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"It seems to me what you lose in mystery, you gain in awe."
Sir Francis Crick

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
--William James

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If any of the photo links are broken, you can find the public photo gallery here

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Botswana church Website

I am running a website for the church we have partnered with in Gaborone, Botswana. You can check it out here:

Let me know what you think and feel free to add suggestions as we move forward.

Hey, guess what! No bailout and my bank was still open today! Funny how that works and my mortgage is still due and the electricity bill and I am going to pay them, on time. What a shocker, I know. Well, you get the gist!

See ya!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Just when I was hitting rock bottom and angry and depressed about the economy, God showed me that it was something on which I didn't need to waste energy.  

On my walk this morning with Keller, I was greeted by one of the brightest orange balls of fire rising in the sky.  It was a breath-taking sunrise this morning and God telling me that he controls the universe, including putting the stars and sun in the sky.  He also showed me a group of deer in the woods on our walk.  Something I had just said yesterday that I hadn't seen in a while.  He watches over us and takes care of the beast of the field, why should I worry?  

Hey, we also got our new microwave in place yesterday.  It wasn't as hard as I thought the job might be initially.  My neighbor, Barry, helped me get the microwave in place above the stove. Nice to have that convenience in the kitchen again,  one less thing to worry about!!!

See ya!

$700,000,000,000 bailout for greed

Take a look at this chart and read the article from today's Wall Street Journal.  Sad.

The U.S. is turning to foreign governments and other overseas investors to buy a good chunk of what could total $700 billion in Treasury debt expected to finance the bailout. Foreign investors also are needed to shore up the depleted capital of the nation's financial institutions, seen in the plan by Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to buy a large stake in Morgan Stanley, which is weighed down by bad debt and market distrust.

This is a bittersweet moment in U.S. economic history. In one sense, the growing importance of foreign cash represents the triumph of a half-century of U.S. proselytizing for a global financial system in which money flows from those who have it to those who need it. But it is also an unmistakable sign of U.S. economic decline. The global financial system the U.S. designed had anticipated that American banks and financial firms would be the world's financial lifeguards; now those institutions are like exhausted swimmers a stroke or two away from drowning.

The financial crisis makes clear how much the interests of foreign lenders have become a top concern in Washington. A big reason the Fed and Treasury stepped in to rescue mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, say U.S. financial officials, was to reassure foreign leaders including China, which holds roughly $1 trillion in U.S. debt, that U.S. securities were safe. "Superpowers do not normally ask their diplomats to reassure other nations on questions of credit-worthiness," says former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

Just 10 years after the U.S. oversaw the financial rescue of Asian nations, the U.S. now risks becoming the world's largest subprime borrower. This change of fortune has been hard to swallow. In a televised address Thursday, President George W. Bush blamed the current financial crisis on the "massive amount of money [that] flowed into the United States from investors abroad," rather than on greedy decisions by U.S. mortgage lenders and borrowers. In Friday's presidential debate, both candidates railed against U.S. economic dependence on China.

Powerful nations have been humbled before by an overdependence on foreign capital. Council on Foreign Relations economist Brad Setser notes that Britain was forced to end its seizure of the Suez Canal in 1956 because of U.S. opposition. Washington's main weapon: its threat to slash financial support for Britain, whose economy had been battered by World War II.

The U.S. isn't in remotely as bad shape as postwar Britain. It still is the world's sole military superpower, and the U.S. currency is still dominant. The latter is important because even if foreign holdings of U.S. debt grow, as is likely, the U.S. alone prints the dollars needed to pay those debts.

Even so, foreign lenders have a great deal of sway. If they were to dump U.S. government debt -- or be unwilling to buy more -- the interest rates needed to attract buyers of Treasurys would soar. The already fragile U.S. economy would absorb yet another hit.

China, Saudi Arabia and other big foreign holders are unlikely to take antidollar measures precisely because they own so much U.S. debt. To the extent the dollar declines, so does the value of those nations' holdings. Mr. Summers calls this situation "the financial balance of terror."

But it is naive to assume that this so-called balance will protect U.S. interests indefinitely. Senior Chinese economists have voiced growing dismay about the outlook for the dollar, and the introduction of an additional $700 billion in debt might drive the currency's value down further, at least in the short term. "I think foreigners are being taken for a ride by the U.S. government," says Andy Xie, an independent economist in Shanghai.

Sovereign-wealth funds -- huge government investment funds -- have largely sat on their hands rather than buy additional stakes in U.S. financial firms. China Investment Corp., for instance, has been wary of increasing its investment in Morgan Stanley after it was criticized sharply at home for taking equity stakes in U.S. financial companies that have nose-dived.

In the Middle East, too, state investment funds in Kuwait, Qatar and Abu Dhabi say they have no plans to jump to the rescue of ailing Wall Street banks. In one hopeful sign for the U.S., some smaller state funds are looking for bargains in real estate, finance and insurance. "For investors that have the liquidity and have patient capital, I can see good opportunities," said Talal Al-Zain, chief executive of Bahrain's $10 billion fund, Mumtalakat.

The U.S. economy has managed to grow in recent years, even though Americans don't save much and the government has run huge deficits, because foreigners kept lending. The same was true in the 1980s. Now the U.S. needs foreign capitals to keep lending. C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank, says the Treasury will have to stage a "road show" to explain the rescue plan to overseas lenders who may be considering euro investments instead.

Domestically, the reliance on foreign money means a loss of autonomy that Americans are simply going to have to get used to. Part of the accommodation is already occurring. The controversy over investments by sovereign-wealth funds has been reversed. Last year, lawmakers worried the funds would gain political influence by investments in U.S. companies; now U.S. policy makers are worried that they won't buy new stakes. Efforts to erect restrictions against foreign trade may also lose momentum. The U.S. needs the world's money more than it thought it would and won't want to rile potential lenders.

-- Jason Dean in Beijing and Chip Cummins in Dubai contributed to this article.

Write to Bob Davis at

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Africa Video

Here's a couple of my videos from the Botswana trip. The first is a compilation of snapshot videos and the 2nd is when we were on top of Kgale Hill. See ya!

The Zip Line Beta version

Well, we got the zip line high enough and tight enough for Dylan but Miles seems to be a little too heavy and little too tall and not strong enough to hold his feet up. We may have to replace the anchor post with something bigger too. I can promise you that Dylan has enjoyed it so far!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stuck in a Fog

Well, I predicted it and I hate that I did. No matter how hard we fought in the 1st half against Maryland today, we didn't bother showing up in the 2nd half. We never scored again and Maryland stung us with another disappointing loss. Tommy Bowden had that "I feel like crying but I ain't" look on his face. Because I saw it coming, it was as shocking. Still hate it but seems like we have been here before. On a positive note, Wake Forest is losing to Navy (yes, Navy) at half time 17-0. I will be watching that one closely.

This morning, I lead a group of 5 in our county wide clean-up. Luckily, the rain stopped but it was still humid and warm. We cleaned about a mile from the high school and made a difference in our walk. Next time, we plan to publicize more in church and pick a bigger area.

Dylan had a great soccer game, they won 2-1. Miles' team lost 12-6 but he had a great time according to Tricia. I took Dylan to his game after the clean-up was done. Talk about crazy Saturday mornings.

Last night, we took the boys to see the Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orcheastra at the Peace Center. An awesome night of some real music (although they joked about not really being from New Orleans that folks from India were really playing the music in the background) from the soul of American music, New Orleans. Lots of long solos and jams. It was a great time for me and Miles. Tricia enjoyed it too but Dylan faded out around the 2nd tune. Regardless, it was a great opportunity for them to see music at the Peace Center and we had a great family night. Caught a little of the Presedential debate on the radio during the drive home and finished it on the tube once we got home. Hope you watched it too.

See ya!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Keller in the Rain

As you can see, Keller figured out the dogloo. I guess it's better than the cold rain or under the deck. Tricia had the great idea that he wanted to be able to see us from the dogloo and felt like the dogloo would be better on the deck.

Great idea Tricia! Keller thanks you! If he would only keep the blanket in the dogloo and not carry it around the yard. Well, he's smart but still a puppy and learning every day. Hope you are safe and dry and your bank is still open!

See ya!

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breakfast With Dad at School

Today is off to a great start. It was "Breakfast with Dad" at Crestview. It starts at 0700am, so we started getting up early, at 0600 but Shadow thought we meant 0530, so he thought he would help by using his alarm voice. By the time I let him out and got back in bed, it was almost time to get up. Don't ya love it?

It was a great breakfast of grits, eggs, bacon and biscuit. Dylan said "This is just like a breakfast at Nana's house"! It was great to see all the Dads and their kids at the school, the line was very long. It was a little chilly this morning and the line moved fast enough. I got the chance to speak with the boy's teachers and principals. Crestview recently achieved improvement in their standards, something like the top 2% of elementary schools. Some of the teachers are actually going to Washington, D.C. to receive an award. Way to go Crestview! I know it makes all the families and teachers proud (we are in both groups :-) ). Well, if I can figure out why my garage door keeps opening, it will be a great day. I strongly suspect the brand new home down the street where the garage door is being installed. We may have to discuss a different channel for their remote...

This morning, I made a CD for my friend Cliff with some great gospel instrumental jazz and some Live Bruce Springsteen (he's a big fan). He's also the pastor at Freedom and a good friend. He and his wife, Sherry, are also going to be at the same Jazz concert we are attending this Friday with the boys. Irvin Mayfield at the Peace Center. Should be an awesome night and I am looking forward to that and the weekend with family.

I am leading a county wide trash pick-up with Freedom on Saturday morning while Tricia does the sports games. Hopefully, I will get a chance to help her with that and do the trash pick-up coordination too. It's Greenville County's "County Clean-up" on Saturday. I have to say the country roads and streets here are much, much, much cleaner than the Low Country and Midlands areas of South Carolina. There are parts of Sumter and Clarendon counties that are more littered than Third World countries. It's a shame too. Well, I gotta get off my soapbox and get back to work.

See ya!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Window Blinds (Finally!)

I almost forgot to post about our new home improvement feature! We had custom blinds and shade installed yesterday in the high window above the front door. The sun in the afternoon was treating us like ants under a magnifying glass in the day light. Nice and shady and a noticeable difference in the afternoon temperatures. Thank you Linda (our neighbor who works for American Classic Shutters) for the great idea. We were really struggling trying to find someone to tint the windows but went with the shutters when we learned about invalid window warranties and peeling, etc. Tricia thinks they look great, I think they work!!!
See ya!
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Randomly Tuesday

- When I was in Ohio last week, almost 2/3 of the traffic lights in the state were powerless thanks to Hurricane Ike. Really, the hurricane went right though Ohio and there were trees down every where in the Columbus region. Most of the schools were closed, even on Wednesday and the weather came through on Sunday. Weird weather? Global warming? Well, if there is a hurricane in Ohio, you might want to think about it.

- We forgot to call my step-Dad, Pete, on his birthday yesterday. I didn't forget it as I had reminded myself of it since last week thanks to Google calendar and Outlook. I just dropped the ball and forgot to get the boys to call him. It's the #1 priority today. Pete, we all Love you. You are one of the hardest working, gentle spirited men I have ever known. Thank you for your leadership of our family and for loving Mom. Folks, Pete can fix anything at any time. You rarely (like in hurricane in Ohio) hear him raise his voice or say something negative. I can't say enough about how much I respect him and wish him nothing but the best. Happy Birthday (sorta belated) Pete!

- I have the web site up for Old Naledi Fellowship in Gaborone, Botswana. More coming very soon as I make time to add content. I am still working to find time for my videos from the trip too.
Old Naledi Fellowship

- Miles left his Fuse mp3 player in his pants and Dad washed the shorts. Guess what doesn't work any more? He took it in stride and has his minidisc player as a back-up. Dylan said he can't have his mp3 player. Lesson learned all around, including me. I am forever telling Tricia to check pockets before washing. Guilty as charged...

