Well, lets see. Alot has happened in the last 2 weeks since I’ve written.
Trae and Neal returned from the softball tournament in Ouaga. Neither team won. Neal’s team made it to the semi-finals and Trae’s team didn’t make it that far. So they didn’t end up playing each other. But Trae hit 2 homeruns, so that was exciting. They both had a lot of fun. And Neal brought back strawberries for me! Fresh strawberries! What a treat!
What else…My class is going well at the Bible School. I gave a test (in 3 languages!) and most of them did quite well. Last week I took a day to show them how to use puppets. It was quite funny, and one of the girls was terribly afraid of the puppet. She jumped into the lap of the girl next to her when I brought it out. It took some time, but she got over it and reluctantly ‘tried one on’. I have divided them into 6 groups and each group is preparing a 20 minute children’s service using all they have learned so far. We’ll see all those this week. Next week I’ll start my teaching “Training your children”. Sido continues to do well. The persecution has escalated at home though, so he had to move into the dorm with the other students. Since he lives in Niamey, he was living at home and going back and forth to school each day. He has asked Pastor Abdu when he gets to start preaching! Last week he told me he wanted to change groups because they had set a time to practice their children’s service and one of the members didn’t come on time. He said that he can’t work with someone who is not motivated. I told him that I wouldn’t change groups and that they would have to work it out -that this was a good opportunity to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. This is when it really counts! In church this morning I asked how it was going and he said they are ready. Because of a bonus question, he got 101 on his test!
We’ve recently finished up with a 3-person medical team that came from Kentucky. They were great and saw something like 6-700 people in a week. This is really a great opportunity for outreach because the people come to us. Just like poverty, medical needs are rampant and drives people to get help. Then we can witness to them and pray for them. Each one. I think the count was 52 that prayed to receive Christ. Several of our pastors were there at each clinic and will be involved in the follow up. I believe the recent medical teams we are having are only a precurser to the hospital we will one day build.
Friday after school, Trae and Tanika went with a group of about 25 other people from their school to the town of Tera – about a 2.5 hour drive out of Niamey. Then they have to cross the river on a ferry. It is an outreach trip where they are helping to put up some structures for school classrooms, and do some children’s ministry. They will be home today.
Neal, along with his Mom and Dad, went to Maradi yesterday for the Executive Council meeting. Thanks to Mom and Dad for driving, which left me with my preferred vehicle. In other words, I haven’t had to drive the beloved beamer. Good thing too, because the AC stopped working again and it’s getting hot! It’s a short trip and they’ll be back tomorrow.
So that leaves Tobi and I here together. We’ve had a nice weekend. Yesterday we invited one of his classmates over to play. Tobi and Morgan are very different personalities but got along quite nicely. Morgan is a very outgoing confident little guy. Also very athletic. Here’s a part of a conversation I overheard / saw.
While playing with matchbox cars:
Morgan: I’ll have the 2 fastest cars, since I’m faster than you.
Tobi: Blank stare that turned into an ‘I get it’ stare and then said “OK”.
Off they were to continue playing with the cars. Tobi is very matter of fact about these things. Every once in awhile I get a ranking of speed levels of he and his classmates. It doesn’t even sound competitive (but I’m no fool, it has to be!), just very factual. Last night we watched the original Charlotte’s Web animated movie from 1972. It was really good! I’d forgotten that it’s really a musical. Tobi had already seen a part of it so he kept telling me what was going to happen. Wilbur was going to ‘get dead’. Like death is something you go and get. We even had popcorn!
Today on the way home from church I asked Tobi if he had any ideas for lunch. He did not. I said – how about tuna – because I had some already made in the fridge. His reply? Are you ready for this? Picture fist clenched in excitement and a shout of ‘YES’ as he pumps said fist. The guy loves tuna! And hummous, zucchini and hot sauce. Not so interested however, in things like roast beef and mashed potatoes and gravy.
I’m afraid (I know I shouldn’t fear) but I really am afraid of the heat that is here – and even more – the heat that is on it’s way. When we left for the US in early April last year, it was 120. That’s hot enough for a seatbelt to double as a branding iron. We have been resisting the use of our air conditioners but last night I finally caved. It was March 1st for goodness sake. That’s officially hot season. Even with our window open and fan on it was still 87 in the room at 11pm. Tobi has been asking for quite awhile now to use his AC. We’ve refused the poor kid. When I went to bed last night, I couldn’t in good conscience use the AC while he remained hot. It also didn’t make a lot of sense to have 2 AC’s running. So I moved him into my room when I went to bed. He was all sweaty…poor guy. Sometime in the night the electricity went out. When it came back on, I would have had to get up and turn the AC on again. I decided to leave it off, (too lazy to get out of bed) hoping the room was cool enough to sleep the rest of the night. It worked. We were both comfortable. This morning it was only 81 in the room.
There’s always an adjustment when hot season arrives. It’s hot most of the time, but March and April stand alone when it comes to heat. I heard of a publication that said Niamey was the hottest capital city in the world. Niger was also described as having 2 seasons. Hot, and hotter then hell. We thank God for the AC’s we have in our bedrooms – and the money to run them. And we thank him for His son, Jesus, who has saved us from eternal fire!