Friday, October 23, 2009


Genesis 1:31      God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

This is just one of the verses that Mikaylah has learned this year in her kindergarten class. What a simple reminder that we often lose sight of when we are in the middle of a very hot, humid place in which we find ourselves. It is very good.

Hello again from Niamey where we actually had 3 inches of rain in October!

This week we find ourselves with our fall break that has been wonderful. We have had a great chance to relax, read, swim, and just hang out with friends.  We were even able to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with some turkey breast Janice found in the grocery store!!

However, we began the week with much to do, as we got ready to play in yet another NUTS softball tourney here in Niamey. Now, from those who follow us closely, what does NUTS stand for? This year, there were three teams from Sahel Academy, just like last year. All three teams did really well. Our youngest team played so well together as a unit. Although they bowed out of the tournament in the semi finals, they made the school very proud in how they played.  The competitive team had last year’s title to defend. With two more teams in the tournament and all of the competitive teams with the ability to win, we really had some work to do. I will post the longer version on our blog, but to make a long story really short… we were successful in defending our title with a dramatic 8-7 win in the finals.

The school year seems to be going quite well so far. The kids in the dorm all seem to get along quite nicely with each other which makes our job so much nicer.  We are really enjoying watching some of them growing spiritually, mentally, and physically. Of course, those who are growing physically are eating a ton of food as well! Right now, we do have 13 in the dorm, only to add 3 more in January. That, in itself, is another story. We have room for one more girl in the dorm with two girls who really want to come. So, Janice and I found some other accommodations for the older girl here on campus only to find out that the girls hall already made plans and sacrifices to get everyone in. They are willing to squeeze three girls into a room made for two in order to make room for both girls to stay in the dorm. That is typical of the kids who live with us. This job is almost too easy at times! Praise God!

Mikaylah loves her class. She comes home everyday with stories of what they do each day. She loves reading and insists that we have to do her reading homework first. Now, she is trying to apply her reading skills to books that she had previously memorized like “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”. She is a good verse learner and seems to be getting along well with her classmates.

Jayson is still a very active little boy who loves to play hard. While he loves shoes, he rarely keeps them on his feet. He often comes crying home limping because he has one of those burrs in his foot. He tries to keep up with Mikaylah with her learning, so now he thinks he can read, too.

We would love to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who support us financially. This week, I was finally able to catch up on some paperwork and look at where our support is as of late last summer. I am happy to report that while we have lost some support due to the recession, we have gained a whole lot more. When we arrived in Africa, we were at 86% and as of now, we are at 90%. Praise God for His faithfulness to us and thank all of you who are aiding this ministry to MK’s.

For those who have good internet, please check out the blog this week to find pictures of our giraffe outing we had this past Friday. The kids thought it was quite unusual to drive around for so long to find these very tall, gentle creatures. Jayson wanted to go for a ride!

I will leave you with some prayer and praises! Thank you all for the prayers for us. We are entering into my favourite time of the year. The coolness of the dry season is such a welcome change from the high heat and humidity.

~Praise God for a good break and needed rest

~Praise God for continued good health

~Pray for the relationships we have with the kids and their parents. Pray that all will bring honour to God.

~Pray for some of the new dorm kids struggling to keep up in school

~Praise for the world’s best supporters!




Sunday, October 18, 2009


It is that time of year, again! It is time for NUTS! Are we crazy playing all this softball in 100 degree heat? In Indiana, they would probably just cancel the tourny, but not us crazy people. We began the day last Friday with a pep session at school just before our social team took the field. The whole school was on the lawn cheering all three teams Sahel entered. We had a record 16 teams in the tournament this year. It was a challenge to get all the games in before darkness hit. Saturday night was a close call as darkness descended on us quite rapidly. I think we played the last inning in virtual darkness. 

Of course, you must remember that our competitive team were the defending champs from 2008. Of course our team has changed dramatically due to graduation and home assignments. We had, I think 3 guys on last years' team play this year, besides myself. But, we had a great group of guys and girls who played some great defense throughout the tourny. We, however, started the tourny with the poorest permormance of all time committing many errors and lost 13-10. We were all a bit disappointed about that, but realized that if we could win the next 2, we would be first in our pool. So, that is what we did. Although our defense returned, our offense took a rest in a very hard fought 5-4 victory over a team from Burkina. The hero in that game was Betsie Childs who came up with a clutch hit to drive in the winning run! It was rather exciting as we turned a couple of double plays which is hard to do against those athleic, fast Africans. 

The final game started out just how we wanted it to, taking a 7-0 lead just to see that evaporate by the last inning. We didn't score at all the 3-5 inning, but came up with a bit run in the bottom of the 6th to take the one run lead. Then defense took over. With the tying run on base, two outs, a ground ball was hit right to Betsie who couldn't come up with a clean scoop and throw out. Rather, she deflected the ball right to second base where Tim Smith, our shortstop picked it up and literally rolled to the base to force the runner out. Tim was seen more than once crawling towards the base to make a big play. That was the game, not quite as dramatic tourney overall like last year, but nonetheless very sweet. The thing I love most about this team was the fact that everyone contributed something at different times to make it a success. I love this team!
Our other 2 social teams did quite well as well. They both bowed out of the tourney during the semi's, but played very well. I was especially proud of the younger team who just played with heart. If you could have practiced with them about 3 weeks ago, you would have thought how in the world this team would even win one game. But, they played so together, it was an inspiration to us all. Well done, Sahel Academy! Go Suns! Now, anyone outside of Sahel community and can tell me the what NUTS stands for, I will blog your smartness on the next blog!

Lions, Tigers, and, Giraffes!

We were able to go outside of Niamey and drive all over the place to find a dozen or so Giraffes out in the wild. The kids were fascinated at how tall they were. We were amazed at how calm they are. With us just walking all around them, they didn't seem too nervous with us there. One time, I think Janice was backing up to one for a photo and the giraffe got a little nervous and bent his head down as if we was going to lick the top of Janice's head. Hopefully all these picks will load up quickly today so you can see some of what we saw. It was a bit funny because this is the only place in the world where you will find giraffes in the wild. I at being said, they are "protected". They also charge you to go out to where they are. I would think that if they are in the wild, then anyone can go at anytime to go see them. Although I will say that there is no way I would have found my way around out there without the guide. Poor guy sat on top of our truck in 100 degree heat and pointed with a stick at the direction I should go. After finding 2 big old giraffes right away, we found a herd of them 10 minutes later. After much driving around again looking for another herd, we gave up because the kids were getting a bit antsy. You can see our guide up in the top of a tree looking for the heads of giraffes over the tops of trees, but he couldn't spot any. So, after we began to go back home, we almost ran into 2 more. All in all, we saw around 1 dozen giraffes. One funny thing that Mikaylah did say was that she was very sure that Noah did not take any Giraffes on the ark because he couldn't build a boat tall enough for them!