Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hello Family and Friends! June 18, 2006

It is Sunday evening here and again time to write to you. It is amazing how quickly the week can pass by. It does not seem like a week since I have written. This has been another wild and crazy week. Through weeks like this one, I am comforted with the thought that eternity will reveal the reasons and purposes for all that has happened.

Our children have continued to work in our field this week. They have cleared the land, burned it and started digging up ground that has not been plowed in several years. They have worked hard and joyfully. We are waiting for one more ground soaking rain and then they will plant. The rains have been slow in coming this year but we are trusting that the Lord will give us a good rainy season.

Pierre, Matthieu, and Emanuel spent 3 days this week in the standardized exam that follows 10th grade. They are all confident that they did well but we have to wait for a couple of weeks now to have their results. They have worked very hard this year and we are hoping that they passed and will be able to continue their education.
We’ve had a young mother, Awa, and her baby staying with us for the past two weeks. Awa is just 16 years old and she is not married. Her baby, Hamidou, is just one month old. Awa has not received much support from her family. In fact, when it was know that she was pregnant, she was sent away from the family courtyard. She has been living with an aunt here in Yako since then.

Awa came to us asking us to take Hamidou so that she could take the standardized exam that our children were taking. Her aunt sells vegetables everyday at the market and does not help her with the baby.

I refused to take Hamidou because Awa is nursing him and would have even greater problems if her milk dried up and she was not able to feed him. So instead, I offered Awa to come and stay in our girls’ room and to spend all of her time studying and preparing for the exam. Our ladies cared for Hamidou and called Awa when he was hungry.

This evening, Awa and Hamidou returned to the aunt’s courtyard and Awa promised that she would let me know her test results. Awa needs lots of help and lots of encouragement but we were thankful to be able to help her in this small way. She also desperately needs to know that Jesus loves her and has a way out of her difficult situation. Please pray for Awa.

A very special blessing came our way this week in the form of a check that was given to us from Social Action. A sum of money was given to SA by Unicef, the World Bank, and a couple of other Burkina banks, and they distributed this money to the orphanages in Burkina. Friday was the National Day of the African Child and we were invited to a ceremony where checks were distributed to the orphanages. The amount that we received was nearly $2,000!

We are very thankful for this money, of course, but in addition I am thankful for the recognition from the government of the overwhelming need of the orphans in Burkina. It is encouraging to see Burkina rising up and taking some responsibility for the great social need of her children.

There are many places where this money could go and we have not yet made decisions as to where to put it. One very pressing need that we have is for new screens on the windows and doors of the orphanage. With the rainy season upon us, we need all the protection that we can get from the mosquitoes. We also need some maintenance work done on the truck. . . like new shocks and repair to the A/C. Not very exciting things but definite needs for the project.

I have something really heart-wrenching to tell you. On Thursday, a thief broke into Lynn’s house while she and her guard, Boris, were out doing sponsorship visits. The police are investigating and evidence points very suspiciously that the job was done by someone who was very familiar with the courtyard and the house.

The thief entered probably through the front door and left through the side door. He took a brand new laptop computer, a camera, a CD player, a cell phone, and about $600. He went straight to what he wanted, even though some things were in a closed cabinet and in a file drawer. He did not disturb anything but reached in and took exactly what he wanted, knowing exactly where it was at.

As the shock of all of this is settling, our prayer is that the thief will be found and that Lynn’s possessions will be returned. Our prayer also is for justice as well as mercy and compassion for the thief. The justice system does not work real well here and prisoners are often severely mistreated. Please pray with us that all that is hidden will come into the light. Please pray for the salvation of the thief and for compassionate treatment of the prisoners.

Blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hello Family and Friends! June 11,2006

It is blog-writing time again and I’m sitting here with a glass of iced tea and a bowl of peanuts. This has been a wild and crazy week. So much has happened that I don’t even know where to start.

This was a week of much travel. Travel here is exhausting because of bad roads, animals on the roads, and people on foot, bikes, motos, and donkey carts all in the same lane of traffic. Plus, the air conditioner is not working in our truck. Sigh! But through is all, God gave us some wonderful advances this week.

We are trying to get a little girl, Ludivine, who is severely handicapped, to the States for medical treatment. There was someone visiting Ouaga this week from the organization who may fund Ludivine’s treip. So I made a quick and unplanned trip to Ouaga this week to take x-rays and some medical records to Basil who hand carried these documents to the States.

Then on Thursday, I returned to Ouaga to continue to Koudougou with our attorney. The adoption case for Stephane went before the judge in Koudougou on Friday morning. The trip took about 5 hours and the time before the judge was about 10 minutes. I would have been willing to spend 10 times the travel time though just to hear the decision that Stephane is now legally a McAlister! Stephane’s case was difficult and complicated with blocks all along the way. His case has been in process for over 2 years but finally, it is finished. Thank you, Jesus!
In just the past 3 weeks, 3 of our children have been adopted. Jacques (18 months) and Paul (3 ½) are being adopted by French couples and they will both be coming in July to pick up their children.