- Clemson won handily on Saturday against a poorly matched South Carolina State Bulldog team. The real season starts this weekend with Maryland. We have 5 tough conference games in a row: Maryland, Ga Tech, Wake Forest (the game of the year in my call), Florida State, Boston College. What we do these 5 weeks will make the season. Go Tigers!

- My friend, Stan, the zip line expert (he has 2) is going to help me with mine this Sunday. The boys are also going to do some wall climbing on Sunday with the church group, should be fun.

- I am excited about taking the boys and Tricia to see Irvin Mayfield and his New Orleans Orchestra at the Peace Center this Friday. This is a great opportunity to show the boys real music and the venue is one of my favorites. We are planning to let Dylan bring his Ninetendo DS, just in case :-)

- I think Keller may have injuried his tail this morning practicing with the frisbee. He went down hard on it and yelped very loudly. He looked back to see what "got him". Poor little fella has his tail tucked right now. I may have to sleep him an aspirin or motrin.

Time to get to work. Have a great day and don't forget to tell the ones you Love that you LOVE them. There is a tomorrow if it happens today!

See ya!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Farm Aid

Yesterday was the concert for Farm Aid 2008. I watched a good bit online until I finally figured out that my Direct TV was showing it without commercials on the tube. Duh!!! Neil and Mellencamp had some great sets. Willie was Willie. By that, I mean it was the almost the same setlist from the 2 times I have seen him live. Not that is bad, just an observation. When you are a living legend at the age of 75, you can do what you want. At least, it doesn't sound like anything else you hear.

I have been a fan and supporter of Farm Aid for a long time. I come from a long line of family farmers and my Dad and GrandDad had to sell all of the farm they worked when I was in middle school. It was always a boyhood dream of my brother and I to be farmers and divide the farm and live on the farm with our families. When they went bankrupt and sold everything, including the home where my grandparents lived, that dream was wiped away. Luckily, a good friend of the family bought the homestead and let my grandparents live there until my grandfather passed away. Farm Aid works to support family farms through promotion of local produce and organic produce. They are also a big help during natural disasters like the Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and now Ike. Family farmers look to Farm Aid for support during these hard times.

So, I gave a little yesterday and I would like to ask you to do the same. If you care about family farms and the choice of having locally grown produce, then you should do the same. Between now and 9/30 Direct TV will even match your contribution dollar for dollar. It's all tax-deductible as well. Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews are on the board of directors and Willie signs each and every check they give out to farmers. It's not some huge organization and all the performers donate all of their time and expenses for the cause. So, check it out here: Farm Aid 2008. If nothing else, sign up for the newsletter and stay in tune with the family farm cause. I thank you personally! Hey, right now, I am watching one of my favorite bands, moe., jamming on Direct TV at Farm Aid. Very cool and it's their last show until next year as they plan to take a long tour break after this Farm Aid show. Enjoy your break with your family moe. and thanks for the great set at Wanee 2008!!!

Today is Sunday. We had a great time yesterday with the boys and my Mom and Aunt Amy. We went to Miles' football game first. I took Keller and he was so good, especially when the kids gave him some love. He was so in his element and calm with the kids. He looked like he really enjoyed the kids hugging him, kissing him and talking to him. I was proud of his behavior. Miles throw a couple of great passes and caught a few for some good yards. His team won 19-0. Miles and I followed the other group over to Dylan's soccer game (almost 30 minues of travel time into rural Spartanburg county). So, Miles and I made it to Dylan's game, with the snacks just when the final whistle blew. But, his Nana and Aunt Amy got to see him play and the snacks and drinks made it on time. Check out some pictures here: Fall Sports 2008 with Keller

Later, we went over to Lake Robinson Grill and had some good ole Southern grill cusine. I had the best chilicheeseburger with home fries (big chunks of potato is more like it). Everyone was stuffed and then we went across the street to the park on the lake and enjoyed the cool afternoon sun looking at the Blue Ridge mountains. After some naps back home, Miles and I tackled the back yard with the mower and Mom and Amy headed back to Sumter. The backyard was in need of attention and the new blade on the mower was ready to give it. Check out Miles on the lawn mower, which makes Dad very proud (and happy): Mower man. Dylan is supervising from the tree house.

Clemson blew out SC State 54-0 and USC got a good battle scare from Wofford (Spartanburg's college). I watched FSU lose to Wake Forest and started thinking again that my projection that the Thursday night game at Wake Forest is going to be the hardest game of the year for the Tigers. I think I am looking to 100% correct as Grobe has another great team ready to play for the ACC championship.

Today, we are going to hang around, run errands and hopefully work on the zip line. My Mom brought 2 hay bales that we put in front of the post just in case :-) Dylan can't wait. I also plan to start working on the website for my friends in Botswana ( Right now, that domain points to the family site. So, don't expect much until later. Also, I plan to watch some NFL with one eye from the couch this afternoon (aka "take a nap").

Well, time to get the boys ready for church. They had Calvin spend the night and I found them at 430am using flashlights to play in Dylan's room. I put a quick stop to that action. Of course, Tricia slept right through all that fun! She did look great as she just left for church to set up refreshments, so I guess it was worth it!

See ya!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lawn Mower Man

Oh yeah, almost forgot! I got my lawn mower back from the shop today. It was so clean I didn't even recognize it! New blade and a tune-up and the yard is looking neat after a few weeks of neglect. Of course, I saved the backyard for Mr. Miles to practice on this weekend. Ain't Life Grand!!!

See ya!

Home At Last

After 19 airplane trips since August 11th, I am finally home for awhile with no plane tickets pending. It was obvious to me that I needed to get home when I arrived in Charlotte last night from Columbus and I had no idea of where I was when I entered the terminal. I was at the end of reading The Shack and was engrossed in the book but I was very disoriented when I looked up from the book as I left the jetway. It's good to be home and not have Tricia feel like a single parent too. Between soccer, football, karate, piano, school and church she has been very busy and on the go with the boys. Our good friends, Ruth and Alan Waterfield, were very helpful during my trips and such a great source of support.

Now, back to The Shack. I will definitely have to get back into that one very soon. I was very much challenged by this book and look forward to discussing with my Friday morning men's group tomorrow. I recognized myself in Mack many times throughout the book. I need it plain and simple and I can be very hard headed too. My good friend and Pastor, Cliff Marshall, just finished The Shack too. I look forward to lunch at El Mariachi's soon to hear more about what he thinks about some of the ideas in the book. Tricia and I just started a new lifegroup with Freedom going through the book, Love and Respect. That promises to be a fun and challenging ride too! It doesn't look like the "neuter the man and enslave the woman" approach, so it should be helpful to us in many ways and I look forward to hanging with other couples at lifegroup each week

My Mom and sister Amy are coming up tomorrow for Grandparents' Day at Crestview. Dylan even made an invitation for my Mom. Ain't that sweet! I took note today how much he has grown taller in the last month. It's very noticeable. I think he's growing overnight, no complaints of growing pain yet, so it's all good!

This weekend, I plan to finish the zip line in the back yard and work on my Africa videos and webiste for the church there in Old Naledi. Just take it easy and enjoy the boy's games with the family. I have really missed church too over the last month. Even though I am on call this weekend, I will be all about some worship and praise come Sunday morning. Enjoy your weekend!

See ya!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I am back in an aiport waiting for a plane. I am heading to Columbus,
Ohio to train a new site. I made it home from Boston around 1030pm
last night. Keller was happy to join me on a walk this morning. A
little work email and calls and then I was out the door again.
Luckily, all my flight were on time last night- wasn't sure how Ike
would affect travel and I did see a whole lot flights messed up
judging only from the very long lines at the Delta customer service
counters. Hated to leave again this morning...
The work retreat was a lot of fun at times and tolerable at others.
It's always good to get together in person with those you only email
and call 51 weeks every year.
After this Ohio trip, I don't have any airplane travel plans and that
is GREAT. Miles and Dylan are ready for me to finish the zip line in
the back and the grass needs some attention, even if the mower is in
the shop. I plan to work on my Africa videos and formalize my message
to the churches where I want to share the vision.

