Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modeste church photos

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sarah praying at Modeste Church

From left: Christine, Ashley, Gavin, Sarah

From left: David, Sarah, Christine, Kira

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Team at Grand Bassam restaurant

From left: Stephen, Dina, Kira, Sarah, David, Joshua, Ashley, Gavin, John, Christine.

Everyone is playing cards while we wait for our food. This was our last supper in Grand Bassam. We ate at The Quai restaurant. The food and desserts were great. The owner of our hotel arrived and treated us to our soft drinks. Normally, we only drank bottled water. It was hard for some not to get their Diet Cokes for two weeks. We had to suffer a little bit any way.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy seminary boys

Photo by Christine

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Ivorian kids

Christine took this joyful photo of kids playing after church at the Abobo Abidjan Baoule and Bambara Church.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finishing up at the seminary

Professor Randy Harrison, John, Gavin and Christine

I took this photo during the last hour of work at the seminary. Maybe that was why everyone was so happy. The work was difficult. I'm not sure what Gavin has behind his back, but I know Christine has the dustpan full of paint that was peeling off the wall. We didn't get the paint done in this reception office, but we did get it prepped for the painter. The team left enough cash with the seminary to pay a local painter to finish up the remaining work. We actually did much more work at the seminary than we had planned. The team worked so hard and fast that they finished the planned project, the student dormitory halls and staircases in only two days. The last two days were spent painting the administration and classroom building halls, conference room and a couple of smaller rooms.

The next day, Friday, we drove to Grand Bassam to start work at the Modeste Church and the orphanage.


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Monday, June 9, 2008

Lunch at orphanage

The team and Joshua at the lunch table

The talented cooks made us AFC, African Fried Chicken with rice and attieke, a fermented product made from grated manioc root. It looks similar to couscous.


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Friday, June 6, 2008

Kira's photos

Kira posted a lot of fun photos for us to enjoy. The links below will take you to her photo albums at She did a great job organizing them by category. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Africa un 39 photos of our flights, Bateau Bus, Boulay Island beach, and the Abobo Abidjan CMA Church
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa deux 59 photos from the Alliance West African Theological Seminary
Location: Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa trois 38 photos of days at the girls orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa quatre 42 photos at the Modeste Village/Assoyam Hotel
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

Africa cinq 30 photos of last day at the orphanage
Location: Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire

Africa six 22 photos at the crocodile farm!
Location: Assini, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa

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Team photo at Modeste CMA Church

The team is singing a song in Bambara for the congregation. They also sang a song in English.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

dina and i made it back

Dear Farhos,
dina and i made it back yesterday safe and sound. thanks again for being such incredible hosts and my parents really enjoyed the card!! i'm still processing stuff but its been really great to talk with everyone about the trip. we had so many people looking at the blog. my dad printed it out for my grandparents and they really enjoyed reading it. tell the fam i say hi :)
have a great day!!


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Monday, June 2, 2008

reflect on your trip - photos

Hey everyone! Its been a day and a half since our plane touched down at epply airfield and 5 of our team returned. Please keep Christine, Dina, Ashley, and John in your prayers as they return in the next week.

This has been my fourth time returning from a missions trip and it always is the same. You find yourself caught somewhere between a very intense and exciting situation and what you feel is a normal life. This has always been difficult for me as it has for others. It, however, is a key time where you reflect on your trip and draw upon lessons learned, deciding what impact that has on your life here in Omaha. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we all transition back to the states in the next several weeks!

As promised, here are some more links to pictures:

Album 6 - 51 photos of the highway sights, orphanage, and the work at the Modeste C&MA church

Album 7 - 28 photos of Modeste C&MA church, beach and pool at Grand Bassam hotel

Album 8 - 51 photos of the orphanage

Album 9 - 33 photos of orphanage, crocodile farm, Modest church benches and highway sights

Album 10 - 21 photos of ice cream, baptisms, streets, airport

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Favorite photos of Gavin

Just posted 12 favorite photos of Gavin at Facebook.

May 2008 - 808 college mission team ministry from Christ Community Church

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Team is back in Omaha

Most of the team is back home in Omaha. We're praying that they make it to church today!

John is still home in Abidjan, until June 9th. Dina, Ashley and Christine are taking some time to visit Europe!

Christine and Dina arrive on Monday, June 02, 2008 on flight DL4604 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 04:18 PM.

Ashley arrives on Monday, June 09, 2008 on flight DL4214 at Omaha Eppley Airfield at 09:26 PM.

John still needs his itinerary from the travel agent, but he leave here on Monday, June 09, 2008 and arrives in Omaha on Tuesday, June 10th.

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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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Thursday, May 29, 2008

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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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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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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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

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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Monday, May 19, 2008

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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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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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Team Photo at Omaha Airport

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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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