only a few hours of sleep my alarm clock rudely awakened me at
just the right time. I finished packing, checked emails and quickly
talked with Eva in Mali. Then our host was so kind to cook us
breakfast - that really helped since you don't get food on the
planes in the US. I then made some sandwiches with our remaining
had planned to leave home at 9 am, and we only ran a few minutes
late. We said good-bye to our friend, loaded up the car, and off
we went to the airport. We were in the south-east of Kansas City,
and the airport is in the north-west. It took us about an hour
to get there. We went to the rental agency, filling up the car
before returning it. I got a receipt, and that was it. I asked
them whether there were any carts, and was surprised by the reply.
He said they would actually drive us with the car we had just
returned since we had quite a bit of luggage. WOW! What a service!
While talking I found out that there were fewer people working,
and fewer buses running because it's a holiday today, and so taking
us was much faster. Thank God! I'm so glad I'm now with that agency!
10:30 am we unloaded at Delta and went to check-in. After a while
of waiting it was our turn, and there were some issues with our
ticket at first. Then suddenly it was fine. I checked both bags
as mine, since I don't pay for them (contrary to Paul). I had
wanted to check in online, but didn't since we were suddenly not
sitting next to each other any more. The lady couldn't put us
back together, but told us to ask at the gate.
was no line at security, and we went through easily. We still
had an hour until boarding. The tiredness hit me and I rested
a little; I also tried unsuccessfully to call a few people. I
went to the gate so we'd get seated together, and was told later.
Just as they started boarding, I was called - we really got two
seats next to each other! Yeah!
first flight was only an hour or so and went by fast. We only
had a half-hour layover in Minneapolis, and I was concerned we
wouldn't make it. Thankfully we were not delayed - and so we got
to our gate just before they started boarding the plane to Los
Angeles. I asked again for two seats next to each other. To my
amazement, the lady simply moved the person next to Paul and put
me there. Yeah! The flight was over 4 hours long, so I'm glad
it worked out.
we got to our seats, I was surprised not to see TV screens on
the backs of the seats - I was definitely expecting them. Instead,
they showed a romantic movie on the few screens on the ceiling
- the one closest to us showed it in black & white! It was
still a good movie (Leap Year). I ended up falling asleep for
only a few minutes.
was very excited as we approached Los Angeles; he had been to
Kansas City before, but from now on everything was new. We landed,
and went to baggage claim. Then we went outside to wait for the
people who'd give us a ride. After 20 minutes they showed up;
an Australian couple that's here for the conference also and staying
with the same people we're staying with.
drive there took us a whole hour; the tiredness caught up with
me again, but we spent most of the time talking. It was 6 pm local
time when we arrived.
was great to see Mark & Ann again, and to get to introduce
Paul to them. They had family there in their amazing house, as
it's a holiday today. Paul loved the house right away; I haven't
seem him so excited in a while!
were barbecuing some hamburgers - as you can see in this picture.
While we were waiting for dinner, Paul and I took a little tour
of the house. We found the hot tub on the porch, and admired the
peach trees bearing lots of fruit.
then had dinner together. After dinner, we just sat there talking.
One of the guests soon left, and took Paul with him to get into
the hot tub. He loved it!
the meantime I had connected my computer to the internet, and
got a troubling email from Eva; no major crisis, the problem was
a continuation of one of last week's. However, it was the middle
of the night in Mali.
enjoyed talking to our hosts, and talking about their upcoming
visit to Mali. It was still relatively early when we all went
to our rooms, which gave me the time to catch up on emails and
writing this blog. If I go to bed at midnight tonight, it will
be 2 am in Kansas City which is the time I've been going to bed
the last few days!
was very much looking forward to going to CTC this morning - the
church that has meant so much to me, with a wonderful pastor who
has such a heart for his people.
and I got there a few minutes before the service started, and
were immediately recognized. I put up my materials, and talked
to a few people, including the pastor and his wife. We had a lunch
appointment with a couple from the church - but I had to find
out that there had been a misunderstanding, and now our lunch
was off. I was extremely disappointed.
time was good, and before the pastor started his sermon, he actually
welcomed Paul and me, and had me stand up.
interpreted the sermon for Paul, and he loved it. He actually
expressed surprise to realize that he doesn't know much about
the word in reality, and that he has so much more to learn. Good
the end of the service, I was amazed when the pastor put up buckets,
encouraging people to come forward and give, saying what's given
would be split between me and the other missionary present. Wow!
the prayer time started, we were given final confirmation that
our lunch was off, and so I was disappointed to go and ask someone
to pray for me. When we later talked with the pastor, I totally
forgot to even ask him to pray for me, which I usually do. I was
just disappointed to hear that he had not received my email, and
that he won't be in California next week as I had expected. Therefore,
no chance to talk with him more on this trip.
day was turning into the day of disappointments, and it continued
that way. I had definitely reached a low point as we left church.
Where to go now? We stopped at Target and bought some groceries
for lunch at home. Paul didn't like what we had picked out for
him, but he loved finishing off the salad. He's discovered balsamic
vinegar on this trip.
advantage of not going out to lunch was that we had a few hours
off to spend at home. Our hosts let me use their laptop as well
to burn DVDs, so that two computers were always burning at the
same time. That really helped. So I spent the whole afternoon
burning, and writing. And I hit the low point of the day, and
of the whole trip so far. I tried to call a select few people,
but without success, which didn't help. As I wrote in my Facebook
update, "wondering why I can never get a hold of a person
when I need to talk to him or her... the greater the need, the
lower the probability."
5:45 pm we left home to drive to a church meeting; this is a new
church, about a year old, led by friends who I first met 8 years
ago. We went to their new church last summer as well. As we were
driving towards the meeting place, I suddenly received a call
from a friend who is a part of this new church, and she informed
me that the meeting was taking place elsewhere - in a park. She
did not have an address, and I simply could not figure outhow
to put in that park into my GPS. So I had to do it the old-fashioned
way - listen carefully to their directions, picturing them in
my head, and then following them. Thankfully, it was not too complicated.
The park was further away than the house had been, and so we had
lost quite some time.
a lot of people were already sitting there and eating. I was still
full from lunch, but Paul went for it. I was happy to see a few
old friends, though I did not know most people. So I started talking
with my friends, which was great.
some time of talking, the meeting started - with worshiping God
for some time. Then they prayed for people in the military, since
it's Memorial Day weekend. Then the pastor let me share about
what we do in Mali, and so I did. People were really quiet, with
no response, it seemed. Then another missionary shared. Then a
few people asked us all questions.
the pastor invited people to come pray for us; that was nice!
People prayed for refreshing for me, and I was taking quite a
few deep breaths, which is how I usually respond in the
natural when God refreshes me in the Spirit. It felt good.
meeting was over, and to my surprise, the pastor encouraged people
to give, telling them that part of this money would be split between
the other missionary and me. Wow, the second time today!
talked to the pastor and some other people for a few moments,
saying my good-byes. It was good to hear from the pastor that
they want us to be connected. Yeah!
was after 9 pm when we left there to drive home. This has been
our final event in Kansas City. Our first week in the US has passed
very quickly. As always, I was pretty melancholic about leaving
behind my precious city of Kansas City, and the friends I have
here. But in a few months I'll be back for my 2-month book-writing
we got home, we had some food, talking with our hosts. Paul did
most of his packing in the afternoon, but I still had it ahead
of me. I got to work - burning and writing - and can tell you
know, as it's after 1 pm, that this is going to be another short
night for me.
morning I woke up with quite a headache - probably due to lack
of sleep. I got up, and once the computer was on, was connected
with Mali, talking to Eva and finding out the news out there.
Things are going well; just the typical constant generator breakdowns
and repairs. We only did the most important talking, as time was
short. I wanted to leave half an hour after having gotten up.
