Friday, June 30, 2006

Team-Sudan Arrives Successfully in Renk

Latest Update from Ellen Davis:
I just spoke to Fr. Joseph, and our travelers arrived safely and happily in Renk about midday today. Elizabeth and Megan are just now resting at the guest house by the Cathedral. They will stay there, as Fr. Joseph's wife is having a difficult first trimester of pregnancy [her first, with twins ---SLC], and he thought they would all be more comfortable this way. Someone from the church is staying with them, and Fr. Joseph will check in regularly. They havetheir own cell phone, but I don't yet have that number...

Also; The Latest Update from Gary F.:

OPS Normal - Renk as of 6:58 AM Eastern Daylight Savings
Time (EDST) 30 June.

A very long, but uneventful, drive to Renk. Hopefully, it will be a bit cooler than in Khartoum where the low temperature in the hotel room was 95 last night.

Elizabeth & Megan are staying in a secure compound in a small hut. If you've ever been to Colonial Williamsburg, the hut looks like the one "normal person's" house at the exhibit. (It's very easy to miss since they emphasize all the grand mansions at Williamsburg.) The food has been good and nobody is sick. Tired yes, sick no.

The Hebrew classes start next Monday, leaving the weekend to recover and get oriented. Elizabeth is going to preach on July 9th and those of you who haven't made it to any of her past sermons should probably feel guilty enough to take the trip (Rich?) Note: See earlier SITREPs for helpful Sudan travel tips. Elizabeth is really looking forward to preparing a sermon with almost none of her usual reference materials. The good news is that they're really into the old testament over there. :-)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Update from Sudan: Waiting for Travel Documents

Latest Situation Report from Gary F.:

OPS Normal - Khartoum as of 7:18 AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDST) 29 June.

It's hot! Elizabeth is tired. The airplane made an unexpected stop in Ankara, Turkey. In the It's-a-small-world- department: While in Turkey, Elizabeth ran into someone who knows one of the other seminarians from her diocese in SE VA (Gary Butterworth).

Elizabeth has successfully passed the wad of cash she was carrying to her host (Father Joseph) thus completing the second task on her list. This money is used to buy supplies for both the teachers and students. She and Megan are staying in a hotel to rest, however, the electricity is out, making it too hot to sleep.

Travel tip: In Sudan, hotel guests are apparently expected to bring their own towels, soap, sheets, and toilet paper (and maybe also a generator) so be prepared! Actually, this isn't exactly a 3-star hotel since the NGO people have taken all the rooms at the more western hotels. I guess that's why they don't call it "Doctors without air conditioning." :-)

The next event for "team Sudan" is a 9-hour drive to Renk (no paved road for part of the way). But first they have to obtain internal travel documents from the government. They depart at 4:00 AM local time on Friday - about 14 hours from now. It's supposed to be cooler in Renk.

Safe Arrival at KHT airport, Sudan

Update from Ellen Davis:
I just spoke to Megan, 12:17 EST, and they had a good flight and arrival, "No problems." Thanks be to God. She sounded happy and not exhausted. Maybe the double-night flight is a good thing.They plan to get the travel permits today and travel to Renk tomorrow. I will phone them late afternoon their time (about 5), trusting they will have arrived in midday and had time for a good nap before dinner.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Update on Travel to Renk, Sudan

Several emails in the past 24 hours have updated the progress of Elizabeth and Megan as they make their way to Renk, Sudan.

Megan met Elizabeth at Heathrow airport in London, where they waited several hours to board their flight. The flight seems to have made a stop in Turkey, and was due to arrive in Khartoum, Sudan (KHT) at 5:35 a.m.--about 10:30 pm Wednesday night our time (EST).

Once they get to Renk, they will be staying in the GuestHouse compound, across the street from the Renk Anglican Cathedral and a very shortwalk to the Renk Bible College. This is a slight change of plans necessitated by one of their prospective hosts, Roda, coming down with malaria. (Elizabeth has already been on anti-maleria pills for several days.) The compound will be staffed with security and a cook for them.

Gary Felicetti relates the following humorous incident in the Heathrow airport:
Elizabeth's first missionary adventure occurred at Heathrow where an elderly woman was seeking some sort of help -- but speaking in a hard-to-understand foreign language. The only word that could be made out was "bano" so Elizabeth tried to show the woman to the restroom. Unfortunately, she needed a wheelchair so Elizabeth, and eventually a few others, scoured the British Airways area for one. A wheelchair was located after an extensive search. The woman was loaded up and Elizabeth started wheeling her to the restroom. The woman objected strenuously since, as it turned out, she was looking to go to Albania instead of the bano. She did, however, appreciate the wheelchair which, presumably, she put to good use to find her flight to Albania.

Interpreting Isaiah 61

This tapestry / banner was created as a term project for my Isaiah class by N. Hawthorne several years ago. I must say, I am quite proud of the results that she achieved. Of course, the photo does not do justice to the textures and feel of all the different fabrics that she used. The piece represents an interpretation of Isaiah 61:10-11.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Teaching Hebrew in Renk, Sudan

One hope that I have for this blog-space is to promote our joint program with Duke Divinity School sending our students and alums to teach Biblical Hebrew at the Bible School in Renk, Sudan. A new team of ours leaves today, including one of my wonderful students, Elizabeth Felicetti. Her husband is driving her to Dulles airport this evening for a British Air flight, traveling to Sudan through London.

A few months ago, in January 2006, one of my former star students, the Rev. Shirley Smith Graham, went to Sudan to teach in this program. Here is twelve-minute video of her experience, which gives you a wonderful feel for what it is like teaching Bible there: Renk Video Clip

Monday, June 26, 2006

Humor: The Ten Commandments

Our friend, Prof. Kevin Wilson, stayed with us over the past weekend and shared with us this brief piece of humor from "The Family Guy." Click to Enjoy: Film Clip (It is a wmv file, probably requiring Windows Media Player or the equivalent.)


The Land of Israel

This is a sample image from a set of photographs by an outstanding former student of mine, Frank Logue, now an outstanding Episcopal priest in Georgia. He took this portfolio of photos in Israel/Palestine in May of 2000 using infrared and black and white film. You can view the entire portfolio of 20 images here: Black & Whites

P.S. You can find Frank's blog ("Irenic Thoughts") at:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A View of Psalms from Myanmar

A student in my Psalms class named Ai Doh did a wonderful series of drawings interpreting nine psalms from the perspective of his home culture of Myanmar. To access the entire series of nine pictures as an Acrobat (pdf) file, click here.

Interpretation of Psalms 42-43

Here are some more visual interpretations of the psalms from past incarnations of the Psalms course that I teach. These are original pieces of interpretive art by Kate Niewenhous (Interpretations of Pss 42-43):

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Interpretation of Psalm 133

I'm going to begin this blog by posting work from former students that I've collected over the last decade. Some of that work appears to me to be well worth sharing. Here is a piece of calligraphy by a former student, Connie Jones, which she produced for my Psalms course. It represents a compelling interpretation of Psalm 133: