Skip to main content

Thankful to Help and Be Helped, Part I

In January when we had our annual Spiritual Life Conference, Joshua Bogunjoko, Director of SIM, was our speaker.  He brought us messages from Philippians.  One of the things he said was that as missionaries we need to be willing to not only help, but to allow ourselves to be helped.  I'll be doing a 2nd part to this blog and look at that statement in more depth.  But this week my thankful pictures center (mostly) around helping and being helped.

Monday -- This actually happened just before John left, not technically this week, but I've been thinking about it a lot this week....and in Part II, I'll write more about my friend, H____.  
H____ is one of the poorest people I know.  I also consider her a dear friend.  She has listened to the Gospel and is definitely open.  She and her husband and kids were squatters on an empty compound next to ours.  Her girls and Suzanne were best of friends.  They lived in a grass hut that her husband managed to keep in some state of repair.  Her husband died a few years ago and her kids are just as poor as she is, so they can't help her much.  The owners of the land came and built a house on the property, but thankfully they have allowed H____ to continue to share the yard with them and to live in her little grass hut.  The last time we were there we noticed what terrible shape it was in.  She had tied pieces of plastic onto the "walls" to keep out sun and rain, but the termites had eaten through the supports.  It was a house, but just barely.

Then just before John left, another friend, A.D., called and told us that H____ really needs to have her hut rebuilt before the rainy season.  He said if we could send some money, he'd make sure people came and built the hut for her.  What makes me so thankful, is not just that we are able to help, but that this man, who is no relation from her, is from a different ethnic group, and who might take some guff from the neighbors for helping her, took on the responsibility to make sure she has a relatively dry place during the rainy season.  A.D. had made a profession of faith, and then pulled back, but we see evidences in his life that he is living in a Christian way.  Please pray for him to really stand for Jesus and to not try to walk in both paths!

Tuesday -- We've had a short-term couple here who lived in the apartment above the office and got really involved in our office morning devotions.  They also had a ministry at church.  And I personally am thankful that they helped me by translating a number of documents from English into French!  On Tuesday morning they wanted a group photo, so here we are (three people are missing, one of them being John).  (I didn't take this photo....obviously.)

Thursday -- Daniel and S____ were good friends growing up.  S___ still calls me every now and then just to greet me.  He called last week and what I thought he said was, "Ey wande hay" (My wife had a baby).  Then on Thursday he called me again and said, "Ey wande hay."  I was so confused!  What?  How could she have a baby two weeks in a row.  Well, it turns out, what he really said the first time was, "Arabi wande hay"  (blame it on less than ideal phone connections!).  So his half-brother's wife had a baby exactly a week before his wife did.   And here's a throw-back picture of Daniel and S__ when they were about 17.  Both are married now.  I'm thankful for this continued relationship. And we were able to help out a bit by sending both brothers some money to help purchase food for their naming ceremonies.

Friday -- Actually, just about every day this's been so dusty.  This picture is taken at Sahel and you can just barely make out the city skyline through the haze of dust.  It's easy to complain about the dust....that's the air we breathe, people!  And it's impossible to keep your house clean.  But what I'm thankful for is that it has kept the temperature down a bit.  It's not unusual by the middle of April to have daily temperatures around 110 degrees F.  We've barely seen anything over 102, so that's been nice!  

Saturday  -- Unfortunately the dry dusty weather creates a perfect climate for meningitis and Niger is having a meningitis epidemic right now.  SIM was able to help all the employees who work at the office by injecting them and their children against meningitis.  Nurse Judi came in and filled needles and stuck people for the better part of two hours!  I think she did between 40 and 50 injections.  

As soon as it rains, the epidemic will end....but it probably won't rain until some time in May or June.  Our church today was doing injections after the service and I heard that there will be a public campaign to inject people this coming week. You can read more about this epidemic at, and .  (I'm not sure how that last article morphed into an article on peace-keeping forces....weird writing, or no editing, or something!)

Sunday -- This year our church is really focusing on getting involved in missions which is sure something to be thankful for!  Today it was announced that we have a new missions' pastor, pictured here with his lovely wife, who also works at our office.  The church has several mission "projects" going on and these were presented today.  It's neat to see how our church is reaching out to others with the Gospel as well as helping in practical ways such as getting a well dug in one of the villages.


Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  

I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…

Happenings in November

Well, here we are, more than half way through December, and I'm just now getting around to telling you about November.  It was a fun, busy, and eventful month.  We were still on vacation and we got in a lot of good family time during the month.

We were still in Ohio with Suz and Theo at the beginning of the month.  Suz and Theo were working hard to get Hezekiah to gain weight.  He kept losing weight for the first few weeks of his life, but he's doing great now.  We tried to spend as much time as possible with Tera so Suzanne could concentrate on adjusting to the new baby ... but mostly just because we wanted to and we enjoy her so much.  

We also tried to get in as many baby snuggles as we could.

Whenever we are in the area, my dad's cousin, Jeanne, invites us for a meal. She is actually closer to me in age than to my dad, so I've always just considered her a cousin and don't try to figure out if she's a second cousin or a first cousin once removed.  Whatever the …