Thursday, February 12, 2009

Update on the broonies.....


Day eighteen, Monday
Today went to go get some fabric for Elli’s dress, and go to the dress shop. Daughter and I went with Cecilia. Gabriel drove us. He is the school bus driver. Very nice guy. We go to a fabric shop. I picked out some ‘lace’ for Elli’s dress. It is not what we would think of as lace. It is the eyelet (I think that is what it’s called) type of design. It’s pretty and white. Then we pick out some material for me. I am getting dresses made for me. Not because I want any (I have a whole box full of African clothes at home that I never wear. I am all for looking native, but they just are not very comfortable.), but because I am told I need some! So, I picked out some flower pattern, the best of all the choices, and not only end up with that, but also some of the material that I chose for Elli. I guess I am now getting more than one outfit!

So, Cecilia bargains a price, says something to the driver, who comes in and pays the lady. During this whole process no one says a thing to me or even looks at me. We get in the car and go to the dress maker. We get there, and Cecilia looks at me and says, “you have the bag?”
Uh…no! No one told me to get it! So, Gabriel and I get back into the car and head back to the fabric store and pick up the bag. Now, back to the dress shop.

I pick out a pattern. Some crop pants and a shirt. I really just picked at random, because I know the chances of me actually getting that are slim, and the chances of me actually wearing it are even slimmer. I also said I wanted an outfit like Cecilia wore on Sunday—a skirt and top. She measures me. This too, still means little. You still don’t know if it will come back right. I have had outfits made every time I’ve been in Africa, and it never quite turns out like you asked or imagined. And it’s a 50 50 chance that they will fit right. But hey, I could never make something as beautiful as what they make using an old fashioned sewing machine, so who am I to complain if it isn’t perfect.

I told them I wanted a dress made for Elli. For size 3 months. I say this knowing it will come back big. I had some 1 year old clothes made last time I was here, and Malachi was able to wear them when he was 3, and Maudi when she was 4.

Back home. Back to sitting around. Frank says he will make us tomato soup and bring it over, since Jody still isn’t feeling well. It comes, and there is a whole fish floating in our tomato soup. As soon as I lifted the lid the whole room smells like fish. We…uh…weren’t hungry. Praise God for PB and J. And toilets that flush things. (A major missionary no, no. You are supposed to eat what is prepared for you out of respect. Yes, this is true, but desperate times call for a bending of the rules. One can only take so much fish!)

Day nineteen

Well, Jody is finally feeling better today! We are going to speak today at Christ the King Palace. They are having a Fulfilling your Financial Destiny seminar all this week. Jody and I are the key speakers. (They certainly didn’t choose us for our successes in this area!).

After breakfast today, we spent some time talking with Bishop. We were talking about the mindset of the people as a whole. Many are lazy in their thinking, and expect anyone who has more to take care of them. They think only of today and not tomorrow, and it has been this way for generations. Even the government depends on other governments to balance its budget and such. What a sad bondage.

We also talked about the church as a whole here. Very religious. Everyone goes to church an whoops and hollers, but there is a lack of depth and a lack of commitment to Christ.

Elli’s dress did get done today. It turned out so cute!!! Super super cute. I was going to mail it but now I am not. I don’t want to risk it getting lost. So, Jenn, you’ll have to wait. And, like I predicted, it does not look like a 3 month olds dress. More like 6-9 months. But that may be a good thing for Elli.

Service went very well. We talked about poverty and what the Bible says. After church, we got in the car, us and 6 other people! I guess we were giving them a ride. 12 people in the car. That is a new record!

After we dropped off the people, we went into Bishop’s for some tea, and a cucumber, and bread and a cheese spread. Oh, it was good. It was some fake sharp cheddar cheese spread. I am all about fake cheese. I absolutely LOVE cheese in a can, which this tasted just like. I had two pieces of bread with the cheese on it. It was awesome.

Then, home and to bed in our hot hot room. I think I am beginning to change my mind about an AC.

Day twenty.

Today was exciting! We got our package from mom and dad! We walked down to the little store around 10, and got some Pringles. Paid 2.90 USD for them, but it was SO worth it! We also got some pop in a can, and Son got Chocolate Milk. (which has way too much chocolate syrup in it, so it has a nasty after taste, but he liked it.)

Right before we got home, our phone rang and it was the post office saying we had a package!! We were super excited.

