Here is an email we got on Wed. from Jesse in Senegal. Considering this is his first major problem, we are grateful it wasn't worse. I am sure the Lord will take care of them and pray with us that their passports are replaced in time for them to come home on time on June 18th. Here is his story...
Hello! I am writing to tell you that someone has stolen a lot of Taylor's and my stuff. We were working at the bookshop and we had just recieved the money transfer- it was in my bag, which was at Taylor's feet behind the employee counter. I went to make tea in the back and Taylor was at the front, reading a book. When Taylor lowered my book a little he noticed a man was in the store in front of the desk. He was startled, he never heard the man come in, and in Africa, you always say hello to everyone when you walk into a room. He went over to the CD/tape section and asked me if we had any Van Dam. Taylor walked over and told him we didn't have any movies, the CD/tape section was strictly CD/tapes. Then he asked Taylor to check for him (They were both standing in front of the case, he could see just as well as Taylor could) because 'he was the store person, he knew the things.' Then he left, and was really awkward about leaving.
Taylor sat back down, then later he went to the back where I was making tea. He got a cup of tea and asked me who Van Dam was, then went back to the front, where there was no bag! Taylor and I told the guard and split up and went down the street in search. No luck.
We filed a police report. The contents of the bag are as follows; ipod (which i decided to bring to charge THAT DAY ONLY!), computer, our passports which we had used to register at the Embassy recently, and $1200. I know...that stinks...
Thankfully we had registered at the Embassy. We don't even know why we registered there in the first place. It just so happened that we were walking by the embassy one day and decided to go in the next day to see what it was like- no other reason. This was good, because now they know we are American citizens and we don't have to jump through another hoop to get new passports. However, it takes around 2 weeks to get new passports and it is exactly two weeks one day untill we leave...so we might not come home on time...
This just happened within the last 5 hours, so we haven't figured out everything yet. But I will keep you posted about what's going on as we figure it out. We filed a police report and Pastor Matt and Rene are helping us out a lot. So we are in good hands.
Other than that, everything is going really well. It is very lovely weather and we are enjoyng our time.-- Jesse Fritz
"IS" vs. "WAS"
There are two reasons this is on my mind. One is that I just finished reading The Last Lecture book by Randy Pausch. I heard the lecture, but the book expanded on it and I thought it was excellent. I recommend it for anyone. It deals with a 47 year old husband and father of young children who was dying of pancreatic cancer. He was a professor by profession and very much a goal setter and thinker. Read it if you get a chance. I think there are lots of things in there for those facing life threatening diseases, as well as for anyone who wants to live well. And who doesn't want to do that?
The other reason "IS" and "WAS" are on my mind is because earlier this week I went on the internet to check on my physical therapist's wife. She has been battling cancer, and Marc, my PT, was telling me about their processing of her life and how they were dealing with issues related to their 1, 2 1/2 and 4 year olds, her sadness at leaving Marc to raise the children without a mother, dealing with her pain and loss of vision due to brain tumors, etc. Also about their perspective on God's loving hand in all of this.
In a flash, a jolt came to my heart when I read on their Caring Bridge website (which I had been meaning to check for weeks) that she had died last Tuesday and I had missed her funeral on Saturday!, Just like that, "Katie is," became "Katie was." Those are small words, but they are so powerful. What a shift in paradyms. To go from, "She is fighting cancer," to "She faught cancer and is now with the Lord." Wow. Now she is with the Lord and is no longer in pain. Now he is a widower with 3 small children. Now these sweet kids don't have a mom. I am grateful that I am doing fine right now and that I got to mother my children all the way to adulthood. God knows why one gets to go to heaven sooner, and another is given more days here in this world.
Yesterday I saw the counselor at the Cancer Care Northwest office. I wondered how Tess would be able to help me, but yesterday I came away with a major revelation about myself. She asked me what goals I have. I told her among other things that I have a goal to clean up my paper clutter boxes before I die. We talked about that and she helped me realize that I am never going to be an organized person with paper. I am not now and will never be. I am creative. When I need to relax, I crochet or sew, or write curriculum or brouse at the thrift shop looking for deals or for kids missions supplies. I don't deal with paper work!
I see the creative side of me as a positive thing, but I have always judged myself about not being successful in getting my storage room clean and miscellaneous paper junk boxes dealt with. Tess said to not expect that of myself, and that that is OK. I am still a great person and not a failure. When I came home and talked about this with Greg, I started crying. These are things he has tried to tell me for 26 years. He loves me, doesn't judge me, and is wise enough to have figured this out a long time ago. For some reason, the way Tess said it, it sunk in- finally. Whew!
So there is less pressure for me to measure up to my own image of the perfect Nancy. I think the idol I was trying to measure up to- a creative AND totally organized version of me- just became clear to me for the first time. I think the evil one loved to keep that idolic image in front of me. It kept me sad deep down inside that I could never get there. I knew parts of it, but it all connected for me yesterday. So, knowing that I don't have to become someone before I die who God didn't design me to be, takes a lot of pressure off me. I will still continue to deal with my paper issues, but Tess said to stop thinking of that as a weakness. It is just part of me. It isn't good or bad, it is just me. Greg is happy with me for this breakthrough. Dealing with paper seems less daunting now too. Since I am not striving for non-existant perfection, I can work on it without failing.
So who Nancy IS today, and what I do with each day the Lord gives me in my life, will hopefully be less stressed than before. Maybe by the time I eventually become a WAS, I will have learned the secret of loving myself as God does. Have I totally confused you?
Graduation without a graduate?
When Jesse went to Africa I wasn't thinking about today very much. I knew missing the last half of his senior year would be kind of sad for the mother of the graduate, and now as the senior events roll by, I am missing the opportunity to get some closure on Jesse's childhood. Tonight is graduation and I might go. I will take a picture of him wearing a borrowed cap and gown when he gets back. The principal happens to live behind us and I am sure he would be willing to help! Any of you parents in our situation with early graduates have probably been through this. I know it is worth it for all he is learning in Africa. I will have to use my creativity and make my own closure! God bless you! Nancy 509-990-8465 firstname.lastname@example.org