Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dear "Santa"

Hey all! Writing you from the Land of Gold- Ghana! Yes, we got to go home for Christmas! This is thanks to incredible donors who bought our tickets for us, as we could not afford the tickets on our own. We are especially grateful as we haven't seen my sister Rebecca and her husband Binoy and their kids in 3 years! They are missionaries in India, doing a tremendous job serving the Lord there. We know we are going to be tremendously encouraged here and find times of refreshing both physically (can you say Mom's pecan pie?) and especially spiritually. Join us in thanking God for such a blessing!
Remember as a kid writing your Christmas wish list? Personally, I usually wished for toys, especially toy guns, action heros, army men or maybe even a Game Boy (remember the old monochrome ones). Well, over the years, I have matured a bit (though I still like having a Nerf Battle with my kids). As our ministry has expanded this year, our wishes (or rather needs) have also expanded. Here is our grown up Christmas list. Maybe you can help fill "Santa's" shoes? :D 

>More people praying for us. Could we get 100 people to take 1 minute a day and pray for our ministry? This is a really simple thing, but is of huge importance! Could you commit to praying for us every day, even for just a moment. Pray for our work, for our health, for those we minister too... you can keep up with our blog also to stay current with our prayer needs. 

>More people to visit us! We are always encouraged by visitors, showing them our work and country and watching them be encouraged by what God is doing in Cameroon. We always want more visitors! You can visit for a week, a month, even longer! We really believe you would be just as blessed as we would be too... so this is a 2 for 1 Christmas wish! :D 

>People to spread the word about our work in Cameroon. With me growing up in Ghana and Brittney coming to Christ latter in life, we don't know a whole lot of places where we can share about our work in the United States. Generally, most places won't have us share if they don't know us... but they might know you! If you can talk to one or two people about our work, steer them to our blog or just put in a word for us... it wouldn't cost you anything but a few breaths! :D 

>Sponsors for our Schoolkids. We have 14 kids (if you don't count our own 3). For them to have top-notch, Christ-centered, character building education costs us about $600 a year per student in curriculum costs and teachers' salaries (for French, Computers, and starting next year, Cameroon History and Geography- these are taught by well-trained Cameroonian teachers). This is really not that much when you consider the caliber of education these kids receive. Their parents already cover part of their transportation costs as well as uniforms and food, and our coworkers the Harrises cover the cost of the school building. Would you consider sponsoring a child for $50 a month? If you are interested, we can send you a schoolkid's picture and a little bit about them so you can pray for them specially. 

>Help us get to the States! We are really excited to see you all! However, this time, it has been difficult to save up for our tickets as we usually do. Some of our supporters had to withdraw their support due to financial difficulties, while at the same time our mission expenses have gone up as our mission has expanded. To be blunt, we do not have the cash on hand to buy our tickets as of now. They are going to be about $900 per person one-way (about $9000 total). You would like us to be able to come see you right? :D This year, we have depended on special gifts to stay afloat financially due to our growth and concurrent loss of support. So far God and His people have always come through and despite the operating at a monthly deficit, we have never really had to go into debt. We do though need to buy our tickets fairly soon, as prices start to rise the closer we get to our departure date, and at the same time, oil prices are at a 7 year low right now. If you could think of us as you do your Christmas shopping, God can use you to continue to enable us to carry out His mission in Cameroon. 

>Thanks for reading and God bless! 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Blessedly Busy

There are several things I want to share with you all so I decided to combine topics in this blog.

A very generous American family living in Buea called me up a few days ago asking if I knew any needy families they could help with a tenth of the chickens they have raised
Thankfully a beloved sister/mother in the Church has an NGO called Reach Out who had a chicken4life project therefore had a truck and chicken crates to help carry the chickens.
Reach Out is a trust worthy organization that helps many people in the community everyday.
We were able to give out 30 chickens, 24 of which were generously given by our friends, to orphans, widows and those who were in need. God continues to provide for His people in unexpected ways.
Carys wanted to help with the project too!
Many were blessed in Buea today and Reach Out took some of the chickens to a nearby village, Tole. Praise God for using His people to partner together on such a fun project that helped those in need.

