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Showing posts from October, 2007

The Fields Are White Unto Harvest

Do you remember the verse where Jesus says to lift up your eyes because the fields are white unto harvest? Well, the Songhai use the same expression.

During the rainy season, the millet was planted and grew strong and tall. During that time, church members went out and weeded the entire field by hand. But now, the rainy season has come and gone. As things turn dry, the millet plants begin to dry up, losing their green color. The Songhai then begin saying, "We need to harvest the millet because it is white." Now, if you ask me, the plants are brown, but if you look across an entire field, you could use the word "white" to describe it. It is certainly a contrast to the green that we saw only a month ago.

Remember Jeremy and John's hard work of gathering manure and making a huge compost pile? Then we talked about how Jeremy dug zai holes by hand on the church property. Jeremy never got to see the results of his hard work, so this one is for you, Jeremy. We are curr…

The Ramadan Fete

Ramadan was celebrated in Tera a week ago Thursday (the 11th). This is always a happy day when the end of the month-long fast is celebrated. Everybody starts getting ready days ahead of time by plaiting their hair, putting on henna, fixing up their house, and going to the market to buy new things. On the day of the fete, everybody puts on their new clothes then goes to the mosque to pray. When they get home the women get busy fixing a huge celebratory meal. The men sit around playing cards, chatting, and listening to the radio. The kids run around, make a lot of noise, get sent on errands to buy spices for the sauce, and generally get in the way. Finally the big meal is served and everybody feasts. Extra food is cooked to give to friends, neighbors, and especially to the poor. Friends eat together and forgive each other for the past year's offenses. Later in the day everybody visits everybody else and small gifts of money, gum, or candy are given to the children.

We do not celebrat…

Bunny Rabbit

This is the month of Ramadan. After fasting all day in heat that is now exceeding 100 degrees every day, people are ready to enjoy a little good food and special drinks in the evening. They eat treats like dates and drink special juices like lemonade. People stay up late to enjoy the extra treats and to enjoy each other's company. Children have special games they play during Ramadan.

One of their favorites is called "Tooba-tooba" which loosely translated is "The Bunny Rabbit". The kids fold up pieces of paper then tie them on strings which they tie to their bodies. They like to wear other things like a "skirt" that looks somewhat like a Hawaiian grass skirt. They put coke bottle lids in cans which they smash so that they are shut and the lids inside can't fall out. Then they run around the neighborhood together making all sorts of racket. Everybody is supposed to give them a handfull of millet or a few sugar cubes or a little bit of money. It's…

Suzanne and her asthma

Last Saturday Suzanne had a terrible asthma attack. There was a youth group activity at a compound a couple of miles away from Sahel Academy. They were going to play Capture the Flag, but Suzanne never got to play. Somebody was burning stuff on the compound and the smoke really got to her. It wasn't long before she was gasping for air. Chad Winsor raced her back to the dorm, speeding along as fast as he could, honking his horn, and running every red light.

She got started on her nebulizer right away. Usually she is over it within 24 - 48 hours, but this time it went on for days. To make a long story short, we finally decided on Friday to come down to Niamey to be with her. We felt like she probably needed some Mom and Dad encouragement.

She has been testing her breathing level with her peak flow meter and doing her nebulizer four times a day and has been put on Prednisone for 10 days. She seemed to turn a corner yesterday afternoon and is doing much better now.

A long time ago Danie…

Helping the Helpless

This is the month of fasting in this part of the world, as I'm sure you know. A friend recently shared these verses in her prayer letter:

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter --

When you see the naked, to clothe him....

And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58: 6, 7, and 10.

Wow. Those are pretty heavy verses and I'm not sure I know exactly what they mean. I definitely want to spend some time studying them.

But, one thing for sure, we are surrounded by the hungry, the dis-advantaged, and those society looks down upon. We are constantly surrounded by the poorest of the poor and we find it physically, emotionally, and financ…