Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bonjour,

We finished yesterday’s school lesson first thing this morning.  We had planned to go to the ocean with the Luthers.  They called and said that they weren’t going to go since it was raining.  So, we did today’s lesson too.  The boys were not too thrilled.  Joe told them that the faster they finish, the more time they will have to go do things this summer.  We have eight lessons left.
Joe spent the day at the mechanic again.  The front axle was leaking oil again.  They supposedly fixed that last week.  So, he went to a different mechanic today.  He found a guy that is an official Toyota dealer with new parts in stock.  In fixing that, they found some other things that need to be fixed soon.  
After school, the kids went to play with the Luther kids.  It had stopped raining by that time.  After lunch, we attempted to take naps.  Danny accidentally fell asleep while watching a movie.  The other two never did go to sleep.  I rested for a little while.  Gilbert came running in and said, “Mom, come quick.  There is something very bad.”  The screen door was partially open.  Straw, the kitten, had somehow climbed up to the top of the screen door and was stuck up there.  I got a chair and got her down.  Straw played with the kids whenever they were outside; the rest of the day, she napped on the rug right in front of the front door.
The kids all got little dry erase boards in our package yesterday.  Bonnie goes into panic mode when she can’t find hers.  I found the board but couldn’t find her marker.  I got a different marker to solve that problem.  She was playing with the end of the marker.  I told her not to do that because she would ruin the marker.  She said, “Mom, we can’t do that to the marker; it will go up to heaven.”
After supper, Bonnie said, “Mom, I need to call grandma.”  She brought me the phone and was trying to dial it.
Now, Bonnie is bringing people desserts made out of blocks.  Joe ordered a banana split and had to explain what that was.  Bonnie said, “Here’s your banana split, Dad.  It’s very special.”  
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bonjour,

Joe went into town this morning to get hot dogs and paper plates for our Memorial Day Lunch.  
We started a school lesson but didn’t finish it.  I still had some things to do to get ready for lunch.  I made buns and baked beans.  We carried everything outside including the table and chairs and ate out there.  We barbecued hot dogs.  The Luthers, April, and Becky came.  We had a good time.  After we finished with the hot dogs, I broke out the giant marshmallows that Nana sent.  The kids had fun with those.  Then, we had cake.  I made a strawberry jello cake.  I had the jello from the States and found everything else here.  The ladies helped me clean up after lunch.
Danny, Bonnie, and I took a nap.  We were worn out.
Gilbert had an allergic reaction to the cat again this afternoon.  They had the cat out in the yard today during lunch.  I guess we will try bathing her again tomorrow.
We had plenty of leftovers for supper.  We got a package today with all kinds of different popcorn seasonings.  Gilbert chose the butter flavored seasoning for tonight.  Danny gets to choose next time.
We are watching Sergeant York tonight in honor of Memorial Day.  
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bonjour,

At breakfast this morning, we were talking about a name for the kitten.  Gilbert and Danny had decided that they wanted to make the cat a boy so that they could name it Ranger.  We told them that they couldn’t change the cat into a boy when God made it a girl.  Danny had said yesterday when he found out that the cat was a girl that we should name her Strawberry Shortcake.  We are going to call her Straw for short.
We had a good morning at church.  It was like a mini-revival.  Edna, the lady that got saved yesterday, came this morning.  Joe preached a message about salvation and soul winning.  One young man came forward to get the assurance of his salvation.  Two people committed to start going soul winning on Saturdays.  Another man committed to start attending all of the church services.  He came back tonight and said that his wife wants to attend with him; she wasn’t there today because she had a baby yesterday.
Joe had a meeting after church.  Our chicken in the crockpot was about to cook dry, but it was very tender and good.
The kids went to Bible Club after lunch.  They wanted to take the kitten to Bible Club, but we told them that everyone would be playing with Straw and not listening to the story.  Bonnie fell asleep in the grass as usual.  April and the Luthers will be leaving on June 13 to go back to the States.  I told April that I would start doing the Bible Club when she leaves; we are going to move it back to Saturday mornings instead of Sunday afternoons.
Church this evening went well.  Joe preached on the first three fruits of the spirit.  When he was talking about joy, he was asking what five things Christians must do.  I said Bible reading.  Gilbert said, “Mom, I know the next one – praying.”  When Joe asked for the second one, Gilbert yelled it out.  Then, Gilbert wanted to know what the next one was so that he could answer it too.  He ended up giving all of the remaining answers.  He cheered for himself after he gave the fifth answer.  Bonnie said, “You meany, Gilbert.  You didn’t even let me say one word.”  Danny had fallen asleep.
After Joe brought us home, he had to go meet with a couple who is having marital problems.  He got back home about 9:00.  We are having the Luthers, April, and Becky over for lunch for Memorial Day tomorrow.  I made a cake and a potato salad tonight so that we can try to get school in before the company comes.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bonjour,

