Hello Dear Friend,
We miss you as always, though lately, to be honest, much more intensely. I personally would like to be adjusted to my new life, yet am not.By the way, Galmi, Part 2, is coming, but it’s a bit intense and I am still reflecting on what I witnessed.
In the midst of routine – French lessons, preparing for teaching my two afternoon classes, and taking care of our family – the surprising still happens.
This week the surprises included:
Ken – turning 50! I’m married to a 50-year-old man?! Ok, that would have been my same reaction in the US.
Julie – having an infection, which she self- and mis-diagnosed as bug bites. Only to make another wrong guess a week later and think it was a reaction between malaria medication and too much sunshine. Nope, it was an infection, continuing unchecked. So, after a week of antibiotics, steroids, special antibacterial soaps, and antihistamines, I do not feel the uncontrollable need to scratch every surface on my arms and legs. I look a sight, but next time I will get treatment sooner. Adjusting!
Ken – he keeps popping up – getting sick the day before his birthday and staying sick for three days. You know you live in a small community when your children are approached by each guard during the day to check on “la santé de votre pere?”
Julie kills her first scorpion – you would have been proud! There was no screaming, no running, just me making sure that he couldn’t sting me with his tail as I squished him to death. Who knew I was so lethal? Mark says afterwards, “Really? I had just been thinking ‘spiders and mosquitoes in the house, ok, well at least we don’t have scorpions’.”
Baaklini – standing in line at the grocery store, listening to two healthy looking young men speak in American English just behind me. Yes, I turned and stared. We have two new friends who are coming over for dinner in two weeks. I hope their moms will be glad that another mom and dad are here when needed.
White Shack – another grocery store. Asking Cobra (the owner) if he ever has items for babies that he can’t sell because I want to give them to Baby Home. Humbling, but he agreed that he would keep an eye out for “damaged, but usable goods.” The name Cobra? If you ever meet him, you’ll understand immediately.
Stressed out students AND a standing ovation – yes, this last week of the quarter has been very challenging for my students. They were walking the hallways with that “deer in the headlights look” this week. I actually ran into two of them a few days ago, and one of them told me “this is the worst week of my life, EVER.” He described in gory detail how his English paper, Bible Verses, Science Fair Project, Math Test, and History Paper were all due in the next two days. I grabbed them and we prayed together for peace and fortitude. The next day in class, I asked everyone to raise their hands if they had not yet started on their Medieval History paper (due the following day, assigned weeks ago). A few people raised their hands. Hmm, obviously I needed to adjust the question. Raise your hands if you’ve done the research but haven’t started writing yet – everyone raises their hands except three of the sixteen. Anxious faces look up at me. “Ok, let’s make it due Monday. I’ll still have time to get them graded for your report cards.” Literally, whole class rises and gives me a standing ovation. Awww!
Sadness – a new worker on campus stopped me this week, did I know where my husband was? It was a matter of some urgency. I found Ken and sent him to the man, whose youngest brother had died in the night, could he take the day off? Ken sent him on his way after paying him his salary and praying with him. He was back at work the next day. Sobering – all the time.
Researching Christian apologists and understanding the main faith here – spent many hours in bed this week because of this infection. Spent that time reading online. Did you know there are still 5,500 Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence today? These are still being examined against the translation of the Bible into the Vulgate (Latin) and into our current English Bible we have today to maintain truth and accuracy. God’s Word does not return void; it’s beautiful, every time I open Ephesians, Colossians, or Philippians, I am moved.
Package and Valentine’s Card! – Direct quote from Sabrina, “We have the best supporters ever!” as she opens packages of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and creamy peanut butter. Our old neighbors, the Hummells, sent us a Valentine’s Card from their sweet family, love!
Lastly – I titled this “My New Getting-Ready-for-Bed Routine” because I find myself doing the same thing each night. As I climb into bed, I look up at the fluorescent lighting. I can’t turn the lights out until I see the coast is clear. But, no, each night there is one, just one, mosquito hovering above – waiting for me to turn the lights out so he can bzzzzz me right in my ear, then bite me in my sleep. I cannot tell you how crazy I feel as I am falling asleep, when BAM! I get that high-pitched bzzz right at the edge of consciousness, practically inside my ear. I am instantly awake and slapping the side of my head! Just like with the scorpion, murderous thoughts enter my heart. Just kidding, mostly. They don’t bite Ken! They leave him alone and he goes on to blissful sleep. It is now 1 am, and I have attempted and missed killing tonight’s visitor three times. I may have to concede some blood; the Land of Nod is calling.
(8 HOURS LATER) I know some of you are thinking about mosquito netting, which I have tucked away in a closet. I settled for leaving an open jar containing tea tree essential oil by my bedside and can report that the mosquito remains thirsty.
So, please say a prayer for these adjusting souls. Know that you are in our prayers.
3 thoughts on “My New Getting-Ready-for-Bed Routine”
Julie, I am moved and humbled each time I read your updates. You and Ken have answered a call from the Lord that has blessed so many people both where you serve and at home. The experiences you have had, the relationships you are building, and all those yet to come pale in comparison to the love you have for the Lord, our God. He is your Sustainer, your Provider, your Healer, your Strength and Song! Yes! His word does not return to Him void, without accomplishing what it was sent to do.
Thankful that you are serving. Thankful that your family is growing closer to the Lord and each other. Thankful for the ministry you have that will last well beyond your time in Niger; to future generations and into eternity.
Blessings and much prayer. May the scorpions and mosquitoes stay far away from you!
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Dear Lin, Thank you for writing! Full time ministry is a huge blessing, and a good life lesson in praying, which I am convinced is where I need to be investing more of my time. I am reading about prayer from a very old source, and can only say we need more of it here and at home. Thank you for your prayers, we need them, Julie
Thanks for the update a fresh reminder to keep praying Joyce Housby