Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday Update

Mondays are our day off, our family day, our Sabbath day …but it’s been a lot of work today! We continue to persevere through the season of water rationing. We are still in reserve drums of water…which keeps Daddy (and a few small helpers if he can negotiate their assistance) busy with hauling in buckets of water throughout the day. We haven’t had more than a trickle of running water in our pipes for 10 days! While we’ve been able to fill up the reserve tanks twice in those days (for which we are SO grateful even though at a dribble-at-a-time, it might take 2 hours to do so), we have not been able to take anything but bucket showers (now, for most of the people living around us, this is normal, but I guess we are spoiled.) Plus it makes doing laundry in our machine virtually impossible, so Sossa has been helping hand wash some of our clothes. We did resort to filling up our machine by the bucket load, which works the same; it just keeps you having to listen close when it’s time for the rinse cycle. Plus, when you are limited on your own water (for bathing, dishes, toilet), it sure takes a lot of water to fill up a machine twice for one load (honestly, I’m just not aware of how many gallons of water those things take until you have to fill it up manually!) Anyway, we’re surviving by the grace of God and realizing that, while our life is majorly inconvenienced, we are simply wrestling by doing without some of life’s luxuries that most of the world knows little about.

Now I’ve mislead you if you think all of us have enjoyed rest today on our “day off”…Kelly and Tori hit the school books early this morning! After a couple of months off for the Stateside trip, it was time to get back to school to 2nd Grade. We were sure thankful to have the generator because right about 8a, the city power went off. We ran the generator until it ran out of gas about 2p (K&T broke for lunch.) To give the generator a breather, school took a reprieve and that’s when our life moved outdoors (still no city power). The timing was perfect ‘cause just about 3:45 the city power returned (I think our over-worked generator let out a “hallelujah!”) Kelly is such a great teacher, unrelenting in her desire and commitment to teaching Tori…conditions are less-than-ideal, yet my wife works tirelessly to make sure Tori is where she’ll need to be when it’s time to enroll in 3rd Grade in Texas next year. Fortunately, Timothy, Jonathan and Lael all took great afternoon naps so I was free to cook dinner while Kelly and Tori persisted through the day’s assignments until after 6p.

It’s been so good to reunite with so many of my Aja friends…I feel like the reunion is indicative of our deepening relationship. I know we are all aware that the time of our departure is nearing, so that intensifies comings and goings. I’ve enjoyed some good long conversations with most of the leadership council. These are good men who are proving that they have the faith and the confidence to lead. During my absence, a problem arose in the church at Dekpo (deck-po). The leadership was being heavily critiqued by a loud minority (sounds familiar to a lot of you in church work!) At one of the leadership meetings while I was gone, the problem was exposed. I was so proud to hear how the Executive council members handled the situation…they all went to Dekpo to worship the next Sunday (just before my return…I’m so proud that they didn’t feel like they had to wait on me to deal with this), and following the worship service, they stayed another two hours with some of the key players, listening and counseling until the problem was resolved. As a church-planting missionary focused on leadership training, these are the stories that provide reliable evidence of the fruit of God’s activity!

We also celebrated yesterday our monthly worship of all 7 congregations together. It was a HOT day, but I was so pleased with the turnout. This time of year, the mornings are even warm for a long 20K walk, so you can imagine the afternoon walk back! I am so humbled and impressed by the willingness of so many (especially the women with small children) to come, simply because I can imagine the 3p walk in the sun would discourage many from even showing up in the first place! Over 200+ attended, and we had representatives from all 7 churches in this cluster of the Kingdom. I joked with Kelly saying, “it was so great that I didn’t have to preach today.” Great because there were already capable men who could preach…and probably do even a better job (certainly much better in the local language!) As is customary, on Sunday I was bombarded with people wishing to come this week to see me…no one names their reason, so all I can assume is that some will want to come to welcome me back, some will come desiring spiritual teaching or council, others will present their dire straits with needs of food or medicines, while still others will come to present to me their ideas of how I can help them create income for their family. That gives you an idea of the kinds of things I deal with during a week. We have a national leadership meeting with our Christian Church brothers this coming Saturday. I’m still excited about the good things God is doing by bringing brothers from our Church of Christ legacy together with those Beninese brothers in the Christian Church. I love the unity and I love the challenge it presents to both groups. We are anticipating a formal celebration of this fusion at the end of the year, the weekend just prior to Christmas. More than any other end-of-the-year convention in the past, I am so excited about sharing in this 3-day event next month!

Enjoy some fun pictures of the kids! They are so much fun and such a blessing! We spent a considerable amount of time OUTSIDE today because, if we were in the shade, it was much more pleasant outside than inside our house. I love the picture of TJL all drinking their cups at the same time….they were sure thirsty!!

Have a great week!


Ron and Marilyn said...

Wow, I'm the first to post today! Loved the washing machine story - it takes me back when we had to do the same thing in Manila!! My machine was outside and several times I didn't get back in time to catch that rinse water to use again for the next load. Very sad! And don't forget, you can then recycle that water again for flushing toilets! And isn't it amazing how you can bathe with just half a bucket of water? When we came home after a year or I was complaining to Shelley about our water bill. She reminded me how we have water ALL THE TIME here in the US so should be grateful. She was right!!

love your photos!!


Greg Bailey said...

Hey Randy,

Not much time to write. My heart rejoices over the news of the guys and their leadership! God bless you as you seek to bring them closer to Him! Did you greet the leaders, et al for me? Blessings and love from our family to yours!

msajeffrey said...

Great to read the Sunday and Monday news from Benin...praise for the leaders leading and leading well...prayers continue for the Lord to bless you with patience, endurance and cheerful hearts as you make it through this hot dry season...these pictures are so precious...put the Jeffrey girls on the plane this afternoon with many tears on both sides of the gate...we are most tomorrow...

Cheryl said...

Bless you water is no fun. I'm thinking of you and praying for God to fill you up with everything you need just when you need it...