6 hours of sleep my alarm rudely awakened me at 6:15 am. I was
pretty tired as I mechanically finished packing, and took the
cup of tea waiting for me with gratefulness. I had a bite to eat,
and we left on time at 6:45 am. It was a 50 minute drive south
to Goleta where the bus would leave from. We didn't talk much
in the car - I guess we were both tired.
we got to the bus station, the bus was already there and the driver
had just arrived. I checked in, and my bag was put into the cargo
hold. During our drive there, I suddenly realized that I'd be
dropped off at departures, but the shuttle would pick me up at
arrivals. So we asked the bus driver, and he agreed to drop me
off at arrivals. Problem solved.
had to say good-bye to my friend Cindy - time had been far too
short and had flown by. It had been a few precious days. I got
onto the bus, ready to crash and catch up on sleep. It was really
cold, though, and it wasn't easy to get comfortable. So I didn't
really get to sleep. And then the bus driver started acting as
a tour guide - which was really interesting and enjoyable; finding
out where the stars live (e.g. Cher, Mel Gibson) and how much
houses were for sale for (e.g. 55 million). At 10:30 am we pulled
into the first terminal of LAX. I had to go through them all before
he went to arrivals.
11 am I got off, and the shuttle stop was right there. I had to
wait till a shuttle going to the part of town I needed to go to
arrived. I didn't have to wait very long. The shuttle was already
pretty full, and the driver was not very friendly at all. I got
on and called the lady at my destination to let her know that
I'd arrive a few minutes later. The driver had me write down my
final destination, as he was unable to find it just by listening
to me and typing it into his GPS.
didn't take long - less than 6 miles - when I saw the name of
the fitness camp on a house to the right. The shuttle driver continued
right on, and I stopped him. I was still pretty close, and able
to walk that distance. I paid the driver and went on my way.
went into the lobby with all my stuff; I was excited about the
week ahead. A young man greeted me right away, and told me I should
have gone straight to the apartments rather than to the offices/gym.
I hadn't known. He then showed me where I could put my luggage
for now, and gave me a tour of the facility. I was shocked at
how small it was, and that it wasn't much nicer. They had sure
done a great job with that website!!!
was told that my first appointment was for noon, so there wasn't
any time to go to the apartments and settle in. I had to get changed
at the gym, and get ready for my initial tests.
I met with a lady who's like the main overseer. She was very nice,
and asked me about my history, and why I'm here, what I want to
achieve. There was some time left over, and she asked me a lot
of questions about what I do in Mali. She seemed impressed, and
I gave her my DVD and folder.
next stop was a special weigh-in. In my bathing suit, they dunked
me - my whole body - into water to weigh my body fat. That meant,
having to go under the water with my head as well, and no air
in the lungs!!! I had to do it a few times, before she was happy.
Surprise, surprise - I have too much body fat, over 30%.
next test is called VOT. They put a mask over my mouth and nose
and put me on a treadmill. They gradually increased the incline
and speed, until I was jogging. They were measuring oxygen levels
to see what my fitness level is.
also weighed me - and shocked me when I saw how much weight I've
already gained on this US trip. And they did a strength and flexibility
test. I also had to answer lots of all kinds of questions on a
of those things together allowed the computer to tell me my current
body age - that means, what age your body is, so that you can
compare it with your real age. I'm 36, and my body age was 43.
That's actually not that bad.
next appointment was half an hour with the nutritionist. I shared
once again about the dual life I'm leading - one when I'm in Mali,
and one when I'm on the road. Time was short, and she couldn't
really give me any new information or help.
should have given me lunch, but that was at the appartment. So
I had to skip it, but they did give me a 3 pm protein shake. It
wasn't even bad!
had some time until my next item on the schedule, and was hoping
to take my luggage to the apartment and unpack. However, everyone
was busy. Instead, I was able to move up my one hour cardio workout.
It was up to me to work out on my own. I had to purchase a heart
rate monitor, and was told in what range I should stay during
my workout to burn the most fat. So I walked on the treadmill
for over an hour to do just that, and then a few minutes on the
was 4 pm, and I tried again to get to the appartment. I was told
4:15 pm. But even then it wasn't possible, and so I went and did
some weight machines.
4:30 they had a weekly community meeting. Many people stay here
for weeks to lose weight, and every Friday they hand out medals
for weight lost. They didn't have them ready today, though. Instead,
everyone had to say one high and low point of the week, and what
motivates them to keep going. There were two other ladies there
that had arrived today. It was a good opportunity to meet everyone.
5 pm it was time for dinner. I had to choose online in advance
the meals for every day. We have four meals of equal calories
per day, plus a protein shake. Tonight I had chosen lamb chops,
and they looked really good. Every plate had a sticker with the
person's name on it. I had decided in advance I would stretch
myself with food I didn't think I'd like, and tonight that was
asparagus. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but I can't say I'm
excited about it either. The meat and polenta were amazing, though.
young lady was sitting opposite me during the meal. She was pretty
talkative, and I enjoyed her company. I found out that she was
Jewish, and I told her how I love meeting Jewish people, and that
I honor her as part of God's chosen people. When she asked my
denomination, I said pentecostal, since that's the most accessible
to people, and she got all excited. She told me of when she went
to a black pentecostal church, and liked it. I took the opportunity
to tell her that Jesus was her Messiah.
the meal, it was really time to go to the appartment. However,
I was moving into a new appartment with two other girls, and it
wasn't ready. They told me I had to wait, and could work out in
the meantime. I chose to lie down on the couch and try to take
a nap. I was ready to go "home"!
they came! We loaded my stuff into the car, and drove the few
blocks to the apartment. The building looked very nice, with a
concierge. It's a "normal" apartment building, and the
Fitness Camp rents quite a few of the apartments for their clients.
we got to the apartment, they were still getting it ready - the
TV, internet, bedding, kitchen, towels, etc. Once the bathroom
was ready, I went to take a shower and let them work on hooking
up the internet.
long after I got out I was able to log on for the first time today
and download my many emails. I spent the remaining evening with
that, and talking to my two room mates.
definitely been an interesting experience being in a non-Christian
environment today. This is the first time for that for me in the
US! It's somewhat refreshing to talk to people who know nothing
about denominations and Christianity. One called me a philanthrophist
today - I guess that's the world's name for what I do :-). I pray
I can be a shining light here, and a blessing to people.
7-hour night after having gone to bed too late.
was much I wanted to get done today - primarily writing an update,
sharing about Paul's time in the US. Ed came over in the morning
- the prophet - and we spent some time together, just talking,
while Cindy and I were cutting and pasting the new PO Box address
on hundreds of folders. A few hours later, we were done. Thank
talked to Paul and played him his prophetic word given to him
last night in his absence. He loved it and told me how he's wanted
to go up to heaven. Even with all the challenges, I could sense
his joy and excitement about the upcoming service on Saturday.
And I noticed how much our relationship has changed - there seems
to be more mutual respect and appreciation of each other.
decided to get some work done and go to the gym later. I got working
on the email update, using the 5-page interview with Paul I did,
translating the parts I wanted to quote. I worked for over an
hour when my computer crashed because it had overheated. I had
it do different jobs all at the same time. When I rebooted, I
had to find out that all my work of writing the update was gone,
lost, erased - 90 minutes of writing for nothing. I could have
taken a nap which would have been more productive!
was frustrated, to say the least. And then I found out that my
lunch appointment and ride in LA next week was canceled, and I'd
had to find another way to get from one end to the other end of
LA. And then our CPA emailed me more questions about stuff, stretching
did not want to start over writing the update. It was time to
go to the gym. Cindy was so kind to drop me off. I started on
the treadmill and ran better than ever before. I was thankful
for that. Then I went through the weight machines.
felt better when I returned home. My second version of the update
would just have to be better than the first! I went to work, and
by 11 pm, it was done and emailed out. It sure had taken much
I also got to spend some time with my friend Cindy, and some of
her friends that came over to visit. I love all the people here,
and have been very blessed by them. I wished I could stay longer.
the same time, I'm excited to start my mystery camp tomorrow that
I have hardly told anyone about :-). We have to leave here at
6:45 in the morning. I'd better get some sleep in!
7.5 hours I got up, and did feel somewhat tired during the day.
I should sleep while I have the chance ;-)!
I had talked to Paul and gotten an update, Cindy dropped me off
at the gym. My friend Victoria was coming down for the day, and
I needed to be back home by 1 pm.
enjoyed working out, and got home before Victoria arrived. It
was great to see her again. We went out to have lunch together,
and had a great time catching up. Back home, she helped me print
out stickers, cut them up, and stick the new ministry address
over the obsolete one on my folders, so I'd have some accurate
folders for the evening meeting.
went by so fast, and before I knew it, it was time for the meeting.
I put on my new dress that I got at the thrift store last week,
and really like, and asked Victoria to take some pictures. They
turned out pretty well!
6 o'clock people started showing up, and the house was filling
up more and more. Cindy and some others had done an amazing job
cooking lots of spagetti, and Cindy's son (an aspiring chef) had
made some incredible desserts. Everyone was enjoying their food!
were talking, and I joined a little group over in the family room
where the meeting would be. We had gotten the DVDs ready to show
to people, and those that were already in the room wanted to see
another video that I wasn't going to show. So we got that 22 minute
interview filmed in Mali started, and slowly the others joined
us in the room.
it was over, we officially got started, and I showed them the
presentation, followed by the DVD showing us sharing in Harrisburg
- upon Cindy's particular request. Then I shared a few more things,
particularly about the recent events. Some people in the room
didn't know me at all.
Cindy introduced her good friend Ed who is a prophet, saying she
invited him so he could minister to me. He was the first to pray
for me and prophesy over me.
others in the group went for it. I ended up with 42 recorded minutes
of words of encouragement. Wow!
parts were very powerful, and touched me deeply - like about finances
coming, and our monthly support doubling and tripling, and business
men starting to support us regularly. He also prophesied about
my husband, and spiritual fathers and mothers coming around me.
And he even prophesied to Paul, and had me interpret right away,
on the recording. I'll play it to Paul tomorrow. It was awesome
- especially the part that God is going to take him up to heaven,
and give him a mission to take back to earth with.
everyone was done with me, Ed started prophesying over everyone
else in the room. He went on and on, it was amazing. Everyone
got encouraged and blessed, including the children. It was 11
pm before he was done.
was pretty tired, and most people were leaving. Only Ed, Cindy
and I still stayed and continued talking for quite some time.
I really like Ed - quite a man of God, and he's pretty funny too.
When my eyes were starting to fall shut around half past midnight,
I excused myself, and Ed then left too. It was 1:30 am before
I went to bed.
10.5 hours of sleep I woke up feeling so much better. I was so
glad I'd had the opportunity to sleep that long! I had sure needed
started the day slowly, having breakfast and doing emails. And
then my phone rang, and it was a Malian phone number. I recognized
it as Emmanuel's number. However, I pay for taking calls, and
my prepaid phone is far too expensive to take calls from Mali.
So I sent a text message to Emma to tell him I could not take
his call. He wrote back that it was very urgent, and very bad
news. My heart sank. I was wondering whether Paul had had an accident,
since he had had to travel today to get a signature in another
town, and since it wasn't Paul who was calling.
I finally used the remaining minutes on my calling card to call
Emma. I was nervous what news he had for me and braced myself
for the worst.
told me that our day guard Moussa and Firmin had broken down our
car, stolen our money, destroyed my TV, and let the kids into
my house to steal who knows what. He said that a good number of
the kids were gone, since they had been a part of it. I was in
shock. I just wanted to talk to Paul and find out more.
had to wait another long hour before I finally managed to get
Paul on the line. We talked for 40 minutes, using up all my just
recharged minutes, and I found out more disturbing details. You
can read them in my email update I'm reposting below.
having talked to Paul, I felt much better. I liked what Paul said
to the kids: While we were having a great time with God in the
US, you were having a great time with the devil in Mali. How true!
I also liked that Paul was doing so well, dealing wonderfully
with the situation. I had warned him before saying good-bye that
the enemy would try to hit him after all God's done in the US,
and that helped him deal with the situation.
any case, I felt better and was able to do some other "paperwork"
that needed to be done. When Cindy came back home, we had lunch
together. She was wonderfully supportive. I had also talked to
some people on the phone, though it was only the fourth person
I tried to reach that I actually did reach.
lunch, Cindy took me to the local gym. We had talked about that
yesterday, as I'm doing a fitness camp starting Friday, and don't
want to go there being totally out of shape. So I greatly enjoyed
the gym today! It's state of the art! I got a week pass for a
decent price. I went on the treadmill for 45 minutes, and did
the weight machines for 45 minutes. Then it was time to be picked
up again by Cindy. They also have a swimming pool, and tomorrow
I hope to be able to add that to my workout.
felt good to have worked out again, though more and more of the
reality of what had happened in Mali set in. I was wondering what
had been stolen out of my house, what else had been broken, whether
they had hurt my cat, where my little Jérémie now
was, and what Moussa was doing now that he's gone.
the rest of the day I felt somewhat "weird", like drained
of all spiritual and emotional energy. Maybe it was a feeling
of being violated, since my personal space, my house, had been
invaded by the street kids even, and my stuff taken away from
me. And I won't even know all that's gone until I return in September!
That's not a good feeling.
very real concern is finances. There are more bills from the clinic
in Wichita, no funds in the bank, and now all those repairs waiting
in Mali, as well as food and other expenses Paul needs to take
I spent the rest of the day working. I transcribed the interview
I did with Paul on the plane, so I could use it for my next email
update. I started writing the email update as well, and hope to
finish it tomorrow or Thursday.
had dinner with Cindy and some of her friends and family that
came over, but didn't stay too long as I didn't really feel like
small talk. Now it's going on midnight, and I'm going to bed,
intending to have another long night of rest.
second email I sent out, called UPDATE ON THE SITUATION IN MALI:
have now talked to Paul, and want to give you a little more information.
If you want to know more as time goes on, please check the blog.
I will also be sending out an email in the days to come sharing
how Paul's life has been totally changed while in the US. It was
so God who sent him to the US, even with all that went on in Mali.
God is in control, and He is not surprised, and He's going to
turn this around for His glory as well.
18-year-old day guard Moussa (a former street kid) was in charge
of the key to my house where the money was. He had to get out
money for food every day and keep records of the money spent.
It was Moussa who let our kids as well as the street kids inside
my house to take whatever they wanted. They pillaged the kitchen,
destroyed the TV, and Paul doesn't even know what else is missing.
I guess I'll only find out when I return home myself. Moussa plus
some other kids also stole about $500 - all the remaining money
that was left for food and other necessities. Thankfully the credit
card is still there - Paul's only way to withdraw money; for some
reason it didn't work today, but he'll try again tomorrow to get
some money for food and other expenses.
also destroyed our motorcycle, as well as both cars. So we do
not have any working vehicles right now, and neither do we have
any money to fix any. I do not know at this time how much it is
going to cost to fix all of them. I just know that we have no
money left right now for anything, and put our trust in God to
has left our base now, but he sent a letter to Paul and me, asking
our forgiveness for what he has done. He wrote that he still loves
Jesus and is going to serve Jesus, and will pay back all the money
he's taken, even if it takes him to the day he dies.
of our boys that were implicated - and they all were, some more
than others - left the house, but all but one have returned. Jérémie
has not. Paul is going to talk to them very seriously. Abdias
will now have to leave our house, as he has permitted himself
so much, over and over, and was one of the main culprits. We will
work on reintegrating him into his family; he's 16.
is someone from the outside who once lived in the house with us
for one year, as a helper, before I had to kick him out. Paul
always defended him, but now he can see that I was right. He also
took stuff and used the car for his own pleasure, knowing full
well I did not want him to drive it any more. Our night guard
tried to stop him, but Firmin told him I had allowed him to use
it. Both Moussa and Firmin stayed away over night, and Firmin
has destroyed both cars. Of course he has no money whatsoever
to pay for their repair; he even still has debts with me. I don't
know who destroyed the motorcycle.
also used our sound system at night, playing music very loud,
upsetting our neighbors. The neighbors were even saying, Paul
must be gone. Today Paul is going door-to-door through our neighborhood
to apologize. I hope the sound system is still working. And I
hope they haven't stolen any computers or other valuable things,
but I won't know until I return myself in a few weeks.
my cat is doing well - she's the reason they needed access to
my house. Fanta and the little kids are doing well also; she was
very disturbed by all the events but had no way of contacting
us. Paul's family also found out about some things and tried to
stop Firmin, to no avail. Paul couldn't reach his family these
past two weeks, and we only always talked to Moussa who'd tell
us that things are going well. I now feel that God kept us from
knowing so that Paul could receive all that He had for him over
here, as his life has been so impacted and changed, as you will
read in the upcoming email. Paul actually told me that he could
see the difference in the way he reacted to this situation - a
testimony to his changed life!
is faithful, in control, and not surprised! May we act in love
and forgiveness, and may what has been stolen be returned many
gone to bed so late, I only slept 7.5 hours, and was still tired.
But it would be my first day of rest.
people came over that I had met last year, and it was nice to
see again. Around noon we left to run some errands. We went to
Penny's house where she gave us some fresh vegetables.
we stopped at the store to get some groceries. When we came out,
we were amazed at the rainbow we saw in the clouds. So beautiful!
Cindy told me they've been praying for an open heaven over Lompoc.
we went to have lunch in this nice little local hamburger place.
I found something on the menu that I love from Austria but had
never seen in the US - fried mushrooms - and so I went for it!
We had a great time eating and having fellowship.
reached Paul on the phone - at midnight Malian time - and he told
me that his trip had gone smoothly, no problems at all, and that
he was home now and everything was fine. I was relieved to hear
we stopped at the Christian bookstore that is owned by Cindy's
friends. By then, I was getting very tired again. By the time
we got home, I had a headache because of the tiredness and wasn't
doing too great. It was 5 pm, though, too late for a nap. I wanted
to stick it out and go to bed early, going for the one long night
of sleep. So I kept going, feeling even too sick to eat.
4 hours of sleep, I got back up. I was pretty tired. I finished
packing, got some tea, and made some breakfast for both of us.
I helped Paul finish the rest of the baggage, and then he put
it into the car. We were actually done a few minutes early, which
was great, since I couldn't find the luggage belt and additional
suitcase lock; we'd have to stop at Target on the way to the airport.
left home at 9:15 am, and got to target 20 minutes later. Paul
stayed int he car, while I ran in to get the stuff. Then we were
on our way to the airport. The car was so full! I really wanted
to be at the airport by 10:30, since the guy had threatened that
it would cost us more if we didn't bring it back by that time.
got some gas right there at the airport, and returned the car
at 10:35 am. The guy did the check-out, and I ended up paying
the agreed-upon price - far too much.
got a cart, and loaded all our stuff onto it. It was a lot. Paul
was doing the pushing. When we got to the building, there was
one place where you could push the cart up, and I told Paul to
go more to the right, but he didn't, and all the luggage fell
off. I was a little annoyed, and concerned as my computer had
made our way to the bus, and the driver helped us get everything
in. A few minutes later we arrived at our terminal. We went to
check in, where there was quite a lot of people. The lady we ended
up with did a good job with Paul's tricky itinerary, using two
tickets, and I got all I needed as well. All was taken care of!
went to security, and Paul was really annoyed about all the hassle
there. We had put a lot of batteries in his carry-on, as batteries
are small and heavy. Well, they wanted to look into that bag.
The officer asked why he had that many batteries, and I explained
that batteries are bad and expensive in Mali. He was fine with
that. However, Paul was very upset, taking it as a personal offense,
it seemed, that the had checked out his bag. I told him it had
nothing to do with him.
sat down at our gate where we had another 45 minutes. Time to
call Mali one last time. Paul talked to Moussa who said that everything
was well in Mali. Paul told him to ask Emma to come pick him up,
and if he can't, he'd take a taxi home. Paul asked a few questions,
and all he said that things are well. I hope that's true; we'll
find out soon enough.
boarded our plane, having a 90 minute trip to Atlanta ahead of
us. It was time for business! I want my next email to be Paul's
words, sharing about his trip to the US, and since writing is
hard for him, the best way to do this was to interview him. So
I got my voice recorder out, and interviewed him on the plane.
The more he gets talking, the more he gets excited. I'm looking
forward to sitting down some time this week and writing that email
flew by - literally - and we landed in Atlanta early. We went
to look up Paul's gate for his flight to Paris - it was E11. So
we made our way from terminal B to terminal E. When we got to
E11, it was not Paris that was on the screen. So we went to customer
service and stood in line.
lady behind the counter was really unfriendly - not the kind Southeners
I'm used to here in Atlanta; she was rude. After her unfriendly
words, she stopped talking altogether. She simply handed us back
Paul's boarding passes - from Atlanta to Paris, and Paris to Bamako.
Thanks to the boarding pass, we learned that Paul's gate was E14.
accompanied Paul to the gate, and remembered that I'd left from
that very gate to Paris. There were few people there. It was time
to say good-bye to Paul, and that was harder than I had expected.
I would have to leave my son there now, making his way back to
Mali all alone. I thought I'd be happy to travel by myself again,
but I wasn't. I had so enjoyed introducing Paul to America, and
watching his excitement at discovering new things. I had also
enjoyed the times when he got to share and minister, being so
proud of him. Now I would have to be the one sharing again.
was very excited to be going home, but also sad not to be traveling
with me any more. I told him I'd miss him, and he said he missed
me. Then I left him there, walking away with a heavy heart.
made my way to my own terminal - from E to A, the other end of
the airport. I got some salad on the way, and waited for boarding.
I was pretty tired. Once on the plane, I blew up my travel pillow
and made myself comfortable. Once we were in the air, I had my
salad and watched some TV.
4 hours in the air, we landed at LAX. I got my luggage, and went
outside to where the busses leave from. My friend in Lompoc had
set my trip there up for me. All I had to do was to get on the
bus. I was on the curb by 7:50 pm, and my bus was supposed to
leave from there at 8:30 pm. I didn't know what time it would
show up. So I kept my eyes open and watched the busses passing
by and stopping, looking for the name of my bus. My eyes got pretty
heavy very quickly, and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.
I had to wait 50 minutes before the bus actually arrived. The
driver put my luggage in, and then I got into the bus and found
myself two nice seats in the middle. It was 8:40 pm, and the scheduled
arrival time was 11:15 pm. I was so very tired, and tried to make
myself as comfortable as possible, getting ready to sleep.
bus kept stopping at the different terminals, with other people
getting on. And then a group of young people got on, sitting in
the seats behind me. I was not pleased, as they were making a
lot of noise. Good-bye sleep! However, I was tired enough to still
start dozing off. And then the bus stopped after having left LAX
and the driver went from person to person to tick them off his
list. I didn't even realize it until he woke me up apologetically.
It was 9:20 pm before we actually got on our way to drive north
to Santa Barbara, and then Goleta. I was glad we were finally
moving. I kept changing position, having a hard time finding a
comfortable way to sleep, but did succeed in getting some rest.
It was 11:30 pm - which was 1:30 am for my body, Kansas City time
- when we arrived in Goleta.
friend Cindy and her son were waiting for me. It was great to
see her again! They put my stuff into the car, and off we went
to drive another 50 minutes. I sat in the front with Cindy, and
we started catching up. I was tired, but it was still good to
talk with her.
home, I just wanted to get some stuff out that I had written on
the plane, and then go to bed. It was 1:30 local time when I went
to bed - which was 3:30 am for my body.
night I had fallen into bed with nausea caused by exhaustion;
nearly 10 hours later my alarm clock woke me. I was still tired
and had a hard time getting up; I felt as if I could have slept
another 5 hours. In any case, I'm very thankful for that one long
night without which I couldn't have gone through today and another
short night following.
first item of today was the HOUSE OF HOPE AND HEALING, so Paul
could get prayer for healing. We wanted to be there by 9 am, but
ended up there by 9:30 am. Before leaving home, our awesome hosts
Bill & Linda made us great breakfast, and we had to say good-bye
to them as they were leaving on a weekend trip. Paul really fell
in love with both of them.
I had lived in KC when they built the HOUSE OF HOPE AND HEALING,
and had taken a tour of it, I had never received prayer or been
present during prayer before. I knew the guy at the reception,
and a lady I didn't know took us into one of the prayer rooms.
There she started asking us questions to fill out the form - that
was a challenge with everything been foreign and/or French. Then
the guy from the reception joined us, and at first they started
worshiping God. Then the guy started praying for Paul, for healing,
while the lady did the intercession. That went on for a while.
Then they walked out, and gave Paul time to stay with God as long
as he wanted to. A few minutes later we left the room as well.
I talked to the people for a few moments, and then we left. It
wasn't 10 am yet, which was great, as we had a 10 am appointment
at our friends' house.
were about 20 minutes late, but I knew we'd have plenty of time.
Paul grabbed one of the dogs again, not letting him go. Finally
he had to when it was time for the theophostic session.
went with them to interpret, and it was once again a short, glorious
session where Paul found freedom from something that had had a
hold on him all his life. Awesome God!
still had some time left, and enjoyed just hanging out together.
Around 11:45 am we left for our next appointment.
met with my good friend Elisabet at Applebee's for lunch. It was
great to see her again, and I could tell she enjoyed meeting Paul.
We also had good food - Paul eating steak for the last time. He's
still amazed that he suddenly loves meat when he didn't before
going on this trip!
1:45 pm we left for the next appointment, and Elisabet joined
us. We drove to Steve's house, where a few people from the Kansas
City Healing Community had already gathered. We sat down for a
few minutes and talked. At 2:15 pm we left to drive to the lake
together. None of my friends we had invited had show up; which
is why I'm not doing gatherings for people to come meet me any
more. It seems like everyone would rather meet with you one on
drove together to Lake Jacomo, which was not far away. It was
very beautiful. At the boat rental place, two more couples joined
us that I had invited. Unfortunately the boat could only hold
10 people, and so those two couples stayed behind to catch up.
was so very excited to go on his first boat ride! And you couldn't
tell he had never been on a boat before! We got on that boat,
and Steve steered us to the middle of the lake - then he handed
the wheel over to Paul, who was very excited to be steering that
love being out on a lake, feeling the wind, and just looking out
over the water and the bank of the lake... it's so soothing for
your soul. I wished the boat could have gone faster. Even Paul
said that being out there "restores your soul".
was excited to have been on a boat for the first time, and thanked
Steve from the bottom of his heart for having made this possible.
was passing fast, and it was already 4 pm when we got off the
boat. Another thing we wanted to do was to pray and prophesy over
Paul. There was an area with tables and benches - the perfect
place. Everyone was invited to come up to him and pray or prophesy
started off. I had my voice recorder, and interpreted everything,
which is great, to have both the English and the French recorded.
Pretty soon Paul was on his face on the concrete, with the power
of God touching him deeply. Everything that was being spoken over
him was profound and impacting. Several people spoke, and we have
quite a few minutes recorded. I burned a CD with all the prophetic
words we had recorded in the evening, so he can take them back
to Mali with him.
was a very precious time. When everyone was done, Paul got up
and said a few words to everyone that were very touching. Then
it was time to say good-bye once again.
Matt and Tori (both from Topeka) came with us to our next gathering
- the singles from the Healing Community. We got there at 5 pm.
The host was cooking dinner, and it smelled wonderful.
sat down and were just talking along, enjoying the time of fellowship.
After little time, Matt and Tori had to leave, and Paul had to
say his final good-byes to his best friend, which was hard.
we had dinner - Paul got to taste macaroni & cheese, another
American staple! For desert, there was freshly baked brownies.
Paul had never had any brownies before, and didn't want to try
them. I insisted - using his mother tongue - and he finally took
it. And he loved it, getting some more!
talked to a few new people, but time passed so quickly, and we
had to leave at 6:30 pm. It was time to say good-bye to Steve.
Then we left to drive to World Revival Church; Elisabet was going
got there just before 7 pm, and everyone was standing in the foyer
waiting for the doors to open. So we joined the crowd. When the
doors opened, everyone rushed in to get a good seat. I really
wanted to be further up front, since the intensity is so much
higher in the front, but Paul likes the back because he can dance
and worship freely. I ended up getting us nice seats in the middle,
on the aisle of course to make interpreting less intrusive.
started, and Paul didn't like not having enough room and being
so far up front, so he went to the back of the chuch to worship.
I stayed at my seat, worshiping God.
to where we were sitting, pastor Steve saw me and sent one of
his assistants who does the testimonies over to ask me whether
I could give a testimony about how the school equipped me to do
what I do. I was excited! I told her that I had Paul with me,
who's been very impacted, and who would have a testimony. She
said she'd check with the pastor, and had Paul tell her his testimony
which he did. We didn't even have a whole song to worship before
she came to tell us to follow her, as she gathered together all
those giving testimonies. We were worshipping God in the front
for some time - with cold fans blowing straight on me. I was so
the time came to go up on the platform. My heart was touched -
for years I could have never imagined standing up there again
to give a testimony, and here I was! What awesome closure! It
brought healing to my soul that I was trusted and loved again.
few other people gave testimonies first, then it was my turn.
The lady held the mic, and I started telling how God had called
me to Mali, and I was so hungry for God's presence, and God told
me to go to school at WRC when I knew nothing about it and had
never been there, and then how I just went to Mali, and all that
God is doing today. I then introduced Paul, but I couldn't say
much as the lady had already moved the mic over to Paul's face.
Paul did so awesome! He shared about his first night at WRC, how
hope had been restored to him when pastor Steve talked about hope,
and how angels took him to heaven and God worked on his body.
He told how he sent an email to the doctor to tell him to redo
the tests the following week, and he did, and all the viruses
and stuff were gone. People erupted cheering!
he told them that next Saturday he would gather everyone in Bamako
for our service, and that he would take revival back to Mali!
He was shouting with excitement by that time, and people were
on their feet now and cheering! Pastor Steve stood in front of
the platform, looking up tot he platform that is pretty high,
and you could tell he wanted to pray for Paul. He grabbed Paul
and the power of God hit him, and he was stretched out right there
on the platform. I was so excited for him!
next testimony was being done, and pastor Kathy came up to pray
for that lady. Then she said that she wanted to pray for Mali
as well, and grabbed my hands, and I hit the floor. I was lying
there for a while, while another testimony came, and I could tell
that Kathy was sitting near me. I got up and hugged there, telling
her how much I love her. I had not had an opportunity to talk
to her yet, and this was my only one.
walked off the platform and joined the crowd down there to just
worship God. J.D. - the network director - came over and told
me how proud he was of me. I had worked for J.D. for a couple
of months while in school, and he had always believed in me.
then Sue came up to me; I had lived with Sue for half a year during
my first year in Kansas City, and she was one of my best friends.
However, we drifted apart and I had not ever heard from her since
leaving for Mali, and not talked to her when visiting ever year.
She put her arms around me, in tears, and asked me for forgiveness
for not having been there for me. I forgave her. It was an awesome
moment. I told her that I had missed her friendship, and she said
that she had missed me too. It was very precious!
all returned to our seats, and it was time for the offering and
preaching. I was very tired, and Paul was tired too. The sermon
was somewhat about American Christianity, so some things didn't
really make sense to Paul; maybe that's why he got so tired. In
any case, the sermon seemed to go on and on, and I found myself
actually having a hard time interpreting because I was so very
tired. I did not know how much longer I could continue. We were
relieved when it was time for the final prayer. Tired or not,
we both wanted to go get prayer before leaving.
we did. Then I went to go looking for J.D. who had promised me
a book, and he gave it to me. He gave a few wise words to Paul
to take with him. Other people also came up to us to just say
a few words to us, and I know that if we hadn't been so tired
and had stayed, many more people would have talked to us. We did
gave away some folders and DVDs. And off we went. It was about
10:30 pm, and we were truly tired.
got home at 11 pm, ready to back our bags - not a small feat.
Bill & Linda were out of town, but had given me a key. However,
I tried and tried, and the key just wouldn't turn. What could
we do??? I called Bill, and only the voicemail came on, and I
left a message. They had told me that their children lived nextdoors,
and so we rang the bell there; no response. Oh great! Now it was
getting tricky! We had a plane to catch in the morning! Paul was
getting pretty nervous, but I knew we'd get in somehow.
got my phone out again, and found out that I had their daughter's
number on my phone - maybe for just a time as this! I called her,
and she picked up. I explained the situation to her, and she said
she'd come down with her key. So we waited.
minute later she calls me again, asking where we are, and I tell
her, right in front of the house. She says that's where she's
at as well. ??? And then I see her one duplex down the road, waving
at me. We had picked the wrong house! All the houses in the street
look exactly the same, and I didn't know their house number. I
couldn't believe it, but could only laugh! She said that we were
lucky the people into whose house we tried to get didn't call
the police! The key worked just fine on the right house!
that way I got to see their daughter again. Paul and I went inside
the house, ready to start the big task of packing. It would be
a great learning experience for Paul, how to pack when you have
lots of stuff to take back to Mali. I made myself a cup of tea
to try wake up a little more.
was a little overwhelmed, but I actually enjoyed packing together
with him, and showing him how to do it. And it only took us an
hour! We had 2 fifty-pound bags, and a lot more stuff that would
have to stay here and go to Mali with me in September. Paul's
carry-on bags were also packed. Paul was exhausted, while I had
done the most work. He was amazed and impressed that I do this
every time. It was about 1 am when he went to bed, and I went
to my room to get my own stuff ready and get online. Having gone
to bed early last night because of my level of exhaustion, I knew
that I had to write Friday's blog before too much time had passed.
So I did. I also burned Paul's pictures on a CD, as well as his
prophetic words. I took care of some more stuff, and.... it as
4 am before I went to bed. It would only have 4 hours of sleep
tonight. Can't wait for my day of rest on Monday!
I got a lot done last night - but it was 3:30 am before I went
to bed, and my alarm went off at 8 am. I had a hard time getting
up. Paul's last doctor's appointment was at 9 am.
needed to pack up and load his stuff into the carright there and
then, and he had to say good-bye to Karen. Unfortunately Tom was
at work, and neither one got to say good-bye to him.
so loves Karen, that it was hard for him to have to say good-bye.
Then we were off to the clinic.
had his last treatment with the doctor, who did some more, and
did some checking - all but one symptoms were gone! Also the viruses
and stuff Paul had been so upset about! The only symptom left
is his forgetfulness - as proven this very day.
Paul's time with the doctor, he had the different treatments to
go through, and I went straight home to finish packing and get
everything ready to leave. I was extremely tired and hoping to
get a nap in, but everything took longer than expected, and I
needed every minute of the time I had.
ophthalmologist's office called saying that there had been a breakage,
and so Paul's glasses weren't ready. She told me that the doctor
had really wanted for Paul to have the best glasses available,
and to be able to take them back home, and he was really sorry.
Now there are mailing the glasses to me in Kansas City, and I'll
take them back with me when I go home in a few weeks.
the clinic told me that Paul would be done in a few minutes. So
I quickly finished up everything, and loaded up the car. I was
amazed how full of stuff it was! Then it was my turn to say good-bye
to Karen. I felt like we'd barely been here and had time with
her and Tom. Too bad :-(.
I was getting ready to leave, we found a few things that Paul
had left behind - his notebook, a receipt, and his "welcome
to America" poster (a second time!). Thankfully I was able
to "rescue" all that.
few minutes later I got to the clinic where Paul was already waiting,
and I had to take care of some bills. I had only learned this
morning that all our remedies were not covered by the online currency
thing where we had received the donations thanks to a dear friend,
and so I had to swallow somewhat at having to pay $1,300. I had
to ask them to hold on to the check until the money is in the
we said good-bye to everyone and hurried out. It was after 12
pm, and we needed to get to KC as quickly as possible. We got
some gas and were on our way.
was really tired and told Paul his task was to keep me awake.
So we played a guessing game - what is it you left at Karen's
house, Paul? He guessed them all, and couldn't believe himself
that he had left those things behind.
I was able to stay awake the whole 3-hour ride, though it wasn't
easy. For the last time we'd spend that time in the car! Paul
even had a hard time with that as he's not used to sitting for
Rooms, Friends & WRC
made good time and arrived at IHOP (the international House of
Prayer) at 3:15 pm. The Healing Rooms were open until 4 pm, so
it was glad it worked out. However, when we went to the reception
desk, the lady told us that there had been so many people that
they closed registration at 2 pm already. I was disappointed.
I told her that we had driven into town as fast as possible to
make it, and that it was Paul's only chance. So she told us to
go inside and see whether they would take Paul anyway.
had favor, and they allowed Paul to stay and sign up. To my amazement,
he was even taken straight into a room instead of having to wait!
were two people in there, and we introduced ourselves. I told
them that I had actually been a part of the IHOP healing rooms
years ago. I told them about Paul, and shared what's wrong with
him. They'd be praying for the growth on his eye, and the spots
where the sun has destroyed his skin cells.
the IHOP Healing Rooms they start with communion, and so that's
what we did. Then they started praying for him, and I interpreted.
They not only prayed for healing, but also prophesied. They said
that Paul was a forerunner for his nation, and prayed for an apostolic
anointing. I had to smile because I had just recently mentioned
to him that I had started to wonder whether he might have to call
to be an apostle on his life, which he vigorously refused to accept.
were out of the Healing Rooms pretty quickly, which I was very
thankful for since we had a tight schedule. Our next stop was
the bank - I showed Paul the drive-through, with those containers
they shoot inside the bank to get your stuff in, and then comes
back out. Paul was in total amazement! Another thing ticked off
the list of things to show him.
next stop was my friend Dawn's house. I was looking forward to
seeing her again! I wanted her to meet Paul as well. The whole
time in Wichita she had been very much on my heart, as she's been
very sick for years, and no doctor has been able to help her.
I felt so strongly that she should go to the clinic in Wichita,
because I'm convinced it's her only hope of recovery. So I pleaded
with her to go, telling her not to worry about the money. Both
Paul and I have been so blessed financially to be able to go,
now I wanted to help her to go. I told her I'd raise money for
her to be able to go there, she just needed to make the decision
to go. She told me of some of the obstacles, so it's a matter
we couldn't stay for very long, as we had more to get done. Our
next stop was Target. I need new glasses, and ordering now was
the only way to make that happen, as it takes time to make them,
and I would not ever have enough time in the other cities I'm
going to to have them done. I like the glasses I chose, and by
the time I get back to KC before returning to Mali, they'll be
waiting for me. Yeah!
next stop was home - unloading all the stuff from our car, grabbing
something to eat, getting changed, and leaving again for church.
I have to say that I was really exhausted and would have stayed
home if it hadn't been for Paul. So I pulled myself together,
and off we went.
arrived at church 15 minutes late - which is something I hate.
