Sunday, November 27, 2005

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Heading out to church! Posted by Picasa

Timo loves to play with Lael...

but how could you resist...she's so cute!

Missing the Noise

It’s been a good but hard week…we certainly had a good time on Thanksgiving Day. Just our family, but nice and as traditional as we could make it. Cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, broccoli and rice casserole, cranberry sauce (brought from TomThumb grocery the last trip to the States), and apple pie a la mode. No turkey but some great baked chicken. We went around the table and gave thanks to God. Afterward, we all felt stuffed and ready for a nap (sounds like Thanksgiving at home!) We watched movies including topping off the evening with It’s a Wonderful Life. Tori loved it and has watched it every day since. (Question intended to shamelessly invoke comments on this post: what’s your kids’ “movie of the week/month”?) I even turned on the streaming audio (broadcast from my now favorite Catholic radio station, KHOY out of Laredo TX) to listen to the Dallas Cowboy game (although it didn’t start until after 10p our time). Our phone went dead about midnight, so I went to bed. About 2a, I wasn’t sleeping well and tried the phone and it was back on…listened to the remainder of the game (a loss but a well-fought, “good loss.”)

It’s been hard simply because the holidays evoke memories with family (do you like the way I used the two different “vokes” in the past two paragraphs?) We are both very close to our families and we enjoy family traditions that we miss during this time of year. Perhaps we fall prey to the ol’ “grass is always greener” missionary syndrome in which, at times, everything seems better back at home (this is the opposite of the “honeymoon” syndrome when everything in the local culture seems ideal and far better than the home culture). We both find ourselves talking a lot about “what would you be doing if you were home.” No signs of the holidays around these parts, so that always makes it harder for us who are very much Christmas people (is that a term?) We are fierce in our combating the hum-bug and our house is fully decorated in Christmas. We’ve pulled out every Christmas movie or DVD that we own, including some Lifetime TV Christmas specials from 2003 (thanks Mom!) Tonight, we decorated Christmas cookies (great recipe Aunt Kendra) while listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas album.

Around the Thanksgiving table, I asked Tori something specific she missed about Thanksgiving at Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house in America (Kelly’s folks). She said very plainly, “I miss the noise.” She went on to explain that she remembers all the talking from various tables and rooms…no one voice in particular, just “the noise”…Kelly and I thought that might explain some of our feelings, too. We miss the noise…we miss sharing the holidays with family and friends.

As well, we’ve been without running water 7 out of the past 10 days. I don’t have to tell you that a person can become a little irritable in that kind of situation. The power has been intermittent the past week…it was off all day Friday as well as Saturday. Thank God for the generator.

A huge windy rainstorm cancelled my Friday night meeting (that’s what happens when you conduct your meetings outdoors). Saturday was the usual end-of-the-month leaders’ meeting…a long day for me (8:30-4p)! We’ve had these meetings off and on for more than 4 years and we’re in the stage of transitioning the leadership from me to the Aja people. Surprisingly, they are not too cool on the idea…they don’t trust themselves to be able to lead. But several are rising to the challenge and the meetings have begun to take on a strong local flair, much different than an American would do it…Aja people simply find it obligatory to vehemently “argue” with each other as a way of reaching a decision…an outsider would naturally assume there’d be bad blood in the end, but to my amazement, there are no hard feelings, but consensus. For a self-aware conflict-avoider as myself (I’m a work-in-progress), such an atmosphere creates some internal stress that I’m having to learn to just discount. Haven’t seen any Roberts Rules of Order being practiced and I don’t think I’m going to even try to suggest such a thing (trying to avoid the “missionary, you’re a fool” look that I’ve gotten numerous times since arriving over 6 years ago). HA!

