morning I was excited to get to go to the gym for the second time,
and I had a great time. I returned home where I had a wonderful
salad, before it was time to leave.
was thankful that my grandmother let me use her car to drive to
St. Pölten, which is nearly an hour away. I was looking forward
to seeing my friend again who I've known since I was saved; she's
also sponsoring one of my boys. I always have a great time with
arrived in St. Pölten at 3 pm, parked the car, and greeted
my friend. We then went on a walk - through downtown St. Pölten
first. I loved all the Christmas decorations - it was beautiful.
We then walked to the little river, walked along the river for
a while, went up a tower to enjoy the view, and then stopped at
my friend's husband's workplace for a few minutes, before returning
home, we had something to eat and continued talking. I also showed
them pictures from Mali, and there were plenty that contained
"their" boy. Time went by so fast, and before I knew
it, it was time to drive home. At 9 pm my friend walked with me
to my car, where we had to say good-bye - until next year. An
hour later - at 10 pm - I arrived back home; ready to close out
the day with a cup of tea, TV and logging onto the internet.
I finally got to see my brother and my nephew. I arrived at their
house at 1:30 pm. Max was sleeping, and so I enjoyed my time with
my brother and his wife, showing them pictures from Mali. None
of us had eaten yet; we were waiting for Max to wake up from his
nap. We ended up eating lunch at 3:30 pm.
wasn't at his best today. He didn't want to eat, and always wants
his will. He's now one and a half years old. I still enjoyed seeing
him. He can now speak a few words. He was able to say "aunt"
4:30 pm I had to say good-bye, but I'll see him again before returning
my brother's house I drove to another church service. It's an
English-speaking church I preach at about once a year. My visit
was going to be a surprise; I wanted to go there one time, and
today was the day.
was excited to see everyone again. I walked in, and saw a few
familiar faces. I was also amazed at the number of unknown faces.
I found myself a seat, and started talking to a few people. Some
knew I was in town, others were surprised. It was great to see
the pastor and his wife.
was looking forward to meeting with God. We had a good time of
worship, and then the pastor came up. He surprised me when he
asked me to come forward and give an update. I have known Wolfgang
for 15 years; I first talked to him about a year after I was saved,
and he has watched me change over the years. He's like a father
then preached. In the end, he did an altar call and prayed for
a few people. Then it was time for fellowship. I enjoyed talking
to people; especially a young Chinese lady who is fruit of my
time in Austria. I used to do a weekly "tutoring club"
at our church, helping children with school work. We invited unbelievers,
and she was saved. It was a way to invite unbelievers to church
in an unthreatening way. It's great to still see her walking with
God, even in light of all the opposition from her Chinese family.
went by so fast, and I had to say good-bye once again. I'm glad
I went to the service, even though I'd been so tired before that
I had considered not going.
here I come!!! I was so excited to get to go to a gym again. I
cherished every minute there!
grandmother made lunch for me, and then we went to a shopping
center that had just opened and had many great deals. I got quite
a few Christmas presents for my kids. After some time I noticed
that I got very tired; still the aftermath of a sleepless night
on the plane. So we went home rather than continue on shopping.
home we had dinner together, and ended the evening with watching
TV, talking and me going online.
morning I continued the shopping for Mali at the supermarket -
because of the special deal they had just for today. I spent a
lot of money there, with my grandmother at my side, and then we
went home. I had one hour at home before having to leave, and
freed my purchases from all the packaging.
12:15 I left in my grandmother's car to drive to my mother's house
where I was invited for lunch. I had a great time with my Mom
and her husband - it went by too fast. At 4:15 pm I had to leave
to drive to church.
was very curious to see the newly finished building the church
just moved into. A multi-million dollar project, doublessly making
it the most beautiful (modern) church building in Vienna. I was
excited to see everyone again.
parked the car, and walked up into the new building. It felt strange
to be at "my" church in a foreign building. I walked
into the new sanctuary and found myself a seat. I talked to a
few people who know me. Just after 5 pm the German-speaking service
started worshiping God in German (weird for me - English is my
primary language). As I entered into His presence, the Lord touched
me at a raw place in my heart, and tears started to come. I repented
of lack of thankfulness, and of accusing God because of our financial
situation because He has not taken care of us recently. Our financial
situation has really been weighing me down. I also felt like nobody
really cared about our situation.
heart was pretty tender by the end of the worship time, and I
was still close to tears for feeling all alone. They did announcements
and different things, and then the pastor came to preach. He preached
on the anointing.
was pretty tired and had a hard time keeping my eyes open. In
the end, we sang a song, inviting Holy Spirit to come. As we did,
His presence came down so powerfully, I was totally taken off
guard. His joy filled me, Holy Spirit filled me, to the point
that I could not stand upright at all and I had to hold on to
a chair. I felt like I needed to pray for people.
as the pastor closed the meeting, I told him I'd love to pray
for people since the presence of God is so strong, and he passed
it on. I started praying for people - with all kinds of needs
- and I could see Him minister to those precious people. It was
was the last one to walk out of the sanctuary to go down to the
coffee shop where everyone was eating and talking. I talked to
a few people, which was precious. In the end I also had a few
minutes with the pastor and his wife. It was wonderful. It was
after 9 pm when I left to drive back home. I'd had a wonderful,
unexpected evening of having been ambushed by God!
home I talked to my grandmother for a few minutes, before winding
down with internet and TV. I thank God for this short break in
were served our dinner at around 1 am - I love the Air France
food! Coming from Mali, it's always extra special.
2 am or so I tried to get some sleep. I had a hard time getting
comfortable, though I was really tired, and I was getting really
cold. I dozed a little until they woke us up close to 5 am. I
was sure tired!
the taxiing, we arrived with a half-hour delay - which was half
an hour before my flight to Vienna would leave, and I did not
have a boarding pass due to the computer problem. There was no
point in even trying - especially at an airport like Paris where
you walk around forever until you get to your terminal.
found the connection desk where the lady got me onto the next
plane with room - 5 and a half hours later! Oh wow. I was able
to do my long walk calmly, and go to the frequent flyer lounge.
Even if we had arrived on time, I doubt I'd have made the connection.
got to the lounge at 7:30 am and called my Mom (who's picking
me up at the airport) and my brother. I have so little time in
Vienna, I need to fill my calendar quickly and wisely. Then I
had some breakfast and got online, taking advantage of a fast
and free internet connection. It's like heaven!
I still have a few hours till I leave, and I really need a nap.
pm, Vienna - My five hours in Paris passed quickly. After two
hours in the internet, I still had another 45 minutes to get some
rest. The sleepless night in the plane was catching up to me.
I pushed two big chairs together and crashed. Every five minutes
I checked my watch. I was sleeping so deeply in between, I was
afraid I'd not wake up in time. So after half an hour I got up,
and got ready to leave the lounge.
went through security and found my gate. I still had plenty of
time to wait. I was glad when I was finally on the plane, ready
to go to Austria. The tiredness crashed down on me, and so I dozed
off - except for the little meal. For the last few minutes I enjoyed
watching the clouds beneath the plane. I was looking forward to
my home country!
arrived at 2:30 pm. My bag came our right away, and I went outside
and immediately saw my Mom. It was good to see her again. We loaded
the stuff into the car, and went on our way. We had planned to
go to the hairdresser's right away, but my late arrival made that
impossible. But we did want to go buy some groceries. There was
a lot of traffic, so we ended up spending more time in the car
and the store than expected. I always love being in a grocery
store right after leaving Mali. It's like heaven - everything's
Mom then dropped me off at my Grandmother's house. A few minutes
later she arrived as well. We ended up having a nice, quiet evening
together. I had a pizza - yeah - plus a salad, and we ate together.
