Monday, March 15, 2010

Wedding Rings & Movie Night

The past few weeks I have taken my work out to the streets, walking our neighbourhood when I can in the mornings instead of using some of my exercise videos. I was hoping to maximize my time and combine getting some exercise with connecting with my community. I don’t know if it has been especially effective on the exercise side, although walking in shifting sand on some of the streets near us does provide some serious resistance even if it is difficult to get anywhere near the speed/heart rate I would like. I am not even sure if the connecting with the community has been all that effective, but I do try to make a point of greeting people along the way and cooling down, by stopping to visit with ladies in the neighbourhood. This week one of my neighbours asked about my wedding ring, (maybe because I was still wearing it while I exercised), so I got to explain its significance. They do not necessarily give and receive rings for weddings here although I have been to a number of Christian weddings here that do. What was interesting is that this was the second conversation that I have had like that in the last few weeks. It is my hope that God will use some of those conversations even if I may not be seeing the actual results.

Friday night we invited a number of Nigerien friends in to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. We had thought about settlng something up so that we could project it on the street in our neighbourhood, but thought that it might be good to get the response of some friends first to see whether they would understand it (because CS Lewis was writing from a very western perspective) and whether it would generate good conversations. We had our answers before the night was even over. Dave got to explain to one couple that CS Lewis was using the Lion to explain to children how Jesus’ sacrifice covered our sin and how his innocence meant that death had no power over him. Please pray for the group that came, that God would reveal himself to them and that they would understand the gift of grace that Christ offers them. Pray also, that we would continue to have good “God talks” with those around us.

On a personal note, we have been told that our renter in Ontario is moving out of our townhouse. Please pray that we would be able to find another renter quickly because we are not sure how long we can afford to make our mortgage payments without a renter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Education in Niger

The boy’s school, Sahel Academy has been working to get accredited (basically, official recognition for the school) with ACSI (the association for Christian Schools International) and with Middle States in the US. It has been a long and intense process that was started in 2005 when I taught there. This last week was the climax of the process, when we had a team from the two associations come to visit and evaluate the school. This meant a few extra meetings for almost all of us because Cole was one of three students chosen to represent his class for a student group meeting, Dave was involved in a parent meeting and I was involved in a school board meeting, (which may have something to do with why this was posted a little later than usual). A week later than what was originally planned with a much smaller team that had to work overtime to get the job done, we got our results last Thursday. They were going to fully recommend us for accreditation! Praise God! Really this is only the unofficial word, the recommendation still needs to go before each of the governing boards to be fully approved, but we should have the official word as of June. Please continue to pray for the school, for next year we do not have teachers for Grade 3/4 (Ben’s class), Grade 5/6, kindergarten, principal, English, Social Studies, Art or Secondary music. (For more information about the job postings you can check the school website: or a website that helps to connect teachers with overseas schools that need them: )

On a similar education theme, I started a class a couple of weeks ago at ESPriT, the bible school that Dave teaches at part time. I am taking a New Testament Theology class , with the additional challenge of the course being taught in French. I was hoping just to audit the class and work on improving my French, but the teacher agreed to adjust the assignments so that I can do them in English in hopes of getting credit for them with the denomination. I am wondering if I have gotten myself in over my head, but we will see, so far I have enjoyed both the reading and the class discussion (although there are times when I can get lost in the French). Please pray that I will be able to improve my French and learn valuable insights for our ministry here in Niger, while still being able to balance ministry and family responsibilities.