I told Paul how before I was a Christian, I hated it so much,
I'd rather turn around and go back home than be late :-). In any
case, we got a good seat on the aisle in the back, and we hadn't
missed that much yet.
was TV night for World Revival Church, which means the service
is timed and fast-paced. Paul lay down on the floor during worship,
and I was fighting with the tiredness. During preaching, I interpreted
for Paul which helped keep me awake. Pastor Steve did one of his
classical messages that I've preached myself in Mali. It's all
about restoring God's honor. While listening to it again, I was
thinking of how annoyed I am by the way things are in our services
in Mali, with kids and adults dishonoring God constantly. How
do you change that???
was also thinking about our services and reacting the same way.
He was also thinking, though, that things could change. We both
went forward for prayer at the end - like most every other person
at the church - and got prayer from pastor Steve again.
pastor James - who had been my classmate at the School of Ministry
had told me before that he wanted to pray for Paul before he was
going back, and so, when I saw him come closer to Paul, I asked
Paul - who was on the floor - whether James could pray for him
now. He said yes, and got up. I then watched with excitement as
James took much time to intensely pray for Paul. How wonderful!
Paul was very much touched by the power of God, and stayed for
a long time on the floor!
took advantage of the time and talked to a couple of people. Finally,
Paul got back up, and we went home. I was SO EXHAUSTED that I
was actually nauseous!!! I know that when it gets to that point,
I've reached my limits and need to really get rest. All I wanted
was to get home and go to bed.
takes about 20 minutes by car to get back to the place we're staying
at, and I knew tonight I'd be going straight to bed - no blogs
or other stuff. And I did. We got home at 10:15 pm, and a few
minutes later I was in bed - with head-ache and nausea and all;
it did take a few minutes to fall asleep, but not long.
was so looking forward to being able to sleep a little longer,
since my appointment at the clinic was only at 10 am. However,
I only went to bed at 2 am, so it would be 7 hours again.
what I thought. Because the phone rang really early in the morning,
and it's right outside my bedroom door. So another really short
night (sigh); looks like it's not meant to be that I'd have even
one long night. In any case, once Paul is off to Mali, I intend
to just sleep and rest one full day! I hope my friend in California
has nothing planned there.
got to the clinic at 10, and saw the doctor a few minutes later.
But he told me that I was doing so well, he didn't need to treat
me today, instead I should do a certain treatment I hadn't done
yet this time around. Okay! I later told the assistant there that
I felt like I was done, and wouldn't need any treatments tomorrow.
We need to leave town as soon as we possibly can tomorrow, so
it's enough for Paul to finish his treatments.
did one treatment, and then left just before 11 am to go pick
up Paul from the Greyhound bus station. The bus was a few minutes
late, and so I got there before the bus arrived. Paul got off
the bus and was totally wound up, so excited about the awesome
time he had with Matt in Topeka. I haven't seen him so happy in
a while! He told me that he hadn't realized that Matt loves him
THAT much. He was very touched by all Matt had done and spent
for him. Paul was telling me everything while we drove to the
clinic. I was so happy for him! I guess the bus ticket was worth
spending, since I paid it out of my own pocket.
had some treatments, and Paul did the ion-cleanse detox through
his hands today, instead of through his feet which is the usual
way. Everyone was lookign at Paul, and I took this picture. Later
Paul went in to see Dr. David. I gave him a copy of Paul's sharing
from the other night - I hope he'll enjoy it. We had a great time
in there again, and a lot of Paul's symptoms are now gone. He's
doing really well! He also told me that he was amazed at how much
energy he'd had last night in Topeka. I'm so happy for him!
were so many people at the clinic, and I had only one treatment
left, and would have to wait an hour before being able to get
in there. So I went home and had some lunch, and then took Paul's
lunch with me, as he'd have to wait for me for half an hour. Karen
kept a steak for Paul - and Paul was so very excited about that!
You should have seen him!
while I had my one hour treatment - taking my daily nap
- Paul had lunch. It's always very brutal when they come in after
half an hour, waking me up. I feel totally wrecked, and it takes
me some time to get back up to speed.
was 2:30 pm, and instead of going home, our next stop was the
Thrift store. This whole time Paul has been bugging me about going
there, and when would we go, and now the time had finally come.
The store was really big, and Paul was amazed and got really excited.
There were lots of women's suits, and he kept looking hard to
find one for his fiancée. I always go for the dresses.
found a nice skirt & jacket for Rokia, and then went to find
a suit for himself, and he did. He got more cloths for some of
his family. I myself found 4 dresses to buy, and got a bathing
suit for our 4-year old girl Sarata. This picture shows you Paul
with all his purchases - 3 bags full of clothes! He was very happy!
next stop was Best Buy, where we also found quite a few things
we needed. Then we went back home where we arrived at around 5:30
pm. Paul proudly showed off his purchases.
then got a return call from the eye doctor, telling us that they're
hoping Paul's glasses are coming in tomorrow morning. I sure hope
so! We should leave Wichita by noon at the latest!
Both Paul and I were disappointed that we'd miss out on Karen's
great cooking tonight. A friend had organized coupons for an Asian
restaurant, and tonight was the only chance we had to go there.
we drove there, to the other side of town, and found the little
take-away Asian restaurant. Neither Paul nor I are great friends
of Asian food, but we were thankful of our friend's thoughtfulness,
wanting to bless us. We looked hard to find something we might
like, and Tom & Karen put the order in. Then we waited for
the food. It came in carry-out boxes.
all liked what we ate. Just over half an hour after having gotten
there we already left again. A true fast food restaurant! :-)
there we went to the house of Tom & Karen's son, who has 6
kids. We sat down and spent a little time with them. Then we took
two of the kids back to our house with us - it was their night
out with their grandparents.
home, I started packing, doing accounting, emails, and burning
CDs of Paul's sharing/preaching a few days ago. Today, we got
the DVDs of the two services in Harrisburg where we shared, and
Paul watched those. He thought it was really weird to see himself
on there, and said that he's seen some faults as he was watching
himself. Because of the DVDs, Paul went to bed late for once.
for me, it's after 1 am and I'm still working. The next two days
are going to be extremely busy, as they are Paul's last two days
in the US.
7 hours of sleep! After two weeks of 5-6 hours, that's quite a
record; however, not enough to catch up. After Paul is gone, I
intend to have a full day of rest!
my friend has a little baby, I was woken up earlier than I had
planned to get up. So I got ready, and we had breakfast together
which was nice. Matt brought Paul over just before 8 am - our
scheduled departure time. It was time to say good-bye - until
Saturday for my friends, and later for Matt and Paul. Then we
got into the car and drove back south towards Wichita.
shared a little about what they had done last night, and he was
looking forward to coming back to Topeka later in the day. We
had left a little earlier because we were headed straight to the
Greyhound bus station to pick up Paul's ticket. I was a little
annoyed because (1) they charged me $18 extra because the card
holder (me) is not the one traveling (Paul), and (2) the printout
is not enough - you have to get your tickets at least an hour
before departure. That meant an extra-trip there, and before the
clinic was the only time we had.
to the GPS we found it easily, and picked up the tickets. We still
had time and decided to pass by the new clinic the Hansa Center
is moving into any time now. Dr. David had shown me the inside
in February - when there wasn't anything in there yet - and I
was curious what it looked like now. Unfortunately we couldn't
was totally amazed at the size and beauty of the new location
and building and surrounding. We walked around the building looking
inside, seeing all the empty rooms. Dr. David had told me where
would be what, and so I could tell Paul also. It's a shame we
didn't get to go there already - next time.
also loved the peaceful lake, and the building behind it, and
absolutely wanted a picture taken. It was truly gorgeous!
went on to the old location of the Hansa Center for today's treatments.
Our appointment was for 11 am, and I went in to see the doctor
first. As always, we had a great time talking about God and the
world while he was doing the treatment. Then it was Paul's turn;
Paul is still amazed when Dr David shows him things, because it
still doesn't make sense to Paul.
it was time for the different treatments; we had to leave at 1:30
pm to get Paul to the bus station in time, and so Paul couldn't
actually do everything today.
he was about to go in for his last treatment at 1 pm, I proposed
to him that I'd go home to get some food; after all we hadn't
had lunch, and he would be on a bus for a few hours. So I drove
home, got some instant rice and left-over steak, and returned
to the clinic. It was 1:40 pm when we left there.
the way out the door, a lady called after us, "Good-bye,
Paul. Good-bye, Paul's Mom." Paul then told me that several
people asked me who I was, and he answered his Mom. Since they
didn't ask any more questions, he actually let them believe that
I was his biological mother. He also told me how some people there
believe he's actually white, and he doesn't correct them.
Our Different Ways
got into the car, and Paul quickly ate his lunch while on the
way to the bus station. We got there in time, just before they
started boarding. The old bus driver was handling it all, and
told me that Topeka was the second stop, which I passed on to
Paul. I asked him to have Matt call me once he arrives, so I know
everything went well.
sat down in the very first row, and the bus driver muttered to
me that he could not tolerate him talking on the phone while driving.
I assured him that Paul had no phone. After one last picture,
I got into the car and returned to the clinic for my remaining
treatments of the day.
I dozed off in the sauna and slept during the treatment lying
on the bed. I can't help it, and am actually glad I get naps in
that way. But the wake-up call is always hard. I was done around
3:40 pm, and had some errands to run. So I went straight to Walmart
from the clinic.
passed a law in the US that forces you to have an eye-exam taken
regularly when you have contact lenses. Because of that law, I
could not order more contact lenses, since my last one was two
years ago. Annoying. Walmart had cheap eye-exams - and for walk-ins
- in a little doctor's office there, and that's where I went.
was the only one there when I got there, and had to go through
all the procedures - filling out forms, simple eye tests, and
blood pressure. I was surprised at my blood pressure which was
quite a bit lower than at Dr. David's office - 105/65.
then had to take my contacts out, and waited to be seen by the
doctor. She was Iranian. She started testing my eyes, and said
that my eyes had gotten quite a bit worse. I was surprised since
they hadn't gotten worse in many years. Then she measured again,
and this time it was fine, the same it's been for years. I thought
that was really weird, but was relieved. I left with my prescription
for the contacts, and glasses. I really need a new pair of glasses
- unfortunately I'm never anywhere long enough to have them made
and pick them up before I leave. My only chance would be to order
them now, in Kansas City, and pick them up during my last week
in the US, which is in Kansas City.
got a few groceries and then went home. It was 5:30 when I got
there. I turned on my computer, and saw that it had been 28 hours
since I was online. Wow, that's a long time! And I survived ;-).
But I did have 65 legitimate emails in my mailbox (after deleting
the spam). So I went straight to work.
the meantime my wonderful hosts were getting dinner ready. We
had finished off the left-over steak for lunch, and to my amazement,
steak was on the menu for dinner! It was the best kind, though,
and was amazing. I enjoyed my last meal with my friends; tomorrow
we're going out to dinner since a friend gave us those coupons
as a gift. Paul will be happy when he sees the left-over steak
for lunch tomorrow.
was supposed to arrive in Topeka at 4:45 pm. At 5 pm Matt called
me, telling me Paul was not there. I asked him whether the bus
had arrived, and he didn't know. I suggested that the bus might
just be late, that's all, and to go inside and ask whether it
had arrived. I told him to keep me updated. Two minutes later
the phone rang again. This time it was Paul, who was laughing
into the phone. He had pulled a prank on me! He wanted to scare
me into thinking he had disappeared as an illegal immigrant, as
we had joked before that that would be the perfect opportunity
to do that if he had that intention. I didn't think it was funny
at all, but hadn't been worried either since I was simply thinking
that the bus was late. In any case, Matt called again later, telling
me how much fun they were having. I'm so glad for Paul!
for me, I was thankful for a quiet evening of writing blogs and
catching up on emails and other important stuff I haven't had
time for. And now 2 am is approaching, and there's so much more
I should have accomplished. I'm glad, though, that I took a wonderful
bath - I miss having a bath tub in Mali!
4 and a half hours of sleep, I was woken up when Paul flooded
the bathroom right next to where I'm sleeping at 6:30 am. With
all the noise I was really wondering what was going on. When I
went into the bathroom I was shocked that everything was soaked
in water. What had he done? Why had he had the water running for
the longest time? Was this his first shower in Topeka???
wasn't happy having slept so little, and had to live with the
consequences the rest of the day. I did show Paul how to use a
shower curtain though. I hope no one is going to tell me again
not to treat him like a baby - when someone from the remotest
Africa suddenly comes to Western civilization, then he has lots
to learn, and is in some way as a baby as he has to find out how
to function in this culture and society. It's a huge learning
around as if sleep-walking, I had some breakfast and then we got
into the car to go to the clinic for our 9 am appointment. Again,
I had a very hard time keeping my eyes open - this time thanks
we got to the clinic, it was my turn first today. So Paul went
straight into one of the therapy rooms, while I waited for the
doctor. I was dozing off on the bench until he came, telling me
he was ready now.
had a good time in there, though, with the tiredness getting better
while Dr David and I had a great fun-filled conversation. Then
it was Paul's turn, and I stayed to interpret. It was a good time
too. Then we continued on with the different therapies.
we had to go to Topeka in the afternoon, and we still had to get
some stuff done, I didn't want to leave to late, and so I didn't
do one of the therapies that would have meant another half hour;
Paul was already done.
we left there at 12:30 pm to go home. I had slept again in the
sauna, and then on the bed in my very last half-hour therapy,
and so I was still very sleep. My eyes were half-shut. I was too
tired to talk, and unfortunately Paul wasn't talking either. I
wonder if he was feeling guilty about having woken me up this
I wouldn't have internet in Topeka, I needed to get some things
done before leaving, and so I got right to work, giving the one
medication the one hour it needs before I'm allowed to eat. Then
I made some lunch for Paul and myself; there were steak leftovers
which made both of us happy, as well as the rice that is ready
in 90 seconds - amazing! Paul needs his rice ;-).
2:30 pm we left Wichita to drive the two hours to Topeka once
again. Paul would spend two nights there (but coming to Wichita
during the day), and myself just one.
tired, I needed to keep talking to stay awake. That wasn't hard
in the beginning as we got into a heated argument. Boys Paul's
age (sigh).... After laying the argument to rest, I suggested
a word game. One person would think of someone, and the other
one would have to find out who it is through questions.
coming from a culture where thinking is not encouraged - even
discouraged - and where questions are considered negative, that
is quite a challenge. Analytical thinking is unknown to Malians.
And still, to my amazement, Paul understood quickly how to ask
the right question and find the solutions, and even enjoyed it
greatly! We had such a fun time, it was amazing! I really got
Paul when the person I had chosen was Jesus, and Paul couldn't
figure out how that person could have been on our property in
Mali recently, and he knows him well, and still he couldn't remember...
it was hilarious! After the game, Paul told me it actually taught
him a lot about Western thinking, and made him understand better
how we are used to asking questions and it's not a bad thing to
to the game time had passed very quickly, and we were both full
of joy. We got to the restaurant at 4:30 pm, and a few minutes
after us the pastor's wife pulled up. We went inside, and were
then joined by the pastor and by Paul's friend Matt (who's been
to Mali) and his fiancée.
had told Paul about pastor Tom - who is also on the board of the
ministry - how this man is one of very few that I know who have
such an anointing of the Father's heart, and true love for his
sheep. Paul could tell right away, and stared at the pastor the
whole time at the restaurant, attracted by that love. Paul was
actually wondering whether that bothered Tom.
was very slow, but we got to enjoy our meal and the time of fellowship.
However, I was disappointed to not have my traditional pecan pie
there - the only place I ever eat it - because we had run out
Powerful Time Of Ministry
got to the place where the members of Bread of Life church are
meeting during the week, and everyone was already gathered and
ready since we were late. We started by showing my
latest video presentation of what we do in Mali. When both
Paul and I saw our kids, our hearts got heavy since we miss them.
At least Paul will see them again in a few days.
didn't say much after the video but just handed the word over
to Paul; I had decided to give him the whole time. Is there anything
more exhilarating for a spiritual Mom than to see her son "do
the stuff"? We totally forgot that Paul was supposed to sing
a few Bambara songs.
first I could tell that Paul was nervous standing in front of
all these people he didn't know, but the more he spoke the more
it flowed. I sat on the floor next to him, with the voice recorder
in hand, interpreting. I'm uploading the mp3
file for you to listen to Paul sharing - believe me, you won't
want to miss it!
spoke for an hour and 15 minutes, and I had to tell him a few
times to come to an end when he was starting on a new subject.
But time went by fast, and people were hanging on Paul's lips.
I loved all he was sharing, and the anointing on him was so obvious!
He shared from his childhood, and how God has changed him, and
often referred to me, how my love made a difference to him, and
how my obedience to go to Mali has made such a difference there.
He also shared some of his impressions of the US, and the most
memorable one none of us is probably gonna forget.
talked about his amazement at free refills, and made it an analogy
that we should be the vessels that get constantly refilled by
the Holy Spirit. He said that we are the ones that should be the
buffet of the Holy Spirit!
very first sentence had been that he cannot preach - I didn't
even want to interpret that because it's not true. At the end,
the pastor asked him with a smirk, "So you cannot preach?"
Paul was done sharing, he sang a few Bambara worship songs, with
Matt playing the drums. Enjoy the video clip!
pastor asked me whether Paul could pray for people. So he started
going from person to person, with me interpreting for him. Paul
not only prayed for those precious people, but he prophesied over
each one of them, and was right on. All I could do was to smile
hard, being so proud of my son.
he was done, he also prayed for the pastor, who was blessed. Then
the pastor gave him a long hug - which deeply touched Paul since
he so needs a father's love. Then the pastor grabbed me as well,
hugging Paul on one side and me on the other and started praying
for us. It was very precious.
the meeting was over, and it was time to say good-bye. Paul left
with Matt and his fiancée; they intended to go bowling,
but they had already closed at 10. Since Paul was already falling
asleep in the car, they just visited someone and then went to
for me, I said good-bye to the pastor and drove to my friend Carrie's
house where I'd spend the night. I enjoyed some time with her
and her husband, and since they don't have internet, and I was
tired, I went to bed early - at midnight.
another 6-hour night, I got up to pack up my stuff again to go
back to Wichita. But before that we had an 8:30 am breakfast appointment
at Bob Evans' with one of our board members, my former Bible school
professor and spiritual father Dr. Dave. I was looking forward
for him and Paul to meet each other.
time together was short but precious. We were supposed to already
leave at 9:30 am, but it was close to 10 when we did. Paul got
pecan pancakes, since he had had them at our hosts' house yesterday,
but in the restaurant he didn't like them at all (with vanilla
cream, bananas, and caramel sauce). I had my traditional wonderful
breakfast. And I enjoyed catching up with Dr. Dave, and interpreting
between him and Paul. Time went by far too fast, and before I
knew it, it was time to say good-bye again.
we went for our 3+ hour ride back south to Wichita. And again
- on the same highway, just as yesterday - something happened.
Suddenly the car in front of us lost a big thermos water container,
and once again angels protected us, and the container fell to
the side and not on us. Thank you, Jesus!
stopped once for gas, but other then that went straight to Wichita.
A few times I told Paul to ask me some questions to make me talk,
because just listening to him or the music wouldn't keep me awake.
I was sure tired.
made good time and got to Wichita a little earlier than expected.
For that reason we decided to use that time for a quick stop at
Best Buy to get a cable to connect my camera to the computer since
I had forgotten to put the memory card in there yesterday, and
now the pictures were in the internal memory. However, they didn't
have any for my model. Later in the day I figured out that you
can actually transfer pictures from the internal memory to the
with this stop, we got to the clinic just on time, and then we
had to wait to see the doctor anyway. But we ended up waiting
a whole hour, and that did annoy me somewhat. I could have slept
an hour longer in the morning! Or we could have spent another
hour with Dr Dave since the time with him had been so short anyway.
Annoying, with one word.
least things were timed well, and so we were there for just a
few hours with little waiting time for the rest of our time. I
fell asleep in the sauna, as well as one therapy where you lie
on a tilted chair for half an hour. Those times of sleeping a
little really helped.
at the clinic I also had a phone call from the eye doctor Paul
had seen last week who had been trying to get Paul that eye surgery
this week. He left a message on my phone explaining that he had
talked to two eye surgeons, and they said since time is so short
and it's not affecting Paul's vision, to just let it be for now.
the clinic we went straight home though we wanted to run some
errands. At home we grabbed a little something to eat, since we
had skipped lunch, and dinner wouldn't be until much later. It
was like 5:30 pm, and our hosts were going to grill some wonderful
steaks for us. Yeah!
we still had time, we decided to go to Walmart to buy some of
the things on our list. We had a great time there, going through
lots of aisles, and Paul was constantly astonished as the things
he saw. What shocked him the most probably was the clothes for
didn't see the clothes he wants to buy for his girl-friend, but
he got the air mattress he wanted to buy for his Dad. We got a
lot done, but the thrift store for the clothes is still very important
and has to be done on Thursday.
got home at 7:45 pm, and dinner was ready. It was awesome. Paul
just loves Karen's food - unfortunately it was his last dinner
here. He ate and ate - we were all amazed.... obviously his loss
of appetite was healed - at least when it comes to Karen's food.
was really full afterwards. We continued talking for a while,
which was wonderful, and what I had predicted came true - it was
after 11 pm before I was able to grab my computer and start working
and writing the blog. Paul prepared a little for the Bible study
he's doing tomorrow, while I tried my best to stay awake and finished
was exciting was that Paul got to experience a tornado watch,
as the storm and hail was ferocious outside. However, it didn't
go beyond the watch; I did show Paul videos of tornadoes on YOUTUBE
though so he could get an idea of what they're like.
was 2 am before I finally went to bed, expecting to have 6 hours
of sleep before the alarm would wake me up. My hopes were not
another short night, I woke up before my alarm went off. Breakfast
was at 8:15 am, since we had to leave at 8:45 am. Paul wanted
to go to Kohl's since there was a sale there and he wanted to
buy clothes for his fiancée. The only time we had was before
the service. Our wonderful hosts made an amazing breakfast - I
stayed with the eggs, while Paul loved the pecan pancakes.
we got to Kohl's after 9 am, it was pretty empty there. I needed
to find something specific for myself, but they didn't have it.
Paul wanted to find a skirt and jacket for Rokia, but even with
the sale, it was beyond what he could afford. He considered making
more debts with me, but then decided not to. So we left there
empty-handed, and went on to church.
actually got to church early. It was great to see CTC again, and
I was excited that Paul could be there and meet everyone, and
for everyone to meet him.
went inside, and started talking with one person after another,
with me constantly introducing Paul. It was wonderful. Then the
pastor came by and greeted Paul; he told him that he felt as if
he already knew Paul well because of all he'd heard about him.
service started, and Paul was soon kneeling on the floor in worship.
Then they greeted first time visitors, and Paul put his arm up.
The pastor acknowledged him, saying he had come the farthest,
and told everyone who Paul was. Then he preached a sermon on the
power of our thoughts and words. It was good! The service was
over at 11:40 am already, and people came up to us to meet Paul
or give us money. One lady wanted to pray for Paul.
kept watching Lee & Doris who had confirmed by email that
they'd pray for Paul at the end of the service. So we walked over
and greeted them, and then they started praying for Paul. The
first thing they prayed was for the digestive system - and they
had no clue that's what Paul needed! Paul said that electricity
shot through all his bones. Then they started prophesying different
things. I wished we had recorded it. Another couple was joining
in as well, and after Lee & Doris had left, they continued
praying for Paul, who ended up on the floor. They were praying
some powerful things; they also prayed for me a little. They then
told us they are new members, and they'd take our DVD & folder.
pastor came up to exchange a few words and find out how long Paul
would be here for. When he heard that it was Paul's only time,
he said he'd pray for him even though he was in a hurry. It was
a precious moment.
was after 12:30 am when we left church and I called my good friend
Debbie who we were having lunch with to find out when she could
be at our meeting place. On our way there, as we were driving
along, the car in front of us suddenly had a tire explode, which
was quite a shock to us - where do you go, left or right? I basically
went nowhere at all, and nothing touched us. An hour after leaving
church we had a warm reunion at our typical meeting place, and
she was happy to meet Paul as well.
then followed her to our traditional restaurant we always go to
- my favorite: Texas Roadhouse, the most amazing steak place!
Paul was amazed when he saw the meat, and the interior of the
restaurant. We were taken to the exact same table Debbie and I
had sat at last time. It was all very exciting to Paul.
started with our traditional onion blossoms that Paul liked very
much. Then he picked out what kind of meat he wanted - a ribeye
steak. I went for the same I always have.
told Paul that she had a gift for him. He was wondering what he
was. And then she gave him $50. Paul was totally amazed and very
moved. This morning he had chosen NOT to make debts to buy clothes
for his fiancée, and now he was given that much money!
He told her that he wanted to buy an air mattress for his Dad
as well, and had not known how to make those purchases, but now
he could do it. It nearly made Debbie cry as well.
steaks came and were pretty amazing. We didn't think Paul would
be able to eat all those 16 ounces of his steak, but he did. Wow!
And he so loved it! He said he wasn't a big beef lover before,
and with this kind of beef.... any time!
asked Paul some great questions on different things, and listened
carefully to his answers. We had a good conversation.
went by quickly, and it was time to move on. Traditionally, we
always go to Starbucks next. I had not been on this trip, avoiding
it on purpose, since I love their chocolate drink, but I did want
to have it just one time, so I did. I was actually disappointed
at how it tasted.
were our last few minutes together, sharing with each other. At
least we got a picture together, so we won't forget. Then it was
time to say good-bye once again. It was after 5 pm, and the housechurch
meeting was starting at 6 pm.
was extremely tired by that time and in reality would have wanted
to just go home and rest. But it was not meant to be. My GPS took
us to the location of the meeting. However, for some reason I
can't get my GPS to tell me the address I ask it to take me to,
and so while I had reached my destination, I had no clue which
house was the right house. I called the most logical person, but
she didn't pick up. The next person I called had no clue, and
so I tried the first person a second time. After a few tries -
I had no other choice/hope - she picked up. I was relieved! I
had thought we might have to go home after all.
person told me that they were actually at that meeting at that
very moment, and so they knew the house number perfectly well.
We pulled up at their driveway, and went inside. We were at the
had not seen the leaders of this group for many years, and was
very excited to see them again. It was also great to see another
family there that I'm friends with. We found ourselves a spot
on the floor, waiting for the meeting to start, which wasn't very
soon. I was so tired, I ended up lying down on my back, especially
in worship. I felt utterly exhausted, happy to be lying there,
and God must have refreshed me during worship, because after some
time I was able to sit up again.
meeting was pretty unique in that it reminded me of the New Testament
church; everyone had something to contribute. They asked Paul
and me to pray for someone who had a call to Africa, and we did.
It was a very family-like, free atmosphere. Paul then had a prophetic
word for the group that he passed on. In response, the leaders
shared what their heart for the future was.
the end, they said they wanted to pray and prophesy over us. So
this time I got my voice recorder out, and I told them I'd interpret
everything into French right away, so that we'd have both languages
on the recording. We sat on two chairs in the middle of the room,
and different people started praying and prophesying. So much
was repeating what others had already spoken over Paul recently!
It was awesome! I was so happy for him.
they were done, I handed out a few folders and DVDs. Then I told
them we had to go home since we were both very tired. So we said
good-bye to old and new friends and drove off.
was so glad to be home, where we started talking with our hosts.
He then went to bed, and I went to my room to blog. It's amazing
how long it takes to write all this!!! So I was only able to write
one day, not more, and still went to bed very late for another
morning my friends made us wonderful breakfast, and we all ate
together. Then it was time to get ready to go; we still needed
to pick up our tickets to Oceans of Fun at the supermarket where
they are cheaper.
had no T-shirt to wear (left in Wichita), and no shoes (left in
Wichita), so our host lent him both. He also left his sunglasses
in Wichita. On the way out the door I got somewhat annoyed as
I had told him to just take his whole suitcase with him, but he
had refused to. Over all the concern for him to have all he needs,
I left my phone at home, which annoyed me even more. I was rather
upset about Paul never listening to anything I say, and he was
also upset with me; not a good situation. We stopped talking to
stopped at Hyvee to pick up the tickets, and then went to Target
because I needed flip-flops. Then we continued on to our 10 am
appointment for Paul to have a theophostic session at my friends'
got there a little late, but Paul was definitely ready for the
session after our exchange and ensuing silence. I was still upset.
started the session, with me interpreting. At first, Paul had
a little bit of a hard time, but it still ended up being a textbook
session, a typical Paul session with him laughing and being full
of joy at the end. All in all, it took about an hour.
some of the long periods of waiting for Paul to tell what was
going on, I was reflecting on my own emotions, why I was so upset
with him. I did know the general origin, but stopped myself from
going any further since this was Paul's session.
we were done, our friend Matt wasn't there yet. I was feeling
pretty miserable, and was wishing I could have a session myself.
I really wanted to at least share my feelings with my friends,
but there was no opportunity. I would have to "suck it up"
and continue on.
plan was to go to Cici's pizza for lunch - Paul's choice. We decided
to meet Matt right there, and went on our way. There was a dollar
store right nextdoors, and since we were waiting for Matt, we
decided to go inside and take advantage of it, since it had been
on our list of things to do. Paul wanted to get a few gifts for
the kids, and I also wanted some stuff to take back. A few minutes
later we were done, and went to Cici's.
had just gotten there. I paid for everyone, and we got "to
work". I showed Paul how it works. I didn't think I'd eat
something like this again - unlimited pizza - having changed the
way I eat, but I was looking forward to pizza actually. I ended
up eating more than I should have, but it was really good!
was relieved that Paul liked most pizzas. He tried quite a few
of them. Matt also set a great example of eating lots of pizza.
really liked the salad pizza, and ordered one. They ended up bringing
the whole thing to the table! He only had a slice though.
plan was to leave no later than 1 pm to make the most of Oceans
of Fun, but it was later than that when we left. I got my GPS
out, and off we went, all three of us with my car. We had a good
conversation in the car.
"only" took us 40 minutes to get there - it was about
2 pm. At first we couldn't find the entrance, but then we found
it. We parked our car and walked to the entrance, where this picture
was taken. I was amazed at how many people were there!
had all our stuff, and I was willing to guard it while Paul and
Matt had fun at the different rides. So off they went. These pictures
show some of the rides they went on - six in total.
was pretty tired, and still discouraged, and turned down when
Matt offered to stay with our stuff so that Paul and I could go
on that first "ride". I know I should have gone, because
it set the tone for the rest of my time there.
was pretty down, but told myself that my reason for being there
was for Paul to have fun - and that mission was accomplished.
I was very glad that his friend Matt was with us, and don't even
know how we could have gone on rides if it had been just the two
of us, since we had our valuables to guard.
time was so short too - two and a half hours, with all the long
lines... I knew if I myself did some rides, it would take away
time, and so I deliberately put Paul first, since he was who counted
today. At one point I put my foot into the water, and was shocked
how cold it was. Too cold for me! It's been unusually cold these
past few days, and the water reflected that. Poor Paul was shivering
every time he got out of the water.
was so great to see Paul and Matt have so much fun, and Paul thanked
me a few times. Right now his "thank you count" is at
18. Being so tired and discouraged, his happiness made it so worth
the last ride, I got a chair to sit in while waiting for them
to come down. It also liked like it would be the longest waiting
period, and it was. As I sat on the chair, camera in hand, waiting
for them to come down, I actually dozed off - sitting in the sun.
I finally woke up and lay down on the bed right there that was
empty. At least I'd get some rest while waiting. I didn't fall
asleep again, and then they were back - 45 minutes after they
had left. It was perfect timing, because it was time to leave
and drive back, so we'd make it to church on time. It was 4:30
pm. We dropped off Matt at his car, saying "good-bye until
Tuesday" and continued on home. I was so tired that my eyes
were even closing while driving; Paul and I still weren't talking
which didn't help in keeping me awake. I was still very discouraged.
got home at 5:30 pm, which was great since I had to take a shower
before going to church. An hour later we left. If Paul hadn't
been here, I would have stayed home to get some rest for a change.
But that wasn't possible.
was still fighting the tiredness as we were driving to church
in silence. We got there a little late, but the service hadn't
started yet. I was annoyed though that we sat in the very last
row. At least it gave Paul room to dance in worship and stretch
out on the floor - which he both did.
after the service had started, one of the ladies looking for testimonies
came up to me, and I told her Paul was touched really powerfully
last night. However, Paul told me I could tell her, and she left;
I told her we'd be back next week, and that would probably be
a better moment.
closed my eyes to connect with God, the discouragement heavy on
me. Paul was shouting and dancing a few meters away. I cried out
to God, showing me what to do about this situation, how to change,
what can be changed. I could just stop telling Paul what to do
and let him do his mistakes - but then it's his health that's
at stake when he doesn't wear sunscreen or a hat... What mother
would allow her child to be hurt, damaged physically permanently?
I couldn't see a solution to the problem, and God didn't give
me one either. I knelt on the floor weeping hard, feeling so hopeless,
repeating myself for years without seeming fruit. I asked God
to just make Paul the leader in Mali and let me do something else,
but then He showed me how Paul wasn't ready and how I still had
a lot to pass on and teach. I didn't feel at all like I was doing
a good job in Mali, and asked God to find someone better to take
my place. But somehow He has never listened to me when it comes
to this prayer.
had been the most discouraging (or only discouraging) day of this
trip. After some time I got back up, not feeling changed in any
way. They then did some testimonies, and I interpreted for Paul.
After the offering, it was time for the sermon, and interpreted
for Paul again. It was a great sermon, and Paul enjoyed it. Something
changed in both of us during that sermon.
time was approaching, and we were so far from the front. When
the call came, we went forward as fast as we could. We were waiting
to get prayed for, and then a lady who knew me came and prayed
for me. Then another lady who didn't know me, and her words didn't
seem to be fitting. I saw the pastor approaching, praying for
people, and was hoping for him to pray for me. And he did. He
prayed "expansion", "provision", "prosperity"
- something like that - and I went down. I enjoyed being in His
presence, and then they started singing a glory song which intensified
His presence on and in me.
some time I got up - and couldn't see Paul anywhere. Finally he
returned from the restrooms. I wanted to introduce him to the
pastors tonight, and so we went that direction in the sanctuary.
However, pastor Steve was still praying for people. After some
time he stopped and Kathy took over. I was amazed that they were
still praying for people at 11 pm - that's not the way it's been
on my last visits. So we kept waiting, and I finally saw the slide
I'd been told about up on the screen: "ministries we support"
- and one of the six was Healing 2 The Nations Intl., with my
name and picture on there. I was blown away by that! It really
touched my heart that they would do that. As it had touched me
that they've started supporting us.
felt like I had finally come home to WRC. When I left for Mali
6 years ago, I left WRC in the midst of unfortunate circumstances
(to put it mildly) which broke my heart, but I chose to walk in
forgiveness and would come back every year, telling them how much
I love them and how thankful I am for all I've received there,
and that I would not be able to do today what I do if it wasn't
for them. My persistent love made a difference, and after 6 long
years, I can call WRC home again. Powerful God!
heart was burning to tell the pastors that, and thank them for
supporting us. So we were waiting patiently. After some time I
realized that things were not the way they used to be, and that
it might still take a long time to wait for them. Pastor Steve
was standing to the side, and so I decided to just go talk to
him, even though Kathy wasn't there. I introduced Paul to him,
and told him a little about Paul. They then exchanged a few words.
I told pastor Steve thank you for supporting us, and that I feel
like I've finally come home. Then I gave my DVD and folder to
him, and told him, we'd be back next week. Then we said good-bye.
we walked out the building, my heart was still so moved. Finally,
after 6 long years, relationship was restored. I don't want to
ever give up on people and relationships that are important to
me, and the fruit was very obvious. It felt so good for that restoration
process to be completed.
the relationship between Paul and me was also restored, just by
each one of us having been in the presence of God. We were talking
about the service and the church in the car, as if nothing had
ever happened. My heart was still very moved, and I brought up
the subject of what exactly had happened today to make the day
the way it was.
followed was a heart-to-heart conversation, with both of us being
in that tender spot with the Lord, and we both spoke with honor
and humility and transparency and even conviction over how we
could have each acted differently. I shared my heart with him
why I say what I say, and he shared why he reacts like he does,
etc. We both understood the other one better, and both determined
to do better in the future. Our relationship is so much
better now. I actually told Paul that our relationship is like
training ground for marriage - if he can't get along with me and
has "his stuff" come up to cause trouble, how does he
want to successfully be married! He's only just 21 - take your
time and get healed up first!
was so extremely relieved about the reconciliation between Paul
and me; it had been draining. Back home we talked with our hosts
for some time and had a bite to eat. Then it was time to sit down
write the blog. However, I was so very tired my eyes kept closing,
and I couldn't concentrate, and with so much more to write, I
just knew there was no way I could get it down. So I gave up and
went to bed. It was nearly 2 am.
was 3 am before I was done catching up on writing blogs; I just
knew I needed to get it done before going to Kansas City.
our appointments at the clinic were canceled at their end, and
none of the appointments I tried to fit in were confirmed, I then
decided to not set the alarm and force ourselves to leave for
Kansas City by 9 am. Instead I woke up by myself around 8:45 am.
Another 5+ hour night.
was up for a change, and getting ready. I also started packing,
and time went by far too fast. I had breakfast as well, and in
the end it was 10:25 am before we left the house to drive the
3 hours to Kansas City.
weather was great. We had a worship CD going, and spent most of
the time talking. I also made some phone calls to see whether
certain appointments were working out or not. In the end, it was
all figured out.
first stop was World Revival Church to spent a few minutes with
JD, who is the director of their network, and who's always been
very supportive of what I do. I greatly appreciate him and value
his input. I always make a point to spend an hour talking with
him when I come to town.
was amazed at the big and beautiful property, and wanted a picture
taken in front of the American flag. Then we headed insight to
see JD. It was great seeing him again, and he took us to his new
office, where we ended up talking for an hour. I gave him an update
of what's going on in Mali, and asked his advice on one difficult
situation we have. He also encouraged Paul, which was wonderful.
left there at 2:30 pm to drive to our hosts' house which was maybe
20 minutes away. I was very much looking forward to seeing Bill
& Linda again. They've been so amazing over the years. They
had moved since my last time here, but thanks to the navigation
system and my cellphone we found it just fine.
was a very warm welcome; we unloaded the car, and grabbed something
to eat. Time was far too short, though, and we needed to leave
again right away for our 4 pm appointment half an hour away. We
were both tired, and I wondered whether I had made the right choice
about the when and where of this appointment.
arrived at IHOP (House of Prayer) late, and found Steve right
away, sitting outside the coffee shop. It was great to see him
again. We went inside to get something, and Paul chose some yoghurt
that he ended up not liking. Then we had an hour with Steve to
catch up. We had a great time, though Paul wasn't saying very
we returned home, where we only had 20 minutes to get ready for
church. Paul was very tired, and so was I. He didn't think he'd
make it through the service (though he told me at the time he
would not fall asleep).
got to church a few minutes after 7 pm, and were shocked to see
the foyer filled with people. We were greeted by the ushers, and
they wrote down Paul's name as a first-time visitor and gave him
a pen and folder. A few minutes later the doors opened, and everyone
rushed inside. We ended up having seats pretty far back; I needed
an aisle seat to disturb as few people as possible with my interpreting
service started a few minutes later. They did the offering after
one upbeat song, before starting the actual worship time and going
on air on Daystar. Pretty soon into worship I could see Paul being
pretty affected. I went to the bathroom, and when I returned,
I had missed the call for pastors and leaders to come forward
and receive prayer. I was pretty annoyed with my bad timing, and
having missed out.
the end of the worship time, pastor Steve sat down at the piano
to sing a song about hope that God used to restore his hope just
before revival hit 13 years ago. I translated for Paul, including
the verses of the song, and saw how much it affected him. Then
Paul knelt down, face on the floor, and soon he stretched out
entirely, and stayed there the rest of the service.
my "object of receiving interpretation" was gone, and
I had no reason to interpret, I had nothing to keep me awake,
and my eyes kept wanting to shut. I was glad when the ministry
time was approaching, and told Paul to get up if he wanted prayer,
and he did. We stood on the outskirts of the people in the front
when pastor Steve started praying for people in an explosive way.
