Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This past week I found myself in my kitchen, dripping sweat from every pore of my body thinking as I made Danish for my husband and kids that it was only because I loved them that I would even consider doing this. (And to be truthful, I was thinking about how many things I would not have to make from scratch next year when I am home!) The temperature was in the 40’sC and my kitchen fan was broken and I was about to light up the stove. It got me to thinking about the sacrifices that we make for our kids or our family members. We are willing to go the extra mile for those that we love simply because we love them. That is what is so amazing about the sacrifice Christ made for us. He gave up everything and submitted himself to a horrible death for us –even when we didn’t acknowledge or know him. That is love and it makes my dripping over pastries seem pretty small in comparison.

I hope that you have had a moment to bask in God’s love for you this week, if you haven’t take one now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sensory Overload or Exhaustion

I am trying to figure out if I am on sensory overload or just exhausted. But either way I am truly grateful to a great God that sustains us regardless of circumstances.

The sensory overload comes from way too many visits to clinic/hospitals in Niamey in the last week and a half. Some of these clinics were nice and others not so much, but all included really long waits and entertaining two preschoolers (because their mom was with us to translate for the sick person). I will try to give you a glimpse of one such visit: we thought this visit was going to take a half an hour while we waited to get an appointment date. Instead we spent four and a half hours entertaining a really tired three year old. He eventually fell asleep in my arms with the sweat pouring from both of us. I wasn’t able to put him down because the only place that I could have laid him on was the tile floor that I noticed had drops of blood here and there. (It was one time that I wished I had worn a head wrap—I would have gladly sacrificed messy hair for a little less heat). While I sat in this pool of sweat in the hallway in the emergency ward, I noticed a cat wonder in and out of the rooms nearby like it owned the place. I can’t even begin to describe the smells. After a number of trips to the pharmacy (where I had to buy everything from a plastic drop sheet to be used in the examination process, to a bottle of bleach), and 4 ½ hours later everything was completed including the original procedure that we thought we would only be booking. I just wish that I could say this was the only day like this instead of one of many…

The exhaustion comes from the heat and power issues. We are in the heart of the hot season and so there is a huge drain on everyone here. But to make matter worse we have been experiencing numerous blackouts, both day and night. (I suspect everyone is desperate for A/C and it’s overloading the system which was already underserviced either that or it is related to the situation in Nigeria, the source of our electricity.) For example, last night the power went off about two hours before I wanted to go to bed, when bedtime rolled around it was still out and the temperature in our room was 37.9C or 99.9F with no hope of fan, let alone air conditioning. The power did come back on, only to go off again. Unfortunately, the power outs also mean water cuts at our house. Luckily we were able to go out and buy a couple of cases of drinking water today.

Please pray for us as we try to persevere gracefully and share the love of Christ with those who are suffering with us. Pray also that we will have the strength to make it through the packing process without getting too caught up in looking toward going to Canada.

PS Could someone remind me next fall that I really want a camping fan for Christmas (the kind that runs on cordless drill batteries)and maybe a lantern, especially when I am being tempted by iphones, itouches, tvs and all the other great technology available in Canada.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let the Church Be the Church

Last night we were invited to another missionary’s home for supper. Our two boys joined their son in playing soccer video game. Our two boys got put together playing one team against the other boy. They got thrashed. Near the end Ben said, “ I don’t like playing with somebody else on my team—it’s easier when I do it all myself!”

I am a “doer” that likes to make things work and as a result, there are many times that I struggle with letting others do. I heap all kinds of extra work on myself by insisting that I know a better way to do something or can save myself time by doing it myself (probably a result of my own insecurities and pride). It happens with my kids, I think that it would just be so much easier if I did it myself. Denying them the privilege of not only learning how and developing their gifts and skills, but also the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and/or gain a sense of accomplishment.

How often is this true of the church? So often it is easier just to teach the Sunday school class or put together the Christmas program. It takes more time to collaborate with others showing them how it has been done in the past and learning from each other about possible ways of doing it in the future. It takes physical and emotional investment to work with someone else to accomplish a goal. But isn’t that what being a body is all about? We weren’t meant to be “lone rangers” dealing with everything on our own. It not only hurts us but it also hurts others when we try. That is why God put us in the church.

This morning I am trying to put some of that into practice. There is someone that has been coming to my house looking for help and I have been trying to go it alone, with my limited Zarma and cultural understanding. I had been thinking that there was no one close enough to help deal with this situation and that I wasn’t sure what to do. I finally humbled myself to ask a couple of ladies from our church to help me out with the situation and was truly blessed when one offered a better solution than I could come up with and said that she would come help. I guess I am slowly learning to let the church be the church. Please pray for this lady from our church that she would be enabled to deal with the situation and that God would bless her as she uses her gifts and talents for his kingdom. Let ‘s also pray for each other that we would be more willing to take the difficult route of investing in those around us instead of “just doing it” alone.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rollercoaster Rides

I was prepared to write this week about the rollercoaster ride of Cole’s birthday: after two days with no water, his gift from Grandma is lost in the mail and the best present he received was the time we spent playing Risk with him that ended with the power going out. But…

Then we went to bible study to night and the plunges on the roller coaster got a little steeper. We found out tonight that a young man from our congregation was killed this week in an accident on his way to Ouagadougou. He was going to write an accounting exam with a number of other students from the business school when the bus they were riding in broke down along the road. He was in the process of helping the driver with the repairs when a truck came along and ran them over. Both he and the driver were killed and a couple of other students were injured. Please pray for their families and all the people involved in this accident that God can turn this tragedy into something good. Pray also for Pastor Soter and the members of his family that work at the school and were friends with Jean-Claude as they mourn and care for those who mourn.

We had also considered going to Ouagadougou ourselves for a couple of days this week for the boy’s spring break. It’s about the only get away within driving distance of home. We discovered that it was a good thing we didn’t go since political unrest has suddenly erupted this week in the capital city with protests and gunfire. We heard that there were four deaths yesterday as shots were fired at protesters but that the military has since come onside with the protesters. Please pray as political unrest continues in the countries surrounding us.

We came home from bible study to receive the good news that we will have a place to live in Canada next year. We will be moving back into our own condo which is really nice for the boys to have a sense of “home”. Unfortunately it means that our renter is moving out and we will have to find someone new to move in when we leave. We had hoped to keep our renter and find another place to live because it is easier for us to find an apartment than to find a good renter, but God had other things in mind.

We were extremely grateful to receive word that my mom’s surgery went well. Thanks to all who have been praying, please continue to remember her over the next little while that he body may be fully restored.

Praying that your week has had a few less bumps than ours and that you are also experiencing His peace with every curve that comes your way.