Thursday, May 31, 2012

Forgive Me Plenty

He made a mistake.  He was totally wrong and there was really no getting around it.  So, My Man took our employee aside and gave it to him straight...and gentle as usual.
I was in the other room wringing my hands.  After a while they both emerged.

Later in the day, My Man and I stood by our gate talking. It was the end of the work day for our employee.  As he passed through the gate to leave, he looked toward My Man without lifting his eyes and said,
"Forgive me plenty".

Humility.  It's beautiful isn't it?

...and forgiveness?  Oh yeah...there's plenty.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I am supposed to be leaving in less than thirty minutes and none of my kids are dressed.  My hair is dripping wet and I am nowhere near ready to walk out the door.  I just heard a horn outside which means our driver is here already too.  
So, why in the world am I blogging right now?

Because I can't stand it.

This morning I am overwhelmed with the reality that EVERY tribe and tongue is brought to JESUS.  I think of our sweet friends who spend every Sunday morning sitting on the floor with former Muslims who are learning how to worship JESUS in their HIS flavor of worship for them. 
I think of my friend from long ago whose body was canvased with tattoos.  He worshiped with other strange looking JESUS lovers.  And GOD loves it!

I think of my brothers and sisters in the Middle East who worship HIM in Arabic.

I think of my siblings in Israel who worship YHWH their GOD of covenant.  

I think of my neighbors here in Africa who worship with loud voices and boisterous dance.

I think of my own children who dance and sing and say simple, love-filled things to JESUS.

It is absolutely overwhelming to me.  The beauty of it is beyond description.  

I love YOU, GOD of every NATION!! YOU are WILD and WONDERFUL and YOU love every last weird one of us.   

Who is like THIS GOD? 

No one  

Friday, May 25, 2012

You know life is fun when you say things like...

*  Little Aggie, get your naked bootie out of the cheese!

*  Kids, you are getting really good at dodging taxis!

*  Don't you dare eat that apple without bleaching it!

*  No, my girls can't marry you. They're too young.  (It's amazing how often I've had to say this one to grown men)

*  Thanks for the advice, but I am pretty sure that WildHeart's sore throat isn't caused by constipation.

* Stop making sounds at that monkey and eat your dinner.

*  That really is you! Trust me! (when I tried to give a skeptical local friend a photograph of himself)

*  I only brought a million. I hope that's enough.

*  I wish you didn't have to leave the country to have a baby.  (miss you A*)

*  Curly girl, run outside and get a coconut chopped down for me.

*  Please don't spray the power outlets with the hose.

*  How many wives do you have?

*  Hi! It's me. The kids need another malaria test. (to our local nurse)

*  Wildheart, don't you ever let me catch you playing with dead bats again!

* Please don't show Little Aggie how to start a fire... Too late?....oh, darn.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tale of Two Parties- Part Two

Our next door neighbor is an "important" person in the Guinean government.  From our house we can see over the wall into their courtyard where many weekends they hold parties.  We love to see all the African women robed in their glorious colored gowns and headdresses who attend.

Several weeks back, we were invited to attend a birthday party there.  My man took Little Aggie to fulfill another weekend commitment while the girls and I dressed up and headed next door.  We were led to an area underneath a sun shade and seated.  Soon, a few plates of food and some drinks were brought out to us.  No one else was given food yet and I realized that they considered us guests of honor.  It was fun to get the attention.

but we don't deserve it.

As the party progressed, I noticed that the number of kids seemed to be growing exponentially.  It took a little while for me to figure out that they had opened their gates and allowed all the children in the vicinity to come in.

Perhaps this is why only certain people are served meat at parties here.  There isn't enough to serve everyone--and since everything centers around community--they don't want to turn people away.  So, they make sure those they consider their most important, invited guests are served the best food. Then, they give everyone else whatever they have left: rice, pasta.  That thought makes me feel sick because I know that those impoverished, hungry children were more important guests than we.
I noticed later in the party that there were just too many for the amount of food. We saw some children taking plates from the trash.

The party continued. Music was blaring and kids were dancing. They crowded around us, vying for our attention.  Children eagerly awaited their turn to hold the girls' hands or sit on my lap or talk to us.

One little girl didn't really speak but she just sat by my side holding my hand while I talked to others.  At one point, I felt something and turned to see her kissing my hand.

I don't deserve it.

Parties here have opened up GOD's word to me in many ways.  I think there is much about this culture that parallels the one JESUS lived in.  Verses that I dug into for principle when I lived in America, are practical to me here.

It should have been that way all along, I think.  JESUS' life as my reality and my heart, not my belief system.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


After engine failure, being abandoned by an airline and wearing the same clothes into a 4th day, I finally arrived in Budapest, Hungary.

I kept marveling at how clean the streets were and how every building seemed to have been crafted with care and attention to detail.  

Have a look...

This was my favorite thing I saw though. 

Budapest was beautiful in all the ways Guinea is lacking.  It was refreshing....

and I could not wait to get back to my beautiful Africa.  <3

Monday, May 14, 2012

Out of the Abundance

....of my heart, my mouth speaks.

* My dear friend was helping me unpack some boxes of food. When I pulled out a bag of lentils, it was as if I had reached inside her heart and pulled out a story at the same time.  She saw the bag and spoke.  She recognized those beans, she told me, and during the war she would sell them in exchange for food.  There was no rice in those days, she recollected. So, she and her companions would disguise themselves as old women and walk a great distance to go and buy lentils.  They had to be in disguise because when soldiers saw young women, they would capture them and take them away.

*  My Man woke me up from a cozy night's sleep a few nights ago with this earnest direction: "Get up!  Go get in bed with the kids."  I roused, and stumbled into my kids room.  He shut us in, and I laid there with my mind running wild.  Later, I found out that a serious gun battle had gone on outside.  A while after it finished, it seemed safe to return to sleep.  Within moments, more gunfire...this time closer.  
After several phone calls we were relieved to learn it was only a battle between the gendarme and robbers.  That was good news, you see, because the following morning an unsanctioned citywide protest against the government was to occur. Schools, stores, and even taxis were shut down in anticipation of trouble and violence.    
Many local friends share their feelings with me. One man lamented that they have had a year and a half of (West African style) peace and he doesn't want it to end.  Others believe that they cannot rest until they are given justice in their government. 
And almost every person I talk to, no matter the tribe, will at some point refer to America as the example of what they want to be. 

 *  My girls have made friends with a local pastor.  He is small, kind of strange looking...and wonderful.  He has a second job, like most every other pastor here and that's where we met him.  In fact, it was at his place of work where I nearly tripped over him as he was on the floor praying.  It was the day of the protest...and I had a pretty good idea what he was talking to the FATHER about.  

I think back to my time in North Carolina and it's almost like it was a dream.  My kids played outside, riding bikes down the sidewalks with their neighborhood friends. My door was always swinging with friends coming in out.  I had coffee and cookies and delicious conversation with my precious neighbor and intimate friend C*. 
I can hardly stand to even think of those things lately.  Things are serious here.  Even when they are fun, they are serious. Everything operates on a different level.  We could pluck just one person out of Africa and bring them to the States and we would be shocked at their story. It would be like something from a movie.  Yet, those are common stories here. 

Still, there is nowhere else I would rather be.  There are no faces I would rather have around me than these.  

Because the bottom line is this--whether I am there where things are rich and sweet and light, or here where things are rich and sweet and heavy, I exist for JESUS... My Wild Man JESUS.

For from HIM and through HIM and to HIM are all things. To HIM be glory forever. Romans 11:36