Saturday, May 31, 2008

50 Questions to ask mission team members

You don't have to ask them all these questions at once, but these are interesting questions. Pick the questions you like most and ask them from time to time. Short-term mission team members will enjoy answering these questions for the rest of their lives. So you can use them with friends and people you meet who have traveled to new and different places.

1. What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
2. What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
3. What did that hard experience teach you?
4. What things surprised you the most?
5. Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
6. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
7. Do you have any regrets?
8. What was the food like?
9. Where did you sleep?
10. Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
11. Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
12. Did you get a chance to share your faith?
13. Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
14. Do you see Jesus any differently now?
15. Did you see anything gross?
16. Did you get sick?
17. What was the scariest thing you experienced?
18. What was the weirdest thing you ate?
19. What was the church you worked with like?
20. How was their form of worship different from ours?
21. Did you get a chance to meet anyone's practical needs?
22. Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
23. What was the funniest thing you experienced?
24. How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
25. What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
26. What were your worship times with your team like?
27. Did you miss me?
28. Did you pack enough stuff?
29. Did you really miss me?
30. What was the weather like?
31. Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
32. Would you ever want to go back?
33. Do you think you would consider being a full-time international worker?
34. What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
35. Do you think you'll go on a short term mission trip again?
36. What's going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
37. Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren't on the trip?
38. Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
39. Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you'll never forget?
40. Are you tired?
41. Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
42. What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
43. Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
44. Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
45. Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
46. Did you give anything away?
47. Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
48. Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
49. What's the number one thing you are thankful for?
50. Did you catch yourself praising God for stuff? Like what?


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Friday, May 30, 2008

Goodbye Team!

All but John are at the Abidjan airport for their departure to France and USA. We waited until all their bags were checked and they were off to the boarding area to leave the airport. They had problems again with getting their seats. By the grace of God they got through eventually. The plane should take off for Paris in about 10 minutes. Their arrival is about 6 AM Paris time. Those who continue on to USA Saturday will be on flight DL0043. It will depart around 11:45 AM for Cincinnati, OH. Then on to Omaha on flight DL5157 for arrival at about 6 PM. The team would be thrilled to have you there at Eppley Airfield to meet them.

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Bon Voyage

Today most of us depart for Omaha, Nebraska. Thank you so much for your prayers for the team and our ministry here. It has been such a blessing and encouragement to know that we have been being lifted up in prayer. Please continue to pray that God would use the Farho's and their ministry here in Cote d'Ivoire as well as the other ministries here that we have been privileged to be able to be a part of. It has been so neat to see how God's kingdom is advancing here. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we disappointed to leave, but are encouraged by the ministries we have seen. Thank you so much for your continued prayers!


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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dramane, David and Gavin with new benches

We made a quick stop at the Modest C&MA Church this afternoon on our way home to Abidjan from the crocodile farm. The head elder, Dramane, was there and we got this photo of some of the benches that the team made. Dramane, Dave and Gavin are sitting on a new bench. More benches are stacked up behind them.

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Joshua's crocodile

Joshua and a forest crocodile.


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beautiful africa

Overall the scenery here is amazing. Even though it is pouring outside right now it still looks beautiful out. It's a mixture of green plants and red mud. i feel bad for all the people we saw on our way back to Abidjan walking in the rain. Our time in Grand Bassam was awesome and as i look back on helping in Modeste and at the orphanage i feel a great sense of contentment with how God used us all. Thanks for all your prayers during the whole trip, traveling is pretty rocky and dangerous because of huge potholes so we needed all the prayers we could get.


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Crocodile farm and beach

We'll go to Assignee to have lunch and visit the crocodile farm. They have snakes and lots of crocodiles. We'll even be able to pet some of them! It is a favorite tourist spot for visitors to Cote d'Ivoire. I hope the rain stays away long enough to take a short boat ride across the lagoon and see the beach. It is the most beautiful beach we've seen anywhere in the world. White sand and fun body surfing waves.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lunch at the Orphanage

Today we'll eat chicken, rice and atieke with the girls at the orphanage. They are so loving and love us all so much. They aren't used to having guests like us come to spend a week with them. Some are doing super in English. A number of the girls will go on to junior high school next year. One of the house moms asked me if we could show some videos about AIDS prevention for these older girls. Unfortunately, we don't have any videos like that, but we told them who to contact.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


the market in Grand Bassam was quite a sight. hut after hut after hut after hut with everything you can think of all along the road. it's different than the market where we got fabric from in Abidjan. here people are selling carvings and paintings and hand died blankets. Things look so delicate and it's amazing with the amount of trash we also see along the road that the things they sell look so clean. They start the price of stuff three times more than it is so Sue helps get things down to the right price.

One hut even had an elephant carving that was as tall as the hut (probably 7 feet)! it was huge!

- Christine

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My African Birthday

Let me start out by just saying that my 20th birthday has most likely been one of the best (if not THE best) birthday I have ever had!

Saturday, May 24th, was my 20th birthday and what a birthday indeed. It's not every year that a Nebraskan gets to spend her special day ocean side, on the beach, surrounded by palm trees, all the while being able to serve others with love only given by Holy Spirit himself!

The day started off with an excellent breakfast of pain au chocolat (chocolate filled croissants), fresh pineapple, freshly squeezed orange juice, and fresh mango preserves to top off toasted french bread!

After breakfast the whole team had a group devotion on Acts 4 led by Gavin that was so great! We talked about how we need to continually ask the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we can do and say all that He wants. We are continually growing, but are we growing in ourselves, or in Him?

We then headed off to Modeste where the guys began building benches and all us gals broke out the coloring books and crayons for the children of the village. Many of the children had never even seen a crayon before and so we showed them how to color the pages with the different colored crayons. They were so delighted.

After a while more and more and more kids kept coming and wanting coloring book pages. When they would be done coloring one page they would come and give it to me and in return I would tear out another blank one for them to start on. It was so fun to see them get such a kick out of it!

I was then showed one of the lady's kitchens, which consisted of a metal pot over a coconut leaf fire. Ashley translated to me that the lady had told her that during the rainy season it's very hard to get a fire started since the leaves are hard to get dried. The men will usually go out on the weekends to collect the leaves that have dropped to the ground since it's hard to get them off the tree.

Back at the hotel we had lunch and Mike presented me with a gift from the whole team. The most perfect gift: a silver chain necklace with the shape of Africa. There is a small metal dot that was molded to it where Cote d'Ivoire is. I absolutely love it and will cherish it forever. What a great reminder of my time here.

That evening we went back to the church at Modeste where we showed the Jesus Film in Bambara. Christine wrote a blog about that, so I'll let you read what she has to say about it.

My birthday was absolutely magnificent, and I couldn't ask for anything more.


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Monday, May 26, 2008

God holds off the rain

we were getting ready to headed back to the church in Modeste in the evening when it started down pouring. it wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't planning on showing the Jesus film outside. all of us started praying in our rooms for God's will to be done whether that was to postpone showing the film or stopping the rain so we could go ahead with our plans to show it that night. as we were praying i could hear the rain get softer and softer. it was amazing. God obviously wanted the film to be shown. when we got there they had the screen set up (a white sheet) and benches on both sides for people to sit on. the kids of the village all piled on the benches. they sat so close together it was really cute. A lot of the adults in the village also came and sat more towards the back. Dina had a little boy sit next to her and kept his little hand on her the whole time.

Although it sprinkled a little in the middle of the movie and we had a few technical difficulties all went well. the people's eyes were glued to the screen (especially the children). One of the coolest things was when people would start clapping and cheering at certain parts of the film. Two women in the village accepted Christ and were at church on Sunday. As i looked at the row of boys i was thinking, "what if these boys are the future leaders of the Bombara church?" It was an experience i'll never forget.

The film touched my heart as well. As i was watching i found myself getting mad at the people who were beating up on Jesus and then the verse "then i hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers" came into my head and i remembered that i'm one of those people. Jesus died for me and my sins and i need him just as much as the people in the village of Modeste. I hope the film brings more and more fruit in the village as people talk about it and remember the message it brings.

Right after everything was done it started to rain.

- Christine

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Deserving of more than just two thumbs up.

Our guys are hard at work, even as I write this, to bless the CMA church of Modeste. Saturday was our first day in the village, where the church is, and the beginning of hard core labor. The church is a main meeting place for all different kinds of events, celebrations, services, and the like, and so are in great need for a bunch of benches. Mike, Gavin, Stephen, David, and John began to construct 30 benches for the church on Saturday morning. They hoped to get done, but after constructing about 8 during the morning and afternoon decided it would not be possible to finish until today.

They began with a early start, as i sent them off with the sack lunches I made for them the night before. :) (Peanut butter on Lebanese flat bread, apples, etc.) They said they would rather do that than have to stop and break for lunch!

We are so proud of the hard work they have been doing and the buckets of sweat that have drenched many of their t-shirts. They will be much deserving of a dip in the ocean or ocean water pool this evening! :)

Please pray for their uplifted spirits and that they continue to keep a positive outlook on the reason why they are working so earnestly.


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Coloring in the village

After we got to the village in Modeste and greeted all the women we spent some time coloring with the children of the village. some of the kids had never even held a crayon before. They sure loved coloring though. they went through an entire coloring book and after they would get done with a page they would bring it back to us and ask for another so we now have tons of pages of colored pictures from the kids. One little girl just sat there with her crayon and blank page, not knowing what to do. She watched as her older sister and the other kids colored. Sarah and I kept talking about whether or not she was going to give it a go and finally after a long time thinking about it she did and once she started with her brown crayon she colored that whole page. She was so adorable.

The village is like what i would expect from an African village. There were clothes hanging all over the place and little shacks made out of palm tree leaves and wood. what these people had was practically nothing. they also had scrawny chickens roaming around and a couple sad looking dogs. Although they don't have much the people are so kind and have a contentment about them. I think the reason I love spending time with the kids is that their spirit is always so uplifting. They're smiling all the time and are more than willing to help. I think it's easiest to communicate with them even though i don't know the Bombara language because they pick up on hand motions and can read our facial expressions. It was fun bonding with them using a bag of crayons and a coloring book.


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Teaching at the Orphanage

So far it's been great here in Grand Bassam, the weather has been fairly cooperative, mostly raining at night, and the sound of the ocean at night is unlike anything I've ever heard. It's amazing to remember that it's God's creation!

Yesterday, Sunday, after going to church and eating lunch, we went to the girls orphanage and got to teach them english. We were given objects in a bag like toy plates, spoons, or just simple objects and then we'd tell them what each thing was. Once after telling them, we'd say an object and they would have to point to it and you'd keep doing it until they got each object's name right. Once they understood those objects, you would add another and mix up the order and go over it again. We also got to teach something every kid learns- head, shoulders, knees, and toes! It think they really enjoyed it although the pronunciation wasn't perfect. There was also cartoons in english to watch or play games or coloring books, but the neat thing was they really wanted to learn english. I would point to a game and they'd point to the bag of objects!

It was so much fun to teach these girls english and some songs, they really have connected with us. If you go anywhere there, they are always latched on to you, holding your hands, and it's so crazy to know how fast they've grown onto us! Everyone, really, has bonded so well with them and everything they've learned has really sunk in; it's even weird that sometimes they will surprise you with what english they know! I just hope that we're people that have made such a big impact on their lives that we won't be forgotten. The relationships God is building in us with these girls is definitely something we'll all have a part of us for years to come.

Thanks again for your prayers, it's been such a blessing to be in this position and experience everything we have already!

For all His worth,

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Arrival, Children's Laughter, and His Love.

This weekend we arrived at Grand Bassam and it has been so glorious! To start off, our hotel is right on the beach and is so much more than I could ever expect! God's creation is so wonderful! Palm trees everywhere, the roar of the ocean is a dream to fall asleep to, the humidity is thick but I'm used to it by now. It has rained daily, which is to be expected considering it is the rainy season, but it is warm rain and I have enjoyed walking through it.

Saturday night we went to the girls orphanage and they sang us a few welcome songs, yelled out some English words, such as counting from 1-10, and American celebrities. They were exuberant when their teacher told them that we came to teach them English! I wish you could have heard the loud cry of excitement that was released from their mouths at that moment.

After eating dinner with them that night we played games and colored with them beginning to teach some English. I colored with a group of girls and went over colors. Brown and purple were a bit challenging, in regards to pronunciation, but they are eager and kept trying and trying.

I love their smiles. Every time we go there (we've been back a few times since) the same five or so gals immediately spot me out and run to give me the most ginormous hugs and cling to me so that I can barely walk. I don't mind, though. This kind of love and excitement shows a perfect example and reminder of how I should cling to Christ. He comes, with open arms to receive me, and He loves it when I run to greet him and cling to him with no sight of letting go.

The children are teaching me more than I am them, even though they may not realize it. Please pray for them and our ability to reach them with the undying love of Jesus in the next few days we are there.


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Sunday, May 25, 2008

more than a "good" time in Africa

I have been contemplating today what I'll say when I get home. I know I'm going to have tons of people asking me "How was Africa?" and I want a better response than "good". I want to be able to share how God is changing my heart to better serve others. I want to tell about all that God is doing here, how Jesus' name is becoming famous in Africa. How at church it's overwhelming to realize that the God that lives in my heart also lives in the heart of the Ivorian sitting next to me, even though he speaks a different language and looks different and is culturally different. God knows his heart as well as mine! How awesome is our God! But how do I explain that in a quick conversation? I am thinking about that today because we are coming home soon and "good" just doesn't express it. I want Jesus to be famous because he allowed me to go to Africa and experience Him in a whole new way. I want my explanation of how Africa was to Glorify the Lord. So when I come back, ask me how Africa was, but don't just settle for "good".

- Sarah

See 50 good questions to ask Sarah


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Friday, May 23, 2008

and we're off

today we leave for grand bassam. we're going to go and bless a church by building some benches for them and also we get to help out at an orphanage. i'm really excited to meet the people in the village and especially the kids at the orphanage. stephen made a comment yesterday that as attached as we got to the kids at the seminary, who have families, how much more are we going to get attached to the kids at the orphanage.

the farhos have been amazing hosts as we have stayed in their house the last few days. if you have anytime please send them a message or comment thanking them for taking such great care of us. it overwhelms me their love for Jesus and their willingness to serve us. it's no wonder they are doing great things here being so centered on Christ.

please pray for our travels and the hearts of those we will meet in the coming week.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cirlcle of Prayer

Today was our last day painting at the seminary. After we finished painting and cleaning up we prayed with the children who had been following us around all of these days.

Here are some of the highlights of the last 5-7 days.

Album 1 - 21 photos of flight and the day on the bateau bus and at Boulay Island

Album 2 - 17 photos of the Abobo Abidjan C&MA Bambara Church and tea party with Abou

Album 3 - 43 photos of the work and people at the FATEAC C&MA Seminary

Album 4 - 33 photos of the children and farewell prayer circle at the Seminary

Thank you for your continued prayers as we move into our next week of ministry in Grand Bassam.

-david bebee

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What I've Learned...

If you've been keeping up on our blog you probably know, by know, what we've been spending our time doing these past few days...

To be honest, it was a bit hard for me to focus on being full of joy while breathing in paint fumes and sweating all my body's water content out while scraping and painting all day for three days in a row. When I saw the eagerness of the children that lived there to help us paint, clean up, take all the tape off the walls after we were done, and whatever else we were doing at the time, it made me motivated to finish our duties with a willing heart. They wanted to do all the work, right along beside us. This is exactly what our hearts should be constantly yearning for. We should be constantly yearning for an undying willingness to serve our Lord with open hearts. Gavin gave us a pep-talk after lunch today before we started and said something that we should totally be constantly we thinking of... "paint this building as if Jesus was living here, it's for Him." It truly made me more motivated to go on and finish the job. Jesus is our reason for coming to Africa and Jesus should be the reason we live our day to day lives. Whether it be painting for a seminary that focuses it's time on teaching the word of God and raising Godly leaders, or playing games with children that don't speak your verbal language but can still translate the language of love, or simply driving around town to a great meal prepared by people that want to bless you. All these things should be done with the heart of Christ in mind and all things should be done to glorify Him.

Please pray that our hearts are focused on such things and that we continue to have uplifted spirits. I pray that you shall be able to focus your day to day life glorifying the One who gave His life for you.

If anyone has requests or prayers please let them be known to us. Mike fixed the features, so you should be able to post comments now.

May you seek Him in all you do.


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Seminary Success

Today we finished our large painting project at the C&MA Seminary. We had plenty of paint to use and had time to paint hallways and several rooms in the main Administration Building in much need of attention as well as the Student Residency Building. The Dean invited us to his home to enjoy a wonderful African meal. It has been such a joy getting a vision of the Seminary meeting the team, students and faculty. It is amazing to see just how important this Seminary is to spreading the gospel in Africa as it fits essential specific needs for up and coming church leaders. Thank you so much for your continued prayers!

