Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back into the swing of things.

School has gotten started back up like there wasn't even a break. In fact, we have a test on Thursday.
Angie has been sick. She has a sore throat, achy joints, and a intermittent fever. She has missed school these last two days. Join me in praying for her quick recovery.
Spring seems to have left again. The high was only 58 today. It has been rainy, and there was even a little hail. The sunshine and spring weather are supposed to be back next week. I was walking the kids back to school after lunch today and it started sprinkling on us. Micah asked, "Is it raining?" I replied that is was. He then said, "It must be Monday." I don't know how he comes up with these things.
I am expecting a phone call tomorrow from a French Association that we might be looking to granting us the invitation to work here in France. I am looking forward to it but also am a little nervous because it is difficult to speak French on the phone, actually I think the harder part is to understand what the other person is saying more than speaking.
I have not mentioned in a while the young man, Clint, a member of our church who was severely burned (85%) recently, he is doing well, but still has a lot to face. If you would like to follow his progress more closely you can go to my Dad's blog, the link is to the right.
Andrew 's potty training is going real well. I am pleasantly surprised. What he really likes is the applause everyone gives him after a successful trip. Now he goes and tells everyone afterwards so that they will clap for him. God bless, JASON

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last day of spring break.

Today is the last day of spring break. It has been a good break. Angie was able to make a trip to help out friends. I researched our prospects for purchasing a car. The house is clean, and Andrew has a good start on potty training. I'm looking forward to starting language school again on Monday. Angie will not be going the afternoons this last semester, she is in need of the time for keeping things going at the house and preparing for our move in July. I am really looking forward to finishing school and moving on to Limoux. We were told to focus on language and culture this first 18 months and I felt like we have done that. Soon that will not be the focus, we will however continue our language learning through practice and a conversant. I am attaching a video I put together during this break, kind of a summary of our time in language school. If you can not get it to play below then here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFOcZbDXYRw . Enjoy and God bless, JASON

