Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modeste church photos






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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.

-Mike

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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.

-Mike

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dina and Kids at Seminary


Photo by Christine

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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 Facebook.com. 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!!

-christine

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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

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.
-Mike

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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.

-Dina

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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.

-Dina

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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.

-Dina

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

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.

-Dina

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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,

-Kira

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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!

-david

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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.

-Dina

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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.
-Mike

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.
-david

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!
-Kira

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.
-Ashley

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.
-John

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.
-Christine

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.
-Sarah

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.
-Gavin

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.
-Dina

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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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