337. In case you missed it…Learning How to Hope…for Burundi

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The image above links to the print copy of the book.  Click here for the Kindle version!

Monday was a holiday in the U.S.  and most people don’t read my blog on holidays so in case you missed it I’m reposting details on how to help the flood relief and recovery in Burundi.  The country is so small no one’s going to know about this or help unless you do.  I’m also reminding you of one of my favorite “Africa” stories (scroll down to 104).  Leaning over the railing of my bed, one of the first things Ai Ai said to me at Vibra (2nd Hospital) was, “D told me to tell you when you open your eyes, ‘NOW you can go to Africa.'”  🙂

I was astonished to find myself on a path that led to 3rd world missions.  Me?   I thought.  The princess and the pea?!?!?!  It was thrilling and terribly exciting.  Imagine my disappointment when I realized that God’s plan for me involved a craniotomy and a wheelchair instead of the African Adventure I dearly wanted to embark on.

The African Adventure is one only an outsider like me could have imagined.  If you’re living it it’s not made up of romanticized tableaux we read of in books or see on screen.  Many Africans, e.g. in Burundi, have survived things I cannot bear to think about fully.  When my dad interrogated me about the cultural history of Burundi when I was lobbying to move there I tried to gloss over the fact that the country had been tearing itself apart until the recent past.

One of the most sobering experiences of my visit in 2011 was seeing people routinely knock on the door of Chez Johnson for help.  One day it was a woman and a baby.  JJ came to the dining room to tell JCJ about it.  I think she was a battered woman and the baby looked sick, like (s)he had AIDS.  I don’t know what to do for them, he said.  But a minute later JJ was back in the front room, praying with the lady and JCJ was digging around her pantry, trying to find some rice and beans, maybe some tinned milk or some soap to give to the woman.  What are you going to do when people like this knock on your door?  they asked me later.

Umm…I demurred, I dunno, call you?

 There it was:  suffering that I had never seen in such close proximity showed up on their doorstep, and I was sure that if I moved there it would be showing up on mine.  Here is a quote from my “Memoirs.”

I recorded some notes after a marathon telephone call with Dad in November 2010, when I asked him to let me ask Jesse and Joy if they would host me on a short trip in March 2011.  The big takeaway from that two-hour discussion was that Dad was extremely concerned that I be sure before taking any steps to communicate or visit with the Johnsons.  He was very afraid that if I turned out to be wrong about my conviction that God was leading me to Africa, I’d be terribly hurt, and my faith would take a severe beating.  Well, it turns out that I was definitely wrong about The Plan, and it did hurt my feelings very badly.  I have had the opportunity, however, to examine my motivations for going to Africa in the first place, and have found that it’s not just the social and medical services I saw there that were helping the community.  It was the living water the Johnsons, their Aunt and Uncle, and fellow believers dispensed in conjunction with practical ministry that gave people a reason to hope when human circumstances pointed only to hardship and despair. 

The recent flooding will only add to the hardship and despair.  The most heartbreaking part of JJ’s report on what happened is that children aged 6-12 were often the most vulnerable since they were too old to be carried (parents likely had arms full with younger siblings) but too small to make it to higher ground safely.  Trust me on this one – I’ve seen or experienced several heartbreaking things since I got sick, but reading about these children takes gut-wrenching to another level.

So you have two options now.  Let remind you that Burundi is already one of the poorest countries in the world.  They didn’t have much to begin with, and many survivors lost it all.  Burundi is a very small country.  I can’t remember ever hearing about it on the news – the only reason I know about what happened is that I have a personal connection there.  So now I’m telling you – please help.  ❤

Choose both options if you can!

Option 1:  give generously and directly via CMML Paypal.  It links to the Johnson’s “Special Project” account, as opposed to their personal account.  Specify “flood relief” in the contact field.  Jesse explains the logistics of giving here.  Donations will be tax deductible.  The funds will be channeled directly to church-based relief efforts (Gatunguru Emmanuel church was right in the middle of the devastation but since it’s on slightly higher ground the building survived while the houses on either side were demolished) but they will be offering assistance to Burundians regardless of background.   The priorities will be 1) food and clothing, and then 2) tin and cement.

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Option 2:  purchase Learning How… to HopeYou didn’t think I’d come up with another one this fast, did ya?!?!?  Well, necessity is the mother of invention.  Please help Learning How Corporation support the flood relief and future recovery efforts in Burundi by purchasing this collection of 10 of my favorite blog posts about why I have hope.  This is a really easy decision.  A hard copy (Prime eligible) is  < $8 on Amazon ($7.20 when I wrote this), and the Kindle e-book is only $6.  Instant gratification, anyone?  There is an active table of contents and the e-book will work on your Kindle device or Apple or Android-based Kindle app.  All royalties from the sales of this title will go to relief and recovery in Burundi.