I also enjoyed sitting down in front of a TV. But watching TV
was boycotted by phone calls to try to fit everything into my
schedule this upcoming week. Finally I went upstairs to finish
the rest of the evening with getting online and watching TV.
I gave Tierno (19) his moving-in kit. He was very happy. He's
now sharing a room with Augustin, our driver. Right now Tierno
"only" goes to school; he started last night. When we
get out of the financial dilemma we're in, I'll be sending him
to driving school. He's a fine, young man whose life was changed
by Jesus. He was baptized two weeks ago.
the time has come for me to hop over to Austria for a couple of
days. The French team canceled, so I could have gone earlier -
need some serious recharging - primarily physically - though it
looks like that's not really gonna happen. Since I'm only gonna
be there for just over a week, my calendar is quickly filling
up with meeting people, preaching once, and sharing in a school
once, plus many other things. I hope I'll make it to the fitness
pray for a safe, uneventful trip - that my luggage arrives, and
especially that I make my connection in Paris tomorrow morning.
There's EXTREMELY little time to get over there and catch it.
pm, Bamako - Everything got done in the last minute. I said good-bye
to my boys, and loaded my stuff onto the back of the truck. Then
Augustin, Paul and I left to go to the airport.
police is very picky at the airport, and so they could only drop
me off, and I had to quickly say good-bye to them.
I went inside the terminal, I saw the typical long line at the
Air France counter. Being a Platinum frequent flyer has advantages
- so I thought. The guy didn't want to let me through. He told
me that the airport's computer system was down, and everything
had to be done by hand. Wow! He asked for my understanding. I
told him I didn't understand why that meant I had to stand in
line with everyone else. He tried explaining it again, and I gave
him the same answer again. Then he said, because I'm so nice,
he'll let me pass. I told him, "thank you, you're nice too."
was glad to be at the check-in counter where I realized for the
first time the chaos due to no computers. I waited for quite a
while before it was my turn. They had walky-talkies, and wrote
my boarding pass by hand! Oh my! I hope my bag will make it to
Austria this way!!!
then I realized that I would not have a boarding pass for my connection
flight in Paris. That's a huge problem! First, my layover was
extremely short to start with. Then the computer meltdown will
certainly cause a delay. And now I also have to get a boarding
pass in Paris. It's nearly certain I won't make my connection!
morning, 8:30 am, Paris - Suddenly we were told boarding for the
flight to Paris had started. That was extremely early! So I left
the frequent flyer lounge, went through all the checks and security,
to the gate, where they check your bags one more time. The young
man who had let me through at check-in was there as well - and
continued flirting. He actually asked me to marry him. It's been
a while since I last had an offer - since this guy didn't know
how many children I have :-).
got onto the plane and found my seat - a little further back than
usual. I soon realized that the plane would be pretty empty. I
was glad to have an empty seat next to me. And then I read what
was written on the video screen - the system is only partially
working. Great! Looking through the movie list, there was one
movie I really wanted to see. Of course, that movie was unavailable;
the system was barely working, so I didn't get much out of it.
kept waiting for take-off, wondering why we're not leaving. Everyone
had been seated early. The captain then told us that they need
some paperwork to be able to leave, and all that has to be done
by hand. That's why we left with a half hour delay - at 10 after
it's a weak that our last visitors left, and I haven't even written
anything all week. On the whole, I've just been tired, exhausted,
hardly able to do anything. The weeks of busy-ness and craziness,
and then the intense days with our visitors, took a greater toll
on me than expected. I can tell I'm not 20 any more!
what have we been up to this past week? Every night I teach our
street kids to read and write Bambara; they're thankful for that.
Saturday, we didn't have a service because there was a huge service
downtown - with a British pastor visiting - and I sent Paul and
the kids there. They were very blessed.
Sunday Paul went to the village of Dara with the kids. More people
than ever showed up - some having walked 3 kilometers - and God
healed them. They had a great time!
went in the morning rather than afternoon so we could watch Charles's
service online. They had told us that they would share about their
time in Mali that day. So I set everything up in the dining hall
for us to watch, but the wireless internet connection was far
I moved everything into my living room where I could hook up the
computer to the internet by cable, giving it a little more speed.
Everyone was gathered and excited. We watched the worship time
and announcements - Paul and I translated - and then Charles said
they would share about Mali next week. Everyone was disappointed.
Paul got up and left right away.
everything was set up, I ended up showing them the pictures from
my summer trip that they had not seen yet. They loved it, and
we had a great time.
one of the street boys we baptized is moving in with us. Tierno
is 18, and I'll be sending him to driving school - whenever we
have money again. He's starting school again tonight - evening
school. We're excited to have him on board. He has a great testimony,
and loves Jesus.
one thing that has been weighing on me is our financial situation.
Since we still don't have enough monthly donors to cover even
50% of our expenses, and with all the expenses we've had, and
bills we're supposed to pay, our debts have been increasing, and
I'm becoming somewhat desperate. We need a miracle!
last day had started - for our visiting ladies. There were a few
things left to do. One was to organize our medical supplies into
the new shelves we had just received yesterday. I was very glad
they did that. Now it will be easier to find stuff, and the doctor
should be happy too.
also worked one last time with Hama, while our two boys were watching
who are usually working with him.
few days ago we had bought some potatoes for our visitors, and
so Terri was so kind to make mashed potatoes for lunch today.
We also bought a chicken that was all ready at a restaurant. So
we ended up having a nice lunch together - our last.
thing we hadn't had time for yet was the hygiene class. The only
chance was during lunch break. Unfortunately Paul wasn't there
- he would have profited as well. So Souleymane interpreted for
me, and he did a good job.
gathered in the dining hall, including a few non-resident kids.
Then Terri and Carol did a great job teaching on hygiene - stuff
they've heard from me, but sometimes they have to hear it from
other people. Carol brought an oversized tooth brush which they
enjoyed. There's only one thing we forgot to teach on.
they were done, I did a time of feedback to see whether they had
listened. They did a pretty decent job giving the correct answers.
Hopefully they'll put into practice what they've learned. At least
later that day I could tell a difference when they washed their
hands with soap before eating.
we were done, Terri handed out candy bars to everyone, which made
them very happy. Then it was time to go back to school for afternoon
classes, and us who stayed behind took a little time to rest.
wanted our visitors to still experience a literacy class that
had not picked up yet after a longer break. But tonight was the
night. It was getting somewhat late, but at least we got started.
The street kids are very motivated to learn to read and write
their language! Class is one hour every day.
the time to say good-bye had come. It was hard for the kids as
well as the ladies. We loaded their luggage onto our truck, and
Paul and I took them to the airport, where we hugged them and
let them go. We're hoping to see them again in Mali some time
in the future.
really wanted to take our visitors into the deep bush, where five
of our churches are. So we had lunch early, and then drove the
75 minutes to the main village of Dio.
pastor there was happy to see us, and our visitors happy to see
him and his compound. It was close to 1 pm, and it was hot, and
quiet, as people were doing their siesta. They got to meet Enoch's
wife, who asked them to pray for her since she had not come to
some Malian tea, we got into the car to drive to Goro where there
is one of our strongest churches in the area. Last year they decided
themselves to build a church building, without ever consulting
me, and then they expected me to pay for the roof, windows and
door. God didn't tell me to do that, and I told them if God wanted
them to build the church, He'll also provide.
is what the church building looks like now. Even though I ended
up giving them the necessary money a few months ago. They haven't
done anything yet.
had told them we weren't coming to do a meeting, just to visit.
People welcomed us warmly. That corn drying in the sun is the
seed for next year's corn harvest.
also found they were planting beans; beans are rare in Mali, and
rather expensive, which is why they are never eaten on our compound.
