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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday, September 24 -- Day 8

This is our last full day with the Sandassie family. Andy's trying to decide about whether or not to go see Logos Hope and onto the beach or not. I'm staying pretty close to home to prepare for our early departure. It's been a good visit and we're already talking about returning next year about this time. Of course, we'll sort that out as we get closer to the date. I appreciate what God has done and what He's shown us during this time away. Now, all we must do is start implementing His directives. I've included a picture of the house in which we stayed. I was in the car as we were departing, so you don't see the carport to the right of the house. The gate in the front is normally closed and is locked at night.

Wednesday, September 23 -- Day 7

After service we went to Mario's Pizza. This was our second visit to the popular pizza parlor. We had a large pizza with chicken, pineapple and corn on top. Michael got into joke mode and Brandon into riddle mode -- what is a ghost's favorite food? Booberry. We got home around 10:30 and into bed by midnight.

Wednesday, September 23 -- Day 7

I spent the day preparing a drama program presentation for that evening. I wrote an audio theatre sketch titled A Day in the Life: Just Do It in the morning and spent the rest of the afternoon finding sound effects, background music and more. Even though David did not see the script or the sound effects list before our presentation, he did a good job at improvising. I finally got it! Don't go anywhere without being prepared to do a dramatic presenation of some sort.

Tuesday, September 22 -- Wash Day (Day 6)

Wash day actually started yesterday (on my birthday) and continued through today. We had two loads and had to hang them out to dry, a task I can count doing on one hand. Please note how useful David was during the process . . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 22 -- Day 6 -- Part 1

In 2005, I found myself offering to write the story of Joan Sandassie's life. I did a good bit of and then was stymied for a while. I originally told them that it would take five years to finish the project, so now is the time to pick it up and move forward. To that end, Tracy arranged a meeting with Joan's sisters. Here I'm speaking with Seerania, Dulce, and the oldest, Baby Pearl. Her sister Betty is in the gallery trying to keep up with her two granddaughters. It was an emotional interview for the sisters, but one that had to be conducted.

September 22 -- Day 6, Part 2

I spent the afternoon with Peggy Lalchan and friends. Her friend, Heidi, chauffered us to her friend Val's house where we stumbled upon a prayer meeting in progress. You could feel the presence of God in that place. The Lord allowed me to speak a few things into some of the meeting topics, which served as mutual confirmations in a number of areas. Val served us a delicious lunch which included goat, rice, curried chickpeas, roti and some other stuff. Afterwards, Heidi drove us up to San Fernando Hilltop where we had a wonderful view of the valley and ocean. By then, it was time to pick up Heidi's nine-year-old daughter, so they dropped me back at Andy and Tracy's home around 4 P.M.

September 22 -- Day 6, Part 3

We capped off the day with a Ladies Night Out,, so Tracy, her mom (Indra Doman), and I went to Nam Fong's Chinese Restaurant in San Fernando. Of course, the guys couldn't be outdone, so Michael, Brandon and David went to The Aquarium in Cocyea Village. Unfortunately, they didn't have a camera and I'm sure no one thought to snap a cell-phone shot. It was the perfect way to end an event-filled day. Brandon called his mom twice while we were in the restaurant. The first time was to tell her that if she needed to reach him, she could call him on her cell phone. The second was to find out where we were since the guys had had finished eating and were back home already. Let's face it, women have more to talk about than men!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthday dinner, Day 5

We had a wonderful birthday dinner of Barbecued chicken, macaroni pie and salad. David and Michael barbecued the chicken while Tracy took care of the rest. Being a "cook" in name only, I didn't realize that you steamed the chicken before barbecuing it. Everything was delicious and proved to be the perfect way to top of an exceptional birthday'

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let us eat cake

What better birthday cake in Trinidad & Tobago than one with a toucan on it? We took a mid-afternoon birthday cake break after which a few of us took naps. Pastor Andy and Tracy are still asleep (5:26 P.M.) because Andy has to work tonight and tomorrow night. He'll be leaving at 6:30 (or half six as is commonly said here). He works as an engineer at a local methanol plant.
We've also used the break as an opportunity to get laundry done. Since the dryer is broken, we wash then hang the clothes in the laundry shed to dry. For dinner, we'll be having barbecued chicken later this evening and some other tasty fare. David and I haven't been drinking enough water, so we're trying to correct that error as well. All in all, this has been a good and quiet day.