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The trip home

So I made it home yesterday after twenty-four hours of traveling with 5 airports, 4 flights, and 1 train. Whew! It went pretty smoothly. Kenya dropped me at the Malindi airport where there was no security check. It was a good flight to Nairobi where I sent last minute post cards and bought a shirt for Jason that we had tried to find in his size in Malindi. Then I thought I was boarding at gate 4 so I waited there. There were more gates at the end of the hall and around the corner but I didn't look down there. After a while my destination still was not listed on the screen so I looked down the hall and the next gate wasn 't gate 5 it was 4B so I realized that was probably the gate I should be at so I went. When I got to the desk it was a mess. It was like I came in on the back side of the security checkpoint because the waiting room full of people was on the other side of the conveyor belt and metal detector. There was one man in front of me and about ten people came behind me. We lined up to send our bags through the conveyer belt but on the other side about 100 people were already lined up and had begun the process. At the same time the security guys were getting agitated because they could not find the manifest. Things were not looking too good. The lady behind me asked where the other people had just come from and they said Somalia. Oh! Now we understood. She said the security is tight when you come from there. She said once she came through that way and there was even a K9 dog to sniff everyone. No wonder the security guys were on edge. So we waited while they passed through security, came through the metal detector and around to our side to collect their items. Then they were told to wait on our side which was not very spacious until they told them where to go next. Finally they realised our side would not hold anymore people so they stopped the people on the other side so that we could go through. That made them oh so happy as you can imagine! Finally, we sent our items through and passed to the other side where the waiting room was and we waited. I guess they got everything all sorted out. It was confusing. I have never seen a security checkpoint in an airport that worked 2 directions. The flight to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania went well. When we got to the airport there we were looking for the direction to go for connecting flights. It was around 7pm when we got there. We had people telling us two different directions to go (and the airport is really small) They kept trying to send us to customs and I kept saying we are not staying in Tanzania we are connecting to Amsterdam. They said "Tonight?" I said yes. They were like oh! Come this way we have already locked the doors. They unlocked them and had us wait. Then they took our passports and boarding passes and tried to get us all sorted out. It was funny like they forgot they had more flights going out that night! It turned out the flight had about 200 or more people on it. In the meantime there was 6 of us for Amsterdam and 4 for Zurich. The Zurich people got to their place. Then the one man kept giving one girl in our group a hard time about her luggage. She looked very young and I wondered if it was cultural that he would speak to her harshly. Another man tried to take up for her a little and questioned the man about it. It turned out that this man was a professional or semi-pro golfer who had just played in a tournament in Nairobi. One of the other men waiting with us recognized him because he had played in some of the same tournaments. Anyway, for some reason the Kenyan staff had written to stop her luggage in Dar es Salaam. Also they had kindly charged her for extra weight on her baggage instead of an extra piece like they should have. It was cheaper for her because her extra box was very lightweight. They were trying to be kind but the next airport caught the error. One man came and she paid him $200 more dollars and he said he would bring the receipt. She and I had a really nice visit while we waited. Her name was Shirley. She works for a flower company in Nairobi and was on the way to an exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia. She told me that Kenya is the second leading exporter of cut flowers in the world after Equador. One of her clients in France is a store at the market at the end of the bus line that runs by my house. (Of all the places in France!) Small world! She said the Tanzanians kept talking to her and every sentence began with "You Kenyans-" She said they didn't like Kenyans much or at least it seemed that way in this airport. Time passed and people began to line up and go through security and still no receipt. So I asked if she wanted we to go with her and we would get it. She said yes and we went. Everyone seemed to give her a hard time, one lady tried to send us back up to wait- speaking harshly to her again. She turned to go and I said no we should wait right here. They have your money and they owe you a receipt. So the security guys held our passports and let us go through to where the lady was and we stood in her sight and waited. It took about 2 minutes and we had it. Shirley said she was too soft and it was because they were afraid of me that they got it done so fast. I thought it was funny- I never said a word to the workers. I just told her not to leave but to wait there. I guess it worked. We got in line to go through security. The flight to Amsterdam was good. I think I slept 6 of the 9 hours. When we got off there was a passport check as we offloaded the plane at the end of the gate. That was a first for me. I said goodbye to Shirley after we exchanged emails. Then I changed to warmer clothes that had not been sweated on. Then I bought a backpack. I had a big purse but both the straps were very close to breaking on because of too much weight (literally hanging by a thread) and another tote bag that one strap had already broken on because of the weight! I was going to be in bad shape if anymore straps broke. So I put the tote bag in the backpack and carried the purse without using the straps. I bought a cup of coffee and waited for my 9:30 flight to Paris. I saw a lady with a Texas A&M shirt on and said hello to a fellow Texan. She still had much traveling to do. Thankfully I was almost home. I got to Paris. Took the one hour train ride from the airport to home and began to walk home. A man helped me with my bag down the stairs at the train station-a common thing to do here. Then he began questioning me about my trip. He was from Congo and asked me how Obama's place (Kenya)was, did I vote for him, etc. Just coming back from Kenya I noticed that the people there seemed to ask lots of questions about what you were doing and that sort so I was just thinking it was his culture to be so curious- It is not French culture to be so. But then he said something about going out for a drink sometime and I said No sorry I'm married. He was kind of shocked then I realized that I needed to cross the road so I said Au revoir! Waited one second and somebody behind me said Hi Angie.
It was some fellow students Katie and James. They had just gotten back from Greece and were on the same train. I said boy am I glad to see you guys! So I just kept walking and had a nice visit with Katie and James my rescuers. Then I noticed that the guy had crossed to the other side of the road where I was going. I was relieved they were there. I did not have too far to walk and I did not want that guy to see where I lived. I got home was greeted by 5 big smiling faces, gave and received some big hugs, passed out gifts and settled in. I'm home!
Thanks for your prayers, ANGIE

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

She is back.

Just a quick note to say that Angie made it back without any problems. I'll try to get her to blog tomorrow about her experiences. She gave the kids a lot of neat souvenirs from Africa. I told her we could put some of them on our France display booth we set up a meetings and missions conferences, but I don't think people will believe they are from France. I actually caught myself several times while she was telling all about her trip wishing I could have gone along with her. Maybe next time. God bless, JASON

