Food, Fellowship and New Friends

We have had an amazing week in Bahrain. We have only one more day here, and then we will head back to Iowa to finish raising support.

We have eaten too much delicious food, and we have relished even more in the rich fellowship we are having with new friends.

We will definitely be sharing more later.

You can see pictures of our trip on Flickr.

Traveling

We just worshiped at ARC this morning, one of the three last sermons Keith will be preaching there this year. When he announced that, I realized how quickly the time is going. American Church has been a wonderful place to grow as parents, people and as disciples of Christ.

As I said in an earlier post, this transition is not easy, but it is good. We are happy, and sad. We are blessed. Humbled and blessed. We are probably scared a bit witless too at times, which makes it easier to just keep following. We don’t have to rely on our own wits, but we have a faithful good shepherd leading us into tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, that is the day we fly to Bahrain for the first time ever. (The first time either of us have flown off of North America.) We’ll be there for a week, and we hope we’ll be able to share photos here on this blog while we are there, so you can see it along with us. Thank you for your prayers and support.

2013-09-15 Inspiring

AMH Personnel Have Audience with the King

We received a note with a link to a news article from the Chief Executive of the American Mission Hospital in Manama. He told about having an audience with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa this week regarding the work of the AMH in Bahrain.

Keith and I are so blessed and humbled to have a chance to work in this mission that has such a rich history of doing good in Bahrain.

Read more about the hospital personnel’s meeting with His Majesty here on this post on the Bahrain News Agency.

Crossing the Water

Back in March after reading Acts 16:6-9, I asked God how Paul could know so clearly what he was supposed to do.  Especially when I noticed that the word “come over” in verse 9 in the Greek means “cross over a body of water.”  Can I, like Paul, know your will that clearly?

The answer has been “yes” and “wait continually.”  My new supervisor for the Middle East, Duncan Hansen, told me, “Enjoy each mile marker along the way.”

A big mile marker arrives Monday.  Denise and I are flying to Bahrain to be introduced to our new home.  I will give devotions to the staff at the American Mission Hospital on three mornings. Go on hospital calls with Appu.  Meet with the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr. George Cheriyan. Spend time with the senior pastor at the English language congregation, Jim Harrison. Meet with the leaders of the English Language Congregation.   Denise and I will also spend time with Josh and Alison Perkins and tour the Al Raja school.  I will deliver the message in worship at the Friday morning service and at the Sunday evening service.

Appu wrote me and said that the Indian families were asking if Denise and I liked Indian food.  I responded that we had gone to Indian restaurants three different times while we were in Seattle  back in June, and we were looking forward to eating Indian food with our new friends.  We have lunch and and supper with a different family each day.  It is going to be good!

Denise and I thank our Iowa church family and all our friends and family members for their love and support during this time of transition. Their outpouring of love has been so appreciated and needed as we approach the mile markers ahead of us.

We look forward to sharing with you our experiences from our new home.

How Big is Bahrain?

We haven’t been to Bahrain yet. We know it is a small constitutional monarchy in the Arabian Gulf, an archipelago of 33 islands,  just east of Saudi Arabia.

Lately I’ve been thinking of that descriptor “small” and how it relates to my idea of a geographically small area. As a geography major, I’m always curious about things like that.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Bahrain is 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. I have seen this statistic in other sources, too. In fact, I’ve repeated it to other people who asked about the size.

The size of Bahrain was still something I couldn’t picture, though. I have been in Washington, D.C., twice. It seemed big to me because we got around by public transportation and walking, lots of walking. Some of you know what I’m talking about. You, too, have visited in the summer and walked the two miles between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. To hear that Bahrain was 3.5 times the size of Washington didn’t make it seem small at all.

Knowing that one fact didn’t add to my understanding of  the size of Bahrain, so I decided to do some math and get a better idea about the relative size of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

First of all, I would like to suggest a correction for the World Factbook. Bahrain has a strong land reclamation program, and is growing in land area. Washington, D.C., is not really 100 square miles, as it was at the beginning. Some of the land was given back to Virginia in 1846, so our nation’s capital is officially 68.3 square miles (177 km2). Since Bahrain is 294 square miles (762 km2), it’s really more than 4 times the size of Washington, D.C.

Anyway, closer to home.

Again, the total land area of the Bahraini archipelago is 762 km2. Total land area of Sioux County in Northwest Iowa, where we live, is 1,990.6 km2. So, I discovered Bahrain would fit into Sioux County 2.5 times with a little room in the Iowa county to spare. That gives me a new understanding of what “small” means when I describe the Kingdom of Bahrain.

People around here can understand that because we drive in and out of Sioux County on a daily basis. That is going to be a big change for us.  In Bahrain, we’ll only be driving in, not out of Bahrain.

Sioux County with Bahrain Map