I finished Come Thirsty, a book I am discussing with my Friday morning
men's group and started reading The Shack. Wow! This is a great read
and I can't wait to continue reading more. Come Thirsty started good
but went flat, which probably explains why we don't talk about it
much. We do plan to discuss The Shack. Still very much enjoying Cold
Mountain too, it stays at the bedside as it's a thick hardback.
Well, it's time to board and my thumbs hurt :-).
See ya!

Sent from my mobile device

Mark H. Johnson

"It seems to me what you lose in mystery, you gain in awe." Sir
Francis Crick @@ "See ya!" Stevie Wonder >>Blog >>Family Site
Help Africa:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

911, Seven Years Gone

Peaceful Kingdom

A wave toward the clearing the sky

All this time we're talking and sharing our Rational View
A billion other voices are spreading other news
All this time we're living and trying to understand
Why a billion other choices are making their demands

Talk of a Peaceable Kingdom
Talk of a time without fear
The ones we wish would listen
Are never going to hear

Justice against The Hanged Man
Knight of Wands against the hour
Swords against the kingdom
Time against The Tower

All this time we're shuffling and laying out all our cards
While a billion other dealers are slipping past our guards
All this time we're hoping and praying we all might learn
While a billion other teachers are teaching them how to burn

Dream of a Peaceable Kingdom
Dream of a time without war
The ones we wish would hear us
Have heard it all before

A wave toward the clearing sky
A wave toward the clearing sky

The Hermit against The Lovers
Or the Devil against the Fool
Swords against the kingdom
The Wheel against the rules

All this time we're burning like bonfires in the dark
A billion other blazes are shooting off their sparks
Every spark a drifting ember of desire
To fall upon the earth and spark another fire

A homeward angel on the fly
A wave toward the clearing sky
by Neil Peart

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Check out this Wordle of a Larger Bowl

Clemson Alumni in Botswana


My main man Scott Shipes and me with the kids at the feeding station last week.
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These Dreams of Mine

I dreamed last night that Sarah Palin resigned from her role as Governor of Alasksa (I mean Exxon Mobil/Phillips Conocco board of directors)but refused to leave the ticket with McCain. The funny part is that I had a conversation about it with Tina Fey at the South Carolina Republican convention. Weird, I know. Blame it on the Newsweek I was reading yesterday at Miles' karate practice.

The other song/thought/image collage stuck in my head is...

Rush - The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)

If We're So Much The Same Like I Always Hear
Why Such Different Fortunes And Fates?
Some Of Us Live In A Cloud Of Fear
Some Live Behind Iron Gates

Why Such Different Fortunes And Fates?
Some Are Blessed And Some Are Cursed
Some Live Behind Iron Gates
While Others Only See The Worst

Some Are Blessed And Some Are Cursed
The Golden One Or Scarred From Birth
While Others Only See The Worst
Such A Lot Of Pain On The Earth

The Golden One Or Scarred From Birth
Somethings Can Never Be Changed
Such A Lot Of Pain On This Earth
It's Somehow So Badly Arranged

Somethings Can Never Be Changed
Some Reasons Will Never Come Clear
It's Somehow So Badly Arranged
If We're So Much The Same Like I Always Hear

Some Are Blessed And Some Are Cursed
The Golden One Or Scarred From Birth
While Others Only See The Worst
Such A Lot Of Pain On The Earth

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When the Brakes Fail, Get Out Fast!!!

No one was hurt but the neighbors still can't find their cat who usually sits in that window.

Pastor (Maruti) James of Old Naledi

Good morning. I woke at 4am last night after going to bed at 9pm. I had to hit the couch to keep from waking Tricia as I had a difficult time going back to sleep. But, I was able to get a little more sleep on the couch with Shadow helping for a few minutes to show me how it's done.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about a great and noble man, Pastor (Maruti in Setswana) James of Old Naledi Fellowship. I also plan to put more of his story and the story of the church on a web site I am making for the church. Hope to have that going soon once I get Boston and Columbus out of the way.

Maruti James came to know Christ as his personal Savior when working construction on a water project near the Kgale Hills of Gaborone, Botswana. He told us some men witnessed to him while working on the job and he then formed a church in his Old Naledi neighborhood with one of the men from the work project. Their first meeting was so crowded they had to go across the street to a vacant lot (aka trash dump) to hold prayer service. The church continued to grow but Maruti James moved away with his family for work and education. When he later returned to his old neighborhood, he found the church had fallen and disbanded. He knew God wanted him to build the church again; so, he called on his old friend who helped him form the church and decided to reform the church in his neighborhood.

His very first service as "Maruti" of the church was attended by a band of street orphans and little boys. Maruti had the wisdom to know that God wanted him to start his church with these boys and if that is the way it was to start, then it would be. Now, years later, those same boys are now the cornerstone of his growing church. These boys that Maruti ministered and fathered are now his crew and staff. Maruti's faith in God's plan was true and God has blessed the church with men who have been literally saved from prison and death by the grace and love of God.

Now, here's the interesting part. Remember that empty lot where the first prayer service was held? God has such an awesome way of showing his blessing on those who have faith. It might not be instantaneous (like we all want) and can require much more faith than we ever thought possible. Well, that empty lot and the very corner where the first prayer service was held is now the ground of the sanctuary that was started last week while we were in country digging the hardest dirt on the face of the planet. That corner of the trash dump is now the ground floor of a mighty church that will continue to be a shining light to the hard dirt streets of the Old Naledi neighborhood. Despite the HIV/AIDS crisis, the 40% unemployment rate and the depressed economy, Old Naledi Fellowship will be there for the children and families as a safe place and an altar to the faithfulness of God. Thank you Maruti James for giving me the opportunity to work alongside you and see what God is doing in one area of Africa.

Before we primed the steel supports that were erected in the 2 spade by 2 spade and 1 meter deep holes (I know exactly how deep and wide we struggled to get them!), I wrote John 13:34 on the beams. Others wrote scripture verses that reflected what God was telling them through the hard work and determination of these people and that place. Forever, that structure will hold the power of those words given to us by Christ. I am just honored to have been able to write those words, dig those holes and paint those beams. Thank you God for that opportunity! Please remember to pray for Maruti James and his family and all of the people of Old Naledi Fellowship and Gaborone, Botswana.

See ya!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Botswana 2008

Well, after 12 hours of rest I feel much better. I forced myself to stay awake on the plane ride from Jo'Berg, South Africa to Dakar, Senegal. I then took a sleeping pill from Dakar to Atlanta and got about 5 hours of sleep. That made it easier to make it to 7pm EDT last night before hitting the hay. It was so good to sleep in my own bed and next to Tricia, I might add.

I got Tricia a great soapstone carving from the Gaborone market of a family. I told her it would look great on her desk at school and she agrees. Miles loves his Botswana national team soccer jersey and Botswana beanie. Dylan thinks it's so cool someone carved the baboon I got for him from the market. He got a beanie too. Tricia plans to slowly enjoy her Africa Amarula chocolates (adults only!) I have so much to say and tell about our short week in Gaborone and I will be using this space to detail some of the work and challenges. Again, thank you to everyone who supported us back home in so many ways, I can never thank you enough. But for now, I have a puppy dog is who is SO ready for a walk, so I have to go. But, in the duration, enjoy these pictures...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Home Soon

We are now in Atlanta, everyone has cleared customs and several of us have Starbucks in hand. Our flight was relatively painless and early thanks to a quick in Dakar. We have tons of pictures and stories and challenges to share. We should be at ADBC around 1230. Thank you all for your prayers and support.
Don't forget to add Old Naledi to the top of your prayer list!!!!
In His Steps,
Mareko (Mark)
on Blackberry