Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 28, 2007 News from Yako

Dear Family and Friends, Feb 28, 2007
Greetings from sunny Burkina Faso! We are in the midst of the dry season here. Burkina has only two seasons; a dry season and a rainy season. We have not had any rain since October 8th and the temperatures are starting to daily climb to 100+ degrees in the afternoons. The evenings are still cooling down though and that makes it much easier to get a good night's rest.
Already this year we have been blessed by two visits from wonderful teams of friends from home. This past week a team of 8 came from Victory Fellowship in St Louis, MO. It was a short visit of only one week but the Lord wondrously arranged our time and allowed us to see and accomplish all that He had pre-arranged for us to do. Every member of the visiting team was impacted by what the Lord is doing here in Yako and our local team was greatly blessed and impacted by the visiting team.
Julie Rondeau has been living and working with us since October, 2006. Julie is a native of France so she was able to jump right into the daily activities of the orphanage and the school. She has been a tremendous help to us. About two weeks ago, Julie suffered two seizures and since then she has suffered severe pain in her back and in her abdomen. She has seen a local doctor whom we trust and he has recommended that Julie return to France for medical care. She was prepared to stay with us for one more month but the Lord is calling her home early. Please pray for safe travels for Julie and also that Jesus and the doctors in Paris will completely heal her.
We have three new children in the orphanage since I last wrote to you. One of them is a little boy of 5 years of age, named Ferdinand. Ferdinand's mother left him in the care of a local Yako woman when he was about 18 months old. The mother has not been heard from since she left. Ferdinand has not been well taken care of and neighbors have testified that the care-taker often sent him out into the streets to beg when he was hungry. He was often seen late at night sleeping at the bus station.
The first thing that we did for Ferdinand was to change his name. He came to us with the name of KooKoo. KooKoo is a meaningless and silly name which many people name their dogs. We did not want him growing up with this name. Ferdinand has settled very easily into our family. He studies and plays everyday with our other pre-schoolers and he is learning his numbers and letters and basic French.
We are in the process of handling five adoptions right now. If all goes well three of our children will be going to France, one will be going to a family in Italy, and one will be going to a local Burkina couple.
Assya is a little girl of 14 months and she has been matched with the family in Italy. Well into the adoption process, Assya's birth certificate was lost. We went to the prefecture in Yako to ask for another copy of the birth certificate to send to the Italien agency in Ouagadougou. When I received the copy I noticed that they had incorrectly indicated that Assya was a boy!
Assya's adoption proceedings are blocked right now because our local office is asking that the original paper be returned before they will make the correction and give us a new one. Please pray for us that the papers for each of these children will pass quickly from official to official, that all papers will be properly signed, and that no papers will be lost.
During the last rainy season our mud-brick house for the chickens fell down and we sold all of our chickens and our goats. For the last month or so we have been working to rebuild two houses and two pens for our animals and this work is nearly finished. We are again going to invest in chickens for their meat and eggs for the orphanage. Instead of goats though, we are going to try raising sheep. We will use the meat for the orphanage and also sell it for profit for the orphanage.
Lynn and the school are doing very well. We have 75 children enrolled in grades 1, 3, and 5. They have fallen into comfortable patterns of study and recess and study and lunch and activity changes are managed by the director blowing a whistle. From the orphanage we hear the children singing, reciting their lessons, laughing and playing, and it is a joy to hear them. Our school did very well on their first round of standardized tests that were given in that we ranked second out of all the primary schools in Yako. We are encouraged, our teachers are encouraged, and our children are encouraged by these test results and we look forward to even better marks on the next test.
I close with some really good news that our online problems in Yako seem to be resolved. The problem was diagnosed as 'noise on the line' which prevented us from connecting and/or keeping the connection. The phone company did respond and they did repair the line and we are thankful for this. We also got some really bad news about 3 weeks ago that the hard drive on our laptop was dieing. But, the team who just left brought us a beautiful new laptop so now we are all desperately trying to catch up with family and friends everywhere.
Blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Saturday, February 03, 2007



Already it is the first of February! I cannot believe how quickly time is passing!

We are all doing well here in Yako. Our children, especially our babies, are all doing well. You know. . . we do have a winter season here and although this will make you all smile, we feel the cold very much. Our local friends suffer much in our cold temperatures of the mid-60's and low-70's. :o) We are very thankful though because our babies have done very well throughout the cold season this year. We have struggled with some pretty serious coughs and colds but in general, they are all doing well and they are growing fat.

Some of you may have heard that through the ministry of Lending Light Missions we were able to send little Grace to the States for medical care. Grace was born pre-mature and has struggled for life since her birth. At 8 months of age, Grace weighed only about 8 pounds. She would gain a little weight and then get sick and lose a little weight and it became apparent that without some serious help, Grace would not survive here.

We recently had a wonderful team visiting from Columbia, MO and the team agreed to take Grace back with them. Someone met them in Detroit and then Grace continued to a family in Maine who is now caring for her. The doctors reports have all come back negative and we are thankful for this and already Grace has gained more than 2 pounds! We don't know what the Lord has in store for this little girl but we do know that His plans for her are good and we rejoice in this.

We have another little girl, Therese, who has a serious heart problem and we are looking into the possibility of sending her to the States for care. It is very hard to get an accurage diagnosis of medical issues here but it does seem that Therese's problem is very serious. Please pray that the Lord will lead and guide and give us wisdom concerning how to proceed with this case.

We are in the process of finalizing 4 adoptions at the same time right now. It looks like 2 of our children will be going to France, one to Italy, and one to a local Burkinabe family. This also is a subject for great rejoicing!! Each of these children available for adoption have either been rejected by their families or taken away from their families by Social Action. But, the Lord has hand-picked a family for each of them and we are walking through this process with each of them and with the Lord. It is hard to let go of these children. Some of them have been with us for 2 or more years. But, when the day comes that their new parents come to get them. . . well, this will be a bittersweet day of tears and great rejoicing in what the Lord has done for them.

I mentioned earlier the visitors from Columbia. . . what a wonderful time we had together! We laughed together, prayed together, experienced Burkina life together. . . and then cried when they had to leave. I am always amazed at what the Lord does in and through short-term mission teams. He knit our hearts together immediately as though we had known each other for years and then He moved and worked through each member of the team. Dr. Jack ministered and healed the orphanage children, the children in our school, several sponsored children out in villages, and several local friends. Teacher, professor, educator Howard ministered and encouraged Lynn and our teachers and workers at the school. Pastor Mark ministered and blessed our teens and preached at our church. Debbie and Mary ministered and blessed each one of us by their servant hearts and loved and blessed each one of our children. Ami. . . on her 3rd visit here fit right in as though she had never left us and brought smiles and comfort to each one that she touched. And, Catherine, loved on, played with, cared for, and spoiled our children as though an angel were ministering to them. What can I say, huh? May the Lord richly bless you, Columbia Team. You touched our hearts. You touched our land. Our hearts are forever knit together. Blessings to you for all that you brought and poured out to us!

How we love short-term mission teams!

I know that there is so much that I am forgetting to tell you about. Nichole Ditillo is doing very well and she is a tremendous blessing to us. She is working very hard on her French classes and also has a strong desire to learn Moure. She works morning, noon, and night with our children helping with everything from changing poopy diapers to reading with first and second graders to tutoring English with our high schoolers. She also helps with various administrative things in the orphanage office, does sponsorship home visits, widow's monthly distributions, etc. Her love for the Lord is visible in all that she does and her joy is contageous. Thank you, Jesus, for Nichole.

Julie Rondeau is a beautiful young French girl who has been with us since October. Julie is also a joy to have here with us. She also works much with the orphanage children and with our school children. She plays with the children, she reads to the children, she studies and tutors the children as well as helps Lynn with sponsorship visits and administrative work. Julie and Nichole are planning a trip to Ghana next week and they are looking forward to this new experience. Julie has made a 6 month commitment to work with us and then she will be returning to France and then to Sweden to begin her university studies.

We have not had email access in Yako since last October. Please pray for solutions to our technical problems. Now our online provider is saying that the problem is with the phone lines and only the phone company can find this problem and fix it. I have talked with several friends who live in remote areas of Burkina and they are all experiencing the same symptoms that we are with email access. This has been very hard for us but we are trusting in the Lord. He is the Master of everything. . . even technical things. Please pray that He will stir our local technitions and give them the expertise needed to fix the problem.

Well, because of limited time here in Ouaga and because there are 2 other people here wanting to use this computer, I must say 'goodby' and close this note. I wish that I could talk to each of you individually. Please don't be offended by this mass letter but please pray that our email starts working real soon in Yako. You are all constantly in my heart and my thoughts.

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