Hangin' Out in Karongue

Hangin' Out in Karongue

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Operation Christmas Child Comes to Town....or Village

When we lived back in the states our family always took part in filling up shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was great fun to fill shoes boxes with small treats knowing that these boxes would be taken all over the world and given to children by a local church in an effort to spread the Gospel and link a family with a local Bible believing church. And we always talked about what it would be like to be on the other end of the boxes and to be able to give them to the children. Well, this Saturday we will get to find out!

This coming Saturday the church here in Diouloulou will have the opportunity to distribute some of the boxes to the children who take part in the children's ministry here. We leave early Saturday morning to drive to Bignona to pick up the boxes and bring them back to Diouloulou, get set up, and then in the afternoon we will have a special time with the children and their parents. Before the boxes are given out the Gospel will be shared and we are praying that God would work in the lives of the children and the parents who are going to take part. Please be in prayer for the church here and especially for the parents and children, all of which come from Muslim or Animist families. And check back on our blog in a few days as we post some pictures of the fun!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good Friends, Good Times

Hosanna and Thea cracking open the cashews they had just roasted with their friends. 

Thea and her good friend Harriet after roasting cashews.

Ezra and his best friend Yaya (aka "The Monkey Hunter")
as they roast cashews that they had collected.

Ezra and Yaya in the very top of a mango tree
looking for ripe mangos.

To add a little perspective, here is Ezra and Yaya in the top of the same tree.

Matt and Ibrahima (aka "The Mirror" because he mimics Matt's every move and expression) doing what they do best.

Ez and his pals.

Hosanna and Harriet roasting cashews.

Alpha, Ezra, and Yaya hanging out in the mango tree.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday Ezra!

Early in our marriage Gayle and I battled with infertility. We tried for over three-and-a-half years to become pregnant before being told by one of the country's leading infertility specialists that the chances of us having children on our own were nearly nonexistent.

God used this long event in our lives as very new Christians to teach us about what it meant to treasure Jesus over and above everything. Even over wonderful things like children.
Ez making "attaya" at Abdoulaye's
But God, in His infinite grace, did indeed bless us with a child. And I can remember how we, our family and our church family and friends rejoiced to find out that after all of this time Gayle was finally pregnant. 
When the big day for Ezra to be born finally arrived there was great excitement. Over 25 people were at the hospital as Gayle went into labor. The child that the doctors had said was nearly impossible, that we had all been praying for for years, was getting ready to make his arrival. It was a time of great anticipation and joy.
But Ezra's arrival did not go exactly the way that we had planned it. When he arrived there were some unanswered questions about our little boy that the doctors had to look into. And less than 12 hours after Ezra's birth Gayle and I sat alone in the hospital room as Ezra was carted off to have some x-rays done of his skull and to see a neurosurgeon. Our half-day-old little boy was taken away to see what his future, and ours, would hold. This was not the picture that we had imagined for over four years.
Me with my "main man" after a long
day in Dakar
As Gayle and I sat in that hospital room we were exhausted, confused, and more than a little bit overwhelmed. And it was in that moment that the Lord laid a verse of Scripture on my heart that we had memorized together years earlier. It was Psalm 20:7 which reads, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God." And there in that hospital room in our time of need we were reminded of our great God. We were reminded of His sovereignty and His love and His care. We were assured that He was there and that no matter what this looked like or how this turned out that He was in control and that He was always good. He reminded us that He is a trustworthy God and when you cannot trace His hand you must learn to trust His heart.

Tomorrow Ezra turns twelve years old. And Ezra is in perfect health. As I type this my eyes are filled with tears at the abundant blessing he has been to his father. We named him Ezra because of what was said about Ezra the scribe in Ezra 7:10: "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel." By God's grace we are getting a front row seat to see God make him into that kind of young man.

Our times of trusting God for Ezra are far from over. I am sure that there are many more bumps and bruises, both physically and emotionally, that we will endure as we move into the future. And when they come I pray that we, along with Ezra, will be able to say, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God." Happy birthday Ez! Thank you for blessing your father each day for the last twelve years.