Sunday, January 10, 2010

Africa Day 14

It's the Final Countdown

Sorry, music from the 80's just surfaced out of nowhere. I do understand that some will say that song was never really just popped in.

Anyway, today is the packing up day. We spent the morning sleeping in and packing up. I led us in a Bible discussion of the Beattitudes. In the afternoon Pete looked at one of our interpreters and the Riggs' two children. We did a little final shopping and then supper.

It is really a slow day in comparison to the others. We haven't had to bust it out to make it someplace for a day of ministry today. I am glad though because the plane trip home is a long and arduous process. To have this day be restful...hmmm...the Bible says something about that doesn't it? a nice opportunity.

We are all very glad to have been a part of God's plans these past two week but are also ready to be at home. Now that the day has arrived it seems like forever to get to the midnight flight out of Africa! Somehow we have to balance restful with anxious. Pray for us as we travel. There is heightened security along the way but no real threats.

How has God worked? We will be sharing the answer to that question on January 24th at 6pm. No doubt, many of you will already sense and have heard about a movement of God in our lives, but we will formally share the trip with you on the 24th during the evening service.

May God bless!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Africa Day 13

Today was the CANOE TRIP!!!

I can tell you that not everyone was excited about this...Pete. He doesn't like canoes and expressed that to us at times. We had a missionary with us today and we floated off to the island for ministry. Around march the river drops enough that you can drive to this location but that was not the case today. As you will see in the pictures, the river is wide and the canoe seemed small. The driver loaded us in two boats and we were guided up river and then across fighting the current all the way. It was a peaceful ride watching the river flow gently. As we approached the bank the optical illusion was a little unnerving as it seemed the land was moving away from us. it was eerie! The return trip was much faster since we had the current with us the whole way.

We worked out of the school that is there. We found about 50 kids hanging out and a couple of people wanting care. Once we settled in and set up shop Pete gathered them all up and spoke about brushing their teeth and the big bad enemy of sugar. He took a stroll while we gathered patients since his back is giving him much grief. They soon gathered and we got started at 10:30. A little over 2 hours and 21 people later we packed up and headed back across the river. We ate lunch on the run nearly and headed across town to an area Cherry knew about and asked if we would help. There were 8 people who were helped and they were very thankful. There appreciation was so vast in comparison to other days that it made for a good last stop.

We returned knowing that we only have one more day until we fly home! Pete will look at the Riggs' kids and Bilo tomorrow afternoon and then it is off to dinner and prepare to go to the airport.
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Friday, January 08, 2010

Africa Day 12


This is a good word for today! It is taking us a little longer each day to get up and go. Knowing the bumpy road ahead causes a little pause, but with coffee and fresh croissants all is well and we load up for another day of ministry. As we travel we discuss a variety of issues not the least of which is what the letter for the day is. We have been playing this stupid game on the morning drives to pass the time. A letter is chosen and we spend enormous amounts of intellect trying to outdo each other using words beginning with the letter and multiple uses in one sentence. The only way to understand is to be here. Actually you could be here next year. We are planning on the same time leaving but only being here one week. You could go!!

We arrived at the village and were not sure how many would be seen today, but it ended nicely. We actually got Pete to relax a little with the kids before dentistry today. The pictures tell it all! We soon suited up and began work. I was the seller of tickets today and handled speaking on preventative care of the dental and spiritual nature. We had many that were around and gave a talk three different times. The day was hot and dusty but much was accomplished. Chuck and Kris had good conversations with a few men and Chuck shared the Gospel.

We were able to load up around 3pm and head toward the house! As we arrived we unloaded and were informed that Cherry had cooked for us and were expected at her apartment around 6pm. We could not have been more pleased when we arrived than to see steaks in gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and sweet tea. i though Chuck was going to convulse in excitement right then and there! We sat around the table and stuffed ourselves, talked, laughed, and totally enjoyed ourselves. We talked of this year and the years ahead and how we can serve God through ministry here in Niger. We have exciting thoughts and plans. God is good!
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Africa Day 11

Today was another slow day. The missionaries were unable to go with us today and the preparation was done by one of the local believers. While I believe he did work at publicizing the event the people were either not in need or not interested. We worked on a few and left around 11:30.

Since we had the afternoon to ourselves we decided to do a little shopping. We visited one area that had many artisan pieces and picked out a select few. Since by daughter doesn’t read yet, I will tell you that she is getting a nice little purse when I get home that has the country of Niger on the front and, of course, is a beautiful shade of orange. Though some may say it is burnt, it is orange to us and we all know what that means. Anyway, acquired a nice piece of leather work that will go well in a focal area of the church so that we can promote not only where we have been but where we plan to be for the next several years. We have discussed at length, among ourselves, that it seems to be very plausible and spiritually profitable for us to adopt a particular village work there for 5 days straight and then return home. This would allow for greater dental care, greater relationships, and greater spiritual teaching opportunities. Through focusing on one village we could pool the resources we have toward helping them in real ways and opening doors for evangelism. Whether it is clothes for the kids as we outgrow them, or gloves for the women as the pound millet hours every day and have blisters on their hands, or thinking out of the box in ways of water and other essentials. We could help them through discussion of cattle and herding. We could cooperate together and see God work in tremendous ways.

Please be in serious prayer about this opportunity. I feel that it serves more efficiently and effectively the Kingdom of God.

We decided that we wanted to eat in on our terms tonight so I volunteered to prepare hamburgers with all the trimmings. They were pretty good, if I do say so myself!! The tomatoes and pickles were a little funky and twangy but edible. There is no internet at the guest house so we took an adventure out with a taxi to an internet restaurant including cappucinno's and ice cream! Good Times!
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Africa Day 10

After the Bush taxi's clutch nearly went out yesterday I had a long discussion with the coordinator as to whether we would use it or not. We finally agreed to use it with the guarantee it would be fixed by this morning. As it arrived, we knew it was the same vehicle but it did sound much improved. We packed up and began the journey toward Doutouwel. We were in this area last year though we would not be in the village "limits" this time but out in the "burbs". As we were traveling, the carburetor began acting up. We stopping and he cleaned it out and away we went! The ride to this location was bumpy but we survived. Minor concussions...haha!

This area had a school and a clinic so we felt we were uptown! The clinic was small but functional. Once set-up, Pete and Bill began seeing patients around 10:15. We had all agreed that today we would be done by 4:00 so we could return at a decent hour. Pete shifted into hurry-up mode about 3:30. he had been averaging about 6/hr. He saw 8 in the last 30 minutes! He is very interested in getting everyone seen and he did.

While they were working in the clinic, Chuck and I went walking to a nearby compound. Our local host wanted us to visit the local pastor. We were well-greeted and invited into the "church" hut. We gathered and began discussing a variety of topics. As preachers, we talked about our last Sunday's sermons and what we were teaching our people in their walk with Jesus. Chuck jumped in the conversation and beautifully expressed the disciple's cross material I had been sharing with the other village's. There was another pastor present as well and he began asking a couple of questions concerning OT passages on their meaning. I had the chance to share why Hosea was told to marry an adulteress. God wanted to show how much He loved Israel even though she was in adultery with other idols. We also talked about some practical concepts of parenting from the story of Isaac and Jacob and Esau. Lunch was brought in and normally we, meaning the Americans, would not eat it for fear of sickness. Yet, I felt a peace from God about eating this time. The feeling was so strong it was as if God told me to trust Him today. So...I ate. I was proud of Chuck, he took a bite too.

We returned to the clinic to relieve them for lunch. Afterwards, Chuck and I broke out the frisbees and spent time with the kids and teens throwing frisbees and showing God's love. Later he broke out Bessie and presented the Gospel. Pete mentioned that we might want to give a dental lesson while they were all together, so we did that as well.