As you know, all royalties from any of the Learning How projects are non-profit.  If you haven’t checked out my other books, please do!  And if you go to church with any of my siblings or at W in Oregon, you can purchase Vol 1 or Ed’s book “live” – ask around for who’s got them.

books

Also, if you’ve read any of my books, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon.  I heard it helps in the search rankings.

Above all, though, please keep on praying for Burundi.  Thank you for your support.

104.  *Now* you can go to Africa

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The idea of going to Africa (much less living there) sounded so outlandish to me that I didn’t say anything to anyone about it for about 6 months.  I just wanted to pray about it to make sure it wasn’t a passing fancy before I called for backup.  When I did, I told my siblings and Je (my friend from Business school), and then prepared to email Mom and Dad, who were in Malaysia at the time.  Can you believe I sprung this on them via email?  Well, calling was less convenient since they were overseas.  I phrased it something like this:  Mom and Dad, brace yourselves.  I want to go to Africa.  I know – crazy crazy crazy talk.

Once I sent that email I calculated the time zone difference to estimate the hour my parents might read my message.  I then imagined my poor Dad, hunched over a little workstation at a dimly lit internet café, saying, Oh look, my baby emailed me.  Then <click> – I sprung the whole Africa thing on them.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for being so cool.  It took about 6 additional months, but they agreed to me taking a 10-day visit in March 2011.  When I returned from that trip and asked if I could move there permanently, it turns out that my parents were not the only, or most vocal, ones who needed convincing.

The first thing my sister told me when she came to visit me in the hospital besides “Hi,” was “Db said to tell you when you open your eyes that now you can go to Africa.”  Db is a friend from my first job and she brought her little daughter to OR to visit me the Summer before I got sick.  We celebrated my 30th birthday together and as I stood at the sink washing dishes I heard her chuckling from her seat at the table.  I turned off the water so I could hear what was so funny.  “Remember the time you wanted to go to Africa?”  She referenced a trip I had planned a couple of years prior but that had been derailed because of a slight blip in my bloodwork.  Db’s chuckling grew into all-out guffaws.  “You like to shower twice a day!!”  I had to laugh with her, but I did not share with her at that moment the fact that I was campaigning to try again and go to Africa as soon as I could convince my parents to agree.

Once I had made my ten-day sojourn into Africa and been officially invited to move there I told my friends, and Db and Dn (another former coworker of ours; she was also my cubicle neighbor) came to have lunch with me and hear the details.  After they had verified with Mom that my parents were aware of the fact that I wanted to move to Africa they began interrogating me regarding the safety set-up of my prospective home.  They asked questions like, “How far away would you be living from the J’s?,” “Could they hear you scream?”, and my personal favorite, “So are the bars on the windows screwed in from the inside or the outside?”

“See?” they told me, “You don’t know to ask these questions, but we do.”  I thought it was so nice to have friends who know how to look out for my welfare take an interest in doing so, and I am even more thankful now.

 

336. Learning How… to Hope – (e)book sale for Burundi

Learning How to Hope | all profits for flood relief in Burundi | Ann Ning Learning How

The image above links to the print copy of the book.  Click here for the Kindle version!

I was astonished to find myself on a path that led to 3rd world missions.  Me?   I thought.  The princess and the pea?!?!?!  It was thrilling and terribly exciting.  Imagine my disappointment when I realized that God’s plan for me involved a craniotomy and a wheelchair instead of the African Adventure I dearly wanted to embark on.

The African Adventure is one only an outsider like me could have imagined.  If you’re living it it’s not made up of romanticized tableaux we read of in books or see on screen.  Many Africans, e.g. in Burundi, have survived things I cannot bear to think about fully.  When my dad interrogated me about the cultural history of Burundi when I was lobbying to move there I tried to gloss over the fact that the country had been tearing itself apart until the recent past.

One of the most sobering experiences of my visit in 2011 was seeing people routinely knock on the door of Chez Johnson for help.  One day it was a woman and a baby.  JJ came to the dining room to tell JCJ about it.  I think she was a battered woman and the baby looked sick, like (s)he had AIDS.  I don’t know what to do for them, he said.  But a minute later JJ was back in the front room, praying with the lady and JCJ was digging around her pantry, trying to find some rice and beans, maybe some tinned milk or some soap to give to the woman.  What are you going to do when people like this knock on your door?  they asked me later.

Umm…I demurred, I dunno, call you?

 There it was:  suffering that I had never seen in such close proximity showed up on their doorstep, and I was sure that if I moved there it would be showing up on mine.  Here is a quote from my “Memoirs.”

