Sunday, November 23, 2014


Coffee is one of our favorite things. I love waking up before my kids and drinking a cup of coffee while I read the Word and journal.  I also love journals.  Oh, journals can be so much fun and therefore writing in them is so much more fun.  The thing I love most about waking up before my kids though is spending that time with God.  When I wake up in the morning I creep out to the kitchen, start my coffee brewing (sometimes I am smart and make it the night before and push that really great button called 'delay brew') get my bible, my journal and my favorite pen and I just dive into my time with God.

Check out that journal! It is made from Elephant poo.  No, seriously it really is. It is called Mr. Ellie Pooh's Elephant Dung Paper.  I love it.  The best doesn't even smell like poo! It is made in Sri Lanka and is clean odorless, and eco-friendly. My amazing husband got that for me.   

When I don't start my day off with God everything is just off.  I don't feel right.  I could drink five cups of coffee and it still won't be right.  It's not the coffee that makes my day great, it's God.  I am thankful God created coffee, but I am even more thankful for our relationship with him.

Over this past year waking up before my family was so important to me.  In a world of chaos and interruptions, I needed those 30 minutes (sometimes longer and sometimes a lot shorter) to talk to and hear God.  The coffee was a bonus.  We were so blessed this past year to always have yummy American coffee.  In almost every package we received was a package of coffee and when people came to visit, guess what they!! Just in case anyone is thinking, hey I didn't think they had power, how did they brew their coffee, no worries friends, we had a french press.

Every year during the Christmas season our missionary support team (MST) sells coffee as a fundraiser for our work in Guinea Bissau.  We are excited to be selling coffee this year as well. There are all kinds of flavors and they come in a K-cup. This makes a great Christmas gift and if you want to order some, leave a comment, send us an email or message us on Facebook and we will make sure you get it. The coffee is being sold in 12 ounce packages and are $11.00 a bag and $10.00 for the K-cup. 
It even comes with our picture on the bag!

This is another way to support our family serving in Guinea Bissau. Thank you to all of you that are buying or have bought coffee from us!  
If you can read this, it's a description of all the flavors they sell.  It also comes in normal roasts if you aren't a flavor kinda person.

Thanks for reading our blog.  I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even read it while drinking a cup of coffee.  I wrote it while drinking a cup.  In all the coffee you drink, I pray that you remember to make God your priority rather than your morning coffee.   Blessings to all of you!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Just Resting

We have really struggled with being home and have experienced an incredibly wide range of emotions.  We are thankful for the break and the chance to relax and get re-energized for our return to Guinea Bissau.  We recently spoke at one of our supporting churches and we were just so blessed.  We had many people encouraging us and letting us know they are praying for us.  We know that people pray for us, but when someone tells you they are praying it is such a joy to be able to put a face to that person.

After church we were invited to someone's house for dinner.  That again, was a great time of encouragement and relaxing.  During one part of the conversation I had said we were just floating, and our friend said, "No, you are just resting." That was pretty great.  I believe God put those words in her mouth because it was exactly what we needed to hear and it's exactly what we have been doing.

Here are some photos of us "just resting":
Zesto is an ice cream shop that is famous in Michael's hometown.  The kids enjoyed their ice cream tremendously. Ice cream, another delicious food we missed, continues to be a special treat for us. 
(photo props to my father-in-law)

We enjoyed visiting a children's zoo with Grandma and Papa.  The kids had fun in the African journey looking for animals we might have seen in Guinea Bissau. We found some, mostly birds.

We walked through the African part at the zoo and of course we had to have a drumming circle and some dancing on the way out of course.  People probably thought we were so weird. 
At the Indianapolis Children's Museum they have this huge water clock.  It is so fascinating to watch as the time goes by.  If you are ever in the area I highly recommend the Children's Museum, it's good for all ages, but focused on children. 
While we were visiting family, I visited my old place of employment where my cousin works now.  We met him and his daughter for a fun morning on all the equipment. 
We took the kids to hike at a local state park with waterfalls.  It was a beautiful day and the falls were gorgeous as usual.  The kids had a blast and we got to see who was the most adventurous  it was definitely the one closest to the camera.  We were forever telling him to get out of the water.  
Michael has gone to this pumpkin farm since he was a baby, so of course we carried on the tradition. We went with family which makes it even better!
Grandma took us to this really cool restaurant that also has trains, like real life trains.  AND!! had model trains going above you the entire time you ate.  It was such a cute restaurant and wonderful for the kids.  There was even a gift shop for getting all your must have train items.  
On our visit to family we stopped at my aunt and uncle's house.  It was absolutely wonderful to get to see these great people.  This is also the guy that started this crazy life of mine as he married Michael and I. They were brave souls and watched our kids while Michael and I got a night away at a hotel. Ooh la la!
When we first came out to PA for an interview we stopped at the PA welcome center.  It was then that we started a tradition that we have been doing for six years now.  There is this bear that was hit by a car and every year we take a family picture with the bear. 
The first day at our new house the kids raked leaves and played in them. They were so excited to be able to play in leaves. Isaiah didn't remember fall leaves or jumping in them, but he soon join in on the fun and had a blast.  

We have realized that we often would forget to stop and smell the roses. This just resting time has allowed us to pause and focus on what is in front us.  While this has been a hard few months, we are quite thankful that it is what God put in front of us.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How are you doing?

So, how are you doing? That is a question that is repeatedly asked to us.  It is a good question and is asked with sincerity and concern. We appreciate that people care enough to ask. However, it is hard because it brings us back to the reality of our emotions.  Often times we know to give the answer "good", and that isn't just the correct answer, but a true answer.  We are doing good.  It could be so much worse. We could be trapped in quarantine for 21 days, we could've been exposed to Ebola, we could've gotten Ebola and worse than all that, Ebola could've been in Guinea Bissau and our friends could've been exposed. Praise God that none of that has happened and we keep praying against it entering Guinea Bissau. It is a blessing to be in God's care and in His arms and to know that our life is in His will.  With that being said, it is still difficult.  This is not what we planned, not what we expected and not at all what we want...but isn't that what our christian life should be, nothing that we planned, expected or wanted?

Recently I met with a friend that pointed me toward Psalm 16.  This morning I wanted to read the entire chapter (it's incredibly short with only 11 verses), but I only made it through the first two verses.  

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."   Psalm 16:1-2

When I read the first verse, I was thinking, "Yep, in God only do I take my refuge, mhmm that's true.", but then I read the commentary.  My ESV Study Bible commentary says, "The Lord is the only one on whom the psalmist relies for well-being". Is the Lord really the only one on whom I rely on for my well-being? I think yes, but then the second verse got me.  "You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you." There is nothing in me that is good without God. That is a truth, but do we believe that wholeheartedly? 

This entire experience of being evacuated out of our serving country to be in America until it is God's timing for us to return has been an emotional roller coaster. Our faith is strong, our love for God is strong, but we have been wondering what in the world is God doing?  We know that God will reveal it to us when His timing is perfect, but waiting is hard. We have many questions that we know God will answer one day, and some he may never answer. 

Our faith is what keeps us answering all those questions from caring and loving people with "We are doing good.", because when you have God, EVERYTHING is good.  We want to thank you for asking us "How are you doing?" and please keep asking.  If God has put it on your tongue to ask us, then He wants you to ask. We have felt loved and prayed over through this whole process. Our God is a big God and He cares for all of us so much.  We have an amazing support around us and we praise God daily for all of you.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's for Dinner?

Living in America I learned to cook using a stove with four burners and an oven, as do most people I know.  When we moved to Guinea Bissau cooking was a whole new world.  I was lost, stumped for ideas of what to cook, and everything I tried turned out badly. My family started losing weight as you can read about in a previous blog, and I became desperate to learn to cook so that my family would eat as they normally did. A missionary we served with suggested I watch women here cook, so I spent hours watching different women cook and observing their techniques.  I tried imitating what they did, but that was a failure. I tried cooking like the other people we were serving with, but that was a failure as well.  I needed to cook with my own style; how I learned in America from an amazing cook and patient person that has continued to help me here. Out of  desperation, I emailed a couple of my friends, one whom I sent a list of basically every ingredient possible here and I received lots of recipes in turn.  After living here for a whole year, I feel more confident in my cooking and when I look at my five healthy children I can see that I am doing something right.  It does help that, with the suggestion of a former missionary that we served with, we have a local woman cook our lunch three times a week.  

