Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2007

Helene's Homegoing

One of our colleagues in Niger, Helene Zoolkoski, went to be with Jesus Sunday morning, about 3:15 a.m. Niger time.

Our SIM director in Niger wrote:

"Helene Zoolkoski went to be with her Savior this morning at 3:15 am. She passed away at their home in Galmi. Helene had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma over 16 months ago. Upon receiving this news it was Helene and Chris's desire to return to Galmi and continue to work as long as they could, knowing that Helene may live out the rest of her days here in the country where they had invested so much of their lives already.

"Last Wednesday Chris and Helene quietly celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. Though very weak Helene's thoughts were clear and she still had her pretty smile.

"One of Helene's favorite hymns is 'O Sacred Head, Now Wounded'. The last verse reads:

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,

For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?

O make me Thine forever; an…

Family Picnic

It was a beautiful day for a picnic. Not too hot, not too cold. A brilliant blue sky and white fluffy clouds. No rain.

Dad was the master of the grill. Mom supervised. They cooked hamburgers, sausages, and hot dogs. We also had chips, baked beans, potato salad, and cake and "dirt" for dessert....everything you should have at a picnic.

My cousin, Julie, and her husband, Gene, came. Julie is my age and they already have an empty nest! She does NOT look like a grandmother, but she is! We always had so much fun together as kids. It was fun to see her again.

This is my cousin, Jeff, Julie's brother. I have some great memories of things he and Julie and Dean, Natalie, and I did together. His wife was not able to come, but he did bring two of his daughters and his son-in-law. He is a 5th grade teacher/track and cross-country coach.

My Uncle Dave and Aunt Gerry also came. Here they are with my mom. He brought his bagpipes along and played for us. Unfortunately I didn't get any …


Our friends, Rachel and Sjoerd, are staying in our house this summer while we are here in the US. They are there so they can be immersed in a milieu of many Fulfulde speakers. The 2nd most frequently spoken language in Tera next to Songhai is Fulfulde (the language spoken by the Fulani people). A week or so ago they heard rumors of an elephant wandering around in the bush near Doumba. They went out and were able to find this elephant. I guess he has wandered in from Burkina Faso which is only about 30 miles away. We wish we were there to see him! This just seems to unbelievable! They sent us this picture. You can see another one of him on their blog: Then on the right, click on photo album.

What I've Been Reading

Before we left Niger, I was reading this book by Richard Foster: The Freedom of Simplicity. I hadn't finished it, but didn't want to bring it to the US and then have to carry it back to Niger. Books are too heavy to carry if I don't really need it! I need to see if I can find it in the library here so I can finish it.

Anyway, I would recommend this book. By Simplicity he means getting rid of things in your life that prevent you from concentrating on what is most important. He talks about getting rid of things that cause us to live beyond our means physically. He doesn't say that "things" are wrong or that you have to live austerely. He does say that simplicity looks different for everybody but how we all need to hold things loosely.
Then he talks about how we live beyond our means emotionally by trying to do too much and by being over-involved in too many things. This is what he suggests....and I'm still mulling it over. He suggests recording all our activ…


John, Suzanne, and I were able to attend the Creation Festival this year. As you may remember Suzanne and I were going to go last year but we couldn't because of the heavy rains and flooding. This year we took our friend's son, Luke and we traveled with our friends, Steve and Joanna Nunemaker.

Creation is on Agape Farm. It is in the middle of nowhere and, I think, has electricity only on one end of the farm. To give you an idea of the farm: At one end was the farmhouse and barn. The hot showers that we had paid extra to use were also at that end. From there as you walked towards the central "arena" area, there were tents, tents, and more tents. There was also a small area that had some games for kids and a skateboarding area. Then there was the fringe stage which is where a lot of the groups that appealed to a more limited audience were. Just beyond that were shops, offices, etc. Then there was the stage and a huge empty field that was the "arena". Behind th…

A Golden Anniversary

My mother and father-in-law celebrated their 50th anniversary. The celebration took place from June 20-24. It was like a big family reunion.
On the 20th Tim and Laurie and their 4 sons came over for Dad D's birthday. After supper he said he wanted us to sing at the piano. We all enjoyed that immensely. Here we have Jacob leading the singing and John playing the piano. Too bad you can't hear all Jacob's sound effects!

Mom D's 4 sisters and their husbands arrived in the evening of June 21. The next afternoon they came over. Dad D entertained us by showing us all his hats. We also had another hymn sing around the piano. This photo shows Uncle Willard, Aunt Lucille, and Aunt Bev singing. Let me digress a moment....Uncle Willard and Aunt Lucille have been to Niger! Uncle Willard set up our solar system for us back in our pre-electricity days!

That evening we had a picnic at Tim and Laurie's house. Unfortunately it decided to rain right at picnic time! This is Mom D and Aun…