That didn't quite work out, but we still left in time.
went to IHOP since this was my only chance to go to the store
there, and I needed to buy some stuff. After the few minutes there,
we continued to our 'real' destination - our friends' house -
for our second and final TPM session of this trip. I love these
friends so dearly, they are way up there on my list of favorite
people, if not on the top even. I wanted to take a picture today,
but forgot. Thank you for being such amazing friends!!
went first, and was done after half an hour as always, after a
wonderful breakthrough. Since my friends live around the corner
from IHOP, Paul then walked over to the prayer room while I stayed
for my session. I had a good time also, though I was having somewhat
of a hard time because of recent frustrations and disappointments.
I didn't really get where I wanted to. At 1 pm it was time to
say good-bye to my friends once again. In a missionary's life,
it's always hello and good-bye. Being apart from the people you
love is the price you pay.
left there quickly, picked up Paul, and we drove to our lunch
appointment with my good friend Debbie. It was our first time
of having pizza! We enjoyed it, and enjoyed catching up with Debbie.
As always, time went by fast - too fast. We were both getting
pretty tired. In fact, I hadn't felt well physically all morning.
Paul has finally taken a malaria medication. At 4 pm it was really
time to go home, so we'd have some time before the evening service.
got home at 4:30 pm, and the first hour was gone immediately,
it seemed. At least during the second hour I was lying next to
my computer while it was burning DVDs, putting a new one in when
necessary. I didn't really get to sleep this way, but it was better
6:30 pm it was time to leave for church, our second and last night
at World Revival Church. Paul was wearing his pink Malian clothes.
were both looking forward to the service. As soon as we walked
in, two of the staff came up to us, asking us to give a testimony
during the service. We agreed. We were guided to two empty seats
further up front, which was nice.
worship time was great, as always. A time to give our testimony
never came. At 9 pm Kathy started preaching, and I interpreted
for Paul. Last night the preaching was for Paul, tonight it was
for me. After she was done, we went forward for prayer like everyone
else. I ended up far up front, and received prayer in the "first
wave". After a while I got back up and got prayer one more
time. Paul also got prayer a few times. Finally we gave up waiting
for more prayer, and left. This time we found our car right away
;-). It was 11 pm before we got back home.
then it was time to organize stuff in the room, tidying up a little
bit, and burning DVDs as always. Suddenly I had energy to get
things done - it was the best I had felt all day. And so it ended
up being after 2 am before I went to bed... probably not a good
early morning meeting was canceled. There were others I had not
heard back from yet, and so with no one to meet in the morning,
it was time to introduce Paul to a gym. It seemed like he was
well enough, and so was I.
was actually pretty excited to go to a gym again! I hadn't worked
out in some time, mainly due to the hot season in Mali. And I
was curious what Paul would think.
was amazed from the moment he stepped in. I myself have never
seen such a big gym before. How exciting!
staff was really nice, and we were given a tour of the facility.
I had to fill out a paper, and we were good to go and work out!
started out in the cardio area. Paul was blown away by all the
machines, and he tried out all the different ones. He didn't really
like anything too much, or have enough patience and motivation
to really work. So I let him go "play" with different
machines, while I worked out seriously on the treadmill for half
we went downstairs where all the weight machines were. Paul was
amazed at how hard the stuff was, how not-in-form he was, and
how I was stronger than him in some areas. Like the legpress...
he couldn't move the 210 pounds I had worked out with!
I had the time of my life, Paul's enthusiasm didn't last long.
After an hour and a half, and having burned 720 calories, I decided
it was enough, and we left. Paul said he was thankful for the
experience; a few hours later he said his muscles were starting
to hurt - already!
stopped at a Wendy's to pick up lunch for Paul and dinner for
myself and returned home, where I made myself a salad. After having
eaten, there was only little time left to work on the computer,
and burn DVDs. At 2:30 pm we left again to drive to Steve's house.
year Steve invited Paul to his first boat ride of his life, and
this year he'd invited him again. Steve had a friend of his with
him as well.
drove to the lake, parked, and rented the boat. We had one hour
on the lake. Steve drove us out on the lake, and then Paul could
pilot the boat for a while.
the meantim we talked about all kinds of things, which was good.
The time went by fast. We docked again, and drove back to Steve's
house to drop them off, before returning home.
were stuck in traffic because of construction, which meant we
only had 45 minutes at home; not much. We ate, and I tried to
relax a little bit while the computer was working.
World Revival Church
need to leave for church at 6:30 pm. Just as we were about to
head out, Paul got pretty angry at something I had said. It was
not a good situation, and we rode to church in silence. I had
to wait until the end of the service, before he was fine again.
was pretty excited to be back at WRC, the church where I went
to school for two years. I was looking forward to a good service,
and hoping for an encounter with God. I needed the latter more
Fridays they are on TV, so things are a little different, and
the service is shorter. Paul said later, it was far too short.
I interpreted the sermon for Paul, and pastor Steve spoke pretty
quickly, keeping me on my toes, and with being so tired, I was
actually glad when the sermon was over.
was a prayer time as always, and Paul and I joined the others
in the front. I was pretty surprised when the pastors told the
ushers to get us all the way up front. Their assistant had seen
us, and maybe they themselves as well. It was a sweet gesture,
in any case.
need to know the church to really understand what I'm talking
about. The pastor released the prayer team to go forward like
a tidal wave, and Paul was immediately on the floor. I just bowed
over, impacted by the presence of God. I had tears in my eyes,
as I had so missed this powerful, tangible presence of God. I
heard the pastor was coming to pray for people, and I stood back
up. God's power touched me mightly when the pastor grabbed my
hands. Tears were streaming down my face as I lay on the floor.
Tears of desperation for Him, and of discouragement concerning
Mali. This went on for a while, before I got up to get a tissue.
wanted to say hello to the pastors, so I took my stuff and went
to the backstage door where I made my desire known. Then it was
time to wait. And wait we did. Finally pastor Kathy came out,
and it was great to see her again. We talked for a few precious
minutes; she greeted Paul and tried to talk to him, but not with
that much success. I said in a few words what things were like,
and then we said our good-byes, "until tomorrow".
had gotten late, and we went to the parking lot to go home. However,
we went to where the car had been, and it wasn't there. We walked
around, and I even pushed the panic button on the car key, but
nothing. I came to the conclusion that the car must have been
stolen. The next adventure, great!
started walking towards the building to inform someone, when I
heard Paul shout that he had found it. Yeah! It had been further
away than I had thought. I was glad, in any case, and we got in
to return home.
home, Paul went straight to bed, and I turned on the computer
as always. Now it's 1 am and time for bed - this has become my
was glad I slept a little longer though I had gone to bed late
again. I didn't feel very well, though, and so I only had some
tea, while Paul had breakfast and a conversation with our host.
heard from Eva, though I didn't talk to her directly, and things
in Mali were fine, thank God. I did some work, and around 10:30
am we left to run some errands. We first went to FedEx to mail
off the two boxes we had taken to the US with us for another missionary.
The funny thing was that we could not find the store, but suddenly
a car pulled out next to us and two guys greeted us enthusiastically.They
were from World Revival Church and recognized us! They were able
to give us directions, and even had us follow them there.
there we went to Walmart. We had quite a bit of time left before
our next appointment, and so I went to the vision center to take
care of my yearly eye-exam. In the US, they don't sell you contact
lenses without it! While I was in there, Paul walked through the
Walmart store to look at everything.
took advantage of seeing the doctor and asked him about Abdias
to find out whether there was anything that could be done for
him in the Western world. Unfortunately not; he'll have to stay
blind on the one eye unless God heals him.
doctor was extremely nice, and asked me lots of questions about
Mali. I got my new prescription, and a pair of new contacts. The
other brand hadn't worked for me any more.
I got up, Paul wasn't there. It took me a while to find him. Funnily
enough, I ran into someone I knew, which was nice.
had 10 minutes left to get to our 1:30 pm appointment - perfect
year I meet Dr. Dave at Bob Evans - this year for lunch instead
of breakfast. Paul liked what he chose, and so did I. We had a
great time talking with this amazing man of God who played an
important role in my life during the two years I lived in Kansas
4 pm we arrived back home - I was exhausted. Unfortunately nobody
was home, and we didn't have a key, and so we had to wait for
20 minutes. We then had just over an hour left before we'd have
to leave again.
really felt I needed to sleep, but had work to do, so I lay down
on bed with the computer - a compromise ;-). It did help.
