Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trash, haircuts, and the Navy way!

Hello again - As we get more and more settled in here we realize the truth of the expression, 'the more things change, the more they stay the same'. Clearly we've begun a rather dramatic change in lifestyle, but some of the practical considerations of life stay the same. For example, trash pickup is on Thursday - and we learned the hard way that if you put your trash out earlier the local dogs have a field day. We now understand why when we see the barrels out, they all have a piece of plywood on top, and a cinder block.

I also had my first haircut today. Most Bahamians are black and the local town barber doesn't cut the hair of many white men, if any. Ginni says its OK, but I think she is being kind. Its my sense that its a cross between a dutch boy and a bowl cut, but its not hanging down over my eyes anymore so its an improvement.

The biggest news of the week is that we have internet access. It took 4 weeks but when the installer came it was about a 20 minute deal and we were up and running. We were surprised at how dependent we had become on the internet. With it we can stay in touch with our sons throughout the world (one in Singapore, one in Canton, and another in the Hamptons) as well as our friends back home.

From a ministry standpoint, this week we met with the local Commander of the US Navy base we serve, and finally had an opportunity to meet the Chaplain. He is an ex-Navy chaplain, now serving his Presbyterian community in Mississippi and visiting the base on weekends. Both meetings were informative and we have a better sense of ministry 'the Navy way'. A base of this type must be supportive of all denominations and we are part of that. When the Chaplain is away we are a resource the Commander can call upon in an emergency. For example if a sailor is at sea and there is a family emergency, such as a death in the family, he will be airlifted off the ship to the base, then shipped state side to his family. Depending upon the emergency he may or may not need support, counselling, prayer, ... if the Chaplain is off base we could get that call.

This is also our 2nd weekend taking CCD registration. With it also being the 3rd week of Advent we have been told the attendance may be down as people begin the exodus to Nassau or points beyond to be with friends and family for Christmas - we will see.

We have learned that the tradition here is that Christmas and New Years both have midnight services. We know a priest will be with us for Christmas Eve, & Christmas Day, then stay with us through the following Sunday. That means 5 services for each holiday, one at the Navy base, one at midnight, and one at both parishes on Christmas Day for those that don't come to the midnight service. Then do it all again on New Years. The priest will be with me on Christmas, but I'll be alone on New Years. It should be interesting since our son Mike will be arriving on the 19th for Christmas and leaving on the 27th (taking Ginni with him until she returns Jan 5).

Ginni will return home every other month to do some per-dium nursing for Hospice. Having her there over the New Years holiday will help them out, give us some added income, and help her retain her seniority with her employer. Since we couldn't sell our home prior to leaving, but rented it, we still retain some expenses that our stipend here won't cover. So Ginni will be going back to Mass every other month to put in a few weeks work. This will be our first month trying that out so hopefully all goes well.

All in all we are still very happy and look forward to ministry to both the base, and all our new Bahamian friends. They all have been very welcoming and we feel like we are settling in. One local woman baked us her coconut bread and another stopped by with a lovely ceramic bowl filled with a variety of teas so we feel very comfortable.

While people come to the door with tea and bread, we have also had people come to the door with counselling needs, names of the sick that may need a visit, and names of those who may be interested in joining the Church. Much to do -

Enough for now. Keep us in your prayers --- Frank and Ginni

1 comment:

Matt said...

Mmmm...coconut bread.