Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Full days

Monday, Monday.  Busy.
Remember the well that needed a cover to keep kids from falling in.  Well here is what the cover looks like from the welder.  It is in the back of Jon's truck ready to take to village as well as pump repairman for other well.  Mason will be out later to buildup open well sides and install cover.
This well is about 8-10 meters deep and by taking short strokes on the exposed assembly pumps a lot of very clean water.  No surface runoff or contamination as in open well.  Lately the pump has been working poorly.
After pulling all of the pipe out of the well casing, the pump was disassembled and cleaned.  Sometimes a little dirt will cause the valve or seal to not close and reduce efficiency.
Once reassembled it works fine.  "Clean" water reduces sickness.  Open wells are most common and a cause of much illness. Investing in a well like this pays dividend to all.  I was thirsty and you gave me to drink.  What Mama used to call "practical Christianity".
Well done. (pun intended)

Tuesday afternoon storm comming from town instead of down the mountain.  Cooling effect is appreciated.
Someone asked what I eat.  This is an omelet with the sauteed onions on the outside and the cheddar cheese on the inside.  Bread, coffee, sugar coated almonds for a treat and fresh mango (sweet).  For those who thought I would starve cooking for myself.......
Bertine's daughter came by this afternoon and brought some of her mother's spaghetti and sauce (spicy with fish instead of meat).  While I am loosing the pounds I wanted to, there is no danger of my going hungry.  

Bible Institute English is growing.  Tonight we had eleven students plus the Pastor and Cristophe.  We have covered about 30 of the 44 sounds (short a, schwa e, hard c, etc.) that are needed to be able to form any English word.  Made copies of the video we are using so each student could have their own and have almost completed the hard copy chart to go with it.  Using Microsoft Publisher and fonts with symbols to create chart from scratch.  Since I could not find this on line, I will post it to see if anyone else finds it useful.  Learning as I go and loving it.  My English teacher from junior high would be shocked........ Don't ever want to hear you say that you can't do something.  If God can use me to teach English, He can use you to do mighty works.  I'm just saying.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fiday night late 22jun12

Tuesday was the first night of "English" at Bible Institute.  If Miss Reed, my Junior High English teacher, knew I was trying to teach English....... Had five students from Bible Institute and Christophe (my right hand and interpreter) for hour and a half.  Started with useful phrases and getting to know where they were with speaking English.  Group decided that speaking "proper" was their goal.  Pronunciation is the direction we are going.  My accent, British, French and other English speakers are all different.  They want to learn correct pronunciation and that means the 44 sounds of the "American English Pronunciation Dictionary".

Long a, hard c and schwa e are examples.  This has become a challenge for me, as I have to learn them myself, in order to "teach" them.

Using video from YouTube with frequent stops and referral to white board to practice each letter.  My thanks to the Vietnamese gentleman who posted it.


Cut and paste should link if you want to know what I am up against.  Would like to find this alphabet printed with helps, but think I will have to create it myself.   Open to suggestions ............

 Love learning new things.  I had mentioned to Bertine that I had not seen any Oranges in market.  Next thing I know, voila.  They are green skinned to start.  By cutting away most of the "rind" and partially removing one end you create a natural container that you squeeze, and suck out the insides.  When you are done, you have enjoyed the fruit, without the mess.   Like the egg, God's packaging is perfect.
 The little "bouger" above needs to be eight foot tall and six wide by the time Heidi gets home in January.  Its relatives need to blossom by that time, so the whole wall will be beautiful.
Bougainvillea makes a better security top than barbed wire and is prettier.

Just got back from having pizza with the  Thars  and watching video of Harlem Globetrotters 75th anniversary.  Now, that is basketball.   Afterwards they introduced me to a game of "snitch" in which I was soundly beaten.  Enjoyed the fellowship and the food.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday at home

Yesterday was mostly spent at home with much time to read and reflect.   Prepared vocabulary sheets for English class Tuesday.  Could really use some prayer here as I am neither a teacher nor a linguist.  Hope to just share time and desire to be friends with students at Bible Institute.  Sure I will learn more Kabiye and French than they English.  A win win would be nice.