This morning, Joe went visiting.  He got to lead a young lady to the Lord.  She has visited the church a couple times.  
The sun was shining when I started the laundry.  By the time the load finished, the clouds had moved in.  I put the first load on the line but had to go retrieve it when the rain started.  Joe has tried to call the appliance man to come look at the dryer, but he hasn’t gotten in touch with him yet.
Joe told the kids yesterday that a surprise was coming today.  When we bought cat food at the store yesterday, they knew what the surprise was.  Joe is allergic to cats, but he wants a cat for the porch to cut down on the scorpion population.  A couple mornings ago, there was a two-inch scorpion in the kitchen sink; a gecko was visiting him.  We have killed several scorpions in the house recently.  
The kids were so excited about the kitten.  Gilbert didn’t go up to the Luthers’ house this morning because he was waiting for the kitten to come.  Danny and Bonnie both headed up the trail.  It started sprinkling on their way up.  Bonnie came back home, but Danny went on up.
Joe brought the kitten home when he came home from visiting.  The kids were so excited.  They all took turns holding it.  We had to get food and water for it right away.  They thought that it needed a blanket, but Daddy said it would be okay without one.  After lunch, they asked if they could take their nap out on the porch with the kitten.  Gilbert said, “Dad, there are two nice boxes out there.  Bonnie can have one, and Danny and I will share the other one.”  The answer was No, of course.  After naps, Gilbert’s eyes were swollen and red.  He is allergic to cats too!  We gave him some Benadryl.  Joe said that we would have to give the cat a bath to see if that helps with Gilbert’s allergies.  The next problem was that we could not find the kitten anywhere.  We searched high and low for it.  We even checked inside the house – under the couch, inside the couch, etc., but no kitten!  A couple hours later, the kitten was back inside the box!  We don’t know where she went; I guess she needed to explore.
The kids just went back outside to check on the kitten before they go to bed.  The kitten is awake and in the box; all is well.
This evening, I found a recipe for crockpot barbecued chicken.  I got everything ready for that tonight so that I can put it in the crockpot in the morning.  I am excited about using my crockpot for the first time!  One of my friends in Texas gave it to me while we were in the States last year.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bonjour,

This morning, Joe went over to the Siekberts’ house with Prince and Martin.  Prince is working on getting the Siekberts’ house ready for their mid-June arrival.  
We had school this morning.  We just did one lesson today so that we could get finished a little earlier than usual to go grocery shopping.  Danny had a rough school day.  Gilbert’s class was having “Western Day,” but Danny’s class wasn’t doing anything special.  We made it through.
We went to a new restaurant today.  It is called the Han Chinese Palace.  It was very nicely decorated.  The people who met us at the door bowed.  Their uniforms looked very Chinese.  The tablecloths were quite fancy.  The waiter spread out each person’s napkin.  He tucked the kids’ napkins in their shirts.  Danny was not too impressed; the napkin was itchy.  The poor man who got to keep picking Danny’s napkin up and putting it back in Danny’s lap definitely drew the short straw. They brought us a hot washcloth to wipe our hands before eating. The food was very good.  I think that may be one of the first times that a billboard told the truth about a restaurant in Ghana.
We stopped at Melcoms.  That store sells a little bit of everything.  Joe went across the street to the stationery store to get paper for our printer.  Everyone was asking if the boys were twins.  We had to go upstairs to get a new broom and mop.  Joe found us upstairs.  We headed back down with our purchases.  After paying the cashier, you then have to take all of your purchases and your receipt to another table.  They check off each item on the receipt before bagging it.  The final step is to get your receipt stamped before going out the door.  We got back in the car and went around the market circle to the grocery store.  We did stop along the way to get a mop bucket; at Melcoms, “they were finished.” (In other words, they were all out of them.)  While the kids and I did the grocery shopping, Joe went to try to get phone minutes.  He came back empty handed.  We had to go back to the main phone office after the grocery shopping.  
When we got home, the kids went to play with the Luthers.  It was already 4:00; so, it was too late for naps.  Danny fell asleep on the way home, but the other two were still going strong.
At supper time, Gilbert was having a hard time.  He prayed, and he kept saying the same phrases over again.  Then, he said, “I don’t have a fork,” and his fork was in his hand.  He must have been too tired.
Bonnie was asleep seconds after her head hit the pillow.  The boys followed shortly thereafter.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

