Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

No chilly, frost nipping at my toes, snowflakes in the air days for me.

It is 88 degrees, but it feels like 101 with a humidity of 75%. Sweat dripping from all pores. Does that feel like the Christmas session to you? Not to me! Just eight days away is the snowy white Christmas of my imagination.

It is going to be a great one! My parents will arrive a week from today. In fact, I just sent my one last request, syrup!

But, there is more to Christmas this year for me. I read this great story about what your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering means to missionaries. I left my appendix in Bogota is a story in which I can relate.

I too, have spent the night in a hospital in a foreign country. And here recently, had a blood test to figure out what was wrong with me--Typhoid. All of these are possible through your giving. Thank you. Because of you I am healthy and have been on the field one year, 11 months and 10 days. For more resources or ideas to motivate you, your Sunday school class and church to give go to

Go check out the new West Africa Web site at The lastest Media Team project.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


All the new personnel in the region gathered in my fair city for a conference. I had two lovely young women stay with me in my posh apartment. (No, I didn't cook for them, that's why they are still alive and not sick and dying! The conference fed us all.)

During the day we sat through sessions about church planting, stress, supervisors, teammates and had worship times together.

One night we went bowling! The lane is from the '70's. No lying, the lanes were warped from the humidity, the wall was a pale lime green and all the balls were chipped.

But, about 50 white people had a blast.

Another night, we sat around after dinner and talked about relationships with our regional leader. It was interesting to hear how his wife and he met.

It was a great time spent with friends and learning how to be a better missionary.


No turkey, no football, no afternoon nap, no leaves falling from the trees, no family gathering, no parade.

Was it really Thanksgiving?

Well, 25 people who gathered to eat chicken, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie would say an enthusiastic - YES!

I had a blast making Indian and Pilgrim headdresses, eating way too much food and talking with friends who have become family.

Back to Niger

Almost a year ago, I tagged along on the first trip made by First Baptist Church Hurst, Texas to the Mehanna Road. This church has undertaken a huge task. They are responsible for planting Baptist churches in 48 village.

This year, I went on their fifth trip to visit the Songhai people and was completely amazed by what God is doing. There are already more than 10 believers with more than half of them baptized!

Photo by Justin V.

The cool thing for me was that I was able to go with a friend from college, who is an IMB photographer. It was a little like old times, except that we were in the desert, I was recovering from Tyfloid and Justin stressed about the Malaria meds! Thanks Justin for the pictures.

For more info on partnering churches visit

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Having Faith

I have asked you to pray for rain many times in the last couple of months. Well, that is because out here, rain dictates life. If it doesn’t rain, the crops don’t become big enough to feed the family until the next rainy season. Children starve, cattle die, and life becomes almost impossible to live well.

Many times, while visiting villages, I ask the village chief or elders what I can pray for their village. Their answer, “rain.”

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah prayed for the drought to end. He had faith God would answer his prayer and sent his servant to watch for God’s reply. Recently, I heard an amazing story of a young teenage missionary kid who had faith like Elijah and wrote a short story about his experience. Below is Jame’s story. Please take a moment to read it.

Having Faith
by: Jesse Lyautey
During the summer months, 16-year-old James helps his parent’s minister to the Bissa people. During one ministry event they took summer missionaries to work in a village in northern Ghana.

The group went from household to household praying for the Bissa people. James’ group went to one compound where there were some believers. But, one man said he could not become a Christian because it was his job to do ritualistic sacrifices.

The men asked James and his friends to pray for rain. The region really needed rain. They were heading into a drought. The group prayed and then left.

After they had continued for some time, James told his group he really felt like God wanted him to go back and tell the men that God has power over all things and that it was going to rain that very night. So, they went back to the household, told the men that it would rain, and left again.

James knew God was going to prove Him­self to the sacrifice man and to his whole compound that night. James knew he had done what God wanted him to do: return and declare God’s power.

But there weren’t any clouds in the sky.

James returned to the other summer mis­sionaries and told them what he had done. “Why did you do that?” they asked. “What if it doesn’t rain? You shouldn’t have said that.” James went from feeling great about following what the Lord wanted him to do, to having doubts and fears.

There were still no clouds anywhere.

