Monday, December 09, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas is a wonderful time when our hearts are turned towards the needs of others. I love this time of year when we are giving love to one another in one form or another.

If you are looking for a COMPLETELY fulfilling way to give to a child this year, would you please think and pray about sponsoring one of our children? Linda and I are almost daily finding new children with new needs to meet. For just $35 per month, you can send a child to school and help his or her family with food and medical supplies on an as needed basis.

We just met Laurence the other day. She is older for a sponsorship child but she has demonstrated a lot of determination in getting as far as she has in school.

Laurence hopes to become a nurse
Laurence is 20 years old. She is in the 10th grade this year (2013-2014). Her father died in 2000 of an illness. Her mother left the courtyard shortly after her father died and she is now living in the Ivory Coast.

Laurence is under the watchful eye of her older sister. Laurence lives in the courtyard of her father's extended family. There are 8 children in the family. One is in Ouagadougou, four are students in Niangoloko and three are no longer in school. Laurence is the 5th child in the family.

Laurence lives in a small mud brick house without access to electricity or running water. The family farms for a living and during the rainy season, Laurence works in her family's fields.

Laurence dreams of becoming a nurse. With a passing grade this year in school (2013-2014) it is possible that if Laurence has a sponsor, we could enroll her in nursing school next year.

Would you please consider sponsoring Laurence?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Is there room for one more in your family?

Hi! My name is David.

David -
Born: either Oct 20, 2011 or March 1, 2010, probably the March, 2010 date

November, 2013, David looks to be in good health and looks to be about 3 ½ yrs old. He was abandoned as an infant near the intersection of a rural road.

David has bright eyes and is very engaging.  Although it is sometimes very difficult to get an accurate diagnosis here, David appears to be struggling with a mild to medium form of Cerebral Palsy. His motor skills are delayed. He walks well without help but he does fall a lot. His speech is impaired, possibly due to hearing loss. He has a noticeable crossed eye.

David needs a home where he can grow and flourish. He will need specialized care including physical therapy. He responds affectionately to love and touch

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A blessing named, Awa

The village chief has given Awa permission to be our language helper and also our care-taker here in Kimini.

Awa is a young woman with the responsibility of caring for 2 young children and she now also has the respondibility of caring for Linda and I in the village. And, we DO need a care-taker.

Each morning and each evening, Awa passes by to see if there is anything at all that we need. She checks to see if our two 20-liter water bottles are full. She takes us around the village introducing us to all of her family and friends. She takes us to the market and helps us to buy food and our daily needs. She takes us to visit the tailor to have a new skirt made. She brings us gifts of rice and beans and offers to do our laundry for us.

In addition, Awa has taken on the task of being our language helper as Linda and I study the local language of Jula.

Then, during the rest of her day, Awa cares for her two small children and watches over her fields of corn, rice, and peanuts.

How thankful I am for this precious young woman and the blessing that she is to us!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You know you are in the village. . . . when. . .

While laying on your bed, you feel critters scurrying around inside your mattress. Mice! Yikes!

Well, they died, smelled to high heaven. . . and I bought a new mattress.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kimini News--

Week two in Kimini has brought us many opportunities to meet new people and to work on building relationships with our new friends. We are very thankful for the village chief, and Babou and Awa for their care in looking in on us everyday to see if there is anything that we need.

We met this week with the chief, a local committee from the village and a local mason to talk about our plans to build a little house. All were in agreement and we are leaning towards building a 3-room concrete block house rather than the traditional mud-brick construction. The costs are coming out very affordable for the concrete block and this will provide a much more stable building.

As this meeting was drawing to a close the chief announced that the village would provide the sand, gravel, and rock that will be required for our house. This was a very unexpected surprise and we are praising the Lord for this generous support from the village. The village men and boys will gather this from the bush and bring it in so that the work of making bricks can be started.

We also met with two men manning the Social Action office in Niangoloko, our nearest small town, and talked with them about the needs and problems of the orphans and vulnerable children in our region. They warmly welcomed us and have promised to visit us in Kiminia in the next week or so. As in all of Burkina, the needs of the children is overwhelming.

Babou and surveyors

Today two surveyors from Banfora came to Kimini to survey the land that the village has given to us.

We met first in the chief's courtyard and then together walked over to our property. The men walked the circumference of the land twice, measuring and putting down concrete markers. They then returned to Banfora where they will produce a blueprint of the land. This blueprint will be included among the many papers needed to register the land in the name of Sheltering Wings.

Lots of activity! Lots of fun! And, tomorrow Linda and I will be leaving our pleasant air-conditioning and wifi in Banfora to return to our peaceful little village of Kimini. But, before leaving we did enjoy a visit to McDonald's. . . . Burkina Style!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Official 'Ceremony de Passage'

This week Les Ailes de Refuge threw a big party.

We invited the local authorities in Yako, especially all of the services who we work with on a daily basis. We invited local pastors, all of our employees and children, as well as local friends.

Two tents, chars, and benches were set up.

Several of the children from the orphanage prepared a special song for the ceremony.

Speeches were made by all, including our own Achille!

Our ladies and several others from church prepared a lovely meal.

And the ceremony started with speeches and kind words and blessings to all. Mike was established as the new director of the Yako project and I am released to go and start a new work in Kimini.

Some things are so bitter-sweet. . . .
It was so good to see so many friends and to share this day of celebration with them. But, it was also very hard to be saying goodby to so many people that I have grown to love so much. Through the good times and the hard times, deep relationships are formed. Yako, and the children and people of Yako, will forever be in my heart.

