Friday, January 28, 2011


Don't ever take your citizenship or proof of citizenship lightly.  Right now I am trying to get my passport renewed.  I didn't think it was going to be this hard!  First the pictures I had taken were too big (37 mm instead of the 31-36 mm required... the photographer said my hair was too buffant!!!  imagine) so after I fixed that problem they said they needed more ID in my married name (since all my Canadian ID except my current passport is in my maiden name).  So I searched for two more pieces of ID with my married name and turned that in.  Now they are telling me that I have to produce my marriage license!!  Strangely enough, I did carry my marriage license around with me while I lived in the US, but when we packed up for Niger I put it safely in the lockbox which is located somewhere in Kokomo in one of the many places we have our stuff stored.  So I decided to phone the County Clerk's office in Kokomo to get a copy of our marriage license.  The lady I talked to on the phone was SO courteous and efficient, she even offered to call our church to see if someone could pick it up in person!!  WOW!  When I told my prayer group here in Niamey, someone asked, "did you live in a small town?"   I don't really consider Kokomo Indiana a small town, but it does have the small town feel and people often go out of their way to help one another.  So all this to say, that my marriage license is on its way here, hopefully it will arrive before my passport expires... we shall see...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

wild life

This morning Mikaylah found a baby gecko in the kitchen sink.  The porcelain was too slippery for  him to climb out.  Mikaylah had pity on him and carried him to the back yard to set him free.  Jayson, however was busy with Rover, the campus tortoise.  It never ceases to amaze me how patient Rover is with Jayson.  And he is relatively fast, too!
Dry season also brings out the hedgehogs.  They are really cute and curl up in a ball when they are scared.  Then there is Jayson's newest addition a crocodile that grows!! "it's okay, mum, it is really just fake!"  I am so relieved!  Sorry no pictures, I have pictures, they just aren't loading so I am going to post this and try to add the pictures later.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eleven in 2011

Here are the Phillips’ Eleven Reasons to praise God in 2011.

#11 Love! The Jeung family re-united.  Yun-In and Yeon-Hoo were here in Niamey while their parents were still in South Korea working on getting their visas to Ghana.  They finally arrived in Ghana the end of December and were able to be with their boys again after being separated for five months.

#10 Joy!  We enjoyed an excellent first semester.  The children all remained happy and healthy.  While we said an early good-bye to Nathanael and Mikaela Ottosson who returned to Australia in November, we celebrated American Thanksgiving, four birthdays in November and one in December, a Christmas party, and we made and ate dozens of Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house.  Our dorm assistant, Cindy Sybesma was misdiagnosed with hepatitis.  As this is written, she is recovering from Gall Bladder surgery in Europe.  We are so thankful that she did not have hepatitis and that she was able to quickly get the surgery she needed.  

#9 Peace and Safety.  Just this week two French men in town were kidnapped from a local bar near midnight.  The Niger and French police pursued the kidnappers and caught up to them near the Mali border.  Unfortunately, both hostages and some kidnappers were killed during the gun battle.  We are reminded again that we are completely at the mercy of our Lord who alone can keep us safe and sound. There are elections scheduled for Tuesday, arrival day in the dorm, and we are praying for peaceful and smooth elections.

#8 Patience! The Maytag refrigerator is working again!  At the beginning of November the compressor in our refrigerator died.  Tim ordered a new one on line, our former dorm kid, Rebekah was able to bring it out to Niger and our electrician had it installed into our fridge on January 5th!  There was much rejoicing! Tim was able to get new lights installed and get the fridge repaired, a dresser fixed and he was able to hire a man to weld the broken windows so the children can open their windows during cool season.

#7 Kindness of family.  Mikaylah and Jayson were really spoiled after Christmas when three packages from Tim’s brothers and sisters arrived with lots of goodies for them. Janice is trying to get her passport renewed.  She does not have her original birth certificate here and so her mother is trying to get a copy sent out to us before Janice’s passport expires on her birthday in February.

#6 Goodness! No Flooding of the school.  In spite of record high levels of the Niger River, our campus has been spared the flooding that is going on all around us.

#5 New Life: New Students in the dorm!  Spencer Starke’s younger sisters Marette and Cora will be joining us this week.  Marette will be in grade ten and Cora will be in Grade nine. Chung Hyun Lee, also in grade nine will be returning to the dorm tomorrow.  We haven’t seen Chung since his family went back to South Korea for home assignment in June 2009.  We are looking forward to seeing him again!

#4 Gentleness: Cooler temperatures.  As I write this it is only 18˚ Celsius, (64˚ Fahrenheit).  Of course it is seven o’clock in the morning, but we are enjoying opening our windows and feeling the gentle cool breezes.  The week between Christmas and New years, we went camping at a national park with seven other families.  Tim canoed his way down to the park while Janice drove with the kids the following day.  We spent a couple of days relaxing around the camp fire, wearing sweatshirts, hiking with the kids and finding deer, monkeys, baboons, crocodiles, buffalo, eagles, heron and parrots.   Some people even saw lions and elephants.

#3 Restoration:  When we arrived home from camping we quickly got the dorm ready for a team from Green Valley Community Church in California who was staying with us in the dorm during the annual SIM spiritual life conference.  This team blessed us in four ways.  They ministered to us with their worship team.  Their pastor brought us messages that met us right where we are. They organized a program for our children and youth so we were free to worship, and they brought us gifts of coffee, mac ‘n’ cheese, cake and taco mixes and marshmallows.  In addition, one of the girls is hairdresser who cut Janice’s hair for her!  We felt refreshed for the New Year.

#2 Evangelism: On Christmas Eve Tim was able to help Chris Marine show the Jesus film in Zarma (the local language) for one of our churches here in Niamey.  Open-air films always bring large crowds.  But the most interesting thing is that the morning Tim was setting the film up to be sure all the equipment was working properly he asked Ladi, our one Muslim helper, to listen to see if she could understand it all.  She sat down and watched the entire film!  She walked back into the kitchen during the crucifixion of Christ and explained that she could not watch those people being so cruel to Jesus.  Ladi has been in our dorm for nearly three years.  Pray for her salvation.

#1 Faithfulness: Supporters who remember us.  Even though our promised support has dropped from 86% to 83%, we praise God for supporting us through special one-time gifts and extra Christmas gifts.  With a recession going on in North America, it is a testimony to the faithfulness of God’s people!  Words are not adequate to express the gratitude we have in our hearts for all of you.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.                      Galatians 6:9,10