Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Emma has a Home in Denmark

Emma has a Home in Denmark

Another of our little ones, Emma, made it home to Denmark in time for Christmas.

Emma was abandoned in the bush as a newborn infant and Social Action placed her in our orphanage. After preparing all of her papers and placing her on the national list of children available for adoption, she was proposed to a couple in Denmark.

After waiting for long years through the adoption process in Denmark and then waiting for Emma's case to go to court in Burkina, Thomas and Jean arrived in Burkina in December to pick up their child.

Emma is now two years old. She was a little shy but after just a few minutes, she allowed her new mother and father to take her in their arms and to release all of the love that they had waited for so long to give to her.

We are rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord in giving a child to these parents and that their child. . . . is our Emma.

Dec. Food Distributions

Sponsorship Food Distribution

Sponsorship food distributions are held in December and in June. This month we held distributions in six different distribution centers in and around Yako. The distribution centers are churches where there are clusters of children who live right around the church. The children come to a weekly meeting at the church where our workers stay in close contact with each child to monitor their progress in school, monitor their health and to introduce them to Jesus.

This month we distributed 200 pound sacs of corn and soap to 110 of our sponsored children who are living in extended family situations and attending local schools.

In December, we hold the distributions right before Christmas so that the family will have a little extra for their Christmas preparations. As usual, the distributions were times of great joy in seeing each of the children again..

I love this picture. This is Nonwendi, a sponsored child from Songnaba, a small village about 10 kilometers outside of Yako. Isn't she beautiful?

Yako Christmas Tree Ceremony

The Christmas Tree Ceremony

Each year in Yako a Christmas Tree Ceremony is held and gifts of food, blankets, and clothes are given to vulnerable children and to the aged by the government. This year we were busy with sponsorship distributions on the day of the Christmas Tree Ceremony so I did not plan to attend.

But, at 10 in the morning of the day of the ceremony, I received a call saying that I must be at the ceremony by 2 PM because the orphanage would be receiving a gift. Of course, this was a pleasant surprise and we scrambled to re-arrange responsibilities so that I could be free to go to the ceremony.

In total, a meal was provided for 300 children and 35 senior citizens, all social cases, and they were each given a gift of rice, some clothes and a blanket.

Then, 2 orphanages, ours and another one in town, and an association which works in the domain of AIDS each received 100 pounds of rice, 400 pounds of corn, some clothing and soap.

We are thankful for this surprise gift which made our Christmas dinner just a little sweeter and gave each of our children a new outfit of clothing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Visit from France

A Return visit to Burkina for Jacques and his Parents

This past week we have enjoyed a visit from France of Jacques and his parents.

Jacques was adopted in 2006 when he was not quite 2 years old and he is now 6 years old and in the first grade. The family lives in a small village in the Alps, near the border of Switzerland.

Jacques is doing wonderfully well and his parents are delightful. They will be spending Christmas with us here in Yako and then will do a little traveling and sightseeing in Burkina before returning home in mid-January.

Yesterday, the family searched out and found the village where Jacques was born. They took pictures of the village and the maternity ward where he was born to save for him as he grows older. Jacques is 100% French and 100% Burkinabe. Within hours he had blended right in with our children here at the orphanage, playing soccer with the primary school boys and eating tรด with our children. He speaks beautiful French. . . of course, and is a delightful little boy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Therese and her family

We have had a very sweet week-end with Therese's mother, grandmother, and sister here in Yako. Today we will be going to Ouaga for Therese's physical exam required by the US Embassy. The family will stay in Ouaga for a few days while all of their papers are finished and I will return to Yako to introduce little Emma who is going to Denmark with her new family.

Last night we had a little party so that our children could say 'goodbye' to Therese. It was bitter-sweet, but everyone is happy for Therese and her family. This picture was taken on an outing to visit a man-made resevoir outside of Yako.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jill and Alyssa from Australia

The Australians have Arrived!

I would like to introduce two beautiful young ladies to you, Jill Ennever and Alyssa Craig from Australia. Jill and Alyssa arrived in Burkina on November 30th. They will work with us at the orphanage for 2 months.

Jill is here fulfilling a public service requirement for a course at her university. Alyssa has just finished high school and has come along as a friend of Jill's and has come with a heart to work.

