Beautiful Things

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Last Two Weeks

There is really no way for me to sum up the last 2 weeks, so here are some moments that stick out!

Experienced my first Snow Day! All Journey Corps events were canceled one morning and paper snow flakes were everywhere telling us to go back to bed and enjoy a day off. It was an incredible blessing! Thanks to Beckie for her late night stealth work in the dorm.

The Betheden dorm is officially decorated and ready for Christmas! We have a tree, fitted with ornaments and lights that we found in the basement- it's a beauty!

Our Christmas Tree lighting celebration!
Time is an interesting thing here. I feel like it has lost a lot of its meaning. Coming here I had "1 year" burned in my brain. Well in the first few weeks, time was crawling by and our days were incredibly long. Now the days still feel long and full, but the weeks fly by. I can't even think of this year as one unit of measuring my time here- it's too overwhelming to think that way. It's one day at a time here! Everyday is full of new discoveries and knowledge. New ways of seeing God. 

Rod took us into town one night after dinner. It was a quiet night on the streets of Bouake. We stopped and greeted in a Muslim courtyard where only Dyula was spoken. I only understand the standard greetings in Dyula, so beyond the first 2 minutes I'm totally lost. While sitting there, we heard a bunch of clanging bells and a huge group of young people entered the courtyard dancing and singing. They were bringing blessings! It was wonderful! All of them (20-25 people in all) sat and sang and talked with us. There is a lot of hope in this place. It was beautiful.

My new favorite thing here: walking in Le Compement! It's a village-y type area right across from our campus. Most of the people who live there are from Mali, Burkina, and Ghana. Everyone speaks Dyula- so I've been learning a lot more! People just love it when you come and say hello and sit with them. It's something that would seem awkward to do in America, but here it is a way of building relationship and showing respect. Making lots of new friends! Please pray for these relationships!

Second favorite thing here: walking "en brusse"! Talk about freedom! Rod took us for a walk into the wilderness and explained which plants and trees are helpful in the bush. I'll tell you what, there aren't many that don't have some purpose! It was great!

Finished Shadow of the Almighty, Jim Elliot's autobiography. It was amazing. So now I'm on to the rest of the stack that I've pulled from our lovely campus library, next one being.... [drum roll please]... These Strange Ashes, by Elisabeth Elliot. What can I say? I just can't get enough of this woman's story! This one, however, is about the year she spent in the west jungle of Ecuador as a single woman ministering to the Colorado indians. I'm really loving the missionary biographies! Any suggestions?

My dreams are wacky! Last night, I dreamt I was walking around in the African bush and then I came across Sequoia Sandwich Co. Talk about a weird mix of worlds! All I can say is that in 10 months, when my plane lands, I'm going to enjoy eating a loaded potato there.

Baked potato- Africa style! yes, that is bacon.

We are hosting the Yeo family here at ICA this week. They have an adorable little baby named Solomon. Awa, his mama, sent me away with him away one afternoon- which gave her a chance to relax. So now Solomon and I are fast friends- he's the happiest baby- always giggling, and once you start walking with him he's out like a light. This experience is redeeming my SCARY weeks in the nursery at Clovis EVFree! 

There is a lot of political craziness in Cote d'Ivoire. I've held off on writing about this mostly because I worried that the information given by international media was sensationalized and would worry people. BBC has been pretty right on as far as we know and the situation has come to a stand still of sorts. For those of you who haven't heard what is happening here, Cote d'Ivoire is the only country in the world right now with 2 presidents! If you'd like an actual account of what's happened in the last few weeks, I encourage you to read BBC's coverage of the Cote d'Ivoire elections. To put any worries at ease, we are probably in the safest place possible in Cote d'Ivoire. We are 6 hours north of Abidjan, where most of the violence has happened. Not to mention we live in a walled in compound with a whole troop of the French military! 

Spent time at the local orphanage with Kati, our lovely German friend! I had a great time singing, holding, and playing with the kids. They just want to feel loved. They just want to feel accepted and that they belong. How often we feel the same way! I felt overwhelmed with knowing how God loves them, and accepts them, and has made a place for them. For us all. I can't wait to go back- I need to. If only just to remind them that they are dearly loved by our Heavenly Father. 

Psalm 86: 11-13
"Teach me your ways, O Lord,
That I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
So that I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you,
O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
For your love for me is very great."

P.S. I'm real excited for Christmas!


Linn Boese said...

Naomi, I'm so excited to hear how these past 2 weeks have been for you -- full of new experiences, in time of tension for the country. I love the way that you are just absorbing it all and processing it in light of the Lord's love for people. You are a great testimony of what it is like to walk with him. Merry Christmas!

Booma Karen said...

You are a writer, you know. Saw your man and talked to him at church yesterday. What a nice young man. :) Jim Elliot is one of our family favorites. In fact, my little one-year-old grandson is names Elliot (after Jim). Their books and the movies always bring me to tears.