Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend in Spragge

Wow, what a weekend! We left a little later than planned on Friday and, having told our friends we’d be there before supper, were afraid that we were going to really hold them up. However, with cups of Starbucks bold to speed us on our way and Kathy driving much of the distance, we arrived just in time, despite a pit stop in Sudbury and hydro-planing our way through a downpour just west of there.

Our friends, the Faulkners, were in the midst of some home renovations, so they arranged for us to spend the weekend with them at a family cottage not far from their place. The outhouse facilities, lack of running water, and mosquitoes reminded us of village living in Burkina, but the electricity, cool weather, green trees, and lakeside view were definitely Canadian. It was great to spend some time with our old friends around cups of coffee, good food, a campfire, watching videos, and setting off fireworks.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to speak about at the Men’s Breakfast on Saturday morning. But Kathy suggested I tell the men there about how God led a couple of ordinary people like us from the dairy farm to linguistic & translation work in Burkina Faso, West Africa, through culture shock, personal struggles, financial difficulties, and family problems, and how He always faithfully provided for our needs, even in the leanest of times. This isn’t a story I tell very often, so I welcomed the opportunity to do so. I think it helps people see that we’re not spiritual superheroes, but ordinary people doing an extraordinary work by God’s grace. And if He can do it with folks like us, He can do it with anybody!

Meanwhile, Kathy held a fashion show with the women, getting them to model clothes she had brought back from Africa, and using this as a basis for talking about our life and work in Burkina. Judging by the laughter I heard upstairs, they had a ball! It turns out that many of the women were pleasantly surprised by this activity. It was not something they had expected at all, and they ended up having lot of fun with it.

As a courtesy, Kathy invited Pastor Fred to join them and help model a few outfits, but I’m glad he declined. Having him strutting around in an African ladies’ dress would have been terribly distracting for the men when I was trying to speak!

Sunday morning, I brought the missions message while Kathy did an activity with the youth. After the morning service, the folks organized a BBQ lunch that gave us a good opportunity to interact informally with many of them over hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, and desserts. We concluded the afternoon with an hour-long presentation of our ministry in Burkina and some of the cultural, linguistic, and translation challenges faced by people in our kind of work.

We got home in mid-afternoon today and crashed. Tomorrow, Kathy is doing a presentation for a Baptist women’s group in Orillia. After that, we’ve got to get ready for a “Welcome to Ouagadougou!” presentation this Sunday afternoon at Lisle Memorial Baptist Church, our main partner church in Toronto.

It’s nearly midnight again, so I’d better hit the hay. Goodnight!

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