Sunday, October 24, 2010

Catchin' Up

Ben came to me tonight and dropped the camera and cables in my lap and said, "This isn't a hint or anything." haha! But I knew what his hidden meaning was... "Make a blog post!" :D

I really do need to catch up. I Hope you've missed me!

First up...Our NEW car!! If you've been reading my blog, you know how I completely destroyed the driver's side passenger door. Well, Genesis came to my aid that night and picked up the car and took it to his body work guy. I finally got a hold of Ben in Benakuma and he decided to re-do the entire car. It was rusted out in so many places and in bad need of a makeover. The guy did a great job and our car looks brand new! He even took out all the seats and scrubbed them! I didn't even recognize our car!

The kids have been diligently working in school and we have a big chart that we made. We mark off the days as we do them. It is fun to see the days disappear. Though we do have a lot of boxes to check off, it still helps them as they work toward a goal. With our kitty and puppy, they usually spend their free time outside. On Saturdays kids usually come up and they play outside with them. We didn't have any kids come up this past Saturday except Louis. He is deathly afraid of our dog...almost ripped my arm off one day trying to hide from Penny! I thought he was gonna pee his pants he was so scared! So, when Louis comes we hook up the dog so he'll stay. It was kind of a rainy day on Saturday, so Drew went outside to just visit with him. Drew had been reading one of those chick tracts and thought he'd go through it with Louis. Ben snapped a picture of them. Drew was reading the tract and then looking up the verses and reading them. I thought it was so cute! Our little missionary in training!And speaking of Penny, Ben found a great treat for her this week. He went to the meat market and saw one of those big cow bones lying there. He asked the meat guy what he did with those. Well, they burn them and feed them to the pigs. Ben asked why they did that...and I don't think that he'd ever been asked that before. His answer was, "That's just what we do!" Well, Ben asked him to dash us (pidgin for 'give us') one of those bones. He gave Ben two of them and he gave them to Penny as a treat and she loved it! This picture cracks me up. Ben wanted to get in there and get a shot of Penny eating her bone...she obviously didn't want to be disturbed! And you can see that Penny and Cuddles are starting to get along better. She was even willing to share her bone with the cat! And here is another sweet picture of them getting along. They do fight like cats and dogs (lol! I kill myself) Seriously though, sometimes Cuddles sounds like she is getting her head ripped off, but she survives and I'm tired of locking her in the store room. She is holding her own now, and I just let her roam and I think she is enjoying her freedom. Plus, I have a mouse in my kitchen and I need her to start earning her keep!
The kids came up with this great strategy to draw perfect pictures. They lay a coloring paper over our big magnadoodle and trace it. They are so proud of their creations and we have had coloring papers scattered all over our floor for a week now!I know these pictures are completely out of order, but they are from the last couple of weeks, so you get the point. Here is a picture of our neighbor, Jude. He is a good friend and we were sad to say goodbye to him as he moved to Younde to go to school. He takes care of our mowing and yard work, and so on his last day of work, he wanted a picture of himself with the lawn mower. He didn't say why, but I just giggled at him and told him I'd be glad to take his picture. He wanted the kids in it too. We are sure going to miss him, but he'll be back over the holidays.

That is pretty much everything new. I've been working on gathering pictures for a series of posts I want to start doing. It will be entitled "Fashion Faux Pas Friday." So be looking forward to that. I think you will get a kick out of some of our African Fashion Faux Pas! :D

My Mom leaves tomorrow to come here!!! I'm so excited and hope to update on her visit from time to time while she is here. She is so nervous about checking in bags, so I'm asking you all to pray for a miracle! haha! We need to save some money, but the airlines aren't very helpful anymore. An international flight is allowed one bag. Do you have any idea how impossible that is for a missionary to be restricted to one bag! A second bag is $50, and any additional bag after that is $200! We used to....a loooong time ago, get two bags at 70 lbs each. Then it went to two bags at 50 lbs each. And now it is one bag at 50 lbs. Pretty soon we will have to pay for any luggage at all. Really frustrating, but that is our life. We just need to deal with it and do the best we can. So in order to get some of the things out here that we'd like to have we have to pay for them. The problem is that their tickets are broken up into two separate trips. So some airline personnel are telling us that we will have to pay for the extra bags in Atlanta...AND in Paris. ugh! Some are saying we don't have to. My mom has done everything she can possibly do to try and get our luggage through for free on the Paris end at least, but to no avail. It is going to be in the hands of whoever is at the check-in counter that day. So, pray with us that God will work that out and save us some money! We know that God will provide and it is always neat to anticipate how He is going to do that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Benakuma and Beyond

Well, I mentioned in my last post that Ben was going to Benakuma for the weekend. He left Thursday and had plans to start his trip out in the small village of Benade (prounced BEN-uh-day) which is about an hour and a half beyond Benakuma...provided you can get a bike to take you there! :D

Well, the roads were SO bad that they made it to Benakuma after dark but couldn't continue on to Benade until the next morning. After a night's sleep in the Hotel Bonanza they began their journey to Benade. They got two motor bikes and the trip took just over an hour. They would frequently have to get out and walk so the bikes could make it through the thick mud. There were also no flat stretches of road was all uphill and downhill, uphill and downhill. Here is one shot of the road.
They finally arrived in Benade and spent most of the day visiting. The village is quite small, so it didn't take them long to meet a lot of the people. They noticed a crowd at the health center and went there and met the family of a woman who was in labor. Well, the lady came out while they were there and Ben had a word of prayer with her and her family. She'd been in labor all that day, and all through the night. Ben found out the next morning that she still hadn't had the baby. He and TomMike began the trip back to Benakuma, only this time they didn't have a motorcycle taxi. They had to go on foot. Ben said the trip was exhausting! They had to treck 20 minutes to the main road, and then from there it was uphill and downhill once again through muck and mud taking them 4 hours to reach Benakuma! While they were trecking along, they heard a motorcycle coming from the the direction of Benade headed towards Benakuma as well. Ben recognized the lady immediately... Yep...the lady who has now been in labor for over 24 hours! Riding a motorcycle!! Mind you she also had to treck the 20 minutes to the main road, and an additional 20 minutes before the bike picked her up! And I thought I was doing good having a baby in my plush hospital bed, with cable television and no pain meds?? This woman wins the mother-of-the-year award!

Once she arrives in Benakuma, it is possible that she had to climb this hill to the hospital as well, as the motorcycles won't go up there, but I can't say that for certain. Considering all she'd done so far though, she might have! Here is a shot of the big fancy hospital she finally gave birth in sometime Saturday evening. Ben and TomMike heard about her delivery and made it a point to go and visit her Sunday before they had their church service and ultimately left to head back to Bamenda. In honor of Ben's visit out to her village, she named her baby after him. So, meet Pastor Ben and Pastor Ben: Here is a close up shot so you can see how adorable Pastor Ben is: Oh...Oops! I meant to post this Pastor Ben: haha!
And here is the Mom of the Year award winner herself: Oh, and to top it all off, this woman told Ben that she was going to TRECK back to Benade that day!! Ok...4 hours of exhausting up and down hill climbing?? She just had a baby??? She didn't have the money to pay for one extra night in the hospital (it would cost her the equivalent of 2 u.s. dollars), so she just planned on heading back home. Ben wouldn't even hear of it! He paid her hospital bill (which cost a total of $20 u.s. dollars) and gave her an extra 5,000 cfa to stay an extra night and pay for a motorcycle the next day to drive her back to Benade. I'm still shaking my head...

And that is the end of my version of Ben's trip to Benakuma! So many great things happened though...many people trusted Christ and Ben came back overflowing with things to share. So, in order to get the full view you'll definitely want to read his summary HERE.

As for the kids and I, we survived the remainder of his time away just fine. Thankfully after the car incident, there were no more blunders on our part and God kept us safe. We had a little bit of sickness over the weekend, but thankfully everyone is doing well now and we are all thrilled to back together as a family again!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday to Drew! You look like a monkey...and you smell like one too!! Haha! That is what Uncle Jay's card said for Drew's birthday and Drew sure got a kick out of it! My brother is really talented with computer and video stuff! He made a card for Drew on his computer with a special video message from his uncle Jay!

We are certainly thankful for the 10 years that God has given Drew. Especially when the doctor's said he only had two months to live after he was born. If you've never read Drew's story, you can check out to find out about our miracle. This website hasn't been updated in quite some time, but you can at least click on the link to read Drew's story.

My mom is coming to visit in three weeks, and she is bringing all of Drew's birthday presents. But I did have a little something to give him on his actual birthday and told him I'd make him a cake. But then when Mimi comes we will have the big celebration. Ben was leaving for Benakuma at around 11, so we decided to do our happy birthday wishes at the breakfast table. Here is Drew with his gift.

I love this kid! It takes nearly nothing to excite him! He is SO easy to please! I got him a small spiderman figure and a spidey coloring/acitivity book. He was pretty pumped about it. I always love watching his reaction. He shows his emotions all over his face! Not all my kids are like that. :D

Ben left at 11 and I pushed the kids through school. They were so ready to be done and to play. I started working on the cake so that we could come home from church and eat it. I told the kids that was going to be supper! haha! They were pretty excited about that! So, I pulled the cake out of the oven, and herded the kids to the car. We were running a bit late. I pulled the car out and ... "Crunch!" I stopped...and looked back...only to realize that Faith hadn't shut the car door. This was my very first car accident. I know some of you know what it feels like in the moments after you make the dumbest mistake! You wish you'd turned around one more time! I heard a car door shut, and mentally thought all the doors were shut. Faith started crying immdiately b/c she just knew it was her fault. Poor girl. I told her it was all Mommy's fault. I should have double checked. So...there was no going to church. We were late as it was, it would take us 30 minutes at least to walk there. I tried calling Ben and couldn't get a hold of him. I finally called Genesis. I figured he could help me. He said he would come and get the car and get it repaired. So, he came after dark on a taxi, helped me tie the door b/c it wouldn't even shut and he took it to town. He has a friend who does body work. Thankfully this mistake took place in Cameroon...and not in the states! The repair work is a fraction of what it would cost me in America! And I learned a valuable lesson...To be more careful! The car is still in the shop because Ben decided to have the entire car paint job and everything. Our car is rusting out in several places and it has needed a big repair on the body for a while...I just facilitated the process! lol!

So, once the car was finally taken care of...the kids and I enjoyed Drew's birthday cake! I felt I could relax a little knowing that the car was in good hands. I'm thankful for Genesis who came to help out so quickly!

All in all I think Drew's birthday was a good one for him. He is counting down the days til his big party though! Of course...we all are, because that means Mimi will be here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

It has been a busy week here at the Sinclair house. Between bouts of mild sickness (fevers - sore throats), funerals, and just plain trying to keep up with school, we have been running at a fast pace. I'll try to update with pics and give you the rundown of what is new in our lives! :D

We are enjoying our new kitty. It is a battle of sorts...trying to keep the girls away from that cat long enough to do their school.

Whenever they get a break, it is off to our store room to play with her. I have to be very diligent to keep her away from Penny though. I tried to put them together, but Penny is just crazy rough with her! She picks her up around the neck and just shakes her for all she is worth! So, my new strategy is to chain the dog up during most of the day, and allowing the cat freedom to roam around. Then at night I unhook Penny and we shut the cat into the storeroom. Once she gets bigger, she will be able to hold her own, and Penny will learn to steer clear!

Penny is good for some things though...home clean-up in particular! :D I dropped an egg on the floor and called Penny in to clean it up. She was unsure about coming in at first, and kept flinching every time she saw me move. She's used to getting whalloped when she comes in the house! haha!

On Friday, Ben packed up the bus with generator, screen, water, tracts and other supplies and headed to town to pick up 7 guys to head out to the village of Nginikom. The wake keeping for Emmanuel was to be held that night, and the men were prepared to be up all night and to share the gospel with as many people as possible. Ben said it was such an encouragement to go out with these mature believers, who were so on fire to share the gospel. The family was quite divided about our church being involved in the funeral any way. They were so afraid of the Catholic priest finding out that baptists were there. When your eternal destiny lies in the hands of a man, I can understand their fear! But Emmanuel's mom allowed our church to take part, thank God! Late in the evening Ben showed the Jesus film in the Pidgin dialect. He said it was SO good for people to see that because they were able to compare the baptism of Jesus by John, with photos of Emmanuel's baptism by immersion. A lot of people were talking about it, and many people were once again afraid that the Catholic priest would find out! On Saturday I came to Nginikom with Matt Yeiter and a couple more people from our Bamenda church, Ezekiel and Genesis, and we piled my kiddos in the back boot of the car. The ride out there took Ben two hours in the bus and about half that time in the little red toyota that Matt drove. The view is absolutley amazing out that way. There is no point even posting photos, b/c they don't even begin to do it justice! We arrived to a mass of chaos in my opinion. There were different groups of music bands playing their traditional instruments and drums. A MASS of people arrived shortly after we did to come and view the body that was set up under an ornate canopy for the viewing area. I finally merged my way to where our church people were (it took me a while) and I found Emma who was white as a sheet! Poor girl! She had a rough time on the curvy hour and a half drive there, and then we arrive and are just stuck in this mass of people! Thankfully she bounced back once she was able to get a little bit of fresh air. All the men were standing to the side of the viewing canopy singing out of the hymn book. I joined them for a bit, and then Matt stood on a pile of mud bricks, and with the aid of a microphone he preached the gospel to those that were filing through the line to view Emmanuels body. There was a crowd gathered around listening intently to the message. I was surprised they could stay focused with all the racket going on around them, but they hung on every word that Matt preached! Off to the right was a traditional xylophone - a loud cacaphony of sounds that comes from men beating on different lenghths of wood planks that are balanced on the trunks of a banana tree. Beyond that, men were dancing to the music in a big hole. As a few men shoveled dirt into the hole, the group would continue to pack it down over the casket by dancing back and forth. It was very interesting.
You can't really see it, but the hole is directly behind the group of men in this picture. And that house was Emmanuels own house, so he was literally buried right outside his front door.

Here is a great shot of Matt preaching. There is one funny in the photo...I'm sure it won't take you long to point it out. :D As we say here..."TIA" ...This is Africa. You can also see Eugene holding the little speaker, that amazingly puts out quite a bit of sound!

We really weren't there for very long. After Matt preached, and we went over to the actual burial site, we went to one of the homes of the family members and they fed us some fufu, njamajama, fish, and jellof rice. The kids were pretty excited as they love African food. Kate enjoyed picking out the fish heads for herself out of the pile of fish that they served us. It started raining right before we left and we were a little afraid we wouldn't make it out of the village. The roads are steep and incredibly slippery! Wow...I could barely walk! It was like an ice rink! Matt's car had some trouble...swishing and slipping it's way out of the village. I couldn't believe the bus made it out. We decided some angels were pushing the back end! We have had that bus in the shop a few times in the last couple of week repairing the 4wheel drive, so, it really was a miracle we made it out! After all was said and done we know of 16 people on Friday that trusted in Christ, and 8 people on Saturday! The salvation of Emmanuel's family has been at the top of our prayer list for quite some time. He was very burdened for his staunchly catholic family members. Sometimes God uses a death to draw people to Him, but I know Emmanuel wouldn't have had it any other way. Praise God for what he did this past weekend in Nginikom!

Here are a few more family pictures from this week.

We measure the kids every few months. They didn't grow as much as they did the last measurement. Faith Ann had the biggest growth spurt. We didn't get an actual photo of Kate b/c she is the one under the weather now with a fever and sore throat.

Ben had a good laugh at Drew's bear, Barry, this morning: haha! Poor Drew and his glasses. Last time we were home we went to one of those discount eyeglass places...eyeglass world or something like that. We got a great deal on his glasses, but they have been nothing but trouble...we have those things wired and glued and rigged to stay together. The next time we are going to have to invest the big bucks and get some nice glasses. And we will just have to pray the ones we have through the next year until we can go home next.

and speaking of home...only 3 weeks until my Mom and the Whitely's come! Yipee!!! We are so excited!! Drew's next milestone is his birthday in two days. We will have a very small celebration Thursday night, and then when Mom comes, we will have the big party (basically b/c she is bringing all the presents lol!). So...I guess that is all for now!