Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Drew and I are enjoying walking around town and becoming familiar with this place, it makes it seem less foreign, and we think that the local stores are catching on to our addiction to Pita bread, oops. I think for both of us the history of this place is kicking in because, before when we first got here our minds were racing and tired, but as the settling in happens so does the reality of this place. And when i was reading in Acts it just became more alive, i was like "I've been to Jerusalem, it's real," so just be encouraged that the Lord is alive and real to drew and I in a completely new way.
its still hard being here and away from all that we know and are comfortable with, but being away from those very things are what causes growth, taking risks are so good. Oh, the honking here is kind of getting to drew and i, Its like, honk at this and honk at that, oh this person walking deserves a honk, I'm 100 feet away from someone HONK HONK, i mean they practically honk at trash in the road...weird. i was telling Drew, maybe this device is new to them so they have to use it as much as possible, oh a cat HONK HONK, we like when the person was in the wrong and THEY honk, it makes us laugh.
We are so blessed by you friends and family at home. We feel the Lord guiding us and we know its from your prayers and we are eating everyday because of your financial help, we love you all and hope that you stay with us, or come visit!!!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Drew and I are making a verbal list of things that we miss and look forward to when we get back. American coffee, i really miss creamer and fresh brewed coffee, especially the atmosphere of coffee shops. Oh and Trader Joe's, oh how we miss you honey wheat pretzels.....Oh, and if you know us well enough you'd know that showering isn't a big priority for us, but being here makes us miss bath tubs and big enough showers that you can stand in....Never thought we would say that. Frozen Yogurt will be consumed for a straight month once we get back, make that 2 months. Chips and salsa, being able to throw away your toilet paper and just people who throw trash away, i use to get upset when I'd see a bottle or piece of trash on the ground but at least the concept and reasons are grasp where we are from. We miss you California and Utah but we know we are suppose to be here. Love you all and we do our best to keep you updated
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Once the sun goes behind the hills and the wind starts to pick up, it’s actually pretty pleasant here. And if we’re lucky enough to have the wind blowing all night, we’re sung to sleep by it’s deep howl. So thankful for wind.
Only a few days in and we’re learning so much. Fun words (often times, any Arabic word would sound pretty dirty to an English speaker), all the little stores and markets, cultural quirks, really good food, and the people. There’s this weird kind of clash between a modern civilization and an ancient city. Modern people, with modern gadgets in really old buildings and infrastructures… but it works. And the whole political racial situation… we’ve been learning a lot about that too. Granted we’ve only been here a few days, but I’d have to say that most of the US’s perception of Palestinians (and Muslims) is largely misinformed. I guess I can’t stand too much on this yet, seeing as how over the next year we’ll be learning and experiencing a lot more. But based on my last few days here, I’m ready to fight those stereotypes on their behalf.
In other news, Char and I just cooked our first meal in Bet Sahour!! So exciting. The pita bread here is plentiful and unbelievable. Never had anything like back home. Baked fresh every day and used in almost everything. So soft and moist… And you just open it right up and stuff it with anything you want: falafel, raw or cooked veggies, fruit, meat, cheese or all of the above. Even better than a sandwich cause it doesn’t spill out the sides!! SEE!?
AND they set us up with some pretty sweet diggs. The apartment they gave us to live in is bigger than anything we’ve lived in yet, or will probably live in come the near future. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen with a sick view. We are blessed.
AND They’re really into low ceilings and short doorways, I’ve hit my head too many times.
