Friday, July 18, 2008

Driving in Abidjan

John driving, Sue on right and Stephen in back seat

From the look of Sue's grip on the dashboard, you might think they are heading for a head on collision. However, John and the oncoming taxi are just waiting to make a left turn. Stephen seized the moment and took this photo.


Read more bloggeries about Abidjan, John, Stephen, and Sue at the following labels:

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Modeste church photos

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John teaching English

Three orphan girls learning English numbers by playing UNO with John

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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

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.


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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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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Building benches at Modeste

David Bebee and John Farho

We just noticed that we don't have any photos here at the blog about the building of the 28 benches. Our goal was 30, but we ran out of wood. One of our boards split down the middle since we bought it. The guys did a great job. The benches came out beautiful.


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Monday, June 9, 2008

John's departure to USA

Abou and John
John said goodbye to Abou. He flies out tonight at 10 PM on Air France Flight AF0703. He arrives in France in the morning and then makes his Delta Flight DL0029 connection to Atlanta. He should arrive at Omaha Eppley Airfield on Delta Flight DL4604 at 4:52 PM.


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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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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.


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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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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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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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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.


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Monday, May 19, 2008

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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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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