We wrapped up the day just after 4pm and were heading out by 4:20. Michelle had Hamstatud prepare a beef vegetable stew and cornbread for us tonight and we felt like we ate like kings.

Another great day in Africa!
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Africa Day 9


Today was a difficult day because we were without any missionary presence and the road was an extreme washboard situation. Pete decided that if he had soap he could properly agitate the clothes for a good wash! We arrive about 9:30 to an empty clinic area. We help setup and discover that the few people that had arrived were not there for the dentist so Chuck and I headed to the village to see if we could drum up some business. We begin walking through the village and greeting people and informing them of the dentist. We travel through looking for the chief's house. He is not in town today and soon found the elders under a tree and a house full of women not far away. It seems that someone had died earlier and they would be, as a village, tending to these needs. There were a few who went on to see Pete, but we packed up at Noon and returned to the city. We became stuck in the sand twice and realized that the van had no first gear or the driver couldn't find it. Either way we pushed our way out of sand twice and soon made it to pavement. We had made plans to go shopping a little before going to the guest house until we smelled the putrid odor of a burning clutch. No one else seemed to mind, but we instructed that we simply wanted to get to the guest house!

We did make it! We unloaded, stored things away, and sought after lunch. After a gourmet meal of MRE's it was time for Pete to work on the missionary kids by sealing their teeth. Since we had the afternoon in town, the best use of time and his skill was to work on them missionary kids. He is good with children. I think he got bit only once!

There is a conference in the city this week and the guest house is filling up so we will not be able to spread out quite as much! Several kids are screaming streaks of color through here now, so it feels like home?!?!

We have been discussing something today that we would like for you to pray with us about. Should God call us to return another year we would like to consider focusing on one village for a long period of time. Instead of hitting several villages over the days, we would minister and do dental work in one village for 5-6 days. In this way we could know them better, get more dental care accomplished, and our church body could begin to pool resources to one place rather than to many. I believe it would focus our attention and be a greater blessing in the long run for more people. Please pray with us about this!

Enjoy the pics!
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Africa Day 8

A brand new week! How can God work miracles this week?

We started out running a tad late today but no worries. We are using a bush taxi for our travels this week and it is "like" using the church van, only worse! The driver is kind and helped us pack the top before leaving. We made several stops before leaving town this morning.
  • Fuel
  • Bread and Nutella
  • Fuel
  • Transport papers

The reason for stopping twice for fuel is that after the first time the driver informed me that if we are going to Bokki it would take more fuel. So we stopped and bought more fuel. Meanwhile the driver had to acquire certain papers to be hauling people outside of town so we waited a while for him before actually leaving town. We decided that we could buy some bread and Nutella for certain members of the team and they would be satisfied while also conserving our MRE's to last the week. I haven't been eating one for lunch trying to conserve, just picking the unopened portions of them and snacking.

Once all the errands were finished we headed out of town for the 1.5 hour ride to Bokki. The clinic is very nice and had an attached shaded area where Pete and Bill worked today. Melissa is an IMB missionary who has just returned but is unable to go all the way to her home in NE Niger just yet. She went and worked the door to the clinic for us. Every person that wants to be seen must pay 500 CFA which equates to just over a dollar. All the money is collected and returned into the community through various projects. Pete had a killer day today because several were difficult cases in tight spots. Kris' sister joined them today. She was OB nurse and is now a school nurse. She assisted beautifully with cleaning and prep.

Chuck and I went on a walk after being dropped off and visited with a Muslim priest named Mamane Amadou. We discussed several things about life and God. We agreed to a point and then he wasn't interested anymore. I did discover that Bokki comes from the name of tree leaves that were first sold at the market in town. It is from these leaves that the community acquired its name.

After a long and warm day we packed it all up and took the 1.5 hour journey to Niamey. Bill witnessed to one of our interpreters all the way home. Meanwhile, Chuck, Pete, and I had a rousing discussion of Bible backgrounds and religious politics. Woo Hoo!!
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Africa Day 7 - Sunday

The morning came quickly after having been up late the night before for the movie. We were keyed up and did not go to bed quickly. Today was worship and pack up day from the bush to head back to the city. Pete and Bill had a few more patients to tend to before we left so they left out for the clinic while we went to church.

Pete had a little girl that needed a filling but had come in for an extraction. He just couldn't do that to her since it was not bad enough for extraction and could be filled instead.

Chuck and I went to church and we had some singing, praying and preaching. I preached on the temptation of Jesus and how He resisted. I wanted them to see that the Word of God is sufficient for our needs.

We packed up and started home about noon. It took about 2 hours to get home and another hour to unpack and settle back in to the guest house. I started blogging to catch up and the internet is so slow it takes a long time. We left out for supper at the rec center again. The boys need a Niamey burger which is just like a...

Have a great day! We sure did!
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Africa Day 6 - Saturday


Cherry Faile grew up in Western Africa as a missionary kid. She herself came to the mission field in Yemin and then in Ghana. For the past 8 years she has been the nurse and missionary for this village and surrounding area. She is a wonderful, amazing, loving Christian woman who has striven to bring Jesus, by herself, to a male-dominated world. She has earned the right and trust to be heard by all.

We awoke grumpy, sneezy, and sleepy. The other 4 dwarves were not far behind!! Actually we were sore and stiff fromt he cots but eager to address the needs of the day. After some much needed coffee, we went our separate ways.

Chuck went on a walking tour of several villages and covered at least 6 miles. He was able to pray with many people. He held a baby and as soon as he took her she wet him! He also went fishing and saw mud bricks being made all before lunch!

Pete and bill went to the clinic and began working on the 50+ people needing to be seen. Except for a short time while Bill ate lunch and I worked, I don;t know much about what happened. Pete's stomach is very bad. He powered through the pain and kept working and felt better by the end of the day. Though he may have a tough and rough exterior this man has a big heart and love for helping people. Once again, I am awed by his desire and skill in the face of pain and diversity!


I spent the morning teaching the believers how to follow Jesus. I used John 15 as a model and we talked about many ways to follow Jesus.

During the evening Chuck and I went to a village and showed the Jesus film. We had many arrive to watch the story and life of Jesus though none made professions of faith.
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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Africa Day 5

In the Bush!

We have been sleeping outside during these days and the evenings are quite cool. While it is not the frigid arctic where our families are, it is still cold to be outside and seemingly odd for Africa. We packed for Africa and not the North Sea Expedition Trip! It has gotten to 45 degrees at night andis chilly.

After the required cups of coffee we packed up for another day. Pete and Bill went to the Dori village for the clinic while Chuck and I went to a new village named Weenu Mama. Dori is the village where we walked the village perimeter with the chief Kareem and heard the good and bad of village life. Pete and Bill worked over...sorry worked on...45 people.

In Weenu Mama we had a day of teaching the believers. After arriving and the standard greetings we were ushered into a hut where we would be spending the day. I did the bulk of the teaching on this day and had Chuck give testimony at times for emphasis and to keep him awake...haha! The believers are very young in the walk and needed guidance on a few basic principles such as authority of God, Bible learning, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism. In the afternoon, after the teaching, I noticed one man that had been listening intently all day. I asked him his name and it was Saeiido. I asked him if he was a follower of Jesus and he said no but wanted to be. I asked him what was keeping him from deciding right then andhe said nothing. i reviewed the gospel message and called for a response. We got on our knees together in that in front of everyone and prayed to receive Jesus. he had been seeking for a while, but today he made a definite decision for Jesus. So often people are seekers and never actually make the decision or connection. While we at FBC are in a 21-day challenge, I pray that each of us are asking the right questions and seeking responses of those God puts into our path.


