"There are two great moments in a persons life: the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Long Awaited Updates

Good day ya’ll! I hope life’s going well thus far in the New Year for you and your family. I thought I would try to put up a quick update online, while I was going to be at an internet caf√© haha so here goes just a quick update.
Classes:
We have been finishing up on our classes and doing independent French learning. The past three weeks our seminars have been on the History of Missions/the church here in Cote d’Ivoire, African Perspectives and Values, and Islam. They have been some of my favorite lessons actually and super interesting. Our last class will be this week, where we’ll be wrapping up Islam with Rod Ragsdale.
Service Projects:
We have been into town a few times for “projects.” This time I switched with my friend Jason and went to an orphanage and he went to L’Arche. The orphanage was quite a challenging place. At first some of the kid’s were afraid of me, because I’m white and they’ve never seen a white person up close. Then when I was trying to leave, the same kids screaming when I came in were screaming that I was leaving. It was sort of funny…ok it was actually HILARIOUS and everyone was laughing. Haha.
We haven’t been doing actual projects lately. It’s sort of cool, not because we’re getting out of work (I love working…come on) but because we’re just being sent out into town to build relationships with people in the market place. Everything in Cote d’Ivoire is based off of relationships. It’s so weird walking through town and seeing random chickens and goats and thinking “wow this is normal.” Or even when you see too small of trucks carrying too big of loads with people on top of those loads and others running after them… “wow this is my life.” Or even when I see 6 people on a moto (a small motorcycle taxi). Who would have ever thought that I would actually get used to everything? Haha
Families:
We did have the opportunity to return to our families homes. Steph and I went back to Soro Salif and Laurentine’s home. This time we brought pictures of our friends and families to share with them. It was great as usual and of course we were well fed and taken care of. The next few days after staying at their home, we were sent loose in town again. CJ, Jamie and I went to the panya and indigo market (the local fabric here). When we were finished paying for what we wanted we were discussing whose house we’d like to go and visit and just as we decided to see Laurentine and Salif again we turn around and guess who is behind us…LAURENTINE : ) after our greetings we asked her if we could escort her back home. When we got to her house she looked at all of our fabric and gave suggestions about what we should have made out of the material. (it is normal for one to buy fabric and have it made by a tailor) Then she took us to her tailor and we had outfits tailored made for us. I asked Laurentine to design my outfit and surprise me. Well we just got them back and I was for sure pleasantly surprised. In total the outfit including labor to make it and the fabric cost me 8,500 CFA or $17. How insane is that?!?! Coming here after being in the Plummer/McAbee wedding and having our dresses made…was such a shock!!! Some of us girls joke around that we’ll have to get our wedding dresses made here, because it’s so cheap to have things made. I will hopefully be putting a photo of all three of us girls in our new outfits.
Korhogo:
This Tuesday I will be leaving ICA campus to go to Korhogo, where six of us will be doing our home-stays. We’ll be there until March 2nd, then we’ll be returning for a little debrief for a few days and then going right back to our families. Please pray for our preparation. We’ll all be living with an Ivorian family, but some of us will be the only American there. Please pray for our strength and our energy as we struggle through our French.

Prayer Requests:
*Leaving ICA campus and leaving each other for the first time will be difficult. Please pray that we would remember God’s unfailing love and His constant presence with us.
*Against temptations and longings for things of this world
*Our friends and families back in the states. That they would know the Lord’s unfailing love and find comfort in His arms.

Scripture of the week (of a few)
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, “These are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.” ~ Zechariah 13:9

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!!!

Dude…I cannot believe that it’s already New Years. That’s insane! I hope and pray that your New Year’s celebration was joyful and safe.

I want to talk about our New Years extravaganza, but first I’ll give a quick update on our Christmas vacation. So for the girls, we made the very bumpy trip to Korhogo (northern RCI). On the way up to Korhogo a few of us took a bus, because that’s going to be our means of transportation when we leave for our Home Stays. Well, needless to say, it was quite the adventure. We were stopped about four or five times at various rebel barriers. A few times they even made our group get out of the bus and show some sort of I.D. At one barrier the guard actually thought we were spies. It was pretty funny trying to explain to him why five American girls would want to come to Cote d’Ivoire (especially now) to learn about their culture. The bus ride that should have taken 4 hours took 6 plus we were waiting at the station for 2 hours. It was a long and frustrating trip up there for everyone, but everyone on the bus said we were superstars and were absolutely the sweetest people. While in Korhogo we had the opportunity to visit other missionaries and different work sites for us in the very near future. We also visited some villages and learned how they make jewelry and various sorts of fabrics. On the third day we were told to stay inside of the guest house at IBB-bible institute, where we were staying. The country had been ordered to participate in a general strike, where no one would go to work, travel or even go to the market. This was attempted a few different times, but no one had taken it seriously. So on that day we walked to a church (using side streets to avoid drawing attention to ourselves) and visited a pastor who a few of us will be working with. The rest of the time was full of relaxation, which was so very much needed! Our last day, we climbed Mount Korhogo (it’s actually a little hill) and that took 30 minutes up and 30 minutes down. The voyage back to Bouak√© only took 3 hours by car and was crowded, but way more enjoyable with some dance party action. Great vacation!!

Our New Years Eve bash was a real hoot : ) The day started out around 9:30ish am. The boys woke up to help dig a ditch for roasting our pig, underground. I’m not quite sure how it worked either, but it tasted pretty good. Some of us girls decorated the picnic area in front of our gym. When the pig was finally done, we had a huge (late) dinner. All of the nationals living on campus came, plus all of the leadership team, plus a missionary family that’s on vacation here. About 30 people total at the dinner table. Afterwards some of us hung out at by the bon fire. This fire was no joke, 5 feet tall!! The wood! It was insanely huge! We played games and talked for a bit. Afterwards the dance party started around the fire, which our French military friends found extremely entertaining. We brought in the new year with the perfect touch...some worshipping of the Lord. It was amazing!! We also figured out that those of us Journeyers that were at Urbana ’09, this was our second New Years together. It was super fun. All and all, our holiday break was nothing less than spectacular. Absolutely, hands down, the best African Christmas Season ever. I hope and pray the same for you and your families. And as always I want/NEED to hear about how your New Years went and about any fun New Year’s resolutions :) Love it!!
Scripture of the Week:

This is what God showed me during my quiet time on vacation, I’ve been super distracted by things lately…
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” ~Philippians 4: 8&9

Prayer Requests:
-The political situation
-This is our last month living here on campus, pray for our Home Stays
-Against distractions, that all of our thoughts would be good and praise worthy

Thanks so much…I hope and wish a very Happy New Year. Know that you are missed and loved! Until next time : )