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Showing posts from January, 2007

See you in February

We've been in Niamey two weeks this time, so I've posted lots of blogs. Every one was about the weeks the kids were home for their Christmas holidays. I wanted to do one about conference, but I'll wait until next time I'm in town. That will be February 19, so make sure you check my blog during the week of February 19 - 24. I wish I could post once a week or so. Going without posting for so long probably means that a lot of people forget to check my blog.

You may wonder why I have a picture of Jeremy up here. Well, the dreadlocks had to go. We found out that some of the Nigerien Christians were offended by them. We talked to Jeremy about it and he very willingly and humbly agreed to take them out. We thought we'd have to cut his hair down to a buzz, but he got them out without any major problems. For a humorous account of the whole affair, check out his blog at He probably will want a haircut soon, especially as it will w…

The Death of a Living Dune

October 2002 was the first time we went to the sand dunes about 40 miles north of Tera. We took our co-workers, Gary and Joy,with us. They had two guests from America with them and we wanted to show them something interesting. The first picture shows John, Gary, and their friends on top of a huge sanddune. From the top of this dune, you could look this picture you can see Joy about in the middle of the picture. In the background you can see some windbreak fencing. Take notice of the bush because that will be our anchor for the rest of the story. (Don't worry, Gary....I won't tell the full story.)

John discovered these dunes when he took somebody to their village in the bush. Across the roads from the dunes is a rather large village and just beyond the village is a lake.The dunes were living dunes which means that they move with the wind, growing, changing shape, constantly in motion. The problem is, they were encroaching on the town which, instead of being between the…

The Best News of All

All my posts these past few weeks have been about the Christmas holidays in Tera. I think I've pretty much covered the highlights, but I've saved the best news til last.

This boy has decided to follow the King of Kings! He understands what is in store for him and is going into this with his eyes wide open. He wants to read God's precious Word with me and I'm excited about discipling him.

This whole post probably sounds rather understated and it is. My brother told me about certain governments reading his blog (because he worked in their countries) and I can't just assume the same doesn't happen here. We live in a secular state so he would never be publicly persecuted by the powers that be. But others could definitely make life difficult for him. We heard of a family in another village whose widowed mother was not given grain by those (a private agency) distributing it because they had heard her son was a Christian.

So, if you'd like the full story and…

A Cute Little Feller

Wow, I don't know what happened to the font on my last post. Weird.

Well, I wasn't even there when this story happened, but I enjoyed the telling of it so much, I'm going to repeat it here and hope I get the details right.

John, Daniel, Suzanne, and Jeremy went to the church property one morning to do more work to get it ready for us to host the Christmas service there. As they were working, a mouse came running past, so Daniel and Jeremy decided to chase it. Mostly these pictures speak for themselves. After much chasing, they finally caught it.

Somewhere along the line....I'm not sure if it was while they were stilling chasing it or if they had caught it and then put it down....anyway, it ran towards Jeremy. He put his heels together with his toes out to make a barrier so it couldn't get past. But being a creature that burrows by nature, he just dug a hole under Jeremy's feet and hid himself there. Little did he know that he was hiding under the very thing that …

New Years

Sometime last term we started a tradition of going camping out in the bush on New Year's Eve. This year we didn't go until New Year's Day because our neighbors wanted us to be around for Tabaski which was on New Year's Eve.

There are some hills near Tera, and near the hills are lots of dry stream beds (dry 9 months of the year, flowing 3 months). The stream beds make an excellent place to camp because the sand is a lot softer than the hard, rocky soil found in that area. Being down in a stream bed puts us a little out of sight from passing people, too...not that there are many people out there in the middle of nowhere.

We arrive mid-afternoon, find our camping spot, and set up camp. The last year of last term, Mike went with us and this year Jeremy went with us. Our tent is small, so Suzanne and I get the tent and the guys get to sleep on cots outdoors. Chili has become our traditional supper...I make it ahead of time and reheat it over an open fire. Then we build a hu…

A Wedding and Tabaski

We've known Arabi since he was about eight years old. His name means "BlackBoy"'s that for an original name? His mother and my house lady are wives of the same man. Their family has more or less adopted me. So, when he decided to get married (he is now about 23) they wanted to choose a date when Daniel and Suzanne would be home. The date they chose was the week after Christmas. The week before his wedding was a real panic because just as we were getting things ready for our Christmas feast, Maimouna came and said they had announced the date. I had already bought cloth for the "uniform"...all the bride's and groom's friends buy the same cloth and come dressed alike. After you buy cloth, you start looking at all your friends to see what style or "modele" of top they have that you would like. Then you borrow it, take it to the tailor with your cloth, and tell him to make you one just like it. I had a top in my closet that I al…

Jeremy's Double Found and a Dredful Hair Day

Remember how the little girl said I look just like Brooke Shields? Well, it may have been a stretch to see the resemblance between Brooke and me. But how's this? I think Jeremy has a remarkable resemblance to our Christmas goat, don't you?

Jeremy has lots of thick, curly hair, but it was getting pretty long. He decided it would be easier to care for if he got dredlocks. First we asked if having dreds would be a problem and it seemed like culturally it would be ok. Then we tried to find somebody to do it, but couldn't come up with anybody. So Jeremy and I read up on it on the internet and Suzanne and I said we'd try to give him dreds. It took hours and hours and we could definitely do a better job if we were to do it again. One thing for sure...Suzanne and I both know we don't want to be hairdressers (our apologies to the hairdressers reading this). I think it turned out pretty good, but it takes 3 months to really "set" and it's definitely not there ye…

Christmas, Part II

The 2nd part of our Christmas was our family Christmas which we always celebrate on December 26. We discovered a long time ago that it was just too stressful to try to get up and do gifts and get ready for the church Christmas at the same time. So we celebrate on the 26th and just lock the gate and hibernate for the day.

We didn't put our Christmas decorations out until December 17 when the kids got home for the holidays. We all got a kick out of our Advent candles that came out in weird twisted shapes after having been stored in an extremely hot climate for two years. We put Baby Jesus from the creche in the middle and it looks like even the candles are worshipping him.Daniel burnt his hand in hot water just before we started decorating, so that's why he has a cloth wrapped around it. Don't worry, it's not a cast.

We did our shopping in Niamey but it seemed like there just wasn't much available. We had brought some gifts with us from the US, so we ended upwith ple…

Christmas Celebrations, Part I

We've got it good in Tera because we celebrate Christmas twice. We have a church Christmas celebrated Nigerien style and a family Christmas celebrated American style.
Christmas Eve was a Sunday, so we had church and Sunday school as usual. Then we had a nice curry dinner, a Christmas Eve tradition for us. After a short rest, the preparation for the Christmas feast began. I'll spare you the slitting-of-the-goat's-throat pictures, but here are two of my friends cutting up the meat. When it was all cut we kept it refrigerated until the next day when it was cooked into a delicious sauce. That night John went to a 10-12 p.m. service at one of the other churches. He got there and found nothing planned and he ended up having to give the message without any advanced preparation or warning.On Christmas Day we were up early getting things ready. John and some of the men finished preparing the cornstalk shelter that serves as our church. Then he made three trips to Doumba to pick up …