Saturday, November 5, 2011

Self-Image and Transformation


Sent to you by jdmumper via Google Reader:


via Prodigal Kiwi(s) Blog by Paul Fromont on 11/5/11

Enneagram-mapNo matter what type we are, we can observe the following about Inner Work: "We need to be willing to observe our resistance to reality, our attachment to our self-image, and our fear." (Understanding the Enneagram, 361) 

Be aware of the transformational process, no matter what type you are. "It is necessary that we develop a whole, well-integrated personality before we can 'give it up' in the transformational process." (Understanding the Enneagram, 367) 

"Once we understand 'not doing,' we see that the real struggle is to relax into greater awareness so that we can see the manifestations of our personality. By neither acting on our automatic impulses nor suppressing them, we begin to understand what is causing them to arise." (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 346) 

For more in "inner work" a good introduction for someone might be Inner Work: Using Your Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert A. Johnson.

The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M Scott. Peck.

Further Along the Road Less Travelled: The Unending Journey Toward Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck.

The Road Less Travelled & Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety by M. Scott Peck.

The Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore. 

Again, introductions (though some less for a general reader, unless motivated to stick with themes etc that might be presently unfamiliar), but more from within the Christian tradition: 

Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Men and Women by Joan D. Chittister 

Care of Mind, Care of Heart: A Psychiatrist Explores Spiritual Direction by Gerald G. May.

Will & Spirit: A Contemplative Psychology by Gerald G. May.

The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth by Gerald G. May.

The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need by Gerald G. May.

Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions by Gerald G. May. 

As you'll be able to tell I have a very high regard for May (d. 2005) and his writing. May is the brother of Rollo May, and existential psychologist c.f. his writings of existential psychology collected in The Discovery of Being

When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd.

A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward and Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer (see also the audio series An Undivided Life: Seeking Wholeness in Ourselves, Our Work & Our World).

Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer 

Finally, from deeper within the Christian mystical tradition: 

Mystical Theology: The Science of Love by William Johnston. 

For more on the enneagram: The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr (and Andreas Ebert).

The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and Others in Your Life by Helen Palmer.

The Essential Enneagram (revised and updated, 2009) by David Daniels and Virginia Price.
My Best Self: Using the Enneagram to Free the Soul by Kathleen Hurley and Theodore Dobson.



Things you can do from here:


Friday, July 22, 2011

So Much to Say, So Little Time...

Friends - in case you've been checking often, you'll see we've had issues getting updates on the blog site. It's not because we're holding back though. The place where we thought we could have Internet access has been unavailable. Thanks to our missionary friends, the Petersons, we've had access a couple times including tonight.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Swazi 14 in Swaziland!

Greetings to our friends and family from the “Swazi 11” in Nsoko, Swaziland! First, our apologies for being late in posting to this blog. Our plans changed and we did not get Internet access until today, Sunday, July 17th.

Our travels while a bit grueling, were uneventful. Both of our flights were quite full. We had (surprisingly) good airplane food including several different meals on the 11 hour flight from Amsterdam to J’burg (the short name for Johannesburg). We finally arrived in J’burg Friday evening (see photo) and after getting our luggage, met Scott and Marcia Borg in the lobby and went to a nice hotel for the night.

We rose Saturday morning to load up and leave quickly for the drive to Nsoko, stopping at a truck stop along the way for breakfast. After some vehicle swaps at Jumbo’s house (see photo of Jumbo and Clara), we proceeded to the big event of the day - visiting with Sheila.

Velma Holding Clara

We met Pastor Peter and his wife Precious on the road into Sheila’s and they went along to meet her. As we arrived, Sheila came out of her old house with her grandson on her back. She was clearly overwhelmed by the large group, but as Marcia talked with her, she began to relax and talked to us. As we took photos of the new house, we could see that construction was proceeding. The roof is on, window frames are set and the work is proceeding in “Swazi time”.

Sheila shared that her two children need to find work. She also shared that her children ask her for money that she can’t afford to share. She told us that she just knows to hang on to her faith in God and depend on Him.

Sheila's House

Today (Sunday) we had our first experience of a Swazi church service. The singing was amazing! Wonderful accapella songs lined in siSwati and English. Pastor Bheki called the New Hope team forward and we each introduced ourselves and offered greetings. There was more singing, and then I (Jay) was invited forward to present the book of stories. I read the introductory letter as Pastor Bheki translated and the congregation cheered. Vern then preached a message from Romans with Bheki again translating. The congregation welcomed the message with “Amens”.

