Sunday, December 28, 2008

Has Caleb learned to walk on water???

Looks like he can stand on water!!!

Looks like he can walk on water!!!

What do you think???

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Party Pix

Tibire and his youngest daughter

Karis loves the babies!!


And this little chunk is little Mike, Tibire's youngest. Hard to believe he weighed in at around 4lbs at birth!! Thanks for your prayers for him.

Christmas Day Pix

Christmas Carolling

Thanks Gramma and Granddaddy

Perfect gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Frederick!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thank You Nana and Poopa!

I think the face says it all Uncle John and Aunt Lisa!

This face says "It is 12 noon on Christmas day and I've yet to open a gift!"

To all of our wonderful family, dear friends, and all other confused people trying to find the most recent update for your McAfee antivirus, MERRY CHRISTMAS from West Africa!!! It's been a long, but great day for us. This is our second Christmas in Africa and although we miss you all terribly, a feeling of belonging has begun to set in here.

Our Christmas party was a smashing success Tuesday according to those that attended. We had made up 70 gift bags with peanuts, homemade banana muffins, zucchini muffins, and peanut butter cookies. We figured we were making way more than enough, but who wants to run out. At the point that Mike told the story of Jesus birth I counted 55 nationals, not counting our missionaries. I knew a few had already come and gone at that point, but didn't know that many more were yet to come! We gave away every muffin, peanut, cookie, and scrap of popcorn we could find in the house!! We put down about 12 kilos of rice and ate 2 sheet cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and 3 loaves of banana bread, not to mention around 8 gallons of KoolAid!!! After the last family had left and we were taking home the lady who had cooked some of the sauce for us, we were chatting about the party. She said, "You know that was a good party because there is no food left. If everyone just sits around and talks, but doesn't eat, the party is not good, but if they eat all of your food, THAT is a good party!" Hee Hee! So we were all tired, but so glad that not only did we have a good party with good food, Mike told a good story. May the Lord continue to work in the hearts of those that heard. (Now you have to say "AMEN!" that's what a good national would do)

Our teammate Jon was feeling back to normal and did some serious mingling on behalf of the team!!! Poor Autumn and Teresa got stuck in the kitchen doing the dirty work, but we were so thankful to have them doing that. I mostly just ran around in circles forgetting what it was I was looking for.

We had a lovely time at church this morning. That's what you do here on Christmas, go to church. The kids sang with the other kids in French and then Caleb sang a solo of "Away in A Manger". We came back home, opened gifts (and by open, I mean wildly ripped wrapping paper off of packages and threw to the far corners of the house) and then joined our missionary family for a little Christmas dinner. I ate far too much and then we belted out some Christmas carols and headed home to call as many of the great people that we love so much as we could fit into one evening! To all of those that we didn't get, we love you and miss you. May God bless you all this Christmas season... May you see His lovingkindness in a very real way and grasp how wide is His love for you... May you have peace in your homes... May God's favor and grace rest on you and your families... And may this find you in good health... You have officially been blessed Cote d'Ivoire style! If you were here, you'd have done that for others several times today and in the next week hundreds more times!

Well, if you are feeling a little chilly about now, just hop on the next plane to West Africa and come see us! We'll feed you good food and let you thaw out!

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Party Time!

Well, today in the sweltering African heat, I've turned on my trusty little oven and raised the temp of my kitchen another 20 degrees! Tomorrow we will gather our mission staff, some neighbors and as many friends as we can fit in our yard. We'll eat rice and sauce, say thank you to those that support us so faithfully and enable us to focus on the purpose for which we were called and sneak in a little opportunity to share the reason that we so gratefully celebrate Christmas! Mike will be telling the story, so pray for clarity of thought and speech for him. We've looked forward to this opportunity for a while. We just hope everything goes smoothly. We'll be doing this with a few less missionaries this year, so it could be interesting.

We said hello to our new teammates last Thursday. They are settling in and enjoying Abidjan after their time in Bamako, Mali. Jon got sick his first night here, but thankfully he seems to be doing much better. We like the Moodys very much and are excited to see what God will use our team to do for His glory.

Our house has been a little lonely today. My friend Agira headed off to spend a month in Burkina and I'll miss her while she's gone. I am so happy that she is getting this opportunity to spend with family though as she's not seen her Mom or 13 year old daughter in 5 years! We are hoping that she'll be able to bring her daughter back to Abidjan with her when she comes next month.

Hopefully I'll get you some pictures of the festive occasion tomorrow if somebody can wrench themselves away from the work long enough to take some.

Know that we are thinking of you during this holiday season. You mean so much to us and we are blessed to have you as friends and family.

Our love to all,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Storying News

I was writing a teammate about how our storying went yesterday and realized you might enjoy hearing the story too. This is a story of a Muslim lady with 5 kids who works in the market selling and assortment of staple foods for West Africa. Her husband is without work and she is the bread winner for the family trying to sell things that range in price from a few cents up to about a $1. She is from Mali and her French is not great. Storying with her usually entails making a wide circle to describe what it is I am trying to say. It doesn't help that my French lives a little to be desired. Anyway, we usually get there, but I had an especially good day with her yesterday as she is reaching the end of the evangelism set.

We had a slow day yesterday at Vridi, but the story I got to tell went great. As usual, Djenaba was in her normal spot waiting for me to get there. She shoved over her company and gave me preferred spot and after the formalities of greetings jumped right in with "On dit quoi?" I was a little hesitant becuase I had no idea what her relationship was with the lady I just ousted. I asked her if she was ready to hear another story and she immediately piped up with the wrap up of last week. I started telling the resurrection story and she was confused, not by my French, but she was really puzzled about if Jesus wasn't there, where was he. I convinced her to let me keep going after I was sure she was understanding the words, just not the story. I thought she was going to jump up off of the bench when I told her the part about the disciples being together discussing what was going on and Jesus showing up there with them! It was so cute. She totally understood them being afraid, but seemed to piece things together right along with the disciples in the story. When I told the part about Jesus ascending to heaven, she was blown away. I had planned to leave the set as before and go with the Philippian Jailer next week and a recap of creation to Christ. I still will, but at the end of the story she said, "What do we do now?" So I did a small recap of us being seperated from God, all are sinners, Jesus was the perfect Son of God, he suffered the consequence for our sins and died to save us. Salvation is found in turning from our sin and belief in Jesus and his death and resurrection.

As well as this was all going I felt like I needed to wait and let the story unfold next week. I told her we were going to look at a story next of someone who heard the stories of Jesus and wanted to know what to do now. She thought that was a great idea. I told her between now and then, she needs to be thinking about the stories and deciding what she thinks about them. A couple of weeks ago, she saw my story notes in my bag and pulled them out and looked at them. She can read OK and as she started reading what was on the page, she looked up surprised and said, "These are the stories just like you tell them." I told her that the stories come from the Bible and I want to get them just right and so I carry them with me in case I forget something. So when I told her she needed to think about the stories, she said something that made me worry she wasn't connecting the stories with reality. I reminded her that the stories were really true and that they came from the Bible and she said, "Yes, that's right. I saw." We wrapped up with a prayer, because she won't let me leave without praying for her and her family.

Please pray that God works in her heart this week. Pray that she'll count the cost and choose to follow.


A Few More Pix

Agira as usual, happily working!

Agira, husband and other wife




Family Eating

Agira and her youngest daughter Fatou

I had a good but long day Monday. Fortunately enough I only ate chicken and not sheep parts. I got to wash a dissected sheep, but fortunately enough didn't have to eat it. The head did watch me the whole time I was eating. It was a beautiful, but hot day. I spent most of the day with my friend Agira's family. We ate and sat and talked, unfortunately mostly Moore. Since I only know about 10 words in Moore, I wasn't much of a conversationalist. However when I whipped out the camera, I was suddenly the most interesting person there! ;)

Thanks for thinking of us that day.
Love to all,

Monday, December 8, 2008


If you are reading this on December 8, today is the Muslim holiday of Tabaski. Our friends will be celebrating when God provided a subsititute sacrifice for the son of Abraham (although which son this story would be about is something we disagree about). All weekend we've watched huge rams in trucks, taxis and being led down the street on a rope. We've seen them tied to trees in courtyards and grazing peacefully in grassy patches. If they only knew what was to come, they could band together and form a revolt. I really think the number or rams to people here this week is pretty close to even. I'm thinking the big horns they have on their heads could really be the tipping point and they could take the city if they wanted to.

In all seriousness, please pray for us as we will all get opportunities today to give account for the hope within us. Many times we'll get openings to tell the story of Abraham and his son and how God sacrificed his own Son on our behalf. Pray that we make good use of that bridge today and that we follow through in the days to come.

We said goodbye to our good friends the Singermans today. They are on their way to the states to celebrate the holidays with family and for the wedding of their son. This morning I thought to myself, how many more goodbyes will we be asked to say? Some days it seems like that's all we do, but in reality the goodbyes mean that we've been able to say hello and get to know others that we've come to love. It means that we've been blessed immeasurably to have family and friends that we love dearly. It means that our families love us enough to call us and write us and come visit us. It means that instead of getting to see a missionary once a year at a missions conference and hear how they are fulfilling the great commission, that we've been allowed to join together with them, walk alongside them, laugh and love peoples we didn't know before. It means that my kids time with family will be that much more precious and that in between God's given them more aunts and uncles than they could ever imagine. It means that God has granted us the rich blessing of national friends. It means that God is showing us how to love freely and make the most of the time he's given us.

I'm coming to grips with the fact that my perspective has been forever altered by my time here in Cote d'Ivoire. For instance, in this culture if you are strolling down the street with a friend, you would very likely hold their hand. There's nothing that tells your dear friend that you think their great like chatting while linked. Grabbing someone's hand to run across a busy street is also very normal. Now I haven't had someone hold my hand to cross the street since I was a little kid, but now I find myself seeking the protection of being linked into a larger mass should someone decide to try to take me out with their taxi. It's the same principle I tell my kids. Always make sure you are going to make the biggest dent possible, then maybe they'll think twice about running you over. ;) Other random things like running to grab a glass of water when someone comes over is what I do without thinking or ask for permission to leave 30 minutes before I really need to knowing the first answer will be no. I don't think in terms of have I seen my friends this week or month, but have I seen them today knowing that if I haven't they'll ask me if I went on a trip. There are all sorts of weird verbal quirks I've picked up and imagine those will always be with me. I'm even getting used to the idea of a hot Christmas.

Well, thanks for taking this little trip into my crazy thoughts with me. I hope to post some pictures later of how I spent my day.

Love to all,