Thursday, 26 March 2009


My friend Stephen, who I've written about before and is a Christian Fulani, and I talked on the phone last night. Monday a group of Hausa people attacked his family's compound killing 15 family members and two friends (all Fulani). At this point no one knows why the attack took place. I'm not sure if the family members killed were Christians or not. It could have been cultural or religious attack, Stephen doesn't even know at this point. His mother's sister and husband were both killed leaving 5 children parentless, one of which is only 3 weeks old. He said many more of his family are also left without parents.
Please be praying for Stephen and the rest of his family as they walk through this together. Pray that it would pull those who don't know Christ closer to Him and that Stephen can be a witness to them during this time. Pray for peace and comfort.
Thanks for all you do and being faithful pray-ers.

Friday, 20 March 2009


Oh, the wind! It seems that just before rainy season every year that the wind picks up and makes things dreadful for everyone. It blows dust and dirt and sand all over everything, in your eyes, down your shirt, through the air vents in your car, etc. This is the time that I wish it would just rain! But it's not quit full fledged hot season yet, we still a few weeks to go. By the time I leave here I will be ready for cooler days. Right now the temperatures haven't been above 110 and that's been nice. It has even been cooling off nicely during the night (low 90s). So much that I pull my sheet up over me just before sun-up. I have my ceiling fan on in my room to keep the mosquitoes off of me and to keep it cooler before the sheet time of night comes. But just the same, it's nice to have the lower temperatures for the time being.

Things have been very different here since Karissa has been gone. It's been funny having just me at the house. I will be talking to myself about something and think "I should tell Karissa!" and then I realize "she's not here anymore:("
The people have asked since the day I got back from vacation where she was and why she didn't come back with me. The work world in America makes no sense to them and they have no clue as to why we can't just stay here forever! Some can, those who are career, but for Karissa, she was a volunteer, so it's different. They always ask me when I talked to her and how she and her family are doing. They ask if she was tired of Niger and if that's why she left. Then when I tell them that she loved Niger but needed to go back to America to find a job and be with her family the Fulani consensus is "Ohhhhhh, she has a boyfriend! She had to go back because she wants to get married!" And, well, that's not the truth either... The Fulani for some reason think that when us single girls head back to America it's so we can get married. It was that way for a Journeyman two years ago, but not for the journeymen since that point. When they hear me talk about leaving in a few weeks, they all tell me to send them pictures of my boyfriend and to tell them when the wedding is. Sometimes I just want to "make-up" a random guy so that I won't be told I'm lying to them! But then to make someone up would be lying, so I'm sticking to my "single" story, even if they don't believe me.

B has been excited about hearing more stories. Him and I sat down the other night and I told him about the story from Luke 5 about Jesus healing the paralytic. I told him there were so many people in the house listening to the teachings of Christ that the men couldn't get in with their friend on the mat. They had to go to the roof and lower their friend down on the mat in front of Jesus. I told him that once Jesus saw their faith that He told the man his sins were forgiven and for the man to get up and walk. B was amazed! He thought it was awesome that Jesus healed the crippled man right then and there! As always, B repeated the story to me to make sure that he understood all of it. Then I ask him if was liking the cassette tapes that I had given him to listen to. He said "yes I do! But I'm finished listening to both of them and I want another. I also have one that Jay gave me and I like it a lot too." I went in the house and got the third "Look Listen and Live" book and cassette and he made sure that the tape worked in his cassette player. He was so excited about it!
Please continue to pray for him. I feel as though he may be finding it difficult to tell those he is closest to about his new found faith. You see, K has many friends that have become B's friends as well. They all hang out on my compound in the evenings for a few hours. Many of them pack the bread on nights that it is brought. I find B very reluctant to talk and very watchful when one of his friends walks by us or sees up talking with the cassettes and the Bible story cloth laid out. He says that he has been telling his friends at his work and they all listen to the cassettes. But I do believe that K and B deal with a certain amount of persecution from the guys that they are with in the evenings. K has told me for as long as I have been here that the guys are always nagging him about not praying during prayer time or not fasting during Ramadan. K tells them the truth about his faith in Christ. B hasn't said much about things his friends in the evenings have said, but I know he deals with it too. B and K need prayer as they try to live out their faith in the midst of this Islamic culture. Pray that they would be bold and not hide their light from those that need to see it.
Fati, K's wife, and I have been able to begin building our friendship again. She returned to my town in late January after being with her family for a few months. Karissa had the opportunity to love on her and become friends with her as well. She has never seemed interested in the Bible or listening when I've wanted to share. But lately she has been more open to anything concerning Christ or the gospel. Pray for her and she sees K, B and myself live out Christ. Pray that she would let the walls fall down around her heart and that she would believe. It would bless my heart to know that Belki, K and Fati's daughter, would be raised in a Christian home and not a divided one. Pray the Lord's salvation to take place on my compound even more than it already has!

As you know, Susan has a night guard just like I do. His wife was very pregnant up until last Monday when she had the baby! Altine and Aissa, Susan's guard and his wife, have three boys and Aissa has wanted a girl this entire pregnancy. I have prayed for the Lord to give her what He willed, but I prayed selfishly that His will would be a girl for them. And... she had a GIRL! Altine called me (at my request) in the middle of the night on Sunday into Monday morning. I popped up out of bed, made myself decent and drove to Susan's as fast as I could. Altine had said on the phone that he wanted me to take Aissa to the hospital. Before I left my house I called Susan to let her know I was on my way over.
I got to her house and ran to check on Aissa and she had already had the baby! There was Aissa's mother giving the tiny baby a bath in cold water and holding her up by her little right arm. I couldn't believe it! Aissa sat on a stool watching. She had her head and body covered with a light cloth and didn't say much as I and Susan stood by and took everything in. The baby's body was so light in color that she could have been mistaken for a white child. I told them right off that the baby was really mine and not a Fulani... They all laughed!
I called my mom right away and told her about the baby. I ask her many "baby and birthing" questions knowing that she would more than likely know the answer.
After the baby was bathed and placed in a clean cloth Aissa laid down and they put the baby next to her. I encouraged Aissa to nurse the baby even though she wasn't going to. She said that she didn't have any milk but that her milk would come in a couple of days and she would feed her then. Aissa's mother has been with her for a few weeks waiting until the baby was born so she could help out. You have to be careful in this culture to not go against what the older people say. They are "older and wiser" and I didn't want to offend her at all. I did though want to throw my opinion out there and then let them chose whether or not to heed my advice.
I told them "I just talked to my mother on the phone and she has had nine babies! She wants you to know that even though you may think you don't have milk right now you have to nurse the baby and it will come." I continued to talk to them and tell them how good it would be for the baby if she nursed right away. Aissa and her mother were both very surprised by this and Aissa's mother handed her the baby right away and told her to feed it! Amazing!
Aissa got to the point that she didn't feel the need to go to the hospital so I left her house a little before 5 that morning. Susan had already gone back to bed.
After I had slept some more and eaten breakfast I went back over to hear that the baby had eaten again and was doing great! Praise the Lord that He worked in that situation! I couldn't even begin to imagine Aissa going two days without feeding the baby just because she thought she didn't have milk for the baby. Just because she thought that her breasts were dry. The Fulani have some crazy ways of thinking and this is just one of them.
I have taken some cute pictures of the baby and I will try to post some of them once I'm back in America. The baby naming ceremony will be on Monday when the baby is a week old. I will let you know the name after the buki! (A buki is a ceremony of just about any kind. A wedding buki, a baby naming ceremony buki, a graduation party buki, a going away party buki... they are all called the same thing - Buki).
She is a cute as a button and perfect in every way. Her eyes are as black as night, yet her skin color is just a little darker than a white baby. Her hands and feet, knobby elbows and knees have been formed without flaw. This baby was known before it was conceived. Her nose sits in just the right way and is "flat" as the Fulani say their noses are. Her ears are tiny and fragile and her hair is as black as coal. This baby is beautiful. She sleeps all the time and I've only seen her eyes twice. I've seen her everyday since Monday but only her eyes on the day she was born and then again today.