The construction on the staff house is moving really quickly now. The doors and windows have been installed and the masons are applying the final finish to the concrete block construction. The plumbing and the wiring are all roughed in. The contractor is still saying that it will be finished this week. . . and it will be very close.

Yesterday I told the ladies who work in the newborn baby room that when I move out of my room in the orphanage that we will move them into my big room. They were thrilled, to say the least. There are now 8 babies in a small room just 3 meters wide and 6 meters long. My room is 6 meters by 6 meters so they will have twice as much room as they have now. We need some more cribs because there are 2 or 3 babies in a crib right now. But, we have already found one crib on the container and I think that there are one or two more in there that we have not yet uncovered. We also found a baby swing on the container which Mark put together and this will be available for them in their new room.

The rains have started and everyone is out preparing their fields for planting. We also are going to plant this year. Valentin has found a field for us which about 2 miles from the orphanage. It is a little far but with the bicycles and the truck we will be able to get children and food back and forth to the field. We’re not exactly sure what we will plant this year but most likely it will be either a field of millet and beans or a field of peanuts. A portion of the harvest of our field will be dedicated to the building fund for our new local church.

Four of our children received special awards at school this year for ranking in the top three in their class. Augustin, Marcel, and Ange were all first in their classes of over 100 students. Pierre ranked second in his class of 86 students. Each of the boys received a backpack and some school supplies and we are now waiting for the results of a regional evaluation based on their grade point average. The top three students in the region will be invited to Ouayaghuia for a recognition ceremony where they will each receive a new bicycle.

This week there is a very critical exam for Pierre, Matthieu, and Emanuel. They are finishing 10th grade this year and there is a pass/fail exam which will allow them to continue their education or force them to change school and re-do 10th grade. The exam is this Thursday, the 15th.

Etienne is in his last year of high school and he also must pass a standardized test in order to continue to university or to a specialized school. Etienne’s exam is July 5th. Please pray for these boys and for all the children taking these exams. They are very hard and the children are under a lot of pressure knowing that if they do not pass, they cannot continue their education.
Well, I must close for now. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Thanks for your prayers. A sister gave me a word of encouragement this morning at church. She said ‘Be strong and courageous because the Lord is in the midst of what we are doing here’. It was a very timely word and encouraged my heart. The Lord does know all things. He sees our hearts and He knows our needs. I find much comfort in this truth.

Blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hello Family and Friends!
I am so happy to tell you that I am completely recovered and back to my usual ornery self. :o) The final diagnosis was a bacterial intestinal infection and we’re assuming that the fever was the cause of the pain and swelling in my joints. Everything is strange here but all of the symptoms are gone and my strength is back and I am thankful for this.
We are continuing to work through the container and are probably about half-way through now. So many wonderful treasures and gifts that were lovingly sorted, packed and sent to us! Several people sent us microwave noodle and rice packets. And, do you know what? Just 2 weeks ago a microwave was given to us by a missionary family who are leaving Burkina! Now, the container was packed in August, 2005 and arrived here in May, 2006. Is it just chance that people thought to send us microwave dishes and food or did our Father know what was coming and prepared everything for us? I prefer to believe the second choice and am amazed at the detail of His care for us.
Our little baby, Grace, who is in Ouaga in a neo-natal facility is doing well. She has gained 400 grams, almost a pound, in one month. The head nurse said that she can be released when she reaches 2 kilos. If she continues to do well and to gain at the rate she is now, she could be released in just 2 or 3 weeks. I’ve been trying to figure out how to include photos in my blog but have not yet mastered that part of the technology. I have a cute, cute photo of Grace that I would like to show you.
The construction of our staff house is almost finished. The contractor has said that we will be able to move in by June 15th. We are very anxious for this, of course. Since the orphanage opened I have been sleeping in one of the rooms in the orphanage. On one side of my room is the newborn baby room where there are 7 babies and on my other side is the 6 to 12 month room where there are also 7 babies. And, as you know babies cry during the night. Our staff house is in the orphanage compound but we will be on the other side of the compound and I am looking forward to a measure of privacy and quiet.
We have six bedrooms in the staff house. Mark and Connie will be occupying one and I will have one other. That leaves us four rooms to receive friends and visitors. So, if accommodations were holding you back from making your reservations, please don’t wait any longer because we now have a place for you. :o)
The rains are a bit slow in starting this year. We have had one average rain but the ground was so dry that the very next day all of the moisture was gone. But, this is the time of year where families are beginning to prepare their fields for planting. We have asked for 2 fields this year in an area about one mile from the orphanage. If we are given use of this land, we will plant a field of millet and a field of peanuts this year.
The plans for opening the school are progressing quickly. This month we will be interviewing and hiring teachers. A group of five students in France have been raising money for school books for some of our older children and they will be sending these to us in July.
Thank you so much for all your support. . . prayers, letters, packages, e-mails, telephone calls and financial support. The work here is a labor of love from the heart of our Father and you are partners in everything that we do.
With lots of love,
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma