Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Walk in the Park

On Easter Sunday afternoon we walked in John Bryan State Park. It was a gorgeous day with a light tinge of green on all the trees and violets and bluebells covering the ground. The Little Miami River ran along the path. Unfortunately we didn't have time to make it all the way to Clifton Gorge. At one point in the gorge there is a place where Daniel Boone supposedly leaped from one side to the other as he was being hotly pursued by Indians. Doubtlessly the story has been somewhat exaggerated, but it's cool to think we may have walked where Daniel Boone himself walked! (Evidently Daniel and Suzanne were practicing to do the Daniel Boone Leap!) We did walk on an old stage coach trail and got a pretty good idea of what rough travel that would have been!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Great Easter

Spring is my favorite season of the year. I love seeing the little flowers popping out of the ground and the trees with their fresh array of bright green leaves. After a long, cold winter I love the warm sunny days. I miss spring so much while we're in Niger where April and May are the hottest months with afternoon highs hovering around 110 degrees or more. It's hard to find much enjoyment when it's that hot!

It was a double blessing for me to have Easter while the weather was warm. Sometimes when Easter is in March it is still cold and snowy. But this year the weather was perfect.

And the triple blessing was that we got to spend it with my Great Aunt Jeanette and my Great Uncle Carl. Aunt Jeanette lives in Ohio and her brother, Carl is from California. I think Daniel and Suzanne had met Uncle Carl only once before, so they didn't really know him. How exciting for them to see what a godly and goodly heritage they have! They are fun, encouraging, and amazing. They are the youngest 90-something people I know.

Suzanne and Aunt Jeanette

We picked the kids up at school when they were dismissed at noon on Wednesday. On the way out to Ohio we stopped to spend the night with supporters. The next day we stopped off at Lehman's Hardware, a hardware store that caters to Mennonite and Amish clientele and others of us who enjoy taking a step back into the past. We bought a washboard (that's how we do laundry in Niger) , ate home-made ice cream, and watched all the different kinds of buggies and wagons.

Aunt Jeanette had a delicious supper waiting for us. My cousin and her husband (actually my Dad's cousin. I guess she's my cousin once removed) came for supper.

On Friday a friend and his family took us out to dinner. He had also invited along another Daniel. This boy sends us money whenever he collects a little spending money. He is so sweet and afterwards we got to go to his house and see the rest of his family for a few minutes. Then our friend took us to a place that gives things away to missionaries. We collected quite a few goodies there. Back home, Aunt Jeanette had a nice supper for us, then she and Uncle Carl regaled us with stories of "Donny" -- my dad, my kids' grandpa, and their nephew. Every story they told was hilarious.

Saturday took us in different directions. John and Daniel went to the Flight Museum at Wright Patterson Airforce Base. Jeanne took Suzanne, Uncle Carl, and me to the thrift store. I got a lot of baby clothes and youth-sized t-shirts to take back to Niger with me to give to all "my kids". That night we went out to Jeanne and Kenny's for supper. When we got home, we were going to go right to bed, but Aunt Jeanette said she had eggs to dye. So, Aunt Jeanette, Uncle Carl, Suzanne, Daniel, and I had a hilarious time coloring eggs. The dye we dipped the eggs into was good, but then there was another dye that you could sponge onto the eggs to get a mottled effect. I think that dye was meant to be thicker than it was because when we sponged it on, it just ran all over. Aunt Jeanette was bemoaning the fact that her egg looked terrible and disgusting. Then she looked over at mine and exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! Now I feel better!" Uncle Carl said he hadn't colored eggs for over

Can you guess which two were mine? Hint: They were pretty bad!

20 years so why did they have to end up looking so bad. Daniel made one for the dog, Cody, but I thought it said Cod on it. Suzanne put her egg into the dye, imagining a beautiful red egg. The expression on her face was priceless when she pulled it out and found it was hot pink. She hates all things pink! In reality, the two she made were the best of all. This was definitely an evening none of us will ever forget.

The next morning we were getting ready for church when John sat down to play some of the old hymns on the piano. Uncle Carl started singing

with him and it was a beautiful moment. We almost hated to make them quit so we could go to church. The service was beautiful. The highlight was singing In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The third verse is especially beautiful. Quietly we sang,
"There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain".
Then a little more loudly we sang,
"Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again".
Finally, with loud triumphant voices we sang,
"And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ."
(By the way, I recommend that you listen to the full version of the song. We have three versions, one by the Newsboys from their Adoration CD, one by Philips, Craig, and Dean from their Let The Worshipers Arise CD and one by Margaret Becker, Marie Brennan, and Joanne Hoagg off a Songs of Worship CD. I'm sure there are lots of versions of the song, but I think the Becker/Brennan/Hoagg version is my favorite.)

We had a wonderful Easter dinner with family, and then John and the kids and I went to John Bryan State Park to hike on the trails there. It was a gloriously beautiful day and we had a good family time.

We ended the day by having ice cream at Young's Dairy which is now the #2 Dayton-area attraction according to a Chamber of Commerce bulletin posted on the wall there. The Air Force Museum was #3 and John Bryan State Park was #7. So we found time to do some of the most popular things in that area!
This was definitely one of the best Easters ever!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Sword of the Lord

These are Tuareg (Tamachaq) swords called "takuba". The Tamachaq people are unmistakable in Niger with their flowing robes, their blue or black turbans, and their long swords hanging at their sides. Nearly every tourist ends up buying one of these takuba, which can be as long as 34 inches! An aside here: The Songhai also call swords takuba, so I don't know if they borrowed the word from the Tamachaq or if both the Songhai and the Tamachaq borrowed it from the Arabic.

While in Sebring, FL, Dr. John Oliver preached on Psalm 45. Verse 3 says, "Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty." He told us that during the coronation for the Queen (or King) of England, the Archbishop hands her/him this sword which dates back to the 15th century and says:

"Receive this kingly Sword,

brought now from the Altar of God,

and delivered to you by the hands of us

the Bishops and servants of God, though unworthy.

With this sword do justice,

stop the growth of iniquity,

protect the holy Church of God,

help and defend widows and orphans,

restore the things that are gone to decay,

maintain the things that are restored,

punish and reform what is amiss,

and confirm what is in good order:

that doing these things you may be glorious in all virtue;

and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life,

that you may reign for ever wtih him

in the life which is to come. AMEN."

If this is what the Queen of England can do with the sword, imagine what King Jesus will do when he comes again to reign on this earth!

I just thought it was a beautiful bit of pagentry and wanted to share it!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Real Travel Adventure

John and I recently traveled to Sebring, FL to take part in the Bible conference at the retirement village there. We were the "missionary presenters" and got to share about what God is doing in Niger. There was also a Bible teacher who was an encouragement to us. But one of the highlights of the week (beside the pool and getting away from winter for a week) was having lunch and dinner every day with one of the senior saints who invited us to their homes. We heard so many stories of how God had used them to start churches and to do his work all over the world.
This one is my favorite.

While we were at Penny and Rose Pinneo's, Penny showed us a booklet another missionary had put together. Tucked in the back of the book was this type-written story which I will re-tell in my own words. First let me explain that when my parents first went to Nigeria in the 1950's, they traveled by ship. So I assumed that until the 1960's all missionaries traveled by ship.

But I learned that in the late 1940's there were so many missionaries going to Nigeria that they chartered an Air France flight from New York City to Lagos, Nigeria. I don't know exactly what kind of plane it was, but it could very well have been a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, which was developed by Boeing at the end of WW II from the B-29.

