Dear Family and Friends, 12 December, 2009
As I sit here and reflect on what to write my first thoughts are 'where did this year go'? It is almost scary to see that we are at the end of the year.
My recent trip home was quite outstanding! I am so thankful for the faithfulness of the Lord. He is so good!
I traveled with my mom to the East coast to see my sister and her husband, and my daughter, Stephanie, and her boys. We celebrated Thankgsgiving together, the first time in many years.
I traveled to the Northwest to visit with Adoption Advocates International and enjoyed meeting all the players there who are working on Burkina adoptions. I also greatly enjoyed touring Olympic National Park, driving along the coast, and passing through Forks, WA. . . . yes, the Forks, WA, the setting of the book series, 'Twilight'. :)
Then I continued on to Hawaii to visit with my Chinese friend, Grace, her husband, Pat, and their little boy, Josh. Pat took time off from work to take me sightseeing and to tour the island of Ouahu. It was great fun.
Between trips I had wonderful times in St Louis. The family there are all doing well and it was really great to have had time to go to a grandson's school play, attend ballet class with Lillian, visit with friends, and of course, sit an enjoy coffee at every opportunity.
Upon returning to Burkina, I found everything in the orphanage, school, and clinic working smoothly and in order. Our local leaders and all of the employees did a great job of seeing that everyone and everything was properly taken care of.
Although hoping for a slow re-entry into African life, when I arrived I learned that we had been invited to attend an international forum on adoption in Ouaga this past week. There were 20 nations represented from West Africa and from Europe, and 275 participants. The meetings were informative as we listened to speakers from Africa and from Europe and challenging as we grappled with how to meet the great need that poverty brings to the children of the world. Some of Burkina's staggering statistics are that almost 1 in 10 women die in childbirth and 1 in 4 children die before the age of 5.
While I was away Sarah and Liza stayed in Yako becoming more and more involved in the lives of our children. They are teaching English in our school, teaching German to some of our older children, loving on and caring for the babies, and interacting on many different levels with all of the children and our employees. I am very thankful for them and for all that they are bringing to daily life in the orphanage.
This past Saturday, we attended the wedding of Pastor Salou's daughter, Tinbnoma. The wedding was held in Ouaga and the bride and groom will be soon be moving to Bobo where Eloi is employed as an accountant. The wedding was beautiful and here is a picture of the bride and groom.
The next two weeks will be full of Christmas activities. The sponsorship program will hold a food distribution and also a Christmas party for all of the children. The orphanage and the school will have Christmas parties. Our emphasis this year as in past years will be evangelism. Among other activities the children will be watching a child appropriate film and one of our local pastors will be explaining to them the glorious birth of the Lord, Jesus.
The children in the orphanage are all involved in preparing for the Christmas Eve service at church. The children will present special songs, special dance routines, and drama that they have worked on for the past few weeks. For us here in Burkina, the Christmas Eve service is the highlight of our celebrations. It is a time where everyone comes to church and everyone enjoys what the children have prepared.
Talk to you again soon.