Sunday, February 27, 2011

West African Adventures and Single Parenting

You can pray for us today.

Dave just left for a West African adventure. It started last night when we went to a dinner at the boys’ school. I casually asked one of the SIM air pilots if he had every taken a bus to Lome (the capital of Togo). He said it was a number of years ago when the roads were better and it had taken 19 hours. I was asking because we were planning on putting Dave on a bus to meet with the pastor that is overseeing the Free Methodist work there, but after I asked the pilot added, “but I am flying with an empty plane to Cottonou tomorrow. Do you want to go?” That lead to a series of phone calls and Dave’s departure with no known return date. (He hopes to take a bus back on Wednesday, but he doesn’t know anything about the bus schedule yet). Right now he is planning on taking a plane to Cottonou (Benin) and we have friends that will meet him at the airport and put him on a bush taxi to Lome (Togo) where the pastor responsible for the FM work there will meet him. (The flight should cut 16-20 hours off of this trip and make it possible to be able to do it in less than a week). Please pray that this will be a profitable time for all those involved as he meets with the leaders of the Free Methodist movement in Togo. My prayer is that they will be an encouragement for each other and may be the start of some “connectionalism” for FMers in francophone West Africa.

Pray for the boys and me as well, as we try to manage without Dad for awhile.

Monday, February 14, 2011

اركي غَ بَ نِن

What do you see? How does it make you feel? Nervous? Annoyed? Left out? The truth is all it really says is God loves you in Zarma. A week ago I had a crash course in the Arabic script which many languages use for writing. When the language actually being written is not Arabic, this writing is called Ajami which translates into something like “ignorant” or “barbarian”. I took the course with an SIL missionary who worked in Cameroun. He discovered that people who may otherwise have been considered illiterate were able to read the scriptures the moment they were written with this alphabet. Many children here are daily memorizing this alphabet in order to chant the Qur’an, in a language they don’t even understand. The standard educational method of many Qur’anic schools is to first teach the alphabet, then memorize the entire Qur’an, and then teach you how to understand Arabic. The process apparently takes about 12 years… Most kids never get that far but they do know how to sound out the letters. Likewise my neighbour, who doesn’t speak French but does have a little prayer mosque in front of his house where he prays and reads the Qur’an every day, would probably have no problem figure out what those squiggles at the top of the page mean. Pray that I would continue to understand how to read this and find ways to use it effectively.

In mean time we have finished paying the owner for the property we are buying but have some final paper work to fill out with the notary in order to have a title deed in our hands. And she needs to get paid too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Gift of Today

Life has been very harried the last few weeks, but I was blessed with a gift last summer that has really helped to keep me focused. You may remember that last summer we hosted a team from Canada, while they were here one of the members gave me a copy of Jesus Calling. It is a daily devotional that I have really appreciated. Today before I tried to tackle my “to do list” (that seems to grow longer instead of shorter as the day goes on), I took some time to read it and was reminded once again about where my priorities should be. The author Sarah Young writes, “…Each day is a precious gift from My Father. How ridiculous to grasp for future gifts when today’s is before you! Receive today’s gift gratefully unwrapping it tenderly and delving into its depths. As you savor the gift you find me [Jesus}”. My hope is that you can take to time to enjoy today for whatever it holds.

As for us we are finishing up negotiations to buy a piece of land, we just need to work out the details of how to get the money here to pay for it. Please pray for that. Dave has also been involved in some workshops here in town learning how to use the Arabic script to write the local languages. This holds some exciting possibilities because even the kids that haven’t gone to a public school (because of a lack of birth certificate or for other reasons) may have been taught to sound out the Arabic letters in order to participate in the local Mosques and Quaranic schools.

Niger had their first round of Presidential elections this past Monday. That reduced the number of Presidential candidates from ten to two. The final two will face off in an election at the end of March. Please keep this in your prayers as Niger so needs good leaders that will keep the best interest of the country in mind and rule with honesty and integrity.

Special thanks to Grace Methodist for sending the boys scooters! They are slowly learning how to use them and will be sending you a more personal thank you very soon.