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Christmas in Niger

Days spent going to the market, buying a 100-lb. sack of rice, big squash, spaghetti, huge tins of tomato paste, spices for the sauce, a nice fat goat, and firewood…… Preparing a message for Christmas….. Hiring women to cook the food….. Making numerous trips to Doumba to get people …. Trying to control unruly kids….. Preaching….. Singing and playing the guitar…… Hosting 100 people for the meal in our yard….. More trying to control unruly kids….. Playing games with people….. Making popcorn and Kool-aid for a late afternoon snack….. More trips to take people back to Doumba….. Cleaning up the mess….. EXHAUSTION!

This year, even before we decided to move to Niamey, we realized it was time for other people to take more responsibility for the Christmas celebration. We enjoyed it, but it was so exhausting every year. We felt like if everybody wanted Christmas, then they needed to get involved in it.

To make it simpler this year, we decided to go to Doumba since that’s where the greatest number of believers live. That would automatically eliminate the problem of crowd control with the kids who live in Tera! A_____ said he was willing to do the message and plan the program.

So, we packed our truck with 11 people and headed to Doumba. Once there, John made one trip out in to the bush to pick up people who live there. We waited in the quiet of the new church building. Most of the people who came with us were ladies from my Bible study group.

A______ led the service and gave the message. He did a good job. The Gourmas are very musical so we enjoyed their antiphonal songs as well as some western-style music.

Afterwards the women cooked a delicious meal for us. I didn’t help much….just held somebody’s baby, talked, and took pictures. Suzanne and I went and sat in some comfortable chairs in the shade of a tree. She had woken up that morning around 5 a.m. terribly congested and sneezing. She asked me for some medicine and without thinking I gave her a full dose of a Dristan-type medicine. It knocked her out and then three hours later I had to wake her up. Those pills last about 8 hours so she felt like she was on drugs all day.

I had some magazines I was looking at and the kids were fascinated by them. Good thing I don’t mind close contact with kids!

The food wasn’t served until 3:30, so we were good and hungry by then. It was really delicious. While I had my hands plunged into the rice, my parents called on the cell phone. I got up to go somewhere where I could hear better and when I came back all the meat had been eaten! Somebody went and found me a piece, so I didn’t have to go without after all.

It was one of the best church Christmases we’ve had in a long time.


Georgene said…
I'm so glad to know you had a wonderful Christmas! I loved the story about the 'kids club', too! I always enjoy reading about your life. God bless you!
journeyer said…
Very glad to hear that it was such a joyous Christmas, and glad too that God had already known that the people needed to help with Christmas - next year they can do it on their own again.
Aji said…
I am looking forward to the day when we have more believers so that they can do more on their own. They help now, but it is still exhausting.
Anonymous said…
Were there any other missionaries with you?
So funny about the picture where you are the only one who is smiling, I can just picture you looking at it and laughing!
Glad to hear you had a good Christmas with less work. I am curious about the whole goat thing, did you go to the market and buy a live goat?

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