Friday, April 28, 2006

I have now lived in Abidjan for one week! And...I LOVE IT!

I love...

the weather
the people
my new apartment (pictures to come)
my job
the city

It is a huge city of 4 million people...Although not the largest city I have ever driven in, it is by far the most congested. Today, a group of us went fabric shopping downtown and decided taking a taxi would be the easiest form of transportation.

It is very expensive though for example... there is a Canadian store near by which imports goods from Canada. I found 12 tortilla shells for 7-8 bucks. Mary Beth and I made tortillas that night (from scratch).

Gas is now at 35,000cfa to fill up the tank. That would be about 70 US dollars! Talk about HI gas prices, it is well over $5 dollars a liter!

Some of you have asked about Easter worship here in West Africa.

I was traveling around Leo, Burkina Faso for Easter and was able to worship in a large (for the area) Assembly of God church and the pastor asked a fellow worker to preach. I want to give you a walk through of that day.

We slept outside, the power had been out for a little over 12 hours and it was over 110 degrees outside, so very hot inside.
Woke up when the roosters started at 3.30 am and a little later the donkeys started calling to each other.

Got up and got ready, church was to start at 10 am. I put on a traditional African dress called a boo-boo, was in it about all of five min. before I was covered in sweat.

Changed into a long, loose dress and we left for church.

By they time we had gotten to the church it had already started and our fearless leader led us through the front doors. The men (4) sat up front with the other pastors and the women were directed to sit with the other women out in the church. Let me paint a picture for you.

It is a rectangle room with about three windows on each side, a back door and a front side door. There are wooden benches (without backs) for the congregation to sit on. Women sat on the two sides while men sat in the middle row and man was it crowded. There must have been at least 500 people there.

At least five choirs sang a song to open the worship that is five different groups...

One for
-young women
-old women
-adults mixed

and at least two quartet groups sang

After about an hour of singing and praying, began the preaching (which was very good by the way). The only thing is that it had to be translated. Normally sermons are translated into one other language that day it was two...from English into French and then into Mossi...took twice as long. Then more singing and praying. By the end of the service four hours had gone by and I loved every minute of it.

It was hot though and almost no ventilation. There were three rotating fans for the pastors upfront, but none for the congregation.

I had a Kleenex to constantly wipe the sweat dripping down me, I don't think I have ever sweated as much as I did that day.

Because it was Easter or in French "Pacques" the church had a "fete" or celebration. Which means FOOD! (We thought they were closet Southern Baptist)

I really don't know what to tell you we ate it was good though! They went and bought cokes for the visiting missionaries and it felt so good going down my very dry and hot throat. I think I also drank four bags of water and a koolaid type drink called beesap. (very good purplish drink they usually freeze)

That afternoon we took a break and really relaxed. I sat outside (power still out) and swung on a hammock and sang praise and worship with five MK's (missionary kids). It was one of my best Easters!

This tree is on the mission was started 25 years ago and at the time, the people of the village said this tree was haunted by evil spirits...but after the missionaries came the spirts left and have not returned.

For your thoughts...

The work among the Wala people

The workers in Leo

Starting new work in Abidjan. Right now I am working on travel plans to Senegal

For a Tennessee church to catch a vision to reach an unreached people group in West Africa.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

What a week!
Riding an African driven bus!
Three nights in three different villages
Getting to know two awesome missionaries who have a daunting task before them
Hanging out with Mary Beth and mice
Realizing you can sleep and sweat at the same time
Eating…well who knows what
Meeting a village chief (70ish years old with maybe a 6 month old daughter!)
Watching a village pastor hunt termites
Seeing a village church worship
Understanding women’s roles in different cultures—work, constant back breaking work
Going one WHOLE week without being asked to marry some African!
Thanking my mom for giving me a touch head of hair…Africans do know how to do your
Getting sick of mangos and being sick from mangos…we think I am allergic to the skin!
(my tongue swelled!) It is mango season and there are tons of mangos and we were given tons of mangos!

But I was able to cook...I made mango up-side down cake, mango bread, mango muffins and Tami made a mango cobbler!
This guy is picking mangos!

Contentment is what you make of your life no matter what you have-or don’t have
Visiting "The Neddles" -- A wonderful example of God creation!

Realizing reaching the lost for Jesus Christ has only just begun!

Here are tons of pictures-Enjoy!
Pointing at a poisonous fruit with a nut on the end!
David and Deron with village chief to trying to communicate. The Chief does not know French and we did not know Viega.

P.S. The Otter did go with me…but he had to stay hidden (not culturally excepted!)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Today I am going to start a week long adventure in "the bush" of Burkina Faso....for those of you who do not know the meaning of "the bush" it is everywhere that is not a big city (ex: Ouagadougou, Bobo...) We will be traveling by bus (closes example I can think of is Greyhound) for five hours to team up with Tami and David W. who are researchers in Burkina Faso. We will travel to several villages and discover village life.

Pray for us:

-as we travel.

-as we practice or French.

-as we experience something new.

-that there might be an opportunity to share about Christ.

-for health as we can not carry enough water for a week...we will be eating and drinking village food.

Also....Thank you for your prayers for my language study. I finished yesterday and I would not have done as well without all of your prayers. Blessings and I will update in a week!