He finally came our way, and touched Paul, who went straight down.
He told me that it was as if electricity had been released throughout
his whole body through that touch. I was the next one who got
prayer and enjoyed time with Him on the ground. It was wonderful
to just rest in His presence!
stayed for some time, but not too long. I expected Paul to still
be on the floor around me, but couldn't see him. So I returned
to my seat where I found him to my greatest surprise. He seemed
upset when he told me that several people had stepped on him while
he was down. I encouraged him, and encouraged him to go get prayer
from the prayer team; in this church you're encouraged to get
as much prayer as you can.
my great surprise he overcame his annoyance and actually went
forward, where he waited for some time before someone finally
prayed for him. He said that this great heat came over him, as
if he was in a sauna, and he went down again. He then saw this
vision of three angels taking him to heaven, where the Father
operated on Paul's body, and then the angels took him back. Paul
is convinced he was healed tonight.
stayed on the floor for a very long time, while more and more
people left. One girl who knows me came up to talk to me for some
time, which helped while waiting for Paul. Finally, Paul got back
up, grinning from ear to ear, being full of joy and life. We left
the church to go home - it was 10 pm. Paul told me that he had
been transformed tonight, and that a new chapter had started.
He was in total amazement, and very excited. He kept talking about
how amazing the presence of God is. By the way, the "thank
you count" is now at 16 times.
haven't seen Paul like that in a while, and it was very refreshing.
I knew God had something in store for him at WRC! I told him,
there'd be 3 more services before his return to Mali.
was the most amazing thing for me today? Not only have they started
supporting me, but they had a slide in the front with my picture
and name on, together with a few others'. Who would have thought
that just a few months ago!
was after10 pm when we left to drive home. I had to get gas on
the way, which I nearly forgot. Paul was still talking away with
we got home, pizza was waiting for us - hard to resist! Another
thing Paul didn't like that much. Then I got on my computer, needed
to write today's blog. One again it's late as I'm going to bed
- 1:30 am - and tomorrow we have a really long day ahead of us.
the alarm clock woke me on time, and I then woke Paul who had
a hard time getting up. I got everything ready, and we left on
time at 7:15 to be there by 7:30 am, when they'd open. The navigation
system was on, but it didn't know there was construction going
on which meant an exit was closed; thankfully it simply recalculated
and still got us there, though it took a little longer.
was only one person in there - one customer, and also one employee.
We waited for that guy to be done, and then I signed us in. Paul
wanted to go first. He hates needles, but was amazed at his composure.
I don't like them either, but the blood is worse for me - I can't
see it, and so I look away when they draw blood.
was done quickly, and then it was my turn. She only took one vial.
I was amazed that we didn't have to pay anything. They are sending
the test results directly to the clinic, and I guess the invoice
goes there too. Unfortunately we'll have to wait till Monday for
the results, since they canceled our appointments tomorrow due
to the clinic's move into its new building, where we're gonna
be on Monday.
left the lab at 8 am, which gave us enough time to quickly go
home and grab a bite to eat before going to the clinic. It was
tight, though. We got to the clinic just in time; somehow Paul
seemed a little more down again, but that might have had reasons
that had nothing to do with the clinic. In any case, he wouldn't
tell me what's wrong.
went first again, and I interpreted. Today Dr. David showed up
him powerful thoughts are, affecting our body - positive thoughts
positively, and negative thoughts negatively. Paul was blown away
his treatment, it was time for the therapies. The tiredness caught
up to me again, and I was glad you can rest with all of the therapies.
I also enjoy reading the health magazines they have lying around
there. Today, I read an article about the risks of pregnancy when
you're in your late 30s, 40s or even later. I read it with much
interest, as I fall into that category - once I'll get married,
of course; don't want to start any rumors ;-).
noon it was my time with Dr David. It seemed that Paul was already
done; he seemed to be sleeping on the couch. I had a good time
with Dr David, the minutes just flying by. When I got out, I thought
we could go home, but I discovered Paul hadn't done the sauna
yet. Looking at my watch, I knew things would be tight, since
Paul had his appointment at the ophthalmologist's. So I had to
sit down and wait.
now have a massage therapist, and I was told a massage is now
part of the package. The lady offered to give me one. I've never
in my life had a real massage! But whenever people would try,
it would be so painful I never liked it. So, it was time for my
first massage. It did hurt - but if it helps my body...
was glad when Paul was done and we could finally leave; it was
2 pm. We got home at 2:15 pm, and I quickly prepared some food
for him and myself; we needed to leave again half an hour later.
to say, that half-hour passed far too fast. I couldn't even finish
my salad as we had to go. I was so excited that Paul would finally
be looked at by an expert!
navigation system faithfully guided us to the ophthalmologist;
we were on time. Shortly after we went inside, a lady came up
to us and led us into a room with different machines. She started
doing standard tests to check his eye sight. Though I know that
Paul's vision is really bad, I was really shocked by the results.
Paul is neither able to see well long-distance nor short-distance.
With one test, he could only see the big letter!
was amazed at all the different machines - he had never seen anything
like them. After he was done with all that, he was called straight
into the doctor's office. The doctor - a Christian - was VERY
nice, welcoming us and doing some small talk. Then he got started
doing some more tests. He got just the right prescription for
Paul's glasses. He explained how one important piece is missing
in Albinos' eyes which causes their eyes to move all the time.
This part does not develop in Albinos, and medicine cannot do
anything to correct that. I was really disappointed when I heard
that Paul's vision could never become good (unless God does a
creative miracle) because of that. He was not disappointed though.
for the growth on Paul's eye - it's called a pterygium, and is
caused by ultra-violet sun rays. It grows and is eventually going
to cover Paul's eye and impede its vision. It needs to be removed
before it comes to that. So this Christian doctor had his secretary
call the office of an eye surgeon, a friend of his, to see whether
that could be done before Paul leaves the US in just over a week.
It wasn't settled before we left; he said he'd call us. Please
pray this is gonna work out! If not, Paul would have to come back
to the US.
the doctor explained to him that he would have bi-focal glasses.
With those he'd be able to read MUCH better, and see in the distance
a little better. He also gave him a choice of what kind of sun
protection he wanted; he took the best choice - glasses that tan
automatically outside, and revert to normal inside.
doctor then took us to a technician in a different part of the
building. He told the technician that Paul was from Africa, and
that he was doing this all free of charge, including the glasses
themselves, and he said to give Paul the very best glasses - titanium
frame, and best anti-scratch coating. Wow! I was blown away, and
so was Paul when he heard it.
we looked at frames - Paul liked pretty much the first one he
got; with a black frame. He still looked at others, but that's
the one he took! The lady said they'd put a rush on them so they'd
be there before Paul leaves. A few minutes later we were out the
door. Both of us were overwhelmed by what God had done - free
eye exam, glasses, and the ophthalmologist himself trying everything
possible to get Paul that eye surgery before he leaves. Wow!
were both so excited and awed, that we drove home instead of going
to the botanical garden - it was very close to the doctors' offices.
Only when we parked at the house and I noticed the bright sunshine,
did it occur to me that the plan had been to go to the garden
from the ophthalmologist!
at least I was able to finish my salad from lunch, and change
into more comfortable/practical clothes for the garden. I was
curious what the garden would be like. Every Thursday entry is
half-price, and it's open till 8 pm, so it was perfect.
found the place, paid, and went into the garden. We were the only
ones in there! We were walking around, looking at flowers. Paul
wasn't very upbeat. It didn't take us very long to have walked
through the whole garden. I think what fascinated Paul most was
the cactusses. I wonder why there aren't any in Mali, in the Sahara
had told Paul about poison ivy, but he had a hard time imagining
it. He wanted to touch it and see for himself. I saw a few plants
that looked similar, but they were different plants. So I asked
at the entrance, and they told us that they pull out all poison
ivy because the gardener is allergic to it! Too bad - shouldn't
that be in a botanical garden?
were back home before 7 pm, to our hosts' surprise. Karen was
still preparing a wonderful dinner - and once again, Paul was
eating much - finally! He had eaten very little in the morning
and during the day, and when we got back from the garden, he vomited.
Karen thought that it might be a reaction to the remedies with
him having eaten so little all day. Thankfully he ate a big dinner
- he was glad rice was a part of it, and his now much-beloved
then a wonderful conversation ensued at the table. Paul wanted
to talk to Tom & Karen, and ask some questions. I interpreted
the whole time. I had a great time listening to the conversation.
Everyone was blessed by it. They shared about their marriage of
42 years, and Paul shared how he came to the Lord. He also thanked
them for their hospitality, and shared how much their love for
God and servant heart had impacted him. It was precious!
9:30 pm I was finally the one to bring our great conversation
to an end. I knew I had to write the blogs tonight, since we're
going to Kansas City in the morning, with a crazy (and great)
weekend ahead. Five hours have passed since then, and I'm finally
done catching up with the blogs. It's after 2 am, and my eyes
have already shut a few times involuntarily, but I forced myself
to keep going.
what's the conclusion? Another short night for Claudia; where's
the one 12-hour night I long for? We just might leave for Kansas
City a little later than planned, since none of our meetings are
confirmed yet anyway; originally we should have had treatments
in the morning, so their cancellation freed us up.
the way, Paul's "thank you" count is at 15 now (i.e.
him thanking me for this trip). Today he said to me that obviously
God's intentions for this trip were so much greater than he ever
another 5-hour night, my alarm woke me, and we got ready to get
to the clinic for our 9 am appointment; I wished they would have
given us a later one. At least we decided to have the blood test
tomorrow, so we could have a little more sleep; however the doctor
wasn't too happy about that - I hadn't realized he wanted it done
on the first day possible.
was very subdued, and I couldn't get him to have breakfast, though
I emphasized its importance. He hardly spoke, and he later told
me that he'd had no desire to go to the clinic, thinking it's
a waste of time and money. Of course it was the enemy talking
had his first treatment at 9 am, and the doctor concentrated on
his back. As a teenager, Paul had worked for a mason, carrying
100 kilo bags of cement (220 lbs) around, and he really messed
up his back that way. Thankfully Dr. David can help with much
of that. He also gave Paul his first few remedies. Paul was totally
amazed, because he felt so much better. He said he felt as if
a heavy burden had been lifted off his back.
we went through all the therapies again, before it was my turn
with Dr. Samantha at noon. I enjoyed talking with her while she
treated me. She seems to have quite a unique opinion of me that
I can't quite seem to figure out.
was glad when we were done for the day and could go home. I was
amazed to see the change in Paul, as he was suddenly full of joy
and excitement. When I turned around, he was standing on the pillars
of the entrance - I think that says it all. How he got up there,
I do not know.
the car, he was just bubbling over, wanting to tell everyone about
Dr. David and to invite him to Mali. I was amazed at the transformation!
Just because this very first treatment had made such a difference!
I could also tell that he now had hope that what Dr. David had
said was right, that he'd be healed from most of the stuff by
the end of next week.
we had more exciting news - Paul got an appointment at the ophthalmologist's
for 3:15 pm tomorrow afternoon! Praise God! What a miracle! God's
had been wondering what to do with all our free time while in
Wichita, but now it seems more like "what free time?".
There's not much to see in Wichita, but there are two things we
want to do - I want Paul to see beauty in nature at the botanical
garden, and Paul really wants to see elephants, and there is a
big zoo here. Since both are outside activities, tonight was out
of the question, with rain and thunderstorms announcing themselves.
In fact, it was raining as we were driving home.
didn't mind as I was still thinking of all those emails to write
and blogs to catch up on. We had dinner, and then Paul watched
a Malian movie on FGM I just got so I could show it in Mali and
do all I can to stop this cruel practice and save girls from it.
He loved the movie; I don't know if I'd be able to stomach it,
made good progress on the computer, though not as much as I wanted
to. And the tiredness got so bad by midnight, that I had to go
to bed. My alarm was set for 6:45 am, so at least I was going
to have over 6 hours of sleep for once (though that's by far not
enough for me).
not more than 5 hours my alarm clock woke me; it was hard to get
up and get ready to leave - it was still dark outside. I woke
Paul up who's had the chance to have more time to sleep, and he
also had a hard time getting up. We packed back up and loaded
the car back up. At 8 am we said good-bye - just for a few days
- turned the navigation system on again, and started on our 2-hour
ride to Wichita. Our appointment was at 10:15 am.
was not at all nervous about going there, and I was looking forward
to go to that special place again. The two hours seemed to be
long, but did go by fast. Paul kept looking out the window, though
all you can see are fields really. We stopped one time for a bathroom
break, and got a little piece of hash browns each at McDonald's.
Paul liked them.
was good to be back in Wichita; the construction on the main road
was still going on. We arrived at the Hansa Center a few minutes
before our appointment. As I stepped through the doors, the familiar
smell welcomed me, and soon thereafter the kind ladies working
there. I was excited to be back! And they were excited to meet
few minutes later I was the first one to have the CRT - an FDA
approved diagnostic test that gives lots of information on your
health. I enjoyed my conversation with Karla who did it, and was
very curious to see what my results would be.
it was Paul's turn. I stayed in there to interpret, until it was
my turn for the appointment with Dr. David. However, he was running
late, and so Paul came back out before I had even gone in.
was so great to see Dr. David again who is more than just a doctor;
he's become a friend who I greatly appreciate.
it was time to discuss my test results. This was my first time
to take that test. The first one was when I arrived in January,
on the brink of a physical breakdown. The second one was after
having had just over two weeks of treatments back then, and the
improvement was considerable. Now this third test showed even
better results on the whole than the second one, which was very
exciting for me to see. My overall health is much better. A few
things are worse or unchanged, including the stress level that
is back to the maximum. But it was truly exciting to see how well
I am. He told me that some remedies take weeks and months to actually
work, which explains how I could be better now than when I left
last time. He then did his first treatment, and gave me some remedies,
including for the parasites that are still there or there again.
it was time for Paul's appointment with him. I found him asleep
on the couch, so he was a little groggy as the consultation started.
Dr. David asked him questions, and I interpreted. Then he discussed
Paul's test results with him. After what I had told him, he said
he expected the test results to be much worse. There were some
serious things, but Dr. David told him that most could be fixed
during the two weeks he's here.
he did the second test that he's doing himself right there, which
confirms results from the first and gives additional and more
specific information. He wrote it all down. He measured Paul's
blood pressure, and his pulse was only 48 - even after getting
up, which should increase the pulse! He then recommended we'd
do a blood test, both of us, and gave us the referral papers for
that and the lab address.
Paul was done, he was pretty rattled by all he had heard. They
told us to go home and grab a bite to eat before coming back in
an hour, since it was getting pretty late. So we did; in the car
Paul was rather silent as he was digesting what he had been told.
He even couldn't believe it all. I myself could tell that God
had brought him here for a good reason! I told him whether he
believed the diagnosis or not, it wouldn't make a difference;
in two weeks he'd leave here healed in any case.
now I was looking forward to seeing my good friends Tom &
Karen again; their names and address had been on Paul's application
form, and Karen is the one who had spoken with the embassy official
on the phone. Paul was also very much looking forward to meeting
pulled up at the house, and only found Karen. It was a warm reunion.
We grabbed something to eat, and unloaded the car. That's all
the time we had before having to head back to the clinic; thankfully
it's not far away. Back at the clinic, we went through all the
treatments, with the different machines they have. Paul was amazed
about all of that; it's a lot of new stuff for one day!
was glad when we finally returned home to stay home. Karen was
already ready with dinner for us. She had made a wonderful home-cooked
meal; I had told Paul all about the amazing sweet corn here, and
evidently I hadn't promised too much. Paul just LOVES the corn,
and for the first time he ate a big meal. I was really glad to
see that, since he's been eating very little, mainly because of
was very excited to finally meet Karen, and thanked her for making
it possible for him to come. But we didn't talk for long. Paul
was very tired - even amazed at his constant tiredness - and soon
fell asleep. As for me, I was very anxious to FINALLY get online
again and take care of emails etc; I had even had a phone call
from someone asking whether I'd had his email because I had not
had a chance to answer any.
asked Karen whether they had been able to make an appointment
with an ophtamologist; she said they had tried but not succeeded.
I was disappointed as this was very high up there on my list of
priorities for Paul. She told me they had called this ophtamologist
whose mother is good friends with Karen, but he had not called
then the phone rang, and it was him. Tom explained the situation
to him, and he said that he could fit Paul in if somebody else
cancels their appointment. He asked us to call them in the morning.
ended up staying up until 2 am, reading and writing emails, and
yet not getting as far as I had wanted to. I was happy, though,
as I had also unpacked my packages and my luggage. However, my
goal of one long night was not achieved (again), as I'd only have
5 hours (again).
had to get up early since we had a 2-hour ride back to Harrisburg
ahead of us; the trip to Rockville had been a last-minute thing,
so that's why we were flying out of Harrisburg.
got up at 7 am - for me that was after 5 hours of sleep. Paul
was having fun with the family's dog - didn't know he liked dogs
that much. He was amazed at the size of the dog, and that the
family had said he was medium-sized.
8 o'clock the youth pastor showed up to take us to the airport.
We loaded up the car and left. Paul then realized that he had
left his Bible at the church service yesterday. Great! He keeps
leaving things and losing stuff. We were a little early to be
on the safe side, and so we made our way to the location of the
church. Thankfully, someone was there to let us in and pick up
had lost a lot of time, but still expected to be okay. We started
on our 2-hour scenic drive back to Harrisburg. Paul enjoyed looking
at the countryside to the left and right, and I enjoyed talking
with the youth pastor. We made up for some of the time loss, and
got to the airport about an hour and a half before our scheduled
said good-bye to our kind driver, who had done that long trip.
They sure have a great youth group, and future ahead. Then we
went inside to check in. At the check-in they told us that the
first plane was delayed, and that we'd probably not make our connection
to Kansas City. So she got us seats on the next plane leaving
for Kansas City right away, just to be on the safe side.
we had more time than expected. We went through security, and
realized how small this airport is, with all the gates in sight.
