African heat tough to handle…

Another entry from my journal from my mission trip to Niger, Africa.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I imagine that at some point, someone will ask how hot it is in Africa. Words have not been IMG_0809 (2)invited to describe the African heat. And since it’s the rainy season, humidity is out of control. The air is as thick as mayonnaise. The life expectancy of an ice cube is 15 seconds. Cokes out of the fridge are boiling within minutes. Sweat drips down my neck. It drips down my back, and little beads of perspiration form behind my knees. Even my toes are sweating. I’d love to lie down but the sheets are too hot. They feel like they just came out of the dryer. It’s so sticky out that my clothes cling to my body as if they would fall off me if they didn’t. As I told Abraham (one of the nationals) today, “I have NEVER been this hot. EVER.” And apparently this is pretty cool for them.

Yesterday was interesting. We returned to the university to do our witnessing. I gave my testimony to a group of three girls. One of them accepted Christ! While Saratou was going over things with the new believer, the other two girls started making lunch. A boy had brought a bag of rice, meat and sauce, and the girl dumped it into a big bowl. Then she cut up some onion and threw it in, and then she tore off pieces of a Baggett and threw those in. She mixed it all together with her hands.

Then, she invited us to eat with them. Now, it is very rude to refuse, so Kaeli and I said we would. Oh- there were also some weird leaves in there. Anyways, it tasted OK, but was pretty spicy. I had about five or six bites. They said that accepting their invitation to eat meant we were friends, and it meant a lot to them that we had lunch in their room. They gave Kaeli and I each a spoon but they used their hands to eat. We were in there for quite awhile having great discussion.

We left when it was time to head back to the bus, and I did NOT feel well. The food wasn’t sitting well with me at all. Since it was spicy, it really made my acid reflux act up, too. Saratou felt so bad. She promised me that everything was cooked. And it was, it just didn’t sit right in my stomach. So, I skipped lunch. Solomon said he was impressed that I ate the food- that it really showed love to try something new and step out of my comfort zone.

I took some TUMS, Pepto Bismal and another Nexium. I also took a nap, so by late afternoon, I was fine. Speaking of naps, I should take one! More later!

10:30 p.m.

Back from the Jesus Film showing. My group this time is Kaeli, Jonathan and Bruce.

IMG_0830 (2)Our new location is in a neighborhood in town. The kids weren’t as photo-crazy as the others. They are still adorable though, of course! Tomorrow is our last showing. We will show all four reels. I gave my testimony tonight and a bunch of the boys remembered my name so they kept chanting it at the end before we left. Then they each HAD to shake my hand before we drove off. They were speaking in Hausa, so no one in my group knew exactly what they were saying!

The exciting news is that three people at our showing accepted Christ!

This morning we got to sleep in for a bit. We didn’t go to the university. Instead, we all met at the office and shared stories about our experiences. One of the girls taught us a song in Hausa. Here are the lyrics:

Zan shaida Yesu koina.IMG_0785 (2)

Ban damu da gargada hanya ba.

Ni zan je, Nez an je.

 Translation:

I will announce Jesus everywhere.

I won’t worry about the journey.

I will go, I will go.

After that, we just had some time for fellowship. I ended up in a circle talking with Kaeli, Shaia, Abu and Adam. Of course, Adam’s full attention was on me. He was trying to teach me Hausa- his native language. I learned a lot about some Niger traditions from Adam. And heDress learned a lot about America from me! He was shocked to hear that if you marry a girl in America, you do not also get some goats.

We got our dresses back today! I don’t know where I’ll ever wear it, but hey, at least I have an official African dress!

Must shower and get to bed. Another big day tomorrow! Only three days left in Niger. I’m so excited to go home, but also don’t want to leave.

Finding Hippos and a Meal for a King…

From my journal of the mission trip with Jesus Film Ministries to Niger, Africa in 2009.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today was a FABULOUS day! We had cinnamon rolls and banana bread for breakfast and then headed out for our boat rides. The rain really cooled things off last night after a huge thunderstorm, so it was the perfect morning.

Bruce haggled us a good price for the boat ride, and then we were off! In my boat was me, Kathy, Sheri, Zac and Jonathan. The water was pretty muddy and was only a few feet deep. The boats looked really old and were falling apart, but we trusted our guides.4788_103252161572_2999197_n

We went really far in hopes of finding some hippos. I was kind of nervous. Hippopotamuses?! They are HUGE and are NOT nice. And the guides said that they are as fast as horses when on land. Well, we did find some hippos! All we really got to see were their heads but it was still very cool. We walked around on a beach on an island, and we watched the hippos from there and took lots of pictures.

4788_103252191572_6479839_nWe got back in our little boats and our next stop was this tiny little village on an island. We walked around the village. We met some of the people and took pictures of the kids. One little boy just walked up to me and grabbed my hand! He was so cute!

All of the little village kids sent us off when we floated away. There were about 20 of them waving and yelling as we left.

For lunch we went to Angel and Venonce’s home (they run the university Campus Crusade as IMG_0673 (2)national directors in Niger). It was a pretty big deal for them to do that. I guess they didn’t do that with last year’s team! The meal was INCREDIBLE! It was some really weird stuff, but it was also really good. There were a lot of vegetables, some sort of meat (no one dared ask what), and of course all the Fanta we could drink.

Their home was pretty nice. It was gated- like every “real” house here is. They even had a servant!

We talked a bit about the political issues in Niger. It is scary to think Niger could get a new president who will declare it a Muslim country and outlaw any other religions. I don’t even want to think about it.

4975_102900226572_770615_nOur Jesus Film showing was OK. Not many people came but a few accepted Christ! I must remember to pray for this one young man who accepted Christ. He spoke some English, so we talked a little. I was really excited that some of the kids remembered my name! How cute!

