I noticed how my skin has turned black under my eyes - undoubtedly
due to the sleepless nights because of the heat, and then the
power going off every night, making it even harder to sleep when
the air isn't moving at all. Unfortunately things will not get
better as the rainy season approaches, as the sky will be overcast
more frequently, and when it rains, little energy is produced
by the solar panels. Thankfully we'll have more panels installed
in June, but that's still many weeks away.
considering all that, I'm doing much better in every way than
is to be expected. A year ago the hot season was really bad (and
a month longer than usual), and I was suffering much more then.
decided to preach our service today, and chose the topic of marriage
as we're starting a marriage class this week. I came back to Mali
with 4 marriage courses as Paul is getting married soon, and I'm
teaching one publicly for everyone, and one I do privately with
Paul & Rokia. Both start this coming week.
service starts at 3 pm, and today the kids did a good job getting
everything ready. I decided it was time to incorporate French
worship into the service again, and to make the song projection
work again. I used new software that was recommended to me, but
somehow the split screen worked the wrong way around; what was
on the screen should have been on the computer, and what was on
the computer should have been on the wall. If anyone knows how
to fix this, I'd appreciate it. In any case, while I tried to,
the projector shut down several times because of the heat. I guess
it's too hot to project anything right now!
led us in a time of Bambara praise first, then I came to do 3
songs in French. With the projector not working, I had quickly
printed out the words on paper for the few that can read. I had
introduced a new song in the prayer meeting, and we did that new
song again. Everyone loves it.
offering and announcements, it was time to preach. As I've been
preparing for the marriage course, I've been fascinated by the
basic premise of this course that is revolutionary and has transformed
and improved countless marriages. Wives need love, while husbands
need respect (primarily). Husbands are commanded to love unconditionally,
and wives to respect unconditionally. Eph 5:33 says, "Each
one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the
wife must respect her husband. "
been fascinated because I can see this even in relationships outside
of marriage, like dealing with Paul, that respect is what he needs.
It's sure going to be interesting to teach. Culturally, since
the wives' respect is the more unknown factor in the US (and the
author is American), while the area that's lacking in Mali is
the husbands' love. Women have no choice but to respect their
husbands because they're oppressed.
I think we had a decent time, though my kids didn't seem very
interested and some couldn't even remember the topic of my sermon.
Some adults were missing, others sleeping. I just hope they come
to the class. I prayed for everyone and concluded the service.
When I asked Paul about his opinion, he became defensive as he
often does. They didn't like me quoting Paul where he says it's
better to stay single than to marry.
Austrian visitors didn't last to the end of the service - a combination
of the heat they're not accustomed to, and not understanding a
word we were saying. At night they had dinner in the near-dark
together with our children. I took these pictures not seeing a
thing; thank God for a flash.
we're celebrating Karim's 15th birthday, and so it was time to
bake a cake. This week my future stove for the new house was installed
in my current kitchen, so the Americans could have my current
stove. Kossi was able to make it work with the local gas bottles.
I was shocked, though. to find out that the oven works only with
electricity, and not with gas! Great! So I had to get the transfo
out (to scale down the voltage) and use our precious scarce electricity
to bake the cake. The little ones helped me and had a fun time.
They sure love the new stove, and so do I.
continue not having enough electricity to even make it through
the nights only with fans on. The generator has been away to be
repaired once again, and I had really hoped it would come back
today, but no such luck. Instead another night where it's too
hot to sleep. Grace, Lord!
children have music lessons once a week, learning the guitar,
piano or drum set, and yesterday the teacher came late. So we
decided to let them have their lesson and do the weekly prayer
meeting today instead.
I got the keyboard out, and we started praising God. I also had
the flags out for the kids to use. We had only one street kid
join us, and one off-base team member who is always late. In the
middle of the meeting the Austrians and Joseph returned from their
trip and joined us.
had an awesome prayer meeting today, quite the opposite of last
week. I prayed in the beginning for God to direct the meeting,
and He did. His anointing became tangible, and then I felt God
issuing a challenge. Who is ready to go for Him to the darkest
places of Mali to preach the gospel? Who is ready to even go beyond
the borders of Mali? Most of the kids responded. I then felt we
needed to go a step further, and I asked them to step into the
middle, and then I laid hands on them and prayed for them to be
fearless and to be full of Holy Spirit. It was a precious moment!
What a great meeting it was.
kids had to do homework, eat, and then we set up for the weekly
movie night. The older kids went to school, and once the sun had
gone down right after 7 pm, we started the half-hour kids movie
first. It was about John the Baptist. Then we started the main
movie - LAST FLIGHT OUT. Unfortunately I was unable to switch
the language to French, so it's in English, but at least the Austrians
get to understand. And Paul is interpreting into Bambara a little
bit anyway. May everyone who hears the gospel tonight take a step
closer to entering His kingdom!
past week I've made a new schedule for the kids, taking into account
their changed school hours, plus the marriage class we're about
to start and some other things. We're picking up the literacy
class for street children next week as well, and so this week
has primarily been a week of preparation for what's to come. So
many changes on the horizon!
Tuesday night two young Austrian guys arrived to visit Christian.
Their flight was 4 hours late, and so they had a very short night.
Early Wednesday morning they left on a 3-day-trip to Dogonland,
and I sent Joseph (18) with them. They arrived tired but happy
tonight. And I'm proud of Joseph. I learned that he actually preached
the gospel in one of the villages they visited. Praise God! I'm
proud of him.
the prayer meeting today I announced that we're getting ready
to start the children's center in Mopti in the weeks to come,
and that I would send some of them to be leaders there. I asked
everyone to pray and find out whether they feel called. I intend
to send Joseph and another young man there, so I'm curious whether
God will confirm their call to them.
we have two visitors from Austria arrive, and so the goal was
to get the add-on apartment finished by the time they come so
they could stay in the apartment. So that pushed our workers,
and they've done a good job, getting the bathroom done today,
which was the most important. The boys don't need a kitchen after
these are some pictures from the 24th and 26th of April:
arrive a few hours late tonight, and will have a short night,
as they leave early in the morning for Dogonland. So that will
give our workers three more days to finish the last few things
in the apartment. The Americans that will live here permanently
arrive next week Thursday. To start with, one of their rooms remains
a bedroom for a few team members, though, as we don't have any
other room for them - just until the next house is finished which
we are aiming to do by the end of summer. Poor Paul also has to
move into that room with the other boys; he'll have to wait to
have a room for himself again until all our visitors leave by
the end of summer. Unless we get more Western workers which I'm
really praying for. We also need to find a Westerner to go lead
the new children's center further north that we're getting ready
to open up.
I discovered that our dog is pregnant again - for the third time.
