Friday, January 22, 2010

Just An Ordinary Day

I have had a lot of people ask me what a normal day for me is like. First answer of course is that normal went out the window a long time ago. Yesterday was one of those whacky days and I was in the middle of it getting irritated about it, then I decided to write about it instead.

I got up at the crack of dawn, not because I'm a good missionary and that's what good missionaries do, but because my sweet baby likes that hour of the day. A little later everybody else joined us and we ate breakfast and read the Bible. I threw a load of clothes in the wash (thank you to our merciful Father that knows I don't have the patience to wash clothes by hand!) and started washing the dishes. Now I was feeling pretty good about how the day was shaping up so far, I mean we read the Bible before noon for Pete's sake! Now let's see, "Pride goes before a ...", oh forget it. So Mike goes off to do language and run an errand and I start the kids in school. I get Benjamin down for a nap and he wakes up in 2 minutes. The dog starts barking incessantly. Both other kids are wanting immediate help with each of their school acitivities. So I get the baby who commences to cry for the next 3 hours unless I let him nurse constantly. Someone lets the dog in and I get a whiff of rotting frog carcass on her, so I send her back out! Of my two children still doing school, one suddenly can't spell 3 letter words, the other can't even write the first letter of a word without help.

I put the screaming baby in his bed. He's crying anyway, why not! I threaten the two older kids within an inch of their life that they'd better start applying themselves. I grab the dog who is again barking like a fool, and head off to wash her. So now I've got the dog all suds up, the baby's crying, I've got one kid hanging off of my leg saying "Mama, how do I spell, Benjamin is crying?", the other kid was smart enough to give Mom a little breathing room at this point and was attempting his grammar project solo. Fast forward a little while. How I got out of that mess is really a blur. I had collapsed in the living room into our stinky arm chair and I'm thinking to myself, just wait until Mike gets here and I'll run away!!! About then, I heard the gate which meant he was home. Ha! Wait until he sees this. Then I begin to realize the whole house is quiet. I look around and realize the baby has fallen asleep nursing, the oldest kid is reading quietly in a chair, the younger kid is correcting her math page by herself, and the dog is lying quietly on the rug smelling like a rose! Why me?

The rest of the day was much more boring, grocery store, language learning, buying veggies, meal prep, team meeting, bathing and putting to bed the baby and all of that stuff.

We've got some exciting days to come. Friends from here and there all over West Africa are headed here in the next month. Everybody is excited to see various people they love and miss. We hope to see you soon too! Come on over, we've always got an empty bed and a spot at the table for friends!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's so funny Benjamin???

I'm sitting up like a big boy!!!! Do you think I look older than 3 months in this picture?

I can see out and I might be able to pull up in a few days and escape!!! You better watch out mommy and daddy!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who is this Beautiful Woman???

Heather finally decided it was worth the pain to give this a try. She looks great, but she says it hurts a lot. Karis said she was next, but Heather has told her she can not do it because it hurts too much.

This is a closer view of the braids at the end.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Year in Review and a Look Forward

Well 2009 was a great year for our little McAfee family. We boosted our numbers from 4 to 5. We officially finished our French language learning. Everyone made a trip to the US to see some of our favorite people. We enjoyed a visit from the grandmothers. We made new friends, strengthened old friendships, told new stories and our favorite old ones, visited new cities and even a new country. We hosted a team from Parkwood Baptist Church and enjoyed several months with some seminary students from Southern. We saw some of our first contacts in Vridi baptized into a local church and our teammates have watched their small group take one step closer to church. We had our 3rd annual mission staff Christmas party and once again put down a load of food, and enjoyed the chance to serve those that so often do the hard stuff we couldn't begin to do on our own. It's been a great one!

We are excited about what 2010 holds for our family as well. Karis and Caleb are still being homeschooled. Karis has become quite the good reader, although she prefers some of her other subjects. It's just neat to know that not too terribly long ago we were struggling with what letters make what sounds and now she's reading real books with real plots. Caleb is also an excellent reader. He is usually more interested in weird and unusual animal facts than history, but he has enjoyed the literature approach to history that our curriculum uses. Less and less often when he says, "Mom, did you know...", can I say, "Yes, I did know that." The kids have gotten really interested in a new line of board games. One of them is called "Settlers" and they enjoy playing those as a family or just with each other and our teammates daughter.

Our Benjamin is quite the cutie now. He can really turn on the charm when he wishes. He smiles and laughs and coos. He's got strong legs and usually looks as if he is running on air while seated or he climbs Mom like a tree while someone talks to him. The only time he is really still is when he is asleep. He also has a huge pouty lip that he sticks out if things aren't going his way. He can also wail like a banshee if he's stated his needs and nobody's jumping to do what he wants. He's just gotten a new toy that suits him well. They used to call them a "Johnny JumpUp", but don't know what they are now. He's still just a little small for it, but it is the perfect thing for his unstoppable legs. I had thought that having 3 adult sets of hands around the house and 2 big kid sets would make this baby a breeze, but it just so turns out, he thinks that means that 1 person should be holding him at all times with another 2 to 4 entertaining him. So much for that idea.

Mike and I are both deep into our second language learning. We've had so many unexpected happenings last year that they are coming along much slower than we'd hoped. I can say for myself that I have enjoyed this language in many ways. It's my first real shot at learning someone's heart language and it makes a real difference to say things with words that are at the center of who someone is. There are definitely so many more words that are just beyond what sounds I am capable of forming. Maybe some day!! My tutor has finally learned to understand when I've asked her to say words in succession it's because I don't hear the difference in the words. We've also finally stopped the "You don't hear the difference in those words?!!", "Noooo, and you do?" game we used to play. She will still tell me frequently that a set of words are totally different, but now she will sometimes admit that words really do sound alike. She has also finally decided that I will always say that I am afraid of the floor as opposed to sweeping the floor and that I should really avoid saying that I am sick because it comes out that I am a dog. Many people on the road where we live, know that I am learning and take special pride in that. They also take great joy in thinking up ways to say ordinary things so that I won't understand. It's incredibly amusing to hear the white lady say "I don't understand that!" It's great on the days that they give me props and nod like proud parents when I figure it out and get it right!

Our storying groups are really in a very similar place to where they have been for a while. There are those who have heard and believed, but nobody really seems to be interested in putting forth the effort to gather others to hear. We are looking for those that are ready to hear, believe and go with the gospel to those around them. We have those special people in our lives that we long so badly for them to understand and believe, but they just haven't done that. I've had some real lessons in the fact that I can't draw a heart to believe or convict someone of their need for a Savior. All I can do is pray that the Spirit speaks and my friends listen and be faithful to keep the gospel ever before them. I hope and pray that 2010 is the year that they will have ears to hear.

We are looking forward to some teams coming this year. Parkwood will have another team with us in May and our teammates are looking to have 2 teams here from their church. We also think that we may be able to come to the states for a few months starting the end of this year, if all goes well with that. We will hope to see you then! Mike is hoping for a big trip with our teammate to another country to observe Urban work in action and I'd be thrilled if I get to go to Burkina this year. We'll see. That's not currently in the plan, but I'm thinking language field trip!! Mike is also hoping to be up country again the end of this month with the wonderful Singermans.

There are big changes in the works with IMB, so we are trying to get that all figured out. One thing we know for sure is that we need your help more than ever. With this huge city, we need you here working alongside us. Bring your church, your association or your state convention, we don't care. Our manpower is going to come from those of you that hear the call and drop your lives in the states to spend a couple of weeks or months on our side of the pond. The harvest is ready, but the workers are few!! Thank you as always for your gifts to Lottie Moon and the Cooperative Program, they keep us here. We'd love to have you here too, though, so drop us a line and let's get it in the works!! You'll love my Mossi people and the rest of Abidjan too. I'm telling you, Africa gets in your blood and I'm not talking about the mosquitos.;)

We love you all so much and I want to end with a traditional African new year blessing. The first time you greet someone in the new year, you must bless them, so here goes. Our best wishes for 2010. May God bring you health, wisdom in face of hard times, strength for your difficulties, grace for your shortfallings, peace in your family and may you experience the love of God in new ways this year. If I was truly being African, I'd also wish you lots of money, many more kids and maybe even another wife, but I'll not go there. ;)

Love to all,