a picture of Bakary - the latest addition to the family. He's
been with us for two weeks now and is doing really well. Sekouba
is helping him get washed and dressed, and is doing a good job.
also thank CCARA, a German NGO, for sending us money to buy 22
bags of rice to be distributed to widows and needy families. The
first widow received her rice today.
has been progressing VERY slowly over the past few months. These
past few days they have been working on plastering the walls and
ceiling. We still need $12,200 to finish the building.
New Year's Eve
was planned really, but I had enough energy and was looking forward
to a few special hours of closing the old year and starting the
new, together with ALL my kids, young and old, street kids and
set everything up before the sun went down - screen, sound system,
projector. Then I left to pick up the kids at the bus station,
as every night. Our driver Jean is on vacation right now, and
Saloum refuses to drive, so it's up to me. When I look back, it's
somewhat sad that I have sent 4 people to driving school, paying
everything, and none of them is here to drive.
back, I gave them their ID cards, and then we started praising
God. The kids were dancing so much that the dust was everywhere
- that's what you see on the picture.
and Souleymane were leading with themics, but Souleymane really
didn't want to do it. His attitude was horrible. Honestly, the
street kids honor and worship God better than the kids that have
been longest with me. What's wrong with that picture?
I hooked up my computer to show the pictures of 2008. First we
showed them the Mozambique pictures, as we hadn't done that yet.
Everybody enjoyed it.
I did the first drawing - for the remaining sodas. Everyone was
happy, as most kids got one.
I continued with the pictures of 2008, starting with Jan 1st.
There were close to 3000 of them!!! Abdias is our photographer
pretty often, and he tends to take too many pictures. So needless
to say, it was taking time, and going really slowly. The kids
liked the pictures best that showed them, and the street kids
loved it when there were pictures of them as we reached the fall
months. There were also little video clips.
the evening progressed, some kids went to bed as they were tired,
including some of my kids. When I asked for Souleymane and Sekouba,
I was told they had gone to bed. Really? I was surprised. I wanted
everyone to be there.
the time midnight came, our numbers had been reduced a lot, and
we weren't even done with the pictures. I counted down to zero,
and then we said "happy new year". I asked them what
they were thankful for lookin back at 2008, but wasn't getting
any serious answers which was disappointing. I then asked what
they expected for 2009, but I couldn't get decent answers. I wanted
to do a time of prayer, but it wasn't working out.
finished showing the pictures, and then did the second drawing,
handing out the remaining chocolate that was left over from Christmas.
Then everyone went to bed. It was 1:15 am.
Drop Into The Bucket
went to my office, and decided to get my camera back from Abdias
tonight, rather than leaving it with him over night. I went to
his room - and found an empty bed. And four more beds were empty.
Sekouba's bed even had clothes piled on and covered with a blanket
so you'd think someone's sleeping! I was shocked. Five of them
had left the property in the middle of the night, knowing full
well that was inacceptable.
told our night-guard to look at his watch at what time they return,
and locked the door from the inside. Let them spend the night
outside! It's actually been unusually warm, so it's no big deal
to sleep outside.
was shocked at my children's actions - those that have been with
me the longest. They've been behaving really bad for quite some
time. They should be an example to the new kids, but in reality
the new kids have been examples they should have copied. How long
would it take for the new kids to start behaving as the old ones,
learning disobedience, rebellion, disrespect, talking back?
I knew things couldn't continue like this. This was the proverbial
last drop into the bucket. Paul had already made some comments,
but we hadn't had a chance to talk it out. I came to the conclusion
that it was time for those kids to move on.
discouraging day. I talked to Saloum in the morning, speaking
to him clearly. Up until now he hasn't even apologized for his
reckless driving that caused the car papers to be taken, and me
having to go there! He should have thanked me that I would have
let him drive again after that.
he refuses to drive. And I told him since he's turning 19 in three
weeks, he cannot stay and not do anything. He's not a kid any
more, and has to be a team member if he wants to stay. This is
the second task he's refusing. I told him he needs to move out
if he doesn't want to take on any task.
when the couple should have come for the interview, they called
saying that the lady's daughter is in the hospital, so they can't
come. They'll contact me when they can come. I told them it would
have to be this week since I'm leaving on Monday. I was hoping
they could start working for us on January 1st. It looks like
Jean will come back after all.
past week has been difficult and discouraging for me. The only
positive things is that I'm faithful in exercising every day,
and that's improved my quality of life. Plus, I listen to sermons
as I do.
after my workout, I decided to start driving myself again, since
Saloum refuses. So I got the keys, got into the car, and drove
to the bus station to pick up the kids and take them to our home.
I guess I'll just have to add that to my list of things to get
done every day again. Sigh.
yesterday's blog: Paul came today to apologize for his action.
morning Paul told me that Saloum refuses to do any more driving.
Saloum is my oldest boy who is turning 19 in January. Not a child
anymore, he's in transition to become a team member, though he
is in fourth grade.
I gave him the task of looking after Bakary - he refused the very
first day. Then he went to driving school since we need a driver,
and now he refuses that too. If he doesn't want to do anything,
he will have to leave here on his birthday.
Saloum took the car one more time to drive the kids back to the
bus station this morning. Some time later I get a knock on my
door. It's Paul, and he's telling me that the police has taken
away our car papers, and I've been summoned to see them. I couldn't
believe my ears!
asked Saloum what happened but he wouldn't tell me. Both Paul
and Saloum got into the other car, and I drove to the police with
them. In fact, to the intersection where the police had taken
the car papers. I approached the policeman who started telling
me how bad Saloum drives. He said that he had simply gone right
into the intersection and turned without looking at all, which
was extremely dangerous. I totally agreed with the policeman,
and thanked him. I told him Saloum was a beginner, but of course,
that doesn't mean you can't drive properly. The policeman said
that if he catches Saloum again, the papers will be gone for good.
Then he gave me the papers.
we went back to the car and drove home. I didn't say another word,
but couldn't believe my ears when Saloum once thought he needed
to tell me what to do on the road!!!
is gone for another week, and the couple where he is a driver
is coming for an interview tomorrow. I would need Saloum to drive
for another week - but only if he shapens up.
nobody is picking up the kids - they will have to walk here. I
told our night guard to make his way to us by himself.
morning we should have gone to Dra to do a service and hand out
rice to widows. Needless to say, that didn't happen. We didn't
have a service on our base either.
just came to tell me he wants to go get the kids by public transportation,
using his own money. That will cost him, but I told him he's free
to do whatever.
was very disappointed when I discovered that none of the pictures
we had taken were there - the SD card was simply empty. So no
pictures to go with this blog.
of lack of money, and lack of energy and manpower, I decided not
to do our typical Street Kid Party that would go for hours, with
great numbers of kids and great challenges. Instead, we told the
kids that we'd pick them up two hours earlier tonight.
arrived at 5:30 pm, and I was ready. I had prepared 3 games where
two teams would play against each other. But first I gave them
their ID cards and wrote down which kids were here. Each kid received
candy and stickers, and later a soda.
