1. Erica C.
    December 19, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    Perhaps you can have someone take an iphone video for facebook posting of those brave souls who attend praying the final Advent collect together. That way we snowbound folks can watch and pray together from our fireplace hearths.

    I previewed it today. The prayer has a beautiful line: “…that when thy Son our Lord cometh he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself.” The first stanza of “Joy to the World” echos this petition: “Let every heart prepare Him room.”

    During our first Adventy Fireside Chat, Cindy brought this line to our attention. What a poetic reminder to carefully make space for Christ. For me this means learning to say ‘no’ sometimes. This is one of the good pieces of wisdom I’m grateful to be reminded of this Advent.


  2. Daniel
    December 19, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

    Anyone going tomorrow have the new ustream.tv broadcaster app downloaded on their iPhone? You could stream the 10am service for those of us with cars under 2 feet of snow.


  3. Desiree
    December 19, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

    Dear Ones,
    I am touched by the letter below to find a few pair of shoes and send them off as indicated and I share it here in case you want to do likewise.
    Blessings and hugs ion this beautiful snowy Advent day,

    Letter From Bagram

    Dear Friends;

    Every so often my hardened heart is still opened by a poignant experience. It does not happen often enough, unfortunately. During the course of medical and surgical training we grow very thick skin and a dark sometimes sick humor that defends us against the insanity of what we see daily.

    Back at home we easily retreat into the comfort of our own lives and leave the misfortune of the sick and injured at the hospital and trauma center. Here in the war zone the misery around us is amplified a thousand fold. When you take a country of dirt, where the people are dirt poor and add an endless war you’ve got the recipe for absolute misery. Many of you have emailed me expressing your concern for me, and well wishes of staying safe and coming home soon. I truly appreciate every word and every connection to home. I cannot wait until that big bird flies me away to that country we all call home.

    Truthfully though, my lifestyle here in Afghanistan is luxurious compared to my poor Afghan patients. It was so even when I was living in a tent. These poor folks muddle through every day just squeaking by. Trying to find something to eat. Worried about reliable shelter as the harsh winter rolls in. Worried about something exploding nearby and killing their parents, their kids or themselves. Worried about some godless terrorist thug shooting them or torturing them because they accepted care at the American Hospital.

    A couple days ago I had an experience in clinic that broke through my defenses and brought me a couple tears. I treated a young lady about six weeks ago for shrapnel wounds and fractures of her foot. She was injured with seven female relatives when her mud house became a no man’s land between a sizable force of Taliban and a group of US Army soldiers intent on destroying them. There was a wedding party being held at the house that day. Well, needless to say the house was destroyed and all the women injured and brought to us here at Bagram. We did a lot of surgery on their extremity wounds and the general surgeons saved several lives, although not that of the baby one of them was carrying. One of these patients is a very pretty young woman that I have to guess is about 18 or 19. She came to see me in follow up the other day in clinic. At home she’d be in college perhaps and concerned with making good grades or getting a date with a cute boy. Here she is just concerned with survival and the pain in her foot. She’d had some breakdown of skin over her healing wound and good wound care by her uncle had improved that over the last couple weeks. It’s winter here now and the snow and sleet was coming down that day. After treating her I noticed the shoes she was putting on. I use the term “shoes” lightly. They were a pair of plastic flip flops that were held together in a couple placed with scotch tape. I asked her and her omnipresent male guardian if she had any other shoes for the winter. They said no as all their belonging had been destroyed with their house. I could not help noticing that the guardian’s shoes were a very nice western made hiking shoe, nearly brand new (Merrel I think). So this poor girl had broken plastic flip flops to protect her broken foot from the harsh winter that had historically destroyed invading armies. I decided I had to try to get this woman some shoes. I went all around the hospital, checked with the Chaplin and followed a couple other leads. I had to tell my patient that I could not find any shoes, but I would keep looking while she was waiting for the bus that would take her to the gate later that afternoon. I had just about given up when a young Air Force Chaplin’s Assistant came into my clinic office with a nice, slightly used pair of leather shoes. At first glance I thought them about the right size. I went out into the waiting room, shoes in hand and delivered them to my patient’s uncle. It would have been very forward and perhaps insulting to him if I’d given them directly to his niece. He handed them to her and she put them directly on, a big smile spreading over her face. They seemed to be the perfect size. I felt like the Prince delivering a glass slipper to Cinderella. Imagine her delight to not have to walk through the snow and sleet that afternoon with her flip flops and no socks.

    I thought a lot about the whole episode and concluded that I would try to collect some shoes. We routinely spend tens of thousands on medical care and surgical implants for these folks, yet we don’t have shoes for their feet. The problem is most prevalent in the women and the kids.

    As we wade deeper into the holiday season I present you an opportunity to do something really simple, something that you can and should feel really good about. Send me some shoes. Send a used but serviceable pair of ladies or kids shoes or boots. Send a new pair of inexpensive but solid shoes, boots or sneakers. Send whatever pair you can. I’ll do my best to match them with the lady or child they would most benefit.

    If you’d like to participate – send the shoes to

    Dr. Robert Campbell – Orthopaedic/ Shoes

    Task Force Med AE APO 09354

    Hearts and minds is an overused term from our government and military leaders. I hear it over and over and am often unclear as to what it really means. I learned recently that what it means is the look on that young lady’s face when she received a gift of a used pair of serviceable shoes.

    I wish you a very merry holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you all sometime in 2010.

    Treasure every day in the USA

    Maj. Robert Campbell MD

    US Army Medical Corps


  4. Jon Terry
    December 20, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

    Even by Michigan standards, this was a great storm! Sorry to miss the worship and fellowship this morning…but have enjoyed the shoveling. Kristen and I took a quick drive around the neighborhood and enjoyed the many waves of ‘hello’ and smiles from neighbors as they dig out their cars and sidewalks. Lots of families out walking down the streets. Spent an hour shoveling the sidewalk with our next door neighbor and chatted the whole time. Easily the longest conversation we have ever had. Too bad it takes a blizzard for people to connect with eachother.

    In high school, my buddies and I would drive around during blizzards and try to help people stuck in cars. We called ourselves the ‘Snow Angels.’ If we couldn’t find anybody to help, we would just drive our own car into a snowbank or go to the school parking lot and do donuts until the cops came.

    As much fun as we are having today, it’s good to remember that there are lots of old folks who could use help shoveling out their driveway. If you walk around the block with a shovel, I guarantee you will find at least one elderly woman peeking out of her shades with a look of panic on her face.


  5. Erica C.
    December 21, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

    John, you’re absolutely right about connecting with the neighbors. Sat. we (N. Ohio Ladies–Nadia, Sarah, Megan and myself) were invited to our neighbor’s Christmas party b/c most of their guests couldn’t make it. And they had lots of wonderful food to share.

    It was wonderful to meet and learn the names of so many of our neighbors. The goodwill and brighter smiles as we pass each other in the morning and weekends has warmed up our cul-de-sac as I’m glad it has in other nooks of snowbound Arlington. Thank God for this weather-induced conversation starter, I pray there is relational fruit that will come from seeds planted in shoveled sidewalks, exchanged smiles and a memorable blizzard endured.


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