May Prayer Letter

Greetings from the West African nation of Ghana!  This letter is exciting to me because we get to let you know what God has been doing to direct us for this term on the field!

As you well know, the Ivory Coast has experienced an escalation in the Civil War, and in mid-January, we felt the need to leave Ivory Coast for safety reasons.  We drove to Takoradi, Ghana, where we had taken refuge in 2006-2007, and had worked with some missionaries there.  When we got to Takoradi, we found out that one of the missionaries with whom we had worked had left the field due to poor health.  The church that he started was being pastored by a national.  Two weeks after we got here, the national pastor fell into sin.  The church was not ready for this, and there was no one else to lead the church.  The church is in a good location and has a very nice auditorium and a Sunday school building, but the people are still spiritual babies.  Some of these people are people that I led to the Lord when we were here the first time, and I could not just stand by and see this church fall.

We had considered several different options.  Just after we arrived in Ghana, the head went out on our vehicle.  Our vehicle was down for ten weeks.  It seemed that any time we tried to go anywhere else, the car would break down.  After we made the decision to stay here in Takoradi, one of our supporting churches sent the funds needed to buy a new head for our vehicle, and our car was up and running that week.  I was reminded of the story in the Bible of Balaam and his donkey.  So, that is what I call my car now – Balaam’s donkey! (We would like to especially thank the people of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Fort McMurray, Alberta, for the special offering that they sent to meet this need.)

I am now the missionary pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Takoradi, Ghana.  We have committed to staying here until a national can be trained to be the pastor and the church can continue to grow on its own.  We have some changes that need to be made; but by the grace of God, we are going to do what we can here to see a lighthouse of the Gospel planted here in Takoradi.

Our hearts, however, still remain in Ivory Coast.  I have been able to witness to many Ivorian refugees here in Ghana.  I took a trip to Ivory Coast last week to renew our car paperwork.  I was able to bring back some of our stuff with me.  Laura and the kids were excited to see things that they had not seen in a few months.  The kids had brand new bikes that had arrived in our pallet just before we had to leave Ivory Coast.  They have been riding them every day.

Please continue to pray for the people of Ivory Coast.  The prisons and jails have all been burned and are unusable.  The police are the only ones without guns.  People are trying to return to business as usual, but there are still some hurdles to overcome.  In spite of these hurdles, the churches in Abidjan still are doing their best to reach the lost with the Gospel.

We appreciate your faithful prayers and support.  We were reminded again just last night that so many people are praying for us.  On our way to church, there was a man lying in the road.  He was saying, “Help me, help me!” As we got closer, he was not moving out of the road.  I honked the horn and flashed the lights; it was just beginning to get dark.  He moved out of the road.  Just as he got even with my window, he started swinging a machete.  I gunned the vehicle, and we got away.  There were two other men with him standing in the bushes.  They were attempting to rob us.  We are thankful for your prayers and for the Lord’s protection.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bonjour,