Jody called frank to tell him. He called to ask if he could pick it up, but Jody had to pick it up because it is in his name. So, Bismarck (or as we call him Bisquick) drove Jody to the post office. He had to wait forever, of course, and pay 7.30 USD in tax, but he finally came back with the package.

The kids LOVED it! Son kept asking if Daddy went to Papa and Nana’s house to get it. I told him it came in the mail, and he finally got it. Then he thought that it was pretty cool that we got mail.

They had to eat a sucker and life saver right away, and use their paper and color book right away, and read their cards over and over. And, they would not be quiet until mom shared one of her pop carts (as malachi calls them) with them. And then, of course they had to have some gum. Daughter wanted the kind from Nana’s purse. 

Daddy loved his books, and I enjoyed the pop tarts and dots, but I am pretty sure I will not be able to keep them all to myself.

We are back to church again tonight. Jody’s turn to speak. He is going to talk about having plans and goals for our life and money.

Day twenty one—three weeks here!

I can’t believe we have been here for three weeks! It doesn’t seem like that long, and yet at times it seems like the days last forever!

Today was another around the house day, as we prepare for tonight. It has been SO HOT. I have hardly slept the past two days. We have decided that we are for sure going to get an AC. I am ready to go get one right now. Frank says we can go get one tomorrow.

I am the speaker tonight. I spoke on Heb 12:1-3 and running your race well and fighting off discouragement. We have had a good size crowd each night. I pray that they all received value and knowledge out of the seminar.

Day 22

Today was long and miserable, but quite adventurous, too. Yesterday, frank said be at the house by 7:30 for breakfast, and we will leave at 8. We will go see a pastor and then get the AC. We’ll be back by noon, so Jody can prepare for tonight. He is speaking at the church we went to the Sunday after we arrived when we didn’t speak, since we didn’t know we were supposed to. They were disappointed, so we are going back.

Well, unsurprisingly, that isn’t exactly how it went. We left at 8:30, and that’s not bad. We went to the village to see the pastor. But both Jody and I had forgotten he said that, so we just kept driving and driving, and we’re like what? Where the heck is this Air Conditioner? Togo? Well, we finally remembered. The village was 30 miles out of Kumasi.

On our way we passed a bus. A very full bus, I might add with people and things stacked in, on top, and on the back. I am pretty sure if they crashed, no one would be hurt, except maybe the people on the top of the bus, because they were packed in so tight.

When we got to town, we found out the pastor was on that bus on his way in to see frank. I guess they had a little miscommunication about where they were meeting. We also found out we had a flat tire. So we pulled over to put the spare on. A guy came and did it for us. Not surprisingly. People are always willing to help….as long as you tip them.

While we were waiting, a crowd began to form, as it usually does (about 50 kids and some adults). George video tapped them trying to greet the kids, who were in the car. Many asked Daughter if she would like to come live with them, and told her how beautiful she was. One touched her arm, and then she and her friends all giggled. Many boys greeted Son and said they wanted to be his friend.

George gave me the camera back, and I recorded a bit more. Once they see what you’re doing, they want to make sure you get a picture of them. Well, then I remembered that my screen flips. If I turn it, they can see themselves. Coby loves it when I do that, and so do Daughter and Son. So I decided to give it a shot. I flipped the screen, and they went bananas! They started jumping around and singing. It was so much fun!

Finally, it was time to go get that AC….or not. Let’s go look at a dam, which included a small hike. So, off we set to the dam. We take a look, chat for a bit with the dam keeper, and head back.

As we were heading to the dam, I saw an old lady sitting out in the courtyard of her house (a courtyard in the center of several houses, actually. And by house I really mean hut. At least that is a better description.) She had no top on. No big deal, just keep walking. Well, on our way back. She called out to us. She wants to greet the kids, because they are so beautiful. Frank says, go say hi to grandma. So we do. The kids go up and shake her hand; breasts down to her knees and all, out for the world to see. I thought oh great! Now I have to explain why this lady is sitting here with no shirt on and why that is OK. But, no, they didn’t even bat an eye. They didn’t even seem to notice! I asked them if they noticed anything different about her, and both of them said no! Perhaps the Holy Spirit was shielding their eyes.

Ok, back in the car. We drop off our guide, and of course, tip him. Now we are finally on our way…..and then the spare tire goes out. So we stop, and get the regular tire fixed.

Alright, tires fixed, off we go to the AC….or not. How about another dam. Alright, not to panic. It’s only 12:30. Still early. We get to the dam site, and I stay in the car. The kids have fallen asleep. About 20 minutes later, we FINALLY really head back to town.

We get to the AC place. I am in the car with the kids while Jody and Frank and George go look at the AC, and make sure it works. It works well, so Jody comes back to get the money. He gives the money to frank, and--- MAJOR mistake here--- gets back in the car WITHOUT Frank or the AC. A few minutes later, we see George and frank go down the street. About 30 minutes later, they come back, and go back to the AC place. Then, finally come to the car and tell us we are waiting on a part from another store. What? . Apparently there is no hose. We have to wait for someone to bring it from another store. So we wait some more. It is now 2:30. After waiting some more on a guy who was supposed to be there in 20 minutes, about an hour ago, we finally leave, without the AC. I am about to cry at this point, because I am SO HOT, and the kids are board so they are driving each other and me crazy, and Jody is cranky because he needs to get back to get ready for tonight (which by the way, we didn’t know about until last night after church). My only hope was a cold room, and that hope was quickly fading. The guy says he will call when the part shows up and will deliver it. Even frank isn’t confident in this. Thankfully, we had not given him any money yet. Let’s go home.

We head that way, and drop off George. We stop and pick up Cecilia. I thought Jody was going to lose it. Cecilia means many stops. And right he was. We stopped at a shop, then we stopped to look at an AC Frank spotted. Finally, we are on our way home. I think frank could tell we were getting agitated. As we are heading home, we pass a place that Jody had seen an AC when he had gone to the post office. He, to me, mentions it. Well, shouldn’t have opened his mouth, because as soon as he did we pull over to look at it! I couldn’t help but laugh at that.

A few more stops to get bread and water and eggs and we are FINALLY home. The time is now 4:30. We are hot and cranky. Jody decides that he will go by himself tonight. The kids have been in the car all day, and I need to pack for tomorrow. I decide to give the kids a shower, just to cool them down. They really liked that. In the midday the water is warm, not super cold.

After our rinse off, we head to dinner. Jody will come later. While at dinner, the AC arrives. Jody finally comes back and says it is on and our room is cooling. We hurry up and eat so we can get back to our room. When we get there, Jody stays out so the kids can play outside. I go to check out the AC. I get to the door, and I can smell something burning. I open the door, and the AC is off and the room is full of smoke. I look over, and our extension cord/power strip is melted, and there is a burn mark on the floor about ½ and inch away from the carpet. Jody came in and was not happy; it had just been one of those days. He had asked specifically if the AC was too strong for the cord. Both Frank and the AC guy said yes. Well, they were wrong. Thankfully, it was only an overload on the power strip. It didn’t damage the AC or my computer cord (which was plugged in, but the computer was not plugged into it), and it didn’t damage the outlet at all. We plugged it into the wall, and it worked fine. Our first cool night. Very worth it. Jody heads off to church; I get the room tidy, pack for our trip, and give the kids a bath. Then to bed for all of us. Even I was exhausted and couldn’t wait up for Jody.

Day 23, Saturday

Today was quite uneventful. First, something from yesterday. Since we have gotten here, every time we pass a group of kids, and sometimes adults, we hear them shouting the same thing, but we have no idea what it is. On the way home yesterday was no exception. Cecilia told us they are saying O Broonie! Which means Oh, white people or white person. So that’s us, the Broonies.

So, today, we were supposed to go to a village, Dormaa. But, Frank’s car was having issues, so it got put off to tomorrow. So, we spent the day at home. We played with the kids (Jody played hide and seek…perfect building for it…with them) and read and rested.

We went over to Franks in the afternoon and watched “Free Willie” on tv…the latest American blockbuster!! Malachi thought it was cool because it had a killing whale (what he calls killer whales).

After a lovely dinner of rice and fish sauce, we went home. We were ready to shower, it was exceptionally hot and humid today. We got the kids showered, and the water ran out…No shower for us. Yay. Perhaps the morning will bring us water.

Day 24, Sunday
Up at 4am today. We are leaving at 5am, and we wanted to take a shower, since we didn’t get to last night. We beat the trumpet blower this morning! Thankfully there was water, not much, but enough.

We are on the road by 5:30 not bad. We put the kids PJs on, and they went in that, so they could go back to sleep.

We noticed as we were driving out of town, lots of groups running with their trumpets, whistles and cow bells. So, it is just not our neighborhood that gets to wake up to this weekly pleasure. Frank says it is the latest trend with young people. They will wake up early on Sunday to run—for fitness---but then when they are done they go eat and drink, so it really is of no benefit. It is more of a social event.

We got to Dormaa at about 8:30, and pull into a filling station with a car was area, an oil change area, a mini mart, and….a hotel!! Yep, right on top of the mini mart. This should be interesting….

We check into our room, and oh, God is good. It is nice and bright and clean, has an excellent AC and cable…meaning cnn. That is really the only other channel that comes in, but it is American, so we are happy. And, to top it all off, there is a hot water heater. WOOHOO!!! Hot showers!! You never quite feel clean from a cold shower, especially one from a bucket.

Church was great. I was speaking. I had prepared what I thought was a great message. I didn’t prepare my usual way, which is writing out the statements I want to make. Instead I used the outline system. It usually doesn’t work for me that well, as I forget half the stuff I want to say, and well, that theory proved true. My message, with an interpreter, was only about 10 minutes!!! Not that it mattered. Church was still about 3 hours long, and that is when we left. They were still going when we left.

I noticed something that I haven’t seen before in Ghana, but in the Ivory Cost. When we prayed, all the women covered their heads. Frank says he has been trying to break this tradition for years, but they still insist on covering their heads. That and sitting segregated, women on one side, men on the other. I have only seen the head covering in this town, but the segregation is everywhere. He says that he will tell them sit together! They will do if for awhile, but pretty soon they are back to their segregation.

Frank sent us back to the hotel in a taxi. He knew we were tired and hot. We had a wonderfully relaxing afternoon. We enjoyed the AC and CNN. The kids and I took a 3 hour nap.

Frank told us that there would be an evening service, which we didn’t know about, so Jody spent the time preparing.

We were to leave at 7. We are ready at 7 and they bring us dinner. Yam Chips. They were great; would have been even better with ketchup. He also brought Planate chips for the kids. They are like a dried banana but thinner, the size of potato chips, fried and salted. They are not that great, in my opinion, but Son LOVED them; ate two whole bags. (A bag is one serving.)

About 7:30 we head to the church. I noticed that it was extremely windy outside. Half way to church, I saw lightning. We get to the church, and they have postponed the service, because it’s going to rain. It’s not canceled, just postponed. Rain doesn’t last long, usually, so they will have it afterward. The people won’t come when it rains, but they will know to come when it stops.

By this time, it is nearing 8pm. Frank says we will go back to the hotel and wait. Jody says why don’t we drop off steph and the kids and then go back. Frank said, we can, but they really want the children to come. They love seeing the kids. He said if they would sing a song in front of the church that thousands would come to see it. Both kids said NO WAY! 

It is true wherever we go the kids are the ones who get the attention from other kids and adults. They think they are beautiful. I think they probably very rarely see white children, where as white adult might be more common. One lady told me my kids had beautiful round heads!

The rain didn’t let up, so the service was cancelled. The kids were a bit freaked by the storm, but also found it fascinating. We gave the kids a bath…a real bath with hot water that they could soak in and play in. Daughter went first. Son second, and while he was in the tub, alone, the power goes out. Thankfully, Jody was right near the door. He was able to get in there before he started to freak out. I found my cell phone, to use for a light, and we got him out and dried off.

We all climb into the one king size bed, and watch a little CNN. The power comes back on, so Jody gets up to turn on the AC, but not 10 minutes later the power is off again. We decided to call it a night, even though it was only about 9:30.

Day 25, Monday

We all got up about 6:30 this morning. Not surprising considering we had a long nap and went to bed early yesterday. I took a nice hot shower. Loved every minute of it. We are SO getting a hot water heater when we live here.

We were ready to go at 7:30. Frank comes, and says we are not checking out yet. We are going to go to the border town he told us about, and then to the pastor’s home for breakfast.

We head to the boarder of the Ivory Coast. We don’t take the main road, because you have to go through all the customs and paperwork, but if you take a side road, the border control will usually let you in to visit the village. He was right. He let us right in. The village is half on the Ghana side, half on the Ivory Coast side. Before colonization, there were not nations, nor borders. There were only tribes, so there was not national line dividing the land, so these people have lived together for hundreds of years. All people born in this town have dual citizenship.

We walked right into the Ivory Coast, and almost instantly, you could see the difference. It was poorer and dirtier that even just a few houses down. IC is much more Islamic and it is French. Both French nations Jody and I have visited were much more oppressed and much poorer than the English settled nations.

We spoke to a woman whose house is on the border. She says when she sleeps her head is in the Ivory Coast and her body is in Ghana.

We get back in the car, and we drive to the official border crossing, just to see it. One thing I have noticed about Dormaa is there are many more Muslims. Not surprising considering its location.

Then, it was off to the pastor’s for breakfast. We get there, and it is a small, but nice home. We sit, and soon they come out and put a serving bowl in front of Jody and one in front of me of rice pudding. Each bowl could have easily fed 12 people. Easy. We both look at Frank and say, is this all for us? He says yes. We ask, are they expecting us to eat all of it, and he says yes, eat as much as you can. They also brought us bread and avocados. The kids serving came out of mine, because I had more than Jody. Not that it even put a dent into my portion. Malachi wouldn’t touch his. He was being a pain. He eats it at Franks. Jody was able to eat his whole bowl, and I probably ate 3/4ths. I can usually defeat things like that, but it was either, puke and eat more, or stop. I have never eaten so much rice in one sitting in my entire life. Frank said you did well, that was a lot of rice! He didn’t have the rice. He had boiled plantains dipped into the chicken sauce we had last night. I would definitely rather have all the rice.

Day 26, Tuesday
Today we stayed at home. Frank had court. After court, we went over to his house, and talked about Canaan Life and our role. I have had a lot of questions about the matter, and we were able to sit down, and really get a feel for what is going on, what will be going on, and what role we will play. The needs here are many and great.

Not long after we wrapped up our talk, Son comes running in, “my eye, my eye, it’s burning!” I see that he has a big blue spot by his eye. I ask him what he has been playing with and he says I don’t know. So I take him into the bathroom, and was his eye out. He, of course, is screaming and resisting the whole time. He is still freaking out that his eye hurts, so I go outside and ask Daughter, and she says I don’t know. Well, I look down, and there is the same blue stuff all over Maudi and all over the ground. The trail leads to a bucket full of water and laundry detergent. Next to the bucket is a bleach/soap stick. “We’re you playing in the soap?” “No” Wrong. They finally confessed, they had been playing in the soap water, and Daughter flicked water at Malachi and it got in his eye. Thankfully it was the soap and not the bleach. Many drops, and much water later, his eye is red, but fine. What will they get into next!

After that we got the kids all settled again, we watched Oprah. It’s on everyday at 5pm, and once in awhile we get to watch. We rarely, if ever watch it at home, but it’s American, so we watch. The episodes are all a few years old, and there is only a handful that repeat over and over. There was one about Katrina a few days ago, and then another with a date of 2005.

There is a station her Viasat 1. It is a new station, and has lots of American shows, current hits like Hanging with Mr. Cooper, Cosby, and Friends. And the latest blockbusters like Matrix, Swim Fan, and The Day After Tomorrow.

Then it was getting close to dinner. We prayed, Lord, please, no fish! The Lord has heard, and answered our prayer…we are having Fried Chicken and Yam Chips. Our favorite. Jody drove to the store to get Ketchup. You have to have ketchup to make the fries taste like fries. The Fried chicken is really good. It isn’t battered and fried, but it is really good.

Well, dinner was good, but we didn’t quite escape fish. Frank made us a Tomato Sauce of his own for our fries. It had tomatoes, onions, peppers, and of course, FISH!

It rained right after dinner. Not for long, but long enough to cool things down.

It is not the rainy season, so Frank says that we must have brought the rain. Gladly!  We actually miss Oregon rain and cool weather.

Day 27, Wednesday

Today, was another day at home. We’re starting to go a little stir crazy, so we decided to go on a walk. We took a really long walk, about 3 miles. We walked up to a school that we can see from our house, up a hill, then down to the filling station (where we stopped for a Fan Ice) and home. We passed a sign that said Boogie Spot, and pointed up a road. We thought that was so funny, and told the kids it was a place people went to pick their nose. They of course believed us. (I’m pretty sure it’s for a Dance Club.)

Dinner was fried chicken and rice. God must really love us!!! A thunder and lightning storm started right after dinner. It rained, but only for a few minutes.

We took the kids home, and sat on the porch and watched the lightning. It was really neat, and a lot of fun. They had never done that before. Son was a little concerned that the lightning was going to sting him. He kept saying, lighting can’t sting you right? I kept telling him yes, but it almost never does. That didn’t seem to be a good enough reason for him. So, I told him it was too far away to sting anyone, and that seem to make him feel better. It was beautiful, that’s for sure!

