Monthly Archives: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ?

Joe took the kids to school and then picked up the Fante teacher. Today, we learned how to say things for church, such as: “Stand and pray for us.” “Open your Bibles to…” “Change your character.” (I need that one for junior church!) “All of the children go outside.” We also went over our memory verse for the week. He is planning to call us both on Saturday while he is on the air on the radio.

I did some office work after our Fante lesson. Joe took the Fante teacher back. He also went to the cold store to get frozen meat. He had to wait a while because they had not received the meat from the warehouse yet.

On the way home from school, Joe stopped at the church to have a welder remove our church sign that was out by the road. They are widening the road, and we did not want the sign to get bulldozed.

Bonnie said that she was in trouble today for removing her shoes. It’s always something with that girl!

The kids went down to play with the Nixon boys before supper. They were playing Cowboys and Indians. Bonnie wanted to make sure that we knew that there was one cowgirl and two cowboys. Gilbert and Mikim were the Indians. Gilbert said that he got tied up to a pole, poor Indian!

After supper, the boys were boxing. Gilbert has a black eye as a result.

Pray for Joe.  He will be flying to Accra tomorrow morning and flying back in the evening, if all goes as planned.  He has to go pick up new passports for me and Bonnie.  He was able to get a plane ticket for about $75 round trip; he can’t drive there and back that cheap!  It is only about a forty minute flight; that beats eight hours of driving any day!  (It takes about four hours to get there and four hours to get back.)

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Well, I had an e-mail all typed last night. The internet was acting up, and somehow the e-mail was deleted. So, I’ll try it again.

The road that Joe usually takes to school is finally under construction. It is actually part of the West African International Highway. At one time, it was paved, but it is mostly just a dirt road now, and a very bumpy one at that. On Tuesday, they started working on the road. They are bulldozing things along the side of the road to widen the road. Only one lane of the road is open for traffic right now; so, Joe had to take an alternate route to school. It takes longer, but we won’t complain about leaving five minutes earlier if they are fixing the road!!

Joe brought the Fante teacher back to the house. We worked on more conversations – passing food, needing or wanting something, etc.

A US organization contacted Teacher Adoko. They have a program in which they bring college-aged foreign exchange students to learn Ghanaian culture. They asked Teacher Adoko to find housing for them. They also want him to teach them Fante when they come. The first students will be coming in April. Teacher Adoko wants me to compile everything that he has taught us into book format. We also found a book of 66 Fante lessons with various conversations which he would like to have typed up as well. So, I have a new project.

Joe took Teacher Adoko to check on housing. They gave him a list of certain requirements that the students would need (electricity, running water, indoor toilet and shower, meals provided, etc.). They were wanting them to stay with Ghanaian families, but we don’t’ know of anyone who has accommodations for extra people in their house. Teacher Adoko knew of a school that sometimes houses foreign students. They talked to them and got permission for the students to stay there. The place where they were was close to the school which our children attend. Joe took Teacher Adoko to the school. They were taken into Danny’s class. Teacher Adoko greeted Danny in Fante. Danny knew the response in Fante and wanted to respond, but he did not want to get in trouble for speaking Fante at school. So, he just smiled and shook Teacher Adoko’s hand.

The Fante teacher has been teaching us different greetings. A few weeks ago, we had learned “Good Morning!” which is “Mema wo akye!” He just told us this week that when you say that, they expect you to add something to the greeting. He said if you add the extra words, they will know you are really learning Fante. The words that are added on are passed down from father to children. Since we are not Ghanaian, he told Joe to choose a word from the list of words – for example, brave or bold; royalty; master drummers; perfection, etc. So, Joe chose the “brave and bold.” (That is also the teacher’s word that was passed down from his father.) Because I am the wife, I have to choose a different word; the teacher told me I should choose “royalty” because that one was a good one for white people. Joe tried it out at the post office yesterday. He said, “Mema wa akye! Wɔgye me abraw.” (Good morning, I am brave.) They respond, “Yaa abraw,” meaning they agree with you. When he added the “Wɔgye me abraw.”, the lady at the post office said in Fante, “That is beautiful!!” : )

We had a good time at church tonight with thirteen in attendance. Harriett, a lady in the church who is expecting her first child, had some questions for me after church. She is convinced that she is having twin boys, even though the ultrasound only showed one baby. She said that the technician must have made a mistake. : )

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Joe’s Podcast Episode #008

This week we have some great questions!

The first one is from Samuel Little of Central Baptist Church in Center, Texas, and he asks about the culture in Ghana.
sojourners4 Joes Podcast Episode #008

The second question is from Millie of Central Baptist Church in Center, Texas, and she asks what the Ghanaian kids do in school.
6cae21e2 Joes Podcast Episode #008

The last question is from Nathan of Central Baptist Church, and he asks about the money in Ghana.
P1030885 zps39d61165 Joes Podcast Episode #008

If you would like to ask a question for the show, just dial (936) 553-5234 and leave a voice mail, or you can record a voice memo on your smart phone and e-mail the memo to me at consford@gmail.com. If you can not record a question for some reason and you would rather just type your question, that is fine. I will read your question and make it part of the show.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Joe took the kids to school and then picked up the Fante teacher. We continued working on various conversations today. Sometimes what I have written on my paper and what the teacher says seem like two completely different things. We will get it eventually. It will just take lots of practice.