This time I have no clue how it happened as she cannot leave the
property; I guess she's found a way to leave our base though obviously.
my cat is in heat right now, and I caught her having found a way
out of my house as well! I hope she's not pregnant as well. She
simply tore the mosquitoe net out of the frame and slipped through.
So I had to nearly close the heavy sliding windows, and she keeps
coming back and trying to get out. I took this picture as she
did - and nearly dropped the camera when the window suddenly moved!
With this heat, I don't want to have to keep my windows shut!
recently the government decided to change school children's hours.
Instead of having school from 8 to 12 and 3 to 5, they now have
school from 8 to 1 and don't go back in the afternoon. Why the
change 2 months before the end of the school year, I don't know,
but it's actually an advantage for us and will save us gas, plus
the kids have more time at home. Unfortunately they have even
fewer hours of education at school. Today I made a new daily schedule
for the children in light of these changes, and that schedule
also includes the marriage classes I'll start teaching next week.
We're also starting a new literacy class with the street children
night the power went out in the middle of the night - not very
pleasant when your fan stops turning at temperatures in the 90s
in your bedroom. And our generator is once again not working.
At 9:30 am the power came back on.
that time we were already busy getting ready for our street kid
Easter party. Elisabeth bought all the ingredients for cooking
at the market, Joseph killed our sheep, Fanta cut the pieces into
smaller ones yet, my kids helped fill the water bombs, and Paul
& Saloum went to pick up the street children from the bus
I sent all my kids inside the house so Christian and I could hide
64 numbered eggs all around our base. Once that was done, and
the benches were all set up inside the dining hall, it was time
to open the gates and let the kids in one by one.
child received a chocolate bar and a paper with a number. That
number was used for the first game and for the gift distribution.
had them all go straight to the dining hall where we welcomed
them and explained the first game - no eating of the eggs! Every
child had to find the egg that had the same number as the one
on his paper. In the past, kids would eat the eggs instead of
comparing numbers, but that didn't seem to be a problem this year.
then they ran outside like crazy, as if someone was after them,
and started looking everywhere. This time they were pretty fast
finding their eggs, and so the first 12 to find them gathered
pretty quickly around me. They went on to round 2.
used the water bombs for the second game. We put up four benches
in the middle and each kid held a spoon with an egg on it that
they had to keep from falling down. As they walked over those
benches, a guy on either side of them threw water bombs on them
to get them off balance, and I was amazed at how quickly they
did fall off and cracked their eggs. Only 2 players remained for
the third and last game.
first Paul led the children in a time of praising God. Thank you,
Christian, for the pictures - don't know how he took this one
as he's not quite THAT tall.
three was a game of darts, and the child with the higher score
won. It was Moise who won - and not for the first time. He's one
of the children that lived for us for a good number of months
before he decided he preferred living on the street. His prize
was a teddy bear and candy.
I asked Paul to explain the whole gospel to them - something I
usually do, but by now Paul should be able to do as good a job,
and it saves time without the translation.
the end he prayed a prayer of commitment with everyone who wanted
to know Jesus, and most of them stood to do so.
I returned, and we had a time of Q & A to see whether they
had listened to Paul, and they received candy for correct answers
to our questions.
three ladies had started cooking pretty late, and so the food
was far from being ready. And so we decided to show the MATTHEW
film again that I dubbed into their language years ago. I love
the movie, and the kids listened and watched intently. After the
90-min movie, the food was still not ready, and so I added a half-hour
animated kids movie on the resurrection.
decided to do the gift distribution at the same as the movie was
being shown. One by one they came into the house with their piece
of paper as proof, and they each received a soda and a pair of
and Jérémie helped me with the distribution (picture).
The kids got to choose which soda they wanted, and they tried
on a pair of shoes to see whether it fit. By now I'm pretty good
at guessing shoe sizes.
took quite a while until every child had their gifts. Once the
second movie was over, the food was ready as well. Our ladies
- including Paul's fiancée who had come to help - dished
the food into the bowls, and then our kids took them inside to
the street children who were already complaining that they were
hungry. They all prayed over the food, and then dug in.
our party was over and Saloum took them back to the bus station,
and Elisabeth back home; I'm looking forward to her and her kids
moving in with us once the next house is finished.
base looked like a disaster zone once everyone was gone. I gave
my kids some time to rest and have fun, and then it was clean
up time, and they did a decent job. I was pretty exhausted, but
somehow children have so much energy it's amazing!
had a quick family meeting, since tomorrow it's back to school
again after the long weekend, plus we have visitors from Austria
arrive in the evening. I was hoping for a better night including
the electricity not going off.
Sunday! And for the second time ever we did an Easter egg search.
I had brought lots of chocolate eggs with me from Europe. So we
sent all the kids outside, and Christian and I started hiding
them everywhere in the living room and the two bedrooms. Then
we let them back in, and they started running around like crazy
looking for them.
did a good job finding them, though we could tell that there were
a few they had still not found. So we gave them some hints, and
now we can only hope that they won't find chocolate stains some
time in the future because some were not found. I was also glad
that the older kids shared their eggs with the little ones who
could not keep up. A fun time, in any case! The picture shows
Sarata (soon 6) with her eggs!
this picture shows the utter chaos that was left behind once the
kids were done. Sofa taken apart, as everything else. So I gave
them an hour to tidy everything up, and they did.
Fanta boiled all the 60 eggs we had bought, and today it was time
to color them. At first I thought we would never actually do it,
as I was told none of our plastic cups are left over. We bought
a 100 a few years ago, and all that's left now are 5!!! It drives
me crazy how things get lost or broken all the time.
we had five, and I put five different colors into the cups. We
did teams of 2 and 3 with one cup and they alternated putting
eggs in. I had my timer and told them when to get them out, and
then they passed their color on to the next team so that everyone
got to color eggs in each of the 5 colors.
took a while to color 80 eggs, but we had a good time. Later in
the day I then numbered all the eggs for our game tomorrow.
the end I put up the new dart game I brought with me from my last
trip; however, the wall around the game looks already awful so
that's not gonna work in the long run. I have to find a better
place to put it up in. The kids did a good job playing though
and loved it.
first few days are over, and they've been days of ups and downs,
frustrations and much work. We did our weekly prayer meeting yesterday,
and our Easter service today. I was going to preach, had all my
notes, but then ended up letting Paul do it. It was the right
decision. After the service Christian, Boubacar and I went downtown
to the supermarket and restaurant; it was Boubacar's birthday
is making great progress. These are the latest pictures. It should
all be ready by Tuesday when two Austrians come to visit for a
week and will be the first ones to sleep in there.
morning I said good-bye to Klagenfurt, drove to pick up my grand-mother,
and then we headed back to Vienna - a 3-hour-drive without a break.
