27 April 2007


Some of you will be hearing this for the second time, but I’m excited to share with you the news that I have the opportunity to spend six weeks in Tanzania (May 17-June28) working with Tanzania Educational and AIDS Mission (TEAM) to help facilitate HIV/AIDS education seminars. Kevin & Blair Henneke Martin and Dennis Mnyanyi are the founders of TEAM.

The mission of TEAM is to partner with local churches and local Tanzanian missionaries in educational and leadership development initiatives in response to growing numbers of HIV/AIDS infection in rural areas of Tanzania. Approximately 1.4 million adults and children in Tanzania are infected with HIV/AIDS. The infection rate is increasing rapidly in the rural areas where people neither understand HIV/AIDS, nor have the resources to combat the spread of the disease.

The curriculum they have developed over the last six years of working in this field includes: God-Centered Small Groups; God-Centered Servant Leadership; HIV/AIDS and our Call as Christians; and Peacemaking/Reconciliation ministry. TEAM works with facilitators from the communities to equip leaders to respond to the needs in their own communities, and they provide resources and an open forum for AIDS education (prevention and care).

In terms of roles, Blair’s focus is seminar participants, Kevin’s focus is the administrative end of hosting 100 people for the seminars, and they would like me to help as support person for the seminar facilitators—12 local Tanzanian missionaries. We have also talked a little about working to develop care groups within churches for hospice patients and those whose families have been ravaged by AIDS.

As I said when I sent out an initial email, it is a thrilling surprise and gift to be able to participate in this work with my friends and see firsthand God’s heart for the people of Tanzania, who have undoubtedly all been affected by the tragedies of this disease. I apologize for the late notice, but my joining this trip has literally happened over a period of a few days. In addition to Blair, Kevin & Dennis’s hearty welcome to join them in this work, I have seen other evidence of God’s hand in the process in that TEAM has offered to subsidize a portion of the cost for me to join them. Of course if you are moved by the Holy Spirit toward financial support of my participation, and TEAM to further the ministry, it would be a blessing. The Educational AIDS Mission, TEAM TZ has 501(c)3 status as a Member Foundation of the National Heritage Foundation. Let me know and I can get you information about where to send donations.

TEAM’s website
is a wealth of educational information and gives a good picture of what they’ve been up to, what they believe in, and where they’re hoping to continue to do in obedience to the needs and calling God has given them to serve these communities. In terms of other resources if you are interested in learning, two books that I read this past winter were excellent: The AIDS Crisis: What We Can Do by Deborah Dortzbach and W. Meredith Long (both directors at World Relief); and also Rethinking AIDS Prevention by Edward C. Green (which is more case studies/best practices in developing countries).

My plan is still to attend Covenant Theological Seminary this fall to pursue a Masters in Theological Studies with an emphasis in counseling to be better equipped for further mission work. I am hoping this will be good field practice! I will most likely not send out mass emails, but rather will try to update here and share pictures, etc. as often as I can.

Dennis already taught me that “Lord have mercy!” in Swahili is: “Bwana uwe na rehema.” I think I will keep it in mind as I prepare over these next short weeks and as we are there for God to show me his heart for those who need his love and healing in relation to this disease, not only in Tanzania, but wherever the marginalized, stigmatized, broken and hurting of his children need the demonstration of his love.

N.T. Wright says:

“What is our calling, then? We are called, simply, to hold on to Christ and his cross with one hand, with all our might; and to hold on to those we are given to love with the other hand, with all our might, with courage, humor, self-abandonment, creativity, flair, tears, silence, sympathy, gentleness, flexibility, Christ likeness. When we find their tears becoming our own, we may know that healing has begun to happen; when they find Christ in being held on to by us, whether we realize it or not, we are proving what Paul said: God made him to be sin for us, who knew not sin, so that in him we might embody the saving faithfulness of God.”
And Dortzbach & Long wrote what could sum up the heart of why I want to go:

“Volunteers not only seek to bring comfort, teach infection control and help relieve the responsibilities of family members, but they also seek to be the frontline extenders of Christ’s compassion, counsel and presence in the shadow of death. For the AIDS sufferer, the journey is long, and the pain sears the soul.”

Thanks, as always, for your friendship, prayer and support.

Bwana uwe na rehema (Lord have mercy),


18 April 2007

aye matey

This is funny. Yarrrrr! Thanks Cap'n Haley Knifenose!

Also, if you haven't had a chance, see "The Namesake" it's a great movie. Wonderful even. Yarrrrrrrrrrr!

~Mad Anne Bonney.

14 April 2007

Hunger, or What I have yet to learn

Be willing to listen for a long while, longer than you think is necessary.
Listen until all of the batteries run out of juice,
and all of your coffee buzz has worn off.
Listen until the spinning and clicking of the gears of your brain quiet themselves, winding down like the cuckoo clock
with their silly costumed figurines waiting to show themselves.
Listen until they have laid down their heads on tiny wooden pillows inside your gut,
until what is left is the silence and low hum of your own pumping heart.

