December Update

Below is a reprint of my latest newsletter....

Happy advent season,

Take a second to close your eyes and on the back of your eyelids imagine a typical African scene from something like "Animal Planet". Giraffes loping across the Serengeti,lions mauling gazzelles... right? - or if you've any preference for Meryl Streep, there's a coffee plantation and Panama hats, all 'round. But, maybe you don't go in for that romantic stuff and you see swollen-tummied children and men-in-arms on backs of trucks. For many, Africa is a land of myth, death, and magic. I must admit, I have my own fantastical ideas about Africa, about Côte d'Ivoire. 

But life here isn't all that fantastical. For the past three weeks I get up every morning, wash the dishes, take a bath, clean my room and visit friends. I check emails, go to church, practice French, watch the news, and play guitar. My sister and I share a room, she goes to school each day and we go to youth group on Fridays. It's very...normal. No hippos, no lions. Granted, my shower is a bucket bath, water drawn is from the well, and the closest paved road is a mile away, but, sans the rustic nature of my new life; family and relationships, people and Jesus - the essence of life - is hardly less familiar than if I moved in with a family in western Montana. My papa is a papa and Mama is a mama, and my big family does their best to show me Ivorian life.

Don't misunderstand, there are differences, but living in Korhogo has debunked many of my sub-conscious fantasies about African life. My host family are my friends, and I find we can actually relate to each other - in love. 

Still, the first three weeks have been a major adjustment and I ask for prayers of continued grace and mutual affection. I will begin looking for ways to serve in my church and community this next month and its tricky because I don't speak conversational French yet. Please know that your prayers are heard, and they make a big difference in life out here. You are invaluable to my survival and the work being done here.

And finally, I want to say thank you - thank you for all your prayers, for every one who walked with me when it was difficult and for those who loved and still love me and my family in the name of Jesus. 

All my love,