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The 7th Day

Today is the 7th day that Angie has been away from me. She is doing well. Yesterday morning they went to the ocean and that afternoon they killed and plucked a chicken. It is good to know that she is getting a good African experience. Today she will be attending services. A little ironic that soon after we can understand all that goes on in the service in French, she will be in a Swahili service and not understand a word. I think everyone should experience a worship service where you do not understand what is being said. It is a good growth experience and a test of worship. For those who would like to contact us, my Magic Jack is up and working. It gives us a US phone number. If you would like the number just ask. And also a prayer request. A church member of our sending church Clint, around 20 years old, fell into a fire and has burns over 85% percent of his body. He needs your prayers as does our church, as my father and his family will be with him this Sunday morning at the Hospital. God bless, JASON

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kenya Day 4

Church was good. I introduced myself and Kenya translated. I knew about 7 seconds before I had to do it. I think I said 5 sentences James is doing really well with the language. Kenya too! It's funny they will be rattling along in swahili then an english word pops up in it. lsiskkoidiadj pins aldjflaoij cast aldkjfe. It was funny. France is "ufransa" or something like that. sometimes i hear parts of french word in the phrases. they have a gas station called "Bonjour". And for some reason on the highway on the way down here there were a couple of big European Union flags and signs. After a supper of beans and rice I did dishes and hung out clothes, Kenya gave showers, clipped nails and cleaned ears, and put Samuel to bed and James started working on his break lights so we can go to the game park tomorrow in the defender. We watched an episode of Dirty Jobs and ate popcorn. Then they opened a package they got of Easter stuff from the states. Then the kids got tucked in while I picked up, then we hung out more clothes and started more washing. Afterwards we packed a lunch for tomorrow which Kenya is finishing up and James is still out working on the lights. It has been a good day. I did get a nap this afternoon- I just felt wiped out. I guess from a combo of all the newness and the traveling. They found out that the strong winds yesterday tore up a lot of the tarps and the choo (outhouse) walls at the church so they will have a work day on Saturday. The winds blew one of Kenya's sheets off the roof. She was glad that it didn't blow away, it was still in her yard. No pictures today. the camera batteries died this morning. They are charging up for tomorrow. We will leave early in the morning. - ANGIE

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 4 without Angie

My day went well. I made the kids pancakes this morning for breakfast. Afterwards, I worked some more on a promotional video that I have been making. After sandwiches for lunch, we headed to the language school to play, after being there for maybe thirty minutes, Andrew had a dirty diaper, of course I forgot to bring extra, so we walked back to the house. While I was changing him at the house, I got a call from some friends inviting us to come to the language school and play with their kids. So we headed back to the language school. We had a good time playing and visiting. We had hot dogs with Chili for supper, the chili came today in a package from my parents. Many thanks! I'm letting the kids watch a movie and hope to get them to bed early because they are showing signs of tiredness. Attached is a picture Angie took of two books that belonged to Martin Luther. They were taken at a Lutheran Church in Paris. God bless, JASON

Angie in Kenya Day 3

I hope you are all well. So the driving yesterday from Nairobi to Malindi was intense. We left around 9 in the morning, while still in Nairobi, James went to get a couple they brought when they came, to bring them back with him. We went on to the gas station and got some snacks for the trip. Kenya braved a last minute potty break before James arrived- I should have too. They were thinking that the place they prefer to stop at would be about halfway but later at the halfway place we found out it was further about 3/4 of the way there. Needless to say the Lord impressed me with his creation, the bladder. The driving motto apparently is "It's ok if I don't have enough room to pass, they will get out of my way." The big trucks and the van taxis would pass coming from the other direction straight at us (well at James in front of us) and you would know they were not going to have enough time to make it but they would just keep coming at you and just run you off the road. This happened many times. It was crazy. I think that in this country if the car in front of you dodges you better dodge too because the car coming at you is not always slowing down. It was very dangerous. Fortunately on the road we were on we had a shoulder to get off on everytime this happend. The worst time was once when I could see the truck coming but James wasn't getting over. There were pedestrians on the shoulder so he had to be very careful- slam on the brakes, dodge, avoid the pedestrians. Kenya honked at them- she said it was for therapy. I agree. They say that driving is the most dangerous thing they do here. Oh yeah, they have speed bumps, pretty big ones but they are not always marked. Of the maybe 40-50 speed bumps we went over I only saw one sign. Usually they just put a big rock on either side of the road to warn you. It was weird because we would go over the bumps and I would think to myself, "Is this a populated area?" The lack of "houses" kept surprising me. As we neared Mombasa I kept waiting to see the "suburbs" but they never came. We stopped briefly in Mombasa and saw Jen and Davis, former students of ours at the language school - that was so great to get to see them again. Davis asked me how I ended up in Kenya. I told him and he said that since I can come to Africa so easily that I should come see them in Congo. I said that I have been told a lot about Kenya and that I would have to begin to be educated on Congo before I think I would really really want to go there. After a short but sweet visit we parted. Already having been on the road more than 12 hours we just had 1 and 1/2 hours to go. When we got to their house they we were greeted by a nice layer of dirt all over every surface. We had to wipe down the counters and table before we could eat. they were having strong winds which surprised them because this is the first time they have been here during this time of year. It was cooling things off here getting ready for the rains. It has been nice, otherwise we would be roasting, especially today when the power went out for a few hours. This morning Kenya got up early and cleaned. Then when I got up we made breakfast. After breakfast we went to do some grocery shopping, pick up the mail, and have the tire patched. Oh yeah we also had a flat tire on the way home yesterday that James had to change. I just watched 8 kids play play-doh while Kenya had her Swahili lesson and now we need to go to church. ANGIE

