Happy New Year!

Christmas in Florida and then off to Africa!

Christmas
Becky, Elliott, Bob and his Mom; Ellen, Ginny, Stephen

Greetings from Florida as we prepare to travel to East Africa for most of January and February. We had a wonderful time at Christmas with our daughters, their husbands, Bob’s Mom and James by Skype!

2010 was a busy year for Ellen and I and 2011 promises to be no different.

Off to Africa

We will start the year off with a trip to Kenya and Tanzania, leaving January 9th. The first week in Kenya we will visit friends in our former
places of ministry in and near Eldoret.

The original purpose and my main reason for going is to oversee an ECHO East Africa Symposium in Arusha, Tanzania which will take place February 8th through 11th.

Ellen will be helping with an AIM Africa-based orientation before the symposium and an AIM seminar the week after the symposium. And then instead of coming straight home the last week of February she will go to Pearl River, NY for US candidate week.

Christmas

Backing up a bit, we welcomed Stephen and Ginny back from Sudan just in time for Christmas. Elliott and Becky joined us from St. Louis and my Mom came down from North Florida. We enjoyed a great time together here in North Fort Myers and included James via Skype for a few minutes. They are all now scattered across the globe:

  • Mom back at home near Gainesville
James and Father Paul in Mwanza
James and Father Paul in Mwanza
  • James now has a place to call home in Mwanza, Tanzania; a real answer to prayer for someone who has been in a succession of temporary places for more than a year.
  • Stephen and Ginny settling in Albuquerque for the near future.
  • Elliott and Becky in St. Louis where Elliott is in seminary for another year and a half and Becky teaches elementary music.

Please Pray

We welcome prayer on behalf of:

  • The referendum in Sudan that will take place from January 9th to 14th for more information see this UN website.
  • Ellen’s continuing AIM assignment helping AIM parents with their children’s education
  • Ellen has also taken on the part time responsibility of writing the AIM US prayer guide
  • Bob’s continuing service with ECHO and especially the responsibility of coordinating the effort to open an ECHO East Africa regional office
    in the next two years

We deeply appreciate you and and your involvement in our lives and ministry and wish you God’s blessings in the year ahead.

With warm regards,

Bob and Ellen

En route to Tanzania

It took me a few days to get this posted!
Wednesday morning (16 June) and I’m having breakfast at the airport waiting to begin my journey and watching the World Cup. After the match, in which Chile defeated Honduras 1-0, there was a piece on the recent history of South Africa. Well the sound was off but the pictures from Robben Island, of Nelson Mandela and fighting in the streets made it clear that the subject was the end of apartheid.
Interestingly, the father of one of my key contacts in Arusha, Tanzania served in the Vermont House of Representatives for 30 years and publicly addressed this issue.
From a letter by Robert Kinsey that was added to the US Congressional record in 1985:

“After Erwin went to Africa, he told me what was going to happen in Uganda with Idi Amin and he was right. He told what was going to happen in Rhodesia and again he was right. Now he tells me that “Apartheid is going to end in South Africa in one of two ways. If the end of Apartheid has to be by bullets, the whites are going to be pushed into the sea.”Erwin would prefer non-violent pressure such as H210 as the only hope left to create equality and harmony amongst all colors. I support H210.”

We thank God that the end of Apartheid was not by bullets and under the leadership of Nelson Mandela and others South Africa has come a long way, a “Rainbow Nation” that now has the attention of the whole world.

Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug dies at 95

One of my heroes passed away last weekend. Here are some excerpts from the news:
Dallas Morning News —
Though fame eluded him, he had probably done more than anyone else in history to make the world a better place, said Dr. Ed Runge, retired head of Texas A&M’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and a close friend who recruited Dr. Borlaug to teach at the university.
The Nobel committee honored Dr. Borlaug in 1970 for his contributions to high-yield crop varieties and bringing agricultural innovations to the developing world. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives.
One of his last visitors was former Texas A&M president Elsa Murano, who assured him that his colleagues would continue his efforts to combat world hunger. “And he said ‘What about Africa?'” his granddaughter recalled. “And I think that’s a testament to the kind of person he was – concerned right to the end.” [Dallas Morning News]
And from National Public Radio —
“Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. “His heart was as big as his brilliant mind, but it was his passion and compassion that moved the world.” [Nationa Public Radio]
A sad commentary on our culture when a person who had that kind of impact on the world would hardly be noticed while a pop star’s death dominated headlines for weeks!

Leaving Nairobi

Ellen and I have been in Nairobi long enough and will be headed on up to Eldoret today. We will be going by ‘shuttle’, that is a small bus.
This last week I attended the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry on behalf of ECHO.

Coffee Break at the UN complex in Nairobi
Coffee Break at the UN complex in Nairobi
Main Hall at the UN conference facilities
Main Hall at the UN conference facilities

The main theme of the conference was that Agroforestry would play a significant role in land use as world population increases. Already a large percentage of the world’s agricultural landscape contains trees.
For more info than anyone would ever need see http://www.worldagroforestry.org/WCA2009/