Sobering Words

I’m taking a short break from the photos of our trip to Amsterdam.  There are many outstanding quotes from my journals that I’d like to share this week.  First, insightful words from Compassion’s Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  I met Edouard Lassegue and his wife years ago when I was in Haiti for the first time; at the time he was the President of Compassion Haiti.

Now he very capably administers, counsels and directs a much larger region.  This man is kind, warm, humble, caring, energetic and especially passionate about helping children in need.  This is his recent update:

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in praying for and supporting Compassion’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Your unwavering commitment in uplifting this region to God’s care is an affirmation of the power and solidarity of the global Church, which I believe is the main reason for the gains the region continues to experience.

Over the past decade, the Latin America and Caribbean Region has seen ongoing progress in many socioeconomic areas.  In fact, today, many economists attest that the majority of the countries in this region have been experiencing modest, but steady annual growth rates.  What’s more, these countries are also seeing declining extreme poverty rates with citizens generally becoming healthier and better educated.

These are encouraging highlights, but regrettably, they represent only half of the present situation.  Today, this region remains the most violent in the world, with one of the highest homicide rates ever.  Most of the clashes involve drug and gang activities, resulting in ruthless and barbaric murders.

Our region also faces natural disasters of all kinds, including flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes.  Haiti, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic continue their recovery efforts from hurricanes and tropical storms, while Mexico focuses on reconstruction from earthquake devastation.  Heavy rainfall in Colombia and Peru have brought about flooding and higher incidents of mosquito-borne illnesses.

But, in the midst of it all, I am so inspired by the dedication and courage of our church partners.  They do not complain; they do not back down.  That is why we count it a distinct privilege to walk alongside them in this vital ministry of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

So please don’t stoop praying for the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  Pray that the Church stays firm in the midst of the violence that surrounds them, serving as an example of Christ’s truth and love.  Pray for the safety of families and children–many of whom face the threat of violence every day in their normal day-to-day activities.  Pray for governments and local branches of authority, that they will “step up” and care for the people they profess to serve.

The troubles of the Latin America and Caribbean Region will not fade by just good intentions.  Real progress and peace will only come through a change of heart and mindset, and as followers of Christ, we know that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, again, for your prayerful support.  And may you be encouraged that all things are possible through God — and that includes a transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the spirit of the triune God, Edouard Lassegue, Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Compassion International

Here is the link for my second visit with Josue, and with his younger brother that I also sponsored later.  If you would like to sponsor a child, click here and you can search a child from Latin America or the Caribbean!

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Zandvoort

One of the things we wanted to do in The Netherlands is go to a beach, and we easily found our way to Zandvoort by bus.  It was a great experience.  We found a great restaurant and a lot of interesting activities on the beach, as you will see below.

Canal Cruise

Both times that I was in Amsterdam we took one of the canal cruises.  It’s really a great way to see the city.  Everything takes on a different perspective from a boat.  Take a look at these interesting photos.

Sarah saw a party boat going under one of these bridges; they tossed a guy up on the bridge and he ran across it and jumped back on the boat just in time.  Well, I guess that’s one way to have adventure.  The sunset is really pretty from one of these cruises.

 

 

 

 

Bikes

This is my second post on our trip to Amsterdam in 2015.  The reason I love visiting this city is because you can bike everywhere.  Bikes are easy to rent and you can take them on trains and just continue riding when you get there.  They’re wonderful, although you’ll notice they’re typically a European style of bike, not the typical mountain bikes we’re used to.  Bikes of all sizes and types.

We saw a lot of couples and families riding together, and a lot of people texting as they rode (please, don’t text and ride!).  Not a good idea.

Some people park their bikes in odd ways.

Near the central train station is a gigantic multi-story building for parking, not cars, but bikes!

Better remember where you parked your bike.  Of course, all the rental bikes come with great locks so you don’t need to worry about theft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Fun

Here are some of the family photos I took in Jackson the week of the eclipse.  Paul had headed back to Buffalo but Chris and Sarah and I lingered a bit longer.

I know this looks posed but I don’t think it was.

Neither were these.

They managed to throw a football around a little before we headed back home.  Fun!

Back in the Saddle

Following a painful bike wreck earlier in the summer, I was still eager to get back on my bike while we were in Jackson Hole.  It was terrifying at first, but I loved riding through the National Park with Chris and Sarah.

It was a great day to ride along the lake.

What can be better than mountains, water, kids and bikes on a pleasant summer day?