Beautiful Things

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gracious Uncertainty

THIS was an amazing reminder this morning.

A reminder that God is in control of today, tomorrow, and someday 10 years from now.

Other wonderful reminders from Elisabeth Elliot:

"Steadfastness: that is holding on
Patience: that is holding back
Expectancy: that is holding the face upward
Obedience: that is holding ones self in readiness to go or do
Listening: that is holding quiet and still so as to hear"

"Even the endurance of that hardest thing of all, uncertainty, can build in us a steady hope"

I don't know what will happen in the next 6 months or the next 60 years, or even the next 6 days! AND it's a beautiful thing! We take it all one day at a time, resting in the steady hope that He provides us with.

You know what? When we rest in the knowledge that God is in control of today, He surprises us with strength.
           and joy.
                      and PEACE!

This is just one of the many lessons that I'm learning while on this crazy journey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confessions of a Mid-Mission Crisis

I want to preface this blog with a post written by one of my team mates, CJ. I think it just about sums up what we're all going through in different ways. You can give it a read here!

I have to admit that I have the tendency to be a worry wart.

I don't particularly like that part of my personality, but it's there, and this last month, it's been surfacing a little more than usual...

I think this is due to the approaching 6 month marker and several other stressers including, but not limited to:
             the political situation
                     ...and how that effects those at home
       finding a place of ministry in my church
             ...and not feeling very "useful"
 wanting a schedule (haha- never thought I would say that after college!)
                                     and... having NO personal space

So a few weeks ago, I retreated to Bouake to take a breather and attempt to wrap my head around all these things and get my perspective back on track. After a week of rest (really understood Psalm 23 and those "still waters"!) and then another week of seminars, I felt renewed, but still unsure of what was next. I was faced with the option of moving back to Bouake, into a brand new family and a new church, and would be able to be plugged right into a ministry there. OR I could go back to Korhogo and keep on truckin' along. Well, whether I was going to stay in Bouake or not, I needed to go back to Korhogo for a week to say goodbye to my church and family.

Well... The night I got back to my family's home, I realized that staying one week was just not going to cut it! Next week is Paque (Easter), which means a huge celebration and lots of dancing at the church. I can't possibly miss that! So I made the decision to stay in Korhogo for at least 2 weeks and also made the decision to not make a decision as to where I would stay for the next 6 months.

In the coming days, it felt as if all of my worries and stresses were being addressed one right after the other.

Monday: Gbagbo was captured- political situation moving forward toward reconciliation and peace!

Tuesday: Pastors are excited to talk about what I can do to serve the church!

Wednesday: Talks with Bakary about making a schedule and where I can serve.

Thursday: Bakary took me to see a great ministry that I had no clue existed in Korhogo, "Le Centre Don Orion", for the mentally and physically handicapped.

Friday: Spent the day with Elizabeth in a village market. This was actually pretty tiring, but it helped me to understand my host mom a little better. (pictures coming soon!)

Saturday: Attended a prayer reunion in Korhogo for all the religious leaders. It was incredible to sit in the middle of the Muslim women and pray for peace and reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire.

I'm realizing that waiting on God's will and timing requires patience on my end. Not just to wait for Him to show me what's next, but to wait quietly, and to hope steadily. All my worrying, griping, pleading for God to just let me DO something kept me from seeing that He was already laying opportunities before me.

The more I think about it, worry is just fear. Fear that God won't take care of me. But fear has no place in our faith. When we trust God as our Savior, fear cannot stand, it's pointless! One day at a time is all that He asks of us.

So I'll bring this rambling to a close with something I read this morning. I was hit by the encouraging words of Paul in Romans:

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit".    Romans 15:13

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Last week, we had the opportunity to see our friend Tenena get married in Bouake!

Weddings in Cote d'Ivoire are something else. There is such a strong sense of tradition, but it's not really African tradition. There are so many elements that seem so western to me.
Like the exchanging of rings,
kissing the bride,
cutting the cake,
a veiled bride in white,
and matching bridemaid dresses.

