Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanksgiving... and Beyond!

To catch you eager readers up, yes, we made it back to the States in good condition and with all our gear intact.  Which is amazing considering the amount of stuff we ended up taking... 3 crates, 2 large suitcases & 4 carryons... plus some redvines and a bag of Dorritos that only recently got finished off.  We knew coming into Chicago that it would be a bit colder, but the snow coming down as we drove out of the airport was a very nice touch... welcome back!
Thanksgiving in STL included a ton of family and a carrot soufle, corn cassaroule and pork roast to die for... it was nice to hook back up with everyone including a cousin (Jennifer) who brought books for young son that we'd read together as kids ourselves... total memory lane experience.  Since we're an international family, Suzi's parents do T-Day a few days later (usually on a Saturday) and watching MU throw away a perfectly good cross-border game was tempered only by a tasty Hy-Vee turkey at Suzi's sister's place in Columbia.
The rest of our time home so far has been shuffled tween family & errand running and quick trip to MI to see Adamaya... which needs another entry all to itself.  It's terribly nice to be home, albeit, our hearts & minds are floating somewhere over Gulf...
Given some time later this month, we'll throw up some pictorial essays on the site and few webcasts that never made it out of the can while we were onsite.  Our year-end newsletter is out... if you didn't get it, let us know! 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last Nite in Amman

Here’s a few pix from our trip to the Gulf.  We’ll post some more to our site later when we have time to cull thru the masses we took over the past few months!
Scott gives direction to Adam while Suzi brightens our corner of the world w/ a bounce.
The Burj is a classic shot from Dubai... but it’s eclipsed by everything else these days.
We’re back in Amman... but only for the night.  We made it in for me to preach at the Sunday evening service.  Adamaya hit the road for MI this evening (don’t envy their trip... 4 legs in 48 hours!).  We’ll be out bright and somewhat early Monday morning for the States... it’s been a great 7 mos in the Middle East. 

We’ll be back... Insha’Allah!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Last Week

Thanks to all who kept us in prayer over the last weekend. The conference went very well and we had very few hiccups... with the exception that our primary guest speaker from the States had to leave early and we reshuffled the schedule at the last minute. The Lord is good and we made it thru. We had over 150 visitors, including many from the north of Jordan. Much more to come in our newsletter.

At the moment we're in Gulf working with Adamaya... We'll be shooting footage for their presentation on this region and working with various churches here for the next week. Above is a picture of Adam in the Bahrain airport at 6AM... after our 2.30AM departure from Amman. We spent the night in Abu Dhabi and went to church with some of the team there. Today we moved north thru Dubai into Sharjah, one of the Northern Emirates.

Dubai is absolutely amazing. Literally, they are creating a monstrous city of architecturally amazing skyscrapers in the midst of the desert. There are so many buildings under construction at the same time. I canÕt imagine what the urban planning board must be like... much less the ministry of Labor that supplies all internationals that keep the UAE running.

For those who're counting, we'll be home in 6 days... Insha'Allah.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting PSA

This is your official Public Service Announcement from us... You'll only get this once.


We did and we're half way around the world.  All you have to do is walk down the street to your local elementary school.  Or library.  Or neighborhood Church.

The world is watching.  They want you to vote.  Don't disappoint the rest of the 6,427,874,040 folks who don't get to decide who becomes the next Decision-Maker...


Taffy plays the role of witness to our absentee voting

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jr. High Band

Remember being in Band?  Or Choir?  Or maybe after-school community something or other?  A few days ago we stopped by Sarah's Symphonic Band Fall concert at the Baptist School here in Amman. She's in the trumpet section and attends our Sunday Fellowship with her family.  The band is a community effort and is led by Ms. Barbara... a very efficient and professional director.

The playlist was varied, covering the Theme from St. Elsewhere, Raindrops and Liza Jane among others.  We attended with Cyndy, Nasri, Natalie and Jon.  Natalie and Nasri went to the Baptist School from KG to Senior year so this was a bit of homecoming of sorts for them to wander the halls and reminisce of their glory days.

BTW, if you're in town, stop by Bennigan's... mention you support the Baptist School Music program and they'll donate 10% of your bill to the school!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cleaning Day... or Month

We've been doing a bit of Fall cleaning at the church to get ready for our Conference in November.  One recent Saturday, we pulled down all the curtains, took out all the chairs, washed every accessible surface and shampooed the carpet.  Good times and wrinkly fingers, you know?  Getting the curtains back from the cleaners and rehung seems to be taking a tad longer than expected, but that's life in Jordan.  Today I picked up the last of the curtains.  We'll have the guy come hopefully this weekend to put everything back up.

Prepping for cleaning
Our To Do list
 Suzi deep cleaning
Natalie gets a turn with the Shampoo
 Jon gets busy on the doors
Suzi & Ariana take a break
Everybody gets in on the shampoo action
Tamara hits the windows
Sari & Son: Prof Window Powerwashers

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dead Sea Quickie

So, there's advantages to living on the south of Amman... and one of those is a quick 30 minute trip to the Dead Sea when we have an afternoon off. 

Amman is 773 M (2,356 FT) above sealevel.  When you head west down, literally, the highway, the elevation begins to drop dramatically.  The drive takes you along a ridgeline and then into the Jordan River valley.  Our destination this afternoon was Amman Beach, 420M (1,378 FT) below sealevel.  Bonus: Since it's the middle of the week, it was empty!

The Dead Sea is more like one of America's Great Lakes... there's just nothing alive in it, and, due to the incredibly high saline & mineral content, anything thrown in it floats.  Everything is more harsh in the valley.  When we left Amman, it was 21 (69).  By the time we reached the beach parking, it was 34 (93).  The Dead Sea receives an annual rainfall of about 2 inches a year.  Due to the high demand for water from the Jordan River, the Sea has been dropped consistantly, losing one meter of surface area annually for the past few years.

Suzi explores before hitting the water; the Palestinian Territory is in the background
Anything that stands still long enough will be encrusted in salt
(Coolness Factor: On the way, you never know what you'll see on the road... a random camel or two or a herd of goats!)
Note the Omega/George Clooney billboard in background

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nigerian Independence Day

We were so honored to be guests at the Nigerian Embassy's celebration of their country's independence on Tuesday.  The reception, hosted at the Radison in Amman, featured a meet & greet with the ambassador & dignitaries, networking... and a great buffet!  Two of our church families are ranking embassy officers and we blessed to spend some time with them, along with several of our friends.
We discuss politics & dessert with Mr. Basi
Suzi & other beautiful ladies from our Fellowship
Our group camped out at a high top

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How many nails does it take?

So, September kicked off quite nicely as I pulled up at the office to find that one of the Camry's tires was pretty low.  Thinking we could just throw some air at it and keep rolling, we had our meeting and came back out to leave... only to find the thing was pretty much flat as a katayef.  So, we did the quick and dirty task of being our own pit crew (thank the Lord for a full-size spare!).

Amazingly, the tire guy found 3 nails of various sizes in the tread!  There were already two patches in the tire, making for a total 5.
Now, fast-forward to the end of the month... I ran out to the Embassy to drop off our Absentee Ballot registration (don't want to miss THIS election!) and thought the handling was a bit squishy.  Sure enough, the same tire was going flat!  Another quick-change and trip to the tire guy who pulled out Exhibit B:
Craziness... Who knows where this stuff comes from...?

Monday, September 29, 2008

It Rained...

So... On Friday at church there was quite a bit of stir about the possibility of rain.  When we left the house that morning, there was a lot of dust in the sky. I was really concerned about a dust storm and the window I remembered leaving cracked open.  The pic is a view of the city from the hill in our neighborhood.  This is what we see every day when we leave the house!  Normally, that large building in background is clearly visible. 
But when we got out of service, the sky was clear and the temp had dropped considerably.  By the the time we got home, there were beautiful clouds... and that night the smell of rain wafted in the wind.
Saturday afternoon, I was standing in porch doorway and felt the first drops of rain since APRIL!  I stood outside on the back deck overlooking the drive.  I stood under the carport.  I walked around the back sidewalk to check on the trees... I went up on the roof and checked the drains... All the time with this goofy grin on my face.  I'm so happy I got to see it rain!  Check out our site for a webcast coming soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


First of all... yes, in Amman, there are cafes and our downtown office to check email, blog, iChat, etc... but when the web's down at your own place, somehow it's just debilitating!
Thankfully, this past week, we got everything squared away with our friends at Orange (thanks to Rawan at the 7th Circle store!) and after too many weeks we're reconnected.

SO... Lotsa excitement here folks... Carrefour started carrying my fave cereal again! And Look At the Stash! It's been months since we've seen it on the shelves... so I bought 4 boxes to stock up in case there was a world shortage of Muesli again. God forbid!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blood Tests

Part of living here longterm means doing some paperwork... and part of that paperwork is a blood test.  Today Suzi went to get her test (I got mine a few months ago).  It's a typical gov't affair involving a few short lines and JD20.  Once it's back in a few days, we'll complete the process. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Old Posts

OK... since we were having trouble getting our ISP to show off our previous, hand-made blog entries after "The Great Platform Change of 2008" we switched over to Blogger... and now our lives are so happy and wonderful that everywhere we step Skittles sprout on stems of Twizzlers.

Anyway, we've manually moved our previous posts over and marked them as "Old Posts."  It's the same great content you've come to expect in a fancy, new, easy to use wrapper...

Fun Times!

OLD POST: Obama’s in my town (Tuesday, July 22, 2008)

While it may come as no surprise to those in the Heartland, Obama’s on the campaign trail... except he’s out here in ME. Today’s li’l stop at the Citadel in downtown drew some cheers.  People here are pretty happy about this guy... in fact, some thought he had already won the election (“Oh, he hasn’t?  Then who’s he running against?”  Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up!).  Obama gets a lotta press in the States and it’s all folks see over here.  They’re looking forward to the change.

