Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before, the Night Before

Or maybe the morning of the night before (ie 3 am -if I go back to bed when I am done this is it still morning)?

I thought I should bring you up to date on our Christmas celebrations/plans so far. Yesterday I baked muffins, brownies and banana cake all before nine in the morning. It was cooler then and the electricity was working (which isn’t always the case lately). We spent most of the day rushing around preparing for a Christmas Eve party that we are holding tonight for our friends in the neighbourhood (or maybe “the whole neighbourhood”?). That and delivering some Christmas presents to some people who work for us. Oh and did I mention that we also got a zarma class in? The boys were troopers, but got kind of sick of being on the road between the shopping, delivering and our class. Their reward was to go to their favourite Chinese restaurant for supper, or was that my reward?

When the boys got to bed we worked on our own family Christmas—wrapping the presents we brought back with us or one of the Grandmas and Grandpas sent. We expect that today will be filled with finishing the baking for the party and the rest of the preparations. We are having an open house. We will be stringing up our one string of Christmas lights and opening the front gate to any and all of the neighbours that want to come for some cake, juice and Christmas music. Dave has a book with some pictures in it that he plans on telling the Christmas story to the kids and any adults that want to hear. If you are in the neighbourhood from 8ish-10pm stop by!

Please pray that the right people will come; that we will know how to handle all of the kids (without causing a mini riot!); that Dave will have the right words to say and that our neighbours might have ears to hear. Pray also that I might be able to communicate and be a good host in a culture that I am still only learning about. (And that I can stay awake and alert for all of this Nigerien hours tend to be past my bed time! ) We are praying that this may start some dialogue with our neighbours about spiritual things.

Did I mention that when this is all over there is a church service that starts at 11pm and runs until 6am Christmas morning at a church that we have been helping with? (I think we might stop in for an hour or so… depending on how things go at the house).
Merry Christmas All!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Electricity Craziness & Tabaski

This week our electricity has been crazy. On and off and when it is "on" it is frequently so low that the lights won't even come on at night. As a result, I am writing this at 2:30am (I suppose insommnia has something to do with it too!)--so if it doesn't make much sense that is why. We have been truly grateful for the abundance of candles that our friends in Brantford brought with them in August! It really wouldn't be too bad if our stove wasn't a North American one that has an electric starter, so it won't release the gas to start heating the oven without the starter bringing the stove to a certain temperature. Even that might not be too bad if I didn't have a whole lot of baking that I needed to get done this week for meetings and things. UGH! Needless to say this isn't the first time this week that I have been up in the middle of the night trying to take advantage of the electricity while it seemed to be functioning. Maybe it is time to consider replacing the oven, but I really appreciate the size of it compared to the typical Nigerien ones. I guess I will just have to wait to see how permanent the electric problem is.

This week was Tabaski, the 'sheep' festival as some people call it. It is the Islamic holiday where they slaughter (ideally) a ram as an atonement and remembering the ram that Abraham slaughtered in replace of his son. That means that there were two national holidays on Monday and Tuesday this week. (We are hoping that this is why the electric company has been playing with our power and that things will improve next week). The first day of the "fete" the sheep gets slaughter and roasts by a big fire for most of the day. On the second day you either go around visiting friends and neighbours to share some of your mutton or the poor will go from house to house to collect some of the meat and other goodies. Since we didn't sacrifice a lamb when we had people come to our door we gave them candies. The two older ladies looked at us as if we were a little crazy, but the kids thought it was great. I'm sure the neighbourhood was talking as about the crazy white people again. Please pray with us that our friends and neighbours would come to know the true Lamb of God that has provided for the sins of the world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Field Day Update

Sorry I didn't mention it last week, I was a little distracted with all of Dave's accidents. First he had the car accident and then he had a baseball accident (He was run over at first base and broke his glasses). But the boys' field day went really well. I was really impressed to see Cole finish the 800m race with a crowd from his team and others there cheering him on! Ben was also able to accomplish a few second places in his competitions. Thanks to all of you who were praying I know that it kept the discouragement at a minimum.