split the street kids into two equal teams of 18 kids each - my
kids were helpers. For the first game I had put 30 rings of candy
on a string - two times. Each team had to eat off those rings
as quickly as possible. Unfortunately they were cheating - they
wanted the candy more than play the game.
the second game I put lots of round candy into two buckets. I
also put one wrapped candy in there, and they had to get out the
wrapped candy with their mouth only. They were allowed to eat
the other candy, though that would take more time.
worked pretty well, but one team was more challenged - maybe it
was the different bucket. They had fun in any case, and in the
end I thought they'd kill each other to eat the remaining candy
in the buckets.
the third game they had to wrap a person completely with toilet
paper. The first one done and having completely wrapped the person
would win. We had never done this game, and they did well. One
team was faster, but ran out of paper at the neck. The other team
managed to wrap the person completely, and a lot of cheering broke
out when they had won once again - all three games.
then handed out little gifts of toy cars and figurines to the
members of the winning team.
having given out a soda to each kid, they had their meal. Then
it was time to give them clothes. I called them into my living
room one by one, giving them a choice of a pair of shoes, pants,
or a T-shirt. 34 out of the 35 wanted shoes!!! Thankfully, we
still had lots from last year, and had bought more this year,
so they all had their fitting pair of shoes. It was so wonderful
to see their joy at having new shoes!
out the shoes took quite some time. After I was done, it was time
for them to go to bed. I was trying to find Paul, but he had abandoned
us. I had "caught" him threatening kids with a stick
in his hand, and he was not happy about that; I was wondering
whether that was the reason he had disappeared. Later he came
to my door, telling me he could not preach in the village tomorrow
myself have not been well at all these past four days. I still
cough a little bit, but it's actually not physical. The kids have
really done quite a few stupid things, some of them shocking,
and that's been frustrating. This week they don't get any pocket
money. But I've been discouraged generally, and seem to be in
a spiritual desert. At this point I'm not doing another service
here in Mali, so if Paul doesn't preach tomorrow, nobody will.
However, we announced that we would give out rice to widows tomorrow,
so it would be better for us to go to the village and be true
to our word.
reason I've been discouraged is our disastrous financial situation.
It seems overwhelming, with no way out.
long awaited day had come - Christmas. These past 24 hours the
gifts multiplied more as those two pictures show - the one on
the left was taken yesterday, the one on the right is the final
picture from today.
the past few years, our special Christmas outing was going to
the swimming pool (in a hotel). For several of our kids that would
be the first time. I was glad that Hama and Sarata were allowed
to come as well.
took both our cars - I was driving one, and Saloum the other.
After having picked up the little ones, our next stop was at the
gas station downtown. I filled my car, and bought icecream for
all the kids; we were 14 people. For some of the new kids it was
their first icecream ever.
continued on to the swimming pool at the other end of town, where
we stayed for a few hours.
kids all had much fun, and it was a joy to watch them. This picture
shows Dramane, one of our new boys.
uploaded a few videos:
picture shows Sarata (3) and Bakary (4) who had much fun. I also
have a video with the two of them:
picture shows Bakary, Moise and Hama.
is a picture of myself with Hama, and a picture of Sarata.
video clip of Hama, who LOVES the swimming pool:
many people in the US eat turkey, and many in Austria fish, our
special Christmas dinner was PIZZA. Pizza is pretty much unknown
in Mali, and when you do find it, it's often not very good. However,
there is this Italian guy who opened a pizza restaurant, and his
are pretty good.
did that last year for the first time, and this year pizza would
be our main Christmas dinner. I ordered 20 pizzas, and they even
delivered them, all the way from the other end of town. It was
very costly but worth it.
the meantime everyone had gathered, and so we were about 30 people.
All the sponsored kids were there (18 in all), plus some parents
and our cooking help Rosalie with her kids. I cut the pizzas into
fourths, and my boys distributed them. It seems that everyone
loved them, and the 20 pizzas were gone in no time at all. Everyone
also received a soda.
then finished my last preparations in my living room, before letting
the crowd of 30 people come in. My living room had never been
so full before! The smaller kids all sat on the floor while the
adults and bigger kids took the chairs. Fanta had come together
with Elisabeth and the kids, and to my great surprise, Seybou
showed up as well.
first I talked about what we celebrate and why, and then I put
on two video clips for them to watch.
first one was produced by Christians in Paris. I love it, and
my kids loved it.
second one is a moving depiction of the night Jesus was born.
I uploaded them both:
talked a little more about Christmas, and then I handed out these
sticks I had brought from Austria to all the kids. I have no clue
what they are called in English. When you light them, they "sizzle",
looking like bright stars. The kids loved them!
we were watching them burn, we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jesus a
few times. Then I prayed. And then we took communion together.
I was very clear on who could and who shouldn't take it, and was
shocked Seybou and Fanta both did. In any case, it was a precious
it was time for the gifts. First, we handed out the packages from
the sponsors. Each kid received a package with different things.
It included underwear, pens, pencils, candy, toys, and the like.
we started attacking the table covered with gifts. We went around
several time, from the youngest to the oldest person, having them
open one present, with the others watching. We had a lot of fun.
I always give a gift to each person, and the more people there
are, the more challenging that gets. Who knows how many we'll
be next year!
the end I asked them to all hold up their gifts, so I could take
a picture. As you can see, I gave my old keyboard to Fousseni
who wants to learn to play it. You should have seen his joy at
this gift he never expected! It was wonderful!
having received the gifts, everyone was ready to leave. It had
gotten very late, after 10 pm! We had told the street kids we
would pick them up at 9 pm tonight, instead of 7 pm. Everyone
was leaving, missing out on the cookies we had baked. Some grabbed
a few, and the rest was eaten later.
left to pick up the kids, and we let those at our gate inside.
They were not happy that they had had to wait that long!
boys didn't want to go to bed yet, and I let them stay up until
midnight. It's Christmas after all.
two days is Christmas (in Austria we celebrate on the 24th), and
so it was time to bake some Christmas cookies! The ones we baked
a few weeks ago were eaten back then.
I even had FOUR helpers - nearly too many. There were (from left)
Moise, Bakary, Jérémie, and Amadou. We filled four
plates! Everything worked out well, and tomorrow we'll continue
so that everyone can have their fill on Wednesday. We'll probably
be between 25 and 30 people to celebrate together.
a wonderful Christmas gift! Missionary Anco came over to install
more solar panels! He worked hard all day long, up on the roof,
in the sun, installing those panels in a way that no one can steal
them. Thank you, Anco!
also brought us a new, powerful generator to support our solar
system. It is easy to use and very powerful, and will hopefully
last very long. Praise God!
Kids In Trouble
of our kids is spending this night at the police station. He stole
a soldier's (!) cellphone who went on a search to find him. He
was told where the street kids gather every night - our meeting
point where we pick them up - and came there. The children were
afraid, and the soldier took the (very little) boy to the station
with him. Our night guard also takes that car ride to our base,
and wrote down the soldier's phone number. Tomorrow he'll call
him to see how we can help our kid.
Paul and I are not totally happy with our current nightguard,
a guy from Congo. First, he doesn't speak the local language,
and secondly, he has no love for the children. That became very
obvious tonight with the situation with the kid that had stolen,
and is also obvious every day in the way he talks to the children.
It hurts me.
is the Christian lady, a neighbor, who comes in the morning and
at night to do the cooking. Her husband is night guard elsewhere;
it would be easier for him to just walk around the corner to our
place to work as night guard. Paul is gonna talk to him about
it in the days to come.
night, Jean is leaving for 10 days on Christmas vacation. School
starts Jan 5, so he's gonna come back Jan 4. Unless the couple
that's coming for an interview on Monday is staying with us.
awkward with Jean - both Paul and I just feel uncomfortable regarding
him. I'm actually glad he'll be gone for that time. Jean is very
involved in another church, and never with us on the weekend.
He also just does his job - driving - and doesn't get involved
in any other way.
have to say that so far I'm VERY excited about this couple. I've
needed a househelp for quite some time, and the lady has worked
as such for missionaries for years! The missionary (who's leaving
Mali) is recommending her with lots of praise. Her husband is
a driver, and also looking for work. They have two pre-k aged
children, and are willing to move in with us.
pray for all those decisions - I have a sense that God is at work
in all this.
is our "master of destruction" (and I'd like for him
to get rid of that title). He has his third glasses in maybe a
year. When he plays soccer, he takes them off and puts them in
his room. However, now he can't find them. We've spent so much
money, there won't be a fourth pair.
pray for him, and for the glasses to reappear.
thought it was time for a little update on Paul. Things have never
been better between us! There is very obvious fruit from his week
away. He was truly convicted and changed course. I'm proud of
him! And I'm amazed at all this young man is accomplishing! An
extraordinary man of God! I tell him these things often to encourage
been a slow-going day, as I was alternating between trying to
rest (never for long) because of that nasty cold/virus, and getting
of my major tasks today was wrapping gifts, and preparing the
packages for the sponsored kids. As you can see, the place for
the packages is starting to get populated, though by this time
last year and two years ago, there were a lot more gifts, and
this year there are even more children.
are celebrating on Wednesday. We'll be going to the swimming pool
- the kids' most-loved thing to do, and then I'm planning on getting
some pizzas (if it works out), before we celebrate Jesus's birthday
together. Hama & Sarata will join us at the swimming pool,
and for the celebration, Paul's family is gonna come. I also have
gifts for Seybou & Fanta.
I'll get well soon. We also need to bake some more cookies...
night, the bigger car broke down just after Jean had left to pick
up the kids from the Christmas program. He took it to the repair
shop today, and we won't have it for a few days. Good think we
have the other one. Since I'm sick, I let Saloum pick up the kids
for the first time tonight. They came back safe and sound, so
was Hama & Sarata's last day in school before the 3-week-long
Christmas break, and the students had prepared a Christmas program
to present to parents and visitors, in the morning as well as
in the evening.
I got sick - probably a virus - fever, dripping nose, sore throat
- and I was wondering how I'd make it through today. God's grace
was there to help.
was also the last day in school for my boys - and Souleymane was
already off today, and so he came with me. We drove to Seybou
& Fanta's place, and I was overjoyed to hear that Fanta was
coming along as well. I'm glad she's showing some interest in
her children's education.
was so happy to see my two little ones again! It's been two weeks
since last time - far too long! I miss them so much. I wished
they were back with us.
was also good to see Jonathan again. He's now six months old.
I think this is a great picture of Fanta and Jonathan!
kids had to be at school by 9 am, but the program didn't start
until 10 am. Hama started crying when he had to go to his classroom
- he wanted to be with me. He kept crying for a long time. When
they returned at 10 am, he smiled and sat down on my lap.
the hour we were waiting I was taking with Hama's tutor. She's
done some research to find a way to help Hama more. She found
a school for handicapped children, but I'm not totally convinced
by what she shared. Today then she told me their Malian name -
it's the organization where Hama went for a few months for physical
exercises, and it was a nightmare! If it's the same, I don't want
him to go there. However, it would be worth looking at that school
downtown. In any case, the tutor said that she believes Hama has
reached the ceiling of what he can learn in this school, and he
needs professional help. I told her we knew what exercises to
do with, but he hasn't done anything since moving out 4 months
ago. Please pray for the right decision to be made.
program started at 10 am, and Sarata sang some Christmas carols
in English with the others. I loved watching her! I have some
videos as well that I will upload later.
also joined in some of the songs. At one time they all held up
letters forming MERRY CHRISTMAS, and he held the first letter.
for the Christmas play, Sarata played baby Jesus! The poor girl
had to lie under a blanket in this box the whole time!
11:30 the program was over, and I drove them back home before
we went home ourselves.
was glad I had made it through the morning so well, and can only
pray I didn't pass on the virus to the little ones. In the afternoon
I felt pretty miserable again.
the evening, I sent all my boys to go watch the Christmas program
and support our little ones, while I took care of the street kids.
been neglecting corporate prayer these past few weeks, as we've
been struggling to find a time that works for everyone. Not easy
with the school schedule. Now it's fixed for Wednesday, 4-6 pm,
and we had one today.
set up the keyboard in the unfinished dining hall, put a few benches
around, and a mat on the floor. Though my daily schedule had to
be adapted, I was actually looking forward to the meeting. Of
course, some of our new kids are still new to prayer. And then
one of the street kids came climbing over the wall - two hours
before they are allowed to come in - and though I wasn't happy
about the "trespassing", I told him he could join us,
and he did.
spent the whole time praising God and worshipping Him. We had
a good time. I had missed those precious worship times. The prayer
meeting has always been the time here in Mali, when we'd really
meet with God. Today I could tell we were all a little "rusty",
but it will get better with time.
Routine With Street Kids
the meeting, we still had about half an hour before our nightly
family meeting. We had to change our schedule to accommodate all
we do. During those minutes, I had some fun with Fousseni and
Abdias, playing with the Nintendo Wii.
6.30 pm we have the family meeting, where we all gather to talk
about the day. Then I have them line up and lay hands on each
kid, blessing them and calling forth their destinies. We all hug,
and they go off to have dinner. After having eaten, they wash
and get ready for bed. Only 4-year-old Bakary actually goes to
around 7.30 pm Jean (our driver) returns from the bus station
where he picks up the street kids. About a third of the kids show
up at our gate now, while the other 20 come with the car.
I hand out their ID cards - cards with their picture, name, and
number. I write down every day who spends the night here, and
therefore keep count of how many nights they've been with us.
As I hand out their cards, I write down their numbers on a piece
of paper for the drawing later.
they've all received their cards, and I've written down the names
of the new kids to make cards for them, they eat, while I cut
up the paper with their numbers. Then I take the 4 advent calenders,
and two sodas, and JESUS FREAKS, and go back out.
then draw 4 numbers, and those kids get to open the number of
the day and eat the chocolate inside. I draw two more numbers
for the sodas - they are the most coveted. One of the two winners
tonight is one of the boys we baptized - you should have seen
him praising and thanking God when I drew his number! It was touching!
the drawing I read the next story in JESUS FREAKS; all my resident
kids have to come out for that as well. Tonight it was about North
Corean Christians who wouldn't deny Christ and were executed.
