Missionaries' letters relate thrills, difficulties of Africa


November 09, 1998|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EVER SINCE Jerry and Lillie Rebert and their children, Jill, Heather and Leah, left for Kenya in August they have been writing letters and sending e-mail to folks in Carroll County about the thrills and frustrations of their missionary work in Africa.

Their notes are a gentle reminder that no matter how tough our days may get or how tight the household budget might be, we have so much to be thankful for.

"Food is expensive. A box of cereal is about $5; a can of deodorant is $10," Lillie Rebert wrote last month. "So tell your readers that they are getting bargain prices even without the coupons."

Lillie works in the student health center at Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school for 500 missionary children. She has helped a student in the operating room while he had his appendix taken out, witnessed a birth, transported an injured soccer player to the hospital, helped students who needed stitches and recently administered quinine to a student who had malaria.

Jerry Rebert is the maintenance store supervisor for the academy. He travels to Nairobi twice a week to order all the supplies for the school. He works long hours running errands for other missionaries -- ordering a stove or a refrigerator, for example -- whatever it takes to meet their needs.

Last week Lillie Rebert wrote: "Warmest greetings to you. We continue to settle into Kenyan life here. The weather is now sunny during the days. Still chilly at night. We can lie in bed and watch the curtains blow in the breeze as it is windy out. Now the funny thing is that we are watching this with the windows closed.

"All in all, we are fine. School for the girls ends first term on Nov. 25. All the missionary kids go home for December break. School will begin again at the beginning of January.

"We have been invited out to dinner for Thanksgiving, and we are grateful. This is the first time that we have ever been away from extended family over the holidays. Being invited out will certainly help out with homesickness.

"One of our colleagues has found and ordered turkeys for all of us here, which is a HUGE treat. As customary it will show up on our accounts later. There is a standard joke 'Don't worry, it will be on your bill.' And it usually is! Just like everywhere else in the world, you have to pay!"

The Reberts miss family members, friends, their home, their pets, pizza, McDonald's, Hershey's chocolate, the crispness of fall and pickle relish.

As news from the Reberts travels to Carroll County via e-mail, it will be featured in this column as often as possible. Collections for a care package from Carroll County are in progress. Information: 410-848-4703.

Choral arts program

The Westminster Choral Arts Society, in collaboration with the Georgetown University Orchestra and the Georgetown University Concert Choir, will present Mozart's "Coronation Mass," Dvorak's "Te Deum," and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 "Ode to Joy" at 3 p.m. Nov. 22 in Baker Memorial Chapel at Western Maryland College.

The group would have performed Poulenc's "Four Motets For Christmas," a beautiful a cappella piece with tight harmonies and a perfect introduction to the Christmas season, but more male voices were needed.

Any tenor or bass voices interested in joining the group may call Patricia Rouzer at 410-840-9220.

"Te Deum," the piece chosen to replace "Four Motets," is "very celebratory and fits well with the joyful nature of the Beethoven," said Cherrill Vayda, vice president of the Society.

The group will join the Georgetown University Concert Choir and Orchestra for these two works. The county singers are directed by Patricia C. Sparti.

General admission is $5; children younger than age 12 will be admitted free. Tickets are available at Stu's Music and Coffey Music and at the door.

Information: 410-374-3026.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 11/09/98

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