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From Kenya

Hey, I'm in Kenya! We had a good visit and meal last night, fried chicken and fries. This morning I had a doughnut for breakfast then Kenya, James and I went to the office to get insurance on James' new truck. On the way James bought a newspaper from a street hawker in the middle of the street. While we waited in the car for James, Kenya and I visited and then we had a call from Jen Davis, a former student at our language school, they are working in Congo, but are on vacation in Kenya - we may try to meet them on the way home tomorrow. Also while we waited the man who sold James the truck brought the faceplate to the stereo by. Then we did some shopping in a big store with lots of British items I recognized from our vacation house we had in the south of France. I got macaroni and popcorn kernels and Chiclets. This afternoon James and I ate Chinese food at the mall, everyone else had chicken and fries or spaghetti. After we finished they drove me out to see the Rift Valley from a lookout point about 30 minutes from here to the west. Last night the driving was crazy with the people passing from the other direction coming right in your lane so that you had to move over. But today James said we had a first time moment when at a very backed-up round-about the cars trying to squeeze in next to us were getting angry because James, who was actually on the road, was going past them and essentially cutting them off. Then one of the guys reached out of his car and hit our van with his fist. Crazy guy! James just said that the other guy was the one who needed to wait, we were doing right. The rift valley was awesome! James said it goes all the way to Israel. On the "interstate" there were lots of checkpoints for the cops to see if you have insurance and occasionally ask for bribes. They can get in trouble if they ask directly so they find ways to ask indirectly. Like they asked what we were going to do last night. James said going to eat. Then the cop said well what am I going to eat tonight? So now we are back and getting packed up for an early start. We may go to a movie in a little bit or if Samuel is too wiggly we may go shopping. Then we are going to eat Indian food. Tomorrow we will leave Nairobi, "the land of plenty", as they were calling it. Lydia (3 or 4 years old), their daughter who broke her arm last week, is doing good and not in too much pain, she is just trying to keep her sling adjusted right and deal with the inconvenience of having one good hand. The other kids are good Josiah (7) did something this morning that totally reminded me of Caleb. It was cute. They all loved their gifts I brought from France and drawings our kids made for their kids. Thanks for the prayers, I'll go help pack now. - ANGIE

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 1

Day one with just me and the kids passed well. I just spoke with Angie, she made it to Nairobi without any problems and was eating supper with the Taylor Family. We are doing well. Easter weekend went real well. Saturday we had a little Easter Party and Egg hunt at the Language School. Sunday morning services went well. They had double services, and early service for church members and the normal service for everyone who brought guests. It was specifically aimed at getting the message of Easter to non-Christians. France 2, a French TV station, showed up and filmed bits of the services. Angie left Sunday afternoon and arrived at Amsterdam, where she spent the night. She left this morning for Kenya and arrived just after 7 pm. She already is enjoying herself and got to hold their one year old, Samuel, who we had not got to meet yet. He fell asleep on her. They plan to stay one more day in Nairobi and do some shopping at a new mall and then make the trek back to East Kenya. Me and the kids are fine. I took them to out to the language school and let them play. It was nice weather today, but rain is supposed to move in tomorrow. Lilia is spending the night with some friends and will be making a trip into Paris tomorrow. Meanwhile the boys will have some Father/Son time. Of course that includes, tickling, wrestling, hot-wheels, and transformers. Sunday before church we had some family pictures made. It was difficult to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. Attached is one of the better pictures. God bless, JASON

