Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One of Those Days!!!!

Well, today was one of those days where you just have to do what you have to do.  I have been going to Seidou's house for several weeks now.  I usually go right after breakfast to avoid eating anything at his house.  Seidou has a good heart, but they don't have very much money, so I don't want to impose any more financial burden on them by always eating with them.  Well, today it was unavoidable.  I arrived at Seidou's house around 10am and did my normal greeting and asking about the family.  My main goal is telling Seidou Bible stories.  I was getting ready to tell Seidou this weeks story when his sister came in with a bowl, and I knew what it was.  I thought maybe I could just sit while they ate, but immediately they got a bowl and a spoon for me.  Well, I decided that if I am going to eat with them, then I am going to eat with them like they eat.  So I declined the extra bowl and spoon and washed my hands in the offered bowl of water and dug my right hand into this hot plate.  I thought for a moment that maybe I should have taken the spoon since my right hand fingers now seemed to be on fire.  The dish served was called "Cabato" or just "Toe" for short.  It is a mushy paste type dish that you dip in sauce.  Well, I sucked it up and then dipped my food in the sauce and stared eating with my friends.  It was one of those days where you pray"Lord, if I get it down, then can you please keep it down."  Luckily the Lord kept it down for me and when we were finished Seidou asked me for this weeks story.  Not only did I tell him the story, but then he asked if he could read the story.  So we told the story again and then we read the story I had written.  Please pray for Seidou as he and his family are Muslims, but we recently were able to give him a Bible in Arabic, which he can read, and he has told me he wants to know the truth.  Please pray that these stories will touch his heart and the hearts of his family and they will see the truth that Jesus is the only way that we can gain eternal life.
-Mike

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vridi Buddies


This is Christine that has been suffering with illness.   You can see her stick arms sticking out of her shirt.  I told her people all over the world are praying for and she is very happy with that.


This is my friend Alima.  She has a permanent smile.  





This is dear Grace.  Her mom, Marie, lost her husband in August in the bus accident.  Grace is hanging out at mom's market stall, while mom does people's hair for a buck or two.




I got my camera out at Vridi the other day so that you can see some of my buddies.  I don't get around to taking a lot of pictures as it can be quite a distraction and a little weird.  I know you like to put names with faces, though. 

This week has been challenging as Caleb has been sick.  He'd been sick since just after Christmas, but we finally got some good medical advice and he is doing much better.  This time of year, a dust comes down from the dessert and sits in the air like smog.  We don't have as much trouble here as they do further north, but we do see some of it.  The doctor Caleb saw recently feels like he had an asthma like reaction to the dust.  Because of that, he's been having serious trouble breathing for the last few weeks.  After spending most of every day this week at the doctor's office, Caleb is doing really well.  Thanks, Christi, for the recommendation!

It feels crazy to say, but we'll be traveling again in just over a week.  We don't travel much, but this year it has come in bunches.  We'll be headed over to Ghana to get refreshed spiritually and share some of the things we learned in Vancouver.  We are looking forward to seeing some old friends and are currently planning to stay an extra day so Mike and Caleb can watch the superbowl with friends instead of solo. 

With Love,
Heather

Niger






You've heard about my Burkina escapades, but the real purpose for my trip last week was to go to a home school conference in Niger.  I'd never been to Niger, so it was a treat to get to go.  I wished the whole week that the kids had come as all of the rest of the attendees were able to drive there and so brought their kiddos.  The guest house was located on this pretty river, but the rest of the countryside was pretty brownish red.  I got a chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones.  The rest of the trip was mostly in class.

I got home to find everyone in Abidjan safe and sound.  I think they even ate while I was gone.  I was putting Ben to bed that first night and after the lights were out and I'd said goodnight, Ben called, "Mama, no airplane, no bye bye!"  I guess he did miss me after all.

Heather

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ben 1 Cor. 6:19-20

video
Every morning we read the Bible and learn a Bible verse.  Ben learns them too and also loves to read his Bible.  Here is Ben saying 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Time In Burkina Faso

 Where I stayed was a 45 minute walk off the road, so my friend carried my suitcase on her bike.



