A lesson in gratefulness

Today Neal and Trae went to Ouagadougou (Wa-ga-dew-goo) For those of you who don’t know, ‘Ouaga’ is the capital of Burkina Faso.  It is also where Sofanwet is being held this weekend.  Every October there is a softball tournament here in Niamey.  The teams are made up of foreigners here in Niger, as well as people from Ouaga.  This past October both Trae and Neal were on teams.  Trae’s ‘Social’ team won the championship, and Neal’s ‘competitive’ team won their championship.  A similar tournament is held in Ouaga each February.  That’s where they are now.  Or they are enroute.  The trip is only about 7 hours, but there are also borders to cross.  They are both on different competitive teams, and it’s possible they could end up playing each other in the finals. 

 All that to say that I had to drive to school today in our beloved Beamer.  Actually, I have to drive it all weekend if I plan to go anywhere.  I’m considering re-arranging my schedule so that won’t be necessary!  Driving it is a real lesson in gratefulness.  First, I feel like I’m in a roller skate.  It’s so close to the ground that motorcycles (dirt bikes) that pass tower over me.  It’s rather intimidating, when I’m the one used to doing the ‘towering’.  I don’t tower intentionally, it’s just the nature of the Toyota I usually drive.  Second, I’m afraid to touch or adjust anything in the car.  But it’s not possible for me to drive after Neal has been in the car without at least moving the seat forward and adjusting the rear view mirror.  Which I did this morning… and while adjusting, said mirror came off in my hand. 

But, I am thankful  it has airconditioning.  No matter that it only works on one speed.  That was a major criteria for us to purchase this vehicle. AC.  So what that we’ve already had to have 4 holes in it fixed, and have it recharged.  It works.  I’m thankful that it’s not overheating right now.  And I’m thankful that when we were getting the overheating problem fixed, another issue (I don’t really know what it was), was exposed and repaired.  I am thankful that I am in a vehicle and not on one of the many donkey carts I pass, or riding a camel in one of the camel trains I have to wait for to cross the road.  (Although both of those tower over me!)  And I’m thankful that it brought to my class this morning.

 It was a good class.  I’m teaching Children’s ministry to both our leadership and discipleship students.  Many of our discipleship students are like newborn babies themselves (in their walk with God).  But what better time to instill in them the importance, no, requirement we have to minister to children.  I’m basing most of my aspects of teaching on the Prodigal Son.  Stories, object lessons, drama’s, memory etc.  About 1/2 of them hadn’t heard the story yet. 

Last Friday the assignment I gave them over the weekend was to witness to 3 children.  This week we have been spending a bit of time each day sharing those testimonies.  They are often humorous, and they show the ignorance (in the purest sense of the word) of the new Christians.  One of them said they asked a child if they had heard of Jesus.  The child’s response was that he was someone who did magic.  So the student discreetly threw a small coin into the sand and then told the child that if he looked over ‘there’ he would find money.  Yesterday we talked about lots of fun ways to learn memory verses.  When reviewing today, one of the students said we could promise the child money if he learned his verse.  I gently corrected them both, letting them know that they will be having a whole course on evangelism this year.  I appreciate their zealousness.

After I closed class today, Sido (whom I wrote about earlier) raised his hand.  He wanted to know if it was possible to pray for someone who was far away.  The ignorance (innocence?) is so touching.  Of course I was able to give examples of how Jesus himself did that, but it also reminded me of an email I received yesterday.  One of our supporters wrote and wanted me to let the students know they were praying for them.  What a great opportunity for Sido to be encouraged, really, for the whole class to be encouraged.  For that, I am truly grateful!

3 thoughts on “A lesson in gratefulness

  1. Dearest Danette,
    I feel like these journels and reply times are my way of staying in contact with you. What a blessing they are to read. I have been very sick, so I had gotten behind in my journel reading. So today I spent time catching up. I got as far as Feb. 5th (the fileing cabinet) I just cryed and cryed. I could relate because it was very hard losing my mom with a sudden brain stem aneurysm at the age of 61. Everything you wrote so ministered to me. As I read about Tanika, I begain recalling all the around the clock prayers that went forth, and the precious news we all believed for when the doctors announced Tanika would live and not die. (not that we had any doubt of her recovery) God is in the healing business, not only in our bodies but he heals the broken hearted. I am reminded of the scripture in Luke 4:18, that says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed be to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. You and Neal can read that scripture with your name inserted into it, knowing God has sent you to Africa. You are anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and set at liberty them that are bruised. We have been given the authority in Jesus name! We have the victory, because we have Jesus!
    Deb

  2. Hello dear!
    I love that you blog and enjoy your writing style! Your stories always make me smile, especially since I’ve been to Niger and can relate a little with some of your crazy stories.
    So quick update on me–I graduated last semester and got a great corporate job with Beautiful Brands here in Tulsa doing Sales and Marketing. I really enjoy it and am being stretching while learning so many new things. I have a great business coach who has been pushing me a lot to continually read, learn, memorize, grow. It’s tiring at times but necessary preparation for the future.
    Anyways I hope you and the family are well! Tanika and I exchange emails every once in a while. My email changed also, could you please update my contact info in your database–
    elizabeth.strube@gmail.com. Also my address: 4652 E. 54th St, Tulsa OK 74135.
    Keep the great updates coming and blessings!
    Liz

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