Saturday, October 27, 2012


My prayer buddy, a local missionary, recently visited the States and when she returned she brought me the new Passion CD, White Flag. I am totally hooked on the song "10,000 Reasons (Bless the LORD)"  I was worshipping to it on my IPod while I watched the kids swim around the pool this afternoon.  
Before we went back into the house, I stopped to talk to my guard. He is a lover of GOD and I knew he would really enjoy the song, too.  So, I passed him my headphones and told him I wanted him to hear a great song.  He was amazed by the IPod and so I spent a moment introducing him to the technology. (They still use tapes here...if you don't know what a tape is, I am not sure you're old enough to be using the internet unsupervised.)  
Eventually, he positioned the headphones on his head and I started the music.  I let him listen while I walked nearby and sat down on the front steps to wait.   It was only a minute or so into the song when he'd already caught onto the tune and was singing aloud, "Bless the LORD, Oh my soul. Ohhh my soul. Worship HIS HOLY NAME. Sing like never before. Oh my soul! Worship HIS HOLY NAME" 
I sang along quietly with tears stinging my eyes.  We've lived here 10 months and I still cannot believe I get to be with these beautiful people.  
When he finished the song, he brought it back to me and gushed, "That was really great!! Here, we do all our songs with just a keyboard and drums. But that song had all the instruments!!" He was overwhelmed.

There it is.

Immediately, my heart was again reminded of a truth that burns within me.  The body of JESUS is like an orchestra.  The whole orchestra isn't in one place, in one location.  My guard's church has the keyboard and drums, maybe mine has the violin.  Maybe yours has the flute.  Where we go wrong in this life called CHRISTianity is that we find what we like and what we believe and when we figure that out, figure out that we are a clarinet, well then we find other clarinets to worship with us and teach us and fellowship with us.  We cheer: Hooray for clarinets! We can start to think that clarinets are really the way GOD likes HIS music played. And HE does like it!  
Perhaps we can get to where we acknowledge that GOD uses other instruments like the violins down the street, or the weirdo holy rollin' tambourines across town. We can smile sweetly while we listen to the other instruments and we say things like, "Bless their hearts." We might even mean that. We might have fellowship with the other instruments but can we come to the realization that
 GOD wants us to actually play together?
Not just be able to acknowledge or hear other instruments, but to actually play along in harmony?  
What if we could accept that we are clarinets and not violins but that we need the violin to make HIS music correctly. To know that the clarinet won't sound as good without the violin and the oboe and the harp and the piano? We need each other to make the really great music that GOD wants the world, and us, to hear.  

Oh how beautiful it would sound!!  

Friday, October 19, 2012


I was right. Today was even better.

At prayer time today, one of the missionaries showed up with this little sugar.

This 6 pound bundle of sweetness is over 2 months old. Pregnant, his young mother left home with no word of where she was going.  Her mother claims to have searched for her daughter for months. Finally, a couple of months ago she received a phone call from a hospital: her daughter was there. She had delivered a baby boy and she was dying.  The mother,confused, tried to explain to them that her daughter was not even pregnant. Finally, they convinced her and she came down to the hospital in time to touch her daughter's unconscious face before she died.
Grieved, she took baby Abu and went home.  With no milk and no money to buy milk, she fed the baby tea for two months. When she saw Abu's skin sagging and the ridges of his bones protruding through his scalp, she consulted the Susu witch doctor for help.  He gave her "medicine" that began to destroy Abu's little liver.
About three weeks ago the grandmother brought the baby to my friend Esther.  The baby had never had milk and the dehydration was severe.  Esther asked if she could keep the baby with her and feed him milk until he was better.  The first week he gained a pound.  Now he has had milk to drink for three weeks. Those who saw him from the beginning say the change in his appearance is profound.
Esther and the other missionaries all pitch in to help take care of him, and I was beside myself when she offered to let me have my turn at caring for him for a couple of days.
He arrived dressed only in a diaper and a little shirt that his grandmother had made. It didn't fit and hung open in the front. His wrinkled little body couldn't stay in the pair of baby doll pants someone had tried to put on him.    I showed the baby to Curlygirl. She rummaged through her doll clothes and found one of Little Aggie's old onesies she uses to dress her baby dolls.  It fit Abu perfectly.
All the boy needs now is a little milk moustache and he can be the poster child for
"Milk, it does a body good."

Want to know the crazy thing? Abu is the 9th baby to show up in desperate arms to Esther this week. And he is #253 of all the babies she is currently feeding. Every one of them lost their mother. Every one of them without milk.  It's just overwhelming.  I want to help her feed every starving, orphaned baby in Africa. But, that's not really possible, is it?
Maybe not, but I CAN feed this one <3

Good Day

Yesterday was a good day.

A Muslim friend of mine stopped by to visit. I've known him since we first arrived in Guinea and could see that GOD was drawing him. He is hungry for truth, a GOD seeker.  And as we know--if you seek GOD, HE promises you'll find HIM.
He began to talk to me about the sacrifices of bulls and goats.
It was time.
 The LORD opened my mouth to tell him about a blood sacrifice that covers all sin once and for all.  Blood that, when it covers your heart, makes you right before GOD.  I told HIM about JESUS who stands in for us at the judgment, not just for the sinless life I needed, but also stands in for me for the perfect, right life that I couldn't achieve. I told him about Cain and Abel. (He knew about them.)  I told him about Abel who approached through blood and was accepted and about a blood that speaks better than the blood of Abel.  I told him that I can see he seeks truth and that if truth is what he really wants, GOD will give it.  "If you want HIM, HE will not refuse you". I assured him.
He answered, "I want HIM. I want HIM."
At those words, I choked up and managed to say "HE wants you!"
Even now, I can't stop the tears.  

Another good thing from my day. Curlygirl taught a darlin' little African girl to swing!  She's about 4 years old and never been on a swing.  It was great <3.

My Man fired one of our guards. I cried, the kids cried but to no avail. My Man was determined.  About 24 hours later, he told me he decided to show mercy and keep him.  That was good, but not the best part.  When I delivered the news, it wasn't just the guard who was grateful.  At some point in the day, our other employees came up to me and expressed their gratitude.  I don't mean that they just said "thanks". I mean, they responded as if they were the ones who were given the second chance.  It was so precious and so genuine. I was humbled by the way their lives were intertwined with their friend's.

This morning started with some hip hop worship and tears appreciating the GOD who loves to be worshipped in every style of music.

I think today is looking to be pretty good too...  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lost Cause

In a world of expedience and convenience and love of all things shiny and new, I am grateful these days for a GOD who is all about lost causes.  What a contrast HE is to all of us…to me, especially.  I remember in the States, I had no time for things that didn’t function properly.  When my toaster broke, I threw it away and bought another. Why invest in repair? That takes time and after all, it’s so easy to just get a new one.
GOD isn’t like that.  In fact, I think HE really enjoys the process of taking the lost cause and making something wonderful, valuable and useful. 
By now, there’s no hiding that I am hopelessly addicted to list making. So let’s just go with it…

My favorite lost causes as of late:
In a country where worshiping JESUS is restricted that a lot of people wouldn't even bother, my friend told me of a girl who introduces herself to people this way:  “Hi, I’m ____, I’m a CHRISTian”  She attends a “secret” church but isn’t all that secret about it.  She obviously wants others to know about JESUS.  HE really is a hard secret to keep after all.  All that hope and joy and forgiveness HE gives just make HIM irresistible. <3

There are many CHRISTian churches here in Guinea, but some of them fly under the radar. They are secret churches for Muslims who serve JESUS.  I have heard of one woman in particular who spends her days covered from head to toe—literally—in black veil.  At meeting time, she enters the church, removes her veils and worships JESUS.  Then before she leaves, she redresses, and returns to her Muslim family.  Every time I see a black cloaked figure in the market now I wonder---is that really a lover of JESUS behind that veil?

My missionary friend tells how her parents were shocked to learn she was getting married…at almost 40 years old. She said they’d given up thinking she’d ever tie the knot. She has two kids now! Woohoo! Lost causes rule!

Guinea.  Undoubtedly a lost cause to many. But GOD sees something of value here (and it isn't the bauxite).  I see HIM pouring out HIS love and concern for the people of this land.  I see it in the Mercy ship choosing Guinea of all places to come to. I see it in the missionaries who've given up lives of convenience, lives where the holidays are filled with family to lives poured out for the LORD and poured into the people of Guinea. I see it in the way HE is quick to answer the prayers we pray for it.  A couple weeks ago,  when a couple friends and I gathered for prayer, the LORD led us to pray for a work in the government, specifically that corrupt, tainted leaders would be removed.  Three days after we prayed the President, in a surprise move to clean house, dismissed 11 Ministers in his administration who were linked to corruption and the military junta.

And finally, my most favorite lost cause:
This girl.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Love List

Since The Republic of Guinea turned the big 4 yesterday, I decided to celebrate their National Holiday by thinking on all the things I love about this place!

*  They call robbers, "bandits".  I don't know why I think that is so cool.  Somehow it makes me feel better when my guard tells me the gunshots outside my house are "bandits" and not just plain old criminals.

* Watching women walk with heavy loads balanced on their heads and a cel phone up to their ear.  It's the meeting of the worlds.

*  Everything is a community event. Very commonly it is hair braiding.  The women sit outside for hours patiently weaving braids into each other's hair.
which brings me to the next thing I love...

* Guineans are pretty darn patient! I've never seen them get irritated because they've been kept waiting.  They think Americans are always in a rush and find it terribly rude that we jump into business talk...or any talk before going through the whole rigmarole of asking how they are, how their family is and how their children are doing. (Why do we rush that part, anyway? Isn't that stuff way more important than anything else we have to talk about?)

*  During heavy rain, there are entrepreneurial little boys who go to the flooded parts of the road and direct you around the pot holes.  They do it whether you pay them or not...but they're in it for the dough.  I am thrilled to reward those clever little chaps!

* I don't particularly like birds. But if I did, I'd love to be a birdwatcher here.  They have the most bizarre, wildly colored and interesting birds I've ever seen anywhere.

*  There are some crazy wonderful trees.  Trees that make it feel like you're in Narnia: Huge and twisted and magnificent.

* They call bragging, "bluffing".   Of course it is...

*  Hands down- favorite thing = Babies on backs