28 May 2008

Admiring the Nostril Holes...

Meet my pet turtle. He's very cute. He's green, usually wet, and has 2 very small perfect nostril holes in the center of his face. If you haven't met him before, his name is Irenaus. Some of his favorite activities are as follows- swimming against the water filter, chewing on his fake plants, and hanging onto his overturned flower pot with his nostrils just barely out of the water.

Turtles, especially mine, are fabulous creatures. Often when I arrive home I hear a great plop of Irenaus jumping off of his log and racing to hide from view. Turtles are very into self-preservation- and the slightest noise will send them flying back into their turtle-shell.

Most of us are like Irenaus- we are very interested in self-preservation, and we rarely see any good in suffering- or even being a bit outside of our comfort zone. Christ once said, "Unless a single grain of wheat falls into the ground, it remains a single grain. But if it dies it yields a rich harvest." (John 12:24) What did he mean by that??

The topic for this week's Village is Redemptive Suffering. Suffering is one of the great paradoxes of our Christian faith. First we have the simple question of why a good God would allow it- and looking to the Cross of Christ we realize suffering can bring about so much good. (Like the salvation of the whole world!)

Why *does* God allow suffering in the world? What good comes from our sufferings? What does it mean to ‘offer it up?’ What do other faiths teach about suffering? Join us this Sunday for our last regular Village and some great discussion of these deep questions.

Village News

Next Sunday
Next week is our last regular Village meeting of the year!!! Join us next Sunday June 1st for games and a discussion on Redemptive Suffering!

Join us at Gallup Park (near the bigger playground) Sunday, June 8th from 4-7pm for our Village Barbeque Blow-Out. We’ll bust out some Ultimate Frisbee, share some memories of the year, and eat some terrific food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and tableware will be provided.

Please Bring:
---Men: a desert to share
---Women: a side to share
---Blanket to sit on

Vacation Bible School
The St Thomas VBS runs from Monday, June 23rd through Friday, June 27th from 9-12noon. This year we will be discovering the Saints through music, games, crafts and more! Volunteers are still needed to help. Send Beth an email if you can help out!

--Hey Steubenville Cats- remember our group meeting is after this Sunday's meeting, 7-7:30pm. See you then!

--Youth Minister Beth Montgomery can be reached at anytime (seriously) on her cell phone, (734) 545 0827. If I don’t get to it in time- please leave a message and I’ll call you back!

--For Village events on the summer, be sure you’re on the Village email list serve! During the school year we send weekly updates, over the summer it will be less often.

23 May 2008

Coming Home from Uganda

Here's another one from Bridget! :)


I am falling into such a routine and now I am leaving. Lately I have been spending my evenings at an orphanage near by - its like nothing I've ever experienced. When I arrive, I check in with the watchman (everyone here has a watchman), by the time I finish - the children have all gathered at the gate, singing and dancing to welcome me 'Ba -rid- a- jet' they say 'she is here'. As soon as I enter, I children jump into my arms, wrap around my legs, hold my hands and even my skirt - they have so much love to give!

Usually I just sit in the middle of them, holding as many babies as I can, they like to play with my hair and take my sandals. I taught them some American songs but our rhythm is not up to their standards... these children can sing and dance so well, even the toddlers can dance better than me.

The other day I brought some of the candy Bethany gave to me - I was expecting a mad rush but to my surprise (and awe) they shared... even some of the older ones (the older ones are only 6 or 7 years) unwrapped the candies for the toddlers before taking their own - they really have so much love especially for each other.

There is one girl, Sarah who is 19 but still stays with them because she is lame and mentally retarded. She gives so much to their community, she will sit in the middle of the infants and rock whoever is crying in her arms - I am so inspired by them all. The hardest part is leaving - I literally have to peel the children off of me.

Yesterday I went to Queen Elizabeth National Park, it was amazing. We saw elephants (my favorite), hippos, crocodiles and so many other amazing animals. The whole day I was thinking of the Creation story and then to top it off, on the way home their was a rainbow. As our driver always says, when he stops to show us the beauty of Uganda "God is so good to us".