Something else I got to be a part of: several of us ladies joined together to cook for a dear sister in Christ's traditional wedding.
People came from different parts of Cameroon to attend.
Every tribe has their own traditional way of paying the bride price. The bride's family made a list of items the groom's family had to get together to bring for the traditional wedding. Here they are "arguing" about the quality of material they brought from the list. Finally, the groom's family said the bride's family should take this material as a bonus, and they would buy more material of better quality later.
Something else that was on the list was palm wine and bitter cola. The groom's family had to taste it first to make sure it wasn't poisoned before giving it to the bride's family. Both families are in the Church but they still practiced this as a cultural thing.
The handsome groom and beautiful bride.
It was a beautiful wedding all around!
The father of the bride talking about wanting them to wait to be "joined" until after the court and Church wedding.
The mother of the bride and the bride. They are truly wonderful women of God. We are now preparing for her court and Church wedding which Hannah and I both will be part of.
Since I made the cake for the traditional wedding I was given a small part of some of the bride price. Here we have soda, soap, tomato paste, salt and maggi (spice cubes).

On another note, Abel (whom I'm sure most of you have heard about through other posts) was in a hit and run car/motorcycle accident, breaking his toe and suffering severe abrasions on his arms and legs. He had no family to help him so he called "Mr.J" (Jeremiah) for assistance. There is no such thing as medical insurance here, and if you don't have the cash on hand to pay medical expenses BEFOREHAND, the hospital will simply not help you. Many die simply because they cannot afford treament, including a young motorcycle taximan (19 years old) who similarly had an accident while Abel was in the hospital. Coming out of anesthesia Abel said a lot of funny things such as "Girls like me because I'm social but I'm not ready for marriage, send them away." And sweet things such as "My family has abandoned me but Mr. J will never abandon me, He has taught me the Word of God!" 

Abel had to spend 18 days in the hospital and he had surgery on his broken toes but he is doing much better now, though he has to walk with a crutch.
Culturally, when someone is sick or has come back from a long journey friends and family will come and visit you. Ladies from the Buea Town Church of Christ recently to visit my husband and to encourage him despite the troubles with his eyes and the challenges it brings.
They have absolutely amazing voices.

It was indeed encouraging to have them in our home offering praises to the Lord and encouragement to the family.

God is good...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Teachers Seminar in Buea

Greetings from Cameroon once again! What a productive, tiring but fun few weeks it has been!

Madam Magdeline, the Inspector of Basic Education came to our school to see how things were being run. She was impressed with the teaching style as well as the student's performance in our school. She then asked me to teach at the Head Teachers Seminar in Buea which then opened up more opportunities...

It was exciting to be part of the Teacher's Seminar in Buea for the first time. I look forward to participating in the next programs.
The first program was just for the head teachers in Buea. Head teachers fill the role principals would fill in the States.
It was a great opportunity to make good contacts.
Emmanuel and Hannah were happy to help with my demonstrations.
We were also given delicious food!
I learned a lot from listening to some of the other teachers as well.
Madam Magdeline and the head teachers were encouraged by the lesson I taught. They asked me to teach at 4 zonal teacher's seminars 2 weeks later.

I shared with them some elements of success for teaching reading phonetically, using the 5 senses during your lessons, assessing the students, having manageable class sizes and so forth. Many teachers were impressed when Emmanuel (6 years old) could pick up a Bible and read any chosen verse smoothly. 
They loved volunteering and watching the old smell and taste test. :)

We are so thankful to God for the many opportunities He has given us to serve in Cameroon and teaching at this particular seminar was definitely one of them. I exchanged numbers with many teachers, there were many who were interested in the ministry, I was asked to be part of future educational programs and more. Please pray that we can continue to use open doors to shine brightly for Him!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

T-Minus 4 Months and Counting...

