Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Fighting floods, 2013

I find it kind of ironic that the last post we put on this blog was last April during some flooding in Kokomo. We are updating our blog still talking about a flood...in Niger...in the desert! I am not sure other countries want us visiting because floods seem to follow us :) Two weeks ago, I never would have thought that the Niger River would rise enough to cause concern for us. It was rather low for this time of year. We were really enjoying the abundance of rain we were having during the month of August. It actually rained every day there for awhile, but normally every other day was good.
All of a sudden, the river was beginning to tickle the top of the dikes and we became a bit concerned. The school canceled classes last Friday just to be sure that we didn't have the entire school here in case the river decided to come up on land. As it turned out, we didn't need to do that, but it did give us a day to further prepare our campus in case it did happen again. Our whole dorm was out Thursday night reinforcing our new wall into the wee hours of Friday morning. Then back at it again on Friday building berms around the outside of campus, on the dike and anyplace where water would be likely to go. I walked along the dike when it was close to coming over the top and just had a little time with God...more like a begging session pleading that the river would go down. It had been coming up at 2 cm per hour and  things looked grim. As we took turns throughout the night checking for breaches and taking readings on the water level, I went out one hour later only to find that river had indeed dropped by one centimeter. That was certainly going the right direction.
The river continued to descend throughout the next day much to our amazement. Although I have no idea why we were amazed because we know it was only through the power of God that brought this river down.
However, a part of the city still was flooded due to a dike not holding about a half a click north of campus. Much of that water was flowing across the road to the new bridge and then turned back up our road, so we now have water sitting on our outside wall. It isn't deep, but it could cause damage to the wall's foundation being waterlogged like that. As a result, we decided that that wall needed some help. We now have poles supporting that wall as well as dirt on the inside and outside of the wall to try to soak up some of the water. It has been a ton of work. The old wall was only letting water seep in thereby soaking the ground.
You can see how high the water was on the dike. Very very close to coming over. 
I will now post some pics of the kids working and one where you can see where the water was and where is is tonight. Please do pray that it continues to go down. While we love the rain, every storm that blows through even north of us causes some tension in wondering what it will cause the river to do.
This is a house just down the street with only a few inches of water in it. I witnessed it just collapsing Saturday. So sad to watch. The people got out the night before all the water entered. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

With the sun in Mikaylah's eyes, our two kids stand in front of a very swollen Wildcat Creek which left so many houses so full of water. The house I helped clean out yesterday had the high water mark up to my neck. The refrigerators were on their sides because they just floated up and were set back down where the water chose. There are piles of things all around town that was just destroyed by all this water. We are due for another round of rain tonight, so please pray that the houses stay dry. The creek now is down again, but will rise again!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ready to send!

Tim has been working diligently to perfectly pack our boxes heading to the container in Florida which eventually (God willing) will be shipped to Niger.  There has been a snag recently in the way we ship, as new agents in Niger are now in the customs department and have relinquished the exoneration status of many Non Government Organizations.  Not only that, they are also requiring detailed lists with receipts in French of every single item being shipped before the container leaves the United States. There is still a container that was packed last summer with supplies for the flood relief that has not yet been released from American soil.  Please pray that the new customs agents will recognize that our efforts are to help their people and to look favorably on the containers we send to Niger.  "And my God shall supply (fulfill, make complete) all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20)

Monday, March 04, 2013

He is Sovereign over us

Lately I have been finding a lot to identify with in music.  so much so I am brought to tears.  This song, by Aaron Keyes is a beautiful testimony to God's sovereignty over us, that brings hope in the darkness...

Even in the dark night of the soul
we remember that Our God
has plans to prosper us
and not to harm us.
Not only that, He actively works all things
-- even the schemes of the enemy--
for our good and for His Glory.

Sovereign over us    by Aaron Keyes

There is strength within the sorrow;                                     (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
There is beauty in our tears;
And You meet us in our mourning;                                      (Revelation 21:4)
With a love that casts out fear                                                  (1 John 4:18)

You are working in our waiting                                                   (Lamentations 3:25, 26)
You are sanctifying us                                                            (1 Peter 1:2)
 When beyond our understanding;
You're teaching us to trust                                                            (Proverbs 3:5)

Your plans are still to prosper                                                (Jeremiah 29:11)
You've not forgotten us                                                            (Hebrews 13:5 )
You're with us in the fire and the flood;                                     (Exodus 33:14 )
You’re faithful forever perfect in love;                                     (1 John 1:9)
You are sovereign over us;                                                             (Luke 1:33 )

You are wisdom unimagined                       
Who could understand Your ways?                                     (Romans 11:33 )
Reigning high above the heavens                                                  (Matthew 28:18)
Reaching down in endless grace                                                 (Ephesians 2:8-9)