Anyway, lots o fun stories, including karaoke with foreigners! But maybe later…
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The night of august 22nd we hung out with really good freinds at an amazingly beautiful house, thanks Huston family. We had good mexican food and a heated conversation on a couch that basically ate you. We had so much fun that we headed back to my moms hotel and continued our conversations until our eyelids got way to heavy. Then it was time to sleep...there's the problem, who sleeps when they are leaving the country the next morning for a long period of time and who sleeps when you are sharing a single bed with your significant other who likes there personal space? No one sleeps and that's exactly what we did. We were also told that if we stayed up most of the night then we would fall asleep on the plane for a long period of time and that's also what we did, but the huge problem was and is that we didnt sleep that night or on the first plane ride or at the airport, on the second beast of a plane, that night or last night. We were so tired last night so we got ready to go to bed and realized we both were wide awake and it was like 100 degrees in our room. So drew started reading some random book that he found downstairs after realizing he left his book on the plane, and I was poking him over and over again while on the computer to see if anyone wanted to chat, because it was 4 pm there, i was also researching to see if pita bread is good for you because thats all you eat here. Our biggest problem is that we are suppose to work hard during the day when the only we want to do is sleep. Coffee is really expensive here and tastes ways different so that effects us as well. And as we both are drifting away right now we have to leave in 45 minutes to stuff tires with dirt to make a wall for an outside bathroom. Please pray that the Lord will provide us with sleep and also with finances. We love you all and hope that some of you will get the chance to visit!!!!!
Here we are sitting in our new home in the Holy Land (whoop whoop). After a long flight with lots of crying babies, food that should never be eaten and no sleep, being here is good. We had some trouble getting in and everyone and their grandparents want to see your passport, i guess if you look like 2 dirty Americans then curiosity and suspicion kicks in. Oh man, so I have to tell you about our experience at this one check point, we were sitting in these chairs till our names got called and across this way was this man, at first he was just sitting there but then…he got up and made his rounds to the people surrounding him, first with a big smile but then…with one too many kisses, then guess who’s turn it was? He slowly walked our direction, sat across from us and gave us the shifty eyes, “not the shifty eyes” i thought. When he had his chance he made the connection, shaking our hands and kissing us way to many times and a little close to our lips, i mean way way to close. He got really close to drew, put one arm around him and the other on his upper thigh… and at first we thought it was a cultural thing because what do we know? so he started chatting in his language while continuing to kiss drew and then more kissing. Then later on a security lady came over to me and apologized for the inconvenience of this man saying “he’s not all the way there mentally” and that he is in the process of getting kicked out of the country, so it explained it all and later on we found out that you either get kissed once on a cheeck or once on both cheeks, never should anyone kiss you more than that, so drew had an awkward experience. All that to say, the experiences just keep rolling in.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So, we’re heading across the ocean in less than a week and it’s about stinking time. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and blessing, we feel very loved. Some people have been asking for more specifics as what they are supporting and how much, which is a good question. So let us lay it all out for you.
While we are employees of Paidia, we are technically volunteering. They provide us with a place to live (which is huge) and a small stipend for some food. Outside of that, everything else comes out of our pocket. So any financial gifts go towards allowing us to live day to day life: food, toiletries, transportation. In addition, we receive a three month visa on arrival and are required to leave the country every three months so our visa will be renewed upon re-entry and this comes out of our pocket as well.
Taking all those in account, we estimate that the year’s expenses will be around $5,000. That is what we are looking at towards a goal. So hopefully that gives you a better understanding of what’s happening. Gifts given to Paidia’s US center will be wired to their Palestinian center and distributed to us in Shekels (foreign money! so fun!).
So, that’s where we stand. Please understand, if you wish to help, there is no gift too small. If you wish to set up a monthly donation, perhaps $10 or $20 for the next year, it would be HUGE for us. Or if that’s not your thing, any one-time gift of $50 or $100 (or even $5) is also a blessing. If it pleases you, you can go bigger. Remember, this comes from the joy in your heart as you feel led.
Just a reminder. Support Options:
1. Send a check made out to “Paidia” with “Drew & Char Otto” in the memo line to:
PO Box 6037
Grand Rapids, MI 49516
2. Donate over the phone, Paidia US Office: 616-855-6424. You can also set up an automatic payment at this number.
3. Donate online at www.paidia.org
Make sure that you specify that the money you donate is for Drew and Char Otto so that it gets to us AND any gift is tax deductible!
One other option: We’ll post our mailing address soon so feel free to send letters or pictures OR any everyday items like toothpaste, TP, etc., get creative! (Although we’re not sure how cost effective this).
If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Check back soon, we’re gonna put up a video demonstrating our awesome arabic skills!!