Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Dorm has a New Oven!

Several weeks ago I decided to try and make a mud oven with friends down at the dorm. I had all the clay, chaff & ashes assembled in little piles near the spot where the dorm mom, Nuadiba, does her cooking. Her husband Kalambori, went off to the well to draw and haul water for us.

Monday, March 26, 2007

As the sun beat down on us, we mixed up the mud recipe. Nuadiba placed the rocks to support her cooking pots in the places she wanted them. We were ready!
As I built and added mud, it just seemed to take forever! My back began to ache and I could tell that I was getting sunburned. So the dorm guys rigged up a mat over me for shade. Little by little the oven came along...
(Kalambori mixes while I build)

Soon we were covering our oven with straw to let it cure for 4-5 days.

Did it work? You bet! and Nuadiba uses it every meal. The best part is that it only uses a couple of small pieces of wood to cook a meal!

We're all pretty pleased with the results!

This is a corner of our living room in Makalondi.

All painted up!

"Wally's Story"

If you read the story before this, you will understand that our Library is meeting a real need in Makalondi. But it’s meeting another need that’s even more important! It’s a means of reaching kids with the good news of the Bible. Let me explain.
The library has lots of books...textbooks, story books, educational books, but also lots of books on the Bible. We have Kid’s Bible’s, Bible stories, books on Bible subjects and so forth. Some of the kids will often hurry to finish their homework so that they can have time to read the stories from the Bible. This can often lead to questions and good discussions.
Wally has been a faithful study-hall student, serious about his classes. He’s always been on of the first to arrive each evening and he is especially good in English. Over a period of time, I noticed that he loved to read the books with stories from the Bible, and he would often come and ask me questions. We formed a good relationship of trust.
One day when he had arrived and we were the only two there, he told me that he just loved the stories of Jesus. I offered him a small pocket-sized book of John to keep and read; he could keep it hidden and have it to read in private. I wondered to him, if the French was too hard. He started reading John 1:1 to show me that it wasn’t too hard, and kept right on reading. Every now and then he would stop to ask me a question or get an explanation, but he just kept on reading. We went through chapter 2 and then 3, and he was still going strong. Around the end of chapter 3, he stopped and said to me, "So you mean that if someone accepts Jesus Christ, then that person has eternal life, but if that person doesn’t accept Christ, then he is under God’s judgement?!" He was getting it!!! So back to reading. All the way through chapter 4. I finally said that maybe we should stop since he had a lot to think about.
Several days later, he came back to read more. We kept right on and by the time we stopped in chapter 8, he was very well acquainted with the way of Salvation. After we talked about it abit, I asked Wally, "If these truly are the Words of God, then what should we do to obey Him?" He responded whole-heartedly, "I need to accept Christ as my Savior! I have to do it if I want to be saved from my sins!" I asked Wally if he thought that he was ready to do that and he responded, "Yes! I have to do it today! I need to do it NOW!"
He asked me to help him express his sorrow for his sins to God and to ask God to forgive him. He then believed and accepted Christ as his Savior! When we finished praying, I welcomed him into the "family"! He was thrilled and no less was I! What a celebration there was in heaven that day!! There just had to be, because we sure were celebrating!
Since then, Wally has been coming to meet with me as he can, and he is a regular at our youth group meetings. He’s growing spiritually and it’s such a joy to make the journey with him.
The difficult thing for Wally, is that for the moment, he must keep his new faith fairly private. He is from the same people group as Ad. and his whole family are non-believers. We are praying that one of our church planters will be able to begin visiting the family to do the Chronological Bible stories with them, so that they will also have an opportunity to come to faith in Christ as well. His "father" is a very influential man in our town, so this is important that this be handled with discretion and with the Spirit’s leading.

Miahanla and Yumanli "painting" in the Library???

Our New Ministry Center/Library

You may remember that we began a Ministry Center which contained a library several years ago. One of the main reasons for the library is so that local students can come there to read and study. Most students cannot afford to buy the textbooks used in their classes, nor are they even available in our town. Also most kids have not developed a love for reading, since illiteracy is so high, and most were never read to before starting school. Many of our kids will reach 4th grade without knowing how to read basic words!
So the library was started... with french books we could find and afford to buy. At first we were only able to find a small selection, but thanks to some French Canadians, we were sent more books. Little by little the book selection of different subjects and reading levels grew.
At the beginning of this school year, I asked the Principals of the elementary school and Jr. High, to give us a list of all the textbooks they teach from. We put out a request to many of our friends and supporters for the funds to buy textbooks, and so many of you were willing to help. We finally have all the textbooks on the shelves, and the kids have been so excited to see each new addition arrive. They are well used, even by some of the teachers, who come to prepare lesson plans as well.
The library/study hall is open from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., 5 nights a week. We are one of the few places in Makalondi that has lights after dark, and that’s because the Center is hooked up to our personal generator. Having a place to read and study at night is quite a draw to the serious students. Any given night we will have between 20 to 30 students and several adults.
Do we have any special programs? We do! About once a month, we will try to show a video of a story they may have read here. Kids are allowed to check out books, and so far, we’ve not lost a book. Like all kids, they love games, so we try to schedule times when the kids can come do puzzles and play games, many of which are educational. Often, on the nights I am the volunteer on duty to monitor the study hall, the students will ask me to help them with their English by having informal conversations.
Upcoming Attraction: 4 computers will be arriving at the Center in the next few weeks. These are cast-offs from our MK school in Niamey, but are in fine condition for us. Most of our students have never even seen a computer, so for many, this will be their first exposure. We will offer a class for beginners and help these kids to at least become familiar with basic computer function. Needless to say, our kids are so excited about this upcoming event!!!
We are so thankful for the folks who have helped make all this possible for a great bunch of kids in a very remote village on the edge of the Sahara Desert!!
Pictures: The teens helped paint the inside of the library.