Once I was home on Monday morning the night air was cool. I closed myself in my house and felt a wave of unrecognized tears flow down my cheeks. Many of you may not know of the desire I've had for many years to be a mid-wife. My plans through the beginning of college were to go to school to be a nurse then continue my education and get my midwifery degree. The Lord had other plans in store for me. Although I know it's not His plan for me to be a mid-wife, my heart swells and cries when I think of how much I desire that sort of thing.
My mom had my last four siblings at home with a mid-wife and I couldn't get enough of that kind of work. I wanted to know all I could. I wanted to soak in all the knowledge on the subject that was available to me. But after my first semester in Nursing, I knew that the Lord was leading me in a different direction. I always wanted to be able to help with births and build a ministry overseas that was centered around babies. I wanted to use it as a way to share the gospel and love on women.
Since I was in ninth grade I knew that the Lord wanted me to work with women. I didn't know how or where or in what way. Well, when I began to desire all of the above, I thought midwifery was it. But now, after being led from that I know that the Lord is leading me somewhere new. I love high school and college age girls and would love to do ministry with that age group. I would love to work with youth (or be a youth pastor's wife) and be a Sunday School teacher. I have also thought and prayed about pursuing Biblical Counseling in Seminary. And I am definitely not opposed to serving overseas on the mission field. There are many options and I know that the Lord can use me in each one at one time or another. I also believe that I have the gift of teaching and speaking. I am anxious to see where the the Lord will lead me in the near future.
Please pray for me as I seek Christ about the next chapter in my life. If you didn't catch my drift, I'm very passionate about working with women and I would love to pursue that, but only if that's what the Lord wants. So my prayer is that I would step out of the way and allow the Lord to work in my life. He will give me the desire to do what He wants me to do and I want to be out of the way so He can do that.

I've had a bad cold this week that has slowed me down some. Pray against illness for me so that I can end strong and do as much ministry and village visiting as I can. My time here is short and I don't want to use it sick in bed!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Leaving Asia

This is Mallory and I on the underground metro

This was a really cool graffiti wall that we found along a main tourist shopping street.

I have more pictures for you! I have placed three links on the left of my vacation here in Central Asia. I would love for you to check it out.

I am headed back to Niger tomorrow afternoon and will there sometime in the middle of the night. Please pray that I will have a safe trip and make my flights at both places. I am flying from here to Morocco and then catching another flight from there to Niamey.

Mallory and I were able to talk to our friend Casey on the phone tonight. He lives in Asia but on the opposite side from Mallory's. He is on vacation right now and Mallory has a vonage phone. So we called him and put him on speakerphone so we could all talk. That was such a blessing! Pray for Casey as he is on vacation and continues the Lord's work in Asia.

My computer is not working at the moment. It fell off a chair a few weeks ago and the hard drive is messed up. It can't be fixed until I get back to America but I'm going to try and use Susan's computer to post blogs.

Thank you all for your prayers and support in many ways. My plan at this point is to wrap up my time in Niger within the next few weeks and head back to America at the end of April. Please be praying for me as I finish up and say my goodbyes.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

City Life

This is Mallory and I at the water's front in her beautiful city!

Right off the bat let me tell you all that I'm posting pictures from a link on the left. It's titled "Pretty Pics" and you just click on the link "Niger Photos #1" and "Niger Photos #2" and you can take a look at a few photos that I posted on my facebook. There are several of Karissa and I and many of the safari that we took at the beginning of February.

