Heart Beginning's

"My daughter, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." Proverbs 23:26

"The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed and always will fail. God's plan with you is to begin at the seat of all dificulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principleso f righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward." EGW

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bonjour from the girls

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Manure: The New Way to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Date: 12-20-07

So the pigs got into our courtyard a couple nights ago and ate the flowers off my plants and ate the remaining remnants of two green bushedsby my door!!!! That's it. I'm planting a Cactus Garden!!! Take that you nasty pigs!!! So yesterday I went on a Cactus hunt. Now the front of my hut has 5-6 different types of Cactus growing and on the other side the only flowering bush that goats and chickens don't eat. I'm planting tons of those. Today George Veal (an Agriculturist from Loma Linda) helped me transplant a bunch of Banana Trees to make myself a little haven on the side of my hut. We needed Manure so off I went searching my neighbors property for any good looking manure. Boy were the natives getting a kick out of that. Finally I'd run out of places and headed up the path next to my hut. Then our closest neighbor that I haven't met yet came walking out holding a huge nugget asking if I would like more this size. Of course being in the Manure Search mood that I was I got very excited and we went running back to the back area of his hut where there was tons of Manure. Soon there were kids everywhere helping me pick up manure, and digging around in the straw. The dad and I had a great time getting to know each other over this amazing manure discovering. He told me I could come back anytime I want to. I think I will. Now that I've been in his compound once and digging around looking for manure we've broken down any barriers that there ever could have been. I love how God uses silly things like searching for Manure to open up opportunities for ministry.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Inside My Courtyard

Date: 12-16-07

Puffs of dust rose from the path as I walked past huts surrounded by grass and brick walls on my way to the market to buy petrol. An occasional hole and leaning grass mat allowed me to get a glimpse of the happenings inside. It was Friday the day that I was heading back home to my hut after being away for a week and to tell you the truth I was excited. As I past the huts, I heard the pounding of millet somewhere inside, saw the brightly covered clothes hanging up after laundry day, and smelt boulle being cooked over the coals. I realized how fortunate I was I didn't have to wonder what was going on inside that courtyard. I knew and I was part of it just a couple huts down. I was one of them in a way.

So what exactly does go on in my courtyard. Push past the piece of tin that lies on it's side and enter into my courtyard with me...the tin "gate" creaks, cracks, and tries to fold in half as we squeeze through. Guess it's kinda like a doorbell - everybody knows you're home. Dorcus comes running with her baby doll tied to her back, I pick her up and play airplane with her ending with a quick dip in a bucket of water. Everyone is now laughing as Dorcus runs off barefoot to find her friends singing a song from church yesterday. Ruth and Esther are pounding Millet together, lifting high in the air their big pounding sticks. One after the other hits the Millet, a rhythm that shows when you are really a woman. Their shirtless little frames glisten in the sunshine. Howaa sits on the mat with her feet off in the dirt. Besille sits propped up with his little butt in the middle of her feet, a perfect toilet seat and yes it's been successful ;) He's throwing his hands up in the air and attempting to talk Mundung. Berthe is sitting on a small bench next to the fire. She has found a old pair off flipflops and is using them to prop the big boiling pot of Boulle up with her feet as she stirs the thick Boulle inside with a 3 foot long wooden spatula. Three chicks are balancing on an old pot from this morning's breakfast and trying to get the remnants of rice without falling into the black hole. Brennon is drawing up water from the well and carrying it to the garden beginning the evening water process. Washike sits on a log next to the first hut I slept in and is intensely copying page after page of writing from school. I lay down on the mat next to Howaa and look up at the bright blue sky and moving clouds above me. As I gnaw on a piece of sugar cane I know that I'm surrounded by a family that loves me. I'm refreshed by coming here. Life Is Good!!!

I know what the evening will bring; the huge giant 25 ft. by 10 ft. mat appears. We all stretch out on it under the stars. A lantern sits on the edge of the wall illuminating the case that holds the goods my family sells to their neighbors: sugar, salt, tomato paste, onions, garlic, sesame seeds, beignets, petrol, and hibiscus leaf tea. The radio is perched precariously on the grass awning above our heads. It gets its fuzzy reception best up there and even if it's only fuzz we are listening to it's still blared for the whole neighborhood to hear. If a good song does come on someone grabs on the pounding sticks and begins a native dance leaving us all in fits of laughter especially when Dorcus starts singing and trying to imitate what she sees. Anne is playing with my hair, a constant fascination here. A couple have drifted off to sleep, and the chickens have finally entered their little hut for the night. The night becomes quiet in a sense as the neighbors are having their nightly party, drums, yelling "ieieieieieiei", and singing will be heard until somewhere around 11:00. An occasional mangy dog adds it's high pitched howl to the chaos somewhere down the path. Slowly one by one we head off to our huts, a slight breeze blows the bright green curtain in my door way letting a little moonlight stream in as I crawl into my blue cave of mosquito netting. I blow out the lantern and am immersed in a darkness that you'll only find in an African Courtyard...scurry scurry scurry. That would be Mr. Mouse who has decided it's safe to come out. I make sure my mosquito net is tucked in. As long as he doesn't sleep with me I'm Okay.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Overalls, Snow pants, and Dolls at Church

Sonya and I found a pair of overalls and a Black Baby Doll in the back closet and decided to take them to my family. Dorcus embraced the doll with a hug, smile, and wide open arms saying "Bebe" over and over again. We presented the doll face to face with Besille (1 year old) his eyes got wide as he stared at the those eyes lookin back at him and then got the scared I'm gonna cry look. We then presented him with the little overalls. Howaa said he'd wear them to church the next day. I couldn't help remembering last week at church. Besille sat bear butt in the sand and in front of him his siter Esther outfitted in a complete snowsuit with the hood on (What I wanted to know is who sent a snowsuit to Africa?)

This Sabbath found Besille sporting his new blue jean overalls and Dorcus being a very good mommy with the doll half her size strapped to her back.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Video of My Courtyard