I rode with Joe to take the Fante teacher back so that we could do some grocery shopping. We stopped at the bank first. The ATM did not work properly. Joe spent about an hour inside the bank getting that straightened out. I started out sitting in the car but ended up going inside to see what the problem was. We got some groceries and then headed back home. Then, Joe went to get the kids from school.

Bonnie was pleased to report that she did not have to go to the office and she said all of her blends correctly. No one had homework today.

Joe grilled hamburgers for supper. All of the kids like to help Joe when he is grilling. Bonnie said, “Dad, I’ll be your servant, okay?”

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Monday, January 28, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Joe took the kids to school. Then, he worked on his podcast.

I taught Janet’s reading lesson. Then, I worked on laundry and various other things.

The kids had a good day at school. Bonnie’s “front teacher” was back today; he got married this past weekend.

Bonnie said that her teacher told her that every time she wrote a letter on her homework page that she should try to say a blend with it. She was coming up with some great blends this evening. She said, “Mom, he didn’t tell the black children to do that, just me.” I don’t think that is a good thing, but I didn’t tell her that. Instead, we worked on some blends after she finished her homework.

Gilbert remembered his homework today. He always thinks he is finished until I start looking at his books to make sure that he did everything and find things that he hasn’t done yet.

L.F., our afternoon guard, asked if he could watch the soccer match between Ghana and Niger this afternoon. Danny and Gilbert would go in there when they heard L.F. cheering; then, they would go back to doing something else. We could hear the whole neighborhood cheering. Ghana won their match and will now move on to the quarter finals. We don’t follow soccer too much.

Joe made corndogs for supper. He deep fried them on the burner by the grill. I made some chocolate chip cookies. Danny and Bonnie came to help after I was mostly done. They really wanted to sample a chocolate chip!

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Sunday, January 27, 2013

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!”

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Saturday, January 26, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Joe and Stephen went visiting this morning. They had some good visits. They knocked on over 100 doors. Then, they went in search of mouse traps to catch our shrew.

The kids and I got some things done around the house. Then, the kids went outside to play in the pool with the hose. A few minutes later, they came running back inside yelling, “Snake! Snake!” That is not what I want to hear when Joe is not around!! I went running out there. We could not find the machete. So, Gilbert got the shovel instead. The snake was in the pool. It was about a foot long. I pinned it down with the shovel and held it there until it was dead. Then, we scooped it up with the shovel and left it for Daddy to see. When we showed it to Joe, he wanted to see what the dog would do. So, he flung it toward the dog. Max backed up right away; his instincts had kicked in. He was even standing in front of Bonnie while backing up to let her know that there was danger; he stayed right in front of her. Gilbert told him, “Good dog, Max!” and gave him a big hug.

A little while later, Danny came in with his side all scraped up. He said that Gilbert’s lasso was stuck in the tree, and Gilbert asked Danny to get it down. So, Danny pulled a little table over underneath the tree. Then, he got a stool from inside and put it on top of the table. From there, he climbed up in the tree. He said, “I asked Gilbert, ‘Well, how do I get down, now?’” When he was trying to get back to the stool, he scraped his side beginning at the armpit underneath his outstretched arm down to his waist. His armpit got the worst of it. Later, he asked if he could just take his shirt off because the shirt was making his armpit sweat and that was hurting.

When it came time to do homework, Gilbert discovered that he left his homework at school. He was just devastated. He is just sure that he is going to be in big trouble. He had me call Daddy to see if he would go to the school to get it, but no one would be up there today anyway.

After all of that, they went down to play with the Nixon boys. They thought of a great game – almond wars! They were throwing almonds at each other. Danny has a big bump above one eye. Gilbert had several marks on his face. He explained that it wasn’t from the almonds but from diving into the grass for cover. I do not think that Bonnie approved of their game because she said, “Next time, we need to check about the game before we play something.” In other words, they did not let her be in charge, and she did not approve of their “fun” game!

We went up to the church for kids’ choir. We got the auditorium set up for church. Then, we walked through Ntokroful. We talked to several adults and told them about the children’s choir. (We tried to do it all in Fante; we were able to get our point across, and the people helped us out when we made mistakes.) The only problem was that we did not see hardly any children today. They must have been at a soccer tournament or something. We went back to the church and started with just our three kids in hopes that others might come, but no one else came. We worked on a new song and some Bible verses.

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Friday, January 25, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Joe took the kids to school. He worked in the office most of the day. He updated the website, and the toolbar with all of the buttons to click somehow disappeared. He is disgusted about that; he spent a lot of time getting all of that set up. He worked some more on his book.

