Saturday, August 4, 2007

um...we're home

So, no one actually wrote on here that we made it home. Sad times. We've been home a little over a week now so yea. I just wanted to say thank-you for everyone who gave us support and prayed for us while we were there.

- Jason

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday - The Middle of Freaking Nowhere

Heya all, we had a blast on Tuesday, we went to an IPD (Internally Displaced Persons) Camp far outside of Kabul, in a place called Balik'Ab, which means Fragile Water. This place is known by this name becasue there is no known water source to speak of, water trucks have been brought in periodically but it's never enough and the Afghani govenment is attempting to separate this camp as its own village/city. If this were to happen the new city, known as Balik'Ab, would need a more permenant water source.
We went there yesterday to first set up tents that the residents there will use for school houses, the first school in Fragile Water, we called it Hope School. We spent a while setting up the chairs inside the tents and handing out school suppy bags to all the children, the Afghanis set up the tents, and a fine job they did. After we set up the inside of the first tent Bob, who had been at the COIN academy, arrived and was able to talk for awhile with the village elder. After explaining the purpose of the tents, Bob informed the elder that we would be sending a well digging machine in order to provide a more permenant water source for the village.
Suffice to say the Elder and all the people of Balik'Ab were ethusiastic and thankful... then something amazing happened. The village elder invited us to join in prayer, asking if they could pray for us and if we could pray for them! So we were able to gather with them as they lifted a prayer to Allah in Arabic and Bob prayed for the well-being of Balik'Ab in english and translated into Dari!!! Suffice to say this was the highlight of my day, at least.
Anyway, that's all for yesteday.
See you all soon!

Monday – The Clinics aren’t like America

Today we were very tired because we were up late doing the Vine Video Conference; but it was worth it. We went to two clinics near Istalef today. At both of these clinics, we delivered medical supplies that were donated from friends back home. We also asked the doctors there what they needed the most. The main clinic in Istalef was very cool because Istalef was completely destroyed during the reign of the Taliban. It was good to see that the city was being rebuilt again and that trees and grass was growing again. Each clinic was the dirtiest places that I have ever seen. There were water puddles through the hallways and there were patches of stucco coming off of the walls. But, they were still operational and had lines of people coming to try to get help. I still just could not believe how unsterile these clinics were, each one was hot and I couldn’t imagine how anyone could get well there. But, they are managing and are living with the best that they have. Each staff member was so proud of what they had, they wanted to show us around and let us see everything. It was definitely an experience.

The ex-King of Afghanistan has died today and the current President has declared a 3 day period of mourning. There are different names that the people called him; such as Grandpa, daddy, and Uncle. Through the streets, there was extra security everywhere because of all the dignitaries that were coming into town.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The good, the bad, and the ugly! This sums up our Sunday! Well, things started out with a bang with Rusty making multiple “runs” to the bathroom. Might I add that both ends were going most of the night! He slept all day, and I will watch him for a few days for dehydration. He was able to go to Camp Eggers for the Sunday evening service with the team! That was a great experience for all of us. We saw our service men and women at their best! They were worshiping and praising God and there was a cross section of Americana present.

Yesterday, we went to the Aschiana School. There are about 460 children who attend in double sessions. They come from the poorest of the poor and many of them are orphans or may live with one parent and extended family members. They are required to sell products in the market, or on the side of the dusty roads in Kabul, in order to provide food for their families. School is difficult for them since part of their day has to be in the marketplace. We had a great time with the kids! I thought we were going to be kicked out of school, or sent to the principal’s office after Nichole started corrupting the girl’s classes! She had them singing, dancing and yelling at the top of their lungs! I’ve really had to watch this team! They are extreme and passionate about this trip and it has been a constant blast being with them. I hope their attitudes will permanently rub off on me! I am double their ages but we have had a great time of fellowship together! At Aschiana, we interviewed two students and they told us about their school, and what they needed just to function, like paper, pencils, drawing paper, etc. We’ll give you a better idea of their needs when we get home.

One of the neatest parts for me was meeting the cook for the school, and seeing what he was preparing for lunch that day. We stepped in to a concrete room with smoke stained walls, and for our standards, we saw very old equipment and poor sanitary conditions. Despite all of that, the potato’s cooked in tomato sauce and fried rice smelled delicious. He gave me an apricot that was juicy and so sweet, I wished for another! That will be their Sunday dinner! As a side note, I am so blessed that Hopeful Hearts has agreed to totally fund the hot lunch program for this school for one year! They also provide winter coats and shoes for each child as a special project in Afghanistan! Hopeful Heart’s ministry is primarily focused on orphans and children at risk in Ukraine, but they have seen serious needs in India and Afghanistan and have extended a cold cup of water to those in need!

After eating a good lunch at the guesthouse, we visited Maywand Hospital and toured several wards where people were being treated for skin diseases. We saw one little boy, probably 10 or 11 years old that had severe ulcers and open sores on both ankles and feet. He was filthy, alone, and obviously suffering. I wanted to give him a cool bath and dress his wounds. It was so hot! I will always wonder what happened to him. Does he have a family, will he loose his feet, what will he go through in this life? I wish I could share with him the great hope that I have.

To end a busy day, we worshiped on base, as I have mentioned. To lift up the name of Jesus among believers was the ultimate way to end the day! The sermon was about the blood sacrifice that God has used throughout history. How important covenants are in our lives and how seriously God looks upon covenants with man. The closing remarks were about the ultimate blood sacrifice that Jesus offered for all of us! How can we repay Him? It’s not possible. Just receive it, and spread His love and good works throughout a fallen world!

We prepared for the Vine live Comcast and Jason spent a lot of time creating a broadcasting studio out of one of the guest rooms. Phone calls back and forth, sound checks with the cell phone instead of a microphone, and technical difficulties all came in to place, and finally, there was a picture of Daniel Dabney!!!!! All at once, the ugly erupted! Mark has had the stomach plague passed on to him from Rusty! Not a baton that he wanted to pass to any of us! After several hours of misery and endless trips to the bathroom, we headed for Cure Hospital. Nothing will stay down, including medicine! We were treated very nicely, even though everyone had to get up from bed and get dressed! A shot for nausea, and we’re on our way back home. Our driver and cook have also been disturbed at 1:00a.m. to make the trip with us, but they are so loving and concerned about the health and safety of our team that their loss of sleep didn’t seem to matter to them. I am personally thankful for Cure Hospital and their dedication to Afghanistan, and our wonderful staff.

We are back now, and have an hour or so to rest before the live interview with the Vine. We are all pumped up! It will be so good to see friends and share a little about our trip! We have prayer concerns which we will share with everyone: IDP Camp, prayer support for the U.S. Government and the funds that are pouring into Afghanistan for relief, aid and development, health for our team, Basic Health Clinics and their needs for medicines and equipment, U.S. military soldiers safety, and their families back home, and the people of Afghanistan and their country’s future!

The experience with the Vine was more than we expected! It was so exciting to see friends and family! Thanks for your love and prayers for our team!

All is quiet in the house tonight! What little time we have left to sleep! Probably only a couple of hours! No more runs to Cure Hospital! We experienced some good things today, some bad things, and some very ugly things. The bad and ugly were the work of Satan and man’s sinful nature. The good and perfect things were from our Father, and we are praising Him for His love and protection, for another day in Afghanistan.

Looking forward to seeing all of you and sharing our awesome trip!

Blessings to you and yours,

Bob Drane

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dremamine anyone?

Today was a very fun day. Like usual we got up and had breakfast. After breakfast, Nichole and I got measured for clothes so that we would have official Afghan attire. Our host gave me some clothes to borrow till mine were ready. We went up to Istalif which is about an hour and half drive from Kabul. Most of the roads aren't paved so we made the trek up the mountain on a dirt packed very rocky road. It felt like we were going 4-wheelling the whole way up. Our driver had to dodge large potholes in the road. As we have discovered there are no rules when it comes to driving in Afghanistan. People are everywhere. The motto here is "honk and go!". Definitely should have brought some medicine for car sickness. One of the ladies at the house went with us to to Istalif to show us around. Along the way she would tell us what stuff was as we would pass. We saw green flags all over the fields and we asked what they were for. She said that was were the Taliban had killed someone and they would put a flag up. We finally made it up the rocky moutnain to Istalif to the medical clinic. There were tons of people there looking for medical care. The lady from the house gave Nichole and I a tour of the clinic. They had a room where they would deliver babies, a room for shots, a TB room, a pharmacy. They even had a room where they would teach the women about planned parenthood. The clinic is something that is much needed in that community. Bob said that there was nothing in Istalif as of 2003. It had all been destroyed when the Taliban came through. People are starting to rebuild their dirt homes and try to make something of the community again. At the clinic there were tons of children running around. There was one particular girl who was about 3 that had followed us outside with 2 other boys. She was beautiful! She had a snotty nose and matted hair but I wanted to take her home with me. She kept pushing all the boys and then running away. After the clinic we went to the boys school in Istalif so the guys could see the water generator. The ladies went shopping at the village. We found a really nice pottery shop. There were so many beautiful pieces it was hard to choose. I finally got 2 turquoise plates. Nichole got a tea pot and couple of other things. The guys were ready so we headed back down the mountain to the house. It was lunch time and we were getting hungry. After lunch at the house we took naps and then headed out to Chicken Street which is where there are little shops set up selling jewelery, clothes, scarfs and rugs. Little kids would follow us around selling things for their school. Women would hold their babies out begging for money to feed their baby. We wanted to give each one everything that we had but it was impossible. Its so funny how the differences in the value of money is between here and America. I found a necklace that I liked and it was $10. They said that was high. I was more than willing to pay that. Jason found a rug that he like that was $20. The people that came with us from the house were arguing with the seller that it was too expensive. They got him to come down to $19. We found a place that sold pashmina scarfs and we bought several for people back home. After chicken street, it was time for dinner so we went back to the house. We had some friends from the university who were coming over to have dinner with us. We were able to give encouragement to them and give them perserverence to continue on. The boys slept outside on the porch and Nichole and I slept in our usual beds. Tomorrow we are going to Ashiana which is a the school for street kids. I am sure that it will be another fun filled day. Btw... thanks for those who prayed for me. I am felling a lot better. I still get tired easily but feeling much better.


Friday- Put That Corn Pudding In Your Spoon and Eat It!!!

Yesterday was a very eventful day here in Afghanistan. Our luggage FINALLY arrived and we now have all of our bags except for one. We also met a new kid from Georgia. His parents live somewhere else in Afghanistan, so he is staying at the guest house for the night before he flies out tomorrow.

Yesterday was sort of a down day here in Afghanistan. Friday’s are most peoples day off from work and therefore our day was full of tourist activities. Before we even arrived at our first site, we saw the troubled past of these people. As we drove, our host showed us a warped and torn piece of metal. It was a large metal crate (like the ones that you see on shipping yards) that had been used by warlords. The warlords filled these crates with hundreds of people, then the crate was filled with petrol fuel and fired at. Basically, these crates were giant bombs that were used to kill hundreds of people at a time. It was so hard to see just how malicious these warlords were and just where these people had come from. Our first adventure was to the palace of the former king of Afghanistan. His palace was an immaculate place that unfortunately was taken over by one of 7 warlords after the kings reign at the start of Afghanistan’s Civil War. The palace was used as a base of operations for this warlord and therefore it was constantly attacked. You could see the bullet holes and bombed out columns on the building and you could tell that many people had died in that very spot. As we were leaving the area, we came across several buses and cars that had been bombed. It was eerie to see the vehicles that had been used to kill so many people. I could feel the hurt and pain of so many people by just looking at those buses and it truly drove home the idea of why we were here and why these people needed our help.

After the palace we traveled to the Intercontinental Hotel. On the way, we viewed a large camp of nomadic people that had settled in a opening for a time. These people seemed to be much less affected by the Taliban, mainly because they didn’t have a home to leave. They simply traveled from spot to spot with their tents and animals, and therefore they remained unaffected by the war around them. When we arrived at the hotel, I was amazed at the size. This hotel was used by the government officials that came to Afghanistan, so it was much nicer then the town that surrounded it. We took pictures of Kabul from a large hill that overlooked the city, and saw the amazing view of the city around us. We then went to have a nice cup of tea with our host and he told us more about Afghanistan and it’s past. This part of the trip sort of made me feel guilty. I mean, the world around me at the moment is in political and social turmoil and I am sitting in a nice chair in a nice hotel, drinking tea. I guess that’s what the hotel was meant to do, remove you from the world around you. Make you forget the people and country that needed so much help.

We then traveled back to the house to relax for a bit. While hanging out, I sort of started what is turning out to be a large water fight with out host. With just 3 little splashes, I started a large scale war with our host and his cook. After being sprayed down with a hose, I had to retaliate. I took a glass of water to the roof and attacked back. At first, our host was confused about where the water had come from, but he soon found me out. I was then attacked again later on that day while innocently tossing a ball around the living room. This war is turning out to be a lot larger then I expected. But I guess that’s what happens when you attack someone with so many connections.

After the war was at a cease fire, we headed out to a local Lebanese restaurant called”The Grill”. The food there was amazing. We all had a ton of food and just joined in some good old fashioned fellowship. I have to say that the food here has been some of the most amazing food that I have had. We have had so many new things, all of which were delicious. I can honestly say that Afghanistan has some of the best food in the world…. You should really come and try some!!!!!

