I felt many muscles in my body from yesterday's workout, I was
looking forward to going to the gym again. After all, I'll be
leaving for another town tomorrow and won't be able to go for
3 days. I got on my bike - it was even colder than yesterday -
and rode to the gym. Again, I spent nearly two hours there, on
the treadmill, and the weight machines.
got home at half past noon, and made myself a salad. I had a few
hours of finally getting some things done, before I had to leave
again. I made some progress on my presentation, though not enough.
At 5:30 pm I had to leave to drive to my Mom's house. I was going
to see my stepfather again for the first time. I decided to put
some nice clothes on that showed my weight loss. I hadn't even
worn that skirt before (I bought it two yeas ago).
was horrendous, and it took me longer than expected to get to
the best pizza place in town, around the corner from where my
parents live. I was looking forward to eating the best pizza in
was good to see my Mom and her husband again, and we had a great
time. I shared a pizza with my Mom - they're so big - and it was
delicious. Then we walked over to their appartment, where I spent
a little more time with them. It was about 10 pm before I got
home. I knew I had to leave in the morning, and really wanted
to work on my presenation, but was too tired. I took care of some
other things, and it was after midnight before I went to bed.
the moment I had been waiting for so long - FITNESS CENTER! I
had wanted to go even yesterday, but it simply didn't work out
my first day in town. Now I was excited to finally go.
grandmother had her oldest bike prepared for me (so no one would
steal it), which took getting used to, but it didn't take long.
It takes me to the gym quickly, which is all that counts. It would
be too far to walk, and there is no good public transportation
from here to there.
was a little chilly, but not too cold. It was a nice, leasurely
ride to the gym. I had looked up the information online, and knew
it was a big gym; it's one of a chain of gyms all over Vienna.
I found the entrance, and got myself a card for one month. It's
well worth the money!
was excited. The room with the machines was huge. I went straight
for the treadmills. In January/February I had first tried jogging/running
for two weeks, but wasn't too impressed. I had never liked running,
and two weeks of training hadn't changed that. However, I was
ready to give it another try. I was now 9 kilos (20 pounds) lighter
than back then.
I started Day 1 of the running program, that slowly increases
intensity, and I did feel the difference in my body's weight.
My pulse did go up to 94% at times (1 min running, 2 min walking,
alternating), but it felt good. I'll keep doing it.
I went to the machines, and thoroughly enjoyed them. It felt so
good to be working out again! I wished we had a gym in Mali!
hours after I got there I got back on my bike and pedaled home.
got something to eat, and was really tired. However, I had to
leave right away, since I had arranged to meet with my Mom at
a certain time, to try to get an internet connection for my notebook
through her mobile phone contract.
had to go all the way to the city center, right by the best icecream
shop of town! Of course, I had to get my favorite icecream - so
that's ticked off my list.
few minutes later I found my Mom, but the shop wasn't where she
expected, and so we got into the car and drove elsewhere. We got
to the shop, and I was relieved to find out that there is a prepaid
internet connection. Perfect! It looks like an USB stick, and
you can get online anywhere there is cellphone reception, so even
as I travel through Austria. It was working, and I downloaded
my emails right there and then.
Mom had another appointment and left, while I went into a sports
shop since I needed some workout clothes. I found some great clothes
on sale, and bought them. Not too long ago, I would have never
worn a tight shirt like that!
I would have liked to go into other shops there, I also had an
appointment to keep - 4 pm at the hairdresser's. It wasn't too
far from there, and so I started walking that direction.
arrived at my Mom's hairdresser where I usually go - it's been
over two years now, though, since I've been letting my hair grow.
And it was my last time there since it's very expensive.
cut a few centimeters off my hair, and over an hour later, I left
again. I went into one more store, before I hurried home. My intention
was to go to a revival meeting in the evening, and so I had to
quickly grab a bite to eat at home, and then hop into the car
to drive to church.
I got home, I was very tired and had a bad headache. That was
the second day in a row! In any case, I was absolutely not up
to going anywhere. I plopped into a chair, and enjoyed some time
of watching television - something I rarely do. I was a little
disappointed not having gone to church, but knew I had probably
made the right decision. Plus, I still needed to work on doing
my presentation all over again.
thought I'd go to bed early for once, but of I course I didn't.
However, it was still a good time for me - midnight.
had a vivid dream of Hama & Sarata and their parents returning
to live with us, and felt the urgency in the dream, of those kids
having to live with us. At 9 am I slowly got up.
grandmother had an appointment, and I enjoyed the quiet, spending
quality time with God. When my Grandma came back, I checked my
emails on HER computer, but I still had lots of unsent emails
in my own outbox. There didn't seem to be a solution for the connection
Grandma cooked one of my favorite meals for lunch - to get it
out of the way right away (as for danger to my weight loss) -
and after lunch I continued online. However, the tiredness returned
big time. So I lay down, but simply couldn't sleep, with too much
going through my mind. So I got back up again.
Grandmother and I then left to go grocery shopping - and I was
invited by her! It's like heaven, going to a grocery store, and
being able to buy anything you want. Pretty amazing! I had a great
time. She then dropped me off at my friend Renate's place, where
I used to stay in the past. I miss staying with her for many reasons.
was great to see my friend again, and connected my computer to
the internet with one simple CLICK of the cable into the jack.
It's so easy! I then spent several hours talking with my friend,
doing emails, and watching TV, all at once! I had a great time,
and was sad to have to leave. I had stayed much longer than planned,
and only returned home close to 10 pm.
finally had a chance to talk to Paul, and find out how the crisis
played out, and unfortunately, got more bad news from Paul.
The crisis - Paul tried to withdraw money on Friday, and got the
code wrong, so that the card was kept by the ATM machine. The
weekend was ahead, and he needed a copy of my passport and an
autorisation to get the card back from the bank. Plus, he needed
money for food and gas; thankfully our contractor lent him the
money. The bank was closed on Monday, and they only got the email
with the required information after Paul passed by there. So,
he has to go there tomorrow, Wed, and hopefully gets the card
back and have access to money again.
One of our recent additions to the family was caught touching
a neighbor's girl sexually. The neighbors complained, how this
could happen at a Christian place, and the boy was severely warned.
He's also been removed from the water selling ministry.
Kids always climb over our 2m-high wall which is very annoying.
Now a boy who climbed over and inside was bitten by our dog who's
very protective right now because of her puppies. She's finally
a watchdog, and I'm very glad for this incident! Now the kids
don't dare climbing over any more, yeah! The parents were upset,
of course, and wanted Paul to pay for the medical treatment. When
Paul refused, they threatened him with the police. Of course,
it was empty threats since the boy is the one who trespassed.
Paul handled this very well!
I told Paul that I've felt these last few days that I wanted to
take him to the States with me this summer, for three weeks, two
of which would be at the clinic in Wichita. I've been very concerned
for his health, and believe this is exactly what he needs. I could
use my miles to get him a free ticket, and am praying the doctor
would treat him for free (I've asked him). The major hurdle is
the visa. Please pray for God's will to be done in this!
was very hard to get up after 5 hours, and since I had been afraid
to not hear my alarm, I only slept lightly. I finished packing
and was ready to leave by the appointed time of 7:45 am. My hosts
had been so kind to pack me some sandwiches. Thank you, Josy!
was time to say good-bye to the pastor's wife, as the pastor was
driving me to the train station, and also dropping off his daughter
at school. I got there at 8:15, three quarters of an hour before
my train to Brussels was to leave. I looked for an earlier train
and found it. However, I still had to wait for half an hour, and
was trembling with cold as I was sitting on a bench on the platform,
waiting for my train to arrive.
was a little late, but I know I'd still be very much in time to
get my connection. I was glad to be inside a warm train, and it
was also pretty empty. So I ended up dozing for most of the one-hour
ride, which I really needed.
in Brussels, I was glad I still had time to look for a chocolate
shop to buy some of the famous, expensive Belgian chocolate for
birthday gifts for several family members whose birthdays are
around now. I had not had a chance to do that all weekend! I was
then walked to my platform, glad I didn't have my bags up the
staircase again. The train to the airport was already there, and
I boarded. It was full to the max! It would only take one hour
with this super-fast train to go from Brussels to the Paris airport.
Again, I spent most time dozing as the tiredness was pretty bad.
France To Austria
arrived at the airport at 11:30 am, and my flight was only at
4:15 pm; all the later trains had already been full. I made my
way to my terminal, and to the check-in. To my dismay I was told
I could only check in my bag two hours before my flight, but not
four. Great! Now I had to haul my suitcase up the staircase to
the frequent flyer lounge, just to haul it back down two hours
walked up the staircase into the lobby, and asked an Air France
employee to carry it up for me. He wasn't happy at all about it,
and asked why, but did it anyway. Thank you! I found a nice seat
and spent the next two hours checking emails, eating, and dozing.
Then I checked in my bag, and returned to my seat for another
nearly two hours of the same.
went through security and to my gate where boarding was just starting.
As soon as I was in my seat, I first did some reading, but soon
dozed off. I was so tired! I felt rattled by the time we arrived
in Vienna, at 6:15 pm.
bag came out quickly, and I exited, finding my Mom right away.
It was good to see her again. Together we went to her car, and
we drove off, to my grandmother's house where I'd be staying.
grandmother was out, at the theater, and my Mom had the keys.
We carried everything inside, and I said good-bye to my Mom.
unpacked everything, waiting for my Grandma to come home so I
could have the internet modem and get online. I wanted to know
whether teh crisis in Mali was taken care of. I called some good
friends and had a good time talking with them.
10 pm I got VERY tired, but I pressed on; I was happy when my
grandmother finally arrived. I tried everything, but couldn't
make her modem work on my computer; it was very frustrating. It
was going on 1 am when I finally went to bed, being totally exhausted.
had a very hard time getting up so early. They pray for 8-9 am
at church, then have breakfast together, and have service at 10:30
am. We had to leave at 7:45 am. I was really feeling the tiredness
big time, and then found out that they had decided the ladies
would go to church later - an hour later. Sigh. I lay back down
to sleep for half an hour.
arrived at church just after 9 am. The table in the pastors' office
area was richly laid with all kinds of goodies that are so normal
for people here, since they eat it all the time. But not me. I
thought the breakfast was heavenly. I met the pastor's wife's
Mom for the first time - she's Italian - and enjoyed talking to
her, also after the others had gone off to do different things
before the service.
talked to a few people before the service, and then it started.
I could still feel the tiredness and wasn't able to enter in as
much as I wanted to. During the preaching, I tried hard to keep
my eyes open and succeeded. I love how they preach the gospel
in this place, and a lot of "basic" stuff that is so
important and so often neglected in churches. Also, nearly everyone
in this church has come to the Lord through them! It's quite a
unique church, and they are paying the price for it, sadly.
was a ministry time in the end, and once again I was amazed how
many responded to this kind of call. In most churches people would
be too self-conscious, but here they are all very much aware they
are sinners needing help from God. As I was watching them pray,
I was thinking, I'd love to get some prayer too.
the pastor called me forward. He started prophesying over me,
how things have been hard, but now they'll be easy, and about
a time of completion, that my heart's desires would be fulfilled
- that part was very similar to what the pastor in Paris had said.
Wow! He also talked about signs, wonders, and miracles. As he
put his hand on me to pray for a release of the Spirit, His power
came on me and I went down to the floor, where I enjoyed being
in His presence.
I got up, people were already waiting to talk to me. I enjoyed
meeting all this wonderful people, and was told all kinds of wonderful
things, including some promising things. However, I've learned
to wait and see whether words become actions.
the service, they had a reception there to celebrate the pastors'
son's engagement. That gave me an opportunity to talk more with
people, which was great.
the service, I decided I needed to talk to the technical guy to
find out a few things that I wanted to implement in Mali. I ended
up getting the freeware software for us to project songs and Bible
verses, and was very happy about that. Already I had projected
songs, but simply using WORD.
then another guy approached me offering to help with my website.
The more I talked the more excited I got, and I asked him to create
our church website that I've totally been neglecting, and to help
with a few things with my website that I've not had the knowledge
to do. And then his wife said that she'd be happy to do French
translations, and I got even more excited, since there are many
French speakers in this church and other places that don't speak
English. And so, my French mailing list was born today; this girl
is gonna translate my English newsletter every time one is sent
out and send it out in French. If any of you would like to get
the French version, let me know.
also talked to some guys in the construction business, who asked
me all kinds of questions, and showed interest in coming and helping
us. If the money came, they could come to build the next house!
amazed at how wonderful the people in this church are, and was
taken off guard by that. The assistant pastor went around from
person to person with my sign-up sheet to receive the email newsletter,
and flyers, "making" every one sign up and take one.
was flying by, and around 4 pm we left. While the pastors and
their family went home, I was leaving with two other couples.
The one couple wasn't from this church, but the other couple had
called them over to meet me, since they had gone to Burkina Faso,
right next to Mali, to help build an orphanage, and would be going
went to their house, where we talked and talked. They watched
the presentations, and I looked at their pictures from Burkina.
We also exchanged floor plans. We had a good time talking, and
since they are close to the Malian border when they are in Burkina,
they said they'd visit next time.
then had dinner together, and I heard some amazing life stories
from them that just showed how awesome our God is. I had been
very conscious of this extreme tiredness all day, and really wanted
to go home. We spent some time praying together, and then it was
time to say good-bye. The lady of the house is also the Aglow
president for the city, and invited me to be their speaker at
their monthly meeting some time in the future.
9:30 pm I was dropped off - no, not at home, but where the pastors
and their family were invited for some fun and fellowship. I sat
down, and was ready to fall asleep. Instead, I was so lucky to
sit next to the pastor which was my first and only chance to talk
to him a little, which was great.
was going on 11 pm before we left, and I was very glad. I was
napping in the car - no choice - but once we got home, I turned
on the computer and took care of a few things. I didn't know when
I'd be online again, since I am leaving very early tomorrow morning.
I set my alarm for just after 7 am, and yet, didn't go to bed
until 2 am. I knew tomorrow would be tough, with a long day of
had been a wonderful time in Liège, full of surprises and
blessings. I didn't know why God had wanted me to come, and had
no expectations whatsoever, and He blew me away. I believe this
was not my last time there.
having made an effort to adapt to this time zone, I had a hard
time getting up this morning when my alarm rang. I got ready and
went down for our breakfast together. Then we left to go to church.
women's meeting started at 10 am. Josy wanted me to share a few
minutes. It was pretty cold, and they were so nice to bring an
electric heater over.
started with a little worship, and then Josy did her teaching.
After she was done, including some time of praying, she handed
me the mic. Most women had seen my presentation last night and
already knew the basics. So I told them about the value of women
and children, the culture, the challenges. Everyone was very interested,
and a group of women gathered around me afterwards, asking me
one was interesting. She told me that her sister had done something
very similar to me, in the country of Togo, and that she had lots
of contacts in the French-speaking world. She said she'd see whether
her sister would give me those contacts. She told me how Christians
in the French-speaking world are actually LOOKING for missionaries
in the French-speaking world to support. Yeah!
returned home where we had a little something to eat. I had been
blown away by their bathtub, and Josy said I could take a bath.
Since leaving Mali, I've been dreaming about taking a bath! Yeah!
I had a wonderful time in there, with a great book. Thank You,
was still some time before the birthday party for the pastors'
son would start. I was so tired, I really just wanted to sleep,
but I started working instead, and wanted to get that work done.
I have to do my video presentation all over again, because of
the glitch in the software. I need a good quality version, and
I need to do it in three languages. It's a LOT of work, and will
take a LONG time.
I later wondered whether I shouldn't have gotten a nap instead.
At 7 pm I went to join the party. We started eating shortly afterwards
- Greek food. I talked with different people. Later they had cake
and dessert. I had a good time answering people's questions about
Mali. Some people seem to have really been touched by what I've
was after 10 pm when I left the party to go to my room, and finish
my blog, before going to bed. Tomorrow, I have to get up VERY
early to go to church - no clue how that's gonna work out!
Richard and his wife had to leave in the morning to go to work,
and so I had to come along. Thankfully, Richard started late today.