Children everywhere are much alike.
Another try at vid.  These are children in the neighborhood playing as all children do.  Love to hear them in afternoon when school is out.  
 Made a salad for lunch.  All local and all fresh.  Will have to look for some seasoning for salad dressing.  Oil and vinegar is ok, would be better with Italian herbs and spices.
You may not like it, but i remember it from childhood.  Sardines.  Hey it tasted good and I don't have to worry about "bad breath".

This has been an opportunity to spend some time in the Word, sometime with RC, Erickson and Bonhoeffer.  Good company all.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Sunday morning and we are off to church.  This is what the roads look like.  Since there are no overhead bridges or anything else for that matter, trucks are piled high and wide.  I have seen loads as much as 18 feet above the pavement.

typical loading of 22 wheelers (trailers have three axles)

My church

 Main road in front of church.
Fields, valley and distant mountains from behind church

 These pictures cannot begin to display the beauty of Africa.  The Chief and I went for a walk after church and he told me he would give me some land that I could build a house and live with them forever.  I have never been a home owner and probably will not be in this lifetime.  However, if God gives me roots..........
 Tchaa's (the Chief's son) daughter and two other children are sick (diagnosis of parasites and malaria) based on symptoms, we stopped by pharmacy in Kara and got some medicines for them after church.  See how much of their sign you can figure out..... So much we take for granted with a Walgreens every 1000 yards down the road in America.  What the average Walgreen carries would supply a pharmacy here for at least a year.
Afternoon storm coming  Will try once more to post short vid..

Heard there was butane (in lieu of our propane) available in town.  Took seven empty bottles and were only able to buy three refills.  Will try again in middle of week.  It is needful to have for cooking.  There is a danger in having so much as we do in America for we tend to forget that we are dependent on God.  It is good to be in a place where nothing is taken for granted.

Loving every new experience and adventure.  Even fixing chili con carne and a side of corn is a special meal.  BTW have lost 6 of the 20 pounds that need to go.  Will celebrate when I hit 153#.  Maybe even at halfway point (163#).

Friday, June 15, 2012

modern tech

This will be a short post as I spent most of the afternoon finishing Kay Washer's book "One Candle to Burn".
Know I am redundant, it is a must read.  God surly has some motive for making sure that it was the first book I read here in Togo.

Abby, Heidi and Annabelle at Grandma's house

Modern technology is so awesome.  Just got done talking to Heidi and the girls via Skype.  Even able to do screen capture so I can share their picture with everyone here in Kara.  

Will let everyone know as soon as Jon and Heidi find out if they are having a boy or girl..........

Sharing their family newsletter:

