Friday, September 19, 2008

Childhood Memories of Church

I have some vivid memories of what church was like when I was little. I remember how my friends and I would wait completely impatiently for the mandatory Wednesday night pre-Bible class worship time to be over so we could race upstairs to our room... Who finished first on a weekly basis was of the utmost importance in our lives. I remember every Bible class teacher I ever had, from Miss Ruth, to Miss Cindy, to Mr...oh wait, men aren't allowed to teach Bible class to kids until they are in high school :) Before that, it's a woman's role (please acknowledge the bleeding sarcasm in that sentence!).
What will my kids remember about church? I ask myself that most Sundays. Will they have any recollection that they were the only kid with the same color skin as them? Or will they be color blind, as we all should be? Will they remember chasing chickens and goats? Or will they remember being chased by African kids who would give anything just to touch their curly blond hair? Will they remember being passed around from woman to woman, each one taking their once in a very long while turn with the Yovo baby? Or will they remember passing person after person on the road, wondering if they have yet come to know Jesus? Will they remember playing on the wooden logs being used to prop up the falling mud wall of the church building? Or will they remember playing on the jungle gym at our traditional Sunday afternoon lunch spot?Whatever it is that my boys remember, I desperately hope that they remember it well. Our time in Africa will always be a part of who they are, and I want that to only be for the better. I pray for my boys each and every day, that they will be better people for what they have experienced here. Their memories will be different than just about everyone else's, and I trust that God will use their unique upbringing to bring glory to His name...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Light And Momentary Troubles

We have become somewhat accustomed to the trials of living in Togo, often expecting bad things to happen for no good reason. What we have not learned is how to predict the crazy things that happen to our family. What kind of things you ask? Well, let us give you a small glimpse into the "light and momentary troubles" we have experienced these past few weeks. We don't write this to gather sympathy but to remind ourselves to see God's blessings amidst the trials.

First this...
Can you figure it out? That's the dryer on the right of the picture. Here's what happened...We had called our friend Adam (who is an amazing electrician!) to come fix a few small things for us. When he arrived it was raining; when he left it was raining. Not 3 minutes after he left we noticed the microwave was not on. Through some investigating of our own we discovered there were several sockets in the kitchen not working. We attempted to figure out which breakers ran those sockets. As Brett was flipping switches, we heard an odd buzzing sound. Within seconds we were smelling smoke. As we searched for the source, we discovered the smoke in our small laundry room. Thankfully the fire had stopped when we turned the breaker off. The wall around the socket was black and the dryer plug was completely melted into the socket. We quickly called Adam to return! He worked all afternoon to repair our problems (including the non-working sockets in the kitchen), even cleaning the black soot off our wall. Now this is NOT a common practice in Togo. Most workers do their work and leave their mess for someone else to clean up. But Adam, he took the time to not only clean up his mess but also the damage that had occurred before he even arrived. Aside from the cost of a few parts for the job, his labor only cost us $10! This is not the first time Adam has been a blessing to our family.

The other crazy occasion we experienced occurred about 3:30 one morning. Yes, I said morning. The weather has been very comfortable during the rainy season allowing us to sleep with the windows open (sorry Southerners who are experiencing heat during the day and night, but you have A/C anywhere and everywhere!). We were startled awake by the window blowing our curtains parallel to the ceiling. We both bolted out of bed and began rushing around closing windows as we knew the rain was either falling or would be very soon. I (April) began with our room as Brett (I learned later) headed for the playroom. We met at the boys' room. As I walking down the hall to the living room, I watched Brett slip and fall. The following thoughts happened at lightning speed: how could Corban's slobber still be on the floor, oh wait, that's water, oh my goodness, I can see the water in the air, oh no! the rain is flying in the windows! Brett are you OK? Quick, close the windows. It was at that moment we discovered that EVERYTHING was wet...tile floor, rug, couch, toys, computer, wooden chair (that we now know is stained because it was running off the chair onto the floor), pictures, walls, car seats and shoes (that were on the porch). We mopped up what we could, turned on the fans, and went back to bed. What else could we do? Nothing. Everything seems to be back to its original state and has dried out nicely.

We praise God that no one was injured during these two crazy experiences. It has taken me several days to put this post together. During that time Satan attacked our family once again. Brett seemed to catch a virus the guys on the team were passing around and Caden has something that is causing him to have diarrhea. I have never changed so many cloth diapers in one day! This is part of the reason it has taken me several days to write this post. So I ask you to pray for our family. For healing. For protection. For peace. For wisdom to see the blessings amidst the trials.

May we all learn to see the blessings of God during the times of joy and the times of stress.