I recorded some notes after a marathon telephone call with Dad in November 2010, when I asked him to let me ask Jesse and Joy if they would host me on a short trip in March 2011.  The big takeaway from that two-hour discussion was that Dad was extremely concerned that I be sure before taking any steps to communicate or visit with the Johnsons.  He was very afraid that if I turned out to be wrong about my conviction that God was leading me to Africa, I’d be terribly hurt, and my faith would take a severe beating.  Well, it turns out that I was definitely wrong about The Plan, and it did hurt my feelings very badly.  I have had the opportunity, however, to examine my motivations for going to Africa in the first place, and have found that it’s not just the social and medical services I saw there that were helping the community.  It was the living water the Johnsons, their Aunt and Uncle, and fellow believers dispensed in conjunction with practical ministry that gave people a reason to hope when human circumstances pointed only to hardship and despair. 

The recent flooding will only add to the hardship and despair.  The most heartbreaking part of JJ’s report on what happened is that children aged 6-12 were often the most vulnerable since they were too old to be carried (parents likely had arms full with younger siblings) but too small to make it to higher ground safely.  Trust me on this one – I’ve seen or experienced several heartbreaking things since I got sick, but reading about these children takes gut-wrenching to another level.

So you have two options now.  Let remind you that Burundi is already one of the poorest countries in the world.  They didn’t have much to begin with, and many survivors lost it all.  Burundi is a very small country.  I can’t remember ever hearing about it on the news – the only reason I know about what happened is that I have a personal connection there.  So now I’m telling you – please help.  ❤

Choose both options if you can!

Option 1:  give generously and directly via CMML Paypal.  It links to the Johnson’s “Special Project” account, as opposed to their personal account.  Specify “flood relief” in the contact field.  Jesse explains the logistics of giving here.  Donations will be tax deductible.  The funds will be channeled directly to church-based relief efforts (Gatunguru Emmanuel church was right in the middle of the devastation but since it’s on slightly higher ground the building survived while the houses on either side were demolished) but they will be offering assistance to Burundians regardless of background.   The priorities will be 1) food and clothing, and then 2) tin and cement.

12549435924_b3ce306e7c

Option 2:  purchase Learning How… to HopeYou didn’t think I’d come up with another one this fast, did ya?!?!?  Well, necessity is the mother of invention.  Please help Learning How Corporation support the flood relief and future recovery efforts in Burundi by purchasing this collection of 10 of my favorite blog posts about why I have hope.  This is a really easy decision.  A hard copy (Prime eligible) is  < $8 on Amazon ($7.20 when I wrote this), and the Kindle e-book is only $6.  Instant gratification, anyone?  There is an active table of contents and the e-book will work on your Kindle device or Apple or Android-based Kindle app.  All royalties from the sales of this title will go to relief and recovery in Burundi.

There really are hard copy and ebook versions - the search interface looks different depending on if you're using the mobile app.

There really are hard copy and ebook versions – this is what searching in the mobile app looks like.  It’s different if you’re on a lap/desktop.

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Print: 6×9 bw 52 pg softcover. Kindle: color, active TOC

As you know, all royalties from any of the Learning How projects are non-profit.  If you haven’t checked out my other books, please do!  And if you go to church with any of my siblings or at W in Oregon, you can purchase Vol 1 or Ed’s book “live” – ask around for who’s got them.

books

Also, if you’ve read any of my books, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon.  I heard it helps in the search rankings.

Above all, though, please keep on praying for Burundi.  Thank you for your support. 

305. Books Etc. on Sale!!

Learning How Corp | Nonprofit | Shopping Guide | Ann Ning Learning How

I’ve been preparing for this for a long time.    I actually dreamed in the ICU that I was talking about the Lord’s work in my life – this was before I woke up and before I knew that my brain had bled.  I was only faintly aware that I got sick, but my default position on the matter was that God would carry me through it.

Well, I’m still wading through this experience but it appears that my default supposition was correct.  I put up a fight when I began to realize the enormity of my injury, but as I told J&J in a letter scrawled in red pen on some graph paper I found in my room and stuffed into JJ’s hands as they left our house in November ’11 –  “you can’t really argue with the cross.  I know bc I tried.”

I lost the argument, but I won the battle.  It turns out God and I are on the same side so victory was a sure thing once I decided to play for the winning team.  This realization was so earth-shaking for me I decided that I’d talk to anybody who’d listen to me about how God’s love is more than sufficient for me even in this situation that my logic recognized (with wide-eyed horror) as part of His plan and my logic + heart accepted (with wide-eyed wonder) from His nail-pierced hands.