6:15 pm we arrived at the house where the evening meeting was
going to be. My friend Steve invited us to come over so he could
introduce us. It was the first meeting of a new healing class
he was doing within the Kansas City Healing Community.
house was very crowded, and Paul and I went to one corner so my
interpreting for him wouldn't disturb too much. Both of us were
not feeling well physically at all. Paul even threw up. I felt
like I had a fever, cold.
did some administrative stuff, and then Steve introduced me and
Paul. He basically told everything from his perspective. Then
I had a few minutes to talk. I had folders and DVDs out for people
to take. After the meeting a few people talked to us, and one
Chinese girl asked for prayer.
class itself was the first in the series, and they gave an overview
of what it would be about. Both Paul and I got so interested,
we were disappointed not to hear any more, and really find out
what this is all about.
talked to Steve for a few moments after the meeting, and made
an appointment for Friday afternoon with him. Last year Steve
took Paul on a boatride - his first ever - and he's doing it again
were the last ones to leave there. We were both tired and not
feeling well at all, but still, we decided to stop by the IHOP
Awakening, since it was very close-by. Since we have plans every
night, we can only go after our evening commitment, but since
the meeting goes from 6 pm until midnight, that's no problem.
Except for lack of sleep on our part.
nearly didn't go but we did. We sat way up on the top for a while,
while one of the IHOP leaders was talking. Then he did an altar
call, who wanted the preach the gospel and the return of Jesus,
and Paul wanted to respond. A huge crowd went forward, including
Paul and I.
did some more talking, and then started worshiping God. Paul soon
lay down on the floor, and I stood next to him. After a while
I asked him whether we could go home. I know he could have stayed
there forever, but I was really tired, and a little hungry since
we hadn't eaten since lunch.
we left there after half an hour; I had not intended to stay longer
anyway, sick and tired and sleep-deprived and all. Paul said his
nausea was gone. Praise God!
the way home we stopped to buy groceries since we hadn't done
that yet and had nothing at home. Paul decided to stay in the
car and sleep while I went inside. He's been lucky - sleeping
all the time while I drive, or while I have to burn DVDs. He's
had at least twice as much sleep as me since leaving Mali. And
he's the young one!
got home around 11 pm. Paul went straight to bed. I had some food,
and did some DVD-burning and other stuff. At 1 am I decided I
needed to crash as well.
were thankful not to wake up to any bad news from Mali. Thank
God! It was time to pack, and enjoy our last minutes with our
friends. We had a lunch appointment in Olathe just after noon,
and since it was a 3-hour ride, we had to leave around 9 am. It
was sad to have to say good-bye again; but better short than nothing.
had a long ride ahead, and I was very tired. I asked Paul to help
me out by talking, but it was hard to make him talk. And then
we had two disagreements, so I preferred silence after all. Anyway,
just after twelve we arrived at the restaurant in Olathe, KS.
My friend was already there, and she had brought another friend
restaurant was a buffet - Paul loves buffets, and talking about
buffets. He was excited!
got some food and sat down to eat and talk. It was great to see
Pat again as it had been years since last time. We had a wonderful
time. Paul tried a lot of food, but didn't like very much. He
has discover mashed potatoes on this trip though.
were glad when we got home, to our friends' house in Kansas City.
We didn't have that much time before having to leave for our evening
appointment - another restaurant! What were we thinking, making
two food appointments in one day!
went (again) to my favorite restaurant Applebee's; it's become
a tradition to go there with my great friend Elisabet. This time
she didn't come alone, but with her boyfriend Jason. He's a great
guy - I approve, my friend! ;-) He's actually interested in working
with children in Africa, and has learned French in school. I'd
love to see them in Mali!
love this picture because it shows typical (young) Americans -
each one texting on his phone.
Paul and I had a little desert - though Paul wasn't too impressed.
had a great evening, talking, though Paul soon stopped listening
and even fell asleep. He put his head on the table and slept -
unfortunately we missed the opportunity to take a picture.
home Paul went straight to bed, and I went to work - lots of DVDs
need prayer warriors everywhere to rise up and pray immediately
to stop the fierce attack the enemy has released against our center
in Mali to thwart the plans of God. We've been getting the horrific
reports the past two days that Paul and I have only been in the
US, and I've had enough! I know that when God's people pray, the
enemy has to retreat, and I fully expect a turnaround here within
minutes and hours of this email going out - as I've seen happen
in the past!
you remember "The Incident" last summer when Paul and
I went to the US? It seems that the same spirit is at work right
now. The difference this year is that we left 22-year-old Eva
from Austria in charge who's been with us for just over 3 months,
and thanks to her, we're learning from day 1 all that's going
on and can take action right away.
of all I ask you to pray for her. She's been alone for three days
now, and she can neither sleep nor eat because she is so affected
by everything. She said she just wants to survive. I'm concerned
about her, and suggested she throw herself into the arms of Jesus.
Please pray for her to find the courage to commit her life to
the Lord, and therefore find the strength and comfort she needs.
wants to return to Mali to reestablish order. I'm fully convinced
that the enemy is scared of what God has planned for Paul during
this US trip, and tries everything to get Paul to abort his trip
and return early, therefore missing God's plan for himself. We're
not going to allow that! Eva herself does not want Paul to return;
she says she can continue on, and just hopes to survive. She sure
deserves a medal!
of the things that have happened in two days:
A 10-year-old street kid was nearly beaten to death by two other
street kids on our property.
- Our driver locked himself into a room with the two culprits,
took a whip, and severely whipped them. Eva was terrified of him
when he unlocked the door and saw him standing there with the
whip in his hand, seeing the kids on the floor groaning.
- Again a money-issue.
- One of our teenagers had sex with a neighbor's girl in Paul's
are just the main things.
HAS TO STOP NOW!
We have power in prayer to do so! Paul and I have been waking
up to those news every morning, losing the morning and breakfast
to these issues.
we see the true heart of team members and children. We thought
we had the right driver now, but obviously were wrong. He still
doesn't understand what he did wrong. Just a month ago I fired
our day guard for beating up a street kid on our property. We
have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to beating children.
the above mentioned teenager has been causing problems for a while
now, and since there IS a father somewhere, and a mother elsewhere,
we will reintegrate him into his family when we get back. This
teenager is also influencing one of my other teenagers big time,
who always goes along with others, whatever they have in mind.
year, there was one teenager - Joseph - who was the only one who
did NOT participate in all the evil that was going on. He's the
one this year again who is standing up, refusing to do evil. It
now seems that it's Eva and Joseph against the others. We exhorted
them both on skype, and I ask you to also pray for Joseph so he
can stand strong as the others have turned against him.
my blog to stay up to date with events, or even quicker, connect
with me on Facebook.
for a great report to come as this attack is stopped in the Spirit!
you in advance!
woke up to the news that Eva needed to talk to me. Not a good
sign! The gist of what it was about can be found in the above
paragraphs which is the email I sent out on my mailing list. We
spent all morning dealing with stuff, talking to her and others
on our base, losing all appetite in the course of it. Eva had
made herself a list of all the stuff she had to tell us, and as
she went through one after another, I finally wondered how much
more I could take. Paul wanted to take the next plane home.
3 pm we were online dealing with stuff. I felt like we had lost
the whole day. There was so much I had wanted to do! However,
we felt that things were now under control, and we could breathe
again, and Paul good stay for now.
thing we had planned today - the only thing besides visiting with
our friends - was to visit Dr. David's clinic. Last year when
we were here they had not moved yet. We had only seen it from
friend Karen came with us. This picture shows her with Paul in
front of the clinic. We went inside and immediately saw the two
assistants we both know very well. They were positively surprised
to see us, and I was glad to see them again. They gave us a tour
through the new clinic. It's impressive! We also met the new doctor
that works there briefly.
didn't stay very long. But we did want to enjoy the beautiful
lake for a little while. So Karen and I sat down on a bench looking
over the lake, while Paul walked around (again). We had a great
time talking. Finally we decided it was time to go home. Our wonderful
hosts were planning to barbeque tonight - yeah!
home, Paul lay down to rest, and I went to work. We still had
some time. I love this picture of Paul looking longingly at the
steak we were going to eat at night. We had a wonderful dinner
together! Great food, great fellowship!
talked for quite some time. Paul went to bed early. Finally Karen
went to bed as well, and I went back to work on the computer.
woke up quite early - which was good as I had work to do, burning
DVDs to have as many as possible to give out at church. Though
I have already used the canned air a few times to get all the
dust out of the computer, I still had issues with the burner not
wanting to work.
great hosts made us wonderful pancakes for breakfast, and we had
some more time to talk. Just after 10 am Paul and I left the house
to drive to church; my friends weren't coming.
had asked Paul to preach, and he had already told me in advance
he'd speak about the Great Commission. I was glad I was only the
interpreter and assistant today.
of the wedding and people being sick, there weren't too many people.
Before the service, the pastor, two ladies, Paul and I prayed
for the service in the pastor's office.
the service started with a few songs. The pastor was leading worship.
After the songs was the offering, and with much joy I placed our
offering on the plate. Then it was my turn to come up and give
an update of what's going on in Mali. Unfortunately I had not
been able to find a projector to borrow so we could show the 10-minute
Paul came up and sang a song, as the kids who had heard him at
the wedding all wanted to hear him sing again. After his song,
he started preaching, and I interpreted for him.
was preaching on the Great Commission, and shared much of his
life story. He illustrated different ways to evangelize, and also
talked about me. As I'm mentally and spiritually not where I should
be right now, I could hardly identify with the Claudia he was
describing. She seemed to be a different person. But I did my
job and interpreted.
Paul was done, the pastor came up and said a few touching words.
He then prayed for Paul. Then he encouraged people to come up
and let Paul pray for them.
the people came. They shared their needs, and Paul prayed. Often
he'd have prophetic words... he'd actually had a prophetic word
for the church that he shared while preaching. Several people
were in tears. Those were precious moments.
we were done. I like this picture with the pastor that we took
after the service.
had a lunch appointment with my friends, and as it was already
1:30 pm, we rushed off to get there. My GPS had outdated maps,
and took us to a dead-end street, but in the end we made it to
the restaurant. My favorite - Applebee's.
friends were already waiting for us. We had an awesome dinner
of great food and great company. Unfortunately we had to rush
off as soon as we had finished eating, as we had an appointment
with the pastor. Stressful day!
got back to the church at 2:45 pm, and went to an ice-cream place
not far from the church. Paul was full and tired, and decided
to stay inside the car for a nap. He actually never came to join
pastor and I sat down to talk - and before I knew it two hours
had passed. Where had the time gone??? I couldn't believe it!
But those two hours had been very precious to me. I left there
encouraged and feeling close to God in spite of everything. I
thank God for people like him he's put in my life. I just wished
it wasn't just once a year when I visit that I get to hear from/talk
to all these people.
quickly returned home to pack our bags and get going, so we'd
make it to Wichita as quickly as possible. It was my last chance
to talk with my dear friend Carrie who went to Bible School with
me. Then it was time for a final good-bye, and the oh so typical
"see you next year".
5:30 pm Paul and I got into the car and drove off towards Wichita.
It was a 2 hour 45 min ride. In the afternoon I had called our
friend Dr. David there and found out that he's leaving town tomorrow
morning. He was so gracious to make time to meet tonight. I didn't
want to get there too late therefore.
someone who always keeps the speed limit on the highway, but today
I went faster - most cars did. A few times I didn't even notice
as I was talking with Paul that the car was going far too fast,
as it's a nice, new car, and I quickly braked. Well, I guess I
needed to add another adventure to my list, as it makes a great
story: The Speeding Ticket.
was in the left lane, going by the cars on the right lane, when
I suddenly noticed that the car to the right was a state trooper.
I slowed down, but it was too late. The police car behind me put
his lights on and signaled me to stop. So I did. I've never had
the joy of such an experience before!
state trooper came up and asked for my driver's license and rental
agency agreement. He asked how long I had been in the country,
and I answered, two days. He then told me that because I was a
foreigner, he couldn't just give me a ticket. He needed to make
sure I'd pay my fine. He said he had to go check how much I needed
to pay. So he went to his car, and we waited. It seemed to take
forever before he came back. He said it was $108. He was very
kind, explaining everything.
had given away my cash that morning and didn't have the money
on me. So I followed the guy to an ATM where I withdrew his money.
Then I followed him to a mailbox. He alread had the pre-addressed
envelope to be mailed to court in his hand. He said I had to put
the exact amount in there, but I didn't have it. So I followed
him to a gas station where I exchanged the money. Then we returned
to the mailbox. He gave me my ticket, and said I was posting bond
since I could not appear at court on my date, July 25th. The money
would take care of it. He was not allowed to touch the money,
but I had to count it into the envelope with him watching. Then
I had to seal it and put it in the mailbox.
went to his car to drive off, and I went to our car, when Paul
suddenly shouted, can I have a picture, please? I nearly died!
He hadn't understood, and being all embarrassed I said, he wants
a picture with you. To my surprise the guy said okay. So Paul
went over there and told him he was African. So the trooper asked
where from. I took the picture with trembling hands, really just
wanting to get rid of the guy. As Paul walked away, and the trooper
walked towards his car, Paul shouted after him, God bless you,
and the trooper turned around, all surprised. Then our adventure
had lost a precious half hour. I called David and told him we
had another half hour to go. We wouldn't get there until 8:45
pm. I felt bad about that, especially with him leaving in the
morning. But there was nothing I could do. One thing I can tell
is that since this experience I'm never going over the speed limit!
finally arrived at the Barnes & Nobles, parked, and found
David. The store had just announced they were closing in a few
minutes. Great! They have a coffee shop in that bookstore, and
David was so kind to buy us a drink. Then we went outside. I had
no idea there was a little lake just around the corner, which
is where we went. It was gorgeous! We sat down, but to my surprise
Paul didn't. He wanted to walk around, and so David and I ended
up talking the rest of the time. We had a great time; it got late
far too quickly. Around 10 pm we said our good-byes.
and I continued on to our friends and hosts' house. It was about
10:30 pm when we arrived. We had a wonderful reunion! Paul went
straight to bed, and I stayed up to get online for the first time
in a day and a half. There was no sign of life from Eva, and so
I sent her a message, though I knew it was in the middle of the
night there. I went to bed pretty late, as always.
woke up pretty early, and got up. I found a text message on my
cellphone to contact Eva in Mali, and that it was urgent. I turned
the computer on, and let Eva know I was there. We started talking
on skype, and in total shock I listened to her share the events
of Friday night, the first day we were gone. More in the blog
entitled "Enlisting All Prayer Warriors Immediately".
I called Paul to inform him, and we ended up spending the whole
morning trying to sort out the situation in Mali, and talking
to the people involved. No thought of breakfast or anything else.
this was over, and with the advanced hour, we decided to leave
to go to the store right away. I needed DVDs and cases to start
burning my DVDs that I give away, and I expected to need some
tonight, at the latest tomorrow morning. Also, we were both getting
a little hungry, and I was going to pick up Paul's favorite food
for lunch: chicken with rice.
stopped at Best Buy, and then went on to Target. There was a Petmart
- a pet store - right next to it, and I thought it would be an
interesting experience for Paul. A whole store dedicated to pets!
I was right. Paul was blown away. He looked at all the animals
in amazement - animals he had never seen before, and whose names
I could not translate into French for him. And then aisle after
aisle of pet toys, clothes, food... I had to tell him we needed
to move on.
was passing quickly. Back home, we had our American chicken and
90 second microwave rice. It was great! I then went on to start
burning DVDs, and Paul had the privilege of taking a nap again.
I would have loved to do the same honestly!
goal was to leave for Topeka at 3 pm. It was later than that before
we had packed and moved our stuff to the car and were able to
leave. We had an hour and 40 minutes to drive ahead of us. Paul
was tired, and I encouraged him to take advantage of the car ride
and take a nap. He'd better not fall asleep during the wedding!
pulled up at my good friend Carrie's house. It was wonderful to
see her again! We put our stuff inside the house, and still had
some time to talk, and then get changed for the wedding.
wedding was at 7 pm. We followed our friends to the Bank of America
building where the wedding was taking place on the top floor (16th).
Paul had never been up that high before.
got there just 5 minutes to 7. The room was already full; I was
told 170 people. We were led to our table, where our names were
written on cards. Paul was very excited. We didn't realize at
first that we had first row seats for the wedding ceremony! Wow!
few minutes later the wedding started. It lasted for about 45
minutes, and was quite unique in many ways... not that I've been
to many American weddings. The exchange of vows was beautiful,
as each one of them read their own words from a piece of paper.
the exchange of vows, it was Paul's turn to sing the song he had
written for them for this occasion. He was a little nervous, but
did a great job. I'm going to upload the video clip to youtube.
At first we had planned for me to give a translation, but since
everything was so very formal, I thought it would be better not
to do that.
the ceremony, there was a small buffet - something Paul likes.
We got a plate, and then sat down with my friends, which gave
me another opportunity to talk with them.
a while, they told me about the picture corner, so we went there.
They took pictures of every person, that they immediately printed
out, and then put into a book, and you could add a few lines next
to your picture. Great idea!
the meantime the new couple had come to cut the cake. After they
had done that, and the cake was being distributed, there was finally
an opportunity to talk to groom and bride for a few seconds. I
love this picture of Paul and Matt's reunion!
sees Matt as one of his best friends, and the two definitely have
a special relationship. It was nice to say hello to Matt and his
bride and have our pictures taken.
was getting REALLY tired and was ready to go home and crash. But
then Matt told us that they were starting to dance now, and that
he had picked a Malian song to dance to just for Paul. So we had
couple did the first dance (cute picture!), and Paul watched them.
I did so as well, but soon sat down at a table to put my head
down as I was just too tired. When I heard the Malian music, I
got up to watch and take pictures and video clips (to appear on
youtube). Paul did a great job of dancing!
the song, we left to go home. I had troubles with my contacts
and being able to see properly. I was also too tired to talk.
I left the building not noticing I did not have my lights on for
quite some time - until another driver made me aware.
was glad when we pulled up at the house, and we both went straight
7:45 pm yesterday we said good-bye to our assembled children.
Bakary was the most affected - he was all downcast. The kids prayed
for us, and then I prayed for them, and put my hand on Eva to
seriously pray for her. It's a big task she's taking on these
next few weeks.
drove us to the airport. Paul was all excited, saying he felt
like he was dreaming. We unloaded at the airport, got two carts,
and went inside. We're taking two boxes with us for an American
family that is returning home.
the check-in, we had a rather incompetent person. First he said
I needed a visa for the US, and I had to tell him that that's
not true. Then there were other issues. It took us forever!
we moved on, and went through security. Everything had changed
again since my last trip. They're changing the whole airport,
making it modern. It's looking nicer every time!
went into the new frequent flyer lounge next to the new boarding
gate. Paul was so excited! We got something to drink, and realized
we only had 20 minutes left till boarding. When we got to the
gate, people were actually already boarding.
took quite some time to go through more checks and security, then
into a bus, and to the plane, and onto the plane. I was really
glad when we finally sat down in our seats. The plane was full,
and more and more people kept coming. Paul thanked me for the
3rd or so time at that point. He was visibly excited. Soon the
tiredness took over, and Paul slept for most of the flight - except
for when his food came.
was the opposite for me -I didn't get any sleep. I watched one
movie, and then had a hard time getting comfortable. At 3 am Malian
time they woke us up, and just after 4 am we arrived in Paris
- that was 6 am French time. We had been freezing all night, and
both of us had first signs of a cold - Paul's throat, and my nose.
got off the plane, and found our way to the frequent flyer lounge.
We were lucky; two of the four beds were free, and we took them!
Paul ended up sleeping most of our 8 hours in Paris...
I took advantage of the free - and FAST - Internet. I talked to
Eva, and everything's fine in Mali! I also slept for about 90
went by fast in those pleasant conditions. Before we knew it,
it was time to go to our gate. I expected additional security
like on my last trip, but thankfully there wasn't any, and so
we got there early. We were first in line, and waited.
boarding time, there were some issues, and it took forever before
our line for "priority boarding" moved. Finally, it
did - and I got an upgrade to business class. But not Paul. Paul
had told me in advance to accept it if that happens.
had a very good seat in economy class - first row, with lots of
room for his feet. He was very happy, and didn't mind me not being
next to him. I was happy too, and enjoyed my 8 hours. The food
was awesome, the movie was great, and I got to sleep for 90 minutes
in near-horizontal position. Thank You, God!
arrived in Detroit in the afternoon local time, and lined up at
immigration. We had a nice officer, and continued on to the baggage
claim. Next was customs; the customs officer asked us more questions
than I've ever even been asked by an immigration officer. About
love offerings, and what we preach on, etc. It was amazing. Finally
he let us go.
rechecked our bags and went to the frequent flyer lounge; there
they could tell us our gate as we had a few hours to wait for
our next flight. I was able to get online for free, and so time
went by pretty fast. I was quite tired actually.
we left and found our gate. Our flight was less than two hours.
Both of us slept most of the time on this flight, as we were both
9 pm we landed in my beloved city of Kansas City. I just love
this place so much! We went to the baggage claim area, knowing
we had quite a task at hand. We had taken two boxes for returning
missionaries with us, plus we had our own two suitcases and two
carry-ons plus two bags. Now our big task was to move everything
to the bus that would take us to the rental agency.
took care of the boxes, while I moved the rest. We'd carry/pull
something forward for 10 meters, and then go back for more. This
way we slowly approached the bus stop. Thankfully, a bus was waiting
there, and the two drivers helped us get everything in. They were
was curious what our rental agency experience would be like this
year. Last year it was disastrous. This year I was smart and finally
signed up with the agency that is partnering with my airlines.
Because of my frequent flyer status with the airline, I immediately
received high status with the rental agency. It was a joy this
way! I just had to show my driver's license and credit card this
one time, and in the future I won't even have to do that, but
can go straight to the car. Wonderful!
had carts this time to move all our stuff to the car. It was pretty
big - a free upgrade to a higher category is part of my status.
With all the luggage, that was probably an advantage, though I
don't need or want such a big car normally.
loaded everything in, and left the parking lot. But something
was wrong with the car. It wouldn't shift into the next gear.
I knew I needed to pull over before going on the highway. So I
did, and called my friend who is a mechanic. He couldn't help
me either unfortunately. By trial and error I then figured out
it was actually kind of a manual car, as I had to shift gears
manually. Once I knew that, we could move on.
had a one-hour drive ahead of us, going around Kansas City to
the south and east. I needed to stop at a grocery store to pick
up some basics like shampoo. We stopped at Target, but it was
nearly 11 pm and closed. So we went to Hy-Vee - a store that's
open 24/7 - where we got nearly all we needed.
we left there, the car was suddenly an automatic car. ???. I was
glad when we got home. Our trip had lasted 35 hours door-to-door.
Our gracious host was still up and welcoming us. Paul crashed
right away, but I went online first. Finally, I also slipped into
this beautiful looking bed, hoping for a wonderful night's rest
in a room with air condition and electricity.
about two hours we're leaving our base to drive to the airport
- that is Paul and myself. Paul has finished packing, we even
managed to pre-check in online. I think we're ready to leave,
and Eva is ready to take over.
last few days have been very tiring with the many logistical preparations
for our trip - to the point that it took all the joy out of traveling.
On the whole, I've been very disillusioned with the creatures
called humans, and I find myself in a weird spot. Only an encounter
with God can help me now. Or maybe some humans that prove me wrong.
had several nights in a row with no electricity, which was very
tough... it's hot enough with fans, but without.... pretty soon
I'll be freezing as I'm shocked when I look at the weather in
plane leaves Mali just before 11 pm, and arrives in Paris at 6
am local time (4 am Mali). We have an 8(!) hour layover in Paris.