I quickly had some tea and ate a banana, and at 9 am we left the
walked to the bus station again, and took the bus to the train
station. It was our last chance to talk. Once arrived, Richard
had to hurry to catch his train to work, and I went to buy my
ticket to Liège. It took some time, but it worked out perfectly
for me to take the train I wanted.
host Josy in Liège had asked me to arrive later since she
didn't have transportation in the morning, but I told her it was
okay; I could wait. I took the slower train to Liège and
arrived at 10:20 am. I found a little café, and sat down
with the tea I had bought. There was a hotspot, and so I decided
to use my time wisely by connecting and catching up on emails.
Josy knew I was already there and waiting, but I tried to tell
her not to worry, since I didn't mind, being connected to the
an hour later a lady with a sign with my name on showed up to
take me to Josy's house. She introduced herself as the assistant
pastor's wife. We loaded everything into the car, and off we went.
She took the route through downtown so I could see something of
their town. I had lots of questions for her while we were driving.
We left town, as the pastors are living a little outside. I was
surprised how far it was.
was afternoon by the time we arrived. I was impressed by the size
of the house! We're in Europe after all, not the US! :-) It was
great to see Josy again, who I had last seen in Pasadena last
summer. They just got back from a trip to Greece (where her husband
is from) yesterday, where their son had celebrated his engagement
to a Greek girl. The girl and her Mom had also come to Belgium,
and so they had a full house.
lay down for a little bit in the office that was going to be my
room, as I was pretty tired. Then we had lunch, and then I had
some more time to myself, which was wonderful.
6 pm we left to drive to church. They have three services per
week - Wed, Fri, and Sun. Just before we left, I was asked to
share tonight rather than Sunday morning. Ok, no problem! I had
my French flyers, and presentation, ready.
was really looking forward to the service. My first service in
the Western world on this trip! We arrived at their facilities
some time before the service. We went into the sanctuary, which
was quite a good size for Belgium. I gave the technical guy my
DVD, and was glad to find out that they would turn on the heating.
It sure was cold in there!
after 7 pm the service started. The pastor's wife was up there
leading worship with a few people, and at first the pastor was
walking up and down in the front, encouraging the people to worship.
lasted about one hour. I was quickly on my knees and face, as
the sweet presence of the Lord washed over me. How I had missed
that! There's nothing like corporate worship! I hadn't felt His
presence like that since my last trip! It was so precious, I was
overwhelmed. I felt convincted, repented, with tears and with
joy, felt thankfulness and was overwhelmed by His goodness; all
kinds of emotions ran through me in His presence. It was a wonderful
pastor's wife took the mic after worship, and I slowly made myself
get up. I didn't realize how soon she would hand me the mic, and
wasn't quite back in the real world - or rather this world - and
ready. Oh well.
started sharing some preliminary things, before starting the presentation.
It was in English (because of the software problems I've had),
and so I commented on it in French. Then I added a few more things,
before handing back the mic. The pastor surprised me by saying
that people could give money to me at the end of the service.
Wow! He did put a basket in the front at the end, and reminded
people to give, and they did.
my turn, it was time for the pastor to preach, which was great.
At the end, most of the church came forward responding to the
altar call, and the pastor prayed for them. It was so wonderful
to see God moving, and I would have very much liked to get prayer
the service, I had a few good conversations with people before
we went home.
home, we had a bite to eat, and a chance to talk a little. Returning
to my room, I got on the computer, and ended up going to bed a
a long restful morning, Corinne picked me up so we could go buy
some stuff for Mali - some language-specific stuff I wouldn't
be able to get elsewhere. Nothing really worked out as expected,
and so we ended up only going to the store nearby. However, I
did get the most important stuff, and we had a good time.
dropping off the stuff at the hotel, it was time to go to church.
I took the bus, while Corinne rode her bike. I got to church where
I headed straight to the bookstore - they were expecting me. They've
had some construction going on, and so the bookstore had been
rather dormant, and wasn't that well stocked. However, I did find
a few helpful French books, CDs, and DVDs.
my time in the library, it was time for dinner. Corinne had cooked,
but was busy doing some stuff from church. So I had dinner with
Eric - who had also been with me in the bookstore - and another
guy. We had a good time.
8 pm their weekly prayer meeting started, lasting until 10 pm.
Towards the end, some people also prayed for me, Paul, and for
Mali, and gave us some encouraging words. Praise God!
morning I had to be out of my hotel room by noon. My digestive
system was suffering from the change of diet and meals at night
(I had not even in the evening for two whole months before this
trip). But by noon I was ready and out of the room. I had to wait
for my friend Corinne for over half an hour, and was getting a
little nervous, but she came. I had looked up train times on the
internet, and had an idea what trains I wanted to take.
went to the train ticket office where I got my tickets - though
not the ones I had wanted, but it still worked out fine. Then
we had to take a bus, followed by a train, to go to one of the
train stations in Paris.
train ride into Paris took around 45 minutes. Corinne - who rides
her bike everywhere - was able to take her bike on the train,
and hang it up on the wall! The blue bag and coat is mine.
the train station, we still had some time before my train was
supposed to leave. So we waited for some time to find out what
platform it would leave from, and enjoyed our last moments together.
3 pm the fastest train in Europe pulled out of the station. I
had a one hour ride ahead of me at 300 km/h (190 mi/h), going
to the north of France, to the city of Lille. A few years ago
(3?) I met an African man at the church in Paris who I've been
loosely in contact with since then. He's founded a missions group
in Lille, reaching out locally, but also reaching the French-speaking
world in the nations.
