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