W’apɔw mu ɛ?
We finally got a guard for church time. We have been having a lot of trouble finding a guard. It is frustrating to have to have a guard, but I guess that is just the way things are here.
We had a great morning at church. Lo had fewer kids this morning than usual, but the few she had were exhibiting signs of the full-moon wiggles. They were all extra hyper this morning. We had a whole group of kids come in late, and they all had a bag of popcorn. They came in, and they must have thought they were going to the picture show. I rained on their parade and confiscated all of the popcorn. Several people showed up for church today at 11:00. I usually finish around 11:15. When they showed up late like that, I did not want them to miss the sermon; so I started over. We finished around 11:40.
We had some good Sloppy Joes for lunch. During lunch, we were discussing the case of the shrew. We have been plagued with a shrew invasion. (Wait…While I was typing this, I had to go kill a shrew that got caught in the trap I bought yesterday. I am back now.) The trap went off last night, but when I reset it this morning, all that was in it was a shrew hand.
That “hand” sparked an interesting conversation during lunch. Gilbert asked which animals have arms. Do chickens have arms? I would not consider a wing to be an arm. Do tigers have arms? I think they are considered to be four-legged creatures. Kangaroos? Squirrels? Does anyone know what constitutes an arm? When is a leg an arm? Anyway, the conversation went on and on!
While everyone was sleeping this afternoon, I went visiting. I had a good time and got in some good Fante practice. I can’t say that I am fluent, but I can tell you the name of a chicken. People today were just laughing when they could point to an object, and in Fante they would ask me what that object was called. When I could answer them, they would all burst out laughing and clapping. One man told me that I made 100% on my exam – there is a first time for everything!! By the time I finished my visits, I had quite the group of kids following me around.
I came back to the house and got the Lo and the kids, and then we went to church. We have been doing a Bible Reading program in which we read about a chapter a week. There are questions and answers, and we memorize one verse a week. That seems to be working! We have about 15 people each week who are reading all of the verses and answering all of the questions. We are also trying to memorize the verse in both Fante and English. Everyone likes to hear me read the verse in Fante. They all laugh and say, “Pastor, you have tried!” I know when I read it, it sounds like a K-4 student reading English, but you have to start somewhere. Many people quit when someone laughs at you, but it is hard to laugh at someone who is laughing with you.
I never want this e-mail to sound like a big complaint! I read some things that some missionaries put out and feel like I need to take some anti-depressants afterwards. I am going to tell you something, but I am not complaining. I am just wondering how God is going to work all of this out. I can tell you this, He has always worked these problems out, and I have developed confidence that he will work this little problem out as well. Over the last two years, we have lost about $1000 in monthly support. Some churches have closed. Some churches have written us and told us that they are going to refocus their missions money to home missions. Some churches are in areas that have been hit hard by this economy and have had to half our support. Whatever the reason, we are having some problems. I know that God wants us here! I am not telling you this so that you will feel sorry for us. I am telling you this so that you will pray that God will work a miracle. I have some plans and some ideas, but those will not fix our immediate problems. This problem has been brewing for the last few months, and I did not want to tell anyone. I was just hoping that it was a problem with the holidays holding our support up in the mail. Well, I guess the problem is more serious than that! We serve a big God, and I have a great prayer team.
When we were explaining to the kids about cutting back in some areas, we said that we hadn’t missed a meal yet. Danny said, “Well, one time I did; I fell asleep before supper!”
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie