Sunday Jennifer will be back from her classes in Germany. Things have gone relatively well for her so far. She’s completed her coursework for the second class and received a final grade of … 100%! The boys say that Dad’s cooking is okay but too much BBQ. I had hoped to go away with the boys but never made it. Originally I thought we’d make the three day trip to Accra, Ghana. When things didn’t come together I thought we might take some friends to Ouagadougou for a couple of days this week but that didn’t pan out either. Thursday I discovered that it was probably for the best. Driving through town the car suddenly died. I called the garage and after quick inspection it was discovered that the timing belt had snapped… Now if you’re familiar with timing belts you know that generally means rebuilding the motor. Late Friday afternoon the mechanic called. He said that 90% of the time, a snapped timing belt means secondary damage to the motor. My car fell in to the other ten percent—only the timing belt. I’m particularly thankful; not only did they not have to rebuild the engine, if I had taken either of the trips the car would have broken down in the middle of no place in Burkina on a road known to have problems with bandits… Thank you Lord.
The other thing that happened here this week was much more disturbing. Spring rains have been slow coming and the famine is getting worse as livestock that usually are feeding on new grasses are rapidly dying off from starvation. Friday our house-help told us that a young woman from his wife’s neighbourhood had been kidnapped and then butchered as a sacrifice in order to produce rain. That neighbourhood did in fact have a violent thunderstorm this week that included large hail stones. When his wife rode a bush-taxi out to her mother’s home, people in the van were commenting how rain had indeed followed the sacrifice. Our house-help is a conservative Muslim who rejects involvement with the fetishers and was happy to learn that, in fact, hail in the Bible was not a sign of God’s favour but of judgement. In fact the storm had been so violent that a number of homes were seriously damaged or destroyed, including his mother-in-law’s. She is now sleeping in a shelter in the front yard because of large cracks in the cement which threaten to bring the roof down as happened next door. Please pray that good rains will come soon providing food to the herds that remain and to calm desperate hearts that are tempted with desperate measures.