Things got creepy when a sand storm started moving in. So when the film finished, we packed up quickly. Even though we did have some scary Muslims chase kids away, at least we didn’t have it as bad as the group that got rocks thrown at them. Crazy! No one got hurt, but that had to be scary.

New friends at Niger’s lone university

Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 11 p.m.

SO. TIRED.

Bruce told us this morning that now is when the jet-lag will really start to set in. We noticed. Everyone looked like zombies at breakfast. Even the nationals got to the office late. Guess they were tired, too!

Our adventure on campus today was a great one. The first girl we talked to in her room 4788_103259756572_2227864_nwashing her clothes in a bucket. She was very quiet and sweet. I told my testimony and Kaeli did the translation. Then our National (I can never remember her African name!) went over the four spiritual laws with her. And she accepted! She accepted Christ! She read the prayer and asked Him into her heart. I was a little skeptical because it all seemed so simple. Then I realized that as Americans we make everything so complicated and dramatic. All that isn’t necessary!

The next girl we saw was nice and welcoming as well. She was Muslim. She listened and was very respectful but did not accept because of her Muslim beliefs.

The final room we visited was really fun. There were three girls in that room who were super outgoing and friendly. They really responded well to my testimony and even asked a lot of questions. They said they were very touched by my testimony.

Once we got into more about Jesus, the discussion was pretty crazy. They said they have always been told that Christians believe God had sex with Mary to make Jesus. How awful! That wasn’t just something they thought, it was something they were told we actually believe! The girls were so relieved when we corrected them. They didn’t accept Christ, but they certainly were very open and listened to what we said.

We took some pictures with them before we left. It really felt like we made some friends! A few of them even spoke a little English.

Lunch was another interesting concoction. I spent my afternoon free time washing some clothes in the sink and I took a short nap.

For the Jesus Film viewing we went back to the same place. We met lots of new people who were excited about the movie. A lot of people were out cultivating. A lot of naked kids were running around. We saw a very scary guy. He followed us for awhile and it was creepy. He was covered everywhere but his eyes.

4975_102902161572_6749683_nThe kids went crazy again when I pulled out my camera. I couldn’t get good pictures because they literally swarm you to be in the picture. They won’t back up for anything. Then Abby and I whipped out some bubbles. They went NUTS over that. They chased them, tried to eat them, tried to hold them, etc. They loved it!

When the film started, I didn’t feel very well. I got really hot- almost like I had a fever. I was literally drenched in sweat. I felt light-headed too. It was a little scary (knowing medical help was next to impossible if it came to that) but I felt better by the end of the film. Well, we only showed the first half. The second half we’ll show tomorrow.

Tired. Must sleep!

A Whole New World…

Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 11 p.m.

After breakfast here at the guesthouse we met the “Nationals” (I don’t know why we call them that. They are basically “townies”) at “the office.” We talked about the different ways to share Christ and then we were off to share the gospel in the dorms on campus.

Anyways, I was paired with Kaeli and a student. The dorms were old. The hallways were narrow and filled with shoes since you can’t wear them in a Muslim’s room.

The first girl we met with was a very quiet Muslim girl who is studying medicine. She even allowed us to pray with her for her exams. It was cute though- she asked why we closed our eyes when we prayed. They don’t do that I guess.

The other girls we visited were much different. Their rooms were the same though- small, blue walls, small cot-like beds and the windows were covered in newspaper to keep out the steaming heat of the sun.

These two girls were very outgoing. We had a good talk with them.

Both places we just kind of got into discussions about God and what we believe. (Of course they only spoke French, but Kaeli translated).

We had lunch back at “the office.” Everyone shared their experiences and we ate something weird for lunch. It was kind of like hamburger and salsa on top of noodles.

At around 5 p.m. we packed ourselves into the van and came back to the office. I should explain “the office.” About 30 minutes away from the guesthouse and only about a mile from the university is the Niger Campus Crusade for Christ. The few buildings with it are protected by a wall and locked doors.

We got into our Jesus Film groups, packed up the equipment and left for our locations. My group rode to a place about 45 minutes away on the outskirts of town. It was like a little village and really reminded me of a Bible-time city.

We met up with the pastor of a church in the “neighborhood”. He showed us where to set up and where to lock our things. Then we divided into two groups and walked around the village inviting people to the film.

From the moment we got there until we left four hours later, this one little boy in blue sweatpants was right by my side the entire time. He was so cute! Sad thing was, we couldn’t communicate through Abby or Bruce. All the people spoke Hausa (a tribal language) and not French. The video was even in Hausa.

We talked to lots of people throughout the village. Everyone was really friendly except this one group we came across. They were nomads so they were living in a little mud hut. They looked crazy. The one guy who talked to us had a huge voodoo-looking guy on his necklace. Very creepy. After we left them, Bruce said they spoke a special tribal language and that they worship their own god.

As we walked through the village, kids joined us and followed us. It was so cute!

We started the Jesus Film at dusk (around 8 p.m.) and I was amazed at how all the kids got quiet to watch. It was really loud- it echoed throughout the entire village. And people were sitting on both sides of the screen. We estimated around 100 people were there. About 70 kids and 30 adults.

When the film was over, about 30 kids and adults stayed to listen to the pastor. He told us later that he had never seen that many people stay to hear more about Jesus.

It took us awhile to pack up, but a bunch of little kids helped, so that was nice.

Boy were we exhausted when we got home. I’m so tired, and it’s only our first time doing this! We will be doing this EIGHT more times! I mean, it’s incredible what God is doing, but it’s also exhausting.