Adiara and her youngest

Adiara's sister




So, I’m off on my own.  I left Ben and the rest of the gang in the truck at the airport Sunday afternoon.  He cried.  I cried.  Mike gave Ben a sucker.  He stopped crying and I don’t really want to analyze where that puts me on Ben’s list of favorite things!!!!

In normal African form, the trip was interesting.  We got of a bit late, but not too bad.  We fly into an airport just a bit before the landing time I had listed, so I figured we must have made up time in the air, yay us!  I’m looking around as we taxi and things are a lot greener than I expected.  I have never been to Burkina in January, but since it’s during the dry season, I had the idea everything would look dead.  No matter.  I continue reading my Kindle which was malfunctioning and really irritating me.  Every few minutes the stupid thing would freeze up and I’d have to spend about 5 minutes or getting it rebooted and find my place in my book again because it would return to the front of the book!  Notice my level of distraction here.  Add to that, announcements on airlines here are barely recognizable in any language and they are speaking a language that’s not my mother tongue.  At any rate, while reading, I thought I caught the name “Lome” which is a city in a country several over from ours.  To start with, I write it off as mishearing or possibly an announcement for where the airplane is going next.  It’s not unusual for our airlines to stop over at multiple cities.

Next time, the announcement comes on I try really hard to listen better, but I’m still getting Charlie Brown’s teacher in my head and there it was again, “Lome”.  I can’t figure out what in the world they were talking about, so I pull out all of my information.  No, it clearly says my plane will arrive in Ouaga at this time.  Crud!  Now I think back.  What if I got on the wrong plane?  I’m probably going to jail.  I know I’ll go to airline jail because I don’t have a visa for Togo.  No, no I remember well that the monitor over the lady’s head had read Ouaga.  OK.  Maybe I’m hallucinating and this is Ouaga.  I’m searching the airport for any signs on the outside that would give me a clue.  The Air Togo hangar made me worried, but I see no other evidence of where I am.  I get really desperate and decide to ask my neighbor.

I know, I know.  You figure that since I’m a missionary I’ve already lead my seat mate to Christ and gathered believers in my section to form a church plant of rows C through G.  A and B would have rounded out the alphabet but we don’t want things so big that we can’t really get to know one another, right?  …  And here’s the truth.  I’ve spoken only a couple of words to the lady and she doesn’t want to talk to me and I’m happily working on my Kindle, remember?  Whatever the reply is at this point, I’m going to look like an idiot, but here goes.  “Excuse me, isn’t this Ouaga?”  “No.”  Gee, thanks for the help!

I did eventually make it to Ouaga.  Fortunately being 2 hours late is quite acceptable here and so it all worked out fine!  My friend didn’t even comment on my tardiness.

I love the city-village life and so I had asked to spend the night at my Burkinabe friend, Agira’s house.  Those following for a while remember her as my dear friend that you’ve prayed for for ever so long.  The nasty red clay dust, Ouaga was brown by the way, really choked me up to start with.  I’m certain it has settled in parts of my lungs that aren’t supposed to be dusty, too, so I could be dealing with it for years to come.  I got to spend the night in a little clay hut, unfortunately it was square instead of round.  I slept on the concrete floor on a plastic mat.   Some of you just conjured up a kindergarten nap mat in your head and were horrified by the small level of cushioning that would have been.   I don’t want to deceive you here.  My mat had 0 cushion because it was made of tiny plastic straws woven together!!!  Now the locals are all complaining about the cold, but at that point it was only around 75 and with no wind blowing in the little hut, I was fine.  Around 4 AM it dropped to around 60 and my thin African blood was no longer tolerating that.  My arms hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurt and my nose was frozen.  I had reached for the only thing I could find in the night which was the towel I’d dried off with when I took my outhouse with no roof, bucket bath a few hours earlier.  I think I dozed off a couple of times, but it was a long night.  Maybe I should look into purchasing one of those kindergarten mats! 

