Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Click here to listen to the original French version of this song.
We Want to Live in Unity
by Sylvain Freymond - translation by John Clark
We want to live in unity
Every moment every day
Careful not to split apart
As we move ahead
Together we share the love
Love of the Lord as we worship our Savior
Together we welcome
The Spirit of the Lord, Creator of unity
We want to remain faithful
And become united as one
Bonded together in peace
As we walk in the Spirit of God
We recognize our differences
To God they are our strength
We will share in everything
While we seek the kingdom of God
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
John preached about Church unity last night and talked at length about Independence Day. He used the Malian government and society as an example to the Church of what church unity should look like. Mali's national seal states the country's motto: One People, One Goal, One Faith. If we could only follow this same mindset in the Church. A sobering statistic he quoted is there are currently 33,700 different Christan church denominations today...and it is forecasted this number will increase to 55,000 by 2025. This is a far cry from the unity in the Church that we are taught to exhibit.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We're now a couple of weeks into Ramadan...the holy month in Islam. During this time, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk with no eating or drinking. The most devout Muslims consider swallowing their saliva as drinking, so there's a lot of spitting this time of year.
Obviously, people are pretty drained from the lack of eating and drinking, so things move at an even slower pace than usual. At night, things really begin to come to life as people are re-energized after starting to eat and drink again.
There was a knock at our front gate around 10:30 last night. It was pretty persistent, so we chose to answer it. There was a group of kids at our gate with their faces painted and holding musical instruments. They came into our yard and began singing and dancing. It turns out this is a West African tradition associated with the midpoint of Raman. Apparently, for 5 nights, the kids go out door-to-door entertaining their neighbors in exchange for small gifts similar to trick-or-treating in the States on Halloween.
We hadn't heard of this before, so we were caught completely by surprise. We went into the house and found a package of cookies and soon word got around that the white people were giving out some great treats and we had more groups of kids show up. It finally calmed down about 11:00 pm.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
We found a little unpleasant surprise when checking our credit card account on-line. It appears someone has gotten a hold of our credit card number and has been on a gas buying spree across Florida and North Carolina. We've called our credit card company and they've canceled the card and are in the process of reversing the charges. In all, there were over $700 in gas purchases over a 2 day period. We're glad we caught it early.
Several of the charges were for $100 exactly. Now you know why there's a $100 purchase limit at most gas stations.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Yesterday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. We went to an upscale hotel owned by Muammar Gaddafi. (He owns many hotels and big businesses in West Africa.) We had a wonderful western style meal in the hotel's restaurant on the bank of the Niger River. The menu had a lot of items that are difficult to find in Mali. They even had Diet Coke (called Coke Lite outside the US) which we normally can't get in Mali. Believe it or not, it was $9.75 for a 12oz can! It's a good thing we don't like Diet Coke.
The night also a marked a rite of passage for Cole. Now that he's getting older, we felt he'd become responsible enough to stay at home without a babysitter.
In all, we had a lovely evening together reflecting back on our marriage and laughing about how on our wedding day we could have never pictured ourselves living in Africa!
Monday, September 01, 2008
All Is Well - We Are Safe and Sound in Mali.
We have finally gotten around to updating the blog. Our last week in the States really threw us off track for some reason and we never caught up. We are sorry for the the lack of news.
We have backfilled our blog entries to help catch up on what's been happening the past month. Now that we're caught up, we'll get back to our regular posting schedule.