The ladies showed us how they pound the beans.
then how they separate the chaff from the beans. The wind blows
away the chaff, and the heavy beans fall straight down into the
walked on to another house, where the patriarch had come to our
anniversary celebration. However, he had not had a chance to receive
prayer, so he asked the ladies now. He told us that one eye is
totally blind, and with the other eye he doesn't see much.
ladies prayed, and he could see with his blind eye! He also said
he now sees colors with the other eye. Praise God!
walked back to the first house, where other people started asking
us for prayer. In this picture they're praying for the village
chief. Then they prayed for two more elders, and for two babies,
and many were healed. More were coming but we had to leave to
get back to Bamako.
were thankful we had visited. They are sweet people there.
drove back to Enoch's compound on a very bad bush road; it took
about 30 minutes. We used the Malian bathroom, said our good-byes,
and started our long drive back. God protected us from a bad collision
when a guy did not respect a STOP sign. Thank God!
got into Bamako during rush hour, and had to cross the whole city.
One accident made that even harder. But finally we were approaching
our base. We stopped at the ATM, and continued on to the tailor
so the ladies could pick up their Malian clothes.
arrived at the base after 6:30 pm - and I was surprised to see
our driver there. He told me that another tire had blown on our
older and more messed-up car. Great! As if we had any money to
it was good we had come when we had come. The driver took the
car we had arrived in, and left to drop off Joseph and Paul Jr.
at their school, and pick up the street kids.
was totally exhausted. I grabbed something to eat, did a quick
family meeting, and still got into the office to do some work.
However, at 10 pm I quit, not being able to work any more.
doing the nightly family meeting, praying for each kid.
and Amadou washing their clothes.
street kids being taken back to the bus station in the morning.
And a Malian gas station - bottles of gas.
teaching the street kids in the morning, and praying for them.
with her three children Sarata, Hama, and Jonathan, plus Bakary
to the very right. Jonathan is smiling for once!
had been telling me about a teaching she had for our children
that she wanted to give. The Lord gave it to her weeks before
coming. It was on the spirit of adoption, and being princes and
princesses of King Jesus.
the teaching part, she got out the crowns she had gotten for that
purpose and went from child to child, crowning them as princes
of the King of Kings. It was precious!
once, Paul was happy to be included with the boys :-).
was the only princess. And then they decided to crown me queen.
Everyone loved that! Not only did I get a diadem, but also a scepter
to reign. Everyone had so much fun!
we ended up taking a lot of great pictures, and though I tried
to pick the best, there are still many I want to share with you.
love the pictures with Bakary:
Jérémie on the left, and Souleymane, Abdias, and
Bakary on the right.
the teaching it was time to leave for the restaurant. Abdias had
received the gift of joining us. We went to our new discovery,
not too far from our base, and had a great time. I'd had a tough
morning health-wise - I think the exhausting is getting to me
- but I felt much better after having eaten. The boys sure loved
returned home, where we had a little time before leaving for the
village. I had a chance to lie down - and slept until the alarm
woke me far too soon. It was the first time I'd been able to sleep
during the day since our visitors arrived 11 days ago!
kids all wanted to go to the village, and so we only left one
of the oldest kids on the base as a guard. All the others came
with us - it was the first time Hama, Bakary, and Sarata joined
us for a trip to the village.
little ones were inside the truck with our visitors, while the
rest of them were in the back, together with the drums. After
45 minutes of driving - most of it on dirt road - we arrived at
Dara. For the first time I noticed the signpost at the entrance
of the village - it must be new - and discovered that the village
is called "Dara" and not "Dra".
boys started playing the drums on the back of the truck so that
people would hear and know we'd arrived. We went to the village
chief's house, parked, and set up. We waited for some time while
people were gathering.
Paul started with doing a few praise songs. Then Terri did two
songs in English on the guitar. Next she gave a short salvation
message. Many responded, but we don't know how many did for the
first time. She prayed a prayer of commitment that people repeated
after Paul. He did a great job interpreting from English straight
were lots of kids, and so Terri asked them to sit down in front
of her. Then she told them the story of Noah.
they offered to pray for healing, and as always, many were healed.
I myself was so exhausted, I sat down in the car while they were
praying for the sick. I didn't get to rest though, since my 4
smallest kids were already in the car, and we ended up playing
and having fun.
they were done, everyone got into and onto the truck, and we left
to drive home. We arrived just before the sun was completely down.
the usual family meeting, the arrival of the street kids and distribution
of cards. I was a little more awake then I had been in the village.
Our visiting ladies had been telling me they want some time with
me, and so I thought this might be the best shot.
was after 9 pm by the time that could happen, and the tiredness
was increasing again. I put on soft worship music, and they started
to wash my feet, anoint me, and pray over me. It was precious.
had more office work to do, and ended up working until midnight
- when I just could not go on any more.
Kids Doing It
the street kids arrived in the evening, we heard the following
story: A bunch of them had been up on the hill behind our property,
when they met a young guy. The young guy knew they were part of
us, and told them that his Dad was sick, and invited them to come
and pray for his sick Dad.
of our street kids (4 of them baptized) went to his house. They
prayed for the old man, who said he was healed. They also prayed
for a baby, and the baby was visibly healed.
financial situation has become very serious. The expenses for
the start of school have been huge, plus car repairs, plus expenses
for the big celebratiom & conference last weekend,.... We
have no money left, only debts, and I do not know how to pay the
next bills. We've had very few donations come in, and still don't
have enough supporters to cover even half our regular monthly
expenses. All that's left to do is to cry out to God, and remember
He's a faithful Daddy taking care of His children.
Service With Visitors
was time for our weekly service, and Carol was going to preach.
I was disappointed that we didn't even have one additional person
in the service, after seeing nearly 600 people come to the celebration
it was my turn to do three French worship songs. Our American
visitors said they wished I had gone on for longer. Unfortunately
the Malians don't see that the same way. It's at our weekly prayer
meeting we get to spend long times worshipping.
the end of our worship time, we did the offering, and my kids
brought their tithes, and even street kids gave money. When I
prayed over the offering, I made a powerful declaration for prosperity
and provision. I could feel the authority that came with it!
I asked who'd been blessed last weekend, and everyone raised their
hands. I asked who had brought friends, and a few raised their
hands. I asked them jokingly why they had not come back today,
since there weren't any new people.
Paul interpreting, and Paul's fiancée Rokia.
I handed it over to Carol who was going to preach. She did a great
job. This picture shows her using Jérémie for an
illustration with a glove.
she did an altar call, and only a few street kids and a few of
my kids came up for prayer. In this picture she's praying for
Aly who was baptized last Sunday. His is the greatest testimony
of all the street kids.
service had only lasted an hour and 15 minutes, and most people
left right away. That was surprising. I thought more would come
up for prayer.
I had been fasting all day, I was very tired, and really needed
a break. I tried, but the demands on me continued. I did the family
meeting quickly, and went straight to bed, at 8:30 pm. It took
me one hour to fall asleep.
day where it just didn't work out to find rest. I did sleep well
last night, just not long enough, and couldn't find a free minute
to lie down during the day. I did get some stuff accomplished,
but there is so much more to do.
visitors Terri and Carol have been as supportive as possible,
but there's simply much they cannot do. I've been excited to see
them work with Hama, and have our two boys who usually do that
watch them and learn. They have also spent time with the other
kids, playing and drawing together. And they brought a puzzle
- Abdias loves puzzles.
I used my treadmill for the first time which was SOOO exciting.
I'm so very thankful that the Lord gave it to me! It's a huge
blessing! Hopefully the weight will now melt off even faster.
I'm at my lowest weight in about 20 years right now.
the afternoon Paul and I had a big fallout over something ridiculous.
