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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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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Friday, June 13, 2008

Blue boy bogeyman



Painting on the cafeteria wall at the girls' orphanage in Grand Bassam. We asked about the mysterious blue boy. The girls told me he's the boy who sleeps in the teacher's office. I guess he's their version of the bogeyman.

-Mike

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cookies at orphanage


English class

It is very rare for the girls at the orphanage to get to eat cookies. Two of the girls mentioned that to me at the beginning of our week of ministry there. The last day of our ministry there, we purchased three cases of cookies. Each individually wrapped package contained six cookies. It cost about $17.00 to buy enough cookies for all 150 children and staff.

-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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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Meeting Daniel on the Beach



Our first day at Grand-Bassam we stopped by the beach to see what it was all about after we put our things in our rooms. While I was sitting on a bench a few vendors walked by trying to sell their respective items. I started talking to a few and ended up talking to Daniel and his friend. Daniel is the one on the right of the picture and his friend is on the left. Daniel is a Christian living in Grand-Bassam selling soccer jerseys along the beach to people that are at the local resorts. His friend is a Muslim, but agreed with all that me and Daniel said about the grace of God and what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means to us. Overall it was a very interesting conversation and I invited them both to come see the Jesus film, which we were showing the next night in a nearby village, Modeste. The next night Daniel came by to see the Jesus film and brought another friend of his. I encourage you to pray for the Christians in Cote d'Ivoire, that they would stay strong in their faith and be willing to share what they believe with those around them.

-John

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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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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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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.

-Christine

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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.

-Mike

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hut-O-Stuff

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.

-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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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,
-Kira

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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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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

-Mike

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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.
-christine

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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.

-Mike

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Orphanage office

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


-Mike

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Looking for housing in Grand Bassam

We're looking for housing for the team in Grand Bassam. We will work at the girl's orphanage and the nearby Modeste village C&MA Church. It is a Bamabara language church.

The three top choices we've found for housing are Koral Beach Hotel, the Marvin Hotel Villas and the Assoyam Hotel. It is hard to find a place we can afford in Grand Bassam. It is a popular place, where people in Abidjan go to get away from the city.

Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom as we make the final arrangements in the next few days.

Please make a generous tax-deductible gift toward the team's support. Contact us for more information.

-Mike

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