It's an absolutely beautiful day in Grand Rapids. The sun is shining with nary a cloud in the sky. It feels and looks as if we have weeks of winter ahead of us. Friends write about flowers peaking through the ground, but there are none brave enough to do that here. It they did, they would have to push up through inches of snow in some places. In other places, they might have only a fraction of an inch of snow through which to push.
The news from Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) continues to be very troubling. Fighting is escalating in some areas of the country. Thousands of people have fled to neighboring Liberia. Emmanuel's mentor, his older, adoptive brother-in-law with whom Emmanuel lives, wrote this last week that they have had to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. He is a pastor, but now has no flock to pastor, and thus no income, because his congregation has also fled. It is impossible to get money to them because the banks in the country have no money. One could send money, but it would be just a piece of paper with nothing to exchange for it, since the banks have no money to honor checks, etc. Marcellin, Emmanuel's brother-in-law, has four or five children of his own, plus Emmanuel. How do you feed that many people without money?
Of course, with Emmanuel's post traumatic stress disorder already manifesting itself earlier, one can only imagine what his behavior is like now. Try to imagine the stress involved in having to flee your home because of the violence around you. I'm not sure they were able to take his medicine along when they fled. They can't get any more for him now. This all sounds pretty desperate to me, and it sounds as if there are no answers except for the direct intervention of God.
Some have asked if there is any way they could help. If I learn of a way, I'll let you know. For now, however, there doesn't seem to be a way to help, beyond our prayers.
I realize as I write this that the violence and political unrest is worse in many other countries. One can only imagine how many times over these kinds of scenarios are playing out around the world.
Meanwhile, I'm still writing. I estimate I have several more weeks of writing in order to finish the rough draft. Then the work will go to an editor. After she finishes her work, there will be an intense time, again, of incorporating her suggestions into the work. I continue to need your prayers for this work.
This past week, I took my little dog to the vet for some routine work. It was the first time she had been weighed in months, since she is so tiny I'm unable to weigh her at home. She now, at eight months, weighs 2.6 pounds--the perfect size for me. The vet told me he doesn't expect her to get much bigger. She and I are having a good time. She is good for me, often making me laugh. If you don't have people in your home, a dog is the next best thing!