Later that night there was still no rain. James and his mom, Kathy, went outside many times to pray for rain throughout the evening. James’ father, Jay, prayed faithfully. At 3 a.m., Jay went to look at the sky. Still no rain. Jay continued to pray for God to answer their prayers because of James’ faith that God will answer those who call on Him.

A little later, it started to drizzle, then rain. Finally, it down poured. James went outside and sang praises to God in the rain.

The next evening, the summer missionaries had a sharing time with James’ family. James shared about what God had shown him through this. He said God really showed him how careful we need to be with our words, not to tear down others faith, but to build them up and realize God can use anyone to tell His message.

Next time it rains remember James’ faith. Pray for God to deliver rain to those who need it and have faith that He will.

On a side note: This is my street when it rains (it has dried a little for this picture), river-front property.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Festival

We had a Fall Festival! I thought you would enjoy a picture of Emily and I bobbing for apples with two new missionary kids in Cote d’Ivoire. Caleb and I tied for first with three apples each. Though I am sure Emily would have won if she hadn’t stopped to help Karis!

We had a ball toss, croquet, and a treasure hunt too!

Janaba, the wife of our night guard Saydou, made us Peanut sauce and rice for the meal and we made many deserts.

We really had a good time together and it was a good way to introduce a new missionary family to the fun of living in Abidjan.

Pictures provided by William Haun.

Baby Naming

Sunday the Hausa team went to a Baby Naming ceremony. We arrived too late for the food…but in enough time to visit with the family. It was a great time. The first stop was at “Fatiis” (Fah-tees) house. They got all dressed up in their “fete” (party) clothes and posed for a quick picture and then we where off to the house of the new baby.

Here they wait eight days to name the new child. (They see if it will live or not. So, they wait to get attached.) This compound is full of laughter and fun. We’ve been just once before and that is when they invited us to the party. The group was excited to see us. The men were gathered under a tent in the street and the women were seated outside the compound gate away from the men. Very normal.

We visited outside for a while and then when into the sauna-like room. It was incredibly hot in this small windowless room. The smallest baby ever was laid out on the bed with a Hausa knife pointed at her head, laid very close to her head. I’m sure it is something to keep the evil spirits away. She was a twin, but her brother didn’t make it.

They handed the small baby to me to hold and then demanded we pose for pictures.

We took the time to pray for the baby. (Yes, my eyes are open and palms out, this is seen as a more respectful way to pray in the culture here.)

Then I went to play with the other little children. A good time was had by all!

Pictures provided by William Haun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Hausa

Sannu. Ina kwana? Hello. Is it a good morning?

Today, for the second time, I went to a little place I like to call Hausaland. The Hausa people come from Northern Nigeria and eastern Niger. But, there are over 100,000 of them living in Cote d’Ivoire.

A couple moved here in August and part of their job is to work with the Hausa people. Emily and I are honorary members of the Hausa team. I can barely say hello, Sannu.

Laura and I sat with the Hausa women in their dark bedroom (because the power was cut) and I’m sure they talked about life, kids, work…but, I don’t know because I don’t speak Hausa and they don’t speak English or French!

Later, we moved to a porch like area and watched the kids hit each other and roll around on the ground. Laura’s son, Noah, doesn’t know what to do with all the hitting Hausa kids.

After we sit with them for sometime and maybe Laura gets a chance to tell a story from the Bible, we go to look for her husband Greg. Greg find’s some Hausa men to practice his Hausa and to try to tell Bible stories. Today, he told the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

When we find him, it’s time to go down the muddy, trashy road for lunch.

Rice and Peanut sauce, my favorite African food. Enjoy it with me.

On our way back to the car, we stopped at a little stand to buy soap and sugar (don’t mix them!) and the man told me the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000! They are hearing and remembering.

Try to tell a story from the Bible this week. It’s easier than you think…(You get to say it in English!)

Tomorrow it’s off to the market to visit are wonderful market ladies.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I am on strike. (Not really) FREE THE PEN!

If you can’t tell my strike slogan is FREE THE PEN! Chant it with me. FREE THE PEN! FREE THE PEN! FREE THE PEN!

I had a moment of mental block and started chatting with a friend from Mali, Lori. Lori is awesome and we pretty much get into some kind of trouble anytime we are together or on the same continent.

She came up with the slogan, creative genius that she is. If you listen hard enough you can hear her chanting FREE THE PEN in Mali too…

I think this got started because she wants me to come visit her in Mali and I can’t right now. So, we went on strike until such a day the pen is freed and I can go visit her!

See what semi-creative minds can do during a break. Just imagine what I could do during work hours!

Children's Material

Well, during work hours I (along with my beautiful co-worker, Laura) have created material for children (lessons and activities), West African recipes and put together websites for those and language resources that Emily has pulled together.

It was a very happy day when it was all completed and uploaded to the internet. A lot of time, over-time, weekends, late nights and computer time went into this project.

The lessons are about each country the IMB currently has personnel or an SBC church is currently or will soon have work among a people group. That is 11 West African countries. Each lesson contains an intro language activity, a missionary kid story, fact finding and prayer activities. The hope is that children will become just as involved in reaching West African people groups as their parents pray, give and go to West Africa as volunteers, partnering churches or engaging churches.

Maybe one day the kids who learned about West Africa through these lessons will come to West Africa to spread the Gospel!

To view and download these products go to (click on Children's Materials, West Africa Recipes or Learning Lanuages)

My next big project is working on Lottie Moon Christmas Offering promotion for West Africa! It’s due at the end of the month. Wish me many more long hours at the office!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Tonight marks the beginning of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan. For 30 days Muslims around the world will fast from sun up to sun down, breaking their fast in the evening with a large meal.

Many Muslims see the months of Ramadan as a time to be closer to Allah. Much of their faith is taken more seriously during this time. They try to be more devout followers of Allah.

So devout that they will not let any food, water or even spit go down their throat.

Many Muslim background believers tell us that it is during this time that God spoke to them through dreams and visions. Telling them His Truth!

I ask that you petition on behalf of those who celebrate this holy month, a little more than 50% of the population of West Africa, that God will send the dreams and visions of His Son and His saving grace.

Also, petition the behalf of those of us serving in Muslim populations, to be sensitive to God's movement and to give us the right words to convey His message.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sedou's Wedding

Sedou, our night guard got married!

He went on vacation for two weeks last month and when he returned, he was married. His wife, Janaba had a wedding in Burkina Faso (the country Sedou is from north of Cote D’Ivoire) and came down by bus to live with Sedou.

(Emily and I with Sedou)

Janaba has lived in Abidjan her whole life, but returned to her family’s village in Burkina Faso for the wedding traditions.


Sedou invited Emily and I to attend the wedding party here in Abidjan last Sunday night. And I mean an ALL night party. (We opted to stay for about 5 hours.)

We arrived and were seated in the “living room,” then about 10 minutes later we were ushered into a back room that turned out to be Sedou and Janaba’s bedroom!

We sat with Janaba and she said, “Now is the time to wait.” So, wait we did. We chatted a little with her family and watched some TV. Then the wordrobe changes started. Janaba had about 10 different outfits to wear!

Then all the married women in her family came into the room and Emily and I got to experience some African culture. (I think this was the time all the married women picked on her and other stuff I won’t write!)

(me eating with all the women)

Food was served in the room and we again ate with our hands some rice and sauce, then Emily and I went with Sedou to the house of Janaba’s sister, Fatiatu. Fatiatu made us salad.

(Emily and I with Fatiatu)

Now this was really sweet and all, but she added liver and intestines as a meat topping!!!
We ate it anyway!

After this we went back to the party and watched as the women paraded from the house to the street where a big tent was set up for the dancing!

Only the women partook in this activity. The only bad thing was the video cameria that kept searching out Emily and I. We only did one jaunt around the tent and then said our good-byes to the bride and family to let them really party into the night!

Please pray for Sedou and his new wife Janaba. Sedou has helped us with our French and he is a trustworthy night guard. He has worked for the mission for about 8 years and is still a Muslim. He listens to Bible stories in his heart language, yet is still resistant to a relationship with Jesus.

Job's Baptism

One of my friend’s at church (he attends the English Bible study on Sunday nights) got baptized last Friday. So, he invited us to his baptism party at his family’s home.

Job is quite the character. He used to be a student at the university near the church, but in now in training to work in the film industry. We have only heard parts of his testimony and it is extreme. He was involved in some things during the war as a student, but is now a follower of Jesus and has turned to being involved with the things of God.


Emily and I were honored to be invited to his home for the party and excited that it was such a big deal for the family.

We arranged to drive some other friends from the study to Job’s home. Well, Job’s home is on the other side of town, by the other side of town I mean a good 45 min. drive.

We drove to our friend Olivier’s house to pick him up, then when to the church to get the guy who actually knew where Job’s house is (but he wasn’t there so Olivier walked two blocks away to find him) and then we went to pick up Glorious (she lives a little further away, but was still getting ready so we went into the apartment to greet her family).

Finally, we got on the road. Well, we got to Job’s neighborhood, but the guy who was supposed to know where to go, really didn’t know the turnoff! So, he called Job and Job met us on the street.

Job tried to climb into are tiny car (already full), but couldn’t fit in the front. So, Emily scrunched up with three African’s in the back seat! Fun times in Africa.

Or as Emily would say, “We had to call a guy, who had to find a guy, who had to call another guy to find Job!”

It was a great time of fellowship and worship with Job’s family. They were very welcoming and served us some great African food.

(Just a few of the guests, Me, Olivier, Ashil, Emily, Glorious,
another member of the church and some guys I don't know!)

(Me eating with my HANDS! Olivier eating with a fork, his was soupy)

(Emily and I with the women of Job's family)

Rejoice with us in Job’s baptism and pray for him in his life with Christ!

(Me, Job and Olivier)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


If you know anyone who might be willing to take some time to spend in missions in West Africa. Let them know about HandsOn.

We're looking for people age 18-29 to spend 4-5 months serving as missionaries in West Africa. Our goal is to recruit 20 people for next spring. That doesn't sound like a whole lot, but here's the catch -- people who want to come in January have to apply by Sept. 1.

There are a variety of positions -- sports, mechanics, university ministry, community development, ethnographic research, evangelism, discipleship -- even four positions to come serve on our media team! We're looking for a graphic designer, videographer, illustrator, and web developer.

Mary Beth, Emily and I developed the website, so take a look and pass it on.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My FUNNY Birthday

My Abidjan family did a good job of making my birthday a special day.

It started...

With a 6.30 a.m. knock on my door from Emily singing happy birthday and presents.

This is a toy Emily gave me that we put together right away on my bed, we think it is a flamingo. It is now the official office toy.

When I walked into my office, my friends had lovingly decorated it with signs, streamers and stuff for me to wear!

Then there was cheese cake. (Made from scratch by Mary Beth, my supervisor and friend.) All the regional leadership gathered in my small office to eat and talk about what they were doing when they were 24.

The day was not done.

In the afternoon the girls went Africa-Karting!

That’s me taking the turn and then passing Mary Beth! At the end, the French man who owned the place asked if we had funny! (not fun, but funny!)

We then went out to dinner where the whole crew sang Happy Birthday. It was a great and special day.

So, to all of you who sent special birthday wishes, a BIG THANK YOU! You also made me feel loved and special.

To see more pictures click here.

To add to the day, comment and let me know what you were doing at 24. So far, I have a lot to live up to!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Yeah, for getting to hang out with other singles!

Senegal was a blast. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but then I had a lot of fun. (an average of about 5 hours a night for 10 nights) I have kind of taken a vow to not really sleep again until the middle of September!

When I arrived at the hotel for our regional wide meeting, Emily and I immediately went and put on our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. We laid out for about an hour or so then went and ate fried chicken. That’s right FRIED chicken, a luxury here.

The next two days were spent “hanging out” with missionary kids while their parents were in some before the meeting, meetings. We had a hotel photo scavenger hunt, swam and watched movies.

Saturday all the singles went to this awesome ropes course outside of town. It was up in some trees that are called Baobab trees. It is been a long time since I have tested my body like that. But, the pain was worth it.

The rest of the week was all business. I attended worship (it was great to sing and hear worship in ENGLISH), sessions, team meetings and spent the majority of the time talking our great personnel into sitting down in front of a video camera for me! I spent a lot of time getting prayer request, thank you's and God stories on film.

I also worked on interviews and gather photos for next year’s prayer calendar. Oh and the most important thing, meeting all the new personnel and hearing the great God stories from around the region. He is doing such great works out here right now.

At the end of each day the singles had an activity. I did them all. A luau, movie night, basketball in the dark (the power had went out), worship, game night (I actually won my first game of “hearts”).

Got a hair cut, pedicure and my teeth cleaned!

Though I didn’t get refreshed by sleep I was refreshed to spend time with some great people that God is using in this region. Can’t wait until the next time.