Wednesday, October 5, 2016

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

       The internet, through Facebook, Google+, Snapchat, email, and Google itself, has allowed us to get in touch and stay in touch with family and friends as well as making new friends we’ve never physically met but with whom we can still forge some pretty strong bonds.  One such man died recently and I grieved as if we had been in close physical contact for years, but we had never even met.  We can stay in touch with family (I’ve got twelve cousins in just one family and they’ve got children, grandchildren, and beyond), friends with whom we’d lost contact, former students, former teachers, and others.  I am friends with a woman in Scandinavia yet we’ve only been in contact through an affordable watch forum on the internet (she does read the blog) and others all over the world who know about our work here and my health problems.  That is just pretty darn amazing.  We laugh at the old cell phones on dated movies, but the reality is that technology has really increased our capacity to “reach out and touch someone” to quote an old telephone ad.  We were friends with some Anglican missionaries who retired and moved back to England many years ago, yet we stay in touch as he reads the blog, comments, and sends prayers and financial support from time to time.  Karen has kids she taught as five-year-olds who are now college graduates and married with children—and who keep up with her on the internet.  She found one such student just a week or so ago from back in the sixties that she taught in kindergarten.  We remember her because both her parents were blind, and one Christmas, as I was the Santa at Sears, I drove out to her house and surprised her with a home visit (we had warned the parents in advance).  We keep in touch with couples whose marriage I performed or whose babies I baptized (or both).  There are folks I worked with in the Singles Ministry who are now quite happily married and still remember our quiet times together.  I wished someone in the U.S. happy birthday the other day and they replied in Swahili and good Swahili at that.  We get blown away by little things like that.  The point is that is spite of the fact that we are in the bush in equatorial Africa, we are still in the living rooms and hearts of people whose lives intersected with ours in many forms.  All of our spirits are lifted when we hear from those far away but close to us nevertheless.  We cannot begin to thank you enough for keeping us from feeling really alone, isolated and outside the circle (see picture at the right).  You have brought us into your own circles (except for those who have “unfriended” us for some miscommunication or bad joke I posted) and we are truly grateful to still be a part of your lives (we're willing to be "friends" again after the election).  It’s hard to be lonely when everyday (internet and power permitting) we hear from family, friends, and those with whom we connect only electronically.  No matter how we reach out to each other, we want you to know that we feel your hugs and love.  We couldn’t be doing what we are doing here without you.  God bless you.

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