Appropriate technology – enlightening the world

This post in the Multitudes on Monday community with Ann Voskamp begins with numbers. Last Monday I posted my thank you’s and went from 1040 to 1051 without filling in 1041 through 1050. I will remedy that this week, but I would never have realized I had done that except for the fact that my appropriate technology engineer son, Samuel, left a comment saying, “Where’s 1041 – 1050?” [At least he’s reading, right?] Susan responded by saying, “The birds ate them.” She made me laugh out loud. Anyway, because he happened to pop up here, I want to tell you a bit about my son and appropriate technology before I list my thank you’s.

map-of-burkina-fasoMy son was a Messiah College Senior Engineering student in 1997-1998. He had gone to Burkina Faso on a mission trip in January of that year and was impressed to design a solar-powered autoclave for a hospital he had visited there. They had plenty of sun and could not depend on electrical power generated by the country’s power company so, as members of the engineering faculty were figuring out how to keep the lights on during surgical procedures by installing solar panels on the hospital that the people could maintain, Samuel worked on an autoclave that would get hot enough to produce the steam needed to sterilize instruments. He used metal, black sheeting and trigonometry. He is very smart.

The second week of January this year he was with a team in Haiti. He spent some of his time teaching the Haitian high school

Taken from Christian Light School Port-au-Prince web site.

Taken from Christian Light School Port-au-Prince web site.

students at Christian Light School math tricks. Samuel said these are students who do not have access to adding machines, calculators or computers in everyday life, but they are very very smart. He recognized right away that if he taught them a few ‘math tricks,’ they would be able to speed up their calculation ability many times over…and they would be able to do it in their heads…without even a piece of paper or a pencil. My friend, Barb, attended Samuel’s ‘math tricks’ classes. She said the young people were mesmerized. She said they picked up the strategies very quickly and their confidence in their abilities soared. I wish I could have been there. You know, appropriate technology has as much to do with how we teach people to problem-solve as it does with the actual appropriate solution to the problem. I never quite thought of it this way before. I think we’d do a much better job teaching mathematics in America if we did not allow calculators in the primary grades. In my line of work, nurses would have better success teaching new mothers to breastfeed if the government didn’t give free formula. Distractions! Distractions!

My thank-you’s center around light this week. I’ve been in glory mode since the glitter day last Monday. Thank you, Jesus, for:

Lava lamp#1041 lava lamps. I turned an old one on while vacuuming my husband’s deceased mother’s empty house. It made me smile.

#1042 the full moon shining over British Columbia, Pennsylvania and (you name it). We all live under the same big sky! Isn’t that simply marvelous!

#1043 the glow from the white Christmas tree candle my granddaughter got me for Christmas 2011. As it burns the drippings fall down the boughs of wax. It is quite elegant.IMG_0014

#1044 the crisp twinkles of starlight as I stand in the cold shivering while my little hospice dog sniffs and circles for a good place to relieve himself in the yard.

#1045 a son and granddaughter willing to lead a team from their church next year to Christian Light School in Haiti.


#1046 that Sylvia shared the experience of beginning to see more and more light even though she has an eye disease that should not be getting better. Because Sylvia shared her story on her blog this past week, I was able to help the woman who sits next to me in church when she requested prayer for her eyes and described the very same condition.

#1047 my husband gasped and pointed excitedly when we passed a field of weeds on the way to church that were glittering in the sunlight after the dusting of snow the night before. I think my excitement at all of God’s gifts is rubbing off on him ;^)IMG_3100

#1048 that my daughter, Joyce, is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel after a very dark week. Helpful hands have reached out to her from so many places that she is overwhelmed at the love people are demonstrating to her. Her best friend and roommate got an ovarian cancer diagnosis and Joyce lost her job. When word got out she needed help, people became salt and light to her.

#1049 that I got a shirt with sparkling thread all through it. I wanted one all season, but I really didn’t need one. Now that everything is 75 – 90 % off I got one. Now I am wrapped in glitter!

He, the Light of the World, is with us,


From Betsie ten Boom to her sister Corrie ten Boom anticipating the day when they would both be free from the Nazi Concentration Camps:

The most important part of our task will be to tell everyone who will listen that Jesus is the only answer to the problems that are disturbing the hearts of men and nations. We will have the right to speak because we can tell from our experience that His light is more powerful than the deepest darkness. How wonderful that the reality of His presence is greater than the reality of the hell about us.  ~ The Hiding Place, 1984, Rantoul, IL:Crossings Book Club,  p.204


5 comments on “Appropriate technology – enlightening the world

  1. Good morning dear Dawn,
    I totally agree with what you said . . . knowing how to solve problems is more important than just being given the right answer (my paraphrase). One needs to know how to arrive at the next answer needed and such a blessing it must have been for your son to share his “math tricks”. Of course, problem-solving in all areas of life is a vital skill and I think this is where our inter-dependency comes into play. We all have areas of strength and weakness where we can share our problem-solving skills with each other.

    I love how the Preacher is catching your enthusiasm for counting God’s gifts and tickled at your excitement over your glittery shirt.

    And . . .”Jesus . . . the only answer to the problems disturbing the hearts of men and nations”. Loved this!

  2. I wish Samuel had been one of my early math contacts… I took and passed trig and had no idea along the way what it was all about… Still don’t, really.

    Your glitter journey is so fun! Pretty soon your husband will be hauling your glitter back out and putting it on your cards for you… Ha!

    The Light of the World is with us indeed! Thank you Father, for the Light!

  3. Your son is brilliant! What a wonderful accomplishment. I know my husband and son would both have so much fun working alongside him.
    Jesus, our glitter… our bright one… our light 🙂

    My dear Eduardo announced he is over 100 on his list now ! Praise God for grateful hearts… it does make the countenance brighter!

  4. Dear Ones,

    I just got back from Bible Study with my dear ladies. One of the ladies, Spirit-filled Barb, was with the Haiti team and snapped some pictures of my son teaching in the Haitian High School. I hope to share those pictures one day, but she also shared with me how my son said to her, “I would love to do this all the time. I love teaching, but I am not. I think I have to do what I do to make the amount of money I make for my family.” Please pray he finds his way. He seeks and listens to God. He will hear.

    Don’t you just love it when a loved one starts to count! It is just another gift. It’s becoming an epidemic of Godly praise. Yes!

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