Tag Archives: travel

truly offensive

A brief, yet powerful sermon we all need to heed. Having just returned from a trip that included both India and Nicaragua, this resonates with me more than ever. We all need to stop being so sensitive to personal affronts and far more sensitive to the real pain, greed, and injustice that fills the world.

a joy I find nowhere else

It’s almost 5:00pm and I am on my way home from India and Nicaragua. I am feeling a little ragged around the edges, but it will definitely be good to sleep in my own bed tonight.

I am currently in Atlanta. My flight gets into RDU after 9:00. By the time I get my car and get on the road it will probably be around midnight before I see Lynchburg. Since we left the hotel just a little after 5am that makes for yet another long day, but nothing a good night’s sleep won’t take care of.

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time in Bangalore. But, the time in Nicaragua was like a cure for all that ails me. Being back in the field brings a joy I can find no where else. It makes all the stress of long flights a long layovers bearable.

I’ll be glad to get home…but the truth is that I would far rather still be in the mountains of Nicaragua working to change the lives of the least of these among us.

Back in Bangalore

I arrived here in Bangalore, India sometime after midnight this morning. By the time I had gone through immigration, picked up my duffle bag, cleared customs and exchanged some dollars into rupees, it was after 1 am.

The Palms, where I normally stay in Bangalore was full so my excellent staff booked me into the Taj Bangalore Airport. Since the Taj was less than a 10 minute walk that’s what I did. Even after one in the morning the heat and humidity had me breaking a sweat before I got to the hotel.

The staff was as courteous and friendly as I expected, and I got to my room around 2 am. After a hot shower, I still couldn’t get to sleep so I read until after 3 am.

Later today I hope to meet with Stop Hunger Now India’s director. Dola is a dedicated, passionate leader in the fight to end hunger, and I am really looking forward to some time with him.

Tomorrow I am to make a brief presentation at an event hosted by J.P. Morgan Bank, where I get the honor of thanking them for their continued generous support of our efforts to end hunger in our lifetime.

And at 4:30 am on Tuesday, I catch a flight to Managua, Nicaragua. Once there I will switch hats, and represent the board for Fill the Bowls, another life-changing nonprofit.

I’ll admit that the schedule is a little rough, but I wouldn’t change a thing. This is just too much fun.

KL Malaysia

After leaving my hotel room in Raleigh at 0430 Saturday, Allen Renquist and I finally arrived at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel here in the center of Kuala Lumpur only 31 and a half uneventful hours later. Needless to say, I am ready to stretch out and get some solid rest. And that will happen, but not before a nice hot shower.

I am thoroughly excited to be here. Tomorrow morning we start this year’s International Affiliate Summit, where we gather all the directors of our Stop Hunger Now international affiliates for 5 days of celebration, training, networking and fellowship. Even though I can only be here for the first 3 days of the event I know it is going to be a great experience reconnecting with all our affiliate leaders.

There will be folks from South Africa, Italy, India, Peru, the Philippines and of course, our Malaysia Stop Hunger Now office who is our host for this year’s summit. Stop Hunger Now has grown into a true international hunger relief organization, and that is part of what we will be celebrating over the next few days. We are helping lead a global movement that will eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

More to come, but now a shower and bed. Tomorrow is another day.

exciting stuff

Our entire United Methodist VIM team has now made it safely back home with one exception…me. I am still in Raleigh for meetings, but I hope to be home in Virginia by early evening.

The trip home from South Sudan was uneventful (brutally long, totally exhausting and sleepless, but uneventful). And that is about all that can be said for it. For future reference, however, having an 11 hour layover in Entebbe after our first flight really makes the remainder of the trip seem much longer. And having a middle seat for the 19 hours of flights afterward doesn’t help much either.

But after a long hot shower and a night’s rest I cannot wait to begin working on the next steps on all the possible projects we discovered. The need is so great. But the need is matched with tremendous opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands.