Except that we stopped at a store so we could buy some computer
equipment for her.
was so tired, but there was no time to rest as I had to pack;
thankfully much was already packed. And then at 7 pm I met with
a friend, and had my last ice-cream, stopped at a friend's house
to drop stuff off, and ended up home pretty late, and going to
bed late. It was a very short night!
had to get up very early in the morning today, and leave the house
at 7:30 am to be at the airport by 8 am. My Mom was late, so I
got a chance to take a picture of all my luggage - 3 suitcases
and 2 carry-ons. I'd already had a morning workout carrying them
down from the second floor and outside.
at the airport went well, and I paid the 100 EUR I knew I'd have
to pay for excess luggage. At least the new system is better because
now I can have 3 bags of 50 pounds each (one was 70 pounds).
sat down with my Mom to spend our last minutes together, and then
thank God, everything went well on this trip. I flew to Paris
where I had a good number of hours to wait for my connection,
and then flew to Mali where the heat awaited me. I got out relatively
quickly and with all my bags, and Paul and Christian waited for
back is never easy, and the first thing that bothered me was that
Paul was not wearing his glasses. Even with the glasses he's pretty
much blind on one eye, and sees little on the other (which is
why he could not get a driver's license). Last year in June an
eye doctor in America paid for him to get the best glasses possible,
and now he tells me they're too scratched to be used any more.
It's not even been a year! It makes me so sad (and annoys me).
things were added to annoy me, making this return harder than
average. One was that the battery bank was empty and not charged
up as expected, and so I could not turn the AC on. I had counted
on sleeping with the AC my first night. In addition, for some
reason all my windows were closed, making it even hotter in my
house, and so I had 98 F (37 C) in my bedroom. I was not looking
forward to the night.
thing I did - though it was late - was to unpack all my stuff
and make sure all the chocolate went to the fride right away.
My cat wouldn't even come out to greet me for the longest time,
so that I got worried, but in the end I found her. I won't see
my kids until tomorrow afternoon when they come home from school.
alarm woke me early today; I wanted to have enough time before
the service. At 8 am I had breakfast with the family, then I retreated
to my room to spend time with God. In the meantime they all left
in the family van; the church is about 15 minutes away.
9:30 am I also left to be at church a little early. They have
their own church building, though the sanctuary is pretty small.
I parked in front of it, and went inside where I saw the table
that was set up for my stuff and I got everything ready.
10 am the service started. I was glad for a great worship time
where I could really connect with God and ask for His grace as
I was tired. I knelt on the floor, and then worship was already
over and I had to get up.
Gottfried made the announcements and introduced me; he's been
pastoring this church for the past 1.5 years - his first pastorate.
I've known them from the previous church they attended.
I came up and introduced myself, gave a quick version of my story
since this was my first time in this church, and showed my video
presentation. I presented my materials and then it was time to
played the piano while I did my opening prayer and went straight
into sharing my encounter with God. Then I had him stop and people
then I preached "The
Heartbeat of God" for the 7th time; I've preached it
3 times in English and 4 times in German now. And I do not get
tired preaching this message straight from the heart of God! And
to my greatest surprise, it flowed really easily today, though
I had to do it in German. It also makes a big difference where
the church is at.
did an offering at the end, and I auctioned off the last toy car
the kids had made - well, I sold it, because nobody else made
a higher offer. Then the service was over, and I talked to a few
people and prayed for a few. People had obviously really enjoyed
most people were gone, I also packed up my stuff and drove back
to the house. A little while later the family returned home as
well. Mom had already gotten the food somewhat ready earlier but
had a little work left to do.
all 5 kids were at table, it was time to eat, and it was great,
as was the fellowship.
were talking until it was time for the Dad of the family to leave.
Then I had to get ready myself to drive the half hour to Villach
for my 3 pm appointment. I got there just on time.
was great to see the very well-known Austrian evangelist Erwin
Fillafer again who came to Mali 2.5 years ago. And I was excited
to finally meet his wife he talks so much about.
3 hours we just talked and talked and had the best time. At the
end we spent some time praying, and I was encouraged by their
words. Then it was time to say good-bye again.
drove half an hour back to Klagenfurt, but I had a stop to make
before returning home. 18 years ago a young man from Klagenfurt
shared his testimony with me, and I gave my heart to Jesus right
afterwards. I have not been in touch with him for years, but found
out his address on the internet, though no phone number. So I
decided to simply try to pass by his house.
found the house, rang the bell repeatedly, but nobody ever opened
the door. I was disappointed. So I left my materials and a little
letter in his mailbox, and drove home. I hope he'll email me.
home I had dinner, and then sat down with my computer. The kids
soon went to bed, and the Mom of the house sat down by her computer,
turning on a live broadcast from a church in Vienna. So we watched
and talked, until it was over and I went to my room, where I enjoyed
my internet connection for a while before going to bed. Pretty
soon I'll be back to my slow African connection.
was glad we were in no hurry to get to Carinthia, a 3-hour drive.
I did my packing in the morning, and at 10 am we left to start
our trip. My grandmother was coming with me, since she has good
friends in Klagenfurt, and she wanted to take advantage of me
driving there so she could visit them. So here I was driving on
the highway with her, alternating between my Christian CDs and
the radio station.
the half way point we stopped at a highway restaurant for lunch.
We took about one hour, having good food and fellowship, and then
we continued on. It was just before 3 pm when we pulled up at
my grandmother's friends' house. We got her stuff out of the car
and all went inside where we were served coffee and cake. This
was the first time I had met her friends. I then soon said my
good-byes since I was expected at my friends' house.
sent my friends a text message that I was on my way; however I
later found out that I did not have the correct number. Someone
else got my message instead. Oh well.
GPS led me right to their house. I sat down with them for a while
to talk. I had been very tired all day, and it came to the point
that I just had to lie down. So I excused myself, and lay straight
down in my room. I soon fell asleep. When I woke back up after
an hour, I was in pretty bad shape. I had a tiredness headache
the rest of the day.
6 pm I joined the family for dinner, and had a good time with
them. They have 5 children. After dinner we spent some more time
talking before I retreated to my room. I decided to go to bed
early since I had to get up early in the morning to preach. However,
I guess it was too early for my body because it took me forever
to fall asleep, even though I was so exhausted.
was Max's third birthday, and today the whole family (from both
sides) came together to celebrate with him. At first he was a
little shy with that many people focusing their attention on him.
When we were all singing "Happy Birthday" to him, he
actually started crying!
had his 4-month-old brother Christopher for quite a long time
in the beginning before passing him on.
Mom had been very creative in making a cake for him, writing his
name with kiwis on a bed of strawberries. They had also made a
chocolate & nut cake that is delicious (my grandmother's recipe).
took his time opening his presents one after another and played
with each one, especially the toy cars.
for me, I wanted to give him a book on Africa, but I did not find
any children's books like that. Instead I found an interactive
world atlas for children that had two pages on Africa in it. My
sister-in-law made me mark Bamako on it so she could show him
where I live.
family members had to leave, and I took some time playing with
Max and enjoying being with him one last time. We had a great
time of bonding together. Next time I'll see him he'll be so much
to my grandmother's constant nagging, my father gave in and agreed
to meet with me again. I think I last saw him 3 years ago. The
three of us went to have dinner together. Back home, I showed
him some pictures and my video presentation before he drove back
tiredness resulting from the previous few weeks of traveling and
ministry was pretty obvious and I found myself wishing for a day
off. However, I had a dentist's appointment at noon. I'm so thankful
for this great Christian dentist who treats me for free every
time I come. He's said before that he wants to come to Mali, but
this time he talked with me about it for longer since he has no
plans for summer yet. I love his heart, and I know we'll be greatly
blessed whenever he comes.
the dentist, I was running errands, ticking things to get off
my list. And so time was going by fast and by the time I got home
it was already 3:30 pm and high time for lunch. Two hours later
I left home again to go to my Mom's house. I had a good time with
her and her husband, showing pictures of my Europe trip, having
dinner and watching TV. It was after 9 pm before I left to drive
home; the delivery of my luggage was scheduled for some time after
9:30 pm, and it came.
I had intended to go to the gym, but it just didn't happen. I
had so much office work to catch up on, and time flew by. At the
same time, I was still so very tired. In the afternoon I considered
not going to the home group meeting at night that I had been invited
to. However, I quickly learned that I had been anounced as a special
guest, so I just had to go.
meeting was at the very other end of town, and I had to take the
city freeway to get there - a freeway notorious for traffic jams.
So I left really early to get there on time - and then it wasn't
really that bad, and I arrived early.
hot and nice weather of my trip had long disappeared; it was cold
and raining, and I had a hard time finding the right house. I
was glad when I did, and I was the first one there. I then learned
that the meeting started half an hour later than I had been told.
I was talking with the host until people started arriving. It
was actually three homegroups that joined tonight to hear me share.
first we had dinner together - good Egyptian food as our hosts
were Egyptian. Then the leader got the guitar out to lead us in
a time of worship. When her son arrived, he did the playing.
the leader recapped Sunday's sermon, and then she handed me the
word. She asked me to simply share my story, and so I did. I shared
my story from childhood to preparation years to a little of today,
and I included many details as people were listening intently
and truly wanted to know. I thought we had a great time together,
and it got pretty late. A little group of us stayed even longer,
but when it was after 10 pm I decided to say my good-byes as well.
I had a long drive home. It was good saying good-bye to these
friends. This home group sends me a birthday card and Christmas
card every year - the only birthday card I get by mail.
was about 11 pm when I got home after driving on the freeway in
pouring rain for half an hour. I hope the weather clears up on
I looked at my calendar and counted. These past 21 nights I have
slept in 14 different beds. I have visited 11 churches/ministries,
and have driven 3400 kilometers (2100 miles). I do think that's
a personal record of mine. Yes, it was tiring, but I enjoyed every
minute of it! Now it's time to pack for Mali - and yes, preach
one more time.
night it was 3 am before I went to bed, and I was already awake
5 hours later. So I got up earlier than planned, finished packing,
turned on my computer, and waited to have breakfast with my friend.
She was pretty busy, though, and had to leave at 9:30 am, so I
had to say good-bye to her.
9 am I went to move my car since I could not park in that zone
any longer, and put my first piece of luggage in. Once my friend
left, I had breakfast with her husband and enjoyed a few more
minutes of talking. At 10 am I had to leave myself and said my
good-byes to husband and son.
had one last hour of driving ahead of me to get to the Zurich
airport. Now it was the third time I did Olten-Zurich or vice
verse. It was a beautiful day. Just before the airport there was
a traffic jam but it didn't last too long.
at the airport I immediately arrived at the rental agency, however
I had not filled up the car yet. So they told me where there was
a gas station, and I left again. Good thing that I had plenty
of time, and it wasn't far anyway. A few minutes later I returned,
and finally had to return this faithful car that was with me these
past 2.5 weeks and 2900 kilometers. You CAN get attached to a
was glad that there were carts since I had lots of luggage, and
that the rental agency was right in the terminal. So I made my
way to my check-in, where the lady was pretty incompetent. Once
again, a staff person without a clue how much luggage I was allowed
to have, but I informed her.
through passport control to the frequent flyer lounge; I had another
hour before having to move on, and so I enjoyed the free internet
connection. With this crazy schedule these past few weeks, I'm
way behind on emails and other work I have to do. How am I gonna
catch up? I haven't even mailed out my German and French newsletter
hour flew by, and I went through security and boarded the bus
that took us to the little plane. At 1:30 pm we took off - not
to Vienna, but a very different direction, to Paris. It's ironic
that two flights cost less than a direct flight. But I get more
miles that way, so I don't mind.
Paris I arrived at the new G terminal for the very first time
- looks nice, but highly impractical. I had to walk forever, until
I found myself outside waiting for a bus to take me to my terminal.
The bus was totally crowded, and you needed a lot of strength
to hold on with all the curves at that speed. It was not funny.
I was glad when I arrived at my terminal.
I made my way to the frequent flyer lounge though I only had just
over half an hour. Again I used the internet, and had some unimpressive
food since you don't get food on planes in Europe any more either.
Again through security, and then onto the plane to Vienna, upgraded
to Business Class sitting in the first row of the plane.
thought, at least I'll get some dinner - but I had another first-time
experience: Because I did not purchase business but was upgraded
I did not get the business class food. Wow! I guess I thought
wrong! And when I get to Vienna, shops will be closed. Oh well.
in Austria, my first suitcase came out right away, but no sign
of my second suitcase. When everyone else was gone, I had to go
to the Air France counter to put in a claim. Thankfully it was
the suitcase with all the stuff for Mali that was not there, while
all my personal stuff was. I wasn't too concerned, though, expecting
my bag to be delivered the next day, which is what happened.
was good seeing my Mom again who was so kind to pick me up and
take me to my grandmother's house. I was extremely tired. Still,
when my grandmother had computer issues she needed help with,
I spent my first 90 minutes helping her and fixing her problems.
By that time I was starting to feel a little better so I could
sit down and do a little catching up myself before going to bed.
