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Showing posts from April, 2015

Book Review: Surprised by Oxford

We are fortunate here in a land where English books are scarce, to have a lending library at our mission office.  John recently brought home a book which he obviously enjoyed immensely.  He read segments out-loud to me so I told him to let me read it before he took it back to the library.  I was not disappointed in this book which I enjoyed immensely.
Surprised by Oxford is written by Carolyn Weber and is the story of her conversion.  The copyright date is 2011 and it is published by Thomas Nelson. The title is obviously a take-off from C.S. Lewis' conversion story, Surprised by Joy. The author won a scholarship to study Romantic Literature and to earn her MPhil at Oxford University.  The book is organized around the academic terms at Oxford:  Michaelmas Term, Christmastide, Hilary Term, Eastertide, and Trinity Term.

The author, though raised in a Catholic home, had seldom attended church and considered herself an agnostic.  Early in her first term she met a fellow student at Oriel …

Helping and Being Helped, Part II

Helping is something we do a lot of here in Niger.  After all, according to the Human Development Index, Niger is the poorest country in the world.  And on the years that it's not, it's not far from the bottom.  So there is plenty to do to help.

In fact, when we are surrounded by poverty, it's easy to feel guilty when others help us or do things for us.  Here in the big city we know many who live at an economic level similar to ours.  But when we were in the village, even though we tried to live simply, we were still at a much higher economic level than anybody else we knew.  So when people would help us in some way, we would actually feel guilty and embarrassed that they were giving to us from out of their poverty.

But there were times when we really did need help.  Other times we didn't know we needed help, but were given it.  When we look back now, we can see how others came along side us.  John often said it's times like those that actually made people more open …

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.  H…


Monday -- Grocery shopping here is pretty basic, which is fine with me.  I find grocery shopping incredibly difficult back in the USA when I have to make so many choices!  Here there are two brands of spaghetti, two brands of olive oil, three brands of mayonnaise, etc.  And then a lot of the items available are eliminated off my list because I can't afford them.  So when I find something here that I've never seen before and it's affordable, I get pretty excited.  Last week I found both oat bran and wheat germ!

Tuesday -- John and I went for a date to one of our favorite restaurants. 

 It's by the river and has really basic fare....brochettes and french fries.  They have a few other things, but not much.  It's a laid-back atmosphere, is affordable, and it doesn't matter what time you go.  (A lot of nicer restaurants don't open until 7:00 or even 8:00 p.m.) This was our last chance for a good conversation before he headed off for England.

Wednesday-- I like how …

My Favorite Vacation

Tuesday and it's time to link up with Momfessionals for "Show and Tell".  Oh, woops, it's Wednesday....and will probably be Thursday before I actually get this posted.

It's hard to think of a favorite vacation.  When I was a kid growing up in Nigeria, our parents always got a month of "holidays" which they always took in Miango where our mission had a "rest center".  It was an ideal place for vacation:  all meals prepared, peace and quiet, time to read, sleep, hike, etc.  The thing is, Miango was also the location of the boarding school where us kids attended.  My parents always came in March, so when they came we would move into their cabin with them, but we still attended school and life carried on as normal.  Except that our parents were there and that far outweighed the fact that us kids never actually went anywhere on vacation.  Except during Christmas and summer holidays we got to go home, so I guess that was our vacation.

When we returned…