Friday, April 28, 2006


The siren went off at 8:30 am to signal the start of the Regina Police Half Marathon on that Sunday morning of April 23. Conditions were not the best for running, at least by my running. We had sub zero temperatures and a southerly wind of about 30 km per hour. My two colleagues from Saskatoon were on hand to enjoy the run with me. But wait, I forgot to say that we had to put on gloves and jackets to battle the elements. This extra armour helped initially but became a burden half way through the race. In spite of the elemets and heavy gear, it was a joy to run along and just chat with whoever was chasing the wind. Something you rarely see when people are walking by. I got the idea that maybe, people should be running more! They are more chatty!

My running buddies and I clocked 2 hours and 1 minute and thanks to them for encouraging me to 'keep up the pace.' I sure almost gave up when the wind nearly blew me off the road. When official results came in, I was surprised at how good we had done! In fact we had beaten the Mayor of the city (our dear Mayor of the city of Regina was once a boxer and a very affable man, he was also a boxing ref at the last Olympics in Greece) came in at 2 hours and 10 minutes. This was certainly not my best time. In practice and other competitions, I am way under 2 hours. The beauty of the 'windy city' marathons is that you become ready for anything. I am not sure the conditions we had compare to the hills that our dear sister is conquering in Capte Town! Now, this is putting my neck on the chopping board! You can check entire results of the RPHM at:
"Those who enjoy life keep on running"

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


The Horn of Africa and parts of east Africa are in the news again. No rain. Like most places in sub-Sahara Africa, this region depends on rain to grow a crop (grain). Irrigiation thouh it was used a long time ago as part of the early civilization (in Ehtiopia especially) does not exist or it may be limited to a select few. To make matters worse, the region has experienced insecurity for years. Some news agencies claim that banditry and lawlessness are the only things growing instead of crops. To understand the perenial food shortages of this region, a thorough analysis of the history and natural events is needed. History is not my turf. One natural event that overshadows lack of rain in the region is what goes on in the tropical Pacific ocean. This year, the ocean has been in a cold phase or the so called La Nina. The temperatue of the ocean water has been below average. The situation is slowly reverting to normal conditions (i.e. average ocean temperature). This situation has translated in ample rainfall in some southern African countries (with bumper harvests of grain expected this year) while other parts of Africa are seeing drought. This phenomenon is well studied and where support structures to anticipate it exist (see efforts from SADC countries and Australia, there is less pain on the vulenrable groups. Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking in war torn regions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I go to an adult Sunday school class at my local church. Our teacher (Pastor Darold Sauer) told us an interesting story two Sundays ago. It is worth repeating here. I am pretty sure he wouldn't mind that I am telling it.

'A teacher had a bunch of boisterous kids in his sunday school class. He decided to bring a piece of lumber (plank), some nails and hammers to class so that he could keep his class occupied in some activity. He asked each student to pick a nail and hammer it into the wood. The class had a lot of fun with the hammer and nails. The strong ones made sure that the nails went in as deep as the energy from the swing of the hammer could allow. When evryone had their nail in, the teacher asked the class to take the nails out since it was too dangerous to live them that way. Those whose nails went in the deepest had some struggles but they eventually got their nails out. Some nails had gone in at an angle. These lnails eft some very ugly marks when they were pulled out. Eventually, the piece of lumber was free of nails but it had lots of ugly marks and gaping holes.'

The story illustrates the reality of sin. God forgives us unconditionally. The reality though is that we remain with those dark memories or scars of our past, some of them extremely painful to even talk about. It is for this reason that one should flee from sin. One man who did this very courageously was Joseph (formerly sold into slavery by his brothers), to the point of living his jacket in the hands of Mrs Potipher who wanted to lie with him. A dear friend of mine used to say, "Don't smile at sin. Flee like Joseph."

Monday, April 10, 2006

What will people be doing in heaven?

My son (now 13) asked me from the blue after we had been to church, "What will people be doing in heaven dad?" He was 5 years old at the time. I answered the best I could but I somewhat felt that he was not convinced with my answer. I talked about being happy, no tears, no darkness etc but I believe he was looking for duties in heaven. I told him that I will do some more research and give him an answer another time. My research took me to the book of revelation. I found some 'duties' for the saved ones. One that stands out is worshipping the lamb (Christ). I wans't sure that that this duty was sufficient to keep people preoccupied for eternity. Then I read a book which talks about the duties that God gave to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The author says Adam and Eve worshipped God by looking after the garden, naming all the plants and animals and having God around to talk to as a friend! Unfortunately, their work was cut out after they sinned. They no longer had the privilege of being the botanists, zoologists or anything else. Their preoccupation became survival instead of doing the honourable jobs that God had for them. The author says that God will restore these duties to his saved children in heaven. The worship that revelation talks about now makes sense and I now have a better answer for my son!