Off to Ecuador

I’m heading off to Ecuador today for a little break and then to take part in a conference on Pastoral Care in Quito at which I’ll be giving a workshop on the role of children’s ministries in the prevention of sexual abuse.

I’m looking forward to it. In Ecuador, the colours are more muted, the people talk more softly, the roads are better, and in general, I find it very restful.

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Lost in translation

Last week I was translating for an event for therapists in a local university.

The speaker recommend a book.

It’s read, he said, which I duly translated.

The speaker knew enough Spanish to know I hadn’t said what he meant.

No, it’s red. The book is red, he insisted.

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Their life in their hands


Look at these lads risking their lives by hitching a ride up the hill

by holding on to the back of a truck.

That’s so dangerous, I said to the taxi driver.

Yes, he agreed. The driver of the truck has no idea they are there.

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An ordinary day

One of the great things about my life is that there are no ordinary days but I thought I’d tell you about yesterday, as close to an ordinary day as I can get.

I got up at 5.30 and left the house at 6.50. I made good progress on my way to work until the last leg of the journey. The bus was about half an hour late and I got to work late but just in time for our team prayer time at 8.20. After that, we had a meeting about the camps we plan to hold later in the year for our children’s club leaders. We had all come with proposal for the main topics for the talks we’ll give, and after some discussion we decided on “Discovering God in the Lord’s Prayer”. We were all sent off to investigate one section of the prayer and mine is “Our Father in Heaven.” (deadline for the first proposal: next Tuesday). Then we had a meeting to talk about plans to train people on the Coast to write our materials. By then it was 10.30. I did a little work on the revision of our training manual I am working on (deadline mid-June) and then put the final touches on the series we are working on, about the story of the people of Israel (deadline tomorrow). That takes me almost until lunchtime. After lunch I worked on my talk in the next series of lessons, about the life and teaching of Jesus (deadline today). My topic is the resurrection of Lazarus and the power of Jesus over death in John 11. Then I went to the seminary library to start work on Our Father. At 4pm we had a meeting to talk about a meeting we are going to hold with all the pastors of the churches which have one of our clubs. I am not going to travel to these meetings, which are going to be held the first week of June but I will help with some of the content, in particular, issues facing youngsters today. (Believe it or not, issues such as self-harm and cyber-bullying are present in the remote  areas of Colombia) (Deadline 28th May). By then it is about 5 and I do another hour’s work on my Lazarus talk, which I get finished, thanks to a brilliant idea from one of my colleagues (a plastic cup as the tomb and Lazarus emerging, propelled by some sort of stick).

A good ordinary day.

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A new word!

To teasicize = to tease in a critical way as in: “Stop teasicizing me.”

(Coined by my Colombian flatmate.)

Let’s make it a thing!

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A taxi driver talks

My children are almost grownup. I have one who is nearly a professional. My wife left me three years ago and left me with the children. But I stuck with them. My father didn’t abandon me and I didn’t abandon them. There is a lady in our block of flats who likes me. I’ve got a flat, I’m in debt up to here but I pay my way. Anyway this lady got my son on to the course to be a traffic cop. You know, when you’re poor you have to use all the levers you can get. This lady, she’s a lawyer with the mayor’s office, something to do with traffic and she said, “I’ll get your son onto the course to be a traffic cop,” And my son said he wanted to study animation in 3D and I said, “Forget it, that’s a course for rich kids, you do this course to be a traffic cop, and start earning 2 million pesos a month (about £550). Then if you want to study, you save up and you can study later on.

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Some things I have seen recently

A flock of green macaws flashing past my office.

Someone struggling to put up one of those parasols that go over tables. All you could see were her legs. And her colleagues standing around laughing.

A candlelit march of striking teachers.

Someone talking on their mobile phone – which they had jammed between their cheek and their motorcycle helmet.

A little girl with Down’s Syndrome thoughtfully examining the handbag of the woman (a total stranger) standing in front of her on the metro.

Crowds of men standing and sitting around watching Barcelona play Bayern Munich on big screens in my local mall.

Life’s rich tapestry.

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