Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Team

Pictured above:
-Reeves Family: David, Becky, Hannah, Elijah, Gabriel, Caleb
-Kennell Family: Mark, Nicole, Maddie, Michal
-Hangen Family: Matt, Grace
-Emerson Family: Brett, April, Caden, Corban
-Miller Family: Matt, Andrea, Abby, Aidan, Asher, AnnaMarie
-Teachers: Bennett, Daniel, Bekah

Not pictured:
-Stoff Family: Andrew, Julia (Albertville, France)
-Head Family: Ryan, Melissa (Memphis, TN)
-Richardson Family: Ryan, Beth, Katie, Jonah, Aaron (Memphis, TN)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ever Wonder What Life is Really Like Here?

We've always found it to be very hard to describe our lives and work here among the Kabiye to our loved ones back home in a way that they can truly understand. I think that an outsider's perspective is necessary for this job, and my father, Darrel Emerson, is currently undertaking the task. After their visit to Togo last November, my dad returned home and began blogging about his experiences. For an insightful, honest and enlightening series of posts about our lives here, visit his blog at

Thanks for sharing your experiences dad!


This is Prosper. You might remember him from a previous post. He comes to our house every week or two, sometimes just to greet us, sometimes to bring us tomatoes or carrots, and often times he is coming to ask for money. We usually help him out with a small percentage of what he is asking for, which is mainly related to his health because of his age (he is 69, which is VERY old for a Kabiye person). He always thanks me and says, "God bless you", but it's his face right after I hand him a lot less than he asked for that rubs me the wrong way. His face says, "That's it? Are you kidding me?!" just moments before his mouth says "Thank you".

To be honest, my pride despises his reaction. Words like "ungrateful" and "manipulative" often run through my head after interacting with Prosper, but most times my compassion wins over and I receive him again the next time he visits. So my question is (and has always been as I struggle through benevolent giving in this foreign culture), "Where does God given discernment fit into this process?"

April and I could not possibly help every person that comes to our door or stops us on the street. We want to help as many people as we can, but we also don't want to create a group of people who are semi-dependent on our family. We're not going to be here forever. We want to find compassionate ways to help, but also creative ways. Righteous ways, but sustainable ways. Christ like ways, but discerning ways. You get the picture.

If you were reading this post and hoping for an answer to the problem, then I am sorry to disappoint you. It's more of a thought process post, something to spur myself and others on to holy thinking about poverty, our reaction to it, and the discernment that God promises us through the indwelling of His Spirit. Thoughts, comments and advice are definitely welcome!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009 Together for Togo Conference

Bi-annual Together for Togo Conference to be held April 3-5 at the Grace Pointe Church of Christ in Montgomery, AL

After much planning and prayer, we are pleased to offer you the chance to register for the Together for Togo conference. Held every two years and hosted by one of our sponsoring churches on a rotating basis, the conference is a weekend full of worship, fellowship, learning, caring and sharing about God's great work in Togo, West Africa. This year's conference features several speakers and teachers with strong, deep-rooted connections to Togo.

Bryan & Tracey Ries were members of the Kabiye Team serving in Kara, Togo from August 2000 to May 2008. During their eight years in the field, they poured their heart and soul into loving and serving the Kabiye people. Bryan and Tracey currently reside in Franklin, TN with their three boys.

Frank & Jenna Bunner were original members of the Watchi Team in southern Togo where they served for 10 years. Frank is currently a campus minister at Austin Peay University where he actively encourages young people to have an interest in missions.

Tom Moore has been couseling mission teams in Togo for over 10 years. His understanding of what it takes to live and work in Togo has been a blessing to both missionaries and their sponsoring churches. His goal is to help missionaries live healthy and fulfilling work, team, and personal lives. Tom has a private counseling practice in Shreveport, LA.

Stephen & Jennifer Presley have been members of the missions committee at the Homewood Church of Christ for 10 years. During this time they have also served as the contact family for Matt and Andrea Miller, members of the Kabiye Team. Stephen and Jennifer have blessed the Millers and the team by doing an exceptional job caring for them and by making two trips to Togo to visit and encourage the missionaries.

Brett & April Emerson have been living and working in Kara for two years as members of the Kabiye Team. Their first trip to Togo was in 2003 as college interns, and they joined the team shortly thereafter. Brett and April are sponsored by the Grace Pointe Church of Christ, the host church for this years Together For Togo conference.

The cost for the conference is $65 per adult and $10 per child, and payment should be remitted in advance of the conference. We realize that these are tough economic times, but we also feel strongly that anyone with an interest in or connection to missions in Togo will be greatly blessed by attending. However, we don't feel that monetary concerns should stop anyone from being a part of the conference, so there will be scholarships available on a limited basis. Please reply to if you may be in need of financial assistance to attend the conference. We would also like to note that free housing will be provided for all out of town attendees. A big thank you to the members of the Grace Pointe and Vaughn Park churches for graciously offering their homes for the conference weekend.

Please visit today to register for the conference. We would also like to ask that you be in prayer for the success of the conference and that God would be glorified as we gather to celebrate the advancement of His kindgom in the tiny country of Togo. God bless you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Twins

Back in July, we introduced our supporters to these two little twins. Elise and Eli.

A few days ago, Assiki and his wife came to visit with the twins.

I could have played all day with these two little cute!

They are now around 8 months old and doing great. Thank you for praying for them and their family. Please continue to pray for these little ones as they grow and learn.