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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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gavin preaching at Modeste


Gavin Johnson and Mike Farho


Gavin did a great job preaching for the folks at the Modeste C&MA Bambara Church. It was a fun service for all of us, with lots of fantastic music and even gifts for each team member. The team is working at raising funds for this Bambara Church. It is exciting to see a church of meager means reaching out and building bridges of love to their Muslim neighbors. The primary ministry they've started is a tiny elementary school.

-Mike

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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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Sunday, June 15, 2008

John pool surfing

From left: John Farho surfing, Gavin Johnson after launching the boogie board.

John, Gavin and David enjoyed a new sport at the Hotel Assoyam in Grand Bassam. they took running jumps onto a moving boogie board. David Bebee posted a video on Facebook. For now, it is only available to Facebook members. Come back again, I'll see if I can get a public link from David.

-Mike

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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.

-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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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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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A legacy in our lives

Thank you all for your prayers and support of the 8:08 Cote d’Ivoire team! The trip went extremely well. Our time was filled with everything from painting at an Alliance seminary to building benches and repairing walls for a village church to teaching English at an orphanage to Evangelism in the city. It was a great trip filled with great ministry. I’m especially thankful for our friends in Abidjan, Mike and Sue Farho. They did an outstanding job arranging the details of the trip and hosting the team. They worked hard to plan out every detail, ensuring that this trip would be a legacy in the lives of the students and the lives of those touched by their ministry in Cote d’Ivoire.

I have many stories to share about the great things the team saw God do and would love to share them with you if you’d like. However, I must say that the most rewarding part of the trip for me was to see 8 extremely gifted, intelligent, mature college students come home with a new passion for missions and God’s heart for the world. I can’t wait to see how God will use them all and their educations from civil engineering to culinary arts to nursing to further His Kingdom in the future!

Grateful,
-Gavin

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Finished Modeste Church Pulpit and Walls


John and I went to Modeste today with Pastor Daniel to finish the work there. We also needed to pick up my generator and Daniel's carpenter tools. John and Pastor Daniel worked on the pulpit, while Dramane and I repaired all the rotten parts of the walls. Daniel was grateful for the speed square that Gavin left for him. We worked hard, hot, and non-stop to our late lunch at about 1:30 PM. Then we washed up and ate lunch, rice and cabbage sauce with hot peppers. It was yummy!

Daniel and John are nailing the first side piece to the pulpit.


The finished product. There still may be some varnish or paint work.
Left to right: Pastor Daniel, Dramane, John and Mike Farho
Don't believe the clock on the wall. It was actually 1:30 PM

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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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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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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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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

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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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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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.

-Sarah

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Monday, May 19, 2008

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

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.
-Mike

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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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