African outfits

African outfits
Our crazy family

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Facing Our Fears

Many of you know that one of Levi's fears about coming to Cameroon was the fear of something happening to him. This child has had 3 broken arm before leaving America and most recently had his neck sliced open with a garden stake. It seems that he is my accident prone child so there was reason for him to fear. I also feared this happening and forbade him from breaking any bones - so much for listening to his Mom. Just before dinner time last night Levi was playing an innocent game of swords with his friend Ben. Unfortunately, he didn't notice the ditch behind him and ended up tripping into it and hurting his right arm. The way he was crying and holding his arm I had a feeling it was more than just a mere flesh wound. We put cold meat on it and elevated it, knowing it was too late to find anyone at the local clinic. Thankfully we have a good supply of pain relievers and were able to do some pain management until today. The best thing was that we were able to put a note on Facebook and almost immediately had friends at home praying. Levi was really touched by the messages and just knowing that people were interceding on his behalf. I loved knowing that we could go to sleep and it was the middle of the day at home so the prayers would not stop. Levi slept without too much discomfort, I even woke him in the morning. Right away I asked if he wanted some Tylenol since it had been over 10 hours. He actually said he didn't need it. At this point I was feeling hopeful that maybe it wasn't broken after all but once he tried to turn his arm and winced in pain, I knew better. It was a beautiful clear day for a ride to Kumbo and Val was gracious enough to take us. The Banso hospital is a pretty impressive place but it was so busy with people all over the place. I realized that I would have to forgo my Minnesota nice - people kept trying to budge in front of me in all the lines we stood in. First we went to register and bought Levi his very own Cameroon Health Consultation Book: This is good for anytime in his life that he needs medical attention in Cameroon. Then they checked his weight and temperature and sent us to the Emergency Room. We waited a long time and then the woman from the registration area walked by and saw us still sitting there. She became our advocate and walked into the ER and had a few words. Next thing you know they were calling us into the ER. We saw Dr Ebogo, who had the job of asking us questions and filling out our little pink consultation book. He was looking in Levi's eyes and checking his glands when his finger touched Levi's scar on his neck. The doctor's eyes looked so surprised when he saw the big gash from Levi's last incident... I explained that he is accident prone. We were sent to get an x-ray in an ancient room (Banso Hospital is expanding so there will soon be a brand new area). We stood outside while the x-ray tech held the x-ray in the sun to dry and then we were sent on to physical therapy. We arrived there shortly after noon and waited and waited. Finally a man came and told us that they had closed at noon but he would find someone for us. Isaac soon arrived and evaluated that Levi had indeed cracked his radius and would need a cast. He took no time in getting the cast put on and we were headed upstairs again to pay the rest of our bill. Overall it was a fairly good experience. Val and Ellie had headed up to another missionary family's house because Susan had offered to make us lunch. We were done so quickly that Levi and I were able to walk to the Wolf's house and join them for lunch. Since we were already in town, we stopped again at the Supermarket and got some cereal - Bonus! So thankful for all the prayer we had covering us over the past 24 hours.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I woke up this morning and was asking God, "What are we here for? Will we even know what our purpose was? Are we even making a difference?" Almost immediately a word picture of life being like a strategic chess game came to my mind. I sometimes feel like God is this Master chess player and he can see the whole "game" - He has each move mapped out and strategically places each player right where He thinks best for the whole game. Then I had to laugh because it is not really like that at all. Can you imagine this amazing chess player trying to play this perfect game but all the pieces can decide for themselves if they want to trust the Master and do what he says or not. The pieces can only see what is right around them and could easily get discouraged without the view of the whole game. If one piece was in a place where there wasn't much action, he might think that the Master didn't know how valuable he was and go looking for some action. On the other hand, pieces that were on the front line might just bale out and leave valuable pieces vulnerable. I know this is a silly illustration but it did get me thinking about trusting God each day, that He knows better than I what is good for my growth.

In talking with some of the other missionaries around here, there is a common thread of discouragement and wanting to "go home". Please pray for the missionaries here at CBTS. Pray that they will trust that God's timing is perfect and wait for His hand to move them. There is a very real spiritual battle going on, as well as the rainy season is coming in and it is cloudier than normal. Pray that we will be an encouragement to them these last weeks that we are here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since we left Minneapolis. This past week I have been in a funk and this morning I finally voiced that I wish we could go home. Drew laughed and gave me a big hug and said "It's too early to start that yet". Then Levi piped up and said "Remember Mom, we were warned that 6 weeks is when it gets hard." I'm so glad someone around here has a memory. It's true, there have been trials of various kinds all along but this week I have just wanted to be finished. Ellie is feeling homesick too. Drew hasn't voiced it in the same way but he does feel a bit "lost" now that the main project he was working on is done. Levi has been sick all week too so that hasn't been good. Kyle is pretty easy going and takes each day in stride, however, I have noticed he is not as patient with his family lately as he can be. It helped yesterday to go to Kumbo and do something different but when I woke this morning I still was longing for home. As I'm typing this, I'm encouraged knowing that I can be completely honest and my friends will be supporting us in prayer. You can not imagine what a blessing it is to know that we are not alone, we appreciate your kind words and mostly your prayers. Thank you so much!

Now that I have that off my chest, I am really excited to see what God has in store for us these next few weeks. Once we get over this hump, I believe what is ahead will be some of the deepest parts of this whole trip. I am anticipating deeper relationships, greater understanding and renewed hope... as well as a few more dead mice.

I noticed our home church is singing this song this coming weekend - the words are so good:

You Never Let Go by Matt Redmon
Even though I walk, through the valley, of the shadow of death,
your perfect love is casting out fear.
And even when I'm caught, in the middle, of the storms of this life,
I won't turn back I know you are near.

And I will fear no evil, for my God is with me,
And if my God is with me,
Whom then shall I fear, whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, you never let go, through the calm and through the storm,
Oh, no, you never let go, every high and every low,
oh, no, you never let go, Lord you never let go of me!

And I can see the light, that is coming, for the heart that holds on,
A glorious light beyond all compare.
And there will be an end, to these troubles, but until that day comes,
We'll live to know you here on the earth.

And I can see the light, that is coming for the heart that holds on,
And I can see an end to these troubles, but until that day comes,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Our day out finally happened! Yesterday our plans were delayed due to the rain. Today out on the roads I can see that it was good we did not make a go of it yesterday. It is unusual to have such heavy rains this early in the season and many vehicles went in the ditch yesterday because the roads were so bad - much like we experience in Minnesota during the first snow storm. I had forgotten already how bad these roads were since it had been over a month from the last time we were in a vehicle. The drive there was beautiful though - the day was clear so we could see for miles in some spots. On the way, we stopped at the SIL/JARS hanger and runway. We drove to the end of the short bumpy runway - as planes take off the ground drops off at a cliff! We then stopped at a missionary family's home to visit for a bit. Levi decided to stay there and hang out with the kids while we went shopping. He gets car sick and had had enough of the car ride. Finally after having to turn around a few times due to closed roads we made it to the Supermarket. I got cheese slices for making grilled cheese sandwiches and mozzarella cheese for our pizza this week - the pizza we have been using has a very strong flavor. We bought yogurt and apples too. The highlight for me was a bag of Cocoa Krispie type cereal that I can't wait to have with bananas. It was a fun time. After this store, we were invited to an SIL missionary couple's home for lunch - it was so exciting to see BROCCOLI at the table - YUM!!!! Once lunch was over we headed back to the market area to pick-up some produce - they even had watermelon at this market. Overall it was a great day but I have no desire to ride in a vehicle until it is time to go home. The bumps and conditions are very tiring. We are thankful to Val for taking us on this little excursion.
Drew in front of the store entrance.
The Refrigerated Section - Ellie picking out apples.
Market in Kumbo.
Looks like a great place for lunch T.G.I.Friday

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breaking Down Walls of Assumption

It's the beginning of a new week and we are going on a "field trip" to Kumbo...I'm sure I will have a post about that when we return. Yesterday was a good day, after church we hung out talking to people we have met. A student named Steve came and talked to us, he plays the bass guitar and wanted to talk music. He is saving up to get a guitar from Nigeria so we invited him over to play on Kyle's guitar and talk some more music. Wow, this man is very talented. He played some African songs for us, it was very beautiful, classical type guitar. Kyle started showing him how to read chord charts and Steve's eyes lit up as he caught on to a new way to read music, I think he played everything by ear. We had so much fun hanging out and asking him a million questions, the afternoon flew by and he had to leave for a meeting. We invited him back for our Sunday Pancake Supper. A few hours later, and when most of our other guests were leaving, Steve and his friend Morris (Yomsi) showed up. We showed them how to eat pancakes (they wanted to make sure and do it right) and took up where we had left off with our previous conversation. At first Morris seemed a little reserved but suddenly he smiled and said "You people are different". We know that, but asked what he meant by that. He told us that he usually avoided white people (even missionaries), because they "all" think that the Cameroonians are just out to get something from them/not to be trusted. He said that he at first refused to come with Steve when he invited him to our home, but that Steve insisted that he sensed the Holy Spirit when he was in our home. They both said that white people just don't invite black people into their homes...hmmm, we missed that memo. I was so happy that he said this out loud because it gave us a chance to talk about it. Funny how often people make assumptions but never voice them out loud and change never happens. We had been "warned" when we came about a few people that may pull us aside and want money (in some subtle and not so subtle ways). The truth is, this happened to us and it was ugly and creepy feeling. However, the majority of the Cameroonian people we have met have been extremely generous with us, this leads me to wonder if they are trying hard to overcome the stereotype they think we have of them. These men both love the Lord and have a calling on their lives to serve in Cameroon - they weren't asking for handouts or a ticket to America. They were curious about us and what we eat and what we do, just like we were about them. There was a wonderful connection with these 2 young men and we hope to continue that friendship. Steve actually lived in this house we are living in with his Uncle and his family. Steve's Uncle recently left his position as Vice President of CBTS to finish his Doctorate in Souix Falls, South Dakato. I met his wife Patience yesterday, who is still at CBTS with their 4 children. How lonely this man must be away from his family - I wished I lived in Souix Falls just so we could get to know him and show him some hospitality while he is so far from home. One of the professors here went to Bethel College and then to Fort Wayne, IN and finished his degree a few years back. He also left his family in Cameroon to further his education. While in the States, he couldn't get a work visa for his 2nd year and had no money to send back to help his family. A church nearby had a missions conference and somehow it came up that there was a need with this student. A man attending the conference invited this Cameroonian student to come live at his home - their children were all grown and they had extra room in their house. When they found out the man's family was still in Cameroon, their church took an offering and bought tickets for his family to join them (wife and 1 son). This American family hosted this Cameroonian family for 5 years! They treated the young son as their own. When the man graduated he came back here to CBTS and is teaching (for very little money). It makes me wonder how many other men like this there are just in MN, who are far from home, trying to get an education so they can make a difference in their own country. What a mission field we could all have if we would just reach out to people in our community. I know I have "assumptions" of my own I need to overcome. I want to take the time and get to know individuals and see them as God sees them, just as I enjoy the blessings when someone else is willing to do that with ME.