Saturday, November 20, 2010

Give with Love...and shop from win in my books

 Today I had the best time at the World Artisan fair. In our community and on a snowy morning, I went for the opening hour and was happy to find few people and lots of booths to shop at. What started as Jussi asking me to go to town for something for him, ended with me at the fair LOL. When I told him I could go I did say "Do you know what you are getting me for Christmas this year? At which he replied, "No, but I guess I will know in a few hours!" he is so clever. He knows my love of supporting third world artisans and also my yearly Christmas wish. A nativity from somewhere in the world. Now there were many from Peru and Bangledesh but I found a really unusual one from banana palm leaves from Kenya, that is 2010's addition. I have ceramic and wood, my Haitian one with a coconut for the stable and a few others. Now I have one made from banana palms.

Using readily-available palm leaves, creative artisans in Bangladesh weave a multi-coloured garland featuring holiday stars in carnival purple, teal and fuchsia. A length of this also found its way home....

Now the decision is it a gift or for me .....
And one of these

And one of these...
Artisans with Noah’s Ark International in India fashion this decorative wrought-iron candleholder from iron rods and sheet metal, using about 40 percent recycled iron. The cards from Nepal are handmade beauty. Each box contains a textured celebration of the festive spirit – a dove, candles, a crown, stars – crafted from handmade paper by the artisans of Nepal’s GET Paper.

Last but not least our local L'arche was selling cards and so I have original works by Bonnie and

I had so much fun, but then there were items on the web that I did not this fabulous wall hanging...and some olive wood shaped hearts, and nativities from South America....always next year...sigh! (If you need any Christmas gifts for that hard to buy for person check out the two sites I shop from...


Sunday, November 14, 2010

They Fight Like Soldiers They Die Like Children

In the last few weeks we have been somewhat tested and prompted about a feeling that something new was to come to us. Many things throughout the last few weeks have brought us to our knees asking why, and to tears saying it doesn't make sense. God has been showing us things and sharing His strength in our weakness. This weekend it culminated into some sense. Our hearts for many years have been burdened for the children who are indoctrinated or enlisted into war because quite simply, someone thought they were dispensable. We knew that the sick feeling, the anxiety shakes vs the holy spirit goosebumps meant something was going to be revealed.
(sidenote) War is something I do not want to debate, it is not something that I  try to understand but I will try to advocate for the over 250,000 child soldiers currently serving in over 30 different countries that are being robbed of their childhoods.
We attended the book signing for the Honorable Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire's new book,  They Fight Like Soldiers They Die Like Children. Dallaire talked about the signing of the International Rights of the Child Protocol that was signed by over 58 governments pledging to do their part to eradicate the use of children in armed conflict but since that time there has been little done to stop the recruiters around the world. He shared about the history of his involvement in Rwanda and the genocide that took place in front of his eyes. The hurt, the pain and the nightmares of witnessing children with tattered uniforms, eyes glazed from drugs that carried machine guns and his ache for the ethical question "Do you kill children who kill?" You could have heard a pin drop as he described the effects of watching 800,000 people die in 100 days, slaughtered because of their ethnicity. His inability to act because he was in Rwanda as a peace keeper and not fighting a war. It was sobering at times but in amongst his humorous anecdotes, he was talking about change and immobilizing others to get involved, he called upon each person to be part of the solution.

This is where the sense of what we had been feeling came in. Many months ago, I wrote to Dallaire, asking if he had any plans to come out to the west coast to speak, this is before I knew about the book., just with the knowledge of his involvement in Rwanda. Jussi and I had been burdened for the child soldiers over the years and although we had spent all our time in Haiti working in a different role, we had applied and were working with Child Voice International to serve in Uganda. The email to Dallaire was personally answered with  "Hi Jussi where do you live?  and a personal email address to respond. After several emails back and forth we were given the news he was coming to Victoria. To make a long story short we bought tickets and showed up anticipating hearing him speak. Jussi choked up as he  stood before his hero, shaking his hand, as I thrust the book towards him for a signature and tried to make a phone camera capture the moment.  One word "IMPACT"
This man had seen more than we could imagine and he wanted to chat about Haiti because our friends had shared we had served there. We could only nod and smile and thank him and basically stumbled on our words, if there ever comes a time when you have a chance to meet someone you admire, stop and breathe. I do not think we did. On our way home, we cried and tried to make sense of where we felt we could help, we felt so burdened, we physically felt heavy. Sunday morning as we prepared for church we continued to share how we were feeling and where we thought we could help. Still no mountain top experience or catapulting vision.
Wth heavy hearts we hustled off to church. We started into worship and watched 100's of youth enjoy the excitement of freedom and promise but we were both teary at the injustices of our world. (youth conference weekend) As we sang and the tears flowed down my cheeks I praised His name and  felt completely powerless and direction less..if that is a word. You see the interesting part is I didn't think I was looking for direction, I was not searching, nor was I discontent with my life. As a prophetic word was spoken to me, I sat humbled that God would speak to me, to encourage me, I can't remember all that was said; I do not know the worship leader that brought the message but I know above else when I was feeling completely inadequate He reminded me that He was going to use me and suddenly transformed me from a teary mess to a teary mess with a direction. I stand before each of you asking for prayer. I do not know what to pray for us personally but pray that globally countries around the world would hold those accountable for using children in war. That consequences would be enforced by all 58 countries that said they agreed that children should not be involved in armed conflict. Pray for Romeo Dallaire as he shares around the world about his new book and the Child Soldiers Initiative.
My boots...

Romeo shared when people asked how they could get involved that "you" needed to get your boots dirty, he shared "you need to see it for yourself".  As christians we know the signature of God is on each and every child and person in the world. A promise that regardless of where we are right now, He has a plan and purpose for our lives, He knows our struggles, He knows our fears, all that we have done and HE LOVES US ANYWAY. Pray for the children, that someone will reach them with the gospel and share the love of Jesus to them. I want  to get my boots about you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remembering and Being Proud to be Canadian

My heart aches for those that are away from their families serving in the Canadian Military. Every time I hear O' Canada I am reminded of the incredible sacrifice of those that served in the wars of years gone by and for those that today Stand on Guard for us, here and now. 
This year make an effort to get out to the Remembrance Day celebration happening in your community or take some time to go on You Tube and share with your children the importance of a minute of silence at 11:11 on November 11th. Talk to them about family or friends that you know of and share the stories, pass on a heritage of honour, a heritage of remembrance. 
This morning in church as we prayed and sang O'Canada I envisioned faces that came to mind, of friends whose sons are in Afghanistan and silently prayed "O Lord hear the cry of our hearts to keep them safe!" 
Please teach your children about honour and respect, tell them in the quiet place the importance of respecting the poppy, the symbol for remembering. So many young people do not understand the depth of the hurt, the depth of the sacrifice and it is because no one ever gave them a face to symbolize  or represent freedom, the freedom that we afforded every day. Young men and women, with quiet eyes, eyes that have seen things we pray our children will never have to see. I am proud to be a Canadian and I pray I never take for granted those in my family that served in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Watch the video, grab a tissue, because somewhere today at this very minute someone is still over there...

In our prayers...
Lest we forget...