The flight took off from New York City in the morning and, I believe, was to fly directly to the Azores. But shortly after take-off they hit a storm. In those days, they couldn't fly above the weather like airliners do now. So, for eight hours straight they flew through this storm. The airplane was bounced up and down and tossed back and forth and the majority of passengers were air-sick. The lady writing the story said she was not. Evening was coming on and their fuel was nearly gone, so they had to make an unplanned landing in the Bahamas. Air France put them up in a lovely hotel and during the night the storm cleared. They were given a complimentary continental breakfast and had time to take a stroll on the beach before re-boarding the plane.

On the 2nd day they took off and had beautiful weather and a much less stressful flight. They made their scheduled landing in the Azores, but when they landed a tire blew. I believe this was just a re-fueling stop, but there were no spare tires to be had, so they had to wait for a spare to be flown in from Paris! This night there was no nice hotel for them, so they had to stay in Army barracks (I'm not sure if they were American, British, or French). They slept in a dormitory on army cots with denim blankets.

The 3rd day saw them flying on from the Azores to Senegal, on the West Coast of Africa. But when they landed in Senegal, the brakes failed to work properly and they feared they were going to keep going right off the end of the runway and into the ocean. Because of the strain put on the tires, several of them blew and they were once again without any spare tires!! Once again they had to wait for spare tires to be flown in from Paris and for the brakes to be fixed. Another night was spent in Army barracks on uncomfortable cots with scratchy, stiff blankets.

Finally, on the 4th day, they flew on to Lagos, Nigeria. The flight was uneventful in every way and all were glad to have arrived safely.

Wow! That makes today's travel look dull in comparison. What's an 8-hour flight from New York to Paris, a 6-hour wait in Charles DeGaulle airport, and a 5-hour flight from Paris to Niamey? Sometimes there are delays, but I've never had the trip take 4 days!

These pictures are not of the exact plane that is in this story, but it would have been a similar aircraft. The travel posters are beautiful! I wish I could afford to buy one. Just to give credit where credit is due: they are available at

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I've thought of blogging for some time now, but didn't quite know how to go about it or if I would be too technologically challenged to do it. Then I talked to my friend, Joanna, who shared her blog site with me. It is wonderful and her joie de vivre comes out in her postings. It inspired me to leave my comfort zone and get started. So here I am, doing something for which I'm not even sure of the proper terms. Am I blogging? Is this a blog page, a blog site, or a blog web? Whatever, I'm doing it!

When we return to Niger I want to be able to blog at least once a month when we go to the capital, Niamey. That way you can have a more frequent insight into my life in Tera. You can see my joys, my struggles, my friends, my challenges, and my family.

I also have a hard time expressing myself and this way I will put words to my thoughts. It will be a way to force me to be more creative.

Speaking of creative...I'd like to recapture some of the joie de vivre that Joanna has. I was thinking of that and then in Bible study on Tuesday, Beth Moore talked about how our living out of our faith should be so full of joy it will be something our kids will want to have, something they can't wait to try out for themselves. So I want this blog to be a chance to be creative and look at life in a more joyful fashion. I am so task oriented and I would like to spend more time with my Creator, just reflecting on what He's given me.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring Has Sprung,
The Grass Has Riz,
I Wonder Where the Flowers Is?

April 6....I wonder where the flowers is? I wonder where the grass is, for that matter. Last week it was in the 60's, the grass was turning green, the white birch were beginning to bud. But this morning we woke up to snow!!! It was 26 degrees. Daniel and Suzanne were late getting around for school, Daniel had a poster he didn't want to get wet and so I said I'd drive them to school. I cleaned off the Cavalier -- snow on top of ice, so I had to brush off the snow, then scrape the ice. Then the gear shift button wouldn't push in -- I guess it was cold and frozen, too! Since I couldn't take the kids in the Cavalier, I had to clear off the Caravan -- snow and ice.
The poor little robins were struggling. They were huddled down by the side of the road. It must have been a bit warmer there. But it was a beautiful morning. I don't especially enjoy being cold, but I do love the beauty.