I was extremely tired, and my lunch had been interrupted by him
for the third time. I was tired of being constantly called upon,
and just wanted a few minutes to myself. Paul was tired himself,
and so it didn't take much for the explosion to happen.
was very upset, but as a leader and older Christian, it's my responsibility
to make the first step. Our weekly prayer meeting started at 5
o'clock, and I knew it had to be resolved before that.
Paul showed up for the meeting, his face spoke volumes. I asked
to talk to him for a minute, and apologized. He apologized in
return, and we were ready for the meeting.
was inspired the start the meeting by asking the kids how the
past weekend had changed them. Only the 7-year-old said nothing
was different for him (and those younger). Several of those that
had been prophesied to that they would have dreams, had already
dreams that they were sharing. Two of the kids had been healed
physically. Our new driver said he had liked the weekend, and
to my greatest surprise, Fanta spoke openly. She doesn't even
always attend the meeting, though it's mandatory. She said that
she's been sick ever since moving back in with us, and that she
was wondering why God was punishing her. I was thankful for her
frankness, and I explained to her where sickness is from, and
how God sees her. We prayed for her at the end.
cut her finger about 4 weeks ago, and it got infected. She never
followed the doctor's instructions, and so it got worse and worse,
until the doctor threatened her that the only thing left to do
is amputation. I guess that finally woke her up, and now she's
getting better each day. She's still not able to work, though.
the feedback time, Paul and I also shared. I told the kids how
I've never been this happy in Mali before, never been so content
with my life, and never been so proud of them, and have never
loved them as much as now. They liked that :-).
was going fast, and since two of my boys go to evening school,
we had to watch the time. I sat down at the piano, and started
with a fast song, followed by a slow song. The kids were jumping
and dancing for joy for the first, and were really entering in
for the second. That's not always been like that!
the second song, I asked them to sit down, and handed it over
to the visiting ladies. Terri spoke about what the Lord has done
for us, preparing us for communion. Then we took the bread, that
Carol had prayed over, and then the wine Terri had prayed over.
boys had to run to go to school, since it was already a little
late, and the rest of us prayed for Fanta and Souleymane. Souleymane
was delivered, the pain gone, but it came back later. In his dream,
a spirit had screamed into his ear, and that's how the pain came.
When the pain came back, I told Souleymane to resist the spirit....
had been exhausted all day, doing my best to get work done. I
spent some time talking with our visitors, and with Tierno, one
of the street kids. In fact, he just turned 19, and Paul and I
have been talking about sending him to driving school and making
him part of our team. Tierno has been sleeping here for a long
time, and was baptized last Sunday. He told me that his life has
changed even since the baptism, that he has more compassion.
went through our usual evening routine, before I was able to return
to the office and be able to start working again without any interruptions.
Night is still the best time to work. Though I really need to
get more sleep tonight.
Day of Rest" should have been the title - but there wasn't
a trace of rest. I didn't even sleep very long, and so the exhaustion
made it very hard to work all day. I tried twice to lie down for
a few minutes, but there was too much to do to actually sleep.
visitors took a nice picture of our truck leaving to take the
street kids back to the bus station in the morning. The wall in
the front is our property wall.
Kossi came over and told me what still has to be paid from our
conference weekend. I was shocked when I heard that just the plastic
tarp for the four days costs us $800. With all the other bill
waiting to be paid, we need $3000 to take care of it all. At a
time when the ministry is already in debt big time, and I have
no clue how to pay anything.
our great God is so able, and though I'm exhausted physically,
I have been full of joy and excitement and thankfulness. Today
I put the following status update on Facebook: "Claudia feels
physically totally exhausted, spiritually totally alive, and emotionally
totally happy." I can hardly believe this is me - or I should
say, me in Mali. Truly, a new chapter has started. It is so obvious
for everyone. There is such a shift in the spirit. Awesome! The
kids seem so different too. It's like the whole atmosphere changed!
I wished I had better words to describe it!
I had wanted to rest, but as soon as I got up the work started.
There was still lots to do - beside paying bills. Lots of clean-up,
and catch-up. I got a lot done in the morning.
the afternoon my energy levels plummeted, and I had a hard time
doing office work. Most physically work was done. In fact, things
were so crazy around noon, I nearly burned my food from all the
interruptions, and then couldn't even eat it for the longest time
so that it was nearly cold by the time 1:45 pm rolled around and
I could sit down to eat it.
last interruption was a good one though. Anco came - the missionary
who's installed our solar system - and brought the additional
batteries that had been put into a container in the Netherlands
3 months ago. After over 3 weeks they had finally come out of
customs. He dropped them off, and asked our driver to go pick
up the rest. Again, things weren't done the way I said, but in
the end, they were able to bring it all over.
joy was great because my very own treadmill was also in the container!
In the summer I had been praying and asking God for a treadmill,
and He arranged in an amazing way for the treadmill to get into
this container in the last minute, and now - three months later
- it was finally here. Yeah!
boys carried the 130 kilo heavy package inside my house, and we
of my boys helped. They were amazed, as they had never seen anything
like it. When we were done, they wanted to see how it works, so
I should them. They were even more amazed.
this is my new sports equipment. Tomorrow the training starts!
I'm so looking forward to it!
kids immediately claimed my old hometrainer bike. I had bought
it blind from a missionary, and it had never worked very well.
But the kids were very excited when I gave it to them! We'll see
for how long that excitements lasts!
the daily busy-ness with the street kids' arrival came, handing
out their ID cards, and taking pictures of the new kids, and arranging
everything for them to sleep in the dining hall. Then we did our
nightly family meeting, and we had more fun than ever, though
several hadn't done their tasks or learned their verses. In the
past, that was far more serious and annoying. Especially that
none of them had washed to get ready for bed!
prayed for them, hugged them all, and told them I love them. Returning
to my office, I was finally able to get some work done - kids
in bed, and Paul and two remaining visiting ladies also retired
for the night. I'm hoping to get a longer and restful night tonight;
I sure need it.
the first day without any planned ministry. It was Charles's and
Eric's last day in Bamako, and only chance to see downtown. So
they checked out in the morning, and our driver picked them up
and took them to our base. They got there at 9:30 am.
had already been busy with different things to take care of after
the busy-ness of the weekend. We didn't stay long on the base,
but soon left to drive downtown.
joined us, and he rode on the back of the truck. It was a long
way to town, and there was LOTS of traffic. More and more people
have cars, and the traffic gets crazier all the time. At least
I had something to show to our visitors! They were pretty amazed.
we stopped in our old neighborhood, where I showed them where
we used to live and started the church, and where Paul's family
lives. Paul's Dad was glad to see them, since he wanted healing
prayer. And so - though tired - the team prayed for him, and he
was very thankful.
stopped at the ATM, and then finally made it across the river
- their first time - and into town. We parked the car at the entrance
to downtown, and started walking. Many visitors are overwhelmed
by the masses of people, motorbikes, and cars squeezing through,
but not our weathered short-term missionary visitors. We went
through the market, and they bought some great souvenirs, and
then went on to where the artisans are, where they bought more.
