END AND BEGINNING

Many of you have heard about our move from West Africa to Western Iowa.  We felt God’s leading to move out of our missionary work in Ghana and into parish ministry in rural western Iowa.  We have posted our last LBT prayer letter here.

Even though we are no longer serving as missionaries overseas in a foreign country, we are now serving in this “exotic” part of the world where there are rolling hills with lots of trees which are sure to provide spectacular views in the fall.

Aside from the bitter cold weather that welcomed us after we moved to Iowa, the kindness and encouragement of these warm-hearted souls has helped us as we got moved into the parsonage and continue the transition process.

Our current contact information is on our prayer letter.  Even though we are no longer be serving with LBT, we will continue to randomly post on our blog.  Please let us hear from you.  We would love to keep in touch.

 

Happy New Church Year!

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It’s been a week and a half as of 27 Nov. since we moved to western Iowa.  Boxes scattered around still hold all our stuff.  Moving is a slow process.

Today is the first Sunday in the New Church Year and I preached and led worship. I was nervous, but every time I forgot what to do next, I asked the congregation what was the next part showing on the screen and they kindly read it to me.  Okay, that only happened once.

A day or two after we arrived, we were invited out to supper with some of the church members.  We were given this great and practical gift:

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Tied to the handle were gloves for me and Christina along with a fuzzy little snowman reminding us what is to come.

To get into the spirit, we went Black Friday shopping and bought two practical gifts for ourselves.  Here is one of them:

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Church members have been very kind and welcoming and we’ll be settled in in no time.

 

From Flag to Flag

For the past several years, we lived with Ghana’s flag:

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And now after two days of sporadic sleep in narrow airplane seats, shuffling through various immigration and customs lines, and sore muscles from moving six pieces of luggage, we will now live with this flag:

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We praise and thank God for a safe arrival, even though our bodies will need more time to get over jet lag.  Also, we praise and thank God that all of our luggage has arrived!

It will take us some time to get reoriented to life in our passport country, but one thing that has at least made our first full day in the States enjoyable is my aunt making chocolate chip cookies.

Please stay tuned for more information on our transition and our new ministry in Western Iowa.

 

Decorating Trends

We recently returned to Ghana after a 3-week vacation in the US, where we were happy to celebrate my brother’s wedding.

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See how great we look?

In general, I’m a big supporter of looking good, which is why I didn’t mind all the professional hair, clothing, and cosmetic help that came with the honor of being Bridesmaid #7.  There’s nothing like a professional intervention to make me feel culturally appropriate.

I also like our house to look fabulous, which is why I’m always pleased to read home decor magazines in America and find that we are ahead of the trend in Ghana.  Last year, for example,

I read that a trendy option for curtains is to swoop them to one side instead of parting them down the middle.  Delightfully, we already had several curtains swooping in just that manner.

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See?  We are the height of fashion.

Then I read that two small matching tables can tastefully replace a larger coffee table.

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No problem here:  We’ve got that one down too.  And I fully expect a magazine reporter to show up at my door any minute.

More recently, I see that furry furniture seems popular in magazines, generally in the form of little stools but sometimes as other seating or bedding.

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We’re happily dropping the ball on this one.  Not only do I not own any furry furniture, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a house that had any.  Though I did see a furry stool in a store once.

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It was Hobby Lobby.  But I didn’t see a furry stool in anyone’s shopping cart.  So I’m very curious about this decorating trend actually existing in any real-live homes.

And speaking of that clear chair next to those furry stools, that is apparently a thing too.

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At first I thought we were going to bomb on this one too.  But then . . .

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Nailed it.

Engaging with Audio Scriptures

Our last prayer letter talked about some of Chris’ work at GILLBT.  Since that last prayer letter, he had another opportunity to engage more Ghanaians with various audio Scripture materials.  You can read more about it in our July prayer letter here.

In case you miss hearing about Christina and the many wonderful teaching experiences she is having, stay tuned to the September back-to-school edition of our prayer letter.

Don’t Worry. I’m Okay.

The problem with excitement charging into your life is that it doesn’t leave a lot of time to aim your camera at it.  Fortunately for you folks, I have created like-accurate photo representations of the exhilarating event with the aid of an actual photo of the post-event scene and my handy computer paint program.

You’d never know these weren’t actual photographs.

The cattle were grazing in a field a little way down from my house when I left to go back to school after lunch yesterday.  Except for one irritated bull, who was tied to a bush.

Actually, it wasn’t clear whether he’d been deliberately tied to a bush or whether he’d accidentally become tangled in the bush and a fallen-down wire fence.

His irritation was clear, however.  The cowboys (that is, the young teenage boys attempting to handle the cow) who were attending him were giving him a wide berth, and so I did as well.

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I said, “Good afternoon” to the boys, and we chatted briefly about how their cow seemed to be annoyed.  Apparently his herd of lady cows had moved on without him and were grazing in the next field, visible from his current unfortunate location.  One boy got chatty, but I was on my way to school, so I excused myself and continued walking on down the road.

I don’t know why I turned around.

But I did—just in time to see the very angry animal, free from the rope that had bound him, galloping down the road behind me.  I was unfortunately between him and his lady cows, and though I wanted very much to get out of his way, I didn’t know how.  He was charging in a roughly straight-ish line, with only little starts this way and that, but it wasn’t clear to me exactly the path he was planning to take, see, and it seemed to be a bad idea to run.

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So I didn’t.  I just stood on the path, trying to appear non-threatening and inconspicuous, while he came barreling toward me.

And instead of going around me like a decent, co-inhabitant of the earth, he planted his feet and, with one terrible horn on each side of my body, bashed his rock-hard head into the side of me with that smash-and-lift, fork-scooping motion that bulls do.

When you are the person flying through the air, it is impossible to estimate how much air you actually got.  On the other hand, once both your feet actually leave the ground, does it really matter how high you were?

I landed in some weeds and grass just off the side of the road, and the bull rushed on past to rejoin his herd.  The cowboys said, “Sorry.”

My skirt was up, of course, but I was otherwise surprisingly unhurt.  I realized almost immediately that skirts are supposed to be down, and I adjusted mine accordingly.

“You were charged by a raging bull?” my sister asked later when I’d called her on the phone, after a hot shower and a cup of tea.

Yes.  Yes, I was.

I have a 4” welt that is tender but not discolored (yet?) on the outside of my upper thigh where the bull’s head impacted, and my body feels generally disgruntled, probably from crashing to the earth.  But otherwise I’m feeling mostly fine.

I wasn’t even apprehensive about walking to school again today, lest I meet my new nemesis again on the road.  If your livestock had mowed down one of the neighbors and knocked her into a field yesterday, would you bring your cows back to graze in the same spot all that soon?

Neither would these guys.