Joe spent the day at the mechanic.  On our trip to Accra, we kept losing water.  Joe found that the water pump was leaking.  He also discovered oil leaking from the front axle.  So, he had them do several different things today.  They replaced the seals on the front and back axles.   They replaced the water pump.  They also discovered a hole in the radiator and fixed that.  He also took the parts that were shipped in only to discover that the brake drums are not the same ones that are on our vehicle.  He got back home just before supper.
This morning, we did two school lessons.  That leaves us with eleven to go.  
When the kids were up at the Luthers’ house one day, the Luther kids were making clothes for their stuffed animals out of scrap material.  Gilbert has been begging me to make some clothes for his little lamb and his little monkey.  We made a shirt for the lamb yesterday.  He wanted a shirt and pants for the monkey.  The pants were a little tricky, but we finally got the monkey’s outfit completed this evening.
The power went off at nap time and was off for a couple hours.  The kids played outside since the power was off.  When the boys got ready to go play with the Luthers, Bonnie said that she didn’t want to go because she was too tired.  She climbed up on the couch next to me and fell asleep.
While supper was in the oven, Danny wanted me to come outside so that he could show me something “awesome.”  He had an obstacle course set up on the porch for his bike.  He had shoes for speed bumps and even a piece of wood for a little jump.
After supper, we had popcorn and watched a movie.  I worked on the monkey’s shirt.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bonjour,

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom!  Happy African Union Day too!  : )
Joe did not sleep well last night because he kept coughing.  He rested and took it easy today and is feeling a little better this evening.
We did school this morning.  Thirteen more days to go!  Gilbert had an art project.  Danny thought it was the end of the world because he didn’t have any cutting today; so, I found a project for him to do too.
I did a couple loads of laundry this morning.  It was cloudy this afternoon, and then the rain came.  Needless to say, there are clothes draped over everything in the house.  
I forgot to tell about something that happened at the US Embassy.  There was one line where people were applying for a visa to go to the States.  They would say over the loud speaker, “Next applicant to window ten.”  After we had heard them say that a few times, Gilbert said, “Mom, I know who the next African is.”
After naps, we had supper and got ready for church.  We had a scary thing happen on the way to church.  We had just gone up the hill toward the dirt road.  It was just starting to get dark.  There was a man lying in the road with a rag on his head.  He was saying, “Help me, help me!”  As we got closer, he was not moving out of the road.  Joe honked and flashed the lights.  The guy got up.  Just as he got next to Joe’s window, we saw that he had a machete in his hand.  Joe gunned it, and the guy was chasing after the vehicle waving his machete.  There were two other guys hiding in the bush as well.  They were trying to rob us.  We called the Luthers to warn them, and we also called our guard to tell him what had happened.  The kids were all scared on the way home.  They were hoping that the robbers wouldn’t be there.  
Joe preached a good sermon.  His adrenaline was still pumping after almost being robbed.
We made it home safely without any other incidents.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bonjour,