They got a lot of stuff, and we spent a lot of time, and then
we walked speedily back to our car. It was 1 pm by the time we
got to the car. It had been a good experience for everyone, I
of driving back home, we increased the distance to our base, going
to my favorite restaurant; a supposedly American restaurant run
by a Malian. We had good food, and great fellowship. Time is just
passing so fast!
returned home - a long trip across town - where we arrived pretty
late - later than expected; it was after 4 pm.
was tired. Charles lay down for a few minutes, and Eric did emails
and had some coffee, and I took care of a few things although
I was very tired myself.
then we found out that our driver Augustin had never come back
from dropping off the kids at school. God had inspired Paul in
the morning to give his cellphone to Augustin - something he NEVER
does - and still, he never called us. Instead we called him and
found out what had happened. For some reason he was unable to
change the blown tire. In the end, Paul and I had to get into
the car to go pick up the kids ourselves. I was going to drop
off Paul with Augustin, but we never see him. I later found out
that he had succeeded in making the car work again, and had picked
up the kids himself. Paul and I had gone to their school for nothing,
and I had missed one precious hour I could have spent with our
visitors who were going to leave tonight anyway. I was annoyed,
to say the least.
guys had gone to the top of the hill and taken some pictures and
prayed while we were gone. They came back just as the sun was
going down, and we had another 2+ hours until their departure.
was going by so fast. They had wanted to record me share my story,
but there had not been any time. Instead, I quickly shared my
story without being recorded; they had never heard it before.
of seeing them leave again had seized me several times during
the day, but as the time for good-byes came, it got worse. Those
past 5 days have been so precious. Though it seemed more than
that with all that has happened, it was also too short. We had
all become very attached to Eric and Charles, who are such a huge
kids and our team signed two bookmarks to give to each one of
them. All the kids came over into my living room to say good-bye.
They had prepared a self-composed good-bye song for them that
they sang. You can watch this little excerpt of it:
Paul said a few words about each - Eric and Charles - that were
very touching. And then Charles said a few good-bye words. My
heart was too heavy to say anything, and I'm a better communicator
in writing. Then the kids all hugged Charles and Eric. 5-year-old
Bakary was wiping away tears from his eyes, and several of the
other kids were very sad. Seeing Bakary cling to Charles made
me painfully aware of my boys' need for a father.
was time to go to the airport; Paul came with me. We had a good
time talking in the car, though my heart stayed heavy. We accompanied
them as far as we could and said our final good-byes. Silent Paul
and I returned to the car, and rode him; we did some reminiscing
about the last few days. We would both greatly miss our two awesome
past 5 days have been the best time of my life here in Mali. They
have been the most joy-filled days of my life in Mali, and I have
been the happiest I have ever been in Mali. I've also noticed
a big increase of my love for the kids over this past weekend.
I was so proud of them all weekend, and was so excited about the
prophetic words they received. Powerful men of God in the making.
I'm so blessed!
sure were tired this morning, the morning after. However, the
work is not over when the celebration is over. And so I immediately
jumped into action for the cleanup. A few street kids stayed to
help, rather than being taken back to the bus station by our driver.
wanted to have lunch early, so we'd have enough time in the village.
I still got a lot done in the few hours I had before we left to
pick up Charles and Eric and go to the restaurant. We decided
to try out a new restaurant that was pretty close to our base
and on the way; a missionary had told me that it was good. We
were amazed at how good it was, and it was chosen favorite restaurant
by the Americans.
returned to the base, where some of them had coffee, while we
got ready to leave. Paul was extremely tired, while I was doing
okay. This picture was taken in my living room, just before we
left for the village.
is about 45 minutes away from us. First it's about 20 minutes
from our base to the paved road, and then on the paved road until
you turn onto a dirt road for the last 25 minutes. We passed a
few public transportation vehicles - and Charles took this picture
courageously, against the will of its passangers :-).
arrived in Dra where we planted a church a year ago, and where
Paul has been the pastor. We had sent a bus to Dra yesterday to
bring a bunch of people to our celebration, but the village chief
hadn't come, only his representative. Now the chief was there,
as well as his representative.
and Abdias were skipping school, so they could be with us. They
were playing the drums so people would know we've arrived and
come for the meeting. Since we hadn't had a driver for the longest
time, and with the busy-ness of the last few weeks, Paul hadn't
been to "his" village for quite some time, except for
the Sunday before the celebration. Still, a good number came,
even though there was a funeral, and others were on their fields.
some time we decided to get started. Paul led us in several Bambara
praise songs, with Souleymane and Abdias playing the drums, and
the village ladies were dancing. The villagers were very happy
that we had come. You can watch clips on our youtube page. They
made Eric and Charles dance as well - to the villagers' amusement.
Eric gave a little message. I let Paul try to interpret from English
to Bambara, and was very impressed with how well he did. I helped
him out a couple of times. I can already tell it's only a matter
of time before he'll be able to really do it. Cool!
gave a great message. Then we told them we wanted to pray for
the sick. It seemed like everyone needed healing prayer. The villagers
have nowhere to turn than to Jesus, and so He healed them as they
came to Him by faith.
had their vision improve, many had pain leave after it had moved
around their bodies a few time. The little baby in the picture
had something pushing out under the skin of its belly, and it
was visibly flatter after prayer. It was an exciting time! Except
for the baby who was scared of those white people....
the team had prayed for a long time for everyone, and was also
tired, Charles wanted to pray a blessing over the village. So
the villagers gathered in a group, and Charles blessed them. It
was a precious moment.
it was time to say good-bye. The village chief was so happy with
the team's visit! He gave Charles an indigenous name - his very
own: Ladji Doumbia. He asked Charles not to forget them. One person
gave one of the ladies a coin so they would never forget their
was time to get home, where we'd have one last meeting. On the
way home we stopped to get some food for dinner at the base. The
sound was quickly going down, and it was dark by the time we got
quickly had dinner, and I ran around getting everything ready
for the meeting. I was concerned about the time. We had not showed
the pictures of the past 5 years of CAM at the celebration, so
we also wanted to do that before the meeting. And with an extended
time of worship, it would get pretty late.
was finally ready, our visitors seated, all the kids present,
and I started showing the pictures, commenting on them. I think
the ones who enjoyed them most were the kids who were with us
years ago, since they were so young on the pictures, and have
so grown up. Our visitors also enjoyed them.
was asleep during the whole time we showed the pictures. I let
him sleep so he'd be "fit" for the meeting. After the
pictures, it was time to wake him up. He was totally not happy
about that, and I was barely able to get him to wake up.
house is not grounded, and tonight the electricity flowing through
the sound system and mics was especially bad. Paul had enough,
and didn't want to hold the mic, but finally did, with the help
of some fabric - so that's what you see in the pictures.
enemy was really trying hard to keep this meeting from happening.
First, it was really late already, and I hesitated whether we
had time to do this - especially with the kids having to go to
school in the morning. Then the electricity problem, then sound
problems. I couldn't hear myself. Then more sound problems, hurting
our ears. Then Paul's attitude. And then my voice - I had been
doing so much singing and talking all weekend that I had hardly
any voice left. I had a heart time at first - until the anointing
started with a fast song, and Charles told me later that God's
presence came down even in the fast songs. All my kids and street
kids were dancing and jumping. It was great to watch them.
I continued with slower songs of worship, and we started going
deeper. I felt the propheti worship welling up, and was hesitant
at first, with someone like Charles present. I had hardly any
voice left, and Charles was used to great musicians. But I pushed
those thoughts aside, and went for it.
voice returned, the Spirit of God fell, and the prophetic song
came forth. When I'm in that mode, I can go on forever and ever.
