Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's a quick glimpse at how missionaries have fun . . . and I am convinced that missionaries know how to have more fun than the average person . . . they are forced to be creative with most aspects of life, they end up meeting people from all over the World, thus getting the best hookups for free places to stay while traveling, not to mention they live in a World of constant adventure! :)

Today Halloween happened to fall on our usual Fretheim Friday dinner (a big weekly dinner for all missionaries). Before dinner the kids carved pumpkins and went "treat or treating" . . . (no tricking of course). Rene, had the brilliant idea that everyone should come to dinner dressed as their favorite missionary! Boy did we all have fun with that one! We all dressed up as each other, and before dinner, took a few minutes to do our best impersonation of our favorite missionary! It was great fun! Here are a few pictures . . . Ruth decided to dress up as me . . . Remember that shirt!?!? and . . .

I of course dressed up as my favorite missionary, Nicky :)

Happy Halloween from Jos, Nigeria!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This is An Aunty! :)

Aunty Nicky and I are officially becoming Nigerian! We have the pictures to prove it! In my last blog, I mentioned that we received a new three year old girl named Favor into our ministry . . . well "The Baby" as she is affectionately called by everyone is settling in quite well! Our big girls LOVE having a little sister to hold, feed, bath, carry around and take care of. Mama Sati is loving it as well! She loves "her little baby!" Praise the Lord for rescuing this little girl and bringing her into such a warm and loving environment! Back to Favor in a moment . . .
This week in our ministry is Spiritual Emphasis week, with lots of meetings, seminars, days of prayer and fasting that all of the staff are required to be at . . . if you do the math, that means that the children are left on their own . . . this would be one example of a cultural difference between Africa and America . . . you get in trouble if you leave children unattended in American, while in Africa it is perfectly normal.
Anyways, Nicky thankfully convinced Manager that we didn't need to be at the business meeting today, and instead we would be better used spending the day in Gyero with the children since the rest of the staff was going to be at the business meeting . . . basically, four white girls watching 50 kids! How funny is that . . . well, the kids were at school for at least half of the day, meaning we were left with only Favor, and the four new girls . . . for the 4 of us to handle and man they can be a handful . . . Favor was a bit cranky, so we tried to get her to sleep, but she didn't want to have anything to do with sleeping in her bed she wanted to be "backed". I am not going to explain what that means, just check out the pictures . . . :)

All I have to say is that, the village people got a huge kick out of watching Nicky and I take turns walking around trying to get Favor to fall asleep! It was pretty funny when I walked up to a Mama in the village and asked her to show me how to tie the fabric to get Favor to stay on, SHE laughed so hard! Like I said "we are becoming Nigerian!"

It was a fun day, and I LOVE being in the village, it is such a peaceful and beautiful place, and it is so great to be around all of our children and be reminded of how GREAT God is . . . each of them comes from a different background, many of them terrible, and yet now, they have a home and a loving family! Praise the Lord!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thoughts told through, Images and more . . .

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

Friends and Family,
There are so many stories to tell here, it is hard to keep up with them all! Instead of trying to tell you all of the stories, I am going to let pictures tell the stories in this blog . . . pictures often say more than words! We have received a new four year old girl to our ministry, named Favor this week, please keep her and her brother Abraham in your prayers as they adjust to life in our ministry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Incredible, Amazing love we are all loved with . . .

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

-Ephesians 3:18-19

These past few days have been filled with complete joy and a deeper understand of how wide, how long and how deep God's love for each of us really is. We have had the joy of welcoming four new girls into our ministry, this week. Hearing their stories, seeing how God has rescued them from these horrible situations and redeemed them from pasts of abandonment, neglect and loneliness helps me realize how deep God's love really is for each of us, we are all so precious in his sight.

Rose, a spunky ten year old is a single orphan was brought to the ministry after her life was at risk from her family and her community because of her involvement in a cult.

Patience a sweet little girl, also ten and a single orphan was brought into the ministry because she was neglected by her family.

Happy and Sandra, funny little sisters, ages 9 and 6 were brought to us by their aunt who took them out of a broken, polygamous home.

I have had the great privilege of spending the past few days with these girls. We have spent time praying, taking long hikes in the hills (these girls are FULL of energy, we tried to tire them out, but they seemed to tire us out before they showed any signs of slowing down!), drank a few minerals, colored, jump roped, ate lunch, sang songs, hugged, and just had a good deal of kid time.

These girls require and need a great deal of one on one attention, so it has been great having the four of them in their separate house. Please keep our girl's ministry staff, Mama Praise, Kaka and Mama Sati in your prayers, they have a lot of work on their hands, and are doing a wonderful job.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tents, and illusive animals

It seems that I am having adventure after adventure lately! This past weekend's adventure was a blast, as any camping adventure in Africa should be! I haven't laughed as hard as I did this past weekend in awhile! Laughter always refreshes the soul, as does climbing hills!!

I joined a group of about ten others for the one and a half hour drive out to Kurra Falls, a beautiful place with lakes, surrounded by rocky hills. We spend the weekend, climbing, walking, talking, laughing, eating, playing games, reading, enjoying each other's company and the beauty of God's creation.

One of the highlights. . . well I don't know if I would call it a highlight, maybe I would call it a memorable event from the weekend came during the night . . . Shortly after squeezing into our kid sized blue and red tent (fitting both of us and all our stuff was quite a task :), Nicky and I began to hear strange sounds, sounds that we couldn't put a name to . . . It was a CREATURE!! But . . . what kind of creature? It was nothing we had ever heard before, and it was close to our tent . . . After much debate and even a scouting mission into the wild African night (which unfortunately woke the rest of the camp up), it was determined that the creature was most likely a BAT!! So we had bats flapping around our tent all night! They must have been some BIG bats, because they sure made a big noise!

Besides the mystery of the unknown creature . . . the time I spent climbing and exploring the hills was the best! Nothing beats the view you get when standing on top of a mountain overlooking god's beautiful creation! During our climbing adventures we saw a monitor lizard, a bug that looked EXACTLY like a blade of grass, we yelled down to a few Falani children in a field below, saw TONS of butterflies and sang away all the snakes! :)

I am continually in awe of God's beautiful creation and I forget how much I see God in nature. Here is Psalm 148 . . . something I love to read when I am totally in awe of all that God has created for us:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children.
Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones—the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Time to Investigate Africa . . .

I love that the title of my last blog is "Tomorrow Is Another Adventure" because it was true! The day after I wrote that blog we left for Kano! And what an adventure that was!! Kano, also referred to as "The capital of the North" is a 4 hour drive north of Jos. The quality of the road varies as you travel though the plateau, through the forest and into the desert. Regardless of the road quality, you can always look forward to road blocks and bored army men who are guarding the road blocks. To provide a bit of entertainment for themselves, the road block guards love to test the baturi's (white person) knowledge of Hausa, and they like to see if you have anything they might enjoy . . . but as we found out they don't like bananas . . .

Our time in Kano was mostly spent at the market shopping for fabric for the widows ministry here in Jos. The prices are cheaper in Kano and the selection is greater and boy was the selection great! There were SO many fabric shops, all with different kinds of fabric! It was a blast! The market is a bit overwhelming at first, people, cars, motorbikes, and goats all fighting though the same walkway, but hey if you can all fit, why not! :)

While in Kano, we were able to attend the Durbar Celebration. The Durbar Celebration marks the end of Ramadan as well as honors the state officials. Attending the Durbar is similar to attending a parade at home. Lots of horses and people all dressed up in colorful and fun outfits walking around the stadium. We even had some "fireworks" at the end of the celebration . . .

We took advantage of the fact that Kano is a bigger city than Jos and ate at all the food we can't get in Jos. We had the best pizza ever at "Pizza Hot", not to be confused with "Pizza Hut" although Pizza Hot was in a building that looked like a hut . . . so I'll leave that one for you to figure out! :) We had amazing Chinese food and my favorite ICE CREAM! (although we can get that in Jos, my tummy was still happy! :)

We spent a bit of time playing tourist and visited the dye pits, these deep holes in the ground that are filled with some type of dye. They dye all sorts of clothes, and fabric, they are very beautiful. I bought a table cloth, so you can ask to see
it when I get home! We also got to see where they "iron" the fabric . . . they iron the fabric by pounding it with this huge heavy wooden mallets. It is very unique and we all got to try our hand at it . . .

It was a great weekend! A good group of people and a good experience to get out and see a bit more of Nigeria! I will post some pictures for you.