Warming up to Alex

Being a dog lover (we have two), I was quite eager to get on a friendly relationship with Tracy and Andy's dog, Alex. Tracy affectionately refers to him as a Pit Bull in a Pompek's body. He came inside today so we had an opportunity to make friends with him. How? It started with dog biscuits -- one from David and one from me. Then I decided that he needed a pull toy. Now, Tracy wasn't sure what I meant when I suggested that she get an old, mismatched sock and tie a knot in the end to play tug of war. So I retrieved a used, knee-high stocking, tied multiple knots towards the end and dangled it in front of Alex. He was ecstatic! He played pull and tug and jump to get. He also likes being scratched behind the ears. At one point he came to me and growled. I put my open palm in front of him to sniff. He immediately touched my hand with one tooth, tossed his head and demanded an ear scratch. This is a dog who know what he wants!

Monday, September 21 -- Day 5

Since this is the last day of Ramadan (it was actually yesterday, but the holiday is today), Trinidad is celebrating with a public holiday today. It also happens to be my birthday, so Brandon presented me with a birthday card first day in the morning. This has been a great day for firsts, which I will address in one of the multiple entries for the day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, September 20 -- Day 4

At 1:21 PM, it was 91 degrees Fahrenheit with 59 percent humidity. Dave and Andy joined Michael at the church to set up chairs and prepare for the 4:00 service. They came home long enough for lunch, showers and to change clothes. The men left for church at 3:00 while Tracy, Brandon and I left at 3:30. We got there in plenty of time for what turned out to be an exceptional celebration.
In this photo, my David is talking with fellow GCMF minister David Sumari (whose name I probably misspelled). In the background, you can see a new glass pulpit which Andy and David picked up Saturday. The logo on the wall above the pulpit is a new addition as well. Andy, Michael and Tracy orchestrated an exceptional event.
We enjoyed a wonderful presence of the Lord with excellent praise and worship and a wonderful message from Pastor Julian Leslie. He delivered an inspiring word during this ninth anniversary of Great Commission Victory Tabernacle in Vistabella. I had the privilege of sharing briefly before a special dance presentation and David Sumari's salutation.
After the service we enjoyed Roti (an unleavened flat bread), stewed chicken, curried chickpeas. It was way too tasty. But now it's after midnight and I'll have a whole new report tomorrow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday -- Day 3

Today has been interesting as we deal with daily living issues. Brandon has Saturday morning classes in preparation of the national tests he'll be taking next year. The outcome determines which secondary school. This is equivalent to our middle school and high school. The secondary school these children attend often determines the career paths.

While Brandon was at school, which released at noon, Tracy and I went shopping for t-shirts for my grandchildren and two of your young church boys. Then we met David and Andy at an insurance office to renew Andy's car insurance. Unlike our open offices, metal bars separated the clients from the insurance clerks here in Trinidad. Then we went to a pharmacy where, again bars separated the customers from product and staff, so I could purchase a bottle of zyrtec (I left mine at home). The pharmacist came to the window to assist me, which is apparently unusual. The clerk, with whom I spoke initially, told me that 10 mg was $5.30. It took me a few moments to realize that I needed to tell her how many pills I wanted to buy -- I purchased ten for $53.30. In American money, that's about $8.58.

After lunch, we went to the Gulf City Mall in La Romaine. We started our shopping trip out with ice cream, purchased some gifts for family back home and finished it off popcorn. We got back to Gasparillo around 6 p.m. (Special thanks to Denise Campbell for clarifying a few of these locations).