OLD POST: School's In Session (Saturday, July 12, 2008)

  Our Bible School sessions are in full swing... twice a week a different subject is covered by a variety of teachers.  Each session is translated into Sinhalese.  Above are the two of us with Dami, one of our awesome translators.
  Subjects include Dealing with Difficult people, Why We Pray, Gifts of the Spirit and many more... if you can’t make it, just order a CD set!

OLD POST: Suzi gets printed (Tuesday, July 1, 2008)

 Barely a month into her stay and Suz has to go downtown to get fingerprinted... actually, they tell us, it’s for her own good.  In order to extend her stay, we’re required a visit to the Police to register (standard procedure in any country).  This is the first time for such an in-depth process!
  Everyone was very nice... as they all are in Jordan.
  Ahlan wa Salan!

OLD POST: I Love Technology... (Saturday, June 14, 2008)

  This job is a bit easier than just a few years ago when text, SKYPE, Vonage, etc just weren’t available.  Here’s my sister via iChat (multi-tasking, I might add...).
  I know it’s cliche’ but every blog needs one of these entries and I have to say, I’m pretty grateful for the advances made.  We totally take for granted the ability to shoot off a few lines and a pic... AND someone gets it a minute later, 1/2 way around the world.
  Makes things easier on the heart and the mind.

OLD POST: Suzi Is HERE! (Tuesday, June 3, 2008)

  Let the weeping end and the festivities begin!

  I got there early... and waited.  You know, airports are the same all over... people show up, there are friends and family to greet them... and there’s always chaos at the baggage claim (and sometimes the guy wants a $20 to haul your gear outside...good luck with that, habib!). 
  Airports always make me want to go somewhere.
  (I’m pretty proud of the gift basket & flowers...!)

OLD POST: Wanna Car bad enough? (Monday, June 2, 2008)

So, just outside of Carrefour at City Mall, Play FM is giving a car away to one of 4 guys who can live in it long enough... they’re up to 12 days so far.  They get a break every so often to hit the bathroom, but they eat, sleep, play, etc.... in the car.

OLD POST: My kinda fries (Monday, May 19, 2008)

This is on my way home from Amman... I pass by and the Chili-cheese wedges, with Cola, Take-Away, calls my name.

A siren song I cannot resist... Why? Why?

Why not...?  They’re just so tasty... (insert Anncr-Man voice) “Plus, you get this great plastic container to wash, dry and save for later use!”

OLD POST: 30 Days in Country (Friday, May 16, 2008)

Today marked 30 days for me in Jordan. It’s nice, I’ve gotten into a relatively common pattern of business.  I’m understanding the flow of things.  I can get around to places in Marj Al Hamam and in Amman... Except that I’m sick.  Again.  It seems this is a common occurrence.  A Gross One.  I made it thru the Sri Lankan Bible Study and part-way thru the Intn’l Srvc.  In other news, we ate at Vy and I had a very nice chicken salad.  

OLD POST: My First Big Mac (Monday, April 21, 2008)

  Some of you know I have to pick up a li’l Mcee-Dee’s everywhere I stay... just to try out the Special Sauce on a Sesame-seed Bun.
  Ronald’s doin’ a good thing out here in the ME... right on Abdoun Circle!
  At left, my new GSM SLVR, keys to Contour, some Dinars and evidence of some good times about to come...
  “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Crowds & crashes

I've always been fascinated by the huge crowds of people seen in news footage at the scene of some disaster. In the western world it seems people keep on about their business, but here it seems like any reason to get together is reason enough. One night a few days ago, we were on our way home and noticed traffic was much more congested than usual... Amman has numerous tunnels and viaducts for traffic flow (as opposed to overpasses). We joined the crowd jostling for rail space at this accident. It seemed the car flipped as it rounded the corner of the tunnel exit and slid on it's roof for some meters. Amazingly, the couple inside walked to the ambulance (once it made it's way thru the crowd). After a cautionary foam spray, a group of emergency workers flipped the car over... and we bailed before traffic started moving again.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aaand... We're back...

Sorry for the long wait to get content back on our site. July was a bit of a crazy month with Bible School, guest visits, etc... then our site provider changed platforms so when we were all ready to post... there was a content freeze.
But, let’s all just be grateful that we have this fantastic medium to stay in touch, shall we? Scott? Hmmm? : )
So, a few notes of interest...
We finally have pictures posted from a variety of events including Jerusalem and our friend, Rachel’s, visit... and the one above of our dear Eritrean friends here in Amman!
Scott got bitten by a spider in the night and after much prayer and an Adam-imposed ER visit, things are doing much better... but not before the bite got to be 4cm in diam. & grew red streaks... nasty!
Suzi continues to teach English 4x per week to students in their homes.
Airport road got a partial rehab and there are, no kidding, lines that create 2 lanes. What does this mean? Well, before the lines there were, well, no lines & 4 imaginary lanes (& a 5th for that guy in the Merc). So, it’s all kinds of fun to see us jockeying for position. Go GAM (Greater Amman Municipality)!
The dogs got a bath... always a good time in the tub! (And, might I add, never a better bunch of canines could be whining or thrashing about.)