Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School Days!


Matthew and Mayemba
While we've been in town, we've been able to help some of "our boys" get registered in schools and off to a good start. To get registered in a School requires a good deal of effort. The student has to assemble a whole file of paperwork, some of which demands that they travel to another town, a Regional Center, to file a request for the document, and then hope to receive it that same day and return home! Both of our newest students, Matthew and Mayemba, to Niamey had to do that, taking a taxi bus ride of 4-5 hrs. to obtain this one document. One Friday afternoon we took David to pick up a necessary document for his new school, and was told to return next Tuesday after 4 p.m. He told us later that it took 3 more visits before he was able to obtain the paper!
When Nindja and I went to register Matthew and Mayemba in their Professional School, we were scolded for coming "too late" and told that there were "no more places". We explained that we had just received information about their school, had quickly tried to assembled their files, and had come as soon as possible. We listened to more chiding and clucks at our "negligence" and "tardiness". He finally placed a call, and reluctantly told us that they "happened" to have two openings. When I asked him when the boys should show up for classes, he told me that their first day of classes was a week from then!! (But I thought we were too late!! :)
So now we have all 3 guys installed in their schools and classes are off and running. We see the boys nearly every day, as they stop by to rest between classes, or visit after school. Since I'm sure that they are probably not getting regular good meals, I try (when we're in town) to fix a meal for them or send them off with some fruit.
We actually have 2 other of our guys living elsewhere in the city, so last weekend, we invited all 5 boys to come have a sleep-over at our house. They really enjoyed being all together, eating and visiting, and watching "Prince Caspian" together. These times together also give us time to share Spiritual things too. They have many questions, and we can look at Scripture for answers. Even after watching 'Prince Caspian', we had some great discussions on some of the spiritual symbolism and applications.
We enjoy providing a "home away from home" for our boys here, as moving to the city can be very unnerving at the beginning. We hope it nurtures a feeling of being "family" and providing stability in their lives.

A Feet Update

After the last posting, we got xrays done on Gary's feet. No recent breaks! Yea! So, with consultation with a Dr. friend, we figure that it must be Gout! We had no idea that Gout could be so aggressive and painful...even to the point where walking becomes impossible.
With the proper medication and the days of rest, Gary is now walking again without crutches. His feet are still abit painful on the sides, but so much better than they were! He's up and about again, so we are heading back to Makalondi this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gary's Feet

Well, the first foot has healed, but now it appears that the same "maladie" is attacking the other foot....a kind of mirror effect! Gary's been very patient, but is also getting pretty antsy! It's not fun trying to navigate crutches in gravel and sand. Pray that we find out what is going on...and can treat him accordingly. Until he can walk again, we can't return to our home in Makalondi.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Djuali's Special Day

At the end of our rainy season, many of the churches in our area will have a Baptismal service because the water holes in the bush are full of water. And in a few more months, the water will have evaporated or been used. So for the next few Sunday’s there is a Baptism in several of the area churches.

This past Sunday was particularly special. The Hanlonli church had planted a daughter church in a neighboring village and now eleven of these young believers were making a public testimony of their faith through baptism. One of those being baptized was Djuali, a young man who is a strong witness for Jesus. He is the only one in his family who has become a follower of Jesus…the rest of the family being of the predominant faith in our country.

Gary and I drove the 14 kms into the bush, following cow paths and bike trails, finally reaching the church. Several folks had already gathered, and while we waited, we visited in their church made of sticks. But soon it was time to all walk together to the 1 km. to the water hole. On arriving, more folks joined us, most of those being baptized, and visitors from other churches, come to celebrate with these believers. When we arrived at the water, it was brown and stagnant, common of most water holes. As we waited, I saw that across the water, a Fulani herdsman had arrived with his cattle, and all the cows went wading into the water.

When all had assembled, we began with singing some joyful songs. Then Gary gave a short talk to the “baptees” on why we follow Christ in Baptism. He was supposed to help baptize, but due to the afore mentioned foot injury, he begged off. After the pastor waded into the water, the believers each came in and gave a short affirmation of faith and recited a verse they had memorized. We sang between each baptism. It was especially exciting for Gary and I to watch Djuali be baptized, his face just radiating his joy.

Back at the church, we had a joyful service with the newly baptized members sitting on the front rows. Gary preached an excellent message in Gourma on the significance of Baptism and our testimony. The service was followed by communion – the first time for the “baptees”.

After the communion service, we all sat and visited until they brought out a good meal of rice, or noodles, or millet mush with a tasty sauce, all eaten with our washed hands. (It always tastes so much better when you eat with your hands!) Then the choirs started up, and that was amazing! They are great!

Eight hours after leaving home, we loaded up to go home, very tired but really happy. Djuali’s Baptism day was very special for him and for us all!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gary's mishap

On Friday night, in the middle of the night, Gary had to get up and chase wild dogs out of our compound. In the rainy season, wild and stray dogs congregate in the ball field out in front of our house and fight and howl all night. It can make a good nights’ sleep virtually impossible. Because we have our dog, Leah, and we don’t want her mixing with this unruly crowd, we keep her on our screened in terrace after dark. Lately some of the dogs have been getting very bold, jump our wall and try to get in to Leah. A fight breaks out and Leah begins barking…and it gets VERY noisy! Gary got up to chase them off and in his haste, didn’t put on shoes, grabbed his wood club and rushed out the door after the dogs. Within a few steps, he tripped and fell, cutting his foot open in 2 places and breaking his big toe – the same toe he’s broken before. He patched himself up and soon came back to bed. I slept through it all! I don’t know how!

The next day, I saw that he had cleaned the cuts well, and we left it to heal. He tried to curb his activity that day to allow his foot to heal. But out where we are, one can’t stay off their feet all the time. The generator has to be coddled in order to start it, visitors have questions that need answers, and so on. By Sat. night it was hurting more.

Sunday was spent driving about 14 kms into the bush for a baptism followed by a church service and activities until nightfall. After 8 hrs., including preaching the message, Gary’s foot was seriously hurting. We headed home, he took Ibuprofen and had another restless night.

Monday morning we headed into Niamey and we decided that Gary would SIT at the house and meet with those that needed to see him. That forced me to have to run the errands by driving our stick-shift truck…something I’m not used to doing in Niamey’s city traffic! By evening, the foot was very swollen, red, hot and painful, so I started him on a course of antibiotics. It seemed to be doing better by this morning, but by afternoon today, it’s getting worse, the swelling, redness and pain are gradually moving up the foot. Now I’ve switched him to a stronger antibiotic and a heftier pain medication. We’ll see how it goes from here.

All that to explain that my blog entry for this week won’t get posted until tomorrow! And I’m praying that Gary will be showing improvement by tomorrow. I’ll let you know…