African outfits

African outfits
Our crazy family

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home really is where the heart is.

Do you know the line of the prayer "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest"? We used to say that prayer when I was young. I was thinking about that line and wondering if that is the desire of my heart on most days? When I look around me at the floors that need to be swept, my to-do list, all my selfish desires, do I truly want a guest of any kind? More than that, when I look at my cluttered thoughts, my discontent heart, and my selfishness, do I really want to invite the King of Kings into my day? It is a choice I must face every day and I have learned that the quicker I meet with HIM each day, the more content my heart is.

One of the joys of this trip has been seeing God use our gift of hospitality even here in Africa (not to be confused with the gift of entertainment - which I lack in). For years we have prayed that our home would be a place of refuge for those who walk through our doors. At times I felt like a failure because my house would not be "company ready" when the opportunity would arise. I would have to remember to put hospitality before my pride. Too many times, God would have to work on my hard heart as I would struggle to want to open my door because I selfishly didn't want the extra work. But when I put my selfishness aside and opened my door, whether my house was ready or not, I have always been the one who has been blessed far more than I have been a blessing.

Living here in Cameroon, our housing situation is a bit "rustic" and simple. Our furniture isn't very comfortable (the floor is concrete and there are bugs so we don't sit on the floor). We have just enough dishes for our family and one guest but somehow that hasn't mattered much. I've learned so much from our Cameroonian friends (and even strangers), that you don't have to have much to make a person feel welcome.

At home we have a weekly tradition of serving pancakes for supper on Sunday. We usually have a bunch of different forms of sugar to dump on them and take great delight in seeing how creative we can be. We have brought this tradition with us as a way to feel the comfort of home in a small way. We've extended the invitation to the missionaries here and have introduced a few of our Cameroonian friends to the wonders of pancakes as well. We've added a time of singing and praise which we plan to bring home with us as we continue this tradition at home. Our guests bring their own dishes and no one seems to mind at all.

I'm realizing that our "home" is really not our house at all - it is us! I am missing my friends and family in Minnesota, but my HOME has been with me all along.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings

I woke up this morning with all these random thoughts running through my head. Most of them were observations I have had while here in Ndu and what I want to do different when I return to Minnesota. As we have met some of the students at CBTS, one of the things I've been struck with is how many languages many of them know. Even our missionary friends know a few languages. I think if I want my children to make a difference in this world and to be global thinkers, they need to work harder at learning a language or two. There are so many opportunities available if you broaden who you can communicate with.

Random thought number 2: My views on missions is shifting (a little). I still strongly believe in short term missions trips, maybe even more so than before. What I am realizing more than before was the fact that a person really needs to be CALLED to be in full time overseas missions. I also think that you need to have a specific need or skill (think pilots, doctors, teachers etc) that would benefit the people group you are living among. It would be very easy to throw in the towel and give up if you did not have that assurance that God had called you specifically to the task before you. I'm sure this is pretty obvious to most of you but I think before this I leaned more to the thinking that you just need to be willing.

Random thought number 3: People here are extremely bright and have overcome incredible odds. Kyle and Drew have been working with a few guys that play keyboard and guitar but have never had any music lessons. These guys have a natural ear and a desire and have learned simple music theory quite rapidly. Our friends (The Schroths) help out at the local elementary school and were surprised at how advanced the 5th graders were in science and math. As a homeschooling Mom, I feel challenged by this to raise the bar on my expectations in my school. One of the families we have met lived in the states for 5 years. During this time their son went to a public elementary school. When he returned to Africa, they had to hold him back a grade because he hadn't covered the information that all his peers in Africa had covered. He was a bright kid who got good grades but the information just had never been given to him. I'm not here to attack the education system in the States - we have many options for many different types of kids - these are just my observations.

Random thought number 4: I have observed that there are quite a number of Muslims that own many of the businesses around here. The local tea plantation is owned by a Muslim man and most of the big vendors at the market are Muslim. I have been treated very fair by these vendors and have nothing against these people. However, I believe they are very business savvy and seem to be taking over most of the economic power in this area. In talking to some of the local Christians, many of them have lost their loved ones to Islam because that is where the money is. They want the security that is offered to them in working for these men and soon it spreads and they convert to Islam. Jesus says in Matthew 10:16 to"be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." I think it is possible that this whole area (and many others like them including even the States), need to take this to heart or we could be in slavery to the Islamic world. I think it is important that we be raising children to be business savvy, intelligent, wise and purposeful. Somehow, I need to figure out a way to light a fire under each one of my kids so that they can be prepared and equipped to further the Kingdom of God.

These are just my thoughts and observations: I have no hard facts that I have researched or anything. These also cover some pretty deep problems or potential problems. This blog is really just my thought process and what I hope to implement in my own family to make even a small difference in this world.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

March for Jesus

We have noticed that the Cameroonians really like to march. A few weeks ago was National Youth Day, with all the local schools marching through the main street of Ndu. In a few weeks will be Women's Day, where women will have dresses made out of the same material and march all across Cameroon celebrating women. Today marked the end of the missions conference at Emmanuel Baptist Church, a march from the soccer fields, down the main street to the Total station and then on the side road to the church commenced the last day of the conference. The march started at 745am so we had to be out the door early. We sang songs (that we barely knew) as we marched down the dusty streets of Ndu towards our destination. The church was packed and it was a celebration with lots of music. Drew and Kyle even did a special music. The plan was to have Levi play the drums along with them but we didn't think it would work so well with his cast.