Adventures!

I'm very fortunate to have traveled quite a bit in my life, owing mostly to my association with YWAM YCC Global Outreach and New Mission Systems Int'l.  These aren't the kind of tourist trips some folks would plan, I must say.  It usually involves days and nights of rocky-roads and dusty villages.  I tend to stay with the people we're working with, as you can see, and there are some hazards involved with that, such as Malaria,  intestinal parasites and never knowing for sure if you're completely safe or not.  But the up-side is a view of the world and its people that is remarkably close to their lives and an understanding of their perspectives that eludes many travelers.  I'll make that trade.  Having now been on 5 of the 7 continents, I consider myself extremely privileged to know people in an unusual and extraordinary way, by having shared their lives with them for a time.  Below are some photo albums from some of the more recent excursions. 

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This album (unfinished as of 10/16) contains pictures from my most recent travels to Bulgaria and Greece.  My first time in Europe proper (having been to England a couple times) this was quite amazing for me.  Our first stop was in Hissarya, Bulgaria for NMSI's triennial conference.  Once every 3 years we all get together somewhere in the world for education, reconnection and just a bit of time off.  There are over 250 of us now.  Hissarya is an ancient town, going back to the late 3rd century as Diocletianopolis, when it was part of the Thracian Empire, and, conquered by Rome, it refused to give up its culture or identity.  After 7 days there, a two-day bus ride (read: sore backside!) landed us in Thessaloniki, Greece.  We traveled across the old Roman province of Macedonia and into Achaia, stopping at Rila, a 4th century monastery, along the way, and were rewarded with 4 days at a beautiful beach resort on the Aegean sea.  My only regret is that I must do this alone, leaving my wonderful family at home, only to hear about my adventures.

Danny Thompson (Stage Name Danny Ray) is a Christian illusionist.  Danny's close-up illusions with simple things like cards and rubber bands never cease to amaze me.  In February, '08 Danny, Joe Wallace and I traveled to Japan to try out his illusions as an evangelistic tool in the Asian context.  It worked amazingly well.  Below are some photos from our time together. 

In 2004 and 2006 Joe Wallace and I (Michael Cox was with us in '04) did outreaches, leadership training and field surveys in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya.  As all the African excursions, things have always changed since the last visit, everything is tentative, meaning we always have to plan-as-we-go to accommodate the constantly shifting conditions politically, socially and spiritually.  Two constant amazements, though, are always the openness of the people and the progress of the work.  These are only a few of the pictures we took during that time.

Mike Dimmitt, Jenny Smith and I embarked upon this 2003 Africa Field Survey, which took us to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.  Kenya was a short visit, with Jenny staying behind at that location, and for very good reason.  In my pack was an engagement ring, which I gave to J.D. Whitney, who asked Jenny for her hand after we left.  Jenny had been working in Harbin, China for the past two years, and so the bringing together of a union from two continents was a particularly joyous occasion. Before leaving Kenya, though, we had occasion to embark upon our very first Safari on the Maasai Mara game preserve.  Even outside the preserve there is an abundance of animals.  Some of the photos of wildebeasts and ostriches running away were taken right outside Narok, where J.D. lived at the time, and it appears, suspiciously, as if we were chasing the animals in our Land Rover.  Surely Not!

Mike and I then continued on to Zimbabwe, where we joined Bob and Peggy Kuest, and Emmanuel and Betty Zihove for a teaching and training excursion through Mozambique, ending up in Malawi (read:  21 days crammed into a Nissan Pajero together, going from village to village.)  This, even I must admit, was an incomparable adventure.

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