Saturday, April 23, 2011

Baby Steps

Not the sound of the steps of the orphans that we pray we can soon minister to, but the baby steps spoken of by the wise psychology of Richard Dreyfuss in "What about Bob". It's hard not to look forward to all the possibilities and responsibilities of what awaits in Africa. Instead we need to continue to focus on the road to get there. One of those steps was reading a book called "Serving as Senders" by Neal Pirolo. If you are remotely interested in missions, even if you have no desire to ever go out into a cross cultural  ministry, this is a MUST READ! What a great book. Each "baby step" shows us how much we still don't know, but gets us one more step towards our goal.

We just received word from mission board that Amy and I are looking to be sent by that they want for us to meet the entire board next month. So it looks like we will be flying to St. Louis on the 15th of May for a number of interviews and tests. I'm not worried about the psychological testing on me as much as I am for Amy. Once anyone meets me, they automatically are convinced that Amy must be unstable to some degree if she decided to marry someone like myself. :)

We look forward to going. For those who don't know, St. Louis is where my brother Jeff also lives, so I hope that at some point in my short time there, that we will be able to see the family. All your prayers for this step is appreciated! We will be there likely through May 19th.

To fully prepare Delaney  (our 15 yr old daughter), we decided to watch Hotel Rwanda the other night. We actually befriended some missionaries from Kenya that were stuck in Rwanda when the genocide had begun. They shared their story with us, then we watched the movie, then I asked Delaney.............."Still want to move to Africa?" Without a moment of hesitation, she said absolutely. That is God, We certainly aren't moving into a situation like Rwanda, but it is Africa.

You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
-Lamentations 3:57
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!!!! We can't tell you how encouraging it is that you show us such kindness and concern. Pray for the orphans and the widows............... Pray for our "baby steps".

God Bless You All!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hazards of Relaxation and The Goodness of Bissap Juice

Last Sunday...

In an effort to enjoy a sunny afternoon, I grabbed a book and slipped on my sunglasses and headed outside for some reading and relaxation. Little did I know that I unwittingly set in motion events that would lead to an afternoon spent, not in the great outdoors, but in the emergency room......WHAT?

Although it seems a rather embarrassing way to get hurt, it would be wrong for me not to share these events because by sharing my newfound knowledge I might keep YOU from an injury or perhaps something worse.


With a smile on my lips and the sun on my face I sat down on the hammock and layed back onto the pillow. After a quick adjustment to center myself and even quicker snap and I found myself falling down to the ground. The 4x4 wood post that I was counting on to support me had cracked and the hammock pulled that post down onto my head with what I liken to the force of a baseball bat at full swing. Wow did that hurt! I did not pass out, but I was stunned. I instinctively reached for my forehead and that is when I realized I was bleeding...alot in fact.

The only one at home was Delaney. Mike was on his way home from North Florida with his dad. I walked to the patio, opened the sliding glass door and called for Delaney...three times I called. It seemed like an eternity, but finally she arrived. I asked her to grab a towel so I could try and stop the bleeding. I must have looked horrible because she sprang into action, bringing the towel and immediately dialing 911.

I wasn't sure I needed an ambulance to come, but it was smart that she made the decision. Turns out I needed 14 stitches and a CT scan to make sure I had no fractures or brain injuries. I am happy to say that my brain is A-ok!

What did I learn? Well, I won't be getting on a hammock again. I urge anyone reading to make sure that a hammock is secure before trying it out...maybe wear a helmet or hard hat. In thinking this was a freak accident I did a little research. I am not alone!! A year ago a couple sat down on a hammock supported between two trees, and the tree came down on both of them sending them both to the hospital. The girl didn't make it.

Thank you God for protecting me. My injuries are temporary. It could have been much worse.

Now...on to Bissap Juice

Bissap is a drink that you can find throught Burkina Faso and much of West Africa. It is made from dried flowers of the sorrel plant (a type of hibiscus).

Mom and daughter sorting dried flowers.

Preparing the Bissap Juice

I had read about it and asked Mike to bring a bag of the dried flowers home with him from his trip to Burkina. I figured that even if i wasn't there with my family, I could try and make this drink at home. Today is the day.

I found a recipe online from The Congo Cookbook that I will share with you. I heard that these flowers can be purchased at West Indian markets as they are also used to make drinks in the carribean.

2-3 cups of dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel or roselle)
1-2 cups of sugar
1-2 of the following optional flavorings:
* sprig of mint
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
* 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 1 cup pineapple juice or orange juice
Briefly rinse the dried flowers in cool water.
In a saucepan heat two quarts (approximately two litres) of cold water. As soon as the water begins to boil, add the dried hibiscus leaves.
Immediately remove from heat and let the flowers steep for ten minutes.
Pour the water from the pot into a pitcher using a strainer (lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel if you like) to separate the flowers from the water. Be sure not to pour any of the flower sediment into the pitcher.)
Stir in the sugar. Add any other flavorings (if desired).
Add ice and chill completely. May be served over ice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Journey Begins

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.                   - 1 Corinthians 9:25

With the missions conference behind us, the training has begun. It was humbling and still encouraging being surrounded by veteran missionaries during the conference. It is amazing what God has been able to accomplish through these warriors of Christ. Amy and I pray that God can use us in a similar way when we reach Burkina Faso.

I spent the evening reading through the Sheltering Wings handbook tonight. Great insight, and a firm foundation. It makes things so much easier when you have those who have gone ahead of you that you can learn from. We have a lot to learn. The most challenging for me is the french language. Amy and Delaney seem to be picking it up a bit faster than me, but I am the little train that could........

We just finished reading the first book of many in the training process. One thing we have learned from reading and from the wisdom of the veteran missionaries is that the training never ends. We are empty vessels just taking in all that God is giving us at the moment. Feeling almost naive in all that we don't know right now. I pray that God keeps us with this mindset for the rest of our lives.
Amy and I are very excited that so many are sharing this journey with us. Your prayers are not only appreciated, but felt. I look forward to sharing with you each step of the process. God is so good. His amazing grace is the only explanation for this entire opportunity.

God Bless!!!!!