Sunday, March 21, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

...And that is exactly what it is doing here at nights already. Normally we don't move on into the rainy season for another couple of months, at least from our experience, but we are getting hard rains early. Don't worry though, it's still hot as blue blazes during the day. :) We did get some fun word that possibly the regular power outages are finished. We'll see, but that is definitely not one of those things that I will grieve its passing!!!

I am however already beginning to grieve what will be the parting of my close friend to Burkina next month. I've mentioned her frequently, but only those that have been here know how big a part of my everyday that she is. Now let's just rewind a few years and see how perspective changes. Not all that many years ago, I barely knew anything about Muslims. Just before we left the states, our church went through the 30 days of prayer and fastings with an emphasis on Muslims. Through that I got a small taste and begin to have a heart for those striving so hard, but living without a real relationship with their Creator. Then God, in all his infinite wisdom, brought me to a city where a very large chunk of the people follow Islam. What is so very, very hard to watch is that some of them are so very religious, putting forth serious effort to do enough to please the most High, while totally missing the fact that WE can never DO enough. I began to have my eyes opened to the importance of me sharing at every opportunity, but also praying earnestly for the Spirit's work, because it is the work of the Father to draw the heart. This in no way releases me from my responsibility to "always be prepared" and to strive to stand before the throne innocent of the blood of those who reject truth. But even yet, God would continue to work in my heart anew. I would still at that point pray for nameless, faceless Muslims. Now there are names and faces woven into my prayers, and very especially the name Agira. I've lived most of my life with barely any friends that don't at least confess to believe in the name of Jesus. Now I know what many of you have known for a long time and that is what it feels like to care so deeply for someone that means so much to you, but can't see and understand the vital, simple truth that would set them free. Now this friend, that has heard SO MANY stories will be moving out of my reach, praise be to God that she won't be out of His. I'll still keep in touch with her, hopefully I'll see her as often as I can, but that will be a two day journey each way, and I'll pray for her until she believes. She will continue to be a reminder of the importance of the call to leave the comforts of home. God loves her infinitely more than I do, and I feel privileged to be an ambassador for Christ with the hopes and prayers that she and others can be forever free from the bondage of sin and darkness.

Another hard thing of being here is looking into the eyes of the sick and dieing. Yesterday I prayed for a baby that is only a few months old. I really don't even have a clue what is wrong with this little one, but I know that without the miraculous touch of the Savior, he'll not live much longer. His mom is a Muslim woman that sits near an older Catholic lady I story to. She has never wanted to listen to the story, begging off on the pretense that her French isn't good enough, which may be true. She's accepted my prayers on many occasions as I've asked her if I could pray for her. Mike and I went by her house after the birth of this baby and prayed for him as we do all newborns. Yesterday, she asked that as soon as I had time, could I please pray for her baby. I haven't seen him since he was born and I looked around into lifeless eyes. He had sticks where plump little arms and legs should have been. I prayed for this little one with all that I've got, not with shouts and demands, but from a broken heart. I can't tell you that I got a feeling that all will turn out well with this baby. I prayed for courage for his mom as well as his ultimate healing. What I do know is that for him to make it will be an undeniable miracle, but I also know that sometimes walking through the difficulties is what brings us to our knees. Please join me as I pray for this little one and his mom.

On a lighter note, but to add insult to injury, sadly Mike has finished his second language before me! He passed his test today. I don't know if you remember or not, but we chose different languages to help break into the diversity of the city. AND, not that I'm making excuses but, everybody says that Moore is the harder choice, just sayin'. I haven't yet taken my test. I don't feel like I am quite where I want to be and so will hold off a little longer before attempting to move on. Saying goodbye to learning this language will likely come in conjunction to me saying goodbye to my favorite Moore speaker as I mentioned earlier and that may be some of my hesitation as well. I do know that as God finishes chapters in the story of our lives, new chapters begin. So hopefully I will be telling you soon with joy and sadness that I too have achieved my required Moore level. So congrats to Mike and HIT THE STREETS (because hitting the books is not what I need at this point) to me! I have to just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk now until this comes.

So, here's me wearing my heart on my sleeve. I hope my senseless ramblings have touched your hearts because that's why I write. We see that the harvest is ripe and we need to pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers for the field whether that is PRAYers, GIVErs, GOers, ENCOURAGErs or whatever God calls you to. You know you can do more than one of those too! ;) Go, go, go, go, come, come, come...

Love you a lot,
P.S. I promise I'll get Benjamin and the gang pictures back up soon!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Name

First Food


See that hair Nana!

For those of you that have followed the Blog for quite some time, you will remember that when we first got to Africa, I was sad because my name is to difficult for our friends and neighbors to say, so I went nameless for a while. In February of '08 I got my first African name, Esther. That has been my most used name, although I've accumulated quite a collection Mariam, Awa, Fatimata and many others, but there is a quite persistent new name that I have now. I am BenjaminMa. Calling a women by her firstborn's name is very common here, but my first and second born children have names that are also difficult. To add to that, they don't walk with me out in the community a lot and so not everyone knows them as well as myself. I enjoy being out walking in the heat, go figure! However, EVERYONE knows Benjamin. So I am wearing proudly my new name and hope that by some miracle when we go stateside in November, I will remember to respond to my given name!!!

I would ask that you all remember my friend Agira for the next little while. She is expecting her 5th child in September, which will hasten her departure from Abidjan. I don't really know when yet, but fear she'll be moving back to Burkina in just a few short months. She's been very sick this week with asthma, and I was very worried for a few days, but she's on the mend now. Just pray that Father draws her heart and she will see and believe the Truth. Pray too that I am sensitive to the Spirit's leading as I want so badly for her to believe.

My love to all,

The Lights are Out, the Party's Over

We've been experiencing intermittent power outages for the last 6 weeks or so. It usually isn't more than four times a week, but it is usually all day, or all night, when it happens. To beat the heat, Benjamin likes to strip down and soak in a cold sink of water around noon. I wish I was still that little!

I do wish you would pray for the people of Abidjan. Many people make a meager living by selling frozen juice or sewing or many other things that require electricity. These days really hurt them. This has also led to a city wide water shortage which is very difficult for those that don't have enough money to go buy water on days when there is not enough to drink.

With Love,

More Pix

Up on all fours
Benjamin doesn't want to practice sitting, he wants to crawl!

Checking some email with Dad

Well so much for the idea that baby number 3 won't be as photographed as his siblings!