And now. . . . my heart and attention can turn South and towards the small village of Kimini.

 Today, Linda and I started shopping through a list of basic things that we will need to set up housekeeping including a new water filter. We also each got a haircut before moving into the African bush!

Just a few things remain to take care of and soon we will be loading up the car and heading South. Much more to come. . . .

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Going Home--

Home has been in my heart recently, that is for sure, but this 'going home' brings especially great joy to my heart.

After talking about airplanes for days and listening to the sound of airplanes flying over Ouagadougou, last night another little guy left here with his parents ready to start the long journey to his new home in the US.

His story is a beautiful story of redemption in that after a bleak start and spending the first 3 ½ years of his life in an orphanage, this little one has a new family and a new hope for a bright future.

So happy. . . . so thankful for adoptive families!

Back 'home' in Burkina!

Throughout the past three weeks here in Burkina my mind has repeatedly returned to the wonderful times of rest and refreshing that I recently enjoyed with family and friends at home. While passing through Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts I saw Jesus living in his people and shining in your faces. Thank you for your sweet hospitality and for precious moments of chatting over a cup of coffee or tea.

I am very thankful for precious times with my family and for the memories that we made together. And, I am greatly encouraged by the time spent with each of you who are laboring with us to bring the Light of the World into our little corner of Burkina.

Although so happy to be back in my Burkina home I am already tentatively planning another trip home in the Spring. It is hard sometimes to deal with a heart that is 100% in Burkina and 100% in the US, but I am so thankful that the Lord helps me to work through these heart issues and that his grace and mercy are new every morning.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sweet moments--

This is 8 year old Emma.

I had briefly met Emma almost 2 years ago now but was able to really connect with her this past week when I visited her parents in Pennsylvania. I think that all 8 yr olds are really special but Emma falls at the top of my special list.

Recently on her own initiative, Emma and two of her friends sold cookies and lemonade at a family yard sale. Emma decided that she was giving her share of the money earned to Sheltering Wings! Her parents promised to match what she earned and they have sent a check to help with the cost of milk for the children in our orphanage.

How great it is when the American children reach out and care for the African children who are in need! Thank you Emma for helping us to take care of our children. May the Lord richly bless you and your family for the way that you are helping the children in Burkina.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Look What God is Doing!

We are growing and expanding. . . . AGAIN!

This is our new kitchen and dining hall being built on the orphanage property.  We have needed this for many years and now the Lord is providing. 

Estimated completion date?  Soon!  Just in time for our children to return for 'back to school' time. 

We are calling this building Lambert Hall and it will be a multi-functional building used as a dining hall for our children, meeting place for children and staff, and for study times in the evenings.

God is good!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Sweet Introduction--

After a long, long wait and then a long, long trip another family has found a child who waited for 11 years to find her family.

Nathan, Mama, and Noome
Introducing sweet 11 year old Noome!  Although thought to be terribly shy, especially when she is

uncomfortable or in a new situation, Noome is NOT shy.  Within hours of meeting her mother and younger brother, Noome was starting to run and play and even to tease her new brother. 

In just one week’s time, Noome experienced a hamburger and pizza. . . and she likes them.  She learned to use a Western-style toilet and experienced carpet on the floor.  She also learned that she cannot spit out food that she does not like on the floor and that she cannot rinse out her mouth with water and spit it on the floor!

We had great times together of visiting the sacred crocodiles and some sad times together of saying goodby to the orphanage which has been Noome’s home for all of her 11 years.

But, there is a new world waiting for Noome as she arrives home to meet her new father and other younger brother.

Blessings to Noome and the Warner family as you begin your new life together!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Power of a Nine Year Old

Please meet Hailey, a little nine year old with a huge heart!

Hailey heard about Burkina Faso and the difficult conditions of the children here in Burkina and her heart melted.  So, for her 9th birthday, Hailey told her family and friends that she did not want gifts but that she wanted money to send to help the children.

This is a little missionary in the making!  Thank you so much, Hailey.  May the Lord richly bless you for what you have done for our children.

Changing the World, One Family - One Child At a Time

Part of the foundation of our work in Burkina Faso is our child sponsorship program.  And one very special family who sponsors three of our primary school children challenged their children to clean out their rooms and to sponsor a yard sale for the benefit of their sponsored children. 

The Bolstad children went to work and with joy in their hearts (and the help and support of their parents) put together a yard sale this summer.

Although at times the work was overwhelming, the Lord gave them tremendous success and a sunny day and look what the children accomplished for the glory of God!


 What a sweet example of a family training up their children to love and to sacrificially give!  Thank you so much!

Handshaking -Children Caring for the Children

I am so thankful for the many, many people who share in the work of caring for the orphans of Burkina!  Some are called to go, some are called to send, and all are called to pray!  Our God uses each and every one of us to accomplish His will!

Today I want to tell you a very sweet story about an amazing young woman, Becky Verrips, who
recently spent some time with us in Yako loving and caring for our babies. 

When Becky returned home she told to her pastor, her church, her family and friends about her work here in Burkina and consequently her church agreed to make Sheltering Wings their mission emphasis for their summer Vacation Bible School.

There were about 120 people in attendance each night and part of the fun was a competition between the girls and boys to see who could bring in the most money for the orphanage.  In total, the children raised $851.76 for the orphanage. 

Thank you, Pastor Ray Hoke, and Bethel Church for this gift of love!  Thank you children of Bethel Church for praying for and giving to the children of Burkina!