Church Service in Nsoko Church

Following church, we went to Pastor Bheki’s for lunch with some of the church leaders. We heard the story of Pastor Bheki’s coming to Nsoko and his work planting other churches. He introduced the church leaders. We prayed together, cleaned up from lunch and went to visit Gogo Nomsa’s house (where we will be doing some work this week). Gogo Nomsa told us of the loss of her husband, about her children and grandchildren and shared some stories of her life - we’ll bring that story back in our book from the Nsoko church to New Hope.

Nomsa's House

I’m out of time for tonight. We will post again in a couple days (maybe Thursday) when we are back at the Nisela dining room.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blog updates during the Swazi 14 trip...

We just got the news that we will have low-bandwidth Internet access available at our accommodations during the trip. We will try to post often!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nine Days and Counting...

The "Swazi 14" have been working to prepare for our trip now for weeks.  We meet together for the last time before the trip this Sunday to pack our VBS materials, notepads, medical gift kits and all sorts of other items to share with our Nsoko church family.

The anticipation has been building.  But the vision of this trip - loving the kids, meeting the families and spending valuable time with our brothers and sisters in Christ has never been more clear.   We want to share our lives as peers in the Kingdom - laboring side-by-side.

Also during this trip, we'll be looking at opportunities to provide some home improvements (cement floors, home repairs, roofing, etc.) to the extent we can.  A couple of engineers in our group will be looking at sustainable building opportunities - ways for other churches to send housing "packages" - predefined materials sets to build better housing.

Not only is this trip coming into focus, but a whole set of related ministry opportunities is coming into view:

  1. After this trip in August, we'll be doing a training/test build of a new kind of housing - earth bag housing - to see if it would be another viable way to help with the desperate need for low-tech, inexpensive yet livable housing in Swaziland.  We will work out ways to minimize the tools and expertise so that we can take this to Swaziland on a future trip.
  2. The House of Cards project ( has been quietly bearing fruit.  As second house is nearly funded and the vision is expanding.  After a blog entry from a missionary, inquiries began to come in from other parts of the US.  When an AIM ( missionary couple visited in June, we discussed how to expand the distribution of House of Cards publications - even with the idea of possibly producing them in Swaziland as a possible employment opportunity.  (We'll explore that option with the folks on the ground in Swaziland during Swazi 14 trip too.)
  3. The AIM Timbali Crafts  ( ministry is also getting a boost.  A talented "crafter" from New Hope will be ministering with others from AIM to the 90 Swazi women who find employment and healing with the Timbali project in Swaziland in August.

—>  One more thing - during the Swazi 14 trip, watch this blog for updates (as often as we have Internet access)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Hope's "Swazi 14" Team for July 2011

In the last few weeks, the New Hope Church Swaziland team for this summer's trip (July 2011) was announced.   Our primary goal is to build a relationship with the Nsoko Center Church and community that will have a positive long-term impact on both churches and communities.

With that in mind, here are our ministry goals for this trip:

  1. Spend time developing relationships with ministry leaders:
    - Pastor Bheki Matsenjwa, his wife Nombulelo, and their son Praise.
    - Missionaries Jumbo Gerber and Scott & Marcia Borg.- Nsoko Missionary family Eric & Jen Peterson with their children Clare and Jacob- Swazi Ministry Partners and Gogos.
  2. Participate in church services at Nsoko on 2 Sundays.
  3. Visit in the homes of members of the Nsoko church, gogos who serve at the carepoint, and others from the community.  Take their pictures, hear their stories, and be prepared to "introduce" the families of Nsoko to the families of New Hope.
  4. Provide a Bible School children's program.
  5. Meet some basic physical needs.  Distribute clothing to children. Do some minor home improvement projects.
  6. Scout out future projects and other ways to be involved.
The members of the "Swazi 14" (our first group was lovingly dubbed the "Swazi 6") are:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gogo Eliya

Lots of great things are happening at House of Cards. 
We have a new blog site we'd love for you to visit:

And now what you have been waiting for...
It is time to introduce you to Gogo Eliya!
Our current House of Cards project is to build a house for her and her grandchildren.

Jen Peterson wrote this story of meeting Eliya in November 2010:
On Monday afternoon, while Eric was driving one of our ministry partners (Celmpilo) home, he asked if they could stop to visit a go-go (SiSwati for grandmother) on her homestead. Celmpilo explained to Eric how he had heard of this elderly woman in his neighborhood. He had gone to visit her on Sunday and wanted Eric to meet her.
When Celmpilo and Eric arrived on the homestead, the go-go was sitting in the dirt outside, peeling the green leaves off of some kind of weed which grows wild around here. It is basically only good for animals to graze on. This woman was preparing grass for the family meal. Celmpilo introduced Eric to the go-go, Eliya.

Through Celmpilo's translation, Eliya told her story:
Eliya lives on this homestead with her two granddaughters, ages twelve and seven. The seven year old is HIV postitive. The girls' parents have both passed away due to HIV/AIDS. Eliya is in her seventies. She has been a widow for several years. Her arm appears crippled and bent, held up in a homemade sling. Eliya explains that approximately four months ago she fell and broke her shoulder. She was taken to a hospital by a neighbor and was treated. Follow up treatment was required to properly set the shoulder bone in the socket. Eliya had no money to pay for the initial consultation or any follow up visits. Therefore, the shoulder has not healed properly and Eliya is in constant pain, with very limited mobility.
Eliya also explains that she is, in fact, preparing the weeds/grass to cook for her and the children to eat. She says there is rarely any money for food. Because she is an elderly widow taking care of orphans, she does receive a small stipend from the government three times a year. It totals out to $30 a month...yes, that is right...this old woman and her two granddaughters live on thirty dollars a month. THAT IS ONE DOLLAR A DAY. Eliya says that every day she prays to God, and every day he provides something for them to eat. "It is like manna" she states. Today, it seems, manna came in the form of grass. Eric asked to see inside the tiny hut, which is caving in on one side. Eliya shows them inside and points to the mats on the hard, dirt floor where the three of them sleep.
"Each night, when it rains or the wind blows hard, I am afraid the walls will collapse onto us." Eliya states, "If we died in the night, crushed by our house, nobody would know we were in here. There is no one." The place is made out of sticks, mud and rocks. It collapsing is only a matter of time.
At this point, Eric is overwhelmed by the incredible need represented by this woman and her two grandchildren. There is, in fact, no food in the dwelling. Nothing. You know when you open your cupboard or refrigerator at home and say: "We have nothing to eat in this place..." ? Well, this woman had literally nothing. Not. A. Thing.
He tells Eliya that he is going to go to the grocery store and purchase some food for her. He asks her if there is anything special, a treat, that she might enjoy? After a moment of thought, her eyes lit up and she said: "I would like a Coca-cola!"
After returning to the homestead with several bags of groceries, Eric gives Eliya her simple request; an icy cold bottle of Coke! Eliya immediately gave praise and thanks to the Lord, for His provision. She knows He heard her prayer and was answering it.  At least for the next couple of weeks we know this family will have food to eat. What about when it runs out?
Monday night we prayed together as a family, along with Dan and Leah Luyk (friends here with us from Michigan until December) and Brandon (another missionary here for six months). We all asked the Lord to show us how to best help this woman and her granddaughters. In a place where every person you meet has some level of need, this family literally needed everything. Where do you even begin?
Tuesday morning, we were able to bring Eliya to the hospital that originally treated her for the broken shoulder. We have promised to pay her outstanding bill so that they will continue to treat her. They took new X-rays and it was determined that her shoulder has been dislocated (again) and arthritis has begun to form where things did not heal properly. The doctor was amazed at how this woman has tolerated it for so many months. "She must be in excruciating pain." He said. The course of treatment is that Eliya was admitted to the hospital yesterday and will be examined by the surgeon to determine if they can operate and correct the problem. Otherwise, she may need to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon/specialist at a larger hospital.
This is only the beginning. Eliya and her granddaughters need our help. They really need a new house. They need food provided for them on a regular basis. This is especially crucial with the seven year old, who is on antiretroviral drugs to treat the HIV. Those medications must be taken with food. They are growing girls, they will need clothing and shoes. Eliya will certainly have ongoing medical issues. She is an old woman. Who will take care of these girls when she dies? The list goes on and on.
It struck me, as Eric was repeating the story to me, when Eliya made the statement about the house falling down on top of them and nobody knowing they were inside. God would know. He sees this beautiful lady and these precious children. As I was waiting in the hospital with her yesterday, several hours of confusion and chaos that is the Swaziland health care system, I prayed. I prayed that when I look at this vulnerable (yet amazingly resilient) old woman, I would see my own go-go looking back at me. I prayed that the Lord would constantly remind me: this woman is my family. He sees her and I seated next to one another and He doesn't see how we are different; He sees how we are the same. "For God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son..."

Jen and Eric have had recent word that Eliya is now sleeping in her open air cooking shelter so that if (and when) the place comes down she won't be smothered in her sleep. They have been able to raise some money for her and the children, but it has had to go toward food and medical expenses.  So this is where the House of Cards project comes in.  We would love for you to minister to Eliya with us!

If you would like to know how you can participate by purchasing or selling cards,
or if you have any questions about House of Cards,
please contact us at

You can also send donations directly to:
New Hope Church /House of Cards
584 Colonial Club Drive Harrisburg, PA 17112