Sunday, May 29, 2011

Missions Part TEN!

This entry of photos is from one of the most remote parts of the country, and boy was it hard to get to!  Post-trip, I read that it is considered the most beautiful part of the country, and also read the advice that you should never attempt these roads at night - always by day - because of the treacherous cliffs and poorly maintained roads.  Boy, do I agree with THAT!

The road is also famous for its switchbacks through the mountains.  I knew going into it I might have a little problem, and yes, I did.  However, there were quite a number on the bus that joined the ranks of slightly-green-of-face.
These two pics were taken by someone else on our team; I wasn't in the picture taking mood.

I was just at the point where I wanted to say, 'PLEASE, PLEASE stop this bus and let us out,' when the driver DID stop!  Believe me, I wasn't the only one that was really, REALLY glad to get some fresh air.  We had reached the highest point in the mountains and there was a lookout tower and a few other things.  Here's yours truly looking VERY relieved!

We tried out the broom.  They're very ingenious - it was made from palm fronds.

We used the facilities... let it be known that this, uh, toilet is about 36 inches above the floor - far above anybody's knees.  And the, uh, hole is quite a ways back, definitely not designed by an engineer.  Let's just say it was an interesting stop for all the ladies.

Here's a bunch of us coming down from the lookout point.

Franko, looking pleased.  Like all of us, we were just pleased to be OFF the bus!  He was one of my sick-together friends.  I actually gave him my camera to take pics on the bus because I didn't feel good.  He took pictures for about 20 minutes before he set it down and didn't look so hot himself.  Yes, I can honestly say that I HAVE seen a green person now!

Marlon and me.  Hooray!  We made it!  Well, to the highest point, at least.  We still had a ways to go down the road.  Turned out to be a seven or eight hour drive through those mountains.  By the way, the mountain behind us is quite a ways off.  You can see our bus or maybe a building down in the valley behind Marlon, and then you have to drive down the road to get near it.

Looking down at da bus from the path that climbed the heights.

One of our leaders and pastors.  In the next installment, I'll show you that we did finally come out of the mountains and reach our destination.  It was all worth it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stunning Bushes

Really, almost too breathtaking for words.  We were actually walking through the jungle in a very remote area and passed these bushes.  They were a healthy, dynamic seven feet tall.  Gonna have to paint these!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Missions Trip Part Nine, Exploring the Town

We finished up one of our sessions, which included master classes, full orchestra practice, lunch, then full orchestra again, at probably 3:00.  This gave us a few hours of free time before the evening concert/service.  Of course we chose to wander the town!
This is a picture of one of the main squares.  Note that it's paved with marble!  It stood out because the trees were shedding their yellow flowers everywhere.  Just beautiful.

This is the spire of one of the churches.

I need to look up what these lovely trees are.  We were there at the perfect time - they were just in their blooming prime and beginning to shed flowers.  It was raining yellow flowers.

As we walked the streets we happened past this school and peered inside.  Glowing and inviting.

It was also a great place for a framed shot of my dear Americana amiga, Susan, and my good friend, Oelber.  He was also a great guide, taking us all over the town. 

Oelber bought us little paper cones of an unidentified substance on the streets.  Turned out to be really delicious roasted peanuts!  They were so good I wanted to buy a number of them to give away, but it pained him to let me.  I had to give him my money so he could make the purchases, because natives can buy anything for a small percentage of what we would have to pay.  And so, we shared the giving!

Oelber and Susan depicting how tired we all were after the very long day of music sessions.  Let's put it this way - a lot of people went back to el hotel and SLEPT!

We were charmed watching the schoolchildren get out of school!  Here are some stopping at the movie/dvd/cd information advertising wall.

Beautiful, well cared-for building, matching the sky.

This was the main street of town, closed to traffic.  With foot traffic only, it was a peaceful stroll.

Another one of the buildings.

This is Oelber right after he stopped in the middle of the street to sing us a song.  With his rich voice, he sang us their national anthem after telling us that this town is the home of its composer.  He sang with such emotion and feeling that I could hear the trumpets, the drums, the marching.  He's every bit as good a singer as he is sax player.
They are much better gift-givers than we are.  They sacrificially give of themselves.  A heartfelt song in the middle of the street is a treasure to remember always.

My fun, go-getting roommate with the hat (every time I stopped to look for her, she was WAY ahead of me!) and my fellow Americana flautista.

Alejandro, me and Oelber.  When we were together, we couldn't help but laugh and crack jokes.  It's definately happening here.

Oelber was such a gentleman, he insisted on carrying our purchases.  So... we loaded him down with our packs and everything for this shot.

Pizza!  Really good pizza, too!  Susan and I discovered something right away - it's not a good idea to eat pizza American-style, that is, with your hands.  Why?  No napkins!  Anywhere.  Ever.

He stuffed his mouth and hung some cheese on his lip for this one...

Ahhh... now here is the proper way to eat pizza!  With a knife and fork! Lesson learned!

Pizza and pictures!  Leo, Alejandro, me, Susan and Oelber.

This is Oelber and his lovely wife, Leannis.  They haven't been married for quite a year.  They make a darling, darling pair and I love them both.

This is a picture of me and Leannis.... uh, just Leannis.  Oelber thought the picture would be much better with me cut out, ha, ha!  (well, it is, but that's beside the point!)

 Oh, here we are!  She's in school, and, well, she's not a musician, so she didn't travel with us.  But we enjoyed each other while we were together.  One of our goals was to train, equip and encourage the musicians and worship leaders so they could lead in their churches, which are exploding.  That we did, and we were blessed beyond belief in return.  Just since I've been back, I got an email from a pastor-friend who said that the ones we worked with set a goal of fourteen street concerts where they present the gospel.  They had held five at that point and 50 people professed faith in Jesus Christ as a result!  Praise God!  Let's pray for the remaining concerts!  Amen!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Art Classes Offered

This is my listing of classes planned for the next school year.  You can find detailed information at the two websites.  Class tuition is $45.00 per month; classes run for ten months.

HIS Classes – Mondays –
Art 1                    Ages 9-11                       9:00 – 10:30
Highschool Art     Ages 15-17                 11:00 – 12:30

The Training Center – Tuesdays –
Art 1                     Ages 8-11                       12:00 -  1:15
Art 2                     Ages 12-14                       9:15 - 10:45

CINDY JOHNSON has been married to her husband Gary for 30 years and has homeschooled their four children for 20 years.   She has spent her adult life teaching Bible, art, theater sets, music and nature study.  She has produced artwork for missionaries, churches, theater, and many other organizations, and has illustrated a cookbook.  In recent years, she’s designed and painted the sets for seven CYT shows.  She plays flute in her church orchestra, and has a heart for missions.  Over the years, she has performed countless musical solos,  loves playing in the CYT orchestra, and has been traveling internationally with a missions orchestra.  As a professional artist, Cindy sells her paintings, shows at the Market Street Woodlands Art League Gallery, and teaches private art classes.  She works to instill the beauty of God's creation and a love for our Maker in young peoples' hearts, and to give them skills to express themselves artistically.  Her desire is that people will find beauty and hope in her paintings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Touring Istanbul, Turkey

Here we are entering the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, built in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet.  With its grounds, it's twice the size of Vatican City, and is the most visited museum in Turkey.

As you can see by this picture, everything was ornate.  The gold scrollwork design you see on the green rectangle to the side of the door is the Sultan's signature.

Here is one of the Sultan's, well, what would you call this?  ...outfits.  Notice the nice, long sleeves.  I haven't looked it up yet, but I'm assuming that showed that he didn't have to work with his hands and exuded authority and power.

Here I am outside the palace overlooking the water.  There are more than five kilometers of ancient walls around the palace.

This is a small section of the walls surrounding the palace grounds and of course protecting the Sultan.

Everywhere we went on the palace grounds it was beautiful.  And yes, it was a very windy day.  I told Gary that this particular scarf and a pink coat went against my artistic sensibilities, but... it was a cool day and I only brought one coat!  As a woman, I also needed to have a scarf handy in case I needed to cover my head.  And yes, I carried my pack like that quite a bit, especially in crowds.  I had my purse stolen in the Leonardo da Vince train station in Roma, and don't plan on letting that ever happen again!  By the way, you can see a little bit of turquoise in my hair; I colored the underside around the nape of my neck turquoise just for fun.

Had to go all the way to Turkey to find my favorite flowers in the WORLD... peonies!  I have never been one to pass a peony without a deep whiff.  Oh, so fragrant!  Better by far than roses!

As you can see in this pic, the peony-sniffing got me into trouble.  I walked around with a yellow nose for quite a while...

These two pictures are of one of the palace buildings con tulips.  We discovered that tulips did not originate in The Netherlands as this Dutch girl thought, but first came from Turkey, THEN to the Netherlands, THEN to the uttermost parts of the earth.  Live and learn!

Oh, and were they gorgeous!

Tonight I am going to leave you with this cute little girl.  It just makes me happy.  Notice the stance and her face.  Also note how close the Turkish word, bayan, is, to the Spanish word for bathroom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A visit to Turkey

We just returned home from Turkey.  What a trip!  I'm still trying to recover, but I have a couple pics for you.
We visited a number of mosques, including the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.  These two are the interior of the Blue Mosque.

Notice the detailed tiles.  Muslims do not believe that images of people should be in mosques, so they decorate with floral and geometric motifs.  You would note that the tiles are wildly differing, a cacophany of colors and patterns.
Each area of Turkey makes tiles, and each has its own style.  Each area has donated tiles to be put in the mosque, and those who know can identify the area the tiles came from by their particular style.  It was really beautiful.
Here's my guy standing in the inner courtyard.  The marble slabs here were used in the original hippodrome.  This was our only rainy day - it rained and was pretty cold in the morning.  The rest of the weather was gorgeous!

Next post, I'll show you the outside of the mosque.