My mom has asked me a lot of questions about how I cook here and what do I cook.  I finally feel like I have figured it out enough that I can blog about this.  However, before I talk about what I cook, I want to tell all of you that the women here are amazing.  I whined and cried about how difficult it is to cook on my gas countertop stove with limited ingredients, when the women here have even more limited ingredients (because of the cost of these ingredients, they often can’t afford some of the foods we have) and they mostly cook over fire and some coal. I have met one woman that makes breakfast on a little gas burner, but only breakfast as she can’t afford to use it for other meals that take longer to cook.  The women here make delicious bianda (rice) dishes with a variety of sauces.  One of our favorites is Yassa, or onion sauce over rice.  I learned how to cook this a few months ago with the gracious help of the woman that cooks for us.  Here is the recipe in case you would want to give it a try. This is the amount of ingredients I used for our family of seven (five of those are children). 

Yassa (Onion Sauce)

3 large onions and 1 medium sized onion
2 1/2 carrots
1 green pepper
Chop onions, dice carrots and green peppers

1 Tbsp dijon mustard (approximately)
1 Tbsp vinegar (approximately)
1 beef bouillon  (what we have here is a cube similar to beef bouillon, the brand is Maggai, I think you can find this in the states)
1-2 Tbsp of Adja (approximately) this again is a seasoning that is brown.  I’m not sure if you can buy it in the states, but it contains salt, MSG (please no criticisms we know this is not healthy for a person) corn starch, wheat flour, and sugar

Mix this all together with the chopped onions, carrots and green pepper and let marinate.  

Cut 3-4 potatoes into little chunks to fry. 
  1. Fry potatoes until they are dry like french fries and remove.
  2. Fry fish or chicken until done and remove
  3. Fry onion mixture until soft, it takes a while
  4. After onion mixture is fried, add potatoes and mix together, then add fish or chicken back in to heat it all up, cover and turn off stove when heated.  
  5. Let it sit until rice is done.
  6. Serve over rice in one dish…that’s if you want to eat it the way we do here.

Make the amount of rice you will eat as a family.  We make between 2 1/2 and 3 cups of uncooked rice. 

This is a very delicious dish if you are not afraid of onions.  Here is a picture of what it looks like all served up, sorry it's not a closer view.  This is a picture from a party we had here to celebrate and say goodbye to two missionaries.

Alright, so how exactly do I cook with my two (technically three, but the middle one is teeny tiny and worthless if the other two are being used) burner countertop stove?  First, in case anyone reading this is thinking that I am a bit whiny, I challenge you to one month of cooking without your oven or other two burners and to make you feel a little bit like we do here, no cheese or meat and only powdered milk.  Okay, maybe that is too much to challenge, I just challenge you to cook as long as you can with no oven and only two burners.  Microwaves, crockpots and other help is not allowed.  If you decide to do this, even if it is just for a couple of days, please tell me. It would bring a smile to my face to know how it went for you or that you are trying this challenge.  

There is another burner that is just out of the picture. 

I would like to say that the More-with-Less cookbook has been a great cookbook to have here in GB. There are a lot of recipes that we can use from this cookbook.  Our main recipes that we use are rice or pasta dishes and soups.  Here is a list of some of our favorites.  

Pumpkin Soup
Potato Soup
French Onion Soup
Kusherie (Egyptian Rice and Lentils)
Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Lentil Tacos - thank you to our co-worker who shared her recipe with me.  Now I just need to get a tortilla press, which I just recently found out exist! 
Lentil Burgers
Skillet Cabbage
Stir-Fry (we use any veggies we can find)

Spam is an ingredient that is readily available for us here in the village.  Here is a recipe we use with spam.

Cabbage A La Rowena

1 large head of cabbage
3 or 4 good sized potatoes
salt and pepper
1 or 2 cans of spam

Cook potatoes until nearly done. Add cabbage, when tender add spam, salt and pepper. When cooked to doneness, add catsup to give slight tinge or to taste.  We don’t always have catsup, so we eat it without.  Here’s a favorite from the More-with-Less cookbook. 

Vegetable Chowder

Combine in kettle:
1/2 c. rice, uncooked
3 chicken bouillon cubes
5 c. water
1/2 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced potatoes
1 minced onion
1/2 c. finely cut celery (we don’t have celery so we eat it without)
1 c. canned tomatoes (I use one or two fresh tomatoes, chopped)
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Bring to boil and simmer 45 minutes.
Add when ready to serve:
1 c. milk (I use powdered milk)

Heat to almost boiling and serve immediately.

Another favorite is Chicken Corn Soup that I found online.  We only make that when we have the special treat of chicken and Michael buys corn in a town about 30 minutes away which is also where he finds chicken. 

I hope this gives you a glimpse into cooking as a missionary in a third world country.  Thanks to my mom for suggesting this blog idea! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creeping, Crawling Critters…this one's for the kids

I am not an animal person, period. Alright, my kids would yell at me correct me nicely by reminding me we had a cat in America. We got that cat because I saw a smaller critter in the house that I hoped Buttons would take care of for me and then we all fell in love with her.  Animals smell, they leave presents in random places and they can take you by surprise.  Living in Guinea Bissau has helped me to grow in my not love of animals, however I have gotten used to the creeping, crawling type of critters that used to make me shriek like a girl (okay, so I am a girl) and run the other way.

When our kids have talked with their friends they are always asked, "What animals do you have?". Actually, now that I think about it a lot of people ask us about the animals.  Probably because we live in Africa. No, I should say it like this…we live in Africa! We should have giraffes, zebras, lions, hippos, you know all those animals you think of when you think of Africa.  Well, we have cows, goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs and cats.  That's exciting right? Oh, I left out gazelles and monkeys.  Now that's exciting! Jada saw a gazelle the other day when she went to the cashew orchard with her friend.  We've eaten gazelle..sorry our vegetarian friends, but it was delicious! We also have rabbits, squirrels, rats, really huge rats that like to swim in our co-workers well, truthfully that has only happened once since we lived here.

Instead of listing all the animals we have, I'll let you see them.  I started taking pictures of our animals for all of you that are interested.  Now before I let you see them, I got pictures of animals I could actually get a picture of…remember that…no exciting gazelles galloping through the orchard.

Our first pet here in GB was a parakeet that we named cashew because he liked to eat the cashew fruit. Sad story…he died.  We believe a snake killed him, because his head was taken off.  There were tears shed…Michael is still crying.  Haha, just kidding, the children cried a lot, not Michael. He didn't even cry one tear, nor did I. This bird was all about taking you upon surprise.  One day I was sitting on the veranda hanging out with my kids when all of a sudden I felt something nipping at my ankle.  I yelped and jumped up and low and behold there was this little parakeet looking all innocent.  He tried to eat me! I am sure of it. No lie, this parakeet liked to eat moms!   

We have many beautiful birds, I am not sure the name of this one, but it's colors are so vibrant.  We also have these really little birds that are bright red and love to eat the ants on our veranda.  

These are technically not in GB, and I have posted them before in a previous post, but come on, they're stinkin' cute! 

This is one of many, and I mean MANY lizards that scurry about our house and yard.  This guy was enjoying the ants that came out of that crack in our veranda.  I was sitting maybe three feet from him and I was totally not scared.  

This is the same type of lizard in the picture above. He had just gotten done fighting (well we originally thought it was fighting, but then later after looking at pictures I had taken realize that the two lizards were most likely male and female and not necessarily fighting…more like wrestling). 

We think this is the most beautiful lizard.  His colors have been slowly changing with the rainy season. (Mom, this ones for you, remember you asked me to take a picture of this lizard)

There is a story with these two turtles.  It is not uncommon to have children come to your door trying to sell you animals they have captured or killed.  Two girls (of which are Jada's friends) had found these two turtles and wanted us to buy them.  We nicely told them that we weren't interested, they walked off looking dejected only to return that evening with humongous smiles on their faces.  They were giving us these turtles as a gift!  Now what were we to do, refuse their gift? No, that's not nice.  We smiled and took them, thanking them, all while our children danced around with glee thanking them profusely.  So there you go, we got our second pet, two turtles, we never named them.  Okay wait…there's discrepancy with this…some of our children said we named them, Tim Tom and Myrtle. Other kids say we never named them…so you can decide.  

Here's our future zoologist or veterinarian holding a turtle.  She has absolutely loved all the animals here and begs us to buy every animal that someone tries to sell us. 

Our turtle decided to take a swim in our shower water.  I got a video of him after we pulled him out of the water.  We placed him on the veranda and he took a dive off the edge and walked off into the taller grass.  He could really move! Now our turtles have both wondered off into the land of taller grass.  We haven't seem them for over a week, they are probably having adventures grander than they would've had on our veranda.

This little boy tried selling us this squirrel.  It was dead. Wonder what we said? It was a big NO. 

Yeah, these aren't animals, but they sure are cute. I couldn't help but add them in here.  Oh, and they are with our newly growing bananas.  Yummy! 

This is pretty normal, a goat.  He has once again jumped our fence to get to our grass to eat.  Apparently our grass is much more delicious than any other grass in the village because the goats are always hanging around eating our weeds.  

A snail, I know we have snails in America…but check out this photo below! 

That is the largest snail I have ever seen! That's Isaiah's hand to give you an idea of how big it is.  The kids love to find them every morning around our house.  

The funny thing about these snails is how scared the people here are of these little guys.  Our neighbor lady chased down a snake for us and killed it, but when our kids wanted to show her this snail, she shrieked and ran away yelling, "I'm scared of those!"

These are the most interesting, beautiful and intriguing bugs to us.  They are a bright, vibrant red and can usually be found on the path before or after a rain.  I have heard a few different stories about these bugs when I've asked what they are called.  They say that they are tears from God because of our sins.  If you see one on the path that means you will sin.  However many you see, that's how many sins you will commit that day.  I have also heard that they fall from the sky and are God's children.  Lydia has heard that they are Jesus' angels.  Josiah has heard that they come from God, when it rains, God sends them.  Jada and Lydia also heard that if you kill one you have sinned and God will kill you because you killed one of his angels. Our kids are still alive, so yeah, that's not true.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of our creeping, crawling critters of Guinea Bissau.  It was fun taking the pictures in preparation of this blogpost.  Thank you to everyone that has asked us about our creeping, crawling critters! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Cashew season is coming to an end now. The season started with our children's friends coming to our house asking if our kids could go to the cashew orchards with them. We were so innocent and without thinking said yes. Jada was the first to go.  She walked out of the house and her friend took one look at her and told her to go back in the house and change. Jada needed to have on dark clothes, sunscreen and she needed to bring a water bottle, a bucket and a lensu (cloth to put on her head to carry her bucket of cashews). This was a learning experience for all of us. Her friend was gracious with us and taught us that dark clothing is best because collecting cashews is a very dirty job. We sent her off having no idea when she would return, but when she did, boy oh boy was she filthy! Her legs and feet were black, and I don't mean just a little dark, I mean black! Her clothing was stained black, her body was black and her shoes were black.  She was hot, tired, and in desperate need of a shower. All of our kids have returned from collecting cashews looking the exact same, dirty. The reward for this dirty work is sweet. Cashews grow off a fruit that is quite similar to an apple and delectable.  The kids have enjoyed sucking the juice out of the fruit and we have even made juice from the fruit.  

Cashews are the main source of income for this poor country. The good thing about cashew season is there are all kinds of foods available in the village, clothes, jewelry, and everyone is happy.  The unfortunate thing is everyone spends all their money as fast as they earn it and they are left with nothing at the end of the season.  In a few months people will be back to begging for money for rice.  Another unfortunate part of cashew season is the amount of drinking alcohol that goes on.  The cashew fruit turns into wine overnight and it is widely made, sold and consumed.  

I have enjoyed working alongside some women in the village to help them collect cashews and Michael has even helped to take the nut off the fruit.  It has been a good way for us to practice our language and to form relationships.  

One thing I have learned is that cashew season may be a lot of fun because of all the fun things going on in the village, but it is a lot of hard work.  Collecting cashews is back breaking work, as you stand bent over for hours walking through the orchard picking cashews off the ground.  I have a new appreciation for the people here, and for the price of cashews in the states.  They are every bit worth the amount they cost.  

Eskola ten? (We have school?)

What is school to you? Something you dread? Something you look forward to after a long summer of the kids running around the house making messes all day? School in Catel, Guinea Bissau is optional.  Not everyone attends school here, but even if you did, there is no guarantee your teacher would show up for school. There are days that the teachers just don't show up, but then there are also days when school is canceled because of a funeral in the village. School has been canceled for an entire week because of a funeral.

Micah and Isaiah just finished their year of preschool. The preschool is something that was started on my first short term trip in February of 2011 to Catel.  When we first started, we were in the church and we used two benches to form a table and a bench.  The kids crammed together on the bench and sat while the teacher taught them, hitting each other the entire time.  I came a second time in November 2011 and worked along side a kindergarten teacher to train the teachers even more.  Since then God led a worker to come here that advanced the preschool so much it was moved over to where the school is and transformed into a preschool classroom.  

Preschool in 2012 when it was first established. 

Original teachers, Gibby and Mario using newly learned techniques for teaching. 

The preschool room as it is today. Former CHE missionary serving in Catel alongside us helped transform the preschool from what it was (in above pictures) to what is in today. 

This is the attendance board.  The kids present are on the left and absent are on the right.  Upon the children's arrival, they find their name and put it under the present side.  This was a good way for them to learn to recognize their names.  

The preschool is much different from regular school here.  The preschool teacher is fabulous and dedicated, this past year she did not miss a single day.  Bilgusa (I am not good at spelling their apologies for misspellings), has an incredible amount of patience and worked wonderfully with Micah and Isaiah to help them to learn Creole as well as teaching all the kids their letters, numbers and many other things.  

Micah and her friend, Delfina, writing their name. 

Bilgusa helping a student learn to write his name.

The other day was the preschool's last day of school and the kids and their parents were present. There was a short program where the children sang two songs and Bilgusa handed out the children's school book they worked in all year and all their papers from the year.  There was also an impromptu meeting. This meeting opened our eyes to a big problem in the village. The parents were complaining about the primary school.  They didn't want their kids to go on to the first year because they don't really learn anything.  The discussion changed into whether or not their children could repeat preschool. The preschool is such a blessing to this village and to the families involved. We also learned that kids shouldn't enter the primary school until they are seven years old, which most kids are five or just turned six when they finish preschool.  We encouraged the parents to allow their children to repeat preschool.  Bilgusa does a wonderful job at teaching each child at his or her own level so we agreed this would work.  

Micah and Isaiah with their teacher.

This preschool is a way to reach many people that would never enter the church.  Bilgusa teaches them stories from the Bible and prays with them daily.  In order for this preschool to continue we need some additional funds.  The students tuition can cover their materials, but it can not cover the salary and transportation of Bilgusa.  If you are interested in supporting this ministry go here to learn more and/or to donate online. 

Thank you for prayers and support to keep this preschool going to help a community in need.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Malnutrition or Moringa

When we first came to Guinea Bissau, our family faced many trials.  One of those trials was the new foods in our diet.  We became vegetarians over night, have no refrigerator or freezer, and we are limited on what kinds of fruits, veggies and other foods we can buy.  Our entire family struggled to feel full or to desire to eat.  Eventually we adjusted and with the help of friends in America, I got recipes and spices and was able to start making some delicious meals for my family.  

However, we still had a problem, our kids were losing weight.  I was worried about their nutrition and their little bodies growing properly.  We were blessed to be serving with a couple long term missionaries, Andrew and Lia. Lia worked with CHE, Community Health Evangelism, and one of the things she did was to teach women in West Africa how to feed their children nutritional filled foods. She introduced me to two trees that we have growing plentiful in our yard and in the orchard behind our house called Moringa and Chaya. I tried Chaya first and the kids did not enjoy it at all.  I then tried Moringa and got a more positive response from our kids. Moringa is more time consuming to prepare because of the size of the leaves and picking them from their plant, so Andrew introduced me to Moringa powder.  This excited me because I could sneak it into almost anything I cooked and as anyone that cooks for children knows, sometimes you just have to hide the nutritious stuff.  

Moringa is an amazing plant that is packed full of vitamins and nutrients. (Check out this website to read more about it's nutrients.) Within a week of cooking with Moringa and Moringa powder, our kids faces started to fill out.  After a couple weeks, their clothes started to fit them again and they began growing normally. They have now grown so much that they are out growing some of their clothes we brought over with us.   

Because of this experience and seeing what Moringa did for my family, I want others to know what Moringa can do for them.  When a friend of mines son got sick with vomitting and diarrhea. he wasn't eating and wasn't able to keep anything down that he ate. I decided I would make him mashed potatoes and put Moringa in the potatoes.  He hungrily devoured the mashed potatoes and he did not get sick from eating them, so his mom asked if I could make more.  For two days I made mashed potatoes, which they call papa, and brought it over for this boy.  He quickly got better and was back to his normal healthy self.  

When we returned from our vacation, our laundry lady's daughter, Rebekah, was sick with diarrhea.  She had lost one kilo in weight and was not eating or drinking much. She is only a little over a year, so to lose a whole kilo was a little worrisome to me, although I am not a nurse, so I don't know medical things. I quickly made up some papa for her with Moringa and with the help of Jada and Lydia, we fed it to her. We continued to make it for her for a couple days and she also quickly recovered and was back to her normal busy activities of a one year old.   

This is Rebeka eating mashed potatoes with Moringa.

I would say she enjoyed this very much so. 

Guinea Bissau may be a poverty stricken country, but God has planted the very nutrients they need in their land.  God cares about all his children, no matter the country or economic status they are in.  

I am so thankful for Lia and Andrew who helped me to learn about Moringa and encouraged me to keep feeding it to our kids. I am also thankful for those that sent me recipes, spices and other yummy additions to add to our diet.  Our children are now growing like weeds and as healthy as they always have been.  Our God is a good God. 

Terrible Two Crew

Guinea Bissau is in no short supply of children. In fact, there are days when we feel like all the children in Guinea Bissau are in our yard. That of course cannot be true, but there are typically a lot of children that hang out in our yard all day.  One group of children that might think they live at our house would be a group of two and three year olds from our neighbors house.  They are cute and adorable…but so are puppies.

Could you imagine having a two or three year old and then leaving them at home alone all day while you go do your work? That is what happens to the kids that hang out in our yard, their family goes to work in the cashew orchard while they are left to themselves, so naturally, they come to our yard. Our kids lovingly named them the Terrible Two Crew. They act just like any two or three year old would that never gets disciplined and is left to his own accord.

Often, we offer lunch to our little friends. It is difficult to eat our lunch with little hungry eyes watching and so eager to join. They are always happy with whatever we give them.  They enjoy my "American" cooking as well.  (I added quotation marks because it's not truly American cooking without the American ingredients…it's just as close as I can make it for my family)

Michael is adding a fence in our yard to block off the back of the house to visitors.  He was putting in fence post and had two little helpers come along and help pack the dirt around the post.  Michael enjoyed these two helpers. 

Since the kids are at our house all day we invite them to join us and our children in our daily chores.  In this picture they are helping us to carry our bath water. They were so happy we got little cups for them to use to carry water. 

One day while we were drawing our shower water (this takes a significant amount of time to draw for a family of seven), Michael decided to dump a bucket on the kids that had gathered around the well waiting for empty buckets.  The joy on Sana Mane's face is priceless.  It wasn't shortly after this picture that all the kids stripped their clothes off (well those adorable white kids kept their shorts on) and were begging for more water.  

I just couldn't not add this picture into this blog.  This is the old fashioned water sprinkler.  On a hot day, it's worth the work of drawing a bucket just to dump it a group of excited children.  

As cashew season is coming to an end, our terrible two crew is starting to get smaller.  We said goodbye to one of Micah's best friends, Sally, the other day.  She went to be with her mother (she did not live with her mother, but her grandparents), but some day she will be coming back. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

...and he rested...

We have spent our last two weeks on vacation in the Gambia and I want to share some pictures with you.  It has been so much fun these past two weeks just being a family and relaxing together.  We have done shopping, eating out, going to the beach and a monkey park and we have watched several movies. I think the best day was the day that included the monkey park and the beach.  The water was amazing and the kids had so much fun jumping over and diving into waves.  


This is the Gambian beach where we swam and played. 

This monkey is nursing her baby. That was pretty cool to watch. Seriously how cool is it that we got to watch it happen in the wild!?! 

This monkey 'led' us down a path until eventually he ran up a tree. 

Taking a snooze in a tree.  Looks relaxing. 

We are all ready to return to the village and continue to serve God in Catel. For me personally, I am most sad to leave running hot water and an indoor toilet.  That was really a blessing to have and to enjoy. While we have been here I have thought about what we live without, like running water, a refrigerator, indoor bathrooms, but in the end, I am truly at peace with living the way we live because it is God's will for our lives.  We believe that when you live in God's will you have total peace in your life, no matter how hard or difficult your living situation is. 

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.  Genesis 2:2