Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Family Christmas in Lassa Tchou

This year our family was invited to spend Christmas day with our brothers and sisters in Lassa Tchou. We gladly accepted, and we were joined by our friend and colleague Mike Squires and his roommate Larry. Since we were invited to the party, we of course had to bring gifts. We settled on watermelons and a huge monitor lizard! Watermelon season is almost over here, so we decided to get 5 big, juicy ones to bring to the party. The monitor lizard was more of an impulse buy, but we knew that it was a savored delicacy for the Kabiye, and as you can see from the picture below, it was a very well received gift!
Here is a picture of our friend Boniface preparing the giant lizard, which measured about 4 feet in length. We did not get a chance to taste it ourselves, but we spoke the next day with Jean Marie, who said that is was very, very sweet! Puwe lelen kpem!
We went to share our lives with our friends, and that we did. Caden and Corban love spending time in the villages, and they especially enjoyed this trip with all of the singing, dancing and playing with the village children.
We always feel welcome in Lassa Tchou, and many people that have visited Kabiye land have felt the same way. Caden ran around like a wild man with the children, and Corban managed to get a dance with this young girl :)
Our children are a novelty in the villages we visit, but they really are much more than that. We, as parents, rarely feel more loved then when people love on our children. All parents understand this. This is even true in Kabiye culture, where children are often an afterthought. We believe that God has put a love for children in the hearts of His people, a belief that is confirmed strongly by the interactions Jesus had with the little people he came into contact with. Some things, we have found, are universal, transcending culture, religion, social status and any other barrier that man creates. God has chosen the mouths of infants and children to truly praise Him!
Caden simply could not be corralled for this picture, taken after a tasty meal of rice, pork and tomato sauce. This festival reminded us that we as God's people occasionally need to stop, reflect, and enjoy this life on earth that He has given us. We are thankful for our family in Lassa Tchou, who showed us once again that one of God's great gifts is that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tumladu Kifalu

"Tumladu Kifalu" is the name given by the guys to our newest participant in Saturday communal work days, which basically means, "The New Guy". His real name is Prinam, which means something like "success", and he is showing a lot of good potential for discipleship. Trimming the branches back on the big front yard tree

I've known him here and there from just being around the neighborhood, but the other day he came to my house to ask for help. He had lost two of his school books, and he said that his dad was going to beat him if he found out that they were gone. I'm strongly for being honest with your parents, but I am also strongly against domestic violence against children, something that is widespread in Kabiye families. The books only cost about 8 bucks total, and it was a pretty easy decision for me. Mixing up the compost pit (which is looking dark and rich by the way!)
After asking the other guys on the work team what they thought about him, they all agreed that he should come and work with us to pay off the cost of the books. This Saturday was Prinam's first run with the work team, and he showed himself to be a hard and committed worker. He was quiet and obviously wary of his place in this particular circle of men, but he held his own and even responded to some questions about God that were posed.
Prinam is the shorter of the two yellow shirts, the other is Akla, my adopted son. Please pray for him and our interactions in the weeks to come. May his heart and ours be open to God's leading.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wednesday in Lassa Tchou

Yesterday I went out to the village. It was a mostly normal visit, much like dozens of others I've done previously. What made it just a little bit different, and better, were the many things I learned. Following are some great things happening in Lassa Tchou, according to the people themselves. So often we ask them what is wrong in their village, but this time we asked them what was going right, an insightful question by Monsieur Michel, the Community Development specialist.

- They said that marriage relationships were getting better. They have received teaching in previous months on the subject of marriage, and they have been sharing these things with their neighbors with positive results. Whole families are eating together on a regular basis; men, women & children, a rarity in Kabiye culture, where the men usually eat separate from their families.

- The Kabiye love to laugh. As we were discussing families yesterday, I gave them the old analogy of "The man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and the neck turns the head". They about fell out of their chairs, and two guys had to leave the building to hack up some Harmattan dust.

- The 3 women at the meeting all said that the women/wives of their village are being treated better, often given a voice and respect by their husbands.

- They said that they are doing better disciplining their children. A young father even repeated to me, "My children learn more from what I do than what I say." I had taught this same concept at a Kabiye marriage retreat back in August, and this man was not in attendance at that meeting, which shows me that information is filtering out from core groups.

- They said that here are several large compost pits in their village, implemented after they were taught about composting in a development lesson. I have recently fallen in love with the dark, rich, and all natural fertilizer known as compost, a better long term alternative than chemical fertilizer. I plan to visit again next week to see how these pits are coming.

- They said that they are having Bible studies with their neighbors. This is obviously the most important teaching they have received, the story of love, redemption, sacrifice and everlasting life with God. I thank the Father that his Son is being proclaimed in big ways and small, through avenues both direct and indirect, in the village of Lassa Tchou.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Alibi 1 Introductions - Wiyao & Yawa Nnama

This is the first in a series of posts that will introduce you to the new Body of believers in Alibi 1. Today I want to introduce you to Wiyao Nnama. Wiyao (wee-a-ow) is the Kabiye word for chief, and Nnama means respect or obedience. Wiyao is married to Yawa, and together they have 6 children. He works mainly as a farmer, but when the opportunity arises, he is also trained to work as a mason. Wiyao is a fun, energetic and outgoing man. I enjoy his company, and our personalities mesh well together. Yesterday I spent about 30 minutes talking and getting to know him one on one, and I believe that God will use him for great things. I have seen how his fellow villagers like and respect him, and that will hopefully be a key to open the door for the gospel to be shared within Wiyao's sphere of influence. In the picture below you can see the joy of brotherhood that he shares with his friends.
Wiyao is also quite a dancer. Follow this link to see his great moves: (Wiyao's moves)
Please pray for Wiyao and his family as he leads them on a new journey in life, one that is now taking place within God's Kingdom. I hope that one day you can come and meet him, give him a hug, and let him know that you love him and have been praying for him!