                                                                                                                                                June 13, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
                How good it feels to be back in America! Though we truly enjoy our lives and ministries in Togo, the closer we were to coming home the more excited we became! Living in Africa for three years, sure helps you realize how thankful we are for the good ‘ol USA – and we’ll always be proud to be Americans!
                The girls and I were blessed to have smooth flights and some very kind airport employees who had some compassion on this big bellied woman walking through the airport with our luggage and two little girls. We were ushered ahead in nearly every line in the Ghana airport and were treated kindly in the Atlanta airport as well; this was a huge blessing! Abby slept like a log on our 12 hour flight and Annabelle did very well considering how hesitant she is of people in general and new things. The only time she began crying was when the security guard attempted to touch her arms and legs at a checkpoint. This brought on the tears, but she quickly dried them up.
                We are having a wonderful time with my parents in Hot Springs, AR! Grandpa and Grandma are enjoying this time with the girls and the favorite spot on their property for Abby is the garden! She has been in the garden every day, picking blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers, squash…etc. She loves to run up and show us what she has put into her bucket, and I gladly eat the fruits of her labor. J Annabelle is very intrigued with how various toilets flush here, how automatic paper towel dispensers work as well as the fact you can push a button and get water from water fountains! She and Abby both are taking in lots of new sights and sounds! They’ve been busy frequenting parks, the library, and of course various thrift stores with mom J
                The first restaurant we ate in was Arby’s and Abby and Annabelle both loved the onion rings and roast beef sandwiches. On our first trip to the grocery store, we filled our cart with things we’d missed the past three years in Africa. These included: broccoli, grapes, strawberries, orange juice, sliced bread, ham, dill pickles, fruit loops and even white powdered donuts!
                I was surprised when we took a trip to the library this past week  that I was the one choosing the books we’d check out. Both Abby and Annabelle were busy the entire hour playing with the train table and doll house in the children’s section of the library. So engrossed in their play time, that I figured if I didn’t choose the books, there wouldn’t be time to do so! Ha! They did enjoy the fun toys available for them to play with and upon leaving Abby asked if we could return the following day. She has been busy reading book after book here at Grandma’s – our little bookworm.
                We all enjoyed being able to Skype with Jon nearly daily since we left him in Africa nearly 2 weeks ago. It helped make the separation a bit easier, though we’re all ready to see him again! We’re very thankful his flight landed safely in Tampa Tuesday evening, and Jon’s brother, Shane, met him at the airport. After eating some good ol’ BBQ, he capped off the night with a donut! He’ll be driving from Tampa to Hot Springs tomorrow and hopes to arrive in time to watch some of the NBA finals! We'd appreciate your prayers for his safety as it will be around 17 hours and he'll be traveling alone :(
                I have an ultrasound scheduled for this Monday, the 18th, and am happy that Jon will be here to join me in finding out what we’re having! We’ll be sure to announce the good news when we know!
We love you all and will see many of your faces in the next few weeks!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

relaxing at home

 We will start here at my refuge.  On the veranda, in the shade with a light breeze.  A quiet place to read and think and plan and reflect or relax in the peace of an afternoon in Kara.  A cool drink of water and a good book.  After the drive to Lome to see Jon off to America and the drive back thru much rain it is nice to just relax.......
This is the Atlantic Ocean (the other side of it) as seen from the Golden Beach Hotel in Lome.  Hotel has about twenty rooms and a restaurant, pizza shoppe, and bar-b-que window. The restaurant was actually pretty good.  Nice menu for diner and a continental style breakfast.
 After leaving Jon at the airport, I ordered a late night banana split.  It took them forty minutes to make it, as they must of made the ice cream to order.  On a large plate I found a banana and one small scoop of vanilla ice cream under a copious amount of whipped sweet cream.  Went down well while watching the Ukraine win their football game.  As I was to discover of the sixteen people in the restaurant six of us were customers (3 Chinese - 1 European with a local gentleman - and myself) two were servers and the other eight were the Ukrainian owners and friends.  Only one spoke English and that was moi.......  Love the challenge and so far have not had to starve or go without.    
Before leaving in the morning I walked on the beach and enjoyed the breeze.  Fishing boats are not unlike they were hundreds of years ago.

Traffic in Lome was more of a challenge than in Kara only because they included several blocked exit roads by demonstrators.  After two attempts and one penetration of the fringe of a large demonstration we were able to find a road closer to the Ghana border that allowed us to go North and get away from the Capital.  Understand that later in the day the demonstrators did clash with police.  This is very unusual for Togo as law and order is the norm.  People seldom display anger and I have great confidence in the peaceful way they get along with each other.

Glad to be back to my refuge.  To the far left, hanging from the roof, are metallic wind chimes doing their thing with the palms and the trees rustling their leaves to accompany them.  Occasionally a child playing or a bird singing or maybe a baby goat bleating will add to the sense of solitude.  The time between noon and two thirty in the afternoon is for everyone to take a break, eat and rest.  It is a habit I have come to enjoy very much.  Since most people do not have electricity, night life is over early.  However, the sun is up shortly after 5:00am and the day begins then. 