We can help transform the future of those living in poverty and hunger in South Sudan. We can help change the history of a nation. That’s exciting stuff.

Our trip is now officially over. Now the hard work begins: translating the vision of what is possible into a reality that is reflected in a transformed world.

I cannot wait to begin.

heading home

All good things must come to an end. So it now is with our time in South Sudan. We must leave for the airstrip in about 2 hours.

That will be the start of almost 24 hours of travel. All of us are ready to get home, but there’s not a one of us on the team looking forward to the trip.

The time here in Yei and the surrounding region has been rich in opportunities for ministry, and the entire team feels good about all the work we have been able to accomplish.

This team is far more experienced than a lot I have been on. That has allowed us to split up and go in different directions and work on a number of different projects at the same time. That is unusual.

We have a retired police officer that spent the week training local Yei police in the rule of law and riot control. We have a hospital CEO from Georgia that spent the week working with the United Methodist medical missionaries. Several of our group spent the week installing libraries (including donating & cataloging over450 books) at two children’s homes. Another group worked to resolve long-standing issues with local churches. A couple of us worked tos discover how to increase local food security and find new microenterprise opportunities.

All of us have made new friends and relationships. And all of us already want to return even though we are ready to be home.

It’s been a full and blessed time, but now we have to say farewell for now as we begun the long journey back to the US.

Greetings from Entebbe

Greetings from the beautiful Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, in sight of Lake Victoria. It is one of the nicest hotels I have experienced in Uganda.

We have a cool, cloudless morning and are looking forward to a sunny day full of wonderful opportunities for ministry.

The team gathered at RDU at 11am Wednesday morning. We first flew to Atlanta where we had a short hour and a half layover and met Nancy, the last member of our 9 member team, a hospital CEO from near Macon. This is her first VIM trip so she is thrilled to be heading to Yei with us.

We left Atlanta later than scheduled amid lightning and thunder, and headed to Amsterdam where we arrived a little more than 8 hours after leaving Atlanta. We were an hour late getting into Amsterdam due to the storm delay in Atlanta, but still had a 4 hour layover before board our next flight.

The KLM flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe was a little under 9 hours, but was mostly smooth and uneventful. We arrive here around 2130, ( which is about 1430 east Coast time). After going through immigration and customs and getting all our bags organized and loaded into the vehicles, we finally got to our hotel around 2230.

Needless to say, no one had any difficulty getting to sleep after over 20 hours of travel.  We all met for breakfast at 0800 this morning and it was a much more relaxed group than when we arrived last night. A hot shower and 6-7 hours sleep makes a big difference.

We are here for only two nights. We leave tomorrow morning on Eagle Air for a short direct flight to Yei.

This is a really solid team. We have a good cross-section of skills and expertise, and all of us seem to fit together well. There is already a lot of laughter and good-natured kidding on top of an understood deep commitment to the work we are her to do.

Please keep the team in your prayers that we might accomplish all that we have the opportunity to do while in South Sudan.

More to come. Stay tuned.

worth the journey

In less than 4 hours I am supposed to meet the rest of the VIM team at RDU. We will repack all the team gear and make sure all of us are squared away before we check in for the flights that will ultimately take us to Yei, South Sudan.

The rest of the team have been traveling  by church bus since 0530, coming from Kingsport, Tennessee. I arrived here in Raleigh yesterday afternoon to take care of some Stop Hunger Now office work and to pick up a couple of items for the trip I couldn’t find in Lynchburg.

Those who have traveled overseas extensively know that the next couple of days can not be cataloged under “fun.” But the destination is definitely worth the journey.

Once we arrive in Yei we will be immersed in the work of making a difference in the lives of those whose need is real and immediate. We will be blessed in countless ways every day.

And when we finally have to face the long journey back home we will be exhausted before we begin, but full of a special joy that comes from doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. Yes.  The destination is definitely worth the journey.