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Christmas Card

Christmas Card

”But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”’ – Luke 2:10–11

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Brooklyn!

Today Stefanie completed the USMLE Step 2 CK, her last exam of medical school. Tonight we’re off to Long Island to celebrate with cocktails and lobsters!

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I’m on my way to Africa!

Most of the you far away probably haven’t heard yet, but I’m on my way to Africa! Right now I’m on a jet plane floating somewhere above the Libyan dessert on my way to Nairobi, Kenya. Tomorrow I’ll be flying to Juba, South Sudan and then making my way up to Tonj.

I’m going to be spending the next three weeks here helping out my friends Sabet and Suzy Kuj. The first class of their 3-year discipleship training program is graduating this week – and I’m so happy to be here to celebrate with them!

I’ll be taking my camera everywhere with me, documenting how life in Tonj has changed and how In Deed And Truth has grown over the last two years. I’ll also be working with the Kujs and Jeamette Lock, their stateside coordinator, to chart out the next year of designs for their website, printed materials and fundraising events so they can more fully communicate the work they’re doing to their supporters all around the world.

And since this is South Sudan, probably a bunch of other unexpected stuff too.

I’m excited to return to Africa for so many reasons, this continent has a mysterious way of drawing one back; but mostly, I’m just excited to see a bunch of people I love and care for so much face-to-face. As months go by, the people you serve with can become chat bubbles and email threads and the ones you’re truly doing this for can become faces in a photograph instead of a handshake and a smile.

Some ways you can be praying:

  1. That I would be filled foremost with the Sprit, and with love for everyone I interact with, especially those whom I don’t share a common language with, and that the Spirit would guide my creativity as I seek to make things that tangibly bless the ministry and further His Kingdom.
  2. For the pastors who are graduating, that the Spirit would be upon them as they go out to start or continue the work at churches across South Sudan.
  3. For my health, thanks to a well timed red-eye to London I feel very well adjusted to the time change already, but I have a propensity to attract stomach bugs and, admittedly a bit selfishly, would prefer to not be puking my guts out during my limited time here.
  4. For Stefanie, she’s in the middle of some of her most work-heavy weeks in all of med school right now, that God would sustain her in my absence and remind her of much I love her when I’m not there to.
  5. For my employers, I’m so incredibly grateful to work for two guys who not only personally believe in the what I’m doing, but are also willing to give their designer three weeks off in the middle of fall to go do it.

The desert had started to fade into jungle below me, I think we’re getting close…

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Grenada Goat Dairy on Kickstarter

So one of Stefanie and I’s favorite things to do when we get some free time is to drive out into the more rural parts of the island and spend the day there. Our favorite stop is Belmont Estate in St. Patrick, we’re their biggest fans and we’ve been so many times they don’t even make us pay to go on the tour anymore. We’ve written about it a few times, it’s home to the plantation that grows the chocolate for the Grenada Chocolate company.

It’s also the home to the Grenada Goat Dairy’s main processing facility. Their cheese is a main ingredient in Stefanie’s delicious and almost 100% local sweet potato soup that I’m sure she’ll be sharing with you all after the fourth term craziness calms down. Grenada Goat Dairy is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to expand and build a interactive goat dairy at a primary school in rural Grenada, so if you’d like to support the development of some local farming here in Grenada, head on over, they’re offering some pretty cool rewards for backers both local and abroad.

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Tyler’s Parents Visit: Part 2, Devouring Lots of Fish

Fish Friday Lobsters

The men with lobsters!

After snorkeling, we took a much needed nap and headed out for the Grenadian Friday night tradition, Fish Friday. Fish Friday happens about 22 miles up the coast of the Caribbean Sea in a town called Gouyave. Stefanie and I were hoping to have a little better experience than we did the previous time we were up in Gouyave when we got stuck there for a few hours longer than we would’ve liked and I puked multiple times into the local gutter.

It takes a little over an hour to get to Gouyave during rush hour. Unless you drive like a maniac you don’t go too much faster than 25 miles an hour on average on the island due to the windy narrow roads. The drive up was quite the adventure – though I’d driven in Grenada before, this was my first time driving a car with a steering wheel on the right and I was still getting used to having a lot of car on my left, especially so on our full-size SUV. Also, Grenada doesn’t really bother with putting up guard-rails, which would just make too much sense on a road with scores and scores of tight turns on the side of gigantic cliffs.

Mom Eating A Whole Fried Fish

Mom eating a whole fried fish!

But alas, we didn’t die and I got over my fear of driving right through the center of downtown St George’s so it was time for some delicious seafood! Fish Friday is essentially two perpendicular alleys filled with lots of tents of people selling all the local seafood cooked Grenadian style – well done. I made my way straight to the lobsters and we grabbed a bunch of other items to accompany them – fish and shrimp kebabs, egg rolls, fried fish balls, fried fish patties and a fried whole fish to name a few. We ran into a bunch of our friends and got to introduce them to my parents and afterwards we finished off our meal with some excellent homemade nutmeg ice cream! It was a real fun night.

The next morning we rallied and woke up early to take my parents on a reggae bus to downtown Grenada for Saturday morning market. Saturday morning market is a big part of our experience here; a lot of weeks we’re really busy with school and work and don’t get out too much, so Saturday morning market keeps us feeling in touch with local life here.

We made our way over to the fish market and it had been an excellent week for fishing! We saw the biggest Red Snappers we’d ever seen and immediately bought two of them and took them over to the “fish master” to be filleted, which is a always a bit of a show, at least to us foreigners.

Tyler with Sailfish Weighing Sailfish Red Snappers The Fish Master

After we got our fish we then made our way over to market square to check out the world famous Grenadian Spice Market to smell and pick up a few of the local spices, mingle with the locals and also buy up our vegetables for the week.

That afternoon we used the car to go down to Morne Rouge beach, a first for Stefanie and me. Morne Rouge is a quiet bay just to the south of Grand Anse with more of a local feel to it. After spending an hour in the water, we were in the mood for…more seafood!

Rice & Fish at BB's CrabbackI had heard from various sources that BB’s Crabback was the restaurant to try in Grenada so we headed down to Le Carenage, navigated through the government restored French colonial buildings and sat down on the water for dinner. We of course, ordered the crabback as an appetizer, which is a local Grenadian speciality. Stefanie and I had a little trouble with the idea of eating the funny land crabs that primarily seem to roam Grenada’s storm drains – but with BB’s special sauce boy were they good! We got four different local fishes prepared four completely different ways for entrées and they all were delicious and had a lot of personality to them. To close it off the meal, Stefanie and I ordered a dessert that was lit on fire!

Mom with BB's GranddaughterBB’s is a completely family run restaurant. BB crafts up his creations in the kitchen while his son and daughter-in-law run the dining room. They were all incredibly friendly. BB’s adorable baby granddaughter had been hanging out in the restaurant all night. My mom had her eye on her and let her parents know that if she needed to be held, she was up for the task. So at the end of the meal, they brought the baby over and my mom got to give her some loving. It was very cute and very my mom.