Saturday, 24 January 2009

Truth = Freedom

Tom and Connie, My (Karissa's) dad, Dana, Rachel, Claire, Amy and Anonymous for posting comments on our blog and encouraging us as you have. Thanks for the prayers that you send to the Father on our behalf. We couldn't do what we do without your dedication to lift us up to Christ.

This is a compilation of writings from Karissa and I over the past few days. Please remember to take note of the names of who is writing as you read...

(Writings from Karissa)
Monday January 19

Pure eagerness and joy was painted all over B’s face as Anna and I shared with him the true creation story… We also shared with him what a relationship with the Lord looks like and how God wants him to talk to him all the time… On his way to work, when he is sad, when he is overwhelmed with joy. I spoke to B and Anna translated in Fulfulde and made sure that B was understanding. B was sitting on the edge of his chair and after almost everything Anna would tell him, B would readily repeat it in order to make sure he remembered what we were sharing with him. The Holy Spirit was so evident in Him. This young man BELIEVED and was ready to learn all he could. I am so excited to see this young man share Jesus with his friends and how the Lord might use him to affect future generations! The hold that the Muslim religion has on this culture is great, more than I could have ever realized without being here. Another thing that I have learned is that this is a culture that is controlled by the man… Men here do not have relationships with their wives like I am so used to seeing in the Christian marriages around me growing up. It makes me sad and gives me the great desire to pray that the Gospel might permeate the Fulani family here in Niger.

Today was “doctor day”. We took Anna’s teammate Susan, to a hospital about 40 minutes away. While there I asked about a missionary named Linda that my home church supports. She works at the hospital! I saw her in a picture with some other nurses and doctors and look forward to talking with her some time while I am here. We found out that the missionary staff at the hospital has a little cinnamon bun gathering on Wed. mornings and we were invited to come ANYTIME.

Another fun adventure for today was pretty unexpected… As many of you know I enjoy running. Well, I didn’t really think this was going to be an option while I was here due to the fact that women wear long skirts all the time… running in a skirt just did not sound all that appealing! Well, last night we were talking to K (the guard for Anna’s compound) and he said it was no problem for us to run if we wore pants and t-shirts. This was very surprising to Anna mainly because you don’t really see women running here EVER! To make sure we were getting legit information on this subject we visited one of the older women here in town (Mama, the Fulani lady that lives across the street from us). She is the type to tell you like it is. She said that it is no problem if you are playing a sport (including running) ☺. So today, we went on a couple mile jog out of town. There was a lot of exhaust and dust in the air…. It was an intense breathing situation, but such a blessing all at the same time!!! Who would have thought.

(Writings from Anna)
Friday January 23

I have to echo what Karissa said about running. I also enjoy running but have just gone this past year without it because I didn’t know that it was an option. I ran with my sister, Naomi, a few times back in September when I was home. It was fun and refreshing and like running has always has done, just made me feel good. Well, here, since my house is just a little ways from the outside of town we leave my compound gate and start running right away. At the end of our run when we are coming back into town I pick up full speed in order to end as strong as I can. It’s kind of funny here because the people on the road (mostly men) all yell and cheer for us as we finish our run! I feel like I’m in a race and being pushed forward! It’s really funny and gives me that extra boost that I may not have without 57 (est.) Africans hollering at me in 5 different languages…
Once Karissa and I are inside and have stretched we normally do a short workout in the house on our core. I tell you what, carrying buckets of water on my head and cleaning rice and cooking is not going to work the core muscles that I haven’t paid attention to in the last couple of years. So Karissa’s name while we are working out and running is “Coach”. I have to say that she is quite the coach. She’s good at motivation and pushing herself as well as me when either of us wants to quit. She also ran Cross Country in college and is in better shape than I’m in at this point – but not for long – look out Karissa! So as we are doing our short workout inside one of the exercises we do is “The Plank”. I would like to refer to it as “The Killer”. You have to position yourself on your stomach and then lift yourself up on your toes and forearms and make your body as straight as you can. Then you hold it until your coach says to let go. In this case, my coach says one minute is a good amount. But we don’t just do one, one-minute plank. We do two or three or, etc… I say that if I have to do another one-minute plank then she’s fired! No, but for real, our whole bodies hurt after that. I told her that’s why I don’t like doing them and we need to find another one that’s a little easier on our bodies… Coach reminded me that if it hurts my muscles that bad then it must be working! So I’m going to stick with it while it’s working and I’m feeling it (unless I die first!). It was pretty intense though after the first few days of working out when I had to roll out of bed and I couldn’t sit down or stand up without feeling pain every muscle in my legs. NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

Just an update on Susan, she is doing much better. She had developed a rash on her arms around Christmas time and it spread to her eyes. When Karissa and I visited her last Saturday she was in a lot of pain. Then on Sunday she asked that we take her to the hospital to have her rash looked at. The doctor there (American) said that he thought it was an allergic reaction to something that’s she’s been eating or maybe a soap she’s been using. Pray for her that she will be able to figure it out so she can discontinue using it and not have to worry about the rash anymore.

