Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Yesterday we received a box from a family member.  It is always exciting to get a box from America.  It is like getting a little piece of home.  But this time we got something so precious to us, a CD with all sorts of pictures and videos of family and friends.  It was really fun to watch it and see how everyone has changed but it is also interesting for us to see everything within the pictures.  Everything looks so perfect and shiny.  Everyone looks so beautiful and clean .  We can see all the beautiful houses and all the different fun things there is to do there.  There is so much in America. 

After looking at everything on the CD I found myself feeling jealous.  So many people in the states just seem to have everything.  When or if I ever go back to the states I will have nothing.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I was feeling insuficient, a little depressed, and left wanting more than what this place has to offer. 

I immediately was reminded of what my priorities need to be.  A grandmother of a little boy that we are helping at the hospital stopped by before going back home.  She stopped by with her grandson just to say thank you.  She was thanking me for paying for the boy to get medical attention.  She didn't ask for anything else just thanking me.  This little boy is five years old and looks more like 2-3.  His mother left him shortly after he was born and his father is dead.  The grandmother is barely making it but is doing all she can to keep this kid alive.  I quickly snapped myself out of the jealous mode and looked at all my blessings.  God is taking care of every single one of my needs.  Shame on me for feeling like that when I very well know what kind of people are here and what their stories are like. 

This is little 5 year old Aaron

I think this Thanksgiving we all need to just realize what we have and thank the Lord for all the good things that He provides us with.   I don't know why some people have it harder than others.  I want to stop looking so much to myself and try and keep my thoughts on the big picture.  Today I am thanking God for the life He gave me and I will try and make Him proud of what I do with it. 


Love and blessings,

 --  We are 100% volunteers and your donations are deeply appreciated, as are your prayers, both of which will contribute greatly to our mission.   PLEASE SPECIFY IN THE MEMO AREA OF YOUR CHECK FOR “THE BERE PROJECT” AND SEND TO.  Harrison Seventh-Day Adventist Church  PO BOX 969 Harrison, Tn. 37341  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Survivor Sunday

Survivor Sunday

So here  are couple pictures of a few of the volunteers in the place behind Olen and Danae's house where we have set up Survivor counsel fire.  This time their challenge was to pound some of these little melon seeds that resemble pine nuts.  This is the way the locals do it.  We are going to be using what they pound for Thanksgiving dinner to make vegetarian chicken chunks.  The team that pounded and sifted the most was the winner.  The loosing team then has to make pancakes for all of us on Thanksgiving morning.  Team "Brichelle" won!  Good Job!

The commercial for breastfeeding will be continued until next time.  Both teams have great ideas and totally different but want to perfect it before they present them for the final judging. 

This is  Zane and Lyol with Jamie during the "no shave November".  This was the last day for him cause he couldn't stand it any longer.  He made it to November 20th.  I am so glad he couldn't make it to the end, this is the longest I have ever seen a beard on  him in the 20 years I've known him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

An Update.

Time is just flying by and I can not believe we are almost to
Thanksgiving, it just doesn't seem possible. There is a lot of work
going on here everyday. We have about 8 new volunteer student
missionaries helping in different areas of the Bere campus and another 5
in Bendalay. The Bere Adventist School is well on its way. And I am
watching two little ones in our home everyday. Life is busy!

I am going to try and give you all the low down of the happenings and
yet try and not make it lengthy. I just waited way too long to get a
letter out to everyone and now I have to play catch up. I will do my
best but I was thinking that in the future I may try and write very
short stories as there are things happening everyday.

Jamie is working harder and harder everyday. His responsibilities seem
to continue to grow. Right now he has quite a few projects that are
keeping him young or old we can't decide. He is leading out in building
a new student missionary house. It is being built right here in our
compound. And for those that have been here it is over in the corner by
the basketball court. This is somewhere for them to take a normal
shower or use an American toilet, charge their phones or computers and a
place to cook a meal when one is not provided by their African family.
It will also be a place for them to lock up their valuables. The
building is coming right along. The building walls are all complete
along with the roof. The walls have been covered with cement to create
a flat wall over the brick, the septic has been dug and now they are
going to have to wait for plumbing supplies. Jamie left Wednesday this
week to go on a shopping spree in Moundou for the things that will be
needed to complete the project inside the house. He will be staying
with James and Sarah and working on the new Surgery Clinic and their new
house in between his shopping. Other than this house he still is
working with getting sand sifted for making bricks with the new brick
machine. He is working with people here and in the states for the plans
and pricing for the expansion of the hospital. A new maternity will be
going up, a new private ward, a new surgery room and bathrooms. This
will be a huge project for him to oversee so we will definitely need
your prayers. Everything here is difficult and takes so much longer
because you just don't have Lowes down the street to help you out. But
I know that God will help him. Jamie is also the one helping all the
volunteers get their internet for email working which has not been easy,
lately the internet has not been working for anyone and creating a lot
of frustration for some. After all of this he is still keeping the
hospital up and running. He is also still the dentist and I will see
him run in the house covered in dirt from working construction and go in
the house and wash up a little and change into scrubs. I know that he
is either going to be pulling a tooth or wiring up someones jaw or
sometimes he gets in on surgeries assisting where he can. But he is
also getting really good at casting broken arms and legs. Sometimes Dr.
Olen will come to the door and ask me if Jamie can come out to play.
That means one of the above or if Dr. James Appel is in town Jamie will
get in on putting a rod into someones broken bone and that means Jamie
gets to run the drill. Jamie never has a list that is complete. He
works very hard and I am very proud of him, he is definitely needed.
Thank you to everyone who has donated tools and money for new tools or
machinery to help make Jamie's job here a little easier, it has been a
huge blessing.