Friday Night, Day 2

These photos were taken during the Friday night deliverance service. Tony, the associate pastor, briefly shared his testimony prior to my speaking. He was recently in the hospital with a white cell count of 2, which means he should have been dead. But you can see here that he is alive and well. God is in the miracle business, after all.
David and I have been actively studying and seeking the clarity of God's voice. We want to make sure that we are responding to His voice rather than on what we think should happen. Imagine my surprise when the Lord told me to encourage the Vistabella church through the book of Ephesians. I had been planning on preaching Great Expectations, but as I was preparing the message I came across 1 Corinthians 1:17 in which Paul says that he keeps his messages simple so he won't dilute the testimony of the Cross. Then the Lord impressed me with the fact that I should read the letter of Ephesian as if this was the letter that Tythicus brought to the church from Paul. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, but I did it! While the congregation was surprised, they received.
We also prayed for Vitra who has cancer of the lymph glands. Please keep her lifted in prayer. She has three more chemo treatments. We prayed for healing, total healing. As I prayed for her, I saw a hand over a black crevice pulling holding her and keeping her from falling. I believe she will be healed. Join me in the believing of it, please.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday, September 18 -- Day 2

We awoke to a humid, muggy day. After breakfast, we visited the Presbyterian school where Tracy teaches. Apparently, when one of the teachers learned that we were back, she wanted us to come and tell the Turtle of Koka story to her five-year-olds. We shared that story with about 100 first years and then went to visit the third years who heard the story of the Donkey in the Well. Tracy surprised David by asking him to tell the children what he used to do -- which is, of course, fly airplanes for the U.S. military. That perked the children, especially the boys, right up.
Shortly after we returned to the Sandassies' home, it started raining. This has been the type of rain that cools things off a bit. We'll be having lunch soon -- curried goat and rice. Then off to church tonight for an evening service. I'll have the privilege of bringing the message of the Lord, so I suppose I should sign off and get ready.

Day 1 -- Thursday, September 17

This is our day of rest. I napped a bit through the day while David read. The highlight of the day was visiting a favorite Chinese restaurant for Brandon's 11th Birthday. I shared Brandon's plum chicken, egg fried rice and vegetables.

This is one of the pictures we took at the restuarant -- L-R is Pastor Andy, his wife Tracy, Birthday Boy Brandon, me (Diane), David, and Michael Sandassie (Andy's dad).

After we left the restaurant, we returned to Andy's home in Gasborough were we toasted the birthday boy with non-alcoholic wine. It was a bit cold because Tracy put it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to chill it and then forgot about it until we were on our way to the restaurant.

So what do you get an 11-year-old boy you only get to see once a year? We brought him two DVDs -- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and also Prince Caspian. Fortunately, he didn't have the one.

While the weather is much warmer than the mild fall weather we left behind in Delaware, it was not as hot as it has been in previous visits. All in all, this has been a very good day.

Short-term mission, day 1

This is our fourth trip to Trinidad & Tobago. We took our first missions trip here in 2005 and returned in 2006 and 2007, but this is the first time we've come alone.

After receiving an email from American Airlines to confirm our flight online, I was surprised to discover that our departure and arrival times had been changed, including a nine-hour layover in Miami. Since this was not what we scheduled, I called and was fortunate enough to change our takeoff from Philadelphia from 6:00 AM to 12:40 PM. Of course, that meant we would not arrive in T&T until 10:30 PM.

Of course, we sat in coach. During the first leg of our flight, we had a seatmate who was afraid of flying, especially take off and landing. A software salesman who was heading for Nassau, he survived the flight and we parted in Miami. After a three-hour layover in Miami, we departed on our longest and final leg. I seatmate there was a native of Trinidad and who lived in Canada for 35 years.

We arrived in Trinidad at 10:30 PM. We've never made it through Immigration and Customs as fast as we did this time, which was truly a blessing. We immediately spied Tracy Sandassie who was waiting for us outside Customs. Pastor Andy was parking the car, so Tracy called him and asked him to swing around to pick us up.

This was a good start to what promised to be a great trip.