Janet came for her reading lesson. I asked Janet how she liked the cake. She said that it was good. Later, she told me that she did not want to share it with anyone. She was only giving small samples. She said that on Saturday when all of the kids in the family are home, she will give them each a small piece, and she is sure that they will all say, “God bless you!” I also asked Janet if she wanted the fish flavored candy today. She said that she wanted it and popped a piece in her mouth right away. I could smell that candy all through the house.

I worked on laundry and got some things done around the house.

The kids had a good day at school. They had a busy week at school this week; they were worn out every day this week when they got home.

I was trying to come up with an idea for supper. Joe thought of chicken alfredo calzones. He grilled chicken on the grill, and I got the dough and sauce ready. The calzones were good! The kids were busy outside. The dog knocked a bunch of dirt out of a planter outside on the porch. Bonnie has been working on sweeping up the dirt and putting it back in the planter. She was yelling at Max first because he kept getting in her way. The boys took Max out in the yard. Then, Daddy started pestering her by rolling a ball where she was trying to sweep. She was not happy with Daddy either. After she had worked on it for a while, she said, “Dad, can I continue tomorrow? I am too tired.”

The other night when we had the big storm, the wind knocked a hawk’s nest out of the tree. It had an egg it. The kids brought the egg inside and wanted to know where they could keep it warm. We told them that we did not have anything to keep it at the right temperature. They are “saving” that egg. I hope I am not around when they drop it!

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Thursday, January 24, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

Joe took the kids to school. On the way to school, the Fante teacher called and said that something had come up and he would not be able to come for class today.

Janet came about 10:30 for her reading lesson. Then, I taught Janet and Stella how to make a cake. (Stella is a young lady in our church who has had some struggles. She comes to the house a couple days a week.) I had made a couple cakes ahead of time yesterday so that we would not have to wait for the ones we were making today to cool before we frosted them. After we finished making cakes, we made icing and then decorated the cakes. We had such a good time. They were helping me with Fante words, and I was keeping everyone laughing. Stella’s birthday was at the beginning of the month; so, we put “Happy Birthday, Stella!” on her cake. Janet wanted to put “Happy Marriage” on her cake since she got married a couple months ago; she was sad that her husband had traveled and would not get to see the cake. I told her that we could do it again when he gets back. I told her that next time I will let her do everything and just watch and help as needed.

Joe and I ate a late lunch after Janet and Stella left. Then, Joe went to get the kids from school.

Bonnie had a new teacher in her class today, Sir Bright; her “front” teacher, Sir Francis, is getting married. I don’t know if he is coming back to teach after the wedding or not. They watch A Beka DVDs. So, the teachers are more like classroom monitors. There is one in the front of the classroom and one in the back. So, she calls them her “front” teacher and her “back” teacher.

I frosted the cakes that Janet and Stella made. The kids were watching, not so much because they were interested in what I was doing but because they wanted to lick the bowls when I finished. The colors that we used to decorate today were green and pink. Today is my niece Autumn’s twelfth birthday. So, we sent her a picture and told her that we were having a cake in her honor.

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

W’apɔw mu ɛ? 

We had quite a storm last night. The power went off about 2:30. There were strong winds followed by rain, thunder, and lightning. The power stayed off for a couple hours. It came back on for a few minutes and then went off again. The storm woke everyone up at some point. Toward the end of the storm, Bonnie came into our room and got in our bed. Joe went around the house and unplugged everything. He said that both boys were awake when he went in there.

When it was time to get up this morning, it was still dark outside due to the storm. Danny thought that it was still the middle of the night, and he wanted to know why people were turning the lights on and waking him up in the middle of the night.

During breakfast, we were talking about the big storm. Danny said that he did not even wake up. Joe said that Danny was sitting up on his bed when Joe went in the room; he must have been sitting in his sleep, or he just didn’t remember waking up.

On the way to school this morning, Joe heard an interesting story from one of the children who rides to school with them. She said, “Did Danny tell you about almost going to the office yesterday?” Danny slumped down in his seat. Joe asked him what happened. He said, “You know those little erasers that come off when you erase something? Well, I had some on my table yesterday from erasing something on my paper. The girl next to me leaned over to get something that she had dropped, and I was dusting off my ‘eraser dust.’ My ‘eraser dust’ went in her ear. The teacher was mad at me, but it was just an accident. I didn’t mean to do it.”

Joe picked up the Fante teacher and brought him back to the house. Today, we worked on “My name is…” and other things that might be involved in a conversation in which you are meeting someone. He told us our Fante names, which are names given according to which day of the week you were born. Joe was born on Tuesday; so, he is Kɔbena. I was born on a Thursday; females born on Thursday have four options – Aba, Yaa, Yaaba, or Abayaa. Bonnie was also born on Thursday; the people at church call her Yaa-baby; so, I went with Aba for me. Gilbert was born on a Friday; so, he is Kofi. Danny was born on a Thursday; there are three choices for males born on Thursday – Yaw, Kwaw, or Kɔw. People call Danny “Yaw.”

Joe did some more work on his book. I worked on Sunday School lessons.

The church service went well tonight.

Nantsew yie!

Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie