Friday, August 29, 2008

My New Best Friend

Dear Kozy Shack No Sugar Added Tapioca Pudding,
You are so thick, creamy and delicious. I love you.
Yours Always,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blogging for Change

I'm working a time-shifted day today. I'm at work until shortly after midnight, running our coverage of the Democratic National Convention and Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

I'm already a little tired of the newscasters pointing out what a historic evening this is. It might feel more historic if they'd stop talking about it so much.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a downturn, not a depression

I'm in a blogging slump. I wrack my brain, pondering what to blog about. I don't have any new amusing stories or diatribes to share. I can't muster enough energy to write a pithy commentary on life as we know it. Nor do I have the wherewithal to pen a musing on my inner contemplations.

I haven't even seen any good movies lately.

I need blogspiration. Which is nothing like perspiration.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Laurie Knows Best

I received this email from a listener yesterday afternoon:

From: Suzy Hall*
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 6:06 PM
Subject: new weather person

Hi Laurie
I am a regular listener and enjoy KUHF. I thought I might bring it to your attention that Lauren Wisrenheim is not Lauren Wisenhunt. You simply mispronounce her name every single day. She clearly could use a bit more confidence and it is a detail but an important one none the less.

heim not hunt. Its sort of like telling someone when they have a spot or something on their face... I thought you'd want to know.

Best Wishes
*Name changed

Here's my reply:

From: Johnson, Laurie E
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 6:44 PM
To: Suzy Hall
Subject: RE: new weather person

Hi Suzy,

Thanks for listening and for the note. I appreciate when our listeners are tuned in to the details. But in this case, Lauren's name actually is Whisenhunt. It's pronounced Wizzen-hunt. We confirmed that pronunciation when she first started working with us. And I double-checked just to make sure. I just didn't want you to think I'm blatantly disregarding the pronunciation of her name. :)

Thanks again,

Translation: Don't mess with Laurie Johnson.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Curiouser and Curiouser

I had the weirdest dream on Saturday night.

I dreamt my little brother (who is 21, and entirely old enough to know better) snuck into my room in the middle of the night and shaved off half my hair.

I slept through the entire procedure and woke the next morning to discover my newly-shorn look. Needless to say, I was a bit perturbed. I tearfully asked him why he would do such a thing.

He calmly informed me he just wanted to see what it would look like.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Amazon Programming

To bring you this bulletin:

Tonight I am going to do something that I have been longing to do since I was a teenager.
It involves me and one other person.
I have to take off my clothes.
And I shaved my legs in preparation for the occasion.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beyond Words

Each time we visited a village, the local "Presidente" (or village chief) would greet us and then provide us with an escort to show us around the village. In the last village Jaquelene, or Lene, was appointed to give us the tour. As soon as I met her, I just felt a special connection. She is 15 and is able to travel by boat to the next village to continue her schooling. By this time we were nearing the end of the trip, and I had finally picked up some Portuguese. I was able to have a limited conversation with her, employing quite a lot of hand motions and pidgin English. She had a quiet, gentle spirit and sweet smile.

Something about her just really touched me and I began to pray for her. The Lord would bring her to mind throughout the day. I knew she wouldn't be able to attend any of our events because she was at school. But I prayed the Holy Spirit would use some means to reach her heart and that the Lord would pour out His salvation on her.

We were in the village for two days, and Lene came to mind over and over. She was able to attend our very last service. I sat on the bench behind her and prayed for her throughout the evening. At the end, one of our team members presented the gospel message and Pastor Jefferson explained how to be saved. He led a prayer of repentance and I saw Lene close her eyes and repeat the words. This truly touched me because one of the things I had observed about these people was they don't pray in the same manner as we do. None of them close their eyes (nothing wrong with this, just an observation) and they don't really seem to understand that prayer is something they can participate in. It's more like they're watching you and not really taking part in the prayer. So to see her actively participating was exciting!

After the prayer, Pastor Jefferson told the group that if any of them had prayed that prayer of repentance with sincerity and truly wanted to be saved, they would need to acknowledge this in the sight of others. He asked them to raise their hand if they were sincere in their decision. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lene's hand go up. I can't begin to tell you how my heart overflowed with joy.

One of the things I specifically asked the Lord for during this trip was that He would allow me to see how He was using me. I asked Him to show me His purpose for me being there and to let me be aware of some of the fruit He would bring from my involvement. Some of you could consider this a selfish request, and perhaps it was, but I wanted the Lord to confirm that He had sent me for His purposes.

How sweet He is to me, to answer my prayer in this way! I may never see Lene on this earth again, but I know that a 15-year-old girl in a tiny village in the Amazon is eternally changed because a group of crazy Americans jumped off a boat and needed a tour guide through the jungle.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boys will be boys

A lot of what we ended up doing was similar to Vacation Bible School. There were children everywhere and families do everything together. So we played a lot of games, sang a lot of simple songs and gave away a lot of presents. Balloons and bubbles were a huge hit. So were these glasses.

As you can see, the little boys weren't the only ones who enjoyed the glasses...

The grandpa in this picture loved his glasses. He was the oldest man in the village, about 88 years old. We saw him wear those things everywhere for the next two days. It was adorable. He doesn't have a single tooth left, but he has shiny star-shaped glasses.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Here, Fishy Fishy Fishy!

As you can imagine, everyone who lives along the Amazon River fishes. Most of the village men fish to support their families. We saw fish, nets and boats everywhere we went. The fishing there hasn't changed in centuries. One or two men sit in a canoe, cast a net into the water and then haul in their catch by hand. Some of my team members also tried their hands at fishing. Here's Blake with his first catch of the trip.

Yes, that is a piranha.
And yes, he caught it off the side of our boat.

Below, the locals get ready for lunch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Photographic Evidence

I've finally been able to connect to the internet, thanks to the generous hospitality of friends. Which means I have pictures! I'll send out a photo gallery of all the good shots, but wanted to be able to include a few here on the blog as well.

We left Houston at midnight and arrived in Santarem, Brasil at about 2pm the following afternoon. Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted. We landed on a small air-strip in a field and walked off the plane. We were greeted by the most amazing sight. Literally thousands of yellow butterflies were migrating across the field, swirling all around us. It was breathtaking and beautiful. Our cameras weren't able to really capture it, the butterflies (or borboletas in Portuguese) don't show up in the pictures. But we felt like it was the Lord's way of welcoming us to the Amazon.

The airport was tiny. Baggage claim had one carousel and was about the size of an average American living room.

From the airport we took a bus into the city. We reached the port and finally got introduced to the O Missionario, which would be our home for the next week. This is the last picture in which LL and I look cute. All other photos after this are less than complimentary.

We ate at a little restaurant across the street that night and then settled in for sleep before our adventures on the Amazon. We woke up early the next morning, early enough to catch the sunrise on the river.
The first village we visited was about a 2 1/2 hour boat ride away from the city. More to come tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amazon Apologies

Desculpe (I'm sorry) not to have a more exciting entry for you today. I want to include pictures from my trip in these blog entries, but I can't upload photos right now because I don't have an internet connection. I'm blogging from my blackberry. I will try to get something more entertaining posted tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm still sorting through all my emails. There were 854 of them waiting for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back from the Wilds

I have a lot of stories and enough blog material to last weeks, but let me just start with this:
You know it's a hard-core mission trip when you feel like you need to wash your hands after unpacking your suitcase.