Micah 6:8

"...do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8

Monday, December 31, 2007

Kibera on Fire

A resident of Kibera runs with a sack past a burning shack. Kenya has plunged further into chaos as fresh violence triggered by President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election left more than 140 dead and Washington withdrew US endorsement of the result. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt)

I am afraid for my friends in Kibera. The slum is on fire. Not just the shacks that pass for houses, but the the people themselves. They burn with anger over long years of neglect. Their cries for justice have become violent, and the world may just be content to let them destroy themselves. If there can be no fair election in a relatively stable place like Kenya, then where does that leave the rest of Africa? Does anyone care? Everything is different when you know someone. When Africa isn't just faraway chaos.

Joseph, are you okay? Will there still be a KISCODEP when this is over? Will Judith and Teresa still sell medicines from the windows of their small pharmacies? Will Alice still sew dresses? Will the bone shop still be making bracelets? What will we find when we come back to you in June?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bryan House At Last!

One year and one week after we lost our beloved Bryan, a house that will help hundreds of refugees from around the world bears his name and carries on his spirit of reaching out and giving to others. Thanks to the generous support of so many of you, we were able to make a sizeable down-payment and we are able to cover the mortgage and insurance through your monthly sponsorships. But one of the units is unsponsored, which means we need 30 more days sponsored in order to have the buffer in operating expenses that we will need for the eventual & inevitable repairs. Please consider sponsoring a day or more of rent. Sponsorship levels start at just $13/mo. & have a huge impact on helping families build financial stability & move out of the class of the working poor in a responsible & dignified way.

Click here to find out how to sponsor a day of rent.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Watched this forty year old cartoon for the millionth time last night. I still love it. Somehow Linus' voice has become what I hear in my head every time I read this passage from Luke. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"A SONG FOR BRYAN HOUSE" to Raise Funds/Awareness
Download this beautiful version of, "Hallelujah," (you may recognize it from the Shrek movie, soundtrack) at www.myspace.com/theyoungsea

All proceeds from the downloads go to Bryan House!

Thanks to artists Kevin Pichal (The Young Sea), Adam Krier (Lucky Boys Confusion, American Taxi), Genevieve Shatz (Company of Thieves), Ryan O'neil (Sleeping at Last), Mikey Russell (Wax on Radio), and Dan Monahan (Last Fast Action) for recording the song, which is a wonderful tribute to Bryan who we've missed so much this past year.

Also please come to the December 22nd Benefit Show at the Metro in Chicago where the song will be performed & ticket proceeds for the concert & after party going to Bryan House. Concert details at www.myspace.com/theyoungsea


Monday, December 10, 2007

Joy and Sorrow

Yesterday marked one year since Rick's youngest brother, Bryan drowned in Lake Michigan. One full year without our family feeling whole. One full year without hearing Daniel and Bryan play music together. One full year of eerie disbelief. The day came like other days. And though we've been sensing it's approach for months, it still seemed to sneak up on us somehow. And the ordinariness of the day-- the regular rising of the sun and moving hands of the clock was somehow offensive and comforting at the same time.

It has been a long, tiring year of devastating sorrow and tremendous joy co-existing together. A full year and an empty year. On Saturday we moved out of our house into the upstairs apartment in a brick two-flat with Rick's Mom. For a lot of reasons this move has the potential to be good all around. For us, for Alice, and for the refugees we will be able to help with the money we're saving. Sunday after church we spent time just being together with Alice and Daniel. It was good to have a long slow day together. It seems like we haven't had one in awhile. And there are no slow days ahead. Rick has finals this week. We have to finish moving and unpacking. And sometime between this Friday and next Tuesday we will be closing on a five unit apartment building that will become BRYAN HOUSE, a living memorial to Bryan that will help countless refugee families move into homeownership and break the cycle of poverty. Refugees are people who know sorrow and loss. And in the midst of that they have this uncanny ability to teach us about joy.

I continue to be amazed at what happens and changes in one year. We miss you, Bryan. I pray that remembering you will push us to be better people, more generous and more aware of the value of each day.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

African Proverbs & Biblical Proverbs

He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers.

The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine.

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17