We are back home.  We did not take our computer with us to Accra.  So, I will catch you up on the past couple days.
We had a good morning at church on Sunday.  Brother Arthur taught the Sunday school lesson, and Joe preached in the morning service.  After church, we came home and ate lunch.  Then, we headed to Accra.  Kristine McLaughlin went with us.
This was the first time for this stay in Ghana that we have actually driven to Accra.  We didn’t get stopped by the police at all on the way there.  Danny said that it was because they were sitting back in their seat; the police saw them sitting back and just told us to keep on going.  We found the guest house without a problem.  We walked to Chicken Express for supper.  Then, we walked back to the guest house.  We went to church at the Christiansborg Baptist Church right next to the guest house.  The pastor preached a good message about soul winning.  They were happy to have white people in their service.  That church was started by Baptist Mid Missions missionaries in 1949.
After church, we walked to the Italian ice cream place.  Gilbert said it was the best ice cream ever.  It was very good.  We walked back to the guest house and headed to bed.
On Monday morning, we left the guest house at 7:00 on foot.  We walked to Frankies for breakfast.  From there, we took a taxi to the US Embassy.  It is a new complex in a different location than when we lived here a few years ago.  It is easier to take taxis because they know where things are and which shortcuts to take to get there.  We didn’t have to wait too long,  The whole process from filling out the paperwork to swearing that Danny is our son only took about thirty minutes.  From there, we headed to Accra Mall.  Gilbert had some birthday money that he had been saving to spend in Accra.  I gave all three of the kids some allowance money too.  They had fun looking around and spending their money.  There is a nice play area with slides, a trampoline, little cars that go around a track, and all kinds of things.  Joe paid for the kids to play for thirty minutes.  He ordered lunch, and Kristine and I went into a couple of the “breakable” shops.  We met back at the food court.  Bonnie was crying inside the play area and wanted out.  The boys still had four minutes left to play, and they stayed as long as they could.  They both left the play area with long faces.  We ate pizza for lunch.  Then, we took a taxi back to the guest house.  We rested for a while.  Joe has a sore throat and isn’t feeling very well; we got him some medicine while we were out.  After naps, Kristine walked to the grocery store with me and the kids.  We got some drinks and some things for breakfast.  We had leftover pizza for supper.
After supper, Joe got the kids watching a movie upstairs.  The guest house has some old VHS tapes.  Kristine and I ventured out to the ice cream place once again.  It’s only a few minute walk from the guest house, and it is well worth the walk!  When we got back, we watched the rest of the movie with the kids.  Then, we went back to our apartment.  Joe went on to bed because he wasn’t feeling well.  The kids played with their new toys while I read a book that was there at the guest house.  
This morning, I got up at 5:00. I woke the kids up about 5:20.  We had some breakfast.  Then, we packed up the car and headed out.  Kristine stayed because she is going to go visit a missionary friend in Togo for a couple weeks.  
We definitely saw some interesting sights.  Things have interesting names here.  We passed a little shop called Texas City.  Then, we passed a sign for Six Flags.  Don’t get your hopes up; it was a store that sold plumbing parts.  They have vans here that are used for public transportation; they call them “tro-tros.”  Most of the tro-tros have some type of saying on their back window.  One said, “Pray for Life.”  Joe said he didn’t think he would want to ride in that one.  Another one said, “Pick up the pieces;” that sounded dangerous too!!  
The Wideners live in Cape Coast.  They leave on Thursday to go back to the States for furlough.  We called to see if would it be okay to stop by to tell them goodbye.  We got there a little before 9:00 and visited with them for a little while.  While we were there, I saw a Dr. Pepper can on the table.  I asked where they found Dr. Pepper.  We hadn’t seen it anywhere in Ghana this time around.  He said that he had gotten in Takoradi yesterday at Garden Mart.  That is the store where we do most of our grocery shopping.  When we got back to Takoradi, we made a stop at Garden Mart to get some Dr. Pepper.  Then, we picked up some chicken and rice to take home for lunch.  
We didn’t get stopped by the police on the way home either.  Danny is just sure that it was because they sat back in their seats.
The kids had all slept some in the car; none of them took a nap.  We will be going to bed early tonight!
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie
  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bonjour,

Joe went visiting this morning.  They had some good visits.
The kids and I got some things done around the house.  I worked on laundry.  It looked like rain, but I got two loads almost dry before the rain came.
We have to go to Accra to get Danny’s passport renewed.  I worked on his photo history page today to show that we have had him all along.  He was only two weeks old in his first passport photo.
We got naps in this afternoon.  The boys went up to play with the Luthers.  Bonnie took a long nap.  She just played around the house when she woke up.  I got all of the laundry folded and put away.
After supper, the kids talked Daddy into building some things with their new blocks.  He discovered that we are already missing pieces.  I’m sure they will turn up eventually.  I found some tucked away inside of Bonnie’s little oven.  She assured me that there weren’t any blocks inside, but there were.
The US Embassy only accepts passport applications in the mornings from 8:00 to 12:00.  So, we are going to leave tomorrow afternoon and spend the night in Accra.  Kristine is going to go with us.  She is going to meet a missionary friend in Accra and go back to Togo with her for a couple weeks.  It will take a couple weeks to get the passport back.  When we get it back, we have to get Danny a visa so that we can cross the border into Ivory Coast before June 15.  That is when our visa extension expires.  Then, we will have to get Danny a new visa for Ghana.  We all got a one-year-multi-entry visa for Ghana except Danny because his passport would expire before the year ran out.  Paperwork is a hassle!
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie