Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Day for a Picnic!

Yesterday we decided  to take a break and go off on a little adventure. It was a great day for a picnic! Stephanie made a pasta salad, Delaney made potato salad and hummus and Anne made cookies. We filled the cooler, loaded up the truck, stopped to pick up a few sodas and headed out of town on the road to Kaya/Dori. We were going to the barrage.

Kendra and Delaney with some of our orphanage kids

We drove along the dirt road which was lined with trees and passed small villages on the left and the right along the way. Occasionally goats or sheep and sometimes cows crossed in front us. Children from far off in the distance would spot us and wave while running towards us. They cheered and jumped up and down in excitement. As we got closer to our destination we could see a large body of water to our left, way off in the distance.

After about thirty minutes we turned left on a small road that took us past women working in the fields. It was very green and very evident that we were close!

When we arrived we parked and walked up to the road. It was not an appealing view until we reached the top. Then the view was amazing! The barrage is a manmade body of water that reaches as far as the eye can see. You don't see too much of this in Burkina, so we are blessed to have this little retreat close by. The only downfall is that you cannot swim in it...which in the heat of the day is so tempting! But it isn't wise to risk getting a disease. Besides, we saw a huge crocodile and we came there to eat lunch...not to be eaten!

We laid out our mats in African fashion and sat down to feast. We drew a crowd of boys who must have thought we were very interesting. Before we left we gave them cookies. Everybody was happy!

Stephanie, Anne and our feast
Enjoying lunch, the view and eachother
Judith handing out cookies to our spectators
Tim and Kendra go exploring

Evan checking out the view from the other side

After we had eaten all that we could and got as much sun as we could handle, we loaded back up and headed home. Home...I like the sound of that!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Days that fill our hearts with gladness

Today we took a little roadtrip. The purpose was two-fold: to visit another orphanage that has two special needs children that are available for adoption and to follow up on a child who had surgery and was still recovering.

At 7:30 am Ruth, Stephanie and I headed out of Yako. We were accompanied by Pastor Solomon from Doure, the village where we have a weekly Bible Club and a weekly Medical Clinic. The child who had surgery, Moises lives with his mother in Doure and when he found out we were making the trip he asked to come along.

Along the way we passed the town of Gourcy. It was apparent that something was going on...highschool aged children filled the streets...hundreds of them. It appeared to be some sort of protest. We prayed our way through the crowd. They let us through and we were grateful. We heard later on that there was a student strike, but we aren't sure why.

We arrived at the orphanage. We really had no idea what to just never know what you are going to walk into. The children we were coming to see were a two year old boy who may have Cerebral Palsy and a three year old boy who is HIV positive and we were told had been very sick and hospitalized for awhile. We were greeted by the most lovely people who showed us around their very clean, very lovely orphanage. There are about twenty children there ranging from babies a few weeks old to preschool aged children. What was evident was that these children looked very healthy and very happy despite the fact that they have no parents to call their own.

The boy who was handicapped was delighful. Actually he got around very well by crawling and he interacted with the other children. From what we could tell his legs were crippled and he couldn't walk. From the way he moved it would seem that it may be possible for him to walk with the proper therapy. He is bright and alert and engaging.

The child with HIV looked very healthy. He is chubby and active...this is not what we expected. While many believe he has no future and that nobody would want an HIV positive child we know that God already has parents picked out for him. God knows exactly who is going to care for and love both of these boys.

If you want more information on either of these beautiful children, please email me at

We left the orphanage and headed to the medical clinic. Moises has been there for two weeks. He had broken his leg a year and a half ago and his leg was cared for with traditional medicine only. His leg had not healed and when we first saw his bandages unwrapped we could not believe how much of his leg had been eaten away. Mike and Ruth took Moises to the clinic on a Friday and were told that a team of bone specialists were arriving the following Monday. This was God's most perfect timing!!

Doctor reviewing Moises' Xray
Our follow up visit was to see how surgery went. We were told that he had an infection in his bone and that surgery lasted six hours. We knew it was probable that we would find Moises without his leg. Again we were presented with a miracle. Moises' leg was spared and he looked absolutely wonderful for a boy who endured that kind of surgery. He was smiling!

Pastor Solomon, Stephanie, Moises and his mom
Not every day is a happy story here. There can be much heartache...but these are the days that fill our heart with gladness.

Love and blessings!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Medical Supplies and Butterflies!

The life of a missionary is quite unpredictable.  We set up and plan out our weeks, but when your a servant, only one thing is certain, change!  We are always seeking out where we are to be next. This past week I had plans to stay at the orphanage and spend some time in the primary school to learn the ins and outs of how it functions (didnt exactly understand it back when I was in school). So the plan is set, right? Well, not exactly.  We were given a generous donation to build a covered patio for our weaving project, so let's get started. Then as I walk back to where we are building the patio there is the sign that was taken down from our back entrance because the truck that was delivering our grain that we give out to the widows in the villages was stacked too high. No problem! Oh wait, there's no ladders, no scaffold, no bolts, hmmmm....... everything's a challenge.  Proud to say that the sign is standing, the structure for our weavers is built, and injuries were kept to a minimum.  Actually the first two times I whacked my hand with the hammer it simply went numb, but that third time, well that's the one that I felt.  With my hand swollen and my pride severely compromised, the projects were accomplished. Now I can get back to the original plan, back to the primary school.....but then the call comes in that a handicap clinic in the capital can use many of the supplies that we had stored in our container. Another change of plans.  We loaded up the truck and headed to the Ouagadougou.  After passing the clinic twice I had to call in reinforcements to help navigate, but mission was accomplished.

Alrighty then, back to Yako, now the school.  What? The week is over?! I guess we will take a moment to kick back and........oh, aren't we supposed to be doing an outreach in Doure?  Hurry up, grab the bag and let's go! We will grab some "bom bom" (candy) and we are on the way. The first week we had over 60 kids, the next week we had over 80! "make sure we have enough supplies for 100 to be safe."  So as I am sitting in front of the 106 kids that showed up, I am frantically digging in my pockets for my mints left over from church. Between our group we had enough! Awesome. God is prepared even when I'm not. We learned about the beauty of creation, and had the kids color a butterfly for us. It was yet another great moment for Amy and I in Africa.

Tiring, fun, exciting and by far the most rewarding days of our lives! We thank all of you that are part of our support team! It could not happen without you! YOU are making an impact in Africa with you prayers and financial support.  We cannot begin to tell you all how much we appreciate you, and I believe that I speak for the orphans, widows and children of Burkina Faso when I say that they appreciate you also!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caring for Widows

On the last Saturday of each month, we load up the truck with grain and soap and head out to surrounding villages to visit our sponsored widows.

The first thing you notice when you walk up to their home is how happy they are to have visitors. They are so pleased to greet you and if you speak a little Mooré to them they smile their biggest, mostly toothless smiles. They are beautiful!

Then you are struck by how little they have and how fragile they are. I say fragile, but those who are able to contribute just a little bit, do so. There is one women who is blind, but she still finds her way out to the fields and cultivates along with everyone else. It is simply amazing!

Most cannot move around very well, cannot see very well and have the aches and pains that come with growing old in a harsh environment. There are really no complaints from them though. We ask them what we can pray for and they mostly say they are doing well, with the exception that they have been a little cold lately. It's winter time here and although it is 95 degrees in the daytime, it can get down to around 65 degrees at night. One of the widows was so cute...she asked if there was any medicine she could take that could help her from the cold weather.

As we drove around from village to village I noticed how peaceful and beautiful the villages are, how friendly and full of joy the people are and how thankful these widows were for all that God has provided for them.

If you would like more information on how to sponsor a widow here in Burkina Faso, go to and look for the widow basket program.