After awhile the kids got board, so they went in to watch a movie while we stayed outside, it was nice and cool. Robert, our downstairs neighbor boy came in and watched with them. He is 14, but was fascinated with Toy Story 2 none the less,

Anointing came over and struck up a conversation with us, Jody right about that time, got a call from Brian, so I was stuck talking with the chatty cathy. Then Jody came back, and the time the movie was over, so I went inside, while Jody visited with him. He is quite a talker. Anointing is a nice guy, and faces many of the same struggles as most Ghanaians.

Day 28, Thursday

We are down to one month left. The time has flown by! I am ready to go home and not ready to go home at the same time. I think we all feel that way.

Another day spent at home, for the kids and I that is. Jody went with Frank to look at a dam building site…the one we were supposed to go look at the Sunday he was sick.

We are supposed to go to ODA tomorrow, so we spent the day cleaning our room. Aquia came over and swept for us. Then we packed, and the kids and I spent the day being lazy and playing together in our cool room.

I believe that is the thing I am most thankful for regarding this whole trip. Being in Africa is great, but more so is all the time we have been able to spend together as a family. Africa forces you to slow down. In America, we are going, going, going. There is no concept of time here (which drives me nuts), so no one is in a hurry. So, we wait, a lot. It can get annoying, but it creates a lot of family time. We are building so many memories that I will cherish forever.
Time for dinner. Chicken again! YES!!! Oh,yeah, and some fried cabbage (which by itself I love) with tomato, and FISH! It wasn’t half bad. Would have been even better without the fish.

After dinner, it was home for baths and bed. We have been experiencing a water problem. There is something wrong with our pump. So, Jody had to go to the community well to get water. He, of course didn’t actually draw it or carry it home. The neighbor did that. We don’t do anything around here. Not that we wouldn’t or don’t want to, but they don’t let us.

Right as we go to give the kids a bath, the power goes out. Thunder and lightning again. So, we get the little battery operated lantern, and head to the bathroom anyway. Nothing like a bucket shower in the dark to remind you that you are in Africa. To remind you how blessed you are to be here. We are one of the few who are blessed to be able to have all these adventures while also doing the will of God.

Day 29, Friday.

After breakfast, Frank, Daughter, and I went to the bank to get some money before our trip. That, of course meant also stopping at the church, and for gas, and for propane.

We get back, and an hour later, load up and head to ODA. Us, Frank, Cecilia and George. Nothing like spending 4 hours squished in the car. To give us all a little more room, I got in the back with Son and Daughter sat between Jody and George. The back is NOT made for adults. Even I, with no legs am quite squished, but I have a window, so it’s worth it.

ODA, if the roads were good, would probably only be an hour away, but it takes us 3 ½ to get there. Every few hundred feet you have to slow down to avoid a large pot hole, speed bump, or large truck. That is on the paved roads, of which only half of the way is.

We stopped about half way there for some coconuts. There wasn’t drinking water for sale, so we get coconut milk. Frank buys just us like 10, plus several for George, Cecilia, and himself. Seriously overkill. But, when he gets into the car, he explains why. The man who was selling them told Frank “oh there is a God, and he has answered my prayers. I prayed this morning that I would sell some coconuts.” The coconuts were 10 peswes (Ghana change). He made about 1.5 Cedis. That is about $1.23. He was very excited about his ‘successful day.’

Finally made it to Oda. Drive right up to the Pastor’s home. Get out, sit down, and discover, we are not going to a hotel. We are staying here. In a room with no fan. Talk about a mood killer when you were mentally prepared for a nice cool room.

The Pastor rents a portion of this complex. The portion we are staying in is like a boarding house. There are about 6 rooms and a sitting area. All the rooms are empty right now, so the land lady said he could use them for his guests.

Well, we greet the pastor, and his wife brings us some Malta. We have been able to dodge this nasty drink so far this trip. But, now our time is up. Malta or Malt as they call it. Is like root beer with hops and malt in it. It is non alcoholic, and very popular. It is not very tasty in our opinion, and I know that Son is going to agree with us.

Jody tries to trick him by telling him its root beer. He takes a drink and says “Yuck! That tastes like beer!” Uhhhh…ok….. So, mom has to drink his. Daughter isn’t a fan either, so Dad drinks hers.

We get settled, and they serve us dinner. Rice, cold cabbage salad with FISH, and sauce. For dessert, apples. YUM! Now, the sauce. Most interesting thing to date. It had sausage (aka Hot Dogs) so the kids were stoked about that. It also had some “beef.” Very chewy yet crunchy beef. IT WAS NOT BEEF. I believe it was snail. We asked Frank, but he didn’t have the same as us…they gave us the good stuff. He says you can’t get snails this time of year. Well, then I don’t know what the heck it was, but it was something with a small body connected to a small head. I have had snails before and they tasted and felt a lot like that. If they were not snails, I don’t really think I want to know what they were.

