Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends, December 15, 2006
Greetings from sunny Burkina! The dry season is well upon us and we have been enjoying some wonderfully cool temperatures, very few bugs, no frogs, and no mosquitoes. Dust storms are starting to pick up though as winds come in from the north bringing the desert sand and dust with them.
For two months now we have been having serious technical problems with our e-mail server. We are unable to send or receive e-mail from Yako right now and can only catch up on e-mail when we are in Ouaga. So, if we are slow in responding to you, this is the reason. You are constantly in our thoughts. Please pray that the Lord will help the technicians with of our local server to quickly find and resolve this problem.
Just this evening we took Sarah McGrew to the airport. We had a wonderful 3 weeks with Sarah and it was hard to let her go. Sarah used her nursing skills everyday to minister to our children and each one of the children fell in love with her. Under her care, our little baby Grace gained three-quarters of a pound. Grace was born pre-mature and has been sickly since her birth but in Sarah’s capable hands Grace greatly improved.
Nichole is doing wonderfully well here. The Lord is helping her daily to adapt and adjust to the challenges and difficulties of life in Africa. She is doing very well in her language studies and is able to communicate simple exchanges in French and also exchanges greetings in Moure. The kids all love her dearly. While Sarah was here the three girls, Nichole, Sarah, and Julie, took on some painting projects which brought a new and vibrant face to many parts of our orphanage.
Our primary school is flourishing. It is a joy to hear the sounds of learning, singing, laughing, and shouting coming from the school building. This past week mid-term exams were given and most of the children did very well. Some of our children were not doing well in the public school system and some of them had never even been to school. We have been watching these children knowing that they need special help and tutoring. Some of their grades were not good but this did not surprise us. We now know even more where they need help and concentration in their studies.
We have a little one in the hospital right now. His name is Amede. They are treating him for pneumonia. He is responding to the treatment and we are encouraged that he will be okay. He is in the local Yako hospital and one of our part-time workers is there taking care of him. Amede will be one year old the 22nd of December. Please pray that the Lord will completely restore him to health.
I want to send a huge ‘THANK YOU’ for all the generous contributions that came in for Christmas gifts for the widows and for the children and for a Christmas party for the children. This week will be full of planning and shopping in preparation for this event. We will butcher a goat to prepare with our holiday spaghetti and this will make the children very happy. We are also planning games and prizes and a special gift for each one of them.
Our holiday traditions here are very Christ centered and most activities revolve around the church. On Christmas Eve there will be a special time together where all of the children prepare skits and musical presentations. There will also be a Scriptural presentation of the story of the birth of Christ. Around 10 or 11 we will go home and then return again on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of Jesus together as a family and then enjoy a meal together.
On New Year’s Eve the church again gathers together for a time of celebration, skits and musical presentations. We then sing and pray until the new year enters. After the service the children stay at the church and sing and dance and celebrate until early hours of the morning.
In closing, I want to wish each of you a warm and blessed holiday season. I hope and pray that the love of Jesus is burning in each of your hearts and that the new year brings you blessings beyond your greatest imagination. Our God is good and He is a faithful and loving father to all who love Him.

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