Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Bibles - - - Visitors from St Louis!

Dear Family and Friends, 25 January, 2009

Bibles for each of our children!

Our short-term worker, Sarah, recently heard about a bible society in France who provides a good quality Bible for no charge. Sarah wrote to them describing our orphanage and the number of children that we have here and asked for 50 Bibles. Well, the Bibles arrived last week and we were able to give a Bible to each of our children who are old enough to read.

Most of our children had at least a New Testament but very few of them had a whole Bible of their own. Here are a couple of pictures that show the great joy that it is to have a Bible of your very own.

I was overwhelmed with joy at seeing the joy of our children receiving these Bibles. Our prayer that that the Word of God will be planted even more deeply in each of their hearts.

Visitors from St Louis--

This past week we had a wonderful visit from Pastor Jeff Riddering and Brenden Graczak from my home church, Southgate, in St Louis. This was Jeff's 4th visit to Burkina and Brenden's 1st visit.

Each day was so filled with activity and divine appointments that it is difficult to summarize their trip. But, some of the highlights were visiting their sponsored children in their villages and tearing down and then re-building a house for another of our sponsored children.

This is a picture of Jeff and his sponsored child in front of her house.

Mouniratou is the youngest of 7 children. Her father has died and she is being cared for by her mother. Only 2 of the 7 children are in school. Mouniratou is in the 3rd grade.

Mouni's mother said that without the help of the sponsorship program, she is not sure what she would have done. She said, 'There were days that she thought about leaving all and running away'. But, with the help brought to her through the sponsorship program, she found the courage to stay and to care for her children.

This is a photo of the re-building of a grandmother's house. This grandmother has raised her twin granddaughters since they were 2 years old. This past September their house started falling in during a storm of hard rain and strong winds. They family got safetly out of the house but were no longer able to sleep there.

With lots of help, it took only about 4 hours to tear the old house down and then the next day, we started building a new house out of mud bricks. In the next 4 or 5 days, Grandmother and the twins will be safely re-installed in their new house.

Thanks for your visit, Jeff and Brenden. We love you and
please come back again soon!

Love and blessings to you!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Sponsorship Christmas Party!

Dear Family and Friends, 8 January, 2009

Thanks to your generosity, we have partied so much this year! This past Monday, Jan 4th was a holiday here so we planned a huge party for our sponsored children. We have estimated that about 125 of our children came. Some came from right here in Yako and some came from 10 or 12 kilometers away. They came on foot and on bicycle and they started arriving at 6:30 in the morning. Everyone came looking forward to having fun!

Our day was filled with serious times and fun and games times and since 'a picture is worth a thousand words', I will not bore you with long sentences but will show you the highlights of the day through some pictures.

Our day started with with prayer, singing songs, and listening to the story of Jesus.

Twelve children gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time. On the right is Pastor Valentin praying with the children.

Next each small group from our local area churches presented a dance routine or a skit. The children really enjoy these times. Everyone did their very best to prepare and afterwards we voted on the best performance. The Sector 3 church won with their animated performance of 'Father Abraham had Many Sons'.
For lunch we enjoyed riz gras, a traditional African dish with fried fish and vegetables. Connie, Mme Kindo, and Sarata served the children.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in playing games. There were 7 stations set up where the children could pass from game to game as they wanted. They went fishing at the fish pond, were challenged by an obstacle course, tried to follow an obstacle course by using a mirror, loved the sac races!, played marbles, and other team games. Here are some pictures of game time.

At the end, each child received a small gift and left with smiles on their faces and parting words of 'we'll do this again next year'. It was a great day and our local childrens' workers made the day a great success. These last 2 pictures are of children heading home and of a little boy giving us a gift of a chicken. . . . . his family's way of saying thank-you.

Again, thank you so much for reaching out to and loving the children of Burkina through the sponsorship program. Your children are thriving. You are making a difference in the lives of your children. We have letters from each child and new photos that you will be receiving in the next month or so. . . . as soon as we can get them from this side of the world to yours!

Love and blessings to you!

Friday, January 01, 2010

End of 2009, beginning of 2010

Dear Family and Friends, December 31, 2009

Orphanage Christmas Activities

Thank you so much for your generous response to my request for funds for a Christmas party! So many of you responded and this really touched my heart.

We have partied now 3 times with the orphanage children. On the evening of the 23rd Sarah, Lisa and Ruth, (my short-termers who are here) planned an evening of fun and games. We played Twister which was great fun and then we played another game where each person tied a balloon on his ankle and then tried to pop the balloons of the others without getting their own balloon popped. This was just a riot with 25 kids hopping and dancing around the courtyard trying to pop their neighbor's balloon. The girls had baked cookies so at the end we sat together telling and acting out the Christmas story, eating snacks and drinking kool-aid.

On Christmas morning, each child received a gift. Because of your generosity, we were able to
have matching outfits made for everyone. The children love this. The girls picked out the fabric and two local taillors made our outfits. The boys each received a new pair of shoes and the girls received hair extentions. And, everyone received lotion, candy, and a packet of cookies.

Although you may not recognize them, these are some of our children acting out a skit at church on Christmas Eve. The message of the skit was that Jesus is more powerful than anything that the enemy can try to do to us. The boy in the chair was the son of a animistic village chief who converted to Christianity. During the night he was tormented by demons but he cried out the name of Jesus and the demons left. The next morning he began telling his father and younger brother what the Lord had done for him and they also committed their lives to Jesus. The people in the congregation were clapping and cheering! I was really proud of our kids!

January 1, 2010

Hmmmmm, I wonder how many times I will write 2009 and send it out without catching it this year? I hope that you all have a blessed and properous New Year!

We celebrated the New Year at the church last night with singing and dancing, drama, preaching and praying! Some of our older children did not get home until around 2 AM and then the boys were up again at 7 killing and dressing the sheep which will be part of our traditional holiday meal. With the meat, we will have huge bowls of spaghetti.

Right after lunch, Ruth, from England, and I will leave for Ouaga, a bit of shopping, dinner, and then on to the airport for her to catch her flight home. It has been a joy to have Ruth here with us. She came in during her Christmas break from university and spent 3 weeks with us. It will be hard to say 'good-bye' to Ruth. Within just a few days, she had slipped into our African family life and the children all adore her.This is a picture of Ruth and Yolande, one of our girls, at our Christmas party.

Love and blessings to you!