Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Blessings

Must take a few minutes to thank the Lord for all of his blessings this year. While my heart resides on two continents, I am happy and thankful to have been able to pass the holidays here at my US home with family and friends.

First snow in Illinois and Hayden, Noah, and Claire made a great snowman.

Reading the Christmas story together on Christmas morning.

Gifts given, gifts received. . . . but, the greatest gift of all is the gift of God's Son, Jesus!

Mom with four great-grand children!

Looking forward to two more weeks of building memories and then returning to my African home in Burkina!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wendemie goes to Italy!

We are rejoicing because another one of our little ones has been placed in a ‘forever family’. Little Wendemie has been with us for almost three years but this week we have said ‘goodby’ to her and placed her in the loving arms of her mother and father.

We will miss you, Wendemie, but we know that the Lord has great plans for you and many blessings in store for you and your new family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Liz Returns for a Visit

Want to introduce Dave and Liz Nyitray to you. Liz worked with us for one year in 2008-2009. It was a joy to have Liz with us then and now we have the joy of meeting her husband, Dave.

The couple arrived this past week-end and will only have 2 short weeks with us. . . . but, they are going to be fun-filled weeks of introducing Dave to Burkina and of reconnecting Liz to friends.

After spending just a short time in the 'baby cage' this morning, Astride is already so comfortable with Liz that she has fallen asleep in Liz's arms.

Welcome Dave and Liz!

Monday, November 14, 2011

From Daniel's Tears

A group of friends have caught God's Spirit for Burkina's orphans. They have started a project called From Daniel's Tears. The first project of From Daniel's Tears is selling Burkina bracelets. From Daniel's Tears partners with Eternal Threads to have green bracelets made by girls in Nepal rescued from trafficking! All the proceeds from selling these bracelets goes to the orphans in Burkina.

$1 to provide income to the girls in Nepal

$1 to Little Matheny's orphanage

$1 to Ruth's orphanage.

Quite possibly, the BEST THREE DOLLARS you ever spent! You can buy one for yourself or a hundred for your friends, church, or Bible study to sell. From Daniel's Tears is working on a video that will aid you in advocating for Burkina's orphans.

To order, write a comment, send me an email at yakorphans@gmail.com or send an email to Cami at camiwarning@gmail.com. Also, visit their Facebook page called 'From Daniel's Tears'.

US Embassy Friends

Yesterday we had another very special visit from friends from the US Embassy. John and Jeremy came with the back of their truck full of clothes, milk and rice for the orphanage and a very special gift of German chocolate for our German girls, Anne and Judith. These gifts came from the military spouses association in Germany.

We sat together out in the baby 'cage' talking and getting to know each other better while playing with and hugging babies.

Two of our older boys, Barthelemy and Josué, brought their guitar
and drum and provided background music and atmosphere for us.

What a blessing to receive these visitors and the tangible gifts that they bring.

John's wife and children are in Germany and Jeremy's wife and children are in the US. I hope that in some small way our children can fill the void in their hearts caused by their families being so far away.

Music by Bart and Josue.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My African Girls--

Just wanted to put a little note out with a sweet picture of my three African girls. Left to right, Anne, Tenielle, and Judith. They are special blessings to me and to all of our children here.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Moϊse, Baby Moses

Moϊse is the French name for Moses. Baby Moses came to the orphanage 3 weeks ago with his mother who is not well mentally and his older sister, Marceline, who is 6 years old.

Moses’ mother suffers from epilepsy and while holding Moses in her arms, she had a seizure. The baby fell into the fire and the back of his head was badly burned. Social Action called us and asked us to take the mother and the children in for a few weeks so that our nurses could care for the baby’s burn.

We took the family in but within days realized that the mother is really not capable of caring for her children. In reality, little Marceline was the care-taker of her mother and of Baby Moses.

