Saturday, April 12, 2014

Roof Repairs

Here are the before and after pictures of the roof repairs. They were finishing the ceilings and some of the interior walls when we were at the house today. Please continue to pray for the construction finances and timing. 
This is the end of the school break for the boys and myself. I have come to the conclusion that I am not a person that does "stay-cations" well (there is just always too much work glaring at me when I am home). It is kind of ironic because the boys would be happy to have all of their vacations at home!   Please pray that we would be able to finish the school year well as we are in the heart of hot season: between the heat and the power cuts our patience and perserverence gets tested  on a regular basis.

Friday, April 4, 2014


I think the only thing worse than waiting for an extended period of time for something to happen is when you do that and just when you expected something to happen things get delayed even further. I was blessed that that didn't happen when I was expecting my kids (in fact both of them came a bit early). I guess I am just not all that patient.

Building a building is a lot like having a baby, especially in Niger. It is an exciting prospect filled with lots of hopes and dreams about the out come. You have all kinds of ideas about what it will be like, but you don't really know what it is going to cost you mentally, physically, emotionally (not to mention monetarily!); until you walk through it. You can have the best counsellors that have had an incredible amount of experience in the area help you through, but when it comes right down to it each person (and each building) is different and you basically have to learn as you go knowing that God is doing a good things through the process and that some day it will produce fruit. Now that I think about this, isn't that what life is all about? Keeping your focus on the goal; learning through the challenging times and realizing that God is taking us through it all and creating something beautiful in us, through us, with us and around us.
We were able to have an engineer inspect the roof of the building and make recommendations to the builder and architect. There are a couple of places where they have repaired the roof (I hope to attach a picture but my internet has been very temperamental lately), but there are a couple more to be completed before they can start on the wind tower. In the meanwhile they have been starting to install the bars on the windows and doors that are used to discourage theft here. (Hopefully I can add a picture of that too). Pray that we will be able to get things done well and that things would continue to make good progress despite the heat. We are really excited to hear that there is a team coming this summer from Canada to help with the construction. Please pray that all the details of that will run smoothly: that they will be able to get the finances together; that we will be able to find the right equipment and supplies for them and that they will have a really productive time.

Please continue to pray for the Pastor and his family and the church here in Niger.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The heat is on

I must be slightly out of my rocker because hot season is starting here and I am looking at recipes for "Perfect Winter Stew" you know the kind of recipe that has to cook on your stove for and hour and a half doing the double duty of heating your kitchen as well as feeding your family. Those recipes work when you have been experiencing a long tough winter in Canada but aren't the best idea for welcoming Niger's hot season. Nevertheless that is exactly what I made for supper tonight, probably because I am really sick (no, really, I have a nasty head cold that I have been battling for the last few days) and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Thankfully the kitchen is at the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, so everyone should be able to sleep tonight and the kids seemed to appreciate the meal even though I turned the kitchen into a sauna.

My reason for writing this (other than because I am sick and can't really think straight), is that we are drawing to the end of the third quarter this week for school. This is always the hardest time of year for teachers and students. The weather is getting hot. People are getting sick. Moral droops because the end isn't quite in sight yet and the work load is heavy, especially for the Grade 9's and 10's as they have to write their Cambridge International Exams (or IGCSEs)soon. In addition to all of this I have had the added responsibility of covering classes for another teacher/administrator that had to go home for the funeral of a parent. Please pray for me that I would be able to get rid of this cold quickly and that I would be able to finish well for the sake of both my class that is preparing for those exams and the other class that I am covering. Please pray for Cole who has taken on an extra heavy school schedule this year and will be writing 4 IGCSEs. Pray for Dave and Ben as they have to put up with me being sick (and doing crazy things like heating up the kitchen in hot season) and have to put up with the stress load that Cole and I are carrying.

Please also pray for the building project. We were so excited to see the roof going up only to find out this week there are a few problems with the ways the job was done. Pray that these would be fixed without too much difficulty or expense and that they would be done well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God's still working

We enjoyed the family day long weekend as it was supposed to be by taking some family time. We travelled to Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso, where Dave participated in a baseball tournament and the rest of us enjoyed cheering him on (and eating strawberries that are larger and more abundant there). Dave's team didn't win but we had some fun anyway.

