In Niger

In a message dated 1/11/2009 2:11:17 P.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

As I write I am hearing the imam call the faithful to worship from the closest mosque. Our three day program for Homeschooled Missionary Kids here in Niger is finished – Wow – It went so quickly! The children we worked with were from 5 – 11 years. Their parents’ passport countries are Australia, Korea, England, Canada, Singapore and the US. They work in Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Ghana and are involved in church planting, agriculture, theological education and support services. Many of the local people in this part of the world are from other religious backgrounds. The climate is hot – conditions harsh – Challenging places to minister… It was so good to be able to bring support to these folks. While Debbie, Joanna, James and I were working with the children, a great team was working with the parents enabling them to do a better job of educating and raising their kids in this part of Africa. Thanks to many of you for enabling me to do this important work!

We have been served well by the local missionary community – transporting, feeding, exchanging money – wow – missionaries have really gone out of their way for us.

Today was spent relaxing…

Actually an unbelievable day thus far! We left at 7 AM to go look at giraffes about an hour from town. I almost didn’t go as we saw giraffe quite frequently when we lived in Northern Kenya – but I love giraffes and also the group here – so decided to go –

The first giraffe we saw had two legs and hooves sticking out – yes, she was in the process of giving birth!!! Our guide, who has done this work for twenty years, said that he had never seen a giraffe give birth! – Mama hid from us for a bit when the actual birthing happened – but then we found her about a half hour later with her new calf! We watched mama licking the calf as he made wobbly attempts at standing – but unfortunately, we needed to leave before he/she got completely on his feet – This was certainly a first for me!

camel_ride Next we went to a campsite where those of our group who had never had the opportunity to ride a camel got their chance – and the rest of us relaxed under some mango trees enjoying a picnic of shish kebabs over a fire… A boat ride followed on the Niger River viewing hippos. Now many of my colleagues are shopping – but I opted for a shower and chance to catch up with you all! In an hour or so we will go to the weekly English worship Service at Sahel Academy –

Tomorrow, we will provide an in-service for Sahel Academy and its students. The team who worked with the parents will be doing some training with the staff of the school. Joanna and I will be part of the team working with the Sahel elementary school students. This time I will be helping with the program, not in charge of it which will take off a bit of the stress.

I appreciate your ongoing prayers as we have two more very full days – Joanna is not in top notch shape physically and is resting right now… A couple of other staff are also not feeling well. Now am hearing an exuberant Christian worship service with drums in the background…

God bless – Love – Ellen

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Tropical Agronomist