Today was our monthly convention of churches. We did have a good turnout from most of the congregations…many who had to walk or ride bikes 5-10 miles or more. My lesson was based on Hebrews 11, speaking about faith: believing in that which we cannot see. My lesson culminated in a look at the new heaven (Rev 21), our new Jerusalem where there are no more tears, no more dying, no more mourning…and where the streets are lined with purest gold! For all of us, but especially when you are ministering among the poor, the destitute, the oppressed, the persecuted…these people need the hope of heaven! Kelly was under the weather and kept the girls and Jonathan at home while I got to spend the day with my Timo! I love having father-son moments like this…but I tell you, this was no ice cream run…no way! Timothy is a real trooper…we were out in the heat from 9a until well after 3p! For those of you who have or have had a two-year old boy, you can imagine the stressful environment…but again, he was great. Well-behaved and even took an uncharacteristic morning nap on my shoulder during the early part of the service. Being an outdoor assembly, during my teaching slot, he was able to go with our family’s friend, Sossa, on an exploration of the village, seeing all kinds of pigs, goats and chickens and eating oranges under the mango tree. Then once the worship time concluded, I was called upon to go with some other men to pray for an old man who had dislocated his right femur over a year ago!! They said he “broke” it but I’m wondering if it were truly broken how he’d be doing as well as he was (walking with a walking stick). They tried all kinds of traditional methods of healing (cannot imagine how many voodoo sacrifices have been made), but someone told the man we were having our meeting today, so he asked for prayers. Believe me, I was shocked upon hearing the awful story and then seeing him “flex” his upper thigh in a highly abnormal position, and then seriously perplexed how this prayer team might pray for him…then who might the team decide should pray? Yep, me! Lord, forgive my unbelief, and do a miracle in that man’s leg anyway for the sake of your glory!!

After the prayer, we were also going to visit a woman who recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl. A couple of the other men from the Kaiteme church had gone a few weeks ago to the baby dedication where they pronounced the baby girl’s name to be Deborah (we were out of town that weekend). Well yesterday at the leaders’ meeting, these two men explained to me a “small problem.” It seems that everyone in this newborn’s family wanted to spare the two Christian leaders some embarrassment, so they waited a week and then sent word to them that the newborn girl has a sister (same father, different mother) also with the name Deborah! Who knew?!! So we had to go today and give the new name…this time, Ruth was selected and upon confirmation, we determined that no one in the close proximity of this family shares that name!

The next several weeks, leading up to the Christmas weekend are jam-packed with events and meetings…we are looking forward to Tuesday for some proactive rest in advance and in anticipation of the exhaustion facing us down the road! Our bodies need to recuperate from some sickness we’ve had in the family, as well as a need to rest up for the month to come! We’ll probably not blog again until next weekend sometime, so enjoy your week. We’ve missed some of our favorite bloggers over the holiday week, so we’ll enjoy getting back to reading some of your posts.

Please pray for the village of Aflantan (ah-flah-tahn)…the church has been simmering on VERY LOW heat for years now since its inception in 2000. They need a shot in the arm, and this coming weekend, the leadership group decided to focus our prayers on that village for the week and the weekend coming up. One of our Christians in another village runs a DVD business (sells DVDs and sets up a television in his village…using his personal generator because there’s no power show movies and charge for viewing). This brother has agreed to use his equipment (I’m buying his generator gas) to show the Jesus Film at Aflantan on Saturday night. We are praying that a viewing of the life of Christ will be an important element of the renewed evangelistic efforts in that village.

I’m sure some of you could share your own stories (hint: another appeal for comments) of times when you think about what you just said to your kids and you gasp! Tonight’s was straight from my mouth (remembering the Christmas activity we did tonight as mentioned above):

TIMOTHY: Dad, can I please have an orange (aka, “fresh healthy fruit”)?
DAD: No, son, you just had a ton of cookies!
TIMO: (looking puzzled)
DAD: (thinking to myself, “did I just turn down my son’s request for a healthy snack because I fed him too many sugar cookies with powered sugar icing with red sugar sprinkles?”) OK, yes, I’ll get you the orange….

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

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Tori is a great artist and loves to's some of her masterpieces from Thanksgiving week. Tori wants everyone to notice the turkey...what color underwear does a turkey wear?....Tori says, "red polka-dots!" She's so funny! Posted by Picasa
To kick off the Season, here's a picture of our 4 wonderful kids in front of our Christmas tree! Posted by Picasa
Another one in front of some of our Christmas decorations! Posted by Picasa
Tori & Lael Posted by Picasa
Thanksgiving 2005 - Here's our Family Picture...may God bless all of you as you celebrate His Goodness and Mercy and give thanks to the Lord! Posted by Picasa
Thanksgiving 2005 - Here's a great picture of all the kids sitting down for our family's Thanksgiving meal! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Timothy and Lael are really starting to click. He loves to sit by her and talk sweetly to her. This afternoon he was watching a cowboy DVD and said, "Mama, Lael wants to sit by me." She was very happy to sit by him! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Very Blessed!

