haitian Orphan to sew and you can clothe him or her for Life." And that is exactly what my wife LaRee is doing as I write these words. You can read my column at the bottom of this post.


Yesterday, LaRee and our adult daughter arrived in Haiti having lugged four sewing machines through airports at Edmonton, Dallas, Miami and on to Port Au Prince.  Once in Haiti, they traveled to a Christian orphanage and school over 50 miles of bad roads. Whew!


LaRee is going to teach the older orphans how to sew clothing for themselves and for the younger children. By the time "Grandma LaRee" is done, many orphans will be able to replenish clothes that wear out for a lifetime and also have a marketable skill. The sewing machines stay there along with supplies. Grandma LaRee is of an older mindset that values personal thrift and frugality, pride in one's work and developing skills that help to develop self-reliance within the overall interdependence of community. The two are complementary not contradictory. 

Just prior to leaving Canada, two other Haitian orphanages heard about what LaRee's trip and asked if she would consider returning to Haiti and teach their orphans. 

LaRee said she'll have to wait to see how this first trip goes. LaRee is 62 years old and the physical act of carrying sewing machines through 4 airports may be too hard. A different way of getting the sewing machines to Haitian orphanages will have to be worked out. LaRee will also have to get some secure funding to pay for her travel. Her fundraising effort for this trip fell short and we had to dip into our meagre savings to meet the deficit. LaRee taught sewing to children and adults for many years from beginner to advanced levels. Her sewing skills are astounding and have helped augment my modest government disability pension.

If you have any ideas for safely getting sewing machines to orphanages (without them being stolen along the way) write to LaRee at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca .  If you would like to explore ways to help LaRee with future similar trips to Haiti orphanages that relieve the physical demands on her and allow her energies to teach sewing skills within her tender and loving evangelical Christian witness, write to her at the email above. [1] If you would like If you would like to help defray the costs of the present trip, go to http://www.gofundme.com/vvqtt8 

To read my column "Teach an orphan to sew  and you can clothe him or her for life" go here http://www.wcr.ab.ca/Columns/OpinionsStories/tabid/70/entryid/6727/Default.aspx

Mark
__________________________________
[1] LaRee and I have a mixed marriage. She is a born-again, Bible believing, evangelical Protestant and I am a born again, Bible believing evangelical Catholic. LaRee is equally comfortable working with Catholic or Evangelical missions, as long as the name of Jesus Christ is praised.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL RESPONSE TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RULING

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council based in Washington D.C. made the follow comment to the United States Supreme Court's homosexual marriage ruling:

"Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.
“In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.
 “No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court. 
“Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.
“It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.
"Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter.  The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.
“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution. 
“Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision.  Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein. 
“We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman,” [1]

__________________
[1] http://frc.org/scotus

FRANKLIN GRAHAM ON U.S. SUPREME COURT GAY MARRIAGE RULING

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham of Samaritan's Purse, and son of Billy Graham, has responded to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage. 

Read his statement here http://billygraham.org/story/franklin-graham-god-defines-marriage-not-the-supreme-court/  

He spoke with Fox News' Todd Starnes this morning about the ruling. Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP4B5d8zDVo 



Friday, June 26, 2015

A RESPONSE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING ON HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE

I thought I would post a response of America's National Organization for Marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same sex marriage.  There have been more than 390,000 hits to date on this blog. Two thirds are from America. This entry is for their consideration. The National Organization for Marriage statement is below. 

https://email.vervemail.com/hostedemail/email.htm?CID=17774635160&ch=D903B075D7A09384AF71A92C8510EA8B&h=69f2e83b82b9f3530942f8657cd143c5&ei=61bvBbpVN