I felt God telling me to go to Liège, Belgium, I saw that
Lille is actually on the way there, and so I thought of Simplice,
who's been inviting me for a long time to come do revival meetings.
He was excited when I contacted him, excited that we'd be able
to get together and talk and see how we could collaborate in the
arrived in Lille at 4 pm, and soon found Simplice and his team
members. I was leaving from a different train station two and
a half hours later, but it was in walking distance, and so we
walked to the other one together, and sat down in a little café
then spent the time we had talking and strategizing, and a had
a great time. I was very excited about all I learned from them.
In fact, I was amazed at how God orchestrates things, of how he
brought me there at just the right time obvisouly in terms of
where they were at. And how that connection even only existed
because Simplice gave me a ride to the airport after a conference
3 years ago! Wow! Plus, Simplice doesn't speak English, and still
gets my updates, and replies to them from time to time. Amazing.
what's the fruit? Simplice and a team is doing an Africa trip
in November, and Mali is now one of their stops. It's like a first
trip to see the different ministries, and then see where they
are going to do more in the future. It's so exciting to see French-speakers
come to Mali! Yeah, God!
6:30 pm my train to Belgium left Lille, and it meant leaving some
new friends. Our appreciation had been mutual.
was still in the fast train, and arrived in Brussels 35 minutes
later. I had a connection to take there. When I got off, there
was a guy at the exit who told me that there was an earlier train
to Leuven; I wouldn't have to wait 50 minutes. He told me what
platform it was. I got to the platform, and as with every other
one, there was an elevator to the right, and a staircase to the
left. I approached the elevator and got in, but it was all dark
and not moving. Oh great! Carry all my stuff up that staircase?
My bag was heavy. Oh well, at least I was getting a workout in.
I've been a faithful and passionate watcher of THE BIGGEST LOSER
Australia and USA, and so my little workout seemed pretty harmless
to what I had seen there. It wasn't easy, though, and I was exhausted
by the time I had everything up there.
was of essence too, and so I rushed towards the waiting train,
and quickly got in. I had made it! I called my friend who was
going to pick me up, and in fact, we'd both be arriving around
the same time, as he was on his way home from work. It also took
about 35 minutes to get there, and I arrived just before 7 pm.
got off the train and called my friend so we could find each other
- it worked. It was great to see Richard again after 2 years;
he's Austrian and currently lives with his wife in Belgium, and
he's been a faithful supporter of the work in Mali.
went to the bus station, and took a bus to where they lived. Leuven
is a Flemish town, while other parts of Belgium are entirely French.
It was all apartment buildings where they lived, and reminded
me of Vienna.
took the elevator to the fourth floor, and I finally met Richard's
wife for the first time. She'd be prepared dinner, and we spent
the following hours talking and fellowshipping. We had a great
time catching up, and it was rather late when I went to bed.
8 pm last night, I was packed and ready to go to the airport.
The kids took my bags to the car, and then it was time to say
children, and street children, gathered together, and I prayed
for them and for Paul and the trip. Then I hugged person after
person. I'm gonna miss them all. Abdias and Souleymane - the kids
that have been with me the longest - wanted to come along to the
airport, and so they did. I sat with Paul in the backseat, so
we'd have a last chance to talk.
at the airport, you have to be really quick with getting out of
the car, if you don't want to get into trouble with the policemen
with their hawk eyes. So I got al my stuff, and hugged Paul and
the kids, saying one last good-bye. Then I took my stuff and went
inside the terminal.
to my frequent flyer status, I checked in quickly, went through
immigration, and to the lounge. I had another hour before it was
time to board.
was tired with the previous night having been shorter than usual,
and closed my eyes during that hour to get some rest. Then I went
the rest of the way, security, a few more passport checks, bag
checks, and on to the plane.
had a big Malian lady with a HUGE baby (how can a baby be so big?)
next to me. The baby was too big for the crib they install on
the wall, and needed an extra chair! So they moved her to the
back of the plane where there were more empty seats, and I had
two seats to myself. Unfortunately there was an unmovable barrier
between the two seats - a serious mistake of design.
people were coming onto the plane, I listened up when two gentlemen
were speaking Austrian German, even the Viennese dialect. So I
asked them whether they were from Vienna, and they were. What
a coincidence! We started talking, and I found out that they are
friends with the Austrian consul in Mali and visited him. I ended
up giving them my info flyer - I happened to have ONE German version
in my carry-on.
11 pm we took off. I watched one (good) movie, and at midnight
they served dinner. I love the Air France dinner! However, these
past two months I have not ever eaten dinner - only breakfast
and lunch - and so I'm not used to eating in the evening any more.
I paid a price for eating a meal at midnight! Hopefully I learned
flight really isn't long as you arrive in Paris at 4:10 am (Malian
time), and they wake you up an hour before arrival. And so I hardly
slept at all, and was pretty tired. We deboarded, and I made my
way to the exit. Long lines everywhere - amazing how busy the
airport is at 6 am - and so it took a while. Then they changed
the carousel for our bags to come out, but I finally got it and
headed to the exit.
were lots of people, but I found my faithful friend Corinne who
I hadn't seen in a while. Corinne visited us in Mali three years
found out that she had come by public transportation, and that's
the way we had to leave. Ok!
it's been extremely hot in Mali - with 34-37°C in my house
(i.e. 93-99°F) - I was now faced with 8°C (46°F).
