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Showing posts from November, 2009

Stuck in Paris

Roissy en France is a pretty and prosperous traditional French village 13 miles from the center of Paris and 3 miles or so from Charles de Gaulle Airport.  What are we doing here tonight at Hotel  Campanile  in Roissy?

We got up early this morning to catch our flight from Madrid to Newark via Paris.  You can imagine how sad it was for Rebecca, Rachel and I to leave Megan by herself in the hotel room in Madrid to find her way back to her host family home in Tres Cantos today, but we did, grateful for the four days we got to spend together in the city. (Thank goodness for global phones these days to stay in touch).

After boarding the plane, the the flight was delayed, and we missed our connection in Paris by 10 minutes.   AirFrance put us up overnight at a nearby hotel with meal vouchers for dinner and tomorrow's breakfast.  So here we are at an airport hotel discussing whether to take a metro into the city to dine on the Left Bank, or stay in our relatively warm rooms.  We decided t…

Experiencing Madrid

Two days in the city that never sleeps.   Here are some some sights we visited from 10am to late in the night on Friday and Saturday:  Royal Palace, tour of old city, downtown Madrid at midnight, Hotel on Puerto del Sol, visiting Tres Cantos, outside of Madrid, where Megan is living for the year.

From our hotel balony

Puerto del Sol, Madrid

We are now staying at the Europa Hotel at Puerto del Sol, downtown Madrid.  The view from our balacony is splendid, and we love it here.  Toured the immediate neighborhood and enjoyed he market.  Planning to see a the Flamenco Show tonight at Torres Bermejas, and a walking tour of the old city tomorrow morning  with a knowledegable guide. Here are some photos (not all my own) but will post more later:

Tres Cantos Thanksgivng

After 5 days in Holland, we are spending Thanksgiving weekend in Tres Canto, Spain—about 20 minutes outside of Madrid.  Our daughter, Megan, is here for 10 months on a High School Rotary Exchange Program, and we are glad to see her after four months away from home.   Rachel was able to join us from San Diego, and we had a wonderful dinner with Megan´s host family tonight.   Tomorrow we will have Thanksgiving with other American Rotary students in Spain, and are indeed thankful for our good life.  We wish everyone a fabulous Day of Gratitude for all God´s blessings...

Megan´s host parents: Pelar and Migel

Thanksgiving in Tres Cantos

Tres Cantos Water Tower

Sierras at Tres Cantos

The view from Tres Cantos

Alkmaar--Cheese Capital of Holland

Traveled by train friom Rotterdam to Alkmaar to have lunch with Jim and Nancy Forest

What fun it was to visit our friend Jim Forrest in Alkmaar--an wonderfully old city known for making cheese, about an hour from Amsterdam.  Both Jim and  his wife are  American journalists who have lived in the Netherlands for over 25 years.

Saint Nicholas arrives in Holland

Living Your Mission

Rebecca and I (along with our daughter Rachel from San Diego who was able to join us for Thankgiving break from college) are in Holland for five days.  Invited and hosted by Laurent Nouwwen (Henri´s brother) to give the address at the Henri Nouwen Stichting (Foundation) annual event in Utrecht, we are enjoying our time in old Europe. About  250 people attended the event which included a reception, vesper service and classical concert pieces on piano and trumphet. We were asked to speak about our personal mission in the world, and how to live it from the heart, as Henri Nouwen inspired us to do. What follows are my notes for the evening, which may be helpful to others who are tying to discern their mission in this season of life.

Notes for Annual Henri Nouwen Stichting Talk, Utrecht21 November 2009
By  Michael  J. Christensen

Vocation: that unique mission in the world each believer is called to live and fulfill.

But what is my personal mission?  And how do I live it in the world?   Is m…

Downtown Utrecht before Event

Henri Nouwen Foundation Annual Event

Uterecht flower market outside church where Nouwen Event Takes Place.

Rebecca remembers Henri in the church before she lectures on "Living Your Mission"

Laurent Nouwen and son Raphael prepare arrangement of Sun Flowers for Annual Event (One of Henri's favorite paintings was Van Gogh's "Sun Flowers")

Old Europe

Rotterdam:  Here for a week in Holland, then Spain to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter Megan,  Rebecca and I along with our oldest daughter, Rachel, are being hosted by Laurent Nouwen (Henri´s brother) at his house in Rotterdam.

Laurent, who looks a lot like Henri, is a marvelous host.  He loves classical music, modern art, good wine, old cheese, a roaring fire, and honest conversation.  I find in him a compelling man of practical wisdom, with keen insight and stimulating ideas.  We certainly have gained a friend this week. Laurent, at 65, is energetic and passionate about his mission in Ukraine which his brother suggested before he died in 1996.   He retired from his 30 year law practice to run the Henri Nouwen Foundation which supports a number of projects in Ukraine and South Africa.   It also hosts an annual lecture event to which we have been invited to speak on Saturday night in Utrecht.

We also plan to visit  the church where Henri Nouwen was ordained and where his memorial …

19 students Receive Hope Scholarships in Malawi

With monthly support from individual sponsors, a total of 19 students (orphaned or vulnerable children and youth) received Hope Scholarships from WorldHope Corps this year, to stay in secondary school or go on to college to continue their education. 

Youth like Noel Daire Kumwenda, Lusayo Mhango and Johnathan Jere...

It cost approximately $400  per year to send a kid to secondary school (High School), or $1200/year to send a youth to college through our Hope Scholarship program, now in its third year of educational sponsorship.   

If you are interested in sponsoring a youth in 2010, please contact Dr. Michael Christensen at

For additional information on WorldHope Corps, please visit our website:

What follows is Pastor Copeland's Report for November: 

Your Email reached us all and aroused excessive exciting and joy of immeasurable magnitude for the mind-goading good news of new funding from United Methodist AIDS Fund for 2010. Over the p…

Director's Report on National Shalom Summit 2009

Here's my report on last week's National Shalom Summit: 
Shalom Summit 2009 Celebrates Achievements and Envisions Future
Columbia, SC.  If the purpose of a National Summit is to bring together representatives from a national network for a time of community sharing, inspiration, team building, and training, then ‘last weeks’ Shalom Summit fulfilled this purpose and more through onsite participation and live streaming of sessions to those unable to attend in person. Together, they focused on the theme of “Stepping Up To Shalom” – Seeking Systemic Change through Community Development, sponsored by Drew University and General Board of Global Ministries October 28-31, 2009.

When Global Ministries offered to webcast the Summit, I was delighted.  I knew this was a virtual sign and tangible indication of the success of the Shalom movement.   I think there is sufficient momentum now to ‘step up’ to a new level of web technology for this once small grass roots initiative called ‘shalom …