Hangin' Out in Karongue

Hangin' Out in Karongue

Friday, March 29, 2013

Another Normal Day

I had a fairly normal day today: Had a sick child (It is now Ezra's turn). Killed probably over 1,000 ants that invaded our kitchen. Watched Thea clean the feet of and paint the toenails of eight of her friends. Went to the market and talked about the Gospel and Good Friday with a Muslim young man for about two-and-a-half hours. Killed about 1,000 more ants that invaded our kitchen a second time. Walked back to the market to get more ant-killer. Watched Hosanna play with her friends. Spent some time talking and praying with Abdoulaye. Thea organized a program and we watched the "Jesus Film" in our yard in Jola with 13 of Thea's Jola friends, two of their mothers, a grandmother, three infants, and a friend of mine that came by. Cleaned up, prayed with the kids, and tucked them in. Took a bucket bath and now I am getting ready for bed. Feel like I am stuck in a routine with all of this normalcy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Without Words Wednesday (though I honestly do not know if today is Wednesday or not)

Thea with Aissatou Sane. Aissatou was the first person that we met in Diouloulou on our first trip here in 2006. Thea has taken the name "Aissatou" as her Senegalese name in her honor.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Tale from the Port

Friday, March 1 was our scheduled departure from Dakar. We were set to take the ferry that leaves Dakar to go to Ziguinchor in southern Senegal. Thursday, February 28 all systems were go: we had done a mock "pack" of the truck to ensure that everything would fit in the bed and the cab. We had organized all of our things and had them ready and waiting to be loaded. Our plan (because we always like to have a plan!) was for us to load the truck with all of our things early Friday morning and for Gayle, Hosanna, and I to take it to the port and drop it off. Then we would all return Friday afternoon to board the ferry for the trip south.

But, you know what they say about the best laid plans.....

Thursday evening Thea began to complain with stomach pains and that night she had full blown...let's just say that everything on her inside wanted to be on her outside! This posed two significant problems to our best laid plans: The first was that we had to take a sixteen hour boat ride along the Senegalese coast in less that 24 hours. But the even more pressing dilemma was that I needed Gayle to go with me to the port to drop off the truck. The way we operated in Dakar was that I drove and tried to dodge the other drivers, pedestrians, children, animals, street vendors, and other assorted obstacles, both stationary and moving. And while doing this Gayle would study a map of Dakar and tell me where and when to turn. We made a great team and this process worked quite well.

But with Thea sick the navigation duties fell to my oldest child, Ez. When I broke the news to Ezra that he would have to navigate as I drove across town with a truck loaded with all of our belongings he had a mild panic attack. And I cannot say that I blamed him!

So Friday morning we loaded the truck, prayed with the girls, and off Ezra and I went on the grand adventure. We prayed every few minutes that God would keep us both calm as I was running on two hours sleep and Ezra was as nervous as a cat. Ezra did a great job and got us across town to the port in busy traffic with only one minor incident.

Once we arrived at the port we were told to park in at least five different places as we tried to get our truck behind the fence and in the waiting area for the ferry. After about 45 minutes of talking, running around, and searching for the right guy, we were allowed to bring the truck back to the staging area.

I felt a great sense of relief as we were finally behind the fence, but that sense of relief quickly vanished when five or so men descended upon our truck intent on weighing all of our belongings. I knew that this was possibility and I was prepared to try and talk them out of it, but it was quickly apparent that I was not going to succeed. As my carefully loaded truck was being rapidly and haphazardly dismantled, a "manager" came out and began to question us about the contents of our bags and boxes. That is when I began to feel as sick as Thea!

You see we had carefully locked all of our boxes for security on the boat. And the evening before we had also carefully  placed the keys to all of these locks in Gayle's purse so that we would not forget them, because we like to have a plan. But remember where Gayle is at this  moment: with the sick Thea across town. And yes, the keys to the locks on our boxes in our truck are still in her purse.

This is when our carefully laid plans were fully  abandoned and we had to call an audible. I opened one of our suitcases to show  the manager that they were full of clothes for our children and books and other assorted things. As he continually remarked about how pretty Thea's clothes were in the suitcase I thought for sure that we would get away without having to open the boxes.

But...you know where this is going!

He then asks us to open up the boxes saying that he must view the contents in each one of them. (Something about locked boxes looking suspicious!) I tried to explain that we left the keys across town with my wife who is caring for our sick daughter, but he insists that we must open the boxes. At this point Ezra and I both are pleading our case and rattling off everything that we can think of that is in the boxes, all the time stressing that we are nice people who would never want to carry anything harmful onto the boat. The manager then stops questioning me and only questions Ezra. Maybe Ezra seemed more trustworthy than me, which is totally plausible, but whatever the case, after about five more minutes of him interrogating my son he tells the others to reload the truck and he walks away. A would be catastrophe averted once again!

After a long day the men sport their "serious" look on the
deck of the ferry before it takes off.

There is much more that could be written about this adventure including the amazing way we avoided paying extra fees for our baggage and Ezra's conversation with the taxi driver when I was in the gas station as we returned home, but suffice it to say that God's grace toward us is always sufficient and always abundant. And it always arrives at just the right time. God's grace gets us out of the port and onto the next adventure with Him!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Keba's Story

I met Keba a few years ago when I was on a trip to Diouloulou. He is from a village called Karongue about 12 kilometers south east of Diouloulou. Both Keba's parents died when he was a child and he ended up living with a family in Diouloulou so that he could attend school.

Keba walks with a severe limp as a result of having polio as a five-year-old child. As Keba recounts the story, he contracted polio when he was five and was taken to the village "hospital" to receive a shot. The "doctors" in the village treated him for the wrong type of polio and gave him the wrong shot which caused him to lose the ability to walk properly. As a result, Keba today walks with a very severe limp. (Keba's wife had the same thing happen to her when she was five years old and she is now confined to a wheelchair.)

When I met Keba he was not a Christian. As a matter of fact, he was one of the men that chanted the Islamic call to prayer in his village of Karongue. Yet during our visit he would walk with us to the neighboring villages around Diouloulou as Abdoulaye and the Christians shared the Gospel. Though walking was a struggle, Keba would without fail be right along side us as we walked, sometimes over 5 miles, to a village to share the Gospel. You could really get the sense that God was at work in Keba's life and heart.

About two years ago Keba committed his life to Jesus Christ and trusted Him as his Lord and Savior. Since that time  he has faced persecution from friends, family, and from those that he used to work with at the Association for the Handicapped. But Keba has remained steadfast in his commitment  to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. He has shared the Gospel in his home village and has even taken part in an evangelism effort in the town of Bignona. He loves and studies God's Word and is eager to share the Gospel and the truths contained in the Bible.

Recently our family was able to  go watch Keba and his basketball team practice in Bignona. They take part in competition between other "handisport" teams in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Please pray for  Keba. He is a young man who has a heart for the Gospel and the Lord Jesus and an eagerness to share with others. He also has a servant's heart and a tender disposition that reflects the character of Christ to those around him. Pray that God  would  use Keba in reaching his people, the Diola, with the Gospel. Pray that God would continue to clarify what He is specifically calling Keba to do in His service. And pray that Keba would continue to have courage, boldness, and joy as he serves King Jesus.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Total Immersion

There are many ways to get adjusted to life in the village. Hosanna has chosen the route of total immersion!