We wanted to express our sincere appreciation to the many friends at RHCC and at the Fairfax Church of Christ for your kindness and generosity expressed to us in the past few weeks.  We are also so very thankful for the many “partners” we have in this ministry and many friends who share with us a desire to live life fully devoted to God.  So many people, over the past several months, have encouraged us with emails, e-cards, generous financial gifts, care packages, and some obvious powerful praying!  During this week of Thanksgiving, we give thanks to God for each one of you who have brightened our day and lifted our spirits through your generous acts of love and kindness!  May God richly pour out His best for you as you serve Him in your life!!  

- Randy & Kelly


Here's some fun pictures of our little Jonathan...who by the way is suffering these past many days with terrible teething pain! He is miserable and we ache for him. These pictures bring us a smile (these were taken BEFORE the teething began).
(Left) Jonathan loves to ride on Louise's back...(Louise comes a couple of days a week to help with the kids, cleaning and to assist Kelly in doing some cooking)
(Right) Timothy LOVES to LOVE on his little brother...the look on Jonathan's face is priceless!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

7 years together as Friends

For seven years we have enjoyed the opportunity of celebrating Tori’s birthday together with her favorite African friend. Bensha (the daughter of Laurance who works in our home 5 days a week) and Tori have birthdays 2 weeks apart. Every year we pick a day and have a full party…games, cake, and presents. Laurance always has an outfit made for the girls that they wear to the party. For the past 2 years, I have taken Tori in the first half of the day to Bensha’s house. I leave her there with Laurance and she gets her hair braided by Laurance, gets to play with Bensha for awhile, then they put on their new outfits and have the special thrill of getting to ride on a motorcycle taxi together to our house! Tori especially enjoys that part! They had a blast together today!
Here are some pictures! I (Kelly) am new at this and the pictures are a bit out of order. All of these things took place…you will just have to use your imagination as to what order they fell into the program! :)
Here are the girls arriving for their party on a motorcycle taxi! Posted by Picasa
There is nothing like cooling off in the pool on a hot day! Posted by Picasa
We even took some time to carve out a pumpkin! Posted by Picasa
Here is an action shot from our water balloon toss..Timothy woke up from his nap and came out to join us for this one. Posted by Picasa
Perhaps you can imagine this conversation! Posted by Picasa
This was fun to watch! Posted by Picasa
Both of these girls did great bobbing for apples! Posted by Picasa

Randy is cheering them on to victory! Posted by Picasa
Ready for some sack races!! Posted by Picasa
Opening presents.........they both received the same amount and exactly the same things! Posted by Picasa
Randy made this fun cake! This is a picture cutout from their 3rd year birthday party. They were so excited to see themselves on this cake. The writing on the cake is in French....translated it says...Happy Birthday Tori and Bensha...7 years Posted by Picasa
Here are the girls posing in their new outfits. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Than $1 Million Donated for World Evangelism

God is a very gracious Father! The RHCC Family gave and pledged more than $1,173,544 on Harvest Sunday, November 13. Traditionally alot more is given over the next few months, too, so this number will go higher...and it doesn't count all the loose change that the kids throw into the wheelbarrows each year...that adds up!
UPDATE: As of Wednesday, Nov 16, the new total is: $1,183,331

We're so thankful to not only to enjoy a wonderful partnership with RHCC, but to call RHCC our church home!


Another baby naming ceremony tonight...this time for a man named Gabriel...we chose to name the little girl, Miriam. Both Gabriel and his wife were both familiar with Moses' deliverance story, but neither had heard the remarkable way Miriam rescued Moses as a baby. After that, they were thrilled with the name! They immediately started calling her "Mi-Mi" (mee-mee). Cute.


Believe it or not, but we're putting up CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS the day after tomorrow! With little signs of the holiday around these parts, we decided years ago that we'd start after mine and Tori's BD...we're just big on Christmas around here and we thought we'd celebrate for over a month....we're a little late, because Tori is having a party for one of her best Aja friends, Bensha...they are just a few weeks apart in age and her mother has worked with us for over 6 years. We have a birthday party for them each year. So the day after the party, the tree goes up!!

Everybody's different...when do YOU start putting up Christmas? We always did it Thanksgiving night while watching the 2nd half of the Cowboy game (first half was at Granny's house). Some families wait until at least the month of December....and still others (I can't imagine this) wait until Christmas Eve to trim the tree. When do you start?