Listen as you walk the wood floors
through rooms gray with morning light
on winter days that straggle into spring
like truant children.
Listen while it is very quiet. You may have to strain to hear
(although some say there are times when it is as if
God shouts
in the colors of that sunset between the tall brick building
and the fence overgrown with green climbing brambles.
in the voice of a dear child who speaks your name);

It is in the hunger and quiet that your soul will strain,
in your paucity that you will finally seek.
It is here that he says what needs to be heard:

“Come all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me,
and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me that your soul may live.” (isaiah 55)

11 April 2007

wisitor, etc.

April has come and gone (not the month, the totally sweet and fun girl), and I am in the sad state that inevitably follows a lovely time with someone you really like who returns to her home in beautiful Portland (the book worked...when can I come?). We had lots of good conversations, some tasty meals out, watched some movies, and went up in the arch.

We also spent some precious time mocking books about relationships, including one specifically on the subject of "small talk" at Borders in the Christian self-help section (just kidding but not really...). It was really great for those of us who don't know how to chat about the lighter subjects, so to speak, like perhaps not sex-trafficking, poverty and development issues, race, religion, politics and marriage. I learned a few things and feel a lot better about future conversations I could hypothetically have. I imagine it might just go like this:

Me: "Did you know that the ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain?? (pause for full effect).... Well, let me tell you, it is!"

Other Person being small talked to (said with astonishment, truly impressed with my wit, flair and brilliantly dramatic delivery): "Where did you learn that fascinating bit of information?!"

Me: "Uh, well, I read about it in a book for social delinquents who don't know how to make small talk. I have no idea where it came from, in fact, they probably just made it up so that I would humiliate myself! I'll just go ahead and stop this wonderful rapport we've got going by letting you know I don't know anything else about ostriches!"

I see my relationship horizons expanding as we speak!

All mocking aside, we did have a nice visit, and I hope she's well and settling back into life and work.

I watched a good film recently. It was called "Shultze Gets the Blues" and the plot key words were: Zydeco, Houseboat, Blues Music, Accordian, and, I might add, German Subtitles. Can it get any better than that? It was sort of meandering and heartfelt, and there was good music throughout the film.

It reminded me a little bit of "Brassed Off" which is probably 10 years old and starred Ewan McGregor. That was a great film--also well-written, good music, sweet love story. I think I even liked it better, although the character of Shultze was very endearing.

I am ready now for spring to return. In the meantime (the stormy cold time), I'm reading an interesting but rather weighty book (not one for small talk) about violence called Trauma & Recovery and am fighting the urge to hibernate again. Soundtrack on shuffle:

Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha

Over the Rhine, Live From Nowhere, Volume 2; listen to "Little Did I Know" on their myspace. It's kickin, decidedly more crunk than Lil Scrappy. Whatever that means.

the innocence mission, we walked in song.

03 April 2007


Last night sitting on the porch in rocking chairs drinking wine, we ushered in the evening and with it a slight chill. We heard birds rustling, chatted with the neighbor as she crossed the street to borrow milk for the macaroni and cheese she was cooking.

As we talked about our lives, I thought to myself: There are some things about love that you learn by holding tight and saying a prayer.

As if to answer, my friend pointed into the starlit yard:

“Look, I have surprise tulips.”

They didn’t come up last year, and there they were, all of them looking so graceful and blushing just a tad (they know they are quite striking). They were audience to good conversation.

Today, I could especially tell that it is spring. The gusting from the west, the high clouds. Throughout the park, there were bright kites tangled up in the trees. And there was the smell: this mixture of fuel and cut grass and dove soap, someone cooking on a grill, newly paved blacktop and red rubber kick balls, sunshine and dirt, the blooming of all sorts of things lingering on the wind.

I was thinking while I walked that we occasionally open the doors to the family rooms of our hearts to others. The furniture sure is shabby, but the favorite books are there, and comfortable places to sit, and a hearth to sing around. These things we all have, whether we share them or not. It is a process we are all in up to our ears. It is hard for all of us to admit—to ourselves, to others, to Him—that there are places in our lives where we have run too recklessly and fallen down, places where there is just a big mess of weeds that we pretend can produce something.

Turn on a few glowing lights. Pull up a chair. What is there to lose?

I think this is the way God must feel about us. He did, after all, invite us to come. You just never know when it’s going to hit you—the need to spill your guts in a dramatic way to the One who knows and cares.

Occasionally I find myself in one of those less composed rants: pounding the steering wheel a few times, hollering at the heavens in a dialect that sounds more like a troll than a person. Pleas for just a little bit of hope, a little bit of perspective, a little bit of faith and sanity and mercy. Pleas that I will not only be heard, but will also be answered. I make excuses: I need obvious affirmation, big hugs, loud sirens. Not gentle breezes. Can I get some handwriting on the wall or something? Can you tend these crazy weeds in my heart already? My faith is small (and shrinking as we speak, as I continue to make my self- centered demands on the Creator of the universe).

But rather than smiting me down where I stand, he humors me. And sometimes he even answers. With things like the tulips that I didn’t even know were there, dormant that whole time, which he decided to nurture and bloom. Sometimes he answers in my supposed lost causes. It is fallow places in my heart where God unexpectedly whispers:

I am the one who will never let go.