More and more kids were on the floor, and one after another they
fell asleep. All our visitors were also in the glory zone.
started going into more "specific" prophetic worship,
singing about a "new day" starting. I sang in French
as well as tongues and English. After that sequence, I realized
I could go on for hours, and that I was at a turning point of
either starting to prophesy even more specific things, or stopping
and handing it over to Charles. They had wanted to pray for me
in front of everyone last night, but then forgot. I hadn't forgotten
but knew it wasn't the right time. NOW was exactly the right time!
kids were asleep, as the team came over to me. I had already been
in the throne room, and greatly blessed. How much more could I
ask for? Our four visitors and Paul surrounded me, and they started
praying for me and prophesying over me. I was smiling all over,
being filled with joy and basking in His presence. They all prayed
and prophesied, and even Paul shared some powerful words. At one
point I went down to the floor where I continued drinking all
I could from the heavenly outpouring. The team continued praying,
which was so sweet of them.
conviction hit me about not spending enough time with God in my
daily life, and it weighed me down. I felt like I had to confess
to Charles, and did. He had some words of wisdom for me for which
I was thankful. In this picture we're done talking, and I'm getting
one of the ladies took this picture - just after I had come out
of hours in the glory! I was so full of joy and thankfulness,
so overwhelmed by the goodness of God! I could have cried! I was
also so deeply thankful to Charles for everything they had done
and brought and sacrificed and invested and imparted. Awesome
was very late, and I was very tired. Paul was now awake, after
having been exhausted all day. But my day wasn't over yet, since
I had to drive our visitors to their hotel. The ladies were so
kind to come along, so I wouldn't have to ride back all alone.
I've enjoyed our times in the car, just talking. The only thing
really bothering me was my eyes. I've had this eye condition since
having been operated at the age of 5, and even though God has
healed it already 80% or so, my eyes still act up under certain
conditions, and those were met tonight. It wasn't easy driving
with that condition.
dropped them off, and returned home. I didn't do much in the office
before falling into bed, though I was still so full of God I needed
to wind down. Words could not express my gratitude to God and
Charles. This weekend has been a turning point, a mile stone,
in the history of CAM!
here to see the album with the pictures from the celebration.
It contains a few more than the ones in this blog.
big day had come! Even though we had lots to do, and I had to
run around constantly, trying to get everything ready, there was
peace as everything was on track. I knew I had to leave at 10:30
am to pick up the speakers at the hotel and take them out to eat,
so we'd be gone for a few hours. So the maximum had to be done
boys' big task of the morning was to slaughter our two sheep,
and they enjoyed doing it. Paul killed the sheep, and together
they skinned them and cut them into pieces, before giving those
to the kitchen to be put into the sauce for our big meal tonight
- couscous with onion sauce and mutton. Couscous is more expensive,
and so people eat it rarely. We were cooking for 150 people, though
I expected double that would want to eat. We actually ended up
having close to 600 people show up, but "thankfully"
many left before we served the meal, and so everyone was able
to eat. Only the 300 sodas weren't enough for all.
task of the morning was to fill the baptismal tank with water
- that's what these kids are doing. The hose wasn't long enough
to go all the way there, so that's why they are using the buckets.
We just had the baptismal made last week, together with the platform,
and the workers didn't respect my measurements, so that the baptismal
was too deep. For that reason we put a chair in the middle and
the person to be baptized had to sit on there. It worked pretty
had rented another 100 chairs - a good choice since there was
no sitting room left during the celebration. Our driver went to
pick them up, having to go twice, and together with my kids and
the street kids that had stayed to help, we put them all up. I
was happy with the final product.
was busy, and so I and the ladies left to pick up our speakers
at the hotel, and go out to eat. I was not at all concerned about
the time, but amazingly, was relaxed and enjoyed our time. But
after I got back to the base, time started flying.... suddenly
it was 2 pm. Neither TV nor the radio had arrived. It was the
choir who arrived first, and set up and did sound chek. I had
already set up the sound system before their arrival.
the Christian radio station showed up and set up their stuff for
the live broadcast. For me it was high time to get changed and
ready to face the crowds. I was wearing the clothes a widow we
had helped with food had given me as a gift a few weeks ago. She
was glowing when she saw me wearing it. I'd had to take it to
another tailor, actually, because she hadn't done a nice job :-).
the invitations it said 3 pm was our starting time. We had planned
to start at 3:30 pm, knowing that people don't come on time. However,
the first half of the dance team - including my 3 kids - only
showed up at 3 pm. They had practiced that morning, and were all
coming together. But they had to go back to pick up the other
half - including their tape player with the music. Since their
first dance was early in the program, we had to wait for them.
I decided to start at 4 pm - whether they'd be here or not. The
leader apologized for coming so late.
were good crowds by the time we started at 4 pm (the dance team
arrived just then). That included 3 missionary friends of mine
- none of them had been on our base before - plus two other missionary
had rented two buses with drivers to pick up people from the villages.
Both came way late. The greatest disappointment was that none
of our special guests showed up. At least the TV guy came just
before we started and set up, and he filmed the whole meeting.
- I greeted the people and introduced Paul and the street kid
choir, telling them they'd sing a song Paul had written.
- Next came one dance by the "Fabricants de Joie" (=
Producers of Joy). Souleymane, Abdias, and Jérémie
are a part.
- Then it was time for the choir SHINE to come up and lead us
in praise and worship for 4 songs. I had printed out all the papers
to give to people, since we can't project outside during the day.
We couldn't find a copy shop that was open on Sunday, so one of
our visiting ladies helped with printing 150 copies.
did a great job. My kids' music teacher is the leader. He's a
very sweet man of God. They sang and danced, both in French and
of CAM -
Next I told the story and history of Centre Apostolique Malien
(CAM). How God sent me to Mali, how we started the church,
the ministry to children, and everything that's happened these
past five years. I think I did a pretty decent job. I had intended
to show pictures with my sharing, but there was too much light
for that. So I'd decided to show the pictures at the end, while
people were eating, but that never happened.
Having told who we are, it was time for our sketch that I had
written together with the kids. "One Day at CAM". We
had practiced it many times, and it worked out great. People enjoyed
it very much, and were laughing at the right spots. All the kids
did great! It helped that I was able to sit in front of them and
help them with their lines.
Kid Choir -
After our sketch Paul came back to do another one of his songs
with the street kids. People loved Paul's songs, and the dance
team leader said he'd teach them to his team. The second time
they sang, they even danced in a circle the Malian way! That was
It was time to baptize 7 street children whose lives we had seen
transformed. Some of them had been with us for over a year, others
were more recent. But all had shown a changed life, and understood
the gospel, the significance of baptism, and knew Jesus as their
Lord and Savior. It was somewhat disappointing to me that we didn't
have any adults or neighbors to baptize.
took the "lid" off our baptismal, and one after another,
the boys stepped into the water. First we asked them what their
lives were like before Jesus, how they found Him, and how their
lives had changed.
could tell that they were extremely nervous. They'd look down,
and not even understand the question. We'd give them grace if
they couldn't get a straight sentence out.
we asked them three questions. Do you believe Jesus is God who
came to earth? Do you believe He's died on the Christ for you
for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you made Him your Lord
and Savior and do you want to serve Him the rest of your life?
answered with yes, then sat down on the chair, and we'd baptize
them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
would clap when they'd come back out, and they would get out and
let the next kid in.
they'd go inside the dining hall to put on their new CAM T-shirts.
Only our sponsored kids were wearing them - now they had one too.
I also gave them their new ID cards - pink instead of yellow,
signifying that they were baptized.
they were all done, they came back and lined up in the front.
I gave them their baptism certificates.
Charles and Eric went from boy to boy to pray and prophesy over
them. Thankfully we have the WHOLE service recorded.
song - Souleymane had wanted to perform a song he had written
himself. A few days ago he sang it to me, and I was impressed.
I told him the song was in! He did great performing it, with his
music teacher accompanying him on the guitar. All Souleymane's
friend were very impressed as well.
- After another dance from the kids' dance group, it was time
for Paul's ordination. I had ten serious questions to ask him
that Paul had not heard in advance. He told me if it hadn't been
for all the people present, he wouldn't have answered with yes
he knelt down, and Charles, Eric, and I put oil on our hands.
I anointed Paul and ordained him, followed by a prayer and words
of prophecy. Then Charles and Eric did the same. It was awesome!
have commented on the "orbs" on these pictures. It's
actually sand in the air that is close to the camera's lense.