After dinner, we get cleaned up and head to church in the next town. It was a small church, and Jody spoke. He spoke on David and Goliath, tying it into God’s plans for us. We have been speaking mainly on that topic; his plans and purpose for us, and that he wants us to prosper and be blessed. It is such a simple message; the basics of the Gospel. But, sadly, for most it is the first time they have heard these concepts. They believe in God and that he wants to save them, but that is it. They are here, they will die, and they will go to heaven. That is about it. It breaks our hearts.

Well, while Jody is speaking, Son is entertaining himself by making up songs. He does this a lot. He is not doing it quietly. While Daughter next to me is doing the potty dance and making horrid whiney faces because she has to go. I, too, have to go desperately. The two Malta’s I drank are now sitting in my bladder begging to come out. It was seriously hot, too. But, despite all that, we had a great service and a great prayer time.

We went home, and Frank said if it’s too hot, you can bring your mattress out here (to the sitting area). So, that is what we did. It was too late to bathe the kids, so we just put them to bed on the couch.

Because Frank, even up to the last minute, was not sure of our hotel accommodations, I wasn’t feeling really secure, so I packed sheets and towels, just in case wherever we were staying was not up to par. Thank You, Holy Spirit for prompting me to do that. We used all that I brought.

I took a nice cold bucket shower, and went to bed. I was beat.

Day 30, Saturday

Today we went to a neighboring town. All of us, and the pastor, too. I don’t know the name of the town, but it was the first town where the Holy Spirit visited Ghana, and it spread from there. We went there to meet with a pastor who wants to join Bishop’s fellowship. Well, we really were just along for the ride, and just sat there while they talked.

Afterwards, we went to visit West Africa’s biggest tree. It was discovered in 1850, and was as large as it is now, supposedly, which means it is REALLY old.

They jipped off the broonies. We had to pay 10 Cedis to see the tree. Frank and Cecilia only had to pay 2. Gheesh!

Off we go on our small hike. The forest was beautiful with lots of colorful butterflies, trees, and even a large ant trail like you would see in a documentary.

The tree was quite large. Nothing compared to the redwoods. Daughter started to run right up to the tree…BIG NO NO. See, it’s not just the largest tree, but also a shrine. They worship it. They believe that if you are sick, you can pray over a coin, and put it in the tree and the gods will heal you. Or you can bring it liquor, and the gods will come and drink it and heal you or bless you (and there was a large pile of liquor bottles). If you bring the gods a meal, they will come eat it. They also believe that little dwarfs come out and sweep the forest floor by the tree, and that the leaves have power in them. They say they believe this and nothing can convince them otherwise, because these are their beliefs.

Our guide is telling us all of this. Frank isn’t interpreting a thing, since he thinks it’s a load of hooey. We are with another family of Ghanaians, who keep telling him to tell us. Finally, George gives us the heads up about what the guide is telling us.

After a few more minutes of looking at the tree we head back to the car. We go down the road, and buy some oranges. Oranges are in abundance here, but they are not eaten as we would. The top layer (meaning the color) is cut away, and then the top of the orange is cut off. You then suck out the juice, using the remaining peel as a cup, and throw away the orange. Sometimes they will slice and eat the orange, but not often. Well, I think that is a waste, so I start peeling away. The kid’s too, don’t get the concept of just sucking the juice out (probably because it is something they would be told not to do at home). The pastor comes over like a minute after we get our oranges to collect the remainders. I tell him I am not done. He looks at me peeling my orange and gives me the strangest look. He asks “Is something wrong?” I said no. He stares a bit longer and walks away.

When we get home, Frank and Cecilia went to rest. We stayed in the sitting room. No naps today, it is WAY too hot. After their naps, they come out, and we had a really good time talking for several hours. We talked about the challenges the churches face.

We also talked about the not so nice part of Ghana that everyone wants to ignore. The Upper Volta Region. The Muslim area. Curfew is at 4pm, and the region goes into police control until 6am. This is to control the violence. (Wait, I thought Islam was a peaceful religion?). Cecilia tells us it will make you cry. The people are sad, dirty, and very poor. She tells us that there is hardly any Jesus up there.

