In the Cleft of the Rock

by Barbara Ann Oliver He was lost. The desert stretched before him, endless, dry, forbidding. He wiped the dust from his forehead. His sweat evaporated immediately, leaving only dry salt that irritated his face. He saw it coming. The wall of sand raced toward him. He ran. Fear surged through him. No cover offered protection, only a few large rock formations sticking up from the desert floor like giant stalagmites. The storm was gaining on him. He felt the sand bullets striking the nape of his neck. He sprinted toward an outcropping of stone. His eyes stung from the whirling … Continue reading In the Cleft of the Rock

When I Was a Child

by Barbara Ann Oliver When I was a child, my mother made me wear big white socks that she had worn until they were too stretched out for her. They were so big I had to put rubber bands around the tops to hold them up. One day, on my way home from school, it started to rain, and those socks got so wet that the rubber bands couldn’t hold them up anymore. They sank down to my ankles in a big, messy clump. The other kids laughed at me, and I began to cry. Out of nowhere, a big … Continue reading When I Was a Child

The Case of the Inerasable Tool Bar

by Barbara Ann Oliver “I have this tool bar that I can’t get rid of.” “Go to View, Toolbars, and unclick it.” “It won’t unclick.” “Go to this site and download their software. It will find it and remove it for you.” “I am running it now. WOW, where did all this stuff come from? I didn’t know it was on my computer! So, is this spy software free?” “Not usually. They make you buy it before they delete all the junk.” “Ouch! Thirty bucks!” Mike had been very careful. He only used his computer for research for sermons. But … Continue reading The Case of the Inerasable Tool Bar

An Hour’s Wage

An Hour’s Wage (Forthright 6/8/2004) by Barbara Ann Oliver It was late. He had arrived early that morning before anyone else. It was just a spot in the road, indistinguishable from any other spot. But soon it was crowded with men. The young ones were snatched up first. Off to the vineyards they went, secure in their strength and good fortune. They would earn their wages that day, for the work was difficult and the sun was already hot. One by one, they were carted off, until there were only a few left: the older ones, the weaker ones. He … Continue reading An Hour’s Wage

The Life of a Bee

by Barbara Ann Oliver The bee stung him right on the thumb! He just brushed it off, puffed a little smoke on it, and went on with his lesson. This past weekend, I participated in a short-course for beekeepers. Two mornings of classes, and two afternoons in a bee yard actually working with the bees. That’s where the instructor got stung. In fact, he got stung about four times that day. He said he was used to it and it didn’t bother him. Me, I stayed securely wrapped up in my white coveralls, bee-veil, gloves, and rubber bands around my … Continue reading The Life of a Bee

A Tale of Two Fisherfolk

by Barbara Ann Oliver The man gets up early in the morning, goes down to the bay, tosses his seine out into the water and catches a net full of minnows. He puts them into a tank and sells them to fishermen (and fisher women). The fisher woman gets fifty or so minnows, puts one little minnow on a hook and throws it out into that same bay with the millions and millions of minnows, shrimp, bugs, eggs, and other disgusting delights that only a fish could love. And miracle of miracles, she catches a fish! Last week, my brother … Continue reading A Tale of Two Fisherfolk

Home Again, Home Again

by Barbara Ann Oliver Wow! I have been home for two weeks already! I am just now coming out of the fog of jet-lag and holiday-company-overeating-lag. We left Tasmania on November 12 and spent Thursday in Singapore repacking for Myanmar (Burma). Singapore is sort of a hub for the Choates. They stay at the Supreme Hotel, and the hotel lets them store luggage. Since they are usually toting books from place to place, it is convenient to unload things that aren’t needed for certain parts of the trip. We were met at the airport in Myanmar by Winsome Vertannes, a … Continue reading Home Again, Home Again

Speak English!

by Barbara Ann Oliver [Editor’s note: Barbara is in Myanmar (formerly, Burma) where Internet access is restricted. She asked us to post this latest entry.] G’day Mates! How ya going on? Feeling like a bit of tucka? Just grab a cupa, and Bob’s your uncle. Add a bickie or a chockie, and you’re a box of fluffy ducks! The first time I moved to Winona, Miss., to work with the Choate family in 1972, I noticed that when Betty sang, “This World Is Not My Home”, that at the end of the first verse, where it says, “and I can’t … Continue reading Speak English!

From Sea to Shining Sea

by Barbara Ann Oliver OK, hang on. This is going to be a fast trip. It has been awhile since I have been able to get online, so here is a synopsis of the trip to Tasmania. We left Bangalore by train on Monday evening and arrived in Trivandrum 18 hours later. We were met at the train station by brother P.K. Varghese, who took us to his home. Several years ago, J.C. and Betty Choate had taken a site-seeing trip with the Varghese family. Since I had never been to south India before, Betty wanted me to see some … Continue reading From Sea to Shining Sea


by Barbara Ann Oliver Rain! After a month of being in India, we have finally run into some rain. Funny how something so simple can bring such a feeling of normalcy, of all’s-right-with-the-worldness. Bangalore is a city of about six million people, near the middle of India. Swamy and Saroja live in a rented house in a nice area of the city. They will have to move because they are struggling with the rent, but for us, it is perfect! Don and Beverly Norwood are here, and we are having a great time visiting, eating, shopping, and most importantly, worshipping … Continue reading Bangalore