Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Danger–Warning Will Robinson

We’ve had a couple of frightening events take place in Mali this week.  On Thursday, two French geologists were kidnapped from Hombori, a small town in Eastern Mali.  This is the first time kidnappings have happened in this region of Mali.  Then on Friday, four tourists were kidnapped from Timbuktu.  One of the hostages was shot and killed in the ordeal.  Both kidnappings are believed to be the work of Al-Qaeda.  They have kidnapped several people from the Sahara region of Mali in the past few years, however this marks the first time kidnappings have happened in populated areas.

Over the weekend, all Western missionaries and aid workers were evacuated from several regions of Mali.  One of our YWAM co-workers who was living in one of these areas has temporarily moved in with us.  We currently feel safe in Bamako, however we are unsure if these are isolated incidents or are a prelude for more things to come.  We are on heightened alert and would appreciate your prayers for this situation.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder

Mana CampfireThis week we helped host the annual spiritual retreat for the BCA middle and high school students.  We spent 3 days in Mana, a village about an hour outside of Bamako.  We stayed at a mission compound.  Some of the kids camped out in tents and some slept inside a couple of empty houses.

The time consisted of devotional times led by a new missionary couple.  We also had times of worship along with several team building games and activities.  For the first time this year,we also buried a time capsule which included a special item contributed by each person.  We ate like royalty thanks to one of the moms who did a wonderful job preparing our meals.

Mana Miracle TreeOne of the highlights of the retreat each year is visiting the “Miracle Tree”.  The tree was struck by lightning several years ago which destroyed much of the tree.  However, the tree is not dead and still has a few healthy branches with leaves.

Cole has attended the retreat for the last 5 years but this was the first trip for John & Julie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up

Kim Nelson is the Kindergarten teacher and school principal/administrator for Bamako Christian Academy (BCA).  She was hanging some things in her classroom yesterday and lost her balance getting down from a chair she was standing on.  She hit her head on the way down, cut her hand, and dislocated her foot.  After several doctor visits, it was decided her foot injury is quite serious and she was medevaced to the States for treatment.

Kim is scheduled for surgery and will need to remain in the U.S. for two to three months for recovery.  Please be in prayer for Kim that the pain will be minimal and the injury will heal quickly.  We’re also scrambling to fill her administrator responsibilities and find someone to take over her class.

BCA is in dire need of a full-time school administrator.  If you, or anyone you know has experience in this area, please consider serving at our school for 6 months to a year.  Please contact us for more information.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is On Fire…

Roof FireWe were relaxing in our house yesterday afternoon after a long day at school when we heard a lot of commotion outside.  As we went out to see what it was, we encountered all of our neighbors yelling at us and pointing to our roof.  We ran up the outside staircase to find that the thatched roof canopy on our roof was on fire!  John and Cole grabbed our garden hose to begin putting it out and quickly found there wasn’t enough water pressure.  At the same time, neighbors began streaming into our yard and started a bucket brigade drawing buckets of water from our well and running them upstairs.  Thankfully, the fire was put out within a few minutes and there was minimal damage to our home.  It was amazing to see all of our neighbors immediately rushing to our aid to douse the flames.  In all, 25-30 people jumped in to help.  After 10 years in Mali, we had our first real taste of village camaraderie even living in the capital city.  We are indebted to everyone who came to our aid.  When all was said and done, everyone quietly returned to their homes without asking for anything in return.

With no fire department in the country, we learned firsthand how fires are put out – this is a lesson we would have rather avoided learning, but we are certainly extremely grateful that no one was hurt and the damage was minor.