Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Happenings

Sophia and Daddy with the first of a several 'gifts' we've been given in our travels. Call it a meal on wheels--Sophia hasn't really made the connection but thinks it's funny when the chicken gets to ride in the car with us. For daddy it's brought back memories of long road trips with his father, the venerable pastor. Sharing the back of the car with a virtual menagarie of 'gifts' that clucked and baa'd at every bump. The stories still make me giggle but the generosity of the people who share so much when they have so little isn't lost on me.
Christmas Eve, Sophia & Kaga make popcorn! In the family courtyard. Even in Africa we got colds and both Nate's parents were cut down with the flu over Christmas. Due to a dry year there's been alot of dust in the air so it's taken awhile for all of us to adjust to the weather. Feeling better and appreicate your prayers!
Santa even comes to Chad! Sophia was so surprised to see a package of M&M's and a little car that lights up--opens it's doors and sings a strange little Arabic song. She loved it! So have the little kids around here!
Our family stopping at Nate's mother's village of Gore (pronounced Goh-re) outside Doba Christmas day with Kaga Tele--She used to care for Nate & his older brother when they were babies. A priviledge to see her. We came back several times and enjoyed every trip. Almost like stepping back in time to see how this industrious lady lives off the land. Shelling huge bushels of peanuts, chickens, drying sorgum, baobob fruit and anything else edible.
Kaga Tele's kitchen!
Traveled down to Doba Christmas day and visited Nate's best friend from childhood and his new bride. Armand & Prudence. What an amazing experience! Traveling towards the oil fields you can see a civilization changing (for better and worse) villages with street lights and cans of diet pepsi! Armand gave us an incredible view of the changing landscape here since he's an agricultural consultant. Also got to visit an evangelistic crusade being lead by local pastors on Christmas day (We dropped Nate's father off for the service) The evangelical crusade started over the holiday with people then setting out on foot in groups to the nearby villages for door to door witnessing. As the child of missonaries this was an incredible Christmas gift to witness. So was visiting a local church of 650 and hearing Nate's father preach.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grandma & her twin sister. I'm covering my head b/c we're about to pray. When we first got here in the early hours of the morning. I'd thought I'd lost my make-up bag. It was crazy how much it through me for a loop. Granted I was running on only a few hours sleep-but it was like someone was asking me to go naked. Now, it seems even funnier when I see how badly it didn't matter. The funny part was Nate's reaction--I was trying to be brave but he was very empathetic--almost too empathetic. Helped me let go a little. Letting go of self and letting God in. It's been very cathartic!

Paris and Chad Pictures

Wow see the family resemblence? She's not worried-just copying Great Grandma (Kaga) My mother-in-law's mother. She is getting very good at reading people and copying what they do. Lotz of handshaking etc. . .
This moment made my year and definately my trip. Kaga is was unsure if she'd ever see us again and told us that if she didn't see her again until heaven it would be okay.

Of course Nate would slip this 'important' picture in with all of our family pictures. I've learned to let him gawk whenever we're at the airport. Every vactation it seems like we come home with more pictures of airplanes than of people!! Hazard of the road I guess!

Sophia at the Louvre. It was closed so we spent the day at the Musee D'Orsay. A good way to stay out of the cold and I got to wander with Monet's, Degas',Mucha's, Manet's it was a wonderful Christmas present from my family to see these all with my own eyes. After this we wandered up the Champs Elyses Christmas Market, drinking hot chocolate and hot wine!

Merry Christmas from Great Greatpa & Great Grandma! A trip to the Eiffel Tower and one or two around the carosel across the bridge. Then bowls of hot Onion Soup at another outdoor Parisian Christmas Market. Very pretty, very cold, but very pretty!

Anyone remeber this scene from the new Sabrina? Taking pictures with a scarf!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We've Arrived!!!

The Chadian people have a beautiful custom that I've grown to cherish. Upon entering a crowd or a room every individual takes a moment to shake hands with EVERYONE. Women, children-you name it-everyone gets greeted. As a foreigner in far away place this little action gives me so much hope and dignity every time. No matter how much of a barrier of language or culture divide this welcoming gesture has become a humanizing bridge making me feel at home over and over again multiple times a day. It's also a wonderful metaphor for the warm, friendly people we've encoutered at every stage of our journey.
We arrived in N'djamena,Chad about 2 am Friday morning. The late night trip was softened by the fact that we got to fly in first class! But sitting next to a Norwegian UN Nurse in full battle fatigues and blue barret brought a little reality into our picture. N'djamena is a stepping off point for Darfur and so there is a considerable UN presence here. Think of the movie Sahara without the explosions and the treasure and you'll get a picture of our surroundings.

On Sunday we headed South about 7 hours by car to the family home in the south. It's a bit cooler but the mosquitos are out in force. It's also a little less heated politicaly so it's a little more relaxed.

We got a chance to see Nate's grandparents yesterday. Very touching. I'm really honored to be among these beautiful people, they are gracious, kind and full of joy. Even among dust and poverty there is a beautiful sense of life here. The smiles and laughter will always stay with me.

I've never been to Chad but Africa as a whole hasn't changed much for me-except that everyone has a cell phone and you can buy bottle water on the street corner!

I can tell that the prayers of all of you are lifting us up b/c of the peace that is overwhelming us even when the little inconveniences take their toll. It's also been powerful to have my time in Africa as a child come back and serve as a foundation here. I'm very thankful for that and the fact that we can experiece all of this together.

Sophia is doing well she made quick friends in Ndjemena with her cousins--the language difference didn't mean anything to her and they little cousins cried when we headed south.

Down here it's a little tougher, the children are a little more timid but we're using baloons and treats to help her bridge the gap. Her bravery is extraordinary and I can learn alot from her warm heart in the face of so much unknown. I'm thankful that she developed a taste for rice and sauce since she's been eating like a champ! She's even picking up a couple words in French. She asks about Shueyvill at night and wants to know if Nana & Papa went on a trip too? Thank you for your continued prayers over her transistion.

Lastly, I'm so thankful for my amazing husband, his people and the Godly legacy he comes from. What an amazing adventure we're having and I'm so proud to come home with him. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (Did I mention it gets up to 90 here and down to 68 at night?)
We love you all and are so thankful for your continued prayers!


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