We looked at two shops, all the stuff they had, and then went
to our gate where we sat down. Then I returned a call from a friend
who had told me to call him urgently.
found out that this guy has somehow found donations for us to
pay for our treatments at the clinic in Wichita. Wow! We were
totally blown away, and praising God! Hallelujah! I had thought
I wouldn't be able to be treated myself since Paul was the important
one, and we didn't have money. Looks like God saw that, and provided
for my health as well :-).
got on the plane, having less than 2 hours ahead of us to arrive
in Atlanta. When we got there, the screens said that our flight
to Kansas City was boarding. So we thought we'd give it a try
and started walking as fast as possible in that direction. However,
we had to change terminals, and then saw that our gate was the
very last one at the end of the long corridor. It was hopeless.
When we got there, the plane was already gone.
we knew we had time to walk to the gate of the next Kansas City
flight. Thankfully it was only one hour after the one we had just
missed. The picture shows me standing in line, so we'd get our
seats assigned. In the meantime, he had pictures of himself taken
with airplanes behind him :-).
time came quickly; I have not sat in the very last row of a plane
in years - after all I've been a frequent flyer for a good number
of years. I had forgotten what it's like - no windows, intense
noise.... But I was glad we were in that plane - that was the
we had less than 2 hours, and Paul took advantage, taking a nap.
To my greatest amazement, this plane had a wireless network on
board for people to use the internet. That's a first for me!!!
Pretty soon, we'll consider it normal. I didn't go online, but
used the time to start writing Sunday's blog - unfortunately I
hadn't gotten that far when it was already time to stop and put
all electronic devices away. I was excited to come home, and show
home to Paul.
Kansas City To Topeka
was also excited - he'd soon meet some of the people he's heard
a lot about. We got our luggage, and took the shuttle to the rental
agency. After some bad experiences, I had finally found an agency
that had integrity and a good price. Unfortunately, they had gone
out of business, and so I chose another agency - the one that
had offered the best online price.
were the only ones in line there. They asked a few weird questions
(in Oregon, we had our car within minutes, no weird questions
asked, and for the price of the website), and finally gave me
the paperwork to sign. I then saw that the price was nearly double
what they had told me on the website! What? $1000 for 13 days?
It had been $500 online. Then they told me I should have read
the fine print!
was pretty annoyed and told them that that really showed a lack
of integrity, and I would not rent with them again. Because of
my complaint, they told me I could get an upgrade to a bigger
car for free. What do I care how big the car is? That doesn't
was upset when we left - so much money "wasted"....
How come the good agency went out of business? Can't people of
integrity stay in business these days???
went to look for our car - it was the exact same one we'd had
in Oregon (where this had actually been in the category of smallest
cars they offered). We loaded our car, and then had to make the
decision to put this annoyance behind us since there was nothing
we could do about it, and decide to enjoy being in Kansas City
- my dream city, the city of refreshing and refilling, where my
life changed so dramatically.
put up my navigation system since we'd go a route I usually don't
take so that Paul would get to see downtown Kansas City at least
from the car. It was fun to see him look out the window like a
little kid, taking lots of pictures with my camera.
was so excited that we'd see my good friends Tom & Luanne,
and that they would get to meet Paul, and he them. I've known
them for 8 years now, and they are great friends. I had some of
my stuff there from my last trip that I wanted to pick up before
continuing on to Topeka.
arrived there at 6:15 pm. I knew they had an appointment at 7
pm, and so we only had a quick 50 minutes.
had forgotten to tell Paul about their 4 dogs, and so he was taken
a little off gard when he stepped into the house and was "attacked",
i.e. greeted by the dogs. But Paul loves dogs, and quickly became
friends with them, being totally amazed at their shapes and sizes;
he thought one of them was a cat.
was very excited to finally meet Tom especially, since Tom had
written several emails to him over the years, like with prophetic
input for his birthday. So we sat down with them, and talked just
a little bit. We also had a bite to eat. Then it was already time
to leave; we'll see them again on Saturday.
loaded more stuff into the car, and since the House of Prayer
is nextdoors and I wanted to buy something there, we decided to
just stop for a few seconds so he could see it. We went into the
bookstore, and then inside the prayer room. Paul was totally blown
away by what he saw in there. I'm looking forward to spending
some time there, and I'm sure Paul is too. If we can find time,
was time to get going and drive to Topeka, which is about 1 hour
15 minutes. We first went to Lawrence where I pointed Cliff's
house out to Paul - Paul was disappointed that he wouldn't see
Cliff (who's in Africa), and I myself wished we could see him.
He's a special friend.
continued on towards Topeka, with the sun going down. Paul was
amazed at the toll road - paying for using a road! Thanks to our
navigation system, we easily found my friends' house - they had
moved since last time I was here. Paul couldn't wait to see his
good friend Matt again who had spent one month with us in Mali
last year; he lives in Topeka and was going to come over that
night. I was looking forward to seeing him, but also my good friend
Carrie where we would spend the night.
husband helped us carry the luggage inside, where I saw Carrie
again and their baby who's grown so much since last time. I was
really very tired, wanting some sleep, catching up from all the
short nights since getting to the US. We had some ice-cream Carrie
had made, and were talking away. I hadn't been online since last
night, and knew I needed to check my mail. To my surprise, I found
out that they don't have email at home. I was shocked. Especially
since I expected an important email I needed to read before going
to the clinic tomorrow morning.
husband then was so kind to take me out to take care of that.
He suggested the university where he works. We parked in their
parking lot, and I logged in - not before having to reboot my
system. And then my battery was already pretty weak, having spent
much time writing on the plane. But I was able to quickly download
my emails, accidentally deleting the important email I had been
looking for. It was only a matter of a few minutes before we returned
home, Matt and Paul were having a great time. I had to turn my
computer on and look up the instructions for what to do and not
do before the exams tomorrow morning. So I read them to him. One
of them was that Paul was not to have a beard, and he hadn't shaved
once since coming to the US, though I had bought him a razor and
shaving creme. So I was glad when Matt helped him, going to work
right away to take care of this.
after, Matt left to go home but he has great plans for next time
Paul comes up to Topeka, in a few days; then he'll kidnap him
and do some fun stuff with him. Hopefully there's time for that.
Suddenly time seems so short - how are we gonna fit everything
Matt left, they got Paul's bed ready, and he went to bed. Carrie
and I ended up talking away in my bedroom; it was so good to catch
up with her! While I enjoyed talking with her, I was very much
aware that it was unwise for me to stay up that late, adding another
short night. It was close to 2 am when I went to bed (sigh).
past four nights we spent each night in another STATE - Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Kansas. Crazy - but fun :-).
6 hours of sleep I woke up to the beep of my alarm clock. It was
very cold in the house (below 20°C/68°F), and I got dressed
quickly and made myself some hot tea; it was 7 am. I assumed Paul
had long been up, but I hadn't taken the time difference of 3
hours from our last city into consideration. When I asked him
for something a few minutes before departure time, I actually
woke him up.
loaded all our stuff into the car and left the house at 8 am to
drive to church. The church wasn't far away, and the first service
started at 8:30 am. I was very much looking forward to being at
Life Center for the first time; Charles Stock is the senior pastor
there. I've known him for a few years, and he's coming to Mali
in November. I was excited to experience his church.
first thing we noticed was how big the building was. We entered
through the back door for pastors, and went right into the backstage
area for the pastors. Our wonderful host - worship pastor Ricardo
- then showed us around, and even I couldn't stop being amazed
at their beautiful building, now imagine Paul! We saw the offices,
and Paul had a picture taken in one of them. He loved it!
then set up a table in the foyer where I put our DVDs and folders
for people to pick up, as well as a sign-up sheet for the email
updates. Then we went to the pastors' lounge, where we finally
found the senior pastor and his wife. It was so good to see Charles
again! He's such an awesome man of God, it's a privilege to know
talked for a few moments and then went into the sanctuary for
the first service, the 8:30 am one; I've never seen an early service
like that in the US, but they have to have two services to fit
first service wasn't very full at all. Paul and I sat in the first
row, me taking the end seat so I'd disturb as few as possible
with interpreting for Paul. Worship started, and it was very upbeat.
Paul was dancing away. I felt a lot of liberty, and God's presence,
and found myself kneeling on the floor in communion with Him.
It was so precious!
worship and announcements, Charles introduced me in a very sweet
and humbling way. Then they showed a 3-minute clip that this church
had put together to show in the service. After the clip, I came
up to the stage to take the mic. Normally I'm not very good in
morning services, especially when I'm as tired as I was, but the
anointing took over, and my words just flowed. Then I handed the
mic to Paul. He started talking, but even while I had spoken tears
had started running down his face. He was so overwhelmed by the
goodness of God. Charles came up and gave him a tissue. Paul then
said only few words, because he was so moved.
then pointed them to the book table in the back, and then Charles
prayed for us and asked their local prophet to pray/prophesy.
He said something like, a seed has already been planted, the key
is in the lock, and now God is going to open that door, and it
will be big. I'm going to try to get a recording so we get it
sat back down, and the surprise speaker Georgian Banov came up
to preach. He had a great message about giving and Ezra and the
temple etc. This picture was taking between the two services in
the pastors' lounge.
the service, we went to the booktable to talk to people. Several
came up, signed up, took the materials, and talked to us. There
was a half-hour break before the next service. When most people
had left, we went to the pastors' lounge where they had bagels
- I love them! I was hungry by now, and greatly enjoyed it. One
of the pastors then told me that they NEVER have bagels, and that
God must have known how much we love them (rather than pastries).
We talked a little bit to Charles, Anne, and Georgian, and then
went back into the sanctuary for the second service.
music had already started, and we were amazed at how full the
sanctuary was. The front was full of people who danced and jumped
before the Lord. Paul joined right in. He was totall blown away
by experiencing this - totally free worship in the midst of those
who love God, and in such big numbers. He told me later that he
finally understands many things I've said in the past, including
things that are not the way it should be in our church and services
in Mali. He said he can make a whole list.
was dancing away - people love watching him and come up to him
to tell him so - and I enjoyed especially the more worshipful,
intimate songs, and ended up stretched out on the floor moved
by His beautiful presence, my heart desiring Him with every ounce
of my flesh. I love Him so much, and want His presence so much!!!
finally got back up, and Charles went up to introduce me. After
a few kind words, they showed the video again, and then I came
up, and this time Paul came with me right away. Again, the words
just flowed out of me. I then gave the mic to Paul, and his first
words already nearly made my jaw drop. He said that a lady was
next to him during worship, and her joy just flowed over to hit
him, and that God spoke to Paul that there were 7000 angels celebrating
with us. He then shared how thankful he is to be here, and that
he had asked himself whether it was worth coming to the US since
it's so expensive, and concluded by saying that it definitely
was worth it. He had gone on for a relatively long time, and someone
had even said that he's a preacher. The anointing was strong while
he spoke, and people were obviously touched!
sat back down, they did the announcements, and Georgian gave the
same message again, but even better. I interpreted for Paul again.
the service was over, people started coming up to me (like after
the first service) and giving me money. One guy - and this has
never happened to me before - gave me his watch saying to go sell
it and use the money! Wow! Georgian's wife also gave me money,
and the amount blew me away! God is so good!
wanted prayer from these "apostles of joy" as they are
often called. So both Georgian and Winnie started praying for
me. They were also praying for Paul who ended up on the floor.
It was so great to see him being ministered to!
they stopped, people started coming up to me and putting money
into my hand. It was amazing! One lady asked for a DVD, and I
told her they were in the back. She replied that there weren't
any left. Oh my gosh! It was really time to get back there! So
I quickly went there with my carry-on containing more DVDs and
folders. When I got there, I was totally amazed to see the table
that empty! Amazing! But then, there had been over 500 people
in the service...
I put out more DVDs, and people started talking to me, one after
the other. Some wanted to come help us in Mali, and asked how
to do that. Others just wanted to express admiration and the like.
And others put money into my hands. Many signed up on the mailing
list. It was amazing!
some time Paul joined me. He was still pretty overwhelmed by what
God had done. One lady doctor was talking to me, expressing deep
concern over the many dark spots Paul has on his face now because
he never wears sunscreen or a hat out in the sun. I told her that
I constantly tell Paul to put on heats and sunscreen, but he's
just not listening. So she turned to Paul, and had me interpret
for her. She explained to him that it was absolutely crucial for
him to protect himself from the sun, and made him promise that
he would be wearing hats from now on. Hopefully he'll keep his
promise. She said that those spots are what could become cancer.
had a few other interesting conversations before we were called
away for lunch. We packed our stuff up and went into the pastors'
lounge. Georgian & Winnie were already gone, and I hadn't
had a chance to say good-bye to them. We then left together with
Charles & Anne to go to a restaurant to eat. Somebody else
was transfering our luggage to the car that would take us to the
next city, and so Paul's "welcome to America" sign got
left behind; we hope he can still get it somehow.
got to the restaurant that was surprisingly empty for Sunday after
church. There was an all-u-can-eat buffet. Another couple from
the church joined us. We then had a wonderful time together. Honestly,
it was maybe the most precious moments of this trip so far for
me. I was able to just share my heart about where we and I are
at right now - something I don't get to do that much with trustworthy
people. We also talked about Charles's trip to Mali in November.
I knew it, time was up as we had a 2-hour ride ahead of us to
make it to the evening service that started at 5 pm. It was time
to say good-bye again. I know this was not my last time to Harrisburg.
All morning I had felt such a significance about my being here.
And when they told me New York was just over two hours away, I
could not believe how close I had come and not seen it! NEXT TIME!
young lady from the church was so kind to drive us to Maryland.
The tiredness hit me hard when we were in the car. I tilted my
seat, but we kept talking the whole time in the car. Then the
youth pastor from the church we were on the way to called me.
He asked whether we'd be willing to come do his youth meeting
after the service. Yes, I was tired, but I'd never turn down an
opportunity. For me it's God who opens those doors. So I said
yes, though I was a little concerned about my level of exhaustion.
found the church, and the pastor greeted us. I've known Erik Tammaru
for about 4 years, since he used to be the HIM director in Pasadena,
and was the one who approved my acceptance into HIM. It was great
to see you again. We unloaded our stuff, and said good-bye to
the girl. She gave us an envelope from Life Center with a generous
donation that just blew me away. Awesome God!
took our stuff inside, and I put our materials out on the table.
After the big church in the morning, it was quite a contrast to
be in this little, young church planted just 2 years ago. We greeted
everyone, and little time later the service started. They already
had a guest speaker that day, and so Paul and I had about ten
minutes. Again, we showed the video first, then I shared, and
then Paul said a few words. Then the pastor encouraged people
to give to us in the offering.
guest speaker then shared an amazing testimony. Paul wasn't at
all fighting with the tiredness, but I had pretty much reached
the bottom; only doing the interpretation for him kept me awake.
the end of the service they asked us to help praying for people.
We prayed for healing for one man with arthritis, and then somebody
else had it on his heart to pray for Paul, and he also gave him
some prophetic encouragement.
talked to a few people and packed up our stuff again. I had a
headache because of the tiredness and could barely function. I
had no clue how I could do a youth meeting, and felt rather desperate.
Since there was still time until it started, I thought maybe I
could lie down - even half an hour would have made a big difference.
And then the pastor invited us out to dinner - I was looking forward
to spending some time with them, and gladly gave up my desired
host was a little concerned since she saw how exhausted I was
and told me that her daughter was at the youth meeting and would
be driving us home, and we could tell them any time that we wanted
to go home.
pastors asked me where we wanted to go, and so I had no choice
but to say my favorite restaurant - Applebee's. There was one,
and I was looking forward to a good meal.
had a great time with the pastors, catching up with each other
and getting to know each other better. Time went by far too fast.
The food was also wonderful, and the combination of both helped
ease the tiredness. I felt ready to go to the meeting.
dropped us off at the apartment complex, where we had to say good-bye.
I had found out that we were only half an hour away from Washington,
DC - another city I'd love to visit. They said next time; I guess
I'll just have to come back. Paul would also love to see the White
youth meeting had already started when we got there; they were
watching a video clip, and so we just sat down and waited for
them to finish it. Then they welcomed us and gave us the word.
started sharing my life story with them, to encourage them to
dream big and that God can do anything with them. The presence
of God was very sweet in the room. They asked some questions,
and listened carefully to what I said. Then it was time for Paul
to share, and he did awesome! The anointing was so strong when
he spoke, and everyone was hanging on his lips. It was very touching
what Paul shared. He talked about how his Dad was a single Dad
with 6 kids when Paul was small, and how difficult that was, and
that they were very poor. When Paul was little, he'd always say
he'd travel to the US, and on an airplane, etc., and today this
had come true. I wished it was recorded, and you could hear what
he was done, they wanted to pray for him. Paul knelt down on the
floor, and everyone surrounded him. They started prophesying over
him, and thankfully I always have a digital voice recorder in
my purse, and so it was recorded. I just have to find time to
transcribe and translate it for him.
they were done, they wanted to pray for me also. Yeah! So they
did. The youth pastor said two things where the Spirit just hit
me. One was about me having a part in the revival in Austria (something
God spoke to me years ago), and the other about visitation and
visions coming in the weeks ahead in the US. It was awesome!
also wanted us to pray for them. They all knelt down in a circle,
and I was already "in the zone" with what God had for
them. God had an impartation for them. So I asked God, an impartation
for what? He answered, whatever they want.
I told them all that and started going round laying hands on them.
The Spirit of God touched them powerfully, and not everyone got
the same thing honestly. Some wanted God's heart for the lost,
and my heart was breaking as He imparted that to them using me.
was also going round praying for them. We had an awesome time!
Once we were done, it was the end of the meeting and people started
going home. We said good-bye to everyone, exchanging some email
addresses. We were all greatly blessed.
we walked out of that apartment to the car, it was after midnight.
The first meeting had been at 8:30 am, and it now seemed to have
been days ago. And then we drove and drove, and I thought we'd
never get to our destination. It was going on 1 am when we got
there. Tired or not,I quickly checked my mail to see whether there
was anything important, before going to bed. It would be another
5 short hours of sleep, my alarm clock woke me up at 6:30 am.
Paul had already been up for a while; he should have an easy time
with the Eastern time zone we're heading into, while I seem to
already have adapted to Pacific time (sigh).
was so tired, I didn't do any talking, just finished packing mechanically,
and moved it all to the door. Paul was ready to go. We said good-bye
to our hosts, who told us we could come back to visit any time.
At 7:15 am we pulled away, starting our 90 minute drive to Portland
airport, and this time Paul would get to see the landscape (since
it was dark when we arrived).
the longest time none of us talked, just a few words here and
there, especially "wow" from Paul when he'd see something
out there next to the highway. With time we started talking, and
I wanted to hear what he thought about last night's meeting. To
my greatest surprise, he liked the worship the least from all
the times of worship we'd had - while I had enjoyed it the most,
and really felt God's presence strongly! I was amazed!
told him that overall I was really disappointed with this conference,
having expected so much more. There weren't any times of ministry
at all - just that one fire tunnel - and it was called a pastors'
RENEWAL conference. I told Paul if it wasn't for him being there,
I would have regretted coming, and I don't intend to attend that
conference again. While we talked to a few people, we didn't get
anyone's email address either.
loved looking out the window, and had a few more "wows"
when we reached Portland and crossed town to get to the airport.
