Friday, June 28, 2013

quick takes

1. Weekend alone:
I put my guys on an airplane this morning, ironically sending them off to spend the weekend with my family...without me. Why? Because all this traveling for support-raising leaves me without any spare vacation days, and this trip will take three business days as well as the weekend. So instead I am going to deep clean, get things done, have girl time, and go to the restaurant(s) that Isaac won't ever go to with me (Vietnamese!).

2. Compassion gets a huge recommendation:
In 7th grade I had a teacher who taught the canopy theory and was pretty extreme, but he did introduce us (with great passion) to Compassion International. The things I heard them made me think it was a good organization, and everything I've heard since is all positive. I've been sponsoring a little girl in India since my college days, but I admit I did wonder if the whole thing really was beneficial, or was it just a feel-good thing for Westerners to get sweet letters and a bump to their ego for helping kids around the world. So when I saw the headline article in CT last month titled "Does International Child Sponsorship Really Work?", I was very interested. Well, an independant study that the article analyzed gives Compassion really fantastic reviews. Kids going through the program show a significant difference in the jobs, education, and leadership positions that they take as adults. Read more here. Super cool.

3. Speech Therapy:
Judah starts speech therapy soon. Actually I was surprised and pleased to find that the state of Texas, with a physical referral, will do a free evaluation on a child's development through the Early Childhood Intervention program. Then, if there are developmental delays, there's an intervention program (at least for speech) that is on a sliding scale and SUPER cheap until the age of 3. So, Judah is all fine and just barely behind enough in speech to qualify for the program, but because he is behind enough to qualify we are going ahead with the weekly therapy in hopes that it will give him a boost and give us the tools we need in case we have to continue this with him on our own on the other side of the world. Oh, and the other reason I was surprised and pleased? It's the first time ever that a government funded program I've come across is totally well-organized, professional, and really awesome.

4. Ear Tubes:
This week the audiologist told us Judah needs an ear tube too, which doesn't really surprise me because I had ear tubes for like 10 years, and he is my son. So, maybe that's playing into the speech delay? In any case, having recognized and responded to my child's speech delay is SUCH a nicer place to be than simply watching and wondering with anxiety. And also, apparently it's like a 30 minute in-patient procedure now. When I was a kid you were hospitalized and put under anesthesia and spent the night there.

5. Markers and Ultrasounds:
At our 20 week ultrasound little tyke apparently showed up a spot of calcification on the heart. That is one of many markers for Downs Syndrome and the marker is rather common, and since I'm still young and have no other markers, my chances are almost nothing. In any case, because of the marker, the doctor has me headed to a specialist for a follow-up ultrasound. I objected, because the thing about the Downs Syndrome markers is that all they do is tell you that it's possible that you could have a child with Downs Syndrome (very common for it to be "possible". They can't tell you for sure, and knowing that I "might" changes nothing about my choices in this pregnancy or birth. However, going through follow-up procedures just adds cost, and I don't want to pay for something that doesn't give me certain information or change my choices at all. I find the system a little frustrating.

6: Halfway to Indonesia!
We hit the 50% support-raised this week, which we were so joyful over. A church that I love and sort of grew up in (as much as you can grow up in a church in the US when you live on the other side of the world) took us on for a percentage that bumped us up. When we have worked hard for each $50 commitment, having a chunk come at once is awesome - it means that many less individual appointments we have to work for! Plus growth means momentum, and we feel that. We have to keep working hard, keep contacting people and presenting our ministry plans, but we are moving and that is good. 

7. Politics
So this week there was a lot of talk about politics and for the most part I didn't enter the fray. I had no idea there was a controversial bill hitting the Texas Legislature, but in the morning there was a flurry of tweets and someone posted this article. Um, crazy! A woman filibustered (stood and spent legislative time talking, with the intent to run out the time and block the body from passing a bill she didn't like) for 11 hours. Which, in Texas, means she's not supposed to sit down, support herself, eat, change topics, etc. Nuts. Three things counted against her and she had to stop at 11 hours, but by that time the building (which I've been in, and it's big) was filled with spectators and supporters and it seems like chaos broke loose during the last two hours of the session. Read it. It's like a movie scene.


Ukridge said...

Thanks for the article about Compassion. I recently returned from a trip to Peru with my 25-year-old daughter where we got to meet the 12-year-old girl she has sponsored through Compassion for almost 9 years. We were so impressed with the Compassion project we visited and the visit to the girl's home reinforced that this has been a very worthy investment. As a proud father I was delighted to see the way they honored my daughter for making the effort to visit (she was the first sponsor to ever visit that center).

So glad you've hit a milestone in fund-raising. While living in Singapore I visited Indonesia twice and taught in a frontier missions school there so Indonesia has a special place in my heart. Since I know you've read a fair amount about the Orthodox Church, I wonder what your take is on Father Daniel Byantoro and the Orthodox Church in Indonesia. If you're not familiar, read about it here: and be sure to read Father Daniel's testimony.

Kacie said...

Interesting blog. Looks like he's located in Java? Seems great and I hadn't heard of it before.

When I was really investigating Orthodoxy one of the hard things to grapple with about the church is that with it being so high church, it's difficult to bring it into a new area and culture. If I, as a Westerner educated in Christian history, have a hard time entering the culture of Orthodoxy, how can I even think of bringing it to the tribal people of West Papua, Indonesia, where I go?

Ukridge said...

What happened to Daniel Byantoro sounds like it came right out of a book our family has just read called Dreams and Visions. It's all about this fascinating phenomenon that is happening all over the Islamic world where Jesus is appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions. Some of the stories are absolutely incredible.

About Orthodoxy, it definitely seems high church if you encounter it in America because it's been transferred here from Greece, Russia and a few other places where it has taken root for centuries. Orthodoxy didn't come here like it has to other places, through mission activity. But Orthodoxy has a rich mission tradition and the typical Orthodox approach to missions is similar to what modern protestant missions are only now assuming. The case I'm most familiar with is how Orthodoxy came to the native people of Alaska in the 18th century through the efforts of St. Herman and later St. Innocent. The stories that came out of those mission efforts would fit well into Don Richardson's book "Eternity in their Hearts."