Then we pray for the kids, and they walk over to the door to the
who have valuables come to my door and give them to me. I lay
them all out, with little papers with their names on them so I
know what belongs to who. In the meantime Paul is checking that
every kid going inside the dining hall has an ID card. Tonight
we had to send two kids away, who already knew they can't sleep
here - one is actually an adult (too old), and the other is a
morning they will have a time of worship, Bible study, then breakfast,
and then literacy class. Tonight was the third morning, and it's
going well. I just LOVE teaching school! One kid asked me today
about math class, and I told him this wasn't a school (yet)!
one of our kids has his/her birthday - whether resident or not
- we have a "birthday party". That means, I bake a cake
for the honored child. I still had a chocolate cake mix from Austria,
and I decided to start baking yesterday, rather than last minute.
had three helpers again - Abdias and Amadou again, and then Jérémie,
our newest addition to the family. They did a great job! After
the cake was done, I put it into the fridge to continue with the
icing this morning.
kids didn't have school today - at least those grades 1 through
6; so only Souleymane had to go to school (and Hama & Sarata,
international school). So Elisabeth's kids were over at our place
- Elisabeth is cooking lunch for us every day; she's Paul's step-mother.
lunch, I decorated the table, and got the cake out. I lit the
candle (I need to buy more on my next trip), and we called Denise
in. We all sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY for her, and she blew out the candle.
Then we gave them our gifts, one after the other. I had a necklace
for her, as well as some perfume.
pictures show her opening her gifts, and with the cake; her name's
written on the cake. Everyone enjoyed the cake, and then the party
was already over. Jean needed to go and pick up Hama & Sarata
from school, and he'd drop off Elisabeth and her kids on the way.
had been looking forward to this day, and though I'm not a morning
person, I was excited to start class for the street kids this
night I got everything ready - printouts, pens - for about 20
kids, and that's the number we have in the literacy class. After
they've had breakfast, we start class at about 8:30, and I try
to not go longer than 30 minutes, but that's hard.
were all very excited to start to learn to read and write. In
this picture they are all holding up the first page of their new
literacy materials. I was glad that Sekouba was assisting me in
keeping order, and making them understand things. Sekouba barely
speaks French himself, but he also learned to read and write his
language with me, so he knows the materials well.
started with some simply recognition exercises, and then two words
to distinguish. Next we will cut those words up into the letters,
and they'll learn the individual letters - to read and write.
is hard for them, and you know immediately which kids have never
gone to school before in their lives. Those that have have a considerable
advantage, and it's hard to not see the new learners discouraged
right away. But so far, they are all eager to learn, and it's
a great joy and honor to teach them.
always loved teaching school, since before I even went to school
myself. I always played school, being the teacher, with my poor
little brother being the student. And I've never lost that passion
for teaching. Today I realized again how much I love teaching,
and I've missed it. Teaching school, and administrative work,
are definitely the number one things I love to do.
my boys don't have school (except for the 7th grader), and so
we decided to watch a movie together, after having taken care
of the street kids who sleep here. So it was about 9 pm before
we started the movie. Only three of my boys made it to the end
- all the others fell asleep, and went to bed.
have several movies they haven't watched yet, but all in English,
so I have to interpret the whole movie. They chose to watch FLYWHEEL,
and they loved it! I also think it's a great movie, where they
learn godly living. Obviously, it was pretty late before we were
done. No more work for me tonight! I now go to bed rather early
(i.e. before midnight) most of the time, since I have to get up
can't believe I have to write this blog a second time - I don't
even understand why it was lost, and I have no intention to write
all the details AGAIN.
I pick up Hama & Sarata at their school on Friday because
they present to the parents what they've learned that week. Because
of examination week, there was no presentation. I was gonna go
pick them up anyway - just so I could see them - and because I
go out to eat before going to the school. But yesterday nobody
wanted to join me, and I was tired anyway.
I still needed to go to the supermarket, and I wanted to have
that special one-on-one time with one of my boys. Since we were
not doing a kids' program today, I decided to take care of those
chose to take Moise with me, one of the new boys. I didn't think
he'd be that shy, though. I hardly got him to talk at all. We
still had a good time, think. I got everything I needed at the
supermarket, and then we went to the little restaurant opposite
I was done eating, and was waiting for Moise, who got his food
much later, the lady from the neighboring table suddenly gave
me her little girl. She said she wanted to finish her meal, and
couldn't do that with her baby. So I looked after that little
girl for a while.
morning Bakary went to school (kindergarten) with the others.
A few hours later, I get a call from Hyacinthe who is a teacher
there that Bakary has left the school grounds. They started a
search and found him somewhere in the neighborhood. It seems that
he preferred going back to the street he knows. We talked about
it with him in the afternoon, and told him not to do that again.
also caught him eating dog food this afternoon, though he claimed
he didn't eat it.
all the kids returned from school, several were pretty angry with
Bakary. Saloum is turning 19 in one month's time, and so he needs
to take on some tasks. So I put him in charge of Bakary, to look
after him. When they returned from school, it was our 9-year old
who took care of Bakary, not Saloum!!! (though that's more cultural).
started telling me that Bakary had insulted him, and that he would
beat him up next time if he does it again. I tried to explain
to him that Bakary is 4 years old, and hasn't known anything but
the street so far! I asked him to be patient and loving and to
not take his words to heart as if he were an adult! Saloum wouldn't
listen. I was shocked. Several of the other boys spoke the very
same way. When Bakary insulted Abdias, he said he would throw
the dog on him. I asked him to apologize to him for saying that,
but he wouldn't.
also had a talk with Bakary and told him not to speak bad to people
(even though that's all he knows from the street). We also told
him some other rules, like not leaving the property or going through
the trash. He said he understood. The incident with Abdias happened
disappointed that the boys that have been with me for over 2 years
are not more mature. How can that be, after all they've learned
and heard and experienced??? It is the NEW kids that behave and
obey, and not the old ones!!!
pictures show Bakary - on the swing (he didn't like that), and
playing with duplos.
behavior has been pretty bad - it's as if he's doing it all on
purpose so he gets kicked out and can go back to his Dad's house.
He says he cannot make that decision whether to stay or leave,
and so he's trying to make us make that decision for him.
any case, things cannot continue like this. This afternoon was
another incident, and Fousseni took this huge knife into his hand
in anger while Paul was trying to reason with him. Paul took the
knife away from him.
I asked Paul how his conversation with Fousseni went, and then
we called Fousseni in who had calmed down. I tried talking to
him, but he barely said a word. He just said he doesn't know anything
right now. Pray he comes to his senses. If he leaves and returns
to his family, we'll send him with our blessing.
Paul went to find Jérémie's father, and he did.
