Monday, December 28, 2009

Joyeux Noël

Don't tell dad and Caleb, but I stole the remote so I could watch A Charlie brown Christmas!!! Mommy says I look like one of the characters on the show, so I thought I would check it out to see which one she was talking about. Which one do you think I look like????

Three child pile up!!!! Caleb was not impressed with being on the bottom, but Benjamin and Karis thought it was funny!!!!

Hmm, plaid packaging, who could this be from????


Christmas morning we did the African cultural thing again and went to a 3 1/2 hour church service. After thinking about it, what better place to go on Christmas morning? It IS Jesus' birthday celebration after all. All the groups performed something for the congregation. This is a dance by the smaller children. If you take a closer look at Karis, you can see she painted herself like the other African kids, the paint just doesn't show up as well on white skin. African paint themselves for "fetes" like Christmas!!

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and worshiped the true King. Please pray that in this next year more Africans will come to know Christ and will come to these special services to worship Him. I think my favorite Christmas word is "Immanuel" which means God with us. May he be with us this year and draw all men unto Him.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mission Fete 2009

We once again had our mission party for the workers of the Mission. It included all the guards, office staff, gardeners and anyone who is paid to work at the mission. It is our way of saying thank you for supporting us and working with us through the year. We also invited all of our house helpers and friends that wanted to come, some of whom are not Christians. We had about 30 to 40 people come to this party. This is an early photo before most of the people arrived.

We once again told the Creation story to the Christ child. This story starts with God's creation of the Earth and his special creation man. The story talks about the incredible relationship man had with God, but man disobeyed God breaking this wonderful relationship. It talks about the laws God gave us to follow, but man could not follow the laws. I then talk about the sacrificial system, but this system became ritualistic and did not change the heart of man and the relationship with God was still broken. However, God sent his prophets to tell of a savior God was going to send that would save man from their disobedience. Then the story shifts to the special gift God sent us to restore the relationship with man. God sent His only son who never sinned and lived a perfect life and if we trust in God's son, Jesus, our relationship with God is restored for all time. Please pray that the people who heard this story will accept it as truth and accept Christ as their savior. Some of our close friends are Muslim and they heard this story for the 2nd or 3rd time. Please pray that they will accept this story as truth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy 2 months Benjamin

Happy 2 month anniversary Benjamin.
I am sure this shirt was too big just 2 weeks ago.
Now he can't even wear it!!! My how they grow so fast!!

He does have a very pretty smile. He has Caleb's crooked smile!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2 + 1 = 3

Thought you might like to see some additional pictures of our kids. I know that's why you read the blog! ;)

Christmas Time Again

We had a lovely Thanksgiving last week, but of course we missed you all. We celebrated much as the Pilgrims did in some ways. We invited our national friends that have helped us survive and thrive in our "new world" to eat with us and join us in thanking our Faithful Father. I wondered as we ate if the Native Americans felt the same way about the food of the Pilgrims as our national friends felt about our strange concoctions!!

Life is getting back into full gear around here. We are learning how to do our everyday stuff with a baby in tow! Benjamin loves to be out and about. On a fussy day, a guaranteed stop to the whining comes with leaving the house. He's quite the little MK right now. He rarely fusses at nationals, but is very often nice and polite with them. He likes to go visiting and doesn't mind being passed around, at least so far.

We took a trip to the zoo this week just for the fun of it. Caleb and Karis have been asking to go for a while and we just got around to doing that.

We had to get the Christmas tree up so that we can start getting in the Christmas spirit. It is a little warm here at this time of year, so the tree is a good reminder that Christmas isn't far away.

We love you and are missing you during the holidays.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The McAfee boys after eating a big Thanksgiving meal. As you can tell it was hot here, about 95 degrees and 90% humidity. But, that didn't stop us from eating alot of Turkey and relaxing after the meal. We always miss family more during these holiday times, so if you were not with us, know you were missed.

The missionary kids eating and stuffing themselves full of turkey and dressing.

Our language helpers in French and Jula. Olivier, on the left, is very used to being around missionaries, so he didn't have a problem getting a plate full and eating as much as the rest of us. Guy-Roger, my Jula tutor, wasn't sure about the food at first so he only got a little at first, but after he tasted it he loaded his plate down. He then told Heather that he wanted her to teach him how to cook like this.

Our table of food with our friends loading down their plates.This is our house-helpers co-wife. Yes they are Muslim, and Heather and Teresa have told them a lot of the Bible stories. Pray that they will accept Christ as their savior. The other day one of them told Heather that even if she was wronge she wouldn't changeg because she doesn't like people that change their mind. Pray that Christ will break their hearts and they allow him to come in and take control of their lives. Thanksgiving was a time when we could share with them why we give thank to our savior Jesus Christ.

A full table is always welcome in the McAfee house at Thanksgiving. My mom and dad always have a lot of family over to celebrate Thanksgiving, so we continued that tradition here in Abidjan. As it turned out we had a womens table and a mens table. We didn't plan it that way, but that is how our African friends sat down. Heather and Teresa had not yet sat down with the women in this picture. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, know you are loved and missed. May God bless you this Christmas season.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family visit

We had to say good bye to family again. I think this is one of the hardest things to do as a missionary. We love for family and friends to come and visit, but it is so hard to say good bye. Ginger, Yvonne and Rebekah came to visit us last week and got to stay for 10 days. They really helped take care of Benjamin. I know it was a sacrifice on their part, but they did it anyway. I'm not sure that Benjamin's feet touched the ground unless he was sleeping and even when he was sleeping someone was holding him a lot of the time.

The family went to church with us and got to experience church the African way. The leaders of the church always ask to get the visitors information and they share a local drink. They give their visitors drink bee-sap or gimgembre. The bee-sap is a sweet drink and the gimgembre is a spicy drink, so of course I demanded they at least try the gimgembre. I eventually had to finish it for them, but it is always fun to watch them try to drink it.

Rebekah came and played games with Caleb and Karis as well as helping with little Benjamin. Hopefully she can come back and see us next year!!! Bekah got to experience go-cart racing the African way too, and I'm not talking about the every day driving.

T.B. Ray just had to have the family over to his house. This picture is actually from our house, but it is the best picture with the moms. T.B. Ray loves Americans and family and it is a real education to visit an African in his house to see just how they live.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Month Old

Our sweet baby is one month old now. He weighs 4 kilos which is about 8 lb 13 oz. He's making the rounds, greeting friends and neighbors. He's generally quite the hit and mostly saves his fussy times for Mom at home. He's stolen the heart of my friend Agira and I think the feeling is mutual. She's every bit as good at stopping the screaming as I am. Benjamin is turning to voices he knows now with the very rare smile to keep us interested.

Daisy has resigned herself to the role of the family dog. She was booted from the throne of baby of the family, but seems to be adjusting well.

The Grammas are in the air on their way to Africa as I write. If I were slightly delusional, I might say they were coming to see me. HaHa! I think they have some food tucked in their suitcases for me, so I'll be content with that.

Language has started again. My new goal in life is to speak Moore better than Benjamin. I know, I know, I'm aiming high, but what are goals for anyway! ;)

Well, bath time has arrived and so goes my life. Milk, diaper, sleep, repeat, with the occasional bath and outfit change thrown in for fun.

Love, Heather

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Benjamin FBI

Watch out, there's a new X-Files agent in the making!!!

Big Blue Eyes!!!!

FBI agents need a good mode of transportation. This is the fastest thing around, so it will have to do, if only she would stop licking me!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

SCUBA Kings!!!!

Caleb checking his gear.

Not a very big boat, but it did have a big motor!!!!

Cal our dive instructor is going over a few details with Caleb.

All in all we had a fun trip. We did have a few problems. Caleb could only get down to about 15 feet because he couldn't clear his ears. He couldn't get below the tide and it was very difficult. My suit kept malfunctioning, so I only went down once and not very far. I would love to take Caleb one more time, he learned that he was trying to clear his ears wrong, but now he figured it out. It wasn't a bad trip, but it could have been better. At least Caleb got to see several schools of fish swim past before he had to come back up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Glorious Impossible"

I've been thinking a lot about this song. It's one of my favorites and though we are still quite a ways from Christmas, the birth of our little one has made me think of the birth of our Savior. The miracle of a wee babe, fully God and fully man born of humble means. The author of life sent to us; a treasure beyond compare. His mother just an ordinary young woman except for the remarkable way she responded to the messenger from God on the news of what was to occur to her. She didn't say, "I'm going to need to list the pros and cons of this decision and get back with you," nor "I think I should really pray about this for a few weeks,"and not even "WHAT! ARE YOU CRAZY!!!" but she responded "May it be to me as you have said." Oh for the faith to leave the worries behind and follow hard after my Savior's will like Mary.

I think it's funny that in our secular world where science is all important and God is often a footnote, people still refer to the "miracle of birth" when talking of babies being born. We got a front row seat to the miracle of Benjamin's birth and feel like you were all there along with us in the requests you carried before the throne on our behalf.

For those of you that have walked the last nine months with us, you know that this was not an easy time for us. We've had everything from a cerclage, to hospital stays, to preterm contractions and bed rest. In the last month we were facing preeclampsia and were moved as quickly as possible to another country to be treated through no small miracle of it's own as I was beyond the point of travel without doctor's permission and mine was refusing permission. My blood pressure strayed a few times in the last week before delivery into the dangerous range, but our God is faithful and it always came down. On delivery day, our Benjamin's heart rate fell over and over into dangerous territory. They were watching us carefully and prepared to do a cesarean, but with the drugs and oxygen they kept administering, we made it through. When the big event came, I did all in my power to finish the deed quickly, as I knew that Benjamin was in grave danger en route as I'd seen the doctor use sign language to the nurse across the room that he thought Benjamin had the cord around his neck. He was born amazingly fast and to the astonishment of all in the room, had a knot in his cord. The doctor had prepared me that he felt Benjamin would have to be rushed out to get oxygen, which they did take him quickly to do, but brought him immediately back as they had decided he did not need it.

So now our precious boy, born 3 weeks early weighing in at 7lbs 6 oz and 19 1/2 inches long is here with us bringing joy to us all. Caleb and Karis are great older siblings. Caleb really enjoys holding the baby while Karis is often content to just help with all things Benjamin. We are now waiting for our paperwork to be able to go back home hopefully within 2 weeks. The risk to my health seems under control. Our on sight nurse is still watching out for me, but the symptoms along with the high blood pressure are gone.

Thank you so much to all of you that have prayed us through this time. I was also never so grateful for all of you that give so faithfully to Lottie Moon and the Cooperative Program as I was the day I was on an airplane headed out to get the medical help I needed. It's because of your sacrificial giving that that was an option for me. I very possibly owe you my life and the life of my baby.

Now there is a new reason to make Abidjan your next overseas trip. You can see miracle Benjamin as a treat to go along with coming alongside us to help us reach the lost of Abidjan. Both things are a must! Know that I may be slower in posting now, but I'll do my best. If you'd like to receive our email prayer letter let me know. I try to get that out once a month and it's a good way to know how you can pray for us.

My love and thanks to you all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy 1 week annniversary Benjamin

Karis loves holding this little guy. As you can tell we have plenty of helpers.

Caleb loves watching TV with Benjamin, that is until he starts screaming for mommy!!!!

We are doing well, we have applied for the U.S. birth certificate and Tuesday we will apply for his U.S. Passport. Hopefully we will be back in Abidjan in about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Benjamin Josiah McAfee and friends

More pictures by popular demand!!! He sleeps a lot. The funny thing is he grunts when he sleeps, it is cute.

Here's mommy with baby and Caleb and Karis!!!

Mommy and Benjamin.

Family photo minus dad!!! Aren't they cute!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

There's a new McAfee in town!!!

I will let you oogle over the pictures first!!!! Here is one of his first after he got his clothes on!!! Heather said no naked baby pictures on the blog!!!! Weighing in at 7 1/2 pounds, Heather is glad she didn't have to wait the three weeks until his due date to deliver when he would have been around 9 lbs!!!

Benjamin's first close up!!!! Yes he does have hair, it is not as dark as Caleb's and not as blond as Karis'.

Hey there big sis!!!!

Yo!!! What's up big bro!!!!!

AAAHHH Dad's chest, nice and comfy!!!!

o.k. now for the story. We got up early 5:45am to get to the hospital to start the process of delivering the baby. I (Mike) had a head first run in with the shower wall (concrete) that nearly ended my day, but I was determined to not let a concussion slow me down. So off we went to the hospital for the induction of labor. However, when we got to the hospital we had to wait for them to finish cleaning the room. Yeah, it's Africa!!! They started the pitocin about 8:30 that morning and things seemed to progress well, slow but well. Things got a little complicated around noon when the baby's heart rate unexpectedly dropped and scared us to death. However the Dr., who by the way is a great Dr., came immediately and gave some fluids and the heart rate picked back up. around 3:15 Heather had progressed enough and the Dr. and nurses started preparing for the baby to come. at 3:30 the Dr. asked Heather if she could push and she did, but she didn't stop as she pushed the baby right on out with her first real push!!! All the Dr. and all the nurses were amazed that she was able to do it that fast and push for that long. anyway, I cut the chord and the baby was happy. He even started nursing right away without any problems!!! Heather and the baby are resting comfortably!!! Thank you all for your prayers during the last few weeks. We really felt the prayer support!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"I'm So Lonely"

McAfee cousins 2009

Second Birthday for this Year

Well, Mike, Caleb and Karis are living it up in the land of endless opportunity! Karis was so excited a few weeks ago as she explained to one of our seminary students that she has 2 birthdays this year. I was about to jump in and correct her and tell her that nobody has two birthdays, but then she said she had one birthday in Africa and would have another in the states. I suppose to her it must seem like a really great year to get to spend one of her "birthdays" with her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, not to mention the friends she'll get to see this week.

So far I've spent a lot of time with the family of my friend that is staying with me. It's nice to go sit and see regular old family life the African way; washing clothes in the driveway, cooking on a little cookfire of charcoal out in the yard, sweeping out the house and your whole yard with a little broom made of coconut palms no bigger than a whisk broom. I kind of hope some of the Moore language swirling all around me there is entering my thick skull and helping me. I also think I've eaten enough rice now to be at least 10% African. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep it up though. I think I may have to branch out in my food finding adventures!

Sunday I headed out to one of the churches in the city with a service in Moore. We had been there before, but since I was by myself I thought it would be nice to go again. I managed to get myself lost. Well, not really lost, but I didn't get out of the taxi right in front of the church as I'd meant to. I ended up walking around for 30 minutes trying to find the church. Hey, I've only been there twice and both times were well over a year ago! I was only off by one road, but that took considerable time to fix! Fortunately I'm in Africa and showing up to church a little late is no big deal. I don't think I really even missed much. It is really great to sit in a room with 250 believers and listen to them worship their maker from their heart in their own native tongue. I did however realize how great it is to be able to understand a good chunk of French and join in with the praise. I missed being able to do that. As you can imagine, the very pregnant white lady drew a little bit of attention to herself. They didn't remember me from before as I'd come with my family then, so I got to hold the microphone and introduce myself again. When I identified myself with Mike, they remembered us right away. This time I got to say that I am learning Moore, which brought cheers from the crowd and tons of encouragement for the journey!

In just a few more minutes my boosted mental state got a little deflate. Bear in mind that it was about 88 degrees with 95% or better humidity and an equator sun pounding on a metal roof just above our heads with 250 people crammed in a room with 2 windows on the same side of the building and no fans. Let's just say it was a little uncomfortable. Suddenly I felt something crawling on my neck. Remember, there's no cross wind, so it wasn't my hair blowing. I'm packed into the middle of a room in which I am a very conspicuous person anyway. I've already seen a nasty spider trying to get into my bag, which I kept a very close eye on as I don't love spiders and don't know which spiders here bite! Quickly I swiped at the critter. I felt my fingers brush something that didn't belong there, but couldn't identify what or be certain I'd knocked it away. After a few more swipes and serious panic beginning to set in, someone just behind me said "Sit forward. There was a fly or SOMETHING on you and you knocked it down your shirt!" Panic RISING! I immediately complied and the lady helped me flap my shirt about in a way that was supposed to dislodge said SOMETHING without disturbing greatly my neighbors. After a few seconds the lady behind me seemed satisfied that whatever IT was, IT was gone. Of course all I could think is how easy that is for someone ELSE to say! So I leaned back in my plastic chair and fully enjoyed the rest of the service, sort of. I'm telling you right now, though, if I'd felt something crawl I was fully prepared to scream and run. Fortunately that didn't become necessary.

I realized something else Sunday. Now if you are waiting for some huge spiritual insight, please do not hold your breath. What I value in a taxi driver has begun to shift as the day for our little one to be served his/her eviction papers and be introduced to this big bright world draws closer. Before I was happy with my taxi driver was driving in his own lane, stopping for red lights and remaining within the speed limit. Sunday I realized I was being incredibly grateful for my taxi driver dodging all potholes of which there are a million and let me just say we spent very little time in "our lane", not stopping suddenly and getting me to my destination as quickly as possible. Hopefully my values will shift back to law and order and safety after the next few weeks.

We only have a little bit of time left before the baby comes. Of course, as always, mom is hoping that little bit of time doesn't drag into the eternity it can seem like. We are very excited to meet the newest addition to the McAfee family and looking forward to introducing baby to you as well. If I don't blog for a while, don't panic. I'm probably just being lazy. We'll get you word of baby's arrival as soon as we can. As you might imagine, our hospital here is not equipped with wireless internet, so it may take a little time to get the news to you.

If you see my babies in the next couple of weeks, give them a kiss for me. If you don't, know that they would love to see you, but can't get everywhere this time.

Love to all,