We met the dental group in Dori and began a conversation with the chief of the village, Kareem. His father is very ill and went to pray with him. On the way back I asked if, in all the decisions he makes, had he considered following Jesus. He said that he has and is teaching others Bible stories to all who would listen in the village.


We returned to Dantiandou for bucket baths and supper. I began teaching a night session with a few believers while the others went to check on a baby with cerebral malaria. Hamadou is in bad condition and needs and ambulance. The guys paid for the ride and we are waiting for the ambulance. The moon rose, the temperature fell and our eyes grew heavy waiting. We know we can do nothing so we are going to...
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Africa Day 4 Redo

Today was a FULL CLINIC DAY!!

I got up and started the coffees for the guys about 6:45. After arising slowly we got the kinks worked out of ourselves and slowly prepared for the day. Once the interpreters arrived we prayed and started out.

30 km can be a really long time on African roads. Listen as Pete seems to describe it very well in only the way Pete can! It took an hour to get to our destination.

Lilo has had 4 generations of people. Its name comes from the harvest of the first millet crop. When the first settlers arrived there were trees everywhere. They cut cut for fields and planted a crop they did not believe would grow. At the harvest, the gathering was so plentiful they proclaimed, "Lilo", which means one seed produced much on a stalk.

Before opening the clinic Pete gave his preventative dental lesson and away we went. While he and Bill worked on over 35 people, Chuck and I went to the village. As we walked we had a choice of two directions. God led us to the left and what an opportunity it was. We approached some men and began talking to them and explaining why we were in the village. I told them that we would love to know more about their life and village. As a result, we found ourselves in an open air hut with 20 people. For the next 90 minutes we shared about Jesus and the difference He can make in their lives. From creation to the cross and our choice. I led the group in a prayer of confession and salvation. I am not sure if any accepted Jesus that day, but the truth is in their hands, hearts, and heads. It is difficult in this culture to call for a public decision because of the potential hazard to them. We pray and share with them and hope for the best. I am sure Cherry will return and follow-up since this is a focus town in 2010.

After lunch we were able to witness a baby-naming ceremony. At 7 days old the head is shaved and baby prepared for naming. Mommy and baby stay in the hut while the men of the village gathered to pray for the child. How wonderful would it be if the men of our church gathered to pray for every new child and family?

We got back on the "road" about 6pm and raced sunset. We arrived just after dusk to homemade sauce over stew. After a good bucket bath and bowl of food we felt like new men?? I distinctly heard the sweet siren call of the bed and couldn't resist any longer.

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Africa Day 3

After lunch at the Rec Center, which is on the embassy grounds and serves American food, we gassed up and headed out of town. With Cherry sick, Michelle Spanagal filled in and took us to Dantiandou. I rode in the rented 4WD with our driver Moktar, our interpreters Bilo and Stefanos, and Chuck. We stopped at a tollgate and I had a chance to ask Stefanos is Moktar was a believer and he said no. I am sure he still is not but we continue to pray for him. Stefanos pointed out his village as we drive by. We will be there one day next week.

Stefanos, in the white shirt, is a bible student who has studied in Benin and now in Niger. He pastors a small group of people in his village.

Bilo, in the dark shirt, is with us again this year. We outiftted him properly this year in an OSU shirt because anything is better than a Texas one. At least this was the consensus of the group.

We thought we were going to have an international incident on our hands because one of the group, left unnamed, decided to step out of the vehicle for some relief and stepped through a lot of fresh concrete. I hope they don't remember us when we return!

After arriving we unloaded the rucks and prepared to walk through the village. We had a wonderful opportunity to share preventative dental care with the people. He tried to help them understand how to take the chewing stick and make a simple brush for cleaning their teeth. He explained why the tooth decays and how brushing makes a difference. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him have the opportunity to be out in the village with the people and not just in the clinic.

Amiru is the chief of the village.

After supper I shared with the believers from Mattew 22.34

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:36 "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"
37 Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'*38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'*40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

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