Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You know you've been traveling a lot when...

Yesterday, late afternoon we finally got back to Raleigh, NC where we’re spending our “home assignment” year before returning to Kosovo.  We’ve been on the road for about a month for both work-related and family visits.  We’ve been in six states, have spoken in three churches and visited lots of great people. 

When we arrived at the airport my mother, my sister and her daughter, Abbie, met us take us home.  My seven-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, after we get ‘checked-in’ to grandma's can I go play at Abbie’s house?”

Poor thing…she’s ready to unpack her bags for a while. 

Saturday, August 12, 2006

In Gjilan: Court jails Kosovo Albanian army officers

Three men were jailed Thursday after an international judge found them guilty of war-crimes in Gjilan.  Roberta Clogg, our wonderful apprentice, stumbled upon the decision a couple of days ago while coming back from language class/dinner.  Read about her experience here.

From the News:

Serbia, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A district court has sentenced three of
Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian army officers to seven years in jail each for
war crimes against civilians.

The Kosovo District Court in Gnjilane, presided by Judge Vioneda
Bolero of an international judiciary team, jailed the three men for war
crimes, including inhuman treatment of civilians in the Kosovo town of
Orahovac in 1998, Belgrade's RTS Serbian radio-television reported
Friday.  More.

From what Roberta writes the whole matter was conducted peacefully.  Assuming the judge made the right decision, that's good news for Kosovo.  I'm thrilled that Kosovar Albanians are coming to terms with their own past, as all people must.

Friday, August 04, 2006

...on the road in Price, Utah

We got into Price, Utah this afternoon, a little town of about 8,400 people.  This is where my wife spent about eight years of here life.  We spoke tonight at a dinner at Price Chapel, a church that my wife’s dad pastored and is still making a positive impact on the community.

I’m not sure how many people turned up tonight, but there was probably at least a hundred, interested in hearing how “one of their own” was doing in a land few people understand.  The church is actually located in a former health club building.  They’ve made super use of the structure, proving that church isn't about the building, it’s about the people.  Tomorrow I speak to the men’s group and the Sunday morning Melissa and I will speak again.

I really enjoy meeting regular people from regular Christian & Missionary Alliance churches.  These people are living out their lives faithfully in often difficult circumstances.  The folks at Price Chapel are a religious minority in this state.  They are great, especially the guy who apologized for leaving the meeting a couple of times to answer his phone, “the damn thing never leaves me alone.”  I love it. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moving on to Salt Lake City

We left Ottumwa yesterday afternoon after church.  We made some really good connections with the folks at North Gate and hope to see some of them in Kosovo one of these days.  Since we were flying out of Chicago at 10am for Salt Lake City, the next stop on our little tour, we decided to book a hotel an spend the night in the Windy City.  The alternative was to leave Ottumwa at about three in the morning, something I really didn’t want to do.  Incidentally, if you’re not familiar with Hotwired I’d definitely check it out.  We booked a room at the airport Westin, which normally go for $199 a night, for only $75.

We left Ottumwa about 3 o’clock, hoping to get to the Westin at around seven, in time for the girls to swim at the pool.  However, after a wrong turn at the Iowa-Illinois border which sent us on I-74 South towards fabled Peoria, we ended up checking in slightly after 10PM.  Not quite what I had in mind.

Our stay at the Westin was one of those good-news/bad-news deals.  I haven’t stayed at a hotel in the US for a long time, over four years in fact, but the Westin had a strange combo of luxury and el-cheapo.  The room was fabulous, the internet was $9.95.  Seems like internet ought to be free at a hotel like this, it was at the Super 8 in Ottumwa.  In fact, there was free Wi-Fi in the lobby, which we took advantage of from our 3rd floor room.  The refrigerator didn’t work, but if it had, there was a sensor on it that began billing you if any bottles were “moved,” not taken out, but moved.  We were trying to cool some venison sausage from grandpa so we had to order up a new fridge.  In the morning  I would a USA Today newspaper to our room which was sweet, but it was .75, though it was free in the lobby, along with the Wall Street Journal.

Anyway, we really slept well and the beds and bathroom were excellent.  We’re on our way to SLC!