Frank also tells us that there are many villages within the bush that he believes may be unreached or have little gospel.

There are so many needs here. So much Jesus revelation and love needed. We must get back here soon.

Finally, time for showers and bed. As I am getting ready for bed, and writing an email, Maudi turns to me and says, Mom, when we move here, I am going to miss all of my friends. I said, well, aren’t you going to miss your African friends when we go home? She thinks for a minute. Then she says, “Well, if Coby has an extra suitcase, he and Quedru could come home with us. They can visit us in Portland, and then when we move, we will bring them home!” She was so proud of her idea.

Day 31, Sunday.

Today did not start out well. We got read for church, and out goes the power. No fan. It is really hot. And it does not turn back on. We are sweating, and getting cranky.

Breakfast was a first. We had ‘spaghetti’ (noodles with a red hot sauce, peas, green beans, and fish) and a custard type thing that tasted like they forgot the sugar. The kids thought it was so cool that we were eating spaghetti for breakfast. Maudi kept telling me she couldn’t wait to tell Nana.

We head to church, hot, sweaty and cranky. Church doesn’t have power either. That doesn’t really matter to them. They worship wholeheartedly, putting our bad attitudes to shame. It was by far, the best service we have to date. The Holy Spirit was there, and the people were open and responsive.

I spoke on fear, and one of the verses was Josh 1:9. Daughter was very brave, and came up and sang with mommy the be strong and courageous song. The people LOVED it. We were very proud of her. That did something in her little spirit, because since that time, she has been participating in service: clapping (way off beat), singing, raising her hands and praying. She is developing more and more each day into quite the little missionary, but more importantly than that, she is beginning to on her own, develop a relationship with Jesus. That is more important to us than anything she ever does or doesn’t do.

After church, we went back to the inferno house, ate rice with spinage and fish casserole, and got on the road. It was a long, but peaceful ride back. We were all happy to have some wind blowing in our faces once again.

Day 32, Monday

Today was a rest day. We didn’t do anything. We were all so tired. We just laid around, played soccer with the kids, and rested.

Jody scored a major victory for us. During breakfast, he told frank how much we love Aquia’s fried chicken. He told frank that he’d be happy if we had it the rest of the time. I think Frank got the hint that we were tired of fish. This statement, along with the barely touch sardines, tomatoes, and onions that were served with breakfast, I think made our point. WE HATE FISH. We didn’t before, but we do now.

We have not had fish for dinner since that time. Praise be to God.

Still no running water. It has been nearly a week. They are fixing the pump. I am pretty sure it is a few hour job, but that isn’t really relevant around here, so in the mean time, we are fetching our own water from either Frank’s or the well.

Day 33, Tuesday

Today was a Son victory day. We spent the day at home, Jody prepared for tonight. We were going to be speaking at a church we were supposed to go to during our first week.

Anyway, at dinner we had fried chicken (God bless chicken) and Jalapa rice. Jalapa rice is sort of like Mexican rice. They didn’t put as many peppers in it as they normally would, since we are a bunch of wimps, so it was really good. Son ate FOUR servings. FOUR!!! Oh, it was so nice to see him eat. Daughter liked it, too, and ate three helpings.

Service was really good. Jody spoke on talents, and how God has a plan for each of us and called all of us to use our talents for him. He talked about how God can call you and anoint you to be anything, not just a pastor. This, too, is a new concept.

Day 33 Wednesday
This evening was my most favorite we have had so far in Africa. I will always remember it.

The day itself was uneventful. We were supposed to go to the church for a meeting with
George, but Frank forgot us. I don’t know why he didn’t just turn around and come back, but he didn’t.

After dinner, a storm rolled in. It was quite a big one. We pulled out the chairs, and watched the thunder and lightning. Soon the downpour came. We could feel the mist from the porch.

Jody tells Daughter, you can go play in it if you like. She thought that was such a neat idea. So, we all head out. Within seconds we are soaked. There is a heavy downfall from the roof, and we ran in and out of it, like a heavy sprinkler. Daughter was laughing and giggling. She loved it. Son did not. He clinged to me and screamed. Jody and I really enjoyed it too. It was fun and felt really nice. How often in life to you get to play in the rain in Africa? It was one of those few moments in life of pure bliss and joy. God is so good. His little gifts to us are so amazing.

After a few minutes, the kids are starting to get cold! So we go into the bathroom and wring out all of our closes, get cleaned up, and together, sat down and watched some bugs bunny. I love the life God has blessed us with.

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