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Monday, October 30, 2006

Ring ring!

Hello there, it's me. Just thought I should verify that first so you know who it is. Don't you hate it when some one hands you the phone and you have no idea who it is, but they're like, "Hi! It's me! I'm so glad I caught you..." And you're like, "Yeah, it's good to talk to you too" but in your head you're like, 'who the heck is this? Is is Jean? Or maybe Barb? I should know. Why don't I know? I can't let them know that I don't know!' You know what I mean? And then you think to yourself, 'It's Jean. I know it's Jean.' So you say, "Hey, I say your mom the other day!" and they say, "Really?" and you say, "Oh yeah! She was looking really well!" and they say, "Looking well? She's been gone for 12 years." And then you think, 'Oops. It's Barb.'

Well, that has nothing to do with anything. But here's a funny story...

On Wednesdays I occassionally stop in to one of the local Walsall churches to enjoy an afternoon of soup, tea, and talk with about 30 senior citizens. It's a great time and I love to hang out with my peeps there. Last time, the ladies at the table were asking me where I was from (which I get asked every week). They were delighted to hear I was from Canada and began to share with me all the names and places of loved ones who had moved to Canada. Yes, there was "so and so's niece". Then there was "my neighbour's son." And we musn't forget "my cousin's daughter's best friend's third grade teacher's dentist." It was a wonderful time of sharing and reminissing of the great white north.

At one point in the conversation, the elderly woman at the end of the table looked up at me and said, "Ah nee tah toilah." (I've tried to write it out phonetically so you can catch the accent.) I replied, "Oh, uh, it's just through those doors and down the hall. "No, ah nee tah toilah." I nodded, and gave her the directions again, "Just through the doors and down the hall. It's on the right hand side." The other ladies were giggling. I was obviously not in on their little joke. "No. Ah nee tah toilah!" The lady repeated slower and louder. Then I understood. I began to stand up. "I can help you down the hall if you like."

The table burst out into laughter and the woman next to me took me by the arm. "No love, she's saying 'Anita Taylor.'"

"That's the name of my friend in Canada," the lady at the end of the table said through her laughter.

I haven't been back in two weeks.

Alright, one business memo. Things are going great with our new program. We've met with schools again and we have penciled ourselves in to start in February. There's still so much to be done, but I'll write more on that next time. I wanted to break things up with a funny story for now.

That doesn't mean thought that my next email will be boring so you can just skim over it!

Alrighty then, I'll end it here then until next time. God bless and take care!

Sincerely,
~Alycia DeLong

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Winds of Change...

Oooh, I've just realized that this title might give the wrong idea considering my last blog was titled, "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit." Well, let me assure you, the two are not linked.

The Winds of Change have blown, though, and they are directing our LifeForce UK sails in another direction. And now I will say it for the record: There will be no LifeForce UK training base this year. A team will still be coming to us from Canada during the mission period of January to May, but we will not be leading it. Danny and I will not be leading at all this year. No, we will not be hearing the pitter-patter of little LifeForce students as they rehearse dramas, or wipe their runny noses when they are homesick, or hold their little hands in a circle of prayer. No, it won't be Danny and I watching their eyes light up as we pick them up in our 1981 minibus, moving every week, waking up early to visit schools and staying up late running youth groups. Ahhhh, memories.

So, what are we going to do? Glad you asked!

We are starting a new program (under LifeFORCE, of course) where we will take high school students (age 16 and up) on a 'mission trip.' Our plan is to do a 12-week program in schools: 8 sessions of class work, 1 week of a mission trip to a third world country, and then 3 sessions of debriefing and follow-up. Pretty simple, eh?

Actually, it has come together more easily than we thought. We are already allowed in schools to run programs simply because of the experience and relationship that have already been established over the years. We also already have the connections in a number of countries in Western Africa (mainly Gambia and Ghana) to organize the one week mission schedule. We've already had people calling us asking for more information. We meet with our first school tomorrow morning!

As for everyday life, we have very exciting news! WE HAVE AN APARTMENT! We've only had two nights in the place, but it is fantastic! Now let me tell you, God is our provider! The place was a £150 out of our price range and totally unfurnished. Well, the property agent came down a £150 after hearing about our work in schools, then a friend from another charity said to come to their warehouse and see if there was anything we could use in our place. We got a double bed, a single bed, 2 sets of drawers, a wardrobe (the non-Narnia kind though, too bad), a coffee table, and a number of other shelves and little tables. All of it was practically new! In fact, I was going through an Ikea catalogue and calculating what it would of cost us to buy everything we were given and it would have been around £1000 (about $2000 Canadian). Oh, we're not even done. Other people have given us a 3-piece leather suite, a TV, a microwave, a fridge, a toaster, a tea kettle, cutlery, tea towels, I can't even remember it all! It all came together in just 4 days! We never even really put out a notice or anything that we were looking for stuff! I swear, we haven't raked in this much since our wedding! I didn't even have to use the tumor story once! Now I know I must be because I am ridiculously good looking.

On a sadder note though, our mini-bus has finally called it quits and gone to the big garage in the sky. Well, to be more accurate, it's gone to the big scrap yard in Cannock. But the way things are going for us, I'm sure it won't be long before the Lord provides something better!

Seriously, you would not even believe our place! It looks so, so, not like us! Everything matches! It's kind of scary. I'll have to get used to it actually being OUR place! We haven't had a place that's actually just for the two of us since January. We've been living out of our suitcases since then. Last week we figured out that in our 5 and a half years of marriage we've moved over 30 times (we didn't count the week to week moves. Then it would be over a hundred)!

A couple of other things going on are:

1. We're teaching drama in a local Christian school and running an after school program.

2. We're organizing the schedule for the LifeForce team from Canada that will come and tour from January to May.

3. We're involved in the youth group of our church here (Walsall Christian Centre. You can google it.)

4. I've got a couple of video projects on the go for some local church programs.

5. We have people coming to dinner tonight and I have to get groceries.

Right, on that note I'll end this entry. I'll keep you updated on our progress!

Until next time then, God bless and take care!

~Alycia DeLong