Friday, December 30, 2011

The love of a father

This is Maurice and his father. Maurice came to the orphanage a few months ago with his mother and older sister. His mother had an epileptic seizure and dropped him into a fire. You cannot tell from this picture, but the other side of his head is scarred pretty significantly and he probably will not grow hair there.

When they first arrived. they lived in the clinic while Maurice was being treated for his burns. It became evident that his mother was not well mentally. His sister, around six or seven years old was taking care of the family.

The family's situation was tough. The mother and father were not married, which shamed her family and there was nobody to take care of Maurice. The orphanage wanted to take him in and care for him, however the mother had to agree.  Fortunately she did.

Maurice is doing well. He will stay at the orphanage until he is two years old and then he will hopefully be placed with a family member.

Maurice's father has been visiting him from time to time and we were able to meet him. You can see the genuine love he has for his son. The way he looks at him, talks to him, laughs with him. It's beautiful.

It reminds me of the love that our heavenly father has for us and the relationship that he desires to have with us.

“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” --Jeremiah 1:4-5

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The reality of it all....

We come here and laugh at many of the differences we come across in Africa. We write about some of them to share in our laughter, but we are quickly reminded of the reason we are here. The understanding that we are in an area with extreme needs, and an environment that you would have a difficult time understanding by any explanation that I could give you.

There are these Diamonds in the dust as I call them. These babies, these children and these teens that come from the most desperate situations in one of the most difficult places in the world. God has allowed us to be here with, and for them. That's why it is difficult for us to watch when the small unseen enemies of many of the people of Africa strikes. A flu like sickness has swept through the orphanage. We have 2 babies that had to be brought to a hospital in the larger town of Ouahigouya (pronounced: why-yo-gwee-ah), and have three babies here that are being treated with I.V.'s by our staff in our medical clinic. Some of these babies come in poor health to begin with, so a sickness of this magnitude is a very scary thing. Prayer is needed!

As Amy and Delaney continued to care for these sick children, they both felt the affects of the illness. Amy fought it off fairly well, but Delaney has been running a fever for 2 days and hasn't been able to eat much. Through this her spirits are still good! She is an amazing young lady.

It is a battle, but that's why we are here. The reality that so many people try to ignore is the reality that we have embraced. The one that God has called us to attend to. To feed his sheep, and to care for the widows and orphans. To deny this call would be to deny what God had designed our family for.

This is truly a nation of kind, gentle, loving people with so many "diamonds in the dust" that simply do not have the means to help themselves. Your prayers, your encouragement, your financial support and your concern are needed. These children, these widows, these people are God's children. Help us help them.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Leatherman that almost saved Christmas Dinner

Things here in Africa are very different. We are quickly realizing that we and Toto are not in Kansas anymore.  I spent the day yesterday working on our home. I was hanging a ceiling fan and dropped a screw for one of blades. Amy was simply said, "no problem, you have another fan there, take one out of there!" Well, that would work for the moment, but what do I do when I hang the second fan? I quickly realized that there was no home depot around the corner, in fact, if I loose a needed part on these fans, I will have to purchase an entire new fan! Situations like these certainly grows ones prayer life!

Then we attended our new church last night, this is a whole new experience. I am greeted by the pastor, and asked to sit on the stage facing the crowd, keep in mind my A.D.D., now take into consideration that this service is over 4 hrs. long. I must admit I was a bit nervous. Well, I can only describe it as amazing. They had a short message of the Christmas story, and how we like the shepherds in the field, and the wise men, then it was praise, worship, and prayer. There was dancing, skits, more dancing, singing, and more singing. At 1:30 in the morning, I headed back to the orphanage, but I heard the church singing praises and dancing from 2 blocks away until close to 3!

Then it was Christmas. Headed to church and had another great time, seeing all these people that are so blessed, yet have nothing in this material world is humbling. We headed home and started to prepare for Christmas dinner, just as Amy was about to put in the first batch of Christmas cookies the gas ran out. So I get busy changing out the Gas bottle, but with all my might, I can't loosen the gas line connection, I look over the entire orphanage for a wrench, but to no avail. Being the hero that I am, I jump into action, I mean this is Christmas dinner! I tell Amy not to worry, I have a wrench at the house, I run over, grab the wrench and race back............. It's too small. Now my bigger wrench which I wanted to bring from the states was left because we did not have the weight available in our luggage to bring it along. Now What?!?!?! Things were starting to get tense (as tense as they get here in Africa :) ) When all hope seemed lost, I remembered our neighbor from cooper city had given a Leatherman to me as a going away gift!! I tore through the luggage, and found it in the last bag! I opened it and sure enough it opened wide enough to get a bite on connection. It still would not open!!!! What am I going to do? That still little voice in the back of my head then gently spoke. "Your in Africa, try turning the connection the other way." So with my bare hand I went and gently unscrewed the connection and changed the bottle. Note to self: "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey does not apply in Africa"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yako Receives Us!

Everyone (dog included) made it safe and sound to Ouagadougou  the evening of December 20th. We had a busy couple of days taking care of cells phones, internet keys, purchasing a stove and refrigerator and meeting with old friends and new.

To say Ouaga is like getting on a roller coaster is an understatement. You literally have to hold on as you navigate the streets. It was pretty exciting with life going on around much to see!

Today we made our journey to Yako. As you leave the city, everything changes. The busyness in the street slows way down and the landscape changes. You pass small villages, farmers in the fields, an occasional person on a bicycle or a donkey cart. This is Africa!

When we arrived in Yako we drove straight to our new home. The minute we pulled up to the gate, children cam running at us waving. These are our new neighbors! Once we had pulled through the gate and shut of the engine, there were at least thirty people standing in our courtyard waiting to greet us. Bonjour!! There were small children, teens, moms with babies on their backs and grandmothers.

Our new neighbors! Evan isn't in the picture because he is behind the camera.

We started to unpack the car and truck, but swiftly they came to help. Everyone carrying items to our porch and into our home. The welcome party did not stop there! Suddenly women were coming over with large bowls of water and rags. They proceeded to clean the inside of our house! Merci!! We were truly overwhelmed by their graciousness.

We had to leave and head over to the orphanage. They waved as we left. At the orphanage we were welcomed with signs on the door and in our bedrooms. We were greeted by the children and Anne and Judith who are two girls from Germany who graduated and are spending several months in Yako before starting their college studies...just like Evan who we brought with us.
It's very late here and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!! More pictures to come.

Love and blessings!

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Time!

This Monday we are flying out of Miami International Airport! It's finally here! Bags packed (for the most part), Dog's papers in order, furniture sold...firming up all the little details.

We are still amazed! We are in awe that we would be blessed so much. We are humbled that God would have this plan for us.

Our dear friends, family and even the people we have never met that have been praying for us along the are precious to us!

It's time. To start a new life, on a new continent, in a new country, in a new town. We will meet new people, work along side them and love them. And we know how to love them because of the love God has for us...the love he has displayed for us through you!!

Thank you! We love you and we cannot wait to share this adventure with you. The next time you hear from us it will be from Burkina!!!

Love and Blessings!
Mike and Amy