It is amazing to see God's hand at work even in our "down time". While we were crossing the border we ran into some trouble with our battery, but the soldiers that had been recording our information where kind enough to find us some help with a push start. We were so grateful that we made it to the guest house where we were staying without a problem, in fact Ben was even able to enjoy dinner at one of his favourite restaurants for his birthday. God provided the help that we needed at least two other times over the course of that weekend and we are truly grateful.

Unfortunately, it is easy to loose sight of the good things that God is doing in times of difficulty and I fell prey to that last Wednesday. It started when the battery on my computer died and I realized that the person who had packed up my computer in Ouaga had neglected to pack the cord. Dave tried to find an alternate that would work (but that hasn't panned out). I didn't see much hope for my computer that had all my students grades on it. Then later that evening on the way home from the boys' bible study, Dave and the boys where side swiped in the car. Luckily no one was hurt and the car even succeeded in making is a couple blocks closer to home before the tire blew and they had to call me to come help (the spare had a hole from the week before and Dave had no money on him). Now every time I open the passenger door I hear an awful crunching sound and I am grateful that it wasn't one of my kids that was crunched (and I am thankful for God's protection). But it is also a frustrating reminder of the guy who hit them and didn't bother to stick around and find out if they were ok. We appreciate your continued prayers for our safety on the roads. There is the possibility of my cord being sent to us on a bus, we know this happens all the time but there are no guarantees with the process and packages sent that way are easily lost.

On another note, we were able to sit down with the architect today and talk about the building process. He seemed to think that we might be able to move into the building by June or July (if we weren't worried about things like tiles, paint, interior doors, cupboards, etc. The one thing that concerns me a little was that he has discovered that the transformer in our neighbourhood is maxed out and so they won't connect another building to it. Our options are to pay for a new transformer and hope that they can get one in the near future (which is an expensive option) or to find an alternate source of power (pricey and also with no guarantees of success). Please pray with us that God will provide this need as well as for the finances to finish the building.

Friday, January 31, 2014

new challenges

This week has taken several unexpected turns. On Monday, my father was following his usual routine of getting up at 5 AM to go to the exercise room in their condo when a cable broke on the exercise equipment while he was weight lifting. He`s still not quite sure what happened next but he woke up on the floor covered in blood and realized that at five in the morning no one was coming to look for him. He struggled back up stairs to the apartment dripping all the way and got my mother to call an ambulance. After an extended wait the ambulance finally arrived even though the hospital is a couple of blocks away. The paramedics were rather apologetic saying they`d been sent four times to get my dad but were called off for a more urgent call while en route. They think he`ll be fine but for now he has a concussion and over a dozen stitches. Please pray for his recovery.

Tuesday our pastor here in Niamey was informed by the UN officials in charge of refugees that Niger had signed off on the UN protocol ending his refugee status here. As a result he has until the end of March to either be integrated into Niger as a citizen or be repatriated to Rwanda and face three months military training. What will happen to the business school that he owns and the church that is meeting on his property? He could potentially go elsewhere if an official invitation were given from another country. Please pray for this family and the church that God would oversee their situation.

On a more positive note I met with a man from the church this week who has been travelling around villages an hour or so out of town. He  says that in the last couple of months he`s baptised over a dozen people. We discussed what might be the next steps in moving from making converts to making disciples and planting churches in villages where there is no church. He faces real challenges in that he doesn`t read in French, but instead has been listening to audio versions of the bible in some of the local languages. Please pray that we would be able to find or put together some useful tools in the Arabic script that he can read.

The roof has been put on our building (well all but the cooling tower) and the electrician has installed some of the basic wiring. We praise God that we have been able to come this far with that. Please pray that we would be able to finish the rest of the building in a timely manner and that the wiring would be done well with the appropriate types of wire (as this is a major issue in many buildings here in Niger). Thanks so much for being there for us in prayer, may you see God’s hand at work in your lives and ministry this week.