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Acts of Kindness

School finished well. Friday we had a breakfast with our class and the class below us. We had a good time sampling some good food. Angie made breakfast sausage that was a real big hit with the Americans especially. Also I received some Dr. Pepper that I had ordered off the Internet and was able to share with them. There were mixed responses from those that had never tried it. But once again the Americans were real pleased.
Another event developed late Friday. Angie talked to her missionary friend in Kenya. They have had a rough time with one of their close friends losing a newborn baby in the middle of which their own daughter had a bad fall and broke her arm in several places. They had to go to Nairobi for the surgery, so Angie had the thought to fly down and help out. Angie has a nice streak like that. She always wants to help others. Sometimes I have had to be the voice of region and hold her back, but I told myself early in our marriage that if I could I would let her help as much as possible. We looked online to get an idea of the costs and the tickets were around $1400-$1600. We have a two week vacation, so that wasn't a problem. We worked out the details with our friends in Kenya and put in a call to Bro. Jack who is a travel agent who works full time booking travel and logistic work for missionaries and missions teams. (We ate with him in Paris a couple a weeks ago) He was able to find a flight for just over $700 dollars! So, Angie will be leaving Sunday to spend a week helping and encouraging the Taylor family serving in East Kenya. As events proceed, Angie and I will keep you updates. She has gone shopping right now to find here some sandals, it has been a while since we have experienced a hot climate. God bless, JASON

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Carte de Sejour.

That is the name for the visa you receive for an extended stay in France. We renewed our student visa today. It is good for another year. Thankfully we didn't have to go through the whole process again. We only had to wait about 35 minutes, which is not bad. We showed our paperwork and paid and received our new carte de sejour. It is amazing how busy they are. The Paris area has a lot of immigrants and foreign students. The kids went over to a friends house and played, which made the process a lot better for Angie and I. It only took about 45 minutes to get to the Sousprefecture - where government business like Carte de Sejours are done. A bus, a train, and a 10 minute walk. We are both looking forward to getting out of the city where life is a little slower. We have enjoyed our time here. We will find out tomorrow how we did on our tests. I have no idea how well I did. Like I tell the other students when they get worried about the grades, we paid so they won't kick us out if we fail, and what is more important is learning to speak French. The thought of being able to share my faith in French has helped me to persevere. God bless, JASON

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meet the Teacher

Thursday afternoon Angie met with Calebs teachers. It went well they said he did good in class and was just a little timid when he was in large groups. Friday a couple at the language school offered to babysit everyones kids and let the parents go out. We had already been invited to eat dessert at a friends house. The kids really wanted to go to the babysitting and play with the other kids, so we let them go for an hour and then picked then up for the dessert at the friends house. Saturday I meet with Lilia's teacher. The meeting went well. The teacher praised Lilia for being the "head of the class" and only after being in the country for a little over the year. He said she was a quick thinker and participated good in class. I'm a little proud of her. God bless, JASON

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fly by.

This week has been flying by. Wednesday we had a wonderful visit from several friends. We met them for lunch in Paris and had a wonderful visit and even was able to show them around to several sites, the Eiffel Tower, the Arce de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. It was a really good visit, many thanks to our babysitter who watched the kids at home for us. After we got the kids to bed we worked on our semester end oral test. We did it this morning. It went well I think. We had to give a list of headlines like a news report and explain one of them in detail. After lunch I lead the music in Chapel, I had a wonderful time teaching the students a new song. This evening the weather was really nice so we let the kids play at the playground after school. We had several good conversations with other French parents. Angie took Lilia and Caleb for their end of semester meeting with the teacher. They both are doing well. They mentioned that Caleb needs to work as hard on the subjects that he dislikes as he does on the subjects that he likes. That is probably true for us all. Angie had a diner at the school this evening that a Swiss student prepared. (I will have to get her to describe it later) Me and boys had a good time at home with out pizza and "boy time" which includes of course, wrestling and tickles. Time got away from us and it was already 8:15 by the time the pizza was finished cooking. The kids are all to bed now and I will do a little paper work and homework and then off to bed. Goodnight and God bless, JASON