Dealing with disaster from a biblical perspective helps in this respect: we know we live in a fallen world. It’s broken. While creation shows incredible beauty and intricacy, it also shows that something is deadly wrong. So when disaster strikes, the question is often raised, “Why did this happen?” Or, “Why did God allow this?” The question should be, “Why shouldn’t it happen?” The world went wrong a long way back at the time of Adam Eve.
So what do we do when bad things happen? If we can help, by God’s grace we help. Sometimes its coming along side; sometimes its just holding someone; sometimes we write; sometimes we lend a helping hand. He loved us when we were a mess, so we love others in their messes when they happen. For some of our friends in the Philippines, this is a very hard time.
That brings me to Eyes of Green. This post is about an observation period of a celestial disaster, which often yields an object we call a “planetary nebula.” While I talk about it and will show the sketches that my wife and I recorded on that night, our thoughts are on our friends. Our closest friends are safe in PI, but some of their friends are not even accounted for. Schools are destroyed that they work with. So we pray for them. This little post about observing is for them…..
On recent trip in October Linda and I wanted to sketch together using an 8 inch telescope with a color astro video camera. We chose NGC 7009–a planetary nebula in Aquarius. It is a popular object to observe with a medium sized scope. NGC 7009 is often called the “Saturn Nebula” because it looks a little like Saturn with its rings. Recent imagery from really big telescopes shows beautiful structure. However, the beauty has an origin in the violent death of a star. It is part, from a biblical view, of the winding down of the universe. We do not see star “birth”; it is only conjectured. But we certainly see the evidence of star death. Star death, however, produces beautiful deep sky objects. Linda’s sketch is first:
To us the object is like a soft green elongated disk. By the time the two of us completed our sketches, I thought they looked like green eyes. Hence, the title of this post is Eyes of Green. Here is my sketch:
Now back to the Philippines…Our friends are safe, but some distance southeast of them are quite a few schools and communities that were in the disaster zone. Contact with them is still not possible. Like the aftermath of Katrina, it will take years to recover. Some of the worst times are a couple months after the disaster, when the news does not treat the subject anymore and people forget. We don’t. And, the same ministry we help on our mission trips (Institute for Foundational Learning) has direct contact with people in communities that will need a lot of help. So, we are sending some FOREX boxes (23x20x17 inches with no weight limit). So is a sister (but much larger) ministry called Advancing Native Missions in Afton, Virginia. They are sending boxes of hygiene items, small meds/vitamins, small children’s clothes, small cans of fish/meat, and similar items sometime next week. We are sending boxes at the end of November that will reach our friends in February. If you would like to help, we can afford 5 boxes that we have already prepared with education items, but would like to send more with disaster relief items. FOREX boxes are sent for a little less than $100 door-to-door. Our little ministry (CHRISTWORKS MINISTRIES, www.christworksministries.org) and ANM are confident with our contacts and know stuff will get to where it is needed. Please help us if interested or send things to us to pack in the boxes. Our web site has our contact information.
To our friends in PI….we keep you in prayer. Hope to see you in early 2014.