Lots of dust on Mali.
It was time for the preaching. Many people had already left since
it had gotten late. Charles came up and gave a very basic message.
He was great, because he started with some physical, attention-catching
stuff which was very needed. I was not happy to see that not all
of my kids were present to listen.
didn't go for long, which was wise, considering the length of
the program. All the missionaries had already left. After he was
done, he invited people forward for prayer.
couldn't stay since chaos had broken up, and I tried to bring
back some order. Paul was also off somewhere. Thankfully there
was someone who could translate for the team while they were praying
for people. Several people were healed.
was very frustrated with my boys since none of them was doing
their assigned task. Masses of people were in authorized areas,
charging the kitchen for food, and wanting the sodas. There wasn't
really anything I could do, but I tried. Thankfully many people
had already left, and so there was enough food for everyone.
also made sure that plates of food would be brought inside the
dining hall for our American visitors. Our indigenous visitors
were eating where they'd been sitting.
buses taking people back to their villages also wanted to leave;
Paul had given them the wrong departure time, so that not all
of them were able to eat.
our visitors were able to sit down inside for the meal. I was
too pumped to eat myself, and Paul also skipped the meal, though
he joined us periodically. Charles took a picture of me in my
state of happy exhaustion.
were eating and talking, and then the kids showed up. It ended
up being a "photo shoot" with them. Several boys wanted
Charles's and the others' email addresses, and especially Bakary
clung to Charles. I love this picture of the two of them!
went to start putting the technical equipment away, and had a
hard time getting the boys to help me. Once the most valuable
and important stuff was done, it was time to take our speakers
to their hotel.
talked to the choir leader a little bit, who had loved the celebration.
He told me how amazed he was that Paul and I could organize an
event like this, just the two of us. Paul told me that others
had said the same.
people needed money from me, and hundreds of dollars just flew
out of my hand. FINALLY, I was able to get away and drive them
to the hotel.
I returned, I was very tired but needed a little time to unwind.
What an amazing celebration it had been! Yes, many things had
not worked out as planned - the late start, the buses late, the
dance team late, the boys not doing their tasks, the special visitors
not coming.... But I was also very proud of my kids, having more
love for them than ever. The celebration had been a success!
I was able to add another hour of sleep - making it 7, instead
of 6 last night, and 5 the night before. However, I was pretty
tired in the morning.
had to get up early to be ready in time to start this conference
day. Our driver was picking up the speakers, while I was running
around getting things ready. People slowly started to gather.
We had set the starting time to be at 9 am, planning to start
at 9:30 am. We had a schedule, but Charles was free to go any
way he'd like to. We were planning two sessions in the morning,
lunch, then another two sessions in the afternoon.
started off with the street kid choir, singing Bambara songs,
and then I did French worship - a little shorter than last night.
Everything was flowing great.
Charles came up to preach. He did an hour or so, and then we took
was busy during break time, while our visitors profited from the
chance to talk to people, like these two pastors in the picture.
kids all had different tasks - guiding cars and motorbikes to
their spots, keeping people from going to unauthorized places,
handing out water (Jérémie in the picture), and
the break it was Eric who shared. When he was done, he and Charles
started picking out people, having them come forward, and prophesy
over them. It was awesome!
had planned to have lunch at 12:30, but when I went to the kitchen,
I was shocked to find out that it wouldn't be ready until 2 pm.
had hired two ladies to do the cooking so that our own ladies
could attend the conference, and I was not happy about them not
honoring our timetable. We had planned to cook for 80 people -
and everyone had their fill.
the food not ready we had no choice but to do the third session
before lunch, and so Charles came back to share. Today we recorded
all the sessions - thank God!
American visitors, Paul, and I had lunch in the dining hall -
table and plates and all. It was the traditional rice with peanut
sauce, and everyone liked it.
a one-hour break it was time to continue. Everyone was tired,
and suddenly nothing seemed to work right - the keyboard, the
sound system.... The three songs I did were very tough and seemed
unanointed. It was as if the open heavens above us had closed
- but not for long.
did the last session, and had Carol share as well. The team had
it on their hearts to pray and prophesy over the kids living in
our household. So at the end of the meeting they asked them to
come forward and line up, and Charles and Eric went from boy to
boy prophesying over them. We have it all recorded! I was so excited
as I listened to the wonderful promises of God. What an awesome
army of men of God I have!
Bakary and Sarata Right:
Jérémi and Amadou.
Terri with some kids.
Right: Neighbors' kids watching from the gate.
was some time after 5 pm when we closed the meetings and sent
people home. I was very exhausted, and the biggest celebration
was yet ahead - tomorrow. There was still work to do.
we had eaten lunch late, and it had been filling, we skipped dinner,
and just took Charles and Eric to their hotel to get some rest.
I went to my office doing last minute preparations for our 5th
anniversary. Once again it was a short night - this time 6 hours
instead of 5 like last night.
was time to finish all the preparations. Some street kids stayed
to help peel the 50 kilos of little onions that we had bought
for $120. All three street kids were about to be baptized. The
one in white is Paul Jr., the latest addition to our family who
does not have a sponsor yet.
two signposts showing people the way to our base were already
up, though only this one is easy to see. The other one is barely
visible because the vendors didn't want it at the spot it should
have been in.
put up our WELCOME sign on top of the gate, and I put up the big
banner on the wall behind the stage. There were lots of other
preparations yet to do, and I did as much as possible before it
was time to pick up our speakers and take them to lunch. I was
content with the progress, and was able to have lunch in peace,
and enjoy the fellowship.
and I, and our four visitors, had lunch in the most accessible
decent restaurant, and then took them back to the hotel. While
they rested, we had to get home and finish the preparations.
set up the sound system, cleaned the chairs, and Paul rehearsed
the songs with the (street) kids one time. I discovered that our
projector could not be used during daylight. That was frustrating
as I had spent many hours entering all our songs into the computer,
since our best computer with all the songs on it was stolen during
the "July incident". Now the only time to use it was
then the software malfunctioned, but we were still able to use
it; it just wasn't as easy to do.
as we were setting up and getting everything ready, our driver
arrived with Charles and Eric. Was it already that late? I gave
them a quick tour of the base, and let them relax in my living
room, while continuing to run around and getting things ready.
People even started arriving, and I wasn't even dressed yet!
had written 7 pm on the invitations as a starting time, planning
on starting at 7:30 pm. Yesterday two people had already shown
up, thinking it was starting on Thursday. Tonight, there were
surprisingly few people there by 7 pm, and not many more by 7:30
pm. Some neighbors said they'd come later, and as is always the
case, by the time worship was over and the preaching started,
it was pretty full.
greeting the people, Paul started off the meeting with his (street)
kid choir. They did a great job; I'll be uploading some video
clips to YouTube soon.
it was my turn to do 4 songs in French, and Abdias did the projection.
God's presence was really tangible, and we entered in quite a
bit, for a meeting like that, and the first one of the weekend.
That was exciting!
had two pastors visiting - one a pastor I really like and hadn't
seen in a long time, and the other one a pastor's husband. They
both enjoyed the meeting very much and came back later during
worship, I introduced the team and Charles, and how I met him,
and what I think of him. Then I asked him up to the stage. Charles
had Eric - prayer pastor at his church - come up and say a few
words as well.
he started preaching. One of my biggest mistakes this weekend
was to forget to get the recorder ready and record the sermon,
and following prayer time. And for me it was the best meeting
of the whole conference! (Since Sunday was very different.)
having preached, he did an altar call, and as always, the kids
came forward to receive prayer. I loved watching my kids get blessed,
prophesied over, and blasted. In fact, they were lying around
in the front everywhere. Glory! I assigned my older kids as catchers
to each visitor praying, and they did a good job, though they
are not in the habit of doing this.
picture shows Eric praying for Hama.
other one shows Charles praying for Amadou (street kid), who'd
be baptized tomorrow.
came forward as well, and the team prayed for them tirelessly.
