it’s been a week, and oh what a week it has been. :o)
april, melanie and terra arrived to the guest house last saturday afternoon, and they had my luggage in tow. we spent the rest of the day running errands and mapping out the city. april has been great at showing me the best markets to go to, quizzing me on which roads to turn for where i’m going, and showing me good landmarks to use for navigation. i’m getting the hang of the city, road closures and roundpoints included. she has made sure that she gave me as many tips about Niamey as she could before she headed back east. i am enormously grateful for that.
on sunday we attended a Zarma church, met a few other missionary families, and had great conversation over lunch about what the next 4 months hold for each of us. since melanie and terra will be joining april, they had less to figure out about navigating the Niamey roads and markets. their ministry opportunities are tied to what april has been working on for the past year and a half, and they will be able to begin this week.
but we were all blessed to go to language school together, which turned out to be such a fun challenge. i love language. i love words. i love learning new languages and cultures. really, i just love learning in general. so going to Zarma school was so much fun. our cawandiko (teacher) is smart, very well educated, jovial, kind, patient, and strict.
after day 1, we were barely allowed to speak english. challenge accepted. :o) we had fun speaking in very basic, elementary sentences and by day 2 (8 hours) we could each tell our basic testimony and what we know and believe about Jesus. i would say that’s a win.
i’m still getting used to the way they talk about money here, which is very confusing. but i believe with some practice i should catch on. (but i will also be learning the french system, just to be safe.)
i feel confident in my ability to fearlessly practice with children who will laugh at my speaking mistakes but will hopefully help me learn. there is also great opportunity to speak to our employees here at the guest house who have already been so gracious with me as we occasionally speak 4 languages in order to communicate our intended messages. i am reminded many times a day of the importance of clear communication. with God and with others. from God and from others. praying for a brain that absorbs language speedily and a mouth that can form words to communicate clearly. thankful for a God who hears even our deepest groaning of the spirit, when words fail us.
yesterday, after a very sweet time of worship through Scripture and song together, the girls headed east and i was thrust into an uncomfortable sense of alone. not loneliness, per say, but i easily recognized the reality of what their leaving meant. i really am going to have to get around this city on my own. i can’t always rely on someone here who has a vehicle. i really will be cooking meals for myself and working my schedule around my office job. these things are not at all foreign to me. in fact, these are things i do with ease at home, on a very regular basis. but walking to the grocery store from my city house is much different than finding the right market after turning down the correct dirt road here.
and while the girls are gone, and i will definitely miss their company, laughter and fellowship, i am surrounded by wonderful people who are looking out for me, offering to take me to English church every Sunday evening, and who are very happy to invite themselves over to a meal i will cook :o)
not only that, but i truly and honestly sense the prayers that my church family, friends and blood-family are lifting up on my behalf. i may be fairly alone here, but it’s hard to feel lonely when i feel the presence of peace.
so. week one. i’ll leave you with some general tidbits and ways you can continue to pray. until next week :o)
- i’m dog sitting for a little over a month starting tonight. she’s a good guard dog. looking forward to spending time casually walking the compound with the pup.
- today my kids back home started school, some of them their SENIOR year! i’ve been praying for them all day.
- technology can be such a blessing. i think i’ve already noticed that i feel blessed when it works, and yet if it doesn’t, i am equally content. it’s a very freeing feeling not checking my phone until i get home to see if the internet is functional.
- i do ask that you be praying for other opportunities for ministry here. there are a TON of things i can invest in, but i want to have guidance first, because i can easily fall into the busyness trap of my (former) life and overbook myself to exhaustion here. (it sounds tempting, but i’m fighting the urge and remembering that part of my purpose here is for breath.)
- still need a bike. :o) waiting for a friend to get back here and help me navigate the market :o)
(Jesus is my Savior)