Things with B have been very encouraging and Praise the Lord he is sticking with this! It’s a very exciting thing to witness his enthusiasm for learning all he can. As Karissa shared above, he was literally sitting on the edge of his seat as if he couldn’t get enough of what we were saying! At the end of our time Karissa prayed in English and I prayed in Fulfulde for B and that he would stand strong in his faith and that the Lord would bless him with wisdom. Karissa and I gave him a tape with about 30 Bible stories from Creation to the Ascension of Christ on it for him to listen to and learn from. I also gave him a small cassette player to use. When we were finished with our story telling he took the cassette player and hit the play button as he walked away with it next to his ear. Everytime I’ve seen him since then he’s had the cassette player in his pocket or sitting beside him and he’s had his earphones in, listening away. My heart has been so happy!
This precious new brother in the Lord has faith like a child and the smile on B's face reflects the freedom in Christ that he has.
Please continue to lift B up to the Lord as he desires to live out his faith and learn all he can. He told Karissa and I that he wanted to meet often because he didn’t want to forget anything but also because he wanted to learn all he could and quickly. Lift him up that he would gain understanding as we share scripture with him and that he would develop a mature faith as he learns. Pray for him that he would desire to walk in the Truth of the Gospel.

Please pray for Pastor John and his volunteer team. Pastor John’s church comes to my town twice a year to do ministry in many surrounding villages. They are scheduled to be in my town by this coming Wednesday evening. Pray for the Lord to open huge doors and soften hearts as they share the Word of God. They will also be visiting the new village, ML, which I have been to. PRAY that the people will be responsive and that they will ask questions that they have. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work there and that we would see salvation.

Saturday January 24
Today Karissa and I got up at Melissa’s a little later than we should have. We wanted to be in town and doing our internet work by about 11. Well, here we are and it’s almost 1pm and we just got here. We did some of our laundry this morning and just underestimated the amount of time that it would take us. So last night we were up talking and reading and writing the blog until about 3:30 in the morning. Karissa made a very true statement when she said that we are both night owls… When you put the two of us together it means late nights! We have also noticed that this past week that we have been together that our evenings have flown and we’re not really sure where they go or how the times just shoots by… Time is a thief, that’s for sure.

We are posting this now and heading to the pool for a day of relaxation. Tomorrow we will go with Melissa to her market and then we are headed to a ceremony that is a tradition amoung the Fulani. I’m not sure what it’s called but it’s the process for the guys here to go from boyhood to manhood. I’ve heard it’s kind of intense and I really wanted the opportunity to see one of these ceremonies before I left. I’m also glad that Karissa is able to see a new part of this culture as well.

Pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord over His will for our work here. May His glory be what we strive for and our lives reflect Him alone.

Thanks for stopping by – we are encouraged by our supporters and readers in so many ways. Love you all!

Rakiya and Hawa


Tom Pflederer said...

Hey Karissa, great to hear from you! I feel like Anna is an old friend from all the details you are both sharing about your experiences there. We are praying for your safety and Holy-Spirit enabling as you both share your lives with people there. Tom

Northern Exposure said...

Hello Karissa (and Anna), I'm glad you got to go for a run, I'm glad Bruce wasn't there to see that least you had a friend. Myself and the Fort Staff are praying for you and your work in Niger, I pray you are safe and the Lord uses you in amazing ways, I'm glad I get to be a part of your adventure over there!Love you,


Anonymous said...

Thank you both for your updates. I love checking in and hearing about all the exciting news. I am praising God for B and his decision. I am also praying for more lives to be changed as B's has been. Karissa, I am so happy you are able to share in Anna's excitement. I am praying for you during your stay. Anna, I am so glad that you have someone to take part in your missions adventures. Stay safe and enjoy your running and soreness! Love you! - amy

Anonymous said...

Thats so exciting to hear about B. What a refreshing attitude toward the gospel he has! I'm so happy to hear things are going well for you. You and Anna are in my prayers. Oh, and thanks for the pic from New Years! I love it! Love you girl. ~Nikki

snookmama said...

Loved this blog. It is so good to hear about what God is doing. I prayed for B and Pastor John today. May the Lord establish his name where you are. And I think even I could run if I was cheered. How neat! (friend of the SC Gans family).

Annie said...

I love you girls so much and am so encouraged to hear what the Lord is doing! I pray the Lord would give you both great wisdom and strength as you seek to share His beautiful truth with those the Lord causes you to cross paths with. Know you two are loved and prayed for.