Both of the girls are already involved and integrated into the orphanage. Their days are filled with loving on and caring for our babies, playing soccer and other games with the primary school children and older children and helping me with administrative things. This past week they were able to make a trip to Ouaga on the public bus to attend a soccer game between Egypt and Mali.

In the picture, Jill is on the left and Alyssa is on the right. In the middle is a young girl that we discovered while doing the widows' distribution that needs a sponsor so that she can go back to school.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Widow's Distribution

Widow's distribution--

On Wednesday, December 1, we held our monthly Widow's Basket food distribution. Because of my work schedule, I am not able to go each month to visit the widows but we employ a widow who goes in my place and talks with, encourages, and prays with each of our widows.

Most of the widows are really doing pretty well. They all complained about how they suffered with our cold temperatures right now. (Well, yes this is our wintertime and it can reach down into the upper 60's during the night.)

Someone had given us a special gift for Christmas gifts for our widows and we used this money and bought a nice warm blanket for each of our widows. They were really thrilled.

Two of our widows, Lizetta and Salimata, are pretty weak and sick. When we asked Lizetta if we could pray for her, she said, 'yes, please pray that the Lord will call me home'. Salimata has lost a lot of weight and is very, very thin.

Please pray for these two ladies.



A new bicycle for Barka--

Barka is a young girl who lives in the orphanage. Her mother is still living but her father has died. Barka came to the orphanage last year because there was a primary school in her village but no secondary school and she was ready to go into the 7th grade. During the summer vacation, Barka goes back to the village to help her mother to work in the fields.

Barka is a sponsored child and her sponsor is at the top of the 'wonderful sponsor list'.

For 'back to school' her sponsor sent a special gift to buy Barka a bicycle.

Barka's full name is Barkawennam which is a Moore name that means 'Thank you, God'. By her smile, I think that you can tell that Barka is thankful for her new bike.

Barka and her new bike

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Greetings!

Even though I just recently returned from a visit home, as the holidays approach my heart naturally 'turns toward home'. I hope that each of you have memory making times with family and friends during the Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and that you find Jesus in the center of each activity.

Here at the orphanage, our children are busily preparing special songs, dance routines, and skits for our Christmas Eve family time at church.

New families for two of our children--

After the work, sweat, and tears of years of effort, we are preparing two of our children to leave the orphanage and to meet their adoptive families in December. If all goes well, Therese and Emma will spend Christmas in a new country with their new families.

Therese came to the orphanage in 2006. She was very sick with malaria and chest congestion. Within a short time, we learned that Therese has an enlarged heart and that her heart condition can not be treated here in Burkina. Therese is now 10 years old.

Therese's case is too complicated to go into depth here but the good news is that Therese had her day in court this month and her adoption has been approved. Therese will be leaving in just a few weeks and will become a member of a beautiful family in the US.

Emma is a little 2 ½ year old who was abandoned in the bush shortly after her birth. She was found by someone in the village and Social Action sent her to our orphanage. Emma is a delightful little toddler who will be joining her new family in Denmark.

Please pray for Therese and Emma's little hearts as they prepare to leave the orphanage and also the hearts of their adoptive families as they welcome their little ones home.

School News--

In visiting our classrooms this past week with my camera I asked the children if they were happy to be able to go to school. And, I thought that this little girl said it all with her smile. She is one of our little third graders.

This picture is of our 7th grade class with Becky and Daniel, our English teachers in the back of the room.

Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to permeate our classrooms and to draw the hearts of our children to Jesus.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First week back in Burkina--

Welcome Becky Schroeder!
Becky arrived in Burkina on Oct 24th. She is from St Louis and is planning to live and work with us for one year. Becky is a college graduate who has come with a big bag of skills and a big heart to learn and to serve.

Becky will be teaching English to our 5th, 6th, and 7th graders and she has already started tutoring a couple of our older orphanage children in English. She is working with our toddlers in pre-school classes and is spending 4 or 5 hours a day working in the baby rooms.

Becky has been busy making friends both with our children here at the orphanage and with our local workers.

Please pray for Becky as she continues to adapt and adjust to her new life here in Burkina.

New School Year 2010-2011
School started for us here in Burkina on October 4th. In our primary school this year we are running 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade classes. And, in our new school building we are starting a middle school with a 7th grade class.

In visiting both of the schools this week, I found that everything is in order. Our students have all settled into the new school year and our teachers are happy with the progress that their students have already made.

