Beautiful Things

Friday, July 22, 2011

Faces that I love.

The youth at my church are pretty wonderful. I struggled so much in the beginning feeling like I wasn’t getting past the “stranger zone”, but they plowed that barrier over and opened their world to me. I’m so thankful for the friendship found in this group.

I thought that maybe you’d like to see what a good looking group they really are.

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I’m having too much fun.

I love these girls TOO much.

Where is the “pause” button?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tomato, To Motto.

I’ve been wanting to write this one for awhile, but have not been certain of how to go about it. I’m just going to try and explain what God’s been showing me.

He Goeth Before.

That’s become the motto for this year. I remember reading the phrase back in January, when I was reading Amy Carmichael’s biography. There was a photo of a page in her devotional where she had written next to the date, “He goeth before”. It struck me then as something that I hadn’t thought much about before.

Since then, those words have penetrated and proved true in every part of life. And they just keep popping up everywhere:

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When I think about how in the world I managed to find myself in Cote d’Ivoire.

When I think about all the people who encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and think about ministry in a different place.

When I think about how God’s prepared me for ministry here, and how He is preparing me for future ministry.

When I think about why He chose who He did for our team.

When I think about all He has for all of us after this year .

Everything points me back to the fact that He has gone before me.

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But it’s not just me He’s gone before.

He’s gone before us all in everything. He was there at the beginning of this world and He knows the entire story. He went before His people, the Israelites, and brought them into the land He promised them. He went before us as He walked on this earth. He went before us in His death on the cross and He went before us in His resurrection to sit beside the Father. In all things He’s gone before.

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All He asks us to do is keep our eyes on Him and follow. We don’t have to be looking at our feet wondering if the next step we take is wrong or right, or worrying that the next pebble we step on will cause us to fall. Jesus knows the path well, He’s walked it before!

This is exciting stuff! All this is to say that plans for next year are being confronted. Every journeyer has prayed about the possibility of continuing our ministries here in Cote d’Ivoire for a second year. So…… [drum roll please] ….

I’m coming home! [bumbadabum!] I feel that God gave this year of growth and struggle for the purpose of stretching and preparing me for what’s next. I don’t exactly know what that will be in the long run, but I do know that grad school is in the works. This year, I saw such a need for Missionary Member Care out here in the field, what that means is counseling. So, I’m hoping to move forward with getting my Masters degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. I’m adding another tool to my tool belt as Gaylene Demars would say!

Goodness, I’m excited about what’s next! I’m even more excited about what the next 3 months will hold. As I continue to deepen relationships with my family and church, I’m reminded of the importance of living each day to its fullest. Today is a gift; it’s a day that I get to visit my pastors, grab a bite to eat with Jason and Alyssa, and sit and laugh with Dorcas as we sort rice. And you know what? God knows exactly what our days hold, so there’s no worry of tomorrow. That’s a beautiful thing. He goeth before.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July!

What could be more American that a good bowl of chili?

… okay, everyone in West Africa thinks it’s the hamburger, but I challenge that chili is as American as apple pie…. or the hamburger.

                Korhogo 002I found some great beans in the market, called haricot rouge and haricot blanc (creative I know), not to be confused with haricot vert (green beans).

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           Bell peppers, onions, and garlic are all easy finds in the Grande Marche.

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Pepper, however, you have to grind yourself

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                  I know that this look appetizing!

Ground beef doesn’t really exist here, so you buy boef sans os (beef without bones) and then you take it to a grinding machine, which are usually used for making peanut butter. This beef came out looking more like meat juice! It looked fairly normal once it was cooked though!

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Korhogo 008 Everything cooked Ivoirian style (I have a feeling campfire cooking is going to seem much easier after this year!).


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        Mama Yeo got a kick out of me cooking! She kept saying, “ma fille, la cuisiniere!”, in this silly voice she sometimes uses to talk to me. Dorcas was a huge help, making the rice and opening the can of corn I found in the market. We were in serious need of a can opener.         

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After hours and hours of slaving over the fire…(okay I’m exaggerating) the chili was finished minutes before a big storm started. Talk about good timing!

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Then it was time for the taste test:

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All in all, I think it was a hit! Mama Yeo sent bowls of it to our neighbors, the Tuo family, and to our pastors. I’m hoping it’s because she liked it and not because she wanted to get rid of it! :)

In the storm that night, we saw some of the most amazing lightning! I could see it striking down our street! And I was worried I’d be missing fireworks!

The next day we decided to have a fun day of celebrating being 5 American kids in a foreign country. What could we do but go swimming? (even though it’s hotter in California right now!)

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This is CJ’s little brother, Emmanuel.

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This is our Moroccan friend, Rodolph who also happens to run our favorite chawarma shop.

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We sang the Star Spangled Banner about as loud as we possibly could. I think our Ivoirian friends have gotten used to the white people doing weird things, because they seemed to think it was perfectly normal.

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            Don’t worry, Mom, we’re wearing sunscreen.

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It was nice to have a day to just be goofy and have fun. Sometimes we need a little bit of that. We realized that the 4th of July, for many of us, is mostly about spending time with family and friends. Sure, we barbecue, and swim, and watch the fireworks, but I think the key is being with people that you love. Many of us were thinking of our family traditions and get-togethers back home, but this year’s celebration wasn’t lacking! God provides family wherever we go.