I gave one of our Village retreat shirts to the girl who helps us at the convent. Her name is Maggie and she just loves it. She says she will pray for our whole Village.I can't wait to see you all.

Thank you for your prayers and support - I can feel them.

Under His Love,Bridget

19 May 2008

From Bridget in Uganda!

Hey Villagers! Bridget wrote to us from Uganda!! If you want to send her a message, email me and I will forward it. :)

Holiota! (this is how we greet each other here)

I miss you all so much and wish you could be here too - I know you would love the village of Fort Portal. There are different types of bananas growing everywhere- did you know there was more than one type of banana? I didn't until I came here but I am learning... I eat so many each day, a large one for breakfast, small ones during our tea breaks and even unsweet cooked ones for dinner - I fear I will turn into a monkey :).

I spend my days in the Virika hospital- it is incredible how much I am learning. In the afternoon, the nurses gather in the hospital to sing the Rosary in their native language, Ritoro - it is very beautiful. I have not yet learned how to say the Rosary in Ritoro but I can greet people and communicate with the women in labor.

In the evening sometimes I go 'down town' to run errands - I have now mastered the art of riding a bota bota (motor bike) - even in the pouring rain. I think the Village should definitely invest in a bota bota.

I have also traveled to some of the surrounding smaller clinics in the more rural areas. When we go to these villages, the children get very excited to see us. They jump up and down and shout "Hello Mizzuno" (white person) - it makes me laugh.I pray for you all - especially when I go to mass in the morning (your midnight). Please pray for our patients, so many of the children are very sick with malaria. I can't wait to see you all!

Under His Love, Bridget
ps If you see Matthias, tell him I say happy feast day!

Hello Village,

Just wanted to let you know I tried a new food? bone soup. Basically you take the bones of a cow and boil them until the taste comes out. When I get back I will make it for you. It tastes a bit like mucous.

Today I am going to an orphanage during my lunch break, I wish you could come too. My Ritoro is getting better, I even have a pet name now (everyone in this region is given one of 11 pet names that they use to greet each other). Mine is Abuele (?) you should ask Halley what hers is.

Under His Love, Bridget

Village News

Join us next Sunday Feb 24th from 5-6:30 for our monthly time of Eucharistic Adoration! We’re going to be blessed with our teen Worship Band, and social time following Adoration.

Responding to Grace Decisions Made for Spring-Summer
Village Setup Team: James*, Tom, Chuck
Village Greeting Team: Melissa*, Bernard
Village Hospitality Team: Jacob*, Dominica
Village Community Team: Dominica*, Tom
Village Youth Council: Tony, Doug, Laura, Ellen, Maria, Nealia, Peter, Robert, Mike, Tom, Karen, Melissa, Dominica.

Grown Up Soda Scavenger Hunt
May 23rd is our last GUS, from 6:30-9pm. We will be having our annual GUS Photo Scavenger Hunt through all of downtown Ann Arbor, followed by pizza and ice cream here at St Thomas. GUS VOLUNTEERS NEED A PERMISSION SLIP, ALSO.

12 May 2008


Most of my favorite memories of summertime involve lemonade. My best friend Catherine and I would sit for hours by the side of the road praying that people would stop at our lemonade stand. The $2 profit would keep our spirits up for days!

My mother would pour lemonade into paper dixie cups and freeze them. We would eat them by peeling away the paper cup as we ran around the neighborhood causing trouble. Every once in awhile, our excitement would result in a sticky lemonade spill in the freezer...

Lemonade *is* summer to me. Think of all your summer memories, kiddie pools, sidewalk chalk, building forts, blowing bubbles... and get excited for this Sunday's Village Street Carnival!

This Sunday at Village we will be having a social time outside for sidewalk chalk, jump roping, blowing bubbles, frisbee, lemonade, and watching the Condiment Fight Club!

The Condiment Fight Club is a gladiator style tournament, where 2 players battle each other with condiments. The first to slash the opposing player with mayo on the front and the back is the winner, and moves on to the next round. If you want to play, be sure to bring a condiment and wear grubby clothes.

Feel free to bring your pogo stick, hula hoop, or anything summer-y you can think of, and we'll blow off some of the restlessness of spring!

