Beautiful Things

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snapshots: Villagey things and Family

The Village:
A few weekends ago, we took a field trip with our entire church to a little village for a funeral. Well, we didn't see too much of the funeral (because women aren't allowed to view many of the rituals), but we got a nice little taste of village life.

They made the "toubabous" ride in the cab... because of the dust.
LAME excuse!

Elisabeth, or Mama Yeo, riding in the back

Those little guys flying around...they're giant bats!

Eating lunch and taking naps

Mattias! He's back in Niakara teaching now.

The Family Yeo:
 (minus Papa Yeo... that guy is hard to get a picture of!)


Dorcas- my comrade and sister

2/3 of the Davids

Home and our lovely mango tree

Living room

Kitchen/ garage... haha

A little corner of the room I share with Dorcas (I literally stood on the bed, squished into the corner to get this much of the room into the picture). It's a good thing we get along so well!

The dog... who is nameless... and a pretty lousy guard dog.
and the many, many chickens!

The view from the porch

Jonas shelling peanuts

Jonas and David (this is the 3rd and final David, he actually lives here).

Mama Yeo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Make Us Thy Labourers

I've been a reading machine this last few weeks.

I finished up the Amy Carmichael biography, A Chance to Die, then moved onto The Triumph of John and Betty Stam. This is mostly because a little bug has found me (Don't worry, Mom! I'm fine!), so the last few days have been full of rest and full of reading.

But what this has done is awaken a love for these amazing peoples' poetry!

So I thought I'd share some bits of work from their lives that I've enjoyed in the past week.

From Amy Carmichael:

Make us Thy labourers,
Let us not dream of ever looking back,
Let not our knees be feeble, hands be slack,
O make us strong to labour, strong to bear,
From the rising of the morning till the stars appear.

Make us Thy warriors,
On whom Thou canst depend to stand the brunt
Of any perilous charge on any front,
Give to us skill to handle sword and spear
From the rising of the morning till the stars appear.

Not far from us, those stars,
Unseen as angels and yet looking through
The quiet air, the day's transparent blue.
What shall we know, and feel, and see, and hear
When the sunset colours kindle and the stars appear.

From Elisabeth Stam:

Open my eyes, that I may see
This one and that one needing Thee,
Hearts that are dumb, unsatisfied,
Lives that are dead, for whom Christ died.

Open my eyes in sympathy,
Clear into man's deep soul to see;
Wise with Thy wisdom to discern,
And with Thy heart of love to yearn.

Open my eyes in faith, I pray;
Give me the strength to speak today,
Someone to bring, dear Lord, to Thee,
Use me, O Lord, use even me.


And shall I fear 
That there is anything that men hold hear
Thou wouldst deprive me of,
And nothing give in place?

That is not so-
For I can see Thy face
And hear Thee now:

"My child, I died for thee.
And if the give of love and life 
You took from Me,
Shall I one precious thing withhold?
One beautiful and bright,
One pure and precious thing withhold?
My child, it cannot be".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've successful survived a week with my wonderful Ivorian family!


I'm living with the Yeo Malele family. No one was sure where I would be living, but God delivered Madame Yeo in the last few hours of our week long orientation!

In our cozy little home there are 6 people. There is Monsieur Yeo Malele (I just call him Yeo) and his wife, Elisabeth. They have a 12 year old son named Jonas, who is ALWAYS smiling and singing to himself! Then there is David, Elisabeth's nephew, who is 20 and is helping me learn Tyembara. Mattias is in the room next to me. Mattias is Elisabeth's younger brother and he's a teacher in a village nearby. Lastly is Dorkas- she's Elisabeth's younger sister, and is graciously sharing her room with me. Dorkas has quickly become a great friend, probably because we are constantly together!

Holly is living right across the street, so we've seen eachother often, which has been really nice when our brains are SO tired of trying to speak french or we feel overwhelmed. Truthfully, the first few days felt so overwhelming! We just jumped in head first, but it's been wonderful!

Some moments from the past week:

Went to the weekly women's bible study and realized that it was all in Tyembara, a Senefo language! What?!? I thought I was going to have to struggle with communicating in French the first few weeks, but NO! The real struggle is trying to learn Tyembara in broken French! A week of only hearing and speaking french has done wonders- the tyembara will come later.

Learned how to wash my clothes in a bucket. We wash everything in a bucket. I wash myself in a bucket! Bucket baths by the billions begin! 

Dorkas, Mattias, and I went for a walk one morning and visited just about every market in Korhogo. We went to the petite marche on the corner, then to the vegetable marche, then to the grande marche, the supermarche, and on and on and on! We greeted so many people along the way and at every stop I was asked to present myself and my Senefo name. So here we go... one more time... Je suis Yeo Tamaganon Naomi. Yeo is the family name, and my family graciously gave me theirs (it's also extremely common, fitting for a Smith). Tamaganon is my tyembara name, given to me by Madame Yeo Abdulaye, the wife of our pastor, and it means "Love is good". She explained that it is because of love that I came to Africa. 

We walked to a nearby village and watered a vegetable garden with Dorkas and Mattias' aunt. I really enjoy the village setting! Even in this dusty place, you can see bright green gardens! Rows and rows of lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, piment, cabbage, tomatoes, and green beans! 

Bike rides across town in the middle of the day to see the other journeyers and send emails. Riding a bike here is stressful and more like mountain biking because the roads are pretty bad. BUT have no fear- we are extremely careful!

Evenings are my favorite. We sit outside under the mango tree and the night sky and eat together. Most of the time I have no clue what the conversation is actually about (because it's in Tyembara, which sometimes sounds like Chinese to me) but we together and eveyone is laughing and eating. There is either balafone music playing on the radio, or a spanish novella (translated into french) on the tv inside the house. It's just about relaxing and being together.

I woke Dorkas up talking in my sleep one night. The next day that story was the beginning of every conversation she had... yep.

I have eaten a number of strange things and I'm still going strong! Last night, I'm fairly certain I ate brains... it wasn't the taste so much as the texture that really bothered me.

Finishing up the Amy Carmichael biography and drawing out the last 20 pages. It's so encouraging reading about her struggles and funny mishaps while in India. That woman was full of wisdom and her words speak right to where I find myself here. One of the quotes I read this week:

"I am learning the lesson set to the weaned child. I am learning to do without".

I am learning to do without.

On Sunday, the message was on looking toward heaven and the place that Christ has prepared for us (John 14:2), but as I read the passage, all I could think was that Christ has prepared THIS place for me too! This family, this church, this time was all set out before hand. He provides for us, even when we are thousands of miles from all things familiar. 

He prepares a place for us. 

He goeth before.