I have been here in Central Asia for 4 days now and it feels like just yesterday that I was in Morocco waiting to get here. Yesterday Mallory and I had brunch and headed to a mall across the water - which meant that we had to take the boat! It was so fun getting to ride and see the birds, not to mention the city from a completely different view. The mall was so much fun! I bought a t-shirt from "United Colors Of Benetton" and looked in tons of different stores. They have Adidas, Nike, Reebok, and many other athletic stores as well as many dressy clothing stores too. It was a lot of fun to just browse. I didn't have a change to go to the mall in America when I was there in September but I did go to one in South Africa. But this one was a bit bigger with more of an American selection. Mallory and I went to a bookstore were I read an article in the "People" magazine about the pilot who landed a plane on the Hudson river. I hadn't heard that story before and if you haven't read it yet either you should get online and check it out. It's pretty amazing.
Mallory and I made a stop at Starbucks and I had my favorite - A cold chocolate chip creme. It was so good! We left after dark and took the bus back to the water where we then took the boat back to her side of town. It was raining and the bottom of my pants were soaked which meant that my shoes and socks were soaked too. I thought that I was going to lose a toe from frostbite or something!
We stopped at a vegetable and fruit stand and bought some of each. We made vegetable and chicken stir fry in a tortilla wrap and it was so good! Then we ate the most amazing orange I've ever had for dessert.

This morning Mallory and I left for her language tutor's house. Her name is *Aleah and she lives a ways away. We left and hopped on a bus where we rode for about 25 minutes before hopping off and climbing a killer hill to Aleah's house. She is a very nice 28 year old who knows how to speak English but refuses to do so around Mallory in order to help improve her language skills. She talked to me through Mallory the whole time and it was a great cultural experience for me. She served me Chai (the same tea drink that we have in Niger only not near as strong) with a little chocolate chip cake and a warm croissant. About halfway through Mallory's language lesson I put on my winter gear and took my camera out to take some pictures of the city from a distance.
Mallory and I left a little bit later and went to her office where I met up with a couple of people from my FPO two years ago! It was great to see Ryan and Laura. We are headed to their house for dinner tomorrow night and I will take a picture. I will get to see their little girl, Selah, again too. Laura told me that regardless of the fact that she won't remember me, she will be my best friend in less than 5 minutes:) I'm excited about tomorrow evening.
I was also able to meet another Journeyman, Jeremy, today and talk to him a little bit too.

Jana (Mallory's roommate) returned from the States today from a work conference she was attending. It was great coming in from the freezing cold to be greeted by her! Jana and I walked to the Post Office to pick up a package that she has there. It's quit different than my Post Office in Niger. I have one for the whole town that I live in and there are well over 10 here in this huge city. Jana and Mallory talked about which one she had to go to in order to get her package. So Jana and I took off and left Mallory talking on the phone with a friend that's in America. We walked a few streets and went through security at the mall and down a flight of stairs to the Post Office where the man told her to come back tomorrow morning because they were closing up. So we came back up to their apartment and sat down to check email and facebook. We then began talking about what to have for dinner when they informed me that they could order just about anything and have it delivered... WHAT?! That's awesome! So we all decided on McDonald's and Mallory got online and ordered us all Double Cheeseburger meals. It was at our door within 10 minutes! We put in the movie "Top Gun" which I had never seen before and I ate my first McDonald's in over 5 months:) Boy, was it good!

Tomorrow morning Mallory and I are hitting up the gym for a good workout. So I'm going to close at this point. I hope that you all enjoy the pictures and stories thus far. Be watching for more!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Update + Two Pictures

I am writing to you from one of Central Asia's largest cities! I know that this information may come to a shock to some of you, but I am on vacation right now with my girlfriend Mallory were she is serving here in CA. I will have plenty of time to blog more later but while I have a few minutes at this time I want to post a couple of pictures for you all to see... Enjoy!

As you read at one point, I have a guy friend that bags all of his bread on my compound and then sells it at the bus station the next morning. He is a Zerma guy and his name is Yawo. Here is a picture of him in the blue and colorful shirt with a friend. They are hard at work one morning at the bus station that I was leaving for Niamey. I decided to snap this one.

This was the day when Karissa and I were buying gas off the black market.

These are the only two that would upload at this time but Mallory just said that I can upload more and do it faster during the morning. So be watching for more!