His father told Paul the story of how Jérémie's
mother simply gave him the baby boy and left, and so he had to
raise him himself. He got married again, and his new wife had
twins 4(!) times. They had plenty of problems with Jérémie
who finally ran away, and ran to his grand-mother in Bougouni,
where Paul had gone yesterday. So Jérémie hadn't
told the truth.
father told Paul how he had been looking for Jérémie
everywhere - with the intention of putting him into the children's
prison. I was shocked to hear that! How can a Dad do that? In
any case he didn't find him, and he agreed to leave Jérémie
welcome to our 9th resident kid!
have to admit that I've been somewhat concerned about finances,
not knowing how we'll make it through the next few weeks. So many
expenses, so many bills, so many kids....
some delays, Emma finally arrived a few hours late, and left with
Paul to drive to Bougouni, a town 2+ hours away. They took Jérémie
with them. They also took Abdias with them, whose family doesn't
live far from there, and he's been asking us to go visit. Abdias
is the only one of the old kids whose family's permission we haven't
sought yet for him to be with us, so that was a good opportunity.
they came back, they told me what a great celebration there was
in Abdias's family and the whole village because he had come!
We finally learned the true story why Abdias had left (he had
lied to us about that). They also told us how they'd been looking
for him, trying to bring him back, but couldn't find him. Abdias
left because had spent some money he should have made a purchase
with for his family. How much money was it? 8 cents!!!
confirmed the story that he had been beaten up at school to the
point that he had to be in hospital - but not by his teacher but
other students. They said that Abdias was never the same afterwards,
seemed somewhat crazy, like talking to himself, and Paul shared
with them how we had prayed for Abdias and "seen" a
good number of demons leave him. Though they are not Christians,
they totally understood that and confirmed that that was the problem.
I asked Abdias how it was, he was smiling all over his face. He
had sure loved it!
original intent of the trip was to pick up Bakary, but they also
needed to find Jérémie's family, and they did. His
story didn't check out totally, but for the most part. We learned
that both his parents are in Bamako (but divorced), and they are
the ones who have to give their consent for him to stay with us.
So we're gonna try to find them in the days to come.
Paul returned from his trip, he stepped into the house, with Bakary
right behind him. It was so great to see the little guy! I had
waited for him so long! I couldn't wait to start loving on him!
Finally he's with us!
sat down while Paul gave me his report. You could tell he was
a little overwhelmed by everything. I had decided in advance to
invest myself into this little 4-year old. And with the way hygiene
works in Mali, I simply couldn't trust anyone in the house to
take care of that. So I undressed Bakary, and washed him, brushed
his teeth, and put the pyjama on him I had bought for him in Austria.
It fit perfectly! Though I was surprised how big he was, and how
well-fed he looked - for a kid searching for food on the streets
every day. He must be closer to 5 years old - but of course no
one knows. Normally, I fix their birthday for the date they moved
in or got saved - so today would be his 5th birthday.
he was done, it was time for the nightly family meeting. Paul
and I prayed over each kid. Then I led Bakary over to the boys'
room and showed him his bed. He was still all silent. Paul told
me they had not had any dinner. What to do? All I had was some
bread in the freezer, so I got it out and put it in a pan for
some time. While I was waiting there, Bakary was suddenly inside
the trash can searching for stuff. So I told him he didn't need
to do that any more, in fact, he was not allowed to do that. Then
I gave him his bread, and he went to bed.
he's going to kindergarten for the first time - the same school
where all the kids go. I'm also gonna take a picture of him.
of you would like to become Bakary's sponsor? In Bambara, they
call their sponsors their parents. All it takes is €40 or
Street Kids Tonight
had to be a woman of my word, and so there are no street kids
sleeping here tonight - a first since we started 3 months ago.
I cannot help but think of "my" kids, some of who've
slept here every night since, and wonder where they are tonight.
I was told that 6 of them are actually outside our gate. It breaks
my heart, but I'm sure they will have learned their lesson.
been thinking a lot recently of a family who's wanted to join
us and help us out, and I've arrived at the point that I want
them to come. Unfortunately they live 2 days away in Timbuktu,
and so he can't just come over for an interview. I've left a message
on his phone, and am waiting to talk to him.
has done the YWAM school and another Bible school. He's married
with two kids. We need another helper with the kids, and he could
be the one. His wife would also be a great help in our household,
as I'm the only woman around right now. Please pray for God's
will to be done.
I'm not happy with our driver. Nearly every day there are little
problems. And he leaves every weekend, and is therefore not a
part of our church. For him this is just a job; he drives, and
doesn't do anything else. However, we're a family. I'm at the
point of looking for a new driver. Prayers are appreciated.
The Personal Front
the first time I'm actually living with the new schedule, of the
kids being in school, and I greatly enjoy it. I have more time
now - more quiet - and time for exercise as well as more time
with God. It's really doing me good! Because of the Muslim holiday,
the kids have not been in school all week so far, so the last
few days were a little different....
been amazed today, on Paul's first day back, to see the transformation
in Paul. It's wonderful! In the past, a simple question would
set him off - not today. All day long, he was amazingly submitted
and obedient - wow. At one point he came into my office and asked
me to give him a mother's blessing. Wow! It's truly a new day
for Sekouba, I could also notice the effort he was making. Great
job! Except for the fight with one of the new, and little, kids.
He was having fun, while the kid did not like it at all. It was
quite a scene, in fact, with another kid joining in as well. The
little kid was crying and left the property for a few hours -
without permission. Later when he was back, there were more problems
with him with yet another one of the older kids. We talked it
all out, and everyone seemed to understand his mistakes, and they
asked each other forgiveness.
With Street Kids
every night, the kids were allowed to come in as they sun went
down, and then Jean left to pick the others up from the bus station.
When they were all here, I handed out their ID cards. I wrote
down their numbers on a pice of paper, and then cut them up and
put them in a bag for the drawing.
we've had complaints from the neighbors, we told them they could
not stay around our property during the day, but had to all go
back to the bus station. Several asked for another film (since
we had shown one last night), especially those that had missed
it. Then it was time for the nightly story from JESUS FREAKS -
true stories of people suffering or dying for Christ.
the story, it was time for the advent calendar. Tonight I asked
Abdias to take some pictures. I drew number after number, and
the kid with that number came forward to open the door for today
and take the chocolate. Souleymane was holding the flashlight,
so we could see.
the four advent calendars, I also give away two sodas - leftovers
from our celebration. To some degree they love those more than
they all went inside to go to bed, and Paul prayed for them. Paul
had to leave for an errand, and so it was up to the guard (who
doesn't speak their language) and me to keep order.
time later, the guard hammered at my door. He was all upset trying
to explain what's happened, with the kids around, all talking.
I figured it out partly, and finally told them to get inside,
and we'd talk about it when Paul comes back. I told them to lie
down and keep quiet. We shut the door, and I stood outside the
door talking with the guard to find out more, and trying to calm
him. The kids continued to make much noise, and several times
I opened the door and asked them to be quiet. I finally told them
that nobody's gonna sleep here tomorrow if they don't keep quiet.
Again, loud noise. So I didn't have a choice. I went inside and
told them that nobody's gonna sleep here tomorrow. Their reaction:
they all started laughing.
Paul came back, and I explained the situation to him. According
to the boys, some girls had climbed over the wall onto the property
and entered into their "dorm" by the unwatched door
on the other side. There seems to be truth to that, and we're
now trying to catch those girls.
they respect Paul and don't dare talking to him like to me, the
guilty boy was found quickly and sent off the property for the
night. Then Paul talked to them very clearly about respecting
me and obeying me. He did a great job. I also asked him to make
it very clear to them that nobody's gonna sleep here tomorrow.
What I say is what I do. They should learn their lesson that way.
my heart, I've had the desire to take in more of the street kids,
especially those who were baptized and suffer on the streets,
and who want to live with Jesus and have a future. I told Paul
yesterday I wanted to at least do the interviews with the eligible
kids, even if we can't take in any more right now. At the same
time I'm thinking and thinking and trying to figure out how to
have more room for more children as it is now.
(12) is one of the baptized kids that's a really sweet and loving
kid. Tonight I asked him to come into my living room for the interview,
as there was some time for us to do it. His name came immediately
to mind when I wondered who to start with.
Paul is going to Bougouni (a few hours away) to FINALLY pick up
the little 3-4 year old boy who has to search for food on the
street every day to survive. I could hardly believe my ears when
Jérémie said he was from there. Coincidence? We
listened to his story - hear-breaking as always. Mother divorced
and remarried, he stays with his Dad, who gets sick and leaves,
so he ends up with the mean uncle who beats him until he simply
kicks him out of the house. Jérémie was lucky to
only be on the street for a month before he first came to our
place. Many kids are being sold or used for human sacrifices.
knew the hand of God had arranged this, and that Jérémie
was to have our last remaining empty bed. So tomorrow, Paul is
also gonna visit the mean uncle to get his signature on the paper
for him to stay with us. Please pray that everything works out
fine. If it does, we'll have two more children by tomorrow night.
was the day Paul was supposed to come back from his week off.
Somehow I was expecting him to tell me he would leave us, and
I was ready for those words. I wasn't too far off. However, God
also had a word to say in that.
the afternoon the kids called me that someone had come to see
me. It was a doctor. A few days ago a missionary sent out a request,
looking for a place that doctor could stay. I replied that he
could stay with us for free in return for treating the kids. Well,
now he was standing in front of me; I was a little surprised (especially
that he had found us without directions).
showed him around, and we talked for a while, and he agreed to
move in, though he said it would be quite a change for him. Dupont
is a Christian from Cameroun, and my first impression is good.
I introduced him to Jean, and told him they'd share a room. Jean's
reply was negative, that he would think about that first. I told
him there was nothing to think about - that's the way it is. He's
moving in at the end of the week.
I stepped out of the house with Dupont, I saw Paul sitting there,
reading his Bible. I introduced them to each other as well. Then
Paul immediately sat back down, burying his face in his Bible.
He didn't look up when I walked by, and when I put the key to
his room next to him. I took it as a bad sign that he was ignoring
me like that.
few moments later he knocked at my door and asked why I was not
talking to him. Very funny. He came inside to talk with me. I
was curious what he had to say, and let him talk first.
was right that he had decided to leave us, and he was already
looking for a job. Then Paul's Dad talked to him about his pride
and the way he talked to me. And then his fiancée talked
to him about the very same thing, and I believe another person
did as well. He started thinking and praying, and God started
showing him things and talking to him. He had a lot of time to
read his Bible and listen to God.
was convicted and repented and decided to change and never talk
to me like that again. I was amazed as I listened to him; it nearly
seemed too good to be true.
then also shared my heart, telling him how I realized this past
week that he was not indispensable, while also realizing how much
work he actually does, and what valuable work he does. I told
him that I had as well decided to leave Mali and already been
looking for jobs - even found my dream job. I told him I had decided
to leave in February. My reason: If I was the cause of all the
rebellion and anger and dissension (as he had claimed in the past),
then the only reasonable thing to do would be to leave and hand
over leadership to someone else. And then I told him that I could
never leave Mali, because leaving would mean leaving the call
of God and being unhappy the rest of my life.
then talked about a few more other things that needed being talked
about. I had mentioned to him earlier how it is the unhealed areas
of our heart that cause all those problems, and he had the humility
to agree, and agree to do a TPM session right there and the. Within
few minutes, Paul had found freedome from lies that had bound
him to this day. Praise God! I don't think it lasted more than
15 minutes, and Paul said that he feels absolutely different,
as if God had reached inside and changed something. Awesome!
he left. As he walked out the door, he wanted to hear from me
that I was not leaving Mali any more, and I assured him I wouldn't.
time later Emma arrived for the conversation with Sekouba. Sekouba
had asked for Emma to come for that conversation. Sekouba has
now been back for 3 months. He came to work, but didn't, and so
he wasn't getting any more money from me. Now his family wants
him to send money for food, and he doesn't have any.
told him I was willing to give him money for his family so they
can eat, coming out of the church money set aside to help people.
I also told him I was willing to give him another chance to earn
money, if only he acutally starts WORKING. He agreed he would,
and the rest of the day I could tell he was making an effort.
He also agreed to go to school - praise God. Another situation
resolved for now.
for Fousseni, hopefully the resolution comes tomorrow. Today he
acted as if nothing had happened yesterday. He says a lot of things
he doesn't mean when he's angry. I talked to Paul about the situation,
and he's gonna talk to him. That is usually the most effective,
as the boys listen to him.
spent some extended time with God today (and yesterday), which
was wonderful. I've missed that.
soon as the sun goes down, the street kids are allowed to come
on our property, and many are now at our doors, and even stay
in the neighborhood all day. Some of those we baptized told us
of persecution for the name of Christ - people who treat them
badly, because they tell them they are Christians. Wow!
I love those kids! How can anyone say they are good for nothing?
My heart goes out especially to those who were baptized, who want
to live for Jesus, and get off the streets and stay with us. God,
is there a way? Can we let them stay and enroll them in school?
I believe I won't be able to NOT take in a few more of them. They
are so precious, so vulnerable, and they love me as well. Oh God,
send the money so we can continue construction!
was the biggest Muslim holiday of the year, where they celebrate
that Abraham did not sacrifice ISMAEL, but the ram. Yesterday
I promised them to show them a movie tonight - the real story
of Abraham, and Isaac.
we moved the TV outside. After they had eaten and had their advent
calendar gift, we put the movie in. Though most of them don't
speak a word of French, their eyes were glued to the screen. They
they go to bed, they always gife me their money and valuables,
so none of the other kids steal them while they are asleep. I
could tell today had been a holiday, because they sure had a lot
of money today! The picture shows the piles of coins, and the
paper where I write down who's given how much.
Paul prayed for them, before the doors were shut. The kids were
very happy to see Paul again as well.
seems like a new day has dawned today. Paul told me tonight how
much peace he feels now, and I myself felt some joy and hope that
things would be different now. May it be so! Amen!
few minutes ago (at 10 pm) we were searching the property to find
Fousseni (17) and Sekouba (18) who could not be found. They had
obviously left the property - a serious thing as the children
are not allowed to leave the property without asking, and they
are not allowed to leave the property after nightfall.
few minutes later Fousseni returned, and acted as if he had done
nothing, and it was the most normal thing in the world to leave
the property at 10 pm to talk to your friend. He's been acting
pretty badly, a real teenager, and the most outspoken of all kids.
He's been saying several times he's gonna leave, and just said
so again. All the kids know they are free to leave - in any case,
there are plenty of children who'd like to move in. I told him
he's free to leave if he doesn't want to follow the house rules.
keep thinking of Mozambique, where they reintegrate kids into
their families where that is possible. Fousseni would certainly
be a child where that would be possible, and that's what he's
saying, that he would like to return to his Dad (who had beaten
him up all his life and withheld food from him). I would honestly
not have a problem with him returning. I believe he could be a
light there, as he's become strong in the Lord to a certain degree.
little earlier, I sat down with Sekouba to talk (and Fousseni
was the interpreter, since Paul is still gone). His Dad called
him today, asking him to send money for food. A few weeks ago,
Sekouba started receiving pocket money instead of a salary because
he's simply not doing any work. He was also supposed to start
school. And now he has no money to send his Dad and he's upset.
He said he needs to work to feed his family.
told him that the church could help financially to send money
for food to his Dad. I told him I'm ready to give him another
chance work-wise. If he starts working, I will pay him. Now he
says he doesn't want to go to school, but I urged him to still
go to night school, for his own future's sake.
the two years that Sekouba was gone, his faith has pretty much
whithered, and it's been hard to "jump-start" it. I
don't like what I see. He certainly needs more help to grow spiritually.
(18) is the oldest boy, and as every teenager his age, he sometimes
shows he's becoming adult, and then he's like a little kid again.
I've had my share of problems with him recently. Today there was
a situation as well, but we were able to calmly talk about it,
and it seems he understood his mistake. Unfortunately he reacts
that way every time.
not easy having 9 boys/teenagers in the house, and no Dad to discipline
them! I didn't sign up to be a single Mom. Culturally, they would
never dare speak the way they do to a Malian man my age - but
that's also because they would get beaten up for it.
was looking forward to doing something special with my boys today.
The missionary community had their Christmas program tonight,
where their children sing and do a play, and I thought it was
the perfect thing to do. In fact, I take them there every year.
So the 7 of them got into and onto the car, and we left. Since
we had cancelled the service today, time was no issue. Our first
stop was picking up Hama and Sarata. It was so great to see them
again! And Hama was so excited to see all the boys again!
we were waiting for Sarata to get ready, I suddenly saw Paul walking
towards us. His family's house is in the neighborhood there. I
was a little tense. Arriving at the car, he simply greeted us,
and continued on his way.
also continued on our way to the American school where the Christmas
program was held. On the way, we stopped at the gas station where
they sell ice-cream, and I bought one for every kid. For our 3
new boys, it was their first ice-cream ever!
continued on to the school where we arrived just at the right
time. It must have been quite a sight, me, the white lady, walking
into the school with 9 kids in tow! In fact, people were looking.
I've had little contact with the missionary community over this
past year, because I've just been too busy.
went inside, and occupied a whole row. Hama and Sarata sat with
me, and they both stood on the bench for much of the program to
see better. It was so funny - when the kids who were disguised
as sheep walked up on the stage, Hama said "bah" (the
sound of a sheep) really loudly in the auditorium, and everyone
the program, they had cookies and drinks for everyone. I had warned
my kids not to take more than one or two. For me it was the opportunity
to talk to some old missionary friends again, which I greatly
enjoyed. Several times we said we should get together some time.
I hope we'll do. It would do me good.
kept telling that he wants to go home, and not be here, and I
kept telling him he'd have to stick it out and to stop complaining.
We left soon enough, and dropped Hama and Sarata off back at their
home with a heavy heart.
the way home, we passed the pick-up point for the street kids
- who were still there, an hour after pick-up time. I found out
that Jean was late, and hadn't even come back home yet. So he
went really late tonight to go pick them up. Poor kids.
home, I sat down with the street kids who were already there because
they had walked to our place, and talked with them. How I love
those children! My heart goes out to them! I asked them some questions
to hear why they are on the streets. Some of them are so young.
I wished I could take them in.
is the biggest Muslim celebration of the year, and it's been gearing
up for days. The kids told me that Jessica is killing a cow for
that celebration, for her kids. They also told me that all the
kids who sleep at our place are not welcome at hers - she takes
them to the police. And that her kids fight with them on the street.
I told them that Jesus says to love our enemies, to pray for them
and bless them, and I encouraged them to do that with those other
morning Souleymane was the one doing the teaching for the street
kids - I'm proud of him!
the kids had left to return to the street for the day, it was
time for some moving within the house. Our carpenter had said
he'd come today to move two bunkbeds back down. Well, he never
showed up, but our kids managed to move the beds with only partially
taking them apart.
few weeks ago, after the two rooms on the roof of the house were
done, 5 of the kids and Sekouba moved up there. However, it turned
out that that was not working very well, as they were too far
out of reach up there. Plus, Paul really wanted one of those rooms
to himself. So I decided it would be smart for the kids to move
back downstairs and into the main building. So we had to move
two bunkbeds back down, and Jean (the driver) now has the other
room up there to himself - at least until other workers come to
we now have 10 beds in two rooms downstairs. The four older ones
(including Sekouba) are in the one room, and the 5 younger ones
in the other room. That leaves one empty bed. The move was quite
chaotic at times, and there were bad words from two of the children
at one point, but in the end it worked out fine. They are now
sleeping in their "new" beds, and everything looks great.
been wanting to bake Christmas cookies with my kids, as an opportunity
to spend some time with them, especially the new kids I've spent
little time with. So I brought some ingredients/tools with me
from Austria. Today I thought it was a good time for that. I ended
up baking them with one of the old kids (Abdias, who always likes
cooking), and two of the new ones (Moise and Amadou).
enjoyed our time together - now they are cooling off and tomorrow
we'll see what they taste like.
afternoon was not over yet, and while several kids went outside
to play soccer with the neighbors, three of the kids joined me
to play a game on the Wii. We had much fun together and were done
just in time for me to drive to the bus station and pick up the
had Saloum, who recently got his driver's licence, drive us there.
He sure still needs a lot of practice!!! There were several scary
moments. After the 25 or so kids hopped onto the truck, I was
the one driving back home. I do hope though that Saloum can do
this without me in the near future; I'd be very relieved not to
have to do the driving on the weekend.
pretty exhausted. It's been 3+ days since Paul left, and it's
been tough. It's too much for one person, and I can only hope
I make it until Paul returns.
don't have the energy to check on the kids that they don't trespass
the boundaries, or the energy to discipline them, and they take
advantage of it. I'm tired of correcting them because I know the
anger and lack of respect I will get when I do. And so, there
is lots of "liberty" around here these days, with everyone
doing what he wants.
need people to help. I need mature Christians to help. I cannot
do it alone.
learned a few things since Paul left:
Life and ministry without Paul is possible; he's not indispensable.
Life and ministry without Paul is tough. I have a new appreciation
of all he does.
I enjoy the lack of conflicts because of his absence.
I'm unwilling to continue life the way it is - with constant angry
words, rebellion, lack of respect and submission. Sometimes I
wonder if I am the leader here. Where there is no unity, there
is no blessing. Something needs to change if we want God's blessings.
I have done everything I know to do.
is no children's program tomorrow, and no service on Sunday. The
obvious answer is: there is no interpreter. The less obvious answer
is: I'm not up to making an effort to find another one and make
our events happen anyway.
things to do are piling up for Paul for when he returns.
new driver Jean is a quiet man, but has already done a few things
that aren't okay. He's also leaving on the weekends and not part
of our church, which makes it hard. He pretty much sees this as
a job and stays at a distance.
every Friday, I went to pick up Hama and Sarata today and see
their presentation of what they've learned this week. I decided
to take Sekouba along who has not been doing a good job. The whole
time he didn't speak a word to me, and I didn't have the strength
to bring the subject up of him just having a good life at our
place and not working.
was great - as always - to see Hama and Sarata. Sarata immediately
jumped into my arms. When I dropped them off in the unfinished
house they now live in, my heart was heavy when I saw all those
men there. I really fear for her in this culture where little
girls frequently get abused and raped. I didn't like the way she
looked at me when I left at all.
I paid the next installment for both of them - money we don't
really have. I also talked to Hama's teacher for some time. She's
gonna come over some time so I can show her the exercises the
speech therapist gave us for him.
I dropped the kids off, Seybou was there as well. I told him I'd
like to take Hama and Sarata along as well Sunday night, when
we go to the Christmas program the English-speaking missionary
community is organizing. He agreed. I also told him about the
Christmas play Hama and Sarata are involved in in school, and
they're performing twice in two weeks. I told him him and Fanta
could also come and watch them.
just gave the advent calendar gifts to our street children. Several
of them - who were baptized - really want to stay with us now.
I wished I could keep them. They were in shock when I told them
before the baptism that they could not sing Koranic verses any
more to beg for money. I told them their heavenly Father provides
first day without Paul - ever, since he joined us. I sure felt
the difference, with more work for me, with less order in the
house, but also with less conflict.
he's also the one interpreting, there was no teaching the street
kids in the morning, and there is no story in the evening. I tried
to keep order as much as possible. And then the kids told me that
one of the boys was smoking a joint. It was even a regular kid
that has been coming a lot! I took his ID card, and he cannot
come back to sleep here for 3 days.
boy told me he'd changed his mind and doesn't want to be a Christian
any more. On Sunday, he had insisted to be baptized, and so I
told him, it's too late now! He's a little younger (maybe 12),
and a "unique! kid.
woman came by whose kids have run away. Since I take pictures
of all the kids, I showed her the printout of the 100+ kids in
passport picture size, but her boys weren't on there. She didn't
have a picture of them either, and so she left again, her face
downcast. Poor lady.
woman came by who had received a 50 kilo bag of rice last time
we were distributing them. She said thank you for that, and told
me that another lady wants to follow Jesus, and asked when she
could bring her by. I told her the service on Sunday would be
good, but that we probably won't have a service this Sunday since
Paul is not here.
the way, last Sunday a good flashlight was stolen, as well as
Saloum's cellphone, and money that was lying on the table to be
given to Elisabeth. We have no clue who dared to walk inside the
house and steal all that.
enjoyed the kids being away at school today, and did some reading
and praying, and sports, and administrative work.
the evening, Jean picked up the street kids like every day. On
Monday I started giving them little gifts. I brought 4 chocolate
advent calendars with me from Austria, and so we draw 4 kids'
names each night, and those kids are allowed to open the door
and eat the chocolate inside.
own kids also have their advent calendar - a self-made one with
a little bag for each day. Each day when they are in school, I
put something in - one for each child. I love it!
have not written a blog in over a week - a busy week with our
visitors, a good week where we saw many people saved and healed,
but also a very challenging week, primarily in terms of the relationship
with Paul, who is extremely exhausted.
now there was another incident, and while I've been looking on
for a long time, I cannot continue ignoring his behavior because
it's harmful for us all. Maybe a week-long vacation for him would
do it. Definitely more inner healing sessions. If nothing changes,
I do not see how we can continue working together. I've already
started the process of considering ministry without Paul so I
won't be caught off guard too much.
pray for Paul.
few hours have passed since I wrote those words. I sent Paul on
a week-long vacation, and he left in the afternoon. Originally,
he was supposed to drive to Bougouni (2hours away) with Emma today
to pick up Bakary, our new 3-year-old who lives on the street
basically. But without Paul, I cannot do all the work alone AND
have a new - and small - kid join us, so it's postponed once again.
have shed a lot of tears today, in frustration over the way things
have been. I myself could do with some rest, and I do enjoy that
the kids are at school most of the day.
also have to say that I've been proud of several of my older kids
recently who are really growing up and showing more and more leadership
qualities, and potential. Fousseni has been helping a lot, Saloum
has had some issues, and Souleymane is an amazing servant. Abdias
is still our "worry"-child; he just needs a lot of attention
and love. I'm trying to spend some time with the three new kids,
but that's not that easy. I'm hoping for some times of baking
Christmas cookies together with them.
few weeks ago I got an email from a missionary, telling me about
this Malian doctor who'd like to meet me, and then I started corresponding
with him. Though not a Christian, he's very humanitarian, wanting
to help street children, and has a good number of Christian friends.
far it had not worked out for him to come visit. I sent him an
SMS to invite him to our celebration, but it was rather last minute.
told me that one of our street kids is very sick; he's one of
the kids that were baptized, the one who comes from a Christian
home. Paul told me he'd called Pierre's Dad, but he said he can't
of my kids were also complaining about pain; especially Saloum
had not been feeling well for a while. So I remembered the new
doctor, and we called him, asking whether he could come by. He
said he could come in an hour. Wow!
hour later he arrived. He looked at Pierre and gave us a prescription
for him. He also looked at Saloum. Both had malaria, but the street
kid had a few other things as well.
the examination, we sat down to talk. Boubacar is still very young,
and obviously well educated. He told me he comes from a rich home
but has always had a love to help those who are desperate. He
went to medical school in Bamako (sigh) but has done training
in other countries; he recently did a 4-month training in Germany.
I was very impressed with his manners that weren't typically Malian
at all, as well as his heart. He didn't take a dime for having
come out to our place, and said he'd always be available for us.
He said he could come once a week to look at the street kids,
and he'd come for the program on Saturday. Then he left - and
left a good impression with me.
went to buy the medication, and pray Pierre is on the way to health.
system of punishment and remuneration now consists of money being
taken off or added to their weekly pocket money. If the amount
at the end of the week is the same or more than on the first day,
they get a gift.
week, three kids achieved that, and the gift of the week was playing
a game with me on the Nintendo Wii. I had bought that particular
game just for them, and had played it once with them, just over
a week ago.
the three kids - Fousseni, Souleymane and Moise - came to play
with me. We used up the whole lunch break, and had much fun together!
What a precious time to spend with your children!