Have tried several times to post short videos to no avail.  Will describe as best I can and you will have to use your imagination.  Loving all of it and thanking God for allowing me to be back in Togo with these wonderful people.  

One Candle to Burn

about half way thru a most awesome book by a missionary couple to Africa. First to Niger and then to Togo, their lives are used by God in such a way as to bring tears of joy over and over again. I truly envy the youth who may have many years that they could serve God and pray that the feelings I am experiencing now will be real day after day going forward. I am most aware that we are called to be witnesses for our Lord anywhere we are. That includes in our own back yard...........
Recommended reading for anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Savior.

If you read nothing else, other than your Bible, I recommend this.  We, who have the Light, have no excuse.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Church

Sunday morning service at Tchandida.  This is where I will be attending for the next seven months.  Service is in French translated to Kabiye or, with Jon gone, in Kabiye.

Early Service

eager to preach

 You would love the singing.  Have you ever been in a church where you knew the Spirit of God was there.  I know, every Sunday at your church.  Sometimes you feel His presence more acutely, at least I do.
Jon's message was the last of a seventy part series that was outlined by New Tribes Missions for teaching those who have not had the opportunity to know the Bible.  Starting with creation it ends with the ascension of the Lord and His promised return. This message was about an hour long with time for questions during the last half.  It was exciting to hear  the participation of many in the church.
 After the service there was a feeding of the 75 plus people who were there.  Rice (lots of rice) pasta, sauce and fish was the meal.  Kool aid and local well water was available.
Jon made sure that I had the HEAD of the fish as my special portion.  Not much meat on the head and I admit I left some on my plate.  My primary doctor at the VA would be disappointed to know that I am drinking local village well water. (Please don't tell her)
 This was my dining partner.  I always find a way to sit next to the pretty ladies.  Last night I had the opportunity to hold a little boy about two years old while his mother loaded food in the back of Jon's truck.  The little fella took one look at my white face and cried until his mother got back in the truck and rescued him.
 After church Jon and Tscha and I walked about a mile back to a smaller village where they have had a problem with a well.  Seems like four years ago a small child fell in and drowned.  No wall around well, just a hole in the ground.
 They built a wall about 18" high and everything was fine until another child fell in and drowned.  They have asked that a cover be made and put over the well.  A welder/metal worker and carpenter will be consulted to find out how much it will cost to accomplish this.  A lot of missions is to provide some much needed physical help along with the spiritual.
 While we were checking out the well, a woman came to draw water.  A canvas bag with a cord made from a tire is dropped into the well and the water is taken about a gallon at a time.  So much of life here is like it was in Biblical times.  How could you not think of the woman at the well......?
About half way back from the well you could see the church building in the distance.  (center of picture)
 One of the church members makes baskets for a living.  This is a beautiful woven basket that he wanted 2.00 USD for.  His workmanship is excellent and it is now my laundry basket in the corner of my bedroom.
Had to include free range chickens for Shane.  One of the ladies spilled a few grains of rice in cooking for the dinner and the chickens went wild for it.
When we got back to Jon's house we were greeted by a little viper.  Not sure what its name is, but it is supposed to be poisonous.

Another missionary family Jimmy and Adie White came over with a young lady visiting them from Mongo area and brought homemade pizza and a salad.  It was delicious.  So far I have only lost one of the twenty pounds targeted.

The Mongo area is seeing quite a few Muslims converted.  It is exciting and fearful as they often suffer persecution from their own families when they accept Christ and especially when they get baptized.  Looking forward to possibly going north later this year for a week or two to help on hospital construction, or at least for a few days to see the work there.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Part of the security on the wall around the house is an iron fence covered with Bouganville vines.

They had got out of hand and needed to be trimmed back.  Hopefully they will recover in the next six months.  The neighbor has corn planted right to the wall and hopefully that will recover too.
My attempt at Heidi's recipe for French Toast - tasted better than it looked. Non parley vous la France.

