Reflections on Holy Week: Then and Now

Posted April 17, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Faith

I admired that about you
That you would stand
In truth-Trusting that all would be as He intended
You recognized the need and your call
You followed your heart and our Father’s voice

To speak truth
To be love, to represent truth, to act in love
Regardless of the consequence
Oh! the mystery of it, and the certainty of it

Grace under fire, grace in the moment, in the pain
Amidst the pain and the hate, the insistent hate and ignorance

Where I sought convenience
You showed the way
Then and now

Secure within the Secureness of our Security?

Posted February 21, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Faith, Travel

Heading home…

Psalm 35: 4-5
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.

The driver took the back roads, moving through the countryside at a pretty good clip. We passed at least three settlements. In the darkness, the settlements looked like military installations, with their bright spotlights shining on the tall chain link fences, topped with barbed wire. While traveling in the West Bank, the major highways may not be the best choice. My passport, safely resting within my front pocket, providing me with a sense of security that my driver could not have.

Arriving at the airport, we parted ways. I paid my guide, my friend and thanked him for the ride. He gave me a refrigerator magnet of a Christian icon. I moved closer to home in the lobby of Ben Gurion Airport. The security agent was professional and courteous. The questioning went on for quite some time. She would ask a question, walk away (I assumed to confer with a superior), and then come back to ask more questions. Ultimately, she thanked me for my patience and passed me through from her station to the next, the XRay machine. The XRay technician passed me on to a hand-search area. At this counter, the agent asked me a few questions and chose not to open my bag. I did see a number of other bags being searched carefully. Again, this agent was professional and courteous, and even gave me a smile and a “Have a safe journey” after he was done with his questioning.

On and on, through Tel Aviv, through Newark, through Seattle. Through scanners and questions and bag checks and XRays, through bag checks and ticket checks and credential checks.  Through, “take off your shoes, your belt, your jacket”.  Through security…

Security: the state of being protected or safe from harm (Merriam Webster). Security is becoming more sophisticated and comprehensive. The opportunity and means to threaten security is also becoming more pervasive and sophisticated. A glance at a newspaper, news website or a popular magazine reveals a number of types of security:

  • Homeland Security
  • Food Security
  • Social Security
  • National Security
  • Financial Security
  • Data Security
  • School Security
  • Emotional Security
  • Job Security

Can we have security, is it our ultimate need and desire? Perhaps . If so, I need to work on accepting and trusting the Creator of the universe.  Situations are not in my control, people are not in my control.  Whom I choose to trust is.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35,37 NIV

Meeting with Friends

Posted February 16, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Community, Faith, Friends


In a few hours, Friends at North Valley will have their worship time.  Following worship will be the annual chili cookoff.  Sadly, I will miss the event this year.  I enjoy making chili and I do enjoy entering a new chili into the competition each year.  I also enjoy sampling the various chili dishes that others bring! I am sure that many will join in and have a great time of food and fellowship.

Today, I had the opportunity to worship with Friends at the Ramallah Monthly Meeting.  This meeting had about 15 people in attendance.  Friends from Palestine, Germany, USA, England and Sweden gathered in the meeting house that was built in 1910. 2014-02-12 04.50.51After the meeting, we had a time of fellowship in the annex, where tea was served and  lively conversation ensued.  I went to do a little shopping and then met up with Jean Zaru, the clerk of the meeting, and about 10 Friends at the Nazareth Restaurant.  The menu was in Arabic so Jean helped us order.  The falafel was great, as was the entire meal! Jean shared with me about the history of the meeting and of the Friends School in Ramallah.  I enjoyed visiting with the others gathered around the tables, including a German fellow who was working on a project to introduce animation as a teaching and learning device into Palestinian schools.

The meeting for worship was unprogrammed, with the clerk giving a brief introductory comment and greeting.  We sang two songs during the meeting, one was a hymn from the mid 1800s and the other was Song of Peace, to a Sibelius tune, Finlandia. The sense of the meeting, and confirmed through vocal ministry was that the love of Christ is manifest as people step out to represent hope, justice and peace to their world.  What a blessing to be a part of this time of worship.

I will be leaving soon to begin my long journey home.  I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends.  I am also looking forward to learning more about what is next for me in my journey along the path.  I am grateful to have had this time to serve with Friends in Africa and in the Middle East.  I am grateful for all that I have learned and for what has been given to me.  I have been welcomed as an honored guest and I accept that welcome with appreciation and joy!