- Stephen

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worshipping in africa

yesterday we went to chapel service very early in the morning. it was at the seminary and one of the students lead it. laura livingston (who's house we have been eating lunch at) translated for us but at times i found myself just listening to the french speaking pastor. i could tell just by his body language and intensity that he was bringing it. my favorite is singing all together. they had french song books and i tried my hardest to pronounce all the words correctly but i'm sure i butchered most of them. i sat next to a student and another woman. the man next to me noticed it didn't have my bible when the pastor was reading out of hebrews so he offered to share his french one. i thought i was so considerate of him so i looked along with him and tried to see if i could pick out any of the words. after service we all stood in a line out the door and every person comes by and shakes our hands. everyone is so grateful and welcoming. it makes the hot weather and painting easy when you know the people you are blessing with the work.

i hope the kids remember us when we leave. i know i'll never forget their precious faces or laughter. we played some more games with them when we had a break and i just can't get enough of them. they each have such different personalities, some show off, some are shy, some are fierce competitors when playing games with us and some and just so sweet. one little girl was carrying a little baby on her back that was trying to sleep when she was playing a game with us.

thanks so much for all your prayers. it's awesome to know how much support we have back home. w couldn't be doing all we are if it wasn't for your support and thank you again.

-christine g.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh What A Sweaty Day!

Today we put a second coat on the stairwells of the apartment building at the Seminary and touched up some on the main halls. One building down, and another to do, which we got mostly done, and there wasn't as much either. Again, we had lunch at the Livingstons, which is so nice of them to have us over to replenish us before going back out to work. It was after lunch that we started on the main building and then that it was also the hottest. Yesterday, not so bad because the hallways are open at the apartments, the main building was more closed off. The kids at the seminary are always great and so anxious to get their picture taken and see how it turned out; I even let them take pictures of each other until they would fight over it and that's where it was time to take it back.

Tonight we took a walk after dinner for some ice cream that Mike has been looking forward to probably since we arrived. It was well worth the walk! On the way there (and back for that matter) we came across something you wouldn't think would be on the street or crossing the road- it was a crab! Yes, you heard that right. It scared Dina and I think it was scared all of us too.

So far it's been great here and everyone is so kind and welcoming and I feel blessed to interact with the people. Everywhere you go you give a wave and "bonjour" and every time you see them you get closer to becoming friends.

For now,


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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Painting in a Parachute

Hello from Africa on Day 4! Well I think today was the hardest we've worked since we got here. We were back at the seminary today painting the dormitory for the students. I'm proud of everyone for putting in so much effort. We are way ahead of schedule! God blessed us today with cloudy skies for most of the day and a great breeze that blew through the hallways and stairwells keeping us relatively cool, well, for Africa.

Actually, that leads me to the title of this post because although I am truly grateful for God bringing the breeze, to my horror, my $3.99 floral print skirt from the Salvation Army, thought it would be fun to see how it could fly in the breeze. It was ridiculous trying to hold my skirt down and at the same time paint with a roller. Fortunately the skirt liked to watch itself puff up rather than reveal anything inappropriate. I won't be wearing it tomorrow! Another favorite part today was meeting students and kids in the hallways. I met a young lady named Nina, who came out and thanked me and introduced herself in English. I introduced myself in French and we had a good laugh. Sadly, though that is all the French I knew and all the English she knew so the conversation ended there. I loved trying and the victory in connecting in the small conversation we had!

After painting we came back and jumped in the pool and I am proud to say that a recouped Gavin now holds the record for holding his breath underwater the longest. 2 minutes 15 seconds! Steven holds a close second and is ruthlessly preparing to take the lead. Good Luck to all the participants.


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Monday, May 19, 2008

Green Tea with a kick.

This is our gatekeeper, Abou. He made us green tea shots which is just super concentrated green tea with alot of sugar. Talk about caffine high!

Our time here has been wonderful so far!