I was sure looking forward to a good night's rest!
update on the construction of our add-on apartment. These past
few days the workers have slowed down. The transfer of money from
our new bank and bank account in the US took a full two weeks
- amazing. This next week they'll be putting in the tiles and
painting the walls. I'm really curious to see whether they'll
get it done before I return. This picture shows the future living
again I set my alarm for a rather early hour so I could still
spend time with God before going to church. The pastor and his
family had to leave much earlier to set everything up. So I was
given a key to lock the house up and drive myself to church. I
enjoyed the short time with God, had breakfast, packed my bags,
and had to load up my car again. However, it was a long way to
the car from the main entrance, includings stairs up and down,
and so I had a workout in my preaching clothes and high heels.
Thankfully I had enough time.
was supposed to be a 20 minute drive to the church at the airport
in Zurich since there was a highway. Everything went smoothly
but then there was construction preventing me from taking the
suggested street. I took a different route and got really close
but did not know how to get all the way there. Then I saw a sign
and finally made it. It was just after 10 am and the service started
at 10:30 am.
set up my stuff and was told that my friends were already there.
I had thought the service started at 10 am. It was great to see
these old friends again that I had not seen in 15 years. We recently
found each other on Facebook, and I discovered that they now live
in Zurich. So they said they'd come to the service and take me
out to eat afterwards.
service started with the pastor praying and a time of praise and
worship. It's a Filipino church but I saw one or two non-Filipinos,
and the service was in English.
pastor's wife led worship, and she had a great voice.
11 am I was given the mic; I was told that I had until 12 pm.
Time was short. I started with saying "God bless you"
in Tagalog (a phrase I learned years ago), then I introduced myself
and showed my video, and presented my materials and the book.
Everyone was really quiet.
was time to preach and time was short. I had to shorten my message.
I felt like it was a little hard-going. In the end I did an altar
call and only three people came forward for prayer.
was done and knelt on the floor in God's presence. The pastor
came back and there was more prayer and worship and the offering.
The service ended at 12:30 pm.
went to my table where many people wanted to buy my book - more
than I was able to sell since I'm running out of books now. My
first 50 copies are nearly gone, and the remaining 250 copies
for Europe will be arriving in Austria end of May. Nobody bought
the toy car my kids made though probably because I'm starting
the auction at 100 CHF now since it's my last one, but a few signed
up for my emails. There was only little time to talk since it
was time to go have lunch with my friends. So I said my good-byes.
I followed my friends to their village so we could have lunch
at a restaurant there; they didn't live too far. I was happy to
finally go to a Swiss restaurant and ordered great Swiss food.
was quite exciting to catch up on the past 15 years with my friends;
he's Australian, she's British, and they met in Vienna and live
lunch we went to the nearby playground where we talked some more
while their daughter was having fun. The Dad went home to bring
some ice-cream back for us that we enjoyed. I was getting extremely
tired and knew it was about time I should leave to drive to Olten,
and so I said good-bye once again.
had a one-hour drive ahead of me. I had my friends' key and was
debating whether to go to their house or straight to church. I
knew I just HAD to lie down as I was barely functional any more.
I drove the hour to Olten and went to their house. However, there
was not a parking spot anywhere to be found, and so I had no choice
but to go straight to church after all. I got there just over
an hour before the start of the service and was led to an unused
room where there was a comfortable-looking couch. I was relieved
and lay down for half an hour.
I needed that! I felt slightly better when I got up. I went to
the sanctuary and found out where to set up my stuff. I also gave
the tech guy (their 13-year-old son) my flash drive with video
and pictures to use during my sermon.
church building was beautiful and quite roomy. Pinky and her husband
and team were practicing for the service. At 5 pm the service
started. These two video clips show part of the worship &
praise time, towards the beginning.
these links if the embedded videos don't work:
the time of worship continued, God's sweet presence increased.
I knelt down on the floor and finally found myself prostrate in
His presence. It was wonderful! And I just loved hearing Pinky
(the pastor) pray who has such a hungry heart for God!
had to make myself get up and was already introduced by a Swiss
guy first, and then Pinky herself. Then I came up to share. Pinky
had asked me to take some time sharing my story, and so I talked
more than I usually do. God's presence was so very tangible, and
His anointing made my words flow. I saw quite a few people responding
while I talked.
I showed the video before returning to the platform and telling
people about my materials and the book.
though it was an international English-speaking church, there
were some people who only spoke Swiss German, and so I was interpreted.
However, my interpreter was not used to American English and had
an extremely hard time.
then prayed and went straight into my message. It was great not
to be given a time-limit, to have such a hungry crowd and such
an amazing presence of God. With the anointing there it was so
easy and flowed so amazingly.
just wished that anointing would have helped my interpreter to
interpret. He continued to struggle, and I often helped him out
by saying myself in German what I had just said in English. However
I had to make myself not listen to his interpretation because
he got it wrong so much that I would not have been able to move
forward with my message. And then he was getting tired as well;
it was getting worse. I'm just amazed that the anointing was so
intense that it was okay and did not take away from what God was
doing. Actually, in the middle of the sermon I interrupted myself
and gave the pastors and the church a prophetic word. I loved
I ended, I prayed and did an altar call. Many responded, and I
started praying for them. There was a couple in ministry, and
God touched them powerfully as I prayed. It was awesome! Many
others were touched as well. What an awesome church!
the service, many wanted pictures with me which was funny. I sold
more books and had a few good conversations. In fact, most everyone
was eating the potluck dinner while I was talking with peope.
I especially enjoyed talking with French-speaking Africans from
two nations neighboring Mali.
I was pulled over to get some dinner and kept talking with people.
More and more poeple left, and I started packing up. Suddenly
I was getting VERY tired as the anointing started wearing off.
I needed to get home. So Dad, son and I got into my car to drive
home, while Mom (pastor) had to still stay and came home later.
home I got some tea and turned on my computer. Mom - also a night
person - joined us later, and we still had so much more talking
and catching up to do. And so time just cotinued going by, and
I still had to pack, this time for air travel. And so it was 3
am before I went to bed, having only a few hours of sleep ahead
had a lunch appointment in Olten at 12 pm and so I had to leave
at a specific time which meant getting up early again. Still,
Sonja and I had breakfast together and our last chance to talk
and enjoy each other's company. She told me to take a little detour
to pass through even more beautiful countryside, and so I redirected
my GPS to take me there. At 10 am I said good-bye, and hopefully
it won't take 5 or 6 years again for me to be back.
had 2 hours 15 minutes of driving ahead of me, and the countryside
was beautiful. For the first time in my life I took pictures while
driving - not something I'd recommend. There was lots of construction
work going on, but that didn't slow me down too much.
12:30 pm I arrived at my friends' house in Olten. It was great
seeing them again! I had 2 hours to have lunch with them and catch
up, but I'll be seeing them again tomorrow. We had a wonderful
time together. I was extremely tired and was thankful that they
gave me 20 minutes to lie down before I had to leave at 2:30 pm.
I had another projected 50 minutes of driving ahead of me to go
to Zurich where I was scheduled to meet with an old friend from
Kansas City who is Swiss. However, my faithful GPS could not help
me when there was major construction going on downtown Zurich.
I struggled making it through and got stuck in traffic. Somehow
it felt worse than Paris! In the end I got through and made it
to our meeting point.
got into the car with me, and we continued on to look for a place
to park near the lake so we could sit down and talk. After a while
we found one, and the little restaurant by the lake seemed perfect.
was great catching up with this friend I hadn't seen in 5 or 6
years. We were sitting in the hot sun talking away. Then we got
into my car again and I took her home to Winterthur. At 6:30 pm
I said good-bye to my friend.
I had half an hour of driving ahead to go north towards the German
border to my host for the night who I did not know yet. I went
through little Swiss villages to get there, and my destination
was just such a village. It was pretty and quite quiet. When I
arrived at my destination, I had no clue which one was the right
house so I called my host. Somehow he had not expected me yet.
He showed me where to park the car, and I unloaded and took my
stuff inside. The pastor and I took a few minutes to talk, and
then I went to my room, took a shower and a break, spending time
with God. In the meantime he was preparing dinner. His wife was
sleeping as she'd have to work all night.
I went downstairs and we had dinner together - sitting outside
in the garden. We then spent a few hours talking and I learned
a lot about the local situation and his church. It's a small Filipino
church near Zurich airport.
was pretty late when I said good-bye, and I actually went to bed
right away. I knew I just HAD to sleep before the long day ahead
tomorrow where I'd preach twice.
bed was definitely one of the best I've slept on on this trip;
too bad that the night was not long enough. I was pretty tired
in the morning, especially since I had to get up about 2 hours
earlier than usual. Still, we had breakfast together and left
the house at 9 am to drive to the meeting in Geneva.
we got there at 9:30, they were already worshipping God in their
living room. They is a community of believers that lives there
together to reach Switzerland and the nations.
10 am I was given the opportunity to share about Mali and everybody
listened intently. Then they took a few minutes to pray for me.
11 am a preacher in Ghana started teaching via TV using skype.
He went on for 90 minutes. When they took a break then, we decided
it was our time to leave. We exchanged a few more words with the
leaders and said our good-byes. I've enjoyed getting to know these
our way home we decided to order pizza for lunch that we picked
up on our way home. We had lunch together, and then Sonja had
stuff to do, and so did I. I was so tired I knew I needed to lie
down and so I did. I made sure I set my alarm.
I got up we had some dinner, and just after 6 pm we left to drive
the half hour to Lausanne to attend a type of home group meeting.
countryside was gorgeous, and we got to enjoy it more than planned;
an accident had caused quite a traffic jam that slowed us down
big time and caused us to arrive half an hour late.
least we got a parking spot nearby. We walked into the Moroccan
restaurant where the group was meeting and were warmly greeted.
I was introduced and given the word.
then simply shared my story and really got into it. The atmosphere
was great, and everyone was listening with much interest. At the
end several people bought a copy of my book and signed up to receive
my emails. We also prayed for each other in small groups. The
meeting went longer than usual, and we still talked for a while.
Then we finally made our way home. It had been a great evening.
home I knew I needed more sleep, but I still had some stuff to
do and went to bed late as always.
was glad I could sleep in, and the blinds kept my room really
dark. Though I went to bed really late, I slept well, just too
had breakfast with my new friend, and then we both went on the
computer. I watched the time, and at 12:30 pm I packed up the
car and said my good-byes. I had 4 hours of driving ahead of me
- and I was very tired.
listened to my 2 worship CDs dozens of times during the previous
hundreds of kilometers, I turned on my mp3 player and listened
to some teachings. So I happily drove through the beautiful hills
of France towards Switzerland, stopped one time for gas, and continued
on, finally reaching the Swiss border and seeing my first non-French
arrived at my friend's house in Gland (between Geneva and Lausanne)
exactly on time at 4:30 pm. She arrived home from work just a
few minutes after me. It was great seeing her again as it had
been 5 or 6 years since I last visited her.
didn't stay long to catch up as the plan was to go to Geneva and
visit a Christian ministry there. And so we got into her car and
drove the half hour or so. My friend had heard of the ministry
but never been there. When we arrived at our destination, we just
could not figure out where it was. In the end, I saw a little
pathway, and that's where it was.
we went into the beautiful courtyard with the beautiful house,
several of them were sitting outside in the sun, and so I finally
got to meet these lovers of God. A mutual friend had made the
connection. We spent some time chatting and finding out more of
each other as they had finished their meetings for the day. I
was invited back in the morning to share with them.
my friend and I returned home - and that was good as we were hungry!
Sonja did a great job cooking, and we enjoyed our time of fellowship
together. We spent quite a lot of time at the computer exchanging
files with each other, and so it got pretty late again even though
I was very much in need of sleep. Oh well.
just turned 10, and so Christian used one of my cake mixes to
make a cake - and I think he did a great job. I wished I could
have been there to celebrate with them. I'm gald they prayed over
Boubacar to give him a birthday blessing.
a short night, I was glad to be able to sleep in and be pretty
flexible time-wise. Still, I was pretty tired. I packed up my
stuff and said good-bye to the couple who lives at the church
and were technically my hosts. Unfortunately no one else was in
the office to say good-bye to. So around 11 am I left - but first
I drove to the nearby gas station. Then I took the highway.
was in the north of Paris, and I had to go to the south of France.
I wanted to go around Paris rather than through, but unfortunately
I had not looked at my GPS closely enough, and once I was driving,
I did not succeed in changing anything. I could tell that it took
me all the way to the freeway that is downtown Paris.
have a freeway encircling Paris, and I guess I would have been
fine had it not been for construction and ESPECIALLY the many
tunnels. They really need to invent a way for the GPS to work
inside tunnels! I know for sure that I missed one exit because
suddenly I saw the "arc de triumph" (triumph arch) monument
in front of me! Oh no! I sure was inside of Paris, rather than
leaving it! And by now the lunch traffic was one, and moving very
slowly. Would I ever make it out of this 10 million people city?
was sure glad when I did! Slowly there were fewer and fewer cars
on the highway, and more and more green on either side of it.
In fact, the pastures looked intensely green. For hours I drove
through this beautiful countryside. By the way, I finally took
a picture of my faithful rental car - an automatic (unusual in
Europe) Toyota Avensis with Swiss license plates. I have already
driven 1800 km and have a few more hundred ahead of me.
km before my destination I left the highway and started driving
through woods and villages. It seemed like I was in a very remote
place, but it was sure beautiful. At 4 pm I arrived in the picturesque
village of Châteldon and my friend's house. The weather
was absolutely gorgeious as well, and really warm.
had never met Linda before as a mutual friend had connected us.
We sat down in the sun with a good cup of English tea and just
started talking, and we had a great time doing so.
I enjoyed a beautiful shower and more tea and talking. Linda started
cooking dinner in her beautiful French kitchen, and at 7:30 pm
her husband returned home from work as well.
meal was delicious, and again we had a great time talking. After
dinner, we watched my video presentation - with a cup of tea -
and they seemed to enjoy it. Since they are both British and learning
French, Linda's husband still had some French homework to do,
and both Linda and I went to our respective computers to do our
so we sat and worked until midnight before finally making our
way to bed. Once again, I stayed up until 2 am. It just seemed
there was so much to do, and I'm still far from being done.
last day in Paris! There was so much office work I wanted to get
done... but where did the day go?
church had a prayer meeting for the nations from 12 to 2 pm that
I joined. We prayed for France for 90 minutes, and then they prayed
for Mali for 5, and we also prayed for a few other nations.
6 pm my friend Corinne and I got into my car to drive into Paris
to visit another church. My third drive downtown, and it was further
away. It was nice not to have to drive alone again, but to have
my friend with me. I was especially happy when she told me an
alternative that avoided the traffic jam into Paris. And so we
got there prettly quickly, in 45 minutes. Since it was about the
time people get off work, there were parking spaces here and there,
and we found a nice one. It was free from 7 pm onwards, and so
we just sat the 10 min in the car until it was 7 pm. The church
meeting started at 8 pm.
Corinne and I walked around the neighborhood a little and decided
to get a bite to eat. We went into a typical Parisian bar/restaurant,
and the owner was just that as well - brash, not very friendly.
We ordered a cheese quiche to share, and didn't stay too long.
we walked over to the church. It was time for the meeting, but
not too many were there yet. I said hello to Randy, one of the
staff members who I met last year, and introduced Corinne. Then
we went into the room where the prayer meeting would take place.
In the end there were about 15 of us. It's a monthly prayer meeting
for the church.
introduced me to everyone, and I had 5 minutes to share what I'm
doing in Mali. Then the meeting started. For the next 2 hours
we prayed for their church, individuals in their church, and France.
Then the meeting was over.
the meeting I talked to a few people, and some took folders with
them. Then I talked a little more with Randy, before it was time
to leave. It was already 11 pm when we did.
was so tired she fell asleep, while I tried to make my way out
of Paris. While it had been so easy to get there, I was really
having a hard time. Too many streets, too much construction going
on, and so it took me a while to get onto the highway, but I finally
managed. At midnight we arrived back at church. I had not thought
it would get that late!
the afternoon I had started to write my long overdue email newsletter,
and I was determined to get it done and sent out, and so I went
to work. It was very late before I went to bed, and it took me
a while to fall asleep.
was nice to be able to sleep in and take it slowly. I decided
it was time to do some shopping for Mali; there is one store here
that I love to go to where I've bought great stuff for Mali before.
And I was not disappointed. I got some children's books in French,
and plastic tablecloths that we really need in Mali, and a few
Then I went to the supermarket to buy some more stuff for Mali,
as well as some food. And then I discovered two amazing desserts!
I've been doing pretty good with not buying chocolate or the like,
but seeing these unique desserts, I had to get them. And they
place I go, people give me stuff for Mali, whether they have kids
in Mali with us that they sponsor or not, and so my trunk has
been filling up more and more. I knew I needed another suitcase
to take it all to Austria with me, and so I was glad to find this
big and cheap duffle bag. It's still in the cart in the picture,
where you can also see all the stuff in the trunk. It was a successful
wanted to get quite a few things done in the afternoon, but somehow
time went by too fast. Still, it was worth talking with Paul for
one hour so we could catch up a little.
7 pm my friend Pascale and I were ready to go have dinner together.
Every year when I visit, we go to the same restaurant together.
It was great to get to catch up with her, but we couldn't sit
there and talk forever, and so she took me back "home".
It was already nearly 10 pm when I got back.
is my last day in Paris! It's time to sleep in a different bed
every night again!
wouldn't have been a need to set my alarm, as loud worship music
was turned on before 9 am. Ready for a day with the Lord!
really nice to have a room in the same building the church meets
in; all you do is go downstairs to the sanctuary. I set up my
little table with my materials, and greeted my friend Pascale
(picture, visited Mali 5 years ago) who was also leading the service
today since the pastors were out of town.
were also a few other familiar faces though it's been a few years
since I was in a service. We spent the first hour of the service
praising and worshiping God. Corinne (the other one who came to
Mali 5 years ago) played the violine on the team.
the announcements I was given a few minutes to give an update
about the work in Mali. Everyone was so very quiet while I did.
I also presented the book. Then the service went on.
the service was over, they showed my video for those who were
interested in watching it, and quite a few people stayed. Then
I talked to a few people.
had brought lunch for the two of us, and so we sat down with many
of the other church members who stayed rather than driving home
before the evening service. After lunch I was glad to have a few
hours in my room to rest before leaving again, and I took a much-needed
nap. My alarm clock actually woke me up.
was disappointed that my friend couldn't go to the service in
Paris with me. Once again I was driving by myself. And again it
was a projected 35 minutes, but actually took an hour.
first I went the same way as yesterday, towards downtown Paris.
But this time I head to go all the way downtown which I hadn't
done yesterday. In fact, my destination was very close to the
Louvre (the famous museum) and the Champs-Elysées. I never
thought I'd ever drive there!
days I thank God every day for the invention of the GPS; I couldn't
do this trip without it, and would definitely NOT drive downtown
Paris without. However, there were a few times it told me to make
a turn where it was not allowed. One time, the whole big street
only allowed buses and taxis to go the direction the GPS told
me to go. Thankfully, I discovered how easy it is to exclude a
street on the GPS, and so I was able to keep going without going
whole time I was praying I would get a parking spot at my destination,
knowing the chances were slim. At least I was told there was a
parking garage not too far away, so that was my backup plan.
arrived at the tiny street, and slowly drove down. I saw a "parking
officer" writing tickets. Then I saw the parking spot. Unbelievable!
However, it looked like this was going to be tight. That's why
I wasn't happy to be given such a big car by the rental agency.
Thank God that living in Vienna I had to be really good at parallel
parking, and I still know how to do it. I squeezed into the tiny
spot, but was still sticking out. However, there was no way getting
in any more than that. So I walked up to the officer, told him
I was a foreigner, and asked whether it was okay to park that
way. The guy was very nice and told me I was fine that way. Yeah!
I got my stuff out and walked over to the church, having arrived
an hour early. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to make
it there. I knew they had a French-speaking service before the
English one, and so I joined in that service. Since it's an Anglican
church, it's pretty different from what I'm used to. They have
a liturgy and communion and other elements.
French service ended at 6:30 pm. I greeted the curator I had communicated
with by email, and he showed me where to set up my stuff. The
half hour went by fast as I talked to a few people; some even
recognized me from my visit a year ago.
7 pm the English-speaking service started. As we were worshipping
God, I thought back to that day in this place 17 years ago when
God baptized me in the Spirit, and I didn't even know what was
happening. That story is in my book, which is why I asked permission
to present it.
turn came at the very end of the service. The curator introduced
me, and asked me to give a testimony of a changed life to go with
the preaching we'd just heard. Then I presented the book, and
gave the copy in my hands to him as a gift.
the service I was at my table in the back and talked to a few
people, and a few bought the book. The remaining 5 copies stayed
to be sold in the church bookstore. Most people were gone, and
so it was finally time for me to leave as well. So I said my good-byes,
and walked back to my parked car. It was already about 9 pm.
was much easier to drive home. Though it was already dark, there
was much less traffic, and no turns that I could not make, and
so I went straight home without detours. I was sure glad I had
taken the car then, since it would have taken me forever to take
the train home on a Sunday night.
was glad I was able to sleep in, and that the back pain had not
woken me up as much this night as the night before. Still, it
was painful. I had some tea, but food was a problem. Thankfully
I had an apple left.
was planning to leave just after 11, and the time until then was
gone quickly. I had the address in the middle of Paris in my GPS;
I was curious how it would go driving downtown. I had over 30
km to go and at first, I was on the highway, for most of that
distance in fact. Once I got off, the interesting part started.
Lots of roads, lots of traffic, and lots of crazy drivers. I was
moving forward very slowly. Finally I was approaching my destination,
and I started looking for parking spaces. I couldn't see any.
Cars were parked everywhere. I was praying God would give me a
parking spot, but it didn't look good.
I was reaching my destination, I had to look twice to believe
my eyes. There was a big parking spot right in front of my friend's
house! I was shocked and parked immediately. I was amazed at how
God had reserved this space for me. Amazing.
friend came down and we started walking towards the restaurant.
We walked by a pharmacy, and I immediately seized the opportunity.
My friends had recommended I'd take ibuprofen for that inflamed
muscle that was causing me so much pain, and I was relieved that
that medication exists in France as well. She nearly seemed offended
I asked whether she had it.
had a great time talking with my French friend who I had not seen
in a few years. We walked right by the "Moulin Rouge",
a famous Parisian theater, and continued walking towards the restaurant.
self-service restaurant looked really nice, and my friend was
so kind to invite me. We also had great French dessert, and enjoyed
we walked back to Eric's apartment - except that you can't really
call it that. I've never seen an apartment this small ever before.
I could not believe my eyes the whole time I was there. It's 5
square meters - that's it! The elevator to go up to the last floor
of the building was already the tiniest I've ever seen; not more
than 2 people fit in there. In this picture I lean against the
one wall and easily touch the other one. Nothing for those with
he opened his "apartment" door, I was amazed. One room,
even a sink and hot water. I took this picture of Eric and his
room from the entrance, and it shows the whole room.
other picture was taken from the other end of the room, sitting
on his bed leaning against the corner. That's the whole apartment!
A toilet/shower for all the apartments is outside in the hallway.
invited me to a cup of tea; he has a kettle. So I sat on his bed,
and he got a stool out. By this time he was sick of my pictures,
and so he put the towel over his head :-).
had a good time talking, and he was so kind to give me a good
number of French Christian books to take to Mali.
was nice to have seen him again, especially with him not being
in the church where I met him any more. Around 3:30 pm we said
our good-byes, and I put my GPS up again for the crueling drive
back to the highway. It was a little better than my drive there.
I reached the church, I continued on to the nearby supermarket
to buy some groceries, and then I returned to at the church where
I have a little room to stay in. It was 5 pm when I got there,
and I was glad to see my friend Corinne who had just a few minutes
before she had a meeting.
went upstairs in hope to connect to the church internet, but it
was still not working. I had to wait a few more hours before I
was told that I had to connect to a different network. At least
it worked then. In any case, I enjoyed a few quiet hours with
hosts invited me to eat dinner with them, but it was as late as
9:30 pm and I was sure hungry by then. I enjoyed eating and talking
with them though, and then returned to my room, taking advantage
of the internet and hoping to go to bed by my typical time of
1 am. I have a long day ahead tomorrow!
bed I slept in was really good; unfortunately my back was in a
lot of pain, waking me up every time I turned. I was glad I could
sleep in in any case.
had breakfast with my friend and her son. Just a little time later
her husband said his good-byes as he was leaving on a weekend
ministry trip. I was able to take a family picture before he left.
enjoyed talking and catching up with my friend, and time went
by way too fast. At noon we went to a restaurant together. I don't
know when I've last been to a French restaurant! It was really
cute - and full of people. And then I was totally blown away by
the food. Absolutely amazing! Worth its money!
the way home we picked up a pastry to eat at home. More food!
I decided to pass up on the tea, having 5 hours of driving ahead
3 pm it was time to say good-bye once again; hopefully not for
another 5 years this time.
was in a LOT of pain. My friend gave me a hot patch, saying that
would help. Unfortunately it wasn't the right thing to do and
it got rather worse if any. Every little movement hurt, even a
sneeze, to the point of wanting to make me cry at times - and
I'm someone who is not a stranger to physical pain.
turned on my GPS, chose the Paris address, and off I went. Thankfully
it wasn't raining. I was ready for my road trip! I was still playing
over and over the same 2 worship CDs I have, and not getting bored.
stopped one time for gas, toilet and food, and then went on my
way again. I noticed how aggressive the French drivers where compared
to the Belgian and German ones.
also noticed that the sun was going down very late. I thought
it would be dark when I'd arrive, but when I arrived at 8 pm,
it was still light. It was nice to be back at our Parisian sister
church that I visit from time to time.
time I'm staying at the church. A couple lives here as custodians,
and they have an extra room. I was happy when I found the room
warm thanks to a space heater. Praise God!
had some dinner with my hosts - an African-Carribean couple -
and then went to my room. Unfortunately they did not know the
security key for the church network.
10 pm I went down to the classroom where a class on worship was
being taught. I expected to see some familiar faces there, and
I did. Most of all I was happy to see my best friend in Paris
there. We didn't talk long, as it was late, and she had to go
home, but she said she'd be back tomorrow afternoon.
asked about some friends I have in this church, and found out
that one of those who had left Paris had returned. So I texted
him to see whether he was free to get together - and he was. So
we arranged to have lunch in Paris tomorrow. Wonderful! I was
just concerned about the back pain, and the way it was really
affecting me. I was also worried about how well I'd be able to
sleep tonight. Another bed! I've slept in 10 different beds these
past 12 days!