Our Dinner with Nasser

Posted February 15, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Friends, Learning

It was a Newberg kind of night here in Ramallah.  It was a zip up your jacket, turn up the collar and bend into the rain, kind of night.  The locals are pleased for the rain and I am reminded of home.  They tell me that since the big snow storm in December there has been no rain. It was a one hundred year storm, with as much as three feet of snow in some areas of Israel and Palestine. The rains have returned, however.  I have returned from dinner and am staying in an apartment next to the gymnasium where the Senior Prom is going on for Ramallah Friends School.  A very loud combination of American and Arabic Pop is streaming up and out of the gym.  Nasser asked me if I was going to Prom, I told him no and he said, “Yeah, cause you don’t have a date”.

Elizabeth and I went out with Nasser, an international (American) teacher here at the Friends School.  Nasser is from the Chicago area, so it is only fitting we went back to the restaurant run by the man who was a Chicago chef back in the States. I had chicken shawarma.  Nasser and the restaurateur had an engaging conversation in Arabic.  We learned from Nasser that there are many Palestinians in the Chicago area.  We had a very good conversation about Friends, Palestinians, Christian living and the Ramallah Friends School.  I really benefited from this conversation and feel fortunate to have eaten at the Old Chicago Grill (my made up name) for a second time during this brief visit.

Ah, the music! I must admit that its kind of a catchy refrain, but I can only take it so many times:

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

Hens and Chicks in Jerusalem

Posted February 14, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Community, Friends

RampartsElizabeth and I rode the bus from Ramallah to Jerusalem.  Bus Number 18 moved quickly from the main bus station, just a block away from the Friends Boys School, and before we knew it we were at the security checkpoint.  Two Israeli soldiers formed the team that got on the bus to check papers. These young men, with their guns slung over their shoulders moved quickly through the bus, looking only for a brief second at my passport and visa.  The whole stop seemed to take about three minutes, though the waiting in line to get to the checkpoint was quite a bit longer.

Soon after getting underway, we arrived at the bus station near the Garden Tomb.  There, Retha greeted us and we went into the Hotel Jerusalem to have coffee and tea. I had the chance to have maramiyyeh tea again.  A teacher at the Friends Girls School offered it to me when I visited the teacher’s lounge and it was excellent!  Maramiyyeh is a type of sage and it gives a great fragrance and taste to the tea.

After our drinks, we walked into the old city, entering through the Damascus Gate.HPIM1920 This is one of the iconic scenes of Jerusalem.  Upon entering the gate, we began a journey up and down hilly narrow streets that were packed with people and lined with vendors and their wares.  You name it, there was everything to be had in the Arab Quarter.  From the bustling streets of the Arab Quarter, we came upon the entrance to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount area.  My colleagues waited for me while I walked into the men’s plaza down to the Wall itself.  Another great icon of Jerusalem, indeed, the world.

After more wandering, we found a cafe to have a drink and we talked.  Later, after a long hike along the Wall, we returned to the cafe for a buffet lunch. The views from the walls were amazing and somewhat nostalgic, as the various famous sites near and in the city were there for the viewing.  I saw the Mount of Olives, as well as the Kidron Valley.  After our lunch, Retha left us so that she could return to her place in the Old City.  Elizabeth and I left the city through the Jaffa Gate and then walked along the outside of the wall all the way back to the Damascus Gate.  On our way back to the bus station we come up to the Garden Tomb.  This was an interesting “attraction”.  A Christian group has purchased and preserved a garden area that is purported to be the place of the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Guided tours were provided and the guides were quite good.  I followed two groups around and enjoyed the banter provided by the guides.

Leaving the Garden Tomb area, we made our way back to the bus station.  Just as we were moving to the buses, a young man shouted at us and Elizabeth figured out that he was a smaller van driver who was offering to give us a ride to Ramallah.  About seven of us rode the van.  He asked ten shekels for the ride, two more than the bus charged.  What a treat it was to ride with this fellow.  He was fast and assertive.  He ended up doing some very fancy driving through the checkpoint area that probably saved us at least 30 minutes although my heart may have stopped a couple of times during the trip. The driver let us off on the street right in front of the Friends School.

My day trip to Jerusalem may be a once in a life time experience.  It was a very enjoyable and memorable trip and I am glad I had the opportunity to make the journey. It was pretty amazing to think that Jesus walked through this area several thousand years ago.  It seems that the response that the city had toward Jesus was not quite what he would have liked.  As is stated in several of the gospels, here is how Jesus viewed the city:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (Matthew 23:37).

Won’t you please come to Chicago…?

Posted February 13, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Community, Friends, Learning

Elizabeth took me out to eat last night at a restaurant near where I am staying at the Ramallah Friends School.   I was very weary from a long journey from Kigali and from lack of sleep.  I was hungry though and the walk down the street was quite stimulating.  It is great to be here and to hear how Elizabeth is doing and what is going on here at the school.  The restaurant was busy and I glanced admiringly at several tables, seeing some really good looking food.  The man who greeted us recognized Elizabeth and he warmly greeted me and seated us.  Elizabeth had a sandwich (a wrap) with lamb, I had a pita sandwich with falafel. The food was fresh and tasty.  It was very good.  The greeter/waiter appeared to be the owner.  I told him I was from Oregon, USA and I thanked him for the wonderful meal. He told me he has learned to cook in France and then was a chef in Chicago for a time.  I suggested to him that Americans would love the type of food he was serving in his restaurant here in Ramallah.

2014-02-08 11.38.17 This is a large city of about 300,000.  There has been a Friends school here since about 1900.  Essentially this school was established at about the same time as George Fox University. I begin my interactions with school personnel shortly and greatly look forward to it.

I am grateful to be here and to have this opportunity to see Elizabeth Todd again.  She is serving as a Friend in residence here at this school.  Last summer, she issued an invitation to me to come and visit and I am glad that I was able to coordinate this visit by adding it on to my trip to Rwanda.  What is interesting about that is that she has worked with a number of the Quaker leaders and pastors who were participants in the training that we did last week at the Rwanda Friends Theological College in Musanze.  Several of them, when they found out that I was coming to see her, asked me to send their greetings to Elizabeth.

I cannot quite make sense out of all the different impressions I have so far.  The combination of weariness, lack of sleep, wonder at being in a new place, amazement at the contrasts in the landscape, similarities to rural Kenya and the warmness of the people I have met, have made my first day and night in the West Bank a truly amazing experience.  This morning as I prepare for my day, I remembered a couple of lines from a Graham Nash song from 1971: “We can change the world, rearrange the world, its dying- to get better.” I pray, with God’s help that I can change myself, rearrange myself.  I cannot help change the world if I cannot change my own life.  I am so thankful to Christ, my Present Teacher, for his patient shaping of my life.

Won’t you please come to Chicago, no one else can take your place.

When is a Bag of Nuts a Window?

Posted February 11, 2014 by sheadley
Categories: Africa

Tags: ,

Our journey from Musanze to Kigali was an adventure.  Ron and Carolyn Stansell, Fred, the FTC librarian, John Muhanji, Debi Miller and Eloise Hockett joined me as passengers in Dave Thomas’ sturdy Land Cruiser. John and Ron were sitting in the way back. Dave had loaded all the luggage on the top rack and then neatly bundled them in tarps.  It was raining as we loaded and we anticipated rain most of the trip.  Dave was pretty wet by the time he finished the loading.  After a lengthy negotiation with the office manager of the guest house regarding fees and statements, we were ready to go! Marie Claire, the young Rwandan women who exchanged email addresses with me wished me a “safe journey”.

I got into the passenger seat next to Dave at the insistence of my colleagues.  I had to reach through the open window because the outside door handle was broken. When I sat down and prepared to roll up the window, I discovered that it was stuck about two-thirds of the way up.  Dave got out of the car to get next to me on the outside to work with the window.  “Open the door so I can try”, he said.  Well, you can guess what happened then.  Right, the door was stuck as well.  We fiddled with the window and door for about five minutes until I realized that a partially closed window and a stuck shut door were better options than an open window or a door I would have to hold closed for the entire three hour trip.

Dave told me that we would just find something to block off the opening.  He asked anyone if they had a plastic bag.  Someone said, “In my suitcase”, but Dave was not going to unpack that skillfully bundled load on the top of the car.  I remembered I had a gallon-size zip lock bag in my briefcase with some cashews in it.  This bag had the leftovers from my plane ride to Rwanda. I dumped out the few remaining nuts and gave the bag to David. He rummaged around under his seat and found another zip lock bag there and several pieces of used duct tape somewhere in the back of the car.  He and several of the men did a temporary patch.  As we pulled away, the tape failed and the bags came loose.  Fortunately I caught them. Plastic bags are illegal in Rwanda and we may not have found others.  After a trip to a local store, Dave returned with some strapping tape.  He and John and Fred made a better seal, wiping the wet car and window with a rag which was used to clean the inside of the windshield. While the window-building was going on, Ron and Carolyn told us about the Thomas fixit gene and how David’s father, Hal, and other male members of his family were geniuses at solving all kinds of mechanical problems.

As we drove down the road, the bag-window fluttered and crackled.  We wondered if it would hold.  A couple of kilometers down the road, Dave stopped for fuel and again, he did additional work at securing the bag-window.  I am happy to report that the window held for the remainder of the trip, three hours across the Rwandan countryside through varying degrees of African rainfall.2014-02-02 09.54.53

We did make one stop on our way back to Kigali.  The photo is of a roadside restaurant and bus stop. At this place was a famous food stand.  We had very good goat-on-a-stick here, which we enjoyed in the car as we traveled “home”.