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Give Me Five

Today we went to the Alliance Seminary. We prepped and cleaned the resident student housing complex for painting. We had an amazing lunch with two of the professors from the seminary. It was great to hear stories of their experiences in Africa and learn more about the work that they are doing at the seminary. We weren't able to start painting today because the paint still needs to be tinted and mixed. However, we were able to play with some of the kids of the ministry students. One little boy seemed quite shy and I greeted him in French and received no response. Later as I passed I stuck out my hand and he gave me five as big as he could! Thank you for your prayers!


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Garb and Grub

The beginning of our Monday began with the girls going for a little shopping spree for "tissue" (fabric) to bring to the tailor for our African dresses! (and John tagged along to be our body guard :) ) It was very fun to go through the market and find the shops that sold fabric. When we found two little shops, right across from each other, it was hard to choose which fabric would be perfect for our dresses... well, it was hard for me, anyway. I guess you could say I'm not one to make decisions fast. :) Needless to say I was able to pick one out, with Ashley's help, and after the ladies running the shop measured three meters and we paid off we went to the tailor. The tailor shop was very tiny and we managed to squeeze about seven of us in there. We all picked out what style of dress we wanted and then got measured. Hopefully all four will be ready by the time we leave for Grand Bassam on Friday morning so we can wear them to church on Sunday.

The food these past three days has been marvelous. Every meal = a new adventure. Every meal = deliciousness. Culinary student approved. :) We never have left overs because if there is anything left on the table near the end of the meal we shove it towards Stephen and he will be sure to make it disappear. Last night we went to a Lebanese restaurant called Al Bakwat. It was by far one of the most amazing meals I have ever consumed! I don't think I could get tired of Lebanese cuisine. Everyone around us smoking hookah gave some great atmosphere, as well.

I have also found that my love for mangoes has greatly increased! Fresh, ripe mangoes are the absolute bomb! It's unbelievable. I wish I could just bring a whole suitcase full of them home with me, but I'm not sure how well that would work out. Another culinary thing I learned was that usually when you eat something with banana in it such as "fried bananas" or "banana foutou" it isn't really bananas, it's made from plantains. (which, they believe to be a kind of banana, but I beg to differ... what do I know, though...)

Everything has been wonderful, even through all the heat, humidity, and sweat. I love it. Thank you, once again, for all your prayers. Continue to pray for our safety, health, high spirits, and team unity. Merci, merci, merci. (a little of the French in me coming out. haha.)
Bon Soir.


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another day of cute african children

we went to the seminary today that we will be painting. while we were waiting to get started with taping edges of the walls and doors, i started playing with two adorable little boys. we were throwing a mini soccer ball back and forth. i was taking lots of pictures and these two gorgeous little girls came out to play and loved having their picture taken. actually, all the kids love it. they laugh so hard when you show them pictures of themselves on your camera. their spirit is contagious. they're so pure and loving. i also took a few photos of a group of some girls and one guy that were probably a little younger than me. i was nervous at first to ask them if i could take their picture but they were just as sweet about it and also loved seeing themselves. i'm even more excited about serving the people there by doing some painting tomorrow because of our interaction with them today.


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Day Three!

Hi, everyone back home. It's day three in Abidjan and everything is going great. I couldn't be more proud of the team. Everyone is adjusting well and in great spirits and serving with all their hearts. I was a little sick the last two days but feeling a lot better now. Thanks for all your prayers.

Tomorrow we're back at the Seminary for day two of painting. It's going to be quite the project. We're really happy to serve there. This is where great theological and ministry training is happening for the future church leaders in Africa. Students and families travel from several surrounding countries to grow in the depth of understanding of God's word and their skills for ministry.

Continue to pray for divine opportunities to share the gospel and join the Spirit's work happening here. Thanks for all your support!

One note of interest: Christine did beat Stephen in a water treading competition after painting today -- 20 min to 21 min. Congratulations, Christine. ;)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Sunday is just a Sunday.

A road is just a road
until you want to get somewhere.

And a Church Service is just a service
until you have a choir sing blessings over you.

The sun is just the sun
until you feel it beating down on your shoulders.

Gods love is just love
until you realize just how amazing his grace really is.



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Their faces light up

Bon jour! We have begun our trip adapting and preparing for our time here in Cote d' Ivoire. It has been amazing to see how friendly and courteous the people are here. One of the coolest things so far has been learning some more greetings in French. It is evident that the local people really like it when we take the effort to address them. Their faces light up in a such a warm smile and they become quite animated. Thank you for all of your prayers!


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Abobo C&MA Church

It took us 90 minutes to get to church. We spent a lot of time waiting for the pastor at a gas station, then wound our way through muddy roads to the Abobo C&MA church. It was a long service. Gavin was feeling under the weather, but did a great job preaching! We got home around 2 PM.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Home from Ile Boulay

We had a great time on our bateau bus ride and stay at the Boulay Island beach. I was so proud of the team's great interaction with the Ivorians. They played a lot with the kids.

The amazing journey continued today here in the Ivory Coast. Getting a look at the city in the light this morning really put us into a bit of culture shock. The kids at the beach were really fun to interact with.

Today was a great day relaxing at the beach and taking in some sun, while trying not to get burned, although we all got a little too much sun. We also got to interact with some kids while also enjoying our first African meal. Delicious!

Today was a fascinating extension of my stay in West Africa. After being so long in Koutiala, Abidjan seemed like New York City, Paris and Bamako all rolled into one. I was wondering where all of the donkey and push carts went! :) So far Cote d'Ivoire has been pretty much the exact opposite of Mali but I had a blast kickin it under the scorching Saharan sun with the team and some hungry clams. Lunch was regular West African fare - chicken, fried bananas and frites - my favorite!! I'm super excited to interact with some Ivorians over the next couple of weeks and discovering how they compare to Malians.

Most of us haven't had a problem with jetlag. My parents got us going this morning so we got on the sleep schedule for this time zone in no time. We just finished some singing getting ready for tomorrow at church and now we are just hanging out passing computers around. Thank you all for your e-mails. We love to hear what is going on in your lives. Keep up the praying.

the kids in abidjan are soo cute! i loved writing in the sand with them and playing ping pong with some of them . although i couldn't really talk much to them i think i made some friends. even when we got done with our boat trip and got back to our cars a bunch of kids were outside and ran up to us and started shaking our hands and LOVED stephen! the Farho's have been more than hospitable, they're amazing. it's also super helpful having john with us to answer all of our questions about how to say things in French. please keep praying for more interactions with people and for the Farhos to be blessed after being such a blessing to us.

Well, I rocked a sweet headache today from a lack of diet coke, malaria meds, and too much sun and humidity. However it was nothing that ibuprofen and a quick nap couldn't fix. Today's tour was great to get to know this great city. Kind of in sensory overload trying to take it all in but it's going to be a blast! I think that God has some amazing things planned for us so I can't wait to experience more.

Mike and Sue knew just what we needed today -- a day to rest after 41 hours in airports and on planes. The beach was great, the food was even better. There's nothing like seeing a chicken clucking one hour and on your plate the next hour. That's fresh chicken! Tomorrow we go to a Bambara church and the preacher is... me, I guess. They found out a pastor from the states was going to be there, so they asked if I would fill the pulpit. So, here goes nothing. I'll have a translator who will translate into both French and Bambara. We appreciate your prayers as our ministry projects begin this week.

As the last one to update (Stephen went to bed early) I'm having a hard time finding something new to tell you. Today was a great day! It was so nice to just relax and get acquainted with the bright African sun. Our venture, beginning out of Omaha was a rocky one for me as I forgot my yellow card with proof of immunizations that I would need to enter Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). It was 5:00am and our plane was leaving at 5:45. I had to call my dad and ask him to find it and rush it to the airport. (We live about 30 minutes away.) He brought it just in time for it Sarah and I (the last two of our team waiting to get on the plane) to run through the terminal, the check point, and the lady at our gate yelling, "Johnson! Miller! Run faster! Your plane is leaving!" We got on just in time and off we went. After a 6 hour layover in Atlanta and a 9 hour flight to Paris another adventure took way. When we went to get our boarding passes to Abidjan after arriving in Paris they couldn't find us in their system. After many calls to Nebraska (where it was around 1:30am in Omaha) we figured it all out and 7.5 hours later we were off to Abidjan. It was interesting to drive through the crazy streets of Abidjan where there were no street rules. I was very glad I was not the driver. Last nights rest was amazing and today was a great day to unwind after a long trip. Thank you for all of your prayers and continued support. We greatly appreciate it! I can't wait to see all that God does through this adventure.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Team here safe and sound

All nine members are here now. Thanks for praying for their safe travel. The flight from Paris to Abidjan was one hour late arriving. Ashley made it safe from Bamako, Mali. Saturday, we ride the boat bus to Boulay Island.

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon approaching the Treichville Station

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Ashley Schmidt arriving from Mali

Ashley Schmidt will be the first CCC 2008 team member to arrive in Abidjan. Her flight arrives at about 3 PM. She is currently doing an extended short term mission in Mali. We look forward to hearing about her ministry there. We might be mistaken, but we think she is working at the Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children.

Hospital sign
The Koutiala hospital, located in Mali, West Africa, is being built to meet the physical and spiritual needs of women and children.


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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Team Photo at Omaha Airport

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Team left Omaha at 5:45 AM

Modeste church bench
A photo of airplanes in West Africa

The Christ Community Church College Team flew out of Omaha this morning at 5:45 AM CST. They catch their international flight to Paris out of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at 3:35 PM EST
Time Of Arrival: 6:20 AM in Paris France Friday, May 16, 2008
Time Of Departure for Abidjan: 1:25 PM Paris time
Time Of Arrival in Abidjan: 5:50 PM GMT

With adjustment for time zones, their total trip duration from departure time in Omaha to arrival time in Abidjan is more than 41 hours.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New bench for Modeste Church

Modeste church bench
Draraman and Pastor Daniel making the 1st bench. This bench will be the model for the 29 additional benches that the team will build.

Modeste church bench
How many people can you fit on a 6 foot pew at your church?


Modeste Church from highway

Modeste church
Modeste Church view from the highway between Abidjan and Grand Bassam

I'm here with Pastor Daniel, starting the work on the 30 new church benches. We're making sure the materials are all correct and that the generator can power the circular saw. We're building one model for the team to copy. We'll be back next week with the team, painting, repairing and building benches. Saturday night the 24th, we'll be showing the Jesus Film in Bambara. Then Sunday the 25th, Gavin will preach and we'll celebrate communion.


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seminary Women's Center

FATEAC seminary Women's Center
FATEAC Women's Center in 2005, in final stage of construction

The FATEAC Women's Center had 27 students in the women's adjunct program during 2006-2007. It provides classrooms for the women and housing for visiting students and work teams.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Orphanage office

Orphanage office
We will be painting this office for the orphanage staff


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Abidjan Bateau Bus

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon approaching the Treichville Station

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Abidjan Commercial District

Commercial district of downtown Abidjan
Downtown Abidjan. View from Marcory Residential, with lagoon in foreground


Friday, May 9, 2008

Abidjan The Paris of West Africa

Catholic cathedral downtown Abidjan
Catholic Cathedral in center of downtown Abidjan

The skyscrapers in the background are the governmental offices. Abidjan now claims a population of about 4 million. Some believe the actual figure could easily be 6 million, nearly twice the population when we moved here in 2002. The water in the foreground is the lagoon that surrounds the city.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Alliance West Africa Theological Seminary


School Year 2007-08
There were 67 students (plus 27 wives in the adjunct program), representing 23 different denominations. Some of the 14 countries represented are Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun, Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. They offer a Master of Theology or Master of Bible Translation degree. Their mission statement: "Contribute to the flourishing of an authentic Christianity in contemporary Africa by assuring a solid Bible and theology training at a university level."

25 BP 684 Abidjan 25 Côte d'Ivoire
Tél. : (225) 22 40 93 00
Fax : (225) 22 40 93 03
E.mail :


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bateau Bus Station

Bateau bus at the Treichville station
Bateau (boat) bus on the Abidjan lagoon at the Treichville Station

The team will spend a few hours on the bus as we travel to and from the island where we will have orientation with them on their first day in Cote d'Ivoire.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Team photo

Mike, Sue, Joshua camel ride clothes
From left to right:
Gavin Johnson, John Farho, Stephen Matychuk, David Bebee,
Kira Marino, Sarah Johnson, Christine Gerhart, Dina Miller.
Ashley Schmidt wasn't present for the photo.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Modeste Church School

The Modeste C&MA Church desires to reach their community with the Gospel. We had a meeting today with the church elders and pastor John.

C&MA Modest Church School
School in background, pastor John on left.

They started this little school for children too poor to go to the government school. If we get enough donations to the CCC team support, we would like to improve this school building with walls and a roof. Let us know if you would like to make a donation to the team support for this school.