Monday, January 21, 2013


I love this picture. I am not sure whether you can see it clearly or not it is a large gate that doesn’t have a wall or fence connected to it and doesn’t really go anywhere. There are a few of them around town and they always make me chuckle when I pass one. I think maybe it takes me back to some of my childhood reading where there were magical doors that took you away to other mysterious places. (Maybe that is just the imaginative English teacher in me, or working extra hard to keep my sense of humour).

Lately I have been thinking about this gate in terms of our relationship with God. Frequently we try to construct a gate to our hearts thinking that we are going to keep God out (or just others) to protect ourselves. And we build these magnificent doors forgetting that God can go around them and see through them. He understands us intimately and knows what we are trying to keep from Him. All that this really accomplishes is that we are choosing to isolate ourselves from His healing touch. But, if we take the risk of opening ourselves to Him (and in turn others) it is like we get to walk through one of those magical doors into another world. At first glance the world may appear the same, but you will start to be able to see how God is working through those circumstances for your good. There is an awareness of His presence giving you forgiveness, peace, joy and love in place of the bitterness, hurt, grief and anxiety. Enough of my musings…

Dave is making progress on his paper. Please pray that his stress level would keep him motivated without overwhelming him. I have been trying to use a new system for putting together a newsletter, but as with most new computer programs learning how to use them can be cause for delays and other frustrations. Please pray that I would be able to get this done this week and that the new program would eventually reduce the time and difficulty I usually have sending them.

My prayer for you is that God would open some doors for you and that you would enjoy the adventure that we can life this week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Continuing Christmas?

There are some advantages to celebrating Christmas in Niger. For starters the commercialism isn’t as prevalent, but the one that I am appreciating today is the fact that the holiday lasts a whole lot longer here. Yesterday, I went to the post office and received a bunch of Christmas cards and anniversary cards (our anniversary is Dec. 28th). It was great to know that so many of you were thinking of us and I am really grateful for your prayers for rest.

Dave has completed three of the four chapters that he needs to write for his thesis and is on the final stretch but has the added pressure of knowing that it needs to be completed by the end of the month. Please pray that he would be able to keep focused on the task and that God would be directing him as this is the key chapter where he develops his ministry plan.

The boys and I are enjoying being back to school even if it is a bit of a stretch to get going in the mornings again. (A 7:30 start time can be rough when you have to drive across town to get there). Here are new pictures of them from the New Year's Day celebration at the church.

For those who are following the construction closely here is the latest development. You will notice in the picture the orange tubes. In Niger, they use those tubes to run the electrical wiring for buildings. The electrician has positioned them for the outlets and lighting on the main floor and the cement is starting to be poured for the flooring. Please pray that this work is done well. We have been in numerous buildings that have had problems with their electrical work and the risk with the flooring is cracks that will allow termites entrance.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Reflections on 2012

As we come to the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 I have taken a bit of time to reflect on how good God has been to us. I am grateful for our time in Canada in the first part of the year visiting most of the 32 churches that partner with our ministry here to support us both financially and in prayer. (We are truly grateful for both of those things and couldn't continue without them.) I am thankful for the wonderful friends that we have made in those various churches and for God's protection on the roads. (And yes, I confess that I am also thankful for the unusually mild winter.)

I am also grateful for God's provision for Sahel Academy (and us personally, on a much smaller scale) through the flood at the beginning of the school year. I am so thankful that this school year was able to continue without too much of an interruption. I am also glad that we were able to help by housing some of our friends who were displaced at the time.

I am really thankful that God provided us with a great house to live in that has lots of room for visitors. We were so blessed to have the Mowchenkos come for a visit with Dan this past November. The boys are especially thankful because they brought Christmas presents from their Grandparents, in fact it might have been a sad Christmas without them because they other packages that were mailed were delayed (the last one just arrived yesterday -Jan. 3rd!). I am grateful for a different kind of Christmas this year that allowed for a balance of personal down time; family time as well as time for visiting with friends and church family.

I am also really grateful for the progress that is being made with the Ministry Centre building. Thanks to all of you who have been involved in helping to support that. Here are the latest pictures of the foundation that is just waiting to have the cement flooring poured.

My prayer is that you can also look back with thanksgiving on your 2012 and know that God has even better plans for your 2013.