Saturday, August 9, 2014

Do you remember? Friday Flashback

Christians Artists United to Save Ethiopia was a music benefit for Compassion International that raised money for Ethiopian famine relief.  Sorry for the poor quality but it was 1985.  Message stands the test of time though.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

School, shoes, and shipping!

I remember the winter of 1992.   The team from the Last Days Ministries DTS (Discipleship Training School) were on mission in Romania- my first overseas trip.  The mountains of Transylvania are cool even in summer but in winter..well cold is a constant.  Add to this that the "dorm" was, well, inadequately heated.  Cold inside, cold outside. I'm not complaining.  In the early years after the revolution everything was hard on everybody.  But my feet were warm (thankfully) because my parents had purchased a pair of insulated snow boots for me.  And boy did it snow- every day!  But that little investment made a world of difference.
Chisinau in winter

Going back farther into time.. the 1980's.  We had to ride the bus to school every day.  As happens, during the winter some days were rainy, cold, snowy- or a combination of all three!  But the bus driver allowed us to get on the bus early instead of standing and waiting.  He parked in an elementary school parking lot near our bus stop while waiting for his time to depart.  

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.  A act of kindness that brings warmth.

Poor children and orphans in Eastern Europe need warm shoes to be able to attend school this fall.  I know how the temperature can drop in Romania during the winter and snow fall all night.  many poor children have one pair of shoes, if even that.  I recently read a story of a young girl in Moldova who has to share her one good pair of shoes with her mother.  It is especially difficult for this family in the winter.


A shoe manufacturer has donated a 40 foot shipping container full of new shoes to Mission Without Borders.  That's over 26,000 pairs of new shoes!  This is enough for over 100 average size orphanages.  This is where you and I can help.   They need to raise just over $7,900 to ship this container to Eastern Europe.  $30 will send 100 shoes.  I know someone has the ability to donate the full amount needed but until then every donation helps!  Every dollar will help send over $99 worth of new shoes to those who need them most.

In the US you can call 800-245-9191 or donate online at  Thanks!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vocational Schools in Moldova.

This video is a few years old but shows how Mission Without Borders is involved in equipping and providing for some vocational schools in Moldova.  I hope Mihai will be able to attend a well funded and well equipped school.  He said he wants to be an operator  (an operator of what was lost in the translation).

I called the US headquarters of Mission Without Borders and started the process of trying to see if there is any way to continue to help him.  It just seems unfair/not right to send him out at the ripe age of 13.  Yes, he is continuing his education.  Unfortunately so many things are out of my control and the mission's control as well, as the schools are government run.

So now it's wait and see.    I am getting a package of things to mail to Igor.  Since he's in kindergarten I don't expect he'll be able to read anything.  Crayons and stickers would mean more right now.  So I'm assembling a small package to mail out soon.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Stay Safe (on vacation)

There was a MAJOR convention in town this week.  Working in hospitality, I heard more than my share of  "do you have parking lot security" and explanations that the guest left valuables in their vehicle (or in the back of their truck).  I personally SAW GPS devices, motorized scooters, and tools left out in cars or trucks.  My answer to the first question was no.  The response to their explanation was please don't leave valuables in your car.
Image:Hide Valuables in Your Car Step 1.jpg
So this post on vacation safety may seem like common sense.  The only problem is that  "Common sense is quite rare." (Voltaire)

"Common sense is quite rare." 

Let's start with the parking lot.  You've done your homework, booked a great hotel at the best rate .  After a long day of travelling, you have arrived!  First, try to park near the front entrance.  While it may be day when you arrive, keep in mind that it will be night soon.  Try to park under or near a light.  Thieves like the cover of dark.  Don't forget to roll up all your windows!  It only takes a crack to make your car an easy target for a thief.

Secondly, take your stuff with you!  Don't leave anything of value in the vehicle.  At the very least, lock your stuff in the trunk.  Breaking a car window and stealing your stuff takes only a few minutes.  Even if you have an alarm, it is of little use other than to alert you that your stuff has been stolen.  Don't tempt a would be thief!

Now that your vehicle is safe and secure, you are ready to check in!  When checking in, make sure your room number isn't proclaimed to the lobby.  Sometimes a desk clerk will make that mistake.  Sometimes a guest loudly tells the world the room number.  Either way, there's no reason for your room number to be said aloud.  Only you need to know that information.  

Check to make sure the outside entrances lock and require a key to enter.  Many hotels have several entrances.  These should be locked and require an active guest key to open.  If they don't, I can assure you that the transient and criminal population know that they don't lock.

In case of fire...

When you get to the room, read the emergency instructions on the back of the door.  Know where the emergency stairs are located.  Where are the fire alarms? It takes just a few seconds to be prepared for an emergency.  

Check to make sure your deadbolt lock works and that your door shuts securely.  Believe it or not, I once had a guest complain in the morning that their door wouldn't lock!  This is a non negotiable.  You wouldn't stay in an unsecure room in a house with hundreds of strangers would you?   You should also have a security bar or chain.  This is also non-negotiable.  A security bar prevents someone who has a key from completely opening the door.  Maintenance staff, housekeeping, management, and front desk personnel all have access to your room with magnetic keys.  If you are in your room your door should be deadbolted and security latched.  Check to see that your windows are secure as well.  And verify  all guests by using the peephole.

If you have valuables with you- use the hotel safe (either in the room- if one is provided or at the front desk) or keep them in your possession.  I keep my cash and passport with me at all times when I travel.  99% of 
housekeepers are honest.  Don't be a victim on the 1%.

What other safety tips do you have?  I know there's lots of good advice out there. I hope I haven't scared anyone but these were the worst violators I have seen in the last two months or so.  People propping their hotel doors open (at night!), leaving valuables in their car, not securing their doors.  Thankfully, nothing has happened- but why take the chance?

What other safety tips do you have?