Village News

Village Street Carnival!!
Join us next Sunday from 5-6:30 for Social Night at the Village! We’ll be playing with sidewalk chalk, frisbee, jump rope, and watching the Condiment Fight Club! If you’re going to participate in the Condiment Fight Club, BYOC- Bring Your Own Condiment, no mustard allowed. Wear grubby clothes!!

Friday’s Village Social Canceled
Eerp. Due to a scheduling conflict, Friday night’s Social has been canceled. Some of us might go see Prince Caspian this Friday instead, RSVP to Betho if you’re interested!

Responding to Grace Decisions Made for Spring-Summer
Village Setup Team: James*, Tom, Chuck
Village Greeting Team: Melissa*, Bernard
Village Hospitality Team: Jacob*, Dominica
Village Community Team: Dominica*, Tom
Village Youth Council: Tony, Doug, Laura, Ellen, Maria, Nealia, Peter, Robert, Mike, Tom, Karen, Melissa, Dominica.

*=Team Leader

Grown Up Soda
-Our last GUS meeting is 5/23, a grand scavenger hunt through downtown.. GUS Volunteers need a permission slip, too. Be sure to bring one with you if you're going to help out!

06 May 2008

From Uganda!

Hey Villagers- Bridget wrote us!!!

I have been in Fort Portal only 3 days and there is so much to tell...I caught my first baby yesterday - it was like nothing else - the whole time I was praying the child and the mother would live - thanks be to God they did! This might sound silly but it was all I could think of - I don't think I have ever prayed that intensly.

I also assisted a delivery outside by the outhouses. The baby came, a breech that had to be recesitated - the nurse ran inside and left me with the mother. As I felt her abdomen I found there was a second child so I walked her into the unit and we delivered the second... I could go on and on but I only have a brief minute to email so...

The sisters are very nice to me - they are so welcoming and loving - it is even a bit overwhelming :). I am safe and learning so much - I am often humbled by what I encounter - this is very good for me.

Please send the Village my love. I will try to email more later.

In Christ, Bridget

ps. if you're looking for a moped, Uganda is the place to go... I believe there are more mopeds than cars here ... they call them "bota botas" because they were originally used to transfer them from "Border to Border"... now they are everywhere.

05 May 2008

The Restlessness of Spring

Spring is finally here! The blooming trees, bright blue sky, and warm sun have come to remind us of all that is good in the world. These are the days when we sneak outside with our hall pass to sit and listen to the wind rustle the leaves...and dream of dropping out of school!

The only problem with Spring is that the season speaks to us of the coming freedom of Summer, not yet ours to enjoy. In this gorgeous month of May AP tests loom, term papers keep us indoors, and Final exams become frighteningly imminent.

The good news is that Jesus is with us in our restlessness this month!! First, He speaks words of tender love in the midst of our wearyness, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

This past week we celebrated our last Dinner and Some Bible, and we finished up the book of 1 Peter! Our favorite passage was this one (Chapter 5: 6-10), take a read and see what He might say to you!

"Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little."

One of our favorite pieces was the last verse, that after we have suffered a little while Jesus will strengthen and restore us. Hope something in there spoke to you in your restlessness, too!!

Village News

Next Sunday
Join us next Sunday from 5-6:30 for “Your Life Mission”- we’ll be talking about the mission God has for each of us. (Insert tear for no more men’s and women’s issue nights…)

Responding to Grace Applications Due Today
We will be deciding on the positions this week, and letting you know this coming Sunday! If you didn’t get a chance to turn it in- you can email it today or tom. Keep our discernment in your prayers. :)

GUS Friday
GUS is this Friday, May 9th! It is our last normal GUS, our final GUS is May 23rd, a ginormous Scavenger Hunt around A2. So GUS Volunteers let’s all make it by 6pm so we can take our Volunteer Pic!

Village Social *Next* Friday 5/16
Guess what?? We have another great social coming up next Friday May 16th! Be sure to put in your vote tonight for what it will be!

Misc Announcements
Youth Council- this Saturday 9:30am (frozen pizza for breakfast anyone?)