After much work on the part of our social worker, Ely, and the social workers at Social Action in Yako, we convinced the father, who is elderly, to place Marceline with some extended family in Yako so that she could go to school, to take the mother back home to the village, and to let us keep Moses until his wound is healed. We will take care of Moses until he is around 2 years old, until he is stronger, and not at such risk as he is as an infant.

Please pray for Baby Moses that his wound heals and that he grows strong. And, please pray for this family to find the help that they need to care for their children.

Please let me know if you would like to sponsor Baby Moses.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Special Child Needing a Special Family--

David was born on October 19, 2002. His mother was married but David is the child of a relationship outside of the marriage.

When David was born, his mother could not give him the name of his father. Shortly after his birth, in fear of her husband's reaction to the baby, and her own fears of caring for him, she threw him down a well. Soon after wards, she was sorry for doing this and also feared her husband's reaction and went back to get the child.

After a family counsel meeting, the family recommended that the mother take him and leave him in the care of an orphanage. David has grown up in this orphanage.

David sees a little but he has suffered permanent damage to the optic nerve. With the limited diagnostics and expertise available here, the specialist was not able to determine just how much David can see. The specialist felt like the damage was not reparable. Otherwise, David is normal physically and mentally.

Because of his visual handicap, David has not been sent to school.

If you are interested in learning more about David or about adopting from Burkina, please send me a note.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little Dresses for Africa

Today we held the Kid's Bible Club in Doure and as a special treat for the children, we brought 'Little Dresses for Africa' for each of the little girls. There were about 120 children gathered around the church this afternoon and 62 of these children were little girls.

The children listened to the story of salvation. They sang songs and clapped their hands. They memorized a scripture . . . and each of the little girls went home wearing a new dress. What a fun day!

I cannot begin to name the wonderful friends and groups of friends who have sent us these little dresses. But, I pray God's richest blessings on each one of you who have given of your time and talent and I know, have prayed over these dresses.

They have been a huge blessing and have given many little girls a reason to smile.

Baby Rakistaba

Because so many of you know and love Pastor Valentin, I wanted to let you know that he and Monique are the proud new parents of a beautiful little boy named Tegawende Esdra.

Baby Rakistaba was born on Thursday, Oct 20th, 2011 and he weighed 2,60 kg.

Mother and baby are both home and are doing very well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Fun Day with our Sponsored Children

This afternoon we hosted about 35 of our sponsored children for an afternoon of creative activity.

Each child made a bookmark and a bracelet to give away and they received a bracelet for themselves.

We are going to use the bookmarks in a fund-raiser and the bracelets are for a Christmas gift for their sponsors.

After taking each child's picture they returned home wearing a bracelet just like the one that they made for their sponsors.

Tomorrow we will meet with the sponsored children in Doure and in the next few weeks meet with all of the other groups of children so that each sponsor will receive a gift from their child.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Milestone for Pauline and Yolande

This past week-end there was a graduation ceremony for the first class to complete the three year sewing program at the school ACFOR in Yako. Two of our girls, Pauline and Yolande, were students in this first class and they have successfully completed the three years of training.

The ceremony was held in a public place in Yako and all of the community officials were invited. There was entertainment by a traditional dance group and several speeches were made by the director of the school and some of our community officials.

Each graduating student received a diploma and the top 5 students in the class received gifts of sewing supplies.

Afterwards, everyone in attendance was served a very nice meal of riz gras (literally fat rice) and grilled chicken.

I am very proud of the girls and their accomplishment. It was not easy for either of them because the course was given in French and particularly Yolande is rather weak in French. But, they worked hard and persevered and now they are looking forward to opening their own tailoring shop.

Congratulations Pauline and Yolande! May God get all of the glory for what He is doing in your lives.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo

We have had a very special visitor from St. Louis these past few weeks. Her name is Dr Christelle Ilboudo. Dr. Ilboudo is doing her residency at Cardinal Glennon Hospital where she has specialized in pediatrics.