Needless to say, I was cold! I really didn't want to bring my
winter clothes in May! Thankfully I had one sweater with me, and
I was wearing it.
went to a bus we then rode on for one hour. During that hour,
I enjoyed catching up with Corinne, but the tiredness also really
hit me. Corinne told me that she wanted to put me up in a little
hotel, as it would not be restful and quiet where she lives because
of the many kids there. She's renting a room with a family. And
so we went to this little hotel after getting off the bus.
got there at 9 am, and of course where told that we had to wait
until noon to get a room. However, if a room was ready earlier,
he'd let us know.
we sat down and waited. That's where this picture was taken, and
you can tell I'm tired! Corinne and I spent the time talking,
and at 11:30, he finally handed us the key card.
got to the really cold room, and thankfully we figured out how
to turn the heat on. It's really extremely simply, but hey, who
really cares. As long as they have internet, right?
left, and I went online taking care of some things, before I lay
down to get a few hours of sleep. My alarm rudely woke me three
came later than expect, and around 7:30 pm I stepped off the bus
at the gate of the church here, Christ Light of the Nations.
Corinne had gone to visit her children by bike.
at the picture to the right - how do you know this picture was
taken in a bus in France? Look closely. The eldery man in the
middle is holding a baguette, the typical French bread. I love
it! It feels so good to be back in Europe, and melt into the crowd,
rather than being different being the only white person around.
pastors were still at church, as were a few other friends from
the church. I first came to this church 3.5 years ago, and it's
a wonderful place. I got to speak with the one pastor, and then
talked for a long time with the other pastor (his wife). It was
a wonderful time of exchange. I hadn't stopped here on my travels
for quite some time, though I always have to go through Paris
to go to or leave Mali.
9 pm I went to Jacque & Bibi's quarters for dinner. They are
like the janitors of the church and live right there. They had
invited me for dinner (picture). Marie also joined us, and Corinne
came back some time later.
had some wonderful chicken, and a good time of fellowship. At
10:15 we took the last bus out to take us back to where the hotel
a wonderful first day back in Europe! I felt great as I went back
to my room.
hadn't taken any construction pictures in a while - not that much
has changed. This is the dining hall right now.
day after school, Hama and Sarata come over to our property so
Hama can do his exercises. I spent some time with Bakary (5) and
Sarata (nearly 4) today, while Hama was busy. And then they were
watching some Jesus cartoons in my living room. Aren't they a
sweet couple? Who knows, one day....
other picture shows you that my cat is really hot as well. Hot
season has pretty much reached its peak now, or is very close
it's time for me to leave once again. It's been a good two months
here in Mali, but now I'm really looking forward to going to Austria
for a month.
pray for a safe trip to Paris tonight. I'm leaving Mali at 11
pm, and arrive in Paris at 4 am (Malian time), so that will be
tough. A friend will pick me up, and I'll stay with her until
Thursday. On Thu I have to take the train north, to Lille, where
I'm gonna meet with a mininstry leader who wants to talk about
possible revival meetings in the future. A few hours later I take
the train again to go to Leuven (near Brussels) where I'm gonna
spend the night with friends who support us. Friday morning I
take the train to Liège, where I'm gonna stay with HIM
pastors until Monday. On Saturday I get to share in a women's
Monday, I take the train back to the Paris airport, and fly out
to Vienna, Austria.
for praying for traveling mercies, protection, and HIM to go before
Thursday I got a huge surprise when Paul told me that our dog
Uppy had given birth to 8 puppies! What?!? None of us even knew
she was pregnant! We've had a hole in our gate for a while, and
I knew that she was going outside through that hole frequently
for some time. We haven't been able to repair it because we don't
have enough electricity, and Kossi can't rent a generator for
only one day.
dog is so very skinny, I would have never guessed. One day after
their birth, I went inside to see them. Uppy moved the puppies
into a more protected place in a little storage room of the dining
hall. Unfortunately she's very protective, and on Friday, she
wouldn't let any of the street kids into the dining hall for the
literacy class! I had to move the board and benches as far away
from the storage room as possible and hold Uppy while the kids
hesitantly went inside. They were afraid of Uppy. In the end it
these are the beauties. Is 8 a lot? Do you know how long they
have to stay with their Mom until you can give them away? I know
nothing about dogs. I have already sent out an email to the missionary
communtiy to let them know that puppies are available. I've only
been able to "get rid" of one so far.
of last Monday, my kids' first public performance was today. Three
of my kids have become part of the FABRICANTS DE JOIE (FJ) of
YWAM here in Mali. They dance to worship & praise music. I
was too busy to go see them because of my preparations for my
Europe trip on Monday, but Paul and a couple of my other kids
heard they did great, and everybody loved it. Souleymane, Abdias,
and Jérémie are very excited to be a part. Jérémie
is sitting near the edge of the picture to the right, in the middle.
of different circumstances, we had to wait until Tuesday to do
our Easter Party for street children.
Monday we had bought 100 eggs - well, we were cheated by 7 eggs
- and boiled them. This morning it was time to color them. Thankfully
I found some packets of food color I had bought a few years ago.
we divided the kids up into five groups. Paul's brothers and sisters
were here as well. I also divided the eggs into five equal heaps,
and gave a different color to each group.
group had a little cup and spoon to put the egg into the colored
water. This picture shows Bakary (left) and a girl that is related
to Paul's family (right).
what it looked like in the end. On the right. Joseph is putting
th eggs into a big bowl.
then numbered the eggs for the game we were going to do with the
3 pm our last preparations began. Tasks were handed out, and at
4 pm we headed to the gate to let the children in one by one.
Jean had gone to the bus station to pick up more children.
the kids entered, they were each given candy, a piece of paper
with a number, their name tag, and a mark on their hand. The pictures
shows my kids, who were helping me at the gate.
everyone had arrived - about 40 kids (only) - it was time to start
with the games. My kids and I had hidden all 100 eggs all over
the property. Each kid had two numbers, and the first 10 that
would find the eggs with the corresponding numbers would go on
to the next game. It was fun to watch them running around the
property, looking at eggs and comparing numbers.
not all kids followed the rules, but simply ate the eggs they
found, without looking at the numbers. Because of that, we only
had 8 that had found their eggs - the others had "disappeared".
So 8 went on to the next game.
8 were split into two groups and played tug-of-war. The remainig
4 went on to game 3 - putting their egg on a spoon held by their
mouth and having to walk as quickly to the finish line without
the egg dropping. The first two went on to the last game.
the last game we had set our basketball goal onto a barrel, and
each boy had five shots. The one with more goals would win - only
one boy had one goal, and so he won the prize of chocolate and
a little soft-toy.
then went all inside into the dining hall where we sang a few
praise songs in Bambara. Paul did a few, and then I did one with
it was time for more prizes. All their numbers had also been put
into a little box, and now it was time for the tombola. I had
about 12 prizes for them, with one big prize. Balloons, bubbles,
cards, sunglasses, candy, and a thermos bottle to keep your water
cold. One street kid won both - the best prize, and the second
it was time for the movie. They watched the MATTHEW video in Bambara
- the whole life of Jesus. They were glued to the screen. When
it was over, I asked a few questions and gave candy to those who
knew the answers. Then I invited them to give their lives to the
Lord, and many did. We prayed together, and then thanked God for
the food. It was time for dinner.
dinner, they lined up at my door to come inside one by one and
choose a piece of clothing. They all wanted shoes! However, we
had not stocked up on shoes this time but only had the leftovers
from Christmas, and so we rean out pretty quickly. One kid was
so upset, he wouldn't take pants or a T-shirt instead. In the
picture, you see one street kid and Abdias as they are looking
for shoes his size.
we were done! Jean took the street kids who didn't want to spend
the night back to the bus station, and those who stayed went to
bed. It had been a good day.
finally started selling water to our neighbors again. Water is
a precious thing here, and access not easily found for people.
They have to buy it from vendors that go house to house with their
used to sell water, but then had to stop it because we didn't
have enough electricity for the water pump, plus construction
takes a lot of water as well. Right now there is no construction
going on, and we have more power than we used to have, and now
the pump automatically comes on in the middle of the day each
day. So we decided - in the middle of this hot season - to start
selling it again, for a better price than the street vendors,
and our neighbors are very thankful.
(16) is responsible for this task; he's not going to school like
the other kids. In fall he's starting evening school, and we need
to find a way to keep him busy during the day.
is on the inside, turning the water on and off. As you can see,
the hose is across our wall, with Joseph outside selling the water.
went to the village of Dra in the morning, to preach an Easter
message, while I prepared for our service in the afternoon.
love preaching special occasion services - no wondering what to
preach on. And I was looking forward to explaining the Jewish
background of Jesus last week before the cross. There is so much
was disappointed to see a few people missing - of all days today?
Still, I preached with enthousiasm and had a few very interested
listeners. I also used my laptop and showed excerpts of MATTHEW
(e.g. last supper), as well as a music video with excerpts of
THE PASSION. Then we all prayed a prayer of commitment together.
It had been a precious service.
(7), Michée (6), Patrice (2) - all sons of Rosalie (cook)
and Dami (night guard), who live just around the corner and will
have to move out when the government destroys their house - and
move in with us.
looking for sponsors for those three who'd like to support them
with $60 or 40€ a month so they can eat, get medical care,
and go to school. Please email me.
New Resident Children
now also taken a picture of Boubacar (to the right) who we estimate
to be about 7 years old. His family gave him away to a Muslim
teacher at age 5, and he has no clue where his village is, so
we are unable to get the family's consent for raising him.
already presented Florentin to you. Today, Paul went back to his
Mom and two siblings to get her signature that he can stay with
us. Also, we decided to give her a 50 kilo bag of rice since she's
alone with her two remaining children. As you can see, she was
very happy that Florentin is with us now as she had feared him
dead, hearing the stories of all the kids that are being sacrificed.
God for these children that have been saved! Please pray they'll
settle in well, and grow in their faith in the Lord.
the name of the YWAM dance group here in Mali; it's for boys age
7-14, but only if they speak French. For that reason, Amadou was
not able to go to the 3 day camp they organized. They made an
exception for Abdias and Souleymane who are both already 15 (and
soon 16). Jérémie (13) went as well though he struggled
with French somewhat.
took them there on Monday. The camp was held at a Christian school
- the very same where all my kids are going next year, if it works
out. That school has a great reputation. This morning we picked
them up again.
my, were they excited! They had loved it! They learned a dance,
had teachings on worship, and Souleymane even had to do a devotional
for everyone at one point. He told me that it "clicked"
for him, and now he finally knows what worship is.
Monday, they have their first performance. After that, they have
one weekend a month where they get together to learn and practice.
In the summer, there will be a 2-week camp in Ivory Coast. There
is also a 2-week outreach camp in Ivory coast that the older boys
can go on. The problem is always that their French has to be good,
and the new kids don't speak it yet.
excited for them to get that opportunity though. Thank God for
kids' music teacher was also at the camp since he leads the YWAM
choir. We're blessed to have him.
you go into shock, let me clarify that we've taken in TWO new
children into the house, and have 3 more that are non-resident
kids with sponsors.
few days ago we did the interviews with Boubacar and Florentin,
two of the kids that seem to be among the youngest. I was shocked
to find out that Florentin is actually 13 years old - he looks
more like 9.
still need to get used to calling him Florentin because we've
known him these past 7 months as Boubacar. He changed his name
so he cannot be found as easily, since Florentin is rather unusual,
while Boubacar is very common.
never knew his Dad who died early, and life was very hard for
his Mom with her three children. Florentin left his family when
his Mom remarried. He has been on the street for about a year.
He had dropped out of school in the middle of third grade, and
his Mom told us that he was a very bright student. I can tell
since he's been in my literacy class. After the summer break,
Florentin will pick up his studies again.
other child is Boubacar, the youngest of all the street children
sleeping at our place. My guess is that he's maybe 7 years old.
The poor kid has had such a miserable life already, and has a
hard time smiling. I have not taken a new picture of him yet.
the days to come I will post their life stories on the RESIDENT
CHILDREN page. We now need sponsors for the two of them.
other three children are those of Rosalie (cook) and Dami (night
guard). I hope to take their pictures tomorrow. I'm glad we can
offer those kids food, medical care, school, and a future. Yeah
God! I love taking in children!
left last Saturday to spend this week preparing for his wedding
on Saturday. Since the kids have a one-week break at school, this
was the perfect time for it.
he called Paul, telling him that his wedding is postponed - because
the pastor is out of town, and for financial reasons. Awkward.
the meantime, we're still trying to get back in touch again with
the couple I interviewed in January - he was a driver, and she
a western-trained household help.
Friday I got sick, and so I was out of the picture yesterday.
Paul had to do the service without me, and in the morning, he
went to the village of Dra to minister to the new believers there.
He's doing an amazing job!
I'm doing much, much better - I'm actually amazed at how much
better, and can only ascribe it to the prayers of God's people.
Tuesday, Moussa is turning 18 years old. Moussa moved in a few
weeks ago to replace Sekouba as our day guard. Moussa was a street
child, but he had given his life to Jesus, and we baptized him
last November. It's been a blessing to have him around. He goes
to evening school right now to continue his education.
3 of my boys are going on a 3-day camp with YWAM on Monday, we
celebrated today. I made a cake, and wrote Moussa's name on it.
The others told Moussa it was Amadou's birthday we're celebrating.
cake was on the table, with the candles lit, and everyone came
into the house. We started singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Moussa who
was totally caught off guard. He had even bought a gift for Amadou!!!
give him their gifts, with most having bought the same - some
candy. I gave him a French NT and some money.
we had cake - the kids couldn't get enough of it, and so it was
gone very quickly.
uploaded this little video of us singing to Moussa:
as we prayed for the release of finances because of our serious
financial situation, I felt that we should go on a 3-day fast.
That's hard for my kids, and I knew skipping lunch would be the
best way to go. That way also, Elisabeth was able to stay home
instead of coming over to cook lunch.
kids weren't too excited about this prospect of course.
today is day 1 of the fast, and instead of eating, I decided we'd
do a one-hour soaking session.
some instruction, all the kids lay down in their living room and
I turned on the worship music. I calculated how many minutes I
could pray for each person in one hour, and started my rotation.
sit down next to one kid and pray for him quietly, and then move
on to the next. Paul was last. He was the only one who was not
asleep by then. And that's okay.
asking at the family meeting whether they had had any dreams or
heard from God, two thirds said yes! WOW! Some of these kids heard
from God for the first time!
they all heard the same - they saw money being multiplied, finances
released - each one of them! Praise God!
Sunday, our American visitor gave us $200 - which was exactly
what was needed to repair the car. And then today, Jean went to
the post office to get our mail, and there was a check for $100
from an unexpected source (who's never given before). Unfortunately
it will take many weeks to get this, since I have to get that
check to the US somehow. I've also had some encouraging emails.
But I don't believe promises any more - I can't afford to. I'd
rather not get my hopes up for them to be crushed again.
to the fast, our money will stretch a few days more than expected.
And then? I feel like the widow in 1.Kings 17:
surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I
don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and
a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home
and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and
die." (v. 17)
little note: Money given in the US can take weeks to get to me.
So as you pray, please pray for people to donate in Austria right
Wednesday, and time for the prayer meeting again. The seriousness
of our financial situation was foremost on my mind - enough money
to eat another 3 days.
I went into the meeting, I had a few things on my heart. One was
to pray the Lord's prayer together, and we did.
were praising and worshiping God, and made some prophetic declarations.
We extended our hands to the rice and millet, and prophesied multiplication.
Then we extended our hands to the money box, and prophesied multiplication.
Then we did the same with the bank accounts. We prayed for favor
with men, for a release of finances, for open doors and new connections.
we entered into the presence of God. At the end of the meeting,
Paul closed in prayer by thanking God for His provision.
doing 1-2 TPM sessions a day right now, with the kids in our house
as well as the street kids, and it's been going well. It's not
easy, but we have seen some fruit. Praise God!
kids had their second music class - 7 of them. 3 guitar, 3 piano,
and 1 drums. Daouda is a great Christian man, and we're lucky
to have him. However, that's also an expense of $26 per week.
Would anyone like to support this?