Friday, 27 June 2008
This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago when we were in Fanny, Mary and Adam's village. From left to right is Adam, Me, Stephen, Fanny, Mary and Allen.
Last Monday night (the 16th) Fanny and I stayed up all night until Pastor B took us to the bus station. That was at about 3:45am. We were hanging out with the Japcyn crew, knowing that it was our last night all together for a long time.
Once at the station and in the bus Fanny and I crashed! We slept as much as we could off and on when the bus wasn’t crashing its way through the bad roads. We made it home in one piece. Once we got home though we slept the afternoon away yet again!
On Wednesday we went with Susan to her village and visited with her Fulani friends. Susan bought a piece of land in her village not too long again and has started planting a few different things. So Fanny and I went out to her field with her while she worked and sat on a mat and talked. Susan wanted to work the field by herself and with Fanny being a guest Susan didn’t want her working at all! It was fun and I got to take pictures of her out there working in her very own crops.
Thursday Susan, Fanny and I headed to my village to visit a bit. Fanny and I wanted to stay the night but wanted them to know that we were coming. So we headed out there for a bit on Thursday afternoon and let them know that we would be back on Friday for the night.
The biggest new news is that *Sara, the chief’s oldest daughter living at home, got married! I had no idea and they dropped the bomb on me when we were out there. It wasn’t the getting married that took me by surprise but the fact that she was going to be moving to her husbands village a ways away. I told them, “Jonni, Mi hida sitago nder woro ma.” They said, “Gom dume?!” My reply “wuro ma wela, Sara wala!” I got a great laugh out of that! (I told them, “Now, I don’t want to live in your compound.” They said, “Why?!” My reply, your compound is not sweet without Sara!”).
They said that she would be leaving the following Monday so at least I would be able to spend the following night with her.
Fanny and I made our way to the bush taxi the next morning at about 10. We waited for 3 hours for one to come that was headed to my village! That has never happened before when I was leaving in the morning, but it gave her and I a chance to sit and visit with the Zarma/Fulani family across the street until a bush taxi came.
We loaded up and the sun was hot. The truck we were in traveled SO slow! It took us about 2 hours to get there when sometimes it takes about 45 minutes. It was after 3 in the afternoon by the time we got there and we thought that we would have been there before noon. They were all waiting for us!
It was a fun night of visiting and fellowship. Fanny loves my family and they love her. Their Fulfulde is a bit different because of living in different parts of the country, but it didn’t keep them from talking the day away.
The next morning we headed out early. I wanted to be home when a missionary family living in Niamey made a bathroom break at my house on their way to my supervisors another 6 hours down the road. They got there about noon. They have two children both of whom were adopted. Shiloh is 6 and a beautiful little girl with hair that’s almost white, while her younger brother Ethan is 3 and half Zarma, half Tuareg with hair as black as night! I love these kids like they were my own siblings and it was fun to have them in my home.
Saturday Fanny and I walked the streets of my town and visited Susan and her guards family. We ate at a little restaurant here and got sandwiches and cokes. The sandwiches are pretty good so if you ever come for a visit you are guaranteed a trip to this restaurant!
Sunday Susan came over for worship and afterwards Fanny and I cooked Nigerian food for lunch for us all! It was great! We spent Sunday evening again out walking and by this time in her stay we were really comfortable with talking about anything under the sun. I’m amazed at how much English she understands. She just doesn’t speak it well at all. I was talking to my mom on the phone and was telling Fanny afterwards about it and she had picked up quit a bit of our conversation! But then when I think about it I guess I’m that way with Fulfulde too. I understand a lot I just don’t speak as much as I’m able to comprehend.
Having Fanny with me was amazing for my Fulfulde because she corrected me every step of the way. She said my Fulfulde was really good and I was doing great in speaking and learning. We studied just about everyday she was there. I gave her my Fulfulde book and she copied all the notes into her notebook for her English studies. It was good to be able to feed off of one another! It was fun too talking in whole sentences but mixing English and Fulfulde. We got some strange looks on the streets!
Monday and Tuesday were fun and full of visiting with Fulani in my town, walking the streets, eating mangos and pineapples, pizza and chicken potpie. At night we would pillow talk (the thing I miss the most from home). The lights were out and we just talked about whatever was on our minds. I felt like a girl again! We talked about boys and families, clothes and friends. It was so refreshing for me to have her there! I have a pretty good friendship with Fati, but the different in the two of them is that Fanny knows and loves the Lord and Fati doesn’t.
Wednesday Kris and Shelley, Shiloh and Ethan made their way back to my house to stay the night. We went to my village and visited out there that afternoon and had a great time! Sara was GONE and they all laughed at me when I pooched my lower lip out and pretended to cry! Shelley had never met my family out there so it was good for her too. Her and Kris have lived here in Niger for a little over 10 years so their Fulfulde is wonderful and were able to keep up good conversations with the chief and his family.
Wednesday night Susan had us over for a full meal of spaghetti, green beans and rolls, and the night was topped off with the chocolate cake that I made for my friend, Paul’s, birthday that was on Monday. He lives in South Africa. Go ahead and laugh. But we took pictures and I will email them to him! HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL!
Yesterday we all loaded up and made our way back here to Niamey. Susan and I weren’t planning on coming in but we both realized there were a few things that we needed that couldn’t wait any longer. So it’s a two day trip and we leave in the morning.
It was such a fun week! Thanks for your prayers and comments on the last blog.
New prayer requests and updates on the others:
Stephen has another appointment in Niamey in a couple of weeks to get his head looked at again. At this point everything is the same.
As far as I know my grandparents and Aunt Sis are all stable right now and doing ok. Thanks for your prayers on this. Please continue to lift them up.
My travel to S. Africa is still in the making. I will let you all know when things are written in stone for my travel dates.
Please lift up all the missionaries in West Africa right now. We are getting ready to head to the Ivory Coast in less than a month for our annual meeting. It will be a time of fellowship and learning, some training and meeting new missionaries that have come to the field since last year’s meeting.
Thanks everyone for stopping by!
Until next time!
Monday, 16 June 2008
Has it been a doozy of a week or what?! The Lord has blessed it beyond what I could have asked for and I don't know where to start in telling you all about it.
This picture is of me and my friends, *Stephen and *Fanny. They are two Fulani Christians and this picture was taken back in March when I went to the Fulani Conference then. They are engaged and planning to be married in the near future. The near future for Fulani's can be tomorrow or two years. But they're engaged none the less!
Last Tuesday Stephen came to get me at our Baptist Guest House (BGH) here in Niamey and we headed to the church to begin our week. Once we got to the church (which is within walking disatnce from the BGH) I met up with *Allen, *Adam (who is Fanny's uncle but a few months younger than she is - weird!) and also with Fanny's cousin who is a Fulani Pastor. His name is *Pastor B. All of whom I met when I was at the Conference in March.
The reason for this get together was to talk about the planning and ministry that is being done with the Fulani Youth in Niger. That's what J.A.P.C.Y.N is. It's is French so it doesn't translate correctly, but basically it stands for "The Alliance of Fulani Youth in Niger".
On Wednesday our friend *Hame joined us. (Also from the conference in March. I am only telling you this to let you know that I have met them all before.) We had meetings and prayer time and spent some time in the Word as well. It was a good time to come together and hear about what everyone is doing in their villages. Most overyone on the Japcyn counsel lives in a different place in Niger. Stephen traveled for about 20 hours by bus to Niamey to be there this week. We are literally from all over the country! It was really cool to see the hearts of my friends and their desires to see their own people come to Christ. They are working so hard to get the name of Christ out there and it's a struggle for them working many times as the only Christian Fulani and dealing with rejection on a regular basis.
One thing that they talked was their lack of finances in the Japcyn budget. (I'm the treasurer so I know all about it!). There are often members who can't make it to the meetings because of lack of transport money. They are also trying to raise money so that they can GO OUT into many more villages to share Christ. But without the funds they are limited on where they can travel. So we talked about different ways to raise money and how exactly it will be used. They want to have a youth camp next year for all the Christian Fulani youth and are now praying that the Lord would provide the funds for that. Please join us in prayer as we strive to follow Him.
On Thursday we headed out to Fanny and Adam's village where they grew up. I was able to meet their families and we were also reunited with *Mary, Allen's fiance. It was an amazing time in the bush! The people in this village are a little more well off than others I have seen and much more well off than my village that I stay in with the chief and his family. Thursday afternoon we went to a huge mango orchard to have our meetings and fellowship with everyone. We took our huge mats and placed them in the shade under the huge trees. It was SO beautiful! I took lots of pictures too. (now that my blog is here I think that I will be able to post pictures much better now!) Thursday night we set up a projector and a video and there were over 200 people that showed up! It was in French so Adam translated into Fulfulde and then another man translated into Hausa, just so everyone could be included ;) During the video me, Allen, Fanny, and Stephen did some visiting with other Fulani in the village. We went to encourage one young girl that accepted Christ a while back. She has had a baby out of wed-lock and says she in no longer a Christian because of it. Please be praying for this young girl. I don't know her name.