As for me, well I have been blessed to have two little ones bringing joy
to our home. Olen and Danae are both in full swing at the hospital now
and I am watching their 2 year old Lyol, and their newborn which is not
so new anymore and is already four months, his name is Zane. They are
both so cute! Lyol has such an amazing sense of humor for such a little
guy. There is so much to say about him that I need to leave most of it
for another blog all in itself. But just know he makes us laugh
everyday and he is such a joy to be around. You may think that I am
just being nice and just saying that but everyone loves Lyol. "Baby
Zane", which is what Lyol calls him, is just now starting to laugh at my
jokes and learn new things. He too is a joy but a lot of work. He is
my reminder that I am too old now to do it all over again. He was born
on the very same day as James and Sarah Appel's twins, Adam and Miriam.
Can't believe it but it is true. What are the chances of that
happening? They are all so cute together and it will be fun to watch
them grow up in Chad together.

Other then babies I am also working with quite a few families that need
baby milk. I have six families every week that comes to work to get the
food for their babies. This is another mission all in its own. It is
$6 per child every week. I feel like God continues to provide so I have
continued doing this work. Word is getting around about this work and
now I have women coming randomly that need help getting their milk to
come in. I am not a specialist in this area but I know that God has
given me ideas that I would have never come up with on my own. I have
had one mother come back and thank me over and over because she did
exactly what I asked of her and now she has plenty milk coming in to
feed her baby. If that was the only one it has been worth all the

In the past you may remember a little boy named Apollinaire. Well as a
reminder both his parents died when he was very young. He was living
with his grandmother and she died during the time Jamie and I went to
Zakouma Park. We found his married sister and he has been living with
them for the last year but now the sister's husband is beating him. So
now he is living with another sister but her husband refuses to feed
him. First of all I know how crazy everyone's lives here must sound to
you but I promise, I am not making this stuff up. Life is super hard
here. I don't even know how they have survived as a people. But back
to Apollinaire he is eating with us two meals a day. We cook for at
least 10 people everyday. But again God is providing through all of you
so we will continue doing the things that we are doing.

I am still working with the public but am only open to do that on
Monday, Wednesday and Fridays when Naomi is with me to help. I do this
because there is so much going on around here that I needed some kind of
control of my own life. We have a guard now, his name is Mahamat. He
is my new best friend. :) He really takes care of our family. I don't
know if he realizes how important his work is to me but he has helped me
with my sanity. It is really working out good this way. He has a good
sense now to know that if someone has an emergency to let them in to see
me but that doesn't happen too often. As an example of this one day we
had three lepers come for help. Yes, it freaked me out, I didn't know
what to do. Everyone here shakes hands but honestly I was scared to do
that. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen and after talking with
them and listening to their story I turned abruptly toward my house for
my tears started just pouring from my eyes. It is just so sad. They
had just a couple stubby fingers and almost no feet. One of them had
bags wrapped around his feet but you could tell he had no toes and half
of his feet were just gone. They all had the worst clothes and they
were starving. I quickly got them all a little money which I try not to
hand out money but I made the exception. I also gave them cookies and a
few things they would be able to carry including clothes from my
Samaritan closet. But as soon as I gave them their things they all
quickly opened the cookies and started eating. I knew they were
starving. I tell you I have experienced more here in the last two years
then I have my whole life. At least it is more meaningful experiences
that are changing my life for the better.

Cory and Brichelle are busy trying to stay focused on their school.
They both also have a garden that they have to water all the time. They
both are also the captains of our "Missionary Survivor, Chad" meeting
that we do every other Sunday. We give their teams a challenge or two
that day for a reward (usually food). The first day of Survivor was for
the team to go and find or buy a charcoal wire stove and charcoal and
get a fire burning and get a pot of water boiling. The only things
provided to complete this task was a pot and water. The second week
they had to try and carry one brick inside a big bowl on their head the
way the locals do it. Each team member had to have a turn and the first
team with each member across the finish line won. After the Sunday
challenges then we give them a challenge for their team to work on for
two weeks. The first challenge for during the two weeks was to teach an
English class. It was a great challenge and they all did a great job.
They had so many come to learn and after the two weeks they had a huge
request to keep it up so now the two teams together, whoever is
available, teaches English two times a week. This last challenge was
for the teams to be creative and create a commercial to put on the radio
for breastfeeding. Why breastfeeding? There are so many things that
the people do that are harmful to the babies. As an example they don't
feed them right after they are born for a few days because they think
that the first milk, the colostrum, is dirty. Because it is a different
color. But they don't realize that it is liquid gold, God's gift to the
immune system. This can also cause problems for their milk coming in.
There are many problems here that Danae has to repeat several times a
day at the hospital. We thought if we put it on the radio they may
believe it. This is hopefully something fun for all the SM's to do but
also encourage mission work for the local people here. This Sunday is
the next challenge we will have to see who takes the lead for they are
neck to neck in the winnings. I will keep you informed on what happens
next. Our goal is to create a video of all the challenges and send a
copy of it home with each SM for their memories of "Missionary Survivor,

So these are a few things that we are doing. We stay really busy but we
are receiving blessings everyday from the work we do. We want to thank
God for giving us this opportunity to work in this way for Him.
Sometimes we fight against the work that God has for us but once we give
up our own wants and listen to Him that is when we can be the happiest,
that is when we can be the most blessed, that is when we can have an
even closer walk with Him. He only wants what is best for all of us.
And only He knows what that is. Today I want to challenge all of you to
listen to what work God has for you. Listen and obey and you will
receive blessings that will last for an eternity.