When we got back from the restaurant we started to pack our relief bags for the IDP camp. We packed over 300 bags with notebooks, cap erasers, pencils, and crayons. I think that it’s going to be amazing to hand these out in a few days and I cannot wait to travel to the camp to help the people of this country that are most in need. Nichole baked some cookies and brownies tonight as well. Aparently the oven here is super hot because our brownies that were supposed to take an hour to make, only took 18 minutes. Good thing that the cook caught that our food was done our else our brownies would have been extra crispy.

Overall, it has been an amazing day. It really helped me to get acclaimated to the country and just get a feel for the people and place that need so much help. I am so glad that I have had this experience and I cannot wait to see what the remainder of this trip has in store for all of us. We are headed out to help some children tomorrow and I am excited to start helping the people that really need us the most. I am sure that these people are going to touch me more then I can touch them. The people of Afghanistan have truly found a place in my heart and I know that I will make any effort possible to return here to continue this aid.


1. There were 23 Korean missionaries that were taken off of a bus by the Taliban. The Taliban is demanding that Korea remove all of their military personell. The issue is that Korea does not have military here and this could cause huge issues with these peoples release. Another issue that arises from this capture is that Korea might demand all of their citizens to come back home from Afghanistan and the Middle East.

2. One of our friends, Stephanie, has recently lost her father. This is of course a huge loss and we would like to pray for her and her family. Also we would like to pray for her safe return home from Poland to be with family in this difficult time.

3. Please pray for our fellow ex-pats in Afghanistan who are here for like reasons. It is becoming harder every day to be here and be an ex-pat and we pray that Afghanistan would become more open to our love and help.

4. The safety of our team and the safety of our staff.

5. Our host especially, he is a very gracious and kind person and we pray that God would continue to bless him and his work here in Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

thursday-so...who knew mick jagger lived in dubai?

so, while hanging out in the dubai airport, we ran into some famous people...mick jagger and the lead singer from a flock of seagulls. okay, so they were afghan look alikes, but it was still funny! made me laugh. didn't take a picture because camera was buried and we were having ticket issues. sorry:(

while waiting to board, i couldn't help but watch the people all around me. i was falling in love with these people who have been through so much. i couldn't take my eyes off the children. they are SO beautiful! those big brown eyes had me in 2 minutes flat. i also had chills while listening to the call to prayer. it was very sad for me to listen to that chant and think of all the lost souls who were taking part.

at this point, lindsay was still sick and couldn't hear out of one ear. i felt so bad for her. she was in misery. it was all over her face. we took off for what we thought was kabul but when we started to decend we heard the pilot come on and all we understood was kandahar. we were all a little uneasy as we landed on the military base there because that was NOT where we were going. come to find out, once a week, ariana airlines stops in kandahar and picks up people to take them to kabul. we just got lucky that it was our! i want to give you perspective on's 100 degrees outside and we are sitting on an airplane which has been turned off waiting for people to load and unload for an hour. we were all feeling the effects, especially lindsay who was aleady sick. i got a little nervous while waiting for the plane to take off because there was a guy very upset that the airlines had sold to tickets to the same seat and he wasn't in the one on his ticket. the irony of that is that when the people got on, they just started seating them in open seats.

while flying to kabul, you could see the desert stop and the mountains start. it looked like God just switched crayons while coloring it. there were a few mud houses here and there but mostly just nothing. while flying we also had a fighter plane fly under us! it was COOL!

upon arrival we had to go through immigration and get our card from the government allowing us to come into the country. the Lord took care of that and it went very smoothly. our luggage, however, was no where to be seen. that means we get to go back tomorrow and look for it.

our host w____ took us back to the guesthouse and we had a fabulous lunch! we all were able to take a nap while our host w____ ran some errands. when he came we went to an american own place called "china" which means grapevine. thought that was neat since we are here through the vine. this was a place created for people to hang out at and is an afghan version of our starbucks. we sat outback with some university guys who were reading their poetry. i started doing the finger snap! we sat around drinking milkshakes and smoothies while trying to learn more about our host w_____ and afghanistan in general. this country is in such desperate need but has come much farther than the media portrays. we headed back and were able to get connected to the internet. yay! the guys are playing with cards with the guards outback. we really need to go to bed but our bodies are still thinking it is 2:30 pm.

lindsay...she is feeling better but still isn't 100%

luggage...all of our supplies for the IDP camp and girls' school are in there

cultural adjustment....i already shook hands with a guy without thinking. at least it was a guy at the guy house who was understanding.

the IDP camp...setting up the school on tuesday. pray that everything comes together like it should.

LOVE ALL OF YOU! can't wait to hear from y'all!