New Children in the Orphanage
Each year at 'back to school time' we have observed that a couple of children move out of the orphanage and a couple of children move into the orphanage. And, this year is no exception.

In watching over our sponsored children we made the decision this year to invite three of our primary school age boys into the orphanage so that they could continue their studies. We do not have very many primary school age children in the orphanage because usually they can stay with their families and attend a primary school near their home. But each of these boys were in very vulnerable situations so we appraoched the families asking whether they could come to the orphanage for the school year and then return home in the summer to help the family with the farming chores. And, each of the families readily agreed.

Jonas Illy
Jonas is an adorable little 6 year old who has been sponsored since he was a infant. His mother is not well mentally. Jonas is her oldest child and he has two younger siblings. Because his mother is unstable, she stays home with her husband sometimes but she also leaves home sometimes and randomly roams from village to village, sometimes with her children and sometimes leaving her children at home.

Jonas is now old enough to start school, so we talked to the family about the possibility of him coming to the orphanage. We are not completely sure whether Jonas is 'normal' or not. We have no way of testing him to determine his level of development. But, we are hoping that with a change in his environment that Jonas will succeed in school.

Zidane Sankara
Zidane is a young boy of 11 years old. We have been working with the family for 2 years now on behalf of Zidane but his situation at home has not improved. Zidane has been under the care of his aging grandmother who does not have the strength or the mobility to adequately take care of him.

Zidane is failing in school. His marks at the end of last year were 1.3 out of a possible 10. He was in a 4th grade class but could not speak or understand French.

Zidane is very small for his age so we are hoping that with a few months of good food and some vitamins, he will put on weight and grow. We have put Zidane back into 3rd grade and have set up special classes in French to help him come up to the level he needs to do 3rd grade work.

Idrissa Tebda
Idrissa is also 11 years old. His father is very old and he is blind. His mother has died. The family gave his father a new wife but she is very young and is not well mentally. Essentially Idrissa was the care-taker of the family.

This past year, Idrissa dropped out of school. In talking with the family and his teacher, Idrissa dropped out because of discouragement. He often missed class because of problems and responsibilities at home.

We talked with the head of the extended family as well as Idrissa's father about the possibility of Idrissa coming to live at the orphanage during the school year and everyone was in agreement for this to happen.

Because Idrissa has also done so poorly in school and because his French is not at the level that it needs to be, we have put him back 1 grade into the 3rd grade class.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Safe Arrival Back in Burkina!

Arrived back to my 'African Home' early this morning, October 23rd. The flights were all good. Left pretty much on time and arrived pretty much on time. Not bad for international travel.

Thought that I would give you a general summary of my time at home. My calendar was full and it was a very blessed two months of time with family and friends and work related activities all mixed in together.

Attended the Festival of Nations where Small Rain hosted an 'American Food' booth as a fund raiser. Attended a Small Rain board meeting and a strategic planning meeting.

Made annual visits with my dentist to get a crown. . . . yuck! And visited a general surgeon to have a growth removed from my arm. . . . another yuck!

Had two opportunities to visit my home church, Southgate Church in Crestwood where I was able to greet the people, give a 10 year summary of the work in Burkina, and host a sponsorship drive.

Attended a craft night at Southgate where a group of ladies made bibs and burp towels for me to bring back to our babies. At this event, it was great for me to meet some new friends and to share their joy and entheusiasm in making these things for our children.

Attended 2 of the Southgate home groups, one in the home of the Joggerests and one in the home of Vince LaRusso. Great fun to meet and get acquainted with Southgate folks.

Had numerous lunches and dinners with new friends, old friends, high school friends, and family. Enjoyed the time immensely over coffee and cheescake but have returned to Burkina with a little excess baggage around my middle.

Made a trip out to Pennsylvania to meet with a church there thinking and praying about drilling a well on the new school property for us.

Met with several different people thinking and praying about making a trip to Burkina. . . some for a 2 or 3 week visit and some for a longer length of time.

Made a trip to Columbia, MO to visit with friends and the church there.

Made a trip to California, MO to visit with friends and the church there.

Celebrated with my mom on her 87th birthday.

Between various parties and get-togethers, this celebration was about a week long!

Celebrated the 18th birthday with my grandson, Nathan. Nathan will be graduating from High School in May. Nate's dad, Aaron, is on the right.

Attended a week-end retreat in Branson, MO with the Sheltering Wings board of directors.

Was grateful for the opportunity to speak at two local St Louis Rotary meetings where I was able to personally thank them for the generous gift of medicine, lab equipment, and motorcycles that they provided for us this past August.

Had a great time apple picking and picking out pumpkins with Amy, Lillian and Claire at Echert's.

Visited Goshen Fellowship in Edwardsville, met some old friends and new friends, and shared the burden of the Burkina project with them.

Attended the 2nd Annual Run for Relief in Fenton, MO where the proceeds this year will go to Sheltering Wings. It was a little cold this day for this African Mama but a great day for the 220 runners.

Attended my grandson, Nathan's, high school musical 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Nate was Pigpen and he did a great job!

Left to return to my 'African home' on Oct 21st. The flights were all good and I arrived here in Burkina around 5 AM on the 23rd. My taxi driver needed to go straight to a gas station where he put about $2 worth of gas in the tank. We had a near miss with a moto. Yikes! But, I am safe and sound in a nice room where I slept about 8 hours today.

Love and blessings to you!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Visit to Columbia and California, MO

This past week I traveled to Columbia, MO and visited with friends and the church there. It was so good to have times of refreshing with dear friends and the believers there.

After Columbia, I continued to California, MO where again I visited with friends and the local body of believers. Here in California several groups of women have been making 'little dresses for Africa' for us and quilting the guilt that Lisa and I pieced together last year. These pictures are of some of the ladies who Vare involved in the sewing projects.

In California, I had 4 opportunities to talk with different groups in the church sharing the burden and the vision of the orphanage and school.

Thank you, Lord, for these opportunities to rest and to meet new friends.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Small Rain Fund-raiser

Small Rain Fund-raiser

A St Louis based non-profit called Small Rain hosted a food booth at the Festival of Nations this past week-end in St Louis with the proceeds going to the Sheltering Wings Clinic. The festival is an annual event which brings together foods and cultural experiences from many nations of the world.

The more adventuresome attendees could sample culinary delights from the Near East, the Far East, Europe and South America.

Small Rain ran an 'American' booth which made many visitors smile by serving hotdogs, lemonade, and ice cream bars.

Thank you, Small Rain! Thank you to all the many volunteers who made this great work a lighter load for Kate Horrigan and the Small Rain board!

The children of Burkina Faso thank you for your labor of love.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Appendicitis and Typhoid Fever

Please Pray for Emanuel--

One of our boys, Emanuel Kouda, is in the hospital in Ouagadougou. I received an urgent call yesterday from Mathieu, also studying at the university, saying that they had called an ambulance and that Emanuel needed surgery.

As it turns out, I had gone to OUA to take care of some business yesterday. My schedule got completely changed, but I am glad that I was there and was able to meet the boys at the hospital.

Ema has appendicitis and typhoid fever. The surgery was successful and he is now recovering in his hospital room and may be released today.

Please pray for Ema. He has been discouraged about his studies and he has been dealing with 'not feeling well' for some time now. He has lost a lot of weight. He is a very tall boy and now resembles a walking skeleton. Please pray that real soon Ema will be back on his feet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tene's First Return Visit to Burkina!

A Visit from the Alonso family!

It was a great joy this past week to receive Phillipe and Beda Alonso and their family for a visit to the orphanage and to Burkina. This was the family's first return visit to Burkina since adopting their daughter, Tene, in 2007.

Tene's early childhood was filled with pain and suffering but she has been wonderfully rescued and is now thriving in a loving family and a beautiful environment in France. One of her older brothers, Eloi, is in this picture. She has another older brother, Quinten, who was not available for the picture.

Tene is completely integrated into her family. She is thriving physically and mentally. She will be entering the 5th grade this Fall. She plays the saxaphone, is an avid skier, enjoys swimming, and has many friends.

Here is little Tene when she came to the orphanage in 2005.

A Tribute to Sarah and Lisa

Saying 'See you again soon', not 'Good-bye'!

The Lord sent two special gifts to Burkina Faso this past year. They were packaged in the forms of Lisa Otterpohl and Sarah Oeder from Germany. Sarah and Lisa worked tirelessly with us at the orphanage for one year and they have left their mark in each of our hearts.

The list of their accomplishments and impact on our projects here is vast but to name just a few. . .