I was so very thankful for the navigation system that faithfully
directed us to get to our destination. I had to return the car
full, and so we pulled off the freeway just before the airport
to find a gas station. After some time, we found one, and to my
amazement it was full service - haven't seen that in a long time
in the US. It was Paul's first experience of an American gas station,
and he was amazed that you just put your card in to pay. He was
amazed the same way in the grocery store when I just gave them
my card, and then signed electronically on the screen.
continued on our way to the airport, having plenty of time. It
wasn't hard to find the car rental return place, but when I got
there I was really confused because where it had our company's
name, there were spikes on the ground, and I just couldn't see
any other way to get in there. Finally, after a long time, I figured
out that we were supposed to CROSS OVER the spikes, since they
were one-way spikes, so no one can back out. Who would have thought!
checked the car, and we unloaded our luggage, making our way to
the terminal. It was chilly, and Paul didn't have a jacket. He
actually has a really nice leather jacket in Mali, but totally
forget about it, since he never needs it in Mali. Now it's there,
and he's here!
went to check in, and found out that they had changed our flights
totally, changing planes in a different city and arriving later
than planned. They explained to us that the reason was that the
plane was delayed and we wouldn't have made it.
thing we discovered during the check-in process was that we were
not sitting together. The lady explained to us that our itinerary
wasn't linked, so they didn't know we were traveling together.
We were able to change the seats to sit together.
the machine asked me whether I'd want complementary upgrades if
available. I chose NO since I didn't want to be separated from
Paul. We got our boarding passes, and dropped our luggage off
at security. They hadn't even weighed it! That was a first!
our new itinerary, we had more time, plus the flight was already
delayed by an hour. I was just hoping there wouldn't be any more
delays so we'd make it at Harrisburg; our planned arrival time
was 10:15 pm, and I doubted there would be another flight from
Minneapolis to Harrisburg.
went through security, and decided to give the frequent flyer
lounge a try; sometimes they don't let me in on domestic flights.
Having several hours of waiting ahead of us, I was hoping we'd
found it, and the lady didn't say a word. It was a cute, little
lounge, with few people and comfortable chairs. There was a great
view of the runway and parked planes, and Paul immediately wanted
a picture with it :-). He loved the view!
it was time for breakfast - they had bagels, and so I introduced
Paul to this delicious breakfast item; I think it's one of the
best food items in the US. He enjoyed it too.
thing that made me happy was the free internet access, and so
time passed very quickly as I was catching up online. Before we
knew it, it was time to go. Thankfully the plane hadn't had any
other delays, on the contrary, it was leaving 15 minutes earlier
than the original delay.
had a few minutes to wait at the gate. They were asking for volunteers
to sit in an exit row. Then they started boarding. When they scanned
my boarding pass, it beeped, and they printed out a new one with
business class seats! I told them I had said NO at check-in, because
I wanted to sit together with Paul. I told them to undo it, or
to put Paul also in business class with me.
the lady was a little stressed and overwhelmed, as she typed away.
Paul then said I should just go ahead and sit in business class,
he'd stay in economy. I told him we were traveling TOGETHER so
we should sit together. When the lady kept being frustrated at
this, and Paul kept insisted vehemently I'd take the business
class seats, I finally gave in and told the lady to just leave
boarded, and Paul went to the back, while I went to the front.
I love window seats because you can easily take naps, leaning
against the wall, but I had an aisle seat - on both flights. When
the window seat next to me remained empty, I asked whether Paul
could move up there, but they wouldn't allow that.
I moved over to the window seat - a blessing. I ended up having
a nice salad for a meal, and great dessert (another American favorite
of mine - brownies). I spent my time reading, and somehow the
nap never happened. The flight had lasted 2 hours 45 minutes.
we got off in Minneapolis, Paul told me he had enjoyed talking
to his neighbors. Good for him!
started crossing what seemed the whole airport, making our way
to the gate of our connecting flight. We had plenty of time. We
sat down at the gate, and I told Paul I could ask them to put
us next to each other on this plane, but he refused. He wanted
me to have the blessing.
got on, and though it was a little plane, there was a notable
difference between economy and business class. Again I had an
aisle seat, and again, the window seat next to me was empty, and
I moved over. The tiredness was catching up to me, and so I rested
for a while, until the meal came - another salad. I then took
advantage of the time and started blogging. The flight was supposed
to last 1 hour 45 minutes.
landed in Harrisburg half an hour earlier than scheduled. There
was lots of lightning and wind, and the pilot had a hard time
landing the plane, but he did it. There was also lots of fog,
and as we approached the gate, we stopped. The pilot told us that
the ground crew had stopped working because of the weather, and
we needed to wait for them to return. Oh great! Thankfully we
didn't have to wait very long.
in row 2 with no one else that far front, I was the first one
out, and waited for Paul to join me. We waited for our luggage,
and then went outside where one of the pastors of the church was
waiting to pick us up. Thank God for cellphones!
and his wife don't live very far from the airport. I enjoyed talking
to him in the car, especially since he knew nothing about us.
we arrived at his house, we also met his lovely wife, and they
showed us our rooms. Paul was very tired, ready to crash, and
he did so right away - I think his body is already in this very
time zone. Good for him.
I still enjoyed talking with our hosts, and the cats' company.
I then enjoyed a wonderful hot shower, and went online. I sure
need to go to bed now, as we need to leave for church before 8
am - and that is 5 am in Oregon where we just came from.
sharing in both morning services tomorrow (10 min), and I'm not
a morning person. Please pray for us.
night I slept seven and a half hours - wonderful! Now that I'm
getting used to this time zone, we're going 3 hours back east.
It will help Paul, at least, who's still really struggling with
made Paul some breakfast, and it was finally time to call our
kids in Mali. Today they had their exam to be accepted into the
Christian school. We were just hoping that they had found a way
to get there.
to my calling card, we were able to talk to them phone to phone.
We talked to Moussa and Souleymane, and then a bunch of other
kids. They assured us that everything was well, no problems at
the bad news - only one of our kids was accepted into the school,
all the others failed. What a blow! Obviously, it doesn't work
for us to have just one kid there and the others elsewhere. We
decided to give the school director a call, who's said from the
very beginning that we have too many children for their school.
Maybe they just don't want former street kids, who knows.
we talked to him, and he simply confirmed it all. We asked whether
we could still put our three kids into kindergarten (Sarata, Bakary,
Patrice), and he said yes, if we enroll them quickly.
we have to see whether it's doable for us to have those three
there, and all the other kids elsewhere. And then there is Hama,
who might be in yet another school. Ah!
frustrated and disappointed - frustrated that my kids will have
to continue going to a bad school where they are beaten. Unless
I send them back to the other supposedly Christian school, where
they are not humiliated as much. What a great choice! I wished
our school was already built!
was finally time to run some errands. We went to Target this time,
so Paul could see another store, and took our time going through
the aisles. Paul was constantly amazed at what he saw. He got
himself some boxer shorts, and we bought the laxatives that were
on my list. Unfortunately Paul's not only vomiting, but he's been
constipated since we left Mali. Please pray for his health; I'm
glad we'll be at the clinic in a few days.
we got back home, it was time to prepare lunch. I made my typical
mixed salad I love so much, and gave Paul a bowl. He hated it.
I also made some rice, and he loved it.
that had taken quite some time, and so it was already time to
go to the afternoon. I was SO TIRED by then, I'd rather have stayed
at home and taken a nap, but oh well...
Cline, the pastor of the church here, was doing the afternoon
session. But first, the Riveras were doing worship. That was great,
because it meant soaking - lying down on the floor in His presence.
I was looking forward to a possible nap. However, I just enjoyed
God's presence without sleeping - and found myself refreshed,
not fighting with tiredness during the preaching. It was also
the first time that Paul's eyes weren't falling shut during the
preaching. In fact, we both enjoyed it very much - probably the
first preaching Paul got anything out of.
the meeting, it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce ourselves
to Bobby Conner and to the pastor. We first went up to Bobby,
told him where we're from, and then he took Paul's hand and prayed
for him for a few moments. Then we took the picture.
we waited in line to talk to the pastor and his wife. It was finally
our turn, and they were very kind and interested as we shared
with them where we were from and what we're doing. It was a good
it was time to go home for a break. Back home I started preparing
dinner (was it cooking day?). No more salad for Paul - but another
one for me. All that took quite some time, and the remaining time
was spent packing and getting things ready for tomorrow. Time
just flew by again, without any time to get a nap in. That was
going to be a hard night!
leaving, we took some pictures with our host, and Paul wanted
one with the nice rental car he was so amazed with.
arrived at church our typical half hour early, and I got my computer
out to take care of online stuff. In the meantime, Paul lay down
for a nap, and I had to wake him up for the meeting. Someone was
so kind to take a picture of both of us before we started worshiping.
worship tonight was the best it had been all week - in my opinion.
It was awesome! You couldn't help but bask in His presence and
be carried away. It could have gone on forever for me.
Conner came up to do the last session of the conference. I could
tell that Paul was very tired, while I was refreshed again after
worship. Bobby was great, just talking to us from friend to friend
basically, and about halfway through the session I gave up on
interpreting and nudging Paul who couldn't stay awake. No use
interpreting for someone who's elsewhere. I don't know why he
kept trying to stay awake instead of simply letting his eyes stay
last third of the meeting, Bobby was just walking around and talking
to people. He talked with most, and prayed over some, and prophesied
over others. He did a lot of funny things too, and told funny
stories. It was hilarious at times.
one point he also came up to me and asked me what I was doing.
And then he went on to the next person. But he did ask me for
a high five - something he hadn't done with anyone else. I wonder
if there's anything to it. Paul was barely awake through it all
- will have to ask him tomorrow whether he'd registered what had
meeting went on forever, and it was 10:45 pm before we left the
church. We didn't say a word, since Paul wasn't really awake.
we got home, Paul went straight to bed while I got to work - making
sandwiches for our long trip tomorrow. I had to use up all our
bread, ham and cheese, which would serve us as breakfast, lunch
and dinner. It was quite some work, taking some time, but we won't
go hungry tomorrow. We leave the house at 7 am, and arrive in
Harrisburg at 9 pm (local time), and even with a 5-hour flight
the airlines doesn't give you anything but peanuts!
six hours of sleep, I woke up and couldn't fall asleep again.
Paul was also up. So I got up, had breakfast, took care of some
emails (while offline), and after nearly two hours, I decided
to lie back down and try again. And it worked - I got some more
is the only day of the conference with a morning meeting; it was
at 10 pm. We left home at 9:15 pm and got to the church half an
hour early, allowing me to take care of emails. Time goes by so
10 am Alberty & Kimberly Rivera started leading worship -
they are known for their mellow way of leading people into God's
presence. And in fact, we didn't sing one song; they only did
prophetic worship for the whole 45 minutes or so. Many people
just lay down on the floor, and I stretched out on the chairs.
Paul was also on the floor, as you can see in this picture; he's
the one with the white shirt.
worship Kris Valotton came up again, and he spent the whole hour
he had prophesying over people. I was hoping he would pick Paul.
It was amazing, actually, because Paul could feel electricity
going through him the whole time Kris was prophesying. I interpreted
all the prophecies for Paul. Unfortunately neither one of us was
they were done, they decided to do a fire tunnel. Kris was at
the end of the tunnel. We were pretty much at the end of the line.
Paul had never seen a fire tunnel before, and was excited. He
was right in front of me.
went through the tunnel slowly. As soon as Kris touched Paul,
he went straight down, being stretched out on his face. Two guys
grabbed an arm each and pulled Paul away from the tunnel exit.
It was fun to watch! Paul was lying on the floor trembling in
God's presence. One guy had his hand on Paul's back and was praying
for him silently, doing that the whole time Paul was on the ground.
I stood next to Paul. One other guy came over and prayed for a
few minutes. We had exchanged a few words with him earlier. He
gave me a word for Paul - that Paul's ministry would be trans-continental.
10-15 minutes, I went to my seat to get back online and wait for
Paul. The meeting was over and people were leaving one after the
other. Finally Paul got up and came back to the seat, and we also
went outside to go home.
was totally upbeat, excited, having been in God's presence. He
said he felt so much better. In the morning he had told me that
he wasn't feeling well physically - besides the vomiting and constipation/diarrhea
he's had for months - thinking he had malaria.
we left the building, I saw my ministry friend standing there
with a few people. He introduced us, and then the one lady asked
us whether we didn't want to join them for lunch. I only thought
about it for an instant, and then told her that we couldn't afford
doing that. She said okay, and we walked to our car. That's why
I had bought groceries for us to eat at home. Already I'm really
concerned about how we're gonna pay for all the expenses ahead.
the lady approached us again and said we were invited. She felt
like we should really go with them, that the Lord had spoken to
her. What do you say to that?
we followed their car to the RED ROBIN restaurant. Paul's first
time in an American restaurant! He was very excited. I was glad
he'd finally have a real, good meal, as he's eaten very little
these past few days, never having any appetite.
menu was overwhelming for him, and it took us some time to figure
out what he'd like. We ordered, and the first time Paul was blown
away was when they brought refills. And then you can also eat
as many fries as you like. He was amazed.
enjoyed talking with our new friends, and getting to know them.
Time passed quickly, and it was time to return to church for the
started at 2 pm, with the Riveras doing a soaking session that
lasted an hour and a half. Paul lay down on the floor, and so
did I. I was pretty tired, and looking forward to a nap. However,
I didn't have a nap. Instead God started working on my heart,
as I offered it up to Him. One of the things I learned this past
month was how to keep doing the right thing mechanically, even
though that's not what's inside of you. I had never been able
to do that, and I don't think it's an accomplishment. Through
that I started to understand how pastors are able to go through
the motions for years, projecting that image of "everything's
fine" while they are dead on the inside. I had never understood
before how that's even possible.
I lay on the floor, the grief of losing first my spiritual father
nearly two years ago, and then my spiritual mother half a year
ago, overwhelmed me. I had no more mentors left. I had no one
left who truly cared. I was alone. And I don't want to be alone
any more. I asked God to give me new mentors/spiritual parents.
all the hopelessless, tiredness, and frustration I had successfully
pushed aside came out as well, as I consciously asked God to penetrate
me as I laid it all down. Tears flowed through it all, and before
I knew it, the soaking time was up, and it was time to get up
and go home.
had a great time on the floor - all day long really - hearing
from God, seeing visions,.... one time he asked God to take him
home, as he had seen enough. God responded by showing him a vision
of seven crowns in heaven belonging to seven people, and mine
was one of them. Paul's crown was tiny, and God basically asked
him whether he didn't want it to be bigger and more beautiful.
He also told Paul that He had so much more prepared for Paul to
do, and that he has barely started yet.
only day 2 in the US, and it's so wonderful to see God at work
in Paul like this! I knew it would change him forever, and it's
so exciting to watch! Awesome God!
"thank you" count is now at 11 (that's how often Paul
has thanked me for this trip).
got home at 4:45 pm, and Paul went straight to bed to get some
sleep before the evening session, while I sat down to write the
blog. Time went by so fast, that it didn't work out for me to
lie down, which I really regretted. It turned out that Paul wasn't
able to sleep for a long time, so he didn't get very much sleep
we left early enough so that I would have half an hour to connect
to the internet before the evening meeting. Paul took advantage
of that time and lay down in a corner of the sanctuary. When I
woke him up at the start of the meeting, he was fast asleep. Good
for him! I somewhat envied him.
had a local worship team lead worship tonight, starting fast and
then going slow. After a while I got too tired to stand and sat
down, resting. Paul forced himself to stand up, and as the worship
started, he found himself dancing and jumping again. After some
time a guy came up to him and just laid his hand on his back,
praying for him. Finally Paul went down to his knees and then
lay down until the end of the worship time.
was so tired, I didn't know how I'd make it through the meeting.
I had to really pull myself together to interpret properly. At
first Paul was doing really good, staying awake, but two thirds
through the preaching I finally stopped interpreting because he
was dozing off so much.
Connor was preaching, and it was really good. At the end, he was
walking around interacting with people, praying for some, prophesying
over others, and just talking with others. It was very informal.
he was done, the pastor came up with some of his people who gave
words of knowledge for healing. One was digestive problems, and
so Paul responded. They had everyone stand up at the same time,
and then prayed over everyone from the front.
they were done with that, we decided it was time to go home. We
got home at 10:30 pm. We grabbed a bite to eat, and did some talking.
Then I tried to call our kids in Mali, using the calling card
I had purchased. I tried three times over a half-hour period,
but they didn't pick up. I wanted to make sure that they got a
ride to the Christian school for the exam they have to take to
be accepted there. We called at 6:30 am Malian time, so they should
have been up. Hopefully they figured out a way to get there. We're
gonna try calling again in the morning.
and a half hours after I went to bed, my phone rang at 5 am. It
rang two more times later, and I just wished my alarm clock's
batteries hadn't been dead so that my phone would have been off.
After six hours of (interrupted) sleep I finally got up since
I couldn't sleep any more. My hopes of sleeping in hadn't come
found Paul already up for quite some time, having had breakfast
with our hosts, and sitting in their living room. I went over
there surprised to see him, and met the mother of the home who
had worked all night. She was so kind to fix me some breakfast
since we hadn't been able to get to a store yet. We did some talking,
and asked where a grocery store was. Since we still had time until
our 11:45 am appointment, we decided to go to the grocery store
first and come back.
we got into the car, and Paul finally got to see America by day
:-). The store was only a few minutes away - it's called "Fred
Meyer's", a local chain I had never heard of before. I couldn't
wait to see Paul's reaction, and I wasn't disappointed.
couldn't believe his eyes, how big the store was. We started at
the fruit & vegetable section, and Paul couldn't stop being
astonished. He told me I just HAD to take a picture with him and
the giant onions. He was totally amazed at their size.
continued on like that in the store, which was a lot of time.
We didn't go through all the aisles, though, since I had to watch
the time. We bought some good, basic things to nourrish us for
the next few days.
back to the car, there were a few recycling machines, for cans
and bottles, and Paul was puzzled what it was for. In fact, I've
already had to explain all kinds of things to him, and correct
him on quite a few things that are unacceptable culturally in
the US, even though they're okay in Mali. Thankfully he's open
to learn that way.
returned home, put everything away, and left again to go to church.
There was no meeting this morning because they had the personal
ministry going on. Paul and I had signed up for the prophetic
ministry. Paul was very much in anticipation of what was ahead.
got to the church at 11:30 am and picked up our registration package.
We signed in at the prophetic ministry desk and were told that
they were running half an hour late. I took advantage of that
time to turn on my computer and check my mails. It's really inconvenient
to not be online at home, since all I can do now is quickly check
at the church before and after meetings.
was surprised to meet someone I know - a ministry leader I've
known for a couple of years, and who I run into quite a bit. It
was great to see him again, and great to introduce Paul to him.
around 12:15 pm they first called me (Paul was next on the list),
and I went into the sanctuary where they had groups of three people
with one pastor they were prophesying over. I arrived at my group,
where they started praying and prophesying. I'm so glad they're
finally going digital instead of using tapes!
went on for a few minutes, and it was "nice", but not
extra-ordinary, in terms of making any difference to me. I thanked
them and looked around for Paul.
found his group - Paul was on the floor, with the three ladies
praying for him. One lady had tears in her eyes. They had actually
finished prophesying, and she gave me a quick summary of what
they had said, so I could translate for Paul later. We'll actually
get our words on CD before we leave here at the end of the week.
They were very moved for Paul, and felt that God had a lot in
store for him.
then left - Paul told me that God had touched him powerfully.