But the funny thing is that everything was done just a little bit differently...
The bride and groom sit on a couch next to each other, but neither smiles or looks at the other one.
I was so relieved to see them smile after they were announced husband and wife!

The most entertaining part of the ceremony for me was introducing Cote d'Ivoire to the Electric Slide.
That's right! Instead of contributing a song, we line danced to Brad Paisley. And the sea of faces that watched this happen were amazed the the toubabous could dance like that!

We were all so pleased to see Tenena and Kolo so happy together.

Then, Sunday night, it was back to Korhogo!

Yesterday afternoon, the Korhogo crew decided to have lunch at a chawarma shop Rod and Angelika had talked about. It was SO GOOD! It's run by a Moroccan man and he even makes cheeseburgers! We had a good time, just hanging out in the street side cafe.

Then, halfway through our tea, we heard a ruckus out in the street... It sounded like a fight had broken out or the village tom toms were walking through! Then I heard it...

"Gbagbo est attrapĂ©!"
(Gbagbo is captured!)

The sounds in the street were screams, yells, songs of joy! Everyone was running, dancing, and shaking hands. With hands raised to the sky, the women ran through the market. And the six of us stood there, totally speechless, wondering if this was actually true.

And it is true!

My hope is that this signals a new time of reconciliation and recooperation for Cote d'Ivoire.
This could be the beginning of great things here!


It's all been so encouraging as we've seen the country struggle since the elections were scheduled in late October. It's nice to see some steps forward. Let's pray they continue to move in a peaceful direction.


I'm so thankful I got to see, to hear, to share in JOY.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Psalm 80

My heart breaks to say that the good news in Cote d'Ivoire was short lived.

The war in Abidjan continues and the UN does nothing.

The most recent news can be found here:

My heart breaks for the people living in Abidjan amid this crisis. Those of us in the north continue with life normally. We are safe and secure, but I wish it was the same for those in Abidjan. The only thing to do in such a time as this is to pray.

"Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock;
you who sit enthroned between the
cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.

Awaken you might;
come and save us.

Restore us, O God;
Make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved."

                                       Psalm 80:1-3

Friday, April 1, 2011

I realize that it has been far too long since I have written, but so much has happened in the last few weeks!

Holly and I went to Burkina Faso:

we saw lots of ELEPHANTS!

I met some amazing missionaries

and was introduced to an inspiring ministry called Dorcas House

 Dorcas House is a center for girls at risk. "At risk" means this: they've been taken off the streets, out of drugs, alcohol, or prostitution, or have lost their families. These girls live at Dorcas House and learn to sew and other trades. They take care of each other and they learn about Jesus. I was so touched by the openness of these girls when Amy Nehlsen took us just for a short visit. They greeted us with smiles and hugs, as their sisters in Christ. 

Holly was able to see a project happening in the bush outside of Ouagadougou. The project is looking at how to raise game animals of West Africa to be used as meat, giving the people of Burkina Faso another source of  food. Holly's excited about starting up this kind of project with agouti in Bouake (AGOUTI is that giant rat that I enjoy eating so much ;)!

 Spent time in the market...

 And lots of time in the car! 9 hours to get to Ouaga!

 New favorite snack: fresh cashews along the road

And now I'm back in Bouake...

Th political situation in the last 2 weeks has gotten hotter and I was starting to feel the strain of that a bit. We'd all adjusted to the stress of living in a country under such turmoil, but then I was given a week away from it all, and when we came back in... it felt a little too hot for my liking. So I decided to retreat to Bouake for a bit of a breather. And guess what???

Cote d'Ivoire only has ONE president now!

It's a beautiful thing- and a step in the right direction. Ouattera's troops took Abidjan last night and he made an announcement calling for the people to remain peaceful. I have a lot of respect for our new president.
 He's a classy guy.

So, what did we do to celebrate?
We went out for attieke and poulet in Bouake to celebrate Chazz's birthday
and Devin and I engaged in a sword fight with giant see pods...

I won. Sorry Devin.

So what's next?

I'm not altogether sure. But one thing I am sure of: God is in control.