Friday, May 23, 2008

Go Team!

Our first volunteer team survived 10 days in West Africa! We were grateful to have 4 college students from North Carolina here with us last week! We enjoyed the time with them although I've discovered that I'm getting old. While they were here, it suddenly occurred to me that college was a long time ago. Oh well!

They helped us map out a lot of the Baptist churches in our city and meet and pray for many pastors. Most of the pastors here were incredibly touched that someone had come to pray for them. So many times pastors here like there are asked to pray for others, but very rarely does someone ask to pray for them.

We also got to spend time in 3 different areas of our city praying for the lost and giving our testimonies/gospel presentation. We ran across many Muslims and Catholics and got to talk to them about our faith.

2 days were set aside to do kids' clubs. At the first one, we very easily had around 300 kids. There were 6 of us and 1 translator and 300 KIDS!!! The goal of that particular afternoon quickly turned into getting us and each kid through the afternoon without any permanent injury occurring. The concept of waiting in line or waiting for your turn is pretty foreign here, so you can imagine what that pile of kids was like. After we had finished, we paraded through the neighborhood with it last half of those kids following us. There were at least 10 or 20 at any given time hanging off of the college kids. We piled in the van and managed to back out of the place we were parked without squishing anyone and then our van was chased for about a half mile.

Our second kids club was slightly more calm. We were out in a village setting and the kids were more patient about their turn. There were only about 75 of them, so it wasn't as out of control.

We ate a lot of West African food. Everybody was great about that. The very first day when I thought we were safe at church, we were served a ginger drink that makes me want to cry every time I have to get it down. The rest of the week was a walk in the park after that, although I will have to say that the large green balls of something we had to eat one night was a little more of a challenge.

I'll try to get in some pictures of us in action in the next few days.

Other than team stuff, life goes on as usual. We said goodbye to a missionary last month, we'll lose 3 this month and then one more next month. Add to that that we'll be sending Uncle Jeffy and Auntie Barbara home in June to Benin and you can see that we'll be having some sad days. Everybody out here is family. We've all left family and friends far away and are here for a common goal. We need each other to make it, and the coming and going of friends/family marks our lives here.

French is still coming. Everyday I'm sure I learn more and more, but we are still far from understanding everything. High stress situations quickly bring all that I know down to about 0 comprehension! I have a friend who was asking me how much longer we are going to be learning French. When I told her we still had a long way to go, she was incredulous. She figures we should be moving on to something more interesting, like her language. :)

Right now we are looking forward to Birthday celebrations. Caleb's birthday is Tuesday. I can't believe it is upon us already!!! He'll be 9! We are planning to ride GoKarts Sunday afternoon with some of the missionaries here and then eat pizza and cake. Sounds pretty American, huh?

We are also excited about some more friends coming from North Carolina! A team of 4 men from our church are visiting a West African country this week. They are going to take a long layover here in Abidjan and spend a couple of nights with us. I'm not really sure what other parts of West Africa are so interesting, we think Abidjan about has it all wrapped up!! ;) Just teasing! I suppose we can share our great church with the rest of the region! ;)

I nearly forgot that we added another member to our family. We got the four legged barking variety this time. Daisy is a little mess. She loves to chase toads after dark in our yard. She is a friendly little thing and will hopefully be fun for years to come. Don't worry, Shadow and Kip, you are still our favorite dogs in the whole world.

We love and miss you all!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Free Gift

Every Tuesday we have been going to a little neighborhood teaching some people about Christ. A lot of the people in this neighborhood are Muslim, so it is an extremely slow process to tell them about Christ. However, we have had some men come and demand that we tell them about Christ. So every Tuesday we have all been going to this little neighborhood (Vridi) telling the good news of Jesus Christ to these men and some women. This last Tuesday the men decided that they wanted to give us something back. So here is our free gift from these men. Her name is Crissy. Isn't she cute!!! Caleb and karis are thrilled. Crissy is still a little afraid of children. She came from a home that had about 10 kids and she was abused a little. But, over the last couple of days she has started to warm up to Caleb and Karis. In the last two pictures she is lying/sleeping under Karis' chair as Karis does her school work.