29 April 2009
28 April 2009
27 April 2009
- The Ecole Alliance girls are on vacation and they as well as Rebekah and Jonathan are finishing up their morning chores;
- while they work, they are plotting and planning their costumes for a medieval festival/fun fair that will be held later on in the week;
- I just ate toast with butter and RASPBERRY jelly (I found a jar while grocery shopping on Saturday and splurged - $6);
- while writing I'm also searching for my vanilla wafer recipe because I'll need it to make banana pudding later this week (it is quite a good recipe, too... or I've been here long enough that it doesn't matter anymore);
- it is quite warm and humid already this morning and the girls are hoping it rains (I have my doubts);
- I'm looking forward to our second session of the high school swim program tomorrow;
- Elsie Mae is listening to and singing along with lullabies while rocking her baby doll;
- the peanut M&M is sleeping in her bouncy seat - as long as my foot rests on her tummy, bouncing the seat up and down;
- the menagerie of animals has been fed;
- email downloaded;
- before too long, I need to get back to work on Sheep Tales;
- and while all of this is going on, thoughts about what to pack up and store/what to pack up and take/what to give away/what to sell are tumbling around in my head as the May 1 deadline for "starting official preps for furlough" looms quite near.
Most of the service, I was outside in the courtyard with Mary - she was hot and fussy and I didn't want her antics to disturb her daddy while he was preaching. So, I had quite a bit of time to observe. The nurse brought the meningitis vaccines already drawn up in prepared needles which she kept cool in a small water cooler (maybe held a gallon of water) filled with ice. Throughout the church service, when she'd get thirsty, she'd come out and pour off a little water from the melting ice to get a drink. Later, as people lined up for shots, they'd roll their sleeve up, cover their eyes or look away and she'd almost gleefully stab the needle into their arm. Then the needle would be discarded into a large bowl by her feet (I was more than a little nervous about that, especially with all of the kids running round… including my own), and the next person would begin rolling up their sleeve. I used to think Tim was awful about shots and needle pokes (after 8 pregnancies, I'm a little less than sympathetic to those who are wimpy about such things), but these folks were hilariously so. And, no one minded putting on a show of hysterics for the rest of the church to observe. :P Chalk that up as another lesson in culture. Hopefully, my younger children haven't been horribly traumatized after having watched these adults and their reactions.While the procedure was a bit unsettling, I am thankful that our church family had this opportunity made available to them. March – May is the worst time for meningitis. Recently, I read this, this, this and this… and even though we've not heard of a lot of meningitis actually here in the city, it is a reality of life in Niger, especially for those who live where medical care and medications are not readily accessible. So, that started me thinking about other "realities" in the life of most Nigeriens, and I decided to share some survey results with you.
This survey was conducted by another organization working in Niger; they carried out the survey in villages near the bush churches where Tim regularly goes to preach, so I found it particularly interesting.Here are some of the results they obtained:
25 April 2009
24 April 2009
23 April 2009
22 April 2009
21 April 2009
20 April 2009
"If we had to have a moratorium where all believers had to just speak well of their brethren for a couple of days, there'd be tumbleweed...
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (NASU)
Mr. Savastio went on to outline 5 characteristics or elements of destructive speech: Is is deceptive? Sensual? Excessive? Abusive? Or divisive? While in the lesson to which I listened he only really explored deceptiveness, that list seemed contains 5 good checks to utilize regarding how I use words, be they in ministry, in my home, with my neighbors, socializing on Facebook, or just sitting sipping tea at the side of the pool. Is what I am thinking about saying deceptive, misleading or purposefully capable of being perceived as something else... or is my communication transparent? Are words I use sensual or inappropriate? Here's one that is often a struggle for me: Are my words too many, too extreme or disproportionate for the situation, unwarranted? Or are they exact, gentle and few. I should never be using words that are offensive, cruel or rude - even though the temptation is strong when someone else has hurt me. And finally, is what I feel I HAVE to say intended to cause disagreement, debate, hostility or conflict? Or are they words that bring peace, healing, resolution or restoration. That's a lot of "stuff" to think about, especially in an environment that seeks and often approves of sensationalistic words, both written or spoken, that clearly fall into one or more of those destructive categories.
Note: If you'd like to hear Mr. Savastio's lesson yourself, please click here.
19 April 2009
My favorite moment of Bible study last week, however, came when I asked the girls what attitude or attribute they saw in Esther that they wanted to try and apply in their lives the next day. One of the girls replied, "Excellence..." And then she went on to explain what she meant~ Esther was the queen, which obviously gave her some advantages that an average person would not have had. Yet she fall back on her position and those advantages. She didn't fast and pray for a single day... she did for three and asked others to join her. She didn't just wear any old clothes when she approached her husband, the King... the dressed in and looked her very best. She didn't just blurt out her complaint to the King... she offered to prepare a banquet (not just a meal) and lavishly serve him, first... which she then she did all over again, a second time.
Reflecting on this thought has led me to ponder, "What might happen if I chose to approach all that I do, from changing diapers, washing dishes and hanging laundry to writing/translating radio scripts, teaching Bible studies and leading French School Committee meetings..., committed to scrupulous excellence - not for man's reward or praise, but out of a desire to serve, so that God receives the praise and all reward? "
Nothing revolutionary or new here... but a good reminder that I need right now... as the thermometer rises, my to do list is grows and the time remaining to accomplish several goals shrinks. What a great flesh and blood example of the following Biblical principles: "Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Cor 16.14), and "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10.31-32).
18 April 2009