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A Street Boy

I thought this published last week.  I saw this boy yesterday and he is doing well!

For years I have carried cookies or biscuits, as they are called here, in the car to give to people that ask for food or money. In Benin I was called “Madame bisquit” by many that faithfully stood on the street corner. Here in Kenya there is a growing number of glue-sniffing, street hardened boys that ask for food. I give them biscuits and ask them where they slept last night. I ask them if they would like to go to a shelter where they can get food and sleep in a bed. As soon as I start asking questions they run.

A couple of days ago a tattered boy came up to my car at the gas station and with down cast eyes told me that he was hungry. I asked him if he had eaten anything that day, “no” he replied. Did you have anything yesterday? “No.” After several questions I asked him if he would like to go to the Safe House to sleep and he answered “yes please.” My heart was broken. I took him across the street and bought him some bananas, bread and water.

While waiting for my friend from the Safe House to come and pick him up he told me that his parents left before Christmas to go to Nairobi and never came back. He is 11, has never been to school and is amazingly resilient. Later in the day I stopped by the Safe House to check on him. He was playing and laughing with three other boys his age. He was showered, had on clean clothes and shoes on his feet. I whispering into his ear I asked if he was OK. Smilingly he answered, “yes, thank you.”

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New Bible Club Needs a Name

Not long ago I heard about a safe house for children in my neighborhood. It is a temporary shelter for children that can no longer live with their families for a variety of reasons. It is located in a small old prison. My thought was that this would be a great place to do a bible club. Miriam, Alyssa (our short-termer) and I went to visit and they asked us to come back in a few weeks since they already had some volunteers there for the summer. After a few weeks I returned but the director was not there.

Two weeks ago while reading the first chapter of James I was struck by the frequent use of “doer of the word not just hearer” in chapter 1 vs 22, 23 and 25. By verse 25 I was asking God if there was something else I should be doing. God immediatly spoke to me “SAFE HOUSE.” Then came verse 27 “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” What an amazing confirmation. I continued to pray asking God to order my day, that I would find favor at the safe house, asking for God’s provision for the club and a Kenyan to work with me to help with the non-english speakers. I then quickly checked my emails before walking out the door and there was an email from a man that had visited my Bible club in Benin. He asked me if I had started a bible club in Kenya. The children’s ministry at his church was looking for a children’s ministry to support. I cannot even describe the emotions I had. God had provided even before I had prayed.

When I went to the safe house later that day the director was there and was thrilled about having a bible club. I then spoke to my neighbor about helping me and she immediately said yes. Our first club is Wednesday. Please pray on Tuesday for the club since we are about 9 hours ahead of you. That God’s word would not fall on deaf ears. That we would be not only hearers but doers whatever that might look like with this very special group of kids. The bible club in Benin was called Under the Mango Tree, I would love your ideas on what to call this club!

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

 

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viva radio

 

Last week I was talking with a friend and she was telling me how much her family loved listening tto the radio. She loves listening to Project Hannah and her children love the children’s program. She shrugged her shoulders and further went on to say that her radio was no longer working. We had a CD player/radio sitting on the shelf. The CD portion no longer works but the radio does so I offered it to her. The next day she stated she was tired and I asked why. She went on to tell me that her family was so happy with the radio they invited the neighborhood kids (the same neighborhood as my kid’s club) and they stayed up late listening to and singing with the radio that came on after the kids program. It was a late night neighborhood party worshipping God.

Also last week I stopped on the side of the road to buy bread, Much to my delight the lady selling bread was listening to the local radio station broadcasting one of TWR’s programs. We chatted for a moment about radio and the importance of it in our Christian life. I asked if I could come back and take her picture with her radio. A couple of days later I returned to take her picture; she was quite upset, her radio had fallen and broken. You can guess what is on my to do list! In our part of the world radio still has the wow factor. Many do not have televisions, most do not have computers and they certainly do not have smart phones outside of a few in the cities. This week I needed reminders of the importance of radio and our work here. Viva! Radio!

Post note, I delivered the radio to my new friend last night.  She was so happy!  As we drove off  there was a group gathering to see the radio.  I am praying that as people come to the breadstand they would hear, really hear God’s Word.

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prayer request

On Monday Kenya will have its presidential elections. If you remember 5 years ago this did not go so well. Kenya is tenish hours ahead of you depending on where you live so I would like to ask you to start praying now with an emphasis on Sunday for peaceful elections. As you know Nehemiah and Miriam are in Kenya. The school they go to has taken security very seriously so there should not be any problems but when your children are so far from you there is always concern. I have also been praying that the kids, not just mine, will not feel anxious or be upset but will trust in God and have the peace that passes understanding.
I thought I would give you an update on things here in Benin. We are still waiting to move, hopefully it is close. We have only unpacked what is necessary in anticipation of moving. Please pray that this will happen soon.
Kalie (a family friend) will be coming for a visit on March 11. We are looking forward to having her here with us. Miriam turns 13 a few days later. It is hard to believe that all three kids are officially teenagers now! We are so proud of them. Miriam and Nehemiah will fly home on the 23 and a group from Canada, Ivory Coast, and South Africa arrive on the 24 and 25. March will be busy for us! It is also the hottest month of the year. Please pray for endurance in the intense heat as there is very little air conditioning here as well as long periods of no electricity and water.
We feel so blessed to have a team of Prayer Warriors that support us. We are very clear we could not be here without you! Donna

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My Friend , the Screwdriver

94 degrees with there has been no electricity for several hours. By this time I am hot, sweaty, have a headache and rrrrgh hormones. No electricity and I am thinking “this is the first chunk of time I have had all week to work on the computer and there is no electricity therefore no internet.” Then the call to prayer goes off from the mosque next door. Why do they have electricity and I do not? Since returning to Benin we have had problems with our main breaker. When the electricity goes off and comes back on it causes our breaker to turn off. When we realize others have current and we do not we go out to the garage and push the magic button and voila! But today it did not work. I would run out and hit it, run inside and nothing, oh the neighbor has music, run out hit the button and nothing… So I call Paul… his advice was to hit breaker box with a screwdriver several times. Hit it I did and now I am happily working away on the computer sitting next to my lovely fan and screwdriver!
We are counting the days until our new house is finished. All that is left is the kitchen and the wiring for electricity from the house to the meter. Maybe I should take my screwdriver over there and see if I can help them out?

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Rhythm of Africa

Many are emailing and asking: are you ok, are you going to blog again, are you feeling ok, will you be on Face book again, surviving without Paul? The answer is YES to all but let me explain a bit.
There was a movie, I Dreamed of Africa, filmed years ago about a lady that moved to Africa with her son. In the movie they talked about adjusting to the rhythm of life in Africa. I have thought a lot about this lately. The rhythm of life in America was so different than Benin. The weather, language we spoke at church and in the market, the clothes we wore, church bells ringing in the morning instead of the mosque call to prayer, food we ate, time preparing food, speed of internet, different type of ministry, crazy schedules, constant travel… It took time for me to find the constantly changing rhythm of life in America. I thought about writing blogs but felt like I had no words so I started a thankful list and a scripture journal, now a well loved and used book, but it did not require too many original thoughts. I found our months in America to be wonderful, busy, blessed, and bittersweet and perhaps overwhelming for lack of a better word. Churches, family, friends were so generous. Our days were spent telling others about what God is doing in our corner of the world. More than ever before people asked the deeper questions of God’s work here, lots of spoken words but not many written words.
The kids and I have been back in Africa for almost a month now. It is a bit easier to find the rhythm to this life that we know so well. Paul arrives in a few days. I have been teaching for several weeks, back to kid’s club under the mango tree, hot nights, chapped lips and the desire to blog again.
I just want to add that I loved seeing so many of you and am sorry that we did not see all of you!

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Crunch Time/Pack Time

Thank you all for praying for my health, as well as, for the encouraging notes! I praise God for His healing! My gall bladder is fine, at least for now. I will have it checked out in the states. My hand, wrist and arm still have some tender spots from the infection and inflammation caused by the IV but I am back to driving, swimming and packing.
PACK, yes, that very bad four letter word for our family. We will be moved into our third house in less than 6 years here in Benin while we are on furlough. We do not need to pack everything since people will be staying in our house but we do need to pack our closets and personal items. The kids are in the process of packing up all of their things at school so I have told them I would pack their rooms before they come home. For us, packing is a part of our lives. We not only pack to move houses but the kids pack going back and forth to school, we pack to go on furlough, we pack with the constant travel with furlough, then we pack to make all of the things we buy and think we need from America to fit into our five suitcases to bring back to Benin. Honestly, I dread it with a passion. My theme words this year are vision and thrive where God has me. I keep praying, help me God to thrive in this task!
The kids arrive in Benin next Thursday and we get on the plane 10 days later. There are many things that have to happen such as visa’s, preparing presentations and tying up loose ends with our work here. I am resting in that God orders our footsteps and plans our way!

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Going to Kenya

I am going to Kenya on Thursday to see the kids for their mid-term break! Please pray! Usually these trips are planned well in advance and all goes smoothly. This was a bit of a last minute, two weeks, kind of trip. I have spent hours on the details and still do not have a place to stay the first night. Everything I have tried is booked though I now have someone in Kenya looking for me. Part of my frustration is that the power, internet, international phone lines and water have been off more than they have been on making it difficult to accomplish much. The joy of the Lord is my strength!!!
I will take the bus, 8 hours to the airport on Thursday morning then fly all night arriving in Kenya on Friday morning. The kids will come to Nairobi on a school bus Friday afternoon. During this weekend we will also say good-bye to the kids’ in country guardians, the Gottfried Family. We are so sad to see them leave Kenya!!! Please pray that I will be able to find new in country guardians, a requirement of the school, a good requirement of the school! Pray also that the kids and I would have a wonderful time together; that our footsteps would be ordered by the Lord. I will stay at the school for the rest of next week and will return to Benin on the 11. I AM GOING TO KENYA!

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Davy and the Vet

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Last week while Paul was in Cotonou, Davy, our superdog got caught in a small animal trap just outside our yard. Much to our chagrin this dog jumps our 6 footish wall. In spite of our efforts to keep him in, he figures out a way over the top. So, last week after finding our dog at 6am caught in the trap I call our friend Garth to help me get Davy’s paw out of the trap. I like our dogs, I am glad we have them but I am the least of the animal lovers in my household. Knowing what would be expected of me if I called the vet… I decided to wait until Paul came home.

For a very small surcharge the vet happily rides his small motorcycle to our house (our dogs do not like his office very well). Day one, on our front porch Paul, my superhero, holds poor Davy down while the vet examines his very ugly paw and then proceeds to give Davy several shots. Day two, the vet and his assistant arrive to operate on Davy’s paw with Paul’s help on our front porch. Day three / day four, the vet has been back to give Davy shots. Day six, the vet came back to remove the stitches but it had not healed well so surgery on the porch for the second time. I must report, the day after the front porch surgery, with gauze dressings chewed off Davy once again jumped the wall.  Vet Bill, Grand Total $22 US