Dr. Ilboudo has worked side by side our local nurses, Josie and Bea, in treating our children here at the orphanage and the children in our schools. She has also worked with our nurses in a mobile clinic in a neighboring village.

Dr Ilboudo has been a tremendous blessing to us and to our children. She has come with a heart to serve and with her expertise she has offered helpful and practical suggestions to our nurses and our baby caretakers.

Thank you Christelle for coming to Yako and may the Lord richly bless you as you return and finish your studies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Awa and Monica

We have received 2 more babies into the orphanage this past week-- Awa and Monica.

Awa is a little 6-month old whose parents are both not well mentally. Her parents were having a disagreement and extended family members feared that they might hurt the baby so they took her to social action. Social action called us and we will care for Awa for at least 6 months while the extended family finds a long-term solution for Awa.

Awa is tiny for her age. She has not had adequate nutrition and is not yet able to sit up on her own. But, we trust that with good food and good care, Awa will soon catch up with the other babies.

Monica is about 2 ½ years old. Her mother also is not well mentally and she and Monica were living on the streets in a small village in Burkina. Social Action has been watching this mother and out of concern for the well-being of the child, they took her and sent her to our orphanage.

Pending a home study, Monica may be available for adoption.

Goodby to Becky--

We said 'goodby' to Becky Schroeder this past week. Sigh! Becky was with us for one year and it was a great joy to have had this time with her.

Becky worked day in and day out in our baby rooms, with our primary and secondary children, and team taught English with a local English teacher in our 7th grade class.

Everyone loves Becky and her presence and sweet spirit is greatly missed here in Yako.

We have many very special children here in the orphanage. One little one, 7-year old Jonas, said to me this morning in very broken French, 'Becky is no longer here. She is now in her 'other' home.

Jonas loves Becky. . . just like we all do!

We miss you Beck! Come back soon!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Back to School Time

Each year with 'back to school time' new children come into the orphanage. And, this year has been no exception.

In the past 10 days we have taken 4 new children into the orphanage. Two of these children are babies and two of them are school age children.

Awa is a little 6 month old whose parents are both not well mentatlly. The parents and Awa were essentially living on the streets. Social Action has placed Awa in our orphanage while they try to find extended family of the parents both to care for the parents and for Awa. For 6 months of age, Awa is very small. She is not yet sitting up by herself but we trust that with love and care, she will catch up developmentally.

Monica is a little two year old who also has a mother who is not well mentally. Recently, Monica's mother tried to kill her but a neighbor intervened and took Monica to Social Action. Monica's mother is not even able to give her name or where her home village is located. Pending an in depth home study, Monica may be available for adoption.

Waogba is 11 years old and comes from a village about 10 kilometers outside of Yako. He is one of our sponsored children and we have been watching him very closely for over a year now. Waogba is very small for his age and was not getting the care that he needed at home. When he was sick, it was hard for the family to get medicine for him and he missed a lot of school.

This summer, we started talking with Waogba's family about the possibility of him coming to live at the orphanage during the school and then returning home to the village for the summer vacation. And, his family was in agreement for this.

Waogba is behind in school and small for his age. . . . but, in a smaller class size and with good food we trust that he will catch up real quick. He is in the 3rd grade of our primary school.

Ouedraogo, Leontine is also one of our sponsored children. She comes from a small village called Doure about 14 kilometers outside of Yako. Leotine's mother has died and the family has not heard from her father in many years. It is thought that he is living in the Ivory Coast. She was living in the courtyard of an aunt and was mostly being cared for by an aging grandmother. Often Leontine was sick. She often missed school either because of an illness or in order to help her grandmother in the courtyard. She is 12 years old.

We have invited Leontine to come and live at the orphanage. She will attend our primary school where she is in the 5th grade and she will return to the village for the summer vacation.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Children in the Orphanage

Once again our orphanage family is growing as we received three new children this week. The children's story is still unraveling but it is one of sadness and hardship.