He said that he could already go home to Mali now. I told him
that he hadn't seen anything yet, that God has so much more in
store for him. Once again he thanked me for this trip - my count
is at 10 times so far.
returned home, and I recommended to Paul to get some sleep, as
the afternoon would be tough, and the evening even harder because
of jetlag. He wouldn't believe me. Before the day was over he
conceded that I had been right - he said he could not have imagined
that it was that tough, jetlag.
so he didn't sleep at noon, and neither did I, as time was really
short. The afternoon session was at 2 pm. It was the third of
the conference, but our first.
got there at 1:30 pm and stood in line, while I quickly checked
my mail. Just before 2 pm they opened the doors, and we got some
nice seats in the third row to the side. I thought it would be
easy to translate for Paul there, without disturbing people too
was very upbeat, and Paul went to the side where there was much
room, with people using it for dancing. Paul jumped straight into
worship, jumping and dancing and having fun with God. It was so
great to watch! He then spent much time on the floor, and I was
thankful when he did get up after worship; obviously he hadn't
Connor was the speaker of the afternoon; I had told Paul much
about him. I interpreted simultaneously for Paul which I enjoy
doing, and it also helped me to stay awake. Paul was really struggling
with staying awake, his eyes often closing, and I would only continue
to interpret when his eyes opened again. We made it through that
returned home, having over 2 hours until the evening session.
I was glad that we were able to keep our seats reserved - thank
God! I suggested to Paul to take a nap, and he agreed this time.
He slept for over 2 hours, and I had to wake him up when it was
time to go, having to knock really hard and long on his door before
he heard me. It's not surprising as this was actually night for
for myself, I knew I had to get some blog-writing done, and so
I sat down to do that. I also knew that I just HAD to get a nap
in. When I was done writing, I set my alarm, thinking I'd have
over an hour. But then I realized I only had 15 minutes left to
sleep. Oh no!
sleep I did! The alarm clock woke me after 15 minutes, and I forced
myself up. I woke up, we got ready, and left for the church. We
got there half an hour early, so I could send out the blog and
take care of internet stuff.
the evening session started. Paul was dancing and jumping around
in worship again, and then lying on the floor. This time I had
to wake him up at the end of worship - even though he had just
slept over 2 hours at home!
Valotton from Redding was the speaker of the evening. I interpreted
for Paul again, but he struggled even more than in the afternoon
to stay awake. I would nudge him when he'd fall asleep, but finally
I gave up. No use interpreting if he's asleep!
I stopped and just listened - and got very tired myself, now that
I wasn't "working" any more. But I succeeded in keeping
my eyes open, much to Paul's surprise.
meeting only ended at 10:30 pm, and we were eager to get home
and hit the sack. We both went straight to bed, and for once,
I was glad we didn't have internet at home.
night Moussa and Souleymane left at 7:15 pm to go to the main
street and try to find a taxi - not an easy thing in our part
of town. They came back with a taxi half an hour later.
the meantime I finished last preparations and instructions, and
got my house ready for 2 months of absence. All day long my cat
was looking at me with reproachful eyes that I was leaving her
we left, we all gathered together - gard, our kids, street kids
- and we gave them a few words of exhortation before I prayed
for them, and a few of them for us. Then it was time to leave.
We got into the taxi, all the kids surrounding us. Our day gard
Moussa - now in charge - had tears in his eyes. Again and again
in the past few days, the street kids had asked Paul not to leave
- it's just three weeks!
been a long time since I was in a taxi, and I haven't missed it.
It was going pretty slowly, and he had to get gas on the way.
Arriving, he didn't have change, and we were forced to pay him
more than the price agreed upon.
went inside the airport and checked in. There were some troubles
because Paul has two tickets to get to our destination, but we
sorted it out. We went through immigration, and then to the frequent
flyer lounge. Paul was extremely tired, hardly having slept last
night, and I was tired myself having slept more than him.
half an hour we left because we knew friends of ours would be
on the same plane, and we wanted an opportunity to talk to them
in the gate area. However, when we got there, they weren't there.
time came, and Paul was all excited, hardly believing this was
really happening. Since then he has already thanked me three times,
and he thinks he's dreaming.
the plane we finally saw our friends and exchanged a few words
before take-off. The flight was over 5 hours, flying across the
Sahara to Paris.
flight wasn't full, and Paul found three seats next to each other
which allowed him to lie down. I had two seats to myself - too
little to lie down really, though I tried. I slept very little
- less than Paul.
arrived in Paris just after 6 am local time - that is 4 am in
Mali. You can imagine how cruelling that is. Paul was very excited,
looking out the window at the airport. We walked straight into
the terminal, and made our way to our connection.
flights to the US leave from the same terminal as the ones to/from
Mali. That's the only reason we didn't have to go through a passport
check, and Paul was able to stay with me. If you have to change
terminals, you need to go through a passport check to leave the
first terminal, and another one to enter the next one, having
effectively left the "airport".
made our way to the area where our flight leaves from, and went
through a security check, and then to the lounge. We had about
three hours there. Paul went straight to sleep - after a little
breakfast - while I got online and wrote this blog.
we headed to our gate where we waited a few more minutes to board
our flight to Atlanta. We were in the front of the line for the
frequent flyers; the time for boarding came, and they first checked
our passports and whether we had the right to go to the US, giving
us the necessary forms to fill out for entry into the US. Then
they scanned our boarding passes to let us on. When she scanned
mine first, it beeped, and she looked at the computer, typed something,
and printed out a new boarding pass - with a seat in business
class!!! I told her I wasn't traveling alone - I wouldn't want
to sit alone in business class, with Paul sitting alone in economy.
She scanned Paul's boarding pass, and he also got a seat in business
were totall amazed as we walked into the plane. We were both flying
business class! Paul's first flight to the US, and he's in business
class! Paul was overwhelmed! By the time we were seated, Paul
understood why I always hope to get upgraded to business class
on these overseas flights.
had an 8-hour flight ahead of us. I was so thankful because obviously
God knew how much we needed to get some sleep. Paul has been doing
more sleeping than me overall, but I also got two and a half hours
of sleeping in near-horizontal position. It was wonderful!
also enjoyed some sophisticated meals - with tablecloth and all
- and watching movies (however, there wasn't one I really enjoyed).
Paul was amazed by all that, and it was so much fun to watch him.
arrived in Atlanta at 3 pm local time (8 pm body clock), and felt
better than expected physically. We had four hours until our connection,
and were looking forward to spend that time with my good friend
Christy. She came up all the way from Augusta (2-hour trip), just
to meet Paul!
first we had to get through immigration. There were no lines at
all, and so we hardly waited before it was our turn.
officer was very nice, asked a few questions, and I answered.
It says on Paul's visa that the purpose of his trip is to meet
with our supporters, and so that's what we said. The officer told
us that he's going to South Africa in two weeks, for the first
time, and so we even did some small talk about Africa!
was all so easy and relaxed - definitely my most relaxed since
my traumatic encounter with immigration six years ago.
next stop was customs. We waited for our luggage, and it didn't
take long. We took it through customs without problems, and put
it back on the conveyor belt to be transported to our next plane.
we had to go through security - I thought you could take water
OUTSIDE with you, but even that isn't possible, and so I had to
drink it. After we got through, I told Paul that we would have
to go through security again later, since we were going outside
to meet Christy. We walked towards the escalator, and suddenly
I look at Paul and see him walking barefoot, shoes and belt in
hand. I asked him in horror what he was doing, being embarrassed.
He thought we were going through security again right away...
I had him put his shoes and belts back on.
we made our way to our meeting point with Christy. When we got
out, I immediately saw the huge, beautiful sign she had made for
Paul - it was so sweet - and Paul was so overwhelmed and thankful.
He said he'll take it home to Mali to put up in his room.
sat down at a restaurant and started talking. After some time,
the tiredness started to get bad again. It was also time to get
something to eat.
asked Paul what he wanted, and he said a chicken burger. So we
went over to Wendy's where I got him a great chicken burger that
he very much loved. I hope Paul puts a few pounds on - he really
for me, I had the desire to eat certain things I really like,
but at the same time I don't want to jeopardize my new healthy
way of eating. So I was very proud of myself when I went for a
simple salad. Hopefully I'll be able to continue like this, as
I don't want to gain back the weight I've lost - 22 pounds since
my last time in the US.
went by far too fast. We didn't have our boarding passes for our
connecting flight yet, and so we had to line up at Delta for that.
It took quite some time, and the lady had some trouble getting
it done because we both have two tickets each, but it worked out.
a few more minutes with Christy and her son, it was time to say
good-bye. Paul really fell in love with the little boy, which
was cute to watch. I myself am lucky enough to see them again
went through security pretty quickly, and found our gate. They
started boarding, and they scanned our boarding passes. As we
walked away, they were suddenly screaming at us. Paul had left
his sign back in the seating area; thankfully people noticed and
stopped him from leaving it there.
plane was supposed to be full, but there were a few empty seats.
We were lucky to have an empty seat next to you. We were amazed
that the flight was actually 5 hours long, and we were both very
tired and in need of sleep. Paul was gone right away and slept
nearly for the whole flight - "stretched out" (or rather
curled up) on the two empty seats - while I did get a little sleep
in myself. I knew I very much needed it since I would have to
be driving after our arrival.
I haven't told you yet is that as soon as I got onto that plane
in Bamako, my nose started running like crazy. I was sneezing
a lot and constantly holding a tissue to my nose. By that time,
my nose and surrounding area was all red and painful. I couldn't
believe how bad I looked! And I couldn't figure out what was going
on! I know my nose tends to run when I'm on a plane, but nothing
like this. I was just hoping that it would stop once I was back
on the ground - and thankfully it did.
9:45 pm local time we arrived in Portland, Oregon. That is 5 am
on our body clock. I actually felt worse than I thought I would,
still thankful that I had had some sleep on that flight.
picked up our bags and made our way to the rental car agency.
I've had some bad experiences with them in another city, and was
praying all would work out well. I was totally amazed, when it
turned out to be easier than any other agency I've used before
(this one's Budget), and we were done within no time at all.
found our car, and Paul was totally blown away to see a new, modern
car like that. He couldn't believe it! We got our stuff inside,
and I hooked up my new navigation system that would take us to
Albany and our hosts' house. Paul didn't stop being amazed...
including when the car kept beeping because he didn't have his
seat belt on. Finally a way to get him to do that!
was 10:30 pm when we pulled out of the parking lot and followed
the directions to the highway. I called our hosts and told them
we were on our way. It was dark, of course, and there wasn't that
much to see, but Paul kept looking out at the little there was
to see. The most beautiful was the skyline of downtown Portland
when we crossed the bridge over the river. Which reminds me...
just before landing in Portland, we flew by that huge mountain
whose peak was actually level with our plane! It was absolutely
breath-taking! The mountain had a sharp peak, and was covered
in snow. It was awesome! I wished I had taken a picture!
kept driving, having 123 kilometers to cover. Paul's eyes kept
closing and I tried to force him to stay awake, so that he would
sleep later, in his bed, and not stay awake with jetlag. After
90 minutes, we finally arrived at our destination.
host Jack welcomed us very warmly. He showed us around, and showed
us our room. Then we sat down to talk for a few minutes. When
I saw Paul sitting next to me with eyes closed, I asked our host
to excuse us because we really needed some sleep. It was after
midnight. Our trip had taken 35 hours door-to-door.
was extremely tired, but really wanted to check my emails. Unfortunately,
nothing I tried worked, which was frustrating. I finally ended
up using their computer just to look whether there was anything
important. Then I had to use my phone to send a text message to
Mali, asking whether everything was alright - after all, it was
already 8 am there. They wrote back that everything was fine.
it was around 1:30 am local time before I finally lay down to
sleep, hoping I would sleep as long as possible, since we had
no meeting in the morning. My alarm clock's batteries were dead,
so I left my phone on to use as an alarm clock - something I regretted
blown away how God orchestrated everything - especially hearing
how things happened just today!
2 am Paul woke up and couldn't sleep any more, so he started praying.
At 4 am he woke up all the kids to join him in prayer. He had
complete peace that it would all work out.
got to the embassy at 6 am - his appointment was at 7:30 am; a
lesson we learned last time. He was the first one there. At 7
am they let him come in - nobody else did at that time, just him.
He got called up to the counter, and was asked a few more questions
that - honestly - he didn't respond to very well at all. He said
he was going to Kansas City, when our friends whose names are
on the application and who were called by the embassy live in
Wichita. In the end, he was told his visa demand is granted! He
shouted "praise the Lord" in English - and everybody
looked his way.
was told the visa takes 24 hours - so he told him he's leaving
TONIGHT. So the official told Paul they'd TRY to have it done
by 4 pm, but they couldn't make any promises.
waiting Paul found out that just last week, they stopped letting
people call for appointments. Now they have to go online to do
it. Paul got his appointment anyway! Wow!
soon as he left the embassy and got his phone back, he called
me. When he told me it was approved, I shouted praises for joy!
I was also trembling all over for a good 20 minutes or so!
the afternoon, Paul got to the embassy before 4 pm and had to
wait until then. That's when they give out all the passports,
and it is when they stop working for the day. His passport was
not there, and he started to freak out.
talked to the Malian guard who went inside to check - only the
American consul was still there. No, Paul's visa wasn't done.
The guard told the consul that Paul was traveling tonight, and
so the consul himself went to work, issuing the visa for Paul.
guard told Paul that the consul comes at 7 am and leaves at 4
pm, and that he's very tired. He was absolutely amazed that the
consul would actually take care of Paul's visa! 50(!) minutes
later the consul handed Paul his passport with the visa. Nobody
else was left at the embassy. Full of gratitude, Paul spoke a
blessing over the consul for what he had done.
returned home around 6 pm - two hours before we need to leave
for the airport. We don't have driver, so we have to somehow find
a taxi. And we haven't been able to reach Emma all day - not a
good sign. Looks like the kids and Moussa and Fanta will be on
their own - at least to start with.
Long Trip To Albany
plane leaves Bamako at 11 pm local time, and lands in Paris at
6 am local time (4 am our body time). Paul doesn't have a transit
visa, and we've heard different stories - like them taking them
to a secure area and then straight to the connecting flight; so
we'll see what happens.
10 am we leave on a flight to Atlanta - about 8 hours. We arrive
there at 2 pm local time (7 pm body time), and have to go through
customs and immigration. Please pray for that to go smoothly!
connecting flight is only at 7 pm, and so my good friend Christy
is coming from Augusta to meet Paul. We'll be spending a few hours
together, before getting onto our final flight - to Portland,
OR - where we arrive at 9:30 pm local time (now it's middle of
the night for our bodies). We pick up our rental car, and then
drive 90 minutes to Albany, where we arrive probably close to
midnight - which is 7 am body time. We will have missed the first
day of the conference - obviously God knew why we needed this
day in Mali - and jump in Wed morning.
you can see, we need your prayers for this very long journey!
night I had a dream. It's not the first dream where Paul is with
me in the US. In this dream, I was at a small meeting, with not
too many people sitting in this room, in a circle, like a home
group meeting. Paul wasn't there. Heidi Baker was sitting on the
floor, and so was I. She wasn't talking to anyone, and so I approached
her, telling her I'm the one who does the same she does in Mali,
asking her if she remembers that we've talked a few times over
these past few years, and she says yes. I then tell her - feeling
pretty desperate in the dream - that we need more people to work
with us. She gets a real burden for that, and communicates this
need to the other people in the room, and they all start interceding
anyone want to take a shot at interpreting this?
One More Day
5 pm, and in about 15 hours we'll finally know whether Paul comes
with me on this trip or not, after weeks - even months - of praying
and waiting and hoping and despairing and praying. I've been very
confident since the email from my friends in the US that Paul
will get the visa, and so has he. But now I'm starting to get
nervous. There's so much at stake! Money already spent, as well
as Paul's health that has steadily been deteriorating. He desperately
needs this break - for physical, as well as spiritual reasons.
I wonder whether I'm gonna be able to sleep tonight - our last
night in Bamako before a VERY LONG trip to the East coast of the
US. We both need to be as rested as possible, as we already miss
the first day of the conference, and need to jump right into the
meetings Wed morning, jetlag and all.
gave Paul a suitcase the other day. Having seen his total ignorance
about how to pack a suitcase at our last trip, I asked him to
let me show him how to do it. And this time he was very willing.
I went up to his room, where lots of clothes were waiting to be
packed. I showed him how to pack smartly, and he was very thankful.
He told me how's been full of joy all day, convinced he'll get
the visa tomorrow.
talked about how to get to the airport, since we don't have a
driver and Emma's foot is broken (see the email update I sent
out today where I talk about that). In our part of town it's very
difficult to find a taxi since we're very much on the edge of
the city. However, not too far from our compound I've seen a taxi
parked quite often, and so we're gonna try to see whether that
taxi driver can take us tomorrow night.
else out there eagerly waiting with us in fear and trembling whether
Paul gets to travel with me? Just a few more hours....
last service before the trip to the US. I decided to hand the
mic to Paul and let him preach that service. He spoke about perseverance
and faith, and shared the story of his visa, expressing complete
faith and conviction that he'll be issued the visa on Monday and
be going to the US!
interpreted for him into Bambara, while I took care of projecting
the correct verses on our wall. By the way, in the picture you
can see me wearing the clothes the widow gave me last week.
the night of Tue to Wed, neither Paul or I could sleep and got
up early. I had felt compelled to fast on Tuesday, and Wed morning
I spent quality time with God very early - which is unusual for
Paul, all he could think of all night and morning was Jesus's
parable of the widow and unjust judge who kept bugging him until
she got justice. Paul felt he needed to call the embassy - it
was 2 weeks since his interview.
he called them - twice - and told them that "next week"
wasn't good enough as we're supposed to travel Monday night. He
pushed them until they told him to come by early Monday morning
- his last chance to get the visa. They said they'd tell him then
whether he got it or not.
the news: Obviously Paul's pushing has made a difference, because
the officer immediately went to work on Paul's papers and called
my friends in the US whose names are on Paul's visa application.
It was only 7 am in Wichita, and my friend answered all the questions
the officer had. Hopefully he was satisfied and will grant Paul's
request for the visa. My friends were encouraged, in any case,
and so was I when I heard the news.
was equally excited when he heard this. I gave him a suitcase
to start packing, for the first time believing myself he'll get
the visa. I told Paul we now need to act as if it is a done deal
- we don't have a choice anyway as preparations need to be done.
so we have begun preparing for Paul's absence. We've talked to
the two remaining adults - Fanta and day guard Moussa - and called
Emmanuel to see whether he can help out somewhat. Everything should
be working out fine.
only tricky thing is that the kids won't be going to the village
after all. Our village pastor came back today, being in a "bad
mood" - to put it lightly - and said a few things regarding
our kids' stay with him. So we decided it would be better for
them not to go but stay home. Hopefully everything will work out
fine. We'll just have to trust God to take care of them all while
don't stop praying for Paul's visa; what a suspense story this
it's two weeks since Paul had his visa interview. At the time,
they told him they'd inform him within the week whether he gets
it or not. Then when Paul called last week, they said this week.
So he called them again today.
actually called them twice, talking with them for a long time.
He said he kept thinking of the widow and the unjust judge, who
would keep bugging the judge to give her justice. So Paul pleaded
his case. He wouldn't accept, "we'll tell you next week",
as we're supposed to be leaving Mali Monday night.
the end, he was told to come by Monday morning, and they would
tell him the decision. I hope that's a good sign, that they will
take his passport, and have him come in the afternoon to pick
it up with the visa.
for our preparations, it's a nightmare, as we're unable to prepare.
At this point I've decided to prepare as if he'll have the visa;
seems the better way to go.
confrontation with our village pastor today because he doesn't
stop lying to us and deceiving us and stealing money. We're at
the point of not knowing what else to do than separate ourselves
from him. Please pray for wisdom.