This past Friday, March 17, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with parades, green everything, and beer. Here is another side to this holiday.
He was a human trafficking victim in the 5th century, who became a missionary to the people and land (Ireland) where he was a slave.
Let me share a well-known prayer by St. Patrick, and customize it to a BAM related prayer: (the original is in bold and italics)
Christ with me, as I do business for Him and people
Christ before me, as I plan my business
Christ behind me, as I review my business
Christ in me; my guiding light in business
Christ beneath me; He is the foundation
Christ above me, He is the owner of my business
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, He is the Lord of the marketplace
Christ when I lie down, and rest from my work
Christ when I sit down, in my office chair
Christ when I arise, enthusiastic or weary
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, and my business
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, and my business
Christ in every eye that sees me, my staff, customers, suppliers, and competitors
Christ in every ear that hears me speak about my products and services
Special thanks to Mats Tunehag, a friend and champion of Business As Mission (BAM), who put this together.
I knew it was just a matter of time. Our 80 year old sugar maple split and I found half the tree on our lawn breaking a wood railing fence. What you can’t see are the three milk containers hanging from maple syrup splines tapping the remaining trunk for maple sap. I am trying to decide if I cut the whole tree down or trim it and make a small platform with a zip line to a yet to be dug pond. The old takes on a new purpose or will soon fad away. Meanwhile, a smattering of snow still remains on the ground while the temperature bounces between 50 and 70 degrees in mid February. It is a season of change.
Over the last year Jereme and Natalie have taken over all Business Connect travel. Jereme continues to build our international network. Natalie runs the logistics of shipping like a smooth running machine. I help sourcing resources, nurturing ongoing relationships, and write short reflections and updates. Although Jan and I took a short five day cruise out of New Orleans we are finding it increasingly difficult to travel. Staying home sounds better all the time. As I write, snow is forecast and the fireplace is roaring. I have the grill cranked up boiling the Maple sap and can just start to smell the aroma of maple syrup.
Life is good in spite of the changing seasons. The reason is because of the great people surrounding us. With such people the drama of life and events are quickly put in perspective and we can continue to live in gratitude and purpose. Below are two very short emails received in the last ten days. One story is from Haiti, another from Tanzania.
Just want to send a follow up on the January trip to Haiti and how the Water Filter Project went.
The trip was a success. The medical team of 2 providers and 2 support people saw greater than 325 people.The Water Filter Buckets were distributed to just over 40 people with the remaining systems placed in schools for the children on a daily basis. Junior, a Haitian employed by the organization, was able to purchase NEW buckets w/ tops for $3.70 each. The first day having the people put the systems together on there own was chaotic. The attention span was short and by standers / on lookers created excess noise. But, we persevered through. The 2nd day the buckets were put together by organization staff. The people were gathered in a church and with the interpreter the systems were explained. How they were assembled, how they worked and how to take care of the systems. The people came up three at a time to received their systems and in return demonstrated how to clamp the water flow, clean the charcoal pre-filter, and how to back flush the filter. It went much smoother and was organized.The Solar Lights were a great success with the school children.Thank You so much for your help with the order and your time explaining the system. And, for taking one for the team by carrying the items to my car!I have been in contact with the organization: Sow Hope. Mary Brown is the executive director and is interested in the Solar Light Charging Station. I have passed your contact information on to her – so if you receive and e-mail from her – it was I who sent her. I do still plan to stop by to purchase the book Aid to Trade one of these days. I will let you know prior so we can arrange a time. Thank You again for your help in obtaining the products. Attached are some photo’s for your viewing pleasure and one of the area’s we visited.Beverly JansmaMedical Coordinator Mission to Haiti.
Since 2004, Sisters of Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI), have reached out to more than 7800 rural women, microcredit and entrepreneurship programs, 225 trafficked children , and 5500 street children. Sisters are enjoying the atmosphere created in the campus with the drinking water facility with your special support of installing water purifier for the smooth running of all the activities at the center.
Gratitude: We, the sisters of DMI, in the name of all children and staff express our heartfelt sincere gratitude and thanks for your valuable financial contribution to get accessibility to the healthiest drinking water, especially important for children to safeguard their health. The water facilities have enabled our trafficked victims children, sisters and staff to have good health and to engaged in every activity (health care, spiritual, vocational skill training and outreach programs), accomplishing their roles and functions productively and fruitfully within the campus.
North Conway Road to downtown Petoskey: 7.8 miles
Asphalt bicycle trail along Little Traverse Bay
We paralleled I-131 on the asphalt pathway from Conway to downtown Petoskey. The sky was clear, a deep blue, and the sun was shining brightly. We saw a lot of Bearberry. The women met us at the water front park. We ended our five days at a local pie shop that had been owned since early 1900. Yum!
We ate well and had fun in the evenings! I have already forgotten the sore feet and aching muscles.
Robinson Road to North Conway Road: 14.9 miles
Mackinaw State Forest
The sky was not just overcast but we could see the thunder clouds. The lady at the reception desk wondered if we were wise heading out. I wondered if we were wise but nothing is quite as refreshing as walking in the rain when it is warm. The rumbling thunder was distant and we saw no flashes of lightening.
Ron had his plastic rain gear. I call it sweat gear. I wore my usual shorts and shirt. Hiking in the heavy forest I did not anticipate getting completely soaked so I had not removed my underwear. Nothing is quite as irritating as having the sun and wind dry everything but your wet underwear.
It rained for several hours. The droplets were heavy and large as they dripped from the maple leaves. There was no good place to rest, everything was damp or soaked. We came up to the Pleasant View Township Hall at this rural quiet intersection. The door was unlocked and the light was on. The lady looked up from the phone as I tried to open the door. Interrupting her conversation did not seem wise so we sat on the bench outside. I wonder what she thought as she must have been watching us through the window with her shotgun on the desk.
There was total quiet; no birds, squealing chipmunks, or even the rustle of the wind in the Aspen leaves. I heard the voice the same time Ron did, “Excuse me!” She was young, not unattractive, outfitted like she was well acquainted with wilderness hiking, and wanted to pass us on the trail. We immediately went into our “Let’s get acquainted mode” but she was in no mood to stand and talk. She was gone. It was like, “Did this really happen?”
It seems to me that this is the way God often works in my life. It is not often he puts me on the ground or hits me on the side of the head to get my attention. It is almost always unexpected, surprising, and polite. “Excuse me” can I have your attention? Have you thought of this? Why and what are you doing? Have you forgotten I am here? An hour later she came bouncing back down the trail toward us. This time we discovered she was from Colorado, very used to hiking, and was just having a fun time by herself. We also realized we should not feel bad. She was 50 years younger, about 50-100 pounds lighter in body weight, and used to hiking in the Rockies. So, she was real after all and we had new insight into our own limitations and abilities. God always seems to confirm His presence with new insights.
Later we saw some serious bark damage on a maple tree along side the path. It looked like a bear had been getting some exercise there.
Sturgeon Bay Trail to Robinson Road: 13.2 miles
Wilderness and Mackinaw State Park and Forest with 6.3 road walking
We moved from Mackinaw City to Crooked River Lodge owned by Staffords in Alanson, about 12 miles outside of Petoskey, closer to where we were hiking and would be ending up. Just seeing a picture of the lodge you know we were not suffering, at least not from the accommodations. We would sit in the hot tub until we could no longer stand the soothing comfort of the jets on our sore feet and the sweat was pouring off our foreheads and jump in the pool. Hiking the trail this way seems a little artificial but it sure is nice.
We are starting to see a lot more Red Oak and Sugar Maples.