Hey All! You might be wondering why the map of the United States. Well, that's because we have begun planning our next trip back! We will be back in the US from March till early August to travel all over the place and see many of you. This map roughly shows where all we will be going! It is going to be a crazy summer. Just point to point, it is over 10,000 miles of driving! We will most likely be visiting or driving through:

South Carolina
North Carolina
New York
South Dakota
North Dakota
New Mexico

Whew! That's at least 29 states! We are excited to see many of you and hope to get in touch in the next few weeks to sort out dates to visit. Let us know if you want us to make sure to stop over and see you and if you know of anywhere in the vicinity of our journeys where we could share about our ministry and the work of the Lord here in Cameroon, please let us know. It always seems that people are very encouraged to learn of all that is happening here, and we are always excited to meet fellow saints. Please be praying for us, as we make these plans and for the next 4 months here in Cameroon, that we can get everything done that we need to get done. Keep our coworkers the Harris family in your prayers also as they will have a lot on their plate when we are gone. God bless and see you soon!  

Thursday, 5 November 2015

While Jeremiah was gone...

It feels SO good to be finally writing a blog again! While Jeremiah was away we managed to keep up (though it wasn't easy) with our normal routine (for the most part) and we had some extra programs in addition.

Neville, the man in front, is a good friend of ours who majored in creative arts. He now teaches in the University of Buea as well as campaigns for women's rights. He took George under his wings to help him act in different dramas. This particular one they exposed human trafficking that happens often in Cameroon.

Here are some of the Cameroonian women leaders from our area wearing their traditional dresses.
Hannah and her friend Julian sang a duo "Jesus Loves Me" while Uncle George played the guitar. They did a great job singing in front of the crowd!

There was also a talk about HIV and a testing area.
Me with acting crew. These are some very talented people who were able to get the point across in a creative way.
Cameroonians like to march and celebrate! This day we celebrated Teacher's Day. We listened to several different speeches about education and education in Cameroon history, sang, marched, watched the giving of awards to certain teachers, etc. It was a good and fun day!
Here is some of our teaching staff. Neville, Rosette, me, and George. 
When Jeremiah was away I went to Church assemblies at the Buea Town Church of Christ instead of going to the villages. It was nice to see the saints there and one afternoon we had some Nigerian missionaries take a group of us out to eat in Limbe for roasted fresh fish and plantain. It was delicious and the fellowship was sweet.
We haven't seen any black cobras in our compound since Jeremiah left but we have seen 2 black mambas on the road since then! 
Thanking God for His protection from these beautiful but extremely poisonous creatures.
The kids helped me make pizzas on Friday. Family night was just not the same without daddy.

About 2 weeks after Jeremiah left Brian, Jael, and baby Zeal returned to Cameroon!
Brian's mom came with them and will be staying in Cameroon for 6 weeks all together. She is enjoying extra grandma time with baby Zeal.
Hannah, Jonathan, and Carys are totally in love with her as well. <3
Brian and Jael basically hit the ground running as they quickly started helping the the school and other aspects of the ministry. Here Jael, with cute baby Zeal, is working in the learning center.
Brian leading the morning devotional in school.
Brian teaching our Sunday night home Bible study.
We are thanking God for His protection on the road as well. I drove Brian and family to Douala to get some items for settling in their house and on the way, through a toll, a bus went into our lane heading right for us. The bus swerved a bit bumping our car as well as some others but thankfully no one was hurt. When they stopped people rushed to see why the driver went into our lane and we found out it was due to brake failure! It was especially frightening for Jael, as baby Zeal was in the car, but we are all very thankful it didn't turn out worse.

I am so happy to have my hubs back! I want to say a special "Thank You" to all who helped out with Jeremiah's medical care, prayed for him, and the encouragement you gave us. Words can't express our gratitude towards you all and we pray God continues to bless you.