Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Greetings!

Dear Family and Friends, 28 December 2008

I hope that your holiday celebrations have been joyous and blessed!

We celebrated numerous times this year. We started with a huge party for all of the sponsored children and the orphanage children. Then, we invited our primary school teachers to a party introducing them to hamburgers and French fries and games like ‘Hot Potato’. We celebrated with our local church where the children presented skits and special musical numbers. We celebrated twice with the children at the orphanage eating riz gras with them on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning treating them to pancakes with peanut butter and jelly or syrup.

Finally here in Ouaga, Liz and I met with a group of friends and ate turkey with all of the traditional trimmings. Lots of different ways to celebrate the birth of our Lord and to rejoice in all that He has done for us!
Playing 'Hot Potato' with our teachers.

Hand Pump for our Well.

We have reached another phase in our well project and that is the installation of a hand pump.
Our well is 76 meters deep and the water is totally pure. In the near future we will build a water tower and install pipes from one end of the courtyard to the other. But, even now we are enjoying the relief from the high waters bills in this blessing from the Lord.

I have been sick for about a month but am now beginning to feel better. I contracted some kind of bacterial stomach infection and/or amoebas and in killing off all of the bad stuff the antibiotics also killed off the ‘good bacteria’ which helps us in properly digesting food. For several weeks I have struggled greatly with diarrhea and could not get it stopped.

This week-end I saw a doctor here in Ouaga and with the help of some meds and the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, and toast) I am very quickly recovering. The diet is boring but I am trying to be faithful to it in order to recover my health.
Thank you so much for all of the love and prayers and tangible support that you have sent to us. Liz and I are thriving. All of the children in the orphanage, the sponsorship program, and the school are thriving. All of our workers are thriving. The clinic project is growing and our nurses are doing a wonderful job. Our widows are all precious and although struggling with old age, they also are thriving.

It is because of your partnership with us in the place of prayer and in the giving of financial support that I can joyfully say ‘Look at what the Lord has done’! Thank you so much! May the Lord bless you 100-fold in this new year of 2009 for all that you have done for the children of Burkina Faso.

Love and blessings!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Names Written in Heaven--

Dear Family and Friends, 14 December, 2008

New Names Written in Heaven—
We are rejoicing with the angels in heaven for Therese and Ascension who invited Jesus into their hearts this week. Therese is 8 years old and Ascension is 18 years old.

We have been praying for Ascension for several years now and in the Lord’s perfect way and perfect timing, He softened Ascension’s heart and gave him the boldness to stand before all of his brothers and sisters here at the orphanage and ask Jesus to come into his heart.
Therese was in the same meeting when Ascension made his commitment to the Lord but she kept silent. Then, just a few days later when the invitation was given at our sponsorship party, Therese raised her hand and said that she wanted to ask Jesus to come and live in her heart.

Ascension Therese

Sponsorship Christmas Party
Saturday, December 13th was the Sponsorship Christmas party. We held it on the orphanage property and there were 150 children here for a day of feasting and fun. The day with a soccer match and then moved into a time of singing ‘Jesus songs’. One of our local pastors, Pastor Eli, told the story of Christmas and every child’s face and attention was on Pastor Eli. When an invitation was given to ask Jesus into their hearts, 15 children responded and went up front. They repeated a simple prayer and then all of us prayed for them. The names of these children have been given to the local pastor nearest to the home of each child so that each child will be encouraged to grow in their new faith.
Other events of the day were drama and singing presentations made by each group, games like ‘fishpond’, ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, and sack races, and lunch of spaghetti, fried fish, and watermelon. Everyone left with cookies and candy that they received from winning games or as a parting gift at the gate.
Please pray for all of these children who made a commitment to Christ this week. Most of them will return to Muslim or Animistic homes and may not be able to attend church or Sunday school. But, they are all permitted to attend our weekly meetings held at the church near their home and each week, they are hearing about Jesus and of His great love for each one of them.

Sponsorship Distributions—
Because of anticipated civil unrest. . . which did not occur. . . school in all of Burkina was cancelled this past week. So, we took advantage of this time for the children to be out of school to hold 3 distributions and our Christmas party for the sponsored children.

We combined the 2 groups in Sector 6 into one distribution at the Sayo church, then continued to the Sector 7 church in Goodin, and finished with the Sector 1 and 4 groups at the Central Church here in Yako. Everyone came and the children performed what they had been preparing for the Christmas party. As usual, everyone left happy and content.
This Saturday, the 20th will be the distribution day for all of the remaining children.

Deborah returns to her family.
Little Deborah has been with us at the orphanage since she was just 5 days old. Her mother was not well mentally and the man thought to be her father fled to the Ivory Coast. But, the family of Deborah’s father said that they wanted her and we have cared for her for 14 months.
This past week, Deborah’s aunt came and stayed in Deborah’s room. caring for her, feeding her and bathing her. Within 2 days, Deborah would not leave her aunt’s side and it was clear that Deborah would be loved and cared for. It is always bitter-sweet to say ‘good-by’ to one of our children but knowing that Deborah will be in a loving family makes it a little easier to let her go.

New baby – Nafisatou
Nafisatou is 3 weeks old and she came to live at the orphanage this week. Nafisiatou was born at home but 10 days after her birth, her mother died. She did not see a doctor so it is assumed that she died from complications of the birth.
Nafisatou will stay with us for 12 months giving her father and the family time to stabilize and then she will integrate back into her family.

We have a New Car!
Yes! We do have a new car but it is not yet completely in our hands. Liz and I are here in Ouaga today to sign more papers and we were hoping to drive the car back to Yako. But, the papers are not yet ready and it is not wise to take the car on the road until all of the papers are in order. We are now hoping that when we return here next week to celebrate Christmas with some friends, the car will be ready.

Thank you Jesus for this wonderful gift!

Love and blessings to you in this most Holy Season!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma