Thursday, June 23, 2011


If you aren't familiar with Netcasters, I'll briefly explain it.

You are probably familiar with the little Sunday School song, "I Will Make You Fishers of Men." That is what this program is all about. It is basically an intense training course on how to effectively share the Gospel and lead people to Christ. Those who participate have to memorize a ton of scripture and steps on how to share the gospel. There are training sessions every day to equip. One day I plan to take it myself. It is very time intensive and bringing the kids to Bamenda from 7:30 in the morning until 8 pm. every day it just impossible at this point. When they get older though, we will definitely take part.

So the first day there were 60 people in attendance. That day is just straight teaching. Nobody goes out for "Catching-Catching" as they call it. On the 2nd day, our church had 80 people in attendance! Wow! We even had a few come all the way from Benakuma! One of my Sunday School kids is even taking part in the program (11 or 12 years old) and Ben said he is so bold it is unbelievable! :D After a morning of training, the group pairs up into teams of 2 or 3. The head of each team is a believer who has experience sharing the gospel, and they go out. Basically they go door to door, or business to business. After a couple hours of sharing the gospel, they come back for testimony and praise time. On day 2, Ben's group was busy sharing the gospel with a group of men and he was late and missed the entire testimony time. He finally heard an amazing testimony yesterday (day 3) and I had to share it on my blog.

A group of 2 Cameroonian guys went out to share the gospel. On day 2 it was really rainy and stormy in Bamenda, so it is amazing how many people recieved the gospel that day. Anyway, David was sharing the gospel to 3 guys and they listened, but basically ended the conversation with ... We need to think about it. David kept pressing them with the fact that today is the day of salvation. He gave an example and told them, that at any time, lightening could come down from this heavy storm and strike them dead. If they didn't repent and believe the gospel, they would spend eternity in hell. He told Ben yesterday that right at that very moment, lightening struck the spot where those three guys were standing - and literally knocked two of them off their feet! One man said he felt the lightening strike his hand! You better believe that right that second all three of those guys bowed their heads and put their faith and trust in Jesus!!

It sounds unbelievable doesn't it! God works in mysterious ways! :D

Yesterday the group was down to about 65 and they had another amazing day of "catching-catching" Tonight the Netcasters group that came from the states to teach this program is coming over for dinner. It is Emma's birthday, so she wanted to celebrate with a crowd. And there are about 20 of them! So she definitely got her crowd! lol! I made one cake and now need to make another one. I've got ice cream ready to freeze and I'm making taco soup and serving it over rice to make it go further along with cornbread casserole. Hopefully it will be enough food. And thank the Lord - both the power and water came back today! I'm in desperate need of both!

Monday, June 20, 2011

June Update

Oh man, there is a lot to I best get right down to it!

I have been enjoying our summer break. I am still keeping the kids busy with their vacation station books. We are also really focusing on learning our times tables, since Drew has a weakness in that area, and Kate should be memorizing them now too. The kids are doing well and don't mind the bit of school I push on them each day to keep them caught up.

Ben found a special treat in Bamenda a couple weeks ago. They are long gone by now, but we managed to stretch them out for a few days anyway:

Yummy! Who doesn't love Lucky Charms?! It is my favorite cereal...or one of them anyway. I'm kind of a sugar cereal fanatic.

The kids have also been doing well with their piano. They love their teacher, Miss Sarah and she has been such a blessing to teach the kids each week. One of our favorite days of the week is Tuesday because we go up to the Needhams for piano lessons. Check out this dinosaur of a fruit that Aunt Barb had on hand:Last week the kids finished up their final piano lessons and Sarah held a piano recital as well. It was so nice. Our three kids prepared music and there were two Cameroonian girls that Sarah and April have been teaching. Sarah also played some beautiful solo numbers.
The kids did a great job and we got the whole thing on video for the grandparents as well. :D

We have a new restaurant we have been going to on Mondays for the past few weeks, Friman's. It isn't really new to us, but we don't take the family there very often until recently when my girls have gotten a hankerin' for Fufu and Njamajama. It is a very typical Cameroon dish that my girls love. Kate and Emma are really funny - they make the perfect pair. Kate prefers the Fufu, and Emma the Njamajama. So, they eat a bit of both, but end up swapping for their favorites near the end of the meal.Well, most of you know that our furlough is fast approaching. 17 days to be exact. :D In preparation for furlough, I wanted to get a suit made for Drew. I figured buying him a suit in the states would cost near an arm and a leg, and we got one made for 30 bucks. It isn't finished yet, but I've seen how well the suits look here, so I have no doubt it will look professional when it is finished. Here is a shot of the suit man measuring Drew.

I am also going to get an outfit made for myself - something I've never done successfully. This time I have a trusted seamstress, Mirabel. She came to the house today and took my measurements - I can't wait to see the finished product. Here's hoping it fits ok! :D

This past Friday we had a meal in our home for our church leaders from both Bambili and Bamenda. I'm always a little nervous hosting Cameroonians b/c they don't ususally like my cooking. I figured I'd go with a favorite all over the world, Spaghetti. It was a hit!
Something new that I learned on this night... Cameroonians like butter. I put it on the table thinking...maybe some of them will have it. I know my kids will anyway. My kids barely had any and the rest of them took down an entire cup of butter for that meal. Wow. I also had french bread of course, to go with the butter, carrots and green bean medley (that sounds so fancy - really just carrots and green beans steamed together) and carrot cake for dessert, which they also loved. We had a great time of group prayer after our meal. We are so thankful for these leaders in our church and are just praying that one will step up and commit to becoming a pastor for one of our churches. Please pray with us.

This past Sunday we had a wonderful baptism service. Brother Walters was baptized.
This man has an amazing testimony of God's miraculous work in his life. His first and foremost miraculous work was his spiritual birth of course, but he also had a brush with death and God spared him. And amazingly enough, his brush with death occurred in America. He came to the states many years ago as a student. Late one night he picked up a man needing a ride. Unfortunately he could tell immediately this man was on drugs. The guy pulled out a knife and made him drive to the nearest ATM machine. He demanded that Bro. Walters pull all his money out of the bank, which he did at several thousand dollars, and gave it to the thief. They got back in the car and the man told him to take him back to where he'd picked him up. Somewhere along the way, the guy must have had enough presence of mind to realize that he could be identified unless he did something, so he took his knife and slashed Bro. Walters throat. The man ran off, and bro. Walters made it to the nearest phone booth, dialed 911 and the next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital several months later. The doctors told him that when they found him, he was clinically dead. And of course he was in a coma for some time and they never knew if he'd ever wake up. Thank God that this man received two new lives - a physical one and a spiritual one.

The last thing I want to mention is something very important taking place this week. Our Bamenda church has the privilege of hosting a Netcasters seminar. Pastor Mark Gilmore from Falls Baptist in Wisconsin has come out with a team, to train believers how to share the gospel effectively. The days are full - from 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening. All the sister churches were also invited. We are running our bus from Bamessing all the way to Bamenda and back each day. Pray that the bus keeps running. Pray for fruit that remains as hundreds of Bamenda residents will hear the gospel this week. And how encouraging it was for our church to see this group on the first day of Netcasters:
Thank you to so many of you who read my blog. I really appreciate it. I hope it has been a blessing and help in keeping up with our ministry. I also hope to see some of you on furlough in just a couple of weeks!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Update

I absolutely love rainy season. My favorite time of year, and it is now in full swing. Today it was rainy, and is now breezy and very cold! I love it! In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I'm cozy in my kitchen with the oven and burners going, I'd be snuggled under a blanket with my warmest socks and sweats on! It is like a cold fall day (which is my favorite time of year in America by the way).

The last few weeks since family camp have been busy, but not nearly as busy when the kids were in school. We have been spending the mornings doing our "vacation station" books. They are awesome workbooks put out by BJU press, that give the kids a review of what they have learned about over the past year. It will hopefully keep them sharp so that when they head back to school, they won't forget what was learned this year. We have also been studying the states. The kids can sing the 50 Nifty United States song and we have been quizzing capitals and other facts of the first five states. We delve into California next and I'd love for them to be able to fill out a map of the US and also know the capital city of each state...but we will see. I bought some candy, and if they want a piece they either have to answer a question about one of our states, or they have to sing for me! lol! I have been working with the kids on music and they have a lot of songs prepared for our furlough travels. My mom is anxiously awaiting their return so they can sing in church and she can beam with pride and joy! They are doing a great job and I'm so thankful for kids that truly love to sing!

The kids have been taking piano lessons too, and we had a really fun day at piano lessons this past week! Rosemary Craven got some horses together and after the kids had their lessons they rode horses for a while. Then we had a picnic lunch outside on the grass and after lunch the older Needhams kids took my kiddos down the water slide! We forgot our camera, but I'm pretty sure that Abby Sanderlin got some pictures, so I'll have to beg them off her. They had a blast and slept like babies that night! They were so exhausted!

I tried something new this past week that I've never tried before...making donuts!
I used a biscuit cutter to cut the donut and a bottle cap to cut out the centers. When I'm home I'll pick up a donut cutter. They are really cheap and it will be fun to have one to make donuts. I was surprised at how easy they were! And the family loved them!

I also wanted to share this picture of my Mom on mothers day. She and my aunt took my grandmother out to lunch. I love this picture of of all of them!

I spent the early hours of Mother's day up sick...blech! Ben was gone for a three day weekend to Benakuma to encourage the churches out there. It was just me and the kiddos. They spent the morning doing who knows what while I tried to catch a few winks of sleep to make up for my long night. They did watch movies and I do know that they made a mess! Oh well...thankfully nothing bad happened! lol! But, I did get a really great early Mother's day gift before Ben left for Benakuma...
Yeah, I scrapped it! haha! I have been thoroughly enjoying my Kindle and have already read two books that I got for free! How can you beat that!! My scrapbook page tells the story of how I came across my Kindle earlier than I should have...Oops! Mom sent it to Ben in a package and she had wrapped it very carefully with Ben's name on it. I was going crazy when the box came, opening up everything...I didn't even think twice when I opened that package! Before I'd even gotten all of the brown paper off of it, I saw what it was. Ben walked in about that moment and I said, "I don't think I'm supposed to see I?" It was originally an anniversary gift, but he knew how much I wanted it, so he switched some things around and decided to give it to me for Mother's day. What a guy!! I'm so glad he did too, b/c I am really enjoying it!

I wanted to share this adorable picture of Emma and her new smile. Her front teeth are coming in and she looks so cute! I just grin everytime she looks at me. It completely changes her whole look!
She and Faith Ann suck their thumbs, and and since Emma's new teeth have started coming in, I have determined to make them quit. I have this nail polish called Mavala Stop. It worked for Kate who was a die hard finger sucker (she sucked her pointer finger) and so I know it will work for Emma and Faith. It is a big pain, b/c they have to be careful about picking up food even or the stuff will get on it. I told them I didn't care if they had to experience a little bit of discomfort...I was going to get them to stop! It is ruining their teeth...Hopefully it will work quickly.

Well, less than two months until furlough...and counting! We are getting excited and definitely looking forward to it! I know the next two months will fly by really fast. They always do.

Until next time!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Family Camp

Life has been busy. But a good busy! So, I'll give you an update on what has been happening in the Sinclair house.

First and foremost...We are done with school! Yahoo!!! Family camp was coming up and I was really pushing the kids to finish. We'd gotten behind with some lessons b/c of sickness, so by doubling up and doing extra work the kids were able to finish the Friday before camp. Emma still has a little bit of work, but we are just going to do it together a little bit each day. No pressure. :)

I have been doing a little bit of sewing. Here are my latest projects. First is a dress I made for Kate.
and I also made her a twirl skirt.
I found this great pattern on I love that website by the way. There are tons of gorgeous patterns and they are all downloadable pdf files. You just print them, cut out the pattern peices and sew away. They are so much easier to follow than simplicity or any other brand pattern name! Yesterday I had a lot of fun sewing clothes for American girl dolls. While at Family camp a family there had their car broken into. It was some kids and they stole some odd things. One of them being the girl's American girl doll clothes. Not the dolls mind you...but the clothes. Go figure. So, the twirl skirt pattern that I'd made for my girls came with an American doll version. I couldn't wait to try it out. I also found some more free patterns at Here is one outfit that I turned out so cute!
Down the road when my girls get an American girl doll...I will be able to make them some cute clothes!

Some fun family things we have done lately:
Playing in the sprinkler. That was fun!! We have regularly scheduled rationed water now, which has been such a blessing. Every couple of days we get a full day of high pressure water. I take advantage of those days and get lots of laundry done. I also get in at least a couple showers! haha! Well, we decided on one hot day that it would be fun to dig the sprinkler out.

We also had a family bowling night:
Our bowling ball (one of those dryer balls) was not very effective. Ben finally dug out my HUGE exercise ball! That did the trick! Lots of strikes occurred after that! lol!

Ben had the opportunity to meet the U.S. Ambassador.
Tom Needham, a missionary near us, invited the ambassador up for a breakfast. He invited all the missionaries as well, but it was a little too early for my liking. Plus I wanted to keep the kids focused on school as family camp was the next week. So he went up and spent an hour with the ambassador. Keep praying for our CBF government approval. We brought the need once again to the ambassador's attention, and he promised he would keep bringing it before the president's office. All we need is the president's signature and we will have complete legal authority to plant churches. As an added bonus it will also make living here significantly cheaper!

The next big event was our missionary family camp. Each year all the fundamental, gospel preaching missionaries, gather up in Sabga for a conference. Sabga is about 20 minutes from our home, so we stay at our house and host some of the other visiting missionary families. This year we had Don and Ann Wright in our home. That was a treat. Some of you that comment on my blog may have noticed that Ann frequently comments on here. It was such a treat to have them in our home!! All of the other visiting missionaries stayed up in Sabga.

Our conference started on Monday night. Dr. Wayne Van Geldren and his wife came to be our speaker. All of the missionary ladies divided up the cooking responsibilities. Since I am pretty much by myself right now, I decided to do the meal on Monday night. I figured I'd have all weekend and all day Monday to prepare. So, I was a little loco and chose to do Tacos! haha! I paid a Cameroonian to make 150 tortillas. Ben and I ground up 10 lbs. of meat. I made a bucket full of chips. Two huge bowls of Salsa. Three jars of home made dressing and two big trays of salad fixings. I also made up a big bowl of nacho cheese sauce and made up a bowl of sour cream as well. The meal was an absolute hit. I was SO completely stressed by the end of that day, and was really thankful that I'd chosen to get my meal out of the way at the beginning of the week! lol! But thank the Lord it turned out yummy and that there was enough to feed over 70 of us!

We had three sessions a day and the children had their own special meetings of missionary and Bible stories and crafts. There was a zip-line for them to play on, and a volleyball net and a fun day of play in the water with a home made water slide. We came home exhausted at the end of each day, but it was a wonderful week. I always enjoy the fellowship with the ladies that I only get to see a few times a year. Some only once a year! Our family prepared several special music numbers. In fact the very first night Drew and Kate sang a special.
It was kind of an odd night. Right before the service started a big storm blew in. Tom was afraid of hail, so we had to bring both of the airplanes in the hangar. We all crowded chairs around as best we could. For the rest of the week, however, the planes were parked outside the hangar and we were able to sit like we normally do. Even in the craziness Drew and Kate sang and did a wonderful job. One of these days I'll have to post a video, but they sing parts so well. We also sang two family specials the next day. I had the privilege of singing a duet with Christine Mossman. We both love to just sing through music. It was SO fun to sight read music. I haven't done that for a while. We sang a beautiful choir number and also a ladies group number. During one practice I wanted to just sit there and cry...the words, the music, the parts...I just really enjoy singing and miss being able to sing through arranged music like that. It was an extra special blessing this week.

The kids also did a choir number
The boy to the left of Drew became Drew's buddy during this week of camp. I was so thrilled that he found a friend. Caleb Wright lives in the far north of Cameroon, so we only see the Wrights once a year, but since camp, Drew has already gotten an email from Caleb. I think they will become great friends. One of these days we want to take the kids up to the far north. The Bachman family and the Wright family serve up there and both are great friends. They don't get too many visitors, and I know it would be a neat experience for our family.

And I have to show you pictures of the make-shift water slide
The kids had a blast playing on this all afternoon. There is a nice waterslide that Tom made out of cement. But it had a big hole in it and wasn't repaired in time. So Kathy Needham came up with this great idea and the kids didn't even miss the other slide. They had so much fun!

The sessions and the preaching were so refreshing spiritually. I was challenged in so many areas. One of them being in my parenting. We received some great teaching this week of camp, and I am so thankful for the amazing week that God gave us!

So, that is an un-condensed update! lol! Now that the kids are done with school, we have started a summer school of sorts. They do review work every morning to keep them sharp on the skills they learned this year. They are each reading a book they have chosen and we are also reading one book orally as a group. For fun we are going to study each of the 50 United States and I'm hoping they can fill out a blank US map by the end of the summer. And I also have a goal of Drew and Kate memorizing their times tables! So, while school is done, we will have a much longer summer break than normal and I don't want them to forget what they have learned!

Next big thing on the agenda...our trip home!! In about 10 weeks we will head home to the U.S. and we will now start counting down the days!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't Faint!

Don't faint because you are actually reading a blog post from me! haha! I've been busy, and lazy mostly. lol. But I wanted my Mom to see some pictures, so thus a blog post. I figured you all might like to see too!

We have been busy with life in general. Kids are so close to being done with school. Only 25 lessons left and in some subjects less than that. I'm anxious for them to be done as well. Of course, they are more anxious. We recently started three of the older kidso on piano lessons. So that is extra time for them, and Ben and I. Tom and Barb Needham's daughter, Sarah, just graduated with a major in piano, so she was happy to offer lessons. It is good teaching practice for her and of course great for my kids. They were so excited the night before that they couldn't sleep. Once I started buckling down on their practice time though, Emma came to me and said, "Mom, I don't really want to take piano. I just said that I did because I wanted to go to Uncle Tom's house." haha! I said, "Tough! I am making you and you will thank me for it later." On the day of their very first lesson, they came back all excited to tell me all about...piano?? No. They couldn't wait to tell me all about Goliath:

Now that is one big chameleon! Unfortunately, since then, Goliath has somehow escaped, so I guess I'll never get to meet him. :( lol!

Some other fun treats that our family has been able to enjoy lately:

Yummmmm... and also this:

Ben found these canned strawberries in town that came from Europe and they were so yummy. I made strawberry shortcake and what a treat!

The ministry is busy. This month is missions month and we have had different guest speakers on Sunday. Ben finishes off this Sunday with a message and we will be taking our Faith Promise committments. Praise the Lord, our church was able to support Pastor Felix this past year and we are praying that the committments will increase this year and we will be able to take on another national missionary.

I picked up my needle and thread again and tackled another pattern. Simplicity is supposed to be so simple...NOT! haha! I get so stumped on patterns, but with the help of YouTube and google I figured it out and made a dress for Emma. The material is pretty downright ugly, but it was a free gift from our insurance company here. I figured it was the perfect thing to practice sewing on. I wouldn't cry too much if I messed up. I even made buttonholes! Of course, Emma is thrilled no matter what the material looks like!

I think that is pretty much it for an update. We have our annual family conference in about three weeks, and we are pretty excited about that. We look forward to that every year. I will be sure to give you an update of our week when that is done. And by then, we will also be done with school. I still plan to spend an hour every day doing school work with the kids to keep them sharp. Our summer break will be longer than normal, and if we don't do some practice math facts and sentence diagramming, they will forget everything! And then we are of course looking forward to our furlough the beginning of July!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Word from our Sponser...

Ben went to Benakuma this last weekend. This trip was quite a bit easier than the last, and he didn't have any exciting labor and delivery stories to share, but they had a great weekend and saw souls saved and believers encouraged. As always, he came back bursting with Benakuma news. He shared a neat little nugget that I could never put into the proper words. So, I asked him to write it down. I know it will be an encouragement to you:

I know this is weird. The same day Becca changes her banner to read, “Missions from a Mom’s Perspective” she asks me to write a post on her blog. I am not sure what that means, but here goes. :D

This past weekend Tommike and I went out to minister in Benade and Benakuma. We saw at least six professions of faith and we were greatly blessed by the tremendous growth of Faith Baptist Church of Benade. This church is not even four months old and the small room they are meeting in is already packed! The church in Benakuma is talking about buying their own plot of land to build a church house, and next time we hope to have a good group baptized who have been recently saved. Praise God! The ministry in these two villages is very challenging both physically and spiritually. It is physically challenging because some weekends we must trek for hours and miles up and down rough terrain to reach these villages. It is spiritually challenging because we have entered a region that has been dominated by Satan and his dark realm for generations. He is seriously at work on the individuals and families who have come to know Christ in these remote villages.

On Sunday morning I was singing a congregational hymn with the people of Faith Baptist Church in Benakuma. The church house is constructed of mud blocks, six trusses and a corrugated aluminum roof. The floor is dirt and the “pews” are rough hewn wooden benches. The church has three small wooden shutters that open and allow a little air and light in for the service (this village has no electricity or running water). During the week, the one door and the three shutters are closed tight and the church house is completely dark except for Wednesday night prayer meeting, Saturday evening Bible study and Sunday Morning worship service. That is why I was very surprised on Sunday morning to look to my right and notice a small Banga shoot (palm nut tree) poking up through the dirtfloor of the right aisle in the church! My first thought was, “How in the world did that seedling get water and light to germinate and begin growing inside a room that is completely locked in darkness all week?” During the next congregational song, I discovered the answer. I pulled my camera from my pocket and took this picture
You see, the metal roof contains several nail holes. These holes apparently allowed just enough sun and rain to fall and to bring forth life in this room almost entirely concealed in darkness day after day. My heart was moved as I considered the comparisons between myself and the nail hole above this seedling. Benakuma and Benade have been strongholds of darkness since they were established generations ago. The god of this world has blinded the minds of these people since birth (2 Cor. 4:4). All of the sudden, the I AM led a couple of missionaries to punch a hole in the darkness of this region. God has used these small “nail holes” to bring a few drops of water (John 7:38) and enough light (Matt. 5:14) into this realm of darkness - and life has sprung forth! This Banga plant is young and fragile, just as the young believers of Benakuma and Benade. Please pray for God’s daily grace and strength for these precious people, and please pray the Lord of the Harvest that he would send more laborers to Cameroon who would be willing to be nothing more than “nail holes” for Jesus.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Extended Stay

Well, it has been just over two weeks since we returned from taking the Yeiters to the airport in Douala, and I have to share our exciting experience. Life in Africa is always an adventure and you never quite know what is going to happen. You have to take one day at a time. Although - that is really life in general. It's just that when a trip like ours takes place in the states, you have triple A to call and a taco bell and a Wal-mart next door to make it a bit less stressful. :D

The trip started out with, "How much longer til we get there" 's from all the kids before we even really left Bamenda! haha! We were packed in pretty good between all of us and the Yeiters luggage and it was an unusually hot day. So, it wasn't the most comfortable ride, but we told the kids to enjoy each other's company and have fun. Easier said than done I can assure you - but all in all, they were pretty good for the duration of the trip. Especially considering the trouble we ran into close to Douala.
You can kind of see Trinity in the back of the van, snuggled between all the luggage. She fell asleep that way lol! Too cute.

Well, everything was going along just great until we were about 30 to 45 minutes outside of Douala. The van started to overheat (deja-vu from my Mom's visit). We obviously pulled over...cooled it down. Whew! The van was steamy!! and we were all so sweaty. Well, it cooled down and we continued on our way for a very brief time. It started heating again and again the guys tried to cool it down. This time some local men helped to carry some water. Off we go again...but then the van started making this terrible grinding noise. Yikes. So, Ben just had no idea what it was and was too afraid to go any further. Especially after we'd just paid to have the engine rebuilt! God orchestrated every bit of it though. We broke down in front of Jonathan's house. This man lives and works in Douala, but he is from the village of Babanki! He was from our province. Ben told him, "I was just in Babanki this morning!" So instantly we had a connection. He allowed us to pull our van into his little yard. He also offered to find a friend who could carry us to the airport. And he said it was no problem to park the van there for the night. He had a big security light and a nightwatchman, so the van would be safe. Wow! God worked it all out!

Well, We had to wait quite a little bit of time until his friend arrived with the van, and keeping the kids entertained was a feat. I'd brought a book with me that I tried to read to them. Susan took over and sang some songs with them. Jonathan was so thoughtful and brought out chairs for all of us to sit in. Finally that little van arrived. There were 12 of us...and Yeiters had their 12 peices of luggage plus their carry-ons - and we had a carry-on size suitcase with our stuff in it. This van was a 9 passenger. Hmmmmmmmm. Well, in Cameroon fashion, we all (including luggage of course) made it into that van! Unreal!! Susan and I were in the front passenger seat with 3 kids, and Matt and Ben were in the back with 5 kids. Because of how everything worked out, we weren't able to go with Yeiters to the airport. We had Jonathan's friend take us to the Mediterranean restaurant so we could eat and we said our goodbyes while the Yeiters continued on to the airport to find something to eat there.

We went to the Mediterranean twice while we were there and would you believe I forgot to take a picture both times! I'm so mad at myself. Well, we were exhausted, but hadn't eaten a real meal all day, so we ordered some pizzas. After we ate we hailed a cab and went to the Baptist guest house to crash for the night. I took a shower...Ahhh! I haven't had a real shower in weeks! It was such a treat.

The mechanic met Ben at 8 the next morning and they took a taxi out to the van. The kids and I got up and ate breakfast outside. They served tea, so we had fun having omelets, bread and a tea party. We went back into our room to wait for Ben b/c it was so hot. When you are really bored...even french cartoons will entertain you! haha! In the mean time - Ben dropped the mechanic off and put him to work. He headed back to the guest house, so we could spend the day as a family. Ben learned right away, that the mechanic would need to work on it all night, so we were spending an extra night in Douala. The kids were excited!

We decided to go shopping, so we left the guest house and walked until an empty taxi pulled up, and we hired him for the day. His name was Gaston...the kids loved that. ha! We went to all the fun stores that we only get to go to a couple times a term. I bought some stuff - not too much, but we enjoyed looking. Each time, Gaston would park outside and wait for us. We finally finished around lunch time and had him drop us off at the ice cream restaurant we always go to. We paid him and decided to walk back from there. We enjoyed burgers/fries and ice cream!!!

We had the whole afternoon ahead of us and nothing to do but wait, so Ben suggested we go swimming. Well, there was no Wal-Mart next door, so we had to improvise. Kate wore her jammie pants, and her shirt from the day before...Emma wore my tank top and Drew's shorts. Drew wore his clothes from the day before. All in all it worked out, and they swam ALL afternoon! I went and made Faith take a nap. She finally fell asleep and when she woke up, we got ready and walked to the pizza restaurant. We sat down and enjoyed pizza with feta cheese...Yumm! The kids were so wasted though, that they didn't eat as well as they had the night before. That pool wore them out! When we finished we got a taxi and headed back for bed! We went to bed early b/c everyone was so tired.

The mechanic finally came with our repaired van at 11 the next morning. Thankfully the problem was a lot milder than it sounded when we were driving it. The alternator housing came loose, causing the fan to slow down, causing the engine to overheat. We hit the road and had no problems the remainder of the trip. Another treat we enjoyed was rain our second night in Douala. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of it pouring on the roof. We also ran into rain a few times on the drive home, which made the trip home 100 times cooler than the trip there. In some places, almost too cool for the windows to be open. Since then we have had several days of rain, including yesterday. It thundered and threatened all afternoon and evening. It never did actually just dump on us, but rain fell a little bit and I'm hopeful and excited about the rainy season coming!

Rain eventually means water. Though, I'm not sure we will feel the effects of it before we leave for furlough the beginning of July, but I'll enjoy the rain whether we have water or not. The water situation has become frustrating, but it is a fact of life I'm learning to deal with. Ben finally sat down and talked to the water chairman and the plumber on Monday, and told him that he needs to ration the water, so that everyone can get a little. We are supposed to now get water Mon-Wed-Fri nights. That will keep our tank full, and the laundry caught up. So while I won't necessarily get a shower, I'll still be able to flush my toilets at will and wash my clothes!

I'll be back in the next few days to update on normal life and Ben's recent trip to Benakuma!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Movie Night!

Ever since Toy Story 3 came out, we have been dying to see it. I bought it several months ago and we have been patiently waiting to watch it. Sam Sanderlin's mom came out for a visit and she packed it in her luggage so we could get it out here and so we planned a big family movie night to watch it.

We don't always watch movies on the "big screen", but I thought it would be extra special for this extra special movie! So, Ben dug out the data projector and we turned the couch around and took all the pictures off the wall. Pretty cool, huh? Our own little movie theater!

It was a great movie and it made us laugh a lot, and get teary at the end (well...I did anyway) and we had a great evening as a family!

Tomorrow our co-workers are headed back to the states for a few months, and so we are taking them to Douala as a family. When I first moved here, a trip to Douala with all my kids didn't sound enjoyable at all! But now...I'm really looking forward to it! haha! We will get to eat at the yummy pizza restaurant and maybe even grab a yummy burger (can you tell we don't get out much!). I plan on stocking up on lots of great goodies for the kitchen that we can only get there. I'll be sure to take a photo or two of our Douala adventure and share!

While Susan is away I'll become the primary piano player (poor church people!), so I have been copying music from my "Fake" book and practicing quite a bit. Have you ever heard of the fake book? It is the only way I can play the piano ... it is all written in the key of C and I just have to learn the chords to play with it. I bought the books on Amazon and it gives me quite a repetoire of music that I can play for church. I know the song leaders will be thrilled to have Susan back a few months from now, but it will give me some more piano practice anyway! Pray for us as we will be a bit busier the next few months with our co-workers gone. Especially for Ben - he is taking his final Masters course in March, while preaching at both of our churches and also taking on the new responsibility of a Men's Saturday Bible study...among all the other things he does (moral instruction classes, visitation etc...). He is a hard worker ALL the time and he never ceases to amaze me. I am blessed to have such an amazing husband.

Ok - I'm off for now! 'Night!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Januray almost over??

Seriously...can you believe January is almost over??? I can't. And I've been a bad blogger. So many of you have conveyed to me how much you appreciate the blog and enjoy reading it, and I want to say a big thank you for taking the time to read it. It means So much to me! And I apologize for not being as faithful as I should be.

I wanted to give a quick update on Hederine's funeral as I promised I would. Our church had a good group of 10 that took the time to spend the day and be a support group for Okerike. While the family wasn't Baptist, they were very cordial and let us have a big part in the funeral. The dad made a statement that Hederine was an adult and made the decision to choose Baptist as her faith rather than presbyterian. We aren't always accepted very well in situations like this, so it was a blessing that the family was so welcoming. Ben was gone most of the day. I'd planned to go but came down with a terrible cold/sinus infection. I spent most of the day on the couch. But Ben and Matt drove their cars to carry our church people. Here is a photo of most everyone that went: Ben also snagged this photo of the burial: Okerike is doing so well and we are just continuing to pray for God's grace in his life. And we continue to praise God that Hederine is in heaven today! It makes all the sacrifice of living here worth it...and I so need to remind myself of that when I miss my family or when I haven't had water for over a week. In the long run, those things are insignificant when I reflect on people like Hederine that are in heaven today b/c God allowed Ben the priviledge of sharing the gospel with her husband!

In family news there isn't too much new. We are plugging away at school and all of us are suffering from coughs and nasal junk. Poor Drew and myself have been coughing in stereo the last week. I'm sure our family is sick of us! I am tired of coughing and so ready to just get all this ick cleared up.

This is how Kate spends her days: She wears her skates more than she wears shoes. And even more recently Emma has given them a try. They always scare the daylights out of me when they first put those things on. Emma has got her balance down, but she hasn't quite figured out how to make herself go. She and Kate came up with a system though. They each wear one skate and skate through the house like it is a skateboard, pushing themselves along with the other foot. It is hilarious.

Faith Ann is my girly girl. She loves to dress up and dance around like a little princess and she loves her baby dolls. She wanted me to tie her baby onto her back. It is all she's ever seen, and she thinks this is how you carry a baby. OH, and excuse the outfit. I did make her change before she went out into public. Haha!! I was also giggling at her in church the other night. She was SO proud of herself in this picture,
She said, "Mom - look! My feet touch!" She sees the rest of us propping our feet up on the bench in front of us, and she told me that she was a big girl now because her feet could finally reach. SO cute!

I had a little photo shoot with the girls the other day. It had really been a while since I'd tried to take decent pictures of them. They turned out pretty cute and I've had fun scrapping them. I always love taking photos of Emma in natural light. She has the bluest eyes! I wanted Kate to give me a genuine smile, so I told Drew to come over and make her laugh. He got some genuine giggles out of her! And then there was Faith Ann who can almost always giggle on cue!
Hmmm, lets see. Anything else interesting go on recently? I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Oh! One more thing... Ben recently ran into a couple of Americans in Bambili. We don't usually see too many of those! haha! Jacqueline is a Peace Corp worker and is teaching at ENS (a teacher's college) here and Eva is a Fullbright student who is here for a year as a teacher's aid. They were thrilled to be in contact with some other Americans, so we invited them to church and also to dinner the next week at our house. They came to church and then to dinner the following Friday and we had a great time of fellowship with them. Since then Jacqueline has come to church 2 more times and we know she is Catholic. So pray for more opportunities to share the gospel with these ladies. Just being Americans we have a connection with them and they loved coming to our house for dinner. I made taco salads and they about fell over they were so excited. We plan to have them over again and I'll be sure to get some pictures of them! The girls love Eva. She is just out of college and she braided the girls hair and they took to her immediately. Jacqueline is middle aged and has grandkids of her own. Drew enjoyed her though, because she is a science teacher and he was pretty pumped to show her his new microscope that he got for Christmas.

Anyhoo...I think that is about it. Thanks again for all those that read - and I'll try to make my next post a little sooner! G'night!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Temporary Life

This life is so temporary and we were reminded of that this past week when a young member of our church passed away. Her husband called us with the news and Ben and I wept together. Not because of Hederine's death. We are rejoicing because within the last year, She trusted Christ and is at the feet of her Savior right now! The thing that really broke our heart was the baby she left behind that will never remember his mother. Let me tell you Hederine's story.

About a year and a half ago we were having some internet trouble and Ben was in a cafe checking his email. The power went out. When that happens, expletives fly and people are usually not happy because whatever they were doing just got lost. Everyone was sitting around hoping that the power would pop back on and chatting in the mean time. Ben heard one man near him talking about how his brother had just died, and how he didn't have one thing prepared. He was having to go around and arrange the funeral and pay for this and that. Ben said, "Do you mind if I ask a question? Are you prepared for your death? What if you were to die? Are you prepared? Where would you go?" That man listening was a Nigerian man and his name was Okerike. Ben had many listening ears, but as he shared the gospel Okerike was the one that trusted Christ that day. He began attending our church and not too long after that, his Cameroonian wife, Hederine, trusted Christ as Savior. They were both baptized and became members of our church in October of 2009. Hederine was pregnant at the time. You can kind of see her baby bump in the photo. In March of 2010 she "put to birth" a baby boy and they named him Dick. We went and visited her in the hospital. Pastor Lee Atkinson was here visiting us at the time, so he had the priviledge of meeting Hederine. Here is a picture of her sweet newborn boy:
Around November of this last year, Hederine became ill. From what we were told, her husband was trying to treat her in the house. He is considered a type of medicine man in Nigeria, though not of the witchcraft type. He was attempting to treat her naturally with herbs and things of that sort. She became so ill after two weeks, that he finally admitted her into the hospital and she was diagnosed with cerebral malaria. We visited her one Monday as a family. I wouldn't have even recognized her she was so thin. She looked so different. But she was sitting up, eating, and while visibly very weak, she seemed to be improving. She was finally discharged from the hospital. Her husband claims that a difficult trip out to her village for Christmas caused her to relapse. She was re-admitted to the hospital after the holidays. Ben went to visit her and he came home and said, "Hederine is really sick. We need to pray." He said she was strugging for every breath. He spent close to an hour with her and prayed with her and read scripture. He called them every day to check on her health. Okerike kept saying she was improving. Wednesday of last week, however, Okerike called us to tell us that she had died that morning.

I'd say she is about my age. Maybe even younger. It is hard for me to grasp how a seemingly healthy young woman could get sick and die so quickly. It is a reminder of the brevity of life and I'm so thankful for the boldness that Ben had in the internet cafe that day, to share the gospel with Okerike and later with Hederine. I'm so thankful that she chose to trust in Christ. Like I said earlier, what really saddens me is that Dick will never remember his Mother. He really hasn't even been with her very much the last couple of months of her life even. But every time Ben visited her in the hospital, Dick was all she would talk about. Our hearts are saddened for the family and we pray that during this difficult trial in Okerike's life, that he wouldn't become bitter or angry with God.

Would you pray as well, that God would bring the peace that only He can bring? Would you also pray for the funeral this Saturday, as Ben preaches and has the opportunity to share the gospel with her entire family?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New year to everyone. I hope you are excited about 2011! The new year is a really big deal here in Cameroon. They spend the day celebrating and eating just like they do on Christmas. Surviving another year is such a great reason for them to celebrate here. New Years at our house wasn't a big feast and celebration. I started my new years resolution diet right after Christmas, so we weren't eating. But I am no-less thankful for all the God did for us in 2010. This 2010 blog is a testimony and record. I'm considering printing it, actually. I think it would be fun to read down the road.

Well, I should make my Mom happy tonight. :D She's been pestering me to update my blog. Sorry I'm so behind. Here is a re-cap of our Christmas.

We celebrate Christmas eve. I've been doing that since I was born I think, and that is just how Christmas is for me. I couldn't think of doing it any other way. And in fact, it works very well for us here. Christmas day is spent at church and then entertaining vistors all day, so having a private family time would be impossible. The kids woke up Friday ready to open up their presents! lol! I said...not yet. I have a lot of work to do. I spent the day preparing a fun meal. We had a 7 layer dip, that wasn't actually 7 layers, but it was yummy. I made home-made tortilla chips (very time consuming). I had to cook, grind and re-fry the beans for the 7 layer dip (also very time consuming...and this is why I don't cook when I'm in the states :D), I made sugar cookies and chex candy (thanks to Susan who gave me the chex cereal for my Christmas present! Yummmmmmy!). I also made pizza pinwheels. Those called for cresent roll dough, which of course I had to make from scratch. They turned out so-so. Not exactly the pizza-y flavor I was hoping for, but you live and learn.
Anyway, it was a fun night of snacks. By the time I got everything ready it was around 5 p.m. We had some visitors and more delays and the kids were chomping at the bit! haha! Finally we opened presents!!! Yay!! Thanks to my Mom's visit in Nov., we were able to have a really great Christmas this year. Here are a few pics: I think this is one of my favorites of the whole night. Emma has been wanting her own Bible and Mimi got her a really great kids Bible with a Bible cover. As you can tell, she was beyond ecstatic! We go around and read one chapter of the Bible as a family each night, and her brother and sister have their own. Now that she can read, she has been commenting on how much she'd like one. This gift was the best present she got, according to her! This was Faith's favorite of the night. She loves Tink and she squealed SO loud when she opened this. It always makes a mom happy to know that she got the right gifts! The kids were pretty excited about their new wii games too. Sports and Sports Resort is fun...but having some new things to play has been exciting for them. Drew loved all the spidey stuff he got. He has been mentioning for some time how he wanted character sheets for his bed like the girls have. Well, they don't make character sheets for queen size beds really. I found a set of batman sheets at pottery barn but they were outrageous. Well, once Mimi knew what Drew wanted, she set out to find something. She snagged these bright sheets on ebay from some place in Hong Kong I think. We were both a little leary, but they are great! Great quality and they fit great and Drew loves them! Another winner of a gift! Thanks Mimi! Isn't this great!? haha! I did this when I was a kid. I got these fake nails and put them on. I knew Kate would love a nail kit. I might regret it at some point...but I've set some strict rules down about not taking out the nail polish unless she has permission etc... Sometimes Kate acts and thinks later, but hopefully we won't have any disasters. The set came with several nail polish colors, nail stickers, a nail dryer, and a couple sets of fake nails. They brought fun entertainment for about a day. Kate ditched them after the first hour, and then Faith Ann put them on. She had more fun with them than Kate did I think!

Ben had to take a break at one point to check on our Christmas dinner....
Yep, still there wandering around the courtyard. :D

Michael, our nightwatchman, did the dirty work later that night. He cleaned the bird up all nice and pretty for me. I stuck her in the fridge and got her ready for cooking the next day. My new oven has a rotisserie in it, so this is the first time I'd ever used it. It looked neat while it was cooking, but in the end, I think sticking the bird in a pan would be just as effective.
Then the final product!
A nice treat for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately I didn't plan well enough in advance and all we had to go with our bird was rice, but the kids didn't care. We had tons of goodies from the night before still hanging around so we ended up snacking the rest of the day.

Our Christmas service was great. I kind of organized a program in advance and typed it all out. We were ready to go at 9 a.m., but unfortunatly nobody else was. We kept trying to move ahead, but we were missing all the people involved in all the parts of the program! lol! We kept singing and singing, and rearranging the schedule around. Finally everyone showed up, and it ended up being a great service. The kids sang, played bells, did a drama and they loved being a part of it. Here is one photo of some of my Sunday School kiddos singing a song:
So, in conclusion, we had a great Christmas and New Year. We are back to the grind of school and pushing to stay focused for the second semester. This year we have many things to look forward thing is a 6 month visit to the states. Of course I'm pretty excited about that. I always enjoy a break from the extra work it requires to live here (ie. cooking! haha!) and it is always nice to get a reprieve and see our friends and family...because I miss you all! Thank you for being faithful readers through 2010! Next blog post will be about a possible new name for my blog! :D