Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Dave neglected to mention and other developments

What Dave neglected to mention last week was that while he was busy trying to take care of me last weekend he also ran a kids’ club on our front porch with kids that just kept coming. He asked me to print off extra colouring sheets for the kids while he bounced an 8 month old on his knee, and told the story of Noah. I had just enough energy to print the papers and marvel at how he was managing before I climbed back into bed! But if that wasn’t enough he had been asked at the Thursday night bible study to preach on Sunday because the pastor was struggling with his own case of malaria. So, sometime after the Saturday morning kids club and before his Sunday School class (and in between coming up with meals for our family) he pulled together a sermon for Sunday morning. Thanks to those of you who were praying for him!

I am happy to say that a day or two after my last treatment of Quinine my hearing come back and I am feeling much better than I did last week. I was in much better shape to help with the kids this week which was good because we had another good crowd. Please pray that the seeds we are sowing will someday bear fruit in the lives of these kids and their families. Pray also for me, because next week Dave will be away with Cole (and the other 7/8 grade boys!)on an overnight campout and I will be trying to keep the kids club going on my own with the help of a friend or two.

We also had the additional excitement of a hair salon opening in our front yard this morning. A few weeks ago we had a young woman come to ask if she could “borrow our electricity”. She is a friend of a friend that was trying to start a hair salon in a neighbour’s “shop”(which is really a shack). The problem is that the power in the shop wasn’t sufficient and she had to wait three months for the power company to fix the problem. We were concerned that we would have problems with the power company if we let her run an electrical line from our house, so we suggested that she could use the little shack on the front of our property for three months until the power was put in at her shop. Pray that this will work out for all who are involved. She is a Christian that belongs to another church in a neighbourhood on the other side of town. But my hope is that in helping her out in this way, there will be new opportunities to connect with our neighbours.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


October is the mini hot season. In Zarma it’s called “hemar”. Usually the rains have stopped by now but the malaria which takes a few weeks to incubate kicks into high gear. That’s why malaria in Zarma is called “hemarize”, literally, the child of “hemar”. We have had any extra long rainy season, giving the mosquitoes extra time to multiply, compounded with lots of flooding giving them extra breeding grounds, and as a result the malaria may be a little worse. We’ve had our brushes with it this year. Cole ran a high fever one evening a few weeks ago. Our doctor friend with whom we car pool figured it was too late in the evening for the lab test and suggested we just treat him for malaria. The 24 hr treatment seemed to do the trick and he’s been fine since. Jenn had the same problem at the beginning of the month with similar results but also had an ear infection didn’t seem to want to clear. She sat on just the borderline of fever for the last three weeks with the earache. We finally wondered if there might be something else involved and Friday’s malaria test proved mildly positive. She’s been on treatment all weekend but the treatment seems almost as bad as the illness, though today she’s seeing some improvement. Ben’s been doing Grade 5 math and spelling but the Grade 5-6 teacher has just been medically evacuated to the US this weekend. She’s been through over a dozen treatments since the end of August but just can’t seem to shake the malaria.
Tonight around 10 o’clock I got a call from our house help. Their month old seemed slightly constipated and to have a bit of a cough. Was my doctor friend available to see him? I was already feeling guilty for the constant pestering we’d been giving her with our own health issues over the last few weeks. The symptoms didn’t seem too serious and I figured it could wait till morning. But then I asked if the baby had a fever. “Well yeah, he seems kind of hot…” Our car is in the garage, (power steering is groaning and probably on the way out) and Gouzoul only has a little scooter. His uncle from Algeria happened to be visiting—he’s trying to sell a nice silver Mercedes he picked up in Libya. It was a nice smooth ride to the 24 hr state run clinic. [When the practitioner on call had trouble pronouncing Gouzoul’s name—his cousin joked that she could just call him “Gazoil” (French for diesel fuel).] Medical clinics here scare me but I think Gouzoul will sleep more peacefully tonight. Please pray for God’s healing and protection through this difficult season, pray also for the school as it attempts reorganize for the missing teacher and finally pray for us that we would show God’s love and grace as we serve others in practical ways.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am very thankful
Not just because we celebrated thanksgiving this week in Canada.
I am very thankful for electricity and all of the conveniences it provides. We have spent the last two and a half days without any and it was a good reminder once again of how blessed we are (& how dependent we are on electricity). It was very nice to be able to sleep under the ceiling fans again last night and not have to worry about the things stored in my fridge and freezer. It is also great to know that I can have a good long shower today, because there is water!! (Whenever our power is out for any length of time we run out of water.)
The night that the power went out we had company over for dinner and as a result created a lot of left-overs. I had been looking forward to using them for a few meals, but wasn’t quite prepared for the long power outage. The next day I had to shift gears and have a more Nigerien response. Here when they have a celebration they usually slaughter a sheep or goat for the party and then send pieces to neighbours and friends (because it is too much to eat at once and not easily stored). So when I reheated my left-overs I took some to my neighbour and she had a good laugh over the “anasara foy” –the white person’s sauce. Please pray that people would see Christ in us as we love and relate to our neighbours.
We are also thankful because our government authorization has been renewed once more after a month long wait. This allows to work in the country and to continue our ministries and is now good for five years.
Please pray for land, we have been looking to purchase land for the mission, for offices and a church. A few months ago we thought we had the right place at the right price but because of circumstances it didn’t go through and since then the price of property in our area seems to have skyrocketed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thoughts turning to home…

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Which brings back great memories from my childhood, many of which center around the Brigden Fair and the Vineland/Ball’s Falls Craft show—aah, I would love to go for a walk in the woods with the falling leaves and crisp, fresh air, but alas! My thoughts have also travelled home over the past little while when we received word that Freedom Christian Community was celebrating their 125th anniversary this past month. We have been so blessed by their partnership in our ministry and hope that their celebrations went well. We are looking forward to being able to reconnect with many of our friends in Canada next year when we come home for our home assignment, but I need to keep focused on the work here and not get too distracted by that yet.
This has been an unusual October for Niger, this past week we have had three rains in the night and the weather has been reasonably cool (by cool I mean 35C for day time temps). I am definitely not complaining about the rain, especially if it keeps the temperature down! It just leaves me with a couple of concerns: the crops and the mosquitoes. I am hoping that the weather won’t interfere with the growing season and crops as Niger has been recovering from famine in many areas of the country. The problem with the mosquitoes is increased here in Niamey where the river has flooded in many areas and left in its wake lots of standing water. I suspect that this may be part of the reason the boys school has been so hard hit with illness. There have been a number of staff and students (as well as parents) that have had bouts of malaria this year. (One staff member has been suffering with it multiple times this year already). Cole has struggled off and on with a fever over the last week, and is running one now. We don’t know if this is malaria but the labs aren’t open ‘til tomorrow morning. Please pray that this week’s school break will provide a time of renewing for those that have been sick.
I am amazed at how so many of the stories from the bible come to life in new ways here. I have a whole new respect for the plagues seeing the mucky flood waters of the Niger, the abundance of so many bugs (flies, gnats, and others besides the mosquitoes) and the frogs that seem to be everywhere some evenings. Please remember us and the families in our neighbourhood as we continue to tell bible stories with the kids. Pray that we would have the language to be effective and that God would use them for his purposes.