In crossculture. Peoplewatching. Community in the two-thirds world and other places. About questions too: "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist? How?


Children’s Bible lesson to teach, at 2 p.m.

IMG_8362img_2769Today, a children’s Bible lesson to teach to about 30 kids, at 2. This morning I am studying for it, preparing for it. I’m asking prayer, that God will help me to give the lesson in a super clear and accurate way. It’s on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3) so, plenty of grist for our mills there! As in just about every spot in the Bible, if only our eyes were opened…

And, asking prayer also that God’s amazing love and freedom, proffered, and unfailing friendship available, will impact each of the children’s hearts through the true story and talk.


Installment #2 from old notebooks just after I had turned sixteen. End of sophomore year.

June 1973. Wednesday Afternoon.

” I’m sitting down at the picnic table in the backyard – the sun is late afternoon – filtering down on me through the leaves of the mango trees above my head. The birds are having a symphony above me, twittering and singing and chirping at the top of their voices.

Rusty (the kitty, now with two kittens) has followed me down here and is in the process of rubbing her fur against my pen – which doesn’t work too well when your’e(sic) trying to write!

It is SO beautiful down here, quiet, filled with God. That is something I really miss in Kinshasa; Kinshasa with the trucks ROARING past the hostel, literally shaking it, the horns honking, people yelling, and loneliness. In the midst of over a million people, loneliness.

I don’t think I ever feel lonely here, really, and yet I am alone so much of the time. Probably because I’m right in the middle of my family here.

our longing for deep relationship and how spiritual disciplines can help us achieve it.

“For the sake of brevity this handbook often leaves the stories and relationships surrounding spiritual disciplines for another to tell. For me, all these disciplines come with faces and names and times and places. It is my prayer that these thumbnail sketches of spiritual practices will open you to the breathtaking and inexhaustible world of relationship – relationship with God, others and even yourself. Let these disciplines draw you deeper into your life and the people you live and work with. Let them reveal the human, authentic, God-given truth of you that we all long to see.” – p. 22, Adele Calhoun

Copy of the “Good Books Read, and Reading” Page




Self to Lose, Self to Find; a Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types – Marilyn Vancil

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The More With Less Cookbook – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa. “There is a way that gives not less, but more. More joy, more peace, less guilt, more physical stamina, less overweight and obesity, more to share and less to hoard for ourselves.

QUIET by Susan Cain

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Practices that Transform Us by Adele Calhoun, IVP.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller

The Reason for God by Tim Keller

When the Darkness will not Lift by John Piper (small and short, almost a booklet) (on psychological health)

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Lord of the Rings (trilogy) by J. R.R. Tolkien

NARNIA (series) by C.S. Lewis

Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (on creative writing)

The World Book Encyclopedia, hard copy

Feeling Good by David Burns (on psychological health)

Where there is No Doctor – Hesperian Foundation

Where there is No Dentist – Hesperian Foundation

The King James Version, Holy Bible. Also, the New King James Version, Holy Bible. Also, the English Standard Version, Holy Bible.  (all my favorites.)

NIV Thompson Study Bible –  1984 NIV and with the wonderful, OLD, Thompson chain link reference notes usually found only in KJV.  Kirk bride Bible Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Possibly out of print, might find in used book shops. My most-used Bible – I love this Bible…

Extending the Table – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa.

Living More with Less – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa.

Healing Your Emotional Self – Beverly Engel (on psychological health)

Here I Stand – Biography of Martin Luther – Roland Bainton

Surprised by Joy – Autobiography of C.S. Lewis

AGATHA – Memoir of Agatha Christie

A Chance to Die – Biography of Amy Carmichael – by Elisabeth Elliot

Candles in the Dark – Amy Carmichael

No Graven Image – Elisabeth Elliot

Let’s Roll! – Lisa Beamer

Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer

Self-Compassion – Stop Beating Yourself up and Leave Insecurity Behind  by Kristin Neff (on psychological health)

Finding Calcutta – Mary Poplin

FLOW – the Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (on psychological health)

Effective Biblical Counseling by Larry Crabb (on helping others with psychological health)

Unashamed – Healing our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame – Heather Nelson (Biblical theology and psychological health)

How God Became King – N.T. Wright

Legacy – Mary Stewart

Page by Page – Heather Sellars (on creative writing)