It was a joy to watch! God's presence was so there, and I was
excited to see my children and team blessed by God. Paul got prayer
as well, and finally, I wanted some too. They prayed for me, and
God filled me to overflowing with His joy! It was so awesome!
I was so happy!
it was time to get back to work. People were leaving, and we needed
to take everything down for the night. Our visitors were waiting
in my living room for me.
asked them whether they were hungry, and so we decided to pick
up sandwiches at the restaurant. I was very tired - and so was
Paul - and somehow everything seemed very complicated there. After
a long time, we finally left the restaurant with the sandwiches,
and we dropped off the guys at their hotel before continuing on
was exhausted, but still had work to do for Saturday. Having found
out that I couldn't project during the day, I had to print out
the songs on paper to hand out to people. That took quite some
time. It was late before I fell into bed - to sleep only for 5
wanted to get as much as possible done before the team's arrival
in the evening. We asked a few of our street kids to stay and
help out with the preparations. One of the ones who has been helping
a lot is Dramane; he lived with us for many months before deciding
to return to the street. A move he's regretting.
his task was to fill up our hundreds of plastic bags with water.
The bags are made for that. They sell water that way on every
street corner. It took basically all day to do it, and we filled
up the freezer with the water. What I had not calculated was how
long it would take for the water to actually start to freeze.
But at least it was cold by Saturday, which is when we needed
conference starts tomorrow night, and this morning the guys we
rented the plastic tarps from came to set up. Our construction
manager Kossi had set it up. Those guys didn't even have enough
tarps for us. So they had to leave and rent more themselves, from
another guy. I was totally shocked when I found out we had to
pay $800 dollars for the 4 days of having the tarps!
I was running around like crazy, and so I saw that they were not
setting it up correctly. They were going to exclude the stage
area! I told them we needed shade on the stage!!! Then the tarp
was so low you couldn't even see all the wall. I told them the
wall needed to be visible, and so they put two bricks underneath
each foot. We were getting there! I had to correct them a few
more times before they first few tarps were up, and they left
to find more.
second picture shows the tarp over the stage area - and the baptismal
tank. They only painted the metal cover for the tank today! Thankfully
it dried quickly.
the afternoon it was time to set up the chairs. We had just over
a hundred of our own, plus over 30 benches, plus over 10 nicer
chairs for guests of honor, giving us a total of sitting room
for over 300 people. On Sunday we would rent another 100 chairs
to have room for over 400 people to sit.
first row was the special chairs, then came the metal chairs,
and then the benches. A few street kids were helping, plus my
own. I was happy with the result.
have hardly seen Paul at all the last few weeks - at least during
the day - as he's always running around town doing errands. This
afternoon he went to purchase two sheep for our big celebration
on Sunday. He went to a more distant place because it would be
cheaper there. However, he discovered that the Muslim feast of
Tabaski is around the corner. At least in Mali it's the biggest
Muslim celebration of the year, and they slaughter one sheep per
wife. That means that the sheep prices shoot up; unfortunately
we fell victim to that.
Paul came back with the sheep, our dog Uppy wasn't that happy.
He tried to defend his territory and barked loudly at the sheep
- as well as the little goat somebody had given me as a gift (picture).
The goat was not impressed, and her horns kept Uppy away. There's
also a little video clip of their interaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS92DID8BcE
was a very busy day, but I felt that much had been accomplished,
and everything was on track to be ready by tomorrow night when
the conference would start.
visitors were arriving at 8:50 pm. The time to leave for the airport
arrived so quickly, I wondered where it had gone. Paul and I got
into the car and drove to the airport - a 20 minute ride. We waited
at the terminal exit for quite a long time, talking, and jokingly
wondering what to do if they're not on the plane. But they were.
was a wonderful reunion with Charles, and meeting his three team
members (from left): Eric, Carol and Terri. We loaded their luggage
onto the back of the truck, and Paul got on on top of it. Then
we drove to the hotel where Charles and Eric would stay. It's
the only decent hotel on our side of the river. Downtown, and
the richer areas, are across the river. Only two bridges go across,
and they're hopelessly filled with very slow-moving cars most
of the time.
checked in, and the girls, Paul and I, went on our way to our
base. It was time to leave the paved road and go on a very bumpy
road. The first taste of real Africa! It was late, and so we just
showed the girls their room, and all they needed, before we all
retired. I still had work to do, and so my night wasn't very long.
more days until the conference starts! Paul and I are starting
to get tired now, as we're constantly running around taking care
of things, getting things ready. While Paul is running around
town with our driver, I'm on the base, getting things ready on
site, as well as in the office.
already spent a few hundred dollars on food for this weekend,
preparing to feed 80 on Saturday, and 150 on Sunday, though we
expect a lot more people. The bag of Mali-grown onions (50 kilos)
on the right side (picture) alone cost us unbelievable 83 EUR
with the kids we wrote a sketch showing what a day at CAM looks
like. We've been trying to practice it at every day the last few
days. It's hard to have all the kids there at the same time, as
most of the kids are at school in the morning, and two of the
kids go to evening school, plus some of the street kids participate
then it's not easy for them to take it seriously, always joking
around. Kids, right? A few times I've come to abandoning it, but
now that I've invested so much time and energy... we'll see how
it goes on Sunday.
workers have done a great job getting the grounds ready for the
conference. The trucks came about 30 times to bring in soil and
flatten the ground. And then they pressed the soil by hand, so
that we can put chairs on it. We had 15 additional benches made,
as well as 100 chairs. I was curious to see what it would look
like, and how much space would be left over, and so off we went
everyone participated, bringing over all the benches and chairs,
and we put them up; including the 5 mats for the front where we'll
be praying for people. The kids pretended being slain in the Spirit,
testing the mats. You can also see our recently finished dining
hall on the picture really well.
pictures are limited, those two little video clips will give you
a better idea of what the property looks like. The second video
was taken from the main gate that you see in the picture in the
very back. Augustin is just getting into the car to take the kids
back to school in the afternoon.
and Saturday (but not Sunday) I attended the yearly women's conference
for missionaries in Mali. I was hesitant on Friday, knowing a
lady who's tried to destroy us for a whole year and who had caused
us lots of troubles was there as well. She ignored me. I felt
compassion for her, and as last time I saw her, just wanted to
shake her and ask her WHY her change of behavior, why she was
suddenly not my friend any more but my enemy. I was happy though
that she ignored me rather than doing something unpredictable.
was good to see missionaries again that I hadn't seen in a long
time, since I don't go to the weekly English-speaking service
most missionaries go to. I should try going there again, at least
from time to time. I also met some new people. There were about
80 ladies there. I was thankful that a missionary who lives in
my part of town gave me a ride 3 times, and the fourth time our
driver just had to go a lot farther to pick me up and take me
home. The conference had been worthwhile going.
I was gone on Saturday, Paul preached and led the service. Three
of our kids were gone again, on the weekend camp of the YWAM dance
groups. On Sunday it was back to the preparations for our first
big conference starting Friday.
YWAM choir came over in the afternoon to practice one time on
our property. I was in total shock that it was still raining.
It's been raining since last night! It ended up raining for 24
hours! And it's November!
of those unfortunate circumstances, the choir couldn't practice
on the actual platform where they're going to perform next Sunday.
The plastic tarp won't be up until Thursday. So they
had to practice inside the dining hall. What we heard was very
promising. It put our dog to sleep (picture), but Paul and Abdias
were dancing along (see video).