  • they ministered to our babies and older children by caring and loving, teaching and mentoring

  • they conducted child evangelism activities where 100's of children accepted the Lord

  • they reached out to children and churches outside of our community expressing the love of Jesus, encouraging local pastors, touching the children

  • they preached, they taught

  • they sang and they danced with our children

  • they participated in church activities

  • they painted our house!

  • they painted our church!

  • they organized our house and the clinic and the storage building

  • they held art classes with the orphanage children and our school children

  • They taught English in our primary school
  • and many, many more things and blessings are now ours through their time with us

So, we cannot say 'good-by' but we say 'A Bientot', see you again soon.

Lisa and Sarah, you will forever be in our hearts. Thank you for your obedience to the Lord in following his call to Burkina! Thank you for your servant hearts! If the Lord allows, we will see you again. Maybe on Burkina's soil? Maybe on Germany's or US soil? But if not on earthly soil. . . . for sure we will meet again in heaven.

With love from Burkina,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Student Desks for a New School!

Little by little we are getting ready to start school this Fall. Sarah, one of our short-termers from Germany who just left this past week donated enough money to order new desks for 2 of our classrooms. Here is a picture of our 7th grade classroom. . . ready for the first day of class.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Dedication Ceremony--

DEDICATION Ceremony for the Clinic and a gift from the Rotary Club International--This past Saturday, August 7th, we held a big party to celebrate the official opening of our clinic to publicly thank the Lord for all that He has done for us and to thank the Rotary Club International for the enormous gift that they recently gave to us.

With rain pending, it was not sure that the party would occur but with hopeful hearts a crew of 20 women started cooking at 4 AM. They fried 10 chickens and 16 kilos of fish. They prepared beautiful salads. And they prepared riz gras, an African rice dish made with tomato sauce and fresh vegetables.

Food Preparations--

At 7 AM, a crew of 8 men installed two huge tents and set-up 80 chairs. The whole courtyard had been swept clean. The clinic was spotless and the school classrooms were cleaned and set-up as dining halls.

At 10 AM, members from the Rotary Club in Ouaga arrived, and invited officials from Yako arrived. Friends and work associates from Yako came and all of our children and local workers were here to join in the celebration.

Several speeches were given; one by the president of the Rotary Club Crystal, one by our local director of Social Action, and by the local representatives from the Haut Commisaire and from the mayor's office.


The Rotary Club held a symbolic presentation of the gifts by passing some medical products through a chain of people with the end of the chain being one of our nurses, Josephine.

After a prayer of dedication of the clinic and the Rotary gift, we took a tour of the clinic showing the Rotary members and the Yako officials the new lab equipment, the new motos, and the stacks and stacks of medicine now available to the community.

The ceremony ended with a delicious meal prepared and served by women from the community and by our baby care-takers.

Saying 'thank you' does not begin to express all that is in my heart for what the Lord has done for us. In French to express this we say 'grande merci' or a huge thank you! And, even that only begins to adequately express our deep sentiments.

Once again, thank you to the Rotary Club! This gift enables us to expand our ministry to the orphans and vulnerable children in this region and allows us to start going out into neighboring villages looking for and treating sick children.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Construction if finished!

Our School is Finished!!

Finally, I can write to you with the news that the construction work on our new school is finished! This morning we signed papers agreeing that the work was finished and that the work was good. I really am happy with the finished product.

Our classrooms are big and spacious with lots of airflow and are equipped with ceiling fans. When we are able to hook up to electricity, our students will be able to study in comfort.

We are thankful to the Lord for his help and guidance throughout the construction project. There were no accidents on the construction site and we have a good quality and beautiful new school building.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

School Closing, 2010

School Closing, 2010

Here in Burkina, there is an official ceremony to open the school year and an official ceremony to close the school year. Our school held the closing ceremony for 2009-2010 on Tuesday, July 13th.

Top students from each class, our staff, and short-term volunteers. We are proud of the accomplishments of each of our students but in a land where often the girls are not sent to school, we are especially proud that 3 out of 4 of the top students in our school were girls!

The day started with prayer and a recap by grade of the success of the school year. Awards were given to the top five students in each of our four classes. Thank you gifts were give to each of our teachers and our director for the outstanding work that they did this year.

In the standardized testing that is held for the sixth graders, our school ranked first in our region. All of our students except one girl passed the exam. Each of our 6th graders who passed the exam received a new t-shirt. Each class received their own soccer ball to start the next school year with.

We ended our ceremony with a balloon game and by serving lunch to the children.