I woke up to donkey’s braying, sheep and goats frolicking and little pigs oinking.  I don’t know how they manage to have little pigs because I never see big pigs!  All this farm life roaming around gives the village feel, but the fact that I can look over the outhouse wall and count no less than 30 huts gives the city feel.  It’s all complicated and interesting and I love it mostly because I got to spend nearly 24 hours with a dear friend I can only see once every couple of years.

We stopped to rest after lunch as is local custom and since I was super tired I dozed off right away.  Within a few moments, the feel of something climbing up my stomach awakened me.  I screamed and dove over the nearest sleeping body as sleep gave way to realization.  It seems the mice mistook me for a jungle gym.  All I can say is that I am thrilled they didn’t try that trick in the dark!!

 On a final note, I didn’t really get to share more about Christ with my friend, partly because I don’t know what more I’d share.  I’ve told her nearly every Bible story I know.  Listened along with her to 2 gospels in her language.  I’ll never give up hoping, but it didn’t happen this trip.  I was interested to hear how God is answering some of my prayers and yours for her.  She mentioned a friend she has made that believes in praying for others “like you” she says.  She also mentioned that this friend was a Muslim, but converted.  I’m interested in seeing where God is going with this one!!

My love to all,
Heather

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fireworks

OK.  So, those of you that are REALLY close friends and family already know about my firework phobia.  The rest of you, just get ready to say, "We always knew there was something wrong with that girl!"  For as long as I can remember I've had a dislike for fireworks.  They scare me.  I don't even like sparklers.  I especially hate the loud things.  They make me want to hide in a closet and not come out!  Unfortunately, living in a big city means fireworks are everywhere.  They like to shoot them off the week of Christmas and more and more until New Year's comes and goes.


For the last several weeks or more like a few months, we've been hearing firecrackers in the streets.  Firecrackers are among my least favorite of the fireworks especially if I don't know they are coming.  Think with me for a moment here.  Only a few months ago here, men had guns and were running around in the streets shooting them at one another.  I've felt OK about being here, fairly safe and not too worried, but random pow pow noises in the street are not really what I want to hear!!!!

Fast forward to the weekend of New Year's.  Before the sun is even down, people started with the bottle rockets and firecracker and some sort of super bottle rocket.   Around 9, apparently the city stages a big show which consists of an hour worth of constant fireworks including that big cannon sounding thing they like to do in the grand finale of a show in the states.  I went outside in the yard for one reason only, to look and see if there was a portion of the city going up in a TNT explosion or something.  I thought maybe somebody had gotten into one of the supposed weapons cache things and had blown it up.  I thought the whole city might be blown off the map, with what I heard.  That went on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night.  The neighbors seem to have finally run out of their stash, much to my relief!  Since buying and selling fireworks is illegal here, I have no idea how the WHOLE city came by them, but I'm glad they seem to be gone for now.

This week, I've been getting ready for my first solo trip since Ben was born.  I have to go to Niger for a home school conference.  I'm hoping he'll be good for Mike and not notice I'm gone.

This week has also brought up one of the biggest challenges to me of living overseas.  Caleb has had a bad cough and I finally decided it was time to take him to the doc.  She says it's bronchitis and gave him a boatload of meds.  When he didn't respond like I thought he should to those, I am posed with the ever present dilemna.  Do I really trust the healthcare here and where can I turn if I don't?  I suppose I had an easy time of things in the states.  The kids aren't sick much, I was never sick much either.  When the doctor told me I had an illness, I believed them.  If they said, it's not something to worry about, I didn't worry.  If they gave me medicine, I took it.  All of the sudden, we're off in the wild blue yonder.  I barely understand the doctor and I'm not always sure they understood me.  They treat people differently here.  They explain nothing.  They prescribe unnecessary meds.  We've been frequently misdiagnosed, sometimes gravely so.  I've even been prescribed medicines that don't exist.  We do have help.  We have people we can call, it's just so frustrating not to know a doctor in country that I feel like I can trust.  To end a long rant, Caleb is doing better today.  I think the meds are finally working and he'll be fine.  It's just a reminder that "I'm not in Kansas anymore"! ;)  I miss my family, I miss my friends and I miss Dr Milroy!

Heather