Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A wedding

This week we had something of a new experience. We were invited by a friend and neighbour to participate in his daughter’s wedding. We had actually been invited almost a month in advance but weren’t really clear on the date (it had to do with how long it took the groom to get the bride price together).  This was a unique wedding in many different ways. Instead of the bride being housed in the most luxurious family member’s house, she was at home in her families hut. Instead of there being lots of musicians around looking to “patronize” the wedding participants (singing their praises until they are given money to quit)—there were none. This could have been a reflection on the wealth of the family (or not) or  (if we understood correctly) may have had something to do with the fact that this was the third attempt for the bride to marry.  It is sometimes difficult to sort some of these things out since we don’t share a common language. This was a Tamajek (Touareg) wedding and our Tamajek doesn’t get beyond a few greetings; our friends don’t speak French and only a little Zarma. We enjoyed sharing in the celebration despite the difficulty with communication.

 I (Jenn) had fun taking pictures. The kids were trying to teach me how to count to three in Tamajek, but unfortunately I think I may have forgotten as quickly as I learned. It was also great fun to see the reaction of the older ladies when I showed them how my ipad could take a reverse photo. The oldest lady there jumped back with surprise when she realized that she was seeing her own reflection in the camera. I don’t think I have had that much fun taking a “selfy” before.

Tonight when we went to deliver copies of some of the pictures they tried to give us a lesson in who was related to whom. I am not really sure that I followed it all but it clearly brought them a lot of joy to have pictures of their family members. Please pray for this family that they might discover the truth about Jesus. Pray for the bride who is young.

Thanks for all your prayers for my back they have really made a difference. I am moving much better these days and it seems like the spasms are much less frequent.

 Please also continue to pray as we make decisions about the property and the re-building. Things have slowed down in the clean up a little as there is less demand for the bricks and debris with the rains slowing down. On that note, you can pray that the rains will continue long enough for the crops to make it to maturity and provide a good harvest.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Unexpected Rest

I have given the special blessing this week of time to rest, reflect and pray. It wasn’t really of my own choosing and I really wasn’t expecting it. Unfortunately it wasn’t an all expense paid vacation to a mountain top (or coastal beach) retreat centre (maybe that will come some day!). I simply put my back out and was having a really hard time functioning. So, I spent a few days rotating between laying on my back, walking oh so carefully and sitting in the best chair in our house trying to give the anti-inflammatory drugs a chance to take the swelling down and hopefully get me functioning better. The end result was I got to take lots of naps (although I am not really sure how well I was sleeping at night) and I spent a good deal of time praying and praising. I have had to learn to ask for help with things and I might be driving my family crazy because I haven’t been able to do a whole lot, but maybe they are coming to a better understanding of what I usually do (although sometimes whether they even see half of the things that drive me crazy). The doctor here has switched the anti-inflammatories that she has me on and I seem to be a bit better in the mornings for a bit longer, so hopefully it will resolve itself soon. I am grateful for the rest and the time to refocus on God, but it would be really nice if it didn’t come at such a cost.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dave's week

It’s been a slow process of getting back into routine. Jennifer and the boys have been back to school for two weeks now. With the increase in driving the boys back and forth across town I managed to be in two car accidents last week. No one is hurt but they are reminders that the number one reason for missionary mortality is motor vehicle accidents.

On a brighter note the clean-up at the house is progressing and may well be finished this week. Jennifer was encouraged to see that some of the brick and debris was being put to good use in the neighbourhood potholes. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom as we discuss the plans for rebuilding with the architect and that things will come together in a timely manner.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Faithful In the Little Things

We all know people who are quick to offer us the world but let us down regularly in the day to day of life. I think it is important to have people around that can help expand your vision and catch a glimpse of the possibilities that are out there, but what I appreciate the most is the friend that is faithful to take care of the little things when you need them the most. We were blessed to have visitors that were those kind of people this month. It is always a tremendous blessing to have visitors from home that help to reconnect you to home and provide a new perspective on life (and bringing treats is a real bonus)! I want to thank the Redcliffes for all their encouragement: not just their words and gifts but also their acts of kindness at a time when I really needed them. I really appreciat

ed their willingness to do the little jobs that get pushed aside when life gets busy, but can add pressure if they aren’t done when they are needed. Thanks for being willing to cook supper when I was in a meeting all day, for fixing chairs and door locks and outlets and more chairs and helping to place buckets in key locations during the rain.  Thanks for being willing to look at and brainstorm on the jobs that you couldn’t do too, even that is a tremendous help (saving us time trying a bunch of things that won’t work can be valuable too). Thanks for being willing and being faithful to come and be with us for awhile. It is great to have friends that understand us a little better having lived with us even for a little while.
The layers of what is left!
I guess what I am saying is so many times in life we get caught up in the “mountain moving” big events and think that that is what we need to be a part of or accomplish, when a “cup of water in Jesus name” can be just what is needed in the moment.
A bit overwhelming
Since I mentioned moving mountains, I should add that they have started the clean up on the building site. It is my prayer that somehow God could use even this to be a blessing to our community. Please pray with me that the broken bricks and cement could be useful in filling rainy season potholes and pits and that the truck moving it would not dig up the road any worse than it already is. Pray that we would have an opportunity to meet with the chief du quartier about this soon.
May you find yourself faithful in the little jobs God is providing for you this week!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ten Days with the Wrights by Doreen Redcliffe

"It is who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in their worship.” John 4:23-24,   The Message

Jenn & Dave’s lives as Christ worshippers are seen in their interactions with anyone they meet. Although sometimes western dress is seen, they are careful to wear African clothes, greet people properly—even when in a hurry, and show utmost respect for the culture and country where they work.

During our visit we experienced a heavy rainfall. With no sewage or drainage systems in the area, flooding soon caused havoc on the roads. We saw an 18 wheeler coming with water above its tires. When Jenn’s turn came to navigate the water, she prayed for guidance & protection and started through. The water was up to the headlights on their 4x4. On the other side of the water we were able to get much needed gas, watch guys pushing vehicles out of the water and praise God for safety. Jenn shared her praise with the attendant at the gas station who laughed and agreed. Their lifestyle shows their worship.

We had the privilege of attending the 6th anniversary of the first Free Methodist Church in Niger. Although it was hot and humid, the Wright’s dressed according to African custom. Jenn wore a head covering in spite of the heat. The service was in French with lively singing and everyone participating. Together we shared communion. During visiting time after the service Dave & Jenn were very careful to follow African protocol and show their love for this church family. Once again, their lifestyle shows their worship.

One day while running errands, the car started to jerk and lose power and stall. In Niamey traffic this is not good.  As episodes became more frequent,  Jennifer decided to go to the mechanics. Since the car needed major work, she called Dave to come and get us. After completing more errands we headed home to put away the solar cooker. Just then the wind came up and clouds rolled in. There was just enough time to put away the solar cooker and close windows before the rain started. Rain came fast and hard as did the leaks. Basins & pails were used to catch the water. During dinner Dave felt drops on his head. He quietly got a bowl and held it to catch drops while conversations continued. At these trying times they praised God for the many positive things happening. They show their worship in difficulties. What a privilege to be here and experience a little of life in Niamey with the Wright family.

Praise God for:
 -safe travel from Germany and visitors from Canada.
 -Protection and safety when the car broke down and the roads washed out.
Pray for:
-Ben, Cole Dave & Jenn as a new school year, with new challenges begins next week.
-rest for Jenn & Dave who are exhausted
-guidance for next steps in the building process & ministry
-strength to show God’s love in numerous daily upsets