Another Trip to Africa!

I am returning to Kenya March 7th-17th. Going as a "volunteer leader", I will accompany a group of folks from a church in Lubbock, Texas, who will be doing some construction on the grounds of the Baptists Children's Center (BCC) as well as a sports camp for the kids.

This will be a different sort of trip for me, but one I am looking forward to very much. We will spend 4 days or so at the BCC, assisting with a construction project and doing some recreation. Except for Saturday and Sunday, many of the older kids will be away at school. Additionally, some of the kids I saw in December live in foster homes, so they won't be around either. I will certainly miss seeing these kids. However, I believe that some or all of the younger kids attend school right on the grounds of the BCC, so I'm hoping to get to see them quite a bit. All-in-all, even though I will get to spend less time with the kids, I'll spend more time at the orphanage and will hopefully get a better sense of day-to-day life at the BCC.

We will also be visiting a Nairobi slum, Korogocho. A few weeks ago a Buckner group visited this slum and wrote about the experience. After reading the article, the Lubbock group wanted to go as well, so Jeremy and the in-country Buckner staff (Dixon and Tom) have arranged a visit. You can read about the previous Buckner trip to the Korogocho slum by clicking here. In fact, just Google "korogocho slum" and you can find all sorts of information about this truly desperate place. I'll admit that I am quite nervous about going, I'm sure I'll get very emotional.

Quite a few people have asked about praying for the trip. Jeremy Copeland, the TRUE leader of the trip and a Buckner employee, has created a daily "prayer guide" for the trip. If you're interested you can print it out, tack it up near your desk, and remember us as we spend our time in Kenya. Click on the link below:


I plan on doing daily or semi-daily updates to thedaver.net while I'm in Nairobi. Be sure to check back!

Pic of the Week - One of Those Days

Today was one of those days when Spring seemed ready to be sprung. Perfect temperature, beautiful weather, all the necessary ingredients for a beaut of a day. Even Rusty shared the sentiment. That's Rusty below.


There is something truly magical about days like today. There's a certain undercurrent of potentiality everywhere you look. It's still winter, so the trees are dead and the grass is dead and the leaves are scattered about, dead and crunchy underfoot. But underneath it all, you can almost feel the upcoming explosion of Spring. It's like the trees and creeks and plants and grass are all just waiting, like a runner waiting for the pistol, to jump ahead into the next big thing. Even the fish in the ponds are acting nervous, like they're ready to just get things going already. The sun, warmer and closer than it's been in months, seemed to pour out it's energy, like fuel, to everything, and everything just soaked it in and put it in reserve, waiting for the soon-to-be-here day when it will all just unleash. It was that kind of day.

(At this point I'd like to say a prayer for my brethren who have been banished to Houston, a city which will never know days like today.)

I tried to take some pics, but you really can't capture days like today on film (or, should I say, electronic sensors.) Anyway, here are a few "Photos of the Week" to compliment the fine photo of Rusty the Running Dog.

Shed at the 4-way reflected in the Fishing Pond.


Some dead leaves on a cabin porch.


A hardwood tree at dusk.


Happy President’s Day

Here is something you don't see everyday...a mostly positive portrayal of a Christian found in the wide openness of Yahoo!. Sure, it's George Washington...I mean, what bad things can be said of the first Gee-Dub? Well, with all sides of the political octagon trying to co-opt our heavenly Father as their own, it is good to read of someone who placed God in the center instead of on the shelf, like a trophy. Anyway, read if you like - I thought it was an interesting article about George Washington and his faith.
Here it is.

(Gasp!) I Agree with Oprah

Let's get one thing straight...I don't have anything against Oprah personally. Millions of people love her and she seems to be a generous, passionate, intelligent woman, someone who genuinely cares for others. But that whole "book club" thing really got under my skin for various reasons (I'll write about it - maybe - at another time.) For that, and some other less tangible reasons, I tend to have a somewhat exasperated view of the Queen of Daytime, although, again, it's nothing personal. So, imagine my surprise when I found myself in complete agreement with Oprah, really for the first time ever.
As you might be aware of, Oprah recently donated about a bazillion dollars to open a girl's school in South Africa which, if I understand it correctly, is to provide top-notch educational opportunities and training for girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and Oprah has taken her fair (or unfair) amount of criticism, probably the most understandable theme involving bewilderment about why so much was spent on so few (only 152 girls to start out). But this is neither here nor there as far as I'm concerned. What I really want to focus on is two comments from Oprah that I read, two comments which caused me to wander off into lands unknown...that of concordance with Oprah. Here are her two quotes/comments:

"I did not think it was possible to have this love for other people's children."

"I now know this is why I never had children myself. These are my girls and I love them, every one of them."

Let me take Oprah's comments and make them my own. Understand that I have worked with children for a large part of my adult life. I have worked in and amongst thousands of kids, many of whom I've become very fond. But these children I've met in Africa... Never has a group of children left me feeling so broken and so full at the same time. Undoubtedly the intensity of my feelings toward them is in large part due to their station in life, their circumstances. I mean, you'd be a sorry person indeed NOT to have strong feelings for them simply as a result of understanding where they've come from. But there is more to it than that. I mean, I love these kids.

I have a friend, a guy with several children, and he was trying to explain to me once what he felt when his first-born child made his appearance. According to my friend, his feelings of love and awe and worry and caring were so intense that simply drawing breath was a challenge. He describes being simply overwhelmed with emotion and with love, and it continues to this day. Now, I am under no illusion that what I feel for these kids in Kenya can approach that kind of love. Undoubtedly the love a father or mother feels (or, should feel) for their children stands alone in the universe of possible human loves. Nonetheless, I have been struck, struck I say!, by the intensity of feeling that has sprung up within me about these kids. It's almost irrational!

The second comment is harder to explain. As a 41-year old who loves kids and who wants to have kids (especially daughters) but who is single and who realizes that such dreams may never come true ("oh pity on me!"), and furthermore as a Christian who knows that God has a plan for all things and that all things find a way into His plans, I wonder. I wonder why I've ended up as I have. I wonder what I'm supposed to do with the situation in which I find myself...single with no children, but burdened with love for them. Well, maybe I've found the answer, at least in part. Possessing great love for kids but not having any of my own has freed me, in a sense, to unabashedly love the kids in Africa. All of my passion and love can be given to them because, in a sense, it really has no where else to go.

Now, a fair question can be, "why don't you feel this strongly about the disadvantaged children you encounter here in the U.S.?" It is a good question. Why ARE my feelings and love are so much stronger towards the kids I've met in Africa. The truth is, I don't know. But the truth is also, I'm not worried about it. The way I've come to see it is this: I am childless but love children. The kids in Africa are without parents and family and need love. It seems like a wonderful fit and I'm happy (blessed, honored) to play whatever role I can in loving them.

Pic of the Week (kindof): We Got Snow

We got snow. We got some dreariness, but it was beautiful in it's own right. Here is a look at the Hwy. 270 bridge over the Ouachita River. Taken at early dusk with a 4-second exposure.

ouachita bridge.jpg
Here is a basketball with a dusting of snow. (I did a little Photoshop work.)
ball in snow.jpg
The two photos below show the Waterfront with a little snow. One photo has been converted to black & white, while the other has been left in color. It was such a flat, grey day, however, you can barely tell the difference.

waterfront in snow color.jpg

waterfront in snow bandw.jpg