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Showing posts from April, 2014

That's What I Love about Niger

Recently an appointee to Niger asked John what he likes about living here.  This is what John wrote:

Dear ______,

Some of what Suzanne wrote on her blog is exactly what I was going to say to you. So let me begin with the weather. Yeah, it's hot, but that has its advantages.

For one thing, you don't have to pile on layers of clothes. One thing people always tell me in cold climates is that you can always put on more layers to stay warm, but you can only take off so much in a hot climate. The problem for me is that I'm always cold in cold climates, and it's because my face, head, feet, and hands never seem to warm up. Besides, you can only put on so many layers before you can't fit into any more. And, I hate putting on layers. It takes so much time and fuss and costs so much more money. Plus, as Suzanne says, it's always warm enough for a swim or a water fight in Niger. Truth be told, I like hot. There are months when the heat is too much and I complain and longingl…

Precious in His Eyes is the Death of His Saints

We had a friend in Tera who was from Ghana. He seems to show up in our pictures starting in 2004.  He came to our little fledgling church and was always faithful.  Looking back on it, we didn't know him that well.  He was quiet and gentle and faithful but never drew attention to himself.  We always enjoyed the chance to speak a little English with him, though he also spoke Songhai well.

He made traditional medicines from local herbs, leaves, and roots.  There wasn't any witchcraft stuff involved....just knowing which plants cured which problems.  He then traveled from market to market in the area selling the medicines.  He made a living, but just barely.

He was single and often asked prayer that God would give him a Christian wife.  In Tera marriages are most often arranged, but there are also marriages where a groom chooses his wife and gets her fathers' and uncles' permission to marry.  This man could have chosen a girl and asked for her hand in marriage, but he would …

Preparing for Easter

Yesterday our church did something a bit different for Palm Sunday.  As far as I know, we've never done anything just like this.  We were told for the past few Sundays that it would be an evangelism Sunday and that we were going to go out on the streets and pass out tracts during the regular church service.

Talking to random people is really not in my comfort zone.  I think especially here, building relationships is the most important and effective way to reach people.  Notice I didn't say the only way.  I thought about not going to church, but felt that that was not what God wanted me to do.  So, I thought, well a flat tire or a dead battery could be my answer, but, nope, neither of those happened!

When we arrived at church we were all given a Gideon New Testament, some tracts, an invitation to the Easter celebration next Sunday, and a sheet specifically for university students to see if there is any interest in doing seminars for them.  Then we pretty much had the normal churc…

Hope, No Matter What

Last year I read through the Bible in a year.  I like doing that every three or four years or so.  But I find it hard to have enough time to look more in depth at certain passages when I have to keep up with a Bible-reading schedule.  So in other years I like to study a book, a passage, or even a word in more depth.

Anybody who follows my blog or receives our prayer letters will know that we had a devastating flood on two of our mission campuses in August of 2012.  

This resulted in our ministries on those campuses finding temporary locations as well as the need to find housing for around 54 people.  The year that followed was a year of organizing teams to come out to help with clean-up, hiring local workers to help with clean-up, and building a retaining wall inside our security wall.  It meant another move  from our temporary locations back to campus.

It was a time of discouragement, of desperation, and of despair.  It was also a time of hope, of clinging to our Father's promises, …

ABC's of Me

Back in February Suzanne did a fun post on "The ABC's of Me".  Since nothing terribly exciting has been happening in my life (busy, yes; exciting, no), I thought I'd do a similar post.

Age:  All I’ll admit to is that I’m in the 2nd half century of my life. My birthday is in May.  Here's a picture from a few years back.  We were in the US that year.  May is one of my favorite months in the US.  Notice I am wearing a sweater and look fresh and alive.  Now, here is a picture of me celebrating my birthday in Niger.  I look like something the cat dragged in.  Let me tell you, May is my least favorite month in Niger and it's a terrible month to have a birthday.  One word to describe May in Niger would have to be SWEAT.  

Bed size:  Double.  I don’t think anything bigger would fit in our room.  Thankfully neither of us are big people and we’re very comfortable in our bed!  Except in May when the power goes off, then we're like, "Don't touch me!"

Chore …