Carine is 17 years old and her younger sister is 12 years old. Their mother died in 2006 and their father died earlier this year. With both of their parents gone, the extended family began passing the girls from one aunt to another and in most situations they felt unwanted and that they were a burden to the family.

This past year, Carine, became involved with a married man who is a teacher in her community. When the family found out that Carine was pregnant, she was kicked out of the family courtyard and her sister, Francoise, was sent away with Carine.

A few weeks ago, out of hunger and desperation. Carine went to Social Action asking for help. She was sick and the children had not eaten for 3 days.

We have taken the children into the orphanage. It has been five years since Carine has been in school so it will be very difficult for her to integrate into the formal school setting. But, we will try to get her a place in a sewing school where she will learn to be a tailler. While Carine is in school, our baby-caretakers will care for her 2 month old baby, Cedrick.

Francoise finished the 6th grade last year and passed the standardized test (CEP) allowing her to continue to the 7th grade. Francoise will attend our secondary school.

Please pray for these children as they integrate into our family that they will know the love and acceptance of the Father and that they will find his peace.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Visit from some US Embassy Friends

Today we had a wonderful visit from 4 new friends from the US Embassy. We had met Melanie Zimmerman last week at an embassy meeting and she came to Yako today with her husband, Serge, Captain Jeremy Sparks (US Air Force), and Lieutenant Colonel John Williamson (US Army).

It is always great to meet new Americans and to be able to easily talk and to get to know each other. We all sat on the floor in the 'baby cage' while we talked, played with babies, and put several of the babies to sleep in our arms.

Last week, we left the embassy with a huge box of hand-made blankets that had been sent to Burkina by a group of military wives stationed in Germany. The blankets are beautiful and with cooler temperatures now here in Burkina, they will get much use.

Today they came with infant formula, infant cereal, some clothes and toys. . . . and some macaroni and peanut butter!

It is so fun to have visitors and to make new friends!

Animal Project

Went out to visit our animal project this morning. Whew! You have to get up with the chickens in order to catch the cows at home!

This has been a good year for our animals in that we have three new calves. They are all doing well. They have good mama's.

At the same time, it has been a bad year in that we lost one female who was pregnant because she ate some anti-parasite medicine that was for the other animals. Another of our females aborted a calf but the mama is doing okay.

This project is one that we share with one of our local pastors. Together we pay a shepherd to care for the animals and share the costs of the vetenarian. During the rainy season the animals graze and we only need to buy salt. But, during the dry season, the pastures are barren and we must buy food.

We have 7 mature cows and 2 bulls and 3 little calves who were born this year.

This is a 'little shepherd boy' who helps our 'big shepherd'.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Short-term Missionaries

I would like to introduce 3 girls who have recently joined our team and who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

Anne Westerheide is 20 years old and is from Germany. Anne just finished her high school studies and is spending a gap year here at our orphanage. Anne is warm and loving and is already settling into daily life here.

Judith Podworny is 20 years old is also from Germany. Judith just finished her high school studies and is spending a gap year here at our orphanage. Judith is fun loving and full of energy and the children are already clinging to her.

Anne and Judith are very busy everyday working in our baby rooms, taking pictures, helping at the medical clinic in Doure, and playing games with our older children.

And this is Tenielle Lytle coming to us from McCook, NE. Tenielle is 21 years old and has made several trips to Mexico to work in an orphanage there. Tenielle has had a dream to serve in an orphanage in Africa for many years and the Lord has brought her to us.

Tenielle has a servant's heart and is willing to do anything that we ask her to do and daily steps out of her comfort zone to help and to serve. Tenielle will work with us for 3 months.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Another Forever Family

This week we had the wonderful privilege of introducing a little 3 year old boy who is blind to his adoptive parents. The parents arrived on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning we began a very slow process of introducing each family member.

The week has exceeded all of our wildest expectations. After just three days together, Mama was able to hold, feed, bathe, and put the little one to sleep.

So many people were praying all over the world for this event. Only God does miracles and we have seen Him work this week.

Only God could move in a family’s heart so that they can take a child into their family as their very own through adoption! Only God can take us as we are and adopt us into the Family of God!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Littlest Matheny

After multiple visits to doctors, clinics, and vaccination centers, we finally received the needed signatures on the Littlest Matheny’s medical papers. This was difficult and stressful for Little Matheny and his parents, alike, but everyone is rejoicing now because all of his papers have been delivered to the US Consulate and if all goes well, we will have his visa tomorrow afternoon. Yay!

The Lord has been with us each step of the way and we are celebrating Him and giving Him thanks and glory for the great work that He is doing for this family.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Forever Family

This week we had the wonderful privilege of introducing a little 3 year old boy who is blind to his adoptive parents. The parents arrived on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning we began a very slow process of introducing each family member.

The week has exceeded all of our wildest expectations. After just three days together, Mama is able to hold, feed, bathe, and put the little one to sleep.

Only God does miracles and we have seen Him work this week.

Only God could move in a family’s heart so that they can take a child into their family as their very own through adoption! Only God can take us as we are and adopt us into the Family of God!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

New Baby in the Orphanage

I would like to introduce Wendpanga Mariam to you. She was born on July 22, 2011 at the hospital here in Yako.

Mariam's mother is just 20 years old and she is not well mentally. Her father is 69 years old. This past week, when Mariam's mother tried to kill her by throwing her down on the ground, her father came to us asking for help.

Mariam's long-term future is not sure but for now, we will care for her until she is 12 months old. Then her father will decide whether the mother is capable of caring for Mariam or whether he will find an aunt or someone else in the family to care for her

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kids Bible Club in Doure

This evening, we participated in another Kids' Bible Club in Doure. Local children's leaders led the singing and told the Bible story, and Rebecca and I brought a small craft for the children to work on.

There were 105 children who came to the club. At the end, when the children's worker, Renwende gave an opportunity for the children to ask Jesus into their heart, 5 children raised their hands and came forward for prayer.

These children were from an unbelieving home but after hearing about the love of Jesus, they wanted to invite Him into their hearts.

We are thanking and praising Jesus for the work that He is doing in the tiny village of Doure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

27 July, 2011

This has been such a busy time that it has been hard to find the time to write.

Maria Casaleggi and Rachel Holper from St Louis came and worked with us and have already left. Thank you so much, Maria and Rachel, for sewing into the lives of our children and for blessing us with your smiles and warm hearts.

Kelsey Graczak and Rebecca Dalton, also from St Louis, traveled back to Burkina with me and they still have about 2 more weeks with us. Kelsey and Rebecca have cared for our babies, played with the older children, participated in sponsorship distributions, held VBSs in neighboring villages, and many, many more things. They have definitely left their imprint on us and all of our children.

Anna McLees, from Virginia, has been with us for one month now. Anna is a teacher and also a talented artist. Anna has worked with several of our primary school age children tutoring

them in reading, writing, and math. She also painted a mural on one of the walls of our older baby room. Rebecca also helped in this project. Thank you so much, Anna, for all that you have done for us and for our children at the orphanage.

Finally, we finished the food distributions for June. We held distributions in six different centers and each child's family received a 200 pound bag of corn and some soap. This is a picture of distribution day at the Sayo church.

Three weeks ago now we started a weekly Bible club for the children in Doure. The first week there were about 30 children in attendance. The second week there were 60 children and this past Sunday, there were 90 children at the Bible club. We are training 2 of the children's workers of the Doure church to hold these meetings. We sing with the children, tell them a Bible story and then do a simple craft or play a game with them. This past week, the pastor told us that there are now about twice as many children coming to the Sunday morning service as there were before starting the Bible club.

We are thankful for this opportunity to sew into the lives of this next generation of Burkina society.