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!