Tuesday, January 24, 2006

An African Believer.....

Passion…Burkinabe Believers have passion for Christ. They boldly profess their faith. A young woman and I were paired up together after the service Sunday to walk around the neighborhood and share about Chist and Bon Burge Baptiste L’englis (the Baptist church).

Friday night we heard church would start an hour earlier Sunday, so after the service they could go out into the neighborhood and evangelize. Of course the pastor had told the congregation all this last Sunday…but in French. None of us had picked this up. Guess we have a ways to go! Needless to say – we were very thankful Kathy had understood and told us or we would have walked in an hour late to church!!

I didn’t know if the church would want four Americans to go with them to tell the neighborhood about the church…but they did. The pastor came up to us after the service and paired us up with someone from the church who knew a little English.

She knew a little English and I practiced what little French I remembered! The first house we stopped at rejected her and told us to leave. So we walked on – speaking broken English and French, learning a little bit about each other. She is studying communications at the university and was excited when I told her I studied journalism in school.

In the third compound the men invited us in to talk. They all gathered around the burkinabe and the white girl. I told her to not worry about trying in English…to talk with them, not me. Most of them were Muslim. I followed the conversation fairly well. She started off with the story of Abraham and Isaac moving to the power of the Holy Spirit and then finished with the story of Jesus. She then asked if they had any questions.

One guy asked her to explain the differences between Catholics and Protestants. I thought “Good luck!” I didn’t understand her answer…it would have been interesting to know what she thought.

She didn’t back down from there questions, challenging them with her answers and even stopped to pray over one guys food. (He was a Muslim—but understood the blessing!) So we prayed in the power of Jesus for the food to be a blessing to him! She left a note card about the church with them and got their names so the pastor could do a follow-up!

She is coming Thursday with another girl from the church to help us with our French.

Here are some more random pictures from Africa!

Me sweeping African style. They do not have wooden handles for the brooms so they bend over and sweep everything…even dirt. (Every morning at 6 a.m. I hear the night guard sweeping the dirt outside my window)

My African afternoon snack…crackers and cheese. The cheese is called The Laughing Cow and is really good with crackers that are almost like ritz…but not quite.

Thought requests….

Emily is sick…we think with sinus’

Deron is also sick…a head cold.

We leave for Lome, Togo on Saturday for a regional leadership conference. We will meet the Regional Leadership Team and learn and plan the coming year. I hope our flight is smooth and our week off from French does not hurt us.

Blessings to you all from West Africa!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jesse Lyautey
Mission Baptiste
01 B.P. 580
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Packages can be no larger than the size of a VHS tape
Send air mail
I will only be here until the end of March and it will take about 2-3 weeks for something to get here.

If you want to send something I'd love it!
Here are some items to get you started.
Kool-aid (can never have enough here!)
individual packs of grits and oatmeal
hard candy
CD's, DVD's
Blessings to you All! Thanks for the thoughts and e-mails!

Walking around town!
In the market we slowly walk through the vendors, looking for fabric for new “pana’s,” African skits that tie around the waste. This market is different. The vendors are laying around napping, occasionally calling out to us, “Madame, Madame!,” but for the most part we are not bothered. Everywhere else people circle around us like vultures in the desert wanting money for goods. One of the missionaries explained this is because this market is not a tourist market.

Against their dark, African skin, the colors are beautiful and bright. You can fin any color with any design. Hanging against one wall is one fabric with bright red birds on a green background anther has orange and yellow butterflies with a multi-color blue and tan backing.

Women walk by with large metal fruit bowls on top of their heads, asking people to buy the fruit. The fruit is placed towards the front of the bowl and even thought the bowl is four times the size of their heads only the front half actually sits on the head. Somehow she beats the pull of gravity and is able to balance 10’s of pounds on her head.

Everyday is a new adventure. Yesterday we braved the crowded streets to go by groceries. We try only to get out during the siesta (less people asking us to buy their goods)…but the Marina Market is closed from noon until 3.30. We got their early and walked around the mosque in front of the market. Many people were begging for food and money. The little kids all come up to shake our hands. (We use lots of hand sanitizer.) On our way back to the market we watched as Muslims did their prayers on the side of the road. They literally put their mats down and begin kneeling.

Here is a lesson in French.

Bonjour! Comment ca va? (Hello! How are you?)

Bonjour! Ca va, et vous? (Hello! Doing good, and you?)

Je va bien. Et famille? (I am good. And your family?)

Bien, merci. (Good, thank you.)

A tout a l’heure. (See you later.)

Au revour. (Good-bye.)
Good times in West Africa!
I am a cooking MACHINE!
Emily and I getting things done
(or maybe this is what m's do with their spare time!?)
Neither of us wanted to take out the trash so we had a contest! Who ever lost had to take it out!I won the "who can eat a pancake the fastest contest!"
Me and the Otter making chocolate pancakes for dinner! (He is becoming a good cook!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The much awaited pictures!

Men begging in front of mosque.

Me on a swing in front of my apartment.

This is an abnormal street in Burkina Faso. Usually you can not see the road there are so many people and cars. We play a game called- dodge the cars/motos and people. Most of the people drive motos.

This is Amilie. She works as a secretary in the office of the Burkina Faso Baptist Convention. She is going to help me practice French.


As I sit on our front porch eating a freshly cut apply, Antonie, our day gate guard, walks by pulling on a stocking hat. I yell “bon jour, Antonie!” thinking how strange it is for anyone in 90 degree weather to wear a knitted hat. Yet this is a cool morning during the winter time for most West African’s and it is not uncommon to see them walking around with large winter jackets on in the morning. Later Antonie will take off his hat as the sun quickly heats the air. He will sit in his chair by the gate all day, getting up whenever a car enters or exits the compound.

We will always greet Antonie and ask about his health, family and his day. This is a custom in West Africa. You cannot just walk past someone with a short “hey.” It is a lengthy process to greet and then move on to the next person to greet. It could take as long as thirty minutes to greet a stranger, but this is only after I learn how to say more than three words in French!

Today is a Muslim holiday, Fet. It is also a national holiday and it is quiet except for the call to prayer coming from the mosque. Emily and I sit listening to the chanting, praying for God to reach down and awaken these people.

We decide to try our first Burkina Faso taxi today. Because of the holiday few taxi’s are in service and we walked a block to find the main road in town. The five of us – Kathy, Deron, Mary Beth, Emily and I – squish into the small car and head for the city park. It was beautiful. It is a large park, with many trails, animals and it also has a kid’s fun park. Kathy said this is the only park of its kind in West Africa, she has never seen anything like it. We walk for a while enjoying the quiet, peacefulness of the morning. We all forgot to put on sunscreen so soon we are pink from bright sun and decide to head back to the compound for lunch.

Tomorrow I start French lessons. I am a little nervous to meet our teachers. This is a shame society. This means we will get little or no praise from our teachers during the next three months. I pray I can be an encourager to the others, as well as doing things to make myself feel good about my accomplishments.

I’ll let you know how they go!


Well, the French is hard but not so bad. I will spend a couple of hours this afternoon practicing and making flash cards. Fun, fun. But I now know how to start a conversation and leave a conversation. I'll show you my classroom next time.

Things are bien (which is good in French and Spanish!!!)


Sunday, January 08, 2006

I am having trouble posting pictures visit: Emily P's link and Mary Beth and Deron's link on the side of my blog to view pictures they have posted. Maybe next time.
Thanks to all of you who sent e-mails. Loved getting them. Will write back soon!

Three days in Africa!

The plane lands, anticipation builds. I grab my book-bag, rap my light jacket around my waist and hold my heavy winter jacket in my hand. I can already feel the heat coming from the front of the plane. I am in Africa. As I start to walk down the steps to go into the airport I inhale a mixture of heat, dust, and burning leaves and trash Mary Beth said, “It smells like Africa.” I laugh, thinking soon the smell will be normal, 80 degrees will feel cool, and I’ll be able to ignore mosquitoes.

Between the four of us we have 16 bags and/or trunks of luggage. We caused a small “problem” trying to go through “customs” in Burkina Faso. I use the word “customs” loosely; it was a guy standing at the door wanting to know what hundreds of people had in their bags. We came up and he just laughed and asked what was in them, we had so much he just let us go.

I was able to share Christ on the plane from Paris. It was a random collection of questions and searching. His name is Kevin. Kevin is from Canada, in med-school in Washington D.C. and decided to take time off and visit Burkina Faso. Just wanted to spend six months here and meet people. He doesn’t know anyone here and is going to live with a family in Ouaga. Kevin is a true searcher. He doesn’t believe in God, but does believe something is out “there.” He has traveled a lot lately and I just wanted to tell him, “You are not going to find “happiness” hopping from one country to another.”

We had home made pizza Friday night for dinner at a missionary’s house. Fourteen missionaries and missionary kids we met and bombarded with questions about the area and people. After dinner the guys started watching the Rose Bowl game, someone had taped for them.

We are tired, but content. God has already answered so many of your prayers: safe travel, all of our luggage made it, the people are great, and we are excited about the next three months in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, learning French.

We start our French lessons on Wednesday, pray I am rested and able to learn quickly and remember what I have learned. Pray I will have a willing spirit to get out with the people and stubble through the language.

This is the dry season and everyone is burning trash, pray allergies will leave me alone.

May the Lord bless you!

Yesterday, we went shopping with Kathy. We went all around town looking for different items. I walked down one aisle and saw dove soup in the new fancy bottles! Even though we could get most toiletries, we could not find eggs.

While in the store I saw Kevin from the airplane. I walk over to say hi and he was surprised to see me. He seemed overwhelmed, so I went back to my group.

We meet some Burkinabe (burr-key-nah-bay), the people who are from Burkina Faso, at fruit stands who said they would help us practice our French.

Today we went to the University church. It was a western style with three rows of pews, wooden pews that really are uncomfortable after two hours, and the women sat on the left, the men on the right, and families or groups in the middle. We sat in the middle so Deron wouldn’t be by himself.

It was a great service (in French) and everyone was very nice. We got introduced as visitors, taken back to a special room afterwards and told about the churches activities. We might try to go to youth events to practice French. The workers said the church was a wealthier church and used western worship to draw students from the nearby university.

We ate Chinese for lunch and American ice cream for desert. Things are going really well.

I am having trouble falling asleep at night. Please lift-up this so I might get more sleep and not have feel overly tired during the day.

Also…that I might start picking up some French.

Miss you all!