Not much to show yet, as I have not uploaded pictures of Bible Institute Graduation this evening.  Will add to this post as I transfer pictures from camcorder.  Graduation ceremony was really interesting as four men and one woman received certificates for completing the course of study.  There are about 30 more students in the Bible Institute and they really sacrifice to be there.  It is a blessing just to see their enthusiasm for the study of God's word.  "to hunger and thirst after righteousness". 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday in Togo

Woke up about 0520 hrs to the music of several birds near my open window.  Tried to get a picture of them, but they fled to the tree and would not be photographed.  I must try waking earlier each day until I find when first light actually is and will record the sounds of the village as it comes to life.  Chickens, birds, children, voices and an occasional motobike.

 Had a slow leak in the right rear tire, so Christophe and I went to the local tire repair shop.  The tool in the left of the picture is how you physically break the bead on a tire to remove it from the rim.  After inspecting the inside of the tire and removing the offending screw......
 a patch is cemented to the puncture.
A metal pot is clamped to the repair and an oil fire heats it to "vulcanize" the rubber.   Everythin is put back to gether and in less than an hour we were on our way.  Total cost, including lots of labor, was 500 CSF  that is about $1.00.    Had the owner not recognized that this was my son Jon's truck the price would have stayed at the 1000 CSF that he originally asked.   The owner even mentioned that the last time he saw Jon,, both of the girls were with him.

Power was out this evening, so we had to hook up the generator.  Had rice, sauce and chicken for the people who help out around the house on a regular basis. (Security, maintenance and such)

Everyone seems to love the Huff's and especially want to know how Heidi and the girls are doing.  We expect to throw a little celebration when the baby arrives......

God is awesome.

taking to long to upload little video of birds singing and need to shut down generator.  Will do singing birds another day.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

FULL day - love it

Left house at 0700 hrs with Jon to pick up welder and helper to take them to church at Tchandida.  First picture is of the building Shane and I had the privilege of helping to work on in November 2010.

Church building at Tchandida Nov 2010

What it looks like now.  (used as Sunday school)

Welcome to the church today.

Building filled every Sunday

Baptismal pool.  

Inside is still getting work as welder braces some of roof supports.  Everything in Togo is constantly in need of some repair as nature works her ways.  Usually it is not major, rather it is a multitude of little foxes nibbling at the grapes.  Everyone has a good attitude and helps do whatever they can.
Back home for some lunch.  Heidi made meals and "packaged meals to make" for us to cover the week between her leaving for the states and Jon leaving to get back in her care.  Such a good wife, Lasagna (all we had to do was heat it) Spaghetti (fry meat, add her frozen sauce and boil pasta) and today detailed instructions on assembling fajitas.  Jon is blessed and really missing her care. [ HEIDI: Everyone (other missionaries) is taking turns feeding us evening meals. Jon will gain back the weight he lost while sick.]
The Bible Institute will be having a meal for the students and families this week after graduation.  Jon sent me with Christophe and Pastor Moussa's wife to shop at the local market.  About two hours of getting to know real people in their real world.  Love this place.
 It had rained about two hours earlier and made for a cooler shopping trip than the usual heat of day.  Most shops and businesses are open 8-12 and 2:30-5 with a 2 1/2 hour rest time at noon to avoid the hottest part of the day.  Works for me........
 And back to Tchandida to pick up the welder and equipment.  Another adventure on my own this time with Tchaa as guide and interpreter.  Main highway turns into this
about three miles from village.  Tchaa's father is the Chief and I consider an old friend as he and I first met in 2010.  Loving it.   Learned a little Kabiye, spelling phonetically it would be pie yum zay - yah ku bo.   That is to say "my name is - James"   Maybe I am not to old to learn...... maybe.

Reinaldo Sanabria: Thank you for your kind email.  When I get my email figured out so that I can send as well as receive, I will write more to you.  Your words are an encouragement.  Thanks for following blog.

Will get to bed and start again tomorrow Lord willing.  This is an awesome way to live.  Thank you God.