Monday, 25 March 2013

It's Coming to An End... WOW.

WOW!!  Where has the time gone!!  As of next Tuesday I will be on my home... crazy to think about!!

March has been a VERY busy month for me which is why I haven't done an update in a while.  The Tattered Tiara's team was SO amazing!!  A baby orphanage, swimming in Lac Rose, camel rides, a mosquito net distribution, a Senegalese church service, crafts with deaf and preschool children, a street kids feeding program, three OCC shoebox distributions, an animal reserve, chapel at a missionary kids school, Goree Island, a trip to the zoo with Senegalese kids, a traditional Senegalese meal eating around the bowl with our neighbours, and more.  We really had a great week with them.  The girls did such a great job at entering into the culture, and engaging with the people they came in contact!  The team dynamics were also amazing, I was very pleased with them all.  Such a great group of girls, and never a dull moment!  It made for a fast week, we were sad to see them go.  

I was FINALLY able to be a part of some Operation Christmas Child distributions... 4 to be exact!!  It was incredible, all very different experiences.  This past Christmas was the first time I have ever packed boxes for Samaritan Purse's Operation Christmas Child.  When I found out that I would be helping with distributions here in Senegal I was SOOO excited!!  What an incredible experience, and privilege it was!  Seeing the children's faces light up when they received and opened their boxes absolutely warmed my heart.  My favourite OCC moment was during our dinner on the roof with the neighbours.  We had a small scale distribution with the kids and they were soo excited.  The little boy from across the road (who is one of 7 children, lives on the side of the swamp with his parents and siblings in very poor living conditions) opened his box, and I watched as his face lit up when he saw the stuffed penguin that was in his box.  It was seriously the cutest thing I have ever seen.  That was such a memorable moment that I will cherish in my heart forever.

After the Tattered Tiara's team I headed out of the city to do a painting project with a team from British Columbia.  It was a fun few days, but I was very tired and ended up coming home a couple days early, in need of rest and relaxation.

This morning I went to the street kids feeding program and there were over 100 boys who were served breakfast!  Apparently that is the largest amount of boys that has been served!!  It was crazy, and I loved it!!  At the end of the morning a little boy came up to us and, through two translations, said "You guys feed us bread and milk every morning... God bless you for it".  Keep in mind that this is a Muslim boy!  God is at work!  He is so good.  He is even at work through handing out breakfast in the morning, AMEN!

I have 8 days left in Senegal.  It is crazy to think that this chapter is coming to an end.  Now to return home, and try to sort through everything I have learned and experienced.  Please pray for a smooth re-entry period.  Often times re-entry is more difficult than entering into a new culture.  Pray that I am able to get everything done in time; homework wise.  Also pray that I am able to find a summer job quickly after returning home!!  

Thanks again for all the prayers and support!!  You have been an encouragement to me in the last 10 weeks!  May God bless you all!

Friday, 8 March 2013

STM Preparation!!

The last couple of weeks I have been busily helping to prepare for a team of young girls from Canada with Tattered Tiaras.  There are going to be 5 teenage girls from the ages of 13-17 and 2 leaders!  I cannot wait for them to arrive tonight (March 8)!!  We have many things planned for them to do.  It is a service/ cultural exposure trip...  Many of the girls have not travelled overseas before so this is going to be an eye-opening and new experience for them!

After having the Tattered Tiaras team here for a week I will be joining in with a larger team of high school students, from BC.  I will be working non-stop for the next two weeks, so please keep me in your prayers.  My prayer is that God will bless the time we have with these teams and that God will not only work on their hearts, but He will also work in the lives of the people they come in contact with.  Please pray for health and safety, safe travels, and endurance and strength for me!!

My time is beginning to come to an end.  I have 3 and a half weeks remaining, and three of the weeks I will be occupied with the teams.  Thank you for continuing to support me in prayer, it is working!!  God is so good!  I have learnt so much in the last 7 and a half weeks, and have much more to learn in the remainder of my time here!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Cultural Exposure!!!

In the last couple of weeks I have had many cultural exposure experiences!! They have been so great, and so interesting!

On Valentine's Day I got to make a Senegalese meal called Mafe.  Mafe is a traditional peanut, tomato sauce dish with beef, carrots, potatoes and cabbage over white rice.  It is delicious!!  It was a lot of fun to see how it is done because it's my favourite Senegalese meal!!  I have the recipe written down too, so now I am able to try it out when I return to Canada!! :)

This past Monday I ventured downtown with an American friend that I made here.  We grabbed a taxi and found our way to a great little ice cream shop, and got to walk along the streets and do some souvenir shopping!  This was a great experience because it was my first time, since being here, that I was able to see the various Senegalese souvenirs.  I was able to bargain and get some wood carvings and a beautiful tie-dye dress!  It was really neat to see how they make things... I cannot get over the amount of creativity people have here.  It is insane!

On Fridays I usually have my French and Wolof lessons, so this past Friday I decided to go to an extremely large fabric market with my teacher for some cultural exposure/ French lesson.  She is great!  She knows where all the good deals are, and we are able to speak in French and she can correct my mistakes which I love!  What a great way to learn French!  I was able to buy a lot of Senegalese fabric to get things made which is very exciting!!  Not to mention the fact that I was able to get some killer deals thanks to my French teacher!!  What an amazing experience it was!!

It has been very neat to experience the culture here in Senegal, and to see various aspects of the culture... whether it is shopping at the market, making a meal, hanging out in the village or helping out in the classroom.  I have been blessed with this opportunity to share life with these people, and I am so thankful for all of your prayers and support!

Please continue to pray for my health... I have been a little bit sick in the last couple of weeks and feeling a bit tired and worn out... Pray that the Lord gives me continual strength!  We are also preparing for two teams that are coming from Canada, so please pray that things run smoothly with the teams!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Busy Week Thus Far...

On Sunday I went to a church in downtown Dakar with a team from Ontario.  They are a deaf team, here to help out at the deaf school.  It was a very powerful service!  I bought my first French Bible, which is also pretty great!!  After church I went to a baby orphanage and had a chance to visit with the babies and play with them!  One quickly attached himself to me, and everywhere I went he was behind me, pulling at my capris.  Such a sweetheart.  It had a different feel to it then the baby orphanage in Kenya, but it definitely brought back the many memories from my time there in 2009.

Monday morning we had our Olympic day for the deaf school.  This was a very fun time for the teachers, Canadian team, as well as for the children.  They LOVED it!  You could see that they enjoyed the competition and there was a sense of accomplishment on their faces.  What a beautiful and fun way to build up confidence in children!  The day was such a success and I am very happy that I got to be apart of it!

Please continue to pray for my health as I continue my time here in Senegal.  I have now been here for 4 weeks and am doing well.  I am enjoying the ministry, but have been under attack and need continual prayer for strength.  God is doing great things, and the devil is not happy about it!  Please pray that I am able to stay focused on why God has brought me here, and that I will continue to trust in His guidance for my life and ministry.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

God is on the move!

I have now been in Senegal for 2 and a half weeks and have made a couple of visits outside of Dakar to some remote villages.  My first Saturday here I went for the day to help encourage some ladies living in the village.  It was really great to spend time with them under the tree, and help crack open peanut shells with them.  We also taught them how to do tie-dye!  This was my first experience in a village, and my first experience ever doing tie-dye!  It was a lot of fun!  This program was done outside of the church and a devotional was also given to these women, many who are not of the Christian faith.  Most of the women are Muslim and it was very encouraging to see that a lot of them wanted prayer before we left!  Some of them even claimed that they were healed!  God is so good!

This past weekend I went to the village again for outreach.  This was a very HMS style ministry event! We woke up and were on the road at 5am on Friday morning and drove out to the village, set up camp and then did 4 VBS programs in various surrounding villages.  Some of these villages are unreached villages.  The children were very excited to have us there and do some games and dramas with them.  They were also very attentive while we did the "Evanga cube" with them.  Saturday we also did 4 VBS programs.  These were in 4 different villages.  The children were so beautiful!  There was one little girl that was up in my arms and she didn't want me to let her go when we were leaving... It really broke my heart!  So precious!  Both evenings we did a "campaign" service in villages and this was for the whole village, men and women, boys and girls.  It was a time of singing, puppets, dramas, and the Word.  One of the villages we had the campaign in was one that was in bondage; a place where the devil has been at work for a very long time.  The weekend ended on Sunday morning at a village church.  It was amazing because we were singing and speaking in English, French, and Serer.  It is a wonderful thing when God brings people together to worship Him from all walks of life, and from all over the world!

This past week I have been learning a lot of different things!  I have the privilege of learning 3 languages while I am here.  On Wednesdays I will be taking a sign language course, which is done in French.  This will help me while I volunteer in the Deaf School on Thursdays.  On Friday mornings I am learning both French and Wolof (a local language).  I am hoping and praying that it will come easy for me, because I need to be able to communicate with people while I am here.

Some prayer requests that I have are that the Lord will continue to give me strength and health while I am here.  I also would like prayer for direction in my future ministry.  I am praying that the Lord will reveal what it is He wants me to do in regards to ministry and missions when I graduate.  The Lord has been so good and I want to thank those of you who have been praying for me, the prayers are a HUGE help!  I also want to say a big thank you to those of you who have supported me financially to come overseas.  You have all been such a blessing.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

I'm Here!!

So, for those of you who may be wondering...  I am here in Senegal!  I arrived on Thursday January 17, very early in the morning!  I just wanted to send out a quick update to let everyone know that I am alive and well, and enjoying my time here thus far!

Thanks again to all those who have helped me come to Senegal, whether it is financially or spiritually lifting me up in prayer!  It makes all the difference!  Please continue to pray for health, safety and for all of my volunteer efforts!

I will send a more thorough update in the next week or so...  Please stay tuned!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

And the countdown begins!!

While most are preparing for the New Year's countdown, I am beginning my countdown until my internship!  There are only 17 more days until I head off to Dakar, Senegal!! I am so excited for this new chapter in my life!  God has blessed me so much with the opportunity to learn, grow and minister overseas.

I want to take this time to thank those of you who are praying for me, because without your prayers none of this would be possible!  I also want to thank those of you who have supported me financially!  I have been blessed thus far, and am praying that God will continue to provide the funds needed to go overseas.

I am currently halfway there!  I have about $3000 left to meet my required budget.

Stay tuned for more updates on my internship through this blog!!