Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tomato, Tomoto

The part of Cameroon we are located in speaks English, but their words don't necessarily mean the same thing as ours. The same word or gesture can have totally different meaning here, so we have had to do a lot of learning these first months. We are definitely getting a better ear for their pronunciations and learning some of their expressions. I will share some of them with you.

Our way Their way
I have a stomach ache. My stomach is eating me.
I hurt myself. I have a wound.
He is bothering me. He is looking for trouble.
I will spank you very hard. I will beat you very good.
I am sorry. Asha
Hot peppers Pepe
Avocado Pear

America-The middle finger is a crude gesture. Cameroon- The middle finger is used as a come here gesture bearing no inappropriate meaning. ( I will say that one caught me by surprise when Katie's friend was teaching her the gesture. After clarifying the meaning I explained my surprise and let Katie know that she could leave that gesture out of her African learning except to know she wasn't being insulted :)

Ah, there are more but I will have to add them later as I remember them. I guess the one thing that hits me over and over is that so many things seem to be opposite of our meanings and ways. It is an interesting and fun experience.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Hidden Mountain

As we look out our balcony every day we get a lovely picture of the Ocean. It gives the impression that you are seeing everything that is there but on a very clear day, usually following a big rain storm, you can get quite a surprise, for suddenly you as you look out over the ocean you are seeing, not the horizon but a mountain that seems to appear from no where out in the middle of the ocean view. It is Equatorial Guinea. I snapped a picture of it before it once again was covered up by a cloud. The top was the last part to disappear and it was beautiful at sunset.
The song that comes to mind as I see the beauty around me is, How Great Thou Art. When I look down from lofty mountains grandeur...then sings my soul my Saviour God to thee. How great Thou art. How great Thou art.
Oh what a great God we serve. What an amazing Creator. In Bible study and at the funeral last week, Dad Chamberlin spoke on the scripture verse that says, When I consider the stars and all the works of They hands, what is man that Thou art mindful of him. To think that God Created such beauty and yet takes such delight in us is so amazing.

No Worries Mate.

Before we left home it was Katie that was really struggling with leaving friends and feeling that she wouldn't have anyone to play with here, but since coming God has continually drawn her into the lives of the little orphans and she has found plenty to occupy her time and heart. Kent, on the other hand, turned a little inward when it came to making friends and reaching out. It surprised us a little bit but God was not surprised and had already provided Kent with what he needed before hand. Kent and Bless got to meet in America last year and were already forming a friendship, now as we are here it has been a huge blessing. On lonely days Kent and Bless like to play Roman soldiers, fighting with their "swords", wrestling, or playing uno in the corner. Win or lose at the end of the day they are buddies and we thank God for providing for each of our needs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pink Eyes in Cameroon (apolo conjunctivitis)

Katie has caught the dreaded Apolo. Her time with the children has a few risks sometimes but she still thinks it is worth it. Kent played the good brother and brought her a sandwhich in bed when it was causing her pain and she had to go to sleep. We have some eye drops and hopefully she will be on the mend in a day or two. If not we will have to change her name to popeye :) Just kidding.

Caleb's Wound

In Cameroon, though they speak English, they use different words for things that requires some learning. Instead of saying "did you hurt yourself" you would say, " do you have a wound or is it paining you." Well,, during our church on Sunday a rather naughty Caleb was required to sit between Uncle Drew and Auntie Dana. It was during this time that we saw his toe had been cut and was bulging and getting infected. I was happy to hear Drew say he was going to take care of it because I tend to have a weak stomach for things like that, however, Drew had to be in a mens meeting right after church so I took Caleb up stairs and had him start by soaking his foot in some antibacterial soapy water. After seeing that it didn't hurt too much he sat quietly and looked at a book. Auntie Agnes came in and said that the bulging flesh would need to be cut off but there was NO way I was going to do that, so we bandaged it up and waited for the nurse to come on Monday. I went in the nurses room at the school with them Monday and helped to hold him while the nurse fixed his toe, but I had a hard time. It made me think of how blessedly spoiled we are back home where a doctor would have given a shot to numb it before working on it. Not so here, she didn't even simply cut it but rather pinched and tore it off. After she had remove the piece she poured Amoxocillin from a capsule on it and bandaged it up.
You know, I used to want to be a nurse but I am not sure I could do it, it hurts me too much to see others hurt, but I know it is better to have some pain than a terrible infection. I will admit I prayed Lord please protect my family from infections and injuries here and little harder that night. As for Caleb, the little guy is doing better today and we are going to keep an eye on him to try to prevent further pain.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Youth Day in Cameroon

A Ballet class in Cameroonian colors

Katie held a very tired Matilda during the 3 hour long parade

Our grades 1-6 children
The High School/Secondary Class


This week is Cameroon Youth Week. On Friday all of the schools participated in a parade and competed for the best marching school. Throughout the previous days we heard bands playing all over the city and could see other schools marching around their own fields. Our school children practiced their marching all week long, from the primary to the high schoolers. The little ones were so cute and sincere in their efforts. They definitely stole the show.
As the parade started they had little children dressed in different African garb to demonstrate the different cultures that are represented in Cameroon. They had one float in the parade showing the different industries of Cameroon. As the schools began to march they had all the preschoolers from all the school march first and their moms could pick them up as they passed by them on the street. We had a few march right out of their shoes and the teachers would grab the discarded shoes as they went by or one time this happened the child stopped to fix his shoe and all the children walking behind him that weren't looking piled into him causing a temporary traffic jam. There were also a few trips, falls, and tears but for the most part everyone enjoyed themselves and did good.
The high schoolers finished off the parade 3 hours later broken up only by little ballet teams or football teams walking before their schools.
It was a great day to soak in some of the culture here and be able to celebrate with them. We finished up the day with ice cream and a four mile that included 2 big hills that I prefer to think of as mountains :) especially in 90 degree weather. We arrived back at the mission hot, exhausted, and happy. We are so blessed and happy to be apart of these children's and teen's lives.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Unexpected Adventure: Drew's First Service.

I (Drew) was scheduled to have part in a service in a town about a half hour from Limbe last Sunday morning. I was to travel by car with Pastor Eco and another board member, Pa Marcell. We were scheduled to leave by 8:30 a.m. but when I arrived at the meeting place that morning there was no driver. We waited and called him, but there was no answer on the phone and he didn't arrive. We then decided we would have to taxi to our destination, this is a way of life in Cameroon. We took one car from Limbe to another town, then loaded in a van that was loaded down with about six people too many. For the last leg of the journey we rode on the back of motor bikes down a bumpy, dirt rode to the town where we were to minister.

After all of the delay and transport transfers we were behind schedule by about 30 to 40 minutes. They had already started, but welcomed us right inside. We worshiped with them and then they welcomed me up to speak. I was warned in advance that I probably have someone interpet for me. We asked the pastor of the church and he consented. Well, I started to introduce myself, tell about my history and our family, and forgot to let him interpet for me. We had a little laugh and then I started over and things started to flow. God really helped. After I had introduce myself I presented a message on God reconciling Himself to us through Jesus Christ, I presented it as the Basic Message of the Bible. I love this message that I had heard a few years ago, and God has put it on my heart to use this every time I speak at a new place or talk to people I have not used it with before here in Cameroon. Now it seems that the people of Cameroon do not use the altar, I am not sure why that is, if it is cultural or what. I still have much learning to do. So even though I would've like to have invited some to come up to pray and give their lives to God, I know they were listening and responding and God will use His Word to speak to those that His message was intended to help.

Afterwards the pastor invited us to his house for some fellowship before our trip back to Limbe. We had a nice lunch. Then the pastor and his wife expressed how they felt the church was doing and we expressed our support and plans for future times of helping and being involved with the church.

On our return trip we again rode on the back of motor bikes along a bumpy dirt rode, but this time once we came to the town we were able to ride in a car all the way back to Limbe. It was a much nicer trip on the way back. I was a little worn out when we arrived home but rejoicing in what God is doing both in my heart and the people here as well. This was a first of what we hope, as God leads, will be many outreach trips into other places. I keep praying that God will continue to lead us because without His leading, we will surely stumble. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Drew Herring

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cooking with Peco, Jelof-rice recipe!

One day as I was preparing some food for supper I came across Peco. I admit I had to add a bit to his person but he already had so much character I couldn't resist. The kids loved him from the start and now none of us have the heart to throw him in the cooking pot so instead I will use him to help me tell you some recipes for cooking some Cameroonian food that you could make at home as some of you have requested.

Jelof Rice:

in a pot add
2 cups of uncooked rice
3 1/2 cups of water
1 t. oil
cover and cook until soft, about 15 minutes

In a separate pan add
vegetable oil-enough to coat the bottom of the pan
3/4 cups of fresh cut carrots
3/4 cups of fresh cut green beans
1 small onion (preferably purple)
Maggi/soy sauce to taste-about 1 T.
cook until vegetables soften, add some water as needed if it starts to get dry
When vegetables are cooked throughly
add about 1.5- 2 cups of water
add 3-6 oz. of tomato paste
add salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil

Last step is to combine the sauce with the rice and enjoy.

They aren't big fans of exact measurement here so play with it a little until it is to your taste.
I watched Terrance cook it twice before I decided that I could do that too. We have this at least once or twice a week. I hope you like it.

What is a missionary?

Growing up in church we would be visited often by missionaries on deputation. I would sit there in the comfy pew and think, 'Wow, their lives are full of wonder and adventure. They have been to foreign lands and lived to tell about it.' I particularly remember the missionary who brought a mounted piranha with all of it's sharp teeth one time. I prayed sincerely that God would never send me to a place like Africa as visions of me slipping into a river and being eaten played over and over in my mind.
Now those are young and childish thoughts but even as a young adult or older I think we sometimes get this picture in our heads of what a missionary is and does. We have heard so many stories of beloved missionaries blazing the trails into the bush to reach the lost and they are wonderful to hear, but what I do not remember hearing too much of was the day to day life struggles and moments that made up their "normal" life. What is a normal day in the life of a missionary? It is as though that part was never mentionable because it was too dull or uninteresting, but now as I am the one on the other side of the pond I find it very interesting and see the importance of the "dull side." For though we pray that God will use us to do something lasting and great for His Kingdom the reality is sometimes that simply involves normal everyday stuff like living by and teaching financial responsibility though budgeting, schooling your children, singing with the choir, teaching reading, showing kindness in everyday situations, cleaning your house, listening to people a lot and talking a little, and simply making friends with people. Those all are the everyday things we can and have to do everywhere and becoming a missionary doesn't leave you exempt and only available for the fun adventure parts.
As we have started this journey I had already thought about all of this, but every once in awhile I have to remind myself that I wasn't put here to have something grand and exciting happen to me every day in this ministry, for one who could handle that, but I was put here to live with and be a part of a people that are not so different than mine, to minister to, through my actions, my lifestyle, and occasionally my words. Some days will indeed be marvelous and exciting but even in the quiet times God can use me.
I may be in a foreign land but a Christian's calling in pretty much the same where ever you go. We are to proclaim and live the truth, in Jesus name! When we live as a true follower of Christ we begin to make an impact on those around us. It isn't us but it is the beauty of Christ in us.
So on those days when I start to feel insignificant, Lord, please help me to be patient and simply live as you would have me live, full of You.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kitchen Fun!

I have been enjoying the challenge of cooking new foods as well as discovering how to make some of those dishes we crave, even if it means making them from scratch like these tortillas for tacos. The internet has been a huge help as a cookbook. So far some of our favorites include homemade potato chips and fries, Jelof rice-an African dish that includes rice, tomato paste, onions, carrots, green beans, and Maggi sauce (like soy sauce), African spaghetti (much like Jelof-rice but with noodles), Homemade french bread pizza, & of course Stir-fry.
There isn't as much junk food here and the sugar intake has taken a big cut as well as the meat. It has helped the Ladies to drop about 25 pounds each and we are happy about that. Kent is feeling left out that he isn't losing weight like daddy and the girls but we have assured him that it is ok because we want him to grow not lose.
There are other responsibilities that pull in one direction or the other but sometimes it is nice just to spend some time in the kitchen with the view of the ocean, cool breezes blowing, and the smell of something new and yummy cooking on the stove. It is a great time to do some singing and praying. "God like to talk to little boys while their fishing." and I think he enjoys talking to mommies while their cooking. Well time to eat, Bon appetit!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ah, the look of pure peace and joy. Katie, like the rest of us, enjoyed the family day we had at the Atlantic Ocean yesterday. It was our first family day since we came and it was a wonderful 6 hours! The ocean is so restful and relaxing. It is a wonderful place to get quiet before God.
These men where from the Semi Hotel. They launched their boat and headed out to bring in lunch from their nets. Now that is a fresh lunch.
It was a day of laughter, fun, good conversations, mediation, and preparation for the weeks to come. God is so good to want to share with us in every moment of our lives. He is there when we are working and ministering and He is there when we need to laugh a little and just enjoy His creation. I heard a story one time of a man that got to Heaven and was talking with God. God said, "Hey, did you see the Mountains that I made for you? Weren't they beautiful?" The man replied, "No, God I am sorry but I was too busy to go see them." "Oh," God said, "Well, did you see the ocean with it grand expanse and rolling waves?" The man again replied, "No, I am sorry. I was just too busy." Whether it is a beautiful ocean in Cameroon, the snow covered trees in Michigan, or the whatever, take a little time to enjoy God's gifts all around us and thank Him for blessing us with beautiful reminders of His majesty and creativity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Angel Squad looking for Re-enforcements!

I believe and thank God for the guardian Angels that He assigns to each one of us. I believe after stunts like this Drew's and Liberman's might be looking for a replacement or at least some help. Then again, how else do you reach the third floor in Africa without scaffolding? If the ladder wont reach up that high we go down the ladder. If the ladder is at a bad angle for descending from the top, we go to the second floor and start in the middle. Watch out the first step is a doozy!