Fanny and I slept that night at the pastor's home in her village on a big matress under the stars. We got us with the sun and had coffee and bread with everyone once they made their way from the places they stayed on Thursday night. That morning we made our rounds in the village and I met more family and we took more pictures. As we were leaving and saying our goodbyes there were four women that gave me handmade gourd bowls! I have never been given anything in a village before and it was so sweet of them! Then as we were getting ready to pack up a lady came to give me a big bag of mangos too! It was such a blessed time for me...
Friday we made it back and I came back to the BGH and rested for a little bit and Friday night and Saturday I spent it with all my friends again. It's really nice to have been able to get to know everyone a little bit better this week - we are all in our twenties too! It was just such a fun week!!!!!!!
Saturday afternoon I headed to the American Rec Center here in Niamey to play softball with other Americans. I can't tell you how good it felt to wear shorts and a t-shirt! I truly felt American again. My team won and I hit the ball everytime I was p to bat. Two of them were line drives to the short stop and the others headed straight out into right center. I was glad to see that my softball skills hadn't been affected during my "off-time" overseas. Although I did miss the ONLY ball that came to me in the outfield... oh, well. So I need to brush up on playing left-center - no biggie!
Sunday morning I headed to a Fulani church with two other career families here in Niamey. We did some cooking before service and then all gathered under a leanto to have worship. There were about 10 Fulani believers there and it was only the second time I have had church with my people since I got here.
We got back late yesterday afternoon and I rested before heading back to Fanny's house (the church) to spend more time with all of them. Stephen has been staying with his sister here in Niamey and I've gotten to meet a lot of his family as well. It's been so good to get to know everyone's families this week.
Adam came down with a bad cold yesterday and hasn't felt like doing much. Well Saturday night I gave him my ipod to listen to. He speaks a little bit of English but not enough to understand the words in an English song. But I was showing him a couple of my favorites and let him listen to my sister Grace's song "My Father's Heart". For the rest of the night he played that one over and over and over again. He had my ipod for about an hour and then again yesterday he took it and listeded to Grace for a couple more hours! He had all of his friends that came by listed to and they would just sit and press the play button again when she was done singing. I called home to talk to my dad yesterday for Father's day and I got Grace instead (go figure right?!) Well I told her about the guys liking her song and she asked why? So I looked at Adam and said "Gom dume a hidi dum korey?" ("Why do you like this one so much?") He said "Gom hunduko makko weli" (Because her voice is sweet") I thought that was so nice! So anyway - mad props to Grace on the singing! A wawi! (You are able, as they say it here)
So that brings me to today and I'm packing up and leaving Niamey in the morning with... Fanny! She is coming to my house with me for a week! She will visit my village with me and help me with my Fulfulde (she speaks a tad bit of English but understnds it fairly well too). I'm SO excited about this! SO I'm headed to her house now and will spend the evening with her. Then about 4am Pastor B. will take us to the bus station.
This week was by far the best week I have had in Niger yet. I felt so normal this week being with a bunch of people my own age that loved the Lord. Not to mention how encouarging everyone was. They told me over and over again how thankful they were that I was with them and that they didn't see white skin but a sister in Christ. I love my new friends and ask that you will lift them all up in their ministeries of reaching the Fulani Youth in Niger -
Prayer requests -
After this week I have seen how few people we have serving the Fulani. Please pray that the Lord would send workers to this harvest field. We have one family and three single women here now among the Sokoto Fulani and we would love to see another family or a couple of guys to help lead the Fulani men. Having women on the field is great, it would be good though to see a few guys here to minister to the men. A lot of the time, when the man gets saved the family follows.
Pray for my week with Fanny and that the Lord would bless our time together.
Stephen is having some health trouble. He was in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago and wasn't wearing a helmet. He is going to try to go to the doctor before he leaves Niamey and get it checked out. I don't know the details, I just know that he's in pain a lot.
Please lift up my grandparents at this time - Violet and Robert and my Aunt Sis. They are all dealing with some health problems that we pray the Lord would take away - I love you Grandma and Grandpa and Sis! You're in my prayers!
Right now I'm in the process of heading to South Africa in September. I've dealt with knee problems for many years and last years MRI results said I have a torn meniscus. So I'm looking at possible surgery. Please pray that all goes well in the planning and the timing. Right now I'm scheduled to be there for 4 - 6 weeks.
Thanks everyone for stopping by. I will be working on the layout of my blog and making it look new and fun in the near future!
*Names changed for security reasons at this time.