Bonding – Brewster & Brewster  (on the outreach task)

Language Acquisition Made Possible – Brewster &Brewster

Sleeping with Bread – Holding what Gives you Life by Dennis Linn

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Kisses for Katie by Katie Davis

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

Writing Fiction by Gotham Writers’ Workshop (on creative writing)

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volumes 1 and 2 by Josh McDowell

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Law of Happiness by Henry Cloud

Hidden Art by Edith Shaeffer

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What is Family? by Elisabeth Elliot

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer (on psychological health)

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller (small, short, almost a booklet)

The Message by Eugene Peterson

The Shack

Radical by David Platt

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk

Simply in Season – a Cookbook    Herald Press

The Instinct to Heal by David Servan-Schreiber

A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

A Resilient Life by Gordon McDonald

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Orphaleena by Sara Currey

Holy Bible, NLT

The Message by Eugene Peterson

Golden Cord by Amy Carmichael

Patchwork and Quilting WITH Kids by Maggie Ball

The 101 Habits of highly Successful Novelists compiled by Andrew McAleer

Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

To the Golden Shore – about Adoniram Judson

Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge

His Thoughts said, His Father Said..    by Amy Carmichael

The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Laurel’s Kitchen (cookbook, vegetarian) by Laurel Robertson

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCauley

Stones of Fire by Isobel Kuhn

The Narnian by Alan Jacobs

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden

Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Spurgeon Gems (clippings from the many sermons of Charles Spurgeon)

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

Marriage to a Difficult Man – biography of Jonathan Edwards’ wife

The Complete Father Brown Mysteries – G.K. Chesterton

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Gaudy Night – Dorothy Sayers

Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

Knowing Scripture – R.C. Sproul

Authentic Happiness – Martin Seligman

Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks

Jesus Driven Ministry – Anith Fernando

All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling – John G. Kruis

Call the Midwife series, the books, not the video series. or both.

The Knowledge of the Holy – A.W. Tozer

The Amplified Bible (AMP)

How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill

Humility by Andrew Murray

Lord, Teach us to Pray by Andrew Murray

The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

The Siege of Washington by John Lockwood

The Alexander McCall-Smith Africa short novels (#1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Morality for Beautiful Girls, and all the following books)

Gerald Durrell African animal books

The Art of Beatrix Potter by Enid Linder

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

All of the Jan Karon “Mitford series” novels

Escape from Reason by Frances Schaeffer

L’Abri by Frances and Edith Shaeffer

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom

Letters Never Sent by Ruth Van Reken (on third-culture-kid stuff)

Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax

Why Johnny Can’t Read by Rudolph Flesch

CHILDCRAFT (hard copy)

Sonlight (classics-based, excellent homeschooling curriculum)(very adaptable to different situations) (time-consuming and demanding in a good way!) (TRULY for authentically “deep love-of-learning-for-learning’s sake” families – others might find it unsatisfactory for one reason or another)

CALVERT CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL – a very basic, very thorough, very structured but also somewhat classics-based homeschooling curriculum that has been around for a long time. Good for when a homeschooling teacher is first starting to teach and feeling a lack of self-confidence for the responsibility (which is SO much more than just a task!) (If you do this curriculum, concientiously with your child, step by step, not skipping anything, you can KNOW that your child will have received a top-notch education that school year, in every subject. However, it is not onerous for most children and leaves the child plenty of time for extracurriculars of their and their parents’ choosing. Enough flexibility is there, but, not too much.)

getting back to other kinds of books: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

God’s Smuggler by Andrew (autobiography)

The Heavenly Man (autobiography)

Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore

Bruchko by Bruce Olsen

Changes that Heal by Cloud and Townsend

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Death at La Fenice – Donna Leon (a whole string of character murder-mysteries set in Venice)

Seven from Heaven – Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey (memoir. about having septuplets)

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Turnham (memoir)

Joy of Cooking (classic Western cookbook)

These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot

anything by Dan Allender

Give Me This Mountain (memoir) by Dr. Helen Rooseveare

Confessions of Saint Augustine

Born Again by Chuck Colsen

The Rest of God – Restoring sabbath to your life and your life to sabbath. by Mark Buchanan

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Joseph Powell

Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

The House on the Strand – Daphne du Maurier

How People Grow by Cloud and Townsend (on psychological health)

for delicious leisurely relaxation, pure and simple : each of the M.M. Kaye India and Madagascar epic novels (The Far Pavilions, Tradewinds, etc.)

the M.M. Kaye murder mysteries set in the late forties and early fifties

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande (on conflict resolution)

The Third-Culture Kid Experience by Ruth Van Reken and Tim Pollock (on third-culture-kid stuff)

The Enneagram by Richard Rohr

Breathing Under Water – Spirituality and the 12 Steps – Richard Rohr








Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.





Living Coral, Seattle Aquarium

A Unique Adventure God Gave Me, Part Four.

When all the pieces of the bed paraphernalia and mattresses were plopped down in the open “patio” part of those rooftops,   my co-worker and I picked up the first of the two bunks, intact, and tried to move it into the family’s tiny, windowless room.

It would not fit through the doorway!  Hmmm. Back it went to the open-t0-the-sky, junk-lined patio area of the rooftop.

Meanwhile, our children’s mom was trucking!.  Excited and happy to be “getting” the bunkbeds and mattresses, she acted like a little drill sergeant, directing her three young ones to move the boxes, bags, piles of dirty clothes and other paraphernalia including a rack of fruit and rice, a bottle of oil – there WAS a tiny, old-as-the-hills rickety gas burner for cooking behind the door of this family’s room.  All that stuff had to be moved out of the room, temporarily, to make space for the new beds, which would BARELY fit, theoretically, with only five inches between them and the family’s old, original bed. The door to the home would barely open!

I followed the children’s lead, grabbing some bundles and piles, and taking them out of the room.  The kids had started placing the stuff carefully in the center of the tiny narrow hallway, that had other rooms lining it on both sides.  As I started to set down my load of junk in the center of the hallway, the door on the other side started to open but, since it opened outwards, it couldn’t get more open than a crack, because all our stuff was in the way!  A man and a woman stuck their heads out the crack of the door, trying to see what was going on!  There I was, standing right THERE in front of them!  Their eyes opened WIDE IN WONDER!  ( Sometimes, I look different, to people here! Obviously a foreigner.)

Again sending God a quick prayer in my heart, I smiled as widely as I could and said, “Buenas Tardes!” (Good Afternoon!)

I added, “Sorry about all our stuff in the hallway – we’ll have it out of the way in a moment!”

They kind of smiled, nodded, and closed the door again!

Because the bunkbeds wouldn’t fit through the doorway, we had to spend the next two hours taking them both completely APART again, lugging the pieces into the family’s room, then assembling the beds, drawers, ladder and mattresses en situ!


Meanwhile, it got dark outside.  The smell of dirty laundry, old food, and unwashed bodies was overpowering. We heard johns and women coming and going through the hallway. The children accidentally dropped, and temporarily lost, one of the long metal principle bolts to hold the bunk beds together. They, and we, searched the property in the dark for it, for about forty minutes.  About three-quarters of the way through the process, the children’s mother decided she should serve us something to drink.  Thankfully, it was lemon-flavored soda pop, handed to me in an old metal cup.  There was absolutely NO way, that I could see, to politely turn it down so, again, I prayed to Jesus to keep me from catching any germs from the cup and from people’s hands, and I gulped down the sickly sweet fizzy drink and said “Thank you”.  I felt nauseous and weak for awhile and sat down; there was no where else to sit except very gingerly on the foot of the old bed.  I kept praying, in my heart, and averting my eyes, from a HORRIBLE huge poster that was up on the wall above the head of the old bed.  Extremely pornographic.  When I wasn’t praying, I kept thinking of our four young children, LIVING in that environment, for their whole lives so far. I’m learning that some things in life are almost too sad to contemplate;  instead, I quickly give them to Jesus, trusting Him alone.

It took us forever to get those bunkbeds put back together again. None of us were very good at carpentry or mechanics., As we were nearing the end of the gargantuan, tiring task, little R., the seven-year-old brother, walked back into the room from the darkness outside, and took a huge, deep, exaggerated, leisurely breath of air.  A huge grin split his little face, and his eyes sparkled.

“What?”, I murmured to him.

“Now, my room smells like WOOD!” he announced happily!

R. was right.  The room now smelled like fresh sawdust, and varnish. We all smiled.

The last washer and bolt screwed tightly into place, or at least screwed loosely into place, and checked, we triumphantly together with the three children carried and handed the two light, new foam-with-fiber mattresses onto the bunks.  My co-worker looked at little G., the boys’ sister.

“G., which of the two bunks do you choose for yours?”

Quick as a wink, the answer came; no hesitation for her – she KNEW what she wanted.

“The top bunk”

“The top bunk it IS!” we cried, and she climbed up there, happily and proudly, as her brothers moaned and complained, only a very little, that THEY had wanted the top bunk.

We felt we already had enough relationship and accountability with the children and their mom to then speak, primarily with the mom, for several minutes exhorting the children to keep coming to the outreach, the mom to keep coming to help with the food preparation for all the children, and for her to keep making sure she sends her children to school, and that they work hard in school and on their homework each day.  They stayed in intense eye contact with us throughout this “lecture”, nodding their heads also. It went really well, that part.

The mother was in the room with us, several other persons were standing in the dark hall outside, looking in, listening.  We were there, the three children were there, and other children were in the small doorway, looking and listening in.  My co-worker looked at me; I felt that I knew what she was going to say, and started praying that Jesus would give me the words and use powerfully for good,in the lives of these individuals, what was going to happen next.

“We are going to pray.  Lady Ninadesusojos, would you be willing to lead us all in the prayer?”

“Yes, I would!”

Our three kids bowed their heads; their mother copied them.  Several adults in the hallway took off their hats and bowed their heads! The children clustered in the doorway, copying everybody else, bowed their heads.

I prayed.  I felt the Presence of Christ there with me, with us.  A tremendous happiness filled my heart!

We said “goodbye”, shaking hands all around. The children and their mom said “thank you” over and over again.  The children hugged us, over and over again, and accompanied us out of the property and half-way down the street, waving, and waving and waving goodbye.

We walked home.

The End.

A Unique Adventure God Gave Me, Part Two.

We labored the various heavy wooden bunk bed parts off the roof rack of the taxi, the two new twin mattresses, the wooden drawers and ladder.  Children- LOTS of children, most of whom we DIDN’T know  (our ministry is constantly getting requests from moms and grandmas to take more kids – sadly we don’t have human and material resources to take more than we already have – around fifty. Our number fluctuates, as often our children as young as six are removed by their parent in order to make that child work full-time and, as many of our kids get into their adolescent years they don’t stay, with us, either. We are keenly cognizant of the value of that window of opportunity and presence, that is given us as a gift, with each child. Sometimes that window is short.) were milling about excitedly calling and trying to help.  Various women, curious as to what was going on, approached. One older woman, hair dyed platinum, stood by the doorway, watching like a hawk and calling the other women and kids, a bit bossily, by their first names and in a familiar manner.

That’s why I thought she might be G., M. and R.’s grandmother – when we first arrived and were doing greetings, I’d shaken her hand and a few seconds later, because of the way she was interacting with persons there, I asked her if she was the children’s grandmother.  VERY taken aback, she looked at me and said, “NO!  Oh NO!  I’m the LANDLADY!”

“Oh, so very nice to meet you!”, I responded.  My friend, carrying a headboard in front of me, was laughing quietly, her shoulders shaking as I followed along behind her carrying the other heavy wooden headboard. “Psst, NinadesusOjos,” she whispered to me, she’s the “madam” of this establishment!”


(shows how much I know…….not…) How embarrassing. At least she didn’t get too mad when I called her the gramma.)


Dried Fish in the Market, with the Fly Whisk


About Amy Carmichael of Dohnavoor

Excerpts from “Candles in the Dark” by Amy Carmichael:


(from the Introduction:)  “Her power to help those in need came from HER TIMES OF LISTENING TO HER LORD.  ‘Sometimes,’ she wrote, ‘it is as if another Hand were turning over the pages of my Bible and finding the places for me.’


“God needs those who are ready to lay down their very lives to lead others into true soldiership and a true following of the Crucified.”

“The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves.  The tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding one scrap.  Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.

It is a very good thing to learn to take things by the right handle.  An inward grouse is a devastating thing.  I expect you know this, we all do, but it is extraordinary how the Devil tries to ‘get’ us on the ordinary road of life.  But all is well, if only we are in Him, deep in Him, and He in us our daily strength and joy and song.”   – from p. 2, excerpt from a personal letter to someone.IMG_8293