Too bad that Paul can't leave the airport (no EU visa). We then
fly to Detroit (not my favorite entry point), where we have another
few hours, and then on to Kansas City where we arrive at 9 pm
local time. We pick up a rental car, drive to Lone Jack to spend
the night, and on Saturday we're driving to Topeka for a wedding.
pray for a safe trip, all our luggage to arrive, favor with authorities
(e.g. immigration), strength, patience, and God's hand to be on
us and around us.
it's Paul's 22nd birthday. We're also celebrating Fousseni's birthday
(19 tomorrow) and Daouda's (10 on Friday).
is always pretty creative with gifts he gifts me. Yesterday, the
little kids helped me make chocolate cookies. Last time at the
supermarket they were on sale. Little did I know how handy they'd
decided that my creative contribution to Paul's birthday would
be to give him one cookie with a lit candle every full hour. I
started at 7 am! I'd come out with the cookie, sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY,
and he'd blow out the candle.
the end of the day, I was pretty fed up with the birthday song!
However, Paul loved it! He would always say, "again?",
and let himself be celebrated. The kids crowded around him every
time, hoping to get some crumbs from the cookie, and Paul didn't
official party was in the afternoon, when everyone was here. The
whole family gathered, and I put the candles on the cake I had
made in the morning. 1 plus 9 for Fousseni, and the same 1 plus
0 for Daouda. Paul had his cookie.
all sang for them, and they blew out the candles together. Then
everyone received a piece... the floor looked like a battle field!
it was time for gifts. They all give gifts now, as it's the condition
for them to receive a soda. We started with the youngest, going
all the way up to the oldest. On the left you see Paul give a
ball to Daouda. On the right, it's Daouda with the traditional
Malian clothes I gave him.
is Fousseni with his gifts. Fousseni was one of the 3 original
boys I took in four years ago. He's been living with his Dad again
for the past year and a half, but is at our base every day. I
wished he was back with us.
is like a little kid when he receives gifts. He loved every gift!
In this picture he's rejoicing over a little mp3 player that I
few more pictures that they took outside after the "party".
I think they're great.
finally, more construction pictures. The walls are now done. Next
the're doing the floor and the roof.
excited that thanks to two generous donations, we can continue
building and have the money to put the roof up. As you can see
in this pictures, the house is now up to roof level. Now they
have to make more bricks for the roof. When I get back from my
US trip, the roof will be done. Praise God!
picture on the left is from May 11, the one to the right from
love this little video clip filmed from the top of our water tower.
It starts on the very left and pans over the whole base. It gives
you a great idea of what things look like currently.
we love doing it, and it brings some excitement into our day,
Eva and I sat down to brainstorm how we would distribute all the
rooms in here once I move out. We would use one of the two living
rooms as a boy dormitory with 9 bunkbeds which is exactly how
many boys we have now (including the non-resident ones that will
be moving in), and we were just about able to fit 9 beds in -
thanks to the free software we used. The beds in the software
are a bit bigger than ours, so it will work out perfectly.
a little picture of Paul and our remaining puppy that is destined
for a home in Togo.
already woke up at 6 am - his daily time to do so - but I wasn't
quite ready to get up. However, he kept moving around, and so
I didn't get to sleep any more either. Finally I got up and turned
on my computer, and Sarata then soon woke up herself.
brushed their teeth, got dressed, and went onto the balcony to
look down. Their first time on the third floor of a building!
was time to go have a very special breakfast! Thankfully the kids
could eat for free, though us adults had to pay $20 each. We used
the staircase for the first time to get there.
breakfast room was big and very inviting. There was a huge buffet
set up. It looked gorgeous. The kids seemed overwhelmed, and didn't
know what most of the food even was.
sat down at a corner table, with a beautiful view of the swimming
pool. A server came to bring us our hot drinks - coffee for Eva,
hot chocolate for the kids. I went to get some tea at the buffet.
ordered an omelet for each one of us, and then headed to the buffet.
Where to start? I first put some potatoes and meat and bacon and
bread on the kids' plates, and took some myself. The bread was
so heavenly, I could NOT believe it had been made right here in
Mali! Who was the baker? It was darker bread, the kind you don't
usually get in Mali.
all enjoyed our meal greatly. While we were still working on the
first plate, the omelet arrived. After the omelet, we went back
to the buffet for the pastries. I gave each kid an apple tart,
crêpe with chocolate, and chocolate pastry. That's what
on their plates in the picture. Bakary ate nearly everything,
but Sarata had to give up earlier
to say, we were all stuffed and very happy. Again, all the kids
could think of was the swimming pool. We went to our room to get
changed, and went back down to the pool.
and Bakary put their swimming gear on, and took a shower right
there by the pool. What a cute picture! Then it was time to jump
in once again.
stayed by the pool until noon. Thankfully, we had been granted
late check-out which meant we had until 3 pm at the hotel. We
went to our room, where the kids lay down for a nap. They fell
asleep right away.
gave us a few minutes to relax, go online, but time passed so
quickly. We woke up the kids just after 1 pm, and went back down
to the pool for another hour.
2:15 pm we returned to our room to get changed and start packing
(sigh). With a heavy heart we said good-bye to this beautiful
room and went down to the reception desk where we checked out.
Again, they did some small talk with the kids who had no idea
how old they were. This time the receptionists weren't stressed,
but very nice to the children.
took the elevator to the underground garage, put our luggage into
the car, and then strapped the kids in. It was time to go home
- but not straight home.
stopped at a restaurant on the way, just opposite the supermarket
where we needed to go afterwards. It was close to 3:30 pm. Since
we had had such a big breakfast, this was the perfect time for
the kids wanted chicken, and so they shared chicken and fries.
It's great to see them do their best using forks - something they
never do at home. And they're doing a great job!
dessert, we went to the supermarket, where they helped us push
the cart around as we did some necessary shopping. It had started
to rain - real hard - and we got wet loading everything and everyone
into the car. Plus, the windshield wipers are not doing their
job! Still, we had to drive home.
kids were pretty tired, and I expected them to fall asleep on
the ride home, and Sarata did.
surprises awaited us at home, immediately crushing our positive
mood. I was shocked. It couldn't have been worse if Paul had left
the kids alone.
was discouraged once again, and hopeless for things to ever change.
I didn't really want to do a family meeting, and kept it short.
I took their Playstation away, and they did not get any pocket
money for the week. Very disappointing.
birthday had come! Happy Birthday to me! And it scored as one
of the best birthdays of my life, and the best in many years!
Eva and I could hardly wait to get away. We had high expectations,
but didn't want to expect to much so as not to be disappointed.
We were just looking forward to good food, air condition, and
having our two little ones to share it all with.
the kids got home from school, the hotel was all they could talk
about. We decided to start our special weekend away with lunch
at the restaurant that is not too far from us and has become "our"
of my two little ones had been to the restaurant yet. In fact,
the little ones rarely get to go at all, since the older ones
get rewarded for having done their chores well with accompanying
us. Last weekend, we took Hama with us so he wouldn't be jealous
today, as we could say he went last week, this week they get to
had fake flowers on the table, and I thought Sarata looked gorgeous
with it! It didn't look that well on Bakary ;-).
kids love to eat chicken, as they don't get it on our base (it's
expensive), and so I ordered a grilled chicken with fries to split
up between them. They have good appetite. It was so much fun with
them. And it was only the beginning.
had my mandatory chocolate mousse, and then it was time to move
on. We could check in at the hotel at 3 pm, and I was aiming to
get there at that time. It was quite a ride, though I expected
a smooth ride.
the extent of a construction site took me off guard, though Paul
had told me of it. We were stuck in traffic, and inched forward
slowly, sweat pouring down, and inhaling fumes from the all the
cars. It wasn't pleasant.
finally left the traffic jam, but couldn't find the hotel. No
such things as maps or street names in Mali. We asked a few times,
and FINALLY found the hotel. It was 3:15 pm or so, and it had
taken us one hour to get there from the restaurant.
parked, and found the hotel entrance. When we stepped inside,
we were immediately in awe at the luxury. A hotel like this in
Mali? The Radisson only opened two years ago, and is rated the
best hotel in all of Mali - rightly so, in my opinion. It's definitely
the most expensive. Eva said she had never been in a hotel like
walked up to the reception and checked in. I had reserved our
room by email. The receptionist talked to our little ones, and
gave them an apple each. We received our keyguard, and directions
as to where the hotel garage was. They told us the Malian national
assembly was having a meeting which is why all the parking spots
around the hotel (in the shade) were taken.
we walked back to the car, and drove around to the entrance of
the underground parking garage. Another first for the kids - underground
parking! A guy helped us carry our luggage to the elevator, and
we went upstairs to the reception desk where I received my receipt
for the deposit I'd had to make. It took a while since other people
had arrived. FINALLY we were able to take the elevator up to the
third floor where our room was located. Another first for the
kids - using an elevator.
loved how Bakary described the elevator to Paul upon our return.
"You get into this little room, and these invisible doors
close, and when they open again, you've gone up or down."
was an empty cart, and we put our luggage on it and started pushing.
However, an hotel employee saw us and took over. He showed us
how to open our room. And then we were blown away once again.
luxury. I could not believe the state-of-the-art technology! You
had to put your keycard into a slot for everything to work. Electronic
"do not disturb" or "maid please", air condition
and lights. The guy explained the TV set and internet access.
I just wanted him to leave, so we could enjoy it all.
room was relatively small (though 34 sq.m.) but ingeniously decorated,
making the most of the space. The bedroom had a sliding door you
could shut, separating it into two rooms. The couch in the living
room was ready to be used as a second bed. We though we'd each
share a bed with one of the little ones, but then both little
ones ended up sharing the big bed with me.
was also a bar, and water kettle, and a bathroom with bathtub
and fancy shower. The kids called the bathtub a swimming pool
- they had never seen a bathtub before.
unpacked, and our kids saw hangers for the first time. I showed
them how they're used.
we were ready to go down to the swimming pool. The kids had been
asking when we'd go there over and over. It's all they cared about!
We read in the hotel book that it was only open until 6 pm, so
we only had 2 hours left.
pool was huge, and beautiful! One of the two little ones in the
back was the kids' pool, the other one the whirlpool. The kids
put their "gear" on, and off they went into the water!
They were unstoppable!
two hours passed quickly as we had so much fun together. As you
can see in these pictures, I'd throw them in the air, and then
only hear "tuguni" (= again).
fitness room was right there by the pool - I was totally amazed
how big it was, and with equipment you don't usually find in Mali.
I wanted to get a work out in, but it didn't quite happen. Instead
the kids really wanted to try out the machines. They were too
small for most of them - only the treadmill and the rowing machine
worked. It was cute watching them! Bakary also took one of my
dumbbells and worked out with them for a short time.
returned to our room at 6 pm. We all got changed, and ordered
two pizzas from the only Italian pizza place in Bamako. Hardly
believable that we were all hungry again!
waiting for the pizzas we relaxed and zapped through the TV channels.
I could tell that the kids wouldn't be up for long tonight! Finally,
the phone rang and we were informed that the pizzas had arrived.
I asked the guy to send them up.
few moments later, the delivery guy came with a hotel employee.
We were a bit embarrassed as we didn't know whether it was acceptable
to the hotel for us to get food from the outside this way. We
payed for the pizzas, and sat down to dinner. I had asked them
to cut the pizzas into slices in advance, which was smart.
greatly enjoyed our special meal - if only the pizza restaurant
was closer to our base, and less expensive, we'd do this more
the pizza, it was time for bed. I helped the kids brush their
teeth correctly. When they put their hands under the faucet, they
were shocked when hot water suddenly came out. They had never
seen hot running water before!
then sat down on the main bed and started a movie. They had movies
on demand for free in the room! Nothing great, but better than
nothing, and they were in English!
we decided to share some wine together to celebrate my birthday
- something that's a custom in Austria. So took a small bottle
of white wine out of the room bar, and shared it. It was a precious
sat back down again on the main bed, and prayed for a few minutes.
Then we continued the movie, and
the kids soon fell asleep.
decided to close out the day with a dessert from the 24/7 room
service. So we ordered a chocolate tart and white chocolate dessert.
They looked spectacular, and tasted great!
was close to midnight when we finally decided to go to bed. We
enjoyed the wonderful temperature in the hotel room, and were
looking forward to a great night. We decided to try for me to
share the bed with Sarata and Bakary, and Eva would take the other
bed. I wanted to enjoy every moment I had with my beloved little
kids. What an unforgettable time we had!
Malian toilet outside is primarily used by the street children,
and it was full. It's just a hole in the ground, and obviously,
the cavity was filled to the top. So this big tank truck came,
and they pumped it all out. Now it will last again for another
year and a half or so.
we celebrated two birthdays - Sarata's and mine. Our birthdays
are tomorrow, but since we're leaving on our special trip tomorrow,
we had to do our family celebration tonight.
Christian carpenter succeeded in making me speechless today -
he came and brought me a birthday cake that said "Happy Birthday,
Hawa Kampo!" on it. He bought it from a special shop in town.
In all my 7 years in Mali I've never received a cake before! I
also made a birthday cake for Sarata, and put the number "5"
on it, as it's her 5th birthday. In reality, we only know Sarata
was born this month five years ago, but we fixed this date, as
it's my birthday, and that way I can move her to the forefront.
decided to first bring out her cake, and sing for her. Then I
put "37" on the cake the carpenter had brought, and
had Eva bring it out, and I blew out the candles.
it was time to distribute the cakes. Some wanted the professional
one, some mine, but in the end everyone had tried both. There
was plenty. This picture shows Sarata with a huge slice of her
the cakes were gone, it was time for gifts. I decided to go first,
as I wanted the best for last - telling Sarata about our special
plans for the weekend. Several kids gave me oranges - weird as
I don't eat the tiny, dry Malian oranges - others gave me mangoes
and peanuts. They really want me to gain weight!
Paul topped it with the chocolate mousse he had bought at the
restaurant we go to most of the time. They let him take it with
him, including the glass, that he had to return later. How thoughtful!
that wasn't all. Paul likes creative gifts, and he made me another
banner. It reads, "37 years of grace. God has a lot more
for you. Happy Birthday. Ester 2:17-18". I'm just wondering
where I'm going to put it up.
decided to give me her present on my birthday tomorrow, so I had
it was time for Sarata's gifts. Since only the kids that give
a gift get a soda, everyone had something for her, and she was
blessed with candy and little toys and even clothes.
it was my turn for the big announcement. Now - believe it or not
- Sarata is actually shy in front of everyone, when everyone is
looking at her and listening to her, though she is normally not
shy at all. I told her that tomorrow Eva, her, and I would go
to a luxury hotel for one night. She could only nod. Then I asked
her who she liked playing with most among our kids, and she was
unable to answer - because of her shyness. Finally she pointed
to Bakary. So I told her that Bakary could come too. Both didn't
really get it at that point, but they soon would.
night we had met this German missionary to Liberia who came for
the YWAM festivities. He's only been there for 3 months, is single,
and was curious to find out more about what we do. He wanted to
come over to have a look, and so we picked him up at 1:30 pm and
took him over to our base.
showed him around our base, explaining everything. Then we went
inside to continue talking.
found out more about him, and each shared our stories. We had
a great afternoon of talking, and especially Eva enjoyed having
someone to speak German with.
little ones were with us, and we encouraged them to take their
daily mid-day nap right there on my couch, and so they did.
went by fast, and it was soon time to say good-bye and take him
back. We connected on Facebook to keep in touch, though he is
living in much more difficult conditions in Liberia.
morning a friend from Guinea who had come for the YWAM celebration
informed me that they had announced last night that tonight was
free to the public as well. Great! Since I had not seen my Guinean
missionary friends yesterday, I wanted to go just to see them
the afternoon I was so tired, I didn't think I'd be able to go.
But I really wanted to see my friends, and I thought it would
help Eva if I went as well. I was glad she got to go at least
to tonight's meeting.
had the ingenious idea to stop at the restaurant for dinner on
the way to the meeting, that way bribing myself into going ;-).
sky was dark, and as you can see by this picture, it was already
raining in parts of Bamako. Joseph had school like every night,
and we decided to take him along to the restaurant, as it was
in walking distance from his school, and the time was just right
as well. Finally, he hadn't been to the restaurant in a while,
and had been behaving well.
decided to split a pizza each, which worked out fine. Joseph had
to leave first, and a few minutes later we also left to get to
the 7:30 pm meeting.
hall was pretty empty tonight, and I immediately found our Guinean
friends. After a few words we were distracted by other people,
and Paul ended up sitting with them, while Eva and I sat a few
rows further to the back, where we met a German missionary to
Liberia. Eva enjoyed the opportunity to speak German!
meeting started with a time of worship, though it wasn't very
long. Can you make out Paul in this picture (to the left)? I always
enjoy watching him worship with all his strength.
different groups from different countries did special songs. This
is the group from Ivory Coast. Their leader was an Albino man,
which I thought was exciting. I told Paul to go connect with him,
and exchange email addresses with him. Unfortunately Paul does
not write emails.
picture shows Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM), the leader of
YWAM Mali (Tamou) who just received his diploma, and the West
Africa leader of Swiss origin with Malian nationality.
spoke for a long time again, and this time we stuck it out, though
we're not used to staying up that long. However, I interpreted
word for word into German for Eva, which I greatly enjoy doing,
and she was blessed as well.
the meeting, the German missionary said he'd like to come over
in the afternoon tomorrow, and so we figured out the details.
By the time we were done, nobody else was left, and we returned
home. It was 11 pm before we arrived home.
construction pictures - the first each is from May 5, the second
from May 7, and the third from May 9:
the roof of our current house:
room in the back (my future bedroom) from the staircase up to
the roof of our current house:
Past Few Days
past few days have been extremely draining, primarily with problems
with team members. It seems like every time Paul goes on a trip
with me, everything goes crazy just before that trip. I guess
it's a good sign that God is up to some things again during this
is one of our two puppies who's still looking for a home:
other picture shows Moise - a kid who lived several months with
us before deciding that he likes street life better. He's holding
Jonathan, our two-year-old boy.
is the mosque that is close to our property. The muezzin there
got saved a week ago, and Paul is discipling him. Needless to
say, he lost his job there.
women of this family attend our services, and Paul went to visit
received an invitation for two to come to YWAM's anniversary service
- 50 years world-wide, 25 years in Mali. Tired or not, I knew
I really wanted to attend - and take Paul with me. I would have
loved to take Eva as well, to give her this experience, but she
stayed home with the kids.
three of our kids are part of the YWAM kids' dance team, and they
performed two dances. I was looking forward to watching their
did our weekly restaurant visit yesterday, so there wouldn't be
two outings today. We took Hama with us, since we'll be taking
Sarata and Bakary to the hotel with us on Friday, and we don't
want him to be too jealous. We had a good time (but no pictures
after 3 pm Paul and I left to drive to the location of the celebration.
A lot of people were already there, and there were quite a few
familiar faces. I realized how long it's been since I last had
contact with any missionaries! Too long!
celebration started at 4 pm, and it was great. Our kids did a
great job dancing, and some YWAMers from other African countries
also did specials. We also had a short time of worship. Paul was
the founder of YWAM - Loren Cunningham - came to speak. It was
encouraging listening to him, and we both needed to hear what
he had to say.
no end was in sight. Finally we had to leave before it was over
to take our children home who have to go to school tomorrow.
love it when different things are in the making. I love it when
construction is actually moving forward. I love it when there
is money we can use to do and purchase much-needed stuff.
did some research online regarding the bus we'd like to purchase
and found a company in Belgium that imports vehicles from China
to the African market specifically, and their prices are unbeatable.
Now my only question is - are they a trustworthy business? Any
idea how we can find out?
day I hear them work right outside my office window, and I love
it! After all those months of silence when they weren't doing
is coming along nicely. Right now they are doing the first row
of bricks right above the windows.
has now informed me that the next stage - putting the roof up
- costs about 10,000 EUR, that is currently 13,000 USD (thanks
to the dollar having gained value).
downloaded free software to create the interior of your house,
where you can then look at it from every angle. Here are a few
impressions of my future kitchen:
finally, a picture of the street kids playing soccer in our courtyard
in the morning.
kids' bamboo couch has been falling apart, and so today, we did
our major moving project, moving the couch out of my office and
to their living room, so they have a couch again. We also moved
some bookcases in the process. I was looking forward to seeing
the kids' joyful reaction, but was shocked that there wasn't one.
They were only interested in the kids' movie the little ones were
already watching, and sat down as if nothing had changed. Disappointing
that there is no thankfulness.
becoming a tradition that we go to the restaurant every Sunday
at noon, taking one child with us who deserves to be rewarded.
For Eva and me, it's a special time of having good food. Paul
is starting to get used to it too. And the kids just love it when
they get to go! Abdias hadn't been in many months, and greatly
enjoyed himself - and his big Western chicken.
and I had dessert - wonderful chocolate mousse! We returned home
watched a Christian movie with the kids in the afternoon. I gave
out a gift to the three kids who had done all their tasks this
week well, and had reached the top. They were pretty happy. Ever
since I changed the pocket money system to being rewarded for
good stuff rather than punished for bad stuff, it works so much
better. Positive reinforcement always works best!
glad I hopped on the treadmill in the afternoon, after the big
lunch. I hadn't worked out in two weeks - with the heat at all
- but greatly enjoyed doing so again, and hopefully I keep going.
the morning Paul and the kids went to the village as usual, to
minister to Paul's growing congregation there. I hear awesome
reports every week!
the meantime in the city, Kossi - our construction overseer -
came by, and together we went through the building being built
right now to inspect. They've already made several mistakes -
and remedied them. In this picture Kossi and I are looking on
the blueprints to compare some things.
this picture I'm looking at some walls that had been wrong before.
They destroyed them, and built them up correctly. I don't know
how they make all those mistakes, with the blueprints in hand!
last picture shows Kossi and me at the entrance of the house.
havfe to say, I got pretty excited walking through the house that
is going to be my home, as well as my family's, and future visitors'
(like Eva). With the walls going up higher, you can imagine better
what it's gonna look like. It looks pretty small, but it always
does before you move in.
was excited to explain every room to Eva, and discussed a few
things. I mentioned that I'd really like to have a nice kitchen
- like the ones you find in Europe and the US - rather than having
those make-shift Malian kitchens. Kossi then mentioned to me that
there's a Lebanese guy who imports kitchens, and that we could
go have a look at what he's got. That really excited me!
Eva's profession she learned for 4 years is interior design. Awesome!
I'm sure she'll have some good advice.
they came back from the village, they decided to give the car
we use most of the time its weekly bath.
came to Mali to raise up the locals to do the work of the ministry,
and Paul is definitely the greatest fruit. Already he pastors
the village church, and I let him take on more and more responsability
at the mother church in Bamako.
he was to preach for the third time in a row - and he's doing
an awesome job. When he preaches, no one falls asleep (he's a
more vibrant, louder preacher, while I'm the opposite). And we've
seen more people come as well.
the muezzin of the neighboring mosque came to give his life to
the Lord. In the past, he chased away our teams when they'd come
to his house to invite them and give them the good news. Today
he came to start a life with Jesus. Obviously, his job of calling
the faithful to prayer at the mosque is over. Paul will be discipling
him. Please pray both for Paul and for that man and his family.
Pray for wisdom so we know how to help him now that he'll be unemployed.
muezzin told Paul before the service why he had come, and Paul
prayed with in front of everyone at the end of the service :-)
love this picture of our three ladies who cook for us - Fanta,
Elisabeth, and Rosalie. Fanta is wearing her new clothes;
I gave her that fabric for her birthday in January, but she only
just had the clothes sewn.