You're the lifter of the lowly ;                                                James 4:6
Compassionate and kind;                                                             Matthew 18:21
You surround and You uphold me;                                                John 7:38
And Your promises are my delight;                                     Acts 3:19
Chorus 2x
Even what the enemy means for evil;                                    2 Corinthians 11:14
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good ;            Genesis 50:20
And for Your glory;                                                                         John 12:41
Even in the valley You are faithful ;                                     John 18:1-5
You're working for our good ; 
You're working for our good;                                                 John 5:16-17
And for Your glory;                                                                        Romans 8:28
You are faithful forever, perfect in love;                                     1 John 1:9
You are sovereign over us;                                                             Luke 1:33

Friday, March 01, 2013

One Day at a Time

....each day is, in a certain sense, a complete life by itself. It has its own duties, its own trial,its own burdens and its own needs. The very best we can do for the perfecting of our life as a whole, is to live the one day well. We should put all our thought and energy and skill into the duty of each day, wasting no strength, either in grieving over yesterday's failures -- or in anxiety about tomorrow's responsibilities." ~ J.R. Miller

I tend to borrow trouble, to think of the worst case scenario in order to brace myself.  Jesus does not advise that at all.  In fact he advises AGAINST it, telling us NOT to worry.  This is actually freeing, I only have to be faithful TODAY.  Then when I wake up tomorrow it will be today again! 

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~ Jesus in Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:34

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In case you have missed our latest news via fb or email, I thought I would write a short blog sharing our latest. No, Janice is not pregnant...whew. For a couple of weeks, I(tim) had been experiencing some discomfort in what we refer to as the family jewels. I didn't think much of it since Jayson is always jumping on me and that seemed to be the cause. But after some time, I thought I should at least let my doctor tell me it was nothing to worry about, prescribe some medicine and away I go...back to raising funds to get back to Africa.
Now you have to understand the relationship we have with our doctor. He is a big, black British guy who loves life. The first time I walked into his office wearing my OSU sweatshirt, he told me to get out since he went to Northwestern and Michigan State. He is this relatively mild mannered guy with a very compassionate side. When we went for a routine physical, he shared some of his testimony of his faith in God and actually called us quasi-christians. Now, being American, we didn't know what he meant by that because in our heads it sounds like half christians or something like that. He then explained that in the country with proper English, that means kind of like crazy Christians who are living in a country where most would not. We had brought him up to speed on what we are doing.

During the physical exam, I didn't even think to ask him about this mild discomfort because it wasn't hurting at all. It is kind of like you take your car into the garage and the mechanic can't hear any noises that you heard and if fact, it doesn't make that noise for you, either...until you get home again. So, life went on as normal.

A few days later, I felt the discomfort again, so I decided that since we are home, I better rule everything out. I emailed the doctor and told him that it is probably nothing, but told him where the pain is. He wrote back and said to wait 10 days and then make an appointment.

That is where things began to change. I didn't wait the 10 days because it had already been a couple of weeks and I knew he would be mad if I waited some more. Shockingly, I was able to see him the very next day which would have been February 13th. He had a look, and said it is probably nothing to worry about but sent me the next morning to the hospital to get an ultrasound done.

At 9 am I walked into the ultrasound room and went through a relatively dehumanization process. I went home thinking the doctor would not call for a couple of days. Before 10 am, his office called and said that I need to get in to see him asap!  I thought, oh, oh, he found something serious or else that call would not have been so frantic. Janice and I got into the car and was there in five minutes. The doctor walked in and said, "well, Tim, there is a mass down there, but this will not kill you!" wow. really? Testicular cancer? really? my mind began to spin, tears came to my eyes and he just hugged me, us. He then said, "we are going to get you back to Africa, back to what God has called you to do and you will have a great story to tell" Then he took both our hands and prayed with us. I thank God for a doctor like this that he placed in Kokomo, IN for all these years. A man who knows that miracles happen and prays first before any surgery or treatment. That probably helped more than he knows since I haven't seen him since.

That was valentine's day. The day after, I had to go see the specialist that our doctor referred us to and he said we need to do surgery to remove one of those jewels. I said, "what?" He just smiled. So, last Thursday, one week after the discovery, he removed one of the boys.

At this time we wait for a catscan to see if it has spread anyplace else. He doesn't think so, but wants to treat this as aggressively as possible. So, there is the story. Am I worried? No, I can honestly say that. God has given me a peace that passes all understanding. I don't know what my future holds, but I sure know who holds my future. My grandfather, who ironically died of cancer when I was in high school, loved the old hymn, Great is thy Faithfulness. You seen, if I would have had this in Africa, I am not sure what would have happened. I probably would have ignored it until it was too late. I am so thankful that God allowed us to be in the US for this. I am thankful that we are here where we have good friends and family around us to pray with us as well as our good friends across the big pond who are also praying for us.

Now, once our doctor realized this was cancer, he did prescribe a medication I could take to calm me down when dealing with this. I don't remember what he said, but he said that would help. I never even came close to having to take that. With a God like we have, why should we need meds to give us peace?

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;

As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!