Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One step at a time

We have much to praise God for despite the struggles we have had this week. We have succeed in getting things in place for a bank account to allow finances for the building to be transferred. The architect that drew up the plans for the building has agreed to oversee the construction (we just have to get enough of a down payment here for him). We are well on our way to having a door built for the property and hopefully it will be hung next Tuesday. We spent almost the whole day on Monday chasing paperwork and making arrangements to have the water installed, which should be completed sometime in the next two weeks. So pretty soon we will be able to begin building bricks and see some physical progress with the building. I am told money has come in already to cover about 1/5th of what we expect the building will cost, but we believe that God will continue to provide as the need arises. Thanks to the many of you that have contributed!

We are also excited about how God is working in the church. They have started holding nightly prayer meetings to intercede for their community and to consider where God would direct them to plant another church. There has been great need with the food shortages and the flooding but in the church there is a sense of anticipation about what God is doing.

Please continue to pray for us and the teachers that we have taken in because of the flooding. Pray that we would be able to find more permanent housing arrangements (where we are now is only available for a couple of months and could really be used by the mission organization that rented it to us). We were told this week that our old house is available--pray that it might be affordable or that we would be able to find something better. Pray also for Sahel Academy that they would be able to find an appropriate place to hold classes.

Dave could really use your prayers with all of the distractions of the flooding and getting things started with the building he hasn't had much time to focus on his thesis. On top of that his computer was attacked the other day and he is afraid that he may have lost some important files. His first chapter on church planting movements is due supposed to be due at the end of this week, but I am afraid that it might be late.

Friday, August 24, 2012


We were just getting up from our Sunday afternoon nap this week when a neighbour came by to let us know that the school was in danger of flooding and we needed to get our things out of the containers as soon as possible. Little did we know what the week would hold. We took a number of things from the container but were unable to take everything and decided to hope for the best and pitch in with the work of preparing sand bags in hopes of holding back the water from the school property. The above picture was our family last Monday after putting in some time carrying sand bags to help protect the school property

Unfortunately our hopes were not realized and the property for the boys school has become part of the Niger river for the time being. This picture was before there was a breach in the wall that brought the water levels to 3ft in places. There are very few buildings that are still dry.
The bible school that Dave teaches at is on slightly lower ground than the boy's school and there are places where it is chest deep.

We have adopted a couple of the teachers into our family that were displaced because their houses were flooded but they have just been notified that they won't be able to return until next March or April at the earliest. Please pray that they (and the 5o other missionaries living on these properties) would be able to find more permanent housing arrangements. This is just how the flooding has affected us, but really we have been blessed. There are thousands here who have lost their homes and family members as a result of this crisis. Please pray that God would be glorified in the midst of this tragedy. Pray that Sahel Academy and ESPriT would find alternate locations to hold classes and that we would be able to save what we can of the resources that God has blessed us with.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A visitor

This afternoon Jennifer came into the bedroom and said in dazed voice, “I just found a strange woman in our kitchen…” We are currently living in a SIM compound that was offered to us for two months.  There are three houses in the compound and two gates.  Only one of the other homes is occupied.  Apparently the woman hadn’t noticed Jennifer come into the kitchen as she quietly slid open our back door.  “Oh, is this Krista’s house?” she asked surprised. Jennifer was taken aback and said, “no,” at which point the woman quietly disappeared. (Krista is a SIM missionary who visits the women’s prison regularly.) When Jennifer mentioned it to me I immediately ran to the front gate that is usually unlocked during the day, and it was standing ajar. I crossed the street and asked a neighbours day guard if he’d seen a women come out of our gate. “Yes,” he said, “she ran down the street that way and around the corner.” Feeling my suspicions had been confirmed, I headed back inside. A few minutes later our neighbours were home from school with the children, we explained what had happened. This evening the husband came over to tell us that the girl who is staying with them can’t find her new laptop. He’s feeling terrible because he had been sleeping in the house the whole time.

Jennifer is missing our dog right now. He’d always been a bit of dilemma to us. We’ve never really had a day guard but didn’t worry as long as we had the dog. (A friend of mine has a proverb that goes, “A guard is good. A guard and a dog are better. Just a dog is best.”) With our old dog we never really worried about people coming into the yard like this since everyone was afraid of him. (Except the developmentally challenged boy who seemed to be able to find his way into the driver’s seat of our car—the dog didn’t even bark at him.) What worried us was that he might be scaring off the people we wanted to talk to. We wondered if some of our friends might come more often to visit if they didn’t have to worry about getting past our dog.

That was just kind of the icing on the cake for our day today.  We just got our car back from the garage yesterday but this morning Jennifer couldn’t get it started after getting money at the bank. (The garage had washed down the engine and water got in the spark plugs.) She was getting money to pay the mechanic—the power steering pump was making an awful racket and the mechanic told us someone had put engine oil into. We had it replaced.

It was also the first day of school for both Jennifer and the boys. The boys were both ready to go but school also brings its own stresses.

I’ve managed to lose about fifteen pounds in the first week coming back, at least according to the scales in our house. I’ve been working on cold or flu for the last day or so and Jennifer has had a lot of upset stomach. Hopefully our bodies will transition over to Niger soon. Last night was the first night I was able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour but I think that was just because I wasn’t feeling well.

Yesterday I met with our pastor here. I asked him what he was envisioning for the near future of the church. He said that he felt it was time to look at planting another church. We are meeting tomorrow to talk about how that might happen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sleepless in Niamey

Well we have physically made it back to Niger but I am afraid that my body still thinks its in Canada. I am having a hard time getting to sleep at night and getting up in the morning, but that could be the result of missing two nights sleep on the way here. We are extremely grateful for all of you that were praying for our travels, we were blessed to arrive with all of our bags (including all 40 books for Dave's thesis).

Our internet hasn't been working for the last three days, we finally had it on two days ago but it only lasted for about an hour hopefully it will last a little longer this time. Along with the internet we have had a few other minor obstacles and set backs. I was pulled over by the police to have my papers checked the very first time I drove anywhere, thankfully everything was in order. Dave has already had his first accident (luckily no one was hurt & no damage was done when a motorcycle hit him). We haven't had a phone because the line that comes into the house where we are staying hasn't been working (which is why the internet wasn't working) and we haven't been able to get our cell phones unlocked yet. Oh well, I guess that all just goes with life here.

As with all of life, things in Niger seem very much the same and yet different at the same time. Please pray for us as we reconnect with our friends here, especially that the Spirit would grant us the right words at the right moment. Today we were asked why it was that Christians were responsible for caring so much for those in need, unfortunately lack of sleep got the better of us and we probably didn't give the best response to the statement.