Monthly Archives: August 2011

Another Week Off?! Somebody Pinch Me!

Just about to leave the office.  7 days off starting tomorrow.  It just seems too good to be true.  Just back from an incredible 2-month vacation and now I’m off again!  7 (more) days to relax and unwind.  Ah, life in the Sultanate is good!

Have a fantastic holiday, everyone! And for those of you fortunate enough to be taking off to somewhere exotic outside of the Sultanate, be safe and come back in one piece!  🙂

Would You Like a Twen Beed in Your Dabl Room?

Prices listed in a hotel here in Oman…(Better to leave it unnamed, right? 😉 )

18 Months Later…Hard to Believe!

Yesterday, August 26th, Gershom turned 1 1/2 years old! Hard to believe!  This scene in the video below seems like just the other day.                           Hard to believe how nervous I was about becoming a father.

Hard to believe how fun our son is to be around.  I’m more amazed at how much Gershom loves being around and playing with his daddy.  I hope this will always last!                                                             

This was at about 8 months of age when I walked into the room and I noticed our son had stood up on his own for the first time.  It wasn’t until one week after his 1st birthday that he walked for the first time.

We got this nice hand and foot molding kit for framing from Toys R Us in Markaz Al Baja Mall.

I love that Gershom loves books!  I hope this continues throughout his lifetime…

I remember coming into the living room and seeing our baby after he emptied the entire tissue box with this guilty look on his face, ha!ha!  Our baby is an unpredictable one.  We never know what he’s going to do next.  He really keeps us on our toes.

Gershom has always loved icecream cones (without the icecream!) and it’s one of the tricks up our sleeves to calm him down when he throws a tantrum (every now and then…) I love this picture of Gershom as he’s wearing a “Canadian lumberjack shirt” sent to him from his nanny in Canada!

Gershom with his aunt Maritess at City Centre Qurum.  Our baby loves anything to do with cars, gadgets, dogs, music and babies.

It’s hard to describe how much joy my son has brought to our lives.  Words cannot describe the sense of gratitude I feel to God whenever  I hear my son call “Dadda” or “Daddy”.  It seems like he’s learning and doing something new every day and it’s incredible to watch him as he progresses.  I can’t wait to see what our son is going to do next, ha!ha!

“Down – But Not Out”

Another great sermon from Reverend Michael Peppin!  This morning’s sermon at the PCO was based on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.

The world offers us a pill to cure all ailments, pain and suffering but never delivers.  Divorce, disease, death…maybe experiences in life can be humiliating and painful.  Where is God in all this?

We come back to God’s Word for answers.  God is involved in our suffering.  How?  Sometimes we can’t figure it out.  There are mysteries in the workings of God.  We simply can’t understand many things on this side of eternity.

Like today, the focus in Corinth was on individualism.  We think the church must be impressive/attractive to the world.  Today’s “megachurches” seem to think, “Belief that is bigger is better”.

God calls us to a ministry of weakness.  This sounds ridiculous to the world but like Paul, we can say, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”  This is the very stuff that Christianity is made of.

Paul starts verse 3 with praise.  Praise (to God) is an important factor in overcoming discouragement.  Prayer changes things.  Praise also changes things.

(Christian) pain is always productive.  Troubles are those things which tie knots in our stomaches and haunts us with sleepless nights.  When we think of the word “comfort“, we may imagine “sympathy” or a kind of seditive, but the biblical meaning is closer connected to “strength“.  The greek root of this word (parakleet) is connected to the Holy Spirit who is known as our Comforter.

But what is the purpose of all our suffering?!

Comfort binds us more than prosperity ever could.

God’s comfort is not self-serving.

God has to work in us before He can work through us.  Like Joseph’s suffering in Egypt, God always prepares us for what He is preparing for us.

As we suffer, we are partaking in the suffering of Christ.  This is something Old Testament saints never understood.  Today, like Paul, we can see our sufferings in the light of the cross.

God has ample grace for all our needs but He never gives it in advance…only when we need it.

Those who are the furthest from God are the so-called self-reliant.

The opposite of faith is not “doubt” (as many would guess), but rather an earthly, proud confidence in the flesh.

Yes, those who are furthest from the grace of God are self-sufficient, confident people.  God wants us to break the sin of self-sufficiency.  How on earth can we minister to another if we have confidence in the flesh?!  If anyone could boast about things in the flesh, it would have been Paul, but he considered all those things as dung.  The same man stated, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”  If we come to the end of ourselves, God will rescue us.  Then, he will give us His strength and confidence.

Are we willing to be transparent or do we want to try and kid people (and God?! good luck with that!) as if we are knights in shining armour and that nothing ever hurts us?!  Are we willing to share our needs with those who pray and pray for others in need?

Well, that was quite long but I got many things from today’s sermon and thought that someone out there might be blessed as well!

Somali Pirates Hijack Ship in Omani Port?!?!?














            This photo was taken aboard a ship I was visiting years ago when I lived in Pohang, South Korea and was involved in volunteer work at the port.  I remember being amused that such a poster would be aboard a modern vessel.  “This is the 21st century”,  I thought.  “Pirates are surely a thing of the past, aren’t they? Something for adventure films like “Pirates of the Caribbean”.”

Since that time, Somali pirates have obviously been reported more and more in the news and I’m sure just about everyone has heard (enough) about various pirate activity over the years.  I remember applauding the South Koreans for storming a Korean vessel that had been captured by Pirates earlier this year and rescuing all of the 21 crew members, killing 8 pirates and dragging another 5 of them back to South Korea to be sentenced there.  Good job, South Korea!!!  I wonder why international troops are not taking the threat more seriously.  I read somewhere that such piracy could cost the global economy something like 12 billion dollars a year.  Here’s a good article on “the real cost of piracy” and just bear in mind that this was written in 2009.

I had never heard of pirate activity around Oman before so I was quite suprised to read the recent article about pirates hijacking a ship off the waters in Oman. (Read about it here from Muscat Daily)  According to that article, 12 merchant ships have been hijacked so far this year in or around Omani waters!  I totally agree with Sjoerd Both, a maritime security consultant and former commander of the regional coalition Combined Maritime Forces, who stated that “until the international community is ready to inflict real pain on the pirates nothing will change for the better.”  Here’s a good argument for more decisive action from a New Zealand blogger.

The most recent hijack was not done miles and miles off the coast.  This was done in what should have been the safe confines of the port of Salalah!  This is, in my humble opinion, like a declaration of war on the Sultanate of Oman and I say that Oman should act with full force to not only protect its own waters but take charge in ridding the seas of these vermin.  Another motivation to fight this piracy is the fact that some of the ransom money shelled out to these thieves goes directly into terrorists’ hands.

I’m glad that the Omani government is taking at least some action.  Since the hijacking of MV Fairchem Bogey and its 21-member crew, round the clock naval patrols have been initiated around Salalah.  I hope they will take stronger actions in the near future against these Somali thieves.
Maybe this could be an answer to some of the unemployemnt issues with young men in the Sultanate.  Sign them up for the navy.  Have a new fleet of gunships built and blow the pirates out of the waters.  That would surely put Oman on the map and the Sultanate would be doing the world a big favor!