Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Birthday MOMMY!

I wish I could be there to celebrate this special day with you. I want you to know I am thinking of you today and pray that everyone around you loves on you for me.

You are a great mom, the best. I would not be half-way across the world without the love and encouragement you have always given me! You have made me a courageous and faithful follower of Christ.

Thank you for always being there for me…through tough times with friends, guys, school and work. You will always be my favorite mom and my closest friend.


Monday, December 18, 2006

The Beauty of a Sunset

For security reasons I am going to be vague...

Five women--young and single--work in the number one least livable (hardest to live) country in the world and they are leading Muslim men and women to Christ. In the last three months more than 50 villagers have become believers. God is good.

One team (of two young women) live in a two bedroom house with their bathroom outside as a hole in the ground. Another team has to four-wheel drive the entire way to their villages because of the deep desert sand. These are young women my age and they are beautiful, faithful and excited about what God is doing among their people group.

Many people have said it will take 8 years once a Muslim has heard about Christ to believe much less hearing about Him from a woman. These girls are seeing God move, He is saying it is His time among this people group. The first story of Jesus was told three months ago, three weeks later 25 believed. One week after 7 came to Christ.

I was able to spend a week with these girls visiting four villages, encouraging them and the new believers. What a blessing for me.

I also spent time with a Texas church who has adopted 48 villages to tell about Jesus. Amazing! One chief walked them outside his hut and showed them land he set aside for them to come back to stay while they taught the village about Jesus. He said, "We are tired of the Muslim faith, come teach us. Look at all the land that can be the church. That is all yours if you want it."

God has renewed me in my work this last month. He has shown me He will be worshiped and glorified by all peoples.

I saw Him in the beautiful smile of the Chief who couldn't wait to hear another story of Jesus from two young women, in the hope of a church to reach 48 villages and in the beauty of a sunset.

Pictures from some of my adventures

This is the desert meeting a large river. The river does not give life very far from it's shore. It was beautiful seeing the quick transition from delta to desert!

This is called Harmatten (the dry, dusty season caused by winds from the Sahara picking up sand and blowing it south). If you look hard enough you can see a camel! During Harmatten nights can get to around 40 degress and days can still be over 100 degress. I froze at night!

I got to take a one cow draw cart for Christmas caroling in the desert! It snowed dust! Two other journeyman and myself went to encourage believers outside of the village and sang Christmas songs for our hour long ride back to the village. The locals looked at us kinda funny! We had a blast getting our selves into the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


To me…Today is my one year anniversary working for the IMB! Man has the year flown by quickly.

So I am going to get a little nostalgic.

One year ago today was a Sunday. I was living outside of Richmond, Va. I meet a friend of mine, Kristen at a near-bye Panera Bread (mmmm….I do miss Panera!) and we ate dinner together. Then we both got into our packed cars and drove the remainder 45 minutes to the training center to begin our journey in becoming IMB missionaries.

Three months later I was on a plane to West Africa!

I left family, friends, snow and started what has turned into a wonderful adventure.

I have visited so many people who have inspired me to be a better believer…like Pierre in Southern Senegal who questions everything about God and searches the Word for the answers and then believes with his whole heart!

Or like Helen who lives in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and prays for a godly husband or to live a life of faithfulness as a single. She wants to become a missionary.

But the biggest impact has been made by my fellow workers who daily give of themselves to do the work God has called them to complete.

The OneStory team of amazing 20 something’s. Their daily struggle just to survive is overwhelming, but they push on and use every opportunity to tell the story of Christ.

The people on the Engaging Team of West Africa drive long hard roads to find people who need to hear the gospel and then have to leave them. It is hard to meet someone and start a relationship knowing that you will probably never be a part of this person’s life. But they do it, so one day a church or another missionary can go and begin to share.

And then there are those people who spend year after year telling their neighbors about Jesus and being rejected, but keeping the joy of just being able to tell the stories of the Bible.

I wish I could let you all meet these same amazing people and the people they work with in West Africa.

I thank the Lord everyday for this experience and pray the next year will bring Him glory from my life.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The places I have seen…

This last weekend I had the privilege to follow around a research, Kerry, and his boss, Jay, as they learn about the Senufo people of Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote D’Ivoire.

We started by visiting this beautiful rock formation we call “the Peeks.” They are a seemingly, random grouping of cliff like…rocks. The Peeks are steeped in animistic spiritual traditions. We took a tour offered by a Senufo tourist guide and he gave us the history of the Senufo people and what the Peeks mean to them.

I was able to catch most of the conversation (it was in French), but since my vocabulary does not include animistic words, I missed a few things I later had to get translated.

The Senufo people came from Mali to Southern Burkina Faso and arrived at the rocks and found them filled with spirits. So, they lived on the rocks and prayed to the spirits. As time went on they moved off the mountain of rocks into the surrounding area. Now they only use the rocks for spiritual ceremonies, traditional tribal initiations and to make money from tourists.

From the top of the rocks you can look out over southern Burkina and (right now) see the green, wet fields of rice and scattered villages.

It is heartbreaking to hear how they believe spirits who will protect them if they sacrifice and follow its will or harm them if they don’t.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Jay wanted to learn about the Senufo so that he can inform SBC’s about this unreached people group. He will be talking about them at the West Africa Summit in St. Louis at the end of the month.

The thing is…I could see how God had beautifully created this area of the world. Looking out over the valley into the distance I was reminded of God’s power of the earth and those He draws to Himself.

October makes 10 months in West Africa. In these 10 months I have visited 15 people groups. Each group is different. Different in how much they have heard of the gospel.

Like the Senufo some have only heard of God by seeing His creation. Others have Missionaries living with them and still others are part of a Baptist Convention.

My prayer today is in someway see these people in Heaven for He has promise Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Starting the day with a bus ride to the train station eating pastries and hot tea for breakfast while on the fifteen minute train ride into the city.

We arrived at Victoria station and walked a short way to the Westminster Cathedral...very large. Then another short walk back to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. (A lot of young men in red jackets with big, furry, black hats, taking a long time to change places!) It was fun getting pushed up next to the gate because others wanted to see!

We ate at a small pub called Bag O'Nails...I had a Jacket Potato...Basically a baked potato, and no one serves Coke...only Pepsi here.

More walking to see Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abbey--were more than 3,000 people are buried inside the church!

To end our wonderfully busy day...We took a double-decker bus from one end of the line to the other... 2 hours of seeing the suburbs of London! Then ate a healthy meal at McDonalds!

I am going to rest for another exciting day tomorrow!

Monday, September 25, 2006


Flying in:
I arrived more than three hours before my parents and I waited in the airport for them. I was freezing. I put on socks and had two coats on while trying to sleep...but I was too cold to sleep. When my parents finally arrived, we took two underground "tubes" and then a train and then a taxi to get to the hotel! It was quite the adventure with all our luggage!

The First day:
I ate at a Krispy Kreme donut shop in the middle of a train and tube station! We were also very Europian and had hot tea with breakfast.
Next was Buckingham Palace and dad asked every worker if they were in university and if today was their last day...apparently all the workers are students! (all thinking this old man is crazy :)!)
Then we visited the original Hard Rock Cafe followed by a tour of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Very cool. I got to meet Prince William and Harry and mom and dad got to take pictures with the Queen!

So far it has been a great visit...who knows who I will meet tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baby Naming Ceremony
I am holding the smallest baby I have ever held in my life! I am all dressed up attending a baby naming ceremony. These celebrations happen about eight days after the baby is born and everyone from the village comes offering gifts and to eat food prepared by the family. It is a great time to visit and have weird conversations about food and village happenings.

Signs of malaria
The first wave of malaria hit me on my second day in the far desert of Niger. In the morning I felt well enough to walk the town and visit nationals. As guests it is good to visit friends and make a good impression for future work. The rest of the day I took it easy in the shade!

In Niger the women wear a head covering everywhere they go. So from the time I got up till I went to sleep I had something on my head...A totally new experience for me. (Yes, something on your head all the time is very HOT.)

So, I am drugged. This is me in the hospital bed with an IV in my left hand. (which would later swell up because the medicine started leaking into my arm...Gross.

If you get malaria and don't take it easy and have food poisoning along with it, you might end up in the hospital!

This is were I spent three days and two nights. I got used to the IV and was able to sleep quite a lot. I also had wonderful visitors who took care of me and the people who stayed around the clock with me. I had wonderful care and when I was coherent was very impressed with the doctors.

My favorite was the night shift doctor, he gave me drugs to sleep!

I have learned if you get malaria-Africa is a good place to get treatment.

Hope you have enjoyed these pictures. I am headed to London this weekend to see my PARENTS! YEAH! Will post pictures of my trip.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fun times at the Beach

So, they tell me beach vendors kept trying to get me to buy something...Hate to tell them I was asleep! That's Emily asleep next to me. This is how we have fun!

This is my birthday cake! My supervisor made an angle food cake and I loved it...

Yes, this is my cheesy...Don't want my picture taken, smile.

We had grilled chicken and baked potatoes. The best dinner I have had in a while.


Tomorrow I leave with Emily to go to Niger. I am really looking forward to seeing new friends and learning about their lives. One group of guys lives about a rough 10 hour drive from the capital city. Then a group of three girls who live together, but work in different villages. Also, two girls, one whom has been very sick for almost her whole time on the field, but they are doing amazing work.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Peanuts and Cotton

Back row:Carrie, Me, Mary Beth, Emily
Front row: Danielle, Daren, Aaron
These are cool workers in West Africa. It was fun to hang out with them again at the West Africa regional Meeting last month. Emily, Mary Beth and her husband Daren live with me in Abidjan. I had not seen the couple since May. So it was really nice to see them again. We worked hard at the conference, learning how to be better workers and advance His Kingdom.

This is a picture I took in Senegal. Bailey is resting while looking over her row of peanut plants in Southern Senegal. I was playing around with different angles and a different focus.

Some of you have asked if I really do work, because all the pictures I show are of me having fun. Well, for one my work is fun and second most of it is observing all that goes on around me.

But here is an example of me with a notepad in my hand and writing down an interview with a fellow worker in West Africa.

Oh and it is the first time in 8 months that I have been allowed to wear JEANS!

Don't freak out...This is called "Hena." It is NOT permanent and has already washed off my hands. Though I also have it on my fingernails, which will last for several months! This is something the African women do to show beauty and for celebrations. I had it done with several summer volunteers who worked in Senegal and we were celebrating a job well done.

I went to a village two days after getting this done and all the women loved it! It did take me a while to get use to it...But now I forget I have it on. Don't you love it mom?!

This is also another example of me working...This is a different kind of work. Africans do not realize my job is to take pictures and ask questions.

If the team is out working in the fields, I am part of the team and should be working in the fields!

So, here I am weeding a peanut field. I also weeded a cotton field too. If I do say so my self...I got pretty good at and pretty sore!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This is the awesome group of singles working in West Africa! It was great fun hanging out with them in Togo. Emily found some great stories in this group and will be going to hang out with them soon!

This is the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal. This is were I spent the 4th of July and if you look hard you can see Lebou fishing boats in the back.
This is me, Carrie and a missionary kid, Maggie. Don't we look so cute!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Return from Senegal

Tonight I am headed to Togo for a week-long meeting with other IMB workers. It will be a great time to hear about what is going on in the region and meet new people.

Senegal was a wonderful experience. Our Father has taught me a lot about himself and myself and working with others.

I learned greetings in six languages, slept alone in a hut-other Americans about an hour away, rode a camel, ate goat brains, told someone about Jesus, drove about 1,000 km in three days, got dressed up in African clothing and prayed with a teenager going through persecution. Oh and how could I forget...slid down a clift.

The women of Africa have taught me to be cheerful and thankful for my life. They work long, hard hours in heat I can’t explain, always having a smile on their face or singing a song.

Water on MY HEAD!

I pulled water up from a deep well and then carried it on my head, chopped wood and then carried it on my head, pounded millet, cooked over a open fire and drank more ataya tea than I ever thought possible.

Thanks you for your prayers during my time in Senegal, I stayed in relatively good health and had safe travels.

Here are some things to remember.

-Persecution for those in Senegal. I sat with a 15 year-old girl as she cried about what to do- reject her faith and follow her grandmother and religious leaders of her village or believe and be kicked out of her home and village. It is real.

-Safe travels for more than 150 IMB workers to Togo today and tomorrow. For a productive week of meetings and training and safe travels back home.

-I have a one day turn around from Togo, to Cote d’Ivoire and then back to Senegal. Hope it happens!

-Right now there is unrest in Cote d’Ivoire. They young people have made life difficult for the last couple of days, protesting for disarmament and well a lot of things. We are safe and our Father is good.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Tares are hollow on the inside, but look like wheat on the outside…

How many of us have the Christian walk and talk down…we know what to say and how to act in a crowd of SBC’s, but on the inside are empty and don’t have a personal relationship.

The Tares among Wheat
24Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "(U)The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25"But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed [
a]tares among the wheat, and went away.
26"But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
27"The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
28"And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'
29"But he said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but (
V)gather the wheat into my barn."'"

God has let me see even in West Africa there are tares. It is a lot like separating the sheep from the goats. Christ is our shepherd and He knows us each. Those of us who hear His voice and know Him, follow after Him.

I have learned so much in this last week about really letting God have control and knowing He doesn’t need me but He wants me to follow Him. God can call people to Him with or without me.

I have done some awesome things these past three weeks and have met some fantastic people. Here are some more fun pictures…

Me infront of Rhino's-sweet...
Male giraffe

Me on a snapping turtle...I am so cool!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

See His work all over West Africa!

I am in Dakar, Senegal, at the moment. I am watching the most beautiful Senegalize girl separate the different colors of construction paper. She seems to be content to just help.
She is at the home of another J-girl, Carrie, who lives here in Dakar. Carrie teaches ESL and uses it to teach Bible stories. Carrie is an amazing person and I am learning a lot about her work here and how God has used her in awesome ways over the last year.

<---This is us at the Island called Goree Island and it was the last stop before the Americans for slave ships. We hung out there for a day and it was pretty cool... this is Carrie, Emily, me, and Aaron. We are all Journeyman. I have been here for ten days following around two volunteer groups, one from New York and the other from Texas...I have also had some fun...Pictures to come... Today, I had church by myself. I studied about suffering and how when we are not suffering for Christ we tend to get ourselves into trouble-like King David and Bathshiba, also when he wanted to count the numbers in the Israelites army... I realized I might think some one is suffering...But who am I to judge whether they are suffering or not...It could just be their life! I pray that we all find peace in our suffering, like Paul, who suffered most of his Christian life, yet gave all the glory to God. Blessings to you all, Jesse
This is the door the people who had just gotten sold, stepped out to get onto the boats. It is called the door of no return...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Guys we know have BIRD FLU in Abidjan! I am running from all chickens!

This is Sammy: Mary Beth's and Deron's gate guard...he speaks English and is a really nice man. He is standing in front of our gate and if you look down the street our office is on the right at the end! A 1 1/2 min. walk!

This morning, I woke up at the unheard of hour of 5.30 a.m. to meet Emily and another worker Lucy for a morning walk around the neighborhood! Well, it was a beautiful morning and we saw a ton of people out walking...for me it turned into a sweat bath!

I guess it is something I will get used to...sweat and more sweat!

I am getting into the swing of things here at work...I am in the process of planning out our travels for the next year, well at least until Dec. It is hard work, but I am really enjoying it. I am also finishing up the stories from my trip in Burkina Faso...I think I got two good ones.

Today, Lucy invited us girls over to get our toes painted -- a women she knows is coming over to do it! I am VERY excited...clean and pretty feet, here I come.

Next day: I have pretty toes now!

Here are some pictures of my office and apartment -- enjoy...

<-- office

Our car

My apartment is on the bottomMy room--i took one of the beds out (the one in the corner) My living room