Friday, November 25, 2011

Not to Help, But to Assist

At the end of 2010 our journey to Burkina Faso West Africa began with a short term missions trip. Prior to the trip I was given some very sound advice. Knowing me, as some of you reading this do, you understand that I can be one to make a mistake every once in awhile.......or maybe a little more often than that. So in preparation for my first trip to Africa, I studied what I could (which means Amy studied then told me all about it), I learned some key phrases in their native language, and even went out and bought some "missionary" clothes that were appropriate for Africa! Our church raised $5000 for projects for us to do while I was there. I was equipped, I was ready, but there was that small still voice in the back of my mind that whispered "you can still blow this".

The last thing I wanted to do is to go to Africa and start some kind of civil war or tribal uprising with an improper statement or  cultural faupaux that I unknowingly committed. I started to get worried. I e-mailed Ruth, the missionary working in Burkina, asking a simple question. "What is the one biggest misconception or mistake that I can make when I'm there?"  This was an obvious cry for help...trying to protect me from myself.  The missionary was quiet for a moment and then stated that they had never been asked that question before. After much thought she responded, "Thinking that you can change anything in the few weeks you are here".

When I first heard this, I wasn't sure how to react. I mean, that is what a mission trip is about, isn't it? Changing the world? I had plans! I had ideas! I had projects! As you know, Americans are very project oriented. We tend to move in, get the job done, and move on!! We have that "We can do this!" attitude (which falls right in line with my A.D.D.).  So I had to stop, step back and think about it for a bit. I realized that I had all these great ideas and plans, but I didn't even understand the need. I did not have a clue on what God was already doing there!  I didn't need to help, in fact, I may do more damage than good if I decided to go and help them as I planned.  What I needed to do is simply assist. The change that was needed was not in the environment that I was walking into, but the change that was needed was within me.  God was already doing great things there! My position was to come along side those that have been on the job for years furthering His kingdom. To assist in what God was already doing!

But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. - 1 Corinthians 6:17

So many times we go into things thinking we can change the world. If we simply join the Lord in His efforts...effectiveness is a given, provision is guaranteed, and victory is absolute!


p.s. To see some of the work being done by God through Ruth and the team in Yako, visit Burkina Orphanage

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Dog Moves to Africa "OR" So You Want to Fly Your Pet to Another Country

Many people who know us, know that we have a dog. Her name is Apple. We have been asked what we are going to do with Apple, now that we are moving to Burkina Faso. The simple answer is that she is coming with us, but that's where simple ends.

Apple Testing Out Her Travel Crate

There is a lot involved when you relocate a pet to another continent.
1) Have your pooch microchipped
My vet explained that this is not so much for if your dog gets loose, but to ensure that the paperwork and the dog match eachother. Let's face it...they will not have scanners to identify her in Burkina Faso! This was a painless injection between her shoulderblades that took just a few seconds.
2) Make sure the rabies vaccination is up to date and falls has been administered more than 2 months prior to travel.
3) Purchase the appropriate travel crate. Airlines have standards. Lots of them. Ventilation on all 4 sides for international travel, room for your pet to sit, stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, plastic hardware must be replaced with metal, and there are stickers, tags, tie wraps, instructions, etc., etc, etc.
4) Have the vet fill out the appropriate health certificate (10 days and no sooner) and have it translated to french (or whichever language they speak in the country you are traveling to). There is also a special form that needs to be filled out at that time and brought to the closest USDA office for a stamp of approval.

Then you wait. And on the day of travel there are special feeding instructions and check-in instructions.


Why? Because this little critter has been a part of your family. And the adventure that lies ahead...she will be a part of too.

So when you pray for safe travels for our family when we depart...please remember to pray for Apple too!

Love and Blessings!