This is why I write and have a website etc.  I’m not playing around here, even though I’m having fun, too – that’s just a fringe benefit.     Recovery is a serious undertaking.  You don’t get days off or a “cheat day.”  It’s a 24/7 proposition.  It was not my choice to live in RecoveryLand but the fact that I’ve been given the grace to live joyfully in it is worth the effort it takes for me to communicate electronically etc. about it. Although what happened to me is extreme, it’s significant that zero special knowledge was imparted to me in the Valley of the Shadow.  I did not see a white light and was not visited by angels.  They way I live through this extreme set of circumstances is based on the same principles I pursued in my old life – when I was earning a living and busy supporting myself as a responsible adult (with varying degrees of success).  There is no leap of faith required to understand what happened to me – in this way, it is relatable.

So that’s why I write so much.  I think this is worth talking about.  And since my situation differs from the norm in many ways I spend a lot of time posting stuff about how I wash my hair, what I learned in Business School, and recipes  so people from all kinds of backgrounds can begin to relate to my experience.  We have common ground, I promise.  Yes, I’m a little cray cray, but you’ll get used to it.

To this end I’m pleased to announce that Learning How Corporation is open for business.  I forgot to tell you one of LHC’s goals so let me just recap and add it in:

“Learning How” (Official name, “Learning How Corporation” – I refer to it as “LHC” for short) is a non-profit corporation that supports 501c3 organizations that promote the Gospel of Christ, Education, Health Services, and Mobility around the world, and especially in developing nations. LHC does not accept donations but is solely transaction-funded.  All sales (minus LHC’s minimized administrative costs) fund LHC’s goals. 

Why you should purchase my “Memoirs” etc.

  • Goal = to communicate hope and humor; encouragement for daily life
  • There is minimal overlap between this blog and my “Memoirs.”  I know – you’re like, What else could this girl POSSIBLY have to say?  Answer:  Many, many things.
  • They are wildly entertaining.  Note:  due to the nature of my injury there is naturally some heavy stuff in Learning How…vol 1, but it’s funny, really – just remember that I’m here, I’m laughing, and I’m asking you to laugh with me.  FOCUS.  Use your core. 
  • If LHC’s goals do not align with yours the book is worth reading anyway

What is for sale:

  1. Learning How…vol 1 (around $10):  my “Memoirs” – includes Learning How to Walk and Learning How to Wait, 143p, paperback, 6×9 black& white
  2. Ed Goes to DC (around $10):  children’s book, 24 p, paperback, 6×9 full color
  3. Encouragement Cards:  my verse prints, only available in the U.S. and sold at the LHC Shop, shipped to the PayPal address via USPS standard – these are 2 square verse prints loaded on a 4×6 card – you can cut them in 2 or include the whole thing in correspondence, sold in sets of 10 4×6 cards with 2 verse prints each.
  4. NOTE:  I ran into formatting issues with the e-book versions.  I hope to be available on Kindle in about a week.

You have 3 or 4 options for purchasing:

  1. My Website LHC Shophttp://www.annninglearninghow.com ==>shop
  2. Amazon: search = Ann Ning Learning How
  3. CreateSpace: search = Ann Ning Learning How
  4. On sale “live” in certain areas (see below)

I made you a picture to help you decide where to shop – it’s the one at the top of this post.  If you go to church with someone in my family you will have the opportunity to buy books in-person starting this Sunday, Dec 15 or the following week – depending on how fast shipping is (I’m working on roping someone to help me at W in OR.)  This special sale saves you shipping costs and it’s a buy more and save – the more copies you buy the cheaper they will be ($10-$7).  You may also enjoy this sale by shopping at the LHC Store.  Books will be on sale here (Free shipping!  Build your own bundle and buy more & save!) until Jan 4.  The shipping estimates given by the fulfillment are generally worst case scenario – like, after Christmas.  However, my experience has been about a week or less.  Be mindful of weekend ordering, and if you want to receive your books in time for Christmas, be sure to order ASAP – prolly this week – if using the LHC Shop.  If you’re you need guaranteed, trackable delivery, Amazon is a great choice, especially if you have Prime.  I ❤ Prime.  Encouragement cards will be available at the LHC Store year-round for pickup at Walgreens in the U.S.  Books are always available at Amazon and CreateSpace (My Book, Ed’s Book).

I want to give a special thanks to the family and friends who are making this venture possible since my deficits limit my execution capability.  A couple of weeks ago I locked poor Tanpo out of all our online banking accounts.  I still have a “Guardianship” account and I was testing my ability to check my own balance, transfer money etc.  When I couldn’t get the login right that night I was so frustrated I cried and might have thrown things around on my desk.  I was so upset about it I didn’t tell Dad until late morning on the next day.  Meanwhile, Dad got a dire email from the bank and almost called the cops.  J/K – not the cops, the fraud people at the bank.  Sorry, Daddy!  My bad. 

So now I’m back on a need-to-know basis re. my banking affairs.  Tanpo is withholding the password from me so he can actually get some stuff done around here.

So yeah.  I need help.  Thanks for your prayers and support, everyone!